The Price Paid For Freedom

Excerpt: It was a lie that enslaved us. We were told that we all have conflicting interests, and needs, which could not be met simultaneously. We were told that we hate each other.

The only mistake we made was that we listened to them, and bought their lies. We became slaves of lies! We became slaves of separation! It was Unity and Truth that liberated us.

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It was around this time, last year, that I’d paid a week’s visit to the Andamans, with my family and relatives, for a vacation.
~

These Islands, not exclusive to the Cellular Jail, are a timeless reminder of the cost of our freedom, as Indians. They remind us of the price paid for it, by those brave men and women, who sought to look beyond trivial cultural and ethnic differences, and who dared to seek the truth, and speak it too.

The Truth is all powerful. As long as we excuse ourselves from speaking the truth, we insult those who liberated us. It was a lie that enslaved us. We were told that we all have conflicting interests, and needs, which could not be met simultaneously. We were told that we hate each other.

The only mistake we made was that we listened to them, and bought their lies. We became slaves of lies! We became slaves of separation! It was Unity and Truth that liberated us. Let us all remember this, my dear friends.

Let us never again betray ourselves by buying into such lies, or being afraid of speaking the truth.

Inkhilab zindabad!
Long live Liberty!

And, let there be Light!
ūüôŹ

~

Here’s a link to my photo-travelogue on my visit: https://themonksofgardenia.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/to-the-andamans/

Of Abuse & DoCs

Excerpt: And, sometimes, we’re just made to feel wrong about ourselves, because of who we are. We may come across circumstances where our own personal preferences, and ways of life, forced to be rationalized and justified. And, we often have to come up with something to do just that, lest we get called as ‘confused’, or ‘riddiculous’, or ‘paranoid’, or ‘oversensitive’, or ‘irrational’.

How often have we had to project ourselves as ‘sick’, or ‘broke’, or ‘stupid’, or ‘evil’, just because that’s the only tag which would make sense to those who question our very lives? And, we just have to live with the tags, because it pleases them to know that we remember how wrong we are? Really?

We all have a drug of choice. Or perhaps, even more than one. It’s not just the cigarettes, the alcohol, or the narcotic drugs. We find different ways to get away from ourselves; to entertain ourselves.

Perhaps, sometimes, it does hurt to be with oneself. We try to keep ourselves distracted, from all the abuse we face. We distract ourselves by binge watching television, overworking at the office, binge eating, drowning ourselves in social media, medication, or… even abuse itself.

Yes, abuse, to many of us, is the drug of choice to distract ourselves from what we’d have to face otherwise.

When we aren’t engaging our minds with entertainment, our brains are wired, for some primeval survival mechanism, to be skeptic about specific past life events, because of all the abuse. Abuse, apparently, has spared no one.

~

There’s a certain book which gave me much clarity on this subject, to begin with. It’s called ‘Right Recovery For You’, by Marilyn Bradford. And, I appreciate the way she clarifies things.

– If someone searches your cupboard, looks into your diary, or swipes your phone, it’s a privacy abuse.
– If someone tells you how specifically you must practice worship, it’s a spiritual abuse.
– If someone shames you publicly, or repeatedly criticizes you for who you are, it’s a psychological abuse.
– If someone you’re officially dependant on, financially, denies you of money for your basic needs, and tells you to earn it yourself, knowing that you’re struggling with the very possibility of it, it’s financial abuse.

~

And, sometimes, we’re just made to feel wrong about ourselves, because of who we are. We may come across circumstances where our own personal preferences, and ways of life, forced to be rationalized and justified. And, we often have to come up with something to do just that, lest we get called as ‘confused’, or ‘riddiculous’, or ‘paranoid’, or ‘oversensitive’, or ‘irrational’.

How often have we had to project ourselves as ‘sick’, or ‘broke’, or ‘stupid’, or ‘evil’, just because that’s the only tag which would make sense to those who question our very lives? And, we just have to live with the tags, because it pleases them to know that we remember how wrong we are? Really?

~

We can’t press charges against such abuses, because it’s just accepted by some parts of society.

And, the drugs of choice often begin with the self-abuse of blaming and judging ourselves for all the abuse. We even abuse ourselves, with these very DoCs which we use to escape from the abuse.

~

And, not all sexual abuses are physical. Some of them can’t even be described. Perhaps, it’s because sexual abuse has a trending definition, from which our experiences might stray from. Or, perhaps, because the abuser is just not ‘abuser material’.

Moreover, even if we could, how much of a difference does a #MeToo post really make for some of us when the social media has a clearly competitive algorithm?

The illusion of being alone with all the abuse we face is just an extension of it.

~

I wish I could conclude this note by providing a Utopian solution to end all abuse. But, we’re not here to fix anything. We may only recognize things as they are, and let go of the pain which doesn’t serve us.

Perhaps, we could begin with the essential first step of being with oneself, even if it’s uncomfortable.

Does Being Right Work For You?

Excerpt: It’s okay to not have everything figured out. It’s okay if logic appears to have failed us. It’s okay when life isn’t reasonable. Life is meant to enjoyed, not justifyed like a science theorem.

Dear friend,
to whomsoever this may make sense,

It’s alright to not be right. It’s the most stressful job ever. Proving ourselves is what takes away most of the fun and energy from our lives. And, we’ve all been, invariably, conditioned to do just this.

It’s okay to not have everything figured out. It’s okay if logic appears to have failed us. It’s okay when life isn’t reasonable. Life is meant to enjoyed, not justified like a science theorem.

It’s okay to not be perfect. Perfection is an illusion, and it keeps us from living life.

It’s okay to not be right, even in the least.

If being right hasn’t worked for you, you’re not the only one who has realized this. Welcome to the Club!

~

“Somewhere between right and wrong, there is a place. I’ll be waiting for you there.”Rumi

A Trip To The Andamans (May 18 to 24, 2017)

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All good quality photographs were taken by my relatives and the amateur ones are by yours truly. Let’s leave the judgments aside. I’m just a writer.
Legends:
* indicates precaution
[ ] includes valuable information
{ } includes personal comments
( ) includes transit information
Precautions:
*Jio doesn’t have a network here. BSNL does.
{Unfortunately, I’d stopped recharging my BSNL to actually try trusting Jio by now. That was quite unwise as an idea.}
*Dairy products aren’t in great demand and restaurants and hotels seldom have any stock of them.
[But there is one dairy industry called Netgo somewhere on these islands. And their milk is diluted with water and chemicals. The residents use powdered milk from the mainland, if at all they must consume.]
*Food pricing at restaurants here begins at triple-digit pricing.
*Buy a good cowboy hat and swimming trunk as they’ll both be handy for the sun and the waters.

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Day 1: Port Blair
May 18, Thursday

 

(Flew to Port Blair, Veer Savarkar Airport.)
{It’s been a long time, i.e. 8 years, since I’ve flown in a plane and that too across the sea.}
(Checked into Hotel Western Park.)
[Not until May 22 did I find out that the ground floor provides a Wi-Fi access.]
{And the wifi password was ‘nosmoking‘. The health industry is sponsoring Wi-Fi!?!}
Visited the Cellular Jail, it’s museum and memorial.
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[Only 3 of 7 quarters remain after the 2004 Tsunami.]
[If you visit this place in the evening, I believe you’d come across a narrative sound & light show.]
{This place was quite an emotional experience. The brutality of a nation’s slavery, as well as imperial sadism against the revolutionaries, was heartfelt throughout these galleries.}
Visited an anthropological museum.

{Not much to see here unless you’d like to know about the Aborigines.}

Rode the jet-ski at the beach.

 

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[It’s like a very bumpy and thrilling¬† motorcycle ride across the waves.]
{I’ve never had so much fun ever before in my life.}
There’s a temple nearby, if you’re interested.
~

Day 2: Havelock
May 19, Friday

(Cruised on ‘Green Ocean-1’ to Havelock Island. Saw plenty of Flying Fish across the sea.)

 

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(Checked into Dolphin Resort by the beach which looks like a real-life illustration of one of Enid Blyton’s¬† books.)
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Visited a beach at Radhanagar and submerged myself into the transparent waves across the white sand for almost 2 hours.
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Day 3: Havelock & Elephant Beach
May 20, Saturday 

Scuba Diving at Blue Planet.

[Breathing is done through the mouth like you drink coconut water and you’re provided a mask with an oxygen supply. Communication isn’t verbal. There are 2-4 standard¬† hand-gestures, and that’s enough for this purpose.]

{My instructor was quite encouraging and I even talked to the finance in charge. We even agreed to meet up again in the evening.}

 

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Motorboat ride to Elephant beach followed by snorkeling.

[It’s a very small beach. And snorkeling is done by floating on the water surface with your face into the water. The mask around your face allows you to take in air from the surface.]

 

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(Motorboat-ride back to Havelock.)

{There was a visit to another beach scheduled that evening, but I skipped it.}

Instead, I visited Radhanagar beach once again. This time with a new friend of mine, from Blue Planet.

{And, when we returned to the Blue Planet, I ran an Access Body Process on him. I met quite a few interesting guys there, and one of them even knew two of my college friends. It’s a small world!}
~

Day 4: Neil Island
May 21, Sunday

(Boarded Mak Russ Gold to Neil Island.)
[This island is quite small and it’s just a transitory visit.]

(Booked into Hotel Hawa Bill Nest.) 

[The hotel took 1.5 hours to have our lunch ready as people don’t eat at the restaurant very often.]

Visited Barathpur beach.
[The water is crystal clear and quite a warm bath. The waves were very gentle and occasional here.]
And went on a Glass-bottomed Boat ride.
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{There was a visit to a beach at Lakshmanpur which I skipped.}
~
Day 5: Neil Island & Port Blair
May 22, Monday 

Visited a viewpoint just above  Sitapur beach.

 

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Soon after that, we visited a natural bridge.
[This place is good for adventure photography.]
{I felt like Gandalf throughout while climbing the rocks.}

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(Boarded the Mak Russ back to Port Blair.)
Visited a government Saw Mill, a pit bombed by the British in 1942, and a museum of woodwork.
{It’s not advisable to spend more than 20 min here: firstly, there’s not much to see, secondly, it was already lunchtime now, and thirdly, because of the subsequent event.}

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After lunch, we rushed to a sunset point.
[The sun sets at 5 PM in Andaman,¬† at this time of the year, and the visibility of the sun through the clouds isn’t a guarantee as the weather isn’t predictable. And you’re not allowed anywhere near the beach after 5 PM.]
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{There was a narrative Sound & Light Show at the Cellular Jail which I skipped. If you’re not the sensitive type, skipping this event isn’t advisable.}
~
Day 6: Ross Island
May 23, Tuesday

 

Visited Andaman Water Sports. Boarded the Mark Marina to Ross Island which had another Japanese Bunker, a worn-out clubhouse, and a worn-out Church.
[There were plenty of deer on this island. Nothing much of a major attraction otherwise.]

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Took the same boat to North Bay Island for an experience of Sea-Walking.
[Breathing is quite normal and water doesn’t touch the face as we’re provided with a helmet and it, in turn, had a continuous oxygen supply.]
Then, we went in a submarine for a  Coral Safari.
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Finally, we took the Mark Marine back to Port Blair and then we took another boat called M.V. Saroj back to Ross Island to watch a lantern show.
{It was a reasonably interesting show, although I wasn’t mighty pleased when I learned that the voice artist was Shabna Azmi. An irony, for a patriotic show.}
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Day 7: Baratang
May 24, Wednesday

 

(Left the hotel at 3:30 AM. The view outside the ride was quite scenic and lush green after dawn. We had our breakfast at Jartatang and headed towards Middle Strait. We saw quite a few Jarawas (aborigines) on the way. Photography isn’t allowed in their domain.)

(We caught a ship full of passengers, cars, and buses alike to Baratang Forest on another island.)

 

Then, we took a motorboat across a marshland filled with a forest of Mangroves to yet another island where after quite a bit of walking, we visited a Limestone Cave.
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Later, we returned to Baratang Forest by motorboat and took a jeep into the forest to see a Mud Volcano.
[You get 20 minutes to travel to, observe, as well a return from the volcano. It’s alive but it’s covered with wet mud. Gas escapes explicitly as bubbles from the surface of the mud. Apparently, they’re harnessing the energy of this volcano for commercial purposes.]
(Finally, we returned to the dock by Jeep and boarded the same ship back to Middle Straits. Then, we headed back to our hotel at Port Blair.)
~Day 8: Return to Madras
May 25

 

(Boarded a flight back to Madras at 8 AM. Reached at 10:30 AM.)