Morality: God gifted or an evolutionary tool?

Theists claim that morality comes from God alone. And that without Gods morals, there is nothing stopping us from stooping to absolute decadence and chaos. It is kind of sad that one has to explain that being ‘moral’ out of fear of a God is a lot more scary thought, than that of an individual choosing to be ‘moral’ of their own volition, without needing to be threatened with dire consequences.

But what does ‘morality’ mean? Is morality entirely subjective? Or is their some underlying objective cause that shapes our sense of morality.

Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species

As far as I could think, it appears ‘morality’, or our perception of what is ‘ethical’ or not is simply an extension of our survival instinct. Primitive aspects of morality can be seen practiced by moderate to highly intelligent animals also. Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species. So perhaps the objective cause shaping our perception of morality is – whatever fulfills chances of optimal survival and helps achieve a higher standard of living.

Morality is an extension of our survival instinct

There appears to be a directly proportionate relation of morality with intelligence. And our perception of morality must have evolved like the other aspects of our civilization, language, architecture etc. The nuance and complexity of this ‘morality’ varying from region to region, culture to culture, and community to community.

While subjective morality varies from individual to individual, depending on the majoritarian view, the concept of a cultural morality must have evolved. The basic moral sense of an individual is influenced by their immediate needs, authority and position of influence they hold. One considered that immoral, which they didn’t want to be done to them. So killing, stealing had to be the first immoral acts. But as said, the moral sense was influenced by the power of authority, there were probably sections of society they were okay with keeping out-of-bounds of the moral code, people whom they didn’t consider equal. (This is also reflected in the tenets of most early religions). These moral or ethical codes was written into law and the  sense of morality imposed by higher authority on the entire community. That is how the system of law and order probably came to be.

In today’s modern-day and age, those primitive notions of morality, as recorded in religious books and backdated constitutions are now obsolete. And sticking to them is regressive. Our sense of morality has to evolve like other aspects to continue serving the prime objective – optimal survival and higher standard of living. We have come quite far in bringing the marginalized sections of the society into the folds of a commonly beneficial sense of morality. Though we haven’t achieved the prime objective yet.

My personal subjective moral code is that all people should be free to do whatever they choose as long as it isn’t violating the personal liberty or fundamental right of any other human.

P.S: I have used the word ‘morality’ very loosely and interchangeably with ‘ethics’ and ’empathy’. The above is simply my personal opinion and I don’t claim them as facts. Please give your own opinions and perception of what morality is and it’s use if any in our society.

A letter to all ‘well meaning’ people who think we don’t need Pride Marches or to talk about homosexuality at all!

​”I am all for LGBT rights but why do you people have to be so loud and flamboyant?”

“I think 377 should be removed but Pride marches should be banned.”

“I understand it’s not a choice but really who cares what you do in bedrooms. Why shout about it on the streets?”

“377 is not even enforced. Just don’t talk about gay sex, no one is checking your bedrooms.”

“People like you are the reason why no one supports LGBT rights. You make everyone uncomfortable with your parades and vulgar talks about sex.”

You know what? Just fuck off. If you think by just saying ‘i don’t mind gay people’ you are being supportive, you are not. You are just saying you are indifferent and it doesn’t matter. Which is fine, which is great, which is quite preferable. But don’t pretend that you care.

Indifference is not the same as actually caring. And when the biggest issue about standing for our cause to you is the ‘inconvenience’ of having to hear us talk about sexuality,watch us openly asking for our rights, see us celebrating our existence and being counted as a part of the society, then fuck you and your ‘pity’.

You don’t get to demand and dictate how we ask for our rights, as if you would have cared or advocated for us if we chose to sit quietly. We are not fighting to convince you anything, we are not asking for your ‘pity’ or ‘sympathy’. We are fighting to be left alone, to have the shackles of regressive laws removed from the private parts of our lives, to reclaim our own space in our society and country.

You don’t have to look at us if you don’t want to, you don’t have to hear us if you don’t want to. You can go on pretending we don’t exist as you have for ages. But don’t dare to ask us to quiet down our voice or tone down our visibility because it makes you ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘inconvenient’.

You know what is uncomfortable and inconvenient? To have to explain and justify your personal lives, your intimate relationships, your sexual choices or lack thereof to each and everyone. To have to lie and hide integral parts of your identity, your personality from your closest friends and family because you could be humiliated, mocked, isolated, locked up, beaten up or even killed. To feel that you owe an explanation to everyone as to why you are the way you are

So if you think your discomfort and inconvenience you feel from us coming out and talking about ourselves and celebrating our existence is excuse enough for us to shut up.

Just fuck off.

Koel in the nest

Seema restlessly fidgeted in her chair. The wrinkles on her forehead made her seem a decade older than she was. She waited impatiently for the cause of her accelerated aging to come home so she could give him a piece of her mind for being a self absorbed asshole.

“Maa ji….chai.”

Her reverie was broken by the scent of her bahu’s special ‘adrak wali’ chai made specially for her. She looked adoringly at Simran, her lovely daughter-in-law. Fair skinned, rosy cheeks, and eyes that seemed drawn by Raja Ravi Verma, she looked like Maa Durga. She was not only skilled in cooking both traditional and fast food but also had a head for finances and budget. Without splurging on clothes and cosmetics she managed to exude radiance and gorgeousness. She herself however seemed completely unaware of her own beauty. Soft spoken and mild natured, she was always respectful of her elders and cared for every member of the family. Seema never had to tell her anything twice and they never had any argument. She felt more at peace and relaxed ever since she passed on the reins of the household to her daughter in law. She could not have been prouder of her choice. She loved her more than she would have loved her own daughter
Which is why she could not fathom why despite a year having passed since her arrival, Simran’s smile had gradually diminished to the point of non existence. She had prodded her a lot for answers but she always managed to evade the questions with a fake smile. But of late Simran could not hide her puffy and red eyes or the sunken cheeks.
Ever since the wedding her son had grown more and more distant. She initially ignored it, thinking it was the pressure of starting a new family. But he could now rarely be seen around in the house. He would leave early, come home late and go to sleep as soon as he had his dinner. Grunts and nods were his only means of communication. He would rarely look up at her when she tried to talk about anything.

She then realised even the new wife was subject to the same treatment. She finally decided enough was enough. It was time to knock some senses into her stupid son and remind him of his duties as a son and a husband. Today she was determined to corner him and force him to speak. Which is why she was awake way past her bedtime.

She heard footsteps, and a key turning in the lock. Deepak walked in, looked at her sitting up awake. He didn’t ask why or what and sat down on the sofa, taking off his shoes. Seema could no longer stand his indifferent attitude.

“At least you could care enough to ask why i am up so late?”

“Why are you up so late?” he asked mechanically, still focussed on his shoes. Her patience was now evaporating fast.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to pretend to care about me. I am old now, I am just a baggage waiting to be dispatched off. But can you at least pretend to care about your own wife? Have you asked her how she is?”

“Why? Did something happen to her? I don’t remember saying or doing anything to upset her. I stay out of her way, she can do anything she wants, she doesn’t need my permission. She even manages my salary. I never have asked her to justify any money that she spends.”

She looked aghast at her son. This was not the boy she brought up. When did that cute, naughty and sweet boy that played in her arms become this cold, unfeeling man.

“What are you saying Deepu? Is that all you care about? Is that all you think there is to life and relationships? Have you become so money minded that peoples feelings don’t matter to you anymore? How much time have you spent with her in the past one year? Have you even noticed how much weight she has lost and how little sleep she gets. I can forgive you for ignoring me. Even though I did everything I could to show my love for you -“

“THAT’S a lie.”

A deafening silence exploded in the room at his eruption. Seemas eyes widened in shock. Not just at the fact that her son raised his voice against her, but at the ferocity that glared in his eyes as for the first time in a year he looked up at her.

“It’s a lie that you love me, Ma.” Deepak now spoke gently, but firmly, still looking her in the eye but with a softened gaze, as if explaining to a child

“What you love is ‘a son’, but that son need not necessarily be me. In fact, had anybody other than me been your son, you would have been a lot happier. Whatever you decided for me, you did thinking of the son you wanted, not the one you had. I don’t blame you, you did not have a choice in that matter. Like children cannot choose their own parents, parents too cannot choose who they are giving birth too. But they can try to shape them up in the image they have pre-conceived. But try as much, there are some things that you cannot fundamentally change. Children will grow up to be who they are. I was never and I can never be the son you want, Ma. But I tried my best to pretend to be.    I will forever be grateful for the love and care you gave to me. But I feel like an impostor who cheated you by pretending to be your son, or rather, the son you wanted. I never wanted to marry Simran, or any other girl. I had told you why. But you refused to listen, refused to understand. You threw a tantrum and forced me into this marriage. You ignored my feelings. You pretended like everything was going to be fine. Because I was your son, and you thought you knew best. I realised, you were not thinking about me, because you didn’t even notice how heavy my heart was on the day of the wedding. You turned away when Sahil came at my wedding to say his goodbyes and I was left a staggering, teary mess of nothing. You dragged me into the altar even when all I wanted was to die. All the while smiling and pretending everything was fine. After Simran stepped into the house, you wore the proudest smile and flaunted her to all your friends and relatives. But you never paid attention to how crushed I was. But I bore it all, for your sake. I was not the son you wanted, but she was the daughter in law you always wanted. You could not choose your son, but at least you now had a daughter of your choice. You asked whether I think money is all that is there in life and relationships? A year ago I would have said no. But today, I have learnt to live for it. Because providing you two the comforts brought by money is the only happiness I can give you. It’s the only way I can right the wrongs I have done to both of you. By both marrying her, and being born to you, in deception. I have nothing else to give. If you want grandchildren, I can try, with Simran’s permission. I will provide for them, and their education. You and Simran can try finding your joy with them. I will learn to be content the way I am. I have gotten good in a year. Don’t you think so?

Deepak didn’t wait for an answer. He walked away into his bedroom, leaving the food waiting for him on the dining table untouched.

Seema sat motionless in the couch. Streams of tears flowing down her cheeks. Her chest hurting with the pricks of a thousand pieces of a shattered heart.

Suicide is NOT an act of weakness

Following Pratyusha Banerjee’s suicide, Indian social media has gone wild with scrutiny of her affairs and actions. Some are calling medias obsession with the incident as an insult and invasion of her privacy and blaming them for blowing it out of proportions. Some are blaming her boyfriend and her closed ones for not paying enough attention to her. Some are blaming her for not being strong enough, calling her weak willed and fragile.

The truth is nobody knows exactly what she was going through and what circumstances led her to do it. It will make no difference to her anymore no matter how much we scrutiny her death. Remember Jiah Khan anyone? Right.

Can the Right to end one’s own life be a Fundamental Right?

This incident however sparked off some interesting discussions and debates about suicide and depression and how to deal with it. Some people have been actually bold enough to suggest that suicide should not be illegal or stigmatized. According to them, if we have full right (ideally) over our bodies and every aspect of our lives. Why should we not have control over how to end it? Why don’t we get to decide when enough is enough and that we are not ready to go on any further?

A person should have the right to end their life as and when they choose to. It is a personal choice. It makes sense to support the right to euthanasia for those terminally ill and living in extreme painful and pitiful conditions.

BUT.

How many of those that commit suicide, do it as a well thought-out, planned decision, after carefully considering both pros and cons, with a rational, unbiased and emotionally balanced mind?

More often than not, it is just a permanent solution to completely temporary problems. Problems that could have been avoided or dealt with just a little bit more patience and help.

Should these people also be allowed to end their lives and call it an exercise of ‘free will’? NO.

There is a difference between Euthanasia for a terminally ill patient who has only physical pain and sorrow to look forward to and that of taking one’s life because of mental stress and anguish. The latter is temporary, the former is inevitable.

Suicidal thoughts do not just manifest on their own. It’s like a tiny seed that starts from “I wish for this to end.” and goes through stages of “I wish the ground would just swallow me or the truck would just hit me and end my problems”. Ultimately, it reaches “I wish there were a painless way to end this” to “What is a little bit of momentary pain to be so afraid of?”

Is suicide an act of cowardice?

It actually takes a lot of guts to take the step. And once you make that decision, you actually feel free. Free of the fear and pain that holds you down. Free of the fear of death. Once you have made that decision you feel invincible because you have taken control of your life. The period between when the decision is made and the act is carried out, you become the most fearless and peaceful person in the world. Because you know nothing matters anymore. You know that whatever you do now, you no longer have to fear the consequences.

Once you accept death, you have nothing else to fear from life. What if you allow yourself just one day more to live? One more day to do just what you want without fearing about the consequences? Just go and bitch slap that asshole who ruined your life. Or go confess your feelings to that boy you loved. Or go apologize to that person whose life you may have ruined. Tell your friends how much you love them. Tell those who betrayed you how much they hurt you. Go and do everything you ever wanted to. Don’t worry about what happens next. Whatever happens will no longer matter once you are dead.

And why not spend each day of the rest of your life like that? Death is eventually gonna come for you. It will render all your worries, pains and sadness useless. Until then, why not live each day like it’s your last? Trust me, it is a wonderful feeling, to be free. If you are brave enough to have taken the decision consciously to end your life, then trust me, you are brave enough to live each day of your life like it is the last.

Depression is an ailment and it CAN be treated

Suicidal tendencies are a symptom of clinical depression. People suffering from severe depression often suffer from strong suicidal tendencies, if not treated, the consequences could be fatal. If you suspect yourself or someone you know to be suffering from depression, please don’t second guess yourself or try to deal with it on your own. Take an expert opinion and start treatment immediately if necessary. AASRA is an Indian organization which you can contact if you feel suicidal, they have experts who will listen to you and guide you through your hard time.
24×7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669

Pride: Pune, The second Chapter

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Its almost been a year (10 months to be more precise) since I attended my first Pride march, here in Pune. Last Sunday again I got the chance to be a part of Pune’s 5th pride march. The last time I was there, I was a lonely guy who didn’t know anyone out there and just showed up out of the blue because I wanted to feel the sense of belonging, ironically, from all strangers. And I was right, all the people there were a part of a giant family, which so readily welcomed me and made me feel at ease. The feeling of pride and acceptance from the fellow members of the community and the allies really lit the fire of passion for freedom and self acceptance in me. The shy, nerdy, silent, awkward and introverted boy found it in himself to shout out loud on the streets filled with strangers alongside a newly adopted family. An hour at most, the pride lasted, an hour where I shouted loud enough for all the years I had spent silent. For all the other guys who were still silent. I wanted my voice to reassure me and them….that change is possible …that it is possible to be able to love and respect yourself for who you are and to be loved and respected for who you are. 10 months in Pune have gone so soon…it is hard to believe. I have hardly began exploring the city. And already have a love hate relationship with my job. But the friends I made here. The very first members of my newly adopted queer family in Pune, they have kept me anchored to this city and given me memories so fond that I will cherish them as some of the best moments of my life.

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In the last pride I met Manoj, we had a spark instantly, and he has been my guide, mentor and friend in the Queer culture of this city. We spent time together, got close, even worked together. Though I am sure at times I might have been a pain in the ass (No…not the kind you are imagining. Just Stop!). He still put up with me and introduced me to a lot of wonderful people. I would like to take this chance to thank him for being who he is. He really is a darling gem of a human being. And the night before the pride was an absolute riot as was the night of the pride (we won’t be talking about the latter).

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Thanks to Manoj’s ‘mehendi ki rasam’ I got overexcited and managed to get my hands mehendid as well. But Sumit really did an excellent job and I have girls in my office requesting me to get him to mehendi their hands. I got to meet a lot of people from the community (whom I have been stalking) this year and really, really enjoyed my time with all. Sumit, Aditya, Mayuresh, Chandramohan, Anup, Partha, Krsna, Sagar, I really had a fun time with all of you guys.

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And Aniket, I am really glad that we finally met. You are one of the sweetest, most decent guy I know and you certainly have a lot of guts! Vishal….you too are one of the sweetest guys and so helpful, supportive and encouraging always. I am really lucky to have found you guys. Wish instead of being annual, Pride marches were monthly. It would give us all more excuse to keep gathering and enjoying that familial energy.
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Pride: The Guwahati Chapter [15/02/2015]

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I know the pride was over a week before I began writing this. But I have been very busy the past week as this Pride not only turned out to be the MOST happening amongst the three prides have been to but also as this pride bestowed me a gift of a special companionship, that which I thoroughly enjoyed the entire week, and which I hope to carry forward into the future. This week indeed has been the most magical week of my life.

The North-East Pride Walk might have not been as grand an affair as the Pune pride, nor it might have had the 5000 strong turnover as the Mumbai pride, but what set it apart was that it consisted of people who were not entirely strangers to each other. There was a familial feel to the entire crowd and conversation flowed easily and freely among all the participants. Also it was one of the few Prides in the country that had presented dance performances, and poetry recitation.

On a personal level this Pride meant a lot more to me than any other could. This was the first pride march in my hometown I was attending, this was the first time I was involved in a pride in a way more than just as a participant,it was the first time I was not going to a pride alone but with real friends. And most importantly, this was the pride in which I got clicked in a lot of photos! 😛

For me the Pride never ended on that day, it seemed to carry on the entire week. Each time we guys met it was like a mini-pride, we really enjoyed the company where we could be truly ourselves, where we didn’t give a shit to what would be thought of us, where we would cuss and talk of the dirtiest, grossest, weirdest things (especially some girls :P) and not bother who’s listening. It was pride each time I met you and walked about holding hands in SK, in the bus, near Brahmaputra and talked and enjoyed each others company. It was pride when the three of us shared those soothing moments sitting on a rock on the river-shore in Umananda. This entire week has been an unforgettable journey and it really makes me sad that right now I am miles away from u guys and will be many more miles away in a few hours. But I hope to live those moments again with you and until then I will just cherish them.

 

 

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Some friendships grow when u spend a lifetime together….but a moment spent with some special friends seems like an entire lifetime. Love you guys. And to someone special….I Love You….and I will make you mine. 🙂

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