Mothers Day- a day in many

Today 14th May 2023 is Mothers Day for countries and peoples who recognize this day as a special day to pay tribute/homage to our mothers as the backbone and central pillars of our lives from birth till they or we pass on.

Many lucky children would be sending gifts, flowers and wishes to their living mothers (including grandmothers, mothers-in-law, step-mothers, foster mothers, godmothers etc) but others may have mixed feelings about giving thanks to our mothers on just one day in the year.

Some feel it unnecessary to do so on this day but to thank our mothers everyday of our lives for all the small and big acts of love and compassion they dispense virtually 365 days in a year.

Yet, there are also those who wonder what exactly a mother’s love is? Those orphaned at an early age, are in care, abandoned, neglected or abused. It seems inappropriate to puncture the beautiful ideal of a mother’s role on this “joyous occasion ” but reality comes with memory.

It is hard for some not to have mixed feelings about motherhood or the role their own parents, especially their moms, played in their past lives. Our mothers are only human and very often imperfect, we only realize that when we’re older. Children can’t grasp the challenges of adulthood that cause them to be aware of the under currents of conflict between adults that silently and directly impact them. They can feel rejected or alienated without knowing the reason for it. Adults often play the game of brushing off a child’s misgivings to cover the truth that children, in their innocence, can sense. The child is like a sponge that absorbs certain vibes and does have a sense of justice. A child knows when things are not quite right and if she/he is being treated differently from others.

Yet even those without experience of a true mother’s love may perhaps save their own children from a the suffering they may have gone through in their childhoods. We have a lot to learn, not to wallow in the past and let history repeat itself. We as individual human beings can find ways to change the dark legacies of our pasts and grant our children a future of love, understanding, joy and peace that we perhaps seldom had.

However, we need to teach our innocent children the lessons we learned from our hard pasts to protect and nurture them, not to make the same mistakes our parents or we ourselves may have made. It is a dream, for I do not have children of my own but have a world of children before me. I wonder at the future our children, our hopes and joys, are heading towards. A future we shape…

Little things that empower.

I bought a measuring jug, the other day. Something I was missing for a very long time since I moved in with my mother after Dad’s passing over eight years ago. My old measuring jug is misplaced among my pile of belongings, scattered among those of the rest of the family.

I’ve moved several times, trying to make a fresh start after my beloved life companion passed away nearly twenty years ago. They all seemed to have fizzled out for one reason or another. However, I’ve never lost my love of food and the creation of things edible. Food and making yummy edibles, chills me out. It’s a really relaxing occupation, just thinking about the myriad possibilities of what could be created from basic food stuffs like beans, eggs, flour, oil, sugar etc.

I’m quite fascinated by bread making, especially made by hand. Lots of hard work, from such simple ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, yeast, oil and water. Bread is a common food in virtually all cultures, from east to west on this planet. Bread in it’s various forms sustains life.

So, getting back to my wonderful purchase ie. the measuring jug, it felt great to be able to measure out several ingredients with just one jug without having to fiddle with knobs or weights to get a basic measurement. It doesn’t need any batteries either. This simple device is an amazing invention for the home cook who just wants to give family and friends an enjoyable meal. It needn’t be earth-shattering, but a lovely taste-bud memory.

Armed with this wonder jug, I feel empowered to create as many of the mouth watering creations shared by other expert chefs as well as doing some of my own little experiments.

My google search for the history of the measuring cup brought up these facts.

The measuring cup was invented by Fannie Farmer in 1896. It is said that this “new concept was published in a book called “The Boston Cooking School Cook Book” which was written by her when she was the director of the Boston Cooking School.” (

How ingenious, and invented by a woman as well! Thank you Fannie Farmer, you made life much easier for millions of cooks all over the globe! How EMPOWERING!

Social cloaks & masks, a survival necessity

The world is a complex place. Like baby animals in the wild we quickly learn to adapt to it through experience, although at varying pace. Some of us mature mentally faster than others as our circumstances and life conditions dictate. This is what shapes us as persons, creating a variety of characters with myriad impulses and responses to life’s stimulus.

As a child I used to be rather direct, saying what I meant and meaning what I said. This bluntnesss, however, though mainly guileless and honest seemed to displease people and was often misinterpreted by them. They didn’t get the message, and life became a series of scoldings and punishments. My childhood was quite a nightmare. The bright spots in my childhood revolved around my adventures in art and discovery of things new to me. That’s how my solitary existence started. I was often the lone wolf, or rather the lone mouse. I was a sensitive child to the point of being able to empathize emotionally with people to some extent. As such, growing up was difficult, especially with people who couldn’t understand how negativeness impacted me emotionally. It was hard for me to understand why they said I took myself and other things too seriously.

It was also hard to understand why, they couldn’t see the things I saw in my mind’s eye. It seemed so simple to me to see the beauty in the mundane but hard to explain it, especially to adults who had lost the wonder of childhood.

As I grew older, I began to realize that ‘good relations’ were sometimes built on ‘white lies’. One had to go along with something you didn’t agree with or felt to be untrue, just to keep the peace and to prevent being attacked with ridicule or punished and ostracized. It was a defense tactic, white lies (masks) were necessary for survival in the general society, so I discovered.

Overtime, I learnt to hide my feelings, cloaking them in pictures or words but imperfectly, as I hated to pretend. I guess I’d fail as an actor. I couldn’t act unless deliberately deciding to do so.

It’s always been difficult for me to join a fraternity without being told what I should think or how I should behave. I’m not anti-social, just quiet and prefer my own company, most of the time. I am myself with me, as I believe most can’t accept me as myself. My thoughts are often deemed controversial or against the general trend that they seem unacceptable to most.

Survival in society means, to cloak and mask ones self in a guise others can recognize or identify with. To hide behind these facades and pretend to agree to the disagreeable. I wonder when I will lose sight of who I really am…

We live very often with self-censorship, encouraged by a society that finds ‘truth’ too difficult to deal with. It’s too difficult to face who we really are. Perhaps, that’s a problem the whole world faces. The lies translate into violence and oppression, principles and moral values dubbed and discarded as “old fashioned” or “obsolete”. Our mirror reflections are not of ourselves but the masks we show the world, our true image probably is no complement to us, more a criticism of our inner beings.

The solitary path is for me, the best one, perhaps, just me and the Great Spirit who walks with me, that knows who I truly am.

Origin of inequality.

Inequality is conceived in the mind. I’m not a psychologist nor a student of psychology. But, the question of where inequality originates is a recurring one. In trying to find an answer to this recurring question, it dawned on me that inequality stems from the mind, a perception of others as inferior, undeserving, and of lower status than one’s self.

There is only one equal relationship that exists – the peer relationship ie. adult to adult, child to child and so on. If one sees others as having something in common or being within a group of equal peers.

However, other unequal relationships are often at play in our interaction with others. Parent – child, teacher-student, master – servant or master-slave…

Some of these unequal relationships may change and become more equal but others, like master-servant/ slave, employer – employee persist. It may be for always. There’s a set mentality, bordering on the caste system. A slave is forever a slave even if free on paper. Discrimination sets in. Borders are established on various grounds down to skin tone.

We know this apartheid to be wrong in principle but justify our warped emotions with negative generalisations, often more untrue. At the very heart of this inclination to discriminate, dehumanise and demonise is FEAR. Fear of the other whom we don’t know nor understand. Thus, slaves are slaves forever.

It is this ideology of inequality and inculcation of ‘unequalness’ that has driven the maintenance of an unequal status quo between conqueror and conquered, victor and loser, colonisers and colonised, master and slave.

Thus, the existence of systemic discrimination, institutionalization of apartheid, racism and xenophobia. This ideology of inequality justifies the denial of the humanity of those perceived to be of lower status and intelligence.

Systemic racism and the institutionalization of discrimination whether negative or positive has become normalized in our lives. The caste system becomes cast in iron in all its forms and variations. Thus, we live with inequality inculcated into our perceptions of the world and all living in it. We become the very instrument of what we know we should oppose based on emotion, the need for self-glorification and assurance of our acceptability in society, our ego boosters. We think of this as self-love. Who doesn’t need this?

It avoids the larger picture, the reality, the truth of our existence, that we live in an unequal world community that seldom wants to admit its unequal nature but lends much lip-service to the virtues of justice and peace.

Stock taking time

The time has come when the rays of life’s sunset can be glimpsed over the horizon. Age is just a number, yet one has to take stock to know where one stands. Why am I doing this? What purpose does it serve? For me? For you? for all out there, who may chance upon this record of personal history? This is the story of my thoughts, feelings, opinions, views, judgments, memories…

As my body slows down, and mind becomes slightly blunted, I look back and wonder, “What have I done? Is this of use to anyone?”

I have no successors, like a lone voice in a wilderness, only I know. It will one day be silenced in death. Yet, I’m not anyone important, I’m not a celebrity. I’m just a lone wolf writer, casting my lonely thoughts to anyone who cares to read them.

I know it’s too late to change, for there is peace and contentment in this solitary existence that I’ve lived for most of my life. Will I die alone? Do I care, if I do?

I’ve hit a trough, becoming familiar with what it means to age even though my mind still feels as inquisitive as a child’s, craving for adventures into knowledge and experience. The thirst to create something new, find a new way to make this world a more livable, peaceful and happy place, persists in my being. How can I deny this? This is my spirit which will live forever, even when this soul leaves its “mortal coil”!

Toothless tigers,wingless birds and armchair politicians

Look at us, my friends. There’s so much talk of how we might become a better nation, a better humanity, a better society…it’s just talk. When do we get down to brass tacks? When shall we walk the talk?

We want a more just world, more equal distribution of wealth, clean government, zero corruption (we will be in heaven then), our human rights and freedoms, equality and all those wonderful ideals we aspire to.

Coming down to earth with a hard thud! The reality of our human condition is so very different. It is difficult, degrading and dirty. It’s 3D, whether you like it or not. The bodies that are supposed to protect us, often persecute us, make our lives miserable, humiliate us. Many of us feel the pressure of being used and exploited by autocrats we may or not clearly identify. The systemic exploiter, oppressor and slaver. The inherent systemic cheats that spew toxic promises of better lives, bright futures, rich rewards, all in exchange for our blood and our souls.

The ‘do-gooders’ make deals with the villains calling it a democratic compromise. They must work together to overcome the problems of this era. What happened to your principles? Were they too difficult to keep? What are the best compromises to keep the people happy in hallucinatory limbo, suspended animation, waiting for something to happen. We’re waiting for Gordo!

We applaud at the publication of the promises. Yes,yes, we agree a hundred percent! Then, we hope, hope and hope… Soon we are treated to the parade of the toothless tigers, the guardians of our rights, liberty and sanity. Again we give loud applause! At last our rights and lives will be protected! They pass by with much fanfare and more promises of better governance, guarantees of justice to be done. The end of criminality, a slate wiped squeaky clean. No more dirt, no more slime… they disappear into the distant fog of the future.

Boyd by the last display of righteous promises, we turn to the next float in the procession – the birds of aspiration. Our aspirations soaring into a grey sky. But, when will they take flight? We are convinced by our hope that they will soar into a clear blue sky,one day. The birds are yet chicks, they haven’t got their flight feathers yet. But, our optimism still fuels hope, they will be propelled by great winds carrying them on wings of freedom and prosperity. So, we wait for the birds of our aspirations to mature and take flight. Always trusting in our choice of human masters who keep feeding our hopes with candy floss.

Over cups of tea, or whatever we choose to drown ourselves in, the talk continues. We engage in intelligent debate, in argument, in conjecture, in gossip, in plain speech, in criticism of our rivals, in friendly banter or sarcasm. Reassuring ourselves of the accuracy of our deductions, the rightness of our convictions, still munching on hope and optimism as we sit back comfortably in our deep armchairs as the politicians of the day.

When reality dawns, the armchairs feel lumpy, the birds of aspiration are wingless and the tigers remain toothless. The dregs of our beverages turn cold, the conversation buddies lie in a drunken stupor. It has all been a mirage, a dream in a matrix of virtual reality, nothing more.

We are our own rescuers, our own heroes, our own catalysts of change… break our addiction to sunshine promises, handouts, and narcotic hope. Disperse this hallucination of better tomorrows with single-mindedness to regain our truth, freedom and independence.

Pets don’t need clothes

Cats love my garden, they treat it as their territory. I don’t really mind except for the odor left by their pooh and other mess they make. I can’t do much about it. These aren’t always strays, they are my neighbour’s pet cats.

People seem to treat their pets like human children. I’ve seen a cat wearing a T-shirt or singlet creeping around the garden, not for the first time. I wondered how the animal actually felt about being dressed up. I saw a dressed cat once try to scratch its back but the T-shirt was in the way and it must have had a really hard time. Poor animal, how it must have suffered! Why? Oh why, did the owner do such a cruel thing to the poor cat? just because you see cartoon animals dressed in clothes, doesn’t mean that your pet is a cartoon character. Your pet cat (or dog) is a living , breathing animal that should be cared for as required by its species, not as a cartoon or inanimate doll to be dressed up and given a change of clothes like children. They have fur to protect them from temperature changes, they don’t need clothes in this hot tropical climate. Cats clean themselves, they don’t need to bathe everyday.

This went on for some time, until one day while trying to clear some debris of plastic bags, paper wraps and leaves that fly into the garden from outside on increasingly strong gusts of wind, I found two mini cat singlets at the base of a bush. Ah ha, I thought, kitty found a way to discard these ridiculous, unnecessary and torturous apparel! Good for you kitty, you’re not as stupid as your owner thinks.

Cats are pretty intelligent creatures. They’re independent, have minds of their own and often seem to make decisions. Some years ago, somebody was cruelly poisoning cats in the neighborhood. Cats were dropping dead in my garden, including female cats with newly born kittens. It was pitiful and downright disgusting. The reaction of the neighborhood cats, including the strays, was interesting. They would not accept any food offered to them, no matter how starved they looked. Now, that was simply amazing! It shows an unsuspected intelligence in cats.

I’ve never discovered who the culprit was but have my suspicions. However, I also discovered that poisoning animals, besides ones considered vermin, is illegal. Well, perhaps the perpetrator of those cat murders also wised up to that and the poisoning stopped. I’m so glad this inhumanity and animal cruelty has stopped but wish human beings would stop treating their pets like human children, that’s a cruel and painful existence for the poor critters.

Age of impermanence

Forgive this rather dark view, it’s simply how I feel today. We, our society, our world is in transition. The Age of Impermanence is here. How long it will persist is anyone’s guess. The world seems to be trying to find its feet, its balance, its stability, but keeps slipping on the banana skins of disease, environmental upheaval, economic and political crashes. Nothing seems to promise stability or security. No government or ideology can promise security with the freedoms and rights most of us aspire to. Many give speeches of hope but it seems hope is all we have. When will that hope become a reality, a fulfilled dream…Everyday, everyone has a mission. The mission to survive one more day, one more trial, one more struggle. When will we breath a sigh of relief to at last find rest, refuge and peace of mind, at least for one more day?

Impermanence brings forgetfulness. Friendships peter out into yesterday’s dreams, thankfulness diminished by greed, what works today becomes obsolete tomorrow, often for something less useful which satisfies for a short time. People seek instant cures, instant relief, instant satiation, instant food, instant obedience as if the human being were mechanized and moves at the click of the mouse. What have we become? We have dehumanized ourselves, muted our sensitivity, suppressed compassion, giving full expression to base desires, self-centered engrossment where there is no thought or vision for the future.

Trapped within the four walls of our dwelling spaces, we forget to look out of the windows. Scenic views are only for the rich. The poor look across into neighbor’s flats, garbage filled alley ways or oxidation ponds. The sights and smells of the slums. No light penetrates the dark dank spaces between the tower blocks of low cost flats ( now called ‘apartments’). The word ‘flats’ is unfashionable and politically incorrect. It makes no difference to the reality.

Climate change and all these looming disasters make us realize, how real impermanence is. The rotting establishments of yesterday whose leaders still cling to by their finger tips, living in delusive security, struggling to keep afloat in the storm of questions. The masses must know, they crave knowledge of the secrets behind official closed doors. Anger prevails at decades and centuries of deception by power mongers taking control of our lives. The world, the planet, is in its birth pains. It is a painful birth; will a wholesome child be delivered or one deformed by prevailing destruction and turmoil?

“Give peace a chance…”-John Lennon

Folks born in the 1950s and 60s may have heard this phrase in one of the famous Beatles songs popular in the 1970s. It looks like the 2nd World War, was not the end of the tragedy and misery brought on by dictators, imperialists and the colonial ambitions of governments. It seems, the beginning of a pathway, subtly beaten to incite more wars, despite the founding of the United Nations to promote and protect international peace and security among nations. Despite the pious principles laid down in the UN Charter for the preservation of humanity and peace, many member countries appear to ignore these fundamental good intentions. The United Nations is now more a diplomatic talk shop for governments, while wars, big and small, continue to rage in various places, generating refugees in their millions, fleeing to save their lives and children. Whatever, became of those wonderful ideals, so many governments promised to practice for the safety, security and prosperity of their people, for the good of the nation?

The dust of WW2 had hardly settled, when native and local populations of colonized territories started to bid for freedom and independence from former colonial overlords. They realized their own strengths and decided to take charge of their own homelands. They took responsibility for the fortunes of their own people. The change was welcomed and supported by the millions with hope for justice, freedom and peace, expecting their leaders to serve their societies with wisdom and justice. Where did it all go wrong?

Peace should bring prosperity and harmony to a society where, ideally, everyone equally enjoys the fruits of their labor. But, in reality, peace time seems to breed envy, greed, dissatisfaction, inequality and discontent. Earth is not heaven, so justice must be worked for, the absence of fraternity is clear and liberty of person is relative or just a pipe dream.

This planet faces obliteration and extinction as nations continue to crave control of everything they can get their paws on. What use is this on-going talk shop among the rich nations of the world? One block against another, starting another Cold War? Conflicts, big and small rage on, no one sees the elephant in the room…

Everyone wants ‘peace’ through the barrel of the nuclear gun, threatening to hasten the end of world, time and space. The era of the sage, where wisdom and learning, sensitivity and awareness is long past. Humankind has lost its innocence, it has become a whore to self-destruction, avarice, gluttony and all seven of the deadliest sins.

Yet, the clarion call echoes in soft and gentle tones, “Give peace a chance!” How many will hear or want to hear it? How many will add their voices to increase the volume of this desperate cry? The starving, the neglected, the enslaved, the besieged, the unemployed, the homeless, the stateless, the hopeless, the oppressed,the powerless, the voiceless ???

Weep, for the human race could soon be over, banished to oblivion.

Beyond despondency

Are the dark clouds breaking? Is the light coming through? Will we ever be ‘normal’ again, as we knew it? There must be a reason for all this…We can’t live without reason, without hope, without inventing a future.

Many positive things are happening around the world. Africa, the most challenged and besieged continent on earth may emerge the most creatively eco-friendly, outstripping the struggling ‘developed’ nations still wrestling with the dilemmas of pollution, destructive capitalism, deforestation, fossil fuel consumption and increasing mass poverty.

Covid 19 infection stats seem to be ebbing in places. Populations chaffing at the bit to ‘get back to normal’. Yet, we seem to be sitting on blow holes. one subsides, another blows up, lock down looms again. Discussions now revolve around vaccines, are they enough? Many begin to resign themselves to accepting the corona virus as a fact of life, “we’ll have to live with it”, “Won’t be so bad, just like the ‘flu”.

Is this the beginning or the end? The start of a “new normal” or the “end of days?” or even the beginning of the end? A friend sent me a “Good Morning” message, ” NOBODY CAN GO BACK AND START A NEW BEGINNING, BUT ANYONE CAN START TODAY AND MAKE A NEW ENDING.”

What logic is this? We can’t turn time back, but will our story end by sunset? Why do we want this to end, not begin? I find it hard to accept as I feel this phrase obliterates hope. Perhaps, we should be glad of the gifts we have today and use them for a better tomorrow. Create a new hope, instead of wallowing in fatalism, nursing the wounds of mistakes made and resigning ourselves to the rut in which we are stuck. If we nurse Despondency, it will grow like a creeping monster to bind us in its dark and depressing vines.

BREAK LOOSE! BREAK LOOSE! Find the silver lining. Crush the beast of Despondency! WE WILL DEFEAT THE BEAST, ONE DAY!

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