Saturday, January 23, 2010


Before I begin, I must admit that like most high school and college girls around the globe, I am completely and irrevocably in love with vampires. In fact, I often have a tough time deciding which among Edward Cullen, Stefan Salvatore and Damon Salvatore should be ranked higher on the hotness scale. Most of my guy friends have adopted a weird habit of cursing all the abovementioned characters. The grapevine says men around the globe are baffled and at a complete loss to fathom the bizarre attraction these undead lethal creatures hold to girls around. They have come up with various hilarious theories for the same including one suggesting that women love vampires because the vampires are perfect depictions of gay guys. Preposterous, right? Guess its time to get a girl's perspective.
The fact that most of these fictitious vampires are described as being nothing short of Greek Gods makes up only the tip of the iceberg. They are also described as having these superhero characteristics, the mind reading,  all the ultimate macho qualities, and top it all with extra dollops of sensitivity..and what do you get..its the perfect guy. Almost all high school movies have shown girls falling for the football team captains. The strong athletic vampires are no different from the typical high school jock who dates the prom queen and is every girl's dream hunk. With a difference, our new hero is empathetic and understanding, he listens, he shares, he even weeps. Be it as Edward or as one of the Salvatore brothers, he would go to any lengths to protect the love of his life, even if it involves putting himself in danger. Come on, which girl wouldn't fall for such a guy. His described lifestyle choice makes him shine out as a good guy, who makes a conscious decision not to be a monster, despite what nature has bestowed upon him, unlike most guys who use  I am a guy, nature made me so as an excuse to get out of any and every thing girls want to do. Of course, we are bedazzled by him. And honestly, which girl has ever come across a guy who would pull back from a girls embrace because he doesn't want to hurt her. Of course, we swoon at him. Add to that the classic allure of the ultimate forbidden romance, he becomes totally irresistible. If only he were real. Call me vampire-struck, you bet!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two Choices

Ever wondered if human beings are intrinsically good or bad, rather would they, more often that not, think of their own gain as opposed to someone else's happiness. Paulo Coelho tried exploring this baffling question in his book, The Devil and Miss Prym. And most of us do assume that the answer to the above mentioned questions would be that human beings are rational, marginal thinkers who think of their gains before anything else. What comprises that gain is of course, debatable. Came across the following story and I believe it most certainly deserves to be shared:
What would you do? make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?'
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.' Then he told the following story:
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'
Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.
Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!' Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!' Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball . the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.
Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!' As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team. 'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.
Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the 'natural order of things.' So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?
I remember back in the eighth or ninth grade, Club HP used to air a much loved advertisement about how a simple smile from one of their petrol bunk attendants was transferred from person to person, leaving each one a little happier, no matter how sticky a situation they may be in. Be it Munnabhai's jadoo ki jhappi or Eloise's Christmas joys, we all root for the angelic do-gooders who do nothing superhuman except spreading warmth around them. Then why is it that we choose not to try and incorporate a little of that in our own lives. Have we, in all our progress and development and advancement, forgotten what it was like to be human after all?