Posted in General reads

For We Are Still Alive – Gender Inequality

Raising Awareness

Inequality – an unfair, unequal state of two or more entity. There are several kinds of inequality we have to deal with in our day-to-day affairs such as, social inequality, economic inequality, gender inequality, racial inequality, participation inequality etc.

Gender inequality refers to unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals based on their gender. It arises from differences in socially constructed gender roles.

‘Gender’ is a socio-cultural term referring socially defined roles and behaviors assigned to ‘males’ and ‘females’ in a given society; whereas, the term ‘sex’ is a biological and physiological phenomenon which defines man and woman. Thus, gender is a function of the power relationship between men and women.

Gender Inequality, in simple words, may be defined as discrimination against women based on their sex. Women are traditionally considered by the society as the weaker sex.

“We proud Indians of 21st century rejoice in celebrations when a boy is born, and if it is a girl, a muted or no celebrations is the norm. Love for a male child is so much so that from the times immemorial we are killing our daughters at birth or before birth, and if, fortunately, she is not killed we find various ways to discriminate against her throughout her life. Though our religious beliefs make women a goddess but we fail to recognize her as a human being first; we worship goddesses but we exploit girls. We are a society of people with double-standards as far as our attitude towards women is concerned; our thoughts and preaching are different than our actions.”

Gender inequality cannot be eliminated from society only by educating a girl child but by treating her as a complete human being, giving her equal rights, freedom, and respect in each and every sphere of life. Equality is not similarity, yet, a woman belongs to the same human race. Sexes are different but when it comes to gender, both must be treated equally. Only preventing a girl child from being killed in mom’s womb is not enough. We must carefully find out the reasons behind it, why she is a burden for her own parents that leads to such heinous act and work towards uprooting the cause permanently. Leave alone reaching the highest possible wisdom, we cannot expect any wisdom, anything humane where we have this level of discrimination that a child is killed before birth just because, she is a girl!! The growth of a society can take place only when each and every one is being understood, being expressed, being loved, cared and respected.

Instead of writing a separate post I am sharing the link which imparts a good idea on gender inequality in India. Please, click here to visit the page.

For the last post in this series click here.

  • Picture Courtesy: Google
Posted in General reads

Kinds of poetry

While searching for some info regarding forms of poetry, I found the list good enough– clear and concise. They have included ‘Ghazal’ too ( I have doubts if Ghazals can be written in English) but, anyway, the list imparts a good overview about several terms regarding poetry. Here you go:

A poem that has five lines and creates a mood, picture, or feeling. Lines 1 through 4 are made up of words, phrases or clauses while the first word of each line is in alphabetical order. Line 5 is one sentence long and begins with any letter.
Poetry that certain letters, usually the first in each line form a word or message when read in a sequence. Example: Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Valentine”.
A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend which often has a repeated refrain. Read more about ballads.
Poetry which has three stanzas of seven, eight or ten lines and a shorter final stanza of four or five. All stanzas end with the same one line refrain.
Blank verse
A poem written in unrhymed iambic pentameter and is often unobtrusive. The iambic pentameter form often resembles the rhythms of speech. Example: Alfred Tennyson’s “Ulysses”.
A poem written about one self’s life, personality traits, and ambitions. Example: Jean Ingelow’s “One Morning, Oh! So Early”.
Poetry that treats a serious subject as humor. Example: E. E. Cummings “O Distinct”.
Medieval Italian lyric style poetry with five or six stanzas and a shorter ending stanza.
Carpe diem
Latin expression that means ‘seize the day.’ Carpe diem poems have a theme of living for today.
Poetry with five lines. Line 1 has one word (the title). Line 2 has two words that describe the title. Line 3 has three words that tell the action. Line 4 has four words that express the feeling, and line 5 has one word which recalls the title. Read more about cinquain poetry.
Poetry which holds the principles and ideals of beauty that are characteristic of Greek and Roman art, architecture, and literature.
Also known as “size poetry”. Concrete poetry uses typographical arrangements to display an element of the poem. This can either be through re-arrangement of letters of a word or by arranging the words as a shape. Read more about concrete poetry.
This type of poem is two lines which may be rhymed or unrhymed. Example: Walt Whitman’s “To You”.
Dramatic monologue
A type of poem which is spoken to a listener. The speaker addresses a specific topic while the listener unwittingly reveals details about him/herself.
A sad and thoughtful poem about the death of an individual. Example: Gary R. Hess’s “1983”.
An extensive, serious poem that tells the story about a heroic figure.
A very short, ironic and witty poem usually written as a brief couplet or quatrain. The term is derived from the Greek epigramma meaning inscription.
A commemorative inscription on a tomb or mortuary monument written to praise the deceased. Example: Ben Jonson’s “On My First Sonne”.
Epithalamium (Epithalamion)
A poem written in honor of the bride and groom.
Free verse (vers libre)
Poetry written in either rhyme or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern. Read more: What is Free Verse Poetry?
Poetry created by taking words, phrases, and passages from other sources and re-framing them by adding spaces, lines, or by altering the text with additions or subtractions.
A short lyrical poem that arose in Urdu. It is between 5 and 15 couplets long. Each couplet contains its own poetic thought but is linked in rhyme that is established in the first couplet and continued in the second line of each pair. The lines of each couplet are equal in length. Themes are usually connected to love and romance. The closing signature often includes the poet’s name or allusion to it.
A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five morae, usually containing a season word. Read more about haiku poetry.
Horatian ode
Short lyric poem written in two or four-line stanzas, each with its the same metrical pattern, often addressed to a friend and deal with friendship, love and the practice of poetry. It is named after its creator, Horace.
Iambic pentameter
One short syllable followed by one long one five sets in a row. Example: la-LAH la-LAH la-LAH la-LAH la-LAH. Used extensively in sonnets.
Idyll (Idyl)
Poetry that either depicts a peaceful, idealized country scene or a long poem telling a story about heroes of a bye gone age.
Irregular (Pseudo-Pindaric or Cowleyan) ode
Neither the three part form of the pindaric ode nor the two or four-line stanza of the Horatian ode. It is characterized by irregularity of verse and structure and lack of correspondence between the parts.
Italian sonnet
A sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba followed by six lines with a rhyme pattern of cdecde or cdcdcd. Read more about Italian sonnets.
A long narrative poem, especially one that was sung by medieval minstrels.
A short sometimes vulgar, humorous poem consisting of five anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables, rhyme and have the same verbal rhythm. The 3rd and 4th lines have five to seven syllables, rhyme and have the same rhythm.
A poem that is made up of a list of items or events. It can be any length and rhymed or unrhymed.
A poem that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. Many songs are written using this type of writing. Read more about lyric poetry.
Memoriam stanza
A quatrain in iambic tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of abba — named after the pattern used by Lord Tennyson.
Poetry that tells about the word. It uses the letters of the word for the first letter of each line.
A poem that tells a story. Read more about narrative poetry.
A lengthy lyric poem typically of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanza structure. Example: Sappho’s “Ode to a Loved One”.
A poem that depicts rural life in a peaceful, romanticized way.
A 14-line sonnet consisting of an octave rhyming abbaabba followed by a sestet of cddcee or cdecde
Pindaric ode
A ceremonious poem consisting of a strophe (two or more lines repeated as a unit) followed by a an antistrophe with the same metrical pattern and concluding with a summary line (an epode) in a different meter. Named after Pindar, a Greek professional lyrist of the 5th century B.C.
A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables.
A rhyming poem has the repetition of the same or similar sounds of two or more words, often at the end of the line. Read more about rhyme usage.
Rhyme royal
A type of poetry consisting of stanzas having seven lines in iambic pentameter.
A poem about nature and love while having emphasis on the personal experience.
A lyrical poem of French origin having 10 or 13 lines with two rhymes and with the opening phrase repeated twice as the refrain.
A short Japanese style poem, similar to haiku in structure that treats human beings rather than nature: Often in a humorous or satiric way.
A poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varied order as end words in the other stanzas and also recur in the envoy.
A 14-line sonnet consisting of three quatrains of abab cdcd efef followed by a couplet, gg. Shakespearean sonnets generally use iambic pentameter. Example: Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 2”.
Poetry written in the shape or form of an object. This is a type of concrete poetry.
A lyric poem that consists of 14 lines which usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes. Read more about sonnets.
Intended primarily for performance, sound poetry is sometimes referred to as “verse without words”. This form is seen as the bridging between literary and musical composition in which the phonetics of human speech are used to create a poem.
A Japanese poem of five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the other seven.
Terza Rima
A type of poetry consisting of 10 or 11 syllable lines arranged in three-line tercets.
A single metrical line of poetry.
A 19-line poem consisting of five tercets and a final quatrain on two rhymes. The first and third lines of the first tercet repeat alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas and joined as the final couplet of the quatrain.
The visual arrangement of text, images, and symbols to help convey the meaning of the work. Visual poetry is sometimes referred to as a type of concrete poetry.


Posted in Collections, General reads, Quotes


There are various forms of poetry in different languages. “Haiku” is a traditional form of Japanese poetry. Haiku poems consist of 3 lines. The first and last lines of a Haiku have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables. The lines rarely rhyme.

A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature; it is a hand becoming,
a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning
to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our
falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature. It is a way in
which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very
day in its hotness, and the length of the night, become truly
alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent
and expressive language.

– Haiku: Eastern Culture, 1949, Volume One, p. 243.
Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth

Posted in Collections, General reads


India is the land of world’s greatest thinkers,  philosophers and mystics. Jiddu Krishnamurti was one among them. He travelled throughout the world talking to large audiences and to individuals about the need for a radical change in mankind. Ironically, it is still a matter of concern how much impact they have on our society/on our daily lives in his own country.

“He did not expound any philosophy or religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with its violence and corruption, of the individual’s search for security and happiness, and the need for mankind to free itself from inner burdens of fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow. He explained with great precision the subtle workings of the human mind, and pointed to the need for bringing to our daily life a deeply meditative and spiritual quality.”

I am sharing a section of one of his talks – The Book of life. To read it complete, please click here

The whole story of mankind is in you – the vast experiences, the deep-rooted fears, anxieties, sorrow, pleasure, and all the beliefs that man has accumulated throughout the millennia. You are that book. And it is an art to read that book. It is not printed by any publisher. It is not for sale. You can’t buy it in any book shop. You can’t go to any analyst because his book is the same as yours; nor to any scientist. The scientist may have a great deal of information about matter, and the astrophysics, but his book, the story of mankind, is the same as yours. That’s what we said yesterday afternoon. And without carefully, patiently, hesitantly reading that book, you will never be able to change the society in which we live, the society that is corrupt, immoral, there is a great deal of poverty, injustice and so on. Any serious man concerned with the things as they are in the world at present, with all the chaos, corruption, war – the greatest crime, which is war – and in order to bring about a radical change in our society and its structure, one must be able to read the book which is yourself, and that society is brought about by each one of us, by our parents, grandparents and so on. All human beings have created this society, and when the society is not changed there will be more corruption, more wars and greater destruction of the human mind. That’s a fact.

So, to read this book, which is yourself, one must have the art of listening to what the book is saying. That is, to listen to it, which means to listen implies not to interpret what the book is saying. Just to observe it as you would observe a cloud. You can’t do anything about the cloud, nor the palm leaf swaying in the wind, nor the beauty of a sunset. You cannot alter it, you cannot argue with it, you cannot change it. It is so. So one must have the art of listening to what the book is saying. The book is you, so you can’t tell the book what it should reveal. It will reveal everything. So that must be the first art, to listen to the book. And there is another art, which is the art of observation, the art of seeing. When you read the book which is yourself, there is not you and the book. Please understand this. There is not the reader and the book separate from you. The book is you. So you are observing the book, not telling the book what it should say. Am I making this clear? That is, to read, to observe all the reactions that the book reveals. To see very clearly without any distortion what the lines, the chapters, the verse, the poems, the beauty, the struggle, everything that it is telling you, revealing. So there is the art of seeing and the art of listening.

There is also another art: the art of learning. The computers can learn. They can be programmed and they will repeat what it has been told. If a computer plays with a master of chess, the master may beat it two or three or four times, but it is learning where it has made a mistake, where it can correct it, so through experience it is learning so that after a few games the computer can beat the master chess player. That’s how our mind works, our mind. We first experience, accumulate knowledge, store in the memory, in the brain, then thought as memory, and then action. From that action, you learn. And so the learning is the accumulation of further knowledge. So you begin again. Knowledge – experience, knowledge, memory, and thought and action. This cycle is going on all the time with all of us. I hope I am making this clear, that every action either gives further knowledge, and though the mind changes, modifies its past experience, and goes on. This is what a mind that is aware, awake is doing this all the time, like the computer. Experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, and the action modifies or adds more knowledge, and you go on that way.

So this is what we are doing all the time, which is called learning. Learning from experience. This has been the story of man. Constant challenge and response to that challenge. And that response can be equal to the challenge, or not quite up to the challenge. But it learns, and accumulates knowledge, and the next challenge it responds again more fully, or less fully. So this process is going on all the time in our minds, which is called learning. Right? You learn a language. That is, you learn the meaning of the words, the syntax, the grammar, put two sentences together and gradually accumulate a vocabulary, and then, if you have got a good memory, you begin to talk that particular language which you have spent time on. This is the human process of learning. That is, always moving from knowledge to knowledge. And the book is the whole knowledge of mankind, which is you. Am I making all this clear? Which is you. And either you keep that circle going all the time, or find a way of moving out of that circle. I am going to show it to you in a minute. That is, we are always functioning from the past – knowledge – modified by the present, and moving forward. The forward is modified again which becomes the past, and this process is part of our life.

I know you are probably very learned, very educated – but I am putting all this into very, very simple language; but the word is not the thing. Right? Ceylon… Sri Lanka – forgive me – is not the land, the beauty of the land, the palm trees, the rivers, the marvelous trees and the fruit and the flowers. So the word is not the thing. Right? Please bear that in mind all the time when are talking together – that the word is not the thing. The word ‘husband’ is not the man, it’s a word. By word we measure. So please bear in mind that the word is never the thing. The symbol is never the actual. The picture is not that which is. So if that is deeply rooted in our mind, then words have very little significance. You follow? The thing matters, not the word.

There is the art of seeing, the art of listening and the art of learning. The learning is movement from the past to the present, modified, the future, and that is experiencing, and so on. This whole cycle is what we call learning. That is psychological learning as well as technological learning. Right? Which means what? The mind is never free from the known. Our learning is always within the field of the known, and so the mind becomes mechanical. If I believe in something and that I repeat, repeat, repeat, it becomes mechanical. So we are saying that we are living always within the area of the known, and so our minds have become a network of words, never the actual, but words, words, words, and moving, changing, altering within the narrow, limited area of knowledge.

So, learning implies something totally different. We have said very clearly what is seeing, how to see the book, read the lines, how to listen… no, the art of listening to the book, never distorting, never interpreting, never choosing what you like and don’t like, what you appreciate and don’t appreciate – then you are not reading a book. Right? And we are saying also that we all live within the narrow limits of the known. And that has become our constant habit. Therefore our minds, if you examine your mind, is repetitive, habitual, accustomed, you believe in god, and you believe in god for the rest of your life. If anybody says there is no god perhaps, then you call him irreligious. So you are caught in habit. Now we are saying that is not learning at all. Learning is something entirely different. Learning means enquiring into the limits of knowledge and moving away from it.

So, there is the art of seeing, the art of learning, the art of listening, and the art of learning, never to be caught in the same pattern, or invent another pattern. The constant breaking down of patterns, the norms, the values, which doesn’t mean living without any restraint. Society is now permissive. It doesn’t mean that at all. This constant awareness of this pattern formation of the mind, and breaking it down, so that the mind is constantly aware, alert. Right?

Posted in Collections, General reads

The Joy Of Finding Something Inspires Me

“Finding joy in the little everyday things and adding the small changes lead to a new discovery”

~ Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi

Heartiest felicitations to prof. Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan for winning the Nobel Prize 2016 in the field of Physiology or Medicine!  I always feel deep reverence for scientists. They  not only furthered our understanding of intricacies of the nature, human body and the whole system but also chose a goal and career that benefits humanity.

He was honored for experiments in 1990s on autophagy, the “self-eating” process with which cells break down and recycle some of their content.

Ohsumi says “ The human body is always repeating the auto-decomposing process, or cannibalism, and there is a fine balance between formation and decomposition. That’s what life is about.”

“That was the hardest time in my life.”

 For his career, first he chose to study chemistry at the University of Tokyo, but found out it wasn’t so attractive. Then he joined a molecular biology lab, but did not get very good results in his work and a hard time to find a job. So, he went to New York to work at The Rockefeller University. There he worked on mammalian cells for the first time, and did not know much about it.

He says “ I’d like to tell young people that not all can be successful in science, but it’s important to rise to the challenge.”

“It all started with a microscope.”

“I started out with a love of the microscope. Vacuoles are the only organelle visible under the light microscope, and I often observed them. My observations under the microscope were the main reason I was able to discover these hitherto unknown functions of vacuoles,” he says.

“Doing something no one else is doing”

“While working in Professor Anraku’s laboratory, I chose the transport of materials to the yeast vacuoles as my research project, because no one else was studying it,” Professor Ohsumi says.

He also won Kyoto Prize in 2012 in the field of basic science.

  • Picture and video courtesy: Google and YouTube.