Category Archives: Culture Writing

Happiness and Gratitude – #1


20161114_193109In this series of short articles, I will be talking about Happiness and Gratitude. Both go hand in hand, and works wonders when practiced together.

I will talk about basic happiness today. It is so simple, and practiced in our day to day lives, that we hardly notice it as Happiness, and we take it for granted. What is that happiness, I hear you say? Okay, well, it is in fact: FOOD and WATER.

Think about it, without Food and Water, where would human kind be? Extinct, right? When we don’t eat for a good length of time, and hunger becomes starvation, our bodies react in ways that cause us pain. When we are thirsty, we long for a drink – any drink.  Think about when you last ate your meal, and drank that glass of water or had something like fruit juice. You felt full, and content. That was Happiness.

Let’s rewind to the 1800’s. A poor person’s wage was very low, and they had to decide on
how much to spend on food and rent that week. It was so bad that their only meal of the day would be a slice of bread, with butter if they could afford it, and a glass of water. They ate it, Grateful for the food and water they received that day.

diwali_16x9Back to 2016, we are now at an era when we have money to afford luxurious foods, and highly expensive drinks. We see food and drink, and we want to photograph it and splash it on social platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook. We are Happy to see culinary delights and we dig in. We are Happy. That is our initial Happiness.

When we wake up, we are grumpy. What is the first thing you go for when your stomach starts yelling for food? We go and get coffee or tea, and a slice of toast, or if you fancy it, last night’s pizza! Food feeds our stomach and brain, bringing elation and satisfaction all rolled into one. 

Did you eat chocolate today, and did you have that pint, even your favourite glass of something fizzy? How did you feel when ate and drank it? Exactly! Happy.

So today, I want you to think about that simple act of Happiness you received today in terms of food and drink, and be Grateful for it. In this day, and age, many still go hungry and some even die of thirst. We live in the 21st Century, where this simple Happiness should be there for everyone.

Let’s show Gratitude for the food and drink we received today, for that is Simple Happiness.

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I welcome for topics you want me to cover, in terms of Happiness and Gratitude. Please comment or email me at freedomofthemonsoon@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A free ebook


Hi good book readers,

This is a quick post to let you know that one of my books is free on Amazon for five days! So, download your copy now! If you would like to and have time, please leave a review as it helps my book be seen by more people.

Secrets COVER WITH SUBTITLEWhere the Secret Lies – a paranormal romance

A mansion (Haveli). A sealed door. A spirit. And a secret.
Nineteen-year-old Arianna and her family travel from London to India for a lavish wedding. Excitement turns to bewilderment and then curiosity when strange things start happening within the Haveli walls. A sealed door opens and Arianna is given Anjali’s diary, which recounts a romantic adventure that began during the bloody turmoil of partition in 1948.

So begins a paranormal experience that leaves Arianna stunned and demanding answers. Who is Anjali? Why did the door unseal for her? Is there something the spirit wants to show her? What could it possibly be? A haveli. A sealed door. A spirit. And a secret.

Download your copy where you are!

UK Link: Where the Secret Lies

USA Link: Where the Secret Lies

India Link: Where the Secret Lies

Germany link: Where the Secret Lies

France Link: Where the Secret Lies

Australia Link: Where the Secret Lies

Canada Link: Where the Secret Lies

Thank you for downloading!

 

Quit India – the story behind it.


Quit India – the story behind it.

A thought became a revolution; it took over minds and hearts and it divided a country in two. Once brothers, the people of India turned into enemies when their motherland, India, became India and Pakistan.

But when did the hatred, the resentment begin? When did the British Raj become insufferable?

The British entered India in 1608, concentrating on trading on new land. It was only when the Mughal Empire weakened in 1707 and dissolved that the East India Company took over India in 1764 after the Battle of Buxar.  The East India Company – a British trading company administered power over India and ruled most states aswell as exercising power and control of Indian Military Forces.

There were many battles and disagreements through Indian history, such as the Battle of Buxar but what began the Indian Independence ‘battle’ was the ‘war’ between the British Raj and the Indians in 1857, known as the First War, the Great Rebellion and the Indian Mutiny amongst other such names. This war was a sepoy’s (an Indian soldier) fight that escalated throughout India.

Although this was seen as the catalyst of the First War, other factors contributed to the slow but sure build up of resentment and hate toward the East India Company.

It came to be believed by the sepoys that the East India Company intended to divide faiths and have them convert to Christianity, by force or deception. Land seizure was another British rule, one that forced the fact that if a ruler did not produce a true heir, their land would then be the property of the East India Company. As a result, many kingdoms such as Oudh, Nagpur and Awadh were taken over.

But what started the Mutiny? What was the cause of such an upheaval? The answer – a disregard of the native’s faith.  The beliefs of the Hindu and the Muslim man were ridiculed by the East India Company.

Ignoring the Hindu’s religious devotion and worshipping of the Cow, the ‘mother’ who gives milk, and the Muslim’s revulsion of the Pig, that they see as dirty, lazy and greedy, the East India company ordered their army to manually load ammunition that was greased with the fat of the pig and the cow. Therefore, biting one end of the cartridge before use in a certain rifle was outrageous!

But no one had the nerve to stand up until Mangal Pandey, an infamous sepoy, took lead and braved to voice the injustice of the Company. He brought the cow/pig greased cartridge fact to the forefront to his fellow sepoys.  Anger led to retaliation, with Mangal Pandey leading. He fired the first bullet.

Mangal Pandey with a few others was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging but Pandey was hanged ten days before his sentence date.

After the ‘War’, the East India Company was abolished and the responsibility of India was taken over by the Crown. Many steps were taken later to ensure some peace, some which included the end of attainment of land from stately princes.

After a lull in the Indian subcontinent, in 1915 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi arrived from South Africa, known as Bapu (father) and Mahatma (the Great One). Gandhi travelled throughout India to ‘see’. He observed the rich and the poor, he witnessed ill treatment from the British Goré (white people) directed at the natives. Racial discrimination and prejudice were high on the list of unforgiveness.

Gandhi realised that India needed to fight back, to win back her rights and to claim her country back from the ‘foreigners’. One day, Gandhi settled on his decision. The European’s injustices and his tolerance to them went just too far. In 1942, he called for the ‘Quit India Movement’. He wanted the British out of India!

Gandhi advertised the Quit India Movement throughout India and voiced clearly that there must be no violence. India’s people embraced the Movement and embarked upon it with passion. Vallabhai Patel – Indian barrister and statesman, Jawaharlal Nehru – Indian politician (who became the first Indian Prime Minister), and Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Muslim lawyer, politician, statesman (founder of Pakistan), united with Gandhi in the Quit India Movement and participated and argued in heated discussions and speeches.

They were all arrested for ‘disturbing the peace’. But this didn’t stop India, who fought back. Nothing was going to stop them now. During the course of the Movement, many riots started along with the damaging of government buildings, derailment of railway lines (which the British Raj had introduced into the country), boycotting of schools and colleges and the throwing away/setting fire of British goods.

Marches, riots and freedom speeches were a regular occurrence; violence (against Gandhi’s pleas to stop) turned murderous.  Indians were arrested or killed – the lathi, a soldier or policeman’s baton was never far away from the protestors.  Many were jailed for a long time or executed.

In 1946, Jinnah proposed a new country – Pakistan. He wanted a Muslim country, to be ruled by a Muslim man, not Hindu. The other leaders were not happy about this and tried reasoning with Jinnah to no avail. Jinnah was adamant.  He declared 16th August 1946 as Direct Action Day which saw colossal rioting and manslaughter across Calcutta.

Tension, anger and fear grew amongst the Hindu and Muslim communities and during October and November 1946, horrendous numbers of massacres, abductions, rape and forced faith conversions of Hindus,  aswell as loot and arson were seen in Noakhali, actioned by the Muslim community.

Gandhi spent four months in Noakhali trying to restore peace and bring the communities together. But his efforts failed. During this time, Partition of India was accepted by the Congress Party.

14th August 1947 – Pakistan was formed.

15th August 1947 – midnight, India was made a Free country;  she gained her independence. The British flag was lowered and the Indian flag rose.

It was Independence Day and both countries rejoiced in their new found Freedom.

Today, in England and in many other countries, Independence Day is celebrated each year on the 14th and 15th of August remembering those Martyrs who sacrificed their lives for us and mourning those Indians whose lives were taken away through riots and massacres; a time which changed lives forever and is still fresh in those minds who lived during those horrendous times.Freedom banner
Today, I am giving my book Freedom of the Monsoon away for free. Just click on the link below. I hope you enjoy the book, and I hope you will be encouraged to leave a review. Thank you!

Amazon UK  Freedom of the Monsoon

Amazon USA Freedom of the Monsoon (USA link)

Amazon India Freedom of the Monsoon (India link)

Abstract 1:

Pooja stared back at her reflection. The bruises were deep purple and her mascara had run, leaving black streaks behind. Taking a wet cloth, she wiped away the signs of abuse from the corner of her mouth. She took out a compact from the antique dresser and fought to cover the bruises with her scalded hands, then she brushed through her already knot free hair. It was then that she stopped crying.

Gingerly, Pooja adorned her hair with a butterfly clip, and stood up to examine herself in the full-length mirror. She looked better now; the bruises didn’t show up as much.

“It’s alright, beta, things will get better, I promise,” she whispered, putting her hands on her stomach. “Your Papa didn’t mean to do it. He is a good man.”

Pooja walked from room to room, overlooking the cleaning of the house. The servants were busy today; Amar was expecting guests. She must try and present herself well…

“Meenakshi, how is the dinner coming along?”

“Very well, Memsahib,” Meenakshi, the chef’s wife assured her.

 Pooja was satisfied, and moved on. Everything must be perfect today. Amar must have no complaints. Pooja passed the drawing room – something wasn’t right. The cigars!

“Laxman!” she called.

“Yes, Memsahib.” Laxman, who overlooked the housework, appeared.

“Laxman, the cigars. Fill the cigarette holder and quickly. Saab must have it full.”

The big clock struck seven. The guests would be here soon with Amar. Pooja steadied her breathing, and went to her bedroom to get changed. Maybe a little more powder will be good. She opened the wardrobe, which contained over two hundred saris, and searched for something suitable. She settled on a pink and silver one. She hoped Amar would approve. Glancing in the mirror, she noticed there was something wrong with her hair. It was the hair-clip. Amar didn’t like butterflies…he would be so angry. Pooja changed it to a flower design – yes, that’s better.

Abstract 2:

Since the news of the partition, Pooja began to worry about her mother even more so. She asked Amar, if she and the children could go and stay for a while, until the anger calmed down. Amar thought it was a very good idea. He went a step further, and arranged for their stay himself. He booked the train tickets and Pooja, and the children, were to arrive at Rajkot in a week’s time. She couldn’t wait.

Pooja thought of her husband now, and her love for him overwhelmed her. Tears pricked her eyes; her Amar had really come through for her. Since her arrival back in Bombay, they had slept in separate beds. She began to trust him a few months later and with his compassion, for her and her family, he showed her that he wasn’t selfish anymore. He showed her his love with every opportunity, and her love for him came back. But she was scared, what if he began drinking again? What if he began to bring women home again? She kept her distance but he didn’t falter. He was patient and kept on loving her.

Amar always brought Pooja a hair garland, a white one; it was her favourite after all. He never forgot.  She fingered the one he tied on her just that morning, and smiled. Today, she will ask him to share her room and her bed again. Today, they will be husband and wife once more.

Pooja leaned back into her chair. It was quiet and serene. Radha was asleep, Veer was at the neighbours, and Kamla and Rani were at the theatre, so she was left with little to do.

Suddenly there was a shout.

“Memsahib!” Ram, the help, appeared at the door. “Memsahib,” his voice was barely audible and his face was ghostly pale. “Please come quick!”

Pooja followed him, her heart thumping wildly. Was it Kamla or Rani? Visions of her own rape came back to her.  Or was it Veer? Had something happened to him? Radha…but she was asleep in her room. She should check.

“Memsahib, where are you going? You have to come now, this way!” Ram pulled Pooja away from Radha’s room.

“Ram, please tell me, what’s happened. Is it one of the children?”

“No, Memsahib,” he said. He led her to the front door.


	

P.K – a movie controversy


galaxy 2Today I am going to write about a Bollywood movie that caused a lot of controversy in India. The film is called P.K. starring the infamous Aamir Khan.

I have to admit, when I saw bits of promotional reels, I didn’t find it appealing; I found it strange. I hadn’t known that the story was about an alien who arrives to Earth to explore and study its people.

My sister was keen and dragged me with her to see the film and I was skeptical but I thought I would give it a go.

Aamir Khan’s movies are not run-of-the mill, commercial entertainment pieces with scores of songs and dancing that lead to nowhere. They are hand-picked and unique, mostly with a message associated.  P.K is an alien (Aamir Khan), and the name P.K means tipsy. Why was he named P.K?Pk-Poster-Anushka-Sharma-007

The reason behind the name is because the humans thought he was a drunkard who didn’t understand ‘God’ and His ways. The character P.K asked questions based on religion, and ones that no one had an answer to. This confused P.K even more.

The questions were interesting, and made me think about my faith, and the universe with its many galaxies.

Did God make the galaxies or did a galaxy happen all on its own? Do we, as humans, follow our faith blindly? Many arguments o religion have been part of our beliefs for many years, and still, we don’t the answers to many questions thrown at us. Will we ever know?

galaxy 1 The movie questioned religion is many ways. Some were intriguing: is religion created to control? Did we humans create God or did God create us and the world as we see it? P.K points out religion as ‘companies’ and we as their ‘managers.’ This was very interesting.

Do we ‘sell’ our Gods to humanity’s demands for a system of belief and hope, to make our lives better than it already is?

I believe in Spiritualism, and therefore I follow the religion Jainism, which is worshiping the Soul. We look up to our Gods who fasted for our lives. Therefore, I believe in God. I also believe in the creation of the universe and the Big Bang Theory (not the U.S. sitcom J) and evolution – I believe in science. Do the two contradict each other? I don’t know what is correct and what is not, perhaps there is a greater force out there, joining the two together – Science and Faith.

P.K points out that there are many galaxies out there, not just ours. Do other galaxies have a planet like ours where religion plays an important role? I would like to think so.

Faith/religion is a delicate subject and P.K the film, portrays this very well.PK 2

The movie is fun-filled and hilarious to watch in my opinion, with a topic that will touch the hearts of everyone. Yes, it will make some people angry and some may question the ‘wring-doings’ of the faith they believe in, or they may question themselves and their own actions in support of their religion.

I believe that God is One, and we humans have created a division to cater our own needs, hence Companies and their Managers. Religion/faith is not wrong and neither is Science . Listen to what your heart wants to tell you, and embrace all notion.

Don’t forget Love and Happiness but do forget War, and make peace. That is what religion should be about. Perhaps that is what P.K is trying to tell us in the form of an alien.

What do you think? Let’s discuss!

Cymbeline – A Review


I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because time spent proofreading is taxing to the brain!

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Cymbeline1366x76822

I was pleased to be invited to watch and review Cymbeline; a play by Shakespeare. Produced by Phizzical Management in association with Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, this colourful play was witty, entertaining, yet surprising in some places. 

The play portrays a young woman, Innojaan, who is the daughter of King Cymbeline, a Bollywood movie mogul. Going against her father’s wishes to marry his stepson, Cloten, Innojaan marries a man who is beneath her status. The play very much reminds me of old Bollywood movies, when the lost boys of Cymbeline, are reunited with him twenty or so years later, and the banished husband of Innojaan, returns with blessings from the father.

I particularly enjoyed the acting of Nicholas Gauci, who played Cymbeline, and Cloten, and Robby Khela, who played cymbeline3various characters Not only was their speech delivery fantastic, but their theatrical approach in acting, was witty and entertaining. In general, I felt the delivery of speech from some actors, were strong in some places, and weak in other areas, but it didn’t affect the show.

Cymbeline1The highlight of the play, was the beginning which began with a Bollywood dance and song. This set the ambiance and atmosphere. As Cymbeline is a Shakespeare play,  I expected grandeur in the music, costume, and delivery, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I rate this play, 4 stars out of 5.

 

What I saw, what I did…


Today, Crystal Washington tells us about her harrowing life as a Human Rights activist in the very segregated city of St. Louis, MO.  She became an educator in 2000 and the violations of children she witnessed while teaching led her to her dedication of ending segregated schools.  She had lost four jobs from fighting for students. She also lost a job after fighting off sexual advances from the President of the Board at one school.  She filed three complaints with Government commissions complaining of harassment after reporting violations. 

Crystal’s community service included one city election, NAACP prison committee, many campaign positions and several grass root fights.  The author of White Shirt, she describes her life growing up in the streets of most dangerous city in the United States for nine years straight, St. Louis, MO.

 What I saw, what I did

I had just been wrongfully fired from my third school after reporting inappropriate relationships between adult staff members and teenage students.  A distant family member moved across the street.  Well, she was the cousin of a cousin.  One day I looked outside and her car was gone and the house was full of young boys whom I had watched grow up in the neighborhood.  They were hanging out the window, calling more guys into the house saying they were about to have a slumber party.  Although I didn’t know what that meant at the time, something didn’t seem right. 

Later I found that slumber party was slang for sex party.  I called my then friend, who was also a cousin of the parent and told her what I was seeing.  Then I went to the house and ordered the guys out the house.  Later, her male relatives came and got the girls from the house.  I landed another teaching job and eventually filed a complaint against them for sexual harassment after the president of the board demanded I have sex with him or else.  The woman whose daughter I had saved from the gang began to harass me.  She had been telling people I lied on her daughter.  I called the police and they were not able to help.  I began to argue back.  One day, the woman attempted to attack me and I called the police.  The police woman refused to put my account in the report because she was obviously friends with the other woman.  I went and spoke with her supervisor and she was told to put my statement in the report.  But she in addition put in the report that I was combative.  She did this out of spite because I went to her supervisor.  This woman’s family began harassing me and some were men, therefore I applied for a restraining order. 

The woman counter applied and hers was granted because the judge was on her side after he read I was combative in the report.  The harassment got worse and eventually I abandoned my house in fear.  A couple days after I left, one of her brothers murdered a woman and wounded an off duty policeman in a home invasion.  I rented a house, whilst unemployed. I struggled. This was when I edited my book and sub – titled it, “Why is society arresting the harmless”? 

I landed another job and published my book. 

While working at my new job in East St. Louis, I learned that teenage girls were being prostituted at the school.  There really was no one to report it to because staff, including the director and founder of the school had shared these things with me.  However, when staff started making sexual comments to students in front of me, I complained.  I ended up unemployed again.  However this time it was worse because I was denied unemployment.  My car was repossessed and I was forced to move back into my house.  I lived without water for a while until the urban league paid my bill.  I ran for office with absolutely no money and witnessed unbelievable voter fraud, racketeering and other corruption.  I raised a couple hundred dollars but it was a great experience just fighting back. 

 I worked with the NAACP prison committee and was dismissed after I refused to stop helping a complainant whose lawyer came and caused a conflict of interest.  She had bragged to her lawyer that she had the NAACP helping her and the lawyer who was violating her rights created a conflict of interest by volunteering for the first time after working in the office building with the NAACP for decades.

The woman across the street began to harass me again and I admit I responded. Eventually she set me up and I was hospitalized after being beat up by fifteen people.  I had rib fractures but was forcefully pulled out a wheel chair by security because I had no insurance.  I marched for Anna Brown, months later.  She died after being arrested at the hospital for trespassing as she had no insurance.  Now I’m living at a hotel praying for help.

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You can view a sample of White Shirt at: http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Content/Site302/FilesSamples/369954pdf_00000099740.pdf.

The book can be purchased at:  http://www.amazon.com/White-Shirt-arresting-convicting-ebook/dp/B004MPRCCI/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338763276&sr=1-3

The success story of ‘The Germany I left behind’


A while ago, Uta Burke wrote a guest post on her experiences and how life was in Germany – the country that she left behind.

After it was posted on this site, Uta shared it to her German Facebook group (German Girls Living in America – GGLIA). The article did not just stop there; in fact it was shared so much that it found it’s way to Germany.  Uta then began to get requests to read her book but  she reassured her readers that it wasn’t a book but an article.

But this is where Uta followed through. She posted an idea to GGLIA and asked them if they would be interested in compiling their experiences about living in America. They loved it,  and every other day, Uta posted a question and collected comments as well as essays!

Three months later, their book: Good-bye, Germany – Hallo Amerika is ready to go in print.  Although written mainly in German, people from both sides of the Atlantic are waiting to buy it.

The proceeds will go to a good cause and is dedicated to a friend of theirs who got shot last year in Copley, Ohio, when she and her whole family were killed by a neighbour (August 7, 2011, 8 dead).

The book will be available on Amazon.com and Amazon.de.

Watch this space for more updates!

A fact : the article went live on 3rd April 2012 and recieved 933 hits in one night...and still going!