Friday, September 23, 2022

WRITING IS A CONSTRUCTION JOB It is said, "Words are the tools of writing." But not quite so! Instead, words are the bricks and mortars we select and gather to build a structure. Its architecture and construction get initiative from our thoughts, opinions, feelings, emotions, perceptions, impressions, or sharing of information, knowledge, and experiences. Our learning faculty has a library of words accumulated from early childhood. We retrieve them from our memory cells to begin the composition of a story, novel, essay, poetry, and other literary and non-literary works or writing a simple personal diary. Moreover, comprehensive dictionaries offer thousands of words stacked in alphabetical order. Like bricks, words are cast in different sizes, but each carries its own identity and impact. In this semantic profile, words give an outlook and character to writing. Words are generous in their meanings or interpretations. They don't mind being replaced with other words. If a comment is incorrect or does not fit a writer's rigid demand, it offers a whole stockpile of alternative synonyms choices. Words are not writing tools, but when the skills of a wordsmith place them together, the whole composition becomes a tool by itself. Primarily, writing is the tool of communication that we need to complement speaking. But writing goes beyond spoken words. It stays longer or forever. Is writing hard work? Not really, as there are enough bricks in different sizes and shapes, along with a sound idea or subject matter, that a structure gets built, redesigned, or even renovated. The technicality of writing lies in its grammar and those minor but indispensable characters, called punctuation marks, offering control and disciplinary mechanism in this creative development. However, objectivity, sensitivities, and rationality are the basic guidelines in raising a writing structure. Moreover, writing involves diverse interests, information and flexibility to avoid mindset views. Specializing in one subject or genre need not ignore other issues, news, concerns or knowledge. Everything is interconnected. If these factors and feelings get neglected or discounted, writing gets stalled. Overall, writing offers good companionship. Novelist, and playwright Jules Renard, says, "writing is the only way to talk without being interrupted." (Number of "bricks" used in the construction of this writing: 357) -Promod Puri

Saturday, August 13, 2022


Leftists and Rightists are poles apart as per their ideological and political commitments. And they stick to their flagstaffs. In their old hats, the two political antagonists obsessively march on their idealized paths and parallel each other. Settled on their hard-line perches, they avoid spotting the changing ground realities. Leftists worldwide still cherish Lenin's socialism in Russia or Maoism in China without realizing none of the isms seem practised by the ruling elite in these two nations. Instead, their socialism paved the way for despotism. The dictatorships masked under socialism and communism in Cuba and Venezuela are other examples of Leftists' impulse and greed for power. And the same goes for people on the Right or far-Right side of the ideological mindset. There are Trumps all over the USA, Modi Bhagats, or his ardent followers in India. The ex-Philippine leader Duterte, Brazilian president Bolsonaro, and Hungary's Viktor Orban steer the same political wagons pushed by blind followers on the Right track. The leaders activate nationalism and patriotism on both fronts. And the mundane Janata, with their bullheaded pledge, think no more about how corrupt, powerful, greedy, or even brutal the systems, Left or Right, can be. After all, human psychology and behaviour influence the working of these divergent ideologies. The Left's lofty idealism and the Right's wealth promise stop far from Janata's expectations of prosperity and peace. Until now, the Left-Right doctrines and their political stripes are meaningless, notably for that section of humanity still toiling in poverty, hunger, and disease; discriminated against, exploited, and victimized in the class and caste-ridden backdrop. The promises of these political isms, which have more academic showcasing than their pragmatism, have not produced a peaceful and hunger-free world, and the environments are seriously damaged. Fraudulent presidents, prime ministers, autocrats, dictators, tyrants, narcissists, illiterates, and idiots have elected and re-elected themselves under democratic, socialist, and communist regimes. The vulnerability of the political systems got exposed. The reason is there is no mix or an insignificant mix of scientific rationales, philosophical foresight, and spiritual sanity in their foundations. In this exposed reality, the contemporary world must build a more pragmatic and bona fide path that can lead it beyond the Right and the Left binary. The challenge lies in getting out of the box. Nations across the globe have changed where the dilapidated Left-Right structures need either demolition or an extensive upgrade. If not, the global community demands an alternative political concept that applies to the community of nations while catering to their specific needs and identities. The neoteric concept, free from the polarized ideological conventions and practices, seeks an integrated and common-sense approach. It develops a system that encompasses the wisdom and philosophies of the political scientists, along with the knowledge, insight and prudence offered by the scientific, social and religious scholarships. There is a considerable gap between the dominant Left-Right political sphere and the knowledge and wisdom generated by the natural and social sciences. Political science must lead in this transformation to fill the gap. The academic faculty has to move from its traditional confines of suggesting strategies, analysis, guidelines on how to win power or govern, etc. The evolution of a new political ideology, which should be imperative, involves almost all the natural and social sciences, philosophies, metaphysics, and wisdom manifested in spiritual orders. In this integrated approach, the political spectrum of Marxism and Leninism, conservatism and liberalism, capitalism and socialism, or any simulated entities can be more acceptable to contemporary society than their present consent. Evolution in political ideologies is a hypothesis where political science can expand its studies to determine and encourage the involvement of basic and laboratory-based sciences, philosophical, critical, intellectual disciplines, and religious fundamentals in the political systems. Inspired by the fact that sciences and institutional faculties offer systematic and observable physical evidence and logical argumentation, the premise can build more feasible and pertinent political pathways leading to better management of civil society. As noticed in the Coronavirus pandemic, the constructive infusion of science or scientific evidence into a political system strengthens its policy decisions. It generates quality debate for overall benefits to society. A growing number of scientists worldwide seek their professional engagement in policymaking to ensure the political system maximizes the knowledge that science generates. Besides being in its observatory and analyzing tasks of dealing with governing systems, political thoughts, and studying political activities, political science must seek a plurality of social and scientific disciplines that offer creditable connections with human behaviour and environmental concerns. Moreover, political science can actively participate in developing and implementing political ideology. It can review whether a political gospel needs some updating or renounced altogether. The laws of physics, the formulas and equations in chemistry and mathematics, or the biological and physiological phenomena may or may not directly generate political thought, but their mechanisms guide its plausible acceptance. However, human psychology is one science that directly impacts inducing political thinking, its acceptance or rejection, and its implementation. Without going into detailed explanations, it is the study of individuals' emotional and behavioural sentiments and the community of people related to natural or human-made situations. Psychology gives an assessed value of a political ideology. The psychology of human nature or behaviour impacts the practicality of any political order and its idealism of achieving economic development and social and religious equality of people. After all, "the key to good policymaking is to understand human nature," according to Peter A. Ubel, an American physician and a proponent of Scientocracy. It is not "about a world ruled by behavioural scientists, or any other kind of scientists." Instead, he argues, "imagining a government of the people, but informed by scientists." However, I move further than that, where scientists take direct enrollment in developing a modern political structure that replaces the outdated orders from corrupted democracy to socialism or communism. And where rationales and purity of thought guide the formation of policies that also align with human psychology. -Promod Puri

Sunday, June 5, 2022


My creative senses sometimes spill over to culinary passion.

The new creation offers an evolution in the popular Indian yogurt-based cool, refreshing and stomach-friendly item called ‘Raita.’

Replacing the traditional boiled potatoes, grated cucumber or ‘basin boondi,’ the new recommendation is walnut as the principal ingredient.

Chopped walnuts get introduced to the stirred yogurt along with salt, black pepper, powdered cumin seeds (jeera), and crushed fresh mint (Pudina) leaves. Otherwise, dried Pudina is ok too. I avoid using hot chilli powder. Instead, my choice is some raisins to give the Raita a tinge of sweetness.

As it is popularly said, in Indian food recipes, exact measurements are not required; a pinch of this and a pinch of that is all one needs depending on the taste.

In the Walnut Raita, the same rule gets applied. But if any of the ingredients overpower others, more yogurt needs to be added to balance everything.

Try the Walnut Raita; you may love the new entrant in the fine art of Indian cuisine.     

-Promod Puri

Saturday, May 28, 2022


 He (or she) belongs to the family of goods and gadgets that furnish and fills our homes' interior essentials. It is an item, almost indispensable in contemporary living, that we turn to the max when hungry or just yearning for something to devour.

The standalone entity is called the refrigerator, in short, the fridge.

The vital cool little warehouse helps manage the kitchen activities by providing a safe space to prevent the cooked or uncooked foods from being spoiled, besides a storage facility for all the leftovers.

While its inside presents a loaded and crowded account of our food preferences, the outer surface of the fridge door is the display centre of family pictures. It is an open mini-album of the latest snaps, particularly kids and grandkids and their crayon artworks. Or just for our favourite quotes, jokes or greetings.

Since the fridge door is generally booked for display only, its sides are handy to stick reminder notes for appointments with doctors, dentists, plumbers, handypersons, etc.

The fridge top is another space to put things out of reach for kids, a fruit tray, a banana hanger, etc.

With its tall rectangular personality overlooking the kitchen domain, the fridge, over the years, has not gone through many avatars in its basic functioning. However, fridges have changed colours; from turquoise and pink, which were popular in the '50s and early '60s, to harvest gold, avocado green and almond in the '70s, and then the rerun of white and black as the popular colours.

Fridges seldom break down, but buying a new one is always cool when they persistently refuse to offer their cool performance.   

My first encounter with a fridge happened back in the early '60s in  India during my teen years. Before, no gadget like this had ever been heard or seen by me. There was hardly anything unconsumed or over purchased in our big family of parents, brothers and sisters, and some drop-in relatives or friends in those early days.

But when the fridge got introduced, it was love at first sight. Together our Kelvinator, coca-cola(the Original), and I comprised a relishing and refreshing company.

The tall, elegant and pride of the kitchen is indeed a boon on occasions when a sudden craving awakens us for midnight snacking, notably laddu, burfi, chocolate or anything sweet while everybody is asleep. That night-time break-in is heavenly.

But the heavenly feeling and the luxury necessity of having a refrigerator are denied to the overwhelming world's poor struggling for one meal at a time, with no money or space in their confined living place.

-Promod Puri



Wednesday, May 25, 2022


Poet Sahir Ludhianvi says, "Aasman pe hai khuda aur zameen pe hum, the God is up there in the sky, and we are down here on earth." "Aaj kal iss tarf dekhta hai kum, nowadays, He sees less down this way."

Not only in recent times, He seems have not glanced for long, decades or even more, for what is happening all over the globe.

In his comments, Sahir asserts, "Aajkal kisi ko woh tokta nahin, these days, He does not restrain anybody, chai kuch bhi kijeya rokta nahin, do whatever one wants to do, he stops nobody." Ho rahe lootmaar, fatt  rahe hain bombs, looting, violence, killings and bomb explosions are ongoing."

Besides wars and armed conflicts, there is much direr and distress that humankind endures. For that reason, why God created the universe and life after all.

"Duniya bananye wale kaya tere mann main samai kahe ko duniya banai, oh the world's creator, what struck your mind that you created this world," poet Shailendra seeks some explanation.   

As one of the critical issues in poetry is protest, Shailendra's probe represents a genuine voice of protest before God when we look at the present grim scenes in nations after nations where humanity suffers.

 The world presents a chilling and pessimistic look from poverty, hunger, diseases and pandemics to human rights, wars, armed conflicts, gun violence, escalating refugee problems, degenerating environments, etc.

Philosopher-poet Muhammad Iqbal exposes these underlining bearings and makes a humble submission of griefs and grievances to God.

He calls this outcry before Him "Shikwa."

Hai Baja Shewa-e-Tasleem Mein Mashoor Hain Hum 

Qissa-e-Dard Sunate Hain Ke Majboor Hain Hum


It is true to say we are famous for our habit of submission,

We are helpless now in narrating our tales of pain,


Saaz-e-Khamosh Hain, Faryad Se Maamoor Hain Hum

Nala Ata Hai Agar Lab Pe To Maazoor Hain Hum


We are silent lutes, filled with anguished cries,

If our passionate cries come to our lips, then excuse us, for we are helpless,


Ai khuda shikwa-e-arbab-e-wafa bhi sun le,

Khugar-e-hamd se thora sa gila bhi sun le.


Hear, O Lord, from the faithful ones this sad lament,

From those used to hymn praise, a word of discontent.


With reverent calling, Iqbal pleads, "thora sa gilla bhi sun le, listen to a little complaint also," oh God.

Lamenting or complaining about His created 'Leela,' Shailendra makes a direct and bold satirical address to God. "Chupp chupp tamasha dekhe wah re teri khudai, covertly enjoying the show, salvo (in caustic tone) to your godliness."

The theology of resentment and protest does not mean complaining about God. It involves complaining to the Almighty, especially those stuck in poverty and suffering. After all, as Shailendra points out, "garibon ka asrae Khuda hai, God remains the hope for the poor."

In this sentiment, a pertinent query instinctively emerges about why He creates situations where humanity goes through voluminous suffering and devastation. Why does the good God allow or permit both manufactured and natural calamities and catastrophes and evils?

Are the evils and harms in this world part of God's manifestations in His ambiguous and apathetic scheme of things?

In personal situations like failures, losses, setbacks, defeats and downfalls, the Divine Being gets vindicated through the law of karma, "as you sow, so shall you reap." The blame goes to the individual, not Him.

But when large-scale tragedies occur by the actions of the few, as in wars, or by nature itself, like in pandemics, furious cyclones, devastating floods, etc., both causing collateral damage, the situations seek incriminating God through genuine complaints and protests.

Does God listen to these collateral outbursts and outcries?

As far as personal tragedies are concerned, all the religions and sermons encourage us to express that it is perfectly alright to complain and even express anger toward God. The readings from the holy books and the teachings from the priests and pundits assure us that God does not get upset. He listens to both the expressions of thanks and legitimate complaints.

However, does God attend to when large-scale disasters and the destruction and devastation of living and non-living environments occur?

If not, an absence of God rages in these situations.

His absence produced sombre feelings as places of religious conduct had their doors locked when people believed in some divine intervention while expecting a cure from science for the Covid-19.

The big question prevailed, where was God in the holy cities from Varanasi to the Vatican? The divinity of God was on the spot with the near shutdown of houses of gods.

Again, where is God, the Savior, during the current period of severe crisis with an adamant global viral pandemic facing humanity and the human tragedies from Ukraine to Afghanistan, Africa, and South America.

His absence beyond the ritualistic and conceptual physical presence gets rightfully felt when we complain and protest about the dire state of affairs that wraps the entire humanity and its environment.

Scriptures are silent about that or blame the deeds of humankind where the innocent and the poor suffer the most.

Promod Puri

Sunday, May 15, 2022


Yes, the boycott is working. Since February, it has deprived Russians of their choice of burgers at MacDonald; they miss Pepsi too. The absence of Burger King, Starbucks, Kit Kat, Snickers, Mars, and M&M poses a challenging time that downsizes their snacking freedom. So are Carlsberg and Heineken. Dove, the soap, got its last wash. Canada Goose refuses to provide extreme weather protection. T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, H&M, Crocks, and Adidas have stripped the Russians from fashion wear and gear. The exit of Visa, Mastercard, and American Express poses aches and uneasiness with Ruble-loaded bulky valets and purses. Hyatt and Hilton are frightening to Russian kids as haunted houses.

Sanctions are working, too, not only in Russia but spread their impacts all over the globe. Pains and pinches, hardships and hunger strike the poor of the world, especially in African countries. The Ruble may be up, but the Russian economy is down and will hit bottom soon. Putin gets punished, along with most Russians, including the super-rich, Oligarchs. Their luxury yachts seized and mansions abroad will be shelter homes for the homeless. Russia’s bank assets in millions or billions, frozen like a solid block of ice, but the funds are liquid for the West and multinationals. Gas prices are smashing the records here, there and everywhere. Thanks to the sanctions, the Sheikhs are smiling, and so is the war industry, with skyrocketing profits. Keep the sanctions on that will work to bankrupt Russia someday this year, next year or beyond.

-Promod Puri



Monday, May 2, 2022


How do we use time from the morning when we get up till bedtime?

The question is simple in its response by tallying all the activities from daily routine to daily grind with occasional or regular breaks of recreation and entertainment. Work, study, walk and exercise, eat and sleep, and the everyday chores, etc., make a sequence that confirms the logistic of the schedule.

Laundering, washing, cleaning, surfing the internet or the waves, travelling, trekking, etc., are all time-consuming hustles.

These constitute physical activities linked to our health, families, friends, society's needs, interests, obligations, and imperatives.

Time is a valuable but limited resource, only 24 hours. Out of it, we reserve a big chunk, 33 percent, on sleep during our lifespans.

Time-use in the real sense is a commitment toward social, economic, and other issues and affairs.

But "doing nothing," an expression we often hear, also gets a cut from time.

Perhaps, some bliss in this leisure non-act. "There is never enough time to do all the nothings" carries some ideology as time, if one enjoys wasting, is not a wasted time.  

Time for "doing nothing" differs from "killing time."

The latter is a tool to slay time by doing an aimless or dull activity like waiting at the airport when the flight gets delayed. Here, the time does not fly but seems quite stretched out.

 Still, time flows with activity.

When there is no physical activity, time grabs something from the thoughts generated in our mental faculties. It gets itself wrapped in all kinds of thinking originating from the realm of our cognitive senses. Mental productivity presents logical or illogical ideas or opinions, taking our time or wasting our time.

The topics of thought are varied, from old memories to relations with family, friends and foes, concerns or worries, bliss and joys, or just the simple pleasure of gossiping. Talking about other people's lives, behaviour, and temperament, good and evil (in their absence) offers the social indulgence that people find the time to get pleasure from it.

Also, in the time-consuming non-physical exercise are engagements and discussions on serious and trendy topics that are political, economic, social, or religious.

Altogether, time moves in the company of both physical and mental doings. To be precise, time gets divided between the two.  

The physical body can take a break when shifting from one activity to another. But the brain does not, being busy all the time. It invariably works. If it rests, it is dead. Close to 100 billion neuron cells are active in receiving and delivering messages, communicating with each other, creating and dispensing thoughts that the cerebral part of the body is a nonstop multi-tasking workshop triggering actions in the time module.

The brainwork goes while "doing nothing" or in the physical sense of dictating to do something in the environmental world.

Physical activities get considered obligatory as per our demands and urgencies. The mental deliveries of thoughts, ideas, opinions, reflections, or reasonings get channelized as how we use time or waste time in useful or wasteful thinking.

Meditation also takes time. But here, it does not bind itself with thought. The meditator tries to empty the brain without thought, retain a mantra or just an object of focus. The exercise seeks routes to halt thought production. Or it simply ignores the traffic of thinking to let it flow in and out smoothly.

Thought, task and time go together.

Thought itself is a task to devote or spend meaningful time in the personal company of self. After all, studying self or knowing the psychology of 'I' is worth spending some time.

by Promod Puri