Come on in!

Hi! I’m Justin Raj, a stock broker by profession, is also a freelance Journalist, an amateur Filmmaker and an enthusiastic Marathoner who possesses the ‘bad habit’ of writing too much. And as long as that ‘bad habit’ stays with me, I keep on posting to my blog.

A blogger is basically a tech-savvy writer. He is a keen observer with a sharing mind, not a silent spectator to all events which happen around him. If a reader is a person who loves to gain knowledge, a blogger or writer is one who loves to share his knowledge and dare to speak out his opinions and ideas. Like a singer expresses by singing, dancer by dancing, actor through acting, a blogger blogs his feelings and ideas out. Literally, Freedom of Expression is his shield and the blog is his Sword.

Here in my blog, write-ups are archived in 9 labels. In ‘Sweet and Bitter’ you can read about my diverse life experiences and valuable lessons I learnt from it. ‘Published Articles’ offers you my articles which have been published in Daily Newspapers. In ‘Random Brain Waves’ you can meet up with my random (or at times, weird) ideas. Poetry writing has eventually become a new hobby as well as a part of my blog. You can read my poems in ‘Verses’. In ‘Marathon’ label, you can read about my marathon experiences, challenges and how running a marathon can shape a man’s life.

‘Vlog’ is a recent addition to my blog as I realize the potential future of visual media. Sometimes, a 3-minute video can do the magic of expression than a 3000 word article. In this label you can watch the short films, documentaries, advertisements et al I have made. ‘Favorite Articles’ consists of articles which have influenced my outlook and attitude on life. Being a tireless traveler, ‘Travel’ label takes you to various travel experiences of mine. Conducting researches is a part of Journalism. In ‘Research Articles’ label you can get articles which throw light on various researches I have conducted.

Every life meets with various challenges, diverse experiences and at the end, all those teach us valuable lessons for our future. Wise men learn by other men's mistakes, fools by their own said H. G. Bohn. I learn more by my own mistakes than others. It doesn’t mean that I’m a fool! I learn from other’s lives too. My blog is a platform for sharing not only my life experiences but also the valuable lessons, ideas and poetry triggered by them.

To my mind, blog is a thinking man's tool. Blogging is more a passion than a hobby for me. It is as if talking something to someone somewhere in world. My words keep on talking to the visitors of my blog. I can feel the magic of words! And that’s the power of blogging!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Run! Run! Run!

This poem is dedicated to all the runners worldwide and for those who enjoy running. Enjoy!

I stir up smiling,
In a lovely morning,
Stay on bed baffling,
As the timer screaming:
Run! Run! Run!

With shoes laced up,
I dashed the street,
By my legs hitting the road,
In a bouncy rhythm:
Run! Run! Run!

The pure fresh wind,
Gently blown on my hair,
Cleansing my mind and soul,
Yet whispering in my ears:
Run! Run! Run!

The joy of running,
Take my spirit higher,
To grab the clouds above,
With my heart pulsating:
Run! Run! Run!

Sunray showers mould,
My tender shoulders,
To bear the challenges ahead,
As the shining sun cheering:
Run! Run! Run!

Bathing in warm sweat,
I told the birds hovering above:
“You have wings to fly,
As I’m blessed with limbs to,
Run! Run! Run!”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Please, Don’ t Steal Dreams!

What a life without dreams, isn’t it? When I say, dreams, I never mean day dreaming. Anyone can do it and it is nothing more than a time killer. Real sensible dreams make a man out of us. It’s a real challenge too. Some achieve small dreams in a big way while others achieve big dreams in a small way. We should dream in accordance with our aptitudes, skills and more importantly our interest.

Recently during the days of Abhinav Bindra’s gold winning for shooting in Beijing Olympics the Chennai Rifle Club witnessed a huge rush of parents who want to admit their children for the rifle training. What a pathetic scenario-I thought. It was Bindra’s dream to become a shooter. He was confident that he possesses the skills to become a world class shooter. Not everyone have that aptitude. It’s neither anyone’s problem nor the idea I need to convey here.

The very idea is the robbery of dreams. If the same Bindra decided to follow his father’s dreams and became a business man, we would have missed an ace shooter who made our country proud. He just followed his heart and stick with his dreams. If he had stolen the ‘shooting’ dream from anyone, he couldn’t stick with it. It’s only because the dream belongs to someone else. He just has stolen it!

I have a very good friend called Sandeep (name changed) whose hobby is nothing other than stealing dreams. He doesn’t have any ambitions or dreams of his own. He just borrows them from others. One day if he sees someone joining some animation course, he too joins it and never completes the course. Another day if he sees someone going for some dancing classes, he too gives it a try and ends up lamenting that it is not his cup of tea or coffee. In his late 20’s now, he is still confused and don’t know where he belongs.

Whenever I think about him, an alarm bell rings in my head. What made him jobless when most of his friends carrying home a five digit salary? What made him always withdraw himself to the corner of his room with his laptop? I think it’s not his laziness, inactiveness or lack of confidence. Only thing in which he is an expert is in stealing dreams. He never dreams on his own. As a result he lacks conviction and motivation.

There is a great danger involved in dreaming other persons’ dreams. Sadly,most of the people never dares to dream of their own. They follow the crowd and end up in wrong places. They stuck like a square peg in a round hole. Everybody possesses certain unique talents and skills. Some finds and nurtures them while others fail to identify them. So the end results are: the person who born to become a poet turns into an accountant, an actor becomes a soldier, a singer turns into a judge and so on. Inferiority complex, job dissatisfaction, loss of enthusiasm et al will follow too.

What we have to do to dig out the real talents in ourselves? Only way I know is to do different things in life. Just give a break to fortune-tellers and astrologers. You never know where your fortune lies until you ventures into that area. Keep in mind that there is always a risk involved when you start following your heart. But, you will learn a lot in that journey indeed. On top of everything, don’t give up the things you love doing.

Look, who’s talking? - You may be thinking. See, I’m a small person with big dreams. But, hitherto I’m successfully failing in most of my endeavours. It doesn’t matter whether I win or fail, I will never give up trying. I’m also confident that all my dreams are my own. I stick with them since I haven’t borrowed them from anyone.

Decide today whether to dream a dream of your own or borrow it from anyone else. Just remember that no one can play your role in this world better than you do. Just be yourself.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Foods for the Soul.

From the time immemorial, dietary practices have been incorporated into religious practices of people around the world. Some religious sects abstain or forbid from consuming certain foods and drinks, restrict foods and drinks during their holy days. While, others associate dietary and food preparation practices with rituals of their faith. The early biblical writings outline the dietary practices for certain groups. For example, Christians and Jews. Many of these practices may still be found among these same groups today. Practices such as fasting are described as tenets of faith by numerous religions.
To understand the reasons for nutrition and dietary customs in any religion requires a brief orientation of the rationale of such practices and laws. Many religious customs and laws may also be traced to early concerns for health and safety in consuming foods or liquids. The lack of mechanisms to refrigerate or preserve food led to certain rituals while restricting on the eating of foods known to spoil easily such as eggs, diary products and meat were devised for safety reasons.
In the past, owing to the limited preservation techniques for food along with the ignorance of the scholars of the day on health promotion, disease prevention and illness lead to the development of rules about the consumption of foods and drinks. Gradually, religious practices, restrictions and laws evolved. Specific laws about what can be consumed remain in most religions today.
Attention to specific eating practices such as overeating, use of strong drink or oral stimulants and vegetarian diets were also incorporated into the doctrine of religious practice. In addition to laws, the practice of fasting became prevalent and still practiced by many religions today.
When we go through eating practices and rituals of different religions, we can find out plenty of contradictions and similarities among them. Jews regard grapes as a fruit of idolatry and therefore, forbid the use of wine or products made from grapes; Christian religions believe and consider wine as a sacramental product in communion services. Mormonism envisages the abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, illegal drugs and even chocolate but surprisingly, in Rastafarianism an addictive drug like marijuana is considered as weed of wisdom and is used extensively for religious and medicinal purposes. Christian religion sect usually allows water or non stimulant liquids during the fast but Islam on the other hand, abides by stringent fasting rules during their holy month even without taking any liquid even their saliva.
Both Hinduism and Buddhism believe in ‘Karma’ doctrine and avoid foods that may have caused pain to animals during manufacture. Certain sects in Hinduism shun meat especially beef. The Jewish term ‘Kosher’ means that a food is permitted or ‘clean’. In Islam the Arabic term ‘Halal’ holds the same meaning that of ‘Kosher’.
All these varying rituals or religious practices ultimately lead to two objectives: spiritual enhancement and promoting a health well being of the individual despite of which religion he or she follows. “Despite all disparities among religious diets and rituals, all of them lead to one God” says 72 year old P.M. Yuseph, a retired government employee. “I fast during Ramadan every year. It enriches my spiritual well being and also fortifies my faith in God”
Latest researchers point out that live foods are best suited for the human body. Live foods are those which are created through the natural interaction of the sun, air, soil, and water. Our nature is blessed with fruits and vegetables which are sufficient enough to satisfy the nutritional needs of our body. It is alive, vital and supremely healthy. Vegetarian diet is a diet that the nature intended. The most powerful animals on the planet, ranging from gorillas to elephants wear the badge of proud vegetarians. Non vegetarian diet is hard to digest and since our digestive system is one of the most energy consuming processes of our entire body, valuable energy resources are needlessly depleted by this food stuff. There are also ethical issues that involve the killing of animals for food and environmental issues regarding the raising of livestock and the safety of food supply. “Vegetarian diet is the best” claims P.Unnikrishnan, a gold smith who became a vegetarian 14 years ago. “Vegetarian foods energizes, revitalizes and refreshes us both mentally and physically” he added.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Some Gayish Tales with a Moral...

Homosexuality, bisexuality and all other sexual orientations, whatever it may be, I didn’t give any shit about them. Anyway, experience is the best teacher. Since I had some face to face encounters with them, I started thinking about them seriously. The face of reality is always ugly.
Whenever I’m in Kerala, I rarely use car or bike for commuting. I always prefer public transport system such as train or bus. I love sitting relaxed by giving the whole responsibility of my life to an unknown driver’s hands. However, window side seat is a requisite.
Sometimes, if I’m free and no work to do...I simply enter some bus and take ticket till the last bus-stop. You may think I’m crazy (may be I’m!) but the real driving force is my wanderlust. The smell of fresh, unpolluted air; the beauty of green paddy fields and calmness of the streams get me lose in some beautiful day dreams. I love those journeys without any specific destination and purpose.
Few months ago, one day I decided to go for a purposeless journey to an unknown destination. I was sitting relaxed and happy. A fellow passenger who was sitting next to me was missing all the beautiful sceneries outside-he was sleeping. Suddenly, his hand fell on my left thigh. I didn’t care about it since I thought he was sleeping. But, gradually his hand started crawling like a lizard towards my pant zip.
There he goes! He started caressing my manliness. I just waited... I needed to know how far he ventures. After a few strokes, he dared to open my pant zip. I couldn’t tolerate it anymore. Blood was rushing heavily to my head and I hit hard on his hand. Suddenly, he woke up from his sleeping act.
“What the hell you are doing? Are you measuring the size of my cock? You asshole!” I asked him glaring at his eyes. He started blushing and sat without any answers. My pleasure trip became a miserable hell. The saddest part was that the man-can I call him a man?-was roughly the age of my dad. I got down at the next stop and went back home. After that incident I think twice before entering a bus or any other public transport systems.
Another incident happened at a public comfort station at my native, Thrissur. I entered the urinal just to unburden my urinary bladder after a long journey from my uncle’s place. One guy who was standing and doing the same thing I was doing started talking to me. I smiled and replied to all his queries. But, when I looked into his face in the midst of the conversation, one very fact shocked me. He wasn’t talking to me. He was just talking to my pissing cock! That guy followed me by simply asking personal questions in order to build up a rapport. “I’m the wrong person you are looking for... dude!” I told him and he left me.
Those above mentioned experiences are really painful as I’m a citizen of a country where homosexuality is still considered as a taboo and stamped as illegal. We shouldn’t close our eyes to the reality. It’s high time our government should do a rethinking over this issue.
There are lot of underground homosexual cults in our country. As long as these activities remain illegal in our country, those cults or underground societies lack public and government attention. This only leads to unhealthy sexual practices which in turn spread various Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). To my mind, heterosexuality is the natural way of sex but it doesn’t mean we should ignore, isolate or punish other sexual orientations. It’s all a matter of mind set.
Many countries including United Kingdom have legalized gay marriages and brought laws which favours homosexuality. In our country, if such laws are implemented, those prevalent underground cults and societies will come out of its shells. This helps to identify and give proper consultation and guidance to them. NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) can also play a big role in educating and guiding these sections of the society.
Initiatives should come from gay activists and societies too. If they can bring into limelight the significance of this issue, half the battle is won. Government should understand that banning and suppressing of these activities will not help in the long run. The objective should not be to isolate a section of society on the basis of their sexual orientation but it should be to identify, educate and bring a feeling of oneness among them. We shouldn’t forget the fact: safer the sex and safer the society.

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