Archive | November, 2011

Alcohol Versus Marijuana

14 Nov

Earlier this week, me and my friends got into a pretty heated debate over the legalization of marijuana. Not that I support the idea, but when alcohol was brought up in the conversation, I stood to legalize weed. Why?

  • Under the influence of marijuana, people tend to be more aware of their impaired psychomotor skills, and drive well below the speed limit. Those under the influence of alcohol are much more likely to be clueless or defiant about their condition, and to speed up and drive recklessly.
  • Hundreds of alcohol overdose deaths occur annually. There has never been a single recorded marijuana OD fatality.
  • According to the American Public Health Association, excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of death in this country.
  • There have been no documented cases of lung cancer in a marijuana-only smoker, nor has pot been scientifically linked to any type of cancer. Alcohol abuse contributes to a multitude of long-term negative health consequences, notably cirrhosis of the liver and a variety of cancers.
  • While a small quantity, taken daily, is being touted for its salutary health effects,alcohol is one of the worst drugs one can take for pain management, marijuana one of the best.
  • Alcohol contributes to acts of violence; marijuana reduces aggression. In approximately three million cases of reported violent crimes last year, the offender had been drinking. This is particularly true in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and date rape. Marijuana use itself, is absent from both crime reports and the scientific literature.
  • Police officers throughout the U.S. and Canada report they have never had to fight a marijuana user. When’s the last time they had to fight a drunk? They look at their watches.
  • I haven’t heard of alcohol ever prescribed as a pain killer. Marijuana? Well, several times.

So, the argument really should be about making alcohol illegal, if marijuana cannot be made legal. As long as alcohol’s freely sold to people of age with a “drink responsibly” label, well why not sell marijuana with a “smoke responsibly” label too?

(Source: The Huffington Post)

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Marriage vs Career: The Role In My Life

6 Nov

I never really believed in marriage being the answer to anything, except well, love. And it pains me greatly to see how the sacredness of marriage today has been ruined. Almost everyone I see are getting married for all the wrong reasons, the worst ones being for money/privileges, or simply because they can’t be alone.

In some South-Eastern cultures, getting married has always been a race. The girls who get married the earliest win, and if they aren’t married, something is assumed to be physically wrong with her, or her family is assumed to be too short of money to afford her dowry. There is no assumption of facts: facts like the girl has ambitions of a career, independence, or even as simple as waiting for the right one to fall in love with. And apparently, this is what is becoming of my life.

My family had raised me to believe in my potential to succeed in whatever I want to do, whatever I want to be. Unlike the parents of many other girls in my culture, mine would tell me all the time to decide what I want to study and study hard to win scholarships and to start finding jobs and scoring interviews. I was so proud to have parents like that!

But recently, now that I’m a month away from completing my Bachelors, that too with Honors, their plans for me are starting to change. They are desperately trying to find a boy for me; at least not just any boy – they know I need someone with a good education and an open mind. But still!! My parents, who had never in their lives ever talked about their children getting married, are suddenly trying to tell me to retouch my lifestyle and choices to become more marriage-material: some retouches being learning to cook and dressing appropriately.

It’s like they have forgotten the reasons I was sent 8000 miles away from home all by myself: IT WAS THE REWARD FOR BEING A NERD ALL MY LIFE, AND TO MAKE MY AMBITIONS A REALITY!!! It was to teach me to be myself, learn life by myself, decide what is right and wrong for me by MYSELF. And they would be right there to have my back when I am falling, and for advice when I was lost.

Why are they suddenly on the race now to put obstacles – like a man and a wedding and a marriage and in-laws and pregnancy and children and even a possibility of divorce because of a cheating husband or me letting out my frustrations – in my way to hopefully a masters and a damn awesome career!?

I cannot get myself to believe in a marriage that comes before my career to be in any way successful; not unless I am so head over heels in love that I feel guy is worth any sacrifice I make for him – which will only come after I have his full respect and appreciation. And earning that will require me to be “made”.

I am not giving up what I’ve dreamed of for 22 years for something society believes is right for me, for something I do not even feel ready for!

My Views On Religion

6 Nov

I normally avoid such conversations, for obvious reasons, and I for one avoid creating conflicts.

Nevertheless:

I believe there is a God, I believe in life after death, and I believe in Heaven and Hell. Why? If there’s any humanity left in this world, any civility, any good people with any moral values, it’s because they were raised with faith. It’s religion that teaches manners in the first place. If it wasn’t for heaven and hell, there would be no fear of right or wrong. There would be no reason for guilt or empathy. There would be no judge of justice.

The existence of life, outer space, and even evil – something must have put it there. If it all was a result of some chemical reaction, well, something must have caused it. It’s religion that explains the unexplainable.

I am no expert in religion, nor do I observe it strictly or as often as I should. But I know it’s something I turn to when times get tough instead of sitting back and complaining about life all the time.

P.S.: I am not imposing my views on religion on anyone in any manner. I believe everyone has the right to practice what they believe is right, and there’s no need of preaching your religion to those of a different faith or no faith at all. We all have our reasons for what we think, and everything here is just what I think. #duh

Double Standards of Sex Crimes

6 Nov

A person whose house is burgled can speak freely of the theft and expect to be believed. But women who are sexually assaulted are silenced by shame. If a victim of rape goes public, she’s seen as seeking publicity instead of retribution. If her story is inconsistent, we assume she is lying instead of suffering the aftereffects of trauma. If she is taller or bigger than her perpetrator, we assume she should have been able to shove the perpetrator off, even when doing so would mean losing her job, her freedom, possibly even her life. What we forget in drawing these conclusions is the impact of power and the impact of terror.

From personal experience: I was 10 when I told a school friend this male teacher inappropriately “touches” me. The next day, her mother comes and finds me, tells me to stay away from her daughter because I am an indecent girl with no morals. And even managed to tell some other girls in my class to stay from me, too. I was 10. I did not even know what was happening to me. And I only believed something was seriously wrong with me.

And yet, no matter how much we write about it, talk about it, things do not seem to get any better. The way the world started off, blaming women for their rape, remains the same.

I have watched these victims. From a series of victim experiences, I understand their silence. I know their fear. I know the feeling of regret many have to live with forever for not speaking up. Because of their silence, another innocent girl got hurt. If they would have spoken up, if they would have called the cops, they could have saved someone. Anyone.

If only they could rewind the time to go back and make a difference.. if only.

Coming from a closed society, I have witnessed many women termed promiscuous when they come clean before they could blame their rapist. It’s always the “she must have led him on.”

Hence, the suffering in silence.

After all, who wants to live feeling guilty anyways? Who wants to be looked down upon? Who wants to lose friends because something horrible and shameful has happened to them? They rather just stay silent, bury the pain, and move on. And, like me, reflect time to time on how those words have shaped us into the person we are today.

The Not-So-Great Freud

6 Nov

The great question which I have not been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is what does a woman want?’ – Sigmund Freud

Well, sorry to disappoint your neurologically-credible-reputation Freud, but the existence of this question only validates the acceptance of stereotypes. It is an assumption that all women are the same, which could in turn be applied to any group of people:

What do teenagers want? What do the rich want? What do the Americans want? What do the Muslims want? Even, if they exist: what do the aliens want?

Truth is, not everybody in a group as big as a gender, class, race, or religion, wants the same things. No two people are exactly alike, and the differences in what makes them happy is what creates variety in this world, keeping it interesting and worth exploring.

The only answer to what everyone wants is happiness. And no, Freud, you cannot even begin to expect the same things that makes one happy will make others happy too.

Not all women find happiness in marriage, not all find happiness in bachelorhood. Not all women like tall, dark and handsome, not all women are in love with boybands. Not all women want to be model thin, not all women want to be tanned, not all women want a prince. Regardless of their age or class!!

That is why there is place for everyone in the world, and in good time to feel accepted by someone.

You wasted 30 years of your precious life stereotyping, Freud. And you have made everyone today ask all the wrong questions. You’ve got parents to just guess what colors a girl would like her new dress in, teachers to assume the girls will take better care of the classroom hamster, even trained majority of employers to predict performance of a job candidate based on gender, race, class or religion.

I now highly doubt the credibility of Freud’s ever-popular psychology tests. And all his theories. To me, all people are different, and I’ll continue to understand them as individuals.

But anyways, what do women want? I’ll answer that for you:

For everyone to stop thinking they are all the same and want the same damn thing!!!

Skin and Tolerance – Still A Myth?

6 Nov

The most depressing course of my life by far has to be “Oppression – Roots and Impact”. It’s not that I didn’t know discrimination existed, it’s the exposure to the depth of the -isms that still exists is what has disturbed my normal i-don’t-give-a-fudge functioning.

This week, the course covered racism towards African Americans. There was a whole 20/20 documentary of how black shoppers in department stores were, without any justifiable reason, termed potential shoplifter and followed and eyed throughout their time in the store. And some were even falsely and outrageously accused to the point of inhumanity. Like, this one man shopping at Bloomingdale’s with his 6yr old son was strip-searched for two pairs of pants. The security did not spare his son either – he was strip-searched as well!!! It was security’s way of messing with him: they had their eyes on him since he entered the store and was falsely accused of suspicious behavior. This was just one example in the documentary. I can’t bring myself to list the rest of the discrimination.

The color of your skin… the privileges you receive and are denied because of it… what for? It’s not just African Americans, it’s all over the world apparently. The ugly truth: Lighter-skin is always preferred over darker.

I grew up being harassed and called names because I was darker than every girl of my ethnicity. It was like, practically unnatural and a sin to be dark, especially being a girl. I was called ugly forever, just because I was dark. Nothing else. I was ignored, less tolerated, looked down on, forced to hate myself and everything about me, all because of my skin tone. My family hesitated in talking about me getting married anytime in the future – because they knew it was near to impossible unless they could pay heavy amounts of dowry, preferably with a luxury car, a house, and millions of bucks.

Yes, my darker skinned cousins have had to wait forever to get a proposal that didn’t comment “so she’s dark, we don’t want her” “so she’s dark, we’d accept it if u could pay so-and-so-much money”. It’s like, the eastern culture still thinks it’s a favor being done to a dark-skinned girl’s family when someone agrees to marry her, and are willing to pay anything and everything to send her off. The difference for fair-skinned girls: they start getting proposals at the age of 16 itself: her level of intelligence is never questioned, and dowry is not an issue.

What has that turned me into? I gave up on wanting to get married back when I was 12. I knew it was going to be more painful for my family to think of than selling a kidney. I knew I was the girl any guy I dated from my cultures would be nervous about introducing me to his family, without hearing “so couldn’t you find a white girl?”

So well, I gave up on dating anyone from my culture, to be exact. I went through college being the shy girl, not talking in classes, not wanting to be noticed in public, because I was still scared to be judged. I kept a low profile: I mean, I knewthe number of ways I was always going to be different, there was going to be no fitting in for me, anywhere, really.

Who wants to be the in-crowd anyways? It’s just the feeling of being accepted that is desired.

You’d think with time cultures will evolve into tolerance, but the ugly truth is, we are still not there. At least, not in the East. And we never will be.