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<a href=”https://www.freepik.com/photos/people">People photo created by pressfoto — www.freepik.com</a>

Identifying the Problem

One of the difficulties that almost all of us face in relationships today is that we no longer have a clear idea of what it means to be “related”, of what we need, what we want from a relationship and least of all, how to balance our individual needs with the needs of the other person (or persons if it happens to be a family or a community).

Most of us not only grow up with this confusion but continue to live in it. We are caught between what we have been taught in our early life…


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Photo Credit: Samer Daboul

Are we ready for the lessons that are possible for us to learn from the Covid crisis?

What we still don’t know about Covid-19 after struggling with it for over six months, is how exactly it works, how much longer we will have to suffer the disruption to our lives or what the after effects will be. We are assaulted daily by contradictory information, some of which is scary in the extreme, some which brings relief. Most of us (at least in my vicinity) follow the instructions with military discipline almost unquestioningly. Wear a mask when you go out. Wash…


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The last days of Mumbai’s beautiful coastline

To save our environment and our world we will need to relate differently, not to the environment alone but to each other as well.

Mumbai 2020. Before Corona entered our lives and the lock-down was imposed, children used to play on the lawn where I live. They tossed rubber balls at each other, they peddled their baby tricycles or bicycles around, they tested their balancing skills with their scooters while toddlers watched over by their parents or care-givers wobbled around grinning at everybody in sight. The adults walked on the garden path, some briskly, some at a more leisurely pace…


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Our tendency to over-identify with the mask and to lose touch with our real identity causes much confusion in us especially when it comes to making important decisions in life.

Pop psychology and self help books have introduced us to an array of phrases which sound infinitely good and wise. “Be who you are” is one such exhortation frequently followed by the advice to “accept yourself”. I often find myself offering these and other similar tips to friends or during therapy sessions when confusion or anxiety arises around a difficult decision. It is something I do with caution though, and…


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The transformation of Mumbai from a beautiful to a beastly city due to pollution and smog. Pic: Peg Flynn

What struck me about Greta Thunberg when I first came across her on YouTube last year, was the sincerity and earnestness with which she communicated. It made me aware of what was missing in our “mature adult” world, consistently weighed down by cynicism and apathy. And it was not just her sincerity. There was no mistaking her grasp of the facts and figures about the changing climate. She may have sounded stern but the truth about the disasters awaiting us, compounded by the lack of interest shown by adults in seriously addressing the problem, did seem to warrant the rebuke.


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Two of the organisers of the conference on the Incest Taboo held in Luesslingen, Switzerland, in June 2019

“Honest discussion accompanied by wisdom and good sense helps us to understand the way we are and better equips us to live peacefully with each other.”

Incest. The very word brings up such overpowering feelings of horror or revulsion in most of us that it becomes difficult to look objectively at the subject and to understand the true implications of the taboo against it. In the first place, the nature of taboos in general, is such that one is barely aware of the existence of the area declared out of bounds for even private reflection, let alone for any sort…


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Over the last few days I have found myself mulling over a question which, although of great interest to me, I feel reluctant to put to others. At times you get this feeling that if you do ask questions, they ought to be sensible, appropriate questions, for example about the economy or about water shortage, world hunger, whether big dams are an environmental hazard and so on. These are good and safe questions to ask, because then you are talking about topics which you know other people also consider important. They have an intelligent and sensible ring to them. It…


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Can conflict between human beings ever come to an end or is it part of the human condition? Perhaps in order to find the answer to that question we have to ask ourselves another: do we want conflict to end? Do we want to live in a world that is genuinely peaceful? If human beings are not able to resolve conflicts, inner or outer, could it not be that the problem is not the task itself, but our lack of preparedness to live in peace? A short while back I felt my hunch confirmed when a friend whom I had…


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It was a Saturday evening. As usual the group had met for a quiet hour of music and “inward tuning.” Big cities take their toll on our minds and bodies so, every now and then, after days of working, talking, quarreling with colleagues or family members, after hours spent rushing from one place to another, we enjoy this quiet interlude with each other. …


There are questions and then there are, well, questions. You have the ones which are good to philosophize over a glass of wine. You have those you know are dumb and not worth wasting time over. There are the usual rhetorical questions which don’t need answers, questions to do with life and the universe which can send you into a trance. …

uma ranganathan

Uma is a former freelance photo journalist, has taught deaf children and adults for several years and is now involved in community development processes

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