Facebook addiction: Who is the real culprit?

Mark-Zuckerberg-007

This was the very first article that I am writing here on LinkedIn and that I am re-writing here on WordPress, and I am very pleased to paste you hereunder a post from one of my compatriots regarding some of my Mauritian compatriots and their addiction to Facebook:

Hello Mark Zuckerberg!

I took a suffering patient to the SSRN Hospital this evening. The security guy outside didn’t bother to give directions because he was busy on Facebook Messenger.

When I reached the “emergency entry”, a taxi driver had forgotten that he had parked there after dropping his passenger, because he was busy checking his Facebook newsfeed.

I went to the registration counter. I had to utter my phone number thrice because the lady’s attention was on her phone’s screen – that showed a man’s Facebook profile.

The doctor was liking photos on Facebook when I had to disturb him, unfortunately. The patient got admitted, and while carrying him to an allocated ward on a wheel-bed, [as they walked] both nurses were excited to be adding each other as Facebook Friends since they met each other after a long time.

And finally me…I had to take out my phone and write a Facebook post to you.

So Mark, did you make us any less slave than our ancestors?

Good night!

435

Kudos to my compatriot who wrote that blog post anyway… And thank you Mark Zuckerberg for having addicted the Facebook drug to us. And cheers to all the humans who let themselves getting trapped into that drug so stupidly that they completely forgot the true meaning of socialization and of priorities in life! Because we cannot blame Mark Zuckerberg totally either. He created Facebook to become famous. But so many people misuse Facebook. They make of Facebook an addiction and even use it to publish all their life as an open story and even as a tool used for pornography and violence! And after this we are astonished that we have no more privacy when our privacy is in danger? We are astonished that our pictures are misused within the hands of hackers in the aim of ruining our lives?

_e98ea4cc-1f5e-11e7-89d6-c3c500e93e5a

A couple of years ago a respectful young student was retrieved hung in her bedroom together with all her family members after they committed collective suicide! The reason? She had a PUBLIC Facebook profile and posted all her personal pics on it. Some hackers used her pics to create fake pornographic pictures of her on a fake profile with HER name and identity! She was NOT aware of that and so many naive people believed she was a REAL SLUT and her whole reputation at home, at school, in her family and in society got completely ruined! Was she to be blamed for having created a public Facebook profile innocently without expecting the bad consequences it would have had on her life? Or are those hackers to be blamed for having tricked her pictures and ruined her innocence and reputation? Unfortunately I couldn’t retrace the Facebook post revealing about that collective suicide, but I got the proof that such cases exist through that article from Hindustan Times, revealing the arrest of a hacker who victimized another girl in the same case and who pushed her to commit suicide since her reputation was completely ruined because of him.

Facebook-Phishing-Girl-scam

Another case we should talk about and which made me being disgusted with having a personal Facebook profile: 2 years ago an Indian girl made me revealing some shocking secrets, though she didn’t know me, about a celebrity I adored to the core! Of course as a blind follower of that celebrity I didn’t believe her and insulted her, and I thought the celebrity would have been clever enough to understand my concern about protecting him and his marital life since he was engaged. Instead of supporting me, he forced me and a couple of his fans whom I shared the story with to apologise to that Indian girl who pretended that her profile was hacked by her boyfriend and that he created that fake profile of hers misusing her pictures, contacts and personal details to create trouble between her and her contacts since he was jealous like hell and could never bear knowing she had male friends who were only fans of hers since she was also a celebrity in her locality. But the way she exposed so many precised details about those shocking revelations are TOO TRUE to consider that this girl was trapped by her boyfriend and it was evident she was lying and fooling everyone! Since now NO ONE gave me right for the good intention I had towards that celebrity and my name and reputation got suddenly blackened by all his followers and even by that celebrity HIMSELF! One day I will reveal you the complete story, which is still in draft mode but which I may publish very soon so that you would know better about the whole story. But to prove you that such cases exist, though they are rarer, I found that article to justify what I have just written, and what I have read in it was extremely shocking, and especially when I read the latest paragraph stipulating, I quote, that “The status updates are not offensive, they do not use foul language and can be deleted once you “Unhack your  Facebook.” Which rubbish is that? Didn’t they realize the foolishness of their action and how they could stupidly put some innocent lives in danger or facing big fear and trauma for nothing, and maybe for the rest of their lives by doing that? That is why there is a quote in French saying “Les plaisanteries les plus courtes sont les meilleures”, translated in English as “The shortest jokes are the best ones”. It’s true since as it starts becoming longer… it doesn’t become a joke anymore and it can really endanger your life!

facebook_addict

It’s easy to blame Mark Zuckerberg for having created Facebook! But we should especially first blame OURSELVES for being unable to use Facebook intelligently, responsibly and appropriately. I was myself a Facebook addicted person and I myself admit how I misused Facebook so cheaply in the past and how Facebook turned into a drug which completely ruined my life and got me away from my priorities and life responsibilities as a SPOUSE, a HOUSEWIFE, a MOTHER and a WRITER-TO-BE! I won’t be scared to share my story with you and with everyone if necessary as an ex Facebook addicted if necessary. I use other platforms regularly such as Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn but when I compare my daily experience with them this is NOTHING compared to my previous FACEBOOK experiences since I obtained TOUGH LIFE LESSONS from them and learned to impose my LIMITS and to respect them.

Would you also know the full story? I invite you to click on the link below to that blog post:

The Phoenix within me – Recovering Slowly, but surely from my Facebook addiction

Advertisements

The complexity of the Sharing and Caring Philosophy

sdgs-yuva

I am writing that blog post, since in a couple of hours, some youngsters from the YUVA (Youth United Voluntary Action) from Mauritius, under the supervision of their young leader Krishna Athal, will be going into a small district in the country, where people live in poor conditions, to distribute some school materials to a lot of children who want to learn but who don’t have the necessary material tools to be able to learn properly. I may write about the lack of success in education in another blog post, since there are lots of interesting things to share together in it, but in that one I am actually writing, I am focusing especially on the generous action made by those Mauritian youngsters, and at the same time I would like the whole world to know more about them all because they are really worth to be discovered. I wrote some stuffs about their founder Krishna Athal in two blog posts, one where I describe him as a young rising political prodigy in the country, and another one where I reviewed his Wikipedia biography, and through those blog posts, I think that you will know much more about him. Regarding the YUVA movement, I recently read an interview of Krishna Athal where he was telling us more the YUVA movement, for which you can also find some more details on the website of the movement. But whatever Krishna mentioned in his interview, I think, will already give you a global clue about the movement itself:

The twelve Sustainable Development Goals are:

  1. Eradicate poverty in Mauritius in all its forms.
  2. Eradicate hunger, achieve food security and improve the quality of nutrition.
  3. Ensure good health and promote the well-being of all.
  4. Ensure quality education (civic and life).
  5. Promote gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  6. Promoting economic progress by encouraging youth entrepreneurship and providing facilities for start-ups.
  7. To ensure the regional integration with on the menu of programs of exchange with the youth of the neighboring countries.
  8. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.
  9. Preserve the marine environment with the protection of beaches and ensure the sustainable use of the sea and marine resources.
  10. Encourage the love of sport and physical activity for all and for all ages.
  11. Exploit technology and encourage innovation by ensuring that an effective culture of techno permeates all sectors of society in every corner and corner of Mauritius.
  12. Encourage the love of art and culture by ensuring dynamic arts development and extending support to local artists.

I am in admiration in front of such wonderful youngsters, and if today I am focusing on their movement, it’s also to remind all of us that those twelve goals should be thought about in each human being’s lives and not only during some specific reasons.

maxresdefault

I have noticed that in Mauritius especially, people mostly choose the Christmas celebration to have a thought for the elderly, the poor and the needy, whereas those same poor people are forgotten during the rest of the year. But the Yuvans understood perfectly that sharing and giving was a question of attitude and not a question of occasion to give. There are NO occasions to give a part of you. Sharing and giving should be a part of us each and every day, independently from the Christmas celebration. Do you remember, when you were all children, about the fairy tale of the little match girl? If you read the summary of the story below, you will understand much better why this story should touch your hearts and why Christmas shouldn’t be the only occasion to share and give:

On a cold New Year’s Eve, a poor young girl tries to sell matches in the street. She is already shivering from cold and early hypothermia, and she is walking barefoot having lost her shoes.[1] Still, she is too afraid to go home, because her father will beat her for not selling any matches, and also as the cracks in the house can’t keep out the cold wind. The girl takes shelters in a nook or alley and sits down.[2]

The girl lights the matches to warm herself. In their glow she sees several lovely visions, including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. The girl looks skyward and sees a shooting star; she then remembers her dead grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone is dying and is going to go to Heaven. As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. She strikes one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother alive for as long as she can.

After running out of matches the child dies, and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the child dead in the nook, frozen with a smile on her face, and guess the reason for the burnt-out matches beside her. They feel pity for her, although they had not shown kindness to her before her death. They have no way of knowing about the wonderful visions she saw before her death or how gloriously she and her grandmother are now celebrating the New Year in Heaven.[3]

That story also is worth to be meditated. We tend to choose some special occasions, especially Christmas, to do shopping for our loved ones and for people whom we will see only once a year and afterwards who will disappear in front of our eyes for the rest of their lives. With a hypocrite feeling, we will want as well to share and give to the needy because of the joy of Christmas. But as soon as the Christmas festivities are gone, the sharing and giving is gone together with them. In my family-in-law, for Christmas and the New Year Eve, each family member shares and gives some gifts between themselves… But when the celebrations are over, each family member goes aside, at the exception of a few of them who still live in solidarity with each other. In Mauritius as well, it’s the same thing. Though the country highly got developed, the needy are forgotten during almost all the year in their struggle and misery, but are remembered only for Christmas. Those people, like the ones who succeeded in life, maybe didn’t have all the tools nor the luck to be able to succeed in life and they are very often misjudged and taken for passive and lazy people. To be honest with you, this is all the time what I hear from my in-laws, who belong to the category of people who escaped from poverty with their own weapons without depending on anyone. They always tend to think that, because they succeeded through the fruit of their own sacrifices, everybody should follow them as an example. This is not true. See the videoclip from The Script’s “Superhero” and all what I wrote about them in my blog post “Johannesburg Superheroes“. Did that brave single father choose to live in poor conditions and to lie to his daughter about his true situation as a scavenger, pretending that he was working in an office, only to hide to his daughter the truth about his situation to be able to see a smile upon her face when he comes back home? No he didn’t. Did those people living in poor conditions in Mauritius choose to live like that, with all their dreams shattered away despite their long fight to survive? No, they didn’t. Alike that South African father, those people living in poor conditions did their very best to fight in life for having an earning, but they didn’t have the appropriate tools nor support from others to be able to survive and to make progress in life. The story of the little match girl perfectly represents those same people: As per the summary, she is sent in the cold winter by her violent father to sell matches for an earning, since it was the only source of revenue which may perhaps help them surviving. Did the little girl choose that kind of life? No she didn’t. And instead, through those matches she saw so many lovely dreams in front of the match lights such as a wonderful Christmas meal, a Christmas tree, children playing together in the snow etc. But no one paid attention about her dreams because they were too selfish doing their Christmas shopping for their loved ones that they didn’t even care about her own situation as a poor girl, nor about her struggle face to her violent father. And when she died, it was too late, because people may have pitied her, but no one did even care about her dreams behind those matches. I saw so many people living in those conditions as well in Madagascar and in South Africa by trying to sell their stuffs in the streets for an earning, but with increase of insecurity, people were scared to approach them since people feared having business with dealers. Even my husband and I, to be honest, as expatriates in Madagascar and as tourists in South Africa, we thought exactly the same way. But who could guess that behind those people there was the soul of that same little match girl within them?

caring-and-sharing-logo-news

However, sharing and caring also has its medal reverse. I was looking for some meanings on Quora and then I saw an answer to the question “What does sharing is caring mean?” There was an answer which attracted my attention, and which reminded me about a good friend of mine who focussed on the point of sharing so much but not receiving anything in return:

At first, that seemed like a pretty simple question to answer. But I just now gave it a bit more thought. Simply put, if one shares, surely one cares. But that’s not so simple, depending, for one, on what it is you’re sharing. Food, shelter, clothing, your time, your money – those are good sharing examples. But say you share high sugar candy with someone you know is a diabetic – that’s not caring. The same for sharing hard-core drugs with an addict, a young person, anyone not on their death bed; that action could lead to dire consequences regarding health, life in general, time in jail. Another form of negative sharing doesn’t have such awful outcomes for the recipient – in fact, no bad outcomes. But it may have negative results for the giver’s subconscious, for their karma, and how they want to be viewed by their society. If you’re in church, as an example, and the offering plate has begun its rounds, you make very sure that everyone sees you writing a check, as opposed to having it ready before services, and that you place the check face-up in the plate as it passes by you. That’s outwardly egotistical; you want anyone who sees that check to know you as a very generous person, especially if the check is substantial compared to others. Inwardly, your heart may swell a bit, but not as much as your head, and at the same time your “true self” realizes the real “why” of your generous donation. So, sharing for a knowable good is always good, but maybe not always for the giver. I try to remember that real altruism means that one gives without any reward from society, including recognition. That’s real caring. “You are what you think,” said Siddhartha Gautama.

Unfortunately I have completely lost the historic of the conversation I had with my friend on LinkedIn, but I remember that my friend told me having created a group on Facebook on which each member would help each other in an equal way to cultivate solidarity with each other, but very few unfortunately replied to his request and the group didn’t succeed. He also mentioned about a Pakistani friend of his who tried to do the same thing through a group she created, and which unfortunately failed and brought to her lots of deceptions. It’s true that sharing and caring can be a good thing, but not all the time. Like Michael Jackson sung in “Heal the World”, “Love is strong, it only cares of joyful givings”. Another type of negative sharing that I have known is among my family and my in-laws. I remember how some family members who succeeded in life tend to be generous only with the ones who succeeded in life, and not the ones who were rejected from the family. My parents, for example, who were among the richest family members in the patriarchal one, never invited some of my family members because they were living in poor conditions and underestimated. My father-in-law always keeps on being generous with those who stab him behind his back instead of being generous with my mother-in-law and even with my husband, who is the only child who takes care of him and who provides him financial help regularly, and this with my total approval, but in return he is never generous with us, and favors my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law more than they do for us and for my mother-in-law. But I firmly believe in Karma, and the way my parents and my father-in-law discriminate others is returning against themselves. In my case, one family member of mine became close friends with me after 20 years, and she was among the ones everyone rejected because of her dark skin and poor condition living. But as well as she was rejected from the family, as well today she is praised in her new home country UK, since they love her skin color and succeeded in life professionally and materially. She kept on sharing and caring all the time despite her success, but instead of appreciating her, everyone kept on underestimating her and misusing her. But though I have nothing to give her materially, I have at least my caring left, and I understood on how caring for her is a lesson that my family members never taught me and that I had to be taught on my own. For my father-in-law, for the moment I didn’t have any signs for his discriminatory way of sharing, but I am convinced that one day it will go against him when it comes on caring, since he kept on sharing with the bad ones instead of the good ones, and same thing applied as well when it came on caring.

Indeed the fact that those youngsters from YUVA are generously donating with a kind heart, maybe they won’t receive the same help in return, but they will be blessed in other ways in the future. So keep on sharing and caring… But don’t do it in a discriminatory way because every human being is equal. If you have that true spirit of sharing and caring, do it with everyone, the rich, the middle and the poor. Do it as well with the educated and the illiterate. Do it as well with the healthy and the disabled. But if you have that discriminatory spirit, then better don’t share nor care at all.

Mauritius: In the roots of a multi-linguistic nation

mauritius-presentation-3-728

This afternoon, through my brand new Twitter account, a compatriot of mine published on his wall a multiple choice question, where Mauritian people were asked in which language they enjoy writing the most. In answer to that multiple choice question, we had choice between English, French, Mauritian Creole and Oriental Language.

Mauritius, as per the details that you will retrieve in that historical complete article, is a widely diversified people composed with people having Creole, Indian, Chinese, French and African origins. Most of the Mauritian population is especially composed with Indians, mostly originated from the states of Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, with a minority also coming from Punjab. There is also a vast population of Mauritians of Muslim faith as well, of Indo-Pakistani origins. Due to that diversity of cultures, though most of the Mauritian culture finds its inheritance within India, several dialects and languages are spoken. The two official administrative and legal languages used in Mauritius are English and French, especially English, since before being proclaimed independent on 12th March 1968, Mauritius was a British Colony and kept on following the rules based on the British administration and education, especially in public sector. There are also some other dialects spoken in Mauritius, but only within each community. The Chinese Mauritians speak and learn at school their ancestral dialect Mandarin and, for a minority of them, Cantonese as well. The Muslim Mauritians, due to their Indo-Pakistani origins, speak and learn at school Urdu, which is a dialect derived from Arabic in Pakistan, Punjab and Muslim India. Finally, the Indian Mauritians of Hindu faith practice and learn Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Marathi, depending on the state from which they are originated. The White Mauritians mostly practice read, written and spoken French, since for the majority of them, they originate from France, though Mauritius was a British colony. However, the Creole community, originating from Africa, never imported any African dialect of its own (Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa, etc.), and they manage either in English, French or Creole. Regarding the Creole language, we have to put a big plan on it, and also on the Creole community, since there are so many things to shell in them which should be understood by the Mauritian community. Through that blog post, as I promised to my compatriot, I will try my best to answer, in a more constructive way, to his answer regarding the languages we would use to write the most in Mauritius between those four choices.

p1a9ertiu8a2e8htrqc1qk0a0c3

English as First Choice. Why?

As I mentioned before, English is the preferred read, written and spoken language within the Mauritian population. It has first of all a coincidence with the fact that before having been proclaimed an Independent country, Mauritius was under British colonization, and all the administration and educational sector was mostly based upon the British rule. Even after its independence, Mauritius still kept the British administrative process, as well in professional life as in the public educational sector. I tried to do some researches about English being the predominant language of the country, even after its Independence in 1968, and that article 14-3 contains a paragraph, which may explain the reason behind this, I quote: “In short, the situation of English in Mauritius seems to be problematic; its existence seems to be a burden rather than a help to the population. However, the situation also has positive aspects and positive arguments can be adduced in favour of the existence of English and its various functions in the independent state (since 1968). Mauritius was an English colony from 1810 till 1968 and since then it has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. English, therefore, has a tradition and a permanent place as the official language and the language of administration, politics and the school system, which is organised on the English model. Apart from these historical facts, its neutrality distinguishes it from French inside the country. For external relations, the role of English as a world language and, above all, as one of the official languages in India is very important. It allows close contact to be kept with the lands of origin of the majority of the population, India and Pakistan – and this is done much more efficiently than would have been possible with the help of the Indian languages, which are now quite clearly declining in Mauritius.” English being a universal language is a sort of mystery for Mauritius, but even for the rest of the world. I have a British French pal, who put his profile picture on his social platforms with a message stipulating “Keep calm and speak English” as he defends English as the universal language spoken worldwide. He once even related me that in England, if you talk to an English person in another foreign language, the very first thing that the English person will ask you in return is to speak English, since he or she defends the native language of his or her country. On that point I give the English native right. I also remember how my little boy struggled a lot at school since his native language was French, whereas he started his scholarship at the International School of Seychelles, where the only language used at school for education is English, and I remember how isolated he was because of the language barrier. His second year teacher in KG1 (FS2 as per the British Curriculum) once cracked my son when my son insisted to speak French with us, telling him very frankly that he had to speak English since he didn’t understand French. Also, my husband and I had to start speaking English with him so that he could adapt quickly within the school environment and activities. Since that day, we didn’t stop speaking English with him, though from time to time, we are used to come back to his native French language. But now, the question I am asking myself is that, if my son’s school he was studying in Seychelles and if my son’s school right now in Abu Dhabi is also an International school, how could it be that the International School of Seychelles follows a British Curriculum, and the actual International School where my son is actually going in Abu Dhabi follows the American curriculum, which resembles a lot to the British one but with more extra-curriculum activities? And how is it that so many International schools, instead of following an International Curriculum with several cultures and languages spoken, mostly follow instead the British Curriculum, and having everything taught in English and not in another language? Here we should interest ourselves mostly to the latest question, since nowadays English is still considered as the global worldwide language. An article answers to that question completely and on that purpose, I am thinking especially about Republic of South Africa during the Apartheid. I remember that last year, my husband and I were visiting Johannesburg with a local guide, and I wrote a very long blog post containing some extracts about the rebellion of students during the Apartheid period and the martyr of student Hector Pieterson, when the Black students were rebelling against learning and practicing of Afrikaans, which was a language imposed by the pro-apartheid government to them, to isolate them from the rest of the population, since they were not given the right to speak, nor to practice English. They rebelled against Afrikaans language, since they were fighting for their right of learning and practicing English as well as every other South African people of ethnicity differing from theirs and considered English to be equally taught for all South Africans. To come back to the Mauritian context, as per the PDF document also stipulated, English as the main language is a tradition which dates from about 200 years ago and which cannot be forgotten. Alike my son, French was my native language, since Creole was forbidden at home, as I came from a very affluent family due to my father who was a Freemason and had a honorable position as the first Anesthetist who started practicing in Mauritius after he completed his 14-year studies in England, Ireland and India. Because I was speaking French, and since we had some relatives settled in France, my mother always wanted me to follow mostly a scholarship based on French Curriculum, and also I have been following my whole primary and secondary scholarship at the Lycee la Bourdonnais, which follows the French Curriculum and which is linked with the French Alliance of Mauritius and the Academy of Reunion Island. In the French curriculum, it was French which was the predominant language, whereas English was learnt as a secondary language. Despite all, I recognize today, though I always cultivated a true passion for English learning since I started learning it in primary school at only the age of 8 years old, how English was indispensable for my daily life, especially in an Anglo-Saxon country like Mauritius and since I have been travelling in several English-speaking countries such as England, Singapore, Malaysia, Republic of South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Seychelles. during my marriage life and during my teenage years. Today English is helping me a lot for my daily life and even for my son’s education since he goes in an English-speaking International school and must speak English permanently. And today, even when I blog, I favor English for my audience, even though on some of my social platforms I also express myself in my native language French.

classroom_0

French as second choice. Why?

I found the answer again in the PDF document, and it is linked also with the fact that, due to my family position since I was born, French was spoken at home instead of Creole language. First of all, there is a presence of French Mauritian people in Mauritius, though they represent only 3% of the whole Mauritian population. Here is what the article stipulates again about them, I quote, “The Franco-Mauritians, who represent less than 3% of the total population, are by far the most influential social force in the island, and they continue to play a dominant role in the sugar, manufacturing and tourist industries. This, and the fact that their way of life, and most important, their form of speech is closest to that exemplified by the media, means that they represent an ideal for the “coloured” population, and gradually for the rest of the population, thus exerting a sociolinguistic influence beyond their numerical importance.” But to come on the French language importance, according to that article, here is the extract which explains how French also has its predominant place in the Mauritian population, but mostly as a prestige language than an administrative language:

Despite more than a century and a half of British rule and the imposition of English as an official language, French has maintained its position as the prestige language of Mauritius. Fluency in French is more closely linked to advancement in the social hierarchy, and happens to be indicative of intelligence and good breeding, especially in the eyes of the “General Population”. According to Barnwell and Toussaint (1949), there is considerable evidence to suggest that between 1840-1870, the British administration tried to make the inhabitants of Mauritius native speakers of the English language. But the decisions to anglicise the colony came a bit too late, since French had already established itself as a strong language with the help of the British colonisers themselves. As long as military and political control remained in the hands of the British, they were content to allow the French to remain in a dominant and privileged position. Hence, the French continued to dominate the linguistic and economic life of the island. In 1992, when Mauritius became a parliamentary republic, it remained a member both of the Commonwealth and the ‘Francophonie’.

French language has an evident role to play worldwide, since for so many centuries, France was considered as the heart of the European society, culture, history and monarchy and French language was and is still considered as a prestige language, especially in Mauritius. Like I mentioned before, when I was born, I was taught to always express myself in French and it was badly seen for my parents if I spoke Creole, including with my friends, family members and with even the maids who were working for us at home! A Mauritian who speaks, reads and writes French very well is highly considered as someone literate and cultivated, compared to a Mauritian who has weak knowledge in French, despite having a high knowledge in English as the predominant Mauritian language. In my previous paragraph, the document mentioned Mauritius as a member of the “Francophonie”. It would be interesting to know a little more about the Francophonie and how it appeared worldwide. According to Wikipedia, “The convention which created the Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation (Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique) was signed on 20 March 1970 by the representatives of the 21 states and governments under the influence of African Heads of State, Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal, Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, Hamani Diori of Niger and Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. The missions of this new intergovernmental organization, based on the sharing of the French language, are the promotion of the cultures of its members and the intensification of the cultural and technical cooperation between them, as well as the solidarity and the connection between them through dialogue. The Francophonie project ceaselessly evolved since the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation, it became the intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie (Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie) in 1998 to remind its intergovernmental status. Finally in 2005, the adoption of a new Charter of the Francophonie (la Charte de la Francophonie) gives the name to the Agency of international Organization of the Francophonie (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie).[9]“.

Another extract is worth to be known about the missions behind the Francophonie: “The International Organization of the Francophonie leads political actions and multilateral cooperation according to the missions drawn by the Summits of the Francophonie. The Summits gather the Heads of states and governments of the member countries of the International Organization of the Francophonie where they discuss international politics, world economy, French-speaking cooperation, human rights, education, culture and democracy. Actions of the International Organization of the Francophonie are scheduled over a period of four years and funded by contributions from its members.[36] The Charte de la Francophonie defines the role and missions of the organization. The current charter was adopted in Antananarivo, on 23 November 2005. The summit held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 26–27 November 2004 saw the adoption of a strategic framework for the period 2004–2014. The four missions drawn by the Summit of the Francophonie are:

  1. Promoting French language and cultural and linguistic diversity.
  2. Promoting peace, democracy and human rights.
  3. Supporting education, training, higher education and scientific research.
  4. Expand cooperation for sustainable development.[36]

kreol-magazine-issue-3

What about the Creole language? Big plan on the Creole language in Mauritius and worldwide

Still referring in the Mauritian context, here is the extract of the PDF article regarding the use of the Creole language in Mauritius, and how Creole language is considered as a cheap language: “The consolidation of Creole has not yet progressed to the point where it could replace English. Besides, it is not (yet) regarded as a fully-fledged language by large sections of the population, and is therefore unlikely to be accepted. The one alternative left is French, the language of the francophone, white section of the population. The language of the sugar industry owned by the Franco-Mauritians remains French. Since the colonial period, this has been the trend. The senior positions in this sector are generally occupied by Franco-Mauritians, who go to great lengths to promote French. According to Benedict (1961), “Franco-Mauritians make a point of using French among themselves, only employing Creole to address servants and employees of low status”. To use Creole in the wrong context is to commit a serious blunder. Therefore, French is used by the sugar sector, both in its oral and written forms. Reports, publications and journals are published in French. However, the mass of the employees of the industry are either sugarcane-cutters or factory workers who either speak Bhojpuri or Creole (the other ethnic languages being restricted to formal classroom contexts). This will therefore decrease the influence of the French language, which remains the language of a minority group.” Frankly speaking, when I read those lines, I am very angry since it reminds me of my own personal experience regarding the Creole language. Since Creole speaking was forbidden at home, except with the maids working for us, I could only start speaking Creole at the age of 9 years old with my very first Creole word, “Ou”, which means “You”. What was funny too was that within both my matriarchal and patriarchal families, everybody was speaking Creole, but there was a glimpse of megalomania within my matriarchal family, since they were all of African Creole origins, since they very often also tended to express themselves in French. Why? Is that a complex of inferiority since they have been underestimated and deprived from their African inheritance since their ancestors were brought as slaves to Mauritius? Only God knows about it. The Creole Community of Mauritius, especially those who come from more rural regions, claim their pride for the Creole culture very openly through their songs, the traditional Mauritian sega music which is an inheritance from the African slaves, who imported that dance and kind of music in the country when they were having fun at night before going to bed. But once more, the sega, though today it became better accepted within the Mauritian culture, was considered as a low kind of music. According to Wikipedia, “Sega was for long looked down upon because it was the music of slaves.[7] It was also looked down upon by the Catholic Church, which was not keen on its association with sexuality and alcohol.[8] Until the Mauritian Ti Frère became popular in the 1960s, sega was only played in private places.[1] A particularly big turning point was his performance at the Night of the Sega at Mount Le Morne on 30 October 1964.[7] It is now considered the national music of Mauritius and not restricted by ethnicity.” It’s very sad though that the Mauritian population considers the Creole community only as descendants of slaves coming from Africa and Madagascar and that their vision about the Creole community stops there and doesn’t go further. It would be interesting to better know more about the Creole population, not only in Mauritius but also worldwide. The extract of that article, though it mostly refers to the History of the Creole people in USA, maybe could better help us understanding the truth behind the diversity of the Creole culture in Mauritius and even in the Seychelles, and completely denies the fact that Creole people are descendants of slaves: “The term Creole was first used in the sixteenth century to identify descendants of French, Spanish, or Portuguese settlers living in the West Indies and Latin America. There is general agreement that the term “Creole” derives from the Portuguese wordcrioulo,which means a slave born in the master’s household. A single definition sufficed in the early days of European colonial expansion, but as Creole populations established divergent social, political, and economic identities, the term acquired different meanings. In the West Indies, Creole refers to a descendant of any European settler, but some people of African descent also consider themselves to be Creole. In Louisiana, it identifies French-speaking populations of French or Spanish descent. Their ancestors were upper class whites, many of whom were plantation owners or officials during the French and Spanish colonial periods. During the eighteenth and nineteenth century, they formed a separate caste that used French. They were Catholics, and retained the traditional cultural traits of related social groups in France, but they were the first French group to be submerged by Anglo-Americans. In the late twentieth century they largely ceased to exist as a distinct group. Creoles of color, the descendants of free mulattos and free blacks, are another group considered Creole in Louisiana.” Furthermore, here is another interesting extract of that same article which is worth to be discovered about the Creole: “With imported furniture, wines, books, and clothes, white Creoles were once immersed in a completely French atmosphere. Part of Creole social life has traditionally centered on the French Opera House; from 1859 to 1919, it was the place for sumptuous gatherings and glittering receptions. The interior, graced by curved balconies and open boxes of architectural beauty, seated 805 people. Creoles loved the music and delighted in attendance as the operas were great social and cultural affairs. White Creoles clung to their individualistic way of life, frowned upon intermarriage with Anglo-Americans, refused to learn English, and were resentful and contemptuous of Protestants, whom they considered irreligious and wicked. Creoles generally succeeded in remaining separate in the rural sections but they steadily lost ground in New Orleans. In 1803, there were seven Creoles to every Anglo-American in New Orleans, but these figures dwindled to two to one by 1830. Anglo-Americans reacted by disliking the Creoles with equal enthusiasm. Gradually, New Orleans became not one city, but two. Canal Street split them apart, dividing the old Creole city from the “uptown” section where the other Americans quickly settled. To cross Canal Street in either direction was to enter another world. These differences are still noticeable today. Older Creoles complain that many young Creoles today do not adhere to the basic rules of language propriety in speaking to others, especially to older adults. They claim that children walk past homes of people they know without greeting an acquaintance sitting on the porch or working on the lawn. Young males are particularly criticized for greeting others quickly in an incomprehensible and inarticulate manner.” As per what I have understood through those extracts, the Creole people have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are descendants of slaves. They have several mixed origins, but decided to defend their culture, not by abiding on their ancestors’ culture and rituals, but mostly acting as individualists and free-spirited people. This is exactly that kind of philosophy that the Seychellois people defend, and they don’t even hesitate to make of Creole an official language and culture, as the individualist culture of the Seychellois archipelago. Unfortunately in Mauritius, apart the rural Afro-Creole community who still dares to proclaim the Creole language and culture through engaged artists and activists, Creole is still considered by other communities as a low-class culture and language, and Wikipedia very merely gives details about the expansion of the Creole culture in the island, an explanation which may perhaps be compensated with the previous detailed description of the Creole community from USA. Nonetheless, despite being underestimated as a community and language, Creole is now spoken by almost the whole Mauritian population nowadays. The Creole language still remains informal despite a shy start of its promotion within the educational and literary section as per those two extracts from the WikipediaWikipedia: “The British took over Mauritius during the Napoleonic era, but few English-speakers ever settled there and by then Mauritian creole was firmly entrenched. The abolition of slavery in the 1830s enabled many Mauritian creoles to leave the plantations, and the plantation owners started bringing in Indian indentured workers to replace them. Though the Indians soon became, and remain, a majority on the island, their own linguistic fragmentation and alienation from the English- and French-speaking white elite led them to take up Mauritian creole as their main lingua franca. English and French have long enjoyed greater social status and dominated government, business, education, and the media, but Mauritian creole’s popularity in most informal domains has persisted. (…) The Mauritian government began supporting an orthographic reform in 2011, with a system that generally follows French, but eliminates silent letters and reduces the number of different ways in which the same sound can be written. This was codified in the Lortograf Kreol Morisien (2011) and used in the Gramer Kreol Morisien (2012) as well. It has become standard upon its adoption by the second edition of the Diksioner Morisien (which previously had been spelled as the Diksyoner Morisyen).[4]

I remember having had the opportunity to buy two albums from the adventures of Tintin and Snowy, which Mauritian writer Shenaz Patel translated in Creole. Seeing the Mauritian Creole starting to have its place, not only through the Mauritian sega, but within also the educational sector and Mauritian literature, should have been a pride for us. But yet, despite the efforts made to have the Mauritian Creole language accepted as a part of our local culture instead of an informal language, the Mauritian population still remains very reluctant regarding the use of Creole within families. If I take example on myself, neither my son, nor his elder cousin (my husband’s brother’s son) are allowed to speak Creole in society nor within the family background, even though in both my family and my husband’s family, Creole was always the only language spoken, since according to our elders, they wanted the new generation of children arising to be affluent in both English and French, since those two languages represent the symbol of the well educated Mauritian citizen. Imagine, from that point, my in-laws’ pride when they hear my husband’s nephew speaking French and my son speaking English 😀

m3

The Oriental language in Mauritius

As I mentioned before, there are several oriental dialects spoken in Mauritius, but which is intern to each community existing in the country: Mandarin and Cantonese by the Sino-Mauritian community, Urdu by the Muslim community, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Marathi within the Hindu community. I will not refer to the extract of that document anymore, but as a Mauritian, I am really stunned seeing that each Asian community learns its own community and ancestral language at school, and that there is no openness of language exchanges between each community. To refer first to the learning of the native language, there is something that I really don’t understand, when I see how the Indian dialects are taught at school: Tamil taught for the Tamil-speaking community, Telugu taught for the Telugu-speaking community, Marathi taught for the Marathi-speaking community, absence of Gujarati and Punjabi learning though there is a minority of Gujarati originated Mauritians in the country, Urdu learning only within the Muslim community… And to crown the whole thing, Hindi taught to the… Bihari community! And not its local dialect Bhojpuri, which is put at the same level as the other dialects in Mauritius! Now, to recapitulate, I don’t understand why there is no Gujarati nor Punjabi taught in Mauritius. There is a small community of Gujarati Hindus in Mauritius, and I know a few of them though they are rare. I also saw some Punjabi people walking in the streets and who were from Mauritius as well. They exist, so why are they deprived from learning Gujarati and Punjabi, and why did those two minorities accept that discrimination passively? Regarding the Urdu language, since it’s derived from Arabic, it’s especially taught within the Muslim community of Mauritius only! How could it be that a language spoken should have a link with the religion? That’s ridiculous! The Holy Bible and the Holy Quran, for example, have been translated in so many languages of the world, including Tamil, Mandarin, and who knows especially for the Holy Bible, maybe also in Arabic in some countries. How is it then that the Holy Scriptures in the Bhagavat Gita and the Ramayana are purely in Sanskrit only and not translated in English for better knowledge of it by non Hindus or non-Hindi speaking people, but instead are re-interpreted in English and French in books written by English-writing and French-writing authors? Finally, the best of all: The underestimation of the Bhojpuri language, which is the local dialect taught in the region of Bihar, where so many Indo-Mauritians proclaim to be originated from… but instead, they learn HINDI at school! Why? Wouldn’t it be better that all the Indian Mauritians learn Hindi as the basic Indian language, and then their own regional dialect in second position, including Gujarati, Punjabi and Bhojpuri? I am very sad to see how the Bhojpuri language has been placed at the same low position as the Creole language in Mauritius, as well as the deprivation of the Bihari culture. The Tamil people included some festivals such as the Thaipoosam Cavadee dedicated to Lord Muruga, one of Lord Shiva’s sons. The Telugu people included the Ugadi festival, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Marathi people included Gudi Padwa and Ganesh Chathurti, which are typical Marathi celebrations, one of them being dedicated to the Elephant God Ganesha. But where is the true Bihari culture, apart the Bhojpuri songs in Mauritius? All I see are global Hindu festivals celebrated by the Bihari… But not purely Bihari religious festivals nor cultural festivals. See for example that article recapitulating the main festivals celebrated in Bihar. Though most of the festivals celebrated there are generally celebrated in whole India, Bihar also has its specific religious celebrations, such as the Bihula, for example, since “Bihula is a prominent festival of eastern Bihar especially famous in Bhagalpur district. There are many myths related to this festival. People pray to goddess Mansa for the welfare of their family.” Regarding the Gujarati and Punjabi minorities I am sad I couldn’t retrieve anything about them in my researches. That is really sad since they are very close to their traditions, especially songs, dances and wedding celebrations, like as I witnessed when I assisted my neighbors’ children’s weddings, since they were of Gujarati origins. Regarding Punjab, I never saw any Punjabi festivals in Mauritius. But since Indo Mauritians are big fans of Bollywood music and movies, they also fell in love with Punjabi music, especially Banghras, with some Punjabi artists like Yo Yo Honey Singh, Daler Mehndi, Hard Kaur, Bally Sagoo, Sukhbir and so many more, but it stops here. There are no even temples dedicated to the Sikh Guru Nanak for that minority and no one seems even to wander about the existence of that minority in Mauritius. Secondly… Okay, I will mention it, but as the conclusion of my blog post instead.

008092014145216000000ja2800p072_2

CONCLUSION

It’s very sad that each community jealously preserves its culture and ancestral dialect instead of sharing it with other communities, and that is also one of the main reasons why Mauritius still remains prisoner of its chains of Communautarism: I am myself a mixed girl with Afro-Creole, Indian and maybe European origins in my blood. I have been taught, while following the French Curriculum, not only to learn French and English, but also another European language and I chose German. Nonetheless, at school you had German, Spanish, Latin, Russian and Afrikaans which were among the languages  you could learn there and I found that wonderful, especially for the Latin as a classical language. So, if a French school proposed so many languages, including a classical one and an African one, though Afrikaans was considered as a torture language during Apartheid (maybe the school ignores about it and that was why maybe they also proposed it), then why don’t all the Mauritian schools propose ALL the languages to be taught by ALL Mauritians together with English and French… and even include the Mauritian Creole language? That is what I will never agree about… Language is a way of opening your ways to the rest of the world, and if Mauritians only keep on focusing on English, French, Creole and their own community’s dialect, how do they want Communautarism to stop? That’s the question!!! It’s easy for Mauritians to learn new European languages or African dialects, but why don’t they proceed the same with all the actually existing dialects in their own country, which could maybe contribute widely into reducing the communautarism in Mauritius? As a mixed girl, if the opportunity was given to me to do it and if I had the capacities to do it, I would have done it, starting with Hindi as my ancestral patriarchal language before knowing more about Bhojpuri from my Bihari origins and other existing dialects… Including Urdu. My son may perhaps learn Arabic at school and if I need to take some basic Arabic tuition too in UAE, I am ready to do it, not only to help him in his homework but also for my own personal knowledge of knowing a brand new language. Finally, if the chance was given to me to even learn Mandarin and Cantonese too, I would have done it. I am for cultural and social diversity, and one of the basics of that diversity is the diversity of linguistic knowledge. And that conclusion is the final answer to my compatriot’s multiple choice question, though I first answered that I would choose English and French for literature, and Creole only to hang out. I was wrong to reply too quickly since I felt his question required a constructive answer… And I hope I have been convincing enough 🙂

So, before foolishly singing the lyrics of the Mauritian National Anthem “As one people, as one nation, in peace, justice and liberty”, I invite all Mauritian people to meditate on that blog post and reconsider the image of the country.

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Eve: Remembering its values through Ancient Times and a short Catholic tradition called St Sylvester Day

As most of you know it well, everybody celebrates the New Year Eve also known as the St Sylvester day. But has any of you tried to know the link between the New Year Eve and St Sylvester? Frankly speaking, it’s only now that I thought about it and decided to do some researches early on that morning of the 01st January.

1aaa303493b40ecb3d507693c0257162

According to that article, “Little is known about Sylvester’s life. His tenure as pope took place during the reign of the Roman emperorConstantine I. Legend claims that Sylvester played an active role in the conversion of Constantine to Christianity, buthistorians reject this tale. As Pope Sylvester witnessed the divisions between Christians caused by the rise ofArianism, a doctrine concerning the nature of Christ, he sent two representatives to the Council of Nicea. Convenedby Emperor Constantine, the Council debated and rejected Arianism. His feast day was established in 1227 by PopeGregory IX. At least one writer has suggested that his feast day was placed on December 31 for symbolic reasons.Just as December 31 ushers in a new year, so, too, did the conversion of the emperor Constantine usher in a newepoch in the history of Christianity.

daily-life-in-mesopotamia-12-728

But what should  be more interesting to know is about the New Year Eve History itself. In an article retracing the history of the New Year Eve, it’s a phenomenon which appeared 2000 years BC whereas the 01st January celebration appears only as a new phenomenon: “The celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March. A variety of other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice

roman-calendar

There are several versions of the New Year celebration quoted in that article, but the most prominent one is about when Julius Caesar included the 01st January as the first day of the year. I was amazed to read that according to the ancient Roman Calendar before Julius Caesar’s decision, the years were made of only 10 months, starting as from the 01st of March. Then, as per that extract regarding the insertion of January the 01st, “In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new, solar-based calendar that was a vast improvement on the ancient Roman calendar, which was a lunar system that had become wildly inaccurate over the years. The Julian calendar decreed that the new year would occur with January 1, and within the Roman world, January 1 became the consistently observed start of the new year.” The 01st January celebration though, was abolished during the Middle Ages, since it was being considered as a Pagan and Unchristian celebration, and the New Year celebration then coincided together with the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th December. But little by little, the tradition was restored and adapted through the years as a celebration separated from Christmas, by the Gregorian Calendar.

cac-nen-van-minh-co-dai-don-nam-moi-nhu-the-nao

But now, another question that I am asking myself also while writing those words: Was New Year eve celebrated in Ancient times? The answer is a medley of Yes and No. Yes, it was celebrated in Ancient times, but not in the same way as we celebrate it today, with the traditional firecrackers, huge parties until late in the night at home, in restaurants or in the streets, good food, alcohol, etc. Here is an extract of this article showing what the celebration of the New Year represents in some of the Ancient times, especially in the Babylonian era: “The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days. In addition to the new year, Atiku celebrated the mythical victory of the Babylonian sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat and served an important political purpose: It was during this time that a new king was crowned or that the current ruler’s divine mandate was symbolically renewed.” And I have seen some pictures, while looking for an illustration for my blog post, revealing that the Akitu is still celebrated in some parts of the world as per demonstrated in that article.

tromaktiko6-300x176

happy-saturnalia

But in some other parts of the world, the New Year celebration was made in different ways, either for religious purposes or as a pagan celebration, at the example of Ancient Greece and Ancient Roman Times, which were two contrasting ways of celebrating the New Year. According to that article, “In Athens, however, there was an epigraph found reading of a religious ceremony that used to take place on the beginning of the New Year, or better said on the last day of the outgoing year, which involved only a small number of people. The celebration was a sacrifice of the outgoing officials to Zeus the Savior and Athena the Savior, which aimed at ensuring the blessings and favor of the two gods for the coming new year. It was not until ancient Roman times and while Rome grew in power, that the New Year festivities began to become extremely popular. The celebration known as the Saturnalia, a time of revelings, drinking bouts, orgies and human sacrifice in honor of god Saturn, was instituted as the festival of January 1st by Julius Caesar in 46BC upon deciding to adopt the Julian calendar. The popularity of the celebration was spread in all corners of the Roman Empire and continued with minor local and time alterations to integrate in the customs of all peoples within the Empire’s boundaries, including ancient Greece.

newyearinspiration-4

Now, you will find strange why I am making a history of the New Year Eve among Ancient times with the way we are celebrating it, won’t you? Did you see the picture I have inserted above that paragraph in my blog post with that quote from Mark Twain, where you do the good resolutions and after one week, send them back to hell? The way I demonstrated the history of New Year during the Ancient Times is to show you that nowadays the humanity is celebrating the New Year mostly based on the Julian Calendar adapted by Julius Caesar, and also on the Ancient Roman Empire tradition made with revelations, orgies, human sacrifices to the God Saturn, etc. In Mauritius, the tradition of animal sacrifice to celebrate the New Year still exists in several Hindu Families, where on the 02nd January, they make an animal sacrifice as a yearly promise by killing a goat and after that, preparing the goat in some special meals. That tradition is more and more lost within the years according to my personal observations as an urban Mauritian, but is still practiced within rural Hindu families of the country, who kept their traditions in the total respect. The orgies, revelations, alcohol consumption in the Roman Era are also adapted not only in Mauritius but even worldwide in several parts of the world except in Muslim countries, where public alcohol consumption is forbidden. Unfortunately, what is sad is when you see how partying heavily for the New Year brings the population into some deceitful consequences: Lots of accidents in the streets mostly caused by huge alcohol consumption, crimes, fights between people partying during revelations made again under influence of alcohol, etc. Alcohol being the worst enemy for the New Year party, during which there are no limits imposed since it’s the very last day of the year.

images

But the most prominent thought I had since the New Year Eve 2016 was about the importance of wishing Happy New Year. Why to wish Happy New Year? What is the need to make some new resolutions for the forthcoming new Year, for afterwards forgetting them and going back into our old bad habits? What is the need of wishing Happy New Year to everyone, including the ones whom you blame and dislike, or those who are your worst enemies, for after this starting again to blame them for the rest of the year? Personally, even though I wished Happy New Year to some of my in-laws, to my husband, to my son and to my LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Google+ contacts, personally I am very pessimistic when it comes on the importance of the New Year wishes, which I find personally useless and hypocrite, since they have no meaning. I was captivated by an extract of that article about the meaning of Happy New Year. The first paragraph from Albert Einstein captivated me the most: “When Albert Einstein’s good friend Michele Besso died in 1955, just a few weeks before Einstein’s own death, Einstein wrote a letter to Besso’s family in which he put forward a scientist’s consolation: “This is not important. For us who are convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent.” The idea that time is an illusion is an old one, predating any Times Square ball drop or champagne celebrations. It reaches back to the days of Heraclitus and Parmenides, pre-Socratic thinkers who are staples of introductory philosophy courses. Heraclitus argued that the primary feature of the universe is that it is always changing. Parmenides, foreshadowing Einstein, countered by suggesting that there was no such thing as change. Put into modern language, Parmenides believed the universe is the set of all moments at once. The entire history of the universe simply is.” Personally, despite being religious, I fully agree with that Cartesian thesis and I disagree on wishing Happy New Year, because the cycle is still the same: people changing for the better of the worse. People taking birth and people dying. People loving and people hating. The same circus of life always going on and on. Yesterday for New Year eve, since we had a very awful New Year eve celebrated as per what I related in my previous blog post, I mentioned to my husband about the hypocrisy behind the New Year wishes. My husband replied me the sentence that could change perhaps a lot of things in the world: “The New Year resolutions are not bad. But it’s us, the humans, who are bad in general, and who make everything to turn the good New Year resolutions into unlimited deceptions and failures”. There again, my husband was right. And here is the extract of that same article, which resumes it all: 

There is, perhaps, a judicious middle position between insisting on the centrality of time and denying its existence. Something can be real—actually existing, not merely illusory—and yet not be fundamental. Scientists used to think that heat, for example, was a fluidlike substance, called “caloric,” that flowed from hot objects to colder ones. These days we know better: Heat is simply the random motions of the atoms and molecules out of which objects are made. Heat is still real, but it’s been explained at a deeper level. It emerges out of a more comprehensive understanding.

Perhaps time is like that. Someday, when the ultimate laws of physics are in our grasp, we may discover that the notion of time isn’t actually essential. Time might instead emerge to play an important role in the macroscopic world of our experience, even if it is nowhere to be found in the final Theory of Everything.

In that case, I would have no trouble saying that time is “real.” I know what it means to grow older or to celebrate an anniversary whether or not time is “fundamental.” And either way, I can still wish people a Happy New Year in good conscience

So before you think about sending your New Year wishes to other people and making some good resolutions for the New Year, think about it several times before planning them, because Happy New Year wishes and resolutions is something really powerful, but which should come from the heart and be sincere. If it’s so, then maybe we can contribute into making the world much better by doing our own part of efforts and being sincere to the ones whom we wish Happy New Year to, and to keep our promises on all the good resolutions we did for the forthcoming New Year.

So on that concluding note, Happy New Year 2017 to you all 🙂

The Big Social Dilemma about Hindu womanhood in Mauritius and India

This morning, since I chose to have a relaxing day after having an almost sleepless night after a long and hardworking day at home with lots of food to cook, lots of house chores to deal with and so many reproaches I accumulated with my husband for silly matters, I seized the opportunity to watch an interesting Hindi Short Movie, “Teaspoon“.

img-teaspoon-award-winning-hindi-short-film-2015-by-aban-bharuch-463

The cover image of the movie says it all, showing a tearful housewife who was crying out of her nerves because she was fed up. The story, which is in Hindi language but translated in English, relates the life of Kavita, a housewife whose life is balanced between her house chores, her cooking, her husband who works in an Insurance company but who needs to travel all the time, and her sick father-in-law who is sick and bedridden, and who always calls for his daughter-in-law’s assistance by hitting a teaspoon with the wooden bed or with a porcelain cup next to him. One evening, during dinner time, Kavita was talking to her husband Rajiv and wanted to go somewhere for a short holiday, but within the condition that her father-in-law would be placed in a home temporarily until they come back. But Rajiv categorically refuses that his father is placed in a home, which he estimates as costly, and prefers that he stays at home under his wife’s supervision. The days go by and Kavita’s father-in-law is becoming more and more exigent by asking after her through his teaspoon. The irony in all that is that he teases Kavita only when Rajiv is away from home, but doesn’t bother her when Rajiv is back home. Maybe because he knows that Kavita is busy with Rajiv… or that he pretends to act smart with her only to please his son? Only God knows! But the more time goes by, the more Kavita suffers from that situation since she feels abused by her father-in-law and completely misunderstood by Rajiv, who defends his father more than he does for his wife, who does everything for him and even for his father. Also, further to a huge fight between Kavita and Rajiv during dinner one evening, the morning after, Rajiv rushes to work without having his breakfast, since he doesn’t want to stay at home to avoid another fight with Kavita, since he cannot stand to fight against her each time she tries to complain with him about how his father acts towards her in and out of Rajiv’s presence. On that same morning, Kavita avoids her father-in-law during almost all the day, trying to cope with her other activities and with her work from home… Until at a moment, when her father-in-law asks her again for assistance, her nerves let go and she kills her father-in-law by accident by stifling him on the face with his pillow! When Kavita realizes what she did, she is under shock, and during the funeral ceremony during which everyone is quiet, she provokes noises in front of everyone by heavily bursting in tears, and she keeps on crying every day in presence of her husband. Rajiv, who doesn’t understand the strangeness of Kavita’s behaviour, asks her to stop that comedy since, according to him, she shouldn’t have cried so heavily since his father represented a burden for her and since she wanted to get rid of him for a couple of days by sending him in a home while they would go on holidays. Kavita wanted to tell the truth about what she did to her father-in-law, but she lacked courage and then sentenced to silence. Her husband then asked her to prepare his breakfast quickly otherwise he would be late at office. While she was preparing the chapatis in the kitchen, she suddenly heard again the famous teaspoon, but there was no one in her father-in-law’s bedroom… And then she came to discover that it was Rajiv himself who was making the sound with the teaspoon! Was Rajiv conscious that he was repeating the same gesture as his father? Was Rajiv aware that Kavita killed his father, and is doing again this disturbing sound to take revenge of her? Or was it the father-in-law’s spirit who came to haunt Rajiv to punish Kavita and turn her mad?

2081474151_370c2bbe09

Only God knows about what was in Rajiv’s mind in that movie, and that movie inspired me because it was exactly the same type of situation I have been facing recently. We are actually renting a fully furnished apartment in Seychelles. But as I related to you in my blog post “Too Much of Heaven Can Bring You Underground“, where I mentioned about some serious problems my husband had to face because of the landlord of another house we were renting before in the North of the country, I have to be very precautions on the way I need to keep the apartment clean. And on that day, I had a lot of food to cook since the day after we are used to fasting by only eating vegetarian food, I had some deep cleaning to do in the whole place since after only two days, the apartment turned dirty and dusty again, and I had a lot of laundry to do, especially since there were some white tissues which accidentally accumulated red stains after washing, and which I had to restore with some special products I could purchase especially for that in a supermarket in UAE, since those products weren’t available in Seychelles. I could earn a lot of time fortunately since my son was very tired after having waken up so early and then could do a 2-hour nap, but after such a hard day, I was so tired that I was feeling lots of back, feet and shoulder pains during the whole evening and that I was feeling very weak. But what pricked me was that, despite all the efforts that I did for all those chores, my husband kept on yelling in the house for some nasty details and each time our little one was misbehaving, without trying to understand that he was in good shape since he could rest for two hours to recuperate, and he even indirectly accused me of lacking discipline when it came on his education! At a moment I was so much fed up that I kept on yelling on my husband to make him shutting his mouth, and I felt completely demotivated and discouraged in front of such arrogance and ingratitude from my husband! Also today, because of that demotivation, I did almost nothing today apart some light chores and looking after my son since he came back from school. And again, my husband, whose mood unfortunately didn’t improve at all, kept on accumulating on me his moral lessons when he noticed some tasks not properly done, or things going wrong with our son, etc. At a moment I couldn’t bear it anymore for having so many moral lessons and reproaches from him, and while I brought the little one to the playroom after his dinner, since there was a playroom in the residential area which was kept open until quite late in the evening, my nerves went on and I heavily burst in tears, exactly in the same situation in which Kavita was retrieving herself in “Teaspoon”. I even have the sensation that, though my husband pretends that he understands me, in reality it’s not the case at all and I felt that I retrieved myself in front of a brick of wall exactly like Kavita felt with husband Rajiv.

motherindia

In such a moment of despair, I confided into a common good friend of ours, who is known for being a hardworker, regarding my situation, but she was categorical with me as a purely traditional Hindu woman: We, Hindu women, should be able to bear the burden of the whole world over our shoulders without complaining, even though we are sick, and we should always manage on our own and represent a rock on which our husband and children should always rely on through both thick and thin. She herself was an oppressed daughter-in-law when her children were still small, and had to face the burden of being always isolated by her mother-in-law and her sisters-in-law, and she even never had any encouragement nor support from her husband during those moments of struggles. But contrary to Kavita, she never gave up and kept on persevering without asking anyone’s help, and when her elder daughter got married, it was only at that moment that her husband really started to understand her and to recognize her values and how his own family were completely wrong about his wife. It’s in that purpose that she always encourages me to cultivate that fighting spirit that all Hindu women should always have within them, even in the worst cases. I remember that on my Google+ profile, I once posted a picture of several women who had to participate into a house construction, by carrying tons of heavy bricks over their head, since they were working to earn a living to help their husband with poor working revenue, so that they could fulfill their house hold. And after work, they had to continue working for the children, the family, the food and the housekeeping at home and had very few time to rest, but they never complained and always bore the burden of their responsibilities in silence, at the image of Mother India.

women-wearing-sari-in-mauritius

I never complained so far since there are still a lot of married Indo-Mauritian women like me, who may be either younger or older than me, who continue to cultivate the tradition of being submitted spouses and mothers for their family, and who are always judged through their behaviour and through their clothing, appearance and daily responsibilities each and every day. Even though I have been raised within a half Creole, half Indian family, and that my mother mostly showed the glance of the Creole woman who was authoritarian, lived her womanhood fully despite her responsibilities and who always had her word to say and her presence to impose wherever she was going, I married a Hindu man and had to change myself drastically from the Creole education I received from my mother to the submitted spouse and mother I had to become, since all women and spouses in my family-in-law should always dress and behave respectfully, and be totally submitted under their husbands’ authority, though their husbands give them everything they need materially and financially, and though they have the right, especially during family meetings, to express themselves and to have an identity to show. For years, I haven’t been like that since I was always surrounded with maids around me like in my mother’s place, but when I stepped back into my native Mauritius after having spent the first years of my marriage life in Madagascar, I had to start everything from scratch and learn the hard responsibilities that every Hindu spouse should learn to do. It was very hard because I was always pressurised by my in-laws, and all the time compared to my sister-in-law, who had a child before me and who was more experimented than I was. But what pricked me the most was that during so many years, my in-laws considered her as the perfect daughter-in-law, whereas I have been considered as the incomplete daughter-in-law, which is the reason behind which one day, in a moment of despair after the huge fight I had with my father-in-law and which, I hope, put a final full stop to all those comparisons between us, I wrote “Sleeping Tablets“, a short story ending with suicide… whereas in real life, I am still alive and fighting, contrary to my fictional character Sapna in the story. And in addition to all that, I had no help from my parents, since I was and am still in bad terms with them, like I explained in all my other previous blog posts. But even though I was very harsh and cruel with my father-in-law during that fight, after which he had a very high blood pressure because of me, thing for which I never apologised though I was worried about his state of health (Hell yeah, I can be extremely cruel when I am angry, including against my elders, because when I have my points to defend, I never keep silent!), my father-in-law stopped comparing me with my sister-in-law, not because he understood my situation, how it was frustrating for me and how it made me sick, but rather because he was mostly scared of my overreactions and that he preferred shutting his mouth to avoid another argument with me.

1-indian-adult-woman-housewife-diwali-hanging-lamp-worship-eh8gpj

I don’t complain about the way I am leading my life as a housewife, mother and spouse, and I am very thankful that my husband gives me of everything and that I improved a lot the way I manage my daily responsibilities at home. I am also thankful that despite the struggle, my husband respects the fact that I need to cultivate my passion for literature, creative writing and blogging, since it helps me being better balanced in life and better managing my struggles, frustrations and moments of stress through expressing the voice of my heart through written words. But what I am facing, and what lots of Indo-Mauritians face again, even though the Indo-Mauritian society drastically emancipated through the years, resembles exactly the situation that still so many women face in India, since most of Mauritians have their inheritance within their Indian ancestors’ roots, and since Indo-Mauritians represent about 81% of the Mauritian population. There was another video which I loved watching from Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin, a satiric video regarding rape, where she and another Bollywood star named Juhi Pandey ironically replied to what so many Indian women (and even Mauritian women) face as a critic when they are victims of abuse and rape, “RAPE: It’s Your Fault” which followed the numerous series of sexual assaults which had been filed since the famous 2012 Delhi Gang Rape which savagely shook the Indian society, especially women. In that satiric video, the kind of moral lesson that unfortunately too many women hear, in India like in Mauritius, is that one:

dec16-1-29-650_030315075641

This is exactly the kind of summon that women hear from men to be “respected” in society, and it doesn’t only concerns India but even Mauritius. Even though I have had toxic parents, the kind of education that they gave me was exactly what I obtained as per that picture, and I keep on practising that type of educational manner passively since I married a man with strict manners and am now part of a strict family-in-law who exegeses that every spouse should behave properly, not showing off in public, doing their house chores properly and wearing decent clothes. Myself, I do it every day, though I still have that rebellious voice within me which speaks when it has to, and though there is nonetheless a certain freedom of expression between me and my husband, even though there are still so many things that I keep untold and that I prefer writing in my blog instead. I even remember having watched a sort of short film that a good friend of mine once realised on his Facebook account, where men kept on being accused because of the Delhi gang rape, where he showed also the medal reverse that women aren’t that innocent either because they don’t behave as decently nor as respectively as before, especially since they are more and more caught on cheating, exposing their assets publicly, talking about their sexual life more and more openly with strangers, etc. And, of course, that it’s one of the reasons why they attract men to rape them… Another type of classical male accusation that I have heard that women are mostly responsible of their own rapes, which has nonetheless a part of truth especially on cheating. I remember having had so many male friends who faced hard heart breaks and relationship endings, since their girlfriends preferred lust and money with rich and wealthy men than true love they could receive from my friends, and on that purpose, with the education I have been brainwashed with, I found those girls really cheap and heartless, being myself a woman, and I gave my full support to my male friends.

download-6

But there was a comment which I really loved reading in reply to the short movie “Teaspoon”, which stipulated that, I quote, “Wife should not be treated as a machine. A machine does not need any appreciation for the work it does. But, the wife expects some appreciation for the work she does. For that matter, even husband likes if he is appreciated for the job he does. In this short film, the husband never tries to understand the problem she faces in his absence at home. If he would have appreciated his wife for all the care she takes for his father other than doing house hold work, his wife would have felt happy and such ending would not have taken place. His wife was not bad in nature. Let all the husband learn to appreciate their wife for their contribution in running the family, to have a happy and peaceful family.” That should have been a good response to all what I have written previously, that if women became so bad and cheap, it wasn’t totally their fault, but especially because they had been victim of bad treatments in the past because of men, and mostly after having escaped from forceful marriages, at the example of late Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi, who was forced to marry an elder cousin whereas she was still a teenager, or of late Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch, who posted provocative pictures and videos of her years after having escaped a forced marriage, before she was killed by her brother “in honor for the family”! I also invite you to pay attention to Kalki Koechlin’s poem “Dear Men“, which perfectly depicts on how men are hypocrite towards women, and dare claiming once per year the International Women’s Day, and which is a strong slap about disrespect of womanhood. And finally regarding the rapists, I found something very interesting on a blog, where there was a review about the short video “RAPE: It’s Your Fault”, the kind of message that women dream men should read carefully so that they take conscious that it’s unfair of putting 90% of the blame over women, and only 10% on men:

prevent-sexual-assault2-1

But after all what I wrote previously, as per whatever a good friend of mine, Indian author Pratap DivyeshPratap Divyesh, wrote in his book “A Responsible Confession“, Pratap perfectly depicts who should be blamed in the Delhi Gang Rape… I started reading the book, and the answer I obtained was that all started with OURSELVES… That before blaming the victim for having gone out late, before blaming the rapist for his irresponsible and monstrous action against an innocent girl, we should first have a look at our inner self before judging anyone… And he was right about it. It’s not the man or the woman who is responsible of the rape… It all starts with our minds first. And the extract of that article perfectly concludes about who is guilty in rape and we will see that both sexes are concerned:

As per my consideration the responsibility lies equally between both sexes because without a small mislead both sexes cannot cross the limits. In western countries there is a lot of reports on “Date Rape”which is a girl getting raped when she is going for a dating with a guy. If we analyse the situation there may be a little clue of what triggered the Rape situation and what may have been done to avoid that. In India this is now becoming a big problem since we have reports on this type of rape. In this both victim and the accused is known to each other. The situation created the problem.

If the girl is little bit cautious about her surroundings this may not have happened. If the guy is little cautious about the values of the friendship/love of that Girl then this may have been avoided. Recently there was a report which involves Rakhi  Sawant and popular pop singer. When we saw the pictures of Rakhi Sawant it was just a piece of cloth which was tied just by two knots near her breast. If we untie the knots then her dress will fall and she will be undressed. This kind of dresses will change a good mind to bad. We must know what to wear where. Yes there may be a little conditioned freedom is needed when we go to public because not all eyes and minds are same.

The true Diwali Starts within our Hearts and Souls… before being celebrated at Home!

images-3

I was very tired after such a hectic day on Sunday, and even yesterday, since my son didn’t resume school back after his mid-term holidays, because of the bad weather outside and due to some health complications, which made that I had to look after him and at the same time catch back a lot of delayed chores and prepare dinner, but I didn’t want to fall asleep without writing that blog post, which I could publish this morning only due to network problems I occurred last night because of slow-down of Internet connection. Last Sunday was a very special day: It was Diwali Day.

images-2

For those who never heard about Diwali, in the Hindu religion, it commemorates the return of Lord Rama from Lanka, after he defeated the King Demon Ravana, who kept Lord Rama’s wife Sita prisoner after having trapped and kidnapped her from her home, and saved the life of His beloved wife Sita. When Lord Rama returns to his homeland together with His wife Sita, He is welcomed by all his devotees with oil lamps called Diyas, which they illuminate all along His footsteps together with flowers to welcome Him and to celebrate His victory. Diwali is also the opportunity for Hindus to celebrate Goddess Laxmi, who is the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, whom they thank during that special occasion for all the good luck She has been bringing into Hindu families all over the past year, and also the Elephant God Ganesha, who is the Son of Lord Shiva and His wife Parvati and who represents the God who removes all obstacles, and Goddess Saraswati, who is the Goddess of Arts and Knowledge and spouse of the Creator God Brahma. On Diwali day, in India, in Mauritius like in every Hindu families, a couple of days before Diwali starts, families deep clean their houses, buy a new broom, a new cooking recipient, some new clothes and jewels for the occasion and at times start preparing some sweet cakes, since the varieties are numerous and that some of them need a long time of preparation. On Diwali morning, spouses keep on preparing some cakes and offer those cakes with the Holy Prashads (offers to God during prayer) to Laxmi Maa, Saraswati Maa, Lord Ganesha and also to Lord Rama and His Beloved wife Sita before packing the cakes and distributing them with all their family members, friends and loved ones before 06.00.pm, wearing their new clothes and jewels for that special occasion. The rest of the cakes that they don’t have time to distribute, they give them during the day after, since they need to be back at home before 06.00.pm to light on all the oil lamps (Diyas) before that time, which is the time, according to the Hindu ritual, where Goddess Laxmi enters the house of the family to bring Her holy blessings in the house. Diwali represents a very festive day, since after the rituals, youngsters and adults have a lot of fun with sparkles and firecrackers, folkloric songs and dances until late in the night.

download-4

But through the experience that I had yesterday, the Diwali that I celebrated together with my little family was very different. We are still settled in the Seychelles all alone, since my son goes to school there and that my husband still works there. On Saturday, my son and my husband went for shopping to buy all the necessary stuffs for celebrating Diwali, whereas I stayed at home to proceed with a deep cleaning of the house. But since we were staying in an apartment that we were renting only temporarily, we didn’t buy any new broom nor recipient, but we only lit a new oil lamp at night for the evening prayer. On Sunday, my husband and I woke up very early to have shower, to perform our usual morning prayers and then, after a quick breakfast, I tidied the kitchen and started preparing the sweet cakes, while my husband was busy finishing an urgent work. To be honest, I have very few experience in cooking Indian sweet cakes, since it was only the second time in my life that I experienced cooking them on my own, and later I will explain you why. I first wanted to cook some Rasgoolahs, which are some little round cakes made with milk powder, which you should fry in hot cooking oil before rubbing them with a homemade cardamom syrup. Unfortunately, since we have an electric oven which heats too much, my Rasgoolahs got burnt and I had to throw all of them in the dustbin 😦 Furthermore, I tried another type of cakes, the Nankatais, which are some vegetarian cookies made with corn semolina. They were not too bad but they didn’t have the original shapes that Nankatais have in general, and rather looked like some ordinary cookies, but they were presentable and, according to my husband and to my son who enjoyed them to the core, they were delicious 🙂 So happy for them! After the Nankatais, I tried some Almond Barfis. Barfis are some cakes made with liquid and powder milk, sugar, cardamom powder and almond powder, which should have a thick texture after the Barfi paste gets colder and is then cut into some little diamond shape cakes. I tried the Barfi cakes and even included some green food colour in it to give it a more attractive presentation. However, since the Barfi didn’t have enough time to get colder due to the lack of time, the paste was very sticky when I tried to cut off the diamond shaped cakes! The taste was good though, but the presentation was a true disaster, and I learnt trough that catastrophe that next time, I shall prepare it the day before, so that the texture gets more firm. Finally I ended with Gulab Jamun, a sort of oval shape cake which resembles the Rasgoolah, but with a thicker texture since you add more flour in it. But when I tried the oval shape, I had difficulties to cook it because of the overheating oven, also I had to give the Gulab Jamun a round shape for a better cooking, and I may say I succeeded them. After the cakes were over, we gifted each type of cakes in front of our Deities which we regularly pray before distributing them with some of our neighbours and friends before lighting the Diyas at 06.00.pm. Contrary to the previous years, we only had two Diyas, one in our Prayer room, and one in our kitchen, since the kitchen represents the heart of Hindu homes, like all homes in general. We also got in touch with our relatives and close friends to share the Diwali wishes, looked after our young son, since he would resume school the day after, and my husband prepared a delicious carrot, potato and leak soup for dinner. And here I am, while my husband and my son are deep asleep, sharing you how my Diwali went on… And why I chose such a title to write my blog today.

diwali

Before I share with you my personal experience, I have had the pleasure reading a recent post from one of my compatriots, where he expressed his own opinion about Diwali, and I really enjoyed that opinion because what he wrote in his post was completely right and summarises exactly what I have myself been experiencing before. He mentioned in his post exactly the way Mauritians celebrate Diwali nowadays: with hypocrisy and by showing off what they have. With the huge economical progress, lots of Mauritians tend to show off their wealth by building big houses, buying the latest high-tech products, the most expensive car, etc. But the medal reverse behind so much wealth is completely different and proves that the Mauritian society is based upon the principle that all what glitters isn’t true gold. To appear so much fortunate, Mauritians have a lot of debts since they need to contract loans with their banks or insurances, which they struggle to reimburse in return. There are some Mauritians coming from affluent families or of affluent personalities, who are protected by some religious communities, by freemasonry or who don’t even hesitate to call after sorcerers to be able to influence people through their fortune and words. There are some dealers who operate illegally in prostitution, child labour, drugs and all sorts of illicit businesses in exchange of dirty money. There are some corrupted people who either bribe their suppliers or superiors in exchange of money despite the active intervention of the ICAC in Mauritius to obtain some favours they don’t deserve. And it’s most of them who celebrate Diwali with so much extravaganza for the pleasure of showing off and without realising they are mocking Goddess Laxmi, and this without any shame nor remorse! And those same people expect that with so many lights decorating their houses, with huge Laxmi poojas celebrated in their houses, so many cakes shared with hypocrite Happy Diwali wishes to people they criticise, envy and dislike in reality, Laxmi Maa will step into their houses? And how about She shows Her anger by removing all the luck and wealth Her fake devotees accumulated for years to punish them,will they accept their fault or reject the wrong on others… including on Laxmi Maa?

main-qimg-cdb26eaf14b11b774df12e1ed9db9fe3-c

Regarding my own experience on Diwali, yes, I admit that I have also experienced Diwali in total ignorance and hypocrisy, but in a totally different concept. As I have mentioned in some of my posts, before marriage, I followed my parents’ religious steps mostly based on Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism and Christianity, before embracing Hinduism, though I kept on practising a few Catholic rituals after marriage, since my husband also praised Mother Mary regularly. I gave more details about that experience when I wrote about the way I took back the Hindu religion that my father rejected against his family’s approval. Since my father changed his religious orientation totally, as an ex-Hindu, he never felt the necessity to explain me the true meaning of Diwali, since myself I was christened Roman Catholic after I was born. However, for the pleasure of celebrating Diwali and being part of the Diwali festive mood, we enjoyed ourselves by buying Indian sweets and Diwali carton boxes, sharing the cakes and preparing the boxes equitably before sharing the cakes with my paternal relatives, and lightning some electric lamps… and even some Diyas! What was funny was that even though we were not following Hinduism, my father allowed that we would light Diyas, but he never explained me the meaning of the Diya… And myself, since I was so naive and ignorant, it never came into my mind to ask my father to explain me about the meaning of the Diya, nor about the difference between lightning a Diya and lightning some electric lamps. It’s through the news on television that I came to know about the meaning of the Diya and the information I obtained about its meaning was more than enough for my general, cultural and religious knowledge about Hinduism, since I wasn’t a Hindu devotee before marriage. After marriage, I embraced Hinduism, but yet, I admit that I had so much things to learn about Hinduism. My paternal family members were Hindus for the most of them, but none of them taught me about Hinduism, in one hand because my parents would never allow them to influence me on Hinduism because of my Christianity, in another hand because myself I was linked to Christianity and never wanted to betray my religion, which was the one in which my parents placed me since I was born. Things drastically changed after marriage, since, like I described in the post regarding my conversion to Hinduism, which I mentioned previously in that paragraph, I never expected that one day, I would be taught about the importance for me to embrace Hinduism after marriage. At first though, since I had no one to really explain me the basics that I was supposed to know, I ignored about the importance for me, as a spouse in a Hindu couple, to prepare the Diwali sweet cakes with my own hands by lightning myself the oven with my hands. I have been living in Madagascar from 2005 till 2009 and then had to leave Madagascar in emergency with my husband because of the socio-political crisis of 2009 which shook the country and forced so many expatriates to leave the country for safety reasons. But during all the time I was settled there, we had a Malagasy maid who used to prepare all our meals and who had a very strong experience in Pakistani cuisine, which mostly was alike Indian cuisine, at the exception of a few variants. Even Pakistani cuisine included Diwali sweets… But the difference was that Pakistani sweets all included eggs among the main ingredients, whereas Indian sweets excluded eggs, which was considered as an animal product as per Hinduism and wasn’t allowed to be used for cooking Indian sweets, especially since those sweets are distributed after prayer sessions with Hindu priests and during Diwali celebration and prayers, and also should be purely vegetarian sweets, by respect for the religion which didn’t authorise any animal product as offerings. Before marriage, my husband, who was already settled in Madagascar, then completely ignored that the Malagasy maid included eggs in the Diwali cakes she prepared for being distributed by my husband to his compatriots and colleagues, until one day, my mother-in-law, who was on holidays at his place in Madagascar, noticed that our maid included eggs and then forbid the maid using eggs again, explaining her as best as she could the meaning behind it, and the maid then stopped using eggs. Since it was the maid who used to prepare the cakes, and since she was already a good cook, I never cared about learning how to prepare food, and I admit it, since i came from a rich family where I had maids all the time to serve me, I was a spoilt child and I was never interested into learning the rules of being a good and independent housewife, until we had to leave Madagascar and that I retrieved myself on my own, and then forced to learn everything from scratch! For Diwali 2009, since we were living at my in-laws’ place, and 2013, during which we were on holidays at my in-laws’ place one year after our settlement in Seychelles, since my in-laws were preparing all the cakes and that we were mostly busy with our young son, I didn’t cook one single Diwali cake. For Diwali 2010 to 2012 that we celebrated in Mauritius, during which we were renting my husband’s uncle’s house until we would obtain our own house in January 2013, we could manage with some Rasgoolah, but we even ordered some cakes outdoors to complete what we cooked, but some of my in-laws, especially my sister-in-law, who was known to be always competitive with me since we know each other, was all the time teasing me ironically because of that, and it really pricked me though I never replied her anything to her provocations. But for the last three Diwalis that we celebrated in Seychelles from 2014 to 2016, we had to manage on our own. In 2014, my husband helped me a lot, whereas the two other years, since he was at work and our son at school in 2015, and since my husband was very busy with an emergency task this year, I had to manage on my own. I won’t say that my cakes were brilliant, but one thing was sure, I did my very best and I was proud that I could try to follow the Hindu tradition for Diwali as a true Hindu spouse after so many years of struggle and wrong experience choices. I understood that, as a Hindu spouse, for Diwali, it was of my duty, as a Laxmi in my family and in the home that I represent together with my husband and my child, it was MY duty to light the fire from MY oven, in MY kitchen, in MY home. It was MY duty to bake the cakes with MY efforts and own hands. It was finally MY duty to be the first person in the family to light the oil lamp for Diwali to welcome Laxmi Maa. It WAS NOT the Malagasy maid’s hands which counted to light the oven and prepare the cakes, though she did it in our house. It WAS NOT my mother-in-law to light her oven in her kitchen and to prepare the cakes. Because the efforts for those cakes and prayers were coming from OTHER PEOPLE, and it was THOSE PEOPLE who were harvesting the prosperity from Laxmi Maa, and NOT the three of us, since the efforts didn’t come from ME, the Hindu Housewife.

alone-but-not-lonely

However, this year, we were away from my in-laws, from our native country and from my family. People were pitying us because of that, thinking that we were sad for being alone, but it wasn’t true, at least for me personally. Yes, it’s true that I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely. I wasn’t lonely since after so many struggles I had been experiencing with my own family, and which I had been sharing in several of my previous blog posts, I totally eliminated my biological family from my life, and that I came to understand, after so many difficulties, that there was no worth for me to have a biological family with heartless, fake, hypocrite and hurtful and hateful feelings towards me. I wasn’t lonely, since I eliminated a lot of people among even my in-laws, who deceived me a lot through their behaviour towards me and the numerous critics and gossips I had been victim of since I entered my family-in-law and embraced their name, rites and rituals. Among those in-laws, I especially kept grudge against my father-in-law, who prefers my other sister-in-law than me, since she is the one who completes him the best, and I also keep grudge against my sister-in-law herself since she always keeps on competing with me since I entered the family. And you won’t believe me, but I didn’t even greet them Happy Diwali, since I didn’t want to be hypocrite with anyone this year, and that I preferred keeping silent instead of wishing Happy Diwali hypocritically to people that I dislike and despise. I wasn’t lonely since I moved away from my native country, where I had been unfortunate before and even after marriage and where I only keep bitter memories instead of sweet ones because of my family, most of my in-law, bad school experience during which I was considered a loner and at times was even bullied at school, where I never knew about experiencing a good socio-cultural life, and where unfortunately I made so many bad choices among those I thought would be true friends for me, but who were just illusions, at the exception of very few Mauritian people whom I still cherish a lot, but who made the object of a very selective choice by myself and at times with intervention of my husband. Finally, I wasn’t lonely, like I mentioned before, because I eliminated so many fake friends who turned either strangers or enemies to me through some bitter and unexpected life circumstances. I spent Diwali mostly with my husband and my son, through farewell thoughts shared with some people dear to me but geographically living away from me, through some people in the neighbourhood with whom I have a rather good relationship… and with God above all. But hell yes, I was alone… But I was happy, since I wasn’t lonely.

hqdefault

By the same way, even though I didn’t succeed my cakes, though there were times I panicked under effect of stress and pressure, and at times because my son was mischievous with me in the kitchen, I gave so much punishment to myself to prepare all those cakes, and though at times my husband reproached me drastically when he found that my cakes weren’t good at all, though after those reproaches I wanted to let everything down, sit down and burst in tears, I found back the courage I started to loose to improve my preparations as best as possible, and though the final result wasn’t exactly what was expected, the cakes were tasty and delicious… But unfortunately, it seems that in Seychelles, local people don’t like sweet cakes too much, which means that unfortunately none of the cakes I baked for Diwali were consumed by my husband’s Seychellois colleagues. Only one of his colleagues from South Africa enjoyed the cakes, since he loved tasting new stuffs, but that was all. I was very deceived, and I even interpreted their reaction as pure racism and despise against Indians and Mauritians, which means that I swore to myself to never bake so many cakes next time, if those cakes will finally finish in the dustbin or in a forgotten corner of the kitchen cupboard or fridge. I was very deceived that so much energy and fatigue has been used finally for nothing when it came about sharing. But what consoled me though was that before sharing the cakes, I could perform my prayers in total simplicity and with a sincere heart.

download-5

Finally, during all the times we celebrated Diwali in Seychelles, neither I nor my husband nor our son, except that year at least for our son with new clothes we succeeded buying for him during our latest trip overseas, had the opportunity to wear new clothes and accessories. We appeared in front of God and in front of people with our previous clothes but which were still in good state. We couldn’t even buy  new broom this year to clean the flat we are actually renting, since we are renting it temporarily only, nor a new cooking recipient to cook our cakes for the same reason as the broom. But we succeeded lightning a new Diya that we never used before, and this the day before the Diwali Day. The fact that we could at least light a new Diya this year was the most important for us since we at least succeeded welcoming a new light full of hope and courage in our lives, after so many struggles that we had been facing in our little family and in our marriage life. The way I had to manage on my own most of the Diwali celebration this year, and even last year was difficult, but my husband interpreted that experience as a test, since a true Hindu housewife, since she stands as a Laxmi in a Hindu family, must represent the rock of the family through both thick and thin, and be able to bear both the joyful moments and burdens of life upon her shoulders.

images-4

Myself, through the years since I married, the more years go by, the stronger I feel I am becoming, though I admit I am still very fragile and vulnerable and that I need protection from stronger people than me to succeed in life. But that latest Diwali tested me and taught me some tough lessons: Quality instead of quantity. Sincerity and honesty versus show off and hypocrisy. Finally, the importance of the presence of the light inside our own hearts, souls and auras before spreading it in our houses and prayer rooms, since the first door Laxmi Maa will enter is the inner door to our hearts, souls and auras, and then the doors of our houses and surroundings.

d9f041e7dfdc236f6b52b1ec7e4beec9

So on those words above and as I mentioned in my WhatsApp status, I am wishing Happy Diwali to all my dearest ones, the ones whom I cherish the best and sincerely, but I am not wishing Happy Diwali to those whom I dislike and despise, because they don’t deserve it. However for those same people, who represent my enemies, I wish them that the Light of God penetrates their inner selves and succeeds into cleansing their hearts and souls from all the darkness and shadows making them haunted and miserable, and that they feel the blessing and the welfare of that Light of God within themselves for a positive change, for themselves to start, and then for the rest of the world.

images-5

 

My personal overview about the 4 P’s of Marketing in the Mauritian context

I have just finished replying back to my British-French pal, and I remember that one of the main points on which we discussed recently was about Hotmail’s new look, since a new version recently appeared. According to my friend, here is, translated to you in English, an extract of what he thinks about those renovations for new softwares and hardwares in computer:

All organisms change and update our computers and programs without preventing us, nor asking for our opinion. They don’t even ask us whether we would be interested to change them. They always make us believinv that it’s for “improving the performances”and for “security”, which is completely wrong!

Further on, he explained me that, through his own experience with softwares for a couple of 30 years, he had more problems with newly computer designs, whereas he almost never faced any difficulties with the very first brand new computers… It reminds me of my history and economics tuitions I followed when I was still in college, especially on how durable products in the beginning of the century on how products were more durable in the past, but much more expensive. I retrieved the extract of that article, translated in English through Google Translate, which certifies exactly the same problem that my friend told me about, and that extract is logical for those who think that having a cheap product helps you making more economy, which is completely wrong:

But there is one thing we forget is that these wonderful immortal vacuums were very expensive. My mom found the bill for its Electrolux Z325 purchased in 1976: CHF 648.-, about 1125 Euros current counting inflation of 2%. According to [12], only 50% of households had a vacuum cleaner at the end of 1968; If we extrapolate the price reduction of 30% in 8 years of home appliances (ie 4.5% per year), we find that the cleaners now cost about 7.5 times less than in 1968. As an Electrolux vacuum cleaner now costs in 200 Euros, that of our mothers cost the equivalent of 1,500 Euros today. So what vacuum cleaner is cheaper? The Electrolux 1500 Euros over 25 years either 200 4?

This is a translated version of what I obtained from Google Translate which I presented you previously, but I hope that you understood it too. I have noticed that in Mauritius, people rush a lot in supermarkets, for shopping malls or any hobbies and activities proposed in the country for the holidays, only because they are looking after the price according to the budget that they have for their household. Unfortunately, all the products that they buy are, for the most of them, defectuous products that they need to buy again and again after consumption is over, instead of contenting themselves with a more expensive product which will make them gaining more economy.

I remember that, when I was still student at the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the beginning of the 21st century, in Marketing, I studied the principle of the 4 P’s, which consists of Price, Product, Promotion and Placement, and on which I will give you some examples that they are very complex to adapt within the daily social and professional environment, especially in a country like Mauritius, after I share with you that extract which explains those principles perfectly:

marketing_mix

The Four Ps Model

  • Product – The first of the Four Ps of marketing is product. A product can be either a tangible good or an intangible service that fulfills a need or want of consumers. Whether you sell custom pallets and wood products or provide luxury accommodations, it’s imperative that you have a clear grasp of exactly what your product is and what makes it unique before you can successfully market it.
  • Price – Once a concrete understanding of the product offering is established we can start making some pricing decisions. Price determinations will impact profit margins, supply, demand and marketing strategy. Similar (in concept) products and brands may need to be positioned differently based on varying price points, while price elasticity considerations may influence our next two Ps.
  • Promotion – We’ve got a product and a price now it’s time to promote it. Promotion looks at the many ways marketing agencies disseminate relevant product information to consumers and differentiate a particular product or service. Promotion includes elements like: advertising, public relations, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, video marketing and more. Each touch point must be supported by a well positioned brand to truly maximize return on investment.
  • Place – Often you will hear marketers saying that marketing is about putting the right product, at the right price, at the right place, at the right time. It’s critical then, to evaluate what the ideal locations are to convert potential clients into actual clients. Today, even in situations where the actual transaction doesn’t happen on the web, the initial place potential clients are engaged and converted is online.

image

The politic of price in Mauritius – Food and beverages consumption as the perfect example

The politic of price is the one which appears the most in Mauritius, when it comes on first necessary products like food, beverages, clothing, accessories and on hobbies. As I mentioned before, Mauritians tend to rush wherever supermarkets and shops show promotions and sales, especially when there is flow of stocks. And most of the products that they buy for a cheaper price get damaged easily, create some negative impacts on their health and in their daily use… and also it creates negative impacts in their budget as well. Let’s take an example for food and beverages. Most of the time, people buy stuffs because of the promotion given on the actual price of the product in the market. They do it, either to obtain some special gifts, or they do it because their budget doesn’t allow them to have something better for an expensive price. The result is that, after having consumed those food and beverages products, the unavoidable happens after: people fall sick, and also they have to go to hospital, or to consult a doctor for check-up and for receiving short term or long term treatments. And Mauritius is one of the worst destinations crowded with people suffering with diabetes! Also, the costs get accumulated in their budget: Cost of public transportation for those who have to take a taxi or travel by bus; cost of fuel if they have their own transport to drive; cost of the consultation, treatments and medicines to follow… And above all, so much useless time spent to recover. And if we add all those additional expenses to the cheap food and beverage products that people consume every day, the budget explodes! So what is the need of buying something cheap for consumption, if afterwards it will create such a negative impact on our health and also on our expenses? And why not buying something expensive but efficient today, and which will make us saving money on those additional and also useless procedures to recover our health?

The politic of price on services… Especially when there are some promotional activities organized for tourism

Mauritius is very well known for being varied for its numerous touristic activities and attractions, which are developing more and more to promote tourism and to make of Mauritius one of the best touristic destinations worldwide. They are known to be very expensive, especially since they are high quality services proposed for the tourists, and which unfortunately are avoided by Mauritians themselves because they are too costly. Also, Mauritians can seize the opportunity for enjoying those activities only when there are some promotions shown on local newspapers, on TV or on the Internet. Personally, I already participated into some hotel activities which were cheaper during promotional campaigns for Mauritians, but which were of top quality. Unfortunately, when there are such promotional campaigns, those places are mostly crowdy and very few lucky people succeed into participating in them to have a good day, whereas the other ones have to wait and to queue for long hours until their turn comes up.

political_branding_1_-_copy

The politic of product: From the newly designed high tech products to the good quality products which are inexistent on the market

The politic of product is more complex than the politic of price. You have two kinds of products that Mauritian people are looking for. In one hand, you have a product which is in vogue on the market, and that Mauritian people won’t hesitate to buy. In another hand, but in a rarer case, you have those kind of products which you will never find in the market, nor online, but which requires another kind of marketing by passing through tele-agents, agents or a chain of distribution. Let’s take an example about high tech products. My friend mentioned about the newly laptops and Iphones, who propose some attractive products which may damage easily if an accident occurs, since tactile screens are very delicate and need lots of caring for manipulation. If by accident your screen gets broken, or that you throw some liquid on it while it’s switched on, you will have to bring it to a supplier to repair it. It may take a lot of time to be repaired, and not only you will have to pay for the repair and maintenance of the product, but you will also have to repair for the purchase of some new accessories which will be useful to repair those products. Another kind of product which is rarer, but where the politic of product, this time, is positive, it’s regarding some high quality and durable products which are very expensive, not soldable on the market, and for which you need to pass through an agent of distribution or a chain of distribution. I remember having worked for the account of a chain of distribution, which was selling some high quality pads, which don’t exist on the market, but which had some special virtues on women’s health and comfort during menstruation, compared to other products on the market. I myself bought and tried those products, and they really had a different impact on my health, since I am someone who suffers a lot from menstruating belly pains and high fever. I really felt more comfortable wearing those pads, and was more active and productive in my daily life. But such products are rare, and for this you need to pass through an agent of distribution… and agents aren’t always efficient since they are known to perceive commissions on the product to enrich themselves, and are mostly known as dream sellers when they try to influence people, not only about the product, but also to talk about the product in the aim of making money and becoming more independent. The politics of place and product, then, work hand in hand there, especially in the Mauritian context.

images-12

Promotion and Placement: A complex equation, but which works perfectly together for the politics of Price and Product

When you hear about the politic of Placement, it may automatically come in your mind that we are talking about the attractiveness of the shops and especially of the showcases of the shops as from first sight, the radius of supermarkets and the emplacement of those shops and supermarkets regarding their accessibility to the client. In shopping malls, it’s on that detail that shop owners and managers insist the most to attract their customers, either it may be in Mauritius or overseas. When there are some special promotional sales, some showcases present the products together with some stickers showing price reductions, and there we are following the politic of price. There are also some places, where you have shop owners or managers asking for you to come in their shops, either because there are some affordable prices on their products (especially in fairs like in Mauritius), or because they have some attractive products to show to clients, like in the Gold Souq of Dubai, but which necessitate that you haggle a lot with the suppliers since they will tend to give you some good products but at an expensive price, whereas in reality they don’t want to sell their best products and prefer proposing some cheap products instead. The more you haggle, the more they will come to a point that they will have to look for some more attractive products in their store to satisfy your needs. I remember, while writing those lines, that I have had that similar experience when I went to shop my wedding saree with my mother a decade ago. At first, in the shop, I was proposed some sarees which had very ordinary designs and which looked cheaper. But my mother haggled a lot with the shop sellers since she wanted a good product and not something cheap. After ten minutes of haggling, the shop seller finally found in her stock a very beautiful, heavy and attractive sari, which was very expensive, but of very good quality, even though it was heavy. This is the trick that is mostly found in such placements, because it’s a way for them to attract their customers and to, either making the customers paying immediately if they found the perfect item, or keeping the best product for later for being sold to a more fortunate customer.

download-9

There is another politic of promotion which is also practised, either with a weak politic of placement, or without politics of placement, and which matches the best with the politic of product than the politic of price, the politic that you will never retrieve in open places, but behind open places, which is the concept of network marketing. This type of network marketing exists for high quality shops and products such as the well known Yves Rocher, Avon and even the Tupperware products, which exist in shops and supermarkets, but which are also sold through meetings or door to door with some agents, who perceive some commissions on the products and make you paying more expensive prices than on supermarkets, drugstores and in shops, since those products are different and of better quality compared to the ones retrieved in supermarkets, drugstores and shops. You also have some agents who operate for a specific shop selling products that you will never retrieve in any markets, but only in their specific shops only. Let’s take the example of the Stanhome products. I remember that, when I was still in Mauritius, I used to buy a lot of those products, which were of very high quality for the laundry and for housekeeping, and of course more durable and more expensive. We used to go in Stanhome shops to buy those products, and we even saw some agents taking the products there according to the demand of their clients, to be delivered at home and to allow the agents to perceive a commission on their sales. Same applied for the Aptamil infant milk, which we retrieve in drugstores and in supermarkets, but which are also delivered at home by agents when there is a high demand, and it allows the agent to perceive a commission on the number of items as well.

download-8

The examples I gave you are examples of politic of promotion with weaker placement politic. But now, here are, and this is much rarer, other examples of politic of promotion without placement. Those types of promotion are more discreet, and much rarer, and most of the time criticized for being fraudulous. The first example I will cite is to have a product sold through a chain of distribution, which will allow you at the same time talking about the product and earning some money by being part of that chain of distribution. This is another type of network marketing, which is rarer as it concerns products that you will never retrieve in stores, nor in shops, nor in drugstores nor in supermarkets. I mentioned before about the sanitary pads I bought through that chain of distribution. But not only did I have to use the pads, but I was also influenced by the sellers to talk about the efficiency of the sanitary pad, by being at my turn a part of the chain of distribution, in exchange of being well remunerated in return. Unfortunately, that kind of network marketing, though it’s a very interesting concept, is known to be very fraudulous and known to be dream sellers for those who desperately need extra money for their families. I myself was part of that network marketing for a couple of months without my husband’s consent and had the bitter experience, by being all the time mistreated, criticized, my superiors being unsatisfied with my performances though I was giving the best of myself, and the worst in all was that I already had my own prospects when I started my own network within that chain of distribution, but I was never paid for what they dued to me! The worst was also that this chain of dsistribution wasn’t yet registered and was operating fraudulously for years!

images-13

Another example that I have also experienced and which is also a rare case: Companies or people who promote themselves through their products or by being part of other products to have their business being fructified. A friend of mine once saw a documentary stipulating that there are some very affluent businessmen in India who are at the head of high business industries, and who promote their own image to make their business fructifying, by taking part into some soap operas or festivals, so that they would increase their audience more to have their business being fructified. That kind of promotion has a monetary aim, since those actors promote their images for allowing their businesses being fructified, but there are also people who promote themselves without any monetary aim, since they have some further ambitions to become rich and famous over the head of the people they influenced. Also, there, we shouldn’t talk about self promotion, but rather about self bragging. An example I have there is a local celebrity who organizes workshops, conferences and seminars for free in Mauritius, and who uses one of his books as a way to promote his own image, by freely distributing it with his audience after the conference, workshop or seminary is finished, so that he can attract more people besides him to give him his chance becoming more famous and to increase his chances for climbing the steps of his journey into politics. Those same kind of people who later will influence people to work for him for free, and who will afterwards enrich themselves over the back of their blind followers and victims. I never accepted that case before, but I may admit that all the people who were against him and who didn’t understand why he didn’t sell his book in libraries or online were completely right and saw the danger from afar.

CONCLUSION

For writing that article I didn’t really look for some examples from the Internet, since I succeeded into having some examples as per my personal experience, and which showed about the complexity of the 4 Ps nowadays, and which vary according to each consumer’s and each human being’s needs. The 4 Ps can match all together, partially together or separately according of each human being’s needs and there are no specific rules to interconnect them or not. But promotion and placement are the most dangerous actors among the 4 Ps since they are the most powerful tools to attract people as per their needs and as per their budget. It’s always important then to be well informed about the products, the side effects, what it will bring to your budget, and even be well informed on the placement and on the approach used for the selling of those products and regarding the quality of the product itself if we don’t want to be trapped. Unfortunately very few people will think about doing it before purchasing anything, since they are too much in a hurry to satisfy their needs, and they tend to do it mostly when they have either good or bad experiences with the product. So we should act quickly before it’s too late.