Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

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08
May

Mamma’s House—Repost

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So I’m doing this online course to help me write for big blogs like the Huffington Post. I wrote a rough draft of an article, however I’m worried my mom won’t approve of it. She doesn’t read my blog, and if you know her, don’t show it to her.

In fact google recommended my blog to her in an email once, she read the first line of a quote from Audrey Hepburn, something about how she liked kissing…my mom was like, “What is this, you like kissing, kissing, kissing? Your relatives are reading this…have some decency!” She didn’t click on the link to my whole blog, I think she doesn’t want to know what I’m writing. I think she secretly knows she will disapprove of it.

When am I gonna stop being worried about what other people think? Especially my mother? I was going to use the word ‘motherfucker’ in my last post but I removed it because I was worried I might offend some people.

It offends me that I’m worried about that. I want to be free. I want this to be like a paid movie channel that doesn’t sensor f-bombs. I said the f-word in the car once when I was in college and my mom was about to back into another vehicle.

She later told my dad, and his response: “I never thought any daughter of mine would use such language.” My mother agreed. Well here I am, not only using it but publicly writing this in stone. The Internet is like stone right?

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My parents are still ruling my life and I will be fifty…someday. I told my students this story: when I was like twenty-five my mom sits me down, “Do you drink hard liquor?” Oh no, I thought, we are not having this conversation when I’m an adult. This is a conversation for teenagers. “Do you think anyone boy will marry you if you drink hard liquor?” I don’t think any boy is going to marry me for other reasons…

My mom is worried that I will one day write bad things about her. What would make her think a thing like that? Actually it’s only because I love my mother so fiercely that I fight with her. The fact is we are cut from the same cloth, we are very similar.

She thinks I’m crazy for being on Facebook, “You have no privacy with the Facepage, people can see all your business, I need my privacy,” she proclaims.  I told her that Facebook does not follow you around with a hidden camera. She still disagrees, however if I tell her there’s a picture of someone she knows on there, she has to immediately look at their entire profile. Little does she know I’m posting her gorgeous photos on ‘the Facepage.’

nina's pics

My mother was and still is a beauty queen. But she never really talks about that, she talks about how she was smarter than the boys in her class and they would get mad at her. She was such a good listener as a doctor that patients would come to her for counseling. I was in astonishment that anyone would come to my mother for counseling. I’m in counseling because of her, or so I thought. Until it one day occurred to me that most of my problems are my own damn fault. If I’m still blaming my mother, I need to cut the umbilical chord.

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I remember when I was a little girl, I worshipped her as she held me wearing her beautiful silk sari’s. Now I’m too busy wondering if anyone will worship me to remember what it was like to purely loved by someone. I don’t know if there is a purer love than a mother and child have for each other.

Speaking of mother and child apparently my mom counseled young girls who were pregnant and stuff…who knew she was such an understanding woman?

I will tell you one thing. Someone in my family, tried to violate me once. My mom took my side completely. She was the most supportive woman I could have gone to with this issue. We cried together.

Yet despite this camaraderie we fight quite a bit. But there is one thing we can agree on though: Macy’s. We shop till we drop, we could spend hours, days there. She’s got a back problem but you should see the way she can lift three bags of clothes with one swoop. For my mom everything is personal, she knows all the sales ladies by name. “Macy’s keeps bugging me with these sale letters and these coupons for Star Rewards, they know I am a doctor,” she proclaims.

She doesn’t want everyone to know she is a doctor. She gives to a lot of charities, but she will tell me when I’m about to mail out the checks (yes she still uses checks) that I should not use her address label that says: M.D. “They bug me so much already, if they find out I’m a doctor they will think I’m rich!” She says the same thing about the Comcast bill, “Don’t use my M.D. labels or those bastards will raise the prices.” She’s not too far off about Comcast.

Speaking of T.V., my mom’s favorite shows are Indian soap operas. Let me tell you a little about these horrific shows. The sister in law tries to poison the mother in laws’s sister’s brother’s wife. Why? Only the gods know. “They are showing real life, there is a theme to this,” my mother will say. The theme is usually that Asha is pregnant with Ravi’s brother’s ex-wife’s cousin. Everyone is dressed up in these shows, from jewels to silk saris, from the crack of dawn until the middle of the night. They have never shown anyone in sweats or yoga pants (even though Indian’s invented yoga).

My mom is always dressed well. My mother has on occasion threatened to disown me when I have wanted to leave the house looking like a homeless person. Her big thing is that people should dress up nicely, even when they are going to the drug store. There are moments when I look so bad with my stained and ripped rags that she can’t believe I’m her daughter. She has secretly thrown away and threatened to burn ugly old clothes that I will wear over and over at home.

My mother is a religious woman, a true Sikh. This is where we have the most collisions. She doesn’t like that I respect my religion but don’t practice it the way that others do. I do my own ‘spirituality’ thing. However we have learned with time to respect each other’s beliefs. I don’t think she is a fundamentalist anymore and she doesn’t think I’m an atheist anymore. We are at peace.

Is my mom a good mother? She’s a great mother. I say this because the proof is in the pudding. She has two amazing daughters. Alright one flat out fantastic daughter (my sister) and well there’s me. I am who I am partly because of her. Good, bad or ugly: the apple does not fall too far from the tree.

nina

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 May 8th, 2016  
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01
May

Raspberry Purple Tears

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I was a little shook up about Micheal Jackson and Whitney going down. I was truly sad about the way Robin Williams took his life. But Prince? Prince?

It was like when I found out Santa Clause wasn’t real, and then found out there is no Christmas in my religion. A dream died. An era is over. My childhood fantasy, my school girl crush, my womanly daydream, died.

Prince was more a dream than a human. No scandals, no arrests, no drugs and the voice of an angel.

There are certain lines from Raspberry Beret that I think about all the time. When it’s a grey day, I literally say to myself, “Overcast days never turned me on…” courtesy of Raspberry Beret. “The kind you find in a second-hand store.”

And sometimes when I’m working I think to myself, “My boss was Mr. Magee, He said several times he didn’t like my kind, ‘cause I was bit too leisurely.”

I think that song spoke to me because I always wanted to be that girl. That girl who “walked in through the out door, out door.” Every time I go to the grocery store and there are exit and entrance doors, I literally play that line in my head. Sometimes even I walk in through the out door.

What I’m trying to say is that Prince is a living, breathing part of me. Why Raspberry Beret? I don’t know maybe because he sang, “I think I love her.”

He loved her because she wore a Raspberry Beret. I don’t wear hats, I don’t look good in hats. But I have some kind of signature style I think. The kind you find at Macy’s.

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I want someone to sing about my scarf or my shoe.

When I was growing up I had a group of friends who were obsessed with Prince. To the point that I did not understand it, until now. I mean I thought he was cool, but they thought he was a god. A male fiend of mine would wear eyeliner like Prince. He was so pretty. Not gay at all, just pretty.

Prince was so pretty. Not gay at all either, just beautiful.

Whether your favorite Prince flavor was raspberry or purple…whether you were sure a big party would start in 1999…If you ever had a KISS like his.

Another line that always play in my head “You don’t have to watch Dynasty, to have an attitude…” I used to watch Dallas, and I have an attitude.

“Act your age, not your shoe size!”

“You don’t have to be cool to rule my world.”

I guess Seven is an important number in Christianity. Seven was my favorite Prince song. I have no idea what it meant. And I don’t care.

“Stand in the way of love and we will smoke them all…with their intellect…”

You know what I take that back…I know what it means…”today all seven will die.”

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Today Prince is dead.

I can’t believe I just wrote that. He was different. Not like the others. He stood up for himself with record companies and stood up for black lives.

I’m a writer so I noticed his eloquence with words…you noticed what you noticed. But above all he was real.

Prince was once on CNN with Larry King and said that his inspiration came from god.

He’s with god now…and when this world ends I just bet you we will still say, “The sky was all purple, there were people runnin’ everywhere. Couldn’t run from the destruction, you know I didn’t even care.”

That’s how cool Prince was. I’m sure he handled death like no one before him. ‘Cause he handled life like no one before him.

Rest in Peace. Or Reincarnate…Or be one with your King…

You will always be my Prince.

nina

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 May 1st, 2016  
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30
Apr

Teaching and Its Woes and…

image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphoto.net

image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

So before I forget and do the dishes or move some stuff around instead of cleaning, let me tell you this: So a college kid in my class does his research paper on the medicinal value of LSD. He says it cures mental illness.

I might be mentally ill but I’m not mentally ill enough to drop acid.

I’m serious I think yes, you have to be mentally ill to try LSD, and if it cures you…I don’t know you might become sane and not try it again.

I asked him what it does to people. He said something about colors, he could see colors better, more intensely. You just had the best trip of your life and all you came back with is something a box of crayons could give me: colors. Go to a fucking museum and look at some real paintings.

image curtesy of Idea go at freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of Idea go at freedigitalphotos.net

I think these kids don’t know what it’s like to see a real color, like the color green on a tree because they are locked up in their houses playing video games and trolling the Internet all day. These are not real colors people, look at the sky sometimes and you will really see blue.

Then the kids started having a discussion about bad trips, and how they are worse than hell, because they’ve all been to hell? Because there is a place called hell? Oh I forgot, drugs are hell. The atheist in my class, in particular, had a bad trip, didn’t find god, and is convinced he’s right.

I’m not against the legalization of weed, mostly because I don’t think it’s any less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. We once had a debate in my other class about the legalization of Marijuana and one kid who was against it asked, very insightfully, “Is this going to uplift society?”

I don’t know, maybe not. I mean it will get you high but it won’t uplift shit. I really liked that question, “Is this going to uplift me, or just keep me in this hole that I’m stuck in?”

What hole are you stuck in?

Anyways, the jury is in, I did very well in my supervisor’s observation of me teaching and on my student evaluations! That of course was for one class. The other class pseudo hates me cause they wouldn’t get into the debates and lots of them wouldn’t talk so I threatened to hurt their grade if they didn’t buck up.

Then my supervisor told me, “Perhaps a debate every class is a bit much.” I have three hours to kill, and there is only so much talking about arguing you can do, at some point you must argue. I let them pick the issue. I usually don’t take a side, usually. Sometimes my passion gets in my way, or I funny enough find myself arguing for a side I don’t believe in because they are not articulating their points well.

As for LSD there was a group of hippies that used to do LSD but started meditating and got the same high. It’s possible and it won’t give you flashbacks. When I go on these hiatus’s from my blog …well there is just so much I want to say.

I try to stick to a topic, but then I digress.

On the teaching note, there’s a chic in my class who came to almost every class, participated, looked smart, looked like she was taking notes and participated. I wasn’t paying attention, but it turns out she didn’t turn in a single paper the entire term. She even did her final presentation. Weird right? How did I not notice until I did the final grades, weird huh? And they want me to try LSD as my brain is not scattered enough.

I think that girl might be a spy though, I’m not kidding. Ok I’m kidding. I like to think that rather than thinking she’s some boring idiot.

I just want to say random things like:I got a French manicure and I had a margarita with dinner. We met a lovely couple at dinner, then found out they are Trumpees as I call them, devotee’s to Trump. I find that I still like them, but I am disturbed by these conflicting feelings.

I also recently discovered Spotify. Did you know you can get all the Indian music in the world on there? Funny, better than Pandora.

These people don’t pay me; they should pay me to say these things.

OK, I’m a little wired, I just read what felt like a million research papers on various disturbing social issues. Then there was the one on LSD. I’m having my own trip…

This is what I really believe, you do glimpse into a heaven-like state with drugs, and they say with LSD you never forget that there is another side. However, you can visit that place naturally as well without burning your brain. How?

By really looking at a tree. By really noticing the sky. By breathing and closing your eyes. By meditating. By listening to music, really listening. god is hiding in the pauses between notes. In the silence.

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image courtesy of saphatthachat at freedigitalphotos.net

nina

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 April 30th, 2016  
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12
Mar

Paper Dreams

Paper-Dreams-by-Kenneth-Onulak-Music-by-John-Nolan-A-Animated-Short-Film

 

Get a grip

Hold on

those are the things we say

when we mean goodbye

but say hello instead…

 

I am a lover

a sad woman

who makes coffee

every time she is mad.

 

she does not say what

her mind does not want to hear

or know or be

the final stain of lipstick

on a cup

 

that is how you know it’s hers.

you are, you are thirsty

for something besides water

for something besides air

 

you are standing by the window

counting your cash

wishing you were measuring kisses

instead of green paper dreams.

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A dollar is just that isn’t it?

a dream?

it is a promise, but it is nothing

after all but paper.

 

Paper promises are the best

we sign them, we give our signature

without reading the fine print

in our eyes.

 

You are, you are, you are worth more

than a song written in a book

about music.

I am, i am, worth less

than your wordy promises.

 

We take these promises to court

we say i do

but we don’t.

I contemplate throwing up my food

when you cut your wrists

you are just a band aid away from death.

while i am a song away from certainty.

 

I know, i know, you are bleeding

but I don’t pray

instead I decide to create dread locks

with fake hair on a doll that is dead.

 

They say it’s voodoo

i say it’s tomorrow

they claim it is right now

what time is it really?

 

these words are soot from a fire

they are the atoms that

started the universe

you say, you say, you don’t believe me.

 

i say i am a liar

you say, so what?

i tell you i will hurt you

you say, so when?

 

we are all waiting for pain

at a bus stop

with graffiti on our backs

and piercings on our tongues.

 

you promised you would betray

me so I waited patiently

for the knife in my chest

but you drew a picture instead.

 

You call it art

I call it my face

you say i have never seen you before

you say it is your face.

 

As if you can own an image

even if it’s for sale

the faces on paper money

we are, we are all made of paper.

nina

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 March 12th, 2016  
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10
Mar

Repost—Can Watching ‘Family Guy’ be Meditation?

FAMILY GUY: Brian and Stewie travel back in time to the pilot episode of FAMILY GUY to change history, and then to change history again, in the "Back to the Pilot" episode of FAMILY GUY airing Sunday, Nov. 13 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. FAMILY GUY ™ and © 2011 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

FAMILY GUY: Brian and Stewie travel back in time to the pilot episode of FAMILY GUY to change history, and then to change history again, in the “Back to the Pilot” episode of FAMILY GUY airing Sunday, Nov. 13 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. FAMILY GUY ™ and © 2011 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

December 22, 2011

I got up today at six o’clock to do some meditation.  Then I realized that I don’t know what meditation is.  So I’m sitting here, with my eyes closed, wondering when “It” will hit me.  I used to get up at six on Saturdays when I was a kid to watch cartoons.  I was so engrossed, that, I have to wonder, is watching something as banal as “The Road Runner” a form of meditation?

Then where do we draw the line?  Is watching pornography meditation?

I think it’s about the mindset that you are trying to create.  There are those who believe that sexual expression is a form of meditation, there was a book written on that, it’s called the Kama Sutra.

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Now here me out:  The point of meditation is to be mindless or mindful, or both at the same time.  That means something like awareness with the letting go of awareness.  A television show is an imaginary world we enter and lose our minds in.  So is video gaming, reading, writing, even jogging.  So is sex.

So if life itself can be a meditation, then is meditation nothing?  No, because while you are in the middle of life, recognizing that you are in the middle of life, and then letting that recognition go and being mentally free of the stupid chatter in your brain…Well, I think that’s meditation.

My head is spinning all the time, usually, it’s just crap that it’s spinning with.  Right now if I let my mind go this is what it would sound like:  I gotta go to Wallmart to get those bulbs, what else was a I supposed to get from there, I hate fucking Wallmart, I have to take the clothes out of my car, if I don’t pay that parking meter in four more days it will double, how much money do I have in my account?

And so on and so on.  Our brains were meant for something higher than all that crap.  For some people it is math and logic, for others it is creativity.  But when you can shut that chatter off, you can be free.  I would even go as far as to say that talking in a manner that is uplifting and respectful can be a form of meditation, it’s an exchange of ideas.

Many people believe that meditation is very rule based:  You must sit in a certain position, close your eyes and chant the name of god.

family god

Why?  Because this chanting gets rid of the bullshit in your head and there is nothing wrong with that.  However, there are other ways of expressing spirituality that can be just as effective and real.  I’m assuming that god or goddess put us on Earth to live, not to sit in a room all day every day and chant.  We have work to do and a family to raise, but if in the back of our minds, we are realizing that we are one with all humanity and living things, even while we are doing mundane acts like washing the dishes, we might become free of the mediocrity of our lives.

I think sometimes it’s just about transcending the moment, and being in the moment at the same time.  Meditation is about being here, but realizing that the space we are in is temporary yet eternal.

Truthfully, it’s hard to make sense of it.

Sometimes I hate television so much and I will just close my eyes while it is on and stop thinking.  Maybe this is escapism, but maybe it is a form of meditation in which I leave my reality for a little while and enter some other space.

Maybe if you shut the clutter of your mind and get up and dance…well in some states in India people dance for god.  If you want to do it for god, do it for god.  If you want to do it for yourself, then I hope you dance.

nina

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 March 10th, 2016  
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09
Mar

Only One Day for Women?

 

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I kinda missed International Women’s Day. I don’t get it though…it went by so fast. I was busy teaching and all of a sudden it’s over. There is Black History Month, African Americans get a whole month and women around the entire world get one day. Women are half the population of the entire world. This is not like Valentines Day. It’s not irrelevant and cheesy. It is vital to our very existence that we be recognized for more than one day.

I was impressed by some of the posts about activist women around the world. I’m a feminist and I didn’t know about many of these women. That, my friends, is a tragedy. I know a little too much about Donald Trump’s dick and not enough about my sisters who are fighting the good fight.

The women in my life are extremely important to me, they are not more or less important than the men in my life. It’s not a contest. But I don’t know what I would do without my girls. The emotional capacity that women have to understand each other is mind blowing.

I’m not dissing men here, they are great and everything. But for once this is not about men.

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I have trouble with the fact that I’m more for Bernie Sanders than I am for Hillary Clinton because of the fact that she is a woman. But if I voted for her just because she is a woman, it would be anti-feminist of me. To vote for someone based on gender goes against feminist values.

I think that one day we should have a woman president. I think we should have a woman god, but that is not up to me to decide. Honestly though, when you think of the divine, do you picture a dude? I do. And I’m really not a fan of the idea that god is a man, however I’ve been conditioned just as much as the next woman.

I’m not a girl; I’m a woman. Just like you wouldn’t call Obama a boy, don’t call me a girl because it demeans my womanhood. Yes, I am woman hear me roar. The collective roar of women is getting louder. And just what are we roaring about?

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A lot of women are fighting for children and things that affect men and women. The women’s movement really is a human movement because women take care of men as much as they take care of each other. Emotionally, would you rather go to a man or a woman to understand you? Be honest.

Women are not superior to men because we have an insight into emotions. We are simply different. That difference is not better, not worse. Just different. I may have said it before and I will say it again: Men and women are equal, not identical.

I don’t wish I was a man. I don’t have penis envy as Freud suggested. What I do have is anger, anger towards a system that promotes the violence and disrespect of women. Not paying women the same as men for the same work is not only disrespectful, it is illegal and immoral. No one is really doing anything about it, though. Women like Jennifer Lawrence, the highest paid actress in Hollywood is getting paid less than her male counterparts. She is making a ‘fuss’ about it. She may be a millionaire, but it’s about the principle, not the money.

In the end, it is about economics though isn’t it? Isn’t everything? There are more single women raising kids alone, then single dads and women are raising those kids with less money. In poorer neighborhoods we wonder why young males turn to crime. We blame the fact that they don’t have a man in their life. What about the fact that they don’t have money in their life?

Money walks, talks, and can have a gun. What I mean by that is, people kill each other for money, and most of those people are men. Women are not most of the rapists, the murderers, the terrorists, and the mass shooters. So why are the men in power paying us less money? Why are men even in power if they are more likely to abuse it? I’m not saying I am in favor of a matriarchy, but equal power would be enough.

equality

Men are not afraid enough of women. This is not wise. We don’t need more muscles to win this fight anymore. Men started out with more power simply because they have more physical strength. That does not matter in a world where a woman is just as free to get a semi-automatic as a man.

How many women do you think get semi-automatics, though? We are a peaceful gender. Don’t mistake our kindness for weakness. I think Rihanna sang that in a song. She was beaten by a man. She is not weak: she is a survivor.

Most women are survivors of some form of sexual harassment, violation, abuse or assault. The majority of women are survivors of being sexually objectified by men. This fight is far from over. If you don’t think there are real problems that women are fighting for, that feminism is a false unnecessary movement, think again.

Women give birth to men, love men, raise men and respect men. Do us a favor men, don’t just applaud us for one day. Try it for one lifetime.

nina

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 March 9th, 2016  
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08
Mar

What’s the Point?

I almost fell asleep driving home from Lansing, Michigan this morning. It’s an hour and a half drive. My car almost swerved a couple times, it was a little scary and highly annoying to try to stay awake while operating machinery when you are exhausted. Don’t try it at home.

mc griddle

I stopped at McDonalds to get a coffee; I thought it might wake me up. But I also got a McGriddle breakfast sandwich. If you don’t know what that is, good for you, keep it that way. I think it was voted like the worst thing you can eat at a fast food restaurant. It’s an egg, cheese and bacon sandwich with pancakes instead of bread. It tastes pretty amazing. Was it worth the calories? Not so much.

I came into work to tutor and a student told me I looked worn out and frazzled. That kind of embarrassed me. My head hurts a little and I’m still sleepy. It’s just another manic Monday. Wish it were Sunday. That’s my fun day.

By the time you read this, things will have settled down and it will be Tuesday. Tuesday is a lot easier to deal with than Monday. This month of March feels like it is going slowly. So is this post. What to write about? What do you want to know?

I want to be light today and not talk about something really heavy. I’m just real tired. I don’t know if this is actually a post worth publishing, we will see. Once I find a topic and something to say about it.

I started reading newspapers again. I love Mitch Albom and his column in the Detroit Free Press. He is tremendously talented. Honestly, though, I don’t think his fiction is on par with his column and non-fiction. That’s just my opinion.

Did you know that about forty percent of people under the age of 44, haven’t read a book all year? This is bothersome. I don’t think it’s healthy to just read crap like this on the Internet as opposed to real literature, magazines and newspapers. I used to read every column in the Detroit Free Press when I was in high school. I learned more from that than I did from school. I read books that weren’t assigned. I gave myself most of my education.

Copyright © 2016 Ugly Dog Books

Copyright © 2016 Ugly Dog Books

I know I’m biased because I teach reading and writing, but I want to tell everyone that it is so enriching on a personal level to read. You get to live another life, in another time or place or even planet. There is something so powerful about real literature that can awaken something inside you that you never knew you had. Everything that is written on the Interwebs is a list of ways to be happy. Reading books is not that list.

The best books I’ve read have made me rethink my entire life and self. I think maybe that is why I write, to think out loud. I write in order to make sense of the world. It is my way of communicating my experience, my thoughts, my feelings.

This is not good enough. I say that all the time when I am writing. I don’t think this particular post is good enough. Sometimes it is hard to have something to say, something to think about.

I will tell you what I was just thinking about. I was reading in Psychology Today about the fact that we as a nation are experiencing an anti-intellectual movement. People don’t want to read or necessarily know and understand what is going on in the world. Apparently 13% people still think that sun revolves around the earth. I wonder how many people think the earth is flat.

I’m sorry if I don’t quite understand this movement of stupidity that is taking over. I think it starts in high school, the article said so. The good-looking jocks and the pretty cheerleaders are the popular ones in America. The smart kids are considered geeky, nerdy and dorky.

I guess that trend is not true in other countries. In other places around the world, people value intelligence and the ‘popular’ people are often the most intelligent. Indians have a reputation of being ‘nerds.’ It’s only in America that Indians are nerds; there are a ton of non-nerds in India. But only the smartest people make it to the U.S.

I’m sorry I want to marry a nerd real badly. Honestly, I want a guy who knows shit and can make money. I mean I guess that sounds just as superficial as if I said I want a dude who’s hot and hilarious.

Still I prefer intelligence to good looks. I find men who are not objectively attractive very attractive if they have a brilliant mind. Having a beautiful mind trumps a beautiful face and body every time. I wonder if I am a real nerd. I didn’t do as well in school in math and science because I was always artsy. I don’t know if I’m smart enough to be a nerd. I’m definitely dorky and geeky enough.

I don’t know, writers and artists have a different type of intelligence that cannot necessarily be measured in a standardized test. I did bad on my SAT, ACT, and GRE. But I got into Columbia University anyways.

eq

I don’t know, nowadays people are looking at Emotional Intelligence as being just as important as an IQ. EQ they call it. Emotionally, I’m not sure if I’m that fit. I got 99 problems and most of them are in my head. I’m not sure how I would do on an EQ test.

I’m good at writing I guess, but I still have problems with grammar and spelling. It is embarrassing at this point. I have a Masters degree in Writing and I still don’t really understand commas. Where to pause? That is the question.

I got this new computer program called Grammarly, it’s great, and I highly recommend it. It’s free for like basic stuff, for real editing you have to pay. I just need surface stuff, or so I think. I’m advertising for them and I didn’t even inform them. They are not even paying me.

I was thinking about that the other day. I still haven’t figured out how to make money with my blog. I wonder sometimes why I’m writing it, why not wait till I learn how to profit from it? I can’t explain the ecstasy of writing and having an audience right away. I can’t quite articulate how deeply meaningful the written word is to me. I need this like I need air. Sometimes I can’t breathe when I don’t write.

I keep hoping one day a post will go viral and the whole thing will be a cultural phenomena. I know: it’s like winning the lottery. But it could happen. There are other ways to make money on blogs, but it takes money to take those courses. I will. In due time.

I’m going to tell you how stupid I am. You want to know how stupid I am? I will tell you so you don’t ever think you are too stupid to be alive. Apparently it’s good to be stupid in this country anyways. I spent 500 dollars on a PayPal credit card, on an ‘inspirational’ online course that was supposed to make all my dreams come true. I didn’t follow the course. In fact, I got tired of it in two days.

The thing is, I think it actually works for some people. So why would I pay that much money and then not even use it? Well, the thing I think that turned me off was that it was talking about manifesting things, like money and success. I don’t believe you should try to manifest superficial things. I think love and happiness and enlightenment are what you want to manifest, at least that is what I want.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate money. I want money. Lots and lots of money. But I want to get it my way. I don’t know what that way is yet exactly. But I have always believed I would be rich one day. It is something I feel like I know.

I have no business thinking I will become rich. I’m a professor and a writer and I have bad credit. None of these things points to money or fame. Yet I think I will have both eventually. The fame I’m not too worried about, the money is what I need.

Well, that’s all folks.

Thanks for taking this ride with me. I hope I didn’t put you to sleep.

nina

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 March 8th, 2016  
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07
Mar

Naked Teachers?

naked woman

Did you hear that story recently about the teacher in South Carolina whose naked picture was posted to all her students by a boy who stole her cell phone? The young man was not punished until there was an outrage by the public. In fact, the teacher was blamed and almost accused of corrupting a minor. She was pressured to resign. What is going on here?

I was a high school teacher for a hot minute. Actually for about a year. I also kept my iPhone on my desk, but I had a password to unlock it. I didn’t trust my students completely. I too have some racy photos on my phone. Don’t judge. It doesn’t make me a porn star. It makes me a modern woman living in the millennial century or whatever we call this.

What I think is ridiculous in this case is that the Superintendent was upset at the teacher and almost charged her for violating a teen. He called the picture, “inappropriate material.”

I’m sorry, perhaps she didn’t realize that in her personal life she wasn’t allowed to send her HUSBAND a naked photo for Valentines Day, as she later reported. This is about more than just teachers and students, this is about women and the way we perceive them. Any woman who is comfortable and free with her body is looked down upon. I mentioned in a previous post about how an indecent man sent me a picture of his penis. THAT is inappropriate because it was unsolicited. In the case of the teacher, she was doing something completely natural in her private life. It is not a sin to be naked for god’s sake. I think it is a sin to give high school kids the impression that she made a mistake by taking the picture in the first place. Violating someone’s privacy is a mistake and should be a felony. If my husband was looking at my cell phone without my permission I would be upset, much less some punk kid.

I was hesitant to mention here that I have pictures of myself in my bra on my phone. I was afraid I would be judged, but how many women have pictures of themselves in a bikini? What’s the difference?  You don’t need to know why I have these pictures,  you just need to know that this is my business. My private business, that I would expect no one whether it is a student or member of my faculty or family, to abuse. And honestly, if you are judging me for my personal life, get a life. If I had naked pictures of myself I’m sure you would look at me differently. However, you stare at art all the time that depicts the nude human body. What’s the difference?

I teach in college now and I don’t lock my phone, I don’t know why I forgot that young adults are also not to be trusted. I will lock it now. Looks like the world is a lot dirtier than I had thought. Let’s be clear in this case: the student was dirty not the teacher. It is not ‘illicit’ or even illegal or immoral to have any kind of picture you want on your personal phone.

smartphone

Are we still in puritanical times? Why was this student not punished immediately? I will tell you why, because he was a boy. And boys will be boys, won’t they? It’s like the Superintendent was saying the boy could not help but post those pictures to other students. He could not help but invade her privacy and then publicize her personal business. The student also threatened the teacher by telling her, “Your reckoning is coming.” That is a form of harassment.

Where are this boy’s parents? Why is he allowed to breathe anymore? My parents would have put me in a room where breathing would have become very difficult if I disrespected my teachers this much. In India, teachers are considered gods. In fact the word ‘Guru’ means teacher.

teacher

I show this particular cartoon in my college class every year when we talk about visual images and their arguments. What is this image saying? I ask my students all the time and I get some interesting answers. This is the way it is now, teachers are perceived to be sluts while students are perceived to be valiant.

You know the reason I don’t teach high school anymore. I will be completely honest: It was too hard. That is it. The hours were outrageous; I got to school at 6:30 in the morning and usually was working on lesson plans until about 7:00 at night. The kids were out of control. I would get paid shit, and I was teaching students who I know for a fact were making fun of me behind my back.

I mean the intellectual level wasn’t where I was comfortable teaching, and that may be a big reason I quit. But more than anything, it was too much for me. I am more than grateful and impressed with teachers. They are giving their lives for these students and we don’t even respect them enough to give them decent wages. On top of that, we blame the failure of our educational system on teachers. They may be the only people in this system that are not failing.

Schools and education, in general, is going down because of Superintendents like this one who took the side of some idiot kid over a responsible adult teacher. When are we going to understand that respect is due to teachers and discipline is due to students?

My parents were whacked with belts as kids. I am not suggesting that we should beat kids by any means. I don’t even believe in spanking. But I do think that authorities in school should demand some common decency and respect.

Kids who don’t respect teachers will probably not respect their bosses and will probably therefore not advance much in their careers. Boys who are taught to ‘sexualize’ teachers will do the same for all the women in their lives who have authority.

I am aware that there are some isolated incidences of teachers who have illicit affairs with their students. These cases are so few and far between, that is why they get so much press. If this were happening every day, no one would find it interesting. Of course, we should be appalled by this behavior, but this behavior is not even close to the norm.

If there is such a thing as selfless service, teachers are doing just that. They put in excruciating long hours and are getting less and less respect from their students. But they keep on going. Why? Most of them care. Yes, some of them are just doing their jobs, but most of them are actually concerned with students’ learning and welfare.

Any nitwit with a degree can become a college professor. However, there is a long arduous process to become a high school teacher. There are so many checks and balances in this system that it is rare that an unqualified person is hired.

Teachers have some of the highest rates of quitting their jobs, more than almost any other profession. Why do you think that is? They are not valued. They are not respected, by their students or by society at large. In Finland, teachers are paid a much higher salary and only the best in their field become teachers.

“In Japan, for example, teachers are held in high esteem and normally viewed as among the most important members of a community. There is suspicion and even disdain for the work of teachers that occurs in the U.S. Teachers in Japan typically are paid significantly more than their peers in the U.S. The profession of teaching is one that is seen as being of central value in Japanese society and those who choose that profession are well compensated in terms of salary, pension, and respect for their knowledge and their efforts on behalf of children.”—Psychology Today

That makes sense to me. This is not some second rate job, but teachers in the United States do not get paid much more than the new minimum wage of $15 an hour. They are getting paid less then garbage men, who are also government workers. Why do we value our garbage more than our students?

I’m glad I’m not a teacher because the modern day teenager is not someone I can deal with. When I was teaching at a high school, I became very close to set of jocks that were in one of my classes. At first, I was very disciplined with them, because they would screw around.

However, I built a certain relationship with them that started with respect. They knew I was not going to be easy on them, but they would come to me and chat with me before and after class. They trusted me and genuinely treated me the way a teacher should be treated.

Once a certain football player who I had become close with started to sexually harass a young woman in my class. I was livid. I sat him down, looked him in the eyes and told him this kind of behavior was outrageous and unacceptable. Then in my passionate moment of anger, I actually said to him, “You can jack off on your own time.”

OK, I realize I should not have said those exact words. I saw my entire career flashing in front my eyes after I said that. And if he had reported me I could have been fired. He stopped harassing the girl and we never spoke of it again, we went on as if it never happened.

I happen to think that I made a huge mistake, but I think it is ridiculous that speaking to your students in their own language could make you lose your job as a teacher. I was working in an uptight neighborhood. But teachers are constantly given a hard time, no matter what the situation.

Think about this: teachers create professionals of every other sort. Without teachers, we would not be able to have an educated society. Teachers are more important than the inane politicians we spend our time reading about. Let’s give a little attention and gratitude where it is deserved.

Hats off to you, teachers. You do something that most of us could never do.

Thank you.

nina

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 March 7th, 2016  
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06
Mar

Our Robotic Reality

The boney hands of a skeleton type on a computer keyboard

The boney hands of a skeleton type on a computer keyboard © Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

So the thing is, I’m sitting here like an idiot because I have to grade a bunch of papers, but the website I grade them on is not working and I can’t figure how to download the papers. Boo hoo. It’s like time stopped because my computer isn’t doing what it’s told. I should have just asked for hard copies, but grading on the computer is much easier and I don’t have to carry around a bunch of papers.

I mean I’m saving trees and stuff. But I’m turning into a machine. I stare at this machine far more than I would like to. I like this contraption far more than I will admit. When the machine doesn’t do what I want it to do, I complain, I whine. This computer could be my best friend, unfortunately.

Next in line is my iPhone. I probably don’t know how to use half of its functions, yet I’m still satisfied that I have this intelligent little thing hanging out with me. Yup it’s just the gadgets and me.

All of a sudden, I feel incredibly sad. Sad that I spend more time with computers than I do with people. That is a pity. What the fuck am I doing with my life? I should get off of here, shut off the T.V. power off my phone and I don’t know, hang out with a friend. Have a conversation.

What are we doing here people, this is the kind of future we dreaded. The reason I’m continuing to talk on the very machine, which I am criticizing, is that is a forum for me to speak. I will not deny the good in life that technology has brought.

But when we look at Facebook and all we see are happy families and faces, we wonder is it making us feel bad about ourselves? I personally throw all my dirty laundry on Facebook via my blog. I talk about my mental health, my insecurities, and my shame.

I don’t necessarily want to display my worst on the web. But I want, to be honest when I write. However, I control my level of honesty. I mean I could tell you my worst fear is dying completely alone. But I don’t reveal who I’m dating or like the fact that I had no clean underwear today so I’m going commando. I realize I just revealed that it’s an example of how far we can go into people’s private lives.

I think people might think that I don’t have any privacy because I will write about anything. Not true. I don’t write about people I love and their issues. I don’t write about my family issues. I don’t reveal the inner workings of my clan. I try to keep my tribe’s talk out of the spotlight.

On another note, did you see Spotlight? It was a great movie, it deserved best picture. It revealed the inner workings of sin. Real sin. The kind you actually go to hell for. I bring this up in this particular piece of work to draw the similarity between the sex scandals in the Church with the scandal in our lives.

The real scandal is that we are more in love with our things than we are our people. This is a sin, people. I don’t actually believe in hell, except for child molesters, but I believe in karma. We are all sinners. I mean the Bible even says that. I just lied to my father today about something related to my computer. He’s such a nice man. He’s an elderly blind man with heart issues; he doesn’t deserve my dishonesty. Why did I lie about a stupid machine? It was a white lie. (I’m not even going to get into the racial implications of that phrase we use.) I don’t know: lying is convenient. As convenient as technology is. But it is like I chose this computer over him. I will never find enlightenment if I keep lying. My thoughts need to be aligned with my actions. I intend on living the truth. I can’t even speak the truth all the time. But I digress…

What’s wrong with me? It’s not just me is it? What’s wrong with us?

We live and breathe by the machines and gadgetry we have instead of looking people in the eyes and telling them how it really is. I think technology might be taking us further away from being human. It’s helping us lie about what’s important.

dreamstimefree_106245

© Dawn Hudson | Dreamstime Stock Photos

What does it mean to be human in a world that is so digitally driven? What does it mean to be a person in all this mess? Did you ever see Her; it’s a film about a man who falls in love with a voice on his computer. We are not too far away from that. I mean we might not need people to love anymore: machines might replace hearts. I think they actually do already.

My mom is talking to me right now. She’s telling me about an Indian movie and singing a song from there. It’s cute. It’s real. It’s human. She yells at me when I bring my laptop to the kitchen table and type away while she’s talking to me. Even if she’s talking to me about Indian movies. She knows. She knows better. I’m doing what she hates right now, though.

Mama always knows best. She also tells me that ding on my phone when I get a text message is the most irritating sound she has ever heard in her entire life. We are talking about gun control right now. I don’t remember how it came up. She is a delightful woman, full of spunk and charm. I feel like I’m losing some of my charisma by staring at a screen all day and night.

Ha ha, my mom just asked me to call my dad. He is upstairs. This is what we have come to. And instead of walking upstairs I’m going to call him on my cell phone.

But my parents still like old style talking, shooting the shit, instead of texting or Facebooking. Remember when people used to sit around a fire at night after dinner and just yap. Tell stories and jokes and sing songs.

What has happened to us?

© Studio Dream | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Studio Dream | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I want so badly to feel the grass on my feet and sit in front of a fire. I know I could go camping, and I would like to do that. But it could be more integrated in my life, this natural living. I drive a car everywhere I go, last night I had to walk a little distance in Royal Oak, a cute little downtown area near me. When I was walking, I was upset I had not parked closer. Why? It wasn’t that cold. There was fresh air and people all around me. I was out with a good friend.

I don’t know how to be anymore. And in the evenings when I’m with my friends and refuse to access my gadgets, I feel a funny withdrawal. My mom said something to me just now and I totally did not hear it, but I nodded yes. This is pathetic. I’m better than this. Stop reading this and go tell someone you love them. I got to go…

nina

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 March 6th, 2016  
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05
Mar

Love and Marriage Part II

dreamstimefree_269702

© Mamz | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I want to love someone. A man in particular. Right now would be a great time. Honestly I haven’t been in love for a long time and I miss it. I miss the euphoria, the companionship, the friendship. Sure I have friends, but I’m not in love with any of them.

I have a public account on Facebook due to the fact that I advertise my blog. I don’t know why but I get a lot of stalkers. A man just sent me a pic of his junk. I blocked him immediately but the issue is, first of all, there must be a girl or two who has been wooed by a dick pic. I don’t know any of these women, however, these dudes would not be doing this if it didn’t work for someone.

Now don’t get me wrong, no one is stalking me in real life. In real life I have trouble getting a date. But online, these men who are usually from other countries, want to get to know me. There is one guy who messaged me from England and he is very intelligent. I do correspond with him, but he actually reads my blog and has something thoughtful to say about it.

I’m not saying you have to read my blog in order to be my friend, or my lover. It would be fantastic, but it’s not an actual requirement for me. What do I require in a mate, you ask? Ok, you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyways.

I want someone who is above all kind. Kindness is very underrated. You can be smart and witty and hot, but if you are not nice what’s the point? I don’t really believe in the notion that nice guys finish last. Guys who ‘think’ they are soooo ‘nice’ finish last. They are usually so busy thinking about how nice they are that they forget to act on it.

Nice is as nice does. I need a man who isn’t afraid to open up to me emotionally as well. I don’t particularly desire an emotionally guarded individual. I’m not a therapist: I don’t have the patience to discover your true self. You should have discovered it by now if you want my attention.

My friends tell me I’m a real bitch because I want someone who went to college. It’s not a total requirement for me anymore because recently I accidentally dated a guy who didn’t go to college. I suspect he is just as intelligent as me even though I teach in college and have almost three degrees.

I used to have salary requirements for my man. Nothing under seventy-five grand I used to think. Then again, I dated someone who made considerably less than that and realized that I don’t really need a sugar daddy. Again, it comes back to kindness. I want a good man. That is basically all I require.

It helps if you can make me laugh and make me think. People ask me all the time why I haven’t gotten married yet. A lot of people I know are divorced or unhappily married. I mean I love the idea of marriage, but I don’t need it. I think people come into your lives for a certain period of time to give you an experience, and once you have exhausted the shit out of each other, it ends. Or they die. Or you die…Forever? We don’t live forever, so what is this forever love bullshit anyways? It would be great to grow together with someone, I’m not suggesting I like having to switch partners, but I am suggesting that maybe we are putting too much pressure on our relationships.

We make these commitments until death do us part, and then we go ahead and break them. So why make them? If it is so happens you are together until you both croak, then halleluiah. But maybe, just maybe there is something the universe wants to give you by giving you various partners throughout time.

Some people think there is a ‘one.’ The ‘one.’ I used to think that until I realized there is more than one, one. At least that is my experience. If you have found the ‘one’ than you go ahead and be happy with that. But don’t like require that things will not change, that you and this person will not change. Time changes everything and everyone. People grow apart.

We all know this, but we somehow are attached to the notion of marriage being final, even though more than fifty percent of marriages in this country end in divorce. If we are probably going to divorce the person we love to death, then why don’t we just go in knowing that it could end? Wouldn’t that make things easier? Maybe it wouldn’t end if we did this.

I’m not suggesting that you be a pessimist. I’m totally an optimist. Have a good time while you are together. My parents would kill me if they knew I thought this way, but just know that it is OK if things eventually go south. I think that a lot of people get divorced because they think once they are married, the marriage itself will make it last a lifetime. I assume the wedding or marriage is not what makes it last, but the hard work it requires. If people thought about that more it might actually last.

Yes, people don’t understand that good times and bad times come and to stay together through the bad times is the hardest part. Yes there is something to be said for standing by someone through it all…but what if you start to despise that person? I don’t believe in hate, but what if you can’t stand them after a while? I mean this happens in marriages that do last a lifetime, but what if you just can’t do it anymore?

Are you going to hate yourself because you couldn’t make it work? Maybe it wasn’t supposed to work forever. I know, I know, I’m not traditional. I’m breaking the idea of marriage apart. I don’t think so though, this is all talk. You, our society, has broken marriage apart. Most people are either divorced or in a marriage they might want to get out of.

Those that stay who are unhappy, are staying because of some cultural norm. As I’m writing this, I swear I just got a message from a random dude on Facebook. He is named after a popular prophet, that’s all I’m going to say. “Good Day to you Nina Kaur …This is blank that you accepted her friend requested that i sent to you ans thank you so much more for doing that for me,The purpose of me sending you a friend request Is….I’m Interested In Meeting You,and i will always make you happy all time and all days.”

You can’t make this stuff up. He is in the army and he lives in the United States of America. His language skills, forgive me I’m an English professor, but his English is a little off. He might not originally be from the U.S.

Why is this happening to me? I mean I’m alright looking. My friend says that they are after me because my profile picture looks like I want sex. I don’t know if that is true, and what is this ‘look’ that says ‘come get me.’ I am not changing the picture yet, I took it last year, but I’m not changing it yet because it’s like having to change your phone number because some asshole keeps calling you. It’s invasive.

Getting a dick pic from an unknown source is also invasive. It’s downright dirty if you ask me. I mean if you are in a decent relationship, than it would be different, I mean if you really ‘know’ that person. However, we can all agree that men are really taking it to a new low on the Internet with complete strangers.

Facebook is not a sex site. It is not a dating site. I only use it to promote my writing. I don’t post stuff otherwise because I don’t think I’m that interesting. Although I bare my soul in my blog, I don’t know what to say on Facebook just randomly. I like a lot of things people say on Facebook, I’m pretty generous with my ‘likes.’ But I don’t get the fascination with showing people what you ate, or that you were just at CVS.

I go to CVS quite a bit. If I posted my location every time I was there…I mean why would I do that? The gym is a little different because it motivates you to go to the gym when you are being held accountable. If I ever went to the gym, I might write about it because it would be a historical event, however I don’t know if I would tell you what gym I’m at. I already have a problem with these online stalkers. I am very serious when I say that I do not by any means want a real life stalker. Let me repeat that, I might laugh at cyber stalking, but ALL stalking is sick. Get help.

I want to be honest. I think this might be karma. I stalked someone in my twenties. Well let me confess I didn’t follow this person around or anything, I sent him letters and a few gifts. They were long letters: I am a writer after all. I was not in my right mind at the time that I did this. I was having manic episodes. I would like to apologize to the person I did it to but I don’t think he wants to hear from me again. I tend to be wordy: my apology would probably scare him.

I thought this human being was the one, like I thought we had been together in past lives. I don’t in fact remember any of my past lives. I believe I’ve had some. I no longer think the man that I harassed is the love of my life or lives. I think he’s just a dude, a nice guy. Come on give me a break, a good man is hard to find. Flannery O’Conner said that and she could not have been more spot-on.

This should be my Match.com profile: I’m a stalker who is mentally ill, although I’ve sought help and I’m totally OK now. I’m a writer who will probably write about you in some way shape or form if we date. I don’t want to be with you forever.

Who wouldn’t want to date me? I’m such a catch. I kid, I joke.

I hope I’m always laughing about it…

nina

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 March 5th, 2016  
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