Please Gamble [Live] Responsibly

In UK there is a habit of trying to plan and manage everything. While this habit is one of the main reasons for the advanced state of development enjoyed by the countrys’ residents, sometimes it can be pushed to insane limits.

For example, out here  all gambling websites, shops and even advertisements need to have information pointing to ‘GambleAware’ along with the advice: “Please gamble responsibly”. The main purpose for this is to remind people to ‘gamble responsibly’ and to show people with gambling related problems a way out.

All that is well and good but my question is how can one gamble ‘responsibly’?

Gambling itself is an act of taking a risk. So they are asking us to ‘take a risk’ with responsibilty? If you were responsible for something would you take a risk? The obvious answer to that is ‘depends’ on what you were responsible for and what was the associated risk, but that brings us to the question of what exactly is involved in gambling. What is it that we are risking?

So I went to the GambleAware website to try and figure out what they highlight as ‘risks’ of gambling without responsibility… in other words what is their definition of ‘gambling responsibly’. This is what I found (from their website


A person who gambles responsibly:

  1. gambles for fun, not to make money or to escape problems.
  2. knows that they are very unlikely to win in the long run.
  3. does not try to ‘chase’ or win back losses.
  4. gambles with money set aside for entertainment and never uses money intended for rent, bills and food.
  5. does not borrow money to gamble.
  6. does not let gambling affect their relationships with family and friends.
1) Gambles for fun … : Well I don’t know about making money but as far as escaping problems is concerned then they should put the ‘Please escape from reality responsibly’ advice up on each and every source of entertainment. From movies to sports! Isn’t that what we use these things for? To escape from reality which is usually full of problems?
2) … very unlikely to win … : They should put ‘Please create babies responsibly’ advice in each and every hospital’s maternity ward. To warn the newborns that life is a game that is impossible to win. Everyone dies in the end!
3) … win back losses. : I thought it was a good thing to overcome odds and to ‘win back’ what one lost. Some of the greatest people did this to ‘achieve’ greatness. I also thought this was part of human nature to try and overcome loss. This is what allows us to go on in face of great odds and rebuild our life. This calls for the following general advice: ‘Please loose responsibly’.

4) … money set aside for entertainment … : This calls for the following advice in all shops: ‘Please spend money responsibly’ because we know that whenever we go into a shop or supermarket or a mall, hundreds of offers/sales/deals are thrust into our face! That is why expensive brands (which we really can do without) are reduced marginally in price so that the average person, thinking of it as a deal, tends to buy them leading to overspending.

5) … does not borrow money to gamble. : This is a good one. All the banks out there distributing credit cards like they were going out of fashion listen up! Put the following advice in bold letters on your credit card: ‘Please borrow money responsibly’. So that people don’t run up huge credit card bills buying things they don’t need and cannot afford just because they are able to ‘borrow’ money easily.

6) … affect their relationships …  : Another good one. All offices should have the following advice in all public areas: ‘Please work responsibly’. Also all managers and senior managers should be sent on special ‘working responsibly’ courses! We know work is one thing that affects our relationships the most. It keeps us away from our loved ones even after work hours. Gives us stress which we often take out on people we love.

Maybe we just need one advice tattood on the arm of all newborns: ‘PLEASE LIVE RESPONSIBLY’.


So what do you think guys? Do you think we will see these bits of good advice popping up anywhere soon?

Ab baat pakki…. the deal is fixed…. X 4

The second season of Swayamvar starring Rahul Mahajan is currently the number one TV show of  India. The show is supposed to end on the 6th of March and this time they have promised us a marriage!

I like this program because it blows away some serious concepts in marriages. At the same time it exposes the dark side of human nature.

In last nights episode he travelled to meet the family of the first girl (Harpreet Chhabra). Harpreet’s family members were obviously treating it is if a boy had come to meet the family for her marriage. They asked him whether he has any ‘demands’ [for dowry]. Did they realise he was on camera being view by half of India? Even if he wanted something would he have said so on air? Women activists would be buring his effigy all across India if he had. But this shows that dowry is still a big issue.

Now the second point: usually when marriage is being discussed between two families it is usually between TWO families! The process is quite sequential.

 In this case he has to visit three other families who are expected to discuss marriage equally seriously! He has to interact with girls at individual level as if SHE is the one, which is impossible at the deepest level. The problem is that this can be taken in two ways:

1) Either he is really good at compartmentalising emotions and such deep interactions… which means there is full scope for other women in his life, perhaps even after marriage.

2) He has already made up his mind and all this is acting.

But this show has made bride hunting similar to buying a house where you have multiple deals going on at once. A new concept indeed in marriages. Will this be used by families to parallelise bride hunting? Make it more efficient? Especially keeping in mind, like good houses, brides are in short supply?

Sati – the voice of emotions

The practice of Sati – where the widow burnt with her late husband on his funeral pyre, is now prohibited by law.

I think the choice should be left to the person concerned and not be banned by law.

The concept of Sati has been lost in time then re-discovered by society, transformed and re-formulated by each generation. The speculations on the purpose of Sati include preventing wives from poisoning husbands and enactment of the story of goddess Sati. It is now considered an almost barbaric practice.

Sati, of all the practices, is a good example of how concepts can be twisted by people over generations which result in their true meaning being lost.

Even in today’s day and age Sati has several advantages. But it should be kept in mind that Sati was voluntary (if you go by the story of goddess Sati) and something done with inner resolve. It was never supposed to be ‘forced’ on a widow by society. Throwing a widow on to the funeral pyre of her late husband, against her wishes is a crime. But willful immolation is not. Also Sati here also needs to involve the widower and not just widows. The sexist nature of the practice is like adding insult to injury.

The main advantages of voluntary Sati are:

– Taking the Hindu concept of life and death followed by re-birth, Sati quickens the jump to the next birth.

– Living without a loved one can make each day on Earth hell. Especially if the love felt was true and deep.

– These days children grow up too fast and are busy in their own lives, many times making their parents live alone, perhaps even in a different city. Imagine all that when your partner, is dead and you are all alone. It is better for the couple to end their life together than for one person to suffer all this alone.

While all these factors are important, we must remember things have changed. The concept of widow (or widower) remarriage is now well established in society. The advantages of Sati might be nullified by professional grief counselling.

So if due to intense grief the widow or widower is not able to handle the loneliness and decides to take the Sati option, professional help and support of loved ones can convince them to live on. Things are rapidly changing. This goes back to the original point that Sati needs to be voluntary with a clear inner resolve. It is not just about throwing yourself (or being thrown by someone else) into the funeral pyre.

I don’t think people will agree with this point of view. But the fact is a person’s life is in their own hands. No one has the right to control it. No law can prevent X from taking his/her own life. Instead of treating Sati as barbaric and something to be ashamed off, it should be treated as the ultimate compliment to life and love.

It, in my opinion, defines the saying: “to live and die in love”.

On being being alone and feeling lonely

Life has taught me many important things.  The main difference between being alone and feeling lonely is one of those things.

Being alone is a feeling that there is no one person in this worlld who cares about you as an equal. In other words there is no one who loves you.

Feeling lonely is about not having people around you. It may mean that one special person or even a special friend/family member. Loneliness has a cure. Being alone doesn’t.

One of the benchmarks of a successful relationship is whether it addresses the feeling of loneliness. Perhaps more important than that is whether it can prevent you from being alone!

You may feel lonely when your love is not around. But if your relation is real, you will never feel alone. Where ever you may be. You will never feel alone!