Saturday, November 17, 2012

The fickle existence

It was a hot and humid afternoon. Having had a sumptuous meal of Cannon Pav Bhaaji, the best Pav Bhaaji in Mumbai, situated at VT, I boarded the suburban train to get back home. Just as the the train was about to leave the station, a lanky lad, carrying, what looked like a huge cane bucket, huffed and puffed his way inside my compartment. I was enjoying my stay near the door, feeling in all the breeze, and trying to dry my sweat soaked shirt. This guy came and stood next to me while keeping his bucket down. The bucket contained the famous Mumbai snack, Vada pao. It smelled great, but he reeked of stink. I looked at him, he was looking at my hand, curiously, I asked him.

"What is it, that you are looking at, friend?"

"I was wondering what brand of water you hold in your hand", he said referring to the mineral water bottle in my hand

"Ohh, well this is one of the local brand, not very popular" I replied, to quench his curiosity(for the time being)

"I wonder how it tastes like" He said, still looking intently at the bottle

"You are thirsty and you need water to drink, just say it" I said, trying to talk straight.

"Well... Yes.." He said, suddenly taking his eyes of my bottle

"Here you go, take it, drink as much as you want" I offered him the bottle, along with a smile.
"Thank you sir", and he gulped down the entire content of the bottle, "Thank you again" he said wiping the water off his mouth," And sorry", looking at the empty bottle.

"No Problems" I said, not bothering to take the bottle back. Then I looked back at the delicious looking Vadas and wondered about his business model. "How much money do you make out of it, and where do you sell it?" I asked him inquisitively.

"I sell these Vadas to a Sweet shop in Kurla, he pays me around Rs 3/Vada"
"Which shop?"

"The shop near Tilak nagar station, he is a nice man, treats me well, pays me on time" He smiled, this man had some honesty in his smile, I wondered.

"Well, the same guy charges me Rs 9 for the same thing you sell him for Rs 3, do you know this?" I said, trying to incite him, to break his smile, and see the other side of him.
"I very well know how popular my vadas are, but I am content with what I get, it gets me a profit enough"
He said, seeing my perplexed reaction, he added,
"I earn around Rs 600 a day for the vadas I make for this shop, which is a profit of Rs 400 to me. Besides this, I work as a house keeping staff in a MNC which gets me Rs 10000 a month. So all in all, I earn around 20000-25000 a month. And, I have a wife, she loves me a lot, I love her a lot, and make love to her a lot..." He paused for a laugh, and I joined in his laughter. He continued " I have a kid, a nice 1BHK in Mumbai(inherited though!) . I have everything I want in life. I don't aspire for bungalow  I don't aspire for an international school for my child. I just aspire to have enough to feed my family, and be happy. I do drink with friends, I have also visited dance bars. I have done everything that makes me happy." he finally finished with a sigh.

"That was nice...hmmmm" I said, while wondering in my mind, that this guy is not ostentatious, he is working only for his family, to keep them happy, for the love of them. "Come on, lets get down, its our station" I said and got down.

I got down and started moving out of the station, without looking back, lost in thoughts, of this man who gave me a view of life I never had, always whining about what I earned, or what I did. Suddenly, I heard a big commotion behind me. I turned around and saw people crowded near the place I got down from the train. I hurried down to the place to check out what is wrong. Pushing people out of the way, I reached the spot and saw a bucket and some Vadas spilled at one corner, I glanced around, and to my fear, found the same man lying in a pool of blood from an injury to his head. "He fell off the train in the melee to get down" I heard a murmur behind me.I quickly called the Ambulance helpline and checked his pulse, it wasn't there. He was dead.

My idea of seeking solace was to relinquish every thing you have, love, family, your prized possessions and lead a life of a saint. It is there everywhere, we are mortal beings, everything we own ,everything we love, is going to part with us one day, when we die. All those who claim to have seen life, say this and even go so far as to implement it. For they claim, any mortal affection only leads to desire, and desires lead to unrest within. If we give up any desire, we end up with inner peace. This is what I believed in, until I met this man.

We always see solace and inner peace as something which cannot be achieved without a sacrifice. A sacrifice too big to be made by a normal human being. This man taught me, that solace is nothing but being content and happy in your life. Even while making ends meet, a man can be happy and content. And this will be his solace, he was happy when he died. God made humans intelligent, an intelligent being only evolves when he desires for something better, to make him happy and that is how we have had inventions and discovery, the desire and the necessity  When people talk of seeking solace through relinquishment of desires, it only implies being indifferent to happiness, and life itself. If the existence is as fickle as we know, why remain indifferent to the gift of God? Accept your fate, seek happiness within you, define what is it that will make you content, and solace will follow.

I would rather die as someone, who was loved, who loved a lot, made a lot of love and had everything which made him happy, than as a saint, who remained indifferent to the feelings, and indifferent to life.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nascent fragility

I am born- 
Yes, I am finally born, after being inside for almost 9 months, I am finally out. This is the first time I see light, it is so bright outside. I am telling the person holding me, to cover my eyes, IT IS SO BRIGHT, I am shouting, But, why is this person smiling? 'Ouch' ,Suddenly, this person hits me hard on my bum, WHY, I shout again, And now, someone else is holding me, Oh, wait, it must be Mother, I can sense her. Now, she is crying and smiling. I keep telling her, cover my eyes, but she isn't listening to me. Wait, I can sense my own tears, is it that they don't understand my language, or is my language crying, I reckon its the latter. I sense a few more people coming in, It is my dad, I have heard his voice from inside, but he is not smiling, he is making strange faces. He puts his hand behind my back to lift me, Holds me mid-air and drops me in an instant. It hurt, and I shout at him too, DON'T LIFT ME IF YOU CANNOT HANDLE ME, but, he ignores me and goes away. I have shouted too much , I am tired now, and I doze off. I dream about a lot of brightness and light, after all, this was the first time I saw what light is!

I start crawling on my knees-
Yippee, I can move around the house by myself. My mom drops me on the floor after I wake up, and I realise that I can keep my body stable on my knees.I try moving forward, and that is it, this is the moment I had been waiting for. It was so nagging, to shout, correction, crying(yes I realised that I actually cry when I am trying to shout) , every time I wanted to move around from my place. Not anymore. The first thing I do after starting move around is reach out to my father, I haven't seen him in a long time. I see him standing in the aisle, I go up to him and tuck at his trousers. He looks down at me and makes a strange face. He moves aside, I again go up to him and tuck at his trousers. And, suddenly I am flying, My chest hurts, Did he hit me? Before I can fathom that, I hit the floor, my head is spinning, Everything I see is blurred. My whole body is in a state of pain. And this time, I actually cry. My mother lifts me, I shout at her to put me down, I want to move around, but I can't shout, my body hurts when I try to shout. Crying and shouting takes a toll on me, and I doze off. I wake up, only to look at the first face I saw when I came outside. I cry and tell her, that I still haven't forgotten the hit on my bum. But she is gentle this time, She takes me in her arms and rubs my body. I feel better now, the pain is disappearing slowly. I smile, and tell her, Apologies accepted.

I start walking around-
I know, you will call me a cry baby(talk of ironies!) if I tell you that it is boring to be crawling around, so one fine day, with tired and scrapped knees, I catch hold of the chair and try lifting myself. No, I am not always successful in my endeavors, and, I fall down. But I don't give up, Next day, I try the same stunt, and this time, I am lucky. I stand tall, everything seems so small to me. I see my milk bottle, wow, it looks so small now, I look at my mother, she is smiling, I smile back to her and tell her, very soon, I will be as tall as you. I try moving forward, but I fall, it hurt, but I am too excited to cry. I get up again and try moving forward, this time, I don't fall. I slowly start moving around the home. It is so much faster to move around like this.With each passing day, my speed of moving around increases. Each day, I make sure that I don't end up disturbing my father. One day, while my usual moving around the house, I felt a wet sensation in my bottoms, oops, I did it again, I realised later, that the timing is so terrible. I see my father standing, right across the room. He glares at me and comes to me with a great speed, wow, I want to move that fast one day. He picks me up, finally,I thought my father has picked me, finally, I will sleep in his lap, but, again go flying across, and it hurts again. He comes up to me again and raises his hand to my cheek, my cheeks are warm, and I sense something gushing out of my lips. My mom snatches me from father just before I dozed off again. When I wake up, I see the bum hitter lady again. I like her now, though. She rubs my body again, I feel warm, but all my pain doesn't go away now. She flashes a pointy thing to me, and pinches it on my arm and I doze off again.

I speak my first word-
Ok, I exaggerated this, I cant speak words, but then I can make some sounds similar to what my mom does. I don't know how, and I don't know why, but, the first word I speak, is 'Paa'. I don't know what it means, But sometime back, I heard a person, little taller than me, calling someone 'Paa' and I picked it up. I think, now, I won't have to cry when I feel like shouting. These people should now understand what I am saying. So, whenever I am angry, I say 'Paa'. Whenever I am happy, I say 'Paa'. My mother smiles every time I say 'Paa', even if I am shouting, she smiles. I think, crying was better, they don't understand their own language anymore. So, I decide to revert to my old language, but occasionally, I use their language as well. One day, I woke up when it wasn't bright yet. I sense that I wet my bottom again, and I still remember what happened, when I wet my bottoms while my father was around. I see two people around me. One of it is mother and other is my father, I can sense both of them, but which one is mother, I don't know. My bottoms feel itchy now, I want to call out my Mother, so I reach out to her and shout 'PAA'. She gets up and I hear a click and its suddenly bright again. Wait, it is not mother, it is father, whom I shouted to. He picks me up again, but I don't go flying across. But the way he has picked me, it hurts my arm. I am in his arms, till I suddenly feel breeze on my face. It is so pleasant. And again, after spending considerable(and probably the most) time in my father's arms, I go flying across. I wait for the pain to come, But I am still flying. I am enjoying this Wow, is this a dream. I feel so light, I am moving so fast. It feels great. How am I still flying? And then comes the pain, but the pain is momentary, I cannot feel my body, my vision is fading, but I see my mother rushing to me, but before she reaches me, I doze off again.

The brightness again!
I wake up, and never since my birth, has the brightness hurt me. "IT IS TOO BRIGHT", I shout out.

"You will get used to it child" a pleasant voice replies
"Ohh, so you understand my language, Who are you, and how do you speak my language, are you the person who hit my bum when I was born, but you had a different voice!" I ask, refraining from asking too many questions.
"I am your culprit, my child, I am the one who created you" the voice replies
"Where is my mother, and where is my father?" I ask inquisitively
"I am sorry, but, I won't be sending you back to them. You stay with me for sometime" He replies in the same pleasant monotone
"Promise me, that you won't send me flying across if I wet my bottoms, or shout 'PAA' from time to time" I say, trying to strike a deal
"I promise you, that, next time, I would not make you a Human"

Baby Falak in ICU

This blog post  is dedicated to the victims of baby assaults, in particular, baby Falak and baby Tanaaz, who died from continuous and calculated brutal physical assaults on them. While you are reading this, there are babies being assaulted all over the world, for crying too much, or for being a financial burden, or due to a drunken rage and worse, for being being a GIRL.

What can be the justification for an act of assaulting someone who is so helpless that he can't even stand on his feet. What can justify the act of assaulting someone, who doesn't even know what assault is, who he is being assaulted by or why he is being assaulted. Such a crime, should not be treated as homicide due to negligence, rather, it should be treated as a murder in cold blood. I truly believe in the saying, "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind" , but , if criminals convicted for such acts are let away with only long prison sentences and not capital punishment , then, I would rather stay in a blind world than live in world with such living demons.

Read Baby Falak news item
Read Baby Tanaaz news item

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Indian life- Evaluated

An average Indian perceives life as a gift of God. The references from Geeta, Quran and Bible on life, act as supporting documentation. And, considering their rise in numbers, atheists considers life as a product of fornication between a male and female member of any eukaryot and the resultant meiotic cell division, or, result of an asexual mitotic cell division in lower species, which is "the wow thing" for them(I guess, being a believer is easy and short to explain!). Any which way, life , and the existence thereof is a source of amazement and awe for us. Because we know that life is important, we spend half our fortunes on quacks who enlighten us with the knowledge of life, salvation and even afterlife.  And for the same reason, used by the crime syndicate and terror organizations to hold us at ransom, to give us grief and sorrow ,and, at times, make us vengeful. But, has life's importance been put at stake only by criminals(of all kinds of course) ? Think again.

The United Kingdom, prides itself on being home to multi-cultural and multiethinic communities, and on the social securities it provides to its citizens. It also understands its responsibility as a global power and being one of the five permanent members of the UN security council, it has sent its troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. It has also been providing aid to rebels in Syria to fight against the atrocious president Bashar-al-Assad. However, 93 years ago, in a small town of Punjab province, Amritsar, near Lahore, a group of Sikhs and Hindus had gathered to peacefully protest the British rule in India. But some Mr. Dyer viewed this gathering as a gathering of extremists, aged 1 to 90. He ordered his troop to shoot down all the terrorists irrespective of the age. Following the orders of their master, the troops shot down all the 'terrorist'. Even by official statistics, at least 500 people died in that incident. The General showed no remorse for his actions and was duly 'punished' by the British government. He was transferred back to Great Britain to continue his remaining service from there. He really got a severe punishment, didn't he?

In 1944, 320 African-American sailors(While reading, remember that Afro-Americans still did not have equal rights) were killed in port chicago,California in an accident, when the munitions, which were being loaded in the cargo, exploded. Such was a hue and cry raised about the accident, that the Navy insisted on giving each sailor a compensation of $ 5000. But since it was pre-Martin Luther era, the senate settled on an amount of $3000 for every dead sailor. The eighteen non-defense seamen who died in the accident, got a total compensation of $390,000, which comes roughly to around $21,666 per person. Some 42 years later, a bigger tragedy awaited the world. The biggest nuclear accident which the world witnessed occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine(erstwhile USSR). It was a clear 'hollywoodish' case of science experiments going terribly wrong(only that no mutants were produced as a result). The load testing of the reactor, with lack of preparation, resulted in (even by the lowest counts) 4000 deaths and 100 thousands more being affected by cancer or other severe disabilities. A fully functional city(Pripyat, city housing workers and other people near Chernobyl) had to be completely evacuated and deserted. The economic impact on the already messed up Soviet Union was huge, However, even after the disintegration of the union, a compensation of around $10,500 was paid to every single person who was evacuated, along with consistent medical amenities being provided to them all their lives.

While all this was happening in the world, 2 years before the Chernobyl accident, the biggest industrial accident which the world ever saw occurred in India. On the cold winter night of 2nd December, 1984, while the residents of the lake city were in a cozy slumber,  a human error lead to the leakage of Methyl isocyante gas from the Union carbide fertilizer plant. This accident resulted in immediate death of at least 4000 people and injured around 550,000 more. The first thing which happened after the accident was not the relief effort for the affected, but the doubtful escape of the CEO of the company Warren Anderson, right under the eyes of chief minister Arjun Singh(Former HRD minister, who introduced Quotas in IITs and IIMs) and the MP police. What followed for the survivors and the relatives, was an ordeal for justice. 56% of the people got lucky, after struggling for the appropriate compensation, the relatives of the dead got a 'justified' compensation of $1211, while those who were disabled got a compensation of $ 454 in 1992. The rest 44% were yet to be even examined for an eligible payout. The US federal court went on to comfortably quash Indian appeal for a compensation of $3.3 billion, citing archaic laws. DOW chemicals which purchased UCC in 2001, was a proud sponsor of the London Olympics, which India only threatened to boycott, but did not have the will to.

Its not just the dead(Indians) who are given a short stick. You, who is reading this, and anyone around you who uses a foreign product, had his/her life devalued by this world. Some years ago(and some years before that as well), BIS raised the issue of the quality of water being used in manufacturing of soft drinks in India. It found pesticides in the water, which was way above the permissible limit. Amir Khan, of Satyamev Jayate fame, promptly came to the rescue of the said manufacturer by appearing in a TVC, proclaiming the safety of the product he endorses. Some people claim, that the water used in colas is the same water we drink daily, hence we should not have a problem, point duly conceded. However, ask any Indian who is returning from the west, about the difference in taste of the colas there and here, the prompt reply for the Indian version would be that it is way below the western standards. Ask any west returned Indian about the pizzas and burger retail outlet there and here, the answer would be no different than the one given for colas.

Many of you who have read my post this far may come to think that an Indian life is really taken for granted, but really, is that so? Nobody takes us for granted until we allow them to. An Indian life is taken for granted because we move on, we are considered to be the people with great spirit, because no matter what happens, we move on, however, moving on is not a choice, its a compulsion . Try suing a company for faulty product and you will realize that the cost of transportation incurred for travelling to the consumer's court is more than the compensation which you actually get. We forget and forgive too easily for our own good. If we have to make ourselves counted, then stand up, wait, and do not move on until you get what you deserve to. Because, life, as taught to us, was always 'Amulya' (Priceless).
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

The big fat Indian wedding of convenience

"Please keep quiet!!" My friend said to me, with a very constipated look
"You know, it is a very difficult thing for me to do, still I would want to know, About what?" I replied with a chuckle.
"That you have known Kavita before our marriage was fixed" He said, enhancing his already constipated look.
"Of course, I did not know her before your marriage was fixed. You both fixed your your marriage the day you proposed her" I said, laughing at my joking abilities
"Whatever, also, do not disclose my age to anyone, I am a month younger than Kavita"
"Dude, what the heck? You are marrying your love, and the whole world knows that, why you making me look like a guy from CIA, hiding all the information?" I said, clearly irritated by him
"Apparently, the whole world doesn't know its a love marriage, only our immediate family knows that its a love marriage, for the rest of them, its a marriage fixed by our parents" He said, relieved at his revelations.
"I am planning to lock myself in the room, because among the 500 people who have poured in for your wedding, I do not have a way to know your "Immediate family" I replied with a shrug.

Although, Chetan Bhagat, is a pulp fiction writer, and thrives on spice and not literature, he made a good point in one of his books, that in India, you marry a family, and not the person alone. And when, we have so many people involved, so many people to be convinced, so many egos to be massaged, love and compatibility take a back seat, while convenience becomes the order of the day. Now, convenience for one, can be an inconvenience to other. So eventually, the type marriage is decided by the winner of the bout between clash of conveniences. Let me come up with the possible results in this clash of conveniences.

1) Arrange marriage- For starters, Arrange marriage means, the convenience of parents have won the bout hands down. To explain this concept, it is quite similar to buying a house. When you have the resources(read, a job which pays you well), you show interest in buying a house(read: getting married). For this, you approach a broker(read :Parents). This broker shows you the pictures of various potential investment options. Out of these pictures, you choose one, with strong recommendations by the broker of course. Once you do that, its time for site visit. You visit the site, and if you think, that what was shown to you in photograph, is close enough to reality, you give your nod. This is when, the brokers from both side start their negotiations and arrive at a middle path. And in a few months, ceremoniously(quite literally) you own the house.

2) Love marriage- It stands for everything Arrange marriage doesn't. If you happen to go in for a love marriage, it means, that you have defeated the convenience of your parents hands down. This kind of marriage is not for people with weak hearts. For you need to be brave, to overcome the threats of disowning you from your parents, and you need to have a sustainable source of income, if they indeed disown you. During all this, you may also come across over-zealous neighbours and long distance relatives(the close ones are not talking to you, remember?). They will try to tell you that, Man, is a social animal and it cannot ignore the norms of society. For them, you marrying someone of your choice, will be nuisance to the whole society. You also will have to let go of your ambitions of a big fat wedding and along with that sometimes, the comfort of your parent's home.

3) Arrange Marriage with elements of love- This is the new entrant on the Indian wedding scene. The convenience of parents has won the bout, but to show some respect to the losing team, the pride is restored in some way. Taking off from the broker-marriage analogy, this kind of marriage is akin to saying, the broker showed you a house and you fell in love with and bought it, and not because it carried strong broker recommendation. This kind of marriage has become a source of redemption for many young guys and girls in latest century. They want to prove to the world, that they are independent and that their opinion does matter. But the fact is, they are not independent. So, their parents choose life partner for them, and, almost instantly, they fall in love with each other. They proclaim their love for each other, with the blessings(read: permission) of their parents at every possible place. They fill each other's timeline(for the ignorant, the Facebook wall is now called timeline) with romantic messages and pictures. They would go on dates, but their won't be any good night kisses while dropping the girl back, and neither would the girl invite the guy in, for a cup of something. They would go shopping, but purchase only the stuff their parents think would be required for wedding. And one fine day, they get married, proclaiming to the world and generations to come, that they had a love marriage.

4) Love marriage with elements of Parent's approval- This kind of marriage is an exact opposite of what marriage no. 3. The parents have lost the bout of conveniences badly, and the children, out of respect and love, let the parents call it an arrange marriage. Carrying forward the broker-Marriage analogy, its like the broker claiming that the owner purchased the house on his recommendation and he got his brokerage too, when the fact is that the broker wasn't involved at all. Like marriage no. 3, this too is the latest entrant on the Indian wedding scene. The kids make their decisions clear, and parents decide not to be sore losers(like in marriage no. 2 ) and play along. They strike a deal with their children, to let them have elements of arrange marriage in the wedding. The kids don't mind, as long as they get to marry each other and not get disowned by their parents. The parents, who a few years ago would have been staunchly against love marriage, now start proclaiming to the world, that they are happy with the choices their children made, that they always gave the liberty to their children to decide their life. And one fine day, the children get married, and the parents proclaim, to anyone who cares to listen, that the wedding happened with their approval.

There are many more scenarios and sub-scenarios on the Indian wedding scene, but why so many scenarios? Wasn't wedding meant to be, "Boy likes girl and girl likes boy and they lived happily ever after" affair? Why are there so many egos involved in the coming together of two people? Why, suddenly the opinions and reactions of the till-now-non-existent relatives suddenly start to matter?

Now, people may accuse me of plagiarising Amir Khan from Satyamev Jayate, but I, along with you and many others have held strong opinions on this subject for long. Falling in love, is still a quasi-blasphemous thing for majority of Indians. We have been those hypocrites who cheer for our Actors and actresses since almost a century, when they win their love in movies. But, in real life, we quash the very same thing, right beneath the foot of our ego. It is time, we realised, that wedding is between two people and two people alone. They will be leading a life of at least 30-40 years together. And most of the guests at their wedding, would not either live long enough to see them in good and bad times, or, would not care enough to see them in good and bad times. Wedding should be a bond of love between two people and not a deal of convenience between two parties.

Sooner or later everyone has to decide, So, What is your convenience?

PS- Come to think of it, I guess my friend(The one I had a conversation with at the start of this blog) falls in category three of the marriages.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Confessions of a natural mind

Phew...Boys room and holy shit can never be cleaned

She thought to herself as she was cleaning their room. She had been disturbed for quite some time now. Being married for over an year through the institution of arrange marriage, she had had a hard going. First, she had to shift to a new city, for which she had to leave her old job, and now, this new city did not have a job to offer her. Her husband is a successful banker, earning enough money for both of them, but not spending enough time with her. Disgruntled and alone, she had taken up to social networking, meeting up with some old friends and making some new. To get over her boredom, today, she had taken up the cleaning of their bedroom, which though is visited a very few times by her husband, but it takes only those few visits to mess it up.

While cleaning the bookshelf in the room, she came across a neat hard bound diary, which she hadn't seen before. Carefully, she opened the case and turned the first page. It had her husband's name on the first page as title and "My confessions and feeling" as the subtitle. She turned to the next page...

Date- 01-August-2003

Today was my first day at college. I was very nervous and anxious about how it would turn out to be, but fortunately for me it turned to be better than what I anticipated. It is always nice to be in a good college and being surrounded by ocean of intellect. But in this ocean of intellect, I happen to see a pearl. She was sitting on the first bench, and just so that I could gather more info on her, for the first time I took the risk of sitting on the first bench. She is such a beauty that anyone would be forgiven to overlook her intellect. Her name is Karen and.....

Ohh, so he had a crush, he is not heartless after all

She did not read the rest of it, she turned the next page, it had the usual routine college life, boring, she thought to herself. She turned a few more pages until she came across a page mentioning Karen again.

Date- 10th November-2003

Karen is one hell of a female, rather one hell of a liberated female. She is quite vocal about the fact that she smokes occasionally and drinks socially, now, which female would have the guts to confess this to a guy she has met only a few months ago. She is par excellence….

Height of being mesmerized…Why the hell did he ever marry me?

A few more pages of regular college stuff and she stopped again at the mention of Karen

Date- 05th July-2004

I finally enter the second year of my college. I am no longer a fresher, but I do not intend to bully the juniors. Karen is still looking as beautiful as she always looked. I am now habituated to sitting on the first bench. Today she reaffirmed my observation of her being a bold and liberated girl. She discussed the genre of porn she watches. I admit, I was embarrassed, I have never discussed this with guys, let alone girls, she even asked me if I could get my collection for her on a CD. She is the epitome of being independent…..

So this guy watches porn, and if that does not suffice, he discusses it with females, Mom, where have you got me into? I can’t take this anymore; this guy is a pervert and sick…

She now started flipping through pages to nail this guy. She was sure that his fewer visits home meant more visits to this Karen’s place.

Date-13th January 2005

Karen has a boyfriend, Christopher. She will be getting married to him this year after we complete our degree in July. She told me I am a good guy, but she has already given her heart to Christopher, I guess she has been reading my mind off late and hence confessed her feelings before I could confess mine. Christopher is a very successful banker and is already earning Rs 2 million a year. It is only befitting for Karen that she gets a guy like Christopher…

She did not bother to read the rest of it. She was happy, happy in a way devil is when he commits an atrocity. He confessed that he had feelings for a girl, enough for her to make her case and insufficient alibis for him to justify his case. Now that Karen was out of his life, she wanted to know more about the dark secrets of Mr. White collared banker. She turned a lot more pages until she came to the day he first saw her.

Date- 12th December 2010

My experience with Karen had taught me that I need to be successful and extremely successful at that if I am to get hooked to a liberated female like Karen, This is the reason I had been procrastinating my wedding plans. But today I had to give in to my mom’s whims. She took me to Kapoors today to meet their daughter, and for the first time I did not regret giving in to my mom’s whims. I was dumbstruck on seeing her and I could feel my mouth remaining open for more time than it should have been. She is every bit the intellect I always sought the company of. She is smart and suave. I regret that she will have to leave her current job to get married to me, but my infatuation got better of my regrets and I agreed to marry her, fortunately for me, she also agreed.

I cannot believe, he thought so highly of me, then why the hell does he stay away from me for such long durations?

She was blushing for the first time after her marriage to him

Still, his feelings for me doesn’t take away the fact that he had a past with a female called Karen, Look how he started off by taking her name.

Curious to find out what changed him, she turned to the pages detailing their married life.

Date- 02nd September 2011

Hello Mr. Diary, I get heart breaks every time I look forward to a relationship. Kanika was and still is the girl I would love no end. She is intellectual and at the same time blends well with my persona. However, today while she was surfing her mail, she had seemed to forget to uncheck the ‘Keep me signed in’ check box. This led me to her mail box straight away without logging in. I saw a previous chat window already open, it was a chat with her ex-boyfriend(ex obviously coz I am her husband now), they were discussing how I was a thorn in flesh of their love and how they had loved each other so much. I don’t want to be a thorn for anyone, but I don’t have the gumption to separate from her. I will just stay away from her so that she seeks separation and the blame falls on me. I simply want to see her happy, maligning her is surely not on my mind. I only regret, again, not confessing my feelings, leaving it for a little too late.

She frantically searched for next few pages, but there wasn’t any entry after 2nd September, she kept turning pages till she reached the last page of the diary. She could feel tears in her eyes. She was falling short on breath; she could not take it anymore and burst out crying aloud. She cried till she fell asleep. She woke up a few hours later, picked up her mobile and dialed her husband, asking him to come home tonight, come what may. He agreed at once. She regretted how a flow of emotions had made her commit the sin of infidelity, and more so, the pain it was causing an angelic soul. She prepared the best food she could. Decorated the living room in the best possible way she could.

He came home an hour later, but was not surprised to see the whole room decorated, smelling the aromas of the best food his wife could cook. She came out a few minutes later

“I am sorry honey” She said giving him a peck on cheek

“Why ,Sweetheart?” He asked giving a peck back on her cheek

“Nothing, I am all for you, now, and forever. Just come back home daily on time.” She said smiling, but tears in her eyes. " I will be your diary" She added

“As you say your highness” He hugged her

He saw his diary left on the table. He smiled, he had gotten away with it, this mistake had almost jeopardized the whole thing, but it worked nonetheless. He had not realized before planning it, that The year on the diary was 2012

There is no saint out there without a stain on his past. Living in past perfect can only leads to a present tense and future imperfect.
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Better sorry than late

"You are no longer a fresher" I said to myself as I entered the bay of my new project. I looked around and indeed, I was no longer a fresher, before I even got my new desk, my "would be" team mates started seeking my help in resolving a few technical glitches,the managers started introducing me to the various teams. However, I wasn't bothered about the technical glitches or knowing what work other teams did. I wanted my desk, I wanted my machine, I had a lot to be done before I settled down, and more importantly I wanted to know or rather see who am I sitting next to.

"Does anyone actually sit here ,Kuldeep?"  I asked the guy seated on a desk next to the empty desk besides me.
"No, not really, there used to be a guy sitting here from a different project, I guess he left the company, some fresher is going to replace him soon" He said with a shrug

"Please God, let it be a girl, No, a good looking girl, no ,a Hot girl, but a girl" I prayed, and sometimes, as I learned, Gods do give you a hearing.

"Excuse me", I heard a soft feminine voice calling me out, " Is it your bag? Can you keep it over the table, so that I can sit on this chair?" I looked up from my screen to see the most pretty girl(yet) in the entire bay standing next to me.

"Hail the Almighty"

"Hey, yeah ,uhhh, sure, Sorry" I fumbled with my word and my bag as I pulled it out of her chair.
"Hey, I think I should ask her name"
"You gone nuts? She did not even say a thank you when you pulled your bag, show some self respect, moron!"  A devil named ego shouted from inside me and I caved in to his roar

I gathered that her name was Jagriti, at least that's what her desk name plate said. She had a simple routine to her day. She would come in at 9 am, put her bag on her chair and disappear with a small hand bag for around 10 mins and come back with a glowing skin and amazingly flowing hair. She would then sit at her desk, to probably check out some mails and after doing this for exactly 5  mins she would then  pull out some meal vouchers from her purse and head for the cafeteria returning only an hour later. 15-20 minutes into her work after coming, she would shout out, "Nareshhhhhhhh, this piece of code sucks, how is one expected to debug this?" This guy Naresh would then spend an hour trying to fix her code, while he would fix her code, she would attend a few calls from her numerous friends(because I never heard the same name appended to her 'Hi' when she answered her call). After the tiring code fixing session, she would go to the break out to get some tea. And after calling out, Suresh and Jignesh to fix a sucking piece of code after lunch, she would sit down, surfing sites which always put a smile on her face, the shopping websites. The way she got engrossed in those sites made me feel that she could (window)shop online no end. And then it was time again, she would pick her small hand bag and storm out again, only to come back 10 mins later with glowing face and flowing hair. She would then pick up her rest of the stuff and leave for the day.

I observed her routine for a month and I was surprised by her dedication to this routine of hers. And yes, once in a while if she ever met my eye, she would give out a broad smile, sending my pulse racing.

"I think it is time I introduce myself"
"You think you are too smart? Has she even tried to introduce herself?"
"Enough, Sometimes, no, always, guys have to take the first step, don't you see how broad a smile she gives me when she meets my eye?"
"Fine, go to hell, do whatever you feel like"

"Hey, Is your machine connected to the printer? I need a print out" I finally spoke to her, one month after fumbling with words
"Yeah, why? Isn't yours connected?" She asked in a MATTER-OF-FACT tone
"No, My LAN cable doesn't seem to be working" I said, a white lie
"Okay, here is your print out" She held out the print out for me, it only had my name in bold letters written on it.
"By the way, that's my name on the print out" I said with a wide grin, priding myself for being smart
"Oh and this is my name" She held out her desk name plate on which Jagriti was written in bold. " I am planning to go for tea" she added suddenly, probably in a care-to-join tone

"Is it a statement or an invitation?"
"Sit tight, moron, don't pay heed to her, she is a fresher, you stop acting like one, don't accept her invitations so soon"

"Ohh Great, the masala tea in the cafe is great, you should surely try it" I said in a it-was-me-who-told-you-first tone.
"Cool", she turned around and left. And while she was leaving I thought I heard her muttering the word 'stupid'.

"Today is my birthday, I will offer her the chocolates at my desk and she would surely demand a treat, I would then take her out to an exclusive restaurant, a date, just me and her"
"Utopian dreams"
"Go to hell, I am not paying heed to your thoughts today"

"Hey, why don't you have some chocolates, it is my birthday today" I extended her a box of chocolates.
"Ohh, Happy birthday" She smiled as she picked up a chocolate.
"Well......" I said, hoping she would demand a treat.
"Ohhh, well"
"Here she goes, Hail Almighty"
"I too have sweets for you, I got engaged this weekend" She said with the widest grin I had ever seen on her face
"Uh-huh, I am on a diet, congratulations by the way" I said, trying hard to hide my disappointment
"And ,I won't be taking a print out to tell his name, It's Akshat" She said giving a hi-five to Naresh who had just joined.

In the following week, she took a long leave of absence, and the next thing I heard was that she had applied for a name change in the company database. Her Facebook profile read her name as "Jagriti Verma Mittal". She returned a month later wearing a bright red Saree and loads of bangles on both her wrists. An hour later, I got a mail from her titled sweets at my desk. I turned to see her opening two boxes of sweets. I picked one up and gulped it down. She looked at me and gave me her regular broad smile. A few hours later, some girls turned up at her desk and spoke to each other intermittently when they got some time off from their giggling. An hour later a few more girls turned up and to the relief of bay, took her outside for some more giggling.
As "Her day" neared an end, she came to me,

"Hey, This is also my last day in office, it was nice meeting you" She offered a hand for shaking. " Also, the next  time I see you, I will surely have the masala tea" she giggled and left the bay for the final time.

"Excuse me, would you please take your bag off this chair, so that I can sit" I looked up from my screen on hearing a strong feminine voice

"Hail the Almighty, circle of life, law of averages!"

"Yeah sure" I picked up my bag from the chair " By the way, my name is Abhishek" I said while extending a hand for handshake.

"I am not going to showcase my bloated ego this time"

"Hey Hi, my name is Khushi" She said, taking my hand
"Do you mind a tea with me?"
"Sure, why not" Way to go, genius! "However I usually have my tea with my boyfriend, do you mind if he joins us?" She said with a smile on her face
"Oh, wait a second, I guess I just got some work, why don't you go ahead"
"Sure, never mind, sometime later" She smiled and started moving
"Do try the masala tea in the cafe, it is rumored to be good out here" I said aloud while she was exiting from the

"Better be sorry, than late" The voice inside me said aloud!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

When the titans will shrug

"IT IS A WIN FOR EQUALITY AGAIN" screamed the headline out of the morning news paper. Puzzled, he picked up the news paper.

"15-08-2035 New Delhi : As expected since a few days, the honorable government of People's state of India passed a resolution in the parliament reserving a percentage of seats in all public mode transport based on the scheduled list of castes and tribes as listed in the constitution of India and/or economic status. Speaking from outside the parliament Mr. Sudhir Paswan , the head of state of People's state of India said,
" This bill ,although very trivial in nature, concerning only the public transport is a part of series of reforms to bring about equality of castes and classes. In our 88 years of independence, I can proudly say that we have truly moved towards equality. It first started by making a reservation in premier institutes like IIM and IIT for scheduled castes and tribes in year 2006. India wasn't a people's state then, but it was a step in right direction. Then in 2016, we introduced a bill, which made it compulsory for all private companies to reserve a certain percentage of job openings, and then eventually the position of CEO of companies was to be held only by a reserved candidate so that the hiring process could be overlooked in a transparent manner......"

He knew the rest of it, IT sector was the biggest casualty in India,  Philippines had now taken the lead in IT. Tired of reading politics, he moved on to read some other news.


He was getting late for work, if he reported late, he may lose his 30 year old job to a young 'reserved' chap. He kept the newspaper on the table, with a sigh, picked up his bag, shrugged and left home hoping that his company would last one more day, one more day of survival in People's state of India.

The above scenario is obviously an extreme kind of hypothesis, but an impression that the scenario may not be realized would be callous. Our nation today wants equality for all, an equality of opportunity for all. If equality was ever given some thought years ago, the world would have been a different place now. The lantern makers would have fought for equality of opportunity on production of electric bulbs. Horse ranch owners would have had the motor cars banned for jeopardizing the livelihood of horse and horse owners. Telegraph manufacturers would have banned telephones and telephone manufacturers would have banned satellites and mobile phones, all new inventions would have been banned for the sake of equality. And if Maharaja of Baroda had considered equality as a factor in his decision making, he wouldn't have sent B.R. Ambedkar on a scholarship to USA, he would have sent someone of lesser intelligence to study so that he can have an opportunity to equate his intelligence with Ambedkar.

Two kids, born to be neighbours, whose parents work in same organization, raised together, went to same school, both gave sole entrance exam for professional course. One gets 99%, but cannot get admission, other gets 90% and gets the admission. That is the justice of equality delivered by constitution of India, unquestionable?  The kid who did not get admission is disappointed, applies for an admission in USA, gets prompt admit, the whole neighborhood starts crying brain drain. That is the judgement of equality delivered by the great ethical Indian society , unquestionable?

 A very old Parsi industrial group signs a deal with West Bengal communist government to set up a car manufacturing plant in Singur. They pay high price to all the farmers whose land was acquired legally along with a job offer in the same plant. After a few years, the plant is ready to roll out cars, but suddenly, the farmers realize they still want to cultivate jute on that very land. They decide to stall the unit with the help of some 'Didi'. They want the land back. The industrial group demands the money they paid back, but the farmers are helpless and poor, they exhausted the money on living expenditure. The industrial group refuses to bow down. 'Didi' calls this subjugation of poor by rich, a social activist known for stalling projects and a female bookers prize winner who could only write one popular book all her life with incestous theme and spends half her time in capitalist USA, join hands with 'Didi' to bring equality and justice to farmers. The farmers damage the unit  and injure the workers inside the unit. The industrial group has enough, they abandon the plant and leave the state. The unit is brought down and land is returned to farmers. The farmers now unable to cultivate anything on that land, plead for help. The government then compensates the farmers. Happy ending?

Two friends arrive in the city of opportunities together. Both have the same qualifications, however one of them has a penchant for hard work. He works hard and gets a job at a reputed company. With his first salary he moves out of the shanty in the biggest slum of Asia built illegally, which he shared with his friend to a nice rented apartment in a distant suburb.The person who is not so hardworking continues to live in the shanty and starts working in an illegal leather factory. The hardworking person continues to grow arithmetically, but is unable to keep up with the growth of realty prices and continues living on rent. He pays all his taxes regularly. His friend meanwhile continues to grow in leather business geometrically. He has enough money to buy an apartment now, but that would mean giving up the leather business. The hardworker reaches old age in the rented home. One fine day he reads a directive by government to move all the Shanty dwellers in the slum settlement to apartments which will be owned by them. His hardly working friend moves into a swanky new apartment built free for him by the government from tax payers money, while the hard working person dies a nondescript death in the rented apartment, having paid all the taxes on time.

The pretext of equality has long been used to choke fair competition. Any sentence that uses word equality becomes an oxymoron. The concept of equality meant, equal opportunity for privileged and underprivileged alike, however it has long since been modified to mean an equality in opportunity for competent and incompetent alike. Any body who has had a reservation ready for him all through out his life irrespective of the opportunity he had economically or socially automatically stands to be underprivileged against someone who may have had same opportunity but was privileged, since he belonged to open category. Anybody who is rich by his/her own virtue is accused of being a poor hater, he is considered to be privileged and is doomed with the burden of supporting the underprivileged, who may be drunkard spending all his days income on buying country liquor. Any body who earns is a privileged one, and is cursed to pay taxes so that the ones who are too lazy to work, the underprivileged, living on land purchased by government from the taxes paid by the earning class, can be fed and given better place to live in. Is that the equality we strive for?

When equality of privileged v/s underprivileged and not that of competent v/s incompetent is achieved, that would be the day of reason and justice of equality.


One of the central characters in the famous novel by Ayn Rand, "Atlas shrugged",  asks the other central character

what sort of advice he would give to Atlas upon seeing that "the greater [the titan's] effort, the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders". With him unable to answer, he gives his own response: "To shrug"
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The President is coming

With a cup of coffee in one hand and other hand ruffling his hair, he stared blankly at the documents kept in front of him. Just when he was about to give up on it, he saw his enlightened 'boss' coming in, seizing the opportunity, he went up to him.

"Sir, What do I do about this clause?" He asked, keeping the documents on his table.

"Which clause?" The boss replied sheepishly, while checking out the show timings for the newly released movie 'Andaz' starring some new comers like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Nargis.

"This clause, sir, In the British constitution, we have the monarchical head, What do we do about it here, in India?" He asked with a sense of hurry.

"We will have a monarchical head as well then" The boss replied in a "Don't-you-know-it-tone".

"Sir, however, our nation has decided to do away with Monarchy, and if anyway we were to select one monarch, who would we select, we have so many kings and emperors." He said, now becoming restless.

"Yes, that is a valid point, we cannot have monarchy" The boss said, now a bit alert.

"Exactly my point, then can we have a president?" He asked curiously.

"Yes, yes, absolutely, let us have a president then" Boss added, impressed by his subordinate

"So then, the people of India will elect the president?" He added, to extract more from his boss.

"No, how can that be? We have made so many drafts incorporating the British constitution, according to which Prime Minister is the head of the country, it will be a lot of rework, if we were to change this." The boss added with authority and already regretting why he ever got impressed by this chap!

"However, the President is supposed to be the commander of armed forces and some other powers like passing the bill etc., What will the PM do, and what if there is a conflict" He added, still trying to keep his point.

"We will give him all the power a president is supposed to have" The boss said, "However, let us have a clause that he can use all these powers only in consultation with the PM" The boss added after seeing the blank look on his subordinate's face.

"This solves it then, thank you sir" He came out, satisfied with the answer and impressed by the solution given by his boss.

The above scenario, to those familiar with the world of IT, may resemble a coder catching up with a team lead with a problem and the team lead providing a work around for it. The above conversation is as fictional in nature as India overtaking China in terms of economy and military might. However, the outcome of the conversation is exactly what happened to India, creation of a ceremonial post.
On 26th January 1950, India became a Republic. A Republic means , a form of government  in which the people or a significant portion of them have supreme control over the government and where offices of the state are chosen by people. In a nutshell, a state which is not headed by a monarch. But, our constitution makers somehow ended up adding a president as the head of the state, to keep intact, the inspiration.

The president is the Supreme commander of Armed forces, he can dissolve the lok sabha, he can remove the Judges of Supreme courts. He appoints the governor of states, he declares wars on countries and all the diplomatic treaties are signed by him. The President with all these powers may really be the superman of India, however to spoil the party, there is a small rider to it. A president can dissolve the Lok Sabha only on the 'advice' of council of ministers. He can remove the judges of Supreme court, only if a motion has been passed for impeachment in both the houses. He appoints the governor, who can at best be described as a miniature of president at state level. President declares the war against countries, but who decides when to go at war? All the diplomatic treaties are signed by him, but who negotiates the terms of these treaties? No prizes for guessing all of it.

The boundaries of power and advise by counsil for president can easily be said to be thin .Powers, which are diminished by a single sentence in the constitution which says that a president be advised by council of ministers, can still be easily rendered if a President knows how to play 'Politics'(Quoting a former minister Jagjivan Ram here). There have been presidents who haven't taken too kindly too the advise by council of ministers. So we had our very first president Dr. Rajendra Prasad openly opposing the Hindu code bill by Nehru. Giani Zail Singh used pocket of veto in 1986 for Postal bill, whereby, a president can delay his assent to a bill by indefinite time by not actually reviewing it, thus eventually pushing the bill into dustbin. And more recently we had APJ Abdul Kalam sending the modifications to office of profit bill back for reconsideration. And here came one more catch, the president can only send back a bill once. The second time it comes to him, he has to sign it. Smart UPA, ignoring the reconsideration request by Mr. Kalam, sent back the original bill to him.

The above facts and observations raise uneasy and probably blasphemous questions about the creators of our constitution. I have absolutely no doubt over the abilities of the drafting committee, however certain aspects of our constitution , like the ceremonial head of the country, which are lifted directly from the British constitution, make for an shabby copy and paste. Even if we had to have a head of the state, why wasn't a clear demarcation done about the powers he possesses and the powers he can actually wield? Why were the clauses kept  so ambiguous? We have a President, who has a remuneration of Rs 150,000 a month, along with the Rs 220 million spent from annual budget on the activities of the president, who stays in one of the biggest palace in India(Rashtrapati Bhavan), the maintenance of which again is a costly affair. All this, for him to be a dummy in hands of the government,to be used like a rubber stamp, to be the face of the nation, probably the way Shahrukh Khan is the face of the N number of brands he never even uses.

The President will keep coming, irrespective of we needing him or not.
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