Friday, December 06, 2013

Why we rake up the past when talking about the Congress.

This afternoon, I got discussing politics on the lunch table. My speech:

"My problem with the Congress starts from the time when they were negotiating with the British on behalf of India. They divided the country, created the biggest massacre known in modern history, and no one turned back and asked them what the F were you doing? Why did India not hold its leaders accountable for the partition?
Likewise, in 1984, the people who were here, who saw what Rajiv Gandhi and his goons did to 3000 people in 3 days flat, in the most gruesome manner. These people saw what happened and still voted for the Congress. To me, that means that these people support the massacre that happened in 1984. There is, to my mind, no other explanation."

Someone on the table said, "why rake up the past? look at that they are doing now. The people who were responsible for 1984 and partition are both not here."

This post is to answer that question.

Because that past is not settled. Because everyday, it haunts a few thousand of us. Both , the partition and the 1984 riots. And Bhagalpur. And Bhopal Gas. And Godhra. They have to be raked up because under the ashes are smouldering cinders - not willing to die out. Waiting for their chance to become an inferno.

If the Congress does not need to answer for its past misdeeds, then rapists don't have to be punished after 7 years, and murderers after 10 years?

When does a crime become "old"? For the perpetrator, the minute it is done. For the victim, never. India was the victim of a crime in 1947 - the worst possible betrayal by its own people. And I feel like a victim. That is why I cannot stop talking about the past. Because there is no closure. Anywhere.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Demographic Dividend - more people means more jobs

This post is going to be short - because the point is simple, and other people have made it before me.

The idea of Demographic Dividend assumes that more people in a certain age group will mean more jobs and more income for the country.

However, this assumption has another underlying assumption - that the more people entering the workforce are all "employable" - i.e., they have the skills, attitude and infrastructure to enter the workforce and be productive.

Skill
There is global skill shortage. This report indicates that India has a skill shortage. But the skill shortage is way more than what is here. According to another research paper read elsewhere, the gap between skill requirements and skill training - esp in vocational skills, is very high.

Infrastructure
30% of the population lives in urban areas. An even smaller population in metros. The share of GDP from urban areas is 52%. This means that at least 70% of India's "Demographic dividend" lives in a place where it cannot be optimally employed because the infrastructure is not suited to high productivity employment. If we take away the non metro cities (Realistically, the non metro cities do not have  very conducive infrastructure) , then this gap surges even more.

Attitude
aka the Indian Work Ethic. Perhaps its a matter of global concern, but the Indian Work ethic just keeps getting worse among knowledge workers and students looking to land knowledge jobs.
This report has some key figures for us. This and this deserves to be read too.

So, the short point is, that the Indian worker may be looking for employment, but that does not automatically make him/her employable.

And therefore, the Demographic Dividend tempo must be tempered to be closer to reality. The reality may not be bleak, but if we dont stop bursting at the seams, we are very likely to burst right down the middle.

End of story. 

 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Demographic Dividend or Population Problem - Keeping them safe...

The third thing we spoke about in managing 14% of the world's population on 2% of area, was their physical safety.
Luckily for us, the National Crime Records Bureau has put all the statistics online - from 1953 onwards!

In addition to the numbers we see on this site, and their relevant correlations with the population, economic disparity and other factors, there is one more variable that we need to consider - the incidence of reporting. We know that the state of crime is bad in India. We know that the number of undertrial cases pending in our courts is staggering. We dont even need to see the numbers to know that in spite of trying our best, we as a country do NOT have the infrastructure required to :
  1. Proactively predict and prevent crime
  2. Find the guilty after the crime has been committed
  3. Take the accused through a fair judicial process within "reasonable time" (Please note, we are not using the word "quickly" here. Just reasonable time, and even that is too much to ask for)
  4. Once there is a verdict, one way or another, there is an administration system - ensuring that prisons are places that humans can inhabit, ensuring the parole system and where relevant, the rehabilitation system.
We simply have failed on each one of these necessary and vital actions of the state.

Irrespective of what we might think is the "ideal" population for a country like India, we do know that the current population levels are far, far above that "ideal" number.

At current numbers, we are unable to provide basic citizenship amenities. Governance, though an important part of the equation, is NOT the sole culprit.

What we have here is a classic situation of too few resources and too many claimaints to those resources. Any government can only try to optimise the allocation of resources, but the challenges we put to our governments are huge. And our ask is quite simply, impossible. At these numbers, we are tearing at the seams and about to burst.

In the next post, we will discuss nother assumption that one often hears in the Demographic Dividend context - more people mean more jobs and higher income.  

Demographic Dividend or Population Problem - Incomes

In the previous post, I spoke about the second factor required to maintain population in a country -per capita income. aka, enough money to keep body and soul together.

In that piece, we spoke about the impact of individual choices on family incomes and standards of living. These individual choices aggregate as national poverty statistics. The worst part of these wrong choices is that they lead to actual child abuse meted out by parents. But there is very little punitive action against parents who are responsible for abuse and child labour by their children.

In this piece, lets look at the per capita income and population from a different perspective. I googled to find out if a study has happened on the impact of family size on per head income in the family.

Here is a chart taken from a book called Human Development in India:



Image Courtesy - book Human Development in India

Lets break down this total income into per capita income by family size.

If the family has:
1 member : per capita income i likely to be 13435

At 2 members, however, that number is not 26870, it is 24000. Per capita income - 12000

3 members : per capita income - 10067 INR

4 member : per capita income - 9863 INR

5 member: per capita income - 10510 INR

we cannot calculate per capita income because the report says 6+, so the number could be for 6 member households or 11 member households.

So, with every member that we add to the family, our average per capita income diminishes almost uniformly, except for one spike at family size of 5.

Ceveat: The book mentions that because of economies of scale, a large family living together will spend less and so their total net worth will be higher..

Endpoint: A bigger family by itself does not mean higher income for the family. More people do not, by definition mean higher income for the country.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Demographic Dividend or Population Problem - Impact of Individual Decisions on the country's GDP

The second thing I spoke about was Per capita income aka an ability to make enough money to make ends meet.

Every time we talk about poverty, we talk about the failure of poverty alleviation problems. But the question we also need to ask is:
Why do we need poverty alleviation programs?

It is the state's job to provide administration. Perhaps, in a welfare state, also to provide health care.

But why is the government's job to ensure that you are not a poor person? Where is the individual's responsibility?

Lets ask a question: What makes a poor person a poor person?
There are no easy answers. The favorite answers are destiny and lack of opportunity because of social bias.

But lets try to understand a story. This is the story of Manglu, a poor child from remote any-part-of-india who comes to a big city, works as a rag picker, makes a very little money, lives in barely habitable conditions. Then, Manglu gets married and has children. And more children. Because more hands to work means more money. He forgets that part of the equation which says that more children also mean more mouths to feed. Now, he has 5 mouths to feed, and maybe 4 earning members in the family, but only 1 adult earning member, since the mother has to take care of the 3 children. Even if she is employed, she is under employed. and the children make very little money, even if all 3 are put to work. In addition, there is malnutrition and frequent illness.

Contrast that with another story. This is of Pappu. Same background as Manglu. Comes to city, works as rag picker, gets married. Except, that he has only one child, and is determined to send this child to school. Now, Pappu has 2 earning members and 3 mouths to feed. And a school going child whose earning potential is way above the combined earning potential of his parents if he continues in school.

The government did not give birth to Manglu's children. Nor is it responsible for his flawed thinking. The government cannot be blamed for lack of common sense. The government is not responsible for parents who push their children into child labour. Nay, people who bring children into the world with the specific intention that they will work as soon as they can walk, or latest by the age of 5.

What the government is responsible for, however, is punishing people who are responsible for child labour - even if it is the parents themselves.

In appeasing the adults who are potential voters, the government has failed the children by not protecting them from abuse meted out by parents.

Poverty Alleviation programs are an anomaly.

It is also unfortunate for India that instead of harping on the failure of povery alleviation programs, we do not ask questions on the continued need for these programs. If they were effective cures for poverty, surely 60 years is long enough to wait. And at the end of 60 years, poverty is unmoved. Maybe we are applying the wrong combination of medicine? Perhaps it is time we made people responsible for their financial state, at least in part?

Friday, November 08, 2013

Demographic Dividend or Population Problem ?

I love these big sounding words - Demographic Dividend. And how India is all ready for greatness and all that because of this "demographic dividend" and all that.

So i did what i normally do on these occasions (meaning when one is totally lost) - google god.
It turns out, that Demographic dividend was not what i thought at all! Its not just that we have more people, but that we have more young people, who can potentially earn and add to our GDP.

See, what a lovely idea! Take a look at this if you dont believe me.

Except, i dont agree. There are some very basic flaws with the assumption that:
A. More people means more money or higher GDP
B. More people is a good idea by itself.

India is the 7th largest and the 2nd most populous country in the world. We have 2% of the world's land area. And we have 14.28% of the world's population. That is only based on the no. of Indians living in India. We support 14% of the world's population on 2% of the world's land. Does that tell you anything?

Different estimates indicate that we will overtake China anytime from 2015 to 2050. But no study anywhere indicates that we will become the 6th largest country anytime soon. Or that our land area will increase.

Why is that important?
This is why.

To sustain a population,we need some basic things:
1. Food
2. Money (aka Per Capita Income)
3. Physical Security

Food
The average land holding in India is 1.16 hectares, down from 1.34 hectares in 2000-1. About 80% of our cultivated area is used to grow basic food items. Around 50% of our land area is used for agriculture. Though we are among the highest producers of several basic food items, our productivity is way below global numbers.

These numbers do not indicate a healthy trend towards feeding our people. Accounting for economic disparity, it is a fact that thousands of Indians are literally starving to their deaths.  There is a number to it - 7000 Indians starve to their death every day. And 25 Lakh every year. One third of the world's hungry people live in India. One third. Way above our national average of one seventh of the world's population.

This is how bad it is.

We may have the food, but we simply do not have the mechanism to feed all the mouths we give birth to. The shrinking average land holding is a reality directly caused by population.

 

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Everyone in Karnataka must learn Kannada...

..because they use the resources of the state.

Years ago, a colleague in Bangalore had said something along these lines to me. My response to her was: Yes, you are right. People should not need to move to Karnatka. Companies who get cheap labour that migrates should be forced to set up offices in whatever location they want workers from.

If they want people from Delhi to work for them, they should build an office in Delhi, not force people from Delhi to move to a culture that makes them feel unwelcome and alien.

Has anyone ever written about how the migrants feel in the new culture? And since when did we become "outsiders" in our own country?

I have left 2 cities because they were nasty to people not from the state. One of those cities was Bangalore. The other was Mumbai. These are progressive cities. And yet the hidden jingoism, even among the educated, who are supposed to be "globally mobile" is unnerving.

If we have to get down to specifics, India follows a federal structure. All states get some assisstance from the centre and are NOT autonomous. Which means their "resources" belong to the country and not themselves alone.

Karnatka will get 10,000 crores of central funds during 2013-14. Out of a total of 47,500 crore in the Karnatka budget, 10,000 crore will come from "India". So the minister's statement was factually incorrect.

The minister was talking about keeping Kannada medium schools alive, and revitalising them to increase enrolment. That is a lofty idea, but is entirely separate from forcing other people to learn a language.

This whole jingoism just has to end. It rears its ugly head far too often. In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, now Vidarbha, tomorrow Gorkhaland. The number of intolerant states is very low - we just counted them. But these few states go on to create a murky image of India in the minds of all Indians.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Grandmother and the billion dollar company

As we write, Twitter is likely to be valued at 11 billion. Facebook's current market cap, according to this article, is at 100 billion.

If you were an old grandmother somewhere in (any part of the world), who was a nosy Parker and knew something about everyone's affairs, obviously you could guide a traveling salesman to the house that is most likely to buy the stuff he peddles. But the question is, how much would that traveling salesman be willing to pay you for that information?

And the answer is - 100 billion? 11 billion? 340 billion?

What is the point? Bear with me while we explain this.

The economic value of social capital is a very new phenomenon for the human civilisation. Social capital has always existed, and has helped society immensely - as traditional medicine, gossip (and what would we be without gossip?) , product recommendations from friends (remember Amway and Avon?) .. et al.

For the first time, we see a price - a very substantial, tangible price, being put on the notional value of this information.

Is this information, inherently, worth the price we put on it? How much more do companies sell on targeted advertising vs generic advertising?

I do not have an answer. Given the size of global commerce, the numbers could be too low, or too high, depending on that crucial factor - IS the grandmother's knowledge of which house to go to, leading to a sale?

And i really think we should pause and ponder.
Social capital also has a social cost.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

aaj / ਆਜ

ਆਜ ਕੁਛ ਔਖਾ ਲਿਖਨ ਦਾ ਵੇਲਾ
ਆਜ ਮੇਰੇ ਹੰਜੂ ਚੁਕਦੇ
ਮੇਰੀ ਉਮੀਦ  ਦੀ ਅਰਥੀ

ਆਜ ਧਰਤੀ ਮੰਗੇ ਪਾਣੀ
ਜਿਂਵੇ  ਰੇਤ ਵਿਚ ਗੁਵਾਚਾ ਮੀ
ਆਜ ਨਦੀ, ਜੰਗਲ ਤੇ ਧਰਤੀ
ਪੂਛਨ ਮੇਰੀ ਪੀੜ ਦਾ ਮੋਲ.

ਮੈਂ ਹੰਸ ਕੇ ਓਨ੍ਨਾ ਨੂ ਦਸ੍ਯਾ
ਇਕ ਅਥਰੂ
ਅਨਮੋਲ

 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

बाबा / baba

तुम ने  बाबा,
बडे बडे हाथों में
छोटे छोटे मेरे सपने
कितने प्यार से   सहेजे थे।
….

तुमने बाबा
उन लम्बी बाहों को तान कर
बनाया था पेड
नीचे चारपाई लगा कर
बैठा था
पूरा परिवार

तुमने बाबा 
जेब की टॉफ़ी के ज़रिये 
बांटा था 
उम्र भर का दुलार 


bad translation :

Dear Dad
in your big, big hands
nestled
My tiny tiny dreams..

Your arms
outstretched
like the branches
of a shady tree.
The family
stretched out
in the shade.

Dear dad
in the toffees that you carried
in your pocket
was contained
a lifetime of love.


 

 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

my intolerant india

Why is it, that its perfectly legit to criticise some religions, and "intolerant" to even discuss some others?

I demand  the right to discuss the principles and practices of all religions with equal freedom. Not as a politician, but as a sociology student. These principles and practices affect the tapestry of the society we live in. Why can we not discuss them with candour?

Likewise, I think there is need for open debate on the various cultures from different parts of India, and how they contribute to the country that is India. Why is Bihar among the poorest? Why did Bangalore become the IT capital and not Hyderabad? How can we learn the lessons if we dont even speak! ?

All dimensions of society - religion, language, region, caste and others - contribute to the weave. We have a right to discuss each one of these dimensions - freely and openly. Not in closed drawing rooms where the negatives are whispered and the supposed positives are highlighted very loudly - without conviction.

 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

my one liners

  • We do not owe procreation to a society, but we do owe parenting to our child.

  • The tongue is like Fire - when used with care and precision, it can potentially melt the hardest things and soften the hardest. But leave it loose and it burns down everything around it - friend and foe alike.

  • If a child's deadliest question is "Why?" , a parent's deadliest response is, "Why do you want to...."

  • Money is like Fire. When under control, it gives warmth, brings people together and is the center of most interactions, esp the after sundown variety. When out of control, it burns down everything in its way, is completely and ruthlessly destructive and (this is the worst part) - irreversible. you can only go down that ravine once.

  • Email has converted every private office in this country into a govt. office - they push files, we push emails.

  •  Tejpal getting off his job for 6 months as "adequate punishment" is the same as Tytler and Sajjan Kumar not being allowed to contest elections for a few years after 1984

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ranganna by Arthi Anand Navaneeth - A Book Review

It is so Simple to be Happy, but so Difficult to be Simple!

When you read a book and smile, you know you have a rare book in your hands.

Ranganna is a simple story, simply told. But what i loved about the book was that - i dont know, its hard to describe. These small things, that children enjoy whole heartedly, the whole MIRACLE of the world around us, that we as adults take for granted. I just loved the idea that a child finds so much magic in every day things, and how much magic we as adults have been missing because we simply won't look around!

As a child, i loved the story. it spoke to me (my mental age is 8 or less, by the way). It was a challenge i understood.

As an adult, i loved the world that Ranganna forced me to see with new eyes. After reading the book, i actually opened eyes, and tried to count the number of colors that a room has. Counted 40. 40 COLOURS! And i was missing them every day of my life!!!

A simple, positive, winning story is such a simple way to be happy. But its so difficult to write a simple, positive, winning story.

Disclaimer : This is not a paid review. :) Its very real.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Advocate A P Singh and Advocate V K Anand - Experience and Feedback



Because we have a short term memory. Am placing this on record. This man - Advocate A P Singh, defended 2 of culprits of the Delhi rape case.  - Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.

Advocate V K Anand defended the third culprit - Mukesh.

He also went on to state that he has absolute control over how his family should behave. I did not believe someone could make such a disgusting comment, till i heard him on national television. Where he underlines the need to "control" his family.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e9NsNnHEMw

If you want to hire any of these advocates, or know anyone who wants to interact with them, perhaps you should never meet me. If i was you, i would avoid both of these lawyers like plague.

Here is what i would like happening to this father - i would like him to lose all cases because of who he has defended (not what he said, even the fact that he agreed to defend these monsters tells me a lot about him. i dont want to LIVE at the same time as this man. i am that disgusted)

i want him to lose all business. i want him to depend financially (his daughter is an advocate too) on the said daughter. i want him to then look at that daughter and realise how wrong he was. in short, i want his ego equalled. totalled. completely. then i want him to tell her that he would have burnt her to death for daring to fall in love.


 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Happy Teachers Day

We can never thank our teachers enough. But i now realise that the gratitude is even deeper for the teachers of our children. Because of them, we see our kids blossom into real people.
Thank you, for being who you are. No civilisation has yet paid its debt to its teachers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

sansaar

हर घर में होता है
सारा संसार
बाग़  गलियारे,
मौसम सारे

वेदना की खाई, महत्वाकांक्षा  के पहाड
हंसी के फव्वारे, आहों के अम्बार

हर कमरे में मिलती है
धुप, छाँव, और बारिश

रूठने के बादल से,
इन्द्रधनुष की गुज़ारिश ।।

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Child Labour you did not know about

Warning: Controversy ahead

There is this training for children. Every year, thousands of children go into depression because of this. A few hundreds even commit suicide. Yet there is no law against it and no one talks against it.

We say that children should not work. Yet we think nothing of burdening not just their bodies, but also their minds, with content that they are unlikely to use again for a long time. We see no crime in taking them away from curiosity and pushing them into memory games that they nothing for the spirit.

Why is it, that no one thinks of formal education as child labour? Because, inherent in this whole "education is best for children" lie, is the assumption that formal schooling is the only kind of "education" that a child should get. Anything else is "child labour".

Yet, to a child not interested in rote learning, or what we call "formal education" that is the worst form of child labour - where you tame the spirit and teach the mind to absorb rather than question.

Even in the new age schools that promote discovery and a spirit of enquiry rather than rote learning, there is a curriculum to be covered.

Obviously, there is nuffink that is universally suitable. So i want to know why parents of multiple generations have believed the lie that formal schooling is the "only best thing" for their children? Why did no one look at their children and say, "this one? he wants to learn vocational work. His heart is in wood."

I am not saying keep children unlettered. Nor am i saying that we should accept child labour for what it is. I just want to modify the definition of child labour - What a child is being forced to do is child labour. A child labours in school just as s/he labours in a vocation.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

ek aur paheli. one more ridde

दो पहेलियां :

वो क्या है, जिस में पड़ना तो आसान है, पर निकलना मुश्किल?
(जवाब सोचें)




वो क्या है, जिसे पाना बहुत कठिन है, पर गंवाना आसान?
(जवाब सोचें)






और अब तीसरी पहेली :

वो क्या  है, जो इन दोनों पहेलियों का जवाब हो सकता है?
प्रेम. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Why do we need a second name?

Some of my friends have a very simple naming convention. They just take the father's / husband's name as their last name and thats that.

Last night, i was thinking, its such a lovely way. And then it occured to me: Other than filling up forms and reinforcing patriarchy, a second name doesnt do anything. For anyone.

It helps us slot people into stereotypes. It hurts the society by reinforcing the very pernicious caste system that we are trying to get rid of.

There was a brilliant Idea advertisement, where the protagonist comes up with the idea that henceforth, people will be known only by their phone nos. No caste, no religion, nuffink.

So, why do we need a second or last name at all?

 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review of Play Begum Jaan by Ekjute

It was a delight. Thats the short review.


Nadira Babbar plays Begum Jaan and as Juhi Babbar says rightly, Begum Jaan mein jaan daal di (she put life in the character) .

The play is entertaining without being flippant, funny without being vulgar (yeah thats a rarity these days) and tells a story without preaching.(ok, only in parts).

When one goes to see a play, one expects a play. one expects performances, sound modulation and stage presence. One gets all that. AND, one gets a lovely stage setting. That stage setting had my jaw drop from the word go. That the play itself is very, very nicely written is a bonus.

This play is like an onion - layers come off personalities, bit by bit. One of the dialogues in the play can be roughly translated as : People are a lot like onions. If you start peeling off the layers, at some point, your eyes will water.

The play is also like a classic book - everytime you encounter it, you are likely to come away with a new meaning. The characters are not black or white. They have shades of grey, turqoise, bright green, and everything in between. They are real characters, with real personalities - not the unidimensional personalities that popular fiction has us believe exist.

The play raises no new questions. Provides no new answers. But for those 2 hours, it takes you on a journey into a different world. Its like a roller coaster ride on the wings of a thumari.



 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

in this country, politics is in safe hands. the thinkers dont vote, and the voters dont think. :)
 

Friday, July 19, 2013

How Congress will help Narendra Modi win

Dear Congress: Every time you mention 2002, we remember 1947. And 1984. And 1992. All over the country. And Bhagalpur. And Bhopal.

We start to wonder why congress was the leading Political party of India in 1947 . The country was divided, bloodshed happened. And not one citizen asked the political party for accountability? Till date, no one has asked the Congress: Why did you divide the country??? Prime ministership was given away, not through democracy, but through absolute sycophancy like it was the personal fiefdom of Gandhi.
And these are the people who laid the foundation of democracy in India.

What was Gandhiji doing when people were being mass killed in the most brutal way in the North and the East in 1947? aah.. Sitting on a fast unto death in Birla House! What was Nehruji doing at that time? Aah! sitting near the feet of Gandhiji, imploring him to end his fast. Not one of these founding fathers entered the streets as a leader should have. Or even as a salaried public professional should have.

But we dont remember all of this till you start screaming 2002 into our ears.

Everytime you try to victimise him, he gets some more sympathy votes.

Alone, Modi cannot sway the country on one side. But with your co-operation, he can spin the pendulum. Keep at it. You are doing very well.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

तुम्हारी बस इतनी ग़ल्ती

ये मेरा गहरा ग़म
तुम्हारा दिया नहीं है
ये जन्म से मेरे साथ रहा है
अज़ल तक मेरे साथ रहेगा

ये मेरे अन्दर की खला
ये भी तेरी अता नहीं
ये जन्म से मेरे साथ रही है
अज़ल तक मेरे साथ रहेगी

तुम्हारी बस इतनी ग़लती
कि जब  तुम मेरे साथ  चले थे,
तब ये खला भरी भरी लगती  थी
और ग़म को भी मैं
भूल  गया था
 

Moonshine by Richard Murphy

To think
I must be alone:
To love
... We must be together.

I think I love you
When I’m alone
More than I think of you
When we’re together.

I cannot think
Without loving
Or love
Without thinking.

Alone I love
To think of us together:
Together I think
I’d love to be alone. .

Saturday, July 13, 2013

पहाड़

एक मेरी बोली
सब जहां सुनता है
एक मेरी चुप
सिर्फ पहाड़ समझते हैं 

Monday, July 08, 2013

maura - punjabi

koi tupka tupka vi
maura pee sakda hai
koi
ik ik saah
vi mar sakda hai


Someone
can poison themselves
one drop at a time
Someone
can die
one breath at a time.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Hit and Run will continue in India

Last night, i saw an episode on TV(based on a real story) . A young man was hit by a motorbike and then, in a critically injured state, was hauled into the bushes next to the road because the inebriated riders wanted to avoid conviction.

All day, i thought about the heartlessness of it all. To hit someone in an inebriated state is bad enough. To physically throw them at a place where you know they wont be able to get medical attention, is pure murder.

Today, on the way home, someone ran to cross the road. It was a 5 lane road and i was in the 3rd lane. The person started running from the 5th lane. I had to apply emergency brakes. So did at least 2 other vehicles.

And then. I thought.

This is what would happen in a logical place had i accidently hit the person:
1. I take him to hospital.
2. While the patient is being administered medical aid, the police arrives.
3. IDs of both parties are checked and statements taken from both.
4. I was driving within the speed limit, with the seat belt on. He was running (not just jaywalking, running) to cross the road at a place where there was no pedestrian light, no zebra corssing. In short, no place or right to cross the road.

Here is what will happen in India:
1. I take him to hospital.
2. No matter what the condition of the patient, the hospital will not start treatment till the police arrive. Most likely, they will ask me to take the patient to a public hospital. Especially if he is not well to do.
3. The police arrive. Both IDs are checked. I am booked for rash driving, my vehicle is impounded and i spend the night in jail.

This is why Hit and Run will continue in India:
1. When planning roads and flyovers and fancy toll roads, pedestrian subways and crossings are not planned at all. Its as if pedestrians dont exist, much less their rights.

2. When traffic lights are installed, pedestrian lights should be installed too. They seldom are. Where they are installed, they are rarely used.

3. Two wheelers think that they dont have a vehicle. They have a stunt machine, and the road is not for transportation. It is a stadium for their racing championshiops. Bigger vehicles need to look out for a motobike appearing out of nowhere suddenly, then apply emergency brakes. If they happen to be rearended by the vehicle behind in the process, too bad. The other vehicles are life insurance providers anyway.

4. Bicycles and Cycle Rickshaws want to use the same roads, but with no intention of using also the same rules. There is no lane discipline for them, no one ways and no traffic lights. they go where they please, just because they can. When they get hit, the blame lies squarely on the other person. I have never understood this.

So, Hit and Run will continue in India. Not because people are heartless, but because our administrators plan badly, and we have poor citizens. Very, very bad citizens. And thats the scourge of India.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

parauna


तुझको चलना तो था मेरे साथ
हमदम
और मैं
रुका भी रहा
तेरे लिए
पर ऐन  उसी शब  तुझको
तेरे माजी ने बुला लिया
और तू
बीन मोहित नाग की तरह
चल दिया
सब छोड़ कर .

तुझको चलना तो था मेरे साथ हमदम
और मैंने
तेरे लिए बनाया भी  था
एक छोटा सा आशियाँ
जहां न बिजलियाँ गरजें
और न ही
तन्हाई की लू  सताए
पर तू
ऐन उसी वक़्त
पड गया
सोने की चकाचौंध में
और सोना भला
चैन से सोने से
कब हारा है ?

तूने थामा तो था मेरा हाथ ज़रूर
पर उस हाथ में एक मुंदरी भी थी
अब उस मुंदरी के हीरे को
मैंने निगल लिया है
अब
न तू, न तेरा साथ
न तेरा माजी
न सोना
बस ये
कमरा
सुबह की धुप
छन कर आती हुई
और एक खाली हाथ

अब तू
इस घर का कहाँ रहा?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Radha Krishna..

राधा से कृष्ण ने पूछा , " कोई ऐसी जगह है , जहां मैं नहीं हूँ? "
राधा बोली, " मेरे नसीब में . "

फिर राधा ने पूछा, " हमारा विवाह क्यूँ नहीं हुआ? "
कृष्ण बोले : " विवाह २ जीवों का मेल है. हम में तुम में, दूसरा कौन है राधे? "

 Krishna wasnt one man.. he is every man a woman ever loved.
Radha wasnt a woman. she is every woman who ever loved.

Audio Files for Short Quizzes - Doordarshan, Indus Valley Civilisation, Solar System, Constitution of India...

I havent posted in a while because i really had nuffink important to share or say.

But today, the esha blog has a post that methinks is of use to a lot of people, not just the visually challenged.

Try this:
http://www.eshabraille.blogspot.in/2013/06/audio-files-for-short-quizzes.html

And of course, if you do know the visually challenged who can use this content and benefit from it, do share with them especially.
 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

सारी यारियां, अय्यारियां ...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Keeping Quiet - Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will keep still.

... For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
lets stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why i dont talk about Jiah Khan's suicide..

We think we can neatly label everything and put it in boxes. "This? oh this belongs in that category. "That? oh thats in that box."

15 year old in love? oh thats under the label "infatuation" - she will get over it.

40 year old in love? if its male, thats "middle age afflction" - he will get over it.
If its female, "cougar syndrome, it will never work out."

25 year old and unemployed? "These days kids dont like to work. No wonder there is so much unemployability"

40 year old and unmarried? "Its so hard to get married these days if you dont do it at the right age"

We know, in advance, the cause and outcome of everything. We are so good at labeling and packaging. Suppose, we stopped, at some point, and looked at the GOODS?

Labeling helps us understand stuff, because after all, things do fall in some patterns. But the risk of labeling is that we tend to do it as a matter of habit - ALL the time, and fail to see the distinctive nature of some things. In missing those some things, we miss out on a lot in life. Because it is the distinctive stuff that makes up the special moments in life.

Today, almost everyone who cares has a theory about why a young girl committed suicide and whether or not her boyfriend should be charged with abetment to suicide.

But sit back and think, do we know enough? To speak and opine, one way or another?

Monday, June 10, 2013

More Metaphors on relationships

This blog has has a lot of metaphors.. this is a day for 2 more.

In relationships, some people are like computer programmers. they work day and night to build something beautiful, bring it to realisation, spending hours on it. And once the code is complete and their dream realised, they seldom come back to the source code. Except to fix a snag that might occasionally arise due to user behavior. But by and large, they expect the code to be self sufficient and not ask for any more attention.


Some people are like vegetable growers. They get up every morning and get to work. Like gardeners, they nurture. Unlike gardeners, they dont see or get beauty alone. Usually, goodness comes with it.
They nurture every part of what they want to create. Every single day.


 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Poetry by Sunita Biddu

Door zehen me chhupa ek Armaan likh du!
Lafzo'N ki bayaani, ghazal ki Zubaa'N likh du!!

Gumnaam Yu'N Huye, is dillagi me Jaana.N!
Gar Pooche koi, Takhallus Anjaan likh du!!

Ye Zindagi hai kya, mehez chand saanse!
Tere naam se bani, Vo Pehchaan likh du!!

This is a piece that i really liked.. its short, and impactful in every sher... hindi script and translation later in the day please...
 

Hafiz

Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God
Absolutely
Clear.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

apne honthon par sajaana chaahta hoon... nida fazli

अपने होंठो पर सजाना चाहता हूँ,
तुझे मैं गुनगुनाना चाहता हूँ...


कोई आंसूं तेरे दामन पर गिरा कर
बूँद को मोती बनाना चाहता हूँ

थक गया मैं करते करते याद तुझ को,
अब तुझे मैं याद आना चाहता हूँ...

 
छा रहा है सारी  बस्ती में अन्धेरा
रौशनी को घर जलाना चाहता हूँ
 

आखरी हिचकी तेरी जानों पे निकले ,
मौत भी मैं शायराना चाहता हूँ



 
i want to celebrate you on my lips
come, for i want to hum you..
 
i want to drop a tear in your palm
and convert a droplet .. to a pearl..
 
oh! for how long will i think of u
for once, i want to be thought of....
 
it is dark again, in our village
let me burn my heart, let there be light..
 
let my last breath be in your lap
even in death, i want poetry...
 
 
 

vo dil mein raha aur use tod gaya bhi... वो दिल में रहा और उसे तोड गया भी

काँटों की चुभन पायी , फूलों का मज़ा भी ...
दिल दर्द के मौसम में,  रोया भी हंसा भी …

आने का सबब याद ना जाने की खबर है…
वो दिल में रहा और उसे तोड गया भी .

हर एक से मंजिल का पता पूछ रहा है
गुमराह मेरे साथ हुआ रहनुमा भी .

गुमनाम कभी अपनों से, जो ग़म हुए हासिल
कुछ याद रहे उन में, कुछ भूल गया भी ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfKFYb8vyzQ

it had the pain of thorns pricking, and the delight of flowers,
in the season of pain, the heart laughed and cried by turns..

i have no clue why he came, nor know when he left..
he lived in my heart, and broke it too...

he asks everyone for the way to our destination..
with me, even the guide is lost...

the hurt i got from the ones i trusted
some of it i remember, but the rest is forgotten...

 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hitchie's hatching... and the memories that got made...


आज , गुदगुदी लिखो…
क्या करना है
नेइत्श्स्चे बन कर
आज
रूमी बनो
खूब हंसो :)

आज
ग़ालिब नहीं
चुटकुला कहो…

Today,
write a tickle
what do we gain
by being Neitzsche
Today, we be Rumi
and laugh a lot.

Today,
recite not
a Ghalib
tell a joke instead...





pug-dandy...

jan-nat :)

bad-all

ped.. is par koi pun nahi..
 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

microcosms



how can i explain how much i love you
like love was a linear metric
with a scale?

love, like life
... is amoeba
a thousand different shapes
in a hundred different directions.

depths that cannot be fathomed
because even microscopes have limitations
and microcosms created by love
are limitless.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

When a Tree Shook Delhi - excerpts

It is a commentary on the Indian democracy that Sajjan Kumar, who has been accused of leading mobs during the carnage in the most number of affidavits, secured the maximum no. of votes in the whole counry - 8,55,543 - when he won from the Outer Delhi constituency in the last Lok Sabha elections in 2004.
*********************
 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The 1984 riots and how they deprived us of the one thing - hope.


The 1984 riots are a miracle in human history, because NO ONE KILLED THEM, and yet, 2700 people burnt to their death in the biggest known occurence of spontaneous human combustion(look that up).
 
For 29 years, the victims have waited patiently, hearing after hearing, court after court.. for SOMEONE to be convicted. But miraculously, NOT ONE of the leaders who killed thousands in the most brutal way, not one of them was convicted.
 
Today, as Sajjan Kumar was also acquitted, i lose all hope.
 
Waris Shah, a well respected Sufi poet from Punjab, wrote of the plight of Heer - a daughter of Punjab. Many centuries later, Amrita Pritam, a Punjabi poetess, saw the massacre of partition, the rapes and the forced conversions, and wrote a very famous poem, in which she exhorted Waris Shah to rise from his grave and see. When he saw one daughter of Punjab cry, he wrote a long story about her. What will he do today, when millions of daughters cry in the land of Heer?
 
Today, this comes, straight out of grief. There is no other emotion. No anger, no rage, not even a hollow sense of injustice. Just. Grief. and an emptiness that cannot be filled.
 
The piece is in Punjabi, and borrows from the original of Amrita Pritam.. because today, i know what it is to not have a single living soul to look up to for hope or solace.
 
ਆਜ ਆਖਾਂ ਅਖਬਾਰਾਂ ਨੂ,
ਕਿੱਤੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਸਾਂ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਬੋਲ
ਇਕ ਧੀ ਮਰੀ ਸੀ 
ਤੂ ਲਖਾਂ ਅਖਰ ਵਗਾਏ (ਅਥਰੂ ਵਰਗੇ) ..
... ਆਜ 2700 ਲਾਸ਼ਾਂ ਪੁਛਦੀਯਾਂ ,
ਕੀ ਸਾਡੇ ਲਹੁ ਦਾ ਮੋਲ ?
 
ਕੋਈ ਇਕ ਨਾ ਅਖਰ ਬੋਲੇ,
ਕੋਈ ਇਕ ਨਾ ਅਥਰੂ ਰੁਡਯਾ ,
ਬੀਬੀ ਬੈਠੀ ਸੁਬਕਦੀ ,
ਕੋਈ ਇਕ ਨਾ ਲਁਗੇ ਕੋਲ...
 
ਆਜ ਆਖਾਂ ਜ਼ਮੀਰ ਨੂ,
ਕਿੱਤੇ ਕਬਰਾਂ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਬੋਲ 
ਤੂ ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਵੀ ਚੀਖਦਾ , 
ਜੱਦੋਂ ਬੁੱਲ ਰਹੰਦੇ ਅਡੋਲ 
 
ਆਜ ਆਖਾਂ ਚੀਖਾਂ ਨੂ,
ਜਿਗਰਾ ਫਾੜ ਕੇ ਪਾਓ ਸ਼ੋਰ 
ਡੋਰੇ ਸਾਰੇ ਜਜ ,
ਸਾਡੇ ਹੌਕੇਯਾਂ ਨੂ ਕਰਨ ਖਮੋਸ਼ .

आज आखां अखबारां नु,
कित्ते प्रेसां विचों बोल 
इक धी मरी सी,
तू लखां आखर वगाये (अथरू वर्गे)
...आज २७ ० ०  लाशां पुछ्दियाँ ,
की साडे लहू दा मोल ?
 
कोई इक न आखर बोले 
कोई इक न अथरू वगेया 
बीबी बैठी सुबकदी ,
कोई इक न लंगे कोल ...
 
आज आखां ज़मीर नू 
कित्ते कब्रां विचों बोल 
तू उस वेले वी  चीखदा 
जद्दों बुल रहंदे अडोल 
 
आज आखां चीखां नू 
जिगरा फाड़ के पाओ शोर 
डोरे सारे जज ,
साडे हौकयाँ नु करण खमोश .
 
Please see the comment for a translation.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Absence by Pablo Neruda

I have scarcely left you
When you go in me, crystalline,
Or trembling,
... Or uneasy, wounded by me
Or overwhelmed with love, as
when your eyes
Close upon the gift of life
That without cease I give you.

My love,
We have found each other
Thirsty and we have
Drunk up all the water and the
Blood,
We found each other
Hungry
And we bit each other
As fire bites,
Leaving wounds in us.

But wait for me,
Keep for me your sweetness.
I will give you too
A rose.
Pablo Neruda

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Not tonight, darling.

Another day, perhaps,
I will take
your pity
poured in a glass
called "love"

Not tonight, Darling.

 
किसी दिन शायद
मैं पी पाऊँ,
तुम्हारी दया की मदिरा,
तुम्हारे प्यार नाम के प्याले में,

आज मन नहीं है जान!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Computer Abbreviations quiz

Happy Lohri .. old draft post

पींगा , हूटे, ते मेरी माँ

सुवेरे सुवेरे चूडिया, गौण , ते हासे

किनारी वाली चुन्नी,

आठ आने दी रेवड़ी

ते रुपये दी गजक।

माँ,

आज लोहड़ी देंदे हाथ

तेरे हथां नु बड़ा तरसदे ...

Indira Priyadarshini

25 years ago, on this day, I was a perky 7 year old. Stuck in a friend’s house in Jammu bcs the road to Katra was blocked by snow. Sometime at midday, when uncle came home for lunch, he told the elders that Indira Gandhi has been killed. All of us laughed in his face, asking him to stop spinning tall tales..
In a while, there was a curfew, we were told to forget abt Katra, and I remember being driven through curfew, to “safety”. I remember boarding a train to Delhi. I remember the journey, and what happened at Delhi.

25 years is a long time to wait for justice. It’s a long enough time to see an entire generation, left fatherless and education-less, gone nowhere.. children massacred and the sheer ruthlessness of the whole thing..

In 25 years, I have not understood the logic of this plan.. not understood why it had to be so barbaric , and not understood why no justice has been possible, in all the 25 years..

Not ONE culprit punished. However, all of them have been elevated by the Congress High Command. Answers, anyone?

Oh, and if u are planning to write in the comments section, a la Manmohan, that 1984 should be “forgotten”, here is my reply:
If you want me to forget 1984, sure, I will do it. Just allow me to pull your men and your young male children, drag them out of the house, pour kerosene on them, and then, put a burning tyre around their neck. Allow me to let you see all this, and you should also see me laugh hysterically at your wails, and at the wails of the one being charred to their death. Let me hack your child to pieces, a little 2 year old, who was caught while he was still wondering what just happened. Let me do this in your full view, forcing you to see this right after you have seen your husband and /or young son being burnt with a tyre around his neck, when none of your neighbors could, or did, come out to help. Let me leave you with 3 generations of just widows.

Now, tell me, how long do you need to forget all this happened? How long will you wait for the judiciary to bring you justice? How long will you wait before you become a terrorist to avenge your dead? How many of the victim Sikhs went on to become terrorists in this country after 1984? They could have. And they have waited, patiently, year on year, for the justice system of this country, to deliver that justice to them. 25 years.

And you think it’s a sin to remember?

On the Congress Party

If you are pro-Congress Party of India (Indira), you must read this post and comment. I love a good fight sometimes.

The voters are talking anyway, but like people touched by the moon drops, our Congress leadership is wondering in delusion as to why this is happening. Madam, this is your coffee beans service. Smell the coffee.

1. Take the 9% growth rate statistic to the farmers committing suicide, to the small shop owners losing their livelihood to retail giants, to the small entrepreneur for whom things kept getting difficult till the recent budget; for the urban unorganised sector that still does not get easy loans and is therefore in the grip of the unorganised credit sector; the rural unorganised sector that is heavily in the grip of goons. Ask them what they think of your statistic. Income disparity in this country is today much higher than what it was when the BJP lost power. What is your hope?

2. VP Singh implemented the Mandal Commission- literally, on the corpses of hundreds of students. But neither he, nor his party was ever seen in power again. MMJ got into a similar tiff with the IIMs, and the BJP has not seen power since. Now you have Mr. Arjun Singh. Moral of the story: it is a bad idea to antagonise the students and their parents, and to play with the futures of meritorious students because they were not born into a certain caste.

3. For 50 years, this country has tried to rid its people of their labels of caste, religion and region. You might remember the old patriotic songs sung by your elders in the same party - Hind Desh ke niwasi, sabhi jan ek hain.. ?
Now, suddenly, the administration appears hell bent on pasting these same labels on people, with a vendetta। To get an admission, you need to indicate your caste. To get a bank account, you have to indicate your religion. To get a job, you must indicate your mother tongue. Whatever happened to merit?

4 It has been a long time since the 1984 riots, the Babri masjid, Operation Blue Star et al. Yet the congress has not been able to win back the "vote banks" that it lost then. There is a reason for that. A Sachar Committee and compensations for 1984 riot victims will not bring back those votes. Ever. Quit trying.


5. Interest rates are almost at the pre-reform levels. So is inflation. What is the difference between then and now?

6. Under the congress regime, there is never any explanation. EVER. Inflation rises within a matter of months. No explanation. Madam comes up with a quote like "Retail FDI on hold". No explanations(don't worry, the whole country knows the names of companies that benefit from this. There are very few Indian retail companies that are going it alone). Interest rates continue to rise because the RBI thinks that liquidity = inflation. No explanation. What are economists like Singh and Chidambaram doing in the cabinet if a Lalu prasad Yadav can come up with a better budget?

So, let's see the report card.
1. Economic Reform: Interest rates high. No direction plan on h0w we want to use FDI and FII. Inflation rising and economic disparity rising even faster.

2. Social Reform: Zilch. Even the population control program has gone for a toss.

3. Politics: No accountability for politicians. Lok Sabha members can skip the house and still get paid. No Control on keeping out criminals.

4. Infrastructure: No master plan. Even the Golden Quadrilateral project has been sidelined. SEZs are a hazy concept.

5. Human Resources: Nothing even remotely forward looking in the areas of education, incubation of sports talent, Research facilities.. anything!!

And to end, the PJ: Why is it that in spite of a think tank like Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram etc., the Congress party has failed to come out with any bright idea in all this while?
Ans: Because only one person is allowed to think in the Congress party.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crimes against children - an unpopular view - the responsibility of the guardian?

All of Delhi and most of India is still getting over the barbaric rape and mutilation of a 5 year old child.

And over the last week, i have been thinking.. asking... what leads to crimes like this? Criminal depravity, for sure, but that has been around forever. Other than blaming the police and asking the government to do something, what else can we do?

And here is the distilled thought:
The primary responsibility for the physical security and emotional well being of a child, rests with the parent or guardian of the child. When we bring a child into the world, it is assumed that we are ready and capable of shouldering that responsibility for as many years as it takes for the child to be self reliant.

In some cases, parents do not have the resources or the inclination to watch over the children. Self reliance is therefore thrust upon these children, whether or not they are ready. My maid leaves her 4 year old and 2 year old daughters "in the colony" when she comes to work. Thats over 4 hours of no parental supervision.

To me, thats criminal neglect of the child.

In India, the law places no obligation on the parent or the guardian. In most of Europe and the US, the children will be taken away from you if you do not take care of them.

But here, we listen to the parents scream in pain when a child is a victim of horror. But we dont turn around and ask them - was your child protected enough? Were you there to watch over the child? Did you make sure that the child was physically safe and in an emotionally non threatening environment?

No. We let the parents abuse and neglect their children. We place no blame or responsibility on the guardian. And we are quick to blame the police. Or better still, the government.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Parent child love ?

I have a lot of respect for parent child love.

However, one does believe that its not the absolute that its made out to be. In fact, quite the opposite.

  • Parents who abort daughters as accrued liability and nurture sons as term deposits.
  • Yesterday, someone was talking to me and told me that he and his wife are very stupid and their parents decide everything for them - including buying items of daily use and clothes. they dont buy anything for themselves. why? bcs "my mother is very smart. she does all this for us in a way we never can."  - Really? and what happened to learning by practice?
  • Parents who sexually abuse their own children, or look the other way when the child reports something?
  • Parents like this one
  • Parents who want to control every aspect of their adult children's lives - who they will marry, when they will have kids, where they will work, even what their grandchildren will wear.
Between them, methinks this covers the entire gamut of parental interactions in society.

Tell me, where is love in all this?

I was told that once i become a parent, i will stop seeing the selfishness in parental love and see the love in it. i dont. i still see selfishness. And my son highlights it to me over and over again. When he does something that i dont like, he makes it a point to tell me that just because i dont like it doesnt mean he doesnt do it. it has to appeal to HIS reason, not mine. And though one is angry, one has to agree in principle.

I want him to comply not for his good, but for my convenience. i dont consider what works for him, i think of what works for me and try and coerce him to comply. I try to reason it out with him, but i start from the perspective that what i m saying is right. Which it is not.

What do you think?          

Monday, April 15, 2013

Will the soap kill the family?

It is generally tom-tommed by the said programs that they are the upholders of "bhartiya sanskriti" - indian culture. that they bring indian tradition and culture)and the latest design in saris, hairdo and jewelry) into our houses. that they demonstrate what model families are like (sanskaar and all that).

But bear with me here, as i make the exact opposite assertion - The serial (or the soap) will be the end of any healthy family - forget about Indian et al. It is the serials that are responsible for families turning even more political, for the end of real camaraderie and the start of role plays in all interactions.

What you see is what you become. Dont take my word for it. When you read Jane Austen , does your idea of romance change for a few hours? When you see Olympics, do you wonder about the state of sports in India? When you read about death sentence for terrorists and the "implications" - do you get angry that people have no objection to feeding them taxpayers' money, but will object to justice being done? Yes you do. Or some variation of these thoughts. The stimuli we choose for ourselves will shape our thoughts - at least momentarily.

And when u repeat the same kind of stimuli (ask fans of Hindi novels, Wilbur Smith or people who watch crime shows), your brain is even more attuned to think in one direction.

Now lets see the direction that these soaps give to our minds:
1. The only way to take the story forward is to be mean, nasty, cruel and to hurt another person. Since the sphere of our activities in the serial is the home, it teaches us how to misinterpret, how to hurt, how to misrepresent and how to be cruel to our own family members or friends or those closest to us.

2. The "bhartiya sanskriti" tom-tommed in these serials is the MOST MYSOGYNISTIC representation of Indian culture that i have ever seen. If this is what the women are watching and enjoying, i really dont have much hope for womens emancipation in India.

3. There is no story. TV is not called Idiot Box for nothing. There is no intellectual stimulation except to second guess the next maneuver of the characters. The only message is that you should judge people, misunderstand them and misrepresent. Use information, not constructively, but to create webs of deceit.

If people in your family enjoy serials, do be ready for layered communication, circumlocution and domestic politics. And oh yes, you can kiss that simple family communication goodbye. in these serials, there is no family. Just a set of "good people" and a set of "bad people" sharing the same house and working on cross purposes.


 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Saddest Poem - Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.

More Pablo Neruda

These are from a teacher .. both these poems speak so much to one.. like all Neruda...

Poetry

And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Henry Charles Bukowski

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big ass winners .

it hasnt told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place
alone

untouched
unpoken to

watering a plant.
 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

You want love? that scarring lil acid called love?? Really?
Good luck with that one. What we call love, they call obsession. What they call love, we call "taking us for granted" .
Hotel Heartbreak is such safe sanctuary.

Monday, March 25, 2013

वो हमेशा वहीँ दिखती थी। एक पत्थर पर बैठी हुइ. उस के पास की जगह, हमेशा खाली हुआ करती थी . और उस की आँखों में , हमेशा इंतज़ार .

फिर एक दिन, एक अजूबा हुआ .
उस के पास वाली जगह, खाली नहीं थी . वहां कोई बैठा हुआ था.

पर "उस" की जगह खाली थी .

और जो उस के साथ वाली जगह में बैठा था, उस की आँखों में इंतज़ार नहीं था. उस की आँखों में एक खला थी . उन आँखों की खला , जिन्हें अभी मालूम हुआ हो, कि उनके पैरों ने आने में बहुत देर कर दी .

Sunday, March 24, 2013

all women this, all women that, all women what the hell!!!

When i was growing up, the Gurudwara had 2 parts - one for the men and one for the women. the men sat on one side and the women sat on the other. As a consequence, children could be seen happily flitting from father to mother - which meant from one side to the other of the whole big hall.

over the years, i have seen that segregation end, and have been very happy to see it end. Why should spirituality not be with your family? Why should partners not sit together ? so now, in most gurudwaras, families sit together.

However, the opposite seems to have happened in the rest of the world. Especially since December 16, and the ensuing paranoia about crimes against women. We SAY "dont teach me to cover up. Teach your boy to not rape" But what we DO is segregate women even more - separate autos only for women, separate this only for women, separate that only for women -to ensure their safety, of course. And now i hear the most hilarious of them all - a bank only for women.

What will this segregation do? It will take people further and further away from the mainstream of life. Women should not be segregated. They should be given a seat of respect in our own space. Dont treat a woman like a piece of soap in a water puddle. If you have noticed, immediately, the water separates, and the soap piece is pat in the middle, apparently pretty secure, but also pretty isolated. However, with some effort, the soap does mix with water, and nicely cleans up too.

Please do not segregate women any more, or create women only infrastructure. Because the next step after that is girls being forced to use this women only setup, which is not good for anyone. Slap every single eve teaser, every single child abuser. thats an awfully nice thing to do.

What do you think should be done in this case?

This really happened where we live. Do read on and tell me what you think would be the right thing to do in this case.

A's car cleaner took the car keys to clean the car. However, without informing A, he took the car to learn driving - within the apartment complex. He ended up banging a really expensive SUV parked in its own place. Both A's car and the SUV were severely damaged, though the car cleaner driving the car escaped completely unhurt (bcs the impact was on the other side - not the driver side).

What should be done in this case? The SUV owner wants damages.

So there, what do u think?

Monday, March 18, 2013

I, me aur Main: what an awesome movie!!

So, I me aur Main is a John Abraham film that came and went. no one noticed it and if it wasnt for the cute lead cast, i would have given it a miss too. And what a mistake that would have been!

Here is the story:
Ishaan is a young person who has been spoilt silly by his mother and consequently, also his elder sister. He lives in with his girlfriend, in her house, and she pays all the bills. Finally, it is commitment time and the dude is commitment phobic. so the gf dumps him. Simple. Easy. Final.

The dude finally picks up a flat to live in. At work, he has a boss who hates him for some reason, will not let him live or act independently. Though her provocation is not clear. So, at this flat that he has hired, he has a fiery neighbor with a devil may care attitude. predictably, he falls for her.

Now comes the twist. The ex realises that she is pregnant. But also that she does not want him. His sister informs him and the mother exhorts him to own up to his responsibility.

Again, predictably, towards the end of the film, when the ex is having her contractions, he is by her side. He is there at childbirth. After that, he decides to stay with her, out of responsibility. And the ex tells him - Our story is over. The child is much better off knowing that her parents are not together, but they are happy.

From there, they collaborate on childcare, but have partners whom they love.

This is by far the most mature, the most evolved treatment of a situation like this that i have seen  - what do u do when you have a child with someone, but have fallen out of love with them? You owe it to the child to be there for them, but you also owe it to yourself to be happy. You owe it to the child to show them what it is to be loved. but you also owe it to her to show her that its possible to be loved but not in the same house.

i loved, loved, loved this film.
 
ये जो वक़्त है न, जो हम गुज़ार रहे हैं , ये बहुत अच्छा वक़्त है. एक दिन हम इस वक़्त को याद करेंगे और मुस्कुरायेंगे .

इस लिए आज इस वक़्त की कद्र करना सीखो. इस बात की, की तुम मुस्कुरा सकते हो. इस बात की, की तुम्हारी ज़िन्दगी की सब से बड़ी पशोपेश है की खाएं क्या.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

on relationships

some relationships are like hybrid fruit - they look big and juicy and full of promise. but they are tasteless and soul less.

some relationships are like the kitchen garden yield. they look inconsequential, promise nothing, but oh! the nurturing that goes into each day of growth. and they feel like they are really yours.
 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Leading them to failure in a big glass shell

One day, we were playing tambola at home. The ones who won were jubilant, and the ones who lost.. some of them, the kids, were really sore losers. The biggest heart burner was Quick 5- typically the first prize to be won.

Suddenly, i laughed and said, "If we played tambola like we do grading at school, everyone would get a prize on their Jaldi 5".

A few days later, the gravity of that statement hit me.

The reason the children are sore losers, is not just that they are children. It is also this - Systematically, we, as a society are working to remove failures from their lives. The net result of that is that they also lose the chance to learn coping skills that are so crucial .

Life is made up of failures and successes. its a mix of both. Part of parenting and nurturing children is to teach them how to handle both - success with humility, and failure with resilience. Instead of teaching children coping skills for failure, we, as a society, are working to remove failures from their growing up years. Which is, in one word - STOOPID.

How long can we keep them in this mass glass shelf where there is no failure? where everyone gets a participation prize and no one fails because there are no exams? and when there are exams, we get grades and not marks, so there are no passing marks, and no failures?

And then? And then they enter the "big, bad world" - totally unprepared. This big bad world has dissapointments, and that criminal thing - failure - to secure every job that they sit for, to get every promotion that they want, to get the kind of raise they think they deserve.
And then, 14 year olds commit suicide (we blame the system of course, not the coping mechanism of the child), 24 year olds get stressed, 35 year olds get diabetes and cardiac / BP problems. And adults treat success, not with humility, but with obvious gloating. And failure, not with healthy coping mechanisms, but by blaming the boss, the interviewer, the world, or, best of all, the parents and the spouse.

Here is, in brief, what I am trying to say:
  • Removing failure also removes the opportunity to teach children healthy coping skills.
  • The system is not to blame if your child commits suicide at 14. His/her coping skills are to blame.
  • It is as important to teach children how to deal with success as it is to deal with failure. And gloating or putting other ppl down is NOT  a healthy response to success.
  • When we dont teach our children coping skills, it has definite impact on their health and wellness later in life because we have to deal with failure all our lives.