Saturday, 16 August 2008
Our politicians are good at nothing but symbolism. They hardly do anything worthwhile for the country but very punctually put up hoardings wishing people on various occasions. These are the people who steal our dreams; make us fight with another; swindle our taxes; encourage criminals, etc. I am in awe of Independence Day, Republic Day, Birthdays of Freedom Fighters, etc. Over the past few years the most disgusting thing for me about these days is to find banners from Politicians wishing us on these occasions. It is much more disgusting that one of them happens to be one of the suspects in the infamous Telgi case. I saw a regional group wishing people a Happy Independence Day. These are the very people who promote regionalism to the core. Can there be a better parody?
Firstly, these guys don’t mean even one word of the message, it is just an opportunity to show to the people, their not usually seen faces. It is a means for them to assert how shameless they can get. The tri-color displayed on most of the hoardings is not of the specified color code. To ensure that nobody misses their undistinguished faces, they put it at every road corner. The entire view of the road at the turnings is blocked. They can’t give us decent roads and also don’t want us to see the craters on the roads. The invertebrate municipal authorities cannot do anything about it though the Election Commission was able to ban display of such posters in Karnataka Elections by invoking an existing law. It was recently seen in Surat that many bombs were hidden in such hoardings, but then why should we learn from our lessons? Playing to the egos of these politicians is above everything else. It would be sufficient, if they kept 60% of the promises they made to us during elections.
“Heart can forgive but never trust again”, this was the message I got from a friend recently and they have got carved in my heart since then. I somehow don’t support this logic and usually counter such messages but this one has left me dumbfounded. One more saying which I definitely don’t believe in is “Human relationships are like glass, once broken can never be put together again”. How can you equate human relationships with a piece of glass? Human relationships are so complex. We get happy, loving, angry, emotional and at times romantic with people whom we trust the most. A glass is just a non-living thing which can be recycled many a times.
Why does Trust break? I can think of reasons like failure to keep commitments; Betrayal; Financial Fraud and most importantly behaving contrary to the image we have about a person. At times, we fail in commitments made to our loved ones, either due to busy schedules; fit of rage; their own negative vibes in enforcing the commitments made, etc. If somebody failed on the minor commitments made to me, I give that person a through verbal spanking or put him off for a few weeks or months and get back again if he/she repeatedly felt sorry about that act. Erasing the trust in a person for small reasons is not good for one’s health and soul. Trust is not an ice cream which gets melted if the refrigerator is kept open accidentally.
Betrayal is serious and does result in loss of trust. I do find it difficult to trust a person who acts contrary to the image he/she has created in my mind. When the reasons are serious enough to break the trust in other person, it is good to actually break it. However, it is necessary when we break trust in another person, we tell them the reasons. Every person has a right to correct himself in life. If we tell a person reasons for loss of trust, he/she can correct himself. It is very inhuman and cruel to leave a person in suspended animation.
As much is as breaking trust is bad, so is also reckless losing trust in others. Breaking trust for trivial reasons is not fair. Every human being is entitled to his own aberrations in a relationship but that does not mean they don’t regard us or betraying us. It is just that once they were stupidly human. Being mentally strong is not being unforgiving. Of all the attitudes, the attitude to forgive is the greatest. Usually, the receiver becomes petty in his own eyes. I think our lives would be so pleasant if we can consign to emotional dustbin sayings like “Heart can forgive but never trust again”. I am yet to reply to this friend’s message. Maybe the comments on this blog would help me to do so because I am not able to find a slick but meaningful reply to it.
These are the days of rising prices and everybody is looking to get maximum goods at available incomes. In this milieu, we have given a go-by to the word “quality”. The middle class mindset has become so tuned to cheap products is that even if it is scrap they grab. Price is the only logic that prevails. This attitude is amplified when buying crockery; plastic items; cosmetics; toys; electronic goods and imported chocolates.
There has to be some sort of price comparison between a standard product and a cheap product. It can never be possible that economy crockery set that is offered by a standard manufacturer at Rs.800 can be offered by the cheap products vendor at Rs.120. Such cheap products are definitely made up of some toxic scrap. Time and again we have heard about toxic scrap being smuggled from other countries and they being put to various uses in our country. There is something called “Food Grade Material” which is offered by most standard manufactures and necessarily we have to buy them if we care for the health of our families. Dangerous diseases such as cancer, liver infections and other related problems are bound to affect us if we consume, prepare and store food in “Toxic” and “Non-food grade” material. The same is the case with low quality cosmetics whose use may lead to several such complexions. Even some of the food materials sold by some of the popular bazaars are not worthy of human consumption. Most of them are beyond the date of consumption, stale and spoilt. These are sold off during huge discount sales and saving melas. Buying a slightly costly but reliable product may seem an unwise exercise in the short term but if it could save us huge medical bills, melodrama in households and avoidable physical disorders, the unwise exercise is worth undergoing. Discretion is the best part of valour when it comes to health and hygiene.
Thursday, 14 August 2008
Elections after elections we see that the voting percentage for the educated class is very poor. The common reasons given are:-
• Had other work – Such people deserve to be punished with imprisonment because you can’t plan for a vacation or outing on an election day. The Government declares a holiday to enable every citizen to vote and so much of revenue loss is incurred due to declaration of a national holiday. People who treat election day as an holiday are no better than the politicians who call for bandhs/ strikes
• Absence of name in the voter’s list – this is not a valid reason at all because the EC advertises well in advance about revision of voter list and also gives sufficient opportunities for people to include their name in the list. If somebody does not find his or her name in the list, it is due to their own laziness and lack of interest in democracy.
• Whom to vote for? – This reason requires full sympathy. More often than not, most of the candidates in the list are of equal notoriety. We have come to the state where if we have to vote, we can never vote for an honest performing candidate but we have to vote for a corrupt yet performing candidate. Election has become all about who can spend money. The EC despite its best efforts is not able to contain the use of money power in elections
It is time that our EVMs had a provision for a negative voting. Against every candidate there should be a plus and a minus symbol. When we can have negative marking in competitive exams, why not negative voting in elections? Politicians have no accountability. Nobody can enforce a manifesto in the courts but a company can be held responsible for the statements it made in its prospectus. There should be some method for punishing politicians democratically especially the non-performers. The best method would be to have negative voting. If negative voting is enabled in the EVMs, the number of educated people voting will go up manifold because then people will come out to punish the corrupt and inept politicians. A politician with more than 10% negative votes should be banned from all elections for 15 years and holding public posts even in a political party(including in cooperative bodies). A political party which gets more than 25% of negative votes across a state should be derecognized for one general and one state election. Everybody is accountable for their performance, why not the politicians. Even a driving licence can be cancelled if you are not upto the mark, why not apply the same rule for politicians who have to drive the future of India. Everybody has to pay the wages for their sins.
Recently, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zenta Jones have been fined US$ 3K in Italy for wrongly docking their yacht. It was not long ago the famous Athlete Marion Jones was punished for drug abuse. The list is long and it feels sad that not even one celebrity from India has made it to the punished list except maybe Harbhajan Singh for the infamous slapgate.
Somehow in our country a celebrity is free to kill, break laws; encroach lands; have unlicensed arms and yet get away with it. The 24x7 news channels build such a sympathy wave for these guys, that we are lead to believe that the particular celebrity who otherwise had lead the life of a saint, should not be punished for a single act of aberration. I pity for the guy, who in this great democracy, was fined for filling a PIL in the court that it was wrong to give customs duty exemption to Sachin Tendulkar for his Ferrari.
The act of holding dangerous weapons is justified for the simple reason that Sanjay Dutt is a man of golden heart; how he helps the unit boys and most importantly he has acted in “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” which is wrongly claimed for promoting Gandhism. Salman Khan’s act of mowing down pavement dwellers and killing chinkaras is justified on the grounds that he is a good boy gone wrong. Arrest of these `noble souls’ is represented as the police system trying to find cheap popularity for itself. Refusal of bail to these `men of honor’ is projected as the ineptness of the judicial system. Stories on how these `freedom fighters’ had to suffer by sleeping in the jail; eating the jail food and how they had to suffer without the usual luxuries of life are made to look like `sacrifices for the country’.
It is time that we realized in our great country that celebrities are like anybody else and not above the law. Celebrities should be an example for others but in our country becoming one means a passport to a life of unruliness and getting away with it. When they break the law, they should be subject to the same ignominy like any other normal criminal of this country. If the police get publicity because of arresting them, so be it that is not their fault. A celebrity is easier to track down than an ordinary criminal. So for a particular act of crime, when an ordinary person goes untracked but a celebrity is trapped, there is nothing wrong with it. It is only the price he/she has to pay for being a celebrity and still breaking the law. After all, Caesar’s Wife has to be above suspicion.
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Today VHP and its allies conducted chaka bandhs and road rokos across the northern parts of the country in protest against the injustice meted out to Hindus in the Amarnath Land case. Now I dont want to dwell into the genuniness of the cause. The issue is one old man in Noida and a youth in Kanpur who were seriouslly ill and being rushed to hospital, died because their vehicles could not move forward due to the traffic jams created by these people. Who will bring back these people to their families? who will look after the family of the youth who died?
Every bandh has its own stories. It is a merely a poplularity dance for most political parties and common people have to suffer. What is achieved by burning buses and cars during bandhs? Why should my car be burnt because some sadhus did not get their land? What is acheived in damaging commercial establishments? What is acheived by irritating commuters during bandhs? Who are the senseless guys who give permission for a road roko during the peak hours of 9-11 am? Why is their no law against holding bandhs and inconvincing people? why are not spots identified in the city where these people can hold the protests without inconvincing people? Why are the courts dont pass strictures that no bandh should be held throught the city and those political parties who disobey its orders be banned? How long will people will keep quiet to such political goondas without remorse or regret for their actions?Why do people vote for parties who inconvince them so much?
The Government will never pass a law banning bandhs. It is time the courts stepped in and levied heavy fines of Rs.50 crores on every political party that holds a city wide bandh or protest. It should also ban such political parties/leaders from contesting elections. Meanwhile what action will be taken against those leaders who were responsible for the two deaths today? The court should identify the main leaders and hang them to death or put a fine of Rs.10 crores and deposit the amount in a bank to take care of the families. The leaders responsible for this incident should be deported from the country itself. Their kith and kin should be denied rights of education, passport and other facilities for next 10 years. Self serving idiots have to be told lessons in the most meanest way to make them understand the pain of others. I am sorry for some inappropriate language in this blog but when I came back from office and saw a bullitien containing these gory facts, I had to just blog it without waiting for the appropriate words to come across. Wish the Courts pass an historic judgement banning bandhs and imposing strict action on strikers on the Independence Day and liberate the country from these scums of the society.
On 15th August, 2008, it will be 61 years since we became Independent. It is a time to reflect on how to carry forward our country. To carry forward a country we need to be patriotic. What does it take to be patriotic in today’s India? You don’t have to be a Mahatama Gandhi and lead people to Freedom. You don’t have to be a Subash Chandra Bose and build an army to uproot the British Rule. You don’t have to be a Bhagath Singh and go to the gallows at the tender age of 23. Our forefathers have done all these and much more patriotic acts to ensure that we rule ourselves and decide our futures. All that we have to do is ensure that we don’t fool ourselves in the name of freedom, smartness and don’t end up with another freedom struggle on our hands. Here is what I believe is could be considered as acts of patriotism in India today:-
a.Election – Cast your vote every time an election is held. Unfortunately most of the educated don’t cast their votes and later crib about non-existent Government. Atleast go and vote for the candidate who will perform despite being corrupt.
b. Corruption – Avoid paying bribes wherever possible. If the work is not head going, try to get it done without paying bribe and if anybody demands a bribe use the channels available to complain about corruption. If every Indian graduate spends Rs.5 worth postage stamp and lodges one complaint against corruption every year, it will mean yearly 10 crores complaints. No Government/Politician/Bureaucrat however thick skinned they may be can ever ignore such a mass public movement and will straighten up their tails.
c.Taxes – Salaried employees have no option of not paying tax. It amuses me that there are only 30 million tax payers in this country. Avoid transactions with establishments which defraud on tax. It maybe your friendly grocer or even a doctor. Never do a business transaction without a proper bill. Question the municipal authorities under the RTI Act, how the tax paid by you is being utilized?
d.Crime – We are not super human beings to fight crime head on but can definitely do the simple task of writing an anonymous letter to the cops about criminal activities in our neighborhoods. www.ksp.gov.in (website of Karnataka Police) provides for lodging anonymous complaints online. Here again more the number of complaints, the system will straighten up itself. After all how many people can you suppress or threaten?
e.Constitutional Rights – Know the basics of our Constitution atleast what are the fundamental rights and duties of a citizen?
f.National Symbols – Respect our national symbols. We all stand up when our religious prayers are said but some of them sit with legs crossed when the National Anthem is played. Please stand up when the National Anthem is played and teach it to the next generation also. Never encourage jokes on our National Leaders and symbols. My heart bleeds when I see the tri-color in the gutter a few days after Independence Day or Republic Day.
g.Communal harmony – Don’t listen to the devise sermons, neither of the men in saffron nor of the men in green. Rise above regional interests. People from another state are not outsiders and learn to respect the state in which you find your living. We can only prosper together and never by fighting with one another. Never be even remotely sympathetic to terrorist methods even if they don’t belong to our country.
h.Environment – We are heading towards serious problems on the global warming front. Try to protect and foster the trees which are planted on the roadside. Try to walk small distances and use public transport whenever feasible.
i.Civic and social sense – Scorn friends and families who hoard gold; take bribes; cheat on their taxes; promote sectarianism; discriminate the girl child; defecate in public places; encroach public property; spread superstition; support strikes and bandhs.
j.Traffic – with increased urbanization, traffic continues to grow. The roads and public transport will grow but not endlessly. It is a national shame to see the way we break traffic rules. Breaking traffic rules and getting away with it is considered a part of smartness. Obey traffic rules even when a cop is not over looking you.
What I have stated above may seem very simplistic and not invoking the usual rhetoric we associate ourselves when it comes to being Patriotic. Today’s reality is that this country wants awakened citizens to move forward and it is in this sphere where we may have to display our patriotism. The hard-work has been done by our forefathers. On 15th August when the Prime Ministers hoist’s the tri-color and the National Anthem is sung, please remember to stand up and salute.
Sunday, 10 August 2008
Attached bathrooms, detached families would be the ideal way to describe the emerging trend of family system in India.
Everybody wants to stay in their own shell and nobody has the patience to wait and tolerate one’s own family members. Privacy is more important and the good old intimacy is being done away with.
Leave alone sharing bathrooms, we can’t view even television together. More and more houses have multiple television sets. Everybody is couched safely in their comfort zone and communication between family members is usually the mandatory pleasantries.
There is no need to write an obituary for the Joint Family system in India because it is long dead. The pity today is that even the nuclear families are not jointed.
It is not uncommon in certain households when grown-up children don’t come to the drawing room, when parents are at home. People have started living as individuals and not as a family. The freezers in our heart are more powerful than those in our fridges. We have lost the heart to excuse family member’s shortcomings however intimate the relationship maybe. We have powerful vacuum cleaners but they can’t clean the clogs in our relationships. Everybody wants to win with their egos but everybody is losing their lives
Today the hectic work schedules and school timings mean multiple keys to the same house. Going by the ever increasing extra marital affairs, it seems that even our hearts have started having multiple keys.
We have come up with the wonderful concept of open kitchens but usually the most worked device is the microwave ovens to fill the stomachs of couples who are working in different time zones. Family dining halls have become fashionable but hardly the family gets together to enjoy the environs. Our bed rooms may have air conditioners but our hearts are seething with anger. The bed room may have romantic colors but not the life lead in it. The beds have become broader it seems only for the couples to find their own corners in times of a dispute.
How happy are those homes which still fight over a bathroom?
How happy are those homes which have less to eat but a lot to share?
How happy are those homes when people come to open doors and forgotten fights?
How happy are those homes somebody is there to feed the kid when he/she comes back from school?
How happy are those rooms where there are more people than bedrooms?
How happy are those rooms where still the fight goes on for a single remote?
Let us do everything to share, care, fight, forget, eat and enjoy with our families. We let slip the wonderful joint family system, let the nuclear families not go the American way.
Let no kid die in her room, with parents not being able to hear her.
Let us pledge to uphold the great Indian Family.
Let us undo the great saying” Money is their god and how to make it is their religion”.
Scrap that term “quality time” our families need both quality and quantity time to ensure that it survives