Dec 23, 2013

Old Age...

Fact of Life? Reality? Or wish we never reach there.

We all have some one who is senior, old, fragile in our families. Either immediate, or close by or at times, far off. Aunt, Grand Mom, Mom's Mom, Dad's Aunt.. the combinations are endless. Point being, we all know some one who is in that stage of an Age, where there is no difference between a 1 year old and a 90 year old.

Truly said that a human being is helpless at two points of his / her life. Being a child, totally dependent on the parents, being old and fragile, dependent on one's children or on the support of outsiders. No sense of being, no sense of belonging, but just being there.

Man or woman in all their splendour for years, all their power and grandeur, one fine day, all down to dust. The good looks all gone, the majestic walk, reduced to a crawl, the booming voice, a whimper, the icy glare, now a flickering of eyes, hardly in a state to remain open for more than five minutes.

The time when one dressed, people were in awe, today, there is no difference between a dress that hardly fits, or is too tight. A dot on a shirt never tolerated, a glass of spilt milk or water would have driven frowns and anger tantrums, today, we are not in a state to know that we keep on spilling food on ourselves and have no clue.

Never one to accept help from any one, never would we accept favours, today, the very thought of even standing up on our two feet is a dream. A jump from a table or five stairs was nothing, today, while walking if we sprain our foot, it may break the bones.

The time and money spent on building our empires, our dynasties, our legacies, today, they may or may not exist. All the dynasties that we built, are busy building their own. All the possessions that we so fondly collected and built over the decades, we have no clue whether they exist and even if they do, we don't recognize them.

At the end, it is simply a matter of a bed, that we lie on, helpless, groaning, moaning, waiting, biding for our time, which also we have no acknowledgement of. Are we living or are we dead, that in itself is a mystery.

Of course, our generations take care of us, our children do care for us when we fall and lift us up, they do get worried, if some thing happens to us. But surely at the same time, some one would also be hurting along with us, as we suffer life, not knowing, if this is due to some past deeds of previous lives or of the current life.

Why this post? Nothing specific, but for sure, looking at the people around, as they grow old and as they struggle with the very basic tenets of life and seeing people around pass sympathetic comments and not empathetic, a thought did come across my mind..

Would I want to live until 90 or a 100? For sure not. Would like to go at a happy age, where I remember every thing and every one and knowing who the hell am I abusing and for what.

Also, I guess the same as, would I want Arthritis or Alzheimer? With Arthritis, at least I know where my booze is. You?

Dec 21, 2013

The Past and Accountablity

Simple, No. What am I talking about? Am I making sense? Yes, probably, not at all!!

Recently (at work), I had a question regarding a process / issue on some aspect of a job that I was handling a couple of years ago. Post my move, a few people managed the same, and all moved on, with some one new as of today. An issue crops up, and the question comes to me, can you explain this?

Not that the issue was relating to the time that I was looking at, the issue was on a process being followed for years, and because things had been going smooth, no one questioned it. Now that there was a problem, a straight question on the process.

Of course, as nature stands, we all justify what we did and why we did, but what was interesting was that many of the people who were following the same process came up with a standard answer: I don't know, this was the process that was there and you should ask the predecessor. It starts going back and some where the one who initiates the process, has to suddenly justify why he did what he did. No matter that at the time, that was the correct process, the correct step, but one needs to justify. One needs to explain, why one took a decision that he did. Suddenly one finds that many people have memory losses, people don't remember, why they agreed for the decisions that they took, more so, that over the years, things may have changed, that would make the decision of the past no longer valid.

Does it not happen in life? We surely see that in Politics! We take decisions based on events, time lines, circumstances. Life moves on. 5 years, a decade down the line, things go wrong. Is it human tendency to first and foremost find out who initiated the decision? Is it human nature to not evaluate what has changed over the years, that made a decision of a decade ago, no longer viable in today's times? Are we as people so inefficient that we cannot fathom our mistakes or do not change historical decisions due to our inefficiencies? We have as a generation for sure degenerated. Compare the talented people of the past - Socrates / Solomon / Da Vinci / Kabir / Voltaire / Galileo... Do we have even 10% of them in today's society?

Looking at some of the decisions that have taken place in history, and evaluating them:

What if Hitler had never started his ambition of ruling the world? Would +World War II  have been avoided?

When the East India Company first came to India, if the rulers at that time, had refused them permission to land, setup shop and trade? Would India still be a country of Kings?

What if Europe had not invaded other lands? Would Europe have been poorer today? Would the world be different in terms of cultures, where East meeting West has generated so much of a fusion, that wonders have been created?

What if the people who built the Seven Wonders not built the Wonders? Generations would have been spared of the slave days, but what about the world?

What if some one had said, no more Slaves in America? Would the nature of the country be completely different today?

Was there reason why many of the Rajput Kings of yore, tied up with Akbar to have peace, rather than unite together and ensure independence was retained?

What if Dhritirashtra had taken a decision to sacrifice Duryodhan when he was born? Would the Mahabharata have been avoided?

Surely, there will be countless more such questions and similar answers as to why? But the moot question remains. Does the one who took the decision at the time remain responsible and accountable for life? What if future generations did have an opportunity to correct a decision of the past, but decide not to, with the rationale, that right now, things are good, why upset the apple cart?

If we blame the past, then I guess the future too should be justified in blaming us. Your take?

Dec 13, 2013

Relationships - Money based?

Courtesy Google

A simple discussion at a recent family event.. Event going on in full swing, people enjoying themselves, guests coming and going, laughter, fun and frolic every where.. Time just passed by, with every one having a laugh here, a joke there and a guffaw coming out from some where. Every one sitting and time simply forgotten. A generic feeling. This is what you call family.

With people sitting in different groups, discussing different topics, a subject that came out was, amazing that how for the family event, every one came. Relatives from different countries, Relatives that people have not spoken to for years, Relatives, the well to do and the not so well to do.

My first comment was Hello..!! This is family, why would relatives not come in at a family function. What has this got to do with any thing else. Yes, one does see the occasional family issues where people don't talk to each other, but then, family is all about that. You see differently, you may not agree, you may not see eye to eye, but in good times and in bad times, you are all together. A family shares the Joys and Sorrows together.

As this discussion took ground, among a few people, one comment that shook me was.. The family is united because the head is very well off. He has the capacity to spend, take people out, blow money and that is what binds the family. What do I say, other than was stunned at the comment. The next comment was even better.. Our family is not united, because we never had any one that strong who could bind the family, you know, have that money power. Totally stunned now !!

My view was asked, however was too speechless to respond. Simply shook my head and said, BS. If it is all about money, who needs relatives. I would rather go and buy new ones!

However as I thought about it later and saw around myself, what was apparent was that it did seem to be a fact. Brothers / Sisters of the same parents. Grow up and then split as their families grow. If they fall in the very well to do class, they are united. If for some reason, one is well off, the other is not very well off, but still does good, it is a matter of a the well off calling the shots. If for some reason both manage well, but not in the very well to do category, they know each other, but there is always a lack of unity.

What defines togetherness? Being available when needed. Being present on family functions. Being there at a simple call at the time of need. Sure, we do see family members doing that, but is that because they are happy / sorry with you, or is it simply because, Oh well, it is family.

What one sees with the new generations is that Sons today, would not think twice about leaving an event on the paternal side, but tell the same son to avoid an event on his wife's side, and that would be chaos (more so, if the girl's family is well off). The same with the girls. Girls prefer that they are more tuned to their parents even after marriage, rather than their in laws, effectively the husbands too following their wife's directions.

I have nothing against being on the in laws side, however always hurts to see families where boys would drop off an event on their paternal side citing commitments, going to work tomorrow, children's schools. Put an event on their wives side.. The next day, the Son has taken a day off, some thing that could not be even thought of for an event on their parents side, if not in their own house.

Not sure if these are changing times or society in general, but probably a lot also to do with unilateral families, with many getting married outside the community and not being approved by their parents. Not referring to the honour killings that one reads about, but this is more towards the strata of society where marriages on children's own decisions are accepted.

Not sure if this means that we are moving to a Matriarchal society, where the wife's family takes over after marriage, but as what is normally observed and I guess the eventual proof:

A Son will scream at his mother for giving him food that he does not like, or if the food has no taste. The Wife once comes... There is no food that the Son does not like and there is no such thing as taste. Money based or changing times.. You decide.

Dec 1, 2013

Being Broke

Definitely an eye catcher of a heading. Any one would be hit with it in  a moment. How to avoid leaving Broke? Of course this is not in Aamchi Mumbai, or Downtown NY, but the sands of Arabia, Dubai.

The article came in quite some time back and of course, keeps on reappearing in the news every now and then, making you wonder, if there is some kind of a message or a reminder that is a flag to you. But jokes apart, very real, very factual and very necessary.

So very easy in a land, where every thing is available, for a price of course. And even worse, when there are 100's of ways made available to you to find ways to get what you want, irrespective of the price. Living beyond one's means is nothing new. The Nawab's of old did it. The Rajah's of old did it. Difference now is, that every one wants to do it. Of course the Rajah's and the Nawab's sucked the gentry to live their lavish lifestyles, one does not need to do that today, but then, the end result is the same. A point where you have to return back every thing that you "borrowed" to live a life of bliss.

Difference again, the Kings of yore, did not have to return it, in a society, one has to. It does always make one wonder, as to why people go to such extents to live beyond their means? Does a fancy car, a lavish villa, the need to go to an exotic country count so much in today's materialistic life, that living a simple life is like a curse?

I know so many, who HAVE to live in a certain lifestyle, not just because they are living in a desert oil country, where lavishness is all around (of course at a price), but some times, one feels, for many it becomes a matter of pride and peer pressure. I drive a saloon car, my neighbour or my cousin a Beamer or a 4WD. Do I need to follow? One lives in an apartment, with 2 Bedrooms, some of your family in a lavish upmarket villa in a high society lane. Does one need to go there, just to show that you can afford it?

Money no doubt has become more easily available today that it probably did 5 decades ago. I get on a average about 3 calls every week from banks offering money. Many cannot accept when I say, not interested in a loan and don't want one. But they persist, even telling you, take the money, invest in another country, and you can make the extra 3%. But then, I still gotta pay it back, Right?

There are probably 100 more ways to make easy money that there were about 20 years ago. And for sure, our demands too have increased today, than what we were happy with in the last 10 years. Each generation outdoing the previous one, we need more than what our parents needed, our children need more than what we needed..

As I went through the article (have been thorough it nearly 10 times now), I but cannot wonder. What is it that takes a man to such an extreme, that he has to showcase himself or herself per the needs of the society. Why can a person not be satisfied with what he / she is, rather than meet the expectations of what others want him / her to be. Of course, in private would rue that all this lavishness is at a price that is unaffordable, but in public, would never dare to admit it.

Fear of society, Fear of being shunned, Fear of being looked down? Is that worse than a life of accepting and being happy with what one has?

Reminds me of what Sachin Tendulkar told the kids when some of them told him that their parents want them to be Sachin Tendulkar. Simple Answer. Why can you not be U? Sachin never tried to be a Gavaskar, but was just Sachin. Why not us. Is that so difficult?

Nov 16, 2013

Sachin Sachin

+Sachin Tendulkar

I am sure there are hundreds of posts going on today, over the last few weeks, months, and will probably come over the next few weeks, months, every one coming out with their own views, comments, experiences, how they have enjoyed, what they will miss, once Sachin is gone.

Not that I am trying to do the same, but watching his last game this week, was an amazing testament to a guy who defined all odds, for such a period of time, made himself into the greatest cricketer the game has ever known. For sure, every country produces greats. Bradman, Sobers, Lara, Grace, Gavaskar, Richards, each one was brilliant in their own way, each successive one better than the other. Bradman for his consistency and high averages, Gavaskar for his technique, Lara for his grace, Sobers for his all roundness, Richards for his raw power, the list is endless.

However Sachin seems to have imbibed the best of every one. Bradman saw him as the closest who was like him, Gavaskar, the master of technique admits that Tendulkar is more focused than he was, Tendulkar himself admitting that he emulated a combination of Gavaskar and Richards. Amazing. And what was truly improbable was that Tendulkar managed it, not for a few years, but for two and a half decades.

The passion, the love, the respect the man had for Cricket, probably, is unbeatable, insurmountable, unreachable. One does not acheive those heights until and unless one is willing to give up every thing. His speech on missing movies, missing evenings with friends and family, are all testament to that. It heightened his greatness and I feel why he succeeded there, was simply because of his humility and humbleness. Ali the Boxer was another example. No one remembers Tyson, Ali IS the one. WAS the One, WILL remain the one. Why, simply because of his humbleness.

Cricket for sure lost a Gentleman today when Sachin decided to call it quits. The emotions he went through will remain etched in memory for a long time. There were many who wanted him to leave, he was not his best in the last two years, however every one who cried today when he left, cried from their heart. Managing the expectations of a Billion People for 2 and half decades, is not an easy task.

Sachin leaving is termed as the last of the Gentlemen leaving the game. For sure, the game will be poorer, and for the sake of the Game, there needs to be another role model that sets such high ideals and examples. It is this very combination of talent and quality that made people term him as the God Of Cricket. Should he turn out to be bigger than the game, it would not be unexpected.

After all +Sachin Tendulkar comes once in a lifetime. And being there is a blessed opportunity.

Nov 3, 2013

Treasure Hunt

Don't we all love one! I still remember days gone by, where we used to either setup Treasure Hunts or Participate in one, trying to figure out where the clues are.. Of course, it was a Merry Go Round across various places, finding clues leading to the next. And before you know, you have spent a good part of your Friday or Sunday Weekend participating in one, to end with a prize voucher.. Of course, you had a good part of the tour running along with friends, each trying to outwit one another just to get that first prize... At the end, all in good fun, followed by a good meal. Simple, Right?

So, quite impressed and amused to read the story in the +The Times of India about the Gold Rush at Unnao. A seer's dream of 10,000 tonnes of GOLD to be given to India as a gift to make it a world power. Obviously in trying economic times, this seemed like a boon and the Gold Hunt was on.

Nation wide derides, jeers, political believers, political stunt callers, back trackers, of course we saw the works. The BJP calling is a stunt, backing out because the Sadhu challenged Narendra Modi and he suddenly called him a visionary. Of course, one can term it as an outcome of Election times, and no political bureaucrat worth his or her salt, would have wanted to come out a cropper.

Two weeks later, huge resources spent, a whole lot of grave diggers taking part, the findings so far have come out a blank. Political parties backing off, not wanting to take any fall outs from a possible excavation failure. Of course, if it does come that we find a few tonnes of Gold, surely, every one would take part in the credit, and who knows, where the Gold would end up to.

What's my point? Similar to life in many a case. We hear about a miracle that can happen. Riches that can be had overnight, with limited work (Akshay Khanna got duped recently). There is easy money to be made. There is Gold hidden under our ancestral property. There is wealth hidden in the ancient walls of our ancestral house.. And we take every opportunity that we can and have to get that extra money / Gold, that is supposedly ours and we can get it for free.

True, the generations past, had huge reserves of Gold, however as today, the Gold that was with our Maharajah's was probably a 100 times more than what our politicians have today. True they amassed, but then they also had morals, that they had to take care of their people. You would not hear of a Rajah running away to Switzerland, simply because his enemies were coming. The question though remains.. Is that Gold still available? Did our forefathers leave tonnes for our use? Did the looters not loot every penny that we had before they left?

A similar thought expressed in a Blog - Gold Rush and also my second and probably more relevant question that comes to mind. Would we have been a better off civilization / country / people, had we had our riches still to ourselves? Would the greed that the average common man built in himself, been subsided? Would we have been a better world?

Why can we simply not curb our desires and be happy in what we are and we have? Is that too much to ask??

Oct 14, 2013

And then, there was Life...!!!

Death... Followed by Life.. Is that not inevitable? We all do know that Life is followed by Death, as what comes has to go, but rarely do we hear that what goes, surely comes back.

Yes, if one reads the Epics of Ramayan and Mahabharat, they are completely based on people being reborn, either to attain salvation or to extract revenge, which too is part of the discourse in the Bhagvad Gita, that the soul remains for ever, it is just the exterior that changes form.

No, not starting a discourse on Life after Death, or Death followed by Life, but what did bring this subject to mind for a thought was we see people coming and going all around us. A few weeks back, had gone through the sudden demise of a dear friend passing away... Some time later, went through the Joy of hearing that my Kid Brother, was now a proud Father. A new baby in the family.

Of course, both were totally unrelated, both families not connected, but the thought did come across.. Surely there will be families who go through the pain of parting mixed with the Joy of a new addition. What overrides? The sorrow to the one who has lost a partner, or the Joy of another, having a part of one's self entering into the World, with a life that is just starting.

Death and Life or Life and Death (depends on how one views it), are inevitable facets of the cycle of life. Whether walking or flying, all creatures have to succumb to this, some through nature's planned road, some unprepared and sudden. What does remain key, is what we make out of the Life that we get? How well do we use it?

Do we enjoy the little things that we get in Life, or do we cry on what we did not? Some take it seriously, some as it comes, some take it is a joke, some having no value for it. Some always cursing it, some thankful for it, wanting it, waiting for it to come, wanting to contiune for ever.

Life followed by Death, or Death followed by Life. Sounds like the "A Light at the end of a Tunnel" or Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining"....... For me it is Death followed by Life.. How about you?

Sep 20, 2013


From Google Images

A morbid topic, or a headline one would say.. Depressing, Mood breaking, the embodiment of darkness. Many other words that describe one of the most hated and feared word in a human being's life, but a stark reality that all of us have to endure at some point or the other.

Why have I selected this as my thought? Why so morose? No, have not gone through this, thank God, but a similar incident on a known person shook the floor beneath.. Literally..

All started with a simple message on my FB wall... "Dear Friends, Our class mate "ABC", who we all studied with, is no more. Was not well, and unfortunately have to announce that he has left us."

A two liner. One would think that ok, we all know that every one who comes has to leave one day.. But what was shocking was that this was a friend we all grew up with, who we had studied with, played with, fought with, passed off through college.. Just about 2 decades ago....

As time passes, we all get a year older, and of course, we don't fall in the 20+ category any more, but then neither do we fall in the 50+ category or the 80+ or whatever... The entire group being in the 40 - 45 range, an incident like this was not even in the horizon.. Not that we are great fit people, but of course, like every "young" person, we too thought that death was far away if any thing else..

Further details gave light that our class mate had a brain problem, which came some where about a decade ago, he suffered, got cured, and appeared suddenly after a long time.... This time unfortunately, no time for realization, cure, or even a second chance... It was simply, Life at First sight.

The suddenness with which Death comes and claims a person, not giving him a time to introspect, fix things, not considering what needs to be done, what not.. How would the persons family manage, how would his children, who were still in school go through life, their Dad not being there any more for any of their key events in life. As they grow older, who would guide them on key decisions, who would they look up to. They would never get a chance to tell their friends.. Hi.. This is my Dad..

Brought a stark realization, that no one is past this. We all live with a great belief that we will live until forever. We never think about tomorrow, never about how our families will move on, what will happen to them, once we are gone, or for that matter any one near and dear goes away.

I don't aim to be negatively inclined, nor do I expect myself or any one for that matter stop living in the fear that we may die tomorrow.. But at the same time, it is a part of life, it will always shock us, shake us, make our hair stand on end when we hear about it.....  I guess that is what Death is all about...

In memory of my friend Anil who passed away recently.. May his soul Rest in Peace..

Sep 14, 2013

The Nirbhaya Effect: Justice at last !!

So, the death penalty has been declared. Finally.

Every one commented on it, the media channels are all about it, well circulated in the News, some putting in updates every two hours.. The Judges view, that there should be no leniency (the +The Times of India  coverage) and the satisfaction on the mother of the deceased, finally being at peace.

For sure good coverage and not my thought for today. Had an earlier post on Nirbhaya, but the thought was more on another vote topic also discussed in the +The Times of India. Will the Death Penalty act as a Deterrent to Rape? Good thoughts no doubt, however though people believe that this will prove as one, have my doubts.

The death penalty in the Nirbhaya case, undoubtedly is what was deserved by the culprits, but the fact also remains that the judiciary acted more in fear of a backlash from the people, rather than give it on it's own accord. Whether the Sessions court in Delhi hand down the punishment fearlessly, is more known to the judges, but all said and done, a bold decision.

The verdict being a deterrent for future rape cases, may not necessarily act as one. The Nirbhaya case, was, is and remains a rare case that sparked a nation wide furore from K to K, probably never before seen. The sheer madness with which the act was done, was enough to provoke even the mildest of the mild to vent his frustration at the social structure in which India seemed to reside.

The rapists know this very well and probably understand the fabrics more than the educated masses. The amount of loopholes that the Secular structure provides, the caste system on which the entire country has been created, the anti community feelings that harbour within communities, the illiterate masses that are managed by shrewed guiltless politicians, who still live in the framework and the mindset of the invaders and communities that think that women are simply objects of fulfillment of pleasures known only to man, the ever increasing number of cases that are pending, collecting dust in the courts... Why will this verdict be a deterrent?

Fast track courts were supposed to deliver verdicts in short periods of time. The Nirbhaya case, took 9 months. Surely one would say, arranging proofs, evidences, etc, however considering the culprits were apprehended immediately, the verdict could have come in six months earlier. That, I feel might have sent in a stronger message, along with a Central decision to move all such cases to the fast track courts and taking it out of the regular courts. That might have sparked a fear among wannabe culprits, that the Government means business and is no longer in a mood of protection.

This will require change, a lateral shift in the thinking, and a willingness to put the electorate first over and above personal goals and the desire to stay in power indefinitely. No doubt, the verdict will see appeals, including possible mercy petitions to the President, however one would not be surprised that this too might be a political manoeuvre, to ensure that the timing if it does come to the President to be rejected (possibly already decided), should be at election time..

After all some Aces have to be managed close to the chest. Now whether the country sees beyond this single instance and insist on a justice path that is short and effective, or is buoyed by a single call and the rest forgotten, is our call.

I probably know how I will react and probably quite a few more, but do all is the perennial Million Dollar question..

Aug 31, 2013

A Holiday.. A Thought


Holiday Season and you suddenly have every one running helter-skelter trying to find a destination away from home, for a change.. Change could mean going back to one's home town, or if you are lucky, one takes a unknown destination in another country...

Going through the same thoughts with so many options being provided, it was literally a choice as to where one should go.. Too Hot, too Humid, too crowded, too expensive the combinations never to one's satisfaction.. Finally, the visit to go back home won over, and it was home sweet home. Mumbai or Bombay (as the purists still call it)

A visit to Bombay is always full of life, no matter how often you go, or how rare you go. The city seems more busier than the last time you visited, which could be as less as 20 days ago or as long as 10 years ago. My last visit in 2012 proved no less interesting and the 2013 equally so.

People come from and go to now where. Auto's whizz around swerving left and right, with people not having to move, and they miss you by a whisker. Scooties, Motor bikes, all zipping in and out and the noise decibel hitting the highs every day / week / year.. Every one is in a hurry to reach some where, every one is busy swearing, you miss a train, you swear, you get pushed, you swear, you slip on the road, you swear, you do not get a cab or an auto for more than two minutes, you swear, you walk on the road trying to avoid the cars, you swear.. Basically, you swear. I incidentally swore more in the first hour of landing in Bombay, than I did in the time frame between my two visits which was roughly a year.

But there is a good side too to Bombay. There are people who will stop to help you, no matter how busy they are, there are people who still talk nicely and give you respect, there are also people who are suddenly flabbergasted when you speak to them with respect. But then, my thought..

Gateway of India
As part of the vacation, had the opportunity to go see a few places in Bombay, that had not been to for years. Gateway of India, Hanging Gardens, the National Park and so on... What was heartening and disheartening at the same time was the state that many of our monuments and tourist spots are landing up into. Some beautifully managed like the Hanging Gardens, some spots filled with hawkers who outnumber the visitors to the spots. Similar experience in most of the places that one visited, taking the full fun out of a visit.

What was also disappointing was that in many places due to the various unsavoury incidents that the city has had to undergo, one finds spots filled with security personnel, who no doubt are there to take care of the place, but also, become a dampener for a visitor who would like to move freely to see the place. A decade ago, places were more accessible, one enjoyed a visit to any place that one went to, however as society grows and as time passes, one sees more and more restrictions that are imposed not due to any thing but due to security concerns which very well lead to the locking out of various places.

As I saw these different places over my stay, could not but help wonder.. We being law abiding citizens of our country live like prisoners at times, where in we do not have the freedom to move / do as we please. Not that one looks for absolute freedom, however many a time one sees even our basic rights curbed. Most of the time due to the negligent proportion of society that does not wish to follow norms of decency, respect for our culture and our heritage.

There could be anger no doubt for a variety of reasons, but taking this out in the form of violence is always a loss for the average citizen, who simply would like to live his life in peace. Unfortunately, we are heading far away from that dream, and with every man being for himself, would it be long before society itself reaches a point that it can only live in a controlled environment.

Whether that would be manageable or not is another question.

Jul 27, 2013

Life on Cruise Control

Another long hiatus, not planned, but invariably lands up....  Too many topics, lack of them, too many thoughts, none, lost, confused, happy, sad.... the mix is always nice....

Reading an article recently in one of the online papers, about how a car's Cruise Control failed and of course, the cops coming to his rescue. A simple case of a driver driving his car at 139 KM PH, and leaving it on cruise for obviously a long drive up ahead....

Running through the article, could not but help come up with questions... The first and foremost being Why, followed by a wide eyed What?? Putting yourself in the hands of a machine that simply takes you on a tour, with a speed defined by you no doubt, but being controlled by some one else!! Why would one want to do that..

For sure the reasons may be many, long clear road, no obstacles, who wants to manage controlling the speed of slowing down, if some thing comes in the way, just change lanes and so on... All good, as long as we can control this.. And the other worrying comment was, that this is a regular feature now, with a lot of people.

What the news did not cover (for obvious reasons I guess), was whether the driver was alone, or had kids and family.. It might not be a surprise that this could also very well be the case.

But then, transposing this to Life.. Don't we follow the same? Putting life on Cruise Control, the same speed with which we live it every day.. In our race to be at the head of the pack, we too follow certain rules, norms, and at a breakneck speed, as no one wants to climb the bus at the next stop. If one does, he is considered a slacker.

We only recognize those who arrive before time, have a spot of recklessness in them, willing to put all on the table, in a gamble that no one knows where will end. We strive to be the best, no issue in that, but at what cost? We, who would not want probably our own parents to run our lives, will gladly put it in the hands of others, whom we do not know, of whose powers we may not have the full inkling, but will do so, as that guarantees success.. For sure, life starts well, as it gears speed, it definitely moves to a Cruise mode, but what is also necessary is at what speed that Cruise is..

If we are unable to control that cruise and get off it when we need to, is it really worth it?

May 31, 2013

A Game of Cricket....

Without a doubt, the biggest scandal to hit the Indian Cricketing world in years. All these years, it was the Pakistanis who indulged in match fixing, ball tampering, and we Indians were the clean ones. Spotless White.. Once in a blue moon, comes a cropper of an Azhar, Chetan Sharma, Manoj Prabhakar, but those are rare blips..

Suddenly we have three members in one team, the CEO of another, a Board President, tens of bookies, and a valid question by a Judge pending an answer.. If a bowler was involved, what was the batsman doing? This is definitely not the end of the saga.

Take the next part.. A President of the Board who openly refuses to resign, because he has done nothing wrong. His son in law is clean. The rule diversions to have his relative get exemptions, the fact that no one else can get this exemption is another discussion, another story.

A rumoured comment, that the team who plays under the Indian Banner is not a team that comes under a country's purview, but is a privately owned team. One wonders in this case, all the State, Central and National recognitions.. Are to whom? And the Country takes pride that "the Country" won.

Political Bigwigs taking sides, and demanding resignations. The Pawars, the Jaitely's, the Scindia's all have their lines drawn. Some indebted, some trying to settle old scores. It is now who can pull who to what extent. As that will define the ultimate power.

But all this only for a betting spot fixing scandal? Just three bowlers doing a job for bookies, which might have been in place for years? That alone cannot be a factor for such huge impacts. So much media coverage, making it a national issue, with even one person commenting to the media, that they are equally to blame, for promoting Cricket the way they do.

No doubt it is all due to the money involved. It would definitely not be in a few crores, but more in 00's or 000's of crores, where the takers would be large and many. Or some one might not have gotten his due.

The fact that sports has become a business is well known. Talent sourcing is big money, and the younger you find, the more money involved. Similar post by another blogger, Talent Hunted, speaks volumes how we as a country have found a means to live on. So what if a few people are sacrificed in the bargain

Part of the problem does remain the public, who has glorified sport and Cricket especially to such an extent, that it is now considered as God.. No longer is it a game that was meant to be enjoyed, a game that actually united the country in more ways than one, but now probably becoming just another sport, a rich man's sport..

May 11, 2013

The Idiot box and its Magical Power

Nothing new here, right? We all have been party to the Idiot box and its mesmerizing hold that it has on people, their families and in many cases, full control over lives. There was a time when the Idiot Box or the Telly or the TV (to its real name), was a rarity in Indian houses.. Even in cities like Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, if you had a television in your house, you were well off.. If you had a colour TV, when the entire society was on B&W, you definitely had relations abroad.

Of course the content at the time too was very simple and mediocre. One Channel. Regional language programmes in the morning, Delhi controlled News at night, with an All India viewership. Hindi or regional film on Sunday, the highlight of the week.. Sunday plans were based on Sunday movies!!

How things change. A box in every house, if you don't have one, you are considered person non value.. But that is not the point of this thought.. It is the power that has crept in from outside into our homes and how it is ending up controlling our daily lives.

We lived in a world of Ads between the dead beat programmes, but now it is the Ads that people don't want to see.. It is the continuation of the serial and what happens to the Mother In Law or the bad woman, or how people get screwed just when their life is about to be made..

It is why is the good woman always gets screwed, why are mother in laws so dominating, why does the clean guy the one who suffers the most, how come the bad guy continues to survive, despite all the planning, how could the grand kids be so cruel as to murder their old grand parents for a few thousand rupees..

Why do we flaunt so much wealth in front of others to allow them to take advantage of us, why do we see so much lax in relations, women getting raped, and other women allowing them, how can parents be dumb to leave their children alone.. God, I can go on and on and on and on...

I have tried to steer away from it, however as one lives in a joint family, where you have your parents, relatives watching some serial or the other, escaping from them is very difficult. Of course, one can just walk out, but then that is also considered rude. It is a democracy after all, and every one in the house does have a right to see what they wish.

Where it does amaze and upset is when all of the above is taken for real and non TV people start living their life thinking all about the characters. Why, when, how, why not.. the list is endless. Very soon we are dragged into their "personal TV lives" and we start losing our reality and start moving into a dream realm that we know does not exist and is fictional, yet we start living there. We are the Ram, the Bhoomi, the Jadgish, the Shyam, the Kishan, the Ayesha and who have you not. We start thinking on the serial and how we would want to turn it around and make sure the bad guys are screwed up and the good people start living their lives. Try calling some one during a key serial time. Half the people will not pick up the phone!

But then, that would be a drop in the TRP's... Who the hell wants to watch a show where there are only good people. It is truly said, that Indian Television is probably the biggest generator of sadness, hatred and revenge related worlds through their soap operas. Sure you have a lot of the Western and the Arabic world soap operas where they have their own stuff, but we are masters in churning out depression and sadness on a daily basis. We would rather have people lost in some imaginary world and forget their real "pathetic lives" rather than to show them reality or for that matter, provide them with some relief of a lighter side of life?

Shows do state that the characters are fictional and hold no resemblances. Indeed most of them outside of the show, are normal people, some old mothers are no more than actors in their 30's just doing a serial. However, how many take that as fact! The more our sad stories run, just proves that we truly are a depressed nation. 

There may or may not be an ideal solution to this. Of course, one cannot live without the Idiot Box in totality, but neither should one also live with it in entirety. We do have good informative shows that are truly eye openers with a message, but how many really apply that message in the true sense, where it should be and where it should not. A fine line between reality and information is a must. As the world gets smaller through technology, it is imperative that we maintain our emotional balances.

As I recently overheard: If a Guy during at an IPL Match time, calls his girlfriend ,don't leave him girl. He is one in a Million!!

Apr 27, 2013

Getting rid of.... Our Mess

Image from JM Simon Post
While reading an article the other day, could not resist thinking on two things..
1... Good Bold Decision... 2.. Have we screwed up the system so bad?

What was it? Just a Dubai Govt campaign to slash 500M plastic bags! 500M bags in a year, as our consumption in a small country like Dubai was nearly 2.9 Billion bags annually. The thoughts that came to mind were the normal, no possible way, we cant be that bad, 2.9 is over exaggerated, etc etc..

Of course, also thinking more could not but resist thinking about a similar post of mine "The Green Thing", where is, we have another case of how we have managed to mess ourselves up with technology, our wants and our needs, and the generations that come, manages to blame the preceding generation, as each generation manages to mess up the environment...

However, back to Plastic Bags.. A great campaign, where in a decision is done to get rid of nearly half a billion plastic bags in six months. Chances are that they will achieve it and probably even more. Simply because of the will of the Govt and the people providing support to make the country a better place. So what is the issue? Just a few:

Why can we not do this without being asked to. We all know that half the things we use are bad for the environment, yet we use them extensively.

Why have we never learnt the concept of reuse unless we have to pay for it.

Why does every thing free have to be abused to an extent, that it has to be taken away for our very own benefit?

Why do we only follow these when the Govt's take it upon them to clear up the mess..

Why does the Govt allow the mess in the first place only for it to later on spend millions to clean up an environment that they are equally to blame.

Why do we never ask ourselves the question: Why, or Why no?

One looks in the streets, outside of Super Markets.. People have stacks of Plastic bags in their hand. It comes for every thing. One chocolate, and you want a bag, a can of Coke and you want to carry it in a plastic bag. Forget it that the minute one steps out of the shop, one takes out the item and throws the bag on the spot. And this is repeated every five / ten minutes.

The amount of non recyclable waste that we generate is mind boggling to say the least. The World population going up to nearly 7 Billion, and with population increasing leaps and bounds, it is simply a mathematical projection as to when, how soon, how fast can we head to a disaster in the making. And what is worse, that in many underdeveloped countries, the Govt does not care a damn about this, as the top few are busy making money even at the cost of the average man getting his life screwed (which he does on his own).

Not asking any one to put up a revolution of some sorts, but simply that we should to the extent possible, try to make the world a better place.. Of course one person in a million is not going to make a difference, but if this catches up, some day (hopefully by then we have not killed the world), we will have a nicer place to live in. A start with Super Markets without plastic bags maybe?

Apr 13, 2013

Social Media and its importance..

Had been at a loss for some time, as to what to write about? So many topics, so many discussions, and then a overdose of social networking.. FB, Tweets, Tumblr, WhatsApp... you name it, and I tried to get into all...

Made me think, as I got dragged into one social media after another. Started spending my working hours trying to find time to do some social media, coming back home, have dinner and then restart on my social media.. My FB's, my tweets, getting in touch with friends and relatives via Whats App, all to be in touch. Late into the night, just wanting to be in touch.

I come home by the Metro, I see the same. 3 Out of of 5 are on some sort of chain. BBM's, SMS's, FB, Tweets, the works.. You dont find any one who is any one not being on some kind of Social Media. And this is not limited to being on the train, bus, or any form of commuting, but even expanding to being at family get together, weddings and at every possible opportune moment. One sees a world that finds being on the media more critical and important than being together with people and relatives.

As this grows and one sees the discussions, what is also surprising is that there is, most of the time, nothing important being discussed on the Media. It is not world wide impacting discussions, but more that one has a bad stomach, one had a bad meal, or a headache in the morning after a drinking night...

Where are we headed to? Yes, Socially, being visible is a big factor, however to what extent. Are we headed into a phase where being socially visible is the key to one's very existence. Is it to such an extent that personal relation ships are no longer important or required, but being present on some sort of a net based application is? Is one who is not available on FB, BBM, Twitter, not relevant?

Is it like the age old joke of a person who applied at Microsoft but when informed the HR, was told: Sir, if you don't have E_Mail, you don't exist.... But then also, if he had E_Mail, he would have been an office boy at Microsoft.