Monday, November 14, 2011

the phoren days

written on 30th Oct- when I was still working :)

I miss my childhood today. And no, it’s not the gone are the days, or life was beautiful back then kind of episode. Do you remember those days when anything associated with other country used to be extremely special and very difficult to get access to? The word abroad or foreign had an extra special connotation. The land which are miles and oceans across had a mystique about itself. And all that is gone today, at least for somebody like me.

Almost everybody in my generation, when we grew up, had a relative abroad. They used to come yearly or bi- yearly and that used to be a major source of joy. They used to bring chocolates, all those marsh mellows, snickers, Toblerones and ferrero Rochers. This was something unheard of for somebody who has seen only dairy milks and kitkats. They used to get electronic goods, which ranged from electric shaver to a classic wrist watch to even early cell phone handsets. The crazy for football kids used to get a man U jersey sometimes. The cool kids got T shirts, or other goodies which had the name of the country printed on it. I remember, I had a pencil set and an eraser in shape of Australia, sent by a family friend who stayed in Brisbane. The relatives used to get battery-operated games, LEGO sets, and Barbie dolls. And well, the super fascinated ladies also asked the relatives to get foreign chi Saree!

I think telecommunication was undergoing that gradual changing process. First came the internet, then came the emails, the chats became routine (I remember ferociously typing lots of things to couple of cousins in the UK). Slowly the international calls became more of a routine (that means they did not cost much as a bomb it used to cost) then came blogs, the orkut and Skype. And it became very instrumental in reducing that whole aura of ‘foreign’. Just the other day I was remembering, my uncle who stayed in Singapore for quite a long time visited India very often. Often he would send some pictures of my cousin who was a baby then, or when he was traveling, he would get them along. That’s how we got to know how much has she grown up. And now the family in any other country happily sits in front of the PC and Skype chats with the family in India. You can have a daily dose of how much have your grand kids or cousins grown up!

And well, how good is everything in other countries and how bad things here are was a pretty common topic for discussion in the gentlemen of the house. Any topic from the government there to the discipline there to the lack of governance here to the economic polices, to the malls, to the grandeur of building in these, especially America or European countries…any topic would suffice for a discussion of couple of hours! Tyanchyakade na… or you see, the European countries would... Was a common line with which sentences would start. Well, as most of the junta had never been to a foreign country, they had a bleak knowledge of the realities, and mostly, had big attractive bubbles of notion of how a foreign country was.

Things do not hold good any more. The telecommunication revolution has changed our life as never before. It majorly brought down the Indian obsession of ‘abroad or foreign’, giving lot of access and opportunity to the layman. Foreign is still a buzzword, but whatever fantastic notions people had in the name of foreign, are pretty diluted now. Foreign, as a generic term is not much used, instead fine details are known to people. Many boys and girls go abroad due to work, education, and well, the new generation of DINKs also takes a mini vacation in these countries. Globalization has taken on modern India like never before. Thanks to liberalization, excellent quality products are available at all major cities in India. And talking about skyped communication, you get marriages fixed on Skype, and you even have Skype boyfriends. :D

I had a relatively free Sunday at work and hence was revisiting the old days. Just a thought , I can think about an entirely different time era, a huge technological change and it’s reflection onto us. – does that mean that I am getting older? :D

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Friday, August 19, 2011

the dream seller

And the fight/andolan/uposhan/people against govt/ drama/attention seeking behavior - whatever you want to say- continues. For last 3 days, Anna has been rocking. There is no other word. He is rocking the nation, and well, the govt hits the rock bottom. There are so many people out on the streets protesting, that it makes a really great sight to watch. Photogenic- camera-genic, for one. But no no, I am not sarcastic. So many people coming out to fight for or against something is really a wonderful thing. That too in today’s apathetic set up, great. And now, if we are done celebrating/ crying our feelings out with a great fervor, can we flip the coin?

Last three days showed us the dearth of sensible people who have their heads on their shoulders.  Before the fast and the drama began, initially I thought Anna and the team was stretching in, then I thought people are blindly following it, and now I am firm that the Govt of India has lost all it’s sense and its balanced heads. It seems that the govt is not at all clear about the way they want to deal with Anna and the team. Initially, the govt is hellbent on imposing regulations on team anna, then they capture and arrest them, then the home minister justifies the act, then suddenly anna is released from jail, then our PM can’t defend the act, and now probably they all are waiting for Rahul Gandhi to rack his brains and find some solution. Well, Probably they were not expecting that it would turn into such a mass movement, probably they never paid so much of importance to Anna, probably they were too sure that nobody will challenge the way they deal with a situation. But they failed. Nobody could foresee the way common man reacted to Anna’s appeal.   And now government is dumbfounded at the public hue and cry, and is wondering about a suitable way to deal with the situation. Trapped between a rock and a hard place, poor they!

But the greater and the hidden problem is different. What exactly is it that people want? What are people protesting for? Name a goal that all these protesters want to attain. Can we? Is there a single, tangible goal? People want to get rid of corruption. People want to have the jan lokpal bill. People want to have right to protest. People want to show that they love anna. People want to show that they love country. People want to die for the country. People want to become martyrs. WHAT????  What is it that you want to achieve and want govt to grant you? Unless you can name the objectives, it is very unlikely that you can act as to meet them. I understand that there is a great fervor for supporting Anna, and I also understand that mass protests always have a high emotional quotient. In fact, mass movements cannot function unless there is an emotional base attached to it. This works all over the world, and can be seen repeated oft in history.  The emotional appeal ensures that people turn to it in huge numbers. The emotional appeal is what brings common man to the streets, and it is seen in this case also.
More often than not, that only defies the logical base of a movement. As I have stated, people tend to forget the aim of this movement in all the emotional outburst. If we think carefully, we have to admit that PM and the team has got the point. Please understand that passing any bill is a parliamentary process, and does not depend upon somebody’s whims and fancies. You have to carefully draft a bill after a thorough discussion, it has to be accepted and validated in the parliament and then it could be put into use. ALSO, the parliament can make amendments to the bill later on. The bill does not necessarily remain constant. Now, being adamant on your own draft of the bill, saying that it has to be accepted without making any changes whatsoever and fasting if it is not done, makes Anna look a dull boy. I accept that it is high time that govt has ruled like a dictator and is not responsible for anybody, so its time to teach them couple of things. They have to realize that it’s people’s government and people have to have a say in whatever ways possible. When the traditional ways do not work, or got is too blind to see them, the protests happen and they are justified. But protesting so that all your demands are met, I expected better, Anna!
Moreover, team Anna has two ex- civil service officers. Kiran Bedi and Arvind kejriwal used to be in civil services. It is surprising that even they continue with this weirdly adamant stand. They perfectly know how the govt set up works, they have been part of it. I respect both of them, in fact I am quite in awe of both, but this adamancy coming from people who have been a part of govt is weird. Or is it that they are so fed up with the govt that even they want to discard that set up?
I have a feeling that this all is getting converted into a dream selling machinery. It is, in fact. Why has the common man come on roads? It is because he is shown the dream that the protests can change the system. Why have so many, across classes, have joined the movement with such fervor? What does all this extra enthusiasm of people show?  They have a dream, and they say it too. That it is our dream to have a corruption free country. And it is one of the nicest dreams, but still. The base of the mass movement becomes emotional, they operate on the dreams that are neing shown to them, and there we see the romanticism. The same romanticism that was present in 1950’s in India. The more you involve the commoners, the lesser is your protest logically driven. It has to have a huge emotional component. And now, doesn’t Anna come across as a dream seller, although in a different sense of the word? Well, India has had many of them. Raj kapoor, and Anna hazare, dream sellers to commoners. Although in different ways, both appreciated by common man, and both had media going crazy after them.
Happy protests anyways!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

to Pee or not to Pee!

is the question, which a vast majority of indians have been asking. silently though. and sadly many the officials have turned a deaf ear to all the silent cries.
ok, leaving the frill and the jazz behind, lets come straight to the point. we do not have public toilets. period. go anywhere. or rather do not. I will tell you where should you go. and no, i am not even talking about the rural bus stands and tourist spots. I am talking about normal roads, in cities like Mumbai. I am talking about railway stations, where millions dwell, about restaurants, where there is not even a smallest allocated to the function and most incredulously, I am talking about the airports!

India does not have public toilets, barring the sulabh ones. and those too, are in ridiculously small proportions. and whatever small number is there, they are dirty and perpetually unusable.Is everybody under the impression that indians do not need to pee, or they have some yogic power through which they can exercise unlimited control over their bladder? I do not see any logical reason that the government or even the private machinery should not build any public toilet.

in past few months I have travelled to various places, tourist places or even the obscure ones. I have used all modes of transport, including the airway. and I did not find the condition of public lavatories well. and as anybody an guess, the worst sufferers are women. men, lets accept it, can and do it anywhere. women, on the other hand, are constantly in search of a public restroom, with a painful expression on their faces and their bladders full. also, there is a feeling of shame associated with the idea of looking for a loo, which puzzles me. what is there to be ashamed about? but anyways, point is that women suffer. and just everywhere. on normal city streets, a woman can not go to loo, coz there do not exist many. on a railway station, she can not go coz it is eternally locked or blocked. and on airport too, she can not go! I am stressing the airport time and again coz I have been through this mission on Pune airport. out of 3 cubicles one was without a tap and other two did not have door knobs. now when you pay several thousand for the airfare and then you buy a sandwich at astronomical prices, are you not supposed to get a decent loo???? usually airport is that one place where the rift between haves and have nots is clear. but in this context, both await the same fate. no loo, no convenience. (exception would be delhi airport T3)

the scene at women's health statistics is not favorable. many indian women suffer from urinary tract infections, and medical experts sight this problem as a common cause. in a city like mumbai, how a working woman suffers coz of this issue is humiliating. indian women can not usually pee as and when they want. isn't that a horrible thing to have? there are already so many public health issues, which are bigger a concern. cant government see some sense and build public lavatories, which will be of use to people? and eventually this will definitely reduce the filth and dirt on the road!? or is that asking for too much?

I know, that in the light f corruption, religious politics, hunger,poverty,wars, world peace, nuclear powers and economic crises this does not get a priority issue. but well, at least somebody could turn their ears to it. to be or not to be is a tough philosophical one, but to pee or not to pee does constitute a part of overall well being, isnt it? :D

Thursday, April 21, 2011

growing up -part deux

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its a phase I am in right now. well, we have always been in that phase- right from when you enter your teens till about eternity. point is these days, I have been experiencing it a lot, and in a very different way. 

I have already written a post called growing up here on this blog. so I am calling this a part 2. and this time, I would say that I feel I am almost grown up now. why? I can practically remember the various nuances of myself about 5 years ago, and I compare them with today's me.I don't know how to explain. But one of these days, you can frequently see me having a long philo chat with some of my close pals, remembering the old days and  having intense discussions about it. 
I have always been a very social person. have lot of friends, love to make new ones, love to attend social events, love to mix and interact. There is an interesting fact here though. all my friends, who are close to me in some ways, or say with whom i have shared at least some of my heart's content are older. none of my close friends is younger than me. and the age difference ranges from 1 month to 7 years! It was probably like this because I was always more mature than my contemporaries( wah wah! :D) and people older to me could match my sensitivity, or rater understand my sensibilities and sensitivities.  many a times I feel that I have the sensibilities of a generation prior to me and probably that's the reason they can understand me more! but that apart, i think I am thinking too much about life in general. And I am attaining a calm, composed point of view to look at life and all the happenings around. and that in fact in quite contrary to me age. I am turning 24, and I am supposed to be rambled in quarter life crisis. but that has not happened. I suddenly become very world- wisely. I can look at my life in retrospect and make quite a few comments on how naive i was back then.

when I say naive, i have to admit that I am pretty less naive now. the age and the city of Mumbai have caught up on me. And now I start doubting or questioning my thoughts back during 19-22. I was so headstrong and so firm on certain aspects, especially wrt relationships matter. and now, after being in a steady relationship for past 3 years, I suddenly question those earlier beliefs. I do not think what I thought back then was wrong. I am still sure about what I think, thought, do or did. but now suddenly my lens has become wider, the scope is bigger and i become more lenient. more things are acceptable to me. I am not so headstrong. 

I let other people take charge of their own lives. basically I let people breathe. Of course, it was never like I had captured them hard and forcing myself on them, but now it's an unconscious way of behavior. and that is why small things do not bother me now. My mind has become clearer with growing up. no doubt, the experiences I have gathered in past few months are also partly responsible for it, but yes, all of this is shaping me. and shaping me more permanently. I suddenly feel that the 'sculpting' age is slowly fading away, and though more open and wiser I am, it is here to stay. 

I take my own decisions, again like always. But I also have learnt to take the full responsibility of my own decisions. whenever I do something or behave in certain fashion, I am fully aware of what I am doing, but at the same time, I try hard not to let the 'impromptu' feel go! :)  and I dare to say I have learnt to let small things go! ( this could be a relative statement though!)

accepting the grey shades of life and people and relations and  behaviour has also increased. well, being a humanity student, it would have been sinful to categorize life only in black and white, I must say. but it's happening more. or probably life was always all about grey, I am watching it with a new lens. whatever said and done, I experience, understand and take greys easily these days. and that probably adds to my worldly-wise self!

not really sorted out, but wiser and thoughtful was probably a very random post, with thoughts spread all over. but it really reflects my current mood. not very stable and sorted out, but clear, at your face and mature! and the journey will continue, I am very sure. growing up part 3 will also appear on the same blog, keep watching the space. I always do. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I know again there was a long absence from the blog.  almost a month and half, and I did not write anything. which is generally against my wish, as everyday I see 10 odd topics I want to write on. But there was either too much of happening, or moving around in my own life, that I could have posted chronicles of these 2 months. Thankfully I did not, and today when I get some time and topic afresh, here I go!

people close to me somehow refuse to end up having a typical life. I had written about breaking away from the norms, and the trend continues. well, It so happens that the concerned fellow wants to be an entrepreneur.
He has a great degree, an excellent academic record, and he might get handful of job offers in the US. still, somehow he is planning to leave all that and get to start his own company. A start up is all he is looking forward to, in the recent times.  luckily, his parents or friends do not discourage him from this idea, but large amount of people kind of have a mild shock listening to all these plans. why- o- why a start up when you can have a job? 

 I fail to understand the logic. I suppose th vast majority always consider job as the only option, coz well, its always better to have a steady income if you can, there are lesser risks involved, and well, frankly most of them are not mentally capable of dreaming about something like that. yes, it takes immense mental courage to be able to think on the untrodden path, to develop an idea, and to actually work on that idea to execute it. not everybody has that kind of capability. the concept itself goes beyond their cup of tea. but lets get past that.
I have seen many guys(and ofcourse girls) having that mental capability, to do the above mentioned things, they have the brains, the guts and a zest to conquer the unknown. still the thought of a start up is a total no-no for them. why?
the maharashtrians mostly have been conditioned this way. working for somebody was always considered a great thing in a typical middle class maharashtrian household. IT might be so due to the need of a fixed income. But at the end of the day, it kind of killed our entrepreneurial instincts. I see many parents vehemently opposing their kids if they say that they want to start something of their own.  I see a typical maharashtrian family, which very proudly tells that their son/daughter is working for some software giant in the US and earns 100,000 dollars per annum. all good.  But I have seen these parents making faces, disapproving the start up that  somebody's kid is having. probably it's loafing around according to them, or may be something that you do when you can not do anything else ( read-find a decent job).

I am amused at the logic. If you think carefully, you need a great set of skills for running a business. a business plan, a product to sell, constantly generating innovative ideas, a decent business sense, and most importantly, dedication and immense conviction. and not to forget, belief in self.  Intelligence, updated knowledge of the concerned subject and a risk taking heart I am not even counting. For doing a decent job, you need a good CV, may be some contacts(but placements cell does that for you), and performance. That's it. some things like perseverence and knowledge of subject is needed both for job and for business. but it's a relatively super safe game, you have a fixed income every month, and be happy for next 5 years atleast. in old days it used to be forever! :D

now given all this, how can a salaried person be greater than a businessman? why is a software geek(who does nothing more than coding) admired so much when a young techie who is enterprising,, is given unwanted advices on why he should shut his business down? why is there so much of negativity attached to the idea of having something of your own, developing it and enjoying it to the fullest? why are people with typical jobs preferred in the matrimonial market over those who are fighting it out for a start up? I see the security factor. But why are the entrepreneurs discouraged, disregarded and generally spoken things about?

has our mental slavery not yet disappeared? we were great employees of the goraa saab. the tendency to listen to the superior, not to counter, and to be ruled, runs in our blood generation after generation. we were great clerks. were we great entrepreneurs? sadly, no. were we great innovators? I am not even talking about it. we were and are people who are happy living in the set pattern, not questioning, not playing with new ideas, and thinking out of the box for individual or collective good. when will be open to the idea that having a start up probably is more risky, and hence it needs more support and admiration? or even give the admiration that it deserves to a really excellent business idea?

No idea. I have not really organized my thoughts very well into this, it deserves a crisper post, in which probably innovation should also be talked about. more later.  

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Le gayi mera kaat kaleja DILLI DILLI...

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I am back from Delhi. the title quite clearly says that. and not to mention that I am unwell after my visit. my throat is so jammed that i cant utter a word. and hence net has become my saviour since past 3 days.

I just had a 2 day stay in the capital. But things i noticed in this time were genuinely sodifferent from mumbai or pune, that i really say le gayi mera kat kaleja dilli.. in whatever way. I have been to Delhi only once before, and that too not  specifically to the city. I was going up north, and had a halt just for a night in Delhi. so  this was the first time i went to Delhi as such. I did not do much of sightseeing, as in that of the typical places and monuments etc( there are zillions of them in delhi). I have already seen India gate, Rahtrapati bhavan, and already had a chance to travel on delhi's metro in my last visit. This time round, I was there for a wedding of a close friend, and hence had a chance to have a peek in delhi's social life as well :)

Anyway, the starrt of kaating my kalea: Delhi is regal. no doubt about it. There are obviously small lanes, the ones where you cant even walk without touching the other person, and I know Delhi has beggars just like any other city. But still, there are no two ways about it, that much of delhi is royal. Big specious roads, well devided, with plantations on both the sides, neat sidewalks, and every half a km, you see a signboard. here are buildings with the architectural varieties, the lawns are trimmed, there are monuments around you, there are structures with a history of quite a few centuries, and may be coz it was winter, there is a pleasantness in atmosphere. But apart from all this, i felt that the nature of delhi as a person is calm and regal.
you know, if you look at Mumbai as a person, you always picturise it as a bubbly, enthusiastic young person, who wants to master all the things in one life, and will strive for it, and will have a life dominated by the clock, and the calendar. the person will be wearing a Denim, A tshirt, and may be a flat sandal. Dude, there are so many things to do, who has the time to dress up and roam around?
Delhi on the other hand is some lady who is draped in an elegant silk saree, with royal diamond jewellary, dressed up, has a smooth relaxed lifestyle. taking things in their own fashion, with a sense of calmness and ease.  you get what am I saying? this is a basic difference in Delhi and Mumbai. Delhi has tremendous grace, which suits only to a capital city. even Mumbai has grace, but its of different kind.

we went to chandni chowk- ad parathewali galli. why do people visit Rashtrapati Bhavan and kutubminar when they visit delhi? and why not to parathewali galli and street markets of sarojini nagar and lajpat nagar? I finally saw the famous 'Delhi-6' , the red fort next to it, the narrowest streets, the gurudwar-shiwalay-jama masjid in arms of each other. had  fabulous pudina(mint) paratha, chat and fresh hot baked nankatai :)
 And we pitied people who come to chandni chowk, and go to McD which is in front of parathewali gali!!!
excellent stuff. something that never tastes as good in pune or mumbai. ( well there are countless other things which taste nicer in pune :P)

well, grass is not that green anyways. i did get some moments of kaat kaleja- not in happy mood. i had been to a friends wedding, and it was the first north indian wedding that i ever attended. so you can imagine the shock that I had seeing all the bling bling! :P the bride, whom i am used to see in her trademark boy cut, a tshirt and a baggy pant, was wearing a lehenga which weighed not less than 10 KG, a thick layer of make up, and a chunni tied to her head with 100-odd pins. I know its their tradition, and rituals, and generally north Indians do have loud, and to some extent garish weddings. But this being the first one i really attended, did have its kaat kaleja moments i must say! :D

and then, the most important point, where my kaleja was not just cut, but torn apart. the sheer absence of the womankind from Delhi streets. and now i am serious. I can understand the absence of people on highways. but small streets? normal roads leading to suburbs? even on metro stations? there were practically no women seen walking, let alone unaccompanied, after the dusk fell. to someone like me, who is born and brought up in city called pune, where women freely roam around even at 11 pm, is a shock of my life! well, it is a well known fact that Delhi is NOT AT ALL SAFE  for women, but it just struck me more when i actually went and observed. I, along with a girl and a boy, walking at 9 pm from the venue to hotel, (which is 500m) was stared at hard. and more I looked around, more and more it struck me that 50% population is not at all seen roaming freely on the streets.

what kind of sick dirty society are we? what happened to so called 'dilwaalonki dilli?' where does their dil go when they make the society so uncomfortable for the women? whatever happened to the saying 'yatra naryastu poojyante ramante tatra devata' ( god resides where the woman is worshipped). Is this the capital city of largest democracy of the world, where half of its population is not free enough to decide where and when do they want to go and with whom? The city where women are raped in the broad daylight, where the incidents of sexual harassment are countless, where even middle-aged married women do not feel safe to travel by an autorickshaw, where the women helplines receive average 600 distressed calls every month. wah dilli wah!  and thou shalt be called as the capital of our country! I recently saw no one killed Jessica- and I liked one of the lines- "Delhi is a city with power. you need to have power to survive, and everybody is who's who in this city. " 
I feel sorry for all the women in Delhi. no offense, but dilli is not dilwali. I know countless delhi lovers will argue and gimme other examples of their heart. But this is d fact which even they can not ignore and refute.and i know i haven't said anything new, but it overruled other aspects of delhi's greatness. I  am sorry. a city has to be safe to live, to get to enjoy other aspects of it. and Delhi is not. so, it was the final point of mera kaat kaleja! :D

Mumbai, I suddenly like you more!!!!