Sunday, June 12, 2011

Living in a country of The Babus and The Babas

With Baba Ramdev taking over the entire media attention no news seem to be good enough. Every morning I get up to switch on the television to get my daily dose of this Baba news. The entire of the media-verse is running after Baba to get a bite of this Mahabharata created by him. I was so under a misconception that I am living in an era of the Babus (the white collared jobs). Rather now I do not care who is running what. What matters is the cause people are standing up for nowadays. Anna Hazare was just the beginning. I loved the way this entire event took turn. But I did not expect a Yog Guru to enter the scene.
Talking of the Babas, there was a time in India when Babas were considered omniscient. We respected them and gave them the position of Gods. They know what is wrong, what is right. Ramdev announced that he wants to train the youth on the basis of "Shaastras and Shastras" i.e., Knowledge and Weapons. This is the basic principle of "Brahmcharyashram". This will help them protect themselves and people around them. It was a helpful discipline back then. But is it applicable today? Does today's youth understand its importance. Baba is thinking of this in good faith. But for whom? Us people? Believe me or loath me for this. But if this matter cools down somehow, people will forget about this instantly. Worst case is that, if something happens to Baba during this struggle, his few 1000 supporters will mourn for a few days and people will forget about it. I am not shooting in air. People move on too easily and we all know that. The training that Baba was talking about would have been in good faith. But this can turn into a Naxalite like movement. Today's youth doesn't know how to handle power. It can turn into a mess. I say, bad idea Baba, with all due respect.
I mentioned people because, its been quite sometime since Ramdev is ruling all the news channels now, people have started to take this event for-granted already.  The moment they see Ramdev, they change channel.
The question still remains. What is will be the fate of this event now? Constant clashes of these Babas and the Babus is doing us no good. People get overwhelmed with every little new that these news channels hype. They show the same news in 24 different ways in 24 hours. They are very talented, I say.    
Will all the black money be transfered to India. Wow, that makes us the richest nation in the world then. I am happy right now imagining this. But I know it is never going to happen. There is a lot more than the dirty politics happening in front of the screen. The real scene is happening behind the curtains. I won't be surprised if this Fasting is just another way to divert media attention. So, no point in getting excited. Still, the possibilities are endless. I am keeping a close eye on this mess.
Nonetheless, I would confess that this Babus vs Babas is quite entertaining! ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Social Networking Sites Ain't the Next Big Thing

Social networking sites are not 'The Next Big Thing'. In fact, they are 'The Big Thing' of this decade. This year has seen many events that makes us realise the power of social media. It was astonishing to see the first authentic pictures of Japan floods that people posted on these sites. Needy could seek help and the lost were found due to the news spread over all the social networking sites. I was a little disappointed by the rumours people were spreading regarding the rain that might just cause due to nuclear leak in the Japan nuclear plants. Well, you never know. What if they were true? People would have already been aware of it and they would have taken precautions.
Being a social media professional, I understand the importance of it for business and marketing. Never did I know that it will become an integral part of people's lives. The unrest in the Gulf countries against the rule was another grand event in the social media history. The original testimonials were covered through live tweets. The pictures, posts, tweets and blogs gave us a clear picture of what exactly was happening miles away.
If I am to highlight the latest event of Osama being killed (which I still do not believe in), the first word was spread through twitter. A techie from Abbottabad tweeted stating that there were helicopters hovering there. Little did he know then, that the operation was to terminate Osama and by that time Abbottabad event was already a trending hot topic. The techie became a celebrity overnight.
Talk about the kind of support Anna Hazaare got from the youngsters of this country. No one had to really convince them to support Anna against corruption. The entire so called active population became more active than ever. I am not sure this same population cast their votes every time. Look at the impact of Social Networking. You just tickle that part that was troubling them but never knew a solution for the same. And there you are. 45% of the strength supporting you from different parts of the country. Most importantly they have a direction. They know what they are doing. What would you call it? A coincidence? I do not really think so. This is the power of social networking sites.
Little do we know the power of social media. The latest events are shaping up the future of the same. The purpose is to spread the word and reach out to the masses. It can be a tragic event like Japan floods or a happy news like Kate and William getting married. It was a huge weekend for social networking site. A prince got married and a bad guy got killed. Controversial matter do spread like wild fire and these sites are becoming a strong medium to reach out to the people.
Whether are they a mere catalyst or a carrier of stories is the question in debate. Does it merely carry a message forward or does it have the power to influence? Time will tell as the world politics and events turn pages.
What do we have to do till then? Either wait and watch or create a history and become a celebrity over night. The choice is yours.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

India: Struggling for freedom from corruption

The day Anna Hazare's hunger strike against corruption started, it reminded me of the evening I saw Rang De Basanti. When the movie got over I realised that I was a changed girl. Some principles had developed in me. I was more humble towards the needy and felt even stronger for the nation. Yet, I had a lot of questions in my mind. What do we do with the passion that we develop towards our nation in regular intervals. We get highly inspired but what it is that we do about what is happening wrong around us?
A few days after I watched the movie, I remember my domestic help, my maid came to us stating that some agent/ employee in the post office is refusing to give her the money that she had deposited a couple of years back. It was due and that they were asking for unnecessary documents. She did provide them to them but that woman refused to pay. I listened to her plight and decided to give her some justice. The next day she took me to that agent's house. I talked politely to her but she was adamant and arrogant. I had to raise my voice and threaten her to take to the police. She kept on saying that this is none of my business. I too refused to budge and forcibly took her to the post office threatening to put her behind the bars. Then what happened? Obviously she paid up and my maid and her ego was satisfied. I still remember the smile on her face. Sitting here, now I wonder, whether it was any of my business. Why did I do it? Why is there still craving for justice? This question arose because Anna went on a hunger strike for his fellow citizens. Maybe even he wants to see the smiles on the faces of all Indians when it will become corruption free. Is it his business alone? Don't we have any responsibilities? Are we more excited about the IPL match than the Lokpal Bill?
India is believed to have a huge number of working population and the percentage is expected to grow exponentially in next ten years. Right now we live in a country where getting any work done legally has become impossible. You have to twist it to get it out or put some weight on the hands of these corrupt officials. The point is, how do they become corrupt? Say if someone pays 6-7 lakhs to get the job, he will continue spreading the poison in the system. Either he will squeeze out all the money from the layman or he will not work at all. The inflation rate is all time high. How will a common man feed his family when he has loan obligations? He will do it for the family. They do not even remember that the person they are looting has a family too. Or sometimes its just a habit that has been brought through the entire system. Where are we heading12 with this kind of working population? Is it doing any good to the nation. No. Definitely not.
Anna Hazare is in that matters a hero. People have been and still are victimized on every path they take. I remember I went with my brother to get my passport police verification done. He asked for Rs. 300 each, just to send the documents to the next stage. I did not give it. My brother's passport has been delivered and mine, I do not know what happened to it. Well, this is something that have lowest number of levels in the hierarchy of internal system. People do not go ahead to get work done in a government offices. They know its a maze. If you go in there you are going to be stuck for a long time before you find your way out.
Coming back to me becoming a changed person after the movie, I remember a couple of other friends too got inspired by the same or I think the entire batch did. But their hopes and enthusiasm were shattered when they had to take admission in the college of their choice. We the youth of India are believed to be the most unguided generation of all times. We do not have directions. Let alone directions, we do not know our destinations. And we are heading. God knows where. This man, Anna Hazare reminded us that we have earned our country and took it from the malicious rulers because we wanted to run it our way, a better way. I thank him for reminding us that we are the future of this country and only if we do something about this, the country will take shape according to our deeds. Only if we eradicate corruption from our mind our next generation will carry forward the same principles. I do not know how many of us have realised this but we have huge responsibility on our shoulders. We should not be flashing money every where to get things done faster and in an easy manner. A man from past generation woke us up from the sleep. We have been agitated about the fact that India's progress is hampered because of these scams but we were still living with the fact.
Not all can become like Anna but we can definitely adopt some of his principles in us. If all of us follow this sincerely everyday and teach the kids the same I believe GenNext India will see a corruption free nation. I hope wes soon head to a progress that we are proud of. All said and done, the fact remains the same. The battles are won but the war still continues.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

India vs Pakistan- Since 1947

Okay people this is it! India will finally face Pakistan in the semi-finals. I have been waiting for this day since the quarter finals. This is the moment when the entire of the nation, will leave everything they are doing and will be glued to the television. This is not a match this is war!
We have been in war like situations with Pakistan since the time of their independence. So how do you expect them to spare us in Cricket. It is a Tom and Jerry chase but is a lot less pleasant. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Pakistan is the Pakistani guest we are taking care of at our country's cost. Yes, our dear Ajmal Kasab, my blood boils when I hear that name. I am sorry I am changing my topic here from less serious India vs Pakistan to a lot more serious an issue.
What had basically been revealed since the Mumbai terror attacks in terms of international relations and peace-keeping seemed to be following a well-decided and manipulated script. Do I call it match-fixing here too? India had clear evidence and verified of Pakistani involvement. The US recognized this fact and held on Pakistan's neck to do something about the terrorists being trained within its borders and surviving on their land at the cost of others’ lives, all over world. The UN had immediately called for some effective action. The Pakistanis had commenced a figurative response by immediately placing a terrorist leader under house arrest and banning that organisation. Namesake, I say. Meanwhile, the media and other parts of the powerful authority in India deny involvement in the attack or its grounding, blaming the Indians or Americans themselves. Media wants to show a different angle to everything. Only if they could show a something credible. I would have broken into their studio if they would have made a Sansani out of this.
Anyway, India’s external affairs minister kept up playing the war of words. Luckily, there was no sign of a military report or it would have been extremely risky for him to get through such situation. I personally think it achieved little or nothing. The openness of Pakistani involvement this time also had seemed to reduced American tendencies to link such events to the need for tackling the Kashmir issue. Maybe it was never the Kashmir issue. They just want to kill and do harm. In fact, there is nothing the US or UN or anyone else can do anything about the Kashmir issue, so they were off doing nothing - except perhaps encouraging the in-house parties concerned, to work things out directly. And those parties’ best approach was to preserve the territorial status and to try and normalize daily life hence improving the quality and frequency of interactions across the border.
Interestingly, the Babri Masjid destruction and the post-Godhra massacres seem to have marked in the motivation of the terrorists. We have a lot of them surviving in our own country, masked and pretty much active. There is a lesson here for certain extremists and nationalists within our country. Besides abusing human rights, their calculative and even fierce actions have contributed to increase and prolong conflict internally and internationally. Unfortunately, the viciousness can be confused with capacity, potency and strength. Our government’s security failure made it look even weaker than it had appeared so far. But I think they would have been more concerned about the general elections that were coming up at that time. People certainly started to believe ‘No security, No tax.’ policy and government needed to act really fast and smart to avoid such situations because the public was not wrong, isn’t it?
Military conflict might have helped the current government get re-elected, but the price that the nation would have to pay would be enormous. Why is it so difficult to understand that it is not about the reputation of the government under which this happened. It is about the lives of the martyrs that were sacrificed as a price? The most the home minister could do was to launch a plan for internal security and services. How well it is implemented yet remains to be seen. We still live in terror. Some 20 tickets for this Ind vs Pak match and the finals are already assumed to be in hands of these terrorists. Only if they could have paid more attention to this rather than arranging for VIP treatment for our politicians and celebrities. These politicians themselves have sicked out on all the resources that could have been used to assure people's security. This shows that they do not really care about the protection of general citizens.
Another part of blood sucking society is our nature of journalism. The terrorists attacked the upper middle class and elite, the terrorists hence receiving much more media attention, triggering outrage. Analysts state that the terrorists seemed to had the same style of attack as the New York attacks. Bombings that killed the masses did not have quite the same effect. The class stimulated or spurred in this manner may bring about some structural changes, hopefully in the direction of greater government responsibility and standards of act, but without letting go democratic freedoms. Have we really changed after this incident as responsible citizens?
Do we take interest in participating more in government, by creating an agenda for developing civil society, which remains stunted in India, and by expanding their own ranks through promoting inclusive economic growth.
My revenge on these monsters is to live happily, no matter what. Ultimately, for India, living healthy and fine will be the best payback on the criminals who promote, plan and carry out terror attacks. Living well means, striving for a just and prosperous society. India must have no more state sponsored violence against its own citizen from own group. So living well also means improving democracy and human rights in the country not restricting them. It should also mean putting India’s budding growth miracle on the firmer long run footing. India has to show the Pakistani people what is possible in politics and economics, if that nation is to work towards a government that serves its interests better.
The terror attacks came at a particularly bad time for our economy, with the global economic condition worsening day by day. Thus, improving security is now an economic policy and challenge as well. More conservative Indian economic policy reactions have been encouraging lately. It was a time of financial down fall for the country. We faced a different type of economic crisis than in 1991, but we have a similar opportunity to introduce further economic reforms, particularly with respect to financial growth of Indian industries –that require structural reforms that are already on the policy agenda, and desperately needed. How far have we succeeded in doing so? God knows. Kasab still lives on out hard earned money and we want to be fair to everyone. I am secretly proud of the action that we have taken because this is the only difference between us and them.
The strategic prize for India is still its tryst with destiny: prosperity along with democracy. That goal must not be derailed by 26/11.
Right now I just want India to send these buggers back to their country and win the world cup final! I am all set to cheer India and lot of motivational songs are running in my mind. Three cheers to our humbleness, consistently and strength. India! India!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Enjoy a Happy and Safe Holi!

Happy Holi everyone! Today when everyone is playing with colours outside, I am hiding in the house like a sissy,writing this blog and playing with words here. From past few days what I can hear about is 'Holi kab hai? Kab hai Holi?' Well, finally its today and people will make the most of it!
Children especially enjoy this festival a lot. There are colours and water and sweets to their disposal. They are free to do all kinds of mischief they want to. I can see all the children walking on the streets armed with their favourite Pichkaris (water guns) filled with coloured water. And another thing that I can see is their love for the festival and their love for the people whom they are playing Holi with. Children take this festival in the true spirit.
Now that we are talking about Holi, let us not forget its spiritual importance. Holi is an occasion when we celebrate the victory of truth over evil. Holika, a woman who had a boon, due to which no fire could burn her, tried to kill Bhakt Prahlad following her brother Hiranya Kashyapu's orders. She was burned to ashes but no fire could touch Prahlad. This shows that no amount of evil can defeat the truth.
Now that we are talking about evil, it reminds me that it has been on a constant rise and getting out of hand. Surprisingly, we see such anti-social behaviour by adults during the very festival. Maximum number of rape, assault and misbehaviour cases have been registered on the day of Holi. People have taken the spirit of this festival is a wrong way. They think they are free to do whatever they wish and it will be over-looked. They believe that their behaviour will be masked behind their coloured faces. Gang of hooligans riding on their bikes on the empty roads make me stay at home on this day.
Especially, in a city like Mumbai, cases of foul play, misbehaviour, rash driving is rising year by year. There is no restriction on these people and people tend to over-do everything and take for granted the freedom they have. Just as I write this blog I can hear uncontrolled "brrroooommm brrroommm" on the road.
Some people take this festival as an opportunity to harm people whom they don't like. They throw eggs, water balloons and other rotten vegetables or put them in mud. Really? Is this what Holi is about? If yes, I am glad that I never played Holi.
Yes, I have never played Holi is life. I am afraid of colours and water and the chemicals reacting on my skin. I became little too paranoid after my brother got hurt badly in his eye when someone hit him with the Pichkari. He could have lost his eye if it would have hit the wrong nerve. :( In addition to it, I hate wasting water. But I think I have better ways to celebrate this occassion. We make pooranpolis and special dishes at home. Last year, we visited an orphanage with other friends and distributed chocolates and filled colours and brightness in their hearts! This year Mom broke her hand and I am planning to paint her plaster.. hehe.. Just kidding! But 'Mann ki Holi' is what I believe in. I just want to appeal to all my friends, please re-consider your Holi plans. Do something eco-friendly. Do not waste water. Spread some smile and brightness. Play but play safe. I hope you all know, you might land in jail for throwing water balloons on unknown people. Try and avoid harmful colours and do not have an intention of harming others. Make sure that whatever you do, it doesn't hurt anyone. Teach the same to you children, so that they grow with these values. Make it a 'Happy' Holi in true and right sense.
Have a rocking and safe Holi everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Real Friends And Sycophants

Have you ever noticed that whenever a film is going to be released, the preview is first shown to the friends of the director, actors and producer of the film? And they all come out applauding and praising the film and its making. If the public love it, then it’s well and good. But many a times the public reject it and the producer keeps on wondering what went wrong because everyone who saw the movie at the preview found it ‘mind- blowing’. Many filmmakers (or artists or writers) complain when the public find their creation objectionable or the critics detest it. They also scratch their heads thinking why their friends never warned them about it and that it was not a good piece of work. 
This is one of the hazards of the deal. No one wants to become unpopular, so they don’t express their true opinions to the originator. But don’t you think if they had really been his true friends, they would have gently busted the fact to him and maybe helped to reclaim or alter his creation. Well, it is justified why no one likes to point his or her friend’s mistake in his conception or piece of work. There are obviously some people around who don’t expect and accept the opinions that are not in the favour of their work. Telling them the truth would mean ending up the friendship for once and forever.
After all the effort on the piece is done and ready to display you do get honest response and reaction at times, may it be a film or a painting on the canvas. The sneak-peek has saved so many writers from publishing articles which without an honest opinion would have miserably failed. At times people encourage sycophants and then face the music. This syndrome can be easily related to the childhood short story where the king felt he is wearing the most valuable clothes on the earth which the tailor fooled the king saying it could not be seen by him (invisible to the king alone). And when he asked opinions from the courtiers they said that it was incredible even there were no clothes on the king. They did not point out that he was half naked. Why? They feared the king.
If you think only big time artists or filmmakers or other such personalities love to listen to the praises then you are wrong. Well we find such people in our daily lives too. And there are no fewer sycophants surrounding you. People love to live in a world where nothing can go wrong and one will get only praises even if they wear shabby looking outfits or get the most hideous hair cut ever done or does fashion that doesn’t even suit them.
It takes a real friend to tell someone that he or she has put on some kilos or those expensive accessories that she bought yesterday doesn’t suit her and they are worthless and the new pair of denims are awful or the piece of literature that he/she has written sucks. But then it takes a real friend to accept these opinions too and understand that they are not being criticised out of callousness or resentment but it was done to save him from further distress or torment. Blunt and tactless people are often eschewed or ignored and have no friends, when actually such people in friend’s circle are assets. They really don’t care about being popular with you nor do they expect you to give good but wrong opinions about the next time they’re going to make something. They call a pin a pin. They don’t call it sword. Look around you. Do you remember the friend who last time criticised your way of writing poems? Have you broken up your friendship for this reason? Then you have made the biggest mistake. When one is criticised he should not feel he is worthless. Rather take help of a friend and improve. So what are you waiting for? Keep all such friends close to you and advance.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My First Love

I clearly remember the day when Mr. and Mrs. Desai shifted in a flat that was next to us. It was quite sunny that day and shifting was making this couple very tired. I was sitting on the staircase watching my parents and other neighbours help them out. Just when I was about to get up and go I saw someone in their car. He peeped out slightly and went back. It got me really curious because all this while Mr. and Mrs. Desai never mentioned of a third member in their family. I waited to take another glimpse but didn't see anyone. So I went ahead to catch up my favourite cartoon show. The next day mom wanted to send some breakfast for our new neighbours. She requested so i didn't deny. I knocked their door and entered to see him hiding behind Mr. Desai. So now I got to see the third member at least.

He was cute and fair looking but seemed to be very shy. I was a shy kid myself so I didnt go near him. Mrs. Desai introduced me to him. But he was too shy to even shake hands. She said he is new here so he won't be so friendly. But once he gets used to me being around he will play with me. I was completely mezmerized by the way he looked.

Mom continued sending food over to the neighbours and usually I used to be the delivery girl. For a week he didn't come near me. I guess I was too excited to have him around but then he wasn't so excited. One Saturday afternoon, Mom had to visit the doctor. So she left me at Desai's. Bored as I was tried to get his attention so that he plays with me. I tried thrice talking to him. Trying was in vain. Then I passed a ball to him. To my surprise he pushed it back. I looked at him and his expressions showed that he had accept me as a friend. Not much but we did play for sometime and I managed to get him used to my presence. By that time mom was already back and I had to go :(

That night I couldn't help but think of him all the time and I was already eager to meet him again. For a shy kid like me, I found my perfect match! As the days passed we became closer friends. And after few months we became inseparable. Even though he was shy he had immense energy in him as I did. I remember the day when Mr. Desai got him a new bed. He pulled me over to show me his new bed and we played around it whole day because he was so excited to have it. We grew close, so much so that we didn't eat food without each other.

But then every good thing comes to an end. My parents decided to shift to a new place. The very thought traumatized me. I cried for days and was at his place all the time after school and before school. I used to go to sleep, talking to him at Desai's place. Then that fateful day came when we had to pack our luggage and leave. Just when I stepped out of the house, he was standing right there waiting for me. I ran to him, hugged him tight and kissed him on his face all over. My heart still beats faster when I remember that day.

Now it was a new place for me and I felt the way he might have felt when he was new to that place. Till date I say to myself at times "What a sweet puppy it was!" My first love, first attachment, first incidence of immense care. I will never forget you :)

This post is written for BlogAdda's Stages of Love contest. Have a look at Preeti Shenoy's Life is What You Make It.