Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The irony of the Indian middle class.

The last Sunday was a very rainy one and we decided that the best dinner, along with watching 3 Idiots on TV, would be Pav Bhaji. This decided, I went to the ShiV Sagar just below our building where I am currently residing. Around 9 PM in the evening, this is possibly as crowded a place as any other can get! Atleast 4 groups of people, about 15 of them were waiting ouside, and about 50 odd were inside, having a nice Sunday evening dinner with family and friends.

Lots of stuff was being served on every table. Starting with spring rolls, to dosas, to veg garlic to what not, dinner consisted of an equally big variety. Right from the regular chole bhature, to ofcourse, the favorite- Pav bhaji, right down to a pizza, food was being ordered and enjoyed. Now that’s a perfect end to a weekend, for a slightly upper middle class family aint it?

Come Monday morning and I had to travel all the way to Thane taking that damn dreaded train. The 1st class people offers only the luxury of about 10 people less as compared to the general class, in a normal population of about 200 people. The crowded train itself speaks a story- rather, it poses a question. These very same people, who were enjoying a lovely LUXURIOUS, PREMIUM dinner yesterday, who probably spent 500 bucks watching Inception as well over the weekend, what are they doing yelling, sweating, quarelling, irritating in a very very crowded, (filthy if I may call) train?

Come out of the station, and you see many of the same people waiting in long queues for the B.E.S.T bus! Its raining, they are wet (half due to the sweat and half due to the rains), their clothes are messed up, and they still wanna wait for the bus? Many of them also share rickshaws.

All in all, when it comes to transport and other daily MANDATORY activities, this same middle class Indian seems to be very very price sensitive. He is ready to be late, ready to be dirty, ready to wait on crowded trains. But this same Rs 50 K per month earning man is not ready to trade money for comfort. And yet, his weekend expense, borne out of STRICTLY OPTIONAL activities, almost always exceeds that of the entire week!

What is this irony about the Indian middle class? Is this man so tired of saving and fighting over the entire week that he indulges expensively over the weekend? Or is he a careless and over spender, but makes up for the guilt by cutting expenses over the week? I guess it would be difficult to really know why this irony exists, but exist it does.

Time for me to grab my dinner  I got to go early for work tomorrow. And oh yeah, I go to take the train 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The dying inspiration

Watched SRK’s final match speech in chak-de? Felt inspired and thought u’d take the world by fire too? Tom Hanks’ success story in Forrest Gump is a super duper indication of how success and peace are so easy and simple to get in life. Watching that makes you feel you could achieve those heights too right? Aamir Khan’s character in 3 idiots, his ideals just totally connect with you, and you get the feeling that it is so simple to be ideal in life, ain’t it? The revenge act in Rang De Basanti, Will Smith’s story in Pursuit of happiness, the president speech in Independence day, are all stuff that legendry INSPIRATIONS are made of. Ajay Devgan’s roles in Yuva and Rajneeti are, well, simply inspiring. They represent strength and leadership.

Sachin’s batting and sport are truly inspiring examples of how academic brilliance is not the only single requirement in life. Sheer determination, passion, and the will to win and nothing else, helped, ofcourse, by talent (which can be nurtured, by the way over time), only and only, are important in succeeding in life.

Each of these, and many other moments, stories and events make us feel HOT from within, isn’t it? You get firing on all cylinders when you are watching the scene. You feel if DJ from RDB can do so much, if Kabir Khan in chak de can make this huge comeback, I too can change the world. I too can go back, finish up all my work, and do something brilliant additionally. Big B’s performance in Black represents PERFECTION, that can be achieved.

We all have a rebel inside. We all have a hidden dream inside. We all want to do this ONE GREAT THING, that will make the world talk about and remember us. We all want to set examples, trends, and want to be able to answer the question our kid is going to ask us- “which is one that one great thing you have done in life? Apart from paying taxes, how have you contributed to your country?” We all think about it. We want to be in the news, on the news paper, receive awards and be spoken about. Everyone does that. Everyone thinks like that. There is no exception to it.

But what happens when we walk out of the cinema hall? What happens when you drive back home, tired, and in anticipation of the following Monday? You FORGET about all of this, isn’t it? The FIRE within, simply gets extinguished under the thousand pressures we already face. Life goes back to normal and that’s it. All the feeling, the determination, the craziness, the INSPIRATION, all of these, simply DIE their natural eventual death. And this is why we continue to be NORMAL. Never SUPER normal. We are all afraid, may be lazy, may be just INCAPABLE , to take that rebellious step. We are just, too NORMAL.

But that’s not all true. We are NOT incapable. Everyone is capable. Everyone is! There is nothing rocket science about any of this! All these are normal human beings that just too that one step and followed their heart! The mind is rational but the heart is correct! The heart is brave. All of these above people are examples of UNDYING INSPIRATION. Life gives everyone the opportunity, and more importantly, the ability to do something great in life for themselves. Just take that step boss!! Let this inspiration not die down this time.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kahaa panchi ne ped se,,,,

Kahaa panchi ne ped se “ Tumne mujhe chhanv di, phal khilaaya”
Kahaa ped ne panchi se “Tumne apni baton se, sthirtaa mein bhi mujhe duniya se milayaa”

Kahaa leher ne saahil se “tumse milkar mann ko badaa chain paati hoon”
Kahaa saahil ne leher “usi tarah jaise tu mujhe sukh dekar mera dukh apne saath le jaati ho”

Kahaa koyal ne kouwe se “Tumhaaree ghosle mein mera aashiaana hain, tumhe taklif kyun nahi hoti”
Kahaa kouwe ne koyal se “ Tumhaara aashianaa nahi hota, toh mere ghosle ko pehchaan nahi hoti”

Kahaa kichad ne kamal se “ Tum mujh mein khilte ho, tumhe kyun badbu naahi aati”
Kahaa kamal ne kichad se “tum meri rakshaa na karte, toh meri zindagi chali jaati”

manushya prakriti ki in khoobiyon ko kyun na seekh payaa
Har pita ne apne bete ko, is boori duniya mein khudgarz bannaa sikhayaa

Kahaa ek manushya ne doosre se, “tumhaari zameen meri hai, aur tumhaara paisa bhi mera ho jaayegaa”
Naa samajh hai woh,, boore kaam karke aakhir kab tak bach paayega.

Badh raha hai jhooth, aur kadvi ho rahi hai zabaan,
Sirf teen hi toh cheezein hain “Roti kapda aur makaan”

Poocha manushya ne Bhagwaan se “Hey Prabhu, yeh dukh bhari zindagi kyun nahi badalti”
Kahaa Prabhu ne manushya se “Tujhe banaakar ki hai maine sab se badi galati.”

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I ask my government: Do you know INDIA?

I ask my government- Do you know how much we lack Infrastructure? I ask my government, have you ever traveled by a local train in Mumbai? Have you ever used the staircases that join the railway stations to the roads? Do you realize that the enormous crowds at EVERY station in Mumbai just keep growing like a cancer does? I ask them, do you know the enormity of the floods every in most parts of the country? Do you not see how much we need infrastructure to control the enormous losses caused by these floods? Do you know that the Mangalore air crash could have been averted with better investment and space around the airport? Has it ever occurred to you that most roads in India already run over thrice the traffic they can support; that what used to take 15 minutes to cover now takes 60? Are the potholes, the dug up, crowded and jammed roads not visible to you?

I ask my government, why is there so much Negligence towards important issues? Why do high profile and powerful people get away with doing unlawful activities? Why are those responsible for deaths of hundreds of people not punished severely? Why are those who involve in money laundering and illegal activities not behind bars? Why has so much inefficiency crept into our system? I ask the government why are we so negligent on doing things correctly and fast? Why are we opposed to opposing the bad and favoring the good? Why is justice always a case of too much too little? Are you aware that people have almost lost faith in justice? Why are the most valuable communities- the police, armed forces, the laborer, the farmer, and ofcourse, the common man- always neglected? Why do they never get their due importance, worth and peace? Does the government realize that so many other great sports, including our national sport have been neglected behind the fame, money and power of one game? Does it remember that in 100 years since football came in, our country of a billion people can still not find 11 players to compete with the world?

I ask my government, do you know Democracy? Do you know that it is not about the ballot, but about the power of the ballot? That the elected representatives have to exercise duties along with authority? Do you know the education levels of most politicians? Are you aware of the many incorrect activities they have carried out, and yet remain in power? Do you take into consideration the opinion of people when taking decesions that affect them? Be it reservations, quotas, infrastructure issues, raising prices, dealing with terror- has the voice of the common man who suffers the impact of these decisions, ever been heard? Have you ever considered investigating where most of the tax payer money or development fund money finds its way?

I ask my government, do you know how much Inflation we have today? Have you purchased foodgrains, cereals or other essential commodities lately? Rs 50 today are barely sufficient to buy a couple of vegetables, that’s it. Have you ever traveled by the cabs or local auto rickshaws? Public transport is costing a bomb today and the common man has no choice. Costs have increased but incomes haven’t. Do you know that despite the 8 PC GDP growth, the ground realities continue to depict a completely different and miserable picture? Would you mind explaining what you plan to do with the enormous foreign exchange you plan to save on, by increasing prices? Will any infrastructure or educational investments be made as a result of your so called LONG TERM ANTI POPULIST measures? Isn’t it a little ironic that we increase prices to reduce deficit (which means we increase the foreign exchange reserve with us), and yet we approach the world bank for a loan for our railways? At a time when crores of rupees are given to celebrities for stupid endorsements and 10 minute appearances at events or photo shoots, isn’t it too much to take when the common man (70%) of the population, continues to live hand to mouth?

I ask my government, why is there no Awareness of the many other issues plaguing our country? Even if there is, why has no action been taken to avoid the continuity of these actions? Why are people still being killed for reasons that continue to puzzle the rational mind? Do you know that food grains worth 2 years of stock have simply gotten waste due to lack of storage space? Why does it not occur to you that the real problem in agriculture is not production, but timely and efficient distribution? How do you plan to resolve the issues of the many many indebted farmers who do great service to our country, but get so little in return? Why do the police and forces not get enough expenditure and support to fight crime? Why are they simply sent to fight without support and expected to tackle the enemy and emerge victorious? What are their salary levels are you aware? I ask my government, do you know many people die or suffer as a result of brattish, drunken or stupid driving, and how many rash drivers are actually caught? What steps have you taken to reduce the every minute growing traffic on EVERY SINGLE road in the country? Issues like child marriage, child abuse, casteism continue to plague our society for the past 300 years.

I ask my government, do you know the I (Infrastructure), N (Negligence), D (Democracy), I (Inflation) and A (awareness) related issues that plague India.

I ask my government, do you know INDIA?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Why i just LOVE my iPod!

August 2006. 11 am on a sunday. I am standing at the Durdle sea- a beautiful beautiful country side in the UK. Awesome! The blue waves are just so huge, so inviting as if to define what the word wave means. The sky was clear, the beach was BIG, and I was almost alone! My mates had also drifted to different locations in that area. In all this quiet bigness, the wonderful melody of the song "Far away" was playing in my ears. A line from that song- Far away for far too long-, just seemed to submerge into the sea after coming out. To this day, when I hear that song, that beautiful moment comes to my mind. October 2006- a vacation to India, at the airport. I was all excited about returning home after 6 months! The best song in that time really is “Paathshaala” from RDB! Looking at all people from the world at the airport, each one disappearing in a different flight, never to be seen again, but a moment never to be forgotten! What better song than the beautiful “Yaadein” from the movie yaadein? The title song from Swades is most enjoyed when you are out of swades, and London provided me a lot of moments when I heard this song and missed India.

The time after my return from UK, and before I went to Manila for MBA, was both- memorable and confusing. Trips to the banks, passport offices, train journeys etc. Plus, a few fights I had with myself. My train journeys were always accompanied with songs that represented emotions right from anger, self tryst, emotional chords, anxiety, fear, happiness and just about everything. Cliché songs like- TU hi meri shab” and “Ya Ali” from Gangster, all of Metro songs, “tere bina” from Guru, “Main jahaan rahoon” from Namastey London, were just a few of those. Even today when I hear any one of those, that entire time comes running into my mind and takes me down memory lanes.

Going further in 2007 and into the dusk of 2008, MBA at Manila was awesome! There were times when there was stress, and then there were times when there was even more stress! I vividly remember how I used to walk everyday within the AIM complex, and listen to my most favorite song- Tanha Dil by Shaan! Vacations, when we had them were super. The beach at Boracay is amongst the best in the world. I remember the day when I was sitting on the sand, had a pepsi besides me, and the sun was shining really bright! The waves were the cleanest and bluest that I had ever seen. Each island was more beautiful than the previous. And in that serene, quiet, inviting beauty, I remember listening to the beautiful theme tune of Jab we met. As I progressed through the course, I remember listening to songs from movies like Singh is King, Bhool Bhulaiyya, Taare Zaamen par etc!

My work life ever since 2006 till today has been defined by the many many songs that I have heard in these 4 years! Songs from movies like Lagaan, Saathiyaa, Yuva, RDB, Wake Up Sid, and so many more! When the chips are down, listen to the theme track from Forrest Gump, and you will realize why I mention it here.

In all these 4 years, at various places, in various times and events, amongst all those many gazillion songs that have chalked my memory database, there was only one thing common- my iPod. This sweet little device invented by Apple has single handedly helped my memory capture all events, and provided it with a means to recollect those memories- songs! I always used to think I am such a memory oriented person, and how easily I go back to related things when I hear a particular song. Trust me, as I realize today, songs have been the only single source of my recollection of past! And I realized it far too late that I owe my ipod a lot for it! Music is simply songs- words and tunes- if context is not added to it. This context, to me, was provided by my lovely ipod. At every single location that I went, and for every single moment since I bought it 4 years ago, the ipod has given me the priviledge to listen to songs of my choice- songs that fit the situation or songs that I want to listen to, if ever I think of something or someone. I even have a song each for most girls I know in life! Hahaha..

My ipod is my most favourite possession, and for now, companion! A lot of my life has been captured via it, and that is why I really love my ipod!