Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eid - Then And Now

The fresh aroma of shirkhurma was mouth- watering. As a child, I used to keenly wait for this time of the year. I walked into the kitchen to get a peek at the various items on the menu. My mom was taking freshly fried samosas out from the frying pan. I could hear my stomach grumble. I didn’t have enough patience to wait for her to serve it to me. But then again, didn’t have a choice either.

Except for the royal delicious breakfast, nothing about the day was extraordinaire like it once used to be. I had my day’s schedule in place and so did my mom and dad. The day had its significance when we were young and most importantly when we were in Udaipur. We all used to frenziedly wait for the 30 rozas to end. And then it would be all about smiles and laughter and colour.

The eagerness I had to wear the new apparels and grab the fanciest looking purse and walk out elegantly holding my dad’s hand to visit all the relatives and friends. The proud feeling I experienced every time someone would complement me or my dress. And of course Idi. How can I possibly forget that? That was the core reason to carry the purse.

The whole morning we used to spend visiting and greeting people. Then in the afternoon, we all used to gather at my maternal grandmother’s house for a fancy lunch. I must tell you, she is an awesome cook. I used to meet all my cousins there and we used to devote the entire afternoon counting our idi and showing off our dresses and doing other girly stuff.

In the evening we used to have a friend’s rendezvous. Usually, we used to go to some resort or someone’s farmhouse. Just like the breakfast and lunch, the dinner also used to be imperial. Wondering why am I mentioning food so much? Well, I’m a foodie and believe me on this, these food items tasted much better than what they cook at MasterChef (I am obviously exaggerating here).

It used to be one of the finest and the most awaited days of the year. Something I always looked forward to. We moved to Mumbai eight years back and I don’t miss anything about Udaipur as much as I miss this jamboree. Here, the only thing that hasn’t change is the food. I get the noble courses here also. But I miss my friends and my cousins and my grand mom’s hand cooked food. Still waiting for that year when I’ll be jammy enough to celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitr with everyone with the same excitement.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vasai Turns VaSEA

I slowly opened my eyes to check my cell phone. No, not for the silly forwards but to check the time. As soon I pressed the button and saw the time, my half close eyes were wide open and I jumped out of my bed like a ninja. Sh*t! I was late! Not losing the ninja spirit, I rushed through the process of getting ready.

It was pouring outside. And I had this indecisive urge in me to bunk the lecture. Just when I was about to execute the thought, my mom very innocently stated that one word which scares the hell out of every student. It is the devil’s word in a student’s life. “What about your attendance?” and that was it. The image of the black list popped right in front of my eyes and heartbroken I toddled out of the house.

It was pouring unremittingly since yesterday. Vasai had become VaSEA overnight. The monster of water had drunk the entire residential sector. There were no rickshaws and unlike always, there were very few people on the road. They were obviously sleeping. Why would anyone wake up at 7 on a Sunday morning? Unless he/she is a BMM student. In that case anything can happen.

I was in no mood to put my feet in that dirty gutter ka pani so i decided to walk back. Just then out of nowhere a rickshaw came and stood right in front of me and the rickshaw wala very chivalrously asked, “Station jane ka hai?” it never happens on other days when I am running late and desperately in the need to rush to the station. But today it happened. With the hope to catch the desired train, I hopped in.

Dashing through the water and fighting the fake waves, the rickshaw slowly made its way ahead and dropped me to the station just in time. My happiness knew no bounds. I managed to reach the station on time in spite of the water and the rains. I would be able to catch the train I want. I wouldn’t be late. Thrillingly I ascended the stairs of the bridge and just when I touched up, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I took it out to see a message from the CR.

The much-adored-professor cancelled the lecture. It was as if the whole world around me had come to a halt. The word ‘cancelled’ stuck out. I was devastated. Why? Why? WHY??? For a moment I forgot where was I standing and my instant reaction was I looked up and said this out loud “Dude, was this your idea of some sick joke?” and it doesn’t end there. I kept staring up for 5 seconds as if I was ever going to get a reply. But all I could see was a blackish roof swathed with spider webs. Subsequently I looked straight in front of me and saw a cute guy staring at me and then looking up wondering whom was I talking to. Embarrassment happened. I looked at him and smiled sheepishly.

To avoid more embarrassment I tottered away and feeling like a complete idiot. Helpless I crossed the station from west to east, took a rickshaw and came home. Not to mention I wasted 20 bucks in this whole process. Don’t you give me that look now! Even if the world economy is doing exceptionally well, a student is always facing recession. And in crisis like these 20 bucks getting washed away is not a happy prospect.

I reached home and as soon as I entered my bedroom I saw my sister sleeping. In my last post I very finely told you how she looks when she sleeps. If you haven’t read it then do it now. Just the one below this. Go. go. Read. And by the time you read that, I’ll go complete my quota of sleep.

Just Another Lousy Morning...

I awoke to the ear-splitting ringing of the alarm clock. Not something I fancy hearing at the beginning of the day. The sound is thunderous, exasperating and absolutely out of rhythm. It’s like someone with a ghastly voice is yelling right in your ear. I hopped out of my bed completely alarmed and shut the damn thing off. Stupid clock!

I peek outside the window. The sun was still asleep. And I was up already! Then sluggishly my eyes crawled to my pillow and it was as if there was some inordinately strong magnetic force activated between me and the pillow. I fought the urge to put my sleepy head on it as I knew well that if I gave in to the temptation, my day which should start now would start in the afternoon.

Mustering all the energy, I gently lifted myself up and almost begging my joints not to go against me, I stepped forward. Yes, it IS that arduous to get up on an early morning when you are supposed to be snoring away making it difficult for anybody around you to sleep. I can sense you thinking why I am giving you such lousy explanation of a just another crummy morning. Well, you see, I am just trying to increase the word count here. Bwhahahahaha.

Anyway, so after a lot of whining, I managed to take an early morning bath with hot water. It would be suicide to use cold water to take bath on a cold rainy sleepy morning. And I love myself enough not to try such scary stunts.

And when I walk in the room I see my sister with her mouth wide open and hands thrown away as if they were…they were…they were…ah! I am not good with comparisons. Point is she looked as if she hadn’t slept in years and was completing the quota THIS VERY MORNING.

Whining, cussing, I packed my bag, took my camera (I mentioned ‘camera’ specifically because it’s new and I am just bragging about it. That is one of the activities girls do best.), put on my shoes and just when I was about to walk out of the door, my phone woke up from its sleep.

For 3 seconds, I kept wondering who it could be at this hour. Then I thought why use my demented brain thinking something so silly like this. So I took out my phone to avoid all the thinking. It was my friend and guess why did she call me? The project cause, of which I had to kill my much adored sleep, was cancelled. Fail Happened.

I was in a dilemma. Didn’t know whether to be happy or to be angry. To avoid more pressure on my brain, I simply changed into my night suit and went on a ride in my much loved dream world.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anna On Ann Shan: End Discussion Save Nation

Wake Up

Uncles Now!

It’s been more than 144 hours and the clock is still ticking. Anna Da and our mighty government have sworn not to leave their stands. It’s a shame that the government is doing precisely what the people expected of it. It is a disgrace that they claim to be ‘for the people’ because actually they are not!

Since 42 years the government has been treating the Jan Lokpal bill as the Jan jokepal bil. Anna Da made his point at the Jantar Mantar where he showed the vexation of the public and their dissatisfaction for the functioning of the government.

Let’s not repeat the old story all over again. The point is that Anna gave the ultimatum around one or one and a half months back that he would go on Ann Shann on 16th August.

Instead of taking that in the right spirit and work for it, our uncles were busy collecting and polishing their archery of allegations through which they could hit and put down the spirit of Anna and the populace.

Why is the government pretending to be deaf? After seeing the two day trailer at Jantar mantar, how could they afford to take Anna Da’s claim as a joke?

Since past 6 days, that strong old man who just looks fragile hasn’t put a morsel in his mouth and still the government is not doing anything except discussion. What were they doing for the past 42 years then?

Multi-million scams happen right under their nose and they are completely unaware of it. Is this the reliability of the government? All we’re hearing on the news is that the Lokpal Bill is being circulated in the Standing Committee or this committee or that committee.

Why is the government being so arrogant? Don’t they want India to progress and be corruption free? Why are they so scared?

Witnessing the massive support of the nation, they are still debating. WHY? These are the same people who have given you the power which you have used to corrupt yourself so effortlessly.

Is it that the government doesn’t care at all? I guess yes, they don’t give a damn! I remember when one of the leader very openly said that they can’t control all the terrorist attacks. They told us lucidly not to have any expectations from them.

But again, the government should not forget that the true power lies in the hand of the public. If we can give them the power then we can also take it away from them.

The way Anna and his followers have been protesting… I haven’t seen a more peaceful way of protest so far. Not once have the given the chance to the police to raise their hand. So government must not underestimate us.

Annagiri can demolish corruption from the nation, while Sarkargiri will only demolish the nation with corruption.

We are still waiting for the ever sleeping “leaders” to wake up and take some fruitful action.

WAKE UP LEADERS NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!! Because if this continues, then I fear that they will keep debating and our much adored Anna Da will fade away.

(My article published in UDAIPUR TIMES on 22nd August 2011)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fighting The Malaise

Sixty Five years back, we fought the British to get independence. Now, after 65 years of independence, we are fighting our very own leaders to get independence. The condition today is much worse because back then, we were fighting a foreign invasion as one nation. Today, however, there are two groups.

One groups where there is a large bunch of Indians who are fed up of the malaise that has gripped our motherland. Who have to deal with it at every step of their lives. And who is just desperate to get rid of it and live in a compliant and true nation.

On the other hand, we have the other group who is somewhere down the road shamefaced for this deadly disease. No, I’m not entirely putting the blame on them. The former group is also at fault. Had they not tolerated and given in, today, I’m sure the scenario would have been a lot different. Not to forget much better.

But, as they say, “No point crying over spilt milk.” After a point of time, the pot of sins can’t take it anymore and it overflows. And it’s then when a revolution occurs. Today, that day has come. The entire nation has united as one and has forgotten everything and is now fighting for the Jan Lokpal Bill to fight corruption.

Anna Hazare, who is being referred to as the Mahatma Gandhi of 21st century is in Tihar Jail and has refused to come out because the police and the government is not permitting him to go on anna shann at a place of his choice. But this hasn’t stopped him to accomplish his quest. Neither has it stopped his followers to support him in an unconditional way.

The media is doing its bit too. Looking at the agitation and the enthusiasm of the crowd, more and more people are connecting to the cause. Since past 3 days, the first few pages of the newspaper are swathed with news of Anna Hazare. Switch on any news channel and there is no other news but Anna Hazare’s.

I don’t know if this is another struggle for independence or is it another revolution. I also don’t know if Anna Hazare can be equalled to Mahatma Gandhi. All I know is that I want to live in true India. I want those people whom I see on T.V. in white attire, clasping their hands in a Namaste, shouting out promises to live up to those promises and respect the respect that we have bestowed on them.

While I am writing this, Mr. Amitabh Bacchan on Kaun Banega Crorepati very smartly and musically explained the mentality of the Indian Politicians.
Before elections they sing - Kasme vade nibhayenge hum…
After election they sing – Kasme vade, pyar wafa, sab baatein hain baton ka kya!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Freedom Pipe Leaks Corruption

The Indian civilization has been on this planet for over 3,500 years but today it celebrates its 65th Birthday. The midnight of August 15, 1947 was eventful for every Indian, when India gained independence from the grip of the mighty British.

Since then, this day is celebrated with pomp and gaiety, across the length and breadth of India. The story of the voyage to Indian Independence is a dramatic one, and like any other good story, filled with interesting characters as well as a great deal of tragedies.

After a lot of blood shedding struggles and sacrifices we attained what we proudly call ‘Freedom’.

Let’s talk about Freedom?

It is indeed a very abstruse term to define in any way. Bronislaw Malinowski wrote, “Freedom can be defined as the conditions necessary and sufficient for the formation of a purpose, its translation into effective action through organized cultural instrumentalities, and the full enjoyment of the results of such activity”.

It is true that many criterions must be met to get freedom ascertained. Freedom didn’t come easily for India. We all have studied the Indian Struggle for Freedom and are very well versed with this fact.

Without freedom there cannot be decency and there would not be much worth living for. But it appears as if we have taken this fact for granted.

We have taken our freedom as a cake or it seems like our tummies could not able to digest the freedom which we got free of cost, even though our freedom fighters have forgo their lives for this free air that we pollute so effortlessly today.

The harsh truth is that most of us don’t even know what freedom is. When in school, we all learnt about freedom of speech and expression. But how free are we to express. In the name of region, religion we are still getting ruled by the politicians.

This present apathy shows how far the degradation of our values has reached, and how low the system has dipped.

Why politics and most of the politicians in India are so corrupt?

Because of the disregard for honesty, righteousness and truth, it was the emanation of political elite who believe in interest-oriented rather than nation-oriented programmes and policies.

This corruption that we see today is not a development that has come overnight.

It has been a continuous process since the past several decades and today it has advanced into the very blood stream of the system.

One would say corruption in India has an ancient birth; it is consecrate by tradition. The author of Arthashastra made some remarks on the government officials of his time which are relevant even today: “Just as it is impossible not to taste the honey or the poison that finds itself at the tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a government servant not to eat up at least a bit of the king’s revenue.”

The government officials found the post-war conditions perfect for fishing in troubled waters and getting richer. They formed a sort of monstrous circle in which beliefs and true intentions no longer held valid.

The ordinary Indian has reached the highest level of hatred and disappointment at the way things are happening in this country.

The monster of corruption hasn’t spared anyone. We do not mind doing anything as long as we meet our ends.

There was a time when bribe was paid for getting the wrong things done but today the scenario has changed. Now bribes are paid for getting the right things done at the right time.

Corruption has endangered the very existence of this nation. Fight against corruption in itself has become a joke.

A big name is involved in any corruption case, there is a lot of hoo-hah for some time, but then it all dies down with the passage of time and the corruption continues unabated.

How does this happen?

This is very obvious for all those who have to be at the clearing end are bought, so, no damage can ever come to the so called elites.

This is the main reason why there is never any advance in any scam. In this situation it will be a wonder if anything palpable can really be achieved for, the elites cannot be touched, and the lower formations need not be touched – so we remain where we were at the commencement of any case.

The scams which have come to light in last one decade have amounted to multi – crores, they are being dealt with but, it is so astonishing that no politician has yet been punished for drawing off so much of wealth of a poor country.

When the senior cannot be punished how can there be any dusting at the bottom.

Everyone knows who the corrupt are but, the paradox of our system is such that no one can be touched. If this situation remains any longer, it is a wonder if there could be any light at the end of the tunnel.

Recently, all this Anna Hazare episode of fighting the corruption is on the rise. What is the use of just a show of dealing against corruption, while in reality all cases are just quietly postponed banking on the fact that, public memory is very short.

From where do these people get such guts to bluntly make a big fool of the masses?

It’s the acceptance of people towards corruption, complete lack of powerful uproar against corruption. Corruption is India has wings, not wheels.

Independence Day has always been about patriotic songs, hoisting the flag and disturbing tricolored brooches.

The tiranga will be seen everywhere… on vehicles and even lying on the roads and till evening they will be inside dustbins.

Is this how we will define our Freedom and India?

But we hardly have that feeling.

I wonder if I will be lucky enough to be blessed with a TRUE independence day and I will get the chance to write what I really want to read and see.

(My article published in UDAIPUR TIMES on 15th August.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Missing Those Good-Old-Days With Friends

Today I’m working on a presentation at my favourite coffee shop. It’s not just the usual coffee shop. It’s special. It’s where I used to come with my friends and spend time with them laughing, gossiping for reasons that bore no relevance. It’s spring outside, the sun is shining bright. There are fresh flowers on the tables. Book shelves line the walls with books and coffee cups placed on them.

There is a beautiful scene painted on the wall in front of me. The chairs are comfy and very plush. Everything is just like before except that today, I don’t have my friends with me.

I have heard that life keeps on moving and today I feel-“it really does”- we graduated and went ahead to fulfil all the dreams that we had nurtured .

Today, I sit here with jokes, but, to my dismay there is no one to share them with. I reckon the innocent promises that we had made but little did we knew that life had other plans for us.

Today, when I sit here I’m alone. It’s the same place where we vowed to be lifetime buddies, but, today it seems like it has been lifetime I met them.

Yes, certainly, I miss them, the good and bad times, tears, joy and laughter. All the memories together are coming flooding back.

The things we did back then, the things we shared have all gone now, resting in the past, but never forgotten. There are many situations where I sit back on my chair and a smile spreads across my face thinking of my pals, who, I wish were there with me at that moment.

I miss my friends so utterly that I can feel their absence every now and then. There are situations when we all think that if it could have been for my friend he would have replied in this manner or maybe he would have commented in his unique style.

From tender age, they taught me that they are a treasure; that they can and will bail me out when I get into trouble.

With friends you’re in for a merry ride, with loads of thrills, emotional banter, romance and camaraderie. They taught me that friends are something you make out of your choice and not due to any obligation.

As I write this, the most beautiful lines from Jagit Singh’s ghazal comes to my mind,

Na Duniya ka gham tha, na rishto ka bandhan,

Badi Khoobsurat thi wo zindagani, ( wo kagaz ki kashti wo barish ka pani)

I remember how we used to compete with the sound of the waves dashing against the shore with our laughter.

The excitement and thrill we felt on bunking the lectures and going for movies. How we used to soothe each other after being rebuked from our parents for not scoring well. How we never thought for a moment before getting in a fight just for our buddy.

The long hours we spent sitting in the canteen doing our future planning. The passion we showed during cultural fest which was never seen during exams.

Those were some golden memories that we created.

Today, on Friendship’s Day, I long for them and wish they were with me to relive all those beautiful memories.

Duniya bhar ki yaadein hamse milne aati hain, sham dhale iss sune ghar me mela lagta hai…

(My article published in "UDAIPUR TIMES" on Friendship Day )