Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 – From the idiot box!!!

 In continuation of my failed attempts to look back at 2008 (the year when credit crisis eroded the economy of construction and terrorism created new ventures for employment) and converting my 12 months of news watching in a blog post like last year, here I am – back with a new post.

 January – For most part of the month, news channels which were playing the Karamchands and Byomkesh Bakshis to unearth the mystery behind a political assassination, suddenly turned into the Animal Planets and National Geographies depicting the thesis of human evolution from monkeys and similarity between the language of queen and Punjabi expletives. If Australian media was reporting on how BCCI is negotiating for a cheaper fuel deal for its chartered aircraft to bring back its team in protest to one of its player's ban, India TV was running a series on HanumanJi and how he burnt Ravan's Golden Lanka. They also found out the cave where gold has disappeared after melting. Aaj Tak, fresh from winning the best new channel award for 6th consecutive year, again displayed its Sabse Tej Channel expertise when they won the race in a photo finish to reach the conclusion – it wasn't monkey but maa-ki. Jignesh Patel, economy expert at KLPD Broking, predicted on CNBC Awaz that SENSEX would reach 28,279 in December 2008.

February - Son of a certain lion who doesn't eat grass was seen dating with a damsel who was fancied by his ODI captain. Aaj Tak called it Yuvraj ka Badla, as Dhoni was supposed to have snatched captaincy from him which could have been Yuvraj's. News24 showed the entire history of song Dost dost na raha as it fitted the situation perfectly. In other news, a certain political party (I am scared to take its name) opted for a power play when it disrupted a few press conferences, blocked few roads, broke few taxis. Soon, the media was going to create one of the biggest political images of the year. Finance minister P Chidambaram announced a 60,000K crore loan waiver for Indian farmers. IBN7 welcomed the move with open mouth & closed mind and invited Mahinder Kapoor to relive his magic of Mere Desh ki dharti song to celebrate the victory for farmers which include Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bacchan and Rani Mukherjee. Jignesh Patel, in spite of SENSEX plunging a few thousand points, remained up beat about it. However, he did revise his target to 27,893 saying long term growth story was in tact.

March - India won CB series and U19 world cup. Everyone welcomed their heroes back with all the warmth. But life isn’t just about playing cricket and winning. Hence IBNLive did what the family members of many cricketers wanted to do, they went on soul mate hunting for the bachelors of team India. The very same political party I am scared to name broke another taxi in Mumbai. Only an esteemed channel India managed to get exclusive coverage as the taxi broken happened to be their staff cab. India successfully tested AGNI-I. While rest of the channels were foolishly comparing it with Pakistan’s Gauri and their likes, IndiaTV compared it with its real comparable – Bharamshtra - during their visit to Ravan’s lanka in January, they managed to get some picture of the weapon which looked like a compressed picture of AGNI-I. SENSEX kept declining although Jignesh Patel, at Aaj Tak, explained that the long term growth story is intact on the basis of decoupling theory.

April – True journalism is not just about reporting elections which look interesting but make no difference to common man’s life or budget which make difference to common man’s life but doesn’t really interest him. It has to be reporting for and about the common man. TV journalism took this new avtar to a new paradigm in India. So in case you have lost your dog, Star news searched it for you or if your cat has lost her way to roof top, Aaj Tak was there to cover it. IndiaTV went one step further and revealed how aliens peep into your neighbour’s daughter’s room every night to take some nefarious pictures on their gen-X mobiles or how they are stealing cows from the planet earth.   

May – This was the month when the monthly blasts started in India. All the channels were live reporting the aftermaths but an esteemed channel held the real sensation in “Ms. Short hair” who, as expected, turned out to be most intriguing interviewer with her trademark question to a victim – “Hey, you have just lost a leg. How does it feel?” Home minister said that culprits will be dealt with strongest actions. Aaj Tak would have surely got the home minister to resign if a murder had not taken place in Delhi. In a really unfortunate event, a 14 year old kid got murdered in Delhi. This gave genesis to the biggest rendezvous to the imagination of police and its facilitation by media. The plot envisioned was no lesser than Tashan in terms of twist & turns. Out of total chaos, IndiaTV emerged as holiest by sticking to their alien attack story. They also came back to brahmastra when India successfully fired nuclear capable Prithvi – II.

June – Aliens looked like paying off for IndiaTV as they continued their successful run amongst news channels. With a month or Arushi murder case on TV, viewers actually started shifting to UFOs and Aliens by the end of June. Transfer to mere 40 acres of land to a shrine board caused havoc. CNN-IBN tried to analyze the issue from all angles and what they missed, TimesNow covered. And what these two missed, others covered. However, nothing was discovered. SENSEX kept declining. Jignesh Patel had corrected his target to 20,000. He said that worst is over yet some pain might well be left. The political party which I am scared to name burnt a few more cabs. This time everyone reported the exclusive footage.

July – The most honest day in the history of Indian parliament happened to occur in July 2008 when three BJP MPs refused to accept bribe that too publically in the parliament. A sting operation was planned and tapes were handed over to the speaker of the house by CNN-IBN. This was the day when most of us, the common men, saw an amount which we might never be able to earn in our entire life span – INR 3 cr. However, as the enquiry is throwing results, it looks like a Manmohan Desai’s happy ending movie with everyone turning on the brighter side of life which means innocence. I wish they could donate me that rejected money as no one is claiming it. Bangalore was shook by serial blasts and before home minister could give his customary speech, Ahmadabad was done. Home minister said that culprits will be dealt with strongest actions and will not escape scot-free. First sentence was for Bangalore blast and second for Ahmadabad. In a remarkable event signifying media as mass communicator, terrorists sent an email to a few news channels warning about the attack. “Ms. Short hair” collected her set of data from two cities – reply to “How are you feeling”

August – Finally it happened. India won its first individual gold medal at Olympics. Some other players also did commendably well. Focus on Olympics by 24X7 news channels after Bindra won gold made sure that this was the most keenly followed Olympics in Indian history. StarNews organized a talk show on how popularity of cricket is making other games suffer in the country. Charu Sharma, Mandira Bedi and Rakhi Sawant were the main panellists. Mandira Bedi did reveal that she is an avid sports lover which has helped her keeping her body fit enough to make her cover girl of Maxim India. This led to a debate of who has better body – Rakhi Sawant or Mandira Bedi. Viewers could SMS their votes to 53333. Winner was going to be gifted a barrel of Kingfisher beer by Charu Sharma and also a chance to dine with him. Jignesh Patel had shifted his SENSEX target to 17,000. He did say that some pain might be left in the market yet worst was about to be over.

September – Kosi had taken a catastrophic form in Bihar leaving millions affected. Flood did stop the flow of its news to media centres in Mumbai and believers of Indian shining were informed a month late about the calamity. As News24 was about to send its reporters to the flood affected region to cover the story, Delhi donated its share to the sacrifices in the name of so called Jihad when serial blasts shook the capital. Home minister gave the same speech as the last time but in three different dresses. IBN7 ran a story on his wardrobe where as IndiaTV was again the front runner to receive the warning email from the terrorists. May be their alien connection was giving them some edge. After all terrorists believe that they go to heaven when they die and we believe that aliens come from heaven. May be aliens are terrorists or vice versa. I don’t have an answer. May be IndiaTV will unearth the mystery behind it in 2009. “Ms. Short hair” collected her set of data from Delhi – reply to “How are you feeling”. May be she wants to write a book about the correlation between people’s response to a terrible event in life and their geography.  That political party’s (which I am scared to name) chief was arrested and released. Again arrested and again released. It kept happening with so appreciable regularity that nothing changed in the city. Just that it was poorer by a few cabs and few weeks of productivity.

October – India launched some space vehicle. IndiaTV soon declared that scientists had taken their inputs about aliens before launching the vehicle. They also reported that one of their reports is missing and he might have slipped into the space vehicle. However, next day it was found that the very same reporter had joined StarNews hence he was missing from work. India won the second test against Australia in Mohali under Dhoni’s captaincy which prompted IndiaLive’s cricket expert Surinder Khanna to urge Kumble to take retirement in the interest of Indian cricket and let the fresh blood take charge. Siddhu opposed him and the one sided debate continued till next test at Kotla was drawn and Kumble actually retired. Jignesh Patel was now talking about March 2009 target of SENSEX at 13,000. He said that the short term pain might erode long term growth story and India cannot be untouched by the global turmoil however worst was almost over. City was becoming poorer and poorer in terms of cabs as some political party which I am scared to name was....

November – 26th November 2008. I need not say anything. Every channel was bringing its own exclusive coverage of live operations. With so many channels you got so many angles that even a cricket match might not provide even if it’s covered by Channel 9. “Ms. Short” hair was busy collecting responses to her pet question, TimesNow was busy sounding the most honest, Aaj Tak was as usual the fastest but the real victorious emerged in form of IndiaTV. The terrorists chose IndiaTV to make a phone call and it was broadcasted. Doesn’t it sound like a modern day love story? First patao a girl on mail/chat and then one fine day call her up to take your chances.  But everyone in the limelight bore the burnt of 24X7 news. One wrong word meant a pink slip. One wrong companion meant a pink slip. Quite like a political recession. The event also triggered off a political recession for that political party I am scared to name. Jignesh Patel could have been in Taj for a company party which was cancelled because of cost cutting measures.

December – Aftermath of 26/11 still continue. Aaj Tak is still making stunning revelations. IndiaTV is still reaching places where no one else can like Pandal of a famous marriage in Mumbai where some guests were expected from Karachi. “Ms. Short Hair” is still asking the same questions. Everyone was singing was Mumbai Spirit song but I was yet scared and worried. But as soon as I saw Aaj Tak reporting about chief of that political party (which I am scared to name) again giving a speech today, I took a sigh of relief. Its all back to normal now till next time. Aaj Tak can go back to Dhoni and his would be, IBN7 can focus on a chain snatching incident in Yamuna Vihar in delhi, News24 can focus on the love story of the terrorist who were killed in Batla House, “Ms. Short Hair” can ask people on how they feel participating in “We the people” and IndiaTV can go back to UFOs.

Meanwhile, no taxis were broken in the entire month of December. I received a mail with Jignesh Patel’s CV. He lost his job because of the pain still stuck in the system as his brokerage house closed down. As I sent it to my boss he replied “CV format is nice. Keep it with you for making your CV. You might need it soon”.

Standard Disclaimers:

1.    While intentions and message are true, there are lots of factual inaccuracies in this post e.g. names of channels reporting particular news items. Most of them are devised by my mind fearing my 6:00AM alarm. I do not take responsibility for any such error and if it is there, it is regrettable.

2.    Don’t sue/hit/kill/send hate mails to me.

3.    Before you decide against disclaimer 2, please read disclaimer 1 again.

4.  In nutshell, there are a lots of factual inaccuracies which are work of my imagination.

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 - Between 22 yards!!!

It’s that time of the year when you start realizing that it is over once again. You start noticing the word “review” in almost every piece of text you read. It’s that part of the year when you start realizing that you need to change the last digit in the date number you sign in your cheque books, you start hoping that there are some more sops for you in the budget to be presented in couple of month’s time, you start collecting various bills and investment proofs and forwarding mails of new year wishes by replacing your name as sender with the person’s name who sent you the mail. This post is a part of 2008 – review from my side. There will be loads of better reviews on internet but thanks for reading this one. There are a few more reviews coming from my side also.

As the best news channel award recipient for 6th consecutive years Aaj Tak announced, this was the best year for Team India. For clarity – in India, team India means Indian cricket team, there is no other team in entire country. But this was also a year when a shrewd future politician rose on the basic building blocks of Indian politics – caste, religion and region. Let’s go back in a flash and come forward month by month.

January – After the customary defeat in Melbourne against Australia, we prepared for a defeat in Sidney. Preparations were not wasted although Indians were more hurt by a close defeat as compared to a comprehensive one in Melbourne. For next one month Indians kept blaming umpiring and poor sportsmanship by Australians. For rest of the life, Australians would be blaming Indians of racism which was actually nothing but a maternal obituary. There was a turnaround in Perth and India not only won but also killed Australia’s next pace sensation Shaun Tait career for sometime. Rahul Dravid’s (a Deshastha Brahmin) crucial 93 were not given any major importance after the win for reasons understood by yours truly now. India managed to draw in Adelaide and achieved a satisfied series loss of 2-1 as compared to expected 3-0 or 4-0. Indian supporters count Sidney loss as win and say it was a 2-1 win. Mahinder Singh Dhoni opted for bigger mouth of Robin Uthappa as compared to better record of Rahul Dravid for the upcoming ODI series.

February -   India did better than expected in the ODI series. They beat Australia once, lost one match with a narrow margin and easily reached the finals. Manoj Tiwary, a Brahmin from West Bengal, was thrown in front of Brett Lee as soon as Tiwary landed in Australia with the reason given as captain’s instinct. Captain never repeated his mistake; Tiwary did not get a second chance. Dhoni made his best efforts to sideline another Brahmin, Sachin Tendulkar but he responded strongly in the last leg of the tournament.

March – India won CB series. Dhoni who hails from Jharkhand, an ex – Bihar, showed his true political acumen by sidelining upper caste Dravid & Tiwary and promoting Robin Uthappa to gain on minority sentiment. Ishant Sharma was made to play so many games that he go injured and Praveen Kumar (may not an upper caste candidate, I am not sure) got in the side; another brilliant move to finish off the dominance of upper caste in the team India.   

April – India lost the second test against SA in a shameful manner. Dhoni made sure that Anil Kumble failed the fitness test for the next match because the venue of third test was special. It was a city where India has hardly ever lost; it was a city where team India has often made effective turnarounds in various tournaments, it was a city where once declared extinct royal tiger of Bengal got re incarnated and won man of series award in the same series, it was a city where yours truly used to belong. Yours truely is a true manoos now. Jai Maharashtra. It was Kanpur. Dhoni led India to victory and leveled the series and paid a customary bribe to the curator. For those who do not know, it’s a tradition in Kanpur. Team India comes here desperately seeking a test win, curator makes a sporting wicket (read dustbowl), Indian wins and captain rewards curator with whatever cash he has with him. Dhoni paid him through a cheque. The cheque got encashed or bounced, there is no information on it.

May – The biggest extravaganza in the history of cricket, IPL started with all the razzmatazz. Point to be noted, teams led by upper caste Brahmins were forced out of the tournament ASAP.  Dhoni’s threat to publicity from southern part of the country, a multitalented dancer cum speaker cum actor cum medium pacer Shreesanth, was slapped out in IPL by a police officer in Punjab Police (). Surprisingly the one who got slapped is yet to play international cricket again whereas who slapped him is an integral part of the team.  Another upper caste Brahmin made fantastic impressions in the tournament – Amit Mishra. However Dhoni neglected him and decided to go ahead with Piyush Chhawla – to gain political mileage in entire NCR belt.

June – With too many moves going against upper caste Brahmins, Dhoni decided to make amends by giving a chance to a Kashmiri Pandit, Suresh Raina who responded brilliantly. The move was well appreciated in all the quarters as even government of India denies their existence as humans – the Kashmiri Pandits. But to prove him a bad omen, Dhoni made sure that team India lost both – Kitply Cup and Asia Cup.

July – India toured SL for a three match test series where they were to face a mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis. Dhoni deliberately missed the test series so that he could see Mendis’ video and enjoy an advantage which others didn’t have. Yuvraj Singh wasn’t picked for the test side. His father disowned Yuvraj Singh saying he wasn’t born to him but to some lion. He also mentioned that Yuvraj Singh doesn’t eat grass.

August – Dhoni arrived in SL to lead ODI team and won it 3-2. He became an instant hero for 4-5th time since last year. Another high caste player, Badrinath played well in the first win and since that series he has been carrying drinks so far. Dhoni neither lets him play in the final 11 nor lets him go back to domestic cricket so that he can score a few more tons and make his case stronger.  

September – There was not much cricket in the month. However it was learnt that Ganguly made a deal with selectors where he would be selected for the test series against Australia and in return, Ganguly would retire from the test cricket. Ganguly strongly denied any such theory. However, he did announce that he would retire from test cricket after the series. With him, there would be no threat from the state of Bengal for Dhoni’s reign.

October - India somehow managed to save the first test where Dhoni failed miserably. He bowled a bouncer to Kumble at nets and it broke Kumble’s shoulder keeping him out in the second test. As soon as onus fell on Dhoni to lead, he stroked two half centuries and India won the Mohali test. Kumble worked extremely hard on his fitness to come back in Kotla but called it a day there. Dhoni carried him off out of the stadium on his own shoulders to makes sure he didn’t come back.

November - As soon as Dhoni took over Kumble in captaincy, Ponting realized that test cricket doesn’t mean timeless cricket and he had to bowl his daily quota of overs in stimulated time. India was benefitted by his realization and won the series 2-0. To win the support from the state of Bengal, he allowed Ganguly to do what all Bongs just love to do – reap without sowing much. Ganguly led the team for a few overs when India needed just one wicket. It was a sure support from CPM to a future party. By allowing Kumble to let hold on to the winning trophy, Dhoni also ensured support form some south Indian parties in future.

December – Based on the ODI performance against England last month, Yuvraj Singh (a Jat) replaced Ganguly in place of Rohit Sharma (a Brahmin).  Dhoni tried his best to get Amit Mishra dropped by grounding easiest of chances (Strauss in Chennai) of him or getting out as soon as he came to bat (In Chennai) or neglecting him for bowling (so often) or letting him bowl when KP and Flintoff were looking to get going (Mohali) but failed on all occasions. However when a veteran Brahmin Dravid scored a ton, Dhoni made sure that Indian did not win so that Dravid couldn’t get the credit he deserved. India won the test series 1-0.

All in all, Dhoni broke the upper caste mafia in Team India and entered a new era which will now be known as Dhoni Era.

Disclaimer – Above mentioned thoughts are a failed attempt to incite some humor. The thoughts wholly and solely belong to my empty mind where devil works real hard. Otherwise I AM A HARDCORE DHONI FAN.  



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Country Roads….

Never ever say in life – I have seen it all. Worst might just be around the corner.
Having spent my childhood in the state of UP where the word “road” doesn’t exist and having traveled a distance of 250KMs between Banaras and Patna by bus in 13 hours, I thought of suing TOI for steeling a line given by me – “Enough is enough”. But soon I realized what TOI will realize sooner or later – it is never enough.

The client meeting I had gone for was pending for 6 months. Whenever we agreed upon, there were some issues – big-wigs been traveling or famous Bandhs of Kolkata. Else, there were issues of how to travel.
When I said “We can travel by road”, the other party said – “No, Roads are bad”.
I asked, “How bad can they get Sir? I have seen enough of bad roads”.
“It’s beyond your imagination”, was the answer I got.
I took it as a lame excuse to delay the process.

But, this was not an excuse.

When we landed at the station, we were taken to the mines from the hotel. It was a 20KM journey traveled in 1 hour and roads WERE bad.

But the reality unfolded next day when we were going to visit the plant at a 22 KM distance.

When I asked the person assisting us - “Why do we only see the Baleros and Scorpios here?”, “Other cannot survive here. Even they last less than 50% of their life time.” is the reply I got.

I was told that the 75% of that 22Km road was newly built and the journey won’t be impossible. So I went off to sleep in expectation of a nice smooth ride for most part.

Slowly, the ride started getting bumpier. I tried to put myself to sleep and closed my eyes. It didn’t help though as my fragile body was jumping up & down, right & left all the time – hitting the front seat, hitting the roof, hitting everything which came with in 2 feet distance from me. Thank god I didn’t fell into driver’s lap.

Whenever I opened my eyes, I saw blurred saffron color – “Too much of BJP supporter you are” I told myself. But actually, being an iron ore belt, it was iron ore flying everywhere. So much of iron ore that I am sure that hemoglobin level of my blood would surely have crossed 20 in last 2 days.

But I kept my eyes closed and started forced my self into the rosy world of daydreaming. It was a beautiful world with me traveling across a jungle and sailing on the water. WOW!!!

DAMN!!! As I opened my eyes I realized that we were actually crossing a small lake on our vehicle. Suddenly I realized that we were never traveling on a road. We were passing through a jungle where driver drove the vehicle whenever he saw some drivable space between two trees. Now also, he wasn’t crossing the lake in a straight line but in an L shape as only this L shape could get him to a drivable space between two trees at the other end.

As soon as the lake test was over, we were staring at a 4 feet wide moat. Our maverick driver was preparing to get us through that moat also – he must have seen those fancy ads.

“Sir, sit tightly. Give me a minute”
“Are you crazy? Take some other route”
“Wait sir. I crossed it yesterday”
“NO” all of us cried.

Finally he took some other route and we traveled the 22 KM journey in little over 2 hours.
Generally a plant visit is something you would like to wrap up as soon as possible but not here. We were scared of taking the same route again. Quite Mumbai like feeling where you want to delay going back home as the orgasmic pleasure in Mumbai locals play a great deterrent.

We did come back from a longer but better route in 2 hours.

Well, the fun didn’t end there. As we were winding off the meeting, we were informed that we were sitting in a naxal-affected area. While coming back from dinner, we saw some 10-12 guys (age range – 18-25 years) boarding a jeep with the AK -47s and AK -56s, which most senior police officers can only dream to possess. Or may be they were the policemen.

While traveling back, we nearly missed a gang war as we saw 15-20 guys with lathi-dandas and waiting for their target. The road from hotel to station was not as bad as we were told and we traveled 22 KMs in 45 minutes. But considering the build up before it, the darkness and it crossing through a jungle, it was surely one of the scariest I have seen.

My flight is still sometime away and I hope that the country – air and road will take me home.

But again, never ever say in life – I have seen it all. Worst might just be around the corner.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Few Confessions!!!

I must admit, I am disturbed to such an extent that I have rarely been. I feel helpless, very helpless. This was a failure on our system’s part, a big one. To add insult to injury, there have been some irresponsible acts by the politicians, some terrible statements made by them and now the figure pointing has started among all the agencies/parties that matter. This has fuel to the fire of public ire and I share the same feelings. But, before I start blaming the politicians and officials for their lackluster attitude, corruption and failing in doing what they were supposed to be doing, let me ask myself a few questions.

Q: I live in a democracy which has the most basic building block called Vote. Every adult citizen of this country has not only a right but also duty (at least moral, I do not know what the constitution says) to vote. Your vote decides your government who is an administrator in this country in various forms. So have I ever contributed in selecting the administrator?

A: No.

Explanation: I have reasons for my answer. I have stayed in 5 stayed (studying, training, working) ever since I was eligible to watch Basic Instinct. I had certain myths about voting which have now been cleared by www.jaagore.com. Still, even if I had managed to get my name in the voter’s list, I was not sure if I had stayed at that place during the next elections. Hence the answer is negative. But fact of the matter is that I have never even tried also. If a government has been good, I had no hand in selecting it. If the government is bad, I had no hand in not selecting it also. So why do I complain? What rights do I have to complain?

Q: If I am riding my bike and a traffic policeman catches me because I have broken a signal, entered into a no entry zone, parked it in no parking area or I am simply not carrying my papers with me and being told by the police man- either pay a penalty of INR 1000/- or give me INR 100/- and move on. Shall I be tempted to take up the economically profitable option?

A: Yes.

Explanation: It will save me INR 900/-. Shall I not be further corrupting the already corrupted system? The police man would not be Sherlock Holms for sure and might well be less socially aware than me. So if I pay him a bribe and get away, this builds an expectation for him for a new source of earning. Now what is the guarantee that the expectations would stop only at breaking traffic rules. He can let someone get away who might have done a more sever crime. Just that he might pay him better in monetary terms. He could well be a terrorist smuggling explosive. One unfortunate incident and I will be shouting from the roof that it’s all because of moral degradation of the system which is stinking of corruption. But shall it not contain my contribution as well?

Q: I was thinking on the lines of leaving this country for greener pastures on the day one of the most esteemed nephews of Indian politics was arrested and due to chaos in the city on that day, I spent 3 hours looking for an auto rickshaw. “I cannot bear so much of hassles in my day to day life”. I was against the issues raised as I saw it as divisive for the nation. On the very day when NSG was doing its operation, there was an SMS floating around regarding how NSG contains north/south Indians and are saving Mumbai. Did I endorse that point of view?

A: No.

Explanation: I did not endorse because I found it equally divisive. But the moment I heard few names in NSG who were from north India, a though did cross my mind. A thought that says – Aah, now they should see how a north Indian is ready to sacrifice his life for the nation and is not thinking if he is the “son of soil” or not. I was sitting in the comforts of my house, drinking tea and watching TV. A more challenging scenario physically or mentally would have added some flames to that very thought and I could well have reached the danger zone of thinking. In plane true facts, the thought should not have occurred for a moment.

Q: There have been several terror attacks during the year 2008 in India. There have been other violent issues as well. Did all of them disturb me to the same extent?

A: No.

Explanation: I did feel sad, very sad when each of them occurred. But I was not disturbed to such an extent. It may be because this was a real brutal slap on our security. Trained terrorists attacking with most modern ammunition on the streets or holding onto buildings which might have devastating impacts on our economy which is already fearing a deep recession was the concern. Or there is a deeper view to it. This was the first time someone I know lost a friend, this was the first time someone I know survived by a matter of few minutes or this was the first time I could have been at the place of attack with only a 15 minutes walk. Also, this was the first time I saw everything live that is terrorists firing at people, people bleeding and dying, bombs blowing up a heritage building and the rest by media. Frankly, it doesn’t hurt you unless it hits you. Blasts in Assam get some space in news ticker where as blast in Jabalpur doesn’t even get a mention. Are they not my places? Should I not be worried to the same extent for these places also? Does it mean I lack patriotism? My heart says no but the logic deduced from the above written says a big bold YES.

Q: I believe politicians are corrupt not only in terms of monetary returns but in their principles also. If not all but at least most of them are. So have I done anything towards it? Have I even tried to get into their shoes and contributing my two cents to improve the system?

A: No.

Explanation: I believe politics is like opting cricket as a career option in late 80s or entire 90s. Results could be substantial but there would be too much at stake. There are two ways of becoming a politician – getting it in heritage or the Gunda route. I was not fortunate enough to get it in heritage. Second one is more like a gang war – keep fighting it till you reach a respectable level and enter politics. We have so many examples of it. Hence I did not want to take it as a career option as who knows, I might well have been on police watch list if I had taken it. But if this is how we are going to get our politicians, we will keep getting what we are. But, not entire breed is black. There won’t be a completely white strip but there has to be a grey belt with loads of white in it else this country would not have survived. I don’t know what route these guys adopt but I didn’t even think about it.

Q: My typical crib is – Around 40% of my salary goes into taxes which is government’s income. Government’s most basic job is to provide infrastructure and maintain law & order so that common man feels secure. I do not get both. Let us assume a situation. I take a house on rent pay brokerage INR 20,000/-. As a responsible citizen, I must ask my broker to produce a receipt of the transaction which must get recorded else government loses out on the tax of broker’ss income. Broker says if you want a receipt you will have to pay service taxes of almost 12%. That means I shall have to pay INR 2,400/- extra. Shall I do so?

A: No.

Explanation: What would I do with the receipt? Not taking it saves me money. But again, when I crib about businessmen evading taxes, am I not doing the same thing. Okay, they steal millions; I am stealing just a few hundreds. But a theft is a theft isn’t it?   

These are some of the questions I posed to myself. To be fair, I failed on most fronts. May be you will pass all. But ask them to yourself. And answer them is most brutally honest manner.

Okay. It’s easy to preach. I am the part of this entire system, have not always been honest and it will continue. But I will be helping the system getting more rotten. And I will not be doing my duty for sure. I am undisciplined, dishonest and not patriotic enough. I hope you are not. But I need to change myself. Because, just having a look at the sequence of events in last few years especially the way social unrest has increased in the country and internal security has become so vulnerable, I fear we are headed for a disaster. It’s OUR generation which can prevent it. Next generation may not get a chance.

And, it has to start with ME and I hope the start doesn’t end with just writing blogs and forwarding emails.     

PS: I do not have solution to most problems I see specially my helplessness. I do not know how to tone down my anger though I hope it never does. I just want to know how I can constructively utilize it for the things to improve. Please let me know. To those who regularly read my posts (mostly because I force them to do so) – this is an emotional outburst. If you share the same feelings and have some constructive suggestions, let us share. But I do not want any comments on the line of “well written/terriblepost/senti kyon ho gaya/ghabra mat, sab theek ho jayega” in any form.