Its all connected

The ongoing war in crimea is being dubbed as the “New Cold War” by some, however I consider it to be a “Hot Peace”situation. The world now has moved far ahead of the conditions prevailing in 60s or 70s, we are a lot more interconnected than we previously were. The experts in the US who are criticizing Obama for his weak policies themselves know that they cannot afford a war at this moment. Afghanistan has become a new Vietnam for them. Moreover, Russia has used “Democracy” and “will of the people” as tool in this crisis. Until now this tool belonged to the west.
The Crimean crisis has changed the stature of Russia in the international arena, it has already shown its assertiveness in Syrian crisis. This increasing weight of Russia is not the only thing that can affect India in the near future. Just like India Ukraine is also an exporter of rice. In case it misses the sowing season due to a civil war, India can profit from rice exports decreasing its current account deficit. This won’t be a very huge business but it will create an impact, provided there is a good monsoon in India this year. And there will be a good monsoon only if there is a weak El-Nino.
It is certain that 2014 is an El-Nino year,although the expected degree of impact varies according to different agencies. Out of the previous 13 El-Ninos, we had a drought in 10 of them. This simplistic data may misguide us into believing that we won’t be able to extract anything out of the Ukraine crisis, this is far from true. The impact of El-Nino will be more on the western side of the India, Rajasthan, Haryana, the Punjab, Madhya Pradesh,some parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra will be affected. Apart from MP,these region are more famous for wheat and millets cultivation.
So, the rice cultivating areas which lay in the eastern parts of India will remain more or less unaffected.
The western part of India is contiguous with Pakistan,to whom our new PM has extended hands of friendship last week. If there’s a drought like situation in western India, there will be a similar situation in eastern Pakistan. Depending upon our own food reserves we can do a bit of business as well as some diplomacy this year.

Dilemma

It was the begining of november last year,perhaps the first sunday. At around 7’o’ clock I was coming back from my local guardian’s house. It was a part of my routine those days. Every sunday I went to visit my local guardian, who lived in Laxmi Nagar, I used to come back to DU by metro and then walked down to my PG.
But that day was a bit different, I saw a thin old rickshaw-puller at the DU metro station who was requesting everyone, but no one boarded his rickshaw. Whether out of pity or his expected speed hardly matters. Instead of walking I decided to book his rickshaw for Vijay Nagar. I won’t lie that I wanted to help the guy,but truthfully, leaving that guy wanting for customers didn’t seem somewhat right at that moment. It was cold, he was old, he definitely was in need of money. He could have easily begged for help, and many in a similar situation would not have hesitated. His condition looked worse than many of the professionally pestering beggars of delhi. It seemed to me that he was different, he was a man with self-respect.
I felt like talking to that guy,I wanted to strike some converstaion with him. I just wanted to know what was it that made him look strikingly different from others. Why does the composure on his face not match with his tardy dress? What was it that pushed him into pulling a rickshaw? Should I blame the government? Or was his son responsible for this? I just wanted to blame someone. Anyone!

To break the ice, I asked,” oh uncle ji! Don’t you feel cold? You are showing your body just like Salman Khan; without any reason.” I ended the sentence with a fake smile, I didn’t want to look disturbed at the elan with which he was pulling the rickshaw.  He turned around and said, ” I don’t have that now, so I don’t feel cold.” Perhaps, he was refering to clothes or may be something else. But at that very moment I felt like helping that guy. I wanted to give him at least the sweatshirt I was wearing. But there were two issues involved here, first I wanted to help without hurting his well preserved self-respect and secondly, the sweatshirt belonged to my friend.

I decided to leave the sweat shirt under the seat and pay my friend for his loss. I tied the sweat-shirt to a rod so that it doesn’t fall-off and end up as a wasted attempt. I paid the the richshawalla hurriedly,pretending that I was getting late for something, I quicly entered a narrow lane so that he can’t trace me even if he notices the sweat shirt.
On reaching the PG my friend put across me a very simple question ” How can you donate someone else’s property?” I said I’ll pay for your loss. He said, “I am not asking for money, but please tell me how can you donate someone else’s property?”
I had no answers.

Expectations

This blog was intended to reflect on things that affect me. I consider it a success as it has definitely helped me in catharsis. I always wanted it to be simple and straight-forward,so that my launguage doesn’t become a barrier instead of means of communication as it is supposed to be.
The biggest critic of blog is my brother,who thinks that my blogs are kiddish,he attaches no value to the feelings that I try to elicit in the readers. I want anyone reading my blog to feel uncomfortable about reality. The strangeness found in mundane is really unnerving. I want people to experience it.
I always try to use simple words to connect with people. What’s the point in using jargon to flabbergast someone who has stolen some-time from her busy schedule to read about something not at all concerning her? If a beautiful thin girl goes to collect eggs in a basket; should i say ” a svelte sylph went to get her barnyard collections in a wicker receptacle”. Why should I? If the eggs break due to her clumsiness in dealing with a naughty kid, is it apt to say”the flibbertigibbet lost the eggs to a nincompoop”?
My endeavour here is to communicate. With people, real people, people with feelings. And of course some level of vocabulary.

Neo-educationalism

Just saw a friend’s facebook status,” RIP education”. It took me some time to realise,what the context was. He was infuriated at Smriti Irani being given the HRD ministry in Modi’s cabinet. Ajay Maken a congress MP has questioned the educational credentials of Mrs Irani,who has stated her educational qualification as upto intermediate level. It is really terrifying to acknowledge that our education system will be in the hands of someone not eligible to be even a clerk.
Some pro-modi/BJP/RSS people are once again at the vociferous best. They are asking congressi sycophants to look inside their fort first. There are other people who are comparing Smriti Irani to Rabri Devi but I consider that as a hyperbole. As far as being uneducated is concerned, the Lalu family has the top position,and this truth must be left untouched! Some of his kids may be doctors or engineers, but lets not confuse literacy with education.
Coming back to Smriti Irani, I think people should not make a great deal out of this small issue. All that she has to do as the HRD ministers is to change a few NCERTs, and anyone can do this under the able guidance of RSS.
Sorry guys this is enough of leg-pulling, I seriously believe in talent over degrees. Let me remind you all, that India’s 1st education minister Maulana Azad was home schooled. He had no college degree and no one can refute the fact that he was an intellectual and a thorough gentleman.
I personally like Smriti Irani-not since her saas bahu days. She has great oratorial skills and an impeccable memory. There are millions in India who claim that they was born intelligent but education ruined them. At least she is a freshie in this regard. Untouched by the CRASH COARSE.
Moreover,anyone who has confusions that any ministry is run solely by the minister is grossly mistaken. All the ministries have a secretariat full of IAS officers behind them. Who have plenty of on the field experience as well as degrees. Its better to keep your fingers crossed. But it was perfectly fine if you registered your protests. Its a democracy guys. Have fun with your vocal cords.

Family Life

Our society has assigned a stereotypical behavior to every relationship, parents are expected to be caring, sons and daughters to be obedient,daughters-in-law to be dutiful, and so on. In reality we see a lot of deviation from what has been prescribed and mostly we don’t mind such anomalies, for they add at least some flavor to what would have been a highly monotonous social life. I remember, the son of my first landlord in Delhi,who used to abuse his father whenever the latter smoked. The father was a TB patient and  the son cared for him; but calling him by words that have to be covered under a kilohertz beep, was quite eccentric! He remained a matter of discussion within our group for a few months.

Another guy, a distant relative of mine had once crossed all the limits. After a few years of his marriage, he developed a sudden interest in God. He would do all the religious rituals with great fervor, but lost all his steam when it came to his kids. I don’t know where he learnt about such a God who would be pleased by his prayers while he left his family starving.

Once this guy left his wife at home; please don’t ask me whats so special about it?

Because she was 6 months pregnant.

Ask me Why?

Just to spread the word of God!

I have heard that, for God, billions of years are like seconds, God certainly would not have mind a delay of three months. Nevertheless, he left on his quest to spread the Word of God.

Whilst he was busy spreading the word of God ,his wife’s condition was deteriorating. She got herself admitted to the government hospital. She did it all on her own. Due to lack of proper care during pregnancy and also in the hospital, the baby was still-born. When the lady was lying half conscious on the hospital bed,the naked dead body was on a tray, the father was missing from the scene and no relatives were present, she asked a janitor to throw the dead-body,at some place where the dogs won’t eat it. This great apathy is unexpected from a mother,but this is a true incident.

As a male I can never understand her pain,but unlike the father I would try my best to do so. 

Most of the countries don’t register still-births, India is no different. The baby with no name or number was thus born dead and not murdered due to negligence.

At times I feel it is imperative not to deviate too much from the social norms.

 

 

Dedicated to an unknown Koyla wallah

I am from Giridih which is a small town in Jharkhand. It was once known for its coal mines,that now lie abandoned. The practically possible amount that could be pulled out of the earth has already been extracted. What lies inside,are pillars of coal which are necessary for providing support to the land above. Some poor localites in the absence of any other opportunity, enter these mines risking their lives to scrap off coal from the walls and pillars, for a livelihood. Many a times they are lucky, at times they are not! The land collapses if the pillars become too thin, saving the poor from the burial expenses.
The life of such miners is full of hardships and everyone around the town knows about it. The coal that they collect from the mines is packed in sacks,loaded on a cycle and pushed for several kilometers before it reaches the city. Here they get a relatively higher price, at least a difference of a hundred rupees per quintal. Generally, thats the weight they carry on their cycles. Its common to see people helping these “koyla wallahs”,if they are pushing it uphill. I also used to do that. Its a bloody good exercise, 5 minutes are enough to exhaust you out!
Once while I was coming back from school, I saw an old “koyla wala” struggling with his load. I went closer and started pushing his cycle, he turned around and asked me not to do so. I insisted,for I really wanted to help him. He was old and frail. Stiil he refused to take my help. When I continued with my effort, he appealed to me disgustingly, ” please don’t touch this thing, its a CURSE!”
I didn’t know how to react,then,and I don’t know how to react now. Was it a kind of slavery, Where the master is unknown? However hard you try you can’t set yourself free. Why would anyone call something that provided him with livelihood throughout the life, a curse? I hope you people know why!!

Connect the Dots

Construction in Delhi, my Grandfather, a random stranger, elections, career choice

 

After finishing my masters I started preparing for Civil Services. Why? Because all throughout the years of education I used to crib about the dismal condition of our education system. I could have become a professor or could have have pursued research abroad, but I felt the problem was systemic, and it needs correction. Given a choice between drinking water and education anyone would choose the former. How can we expect the kids to learn when they don’t have the basic minimum. I had to enter into the system and work at the bottom of the pyramid; it was the final decision. Education would be the panacea for all the problems in the society.  What we have to do is to just ensure that kids go to school and learn.

With this aim in my mind I started preparing for the exam that will help me become a civil servant. As usual the doors to get into the system if not impossible, are a bit difficult to open. The exam is conducted once a year and I couldn’t clear it in first attempt. I had to change my base from Mukherjee Nagar to Munirka. This place is relatively cheaper and is closer to my younger brother’s college,who joined me this year.

The room is airy and we get sunlight too, so you can’t call it a shanty. There is only one problem,we and our neighbors share a common shaft, and if we both open or windows we can hear what the other one is talking about! I don’t know with what logic the house owner designed it, but its fun. The reason : a girls stays there. All that I could make out from the sounds that I hear, that the girl is from JNU, a premier educational institute. wow! she must be cool.

My brother thinks that her cousin visits her often, but  the moans that I bear suggest in some other direction. I hope they are not incestuous and the guy is her boyfriend! Sometimes our room smells like a hair remover but who can control every smell entering their house. Thank God she doesn’t like Beiber  or Reshammiya! In that case, I would have had problems with sounds other than moans.

I am staying in this house since last 7 months and we never interacted directly. At times  she sings in her kitchen and I sing back,sometimes she stops sometimes she doesn’t care. It was almost an ice breaker when she knocked my door yesterday, I was asleep, my brother opened the door. She wanted to make a call from my cellphone, she didn’t have any balance in hers and it was urgent. My brother gave his phone happily and I lamented myself for sleeping for so long. The bottom line , I couldn’t have a glimpse of her and I would be able to recognize her only from voice or maybe from other sounds that she makes.

Its election time,so its a discussion time in India. Whether we know or don’t know anything, we Indians are very good in discussing. Today she was discussing about the Narendra Modi government with her female friend who had arrived an hour ago. She said she wanted to Kick all the Muslims out of the nation. Oh my GOd! It was a heart break moment for me. Her statement made me revisit my ideas. I had thought that education is biggest leveler. Properly educated person would be above religion,caste or creed. But here I had an example of someone from JNU,she must be pursuing at least masters! wOw!

Where do I go now? New Zealand or Switzerland. Certainly they are better in a few aspects but I love my India more than any other place in the world. Its corrupt, at times brute but its mine! Long ago when India was divided along the communal lines,my Grandfather’s was asked to leave India. He had said, ” I would be the last Muslim to leave India”. After three generations I am saying, ” I would be the last Indian to leave India.”