Babble Without a Pause

November 27, 2015

Of Intolerant Views On Intolerance

FULL DISCLOSURE – I am not a fan of celebrity culture, but make an exception for this man. In my opinion, he is an actor who treads off-the-beaten-path. Like his film roles, he is an unconventional celebrity, and embodies for the most part, a forward thinking mindset, one that I find myself aligned with. There are exceptions, most recently when he criticized the comedians operating a satirical Youtube channel titled AIB for their vulgar language, despite having himself acted in a handful of roles that involved crude language. Sometime between 2 and 3 years ago, Mr. Khan was the face of Satyameva Jayate, a national show that broke from traditional Indian talk shows with its hard-hitting analysis of issues plaguing our country. The toast of the nation back then, everyone crowed about how he was a rare celebrity with a conscience, seeking to do public good, by bringing to light the many issues plaguing the country.

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intolerance
“FUCK Aamir Khan, man” I overhear this afternoon, as I sit down to lunch at a restaurant some 12,000 km from Delhi.

If you haven’t heard the name Aamir Khan in conversations over the past two days, I have one question for you. That rock you’ve been living under, is it sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic? On a more serious note, in case you aren’t aware, the name belongs to an Indian citizen and prominent actor vilified by countless twitterati, blogophiles, and social media enthusiasts over the past two days for comments he made in an interview. Lest I be accused of not quoting accurately or misrepresenting context, here is that question, and his answer:

Anant: Aamir, are you agreeing with the protest (award wapsi, or the recent trend of Indian authors, artists and prominent figures returning awards previously handed out by the Indian govt) or do you think it’s uncalled for… do you think it is premature?

Aamir: Well, I think, if I am not mistaken there are so many people in this room who are much more knowledgeable than me so I am feeling intimidated to speak in front of all of you. But my understanding is that a lot of people from the creative fraternity are protesting because of the growing discomfort they felt or the growing atmosphere of intolerance that they felt around them… growing sense of insecurity and disappointment with that, and as a result that was their way of showing that they are not happy with the situation.

As an individual myself, as a part of the country, as a citizen, we read in newspapers what’s happening and certainly I have also been alarmed. I can’t deny that I am alarmed.. by a number of incidences. For any society it is very important to have a sense of security. I mean there will be acts of violence in world for different reasons. But for us as Indians, as a part of society to have a sense of security… two-three things are very important, I feel. One is sense of justice. If there is a wrong step that anyone takes, then a correct justice is what is required. Common man should feel that justice will be done. That’s what gives a sense of security. The second and very important sense of security is the people who are our elected representatives – people who we select to look after us for five years if at state level or Centre. When people take law in to their hands and when there is a sense of insecurity, we look upon these people to take a strong stance, make strong statements and speed up the legal process to prosecute cases. When we see it happening there is a sense of security but when we don’t see that happening there is a sense of insecurity. So it does not matter who the ruling party is. It’s happened across ages. On television debates, we see where one political party, in this case, the BJP which is ruling right now, is accused of various things. They said, ‘But what happened in 1984?’. But that doesn’t make right what’s happening now. What happened in ‘84 was disastrous and horrendous. At other times also, through ages, whenever there is a violent act, when an innocent person is killed, be it one or a large number, that’s very unfortunate. And these unfortunate moments are the ones when we look towards our leaders to take a strong step. Make statements that are reassuring to the citizens.
[….]
To complete my answer that there is a sense of fear more than there was earlier. I do feel there is a sense of insecurity. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran. (Wife) Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet… growing sense of despondency. You feel depressed, you feel low.. why is it happening? This feeling exists in me too.”

The tendency of people anywhere, to unite against outsiders, perceived or otherwise, is nothing uncommon. Its called xenophobia, and is as old as time. As recently as 2013, Aamir Khan was praised across large swathes of the Indian community, for lending his voice to a TV show that highlighted pressing social issues, in contrast with his peers who largely made commercial films that raked in crores of rupees, but stayed silent on most national issues of any significance. But all of those encomiums were heaped on the man and his body of work at a point in time, when India was under successive coalition governments. When he spoke out against issues the country faced, nobody so much as raised an objection to his comments, as they were perceived as being intended to improve our nation’s policies and practices to better the lives of its citizens. Medieval practices like female infanticide, or the caste system were considered fair game, and nobody batted an eyelid, everyone applauded along, and hit Like/Share/Comment. Now however, it’s a different story. Any time someone so much as mentions the government, or the prime minister in a negative light, you have these rabid fanboys (and girls) climbing over each other to heap scorn on you. Don’t believe me? Check out the comments board on any social media post criticizing the Modi/BJP government, and you will see what I mean. Aamir has learned that the hard way.

If Aamir Khan says he fears for his wife and son due to what he believes is rising intolerance in the country, pro-Hindu masses assume it MUST CERTAINLY be driven by anti-Hindu motives, because he’s Muslim. A friend said Aamir’s comments outraged him because (and I paraphrase) the common man would see/hear a big celebrity speak of growing intolerance which could stoke fears in the minority community, leading to communal violence. So the expectedly juvenile solution proposed by this fringe crowd borders on “this muslim guy doesn’t appreciate that we ‘tolerate’ him and his kind here. Maybe he thinks he will be better off in any one of ‘HIS’ countries, so let’s give him what he wants and send this S.O.B. across the border, to any of a dozen Islamic countries”. Or so goes the reasoning in BJP and vocally pro-Hindu segments, who have found popular mouthpieces lately in the forms of prominent figures like Subramanian Swamy, a member of the BJP. You see, unlike Aamir Khan, who voiced his opinion in response to a question asked in a public interview, instigators like Mr. Swamy stoke communal fears without even being asked. Ask yourself, of the two, whose words are more likely to fan flames of violence.

Yes, politicians pitting citizens against each other is a real thing. Has been, will be. The pattern certainly didn’t begin and end with the BJP coming to power. It is called vote bank politics in India, it’s called pandering in the US, and is known by various terms in various nations. The very notion of us-against-them is a time tested way to cut up a country into little parts, divide and conquer, until it is neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother, friend against friend. I say this to clarify this is NOT a new phenomenon under the BJP, but has existed in previous Indian governments as well. Having said that, the sheer volume in such incendiary comments and commentary has ratcheted up, with the tacit approval of this government. And it hasn’t happened silently, secretly, or under the table, but fairly brazenly, by leaning on the RSS and other communal-based organizations for inputs on governance. Sample this: a year into its rule, the BJP government held behind-closed-doors meetings with its parent organization, the RSS. The official tagline for this 3-day meet was an ‘exchange of notes’. The prime minister himself attended and spoke at the event. How is any member of the religious majority, or anyone from the minority for that case, supposed to expect any measure of objectivity and even-handedness from a government that rather openly associates itself with a hardline right-wing group committed to an openly communal ideology. Why then is a citizen not entitled to a viewpoint that says that intolerance is on the rise. You see, communal incidents aren’t just restricted to a number, a statistic that goes up or down with each successive government. The same statistic that says communal incidents aren’t on the rise, could say the opposite a few months before. A government leaning on its parent organization for inputs on governance and policy, is no longer the government of all, but government of a few, as reflected in cabinet appointments of trusted RSS sevaks to key positions in education and other ministries.

But we are tolerant, you say. We are, yes, compared to several other countries out there, most of them theocracies who outlaw other faiths. But that is the DIFFERENCE. India is not a theocracy, has never been one, and hopefully never will be. So we can and should do better than those other nations. Abhorrence for the Congress model of pandering to minorities should not be used as a pretext to indulge in outrage against any vocal member of the minority demographic that the Congress sought to appease. Look at the comments board on almost any online media site, and you will see large portions of the majority Hindu population across the country expressing sentiments akin to saying out loud that their time has now come, and that it is time to set right the skewed prioritization of minorities which happened under the Congress watch while overlooking the majority . I’m certainly not talking hatred of non-Hindu populations bordering on violent intent, but more of a smug one-upsmanship level of glee that the government in power represents Hindu interests, and not “sickular” interests, a supposedly derogatory term for fake secularism as practiced by the previous ruling party at the center.

Rabindranath Tagore is the author of one of my favorite poems, “Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo” (loosely translated as ‘Where the mind is without fear’), a call to action in pre-independence India, that sounds like it was born from desperation. Had Tagore written this poem today, it is safe to say he would’ve been harassed on social media, his fans would have lined up outside his home to shout slogans about him being a “sickular” celebrity bent on weakening the multi-cultural fabric of the country. Except, there would have been no chants for him to be deported to the nearest Islamic nation. Consider the number of artists, meritorious citizens, scientists and others who chose to return awards and honors previously bestowed on them as a symbolic gesture (titled in the media as ‘Award wapsi‘) protesting growing intolerance and government silence in these cases. There were certainly Hindus in this group of silent activists. Yet, besides the expected disappointment expressed by some diehard fans of this government, there were certainly no ethnic slurs, abuses, or faux threats in their direction. Certainly, none of the Hindu participants were harassed to leave the country. If they were, I certainly didn’t hear it. Why is it then that Aamir is told to be grateful for the tolerance this country has shown him, and to be respectful for what “the country has made him”. Would such expectations be leveled against an Anupam Kher or any one of the multiple national award winners who returned awards bestowed on them by the government, who also happen to be Hindu, had they echoed similar sentiments under a Congress-led regime? What makes a Muslim any less of a citizen, or supposedly less entitled to an opinion than a Hindu citizen. There lies your answer.

humanity
You see, Khan being Muslim, or Kher being Hindu, is merely incidental to the fears and emotions they express. As a country, it is our duty to ensure that no citizen feels that way. It’s a lofty ideal, and one that we won’t ever solve in the near or even distant future. No country or civilization has, and we certainly aren’t going to be among the first. But it is an ideal that we must at least aspire to. Yet, because he belongs to a national minority, our basest instincts make his ethnicity the easiest to target, with comments such as these that have been doing the rounds on social media everywhere:

“My country is tolerant. Let’s see you find this level of tolerance anywhere in a theocracy like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia”.
“My country is tolerant, how dare you say it isn’t. Get on a train and get out, go back to Pakistan”.
“My country is tolerant, so what if ONE stray citizen was lynched a month ago for the contents of his plate”.
“My country is tolerant, so what if it really isn’t, the previous government was no better”.

In response to Aamir’s comments, taken out of context of course, have been two prominent viral posts doing the rounds. One is by a Sikh gentleman who speaks at length about how tolerant all of India has been to watch his movies, even the ones portraying Hindu gods in a negative light, and how if he had experienced intolerance all these years, even back in 1984, he never spoke up about it. The other, by a Muslim lady from Bangalore, a doctor who claims to never have faced discrimination or intolerance for as long as she can remember. To both these fine folks, I say I’m glad to hear that. But for every one citizen who hasn’t had to face intolerance, there are many more who have. So if expressing concern over the intolerance in the country is too sweeping a generalization to pardon, then so should attempts to brush every single instance of actual intolerance under the carpet by citing one person’s individual experiences.

Incidentally, today is the 26th of November 2015. On this night, 7 years ago, terrorists launched what was the largest coordinated attacks on Indian soil in a long while. In times of war as on that night, we band together, united under the flag of country. In times of peace, almost counter-intuitively, we challenge each other’s pride in country, patriotism, or religion. It’s almost like when there is no war, we seek out and set up reasons to wage ideological wars. Where terrorism is involved, it is clear that these incidents have nothing to do with religion. If they were, then terrorists would handpick and save their own, and kill only others. No, that isn’t the case. Muslims also died in the Mumbai terror attacks of  2008, because “religious” terror really has no religion. Communal violence and unrest, on the other hand, are instigated and perpetrated, strictly in the name of religion, or ethnic identity. And it is these communal incitement that needs to be carefully monitored, because as long as politicians are allowed to bait citizens, whether in India or elsewhere across the world, a nation’s people will fight outsiders in times of war, and fight each other in times of peace.

November 15, 2015

A prayer to the Heavens

Filed under: politics,Ponderings on Life — rajivmathew @ 2:03 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

You created life on earth a billion years ago
You chose to wipe out the dinosaurs not long after.

You occupy the heavens and look down on us mortals.
You can be seen in the beautiful night sky

You can spare people’s lives if you so choose.
You can utterly annihilate the human race if you desire.

Some await you arrival signaling the end of the world.
Others dread your next coming.

So, if you’re up there, and if you’re listening ….

…. dear God METEORITE

come wipe us out now.

July 30, 2012

If you can’t beat them …..

……. who are we kidding. Of course we can. Apart from molesting them, slapping them, degrading them, infantilizing them, groping them, sexually assaulting them, and possibly raping them. All in broad daylight. If there were a sport called find-women-having-a-reasonably-good-time-and-beat-the-living-shit-out-of-them, us Indians (or atleast the self-appointed-goons among us) would win the gold, silver and bronze hands down, every four years. Hell, we’d get a walkover at all future Olympics. Two incidents in the last two months have helped India wake up to this epiphany. Which is why, even as we speak, Suresh ‘pocketed-most-of-the-CWG-funds-toward-much-needed-ethics-transplant-surgery’ Kalmadi is vociferously lobbying the halls of Parliament, trying desperately to get our elected netas to, in turn, lobby the IOC to recognize FWHARGTABTLSOOT as an official sport of the 2016 Olympics.

 

 

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Olympic(k on women) games have been going on for a while in India now. Of note, the latest variant, in which journalists desperately trying to up the ante (no, not Nita Ambani; e………asy Bhajji, down boy) on their TRPs, actually incite mobs to gather around women, assault them, drag them by their hair along the street and do as they please, and proceed to capture aforementioned beizzati on film, for subsequent ultra slow-mo replay and (literal) blow-by-blow analysis on struggling television channel.

 

The latest incident in Mangalore brings to memory a similar fiasco in the same city a little over three years ago. Lest we forget, the  attacks on a group of party-hopping youngsters at a pub back on Jan 24th 2009 were perpetrated by a rabid bunch of Hindu moralists. You know, the kind that beat their wife to a pulp back home, but are against Sherlyn Chopra posing for Playboy because (and I paraphrase): “It is an affront to our motherland’s glorious cultural and moral heritage”. This time around, a group of youngsters allegedly celebrating their friend’s birthday were accused of hosting a ‘rave’ party. Enter the Smug Saffron Scoundrels, ready to dole out a well-deserved dose of beating, slapping and thrashing.

 

Most of you will cry foul at this next bit. I get that as we speak, well-meaning organizations like India Against Corruption are fighting a lone war to clean the scam (and urine-stained) halls of government. I get that  they have a clear objective vis-a-vis elimination of corruption in beloved Hindustan. I also get, and respect the personal sacrifice most of the activists make, risking family and self to stand out in the sun, forgoing food and/or water, while lazier software-employed, air-conditioned-office-sitting armchair activists (yours truly included)  ‘share’ or ‘like’ a picture of a corruption fighting octagenarian on their favourite social network.

 

That said, how about we put aside corruption for, oh I don’t know, the better part of next century, and focus instead on elimination of rape on our streets. Because I sure as hell would prefer to live with paying the paan-chewing pear-shaped government babu Rs. 5000 to get the electricity meter installed in my home, than see someone’s daughter/sister/wife/girlfriend dragged along the streets because she had a drink (or two). This charade of moral/religious policing has to stop. To be clear, it isn’t just the beard-sporting, gun-wielding Pakistani who qualifies to be a terrorist. We have far too many homegrown terrorism within our borders to be pointing to Pakistan (or other Islamic countries) as sources of terrorism. Anytime another of these reprehensible bastards step out of their house to protect their religion, the life of another woman is at stake. Today it might just be a statistic. [X] girls assaulted in bar in Mangalore. Tomorrow, it could be your daughter.

 

The last time this happened, the leader of Shri Rama Sena was sent pink chaddis by the handful. Apparently feeling overlooked, the Hindu Janagarana Vedike stepped up this time, and is possibly anticipating a huge booty (honestly, no pun intended) of colorful lingerie. As a friend so eloquently put it though, “…. the time for sending pink chaddis is over”. It is time for us to collectively take responsibility for this shambolic state of affairs in this country. Everytime a principal is found guilty of calling in his own young wards into his office to satisfy some depraved urge. Everytime a news reporter is found inciting all-too-ready roadside goons to carry out their thuggery on women and men doing nothing more than having a good time. Everytime a Hindu/Muslim/Christian/Other vigilante rushes into a pub/bar/restaurant claiming to be upholding Indian morals, whilst simultaneously slapping a girl across the face. Everytime one or more such incidents happen in plain sight, rather than whip out our iPhones to capture the video for later upload to prominent social network for shares/likes/comment gathering, keep that god awful phone in your pocket. Step up, and hold these pond scum accountable.

 

A prominent public transport anti-terrorism awareness program in New York carries the slogan ‘If you see something, say something’. How about we adopt that to our current situation. ‘If you see something, DO something’. Like catch these greasy monkeys. Shoot the bastards where the sun don’t shine. Then hang them from the 10th floor of the nearest multiplex. Let’s teach these sonsofbitches a lesson. Perhaps it’s time for some good ol’ Saudi Arabian justice. You know, ‘an eye for an eye’. ‘A tooth for a tooth’. ‘A penilectomy for a sexual assault’.

 


POST-SCRIPT

As reported by Mangalore Today, the HJV has reacted strongly to the accusations flying thick and fast. I leave to you, the reader, the task of draw conclusions pertaining to the level of intellect posessed by these buffoons. Presenting to you, exhibit A. And B.

Milord, I rest my case.

 

 

 

October 30, 2011

Trash Metal and the Indian Grand Pricks

Delhi. That land of political scams, that Indian-Italian lady, and anti-corruption protestors with varied names like Ramesh, James, Iqbal, Mona, Donna, Shoewalla, Rocketwalla and Jain, wearing placards and all holding banners saying “I am Anna”.  Identity crisis? Me thinks so. Their parents would be so sad. Yes, the same Delhi that last year played a clueless, ill-prepared host to the world’s athletes (and some local stray canine friends) at the Commonwealth Games, and came out with its head held high, by some stroke of blind luck.  Yes, that very Delhi was in the news for all the wrong reasons (shocker!) yesterday.

First, certain hardcore music fans took the term ‘Trash Metal’ a trifle too seriously. Word on the street is that some half-wit Delhi loons, upon hearing that Metallica and co. had expressed reservations about the security arrangements, took it upon themselves to express umbrage the way only Delhi waaley know how. By storming the stage for a theatrical re-enactment of St. Anger, followed by the customary mother/daughter/sister slogans, and general destruction. Metallica, you only have yourself to blame. The people of Delhi when asked, chanted in unison that you are hereby Unforgiven. To them it’s all about the music, and Nothing Else Matters.

The violence on Friday was a perfect advertisement for the Formula One race coming up on Sunday, where a dog almost ran onto the track during practice on Friday, almost causing an accident that would’ve added to the list of unfortunate casualties in auto racing in the past week around the world.

Speaking of unfortunate accidents, Lady Gaga is scheduled to perform at an exclusive after-party at some yuppie upscale watering hole in some ramshackle downscale suburb of Old Delhi. An after-party hosted by Arjun Rampal, a man I thought was possessed of some semblance of dignity and common sense. That is, until, when asked about the ₹40,000 price tag for a seat at the concert,  he opened his mouth to say : “One has to understand that the costs are very high. Maybe if we had a bigger venue with capacity for more people, we could have gone easy on the price. But with less people, it becomes difficult to lower the price. After all it’s business, and we have to break even.” Indeed, break even he has to, for he is a struggling businessman with no other source of income but to fleece India’s teenage monsters. The local media have been going gaga (I’m sorry, it really was too easy, I can’t believe I held that one in so long) with reports of the exclusive after-party and Rampal’s scarcely contained glee, as he giggled and blushed like a little 10-year-old girl waiting with bated breath for Miss Gaga to perform at his exclusive event.

Out on the streets, Delhi’s sex workers were heard expressing anguish and outrage that Miss Gaga was able to rake in upwards of ₹40,000 for crooning lyrics as profound and soulful as:

Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick
I wanna take a ride on your disco stick
Don’t think too much, just bust that kick
I wanna take a ride on your disco stick

while they are barely able to command ₹500 for offering the same (in roughly similar sounding words) to commuters and passers-by at red light areas.

Back to the Formula One race itself. A long-cherished dream of every Indian. Almost as cherished a dream as becoming an engineer, once upon a time. Cue an incessant stream of Facebook news feed updates with posts titled anything from “I’m so proud of India”, to “Vande Mataram”, to “Vijay Mallya for president”. Call me silly, but I’m willing to wager a not-too-small sum of money, that AR Rahman been booked well in advance, to be up on the starting line singing the National Anthem prior to, after and during the race. Why you ask? Because it is a matter of national pride, to host a global event of such delusions of grandeur and prestige. Remind me again, why Indians are not up in arms against this race, like we all were when the La Tomatina festival reared its rotten head in Bangalore, Delhi, Ahmedabad and other cities around the country a month ago. Back then the outrage was borne out of depriving farmers of their hard-earned living, paying them a pittance, and we all were suitably outraged, venting on MyFace, YourSpace, Tumblr, Grumblr and a million other social networks out there.

To be clear, I’m not against the sport itself. But let’s try and get this straight shall we, it’s JUST a race. And like any other race, it is a sporting spectacle, run as always, by politicians who got their cut of the government money that went into financing this exercise in phallus size comparison. It is no reflection of the power of a country, it is no statement of prowess or ambition. All the pundits will tell you it is GOLD to host an international event. It brings in tourism, it boosts revenues, and gives our economy a massive erection. But maybe we can put off the jhanda waving and the tricolour hats until we don’t have as many underage children getting sold as sex slaves in the capital. Until our bhai log in the capital can keep themselves civilized at public events, instead of  going apeshit crazy at the drop of a hat. Until, perhaps, the leader of our country grows a pair, and does something significant towards bringing to justice a hardened remorseless terrorist after 3 years of dawdling. Scratch that last one, it ain’t gonna happen.

Till then, perhaps we can put hosting global events on the back burner, focus on things that need focus, and go back to paying ₹1000 to watch Shahrukh Khan whoring himself out on any number of commercial ventures *cough* movies, and give our film fraternity a well-earned pat on the back for their achievements in the field of scarcely-credible-cinema-making.

March 17, 2011

App-lied Religion

Early last week, the Catholic church announced with breathless excitement, the news everyone had been waiting to hear for decades now. No, the priests who sodomized children for decades weren’t finally found guilty and sentenced to life behind bars. The pope – who earlier the same week had urged his hordes of faithful minions priests worldwide, to “help people see the face of Christ on the Web, through blogs, Web sites and videos” –  announced the worldwide release of “Confession: A Roman Catholic App”, the 1st iPhone app officially sanctioned by the Catholic church (and now available through iTunes for only $1.99, YAY!), at a packed papal enclave at dawn.

For those not in the know, let me break it down for you. Catholic confession is an entirely futile exercise wherein non-ten-commandment-abiding sinners christians voluntarily enter a church-stationed wooden cubicle roughly twice a week, reveal saucy details of the wickedness and transgressions of their morally corrupt lives to a bishop, priest or cardinal on the other side of aforementioned box (separated by a veil), in hopes of absolution from the same clergyman who has lesser morals than an Aesop’s fable.

Retweeting the papal ordnance, a grumpy looking archbishop of Canterbury (better known by his twitter handle, @daddyneverlovedme) was heard incoherently grumbling something about how his church-sponsored iPhone was meant for snapping suggestive pictures of young altar boys, not for confession, of all things.

Aside from my barely-disguised animosity toward a catholic church besieged by scandal, and onto the star of this show, the app itself.  The login page of the app reads (and I am NOT kidding) : “Please touch a user below to continue”. Pardon my naivety, is this an app for confession or a how-to for repressed priests? Because, those guys have demonstrated quite conclusively that they don’t really need an invitation. It also purports to be the “Age, vocation and gender specific examination of conscience”. By that criterion, it baffles the mind how “Are you a middle aged, repressed lonely priest” is not the first question on this app. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit. I hear that’s scheduled for release in Confession 2.0.

The home page on iTunes goes on to promote the serious utility of such a handy app, citing it as “the iPhone app for making confession easier”. Gee, I wonder why Jesus didn’t think of that. Instead of travelling light years from his home in the sky, to offer himself for your sins, all he had to do was look up the great cosmic iTunes store, download the salvation app, answer a few trivial (for him) questions; and VOILA  redemption guaranteed for generations of unborn sinners. Or Moses. Silly ol’ Moses. Rather than sitting on Mt. Sinai for 40 days painstakingly carving 10 comandments in stone, he simply needed to connect to HeavenWireless, and download the pdf onto his tablet. Perhaps the prophet Mohammed should have asked the angel Gabriel to download the iKoran app to his phone, turn on bluetooth and sync it to his notebook atop Mount Hira. I mean, Gautama Buddha sounds like he was genuinely off his rocker, taking all his clothes off and sitting under a tree, when enlightenment was just a download away. Were he alive today, he’d only have to plug in his 13.1″ laptop to his BSNL 56k dial-up modem, and lookup Kurt Cobain on Google, to find nirvana.

The three god-fearing, born-again, young Catholic men from South Bend, Indiana, crafters of this supreme innovation seem to be not-too-quietly patting themselves on the back at their newly earned all access pass to the pearly gates. “We tried to make it as secure as possible,” says Patrick Leinen, a 31-year-old Internet programmer who built the app with his brother, Chip, a hospital systems administrator, and Ryan Kreager, a Notre Dame doctoral candidate. Yes, you got that right. “As secure as possible”. An app, developed by 3 out of work computer nerdlings, ostensibly overseen and inspired by clergymen. Definitely nothing that could go wrong there. Surely no backdoor (pun MOST CERTAINLY intended) to relay the contents of your daily electronic confession to the waiting eyes, ears (and hands?) of a thousand bishops in underground Vatican sweatshops, poring over details of your everyday life. If the app takes off in popularity like it’s developers expect it to, you honestly shouldn’t be surprised if father TouchMeLot approaches you after sunday service to let you know that he knows who you poked this week (on Facebook or otherwise), and whether or not you were using protection at the time of said poking (Note to non-technical readers: no matter how much the pope Benedict tries to convince you that using protection is sinful, it is good to protect yourself from nasty viruses transmitted by poking strangers wirelessly in public. Don’t believe me? Look here). Cardinal Angelo Sexophile now has up-to-the-minute stats on  all your transgressions which in turn allows him, at the proverbial click of a button, to shame you for the stunningly accurate count of times you yelled ‘Bloody Mary’ at that loud annoying girl Mary from work, slouched in the corner of the pub, while swigging your 10th bloody mary on a sad, lonely Friday night.

Confession has long been promoted by the church as a way to get closer to God, the path to redemption for the sinful (read, all non-Christian gentiles) to ease the burdens of their pagan lifestyle, and touted as the way to a lighter conscience. And now, it appears, a lighter wallet as well. A small request to future developers of the iSalvation, iPray, iBhajan, iNamaaz, iZen and other copycat apps; please don’t make me have to touch this Patrick guy, whoever he is, just to login to my e-confession. Please. I’d rather not.

 

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February 4, 2011

Abbreviated

Life’s too short, we are told. With a world gone digital, and everyone online, it appears our vocabulary has shrunk to a handful of ridiculous acronyms to meet the need of the times. It seems like, almost overnight, we’ve been transported into an alternate universe when kids rattle off the exact specifications on a Wii or PS3 before they’ve even learned the ABC. Elementary school kids, barely out of diapers, are busy circulating the latest forwarded SMS, while their more illustrious seniors are busy doing the naughty on MMS (LOL!) A 6-year old who’s just graduated from potty training could put you to shame with his ability to rattle off the names of every character in every video game, from CoD to WoWAoE to GTA, GP4 to GT4. Every teen, tween, and pre-pubescent is going OMG at the latest Justin Bieber video. We’re obsessed with celebrities and their lives, who they did LSD with, or how many partners they’ve had SEX with (TMI!). In an always online world, everyone’s status line is habitually set to DND, and even if they do find the time to talk, they’ll always BRB because they’ve GTG. We all have varying degrees of ADD, switching between Facebook, Hulu, Youtube and ESPN while attempting to finish work due the next day, from within the confines of the same four mind-numbing walls of the same office cubicle. Every yuppie BSC and MBA aspirant is awake late at night, trying to ace one or all of the CETSATACTGRE, CAT, just so he can secure his ticket into the IIT or IIM of choice, ensuring his place as the newest FOB to fly BLR -> LHR -> JFK to take over as the CEO or CFO of a massive corporate empire like UPS or UBS, in a swank office overlooking NYC.

With IPL season 4 due to begin soon, it can only mean one thing; more ADD at the office, and even more OCD at home, characterized by family feuds for control of the TV remote, between equally passionate fans of the rival EPL and NBA leagues. When cricket isn’t on the tube, RAW is WAR. When neither of these is on, CSI rules primetime TV, I don’t know WTF for (SMH). If all else fails, it’s time to switch between CNNIBNABCBBCNBC and the slew of trusty 24-hour news channels that recycle and repackage the same combination of non-news ad naueseumIDK about you, but IMO the standard of television programming has plummeted depths heretofore unknown to the human civilization.

As a PPL, we have disturbingly low patience levels today. Every website has an FAQ page; every bank has an ATM, because everyone wants to get things done ASAP. We don’t have enough time to procreate the natural way, so we go in for IVF. We demand instant gratification, without any of the hassle or effort. Unable to cook at home, and unwilling to even try tossing a relatively healthy BLT on the BBQ, we buy dangerously toxic sludge ‘food’ (AKA ‘Happy’ meals, McNuggets, and Whoppers) from KFC and McD, and watch in surprise as we pack on the LBS. Too tired from the weight gain and premature onset of obesity, we barely have enough energy to WFH. Mechanics and garages are no longer open, because every Tom, Dick and Sally has a DIY kit from the ACE hardware store; but if you are unable to get past step 1 on the installation manual, good luck since the only thing you’ll reach if you call customer support is an IVR machine, or if you’re really lucky, an employee in a call center in BLR, who, even if he does an adequate job of helping with what you need, will get no more than a cursory grunt of acknowledgement. Lets face it, we’re in such a hurry, who has time to say things like THX, leave alone PLZ, SRY and ILU?

For a gadget to catch our attention, it has got to be flashy, sleek, fast, or all of the above. Your neighbour down the road just purchased the latest and greatest IBM, with the hottest RAM and superfast CPU, which means it’s definitely time for you to upgrade from your 20 year old computer running DOS so you can download pirated music from the best P2P service online. Your USP might be ESP, but today, nobody will even notice, since they’re busy on their PSP. Technology has empowered the common man beyond what anyone ever imagined. It’s fairly simple today to purchase a full-fledged SLR and all the snazzy equipment that comes with it, and begin snapping away as many JPGs as your gigantic memory card can hold, and JLT you’re a star photographer.In a digital world obsessed with computers, FUD is the order of the day. Y2K came and went at the turn of the millennium, yet none of us died. The CIAFBI and NSA would have you believe everyone who reads a koran is a terrorist, and do a fine job of trying to make you fear for your life everytime you walk down the street. Online, everyday is a never-ending saga of OWN or PWN, with some hacker breaking into and accessing unauthorized data. Any and every achievement, big or small, is trumped online as being FTW. Yes, seriously. WTF is FTW? Technology moves along at breakneck pace, best exemplified by antiques like STDISDFAX and PCO which have died a slow and painful death, leaving clueless phone booth operators in their wake, as every second techno-savvy teen whips out their shiny new HTC which claims to do everything short of actually substituting for toilet paper.

The economy today has been in a steady downward spiral for longer than we can remember. PSUs sink each day, and companies announce very public and very profitable IPOs to make hay while the sun shines. NGOs have mushroomed all over the place, almost like a rodent infestation. Each day the USD, the INR and the GBP wage a largely pointless battle for currency superiority. No matter what you purchase, big or small, whether it be a top-of-the-line DVD or VCD player, or a spanking new ZENKIAGMC, or a DIO, you have to think long and hard ABT your how much you’re willing to shell out on your EMI at the end of the month.

FYI, contrary to what you think, politics is no different in India than it is in the USA. There you have the INC fighting the BJP. Here you have the DEMs fighting the GOP. The same scumbag politicians are in it to win it; benefactors of kickbacks offered by powerful corporate lobby houses, from the NRA to AIG, LIC to ING. In 2001 Saddam was suspected to be hiding WMDs, the US government has long been suspected to be hiding UFOs,  and Chinese restaurants have long been blatantly loading MSG in their food. Sure, it tastes GR8, but apparently it’s bad for you (FML!).  At the EOD, maybe its time to sit down and face the harsh reality. Let’s say a quiet RIP for a world possessed of some sanity, which we lost ages ago. Maybe it’s time to send an SOS to our last hope for a solution, Santa Claus. NVM actually. Maybe some things aren’t meant to be fixed.

Hold on JAM. I gotta take this call.

“Hello …”

“Yes, speaking. Who’s this.”

“Jimmy who? Sorry? Jimmy Wales? ”

“Sincere thanks from the folks at Wikipedia for all the link-backs to your home page? Why, you’re most welcome. What’s that you say, 1000 unique hits in an hour? ”

GTG for now. BRB.

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This post is an obviously amateur, slightly comical take on the pervasiveness of acronyms and shorthand in the lexicon of present-day English usage all over the world. It is a humble tribute to the late legend, George Carlin, (inspired largely by THIS performance entitled ‘Modern Man’). Watching it, you can’t help but simultaneously be left in awe at the genius of this man, as well as be let down by the intellectually inferior fare you just read.

November 16, 2009

A simpler time

  • Stuffing pocketfuls of “Gundumani” at the start of Fall, when the school basketball court was littered with these incredible red beads.
  • Playing cricket with hard rolled-up paper balls, and makeshift bats (Golden Bells, sometimes even a hard-bound Good News Bible)
  • Getting introduced to the cane. Thank you,  Benny & Late Mr. MT Thomas. I never seemed to learn my lesson, whatever it was.
  • SUPW classes (I recall ACTUALLY telling the teacher, quite innocently of course, that it stood for “Some Useful Period Wasted”)
  • Speaking of sports teachers, howzabout Peter Daniels (aka PD aka Nose-picker-extraordinaire)
  • Watching in awe, as the old dilapidated canteen building made way, and the William Carey block took form.
  • Having a crow fly by during lunch break, and relieve itself into the contents of my lunch box.
  • Dressing up as a Tube of Colgate toothpaste for a fancy dress competition in Pre-school.
  • Spitballs from Lawrence (aka Spitfest, spitball, Lorry). I’m still trying to scrub away the memories.
  • Collecting ladybirds in Cheetah Fight matchboxes.
  • Mr. Samson, and PT class.
  • Indianredseeds
  • The late Mr. Francis Joseph, and (God bless his soul) pants worn above the chest.
  • Boys v. Girls, in Kannada class. (Mrs. Aaron)
  • THAT yellow cane. Preparatory class. Miss Dawson.
  • Morning assemblies.
  • Class picnics. Mysore, 1994 … Mrs. Daisy Rani
  • Varghese (aka Vargoose) and Physical Education classes.
  • Mastering Organic Chemistry (Or not) in ISC. That still gives me nightmares.
  • ISC Volleyball.
  • Class couples. No names will be named here 🙂
  • Miss Priya George. Prettiest Bio teacher. EVER.
  • Paulraj, his wife (aunty, to us) and their beloved canteen. Fryums, Anyone ?
  • The incredible story of the “classroom-invading-lunch-eating-monkey”. Std. 4.
  • Easho Jacob “special” assemblies. 1 week. EACH year. Jeez !
  • MINUS marks (Homework/Conduct/Material). HAHAHAAAAAA 🙂
  • Farewell parties, in Std. 10 and 12.
  • Last minute feverish polishing of “black” school shoes by rubbing them against the back of your already dirty khakhi pants.
  • Mr. Pakinathan and his “Rock-music-is-Satanic !!!” scripture classes.
  • Mr. Joseph David, and projectile pieces of chalk thrown your way, in case you were stuck in some awesome daydream.
  • Reaching school late some days, and being forced to stand outside, in the basketball court. (Joke’s on them, they thought standing OUTSIDE was punishment).
  • Clarence inter-school basketball tournament. Every year. Backing our team to chants of  “Jinkalaka, Jinkalaka  …. Ooh Aah, Ooh, Aah”
  • That reminds me ….. ANYONE remember Aslam ?  (Close to 6’6″ . Jordanesque. LEGEND.)
  • Learning to appreciate, perchance, mock Shakespeare. Courtesy Tara Ravindra (aka Tara)
  • Watching Hamlet, in the school auditorium, including certain explicit scenes which she probably didn’t expect to be in there, and giggling away, despite being in, what, 11th Std ?
  • Laporte (aka Clarence’s 1st openly (lets say flamboyant) teacher) and his effeminate charms. (Having a hard time writing this with a straight face) 😀
  • Studying the Dickens epic, “Tale of Two Cities” in 7th standard. (Mrs. Alexander)
  • Insane ISC Mathematics, with Ms. Sunita Jacob (aka SJ). Colossal textbooks, you might recall. I think that class made me what I am.
  • Annual Sports Day. Assaye field. Walk past ? March past ? Did NOT matter. The taunts ringing out from behind those grilled windows of Aloysius College never ceased to amuse. 😉
  • Speech Day & Prize Distribution Day. Man, i could count on being there regardless of how bad I had screwed up my grades, or the record no. of conduct marks. Yes, i could assure my seat there every year, purely on the basis of ….
  • Flack Memorial Scripture Memory Contest. 😀  My calling card.
  • Graduation day. Getting all choked up hearing “Au Lang Syne” at the biggest day in our collective lives.
  • Class clowns. Class toppers. Class backbenchers. Class bunkers. Class acts. Teachers’ pets. There was one of every kind.

Golden memories all. Some things NEVER change.

Clarence (1988-2001)

January 14, 2009

AM I WITH THE RIGHT PARTNER ?

During one of our seminars, a woman asked a common question. She said, ‘How do I know if I married the right person?’ I noticed that there was a large man sitting next to her so I said, ‘It depends. Is that your husband?’ In all seriousness, she answered ‘How do you know?’

Let me answer this question because the chances are good that it’s weighing on your mind.

Here’s the answer.


EVERY relationship has a cycle. In the beginning, you fell in love with your spouse / partner . You anticipated their call, wanted their touch, and liked their idiosyncrasies (unconventional behavior/habit). Falling in love with your spouse wasn’t hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn’t have to DO anything. That’s why it’s called ‘falling’ in love… Because it’s happening TO YOU .

People in love sometimes say, ‘I was swept of my feet.’ Think about the imagery of that __expression. It implies that you were just standing there; doing nothing, and then something came along and happened TO YOU. Falling in love is easy . It’s a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few years of marriage, the euphoria (excitement) of love fades. It’s the natural cycle of EVERY relationship . Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse’s idiosyncrasies , instead of being cute, drive you nuts.

The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship, but if you think about your marriage, you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.

At this point, you and/or your spouse might start asking, ‘Did I marry the right person?’ And as you and your spouse reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when marriages breakdown . People blame their spouse for their unhappiness and look outside their marriage for fulfillment.

Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes. Infidelity is the most obvious. But sometimes people turn to work, a hobby, a friendship, excessive TV, or abusive substances. But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your marriage. It lies within it. I’m not saying that you couldn’t fall in love with someone else. You could. And TEMPORARILY you’d feel better. But you’d be in the same situation a few years later. Because (listen carefully to this):

THE KEY TO SUCCEEDING IN MARRIAGE IS NOT FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON; IT’S LEARNING TO LOVE THE PERSON YOU FOUND.

SUSTAINING love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. It’ll NEVER just happen to you. You can’t ‘find’ LASTING love. You have to ‘make’ it day in and day out. That’s why we have the __expression ‘the labor of love.’ Because it takes time, effort, and energy . And most importantly, it takes WISDOM . You have to know WHAT TO DO to make your marriage work.

Make no mistake about it. Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or without your spouse) to succeed with your marriage. Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. Just as the right diet and exercise program makes you physically stronger, certain habits in your relationship WILL make your marriage stronger. It’s a direct cause and effect. If you know and apply the laws, the results are predictable… you can ‘make’ love .

Love in marriage is indeed a ‘decision’… Not just a feeling.

Remember this always :

‘God determines who walks into your life. It is up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.’

Dr. John C Maxwell

http://www.johnmaxwell.com

December 17, 2008

Imagine

In the tormented times we live in today, only love can conquer hate. One visionary song composed in 1971, by John Lennon speaks of a world with no possessions, no wars, no hate. ONLY LOVE. Watch his original song and follow along with the lyrics, and you can also dream of a world united by love, not torn by hate. Imagine, 37 years after this song, nothing has changed. Maybe the time is now, Maybe we are the ones who can start the beginning of the new world. “Its easy if you try ….”

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one


November 30, 2008

In the land of the blind…

Another barbaric attack ….. another few disillusioned young men drawn into and brainwashed into terrorism, to savage a country and hold it to ransom for 60 hours. Another hundred or two hundred lives snatched away in an instant. Yet at the end of it all, how far have we come. Since the last attack on Mumbai, that bustling epitome of India’s spirit, the instinct to survive and move on with your life, how much has changed in the way we have looked at our own security. The politician’s perspective certainly hasnt changed. He still prowls around the area, waiting for the opportune moment to pounce on a city ravaged with war, terror and attacks on its innocence. And come election time, no matter what the previous government did, the incumbent is made to look like a terrorist, with mud slinging matches waged with such ferocity and passion.

The politician’s point of view hasn’t changed one bit in those 2 years that have gone by, purely because he hasn’t lost a close member of his family. He still drives around the city when and where he pleases, with his Z-level security, attending the occasional session of Parliament, storming the well of the house (Lok or Rajya Sabha), demanding adjournement for the days proceedings, throwing that tantrum long enough for the speaker to adjourn the session. A nice leisurely stroll outside Parliament lawns, and back again that afternoon for another stalled session of parliament, held up by another moron, armed with the most trivial of reasons to postpone the parliament session till the next day. All done for the day, and its back to the free airline ride back home in business class, and all the other perks. If there’s one thing our politicians haven’t realized till today, it’s that they are reponsible for the security of India. Yes, INDIA. NOT Mumbai, NOT Chennai, NOT Hyderabad, NOT Delhi. FOR INDIA. For the security of its people, and to uphold the sovereignty of the country, that has been entrusted into their not-so-able hands. Death hasn’t hit them as close as it has hit us, hit our friends and their families, hit our own loved ones. Which is why they still walk around with the audacity to tell us we’re safe when clearly we are not.

When a boat loaded with armed youth docks near Colaba to offload a few young men, with satchels on their shoulders, everybody shrugs, pays little heed, and walks on. Not one suspicious look here or there. Thats cause we’ve been exposed to so much in our lifetime, that when we see obvious hints before us, we often fail to see them. What was the Coast Guard doing at the time. Shouldn’t every single boat/ship/cruise liner entering the maritime border be subjected to the most intense scrutiny and security check? Its easy to say this in retrospect, once you know where they come from. How much easier should it have been then, for politicians to stop their bickering for once, and realize the threat before it struck in such horrific fashion. POTA came into effect in 2002. In the intervening 6 years, how many terrorists have been detained under this law, found guilty and been sentenced to death or life imprisonment ? Easy. Barely a handful. Contrast this with the number of politicians who’ve used and abused this for their whims and politican mileage. Vaiko, an inconsequential player in Indian politics, is symbolic of this problem. Pass a law into effect, and the loopholes in it get used by every singe politician. Compare this with the USA. As those of you who know me will agree, I’m not among the biggest fans of the USA. The one attack that was perpetrated on their soil was 9/11 and their reaction was so swift, so hard, it crushed the forces of terror that carried out those crimes. In the past 7 years, NOT ONE single attack has been carried out on US soil since. This isn’t to imply that the USA is suddenly a safe haven in the midst of global terror. It’s just the way they have responded. They’ve got into the mindset of that terrorist, and acted swiftly and with force. Contrast this reaction with that of the Indian government.

Look at this video, and tell me how much confidence you got in the government and their capability to handle the situation, by hearing Mr. Manmohan Singh talk here. NONE. In all honesty, it looks like the PM was reading his message off a teleprompter as is so often the case, NOT speaking TO the Indian populace from his heart, from a strong conviction that the perpetrators of this crime would not be let free that easily. In all honesty, if you want visible proof of the last vestiges of Manmohan Singh’s manhood, you could probably find them floating in a bottle of formaldehyde, on Sonia Gandhi’s desk. Truth is, the man lost all trace of his manhood the second he got installed as the puppet Prime Minister by Sonia Gandhi. The man has POSITIVELY NO SENSE of how to lead a country. For those who disagree, let me remind you here is the man, the self same man who was our leader when Mumbai got attacked in 2006. There again, he promised to find the terrorists and hunt them down. Whats changed. The answer? NOTHING. Nothing has changed cause this government, as others before it, believes in patching up the system, not overhauling it in its entirety. Nothing has changed because apart from talking, this government has done absolutely nothing, to ensure such terrorists are nabbed. Life simply goes on, the politicians make their stump speech about the Spirit of Mumbai, among other cliched terms, to stir up strong emotions within us, to inspire some hope, then pray really hard that the citizens forget the trauma, and that life goes back to normal.

Today, the government will react, I’m sure, by deciding to pass a law to secure the water boundaries all around its perimeter. Too little, too late. In the land of us blinded by rage, the one eyed man has convinced us that we are indeed blind, and that they know the path to safety. To them, i say ENOUGH. ENOUGH of your abuse of power. ENOUGH of trivial words like loss, unity, patriotism, anger that you bandy around in moments like these. ENOUGH of old men, past their 60s, 70s and possibly 80s, running their country, like a record player stuck on the same discordant note. ENOUGH of petty bullshit like Mr. Manmohan Singh, Jaswant Singh, and L K Advani bickering on whether or not to fly in the same airplane side by side, while the paratroopers, the NSG are forced to wait 15 hours. 15 BLOODY HOURS. And ultimately take a ride on Delhi BestBus to get to Mumbai. If you leaders can’t coexist, why are you in power in the 1st place. it is US, the imbeciles, the fools who vote you into power every single time and are made to feel like bigger fools with every immature, reckless and political statement you make. Imagine the leader of a country, supposed to be a minority leader, for whom it is too low or demeaning to fly with the opposition leader. For whom his ego needs to be massaged in the midst of a national crisis. What kind of IMPOTENT wimp of a leader of a nation is this. No wonder we are the constant target of terror strikes on such a scale.

Dawood Ibrahim must be sitting in Pakistan now amazed beyond his wildest imagination at the ease with which he was able to carry off this entire mission. Yet we’re the ones left grappling and trying to come to terms with this monumental loss of life. The first step we can take as a nation is not to play the blame game. Thats the prerogative of the government, and thats something they are specialized at. I was rather amused to hear this piece of analysis from one of the experts, on one of the leading news channels. He said “I dont think the government itself knows the meaning of intelligence, and I’m talking about a different kind of intelligence here”. When a government deliberately ignores intelligence reports indicating a major strike on the country, some heads must roll. But apart from the traditional rolling of heads, concrete steps must be taken to ensure this kind of idiocy, foolish ineptitude is never witnessed again, not by our generation, and for sure not by our children. Government at the highest level needs to be purged of the officials who do nothing. We’re sick of words. We want deeds to back up those empty hollow words.

More than anything else, this incident should be the wake-up call for the rest of us. Never before in terrorist history has the entire event played out before our very eyes. 60 hours of non-stop coverage of the event, almost turned the lives of Mumbaikars into reality TV beamed into our living rooms. By taking it lying down all these years, we’ve emboldened the terrorist organizations worldwide to attack us. 2 years back, they used bombs planted in crowded suburban trains. Today, they walked into our bus terminals, our homes and hotels in a city we are proud to call ours, and opened fire with the confidence that comes only from foolishness or the confidence that comes from a feeling of invincibility. I suspect it is the latter. Today they took our hotels hostage, tomorrow it could very well be our homes. We aren’t safe in our homes anymore, and this wake up call has sounded way too close for us to ignore any longer. Our entire political system needs upheaval, and the government should be held responsible for its actions (more so, the lack of any).

Above all else, here is a message to the government. STOP taking the SPIRIT of this great country for granted. Every single time we have been held to ransom by terrorist forces, Mumbai has stood tall as a beacon of strength, a symbol of perseverance through personal loss and bereavement. People have woken up the next day and taken the same metro train that was blown to bits the day before. That comes from an inner resolve, a strength that goes beyond human fortitude. It has come from the belief that we are strong enough to make it through anything. But this crisis has shown us that we are all too mortal.

But here’s my one SINGULAR message to the political hierarchy in Delhi, Mumbai and our country in general. Today you were lucky to survive. Tomorrow it could strike closer home to YOU. That could be YOUR family in the Taj or some other posh locale. Even an iron-clad spirit can break. the most strong-willed resolve can crack. Don’t wait for us to crack. Be the support we need to hold us up. STOP TAKING THE SPIRIT OF MUMBAI FOR GRANTED. JUST AS YOU SHOULD STOP TAKING YOUR COUNTRY FOR GRANTED. The spirit of this glorious nation is in the courage of its brave people. It not some untapped resource for you to use at ur whims to explain away all your failings. We’ve been blind to your ineptitude till now, and you have convinced us all along that you knew better. We’ve got our own eyes opened now, and we’ve got them focussed squarely on you.

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