Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Maya ki Maya

Well, well, well…..the cat is out of the bag now.

Everybody inland (and maybe even abroad) knows that India isn't that poor a country what we are made to believe!
So this is extremely good news for our denizens…right?
Let's find out what (or who) makes our country so rich and wealthy overnight.
The latest news rife in the country is
"Maya grew 400% richer in 3 years " (reported by ToI).

For those of you who abhor current affairs, Maya isn't any bollywood filmstar, or a recipient of much envied family heritage. Neither is she the new face of KBC or Indian Idol. Then who is she??

She is one of our politicians and the current CM of UP, better known as "India's Dalit icon".
Mayawati has recently declared assets worth over Rs. 52 crore, according to an affidavit filed by her for nominatios for vidhan sabha.

And mind you, all this just in a span of three years!

Absolutely Amazing…how I wish I could know the secret behind minting so much of money in mere 3 years…common man of India nurtures this dream every day. Alas, this dream fades away every morning and the common man is left to the amusements of his life.

There's more to this truth. Mayawati is just a burgeoning spawn amongst politicians. The bigwigs of political arena are touted to be valued at Rs 500 crore each!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ever wondered how these politicians manage to accumulate so much of wealth. After all they are also in the government jobs like millions of us and earn not more than few grands each month. Maybe not.

Politicians have always thronged the news channels for reasons, right or wrong. They have become the perennial flavour of our society, of course not by our choice. Either they are opposing something good which the opposition party is doing, or they are creating waves by being scammers.

Over a period of observations, I have done my own analysis on these politicians and have come to a corollary: more the number of scams, a politician is involved in, higher would be his/her wealth.

It also reminds me of Newton's third law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Our politicians seem to be obeying this rule diligently. Be it Laloo, Mayawati, or Jayalalitha and Chandrababu Naidu, all have been equally zealous in one thing- amassing wealth.

They sure can divulge authenticate modus operandi behind this.

For the good work they do being in power, they tend to develop untold bhakts (followers). But these bhakts also can not raise so much of money overnight.

So what's the secret behind this?

One option which comes to my mind is that probably politics is a very lucrative field to be in. No wonder the story of "rags to riches" is seen here more often than anywhere else.

If this is so, why were the politicians from older era weren't so rich?
Maybe, this option also gets ruled out now.

I feel having got caught in the vortex of "Maya ki Maya".
The more I try to brush this news away from my mind, the more I get intrigued by it. Somebody has to demystify this and let the common man know the formula for sudden richness. Only if wishes were horses, we would have had all the truth naked, before us.

Well, this could very well turn out to be a "Pandora's box". Then moment you remove the lid, all problems would start flying around.

So what do we do now?

For the moment, let's leave this buried formula of "Maya ki Maya" suspense and pray to God that some day, some body would have enough pluck to question these politicians on their face, and dig out the truth for us.

Till then let's continue to bask in the glory of our own richness-albeit only in dreams!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The "ancient" Times of India…is it really our time??

Just as I was going thru ToI (Times of India) on the net, I thought of reading some new articles by our own columnists. Since I had seen an interview of Bachi Karkaria on the TV yesterday, I felt like taking a peek into her column.
“Sex? Don’t toy with it” was the latest pick of Bachi and, I was tempted to read thru it completely.

Having read this article and the news on which it was based, compelled me to think, if we still are a country of fools and ignorant who need to be tutored in each aspect of life- from bedroom to bathroom!

Don’t we know what is good for us? At least, being an adult and having received so much of gyan for nearly a quarter of a century (on an average, an Indian studies till the age of 25), we can take a stand on the products we want to use in our daily life. How can a minister holding portfolio of some completely unrelated sector, plea to the government and decide that we as a country do not want to use “such” products?
Did he think he was some self appointed moral policeman of India, or was this some act of defiance to the adoption of a “foreign concept”?
I wonder what’s going to be the fate of this country which doesn’t even allow its citizen to take a call on their own needs.
I would have been happy, had the minister opposed the condoms by Hindustan Latex, as anti environmental (considering disposal of latex as difficult), but the statement that “condoms are for population control and not for pleasure” exhibits the shallowness of his thinking capacity.
There’s no gainsaying the primal purpose of condoms, but can we ignore its other benefits like safety from AIDS and the other diseases of its ilk.
And is there any harm if people derive pleasure out of something which is designed for “population control”? Well, I don’t see anything wrong in it, morally or otherwise.

Mr. Minister seems to have ignored such things. In this ever evolving era, where the definition of culture has apparently blurred, can we still confine ourselves to the facade of “Indian” culture?

I mean, “condom and sex” are no more a topic of taboo in our coevals.

Given the kind of exposure we have now days, I wouldn’t be shocked if kids would have the know-how of condom. The issue is not emulating the west in their sense of pleasure, but to leave it to the discretion of common man, whether she/he wants to endorse a specific use of the condom. I am sure that our much bothered “Palisader of Indian culture” Mr. Minister wouldn’t have heard the news about
female condoms “Confidom being introduced in India, by Hindustan Latex. He definitely would have opposed it by mouthing things like “population control is the right of men and not women” or various other slogans of the same sort. The female condom was welcomed by the women group. It not only gave them the power to prevent unwanted pregnancy but also rendered them with the choice of doing so, and jettisoning the dependencies on their better half.

It feels very sad to know that sex education has still not percolated even to the wealthy band of Indian population. At least, Mr. Minister seems to be leaving that impression upon me.

Leaving our country in the hands of such powerful imbeciles, could do little wonder to us. Pardon me for using such a harsh parlance, but I am genuinely keeping my fingers crossed for the fear of coming across anything, close to such a condemned concern as that of our Mr. Minister!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dreamsssss.....flying high

The blue sky, white clouds and the unexplored zones high above us are no more an arena dominated only by men!
Japji Kaur Cheema, 18 year old lass from Chandigarh, has earned the title of being the youngest commercial pilot of India.

The changing paradigms are reflective of the growing awareness among people about different career options and the rising desire to earn hefty packages.

Achieving such a feet requires a fire in the belly and the grit to stand by one's dream against all societal odds. This news brings back in my memory, the beliefs of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the most famous character of Richard Bach. Jonathan is a mascot of passion and determination for people who nurture a dream and put in efforts to fulfill that.

Jonathan makes one believe that a life without any passion, any dream is a waste. Every life comes with a purpose. We need to unfurl that purpose and work towards achieving that; perfecting that.

Flying, since long, has been associated with men, as it was perceived to be risky and tough. These two adjectives still flank the profession of flying-be it commercial or for the airforce. What makes it commendable now is the fact that these adjectives are beginning to lose their charm on the minds of the people. Many women have gained expertise in this field and have reached high ranks, albeit this number is still small.

Myriads of factor have helped transcend this boundary and generate quasi-parity.

The respect which is generated for pilots topped up by fat packages makes it look glamorous to the laymen. Some get guided by their penchant for flying and some get bit by the bug of doing something different. Reasons could be countless as time has been boundless, but the results are before us.

This aptly reminds me of one of my dearest friend (who also happened to be my senior in my engineering college). While rest of the world took the usual path of being in the s/w world, she chose the path lesser traveled. She chose to become a pilot in the Indian airforce. Her parents take pride in being addressed as Ms. Pilot's Parents. It's worth to get a glimpse of their faces beaming with joy.

I duly respect all the professions (hailing from the land of Mahatma, does have its impact). However the feeling of doing something different is always stimulating.
Kudos to all those, who’ve strived to “be” different in their life and followed their passion to its achievement.

“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” has been the most inspiring book in my life, and unconsciously my mind tries to bring its metaphor in all events that happen to me in my life. Watching your dreams shape up and metamorphose into a reality can be the most humbling experience in a person’s life.

Japji would have already witnessed this exhilarating experience, so what are we waiting for?
Let us also take a plunge in the sea of our dreams and search for the pearl, garnered stealthily by our hearts.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Structured Query (Language)???

"Develop your SQ", were the words of wisdom from my boss to me. It sounded too familiar to me, but still couldn't decode what he meant by SQ.

Perhaps it's some kind of a new computer language or a new tool which is being used by my company. Maybe my boss forgot that its SQL and not SQ !

The age old existing languages still appear Greek and Latin to me, leave alone fathoming the new in this field .

Luckily I did not vocalize my thoughts and buried them in some grey cells in my brain.

"Aweready (accented version of alright), then. See ya on Monday. Think over how you would achieve your SQ." My boss told me. He was foreign returned and always made a point to reflect that thru his accent.

"Sure sir". I had no option but to make him feel that he was very clear in defining his requirements to me.

"Have a nice weekend. See you on Monday" said my boss and zoomed out of the office.


I heaved a sigh of relief.

The thought of weekend had blinded me towards everything else, so I pushed that stupid sounding SQ out of mind for a while.

I packed my bag hurriedly and dashed out of the office. This was only after ensuring that my boss had left.

After reaching home I collapsed on the bed, as if I had returned from a war.

I prepared a cup of hot ginger tea and made myself comfortable on my bed with today's newspaper. I was feeling very relaxed now. Don't know whether it was the ginger tea effect or the feeling of weekend. Whatever it was I was feeling calm and soothing.

As I was flipping the pages of the paper, my eyes fell on an article in the editorial section (my favorite section). It read "Leaders and Quotients".

I started to read and found it very engrossing till I came to a point where they had mentioned about various quotients like Intelligence, emotional and Spiritual……………..that means IQ, EQ and SQ.

Here I got a shocker. So was this the SQ, my dearest boss was referring to?

Spiritual Quotient.

Now who on earth invented this and why do I need to develop it?

I considered myself fairly intelligent enough to understand above average complexities in my projects. I said "above average". This bars geeky, rote, telegraphic representations of several computer languages.

Anyway, now that I knew what SQ stood for, I thought of knowing about it and the ways to develop it.

The news paper said SQ is the capability to look beyond (what?). Trying to understand the purpose of life and the best way to serve the distressed are qualities that are found normally in a mother who understands the needs of her children.

I wonder something which sounds so complicated would be how complicated to implement.

Being able to understand and exhibit high IQ and EQ were a challenge in themselves and now we are further being burdened with this concept of SQ.

How I wish at this moment, that all researchers could be put for hibernation till eternity. One day they come up with some study saying that eating XYZ is good for your health, as it would lower your risk of getting a heart attack. Other day some other study would reveal that the same XYZ would cause problems to a particular body part if consumed in excess.

This reminded me of old Tomato ketchup advertisement where a villain had tied up the hero and ordered his henchmen saying "Isko liquid nitrogen me dal do…nitrogen isko jeene nahin dega aur oxygen isko marne nahin dega…"

I felt comparable to that hero in the advertisement. These researchers would not let you die nor would they let you live.

Nevertheless, I still had to grapple to understand this concept.

I brushed aside all thoughts from my mind and sat down with the paper which said

"Spiritual intelligence touches the heart, mind and the spirit. When a leader develops high degree of spiritual intelligence the organization will definitely excel………"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dad, you are the best- Happy Fathers' Day

 As the world celebrates fathers’ day today, I ponder upon its significance.
Not that I deny celebrating this day, but all I am trying to find out is, why just a day’s celebration for such an extraordinary person of our life?

I was listening to my favorite channel on radio-“FM fever-104”, when suddenly they started advertising about “the hero of your life…” making it sound more like a movie.
I couldn’t figure out the name of the movie, so kept myself glued to it for chances of missing out on the revelation of the movie’s name.
…and to my surprise, they announced it as “…your father! Celebrate Fathers’ day this Sunday”.
Now here burgeoned, my inquisitiveness, for knowing the history behind the origin of this day’s celebration.
So what do I do next?
As I was unable to decide on my next activity, I thought of wishing my dad, and gauge his reaction over it. So I called him up and wished. Surprisingly, dad sounded very happy and spoke to me for some time (longer than his usual talking times…so this made me feel that he was happy :-) ).

Nostalgia runs within mind, when I think of the days when my dad extended his resolute love and support to me. How he used to cheer me up when things didn’t go my way and when I faltered in fulfilling his expectations for me.

No words could ever effuse what a person feels for her dad (n mom as well…but I prefer to stick to “dad” as today is his day). Maybe the girl factor plays a cardinal role in churning such emotions within me.

I have frequently come across a very funny punch line on the t-shirts saying “My dad is an ATM”….Now none of us would disagree to this, but little do we wonder about the epochal role which this ATM plays in shaping up our life.

Before I could digress from the topic completely, I thought of doing some R&D on this day’s celebration. What better mode than Google to look for answers, so I logged into my system and “googled” (yes...this is the term people use in my office for “search”) the net for father’s day. There were plethora of web results that I could look into, so I chose some and read thru to unravel the genesis of fathers’ day story.

Folklore say that, the celebration of fathers’ day was practiced thousands of years ago. It started when a son wished long and healthy life for his father. Thereafter it became a practice for the people in that area to celebrate this day.
However the most recent information which I got was that, this tradition began in US in the last century. One Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd felt that there was a need to recognize the efforts of a father and hence began a campaign lobbying for the cause.

So, this day is actually her brainchild.

Later, in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
So here we are celebrating this day. Commercialization, of such days is a different story which again can be plowed, in a separate chapter.

Googling so many sites, did give me insight into this beautiful info, which I felt should be made more known to our coevals.
I personally feel that such days, help us to voice our love for our near and dear ones, which many of us wouldn’t have ever done. At least on the pretext of celebrating such days, one can remember to express their love and affection and help in resurfacing long buried warmth in the relationships.
However, one can never say if certain parties would let this happen amicably, given their past records of demolishing shops on the behest of palisading “Bhartiye Sanskriti”.

Whatever be the future, the present certainly is good.

Sitting at home in the silicon valley of India, miles away from my family, I find such days to be the most effective means of bonding with them.
Before my frontal lobe starts taking charge over my parietal lobe, I better indulge myself in some less emotional work:-) .

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
Fathers Day Quote by: Jim Valvano

Saturday, June 16, 2007

At last it rained………….

Comes rain, and comes alive all my excitement for life!

The little showers, which run down on my face, make me feel rejuvenated and all set for taking up new tasks. Entire surrounding looks green and clean (to my relief!).
I feel like sipping, a steaming hot cup of coffee, and celebrate the onset of my pet season.
So I decide to march towards my home. On the way back to my home, I decide on quite a few things which I would do to enjoy this mood and the season, of course.

I am reveling the cool breeze against my cheeks and humming my favorite song from the movie Ghulam “hosh walon ko khabar kya…”
Suddenly I hear a screeching sound, so I turn back to figure out its source.
“How cute”, I see a pup on one corner of the road. A car just brushed by its side and so this little creature made the maximum use of its vocal chords.
I laugh at this sight and then jostle towards my own nest.
Now I am actually hurrying to reach home, as I can see the evening growing darker.
I make sure that my handbag, which I had bought from Goa, is with me, and increase my pace. Hardly a few yards ahead I hear “Splat!” and before I can realize what has happened, I get soaked in (d)rain water.
Without even batting an eyelid, the auto driver swings his auto and skillfully drives his auto like a horse on a road. I am left to my own amuse and fate to tackle this dirty situation.

Every dog has his day, and today is mine!

I take my bag off my shoulder and peep inside to find a handkerchief.
Thankfully, I get one. I clean my face and try wiping the dirt from my dress.
Guess its manageable now. So I proceed ahead after cursing the culprit (auto driver). I can’t stop thinking, as to, why did I have to walk back home and not take an auto itself.

Adventurous mind !

Not bothering too much I continue to walk. After walking for some ten minutes, I find people gazing at me. Maybe its my perception or am I hallucinating?
I try to ignore them, but after the incessant stares and some funny expression I feel like punching people in their faces. It’s so irksome, when you become a cynosure for people around you. A few steps ahead and I feel like a fool now. Why?
It suddenly dawns upon me that this part of the city hasn’t witnessed the refreshing bout of rain, which I did near that park. No wonder, that my dirty face and soaked clothes are compelling people to wonder the place of my arrival.

Thank you Bangalore..errr..Bengalooru.

So those people were right, who had said that, this place has the potential to make you experience all four seasons in one day!...huh !!
So while it rained near the park, it was completely dry, some kilometers ahead of it.
I don’t feel like sipping that hot cup of coffee anymore. In fact I feel like going home at the earliest and look around for an auto. An auto comes and surprisingly is willing to go to the place of my choice (without any tantrums). I get inside it and look at the surroundings which are sans a drop of rain water.
I get lost in my own world as the auto vrooms on the way to my home.
Suddenly I hear the auto driver asking me “right or left, madam?”
I come out of my reverie and look around to figure out where were we exactly.
Then I ask him to go straight and stop on the left.
I get down from the auto and take out my wallet to pay him the fare.
The fare was substantially more than the usual fare, so I argue with the driver.

As I do so, a heavy shower of rain pours on earth drenching us all. The auto driver asks for his fare and I cannot stop wondering over the climate of this place- Unpredictable!

The auto driver leaves, after taking his fare, and a smile appears on my face thinking “At last it rained… this part of Bengalooru as well!!”

Friday, June 15, 2007

Richer India !!

The whole day one news which has been reverberating in my ears, is the news of Mr. Mukesh Ambani becoming the number one trillionaire in India….oops!! I mean the only trillionaire in India. So that means our country is heading towards regaining the title of “golden bird” all over again.

Well, not even remotely! Apparently, India is still at the same position where it was before the elder Ambani had climbed this distinct ladder. One must wonder then, why all this hoopla gets created on some Indian earning some crores of wealth?

This article in no means, intends to, demean the accolades of Mr. Mukesh Ambani, but I certainly fail to understand its benefit for the common man like me.
Technologically and economically India has achieved many feats and is being touted as the super power for the coming decades. But many of us would find it astounding to know that these benefits do not permeate to the poor people who essentially need them. With billions of people to support, our country needs citizens who can contribute in the upliftment of the underprivileged class.

Just yesterday I was reading news about our PM urging to the CII for putting a ceiling on the salaries of captains of industries. Some of us might argue saying that this is right as the disparity in society is getting steeper day by day, and this needs to be tamed. While the other counterparts may argue saying that salaries in industries are based on performance and hence must not be regulated, else the brain-drain scenario would soon resurface at the top levels. Right or wrong, the underlining point is the concern for fellow being in the society and the not the salary structure. Government has to play a certain part and as citizens of this nation we ought to aid this effort from government. Giving primary education to the children, creating awareness amongst the people and generating job opportunities for youth are the cardinal dwells for this country. A lot of work is going on in this field in the names of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), philanthropy, charity etc., but the real substance appears conspicuous by its absence. Who is to be blamed for all this mayhem? The answer is none!

Someone has rightly said that “everybody’s business is nobody’s business”. Each one of us think that it’s someone else’s responsibility to contribute to the society. Little do we realize that in this process, limitless time gets lost and countless opportunities disappear into the horizon. The time when we could have made a difference in someone’s life goes away with each passing second. So, does it mean that now nothing can be done? Well, not if we can still apprehend the power of helping somebody.

My conscious mocks at me for not doing my bit of work for the needy people. The choice is mine now- do I want to feel this way, the whole of my life or can I opt for the path lesser traveled ? Better late than never, people, come and take your decision!!

While this may appear a little plausible, let’s join Mr. Ambani, in celebrating his newly earned title!!