Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Is Here!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas... The word reminds me of a really grand festival which marks the birthday of Jesus Christ, the great prophet.

The first picture that comes to my mind (and most others) is obviously, the Christmas tree, with a star on the top! Gifts surrounding the tree and the small coloured balls hanging on it from every small branch. And, who can forget the beautiful scenery on the outside? Pure white snow everywhere... Houses illuminated by yellow lights...

The Christmas decorations and gifts are something everyone in the family takes efforts for.

The Christmas delicacies, especially the cake and the chocolates... The socks that are hung outside the window by kids in hope of the Santa Clause dropping gifts for them.

And, how can I forget the such holy people and animals associated with Christmas. The reindeer who pulls the Santa's flying sledge, the milk white rabbits, the red-outfitted, extremely fat, long-beard guy, with a big red bag, whom we popularly know as 'Santa Clause'!

The day which begins with the Church's mass and the collectively sung Christmas carols always have many reasons to make us smile. It always is nice to spend time on such a festive occasion with the family.

The Christmas evening, one of the most-awaited parts of the day... And also, the concept of the perfect meal that exists for that day... Buns and breads, cakes and pastries, chocolates and biscuits, puddings and pies... Everything in a variety of flavours... What a sumptuous supper that is! And, as the cherry on the top, a glass full of sherry...

Everything, of such a day would be just so perfect, memorable, different, unforgettable, enriching...

The Christmas, of this kind, spent with the one's own family members can't ever be forgotten as there are these small little things which do mean a lot.

I just hope that some day in future, I get to spend such a traditional Christmas with all my near-and-dear-ones... I want a Christmas to remember... At least one...

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Return Of The 'Paisa'...

Hey there,

"Grandma, may I take those coins lying there? I hope you don't mind that."

"Mom, can I take the coins of USA, UK, France, etc. that lie in the cupboard? I would like to have them for my coin album."


"Mom! Grandma just found a coin of the early Gujarat kings' times! And, the cherry on the cake is, that I can have it!"

These were my reactions and requests, few years back, to have the coins of various countries of the world and the antiques of India. I still remember the pains with which I filled my own coin album (yes, specially designed for fitting coins) in ascending order of their denominations. It was a different hobby which I took up out of astonishment.

Today, as I look back into my school years, it's one of the best things that happened to me. And, that's where this post actually begins!
So many coins! The medieval Indian coins when the 1/12 anna, 1/2 anna, etc. were the coins of maximum denomination.

As I look through business news channels, the minimum figures I hear from them are xyz millions of dollars turnover, profit, sales, etc.!

And, I wonder about how vast our monetary world is getting! To infinity and beyond, and infinitesimally small!

My frequent travels and hoardings all around the roads made me realize today, that, the return of the paise, the 1/100th of the lowest denomination in use today (a rupee), is inevitable! Telecom operators are cutting costs like never before and this tariff war has now come down to half a paise per second call rates and a paise a 160-character message! Heaven for those teens out there like me who love to forward nice messages to everyone, but, don't considering the amount that would reflect in their bill or their recharge getting drained!
Such tariff wars that these guys resort to, to gain more subscriber base and in fact are helpful to us, the mobile users, in the end.

I just hope that some day soon now, the 'Paisa' will make it's re-debut in our lives, and then, kids like me, who have the treasured coins of the past, will be those whom everyone will turn up to for change! And above it all, the coins will soon have a place of respect far above what they had, just because of this re-introduction!

It would so be out of the usual... Different...

Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Doomsday...

Hello readers,

I know it has been really long since my last post and I truly apologise for not being able to provide you with some reading stuff...

The world is such a place to live in that we just can't describe it. We are almost always finding faults with it, but, love living in it at the same time. It's just hypocrisy most of the times.

And, when it comes to the end of the world, there is no one whom I know who believes the world will come to an end... May be today, tomorrow, years later, or even centuries... But, all those whom I have come across till today are people with the attitude that 'I-don't-think-world's-ever-gonna-come-to-an-end!'

Doomsday may not just be real. Who cares if it is? I do.

It's not always that we switch off the lights and fans when not in use, not always that we turn off our cars at the signal, not always that we make sure we aren't just wasting resources, not always that we mend a leaking water tap as soon as possible... Why is it so? Just because of that attitude... May be we don't accept it completely, but, somewhere inside us, we surely are of that opinion, even if it is in traces.

Even I was such, until I saw a copy of a presentation (which was originally presented by the then President Of India, APJ Abdul Kalam). He's someone whom I respect and look up to, and the way he depicted the future that beholds, it just made me more anxious.

And, you must be wondering why am I saying all this now. Today is 21st December, 2009. There's a prediction of an apocalypse on 21st of December, 2012, predicted since the Mayan civilization and Nostradamus.

I really don't know if that will ever happen, but, what I know is, if our activities are just the way they are now, would living in a 'Happy World' ever be possible? Would we be able to live in a world where poverty and inability are the subtle ways to define life? Would we be able to breathe pure, fresh, rejuvenating air? Would we have enough green patches to support our existence? Would it be that the world will face the worst crisis ever? How about paying everyday for the air we breathe? Bald heads just to avoid wasting water by using them for washing, sounds great, doesn't it? And seeing your son, daughter, grand-son, grand-daughter born with inborn deformities which can't ever be corrected?

I would say, it would be better to have a doomsday, than to face such crises!

And, if we don't want us or our future generations to face such crises, I would say immediate steps are necessary. It's high time that the human civilization realized that it's 'Now or Never' in the true sense of the words...

Sayonara!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Year On...

Greetings,

It's 26th of November... A day which redefined the extent terror could penetrate in India... The desi version of 9/11 World Trade Center attack... The carnage which shook the whole world and not just the nation. The massacre which left everyone in Mumbai open-jawed in astonishment.

Those 62 hours... Glued to the television set... Watching TimesNow (the only news channel I trust) and updating myself about any developments in any of the three affected sites.

I still remember the heated debate we had in our classroom the day school re-opened after a mini-vacation. While everyone tried to prove their points, there was one thing that was constantly on my mind, that everyone was trying to find faults, rather than appreciate the effort. It was then that I realized, we as Indians, have a habit to see the glass half empty and wonder who drank it, rather than seeing it half full.

Some people said, it was humanity at its worst, some claimed it to be a result of India's ill fate, some said it was the outcome of the enmity it has developed with the Muslim terror groups.

I say it was negligence. Negligence on the part of Indian authorities. Negligence on the part of the Indian Navy, the Coastal Guard, the Indian Surveillance authorities, the Indian Railway, and the Indian Government. The only authorities which were safe from humiliation were the authorities related to air.

Nevertheless, I won't fail to commend the effort made by the policemen, soldiers and commandos who went into the attacked structures and rescued those people who live-on to tell their painful stories. The analysts over the world have endorsed the process the Indian men engaged in operation took. It has been acclaimed and the world believes the process couldn't have been faster than it was done.

Little has changed since then. It was like the ripples in the lake and then everything was calm again. Metal detectors and CCTVs employed at almost every place, but, as of today, most of the people don't walk through those detectors and no one monitors the CCTVs! And this is just one of the hundred examples.

I just hate it when I realize that India didn't wake up to even this event. And, I have a conjecture, does India need something even more blitz? Or will even that end up as political blame-games and pending cases with the Indian judiciary?

May be such a attack was mandatory to open our eyes wide open... But, it seems, it hasn't gotten us off our drowsiness.

We still blame the government and our bureaucracy for their inefficiency, but, never look within ourselves. We still bribe them to get our work done. We still break the signal at midnight with no policeman around. We still don't openly and fearlessly oppose anything wrong. We still don't tell those sons of the babus' that they are the sons in their homes, and in the public, they are just another citizens with no special privileges. We still don't find it wrong to burn the hay to find a needle. We still throw garbage on the streets when we know that it's meant to be in the bins. We still don't get time from our daily sops to watch what's making the news around the world. We still just stand for solidarity and appreciation, but, don't go out and hold the hands of those who need us in support. We still have a strong viewpoint that nothing can change. We still have the same answer when asked as to why we are doing the above, "Everyone does it!"

And this is where this cognition takes me... Disappointment. Because a human who doesn't learn from mistakes is nothing but a blockhead.

I know one thing... I am no dunce... And, I won't give in to this... If no one else will, I will lead the change... No change is easy, but, I won't leave a stone unturned to make this change happen. I have a choice, let it happen or be a part of the change... And, I am sure where I want to belong.

Sayonara.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inspiration Or Enthusiasm

In life, every moment is different. Every moment brings something new to us. Something to learn, something to cherish, something to smile about. Sometimes, we cry before we laugh, sometimes we mourn before celebrating, sometimes we fear before approaching. But, everything in the end has to end on a goody-goody note.

As we are social animals, we are nothing alone. We need some sort of frenzy to live and some reasons to hope. And, these reasons are usually provided to us, by, none other than our near-and-dear-ones. And, often there is more than one person responsible for it. Sometimes, they are our mentors, sometimes friends, sometimes, they are just there... By our side.

And, if you ask me, I would want to put all of them into categories. Categories which determine if we are inspired by them, or enthused. When I began blogging, there were two such people in my life too. And since then, I have been trying to decide which category either of them belongs. Seems like finally I am successful!

There are people who are our mentors, those who point out our mistakes and help us master our skills. They trust us, they let us know what our strengths are and what are our weaknesses. They are the real reason for us becoming better with every new day. They make us realize the need to look out for difficulties and then, help ourselves. They never provide us with solutions in our hand, but, tell us about the pros and cons of each and every choice we might make. They never let the talent inside us die. These are the people who provide us with the enthusiasm.

And, there are those whose mere presence in our lives, who incite various conversations, stir up thoughts, and instigate our thinking process. They silently tell us millions of things. They sometimes are themselves unaware of their contribution to our lives. They are the bank of ideas we have. They are silently supportive. They might not be the best critics or the most blunt admirers of our talents, but, they don't falter in helping us. The thinking process is initiated just because of them!

And, I hope I help you to realize who these people are in your life, in each activity, there can be different people. Sometimes, unknowingly, a single person occupies both these positions in our lives. And, sometimes, it's we ourselves who does these tasks.

Adios.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Alma Mater

Hello dear readers,

As the title suggests, this one's about all I feel for my school.

There are these happy places in everyone's lives about which even a thought makes us smile... Places which we dream about being in... Places which are next to heaven for us... Places where we have spent the most memorable times of our lives... And, the numero uno, in this category, for me, is undoubtedly, my school, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Vidyalaya, Malad.

Thirteen years... I have spent thirteen long years of my place in this institution. The early years of my life. The years, when you can mould either a marvel or a gangster of the kids, were spent there by me. The most primitive stages of my development and the process of evolving into a responsible individual took place in me here.

There I learnt there what are called the alphabets and then to speak and write sentences only to jump to essays and letters... The transition from time when we used to write our answers in just a word or two and wonder how the elder students wrote answers long as essays to the time when we just became one of them... The journey from being toddlers teenagers... Enroute the best destination in the world, my school...

The school building is so tall and vast that it actually gives shivers to the kids who enter the building for the first time. But, it doesn't take much time for them to realize that this building is there to protect and shelter them from the difficulties of the world...

In school, I have learnt many things... But, the most important of them all is, learning to be myself, that each individual has his own identity, and he/she should carry it with dignity and self-respect, that no one has ever been successful by imitation, but, by self-reliance and self-improvement.

I recently was felicitated at a school function for securing the highest marks in all the five branches of BCG in Sanskrit. Though, I shared the prize with eight other students, at that moment I felt proud of myself, and my school, which paved the way for this glory.

The best part of this function, in my opinion, was the lightning of the lamps, which was not done by a dignitary, or any of the teachers, principals or trustees, but, the School Captains of all the five schools. This was symbolic as it portrayed what BCG aims at saying, power to the students... It was a students' function, so, it would be unfair if anyone else performed such ceremonious rituals... This was when I truly believed, BCG will remain BCG forever...

I still remember my first walk into my school building with my mother. Though, I don't remember all the bits and pieces, I remember this part, that I didn't cry like many others around me. I was indeed happy to be in a place which eventually went on to become the sculptor of my personality.

In the passage of the thirteen years, numerous values got imbibed in me like, the core values of our Bombay Cambridge Gurukul (sensitivity, reasoning, courage, integrity), leadership, self-improvement, independence, the art of planning, responsibility, among many others.

My school has been the reason for me being what I am now. I completely owe myselven to my school. It's the reason for the existence of the guy, who writes such stuff whenever he wants to, 'Setu Shah'. The guy for whom his school is much more than just his second home, much more than just being with friends and learning with teachers, much more than the interactive sessions with teachers (and not lectures)...

Today, I have graduated from this institution, but, only my parents, friends and teachers can tell you as to in which regard I hold my school. Now, I am just another member of the alumni of this academy, but, I can be sure of one thing, that DSRV and BCG will always keep persevering for the progress of their students and contribute in that way to the betterment of the society on the whole...

I embarked the journey of learning, which will go on until I attain salvation, from my school and so, it will remain etched in my memory forever... Forever...

Hail DSRV, the creator of the winners!

So long...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Soothing... - Part II

When I began with 'Soothing...', I planned to write in it all the kinds of music that I am very fond of, personally. But, the English music part was just so long that I thought, that the Hindi would probably find its place in 'Soothing... - Part II'. And, so here it is... This post was awaited by many people who are regular followers of my blog. So, this one is my ode to the music which I had been originally introduced to, and have been listening to since the last fifteen years (I began exploring English music by myself in the last two years), Indian Music.

India has had a vast musical history. From the discovery of the octaves, to the creation of the 'Sa Re Ga Ma'... It's endless. But, one whom we can't afford to forget here is, Tansen, one of the Navratnas of Akbar's court. He was the only laureate in the court who was specialised in music. This in itself explains that India has had a craving for music since its inception as a country.

Aaah! Where do I begin from? Simple. The most legendary music director of all times, R D Burman. What a person! It's said, music is in hands of some people. But, I believe music was a part of his soul! His compositions had melody, harmony, sense, and even reality.

The next one who comes to mind is none other than Jagjit Singh, the undisputed King of Ghazals (a genre of music known only to the Indian ears). His songs were simple, yet, profound. They always did carry a message. And, the message never went unheard too. It was always absorbed giving him the best of respects.

Mohammad Rafi, another singer, spread music to nook and corners of India in minutes just like a fairy wound her stick. Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, the two sisters took female playback singing to new levels which were hitherto unknown to the people. Then, Pankaj Udhas and Manhar Udhas touched the chords of our lives by creating and spreading sensational music.
Kishore Kumar. Our Kishor Da! What a musician! He enthralled his personalities and that was just perfectly the way any singe should! Just, Wow! His music just seduces me to keep listening to it again and again.

Then came the era of music like never before, new upcoming singers. Reality television, foreign talent import, talent shows, brought India to face many new singing sensations who shook the audience with their voice, power, ability and mesmerizing personalities. Pakistani singers like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Adnan Sami, Atif Aslam, etc. found that their real place lies here, in the Indian music industry. They, were welcomed with open hands by their Indian counterparts and this led to a revolution in the world of music like no other had ever been.

Speaking of revolutions, how can we forget talent shows which gave birth to talents like Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan and brought them to the main course of popularly served music than just the stupid starters. Two of which, went on to become judges of reality television shows aiming to explore the singing potential in the nation. The discoveries like Abhijeet Sawant, Amit Sana, Debojit, Toshi, etc. are surely proving a boon, not just for the music industry, but also, for the lovers of music.

The others who proved their worth themselves and earnt a name for themselves in this sought-after industry include Kailash Kher, Mohit Chauhan, Benny Dayal, Atif Aslam, Adnan Sami, Shaan, etc.

How can I forget this man, Allah Rakha Rahman, or simply, our very own, A. R. Rahman, the maestro music director and composer, whom now the world recognizes as a person who ran to the Oscars with the torch, lit by thousands of musicians India has nurtured, and returned with a lady which was even more glittering than the torch. Because now, the world was ready to believe that India had finally arrived into the international musical circuit. But, this was after more than 18 years of music was composed by him and just recently in 2009. Before that, he was just another music director from Bollywood, for the world.

Anu Malik is yet another marvelous music director and composer. He is called as a cynic by some and complacent by the rest, as his behaviour in a relaity show was portrayed to be, but, in reality, he is one of the musical gems India  has ever got, because his work speaks more than the words those spreading gossip do.

The emerging talents like Sourabhee, Anmol Malik, Aditya Narayan are those on whose shoulders, the responsibility to keep Indian music on a high forever, lies.

And here, the lyricists need to be given their worth of credit. Lyricists like Javed Akhtar, Gulzar, Prasoon Joshi, etc. play with words in a way that even a mere sentence sounds as melodious as the song of a cuckoo.

I believe that old Hindi Film music was a sparkling period and that's why the top two radio stations in Mumbai (not sure about the whole country) have specialised shows dedicated to this music in their evening prime times.

But, whatever may be the case, I just feel one simple, stupid thing. Indian music has had great talents. Agreed. Indian music has touched new heights. Agreed too. But, what's the problem then with the Indian bands? There are many bands through out the country like Om, Fuzon, Indian Ocean, etc. whose music is of a quality which can compete with the best bands of the world. If their music isn't the problem, then, what is it? According to the clouds my eyes can see through, the problem is that we Indians are so interested to see our superstars (Gods for most of their audience) in a particular song that we relate the song to the superstar and take away the credit from the singer, composer, lyricist who actually work harder in making the song! Who would like to work in a world where their work isn't credited with? This is the reason such bands might have a painful disbanding just because there aren't enough people listening to the music and the record labels aren't interested to experiment and (may be) reduce their profits, even by a margin.

Whatever be the case, I love the music I hear throughout my day. Either Hindi or English or numerous songs of both... Music's just the way to enjoy life...

Monday, November 9, 2009

If I had 'Nothing' To Do Or Speak...

Every morning, every blogger, who updates his blogs frequently, is posed with one question. What do I write about in my next blog?

Should I write on what happens in the world, the news, the current affairs and my opinions about them, like most bloggers around the world do? Or should I blurt out what my heart says? Or should I measure what I am writing because people might even judge me on the basis of what I have written.

But, at times, the question doesn't come through or the answer is obtained in talks with someone unknowingly. The discovery of this topic too was obtained in the latter fashion.

How many times have we been asked "What else?" or "What's up?" and we end up answering the same old, "Nothing" in the most dull possible tone. And, most of the times, even after having this answer, the conversation kicks off. We mine through the topics and begin talking about various things which sometimes doesn't have an end. And, as it's said, the world's round, and we are back to the same question, "What else?" Everything's the same, except the end, when the topics which begin are truly new.

If we have nothing ever to say, how does our dear friend, the one around the corner - our pillar of support when we are down, the beholder of our most secret treasures, the person who actually reads us by our eyes and says if we happy, in pain, or are in a lighter mood - tell us in a split second, in a stark manner, to just blurt out our grievances because they are there to listen.

If we have nothing ever to say, how do our parents - those who have known us since the moment we came to life, those to whom our happiness means everything, who aim to give us a life of our dreams, those who have just one aim in their lives, the happiness of their children, those for whom the day neither begins nor ends without talking to their children, who come to know what we are going through even if it goes unspoken because they have known us even when we didn't know the art of speaking - just take the burden of our shoulders by saying, 'It's okay to falter, but, the learning is, not to repeat it again. Because, the habit of faltering will take us nowhere in life.'

And there are even those times, when we feel like doing 'Nothing'. Doing nothing but talking to a dear friend, doing nothing but listening to our favourite music, going for a drive, going to the beach, etc. This is our 'Nothing'!

If I had nothing to do, I would not be in this place. I would not be living! If I had nothing to do, I would have been in heaven (because in hell, you need to face the pain and torture, according to the mythologies told to me, and that won't be nothing).

Wouldn't it be great to actually not being bombarded with responsibilities to do various tasks? Wouldn't it be great to just sit or stand somewhere and worry about nothing? Wouldn't it be awesome enough to just 'be'? Wouldn't it be all to live for? Wouldn't there be anything I would have to do? Would we realize when time sped by? Wouldn't we enjoy a world without boundaries, limitations, restrictions, and snags? Wouldn't it be lovely to never feel the need to rejuvenate our own selves? Wouldn't it feel amazingly good to just know that you don't need to talk, chide, express, communicate,if we didn't have to cry over small tragedies, to laugh on stupid jokes? Wouldn't it be at par with the lives we end up day-dreaming about?

If someone asks me this, I would say, it wouldn't, not for me. Just because, these things don't make me realize what I am supposed to do, what people expect from me, they don't make me responsible, they don't let me interact with my loved ones, they don't make me feel complete, they don't have a sense of oneness in them and loneliness prevails, they violate the definition of human beings which defines them as 'social animals', they can't gift me the happiness and satisfaction which I get otherwise, they wouldn't be moments I would cherish. They would just 'be' a few moments.

And, if I end up in such a life, I pledge to you that I won't stop rummaging for the moments and things which mean more than life to me... Even if they are pigsty for some, they are the most palpable blooming flowers I can ever have... They touch the chords of my life...

Signing off...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Marvels Of Nature

Hello dear readers,

There are people and situations in our life who instigate some profound thinking. The same spell was cast on me by the serene beauty of the place I visited two weeks ago. I was left awestruck by the series of thoughts that came to my mind when I began thinking on 'Marvels of Nature'... Am just trying to recreate the magic (that I succumbed to) here today.

The sparkle of the dew on the leaf, the slow fall of the snowflake on our face, the beautiful sky during the sunset, the star-cast sky, the everything... How did it all come to life?

Our world was probably created because of a destructive (or should I say constructive, because I owe the ability to write this blogpost to it) celestial event called the 'Big Bang'. Though, there aren't any solid proofs as to how and why it occurred, it seems that two huge stars moving at relatively high speeds collided into each other and in turn, gave birth to many other stars and solar systems... Of which, one is ours.

The gravitational pull of the sun not only shaped floating particles of dust into almost spherical bodies, but also brought them into their respective orbits. In the course of around another million years, the first life on earth took birth. From then, the being went on developing. There were various kinds of animals and plants which developed from that first alga. Then, a catastrophe shook the earth. All the life on earth was lost in a jiffy like it had never existed before...

But, life developed again and was lost for a second time. Hope seemed to have been lost like the presence of sunlight in the dark chambers. But, then, life began afresh. The first forms of the human being, the apes, appeared and since then, there hasn't been any stopping.

But, all that we use today and is given to us by Mother Nature, is something we owe to the previous two generations of the creatures that owned the earth at some time or the other. It is them whom we owe our existence to.

If not for them, we wouldn't have had the millions of litres of mineral oil which we dig out everyday. If not for them, we wouldn't have had any of the metals, which we use in various appliances everyday. If not for them, we would have not been able to know many of the mysteries of the universe. If not for them, the earth wouldn't have revived itself to make it more favourable for the existence of life on earth. If not for them, we would have probably never even existed, forget about living. If not for them, we would never know that we should be ready for natural calamities, even as devastating as the ones which can turn us into inanimates.

But, there's someone who is doing all this. And that's the 'Almighty'. There are various names give to him by everyone, Bhagwan, God, Allah, to name a few. He's planning up there and I surely need to admire His foresight for that. I believe He Himself has learnt His lessons when two fiascos brought the world of His loved ones to the ashes.

The learnings He has had, are the reasons we are leading a better life with every coming day.

The birds chirping and singing hymns, the small streams of waterfall on the ghat which trickle down its surface and provoke a rush of smile through it, the last time you could see an animal in the open, not caged, not strapped, in its natural form, the animals which dwell in the forest, the plants which equip us with food, the evening sun which colours the sky in different hues everyday, the stars which shine far in the night sky, the blue sky which we see early in the morning from the parapet, balcony or terrace, the first drops of rain which fall on our face, the jump into the sea gushing towards the shore without much thought, the soft breeze of the morning washing our face with a new hope and delight, the delicacies that leave us licking our fingers, the strength we get when we survive through difficult situations, the smile and tear which appear on our face together, the innocent smile on the face of a child seeing which we can't resist smiling ourselves, the moments which bring us joy, the times when we keep staring at the horizon for hours together, the last hug on the porch of our house from a dear friend, the moments when we stare into the eyes of the special people in our lives, speaking nothing, but yet, saying everything, I believe, these are the true Marvels of Nature, the irresistible gems, which are the gift to us from the second to none, God.

These, in my opinion, are the pearls of our life, from the oysters of nature... Enjoy them!

Cheerio!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Raj Politics

I have been postponing this post since quiet some time now. But, after yesterday's assembly poll results, I couldn't think any other post would be more appropriate. Bagging 5.6% of total votes of Maharashtra and 23.8% of the total votes of Mumbai in its maiden elections, Raj Thackeray has proved to the world and the Marathi Manoos (whom he says he's fighting for) that he's got worth.

For those of you who aren't very well aware of politics in Maharashtra (with its epicenter in Mumbai), Raj Thackeray, is the nephew of the great Shiv Sainik Bal Thackeray. In 2006, he broke his alliance with the Shiv Sena and formed his own party named the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Since its inception, MNS has been drawing both attention and controversies. The newspapers have at least a report about MNS or its activities everyday and camps are being formed on the basis of pro-MNS or anti-MNS even in the newsrooms. While, Raj Thackeray tries to justify his policies and acts, and the media stands against him, this publicity which was a gift to him by the media, proved to boost his mettle in the assembly elections which led his party to fare amazingly well for a party contesting elections for the first time. He broke Shiv Sena's myth of invincibility and proved that Marathi Manoos has his self interests above the needs of the political parties.

I was first motivated to write about this on my blog when I saw an interview of Raj on TimesNow, the first national news channel to have the privilege of interviewing Raj Thackeray, the king of controversies. I really like this news channel because there it's more of viewer interest and less of nonsense. There is this host on prime time everyday, who also happens to be the Editor-in-Chief of the channel, Arnab Goswami, whose side in the Newshour Debate (the show he hosts) is ambiguous as the one of any mediator should be. He is someone who doesn't use a word in any other language except English and he was interviewing the one who hates anything that isn't created in Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray. Questions are posed in English and answers are in Marathi. What an interview that was! Who except Raj Thackeray has the guts to go on air on the national platform and not speak one complete sentence in either Hindi (considered to be the national language) or English (a language accepted universally across India).

To be frank, I also have been caught in the fray of the debate whether the policies and plans of MNS and its supremo Raj Thackeray are correct or is it just to attract media attention. But, since some time, I have really begun to think about his policies with an open mind and have found them appropriate in most cases. And, albeit the world isn't in favour of what he does, it's evident that he and his activities are taken seriously by the world because after there was his unwritten order of having Marathi boards outside every shop, there were boards of shops (even those in big malls) and even the name of the malls in Marathi.

The countries are broken down into states for better legislation. The legislators are elected by democratic processes in most of the places and they make the laws best suited for the region as they and their ancestors have lived there since centuries. They know the region, the terrain, the pros, the cons, the needs, the weather, the culture, the tradition and what not! They have been there since the beginning, seen it change and evolve. Raj Thackeray is also one such scion of Maharashtra. And, I guess that's the reason he is so pissed off over various issues those he propagates. Let me address each issue one by one or else I won't do justice to what is the heart-of-the-matter.

Use of boards and hoardings in the language everyone in the state understands is just something that isn't to be passed as a law. It's just another marketing tact. If you want to reach out to the maximum number of people, use the language they understand the best.

Marathi education a must in schools in Maharashtra. Isn't it so very necessary and essential? If you are staying in a particular state, shouldn't you know the culture and tradition well so that you can mingle well with the people who are actually the original inhabitants of the place?

Giving jobs to the Maharashtrians before those who have migrated from other states. This reminds me of the time when there was the Railway exam to be held in Mumbai. The newspapers in Maharashtra didn't have any advertisements of the exam which would appoint bureaucrats and officials of the railway who would work in Maharashtra. Rather, those newspapers in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had advertisements and people came to Mumbai just to give that examination. How fair is that? Again, if you are going to work in Maharashtra (for whatever job it may be) don't you need to know the language the Marathi Manoos understands, don't you need to know the region in which you are going to work, don't you need to know everything about the place, why do MNCs appoint their country heads from within the staff of that country? In short, you need to know many things more than just the basic art of working.

These are the things I think have invited most of the havoc and controversies. The final decision to like his opinions and tactics lies onto you as I am nobody to force my choices on your shoulders. But, as far as I am concerned, I really admire this politician. I think, he is one of his own kind.

I may lose many followers (if I really have them) after this post, but, I guess, blogging is about writing what I feel and thus, I ain't ashamed to say that I admire Raj and his persona.

Sayonara!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Diwali Dhamaka (Festive Blast)

The festival of lights... The day when evil was defeated by the righteous... The day when one of the Gods attained his ultimate journey, away from this negatively charged world into the castles of heaven... What do I say about this immensely important day of Indian mythology?

These things make very less difference to people in the lifestyle we live today. But, there are those faithfuls who still, on every single occasion, make sure to make everyone they meet realize the immense importance of the occassion.

What I feel is, the occasions to cherish such reasons are turning to mere festivals. Festivals which signify nothing less than bursting of crackers, spreading smiles by the means of irreversible changes which are a danger to the existence of the future generations, burning of the desi Indian candle, the 'Diwa' which have changed from the old and primitive but meaningful shape and sober design to fancy, expensive and meaningless designs which do nothing except appeal the eyes.

In the meanwhile, the days which a family should celebrate together, in perfect harmony, are celebrated individually and in ways which are neither good for human growth, nor, what is advised.

The changes in these things sometimes turn pretty depressing. It's like what you feel when you see a flower which has withered away completely and you keep thinking about the time when it was completely lively. Days change, times change, and people change. And I guess we will have to get acquainted to this kind of life... With the world, yet into our own world...

And what is ruling my thoughts currently as I write this is what will be the case of these occasions ten years down the line? Will they just end up like parties of the west? People throw parties, others attend and these bashes are on the Page 3 of the newspapers and tabloids. Is that all where we are headed to?

Simple logic... Revive or revamp... And we are currently on the path of the latter...

Aloha to the new year and Aloha to the Desi Indian Culture... You decide for yourself what meaning of 'Aloha' are you gonna give the latter for...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wake Up Sid!?

When was the last time you saw a movie because it was a big banner movie, had a promising title, an unusual pair, and a debutant director. If someone poses that question to me, I would say, "Yesterday!"

Yesterday (because it is 1:06 am as I begin writing), I went for 'Wake Up Sid'. A movie which should have been better than what it probably is now.

For starters, the movie has a great deal of promise but which all ends as a disappointment. As anyone would have thought, in the opening scenes, our spoilt-rich-brat Siddharth Mehra (Ranbir Kapoor) is seen as a dude who is lousing around and falls asleep when he's studying for his exams which are scheduled for the next day.

Jumping off directly to his results (before which the story is very slow and he is flaunting all the money that his father has earnt) and he comes to know that he has failed when all his friends made it through the examinations. Shit! How could I fail! Typical arrogance rules his mind and he has a tiff with his parents which further leads him to running out of his safe haven.

Flashback: In the farewell party of his college (after the exams, before the results) he meets a girl, Aisha Banerjee (Konkona Sen Sharma) who is not primarily from Mumbai and comes to this city to materialise her dreams. As usual, the hero goes around with her to the typical hangout place, Marine Drive. He helps her settling in Mumbai and they become good buddies.

So, when Sid leaves his house, he just drops into Aisha's house (who should have behaved conservative and tried to make him understand that hasty decisions land no one anywhere) and makes himself comfortable. Aisha's a bit (okay, a lot because it's 7 years) older than Sid and thinks he behaves immaturely and in ways which are childish than what should be.

Then, as expected, Sid tries to improve his image in the eyes of Aisha and the story goes on until she helps him get a job in the magazine she works. Courtesy: The photography skills he received in his blood from his dad whom he left hurt.

He receives his first pay-check... Gives it to his dad to show that he too can be responsible... They patch-up and he returns to his own house... She gets wild because he almost leaves without even informing her... In the meantime, she gets a chance to write a column and after much thought, she ends up writing a column which is dedicated to Sid... And, they both realize they love each other...

I didn't get a few things which should have been a part of the movie... Where were the surprises? Why was there nothing that could have made it more interseting rather than boring? Why did the story go on as anyone would have anticipated it to? Why did it seem pretty monotonous? Why did it seem like nothing really makes a difference to him? And, how did Sid so simply give up his dreams without even much of a thought?

I don't really think Sid wakes up even at the end of the movie because just when one of his dreams is bursted into reality, it seems as if he is all set to fantasize again the life that he would soon wish to live...

I think I will have to watch it again and try to see if I get the answers to these questions...

Till then,
AdiĆ³s...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Soothing...

Every person has a list of varied things that provide them a peace of mind. Among them, if a survey was carried on, the result would surely be listening to music.

The word music has varied importance in each and everyone's life. For some, it is a passion, for some it is a way of living, for some it is a need, for some it is a mean to be a part of the crowd, for some it is a part of their soul, for the rest it is just some estranged being.

This one is a testimonial to music (or muzik, as I prefer to spell it). My focus in this post is mainly on the English music, which most of us back here in India, consider as a foreign territory much beyond our knowledge.

There have been great bands and artists in the past and probably in the future, they will be better, but, what holds my nerves to the past and the good old music of the '60s and '70s are bands like The Beatles, Queen etc. These people had magic and melody in what they composed. Singers like the legendary John Lennon and Elton John. It was The Beatles who actually made the pop genre of music popular. You can say it was the beginning of a new era.

In the coming decades, the band culture got its rightful importance with blooming of bands like U2, and singles like Michael Jackson (who eventually went on to be called the 'King of Pop').

But those were supposedly also the good old days and they were on the verge of an end. The days of the pop culture came to an end with the rise in popularity of the music that is called noise by legendary musicians, the hard-rock, metal, rock, jazz and dark metal age of music which emerged from the contemporary rock and roll. These genre of music seem to have taken over the minds of the youth since its inception in the early '60s, but have had the maximum influence in the last decade when the death of the Pop culture of music didn't seem to have any solace to reside on.

Even in this era of death, there were some faithfuls to the music which was created by various legends. This includes the some immensely popular bands like MLTR (Michael Learns To Rock, which even have a large following in countries like India), and Enrique Iglesias.

The advent of the 21st century saw a whole new genre of music that became popular with the youth, the mash-up of Country, Rock and Pop. The youth artists like Britney Spears, James Blunt, Pussy Cat Dolls, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Hillary Duff, George Michael, Avril Lavigne, Lindsay Lohan, Fergie, Joe Nichols, Jimmy Wayne, Vitamin C, Akon etc spread magic with their music.

And in this whole journey were bands like The Beatles, Linkin Park, ABBA, Savage Garden, Eagles, System Of A Down, Metallica, Blue, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, Guns n Roses etc who had great fan following and whose music was one of a kind, whose magic no one except they themselves can ever recreate. The artist whom I can't afford to forget at this juncture are Bryan Adams, Elton John, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Kylie Minogue, Michael Buble, Peter Gabriel...the list is endless. These were the people who actually redefined the widely used term 'Music', whose every song had something which made it special and different. These are the people whose music is soothing and a solace for their endless number of fans.

My own personal favourites among this endless list are as follows:
Designation of the song: Title (Artist-Album)

All-time favourite song: Summer Of '69 (Bryan Adams-Summer Of '69)
Romantic song: Love Story (Taylor Swift-Fearless); You Took My Heart Away (MLTR-Take Me To Your Heart)
Missing School Days: Friends Forever (Vitamin C-Graduation)
Best Guitar work: Hotel California (Eagles-Hell Freezes Over)
Rock: Wake Me Up When September Ends (Green Day-Bullet In A Bible)
When missing someone: Gotta Find You (Joe Jonas-Camp Rock)
Strong Resemblance: Right Now (Freedom-Akon)
Dream: If We Were A Movie (Miley Cyrus-Hannah Montana)
Truth: Somebody's Me (Enrique Iglesias-Insomniac)
Confessions: Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Lindsay Lohan-A Little More Personal)
In wait: Right Here Waiting (Richard Marx-Repeat Offender)
Found you: Bartender (TPain-The Midas Touch Man)
Look at yourself: Girl In The Mirror (Britney Spears-Oops!...I Did It Again)
Striving for you: If Only Tears Could Bring You Back (Soundtrack-Pokemon The Movie)
Romance at its best: My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion-Titanic)
Limits to which I can go: When You Love Someone (Bryan Adams-Unplugged)
Just for you: You're Beautiful (James Blunt-You're Beautiful)
Adieu: Goodbye My Lover (James Blunt-Chasing Time: The Bedlam Sessions)
Friendship: True Friend (Hannah Montana-Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus)
Gloomy: Teardrops On My Guitar (Taylor Swift-Fearless)
Love is in the air: As Long As You Love Me (Backstreet Boys-Backstreet Boys)
Ask for dance: Can I Have This Dance (soundtrack-High School Musical 3)

The list doesn't seem to have an end and it never will just because I can't ever get tired when I begin talking music and when it is about the best I have ever heard, there is no end... And I even wish there isn't any ever...

Do tell me without hesitation anytime if you discover new bands or artists which you think are really good. I wouldn't mind exploring them as I am in no mood to miss any great music...

Sayonara!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Aloha!

First of all, don't guess that I have just visited Hawai or something because am writing on something that has its origin in the Hawaiian islands of North America.

The first time I came across this word was a song, 'Aloha Barack Obama' and I had understood the meaning of the word as welcome. Recently, I had a friend telling me 'Aloha' as a matter of good-bye. I was left in a predicament of rare sorts. I just couldn't make my mind as to which one of the two was true. The prior was as a welcome to the honorary President and the latter was as a farewell.

I decided to unearth the meaning for myself so that I don't face the dilemma again.

We meet people in every walk of our life and then their presence in our lives provides us comfort. We welcome them in any and every phase of our life. 'Aloha dear!' is what our first reaction turns to.

Then, we spend some time with them. Know them better. And its time to bid them 'Sayonara'.

We really sometimes can face a question of sorts when someone says 'Aloha' to us. Was that to welcome me, or, was it to say good-bye?

I still will face this dilemma because of the courtesy of this beautiful and peculiar word 'Aloha'! And I guess that's the reason the song 'Aloha Barack Obama' was written so that a new song won't have to be written to bid him bye. Thoughtful on the part of the lyricist, I must say!

Aloha!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Friends...

Hi there,

This topic first seemed pretty silly to me to write about, but then, I thought I would even then give it a try. And the only reason why I decided giving it a try is that my friends have been one of the major factors who have shaped me the way I am today. So, this was the payback time.

We meet many people in our everyday walk of life. It becomes pretty tedious to remember each one of those whom we meet. But, even then, there are these few (and many for some) people whose presence in our life is cherished, whose absence makes a difference to the way our life goes ahead. We call them friends.

I don't know who coined this word 'Friend' and neither do I know who defined it, but, I just know one thing, in everyone's life, there are people whom we confer the degree of being our friends, the valued people in our lives, and there's a specific image created in our minds once someone says the word 'Friend'.

We meet people, we are interested to know them better, we get acquainted with them, we wish to be a piece of their lives and we eventually become friends. These people eventually end up to be the most valued friends we have ever had. And, we are never ever the same after we have known someone like them who help us to become better individuals.

There are times when we need them, times when they need us, times when we clash, times when we love them, times when our opinion about friends on-the-whole changes due to specific events, and times when the meaning is revived in a totally new sense because of a few new people who enter our lives.

And slowly times change. The days when we used to hang out on daily basis changes to once a month and eventually once a year. The days when we used to talk on the phone for hours together changes to a call here or a message there, that too, just once a fortnight or so. But, even then, there is a certain kind of trust and belief in the relationships that we share with our friends which tells us that despite the distance, the friendship never dies... The degree of closeness doesn't decrease.

Someone has very rightly said, "Life isn't when you miss 'someone'. It is when you know that that 'someone' also misses you at the same time." And then we realize that there are a few reasons to smile when we wake up every new day. A few reasons to hope that tomorrow will be a better day than it was today. A few reasons to just cherish the memories that seem to be a part of the distant past. A few reasons to streamline the past into perspective and hope for the future that would perhaps be even more mesmerizing... And these reasons are nothing but those people of our lives whom we call 'Friends'.

I just want to dedicate this piece to all my friends out there who have been the constant pillars of support of my life, even when their lives were in a turmoil, without even giving it a thought what they were putting on stake... I just hope that this strong pillar of your support never breaks... Thank you guys...

Adios...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Need, Want or Expect

Hello dear readers,

Before you continue reading this blog-post, I would like to tell you that this one might seem a bit blunt to you, but, it is what I think is the truth.

We live in a supposedly supernatural world. We all have certain needs, wants and we never miss a chance to expect. But, in reality, have we ever tried to understand the difference between what we 'want' and what we 'need', or, what we 'want' and what we 'expect', or what we 'need' and what we 'expect'? Have we been able to tell ourselves with all our self-confidence that we are pretty clear that it is either a want, need or an expectation?

I just wish to throw some more light on these words, by decoding these words to the extent I am able to, which have been bothering me since quite a lot many days.

When we are around people we 'expect' them to notice us, to think about us. But, what we really 'want' most of the times is that they just should be jealous about us, about what we are. And when our want is such, our 'need' doesn't stay far behind in defining that we really want to stand out from the crowd and be able to say 'I am the best'.

When we are with our near-and-dear-ones, we just be ourselves, we don't have to brag about ourselves or try to be what we aren't. But, then our expectations differ. We then 'expect' them to do various things. To help us in our tasks, to do things that would strengthen our relationship with them and loads of other stuff. But, do we 'want' them to do these things or 'expect' them to? And the 'need' remains that they give us all that we want, never even giving it a thought if it's something they wish to do.

When we are with our friends, we don't mind pulling their legs for every small bit of sun that we get when we do it. On the contrary, we 'expect' them to not do the same with us. We don't mind finally turning into hypocrites in our own eyes. We 'want' them to be themselves when they are with us, but, we might ourselves wear a mask difficult to unearth. We 'need' them to listen to everything that we have to say, leaving aside all that they 'need' to do. We 'need' them to be there with us during our thins, but, might just fail to realize that we also should be there when they face theirs...

And finally coming to our own selves. Do we really know what we 'want', 'need' and 'expect'? Are we really able to decode the mystery of these three words and apply it into our own lives? Or are we among those who never really have understood the meaning of these words and just use them like words which are supposedly just the synonyms of each other? Do we try to justify our words by saying that our wants are our needs and not just mere expectations?

These are the questions which can be best answered by us when they are put up for ourselves. If we really wish to lead a happy life, I guess (and I believe) the realization to the answers to these questions serve as a pre-requisite.

Leaving you with something that will help you realize your own self... Sayonara...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mirage Of Life

We all seem to be victims of a simple yet complicated problem. What is life exactly?

Some say it's a game, play it the way it should be played. Some say it's mystery, unlock the treasures when they are ought to be. Some say it's a story (or a novel), which will neccessarily have a happy-ending. Some say life is a gift, a gift from the almighty and we should make the best use of it. Some say, some say, we can go on and on about what we think life is!

But, one of the least comprehended fact is that life is just a sort of mirage...

We see something, we expect something, and finally things don't turn out that way, we compromise... That's life. We hope to be with our loved ones, in the protection of their unconditional love and support, but, sometimes, our hopes are belied... That's life. We feel something, we need something, we want something, we get something... That's life. We need to talk to someone, we need to share with someone, we need to cry in front of someone, we need to make someone laugh, and then the plan falters... That's life.

We always get so busy in our day-to-day earn-a-bread-for-living and minting-money-for-spending-again that we don't really realize when we have gone on to be people who we never had been. We meet new people everyday. We grow our contact list on a daily basis, but, we forget that in the contact list that exists, there are those who think about us in a particular way, a particular fashion. There's a photo of us in their minds that's ought to be created when they think about us. And what we gotta do is, live up to their hopes for us.

In this race to be what we aren't, to get that materialistic happiness, to build a safe haven, we just forget that there are people around us who really care for us, for whom we really are something to cherish about in life, who really wonder if we are doing fine. These also happen to be the people from whom we expect beyond bounds and those who do the same about us. And in this journey of creating the perfect-world we wish to live in, we just don't seem to get enough of anything.

And in this process we begin living in a mirage which we create for ourselves... This is when we reach the horizon where the mirage actually did exist and everything begins to come crashing down. Things don't seem to go green, situations make us tumble, and people make us weep.

We go through that phase. Quickly in and slowly out of it. And finally we are dragged into the quicksand and the same procedure seems to repeat itself until we finally attain peace from this world...

Until my next mirage...

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Approach Of The Youth Towards Politics

Politics. The word makes a picture in our minds of those fat, corrupt politicians who are no good at anything except making false promises and tarnishing the name on the country globally, those who are interested in making money for themselves through their practices taking birth from bribery and greed. Those politicians who can’t forgo their lavish lifestyles and luxuries even in the midst of crises, those who are submerged in their images of themselves, in their own minds that they are better than the rest in every possible way, and, not to forget, those who are the biggest hypocrites of the world. These are also those who are the ones seen most by the public. These are the people who make it to the cover pages of the newspapers and our magazines for their ridiculous opinions and silly blame games. These are those who might not actually work, but, don’t wait to get into the matter at the end, to take the credit.

This is the condition of every country, and our India, the country which is considered as the spiritual capital of the world, is no different.

But, this is just one side of the coin. There are also those politicians in the world that, we as youth, look up to. Those who changed the belief of what people can do as a mass by electing responsible representatives and who took up the responsibility of national reconstruction in the right earnest whenever it was necessary, those who don’t work for popularity, but, for progress. And, this isn’t their individual progress, but, the progress of the nation. They don’t mind giving everything they have to the nation.

India attained its freedom sixty-two years ago and since then, the nature of politics and the attitude of politicians have changed considerably. From the great early politicians like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (the first Prime Minister of the country), Dr. Rajendra Prasad (the first President of free India), Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (the first Home Minister of India, and also the one who brought all the princely states under Indian territory by negotiations), and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (the head of the committee which framed the constitution of India). These are those who are the role models of the leaders of today. Or rather who should have been.

It’s not just India where the nature of politicians has changed over time. Let’s take the example of the most developed country in the world, the United States of America. The early politicians were the ones who framed the constitution and gave the world a new way of the existence of states and provinces, democracy. The people involved in this included George Washington (the first President of the U. S. of A.), Benjamin Franklin (who was one of the founding fathers of the U. S. of A.) and Thomas Jefferson (the architect of the famous ‘American Declaration of Independence’ and the third President of the U. S. of A.). But, even though American politics was not always on a high, there were politicians like Abraham Lincoln (the sixteenth President of U. S. of A. and the one who helped in ending one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the U. S. of A., which rose due to apartheid) and John Kennedy (the thirty fifth President of the U. S. of A.), who didn’t let the image of politicians in the minds of their own citizens deteriorate.

Today’s youth has a peculiar take on politics. “Politics is a gutter.” This is the most common quote we hear when adults talk about politics, and probably, even the one which is most true. But, this attitude of adults has led to the creation of a negative image of politicians in the minds of the youth of today, the future of tomorrow. More or less, the adults have an influence in the way the youth thinks and when the adults have such a line of thinking, youth can’t be any better and infer something on their own. They don’t want to check if the ground reality is the same as what it appears to be or is some different. They don’t want to see if their opinion is dominated by the thoughts and beliefs of others or their own ideology.

What the adults fail to understand is the impact their opinions have on the delicate and sensitive opinions of the youth. They fail to make the youth realize that there are great politicians in the world, even today, who wish to work just for the betterment of society. They fail to show that behind this ravaged image of the politicians of today, lies a hope of the protectors of tomorrow, in the youth of today. The politicians in India like Dr. Manmohan Singh (the current Prime Minister of India), Pranab Mukherjee (the current Finance Minister of India), Praful Patel (the current Civil Aviation Minister of India), P. Chidambaram (the current Home Minister of India), Shashi Tharoor (ex-UN Under-Secretary General and the current Minister of State for External Affairs of India), Sachin Pilot (the current Minister of State for Communications and Technology of India) and Rahul Gandhi (General Secretary of All India Congress Committee) are those who can, and will change the image of the politicians. On the global level, there is Barack Obama (the current President of the U. S. of A. and also the first Black President) who with his presidential campaign gave the hope of change to the world, and is materializing his dream of America just as he has portrayed in his book ‘The Audacity Of Hope’. The adults fail to explain to the youth that the politicians like these are giving this task all they possibly can.

The image of the youth about politics may be tarred, and might even worsen in the near future, but, until there are youth who can differentiate between the ‘evil’s and the ‘good’s of politics, even if they are in a minority, the hope to live in a better world stays alive...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Tribute

When I talk to people, various subjects come up and eventually the things we talk about change. And I guess, that must be the case with most of us.

A few days back, I had a talk to someone who is one of the most important people and also the one I look up to and admire. He's the one who has been there through my thick and thins and helped me whenever I needed help.

The day was the last day of the Ganesh fesitval and the joy of Ganesh immersion surrounded all around us. All but me. Behind the truth that festivals like this bind the people together lies a fact about what effects it has on the environment. But, what disappoints me the most is the fact that in the country of 1 billion people and 63 crore literates, why can't we stand up for what we feel. There are millions in the country and probably tens around us who know and have a strong opinion that things shouldn't be the way they are and yet, they do nothing about it. Why do we always try to be one of the crowd and not the one whom the crowd would follow? Why are our opinions and decisions so frail that they can be mould by anyone who wants to?

I asked him these question that day. And I got my answers to quench the thirst of the years I had been wondering about them.

He just said and everything began falling into perspective:
"Life will give us all the choices, but, what we choose will decide our destiny."

You can choose to be a either Bill Gates (Microsoft co-founder) or Steve Jobs (Apple Inc. co-founder) and wish to change the way people live, you can choose to be Barack Obama (President of U. S. of A.) or Nelson Mandela (the first black President of South Africa) and change the way people perceive politics and remove the age-old beliefs about it, you can be a terrorist or a gangster and create fear in the minds of people about the nature of humanity on the whole. But, in the end, whatever you choose will decide your destiny.

So true! We want to be one of the crowd and never initiate change. We want to sit back and cry foul at the system, but, we won't get into it and change it. We want all the happiness in the world, but, we don't mind spreading tears in the eyes of someone else in the making.

And here's the answer to my question. If we need change, if we want change, we should change! We should shed the belief of what I can do and rather believe with the fact that only I can do. We can't have everyone on our side in the battle of change. There will be cynics, critics and those who follow these blindly who will oppose us, but, if we lose the courage to fight for what we think is correct, it won't probably ever change.

So, in fact, the onus finally falls onto us. Are we going to lead the change or flow with the change. The choice is yours...

Signing off... Hoping to see you soon...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Complications Simplified: Is It Worth A Read?

I am back... and this post is not like my previous two.

This blog-post is a review of a book I recently came across by the courtesy of a dear friend, who could grab an e-book copy of the book (even when the book hasn't been published), and I went ahead with it because I found the prologue of the book interesting. So, I was fortunate enough to read this book. The author of this not-so-famous book is Bhavin Shah.

The story is a fiction about the life of two best friends, Ron and Roy, living in south Bombay and the ways in which their lives get entangled and disentangled in the period after their graduation. The way they seem to get a hold of their life and lose it even before they could realize they did. Their love for the most essential people in their life and how those people somehow misunderstand them, and all the relationships come crashing down. And, at last, the 'All's well that ends well' finale.

A simple but profound story is very well presented here by the author. The vocabulary speaks that the person is well-read and has knowledge of use of words and phrases.

But, once you are with the book and think about the story again, you realize that the story is kind of a mash-up of various Shah Rukh Khan movies that I have seen - Devdas (the loss of love phases for both the friends), Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham (the way a family breaks down when a kid contemplates marrying a girl of his choice, and not his parents'), Kal Ho Na Ho (hero dies in the end and the cat of truth is let out of the bag), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (ends up with his best friend finally). Somewhere after reading the gist, my expectations had increased and I thought this depiction could probably have been avoided by something that would be more close to life. I am a fan of SRK myself (may be not to a very great extent), but, even then, I feel that the immaturity of the Indian cinema on the entertainment-base and revenue generating movies is pointless (detailed movie talks in some of my later blog).

The things that I liked about the book include how the story was interwoven and the popular saying: "Destiny decides who comes into your life, and gets to stay in your life..." was depicted... It couldn't have been better.

The best part of this novel (or I should say mini-novel) were the poetry that pierce straight through the heart and the pain is felt when you read the book.

One more astounding part I would like to mention was how Roy decoded Ron's diary, even though he hadn't been in any kind of communication with Ron about his life since three years (when they had parted ways). This shows the extents to which friends know each other despite the boundaries of distance and time...

The quotes of the friends, which speak all about love. This one from Roy:

"It is simple to fall in love, yet the most difficult part is to find someone to catch you. That is why we say that Love is Simply Complicated."

This really made me think twice about it... And the next by Ron:
"One does not 'fall' in or out of love. One 'grows' in love."

How true are these! And their significance in our lives is so subtle yet so profound! the manner in which they have been put forth in the book is truly mind-boggling. It totally blew me off!

On the whole-Its a great book with a one-of-its-kind storyline. A must read for those who think their lives are define sorrows and their graveness.

Just hoping that someday I will be able to write books like this or probably even better...

Sayonara!

P. S. 1: The link of the complete book is attached herewith. If it doesn't work, the links for various chapters are below:
Cover page
Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Epilogue


P. S. 2: I am no critic, just a well-wisher. I just wrote what I felt after going through the book. I don't wish to harm the feelings of any fans of the novel. And, I regret if I am hurting anyone by this, and I am sorry from the heart if I have.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Relationships

It has been a couple of years now since I have been trying to decipher the meaning of the word 'Relationship'. In the course of this time, I have tried to know what different people from different age groups think about the word 'Relationship'.
For a woman, a relationship is her maternal care for her son(s)/daughter(s), her love and support for her husband, her care for her siblings, her duty towards her parents.

For a man, it is his day-to-day experience of life. All that he experiences with his colleagues in his office, with his family back home, and with those who are distant but yet close to the heart.

And if you ask a normal sophomore, what are relationships to him/her, he/she would say, it's when he/she is friendly with most of the people around him/her, the rapport he/she shares with his teachers, etc. But, the first thing that comes to their mind is (and probably will always be) a boy and a girl who are infatuated towards each other and they do all it takes to know each other better by spending all the possible time together. For him/her, the meaning of friendship is adding each other on orkut, Facebook and all the other possible social networking sites.

But, I guess, in the course of evolution of man and his recent advancements, the nature of relationships (of every kind) have changed and have assumed a shape from which there is no return. Materialism has found its place in the life of human beings and in the process relationships have lost their importance. Sometimes I wonder, will the next generations face relationships which have just materialistic gains?

The world has learnt to live in those forceful-smiles-on-your-face relationships, but, it has forgotten to smile from the heart. We live in a world where the difference between brickbats and bouquets is that the former are to us from our thought-to-be enemies and the latter are from our so-called friends.
Very few, in reality, understand the true meaning of the word friendship and what kind of feelings he has for each and every friend of his.

I just hope I can someday explain to the future children that relationships
aren't just about the 'Hi's and 'Hello's but are about never saying 'Bye'. That relationships don't flourish because people are individually good, but, they do because they are the best when they are together. That friendship is not just gossiping and ridiculing the guy or girl sitting next to us, but, about supporting someone in the times they need us and trusting them more than we trust ourselves.

It is said that there are three things that money can't buy; happiness, health, satisfaction. But, for me, there is just one thing that money can't buy and i.e. relationships because if we are happy in a relationship, we automatically get the other three things that money can't buy.

Until the next post... Au revoir...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

16 Years Those Have Been...

Today is the 4th of September, 2009. I am sixteen today! I am an adult from today according to the laws of most of the countries and provinces of the world!

In these sixteen years I have seen many things around me. Mostly changes. From talks on a regular fixed telephone earpiece to VoIP calls, from two-storey buildings to the same being demolished to build sky-touching scrapers, from buying vegetables and fruits from the vendors who sit on the roads to visiting malls and hypermarkets just to buy our daily grocery, from days when 40MB hard disks were considered as a luxury to days when even hard disks which hold terabytes of data is not enough, from days when the definition of study was obtaining knowledge to when it means just trying to obtain marks in every possible way, from days when people would co-operate with each other to when we have developed a sort of crab mentality and from times when human beings valued time to days when they try to turn every minute into value.
The changes taking place are vast, quick, endless and above all considered necessary. Just deemed to be necessary.

Are these changes a need? Or are they wants of a person, company, organization, or a country?

This is what I think. The necessity of change, in my opinion, has come up every now and then just because of human nature and qualities of envy and jealousy. And, then naming them to be a part of the ‘competitive’ world.

I think more than the changes that have occurred in these unnecessary fields—where it would have done without such radical changes in all these fields—we need changes in the more prevalent and dominant parts of our beliefs and value systems that confine us from developing as individuals and the society on the whole.

There are many such myths that have been busted in the past, but, a lot of work still remains to be done. Since, we are hypocrites. We say that the other person should not have done something in this fashion, but when we do the same, we try to justify the same by giving excuses.

The current President of the U. S. of A, Barack Obama, had his presidential campaign on similar lines and that’s when I began thinking, ‘When will the Indian society wake up?’ It has been sixty-two years since India has got its independence and have we been able to transform India into a nation which everyone would want to live in? Or do we need more than four hundred years (like America did) to realize that we need to change and live with a feeling of acceptance?

We need to bring the humanoid change which is more necessary than similar aspects of materialism. We need to be open to accept that beliefs that are a part of the tradition since thousands of years may not necessarily be true. And approve of the fact that even if they were true at that time, they might need the change as per the needs of the society today. We have to decide if we are going to live within the bondage that most of our ancestors have or are we going to change and adapt into the feelings that make us humans.

We need to build the society we wish to live in. We can’t bank upon others to make a castle we wish to live in. And even if we do, we won’t like it until we customize it to our needs. Similarly, we need to get into the system to change it.

You may think that I am a cynic or a critic. But, the fact remains that we need to first understand the problems we are facing before even thinking of ways in which they can be solved. And so, I am trying to understand the problems in these formative years of my life so that I can do all that I can with all my might to make ‘My India’ the one of my dreams, to reform it in every possible way when I can have all the resources at my own disposal (in short, as soon as I begin with my first job after my graduation). At the very least, I hope I would be able to dedicate a few years from my life to this very need of my country, Change.

Signing off...

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