Saturday, September 11, 2010

You've Got The Power!

Power. That's a big word when you say it to anyone in India. When you say that, you simply mean, you've got enough connections, enough known people, enough people who would be there to save you, if you fell in any sort of trouble.

And the people who can say they are 'powerful' are barely few in India. Courtesy: The ineffective and delayed results from Indian Judicial system, the corrupt Bureaucrats and the extra-irresponsible politicians elected by us to the legislature. And everyone who isn't either of these, sure has a lust for power. To secure himself, to stay away from any sort of problems, issues, hassles.

Frankly, I am of those very few in this country called India who would still not give up their values while fighting for what is right against someone who is powerful. I wouldn't. And I did prove my point, my stand, sometime back when I got into a tiff with someone who had the power to not only spoil my entire academic year but which would also mean my career and life. Still, what I did was what seemed right to me. To stand up against what was wrong, unfair.

And I won't highlight that incident here. That wasn't heroic in any way. It just was what proved to me that I ain't a hypocrite like many others.

I have seen and heard many people say, talk about changing the system (besides the politicians). Very few have actually stood up and made the difference. Have shown the world what they really are and believe in.

You sure do meet people every where who boast about what level of penetration they have in the system. Traffic cops leave people just by the name, their every official work gets done in a few minutes, they can easily skip queues, be treated like VIPs and what not! The list is endless... And who are such people? They surely are not VIPs... They just are individuals who know VIPs. And well, they get the stars studded onto themselves wherever they go...!

Every elder to me, I repeat, every elder whom I have ever talked to about these things, has told me, blatantly, not to dare to mess with those in power. And somehow, it never seemed to impress or convince me. I always was a staunch supporter of my ideals. Was, am and will be.

To live in India is a fight every day, as we all know. We all have had to bow our heads at some time or another and just let the so-called 'system' run in its full might. And every time I do that, see someone doing it, or know that it's happening, I am forced to ask myself... How long?

Dammit, we won our Independence 63 years back... Was it only to be handcuffed into fear and inability? I don't think so...

India has changed, from what it was a decade ago... The acceptance to the wrong has reduced... As far as I know and have met people, there are those who are ready to contribute, make a difference, lead the change, and to give power in the right hands.

Let's face it. Each one of us has the power. The power to act, to raise voice against the wrong, to make the change (in our small ways), to move the blocks in place, and to set things right. But, the question still is, do we?

The simple answer is... We are an afraid, feared, coward lot of people. Yes, I mean these words. Why so? Simply because we all won't stop criticizing what's happening or saying how it should be done, but we won't get in there and go for the change.

Everyone of us knows Barack Obama, the current President of the States. But what's his story? Why did his election campaign have the tag-line 'Change, we need.' The simple reason comes from what he was. Barack Hussein Obama, a graduate from Harvard Law School was a Civil Rights Attorney in Chicago. He saw things were going wrong. He couldn't accept them the way they were going. He thought the things were against humanity, the basic principle which defines us humans, and he lead his own change. The change he wished to see in his country, the United States of America. He went on to be the Senator, and then the first Black President of the country which didn't allow Afro-Americans to vote until 1965. And each and every point of his, about his ideology, has effectively been written down by him in his book, The Audacity Of Hope.

Let me now emphasize on the desi version of the above story. If Barack Obama was an Indian, what would he do? Instead, what do we all do?

He gets a degree from a renowned Law School in of the country (sorry, I don't know law schools). He gets into a Civil Rights attorney. Sets up an office in Mumbai or Delhi. And then he sees, that the cases keep going and going, like forever. He understands minting money from those who need help is easy. Sure he is disappointed with the system, but he lacks enough motivation from within, and from others, to just go around, and take the first step towards the change he desires. He continues his job. Realizes that he can make enough money to live a healthy and sophisticated enough lifestyle. Realizes that he has gotten into knowing the Commissioners of Police, the high-posted politicians, bureaucrats, and has enough of the contacts he needs to build to stay out of trouble. And there he is... Spending his life, accepting that change can never be made in this country! Wouldn't you agree it would be that?

And we all know there can be numerous such examples, not just Barack Obama, for that matter...

It was this man called Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who when thrown out of the first class compartment in South Africa, despite having a valid ticket, was aroused to bring in freedom for our nation; it was Subhash Chandra Bose's desire to see his motherland free from the might of foreign rulers; it was Bhagat Singh's vision to live in a country where people wouldn't be punished for being who they were, that brought India the independence it had long desired. Only to be given away to another kind of invasion... The invasion that being 'in power' caused.

Yes, this upsets me. Upsets me big time that people who can and should be doing stuff to take the nation to another level while away their lives just to keep earning their bread and butter in the simplest and most satisfying possible ways... Yes, it does upset me.

You've got the power... The power to change... The power to lead the change... The power to be the change...!

You use it or not, that's what you gotta answer to your own conscience. Not me...


Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, My Blog!

I still remember that day... I was reading Blogs by Bugs, the blog of one of my dearest friends, Bhavin Shah, that fateful afternoon... And suddenly, a thought, a wish, a desire ran through me... I wanted to have my own blog!

And so here I am... With my own blog, and almost 50-odd regular followers... That's Setu's Blog today!

When I wrote my first blog, way back on 3rd September, 2009, I wasn't sure what blogging was all about. The only thing I knew was, I wanted to have a medium through which I could take my thoughts, opinions and ideology, to the world. I was (and still am) an amateur writer. A teenager who just had gotten out of school, and all he wrote there was 300-word essays on imposed topics! That was a time I couldn't be creative... Whatever I write, even today, is raw, unpolished stuff in my opinion... But, that's just me...

I didn't know much about how to write, what to write etc. I just knew, I wanted to write... Whatever I felt... Whatever I believed in... Whatever I thought... Whatever I knew... And with every new blog, I kept learning. To write, to express, to speak, to accept, and to try and get better...

When I began this blog, I had hoped I would reach some 100 blogposts until the first year... (I had a crazy frequency of 8 posts a month for the first month!) Later on, time and resource restrained me and the numbers went down... I compromised to 50... And today, I stand at this being my blogpost number 39... Couldn't even complete 40! But that doesn't deter me... Because whenever I sit down to write a new post, I know what I have to write... I know what I feel about the topic... And I know how to express myself the best to my abilities... And so, beyond a point, these numbers don't matter to me... Because I know whatever little I write, however infrequent I am, I will try my best to do justice to that topic...

Every time I decide to write about a subject, thoughts begin to form in my mind about what to write, the whole post, etc. until I actually begin writing... And what amuses me is the fact that no post turns out the way think about it... I don't ever write it the way I have thought before... It just turns out completely new, different... And I just seem to like it even more...

With every blogpost I wrote, I had comments pouring in, on the blog, on Facebook, on tweets, on e-mails, etc. And all of them just made me feel better about what I wrote... They all encouraged me to keep writing... And the most encouraging moment was when one of my posts was published in a magazine! Well, that can actually boost you like anything... I actually began believing that I did write some what good after that day...

If you follow other blogs, you may know that blogging is a wide arena. Some people blog about their opinions about the headlines of the day, some are dedicated to specific categories, some are just photo-blogs, and some even say about the schedule of the day and the few things they learnt that day... I still am trying to figure out what I write about... Because I have always written anything and everything... Ranging from the reviews of books and movies, my interest in muzik (it isn't a typo, I prefer it that way), astronomy, literature, festivals, my opinions during some major contorversy of the time, my idea about some confused facts, etc., etc.... The list is unending. Quiet frankly, all of the topics actually popped out to me out of the blue... I never went searching for a topic, in the true sense... It always was like when I saw, felt or heard about something and I went, "Hey! I want to write a post on that!" And I just did it...

There are these two important people in my life whom I have to mention here... Because of their support, trust, faith, guidance and help, I am what I am today... And they are Divya Desai, my best friend, and Bhavin Shah, my mentor... This blog is theirs as much as it is mine... Because if not for either of them, my writing dream would have been incomplete today...

Some people ask me how has blogging changed me, my life? It's simple... I found a hobby, a mouth-piece... It's something that has shaped me into myself, carved my personality... Today people know me as Setu, even though I don't have a big fan-following. It has helped me know my forte... And it's something I can proudly call my own...!

And the success with my blog was the main reason I actually began writing my maiden novel, The Girl. Well, as of now, it is in a nascent stage, but still, that's the plant I want to nourish...

It has been a long way in the last one year... And will be a longer way henceforth... But I am sure I will make it through... Because my thoughts will never stop... And hopefully neither my writing...!


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