Monday, July 31, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Lately, the rather amazing coverage of Prof. Matuknath, his lover Julie and wife Abha, served as fodder for many a conversation. Then came along the sorry tale of Manoj Prabhakars second wife and his two kids despite the presence of a first and her 18 yr. old son. Udit narayan, the singer whose voice has been associated withh Shahrukh, was caught dodging the press when his first wife showed up in front of the media to expose that he had deserted her and had married again.
Laxity of moral values or a complete turn around? Down the ages man has been a predator. However civility demanded monogamy. Therefore he was forced to adhere . Marriage played little or no role in curbing the instincts so deeply ingrained. But till a while ago, shame facedness, societal pressures, kept behaviour of the kind under wraps. Either an ever inquisitive media, its need to expose and ‘break news’, or then that the incidents have taken on a frightening regularity and impunity in their stance and attitude, but as of now, it seems sadly ubiquitous.
Have our folks from good ole Bollywood set a trend, which at the time may have caused an uproar, but now has served as a license if not a path breaking example? Dharmendra, Boney Kapoor, Aamir Khan (before the divorce involvement with the british girl and present wife) Saif ali Khan,off the cuff examples. There sure are a lot more, even if one leaves out the Muslim actors who by virtue of their religion invoked permissions have almost always adhered by this tenet of more than one wife, disregarding any other to do with Virtuousnesss.
What has emerged from this rather painful turn of events are two attitudinal changes, to do with the man and the woman.
First, the man it seems has openly declared his right to ‘love’ another, live and raise kids, with impunity, with total disregard to laws and judiciary. Several loopholes and lacunae, in our antiquated civil code totally in the dock here. Encouraged that the wife, at the mercy of a judiciary therefore who would in all probability squeeze her dry financially, emotionally and physically before even a semblance of justice is accorded to her, is a pawn in the hands of a patrarchal system and lethargic judicial and social structure.
Second, the woman notwithstanding, the round about route of justice, has decided to speak up and bare her sorrow via the media to the world at large. She has decided brazenly to give back as good as she gets. The unreasonability of hiding behind the confines of her domesticity in the name of ‘shame’ dignity’ propriety’ is not an alternative any more. If the sacrosanct institution of marriage has been thus trampled upon and abused by the man, then what good for the woman to morally hang on to threads of a bond, long severed?
Where will this lead us is anybodys guess. Either the denotation of marriage will have to undergo a radical re-definition. Or, marriage as an institution will fail to attract the coming generation as one which spelt, ‘settling down’ or ‘home making’ in its essence..
The writing is on the wall. Relationships are in a stage of transition. Whether or not it will eventually prove to be a wiser, practical and therefore viable resolution, is too early to predict.
A paradigm shift is taking place .. I for one, am saddened. Why is it so difficult to be committed in one's decision and flexible in one's approach?
On a different tangent:Does not the woman have a right to love another and hinge her claim to 'independence' irrespective of a home, marriage and kids? Sure.. What would be the end result then, if women decide to exercise their right in the same proportion as men do? Is the rearing of kids pre-dominantly a womans responsibility? Does the father forego his duty to provide a home, safe and secure for his children, the moment he 'is disenchanted' with his wife or enchanted with another? Does not moral uprightness fall within the ambit of responsible parenting? Will the sons/kids from such a marriage grow up to be dependable responsible adults, capable of living up to standards of a progressive civilised society?
This is not about divorce, incompatibility, or instances when separation is not only the way out but also advisable. It is also not about a marriage where all limits of propriety have long been forsaken and divorce the only option.
This is about disloyalty, bigamy , adultery! This is about sounding the death knell of 'marriage' in its universally accepted connotation. This is about putting ones needs before those of ones family. This is about arm twisting a womans lack of standing as an individual worth consideration. This is about overriding desires getting the better of wisdom and righteousness. This is about decadent moral values in a rotting festering society worshipping novelty over steadfastness. This is about proving once again that among all the creatures on the planet, man is the most unreliable and undependable. This is about defence of ones actions blatantly under the guise of "love" for another girl, younger than your son. This is about giving lust the name of 'soulmate' and demeaning a marriage of 26 years as a 'compromise'.
This is also about a warning to males and females to re evaluate ones priorities in the baclground of a harmonious ,just and fair world. Where 'Love' is a reason to make not break. Where passion is not a virtue if it dictates immorality. Where control over the base instincts is the Reason for marriage. Where your mettle as a human being is evaluated mostly on how you conduct your self as a man, in your role as father, husband, son and benefactor. Where curbing of ones passion is the key to being recognised as a successful balanced human being. Where both partners pledge and vow that committment is the basis of their relationship. Where marriage is a 'choice' agreement entered to with the aim of fulfillment and respect of its attributes.
The world is stricken by terrorist activities. Who are these terrorists? Are they results of a broken home? Neglected childhood? After all they are humans, not aliens? They belong to our society. Is not the barbaric act of a husband who burns his bride, tortures her, demeans or betrays her, also not an act to terrorise another?
Its time we deal with injustice at all levels. There seems to be no dearth of atrocities within and without.
P.S. A generic stance had to be adopted for the sake of feasibility. There are several males who are lovable, monogamous, loyal, honest, committed..(on orders from a highly disgruntled hubby)
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
One wishes that this kind of alacrity and adeptness had been displayed in arresting terrorists and their nefarious activities, this past decade or more. Thousands upon thousands of innocent lives would have been saved. The humiliating juncture of having to curb/stifle the voices of well meaning citizens would not have arisen!
That the masterminds behind this censorship have failed miserably in pre-empting , planning and execution, yet again, is plainly evident from the fact that nothing has stopped me from writing and deterred you from reading the present post. If terrorism be a hydra headed monster as oft repeated, then the voice of righteousness can boast of the same if not more. Despite subscribing to the wisdom of compassion, patience, tolerance generally, this is one war Indians are willing to fight till the end.
A seemingly innocuous visual of a dappled railway map of Mumbai, indicating the blast sites, in reality speak of a horrendous massacre, which has to be the last of its kind in Mumbai, India and the world. In the war between Good and Evil, our scriptures decree success for Good..lets ensure it, once and for all.
The rationale behind this censorship is allegedly an attempt to curb terrorist communication, however ridiculous that may appear, especially considering that the bullet has left the gun. But also how does one then understand the interception of the BBC/NEWS HAVE YOUR SAY page which dealt with Mumbal blasts??
So , in other words when POLITICAL WILL is present even a daunting task of censorship to this level is made tangible. Whilst the absence of it has nurtured/harboured/encouraged terrorists to have sway over India.. to the extent of conducting proxy warfare, as and to their whim. If the powers who be think that they are pulling wool over our eyes by pledging innocence, then they are at best deceiving themselves into believing that the public is a bunch of jokers they can manipulate.
It beehooves one to claim with certainty that those who could have averted the MASSACRE of the train blast were either not allowed to perform their jobs with a free hand OR that it entailed a section of elitist individuals to be embarassed by the revelations which emerge. Either way it was the commuter, man, woman, child who was found lying dead, maimed, ripped apart, on platforms and tracks.
This incident has once again proven beyond all doubt and unreservedly that statements such as 'caught off guard' and 'despite best efforts' or such like by the officials are not as jejune as they appear. It is clearly a case of the Intelligence or those responsible, not having lived up to the challenge of providing Mumbai, the city with the highest tax payers and the economic hub, the security it DESERVED.
What gains can accrue from censorship at this stage is not only a fruitless exercise to analyse but an infuriating one as well.
If anything, the terrorists, languishing in jails for the past 14 years, cleverly manipulating the lacunae of the Judicial system and its laxity, should be publicly flogged. Where is the justice in providing justice to those who have broken every law
with impunity and irreverence? Justice, innately connotes, that the guilty be brought to book and the innocent be avenged. How can justice apply to those who punish the innocent and serve the guilty???
India has become a laughing stock, by virtue of dealing shabbily and ineffectively with the growing menace of terrorist and their activities. A phenomena which could have been snuffed out at the initial stages itself with finality. The shaming incident of a foreigner raped in Jaipur, captured the indignation of the citizen of India who spared no effort to raise a hue and cry in demand for justice. Within 15 days, the guilty was arrested, indicted and sentenced with life.
Now juxtapose this on a scenario where the convictions for those arrested for bombings of 1993, have been either freed for lack of evidence or are yet in jail, for the last 13 years, enjoying the snails pace of Indian judiciary which is adopted in cases where clout commands proceedings. Either that or the fact that the Judiciary is not as independent as averred. The Legislature,Political Officialdom has handcuffed Justice.
EXEMPLARY PUNISHMENT to the accused is the CRY of the hour. A signal needs to be sent out loud and clear to those who harbour plans of spreading carnage in India that we do not take kindly to insurgency. That heads will roll, if need be. That fighting against terrorism is the number one priority on our list . That progress will not and cannot be stalled . That an enemy will be hounded, and caught, no matter who its benefactors. That U.S.A. prove its uprightness by stopping supply of arms to China and Pakistan. That Pakistan stop shielding terrorists w.e.f NOW!!
Because India has risen!
This story is on NOW PUBLIC-EXCLUSIVE..whether or not my site is accessible to he readers is unknown, since I have to go by a proxy server as well.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Thereafter,how one wishes to categorise ‘opinion’ is essentially unimportant. Consider the words:, view, sentiment, feeling, belief, conviction, persuasion.. all narrow down to opinion.. is it not? Following this , usage merely relegates into a matter of justifications.
Do we consider our opinions an extension of ourselves? Is that why a contrary belief rattles us so? Are they..opinions,I mean.... truly a reflection of our inner being? Or a perception of the world and its issues we THINK we recognize and understand.
With the passage of time, our limited senses with their limited scope for assimilating data, and limited capacity to analyzing it, receives a further blow when all that we had vociferously declared, suddenly seems all wrong and undone. How many can own up then and proclaim categorically that a foul up has occurred?
No sleepless nights for a politician nevertheless, should a totally contrasting opinion need be expressed, a few hours later. If you choose to take his words as Gospel, its your naivete which needs to be put under the scanner.
The reason for this ramble is the almost ubiquitous display of provocative averments, angry outbursts, personal attacks, in the name of ‘opinion’ which pollutes even the most innocent of writings. Alas!!
Why is it important for some to have their beliefs validated, substantiated, accepted, corroborised, imbibed by ALL? Is it a phobic obsession? Or lack of self-esteem? Is Terrorism only another manifestation of this obsessive compulsive disorder?
Its not what we say that finally matters. But what we have become. The choice is ours. Pursue our ‘opinion’ to the last, irrespective of consequences or alternatively leave that for the lesser humans and pursue ‘OURSELVES’, in search of truth within.
It goes without saying.. My opinion is final on this:)
Friday, July 14, 2006
by Rabindranath Tagore
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection:
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
“Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Mushir Siddiqui (37), arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad in January this year, had given his interrogators specific details of LeT’s plans to cause explosions on the city’s railway network.
Siddiqui, currently lodged in Arthur Road jail, told ATS officials in May that ten LeT sleeper cells in the city were awaiting orders to carry out explosions on local trains and buses.
Once the cells received orders, they would break themselves up into various modules and perform a ‘major operation at crowded places,’ he had said and identified the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) as a likely target. Also, the cells would avoid using car bombs and instead carry explosives in nondescript objects that would not arouse suspicion, he had noted. This paper reported in its noon edition yesterday how terrorists had carried the explosives in tiffin boxes.Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Mushir Siddiqui (37), arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad in January this year, had given his interrogators specific details of LeT’s plans to cause explosions on the city’s railway network.
Siddiqui, currently lodged in Arthur Road jail, told ATS officials in May that ten LeT sleeper cells in the city were awaiting orders to carry out explosions on local trains and buses.”
Despite this information given in JANUARY, why have the blasts taken place.. is the question plaguing our minds. Now that it is official, that LeT, SIMI and their newest modules are those responsible, as had been posted, in the first instance, the conundrum remains. Since Rdx, in huge quantities had been found in Gujarat and other places over the last few months, it had done nothing to stir the Intelligence out of its stupor of inertia.
It certainly does not help when Police commissioner A.N.Roy quips "We were caught off guard"..Does the police have a right to be unwary, complacent or off guard?
A discussion with personal contacts, highly placed, and news channels, certain disturbing truths have emerged.
The ATS (anti terrorist squad) and the Crime Branch have been at loggerheads for the past few YEARS. In a country where the two chief arms of security have a total breakdown of communication, what, in the name of security is offered to citizens is what happened on Black Tuesday!
Corruption is rampant even in the highest cadres of intelligence units , Whom does one trust?
The anti-terrorist act which would have granted teeth to investigative agencies and concerned officials, was never allowed to see the light of the day, and repealed even as a bill. Why? Who profits from this repealment?
What has the administration learnt from the carnage, or rather mass murdering of 7/11? If one is to go by the personal experiences of media friends, then ..net result is ..zilch. Consider this. On 12th, barely few hours after the bombings, journalists posing as ordinary citizens, freely carrying bags, packets and the like, boarded, trains, even at the yard, those stations, sensitive areas where blasts had occurred..NO checks. They walked freely in and out, merrily, with nobody present to give even a semblance of security.
At “Shirdi” a journalist entered with a fake grenade in his pocket and a Puja thali.. neither was checked.
While one can understand the magnitude of the problem, yet there is nothing that reinforces one to believe that 7/11 will not be repeated.
Lack of infrastructure, the constantly, growing multitudinous population, influx from other states, fluid statistics, all add to a picture of impending doom.It is as if we are on the brink of disaster. Spirit..for how long?? Mumbai, the financial capital has always been vulnerable and a soft target, in order to strike at the mind of India and get the sensex to tumble. So here we are sitting ducks, at the mercy of a weak intelligence and corrupt administrators, with our resilience, infallibility, stoic and strength, grit, bravery and whatever else our dear P.M. bestows on us.. ready.. for what? (btw the readers digest survey about mumbai being the rudest city goes limpingly redundant now, something I had mentioned in a comment in desicritics on the 11th as well)
Citizens ought to do this that and the other..ask not what your country can do for you..blah blah.. is all very well.. If anything, it was Mumbaikars who came together and help salvage a sitution when the administration fell apart. But can we wage a war against terrorism? Is that not the bounden duty of the state machinery to ensure safety for its citizens? Information is never forthcoming from these so called sleuths. One has to wallop it out of them? Dont we have a right to know just what is getting done towards further avoidance? What measures are under way?
Where is the guarantee that criminals will be indicted? There is not A SINGLE instance of a prisoner being penalised for blasts, in any of the past incidents..even from 1993. There has always been a loud proclamation of arrests, as evn this time and years later he is Freed for lack of evidence. The police only hang their heads down in shame or in speak out in defense, when questioned.
One has deliberately not written of the goriness, gut wrenching scenes of anguish and misery personally experienced, since it will only add to angst and feeling of destitution and solves nothing. But today what is needed is a demand for answers. To make the administration accountable and answerable. To voice disgust and protest at the lackadaisical manner that security and anti terrorist measures have been implemented or rather not implemented.
While we can show our tongue out to the terrorists and continue to pretend as if nothing has happened, let this not be the message that the Administration receives. Our confidence is flagging, fear is gaining foothold and hopelessness is slowly setting in. From the looks of it, seems it wil not be long before, INDIFFERENCE replaces concern, and apathy replaces sympathy.
The channels are gradually relinquishing their infatuation with blast news by now opting for spicier stories and interviews. In another week, 7/11 will be another day featuring in the History pages..mentioned with a polite tsk tsk ..and onto the next topic.
While the average citizen waits with bated breath for our blogs to be read by the powers who be..
Or a Superman to take over the reigns of Mumbai.
Femmes Fatales Of Blogcritics has linked this post.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Kashmir valley was rocked with five blasts today.
Soon news came in that three blasts occurred one after the other in two local trains in Mumbai. One in Mahim, second between Khar and Santa cruz and the third between Mira road and Bhayandar.
Commuters were returning home at rush hours ..the compartments have been totally blasted.All the trains were fast trains from Church gate To Borivili – Bhayandar.. to attain maximum damage.. aimed at innocent people.
News of two further blasts on the Western Railway has just come in, while I am typing at Jogeswari and Borivili..taking up the count to five blasts in Mumbai..
No link to the story is available as yet..It seems to be an orchestrated plan, a serialised attack. All major metros on high alert.
This is the report received from Television news channels.
After the 1993 blasts this is the first time that such serialised blasts have taken place
Telephone lines have been disrupted in Mumbai..mobile and landlines.
Update: 8 blasts confirmed and more than a 100 dead.
Blasts occurred at Khar, Jogeshwari, Mira Road, Bandra, Borivili (2) Matunga, Mahim.
Eight blasts in 7 stations.
Possibly remote controlled timer devices and high intensity explosives were used. In a span of half hour and the similarity with the number of attacks in kashmir, shows indications of a terrorist attack well orchestrated.
Bags with bombs left on racks and on platforms appears to be the modus operandi.
Western railway is the life line of Mumbai and was targetted for the specific purpose of paralysing populace.
Horrendous scenes being shown on television. Even more exasperating are accounts of the common man claiming that the railway police was nowhere on the scene. Bodies, dismembered and in horrific conditions were extracted from the bogeys by Mumbai-ites and packed on to taxis and autos.
When will authorities ever decide to do what is expected of them? Why does not an average cop remember that he is a human being too? Why does the common man have to come to the rescue and manifest its spirit but not the officials? Answers are not expected but asking them seemed therapeutic.
Words seem an inept tool and inadequte to paint the picture of tragedy and helplessness I witnessed last night. If prayers do indeed work then they have been offered in sincerity. Blood donation and the like are too miniscule as acts worthy of lengthy depiction.
Vignettes from last nights experiences which define the social fabric of Mumbai:
Commuters stranded outside stations, with no possible means of transport to reach their destinations, offered to be dropped by car pools of residents, braving the rain and discomforts of snarled traffic.
Sights of injured and those grieving for the loss of dear ones..on the one hand, and samaritans slowly finding their way around offering refreshments, help and solace on the other.
A statement made by M.N. Singh ” Citizens should forget what happened today.. but the Police and Administration have to remember every detail”
Overheard: The culprits of the serial blasts of ‘93 have yet not been punished, despite 80 or more arrests, what hope is there this time around?
Train services resumed. People heralding a new day with renewed vigour. All schols,colleges and offices functioning.
Those injured were brought to hospitals by total strangers. Near Bandra, a predominantly Muslim area of Behrampada, the residents went all out to offer help and assistance and transported the injured to hospitals of the vicinity.
Blood donors, arrived in large numbers.
Indomitable spirit of Mumbaikars starkly represented by commuters never-say-die attitude, defying the terrorists to come out in the open..thus spoke a man who had extricated the dead from the carriage at Khar.
Taxis and autos refusing fare from stranded commuters.
Such a blur of images one after the other.All proving that the bond between Mumbaikars in times of crisis is exemplary.
Municipal Corporation has offered burial and creamation free of cost. Chief Minister offers free treatment to the injured.
Official release of those dead at 172 and injured at 450. However, on speaking to eye witnesses,its clear that numbers are much higher.
Finger of suspicion on LeT as yet..perhaps with aid from SIMI & Al qaeda
The timing of the strikes read as 6.24, 6.25, 6.26, 6.30, 6.31 and the ones at Bandra and Mahim between 6.25 & 6.30. Speaks of impeccable planning . These trains were chosen with the specific purpose of derailing relief efforts and putting Western railway majorly off track.
The Sena considered their strongest opponent was kept busy with the defacement of ‘Meenatai’s’( Bal Thackerays deceased wife) statue!! Does seem like a possibility.
More alacrity was needed by police, post blast apart from sharper vigilance from intelligence,pre blast, whatever they may claim on hindsight now.
The ire of the citizen of Mumbai is apparent from the resentment it holds against the advent of the political bigwigs timing their arrival in Mumbai amidst this mayhem. Apart from the fact that security and police duties get split, onus for the propriety of their stay being incumbent on the agencies, it also amounts to blockages in traffic. On Tuesday night when the arterial roads to and fro the airport were already facing bottlenecks due to heavy traffic load and rains, the cavalcade of Ministers cars further added to the devastating situation. It has been rumoured that deaths occurred in Ambulances stuck in traffic jams.
What purpose do they hope to solve with visit at such times is debatable. Unless media attention and glare is under consideration.
Two bytes from a news channel that stirred up emotions:
First was a segment of relatives holding up photographs of their dear ones who had not returned home. Some of them could hardly verbalise even the barest details..all they did was hold up the snaps with pleading in their eyes..tragic!!
Second was a scene from Khar Station, where the first blast had taken place..commuters asking for permission from the anchor to pass on a message to the terrorists " Unko bolo hum darne wale nahin hain..woh log bewakoof hain jo mumbai walon ko itna kamzor samajhte hain.. hum aise hi roz train me jaayenge".."Tell those terrorists that they cannot cower us down.. they are stupid to believe that they could frighten Mumbaikars.. we will continue to travel by train as before"..
Latest news on the identity of terrorists is as follows:
A gang of 15, possibly from SIMI. The leader is a certain Zaibuddin Ansari from Malegaon who has since disappeared. The bombs were planted at Churchgate and were operated through Remote and timer. The gang had fled form the scene before blasts..which eliminates the theory of suicide bombings.
Update: Total number of dead reported 200 and injured 750..officially
Intelligence agencies suspect that Rdx had been supplied by LeT, while the execution was carried out by SIMI. They point out however that members or groups are in fact a blurred demarcation today. easily interchangeable.
Message for Terrorists from Indians all over the world:
When the going gets tough, Mumbai gets going
WE are a country of 1 billion, How many bombs do you have?
You may blast us but cannot beat us
Cross posted and updated at Indianpad
Unbelievable..yet it professes to be true. Question that seems uppermost however is WHERE does it show, account for and mirror?
According to a recent survey India still has the world’s LARGEST number of poor people in a single country. Of its nearly 1 billion inhabitants, an estimated 350-400 million are below the poverty line, 75 per cent of them in the rural areas.
Just how was the calculation and wealth figure arrived at, beggars explanation. A possible rationale would be the fact that it is the GDP figures which have been considered instead of the more realistic per capita income. How can the population numbers not bear relevance? Simultaneously,it does need to be shouted at from the roof tops, especially with the inflationary trends and oil prices having peaked the highest in the last decade. But who is it targetted to impress??
Try convincing a weakened to the bone, barely alive human, fighting starvation, or the harassed to suicide farmers of Vidarbha, with this piece of paper information.
What good really? If the report is to be taken as Gospel, then how and where are the resources being flagrantly misused, disused or underused for the results to be in stark contrast to the findings?
Beats me...Good for laughs though..
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sometimes a staid, boring, oft repeated phrase catches your eye as if for the first time. You sense the subtleties and suddenly its as if a 'eureka' kind of glee takes over. It happened today when randomly the term 'spread cheer' appeared, out of nowhere as it were.
How true'..I said to myself. If there is something in short supply and abject state of solitariness, it was good ole 'cheer'.. Not in fashion and certainly not in parlance of the accepted kind. Resultantly even lesser in application! When last do you recall encoutering a 'cheerful personality, who was consistently so, out of choice and not play acting. If you have, then hold on to him/her for dear life.. believe me he is a gift from the heavens and a rarity, fast disappearing, as rapidly the Tigers of India.
Why is it so hard to come by? Cheer..I mean..Imho, we tend to live in the future carrying the burden of the past and neglecting the present. Whilst good cheer would arise out of faith in the future, gratitude for the past and joy in the present. A trifle noteworthy..dont you think?
If stories of personal dilemmas are anything to rest arguments on, then one can safely conclude that fear, insecurity, wariness, trepidation of obdurate circumstances leads to the wilting away of the capacity to cheerfulness, slowly but surely. Perhaps, accepting the axiom that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never happen..Imbimbing this to the fullest, might help..Worth a try..
So spread it around.. it sure has a way of getting back to you! Lifes like a rubberband..you get back equal or double the propensity of whats been sent out..
Look out for the person who only stands and cheers..He too serves a certain purpose.
Lastly.. this verse
"The world will never adjust itself
To suit your whims to the letter,
Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
And go under at last in the wrestle.
The wiser man shapes into God's plan,
As water shapes into a vessel"
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Kitaro playing..aroma of parathas waft in from the kitchen along with an agitated babble of arguments between the son and the maid on choice of spices, proportion of cheese, and addition of butter on insistence of son while maid confused at whether it was a preparation of parathas or pasta that was being discussed!
Hubby on phone with colleague..pacing the room, leading on to the terrace..watching the monsoon lash the plants with all its fury.."No way that I am going to venture out..yeah its me saying that.. I know.. I know..nothing keeps me from getting to the office but today nothing will get me there...declare it a holiday.. Its insane expecting anyone to turn up..the city is on 'High Alert'..let them take leave till the situation is under control".
Me.. getting the table ready for breakfast.. nodding vigorously.. inwardly thankful that he needed no coaxing to stay back.. putting in a word.. whenever possible.. edgewise..heaving a sigh of relief that hubby had decided to be cautious. "Whats surprising "? you might ask.. Not if you knew hubby..come hail, storm or high water he never cancelled appointments. So how was this day any different from previous years. Well.. it wouldnt have been had 26/7 not happened to Mumbaikars and to us as a family!
Cut to 26th July 2005.
Mild rains .. heavily overcast skies.. me.. packing hubbys bag.. readying for the flight he was to take at 9.30 p.m. to New Delhi and onward to Nainital..he insisted on last minute detailing for the staff whilst away, so left for a few hours. Son at school in Juhu..
Something.. premonition .. I cannot say for sure.. kept me back..also the fact that hated to drive in monsoons.. and driver had not turned up.
2.30 p.m.. noticed dramatic and extreme darkening of skyline.. and a torrent of rain that seemed to unleash all of a sudden..I rushed out to the terrace.. 'Cloudburst" was my first reaction..waited hopefully for it to wane.. Sonny had extra classes and would still be in his classroom.. Called up hubby..he sounded apprehensive.. said something like .."Its weird but there is a traffic jam and I am in the midst of it at Juhu." his tone of voice made me sense that all was not fine on the roads. Asked him if he could turn back towards Sonnys school and pick him up. He said it was impossible.. traffic was inching forward and the downpour was torrential.
Now panic began setting in slowly.. Sonny, had taken on the services of an Auto rickshaw for these extra class days.. which meant by now he would be en route and alone. I called him.. His mobile was responding indicating he was out of school.. His first words' Mama.. its bad .. the rain..stay home..dont get out.. I'm Ok.. wheres Papu?".. apparently both were less than half a kilometre away from each other, but there was no way they could get together.. Both were just a kilometre away from our residence.
By the time it was 3.30, situation had changed from grave to very grave.. Mobile calls were jamming because of heavy usage. Hubbys call to me said said in the calmest of tones but which had me paranoic and panicky informed 'water is upto my waist in the car and it is seeping through continuously.. there are a 100 cars in front and behind.. I am stuck..If the doors jam I wont be able to get out.. the air conditioner duct has water in it.. I have had to switch it off..cannot open the windows.. its a storm outside" I kept my voice modulatedly stoic..asked him to try and get out of the car.. abandon it wherever it was and head home walking..When he came to realise that sonny was on the perpendicular junction he said he was going there to check on all the rickshaws.. which was not such a good idea since it meant he would be walking against the gush of water.. coming in now from the high tide at Juhu.. I dissuaded him amidst failing signal and indecipherable words.
Here I was all dry and at home while my family was facing a situation unimaginable, even an hour ago.. Just not fair. After this ALL efforts to speak them came to zilch.. Hutch service had crashed. Its not difficult to predict that I was wailing.. no way to get in touch with them.. all police lines were unavailable.. off the hook.. the t.v. channels were of no help.. there were no helpline numbers..in short.. no one seemed to care and there seemed no saviour.
I just could not sit back and not do something..armed with my windcheater, mobile and umbrella I left the house, with a paranoid maid begging me not to..I began walking in the direction of the two.. I had to find them,.. By the time I reached the end of the junction, I was thrown off my feet by the force of what seemed like a River.. a spate of deluge.. I had lost my slippers by then and found myself walking against the tide...I realised for the first time, first hand what was meant by the term 'raging flood waters'. By this time a bunch of men began screaming out at me to turn back..I had tried to keep to the middle of the road.. but soon I found myself in almost chest high water and unable to get a firm foothold..I was alone in the middle of nowhere.. One from that gang, came up to me and literally pulled me away..constantly asking.."do you want to die?.. you will drown.." He pulled me , and we reached the other side..Needless to say my mobile had got lost..I went up, swam would be more like it, to a nearby store.. and tried calling..No avail.
It is difficult to describe the walk back home the helplessness and the fury of feeling impotent in a situation such as this.. the astonishment that this could happen to us in a city like Mumbai, the hopelessness that could engulf you in a matter of hours and turn your life topsy turvy. And all you could do is .. WAIT..
That is what I did for the next most excruciatingly agonising FIVE hours of my life..WAIT..I had by then called my friends.. each one consoling me that all would be fine.. but none able to offer any solution...Unbelievable.. What should I do?? Where should I go??
My puja temple was the focus of my attention and gaze..I had nowhere else to look..literally...
Finally at around 9.00p.m. the doorbell rang.. I rushed out.. It was my son.. looking almost blue..I rushed down.. he was with the auto guy..No words were needed.. He had brought back my son from neck deep water, holding his hand and carrying his school bag on his head..He said it was his responsibility to do so..Crying is so 'filmi'..I felt these words thronging in my mind.. but here I was crying unashamedly, profusely thanking him blessing him and thanking him again.. all at once..Whoever said there are no angels??Or that there is no GOD??
"Wheres Papu?".. I had no answer.. kept distracting him.. pushing him to the bathroom to have a shower.. asking him whether he'd want hot soup or milk.. chattering all the time.. what could I answer?
I had faith in the Supreme.. half hour later.. the doorbell rang again.. It was hubby.. drenched.. and smiling.. 'Its Okay".. In the meanwhile I had cancelled his ticket with the airlines.There was no way I was letting him out of my sight.. in any case the flight too did not take off due to bad weather ..
The car had been abandoned like so many others.. but that seemed the least of our concerns..we were together again..
Next morning.. we walked off to get the car..but could not get as far, since the waters had not receded. But what I saw brought a lump to my throat.Those who werent living close had to spend the night in their cars..in conditions which were frightful. Most cars with central locking had the system dysfunctional so in fact they were prisoners in it ( There were cases reported of deaths in the car due to lack of oxygen) Houses lining Linking road were privy to the situation and residents braving the weather had spent the night going from car to car offering support in whatever manner possible. This was a side of Mumbaikars I had hoped to see but never witnessed. The "spirit of Mumbai" was visible in times of calamities as these. Mayhem exposes virtue. And the Mumbaikar had risen to the occasion splendidly.
The following days saw various such deeds being written about in the media ..but sadly not to the extent one had imagined. Why is it not as important to expostulate on stories of gallantry and bravery, goodness and positivity in as much footage and glare of media attention as the sensational ones depicting debauchery of a rape, murder and assault? How is it possible, in the absence of such stories, to reinforce the faith in one another as humans? To assure that the milk of human kindness flows as energetically? Chivalry is not dead.. it only needs to be re-awakened, re-kindled form its slumber of dormancy into active expression. What better way than a real life story which depicts its presence, in all its glory?
Cut to ..4th july 2005..Any wonder then that hubby and kid are at home, like so many other Mumbaikars? While the citizen may have learnt his lessons, the Government seems a slow learner. 400 crores they claim has been spent on Mumbai and another 100 crores on roads..(yawn)
Trivia: Is Mumbai the only city in the world which has POTHOLES even on its RUNWAY??..Asked with a wide-eyed genuinely quizzical expression!!
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Its monsoon time again. While nothing can and does deter one from indulging in the above pleasures, yet a glaring change of scenario has, as if put a spanner in the delightful joys of rainy days, which dont cost the earth but feel like heaven.
Culprit.. BMC.. How utterly boring to even bring up the mention of it. The indescribable frustration of flooded streets, overflowing gutters, stranded life, and inability to even consider travel, by any mode, save a chopper, has taken the wind out of ones sails.
Incorrigible.. after the debacle of 26/7 one would have hoped,aspired, that if anything a re-play would never occur..The officials had received lavish flack on their non-performance last year form all quarters. But .. Incorrigible. The constant passing the buck from MMRDA to BMC is an old as the hills ploy, used effectively down the ages, as well as currently.
Ah! well.. some more sms'es, empty talk of Janmats springing up to make the powers who be 'accountable', an interview with the Municipal Commissioner eulogising the strides his department has made, a beaming Chief Minister, reassuring that all is well, with rail, road and air travel, close up shots of water pumps to clear logging( pumps submerged too in almost all low lying areas, is besides the point)helpline numbers( never available) being flashed continuously on t.v. channels..In other words a perfect damage control exercise of image resurrection is about the single area of endeavour, diligently worked on, the past year.
Any point cribbing..Naah
Net result.. Oh as usual.. Hubbys decided to cook one of his Shah Jehani recipes.. the one which was Mumtaz Mahals favourite, supposedly.. son's joined in.. maid and me relegated to chopping, peeling, marinating, assistant like jobs( btw if that suggests that I dont know how to cook, its as fallacious as proclaiming BMC efficient..I am a superb cook who hates to cook..presently) and the fight is on for the choice of DVD..post lunch.
When you cant beat them join them..relax n chill!
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Prof. Vilas Athawale of the reputed Wilson College had to face the wrath of students, have his face blackened, a 'garland' of chappals around his neck, and then paraded thus to the nearest Police station. Cause? An alleged molestation of a student almost a year back!! As if this is not reason to raise ones eyebrows at the sequence of events, the media was informed and had therefore thronged the college precincts in all its force, ready with cameras and scribes, to capture the gherao of the Biology Professor.
A sea of questions.. Why now, almost a year later? The professor was in charge of admissions and quota reservations..a possible fallout of students denied admission? Why did the NSUI resort to this almost barabaric act without a serious effort to judiciously settle the matter( the case is sub judice while the parents reportedly have agreed that there was no harassment) or in fact permitting the concerned authorities to mediate?
If the man is guilty, then law should have been allowed to take its course, especially in the circumstance when no further complaint necessitated the aggravation to this degree.
If he is innocent, then a gross violation of Human rights has occurred here. He is due to retire next year. A lifetime of deication and perseverence at bringing up generation after generation of kids and imbuing them with knowledge deserved merit and recognition. A hypotheticl dialogue would ensue thus:
"So what?!!..Guru..Respect..Deference..Haah!! We know better..Freaked out ideologies..Gimme a break...The guy is loony..Who can stop us from voicing our opinions... we know our rights.. We will punish those we think guilty.."
The fact that he is a senior professor, who has a multitude of students, parents and members of the faculty willing to back him and proclaim him innocent, is telling enough. Some even go to the extent of stating that he was a bachelor who had sacrificed his life for social welfare.
The professor was later released on bail after the college authorities and other supporters of the Professor collected at the police station to protest against the alleged ploy to malign him.
"Students unions have become like a mafia. If they can't have their way, they resort to force and coercion. They enter colleges without permission of principals and create trouble. The government must curb this dadagiri, otherwise the unions might get bolder," Dr Sirwaiya, Principal of wilson college said, adding that the college had decided to discontinue classes till action was taken against the NSUI.
As happens most often in such cases, truth lies hidden under feelings of embarassment or shame, while lies finds backers who worship at the altar of anarchy then encouraged and emboldened with multitudinous support raise hell in an effort to stymie the 'decent lawful' efforts of truth to vocalise its claim .
But truth prevails... Question is WHEN? Wont it be too late then? Are the students union not crossing all borders of ethical, moral and legitimate behaviour? What is the future of a country where misguided youth have been permitted to take law, manipulate it, probably being manipulated themselves by vested interests and playing cluelessly into the hands of those to whom human life and dignity holds little or no value when compared with the gourmand appeal of success!! Has education served the purpose it intrinsically denotes? Or is creating an uproar a fashion statement of the 'truly liberated'?
Thursday, June 29, 2006
On my way to work and in between deadlines received this mail, by this truly amazing writer..Swati,informing me of my story, sent a while back, published on the NDTV website,by process of elimination
Just a quick one to let you know that I was overwhelmed by your composition
eulogizing your dad. I lost my father in Nov 2000, quite unexpectedly as
well and I was in Delhi then completing my Grad. But i do remember that car
journey to dehradoon where I knew I'd have to go and face the inevitable and
pinching myself hard every few minutes hoping as hell that this would be a
Life's amazing isnt it. We all think our parents will be there forever and
you feel almost embarrased of being robbed of them. It feels like God's put
you in the naughty corner and all eyes are on you feeling sorry.
Your writing is brilliant and I felt like you were putting in words what i
feel when I see my mum being brave for us two girls.
I pray for your Dad and am sure he'd be very proud of you. Here's wishing
your mum and yourself alll the best for the future.
Thanks Swati..There is nothing more fulfilling than the sound of your echo resounding in anothers' heart.
The pain of losing a parent was brilliantly put in her words.. "It feels like God's put you in the naughty corner and all eyes are on you feeling sorry."
Story published on NDTV
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Music is a passion that has catapulted me into realms of bliss and ecstasy at even the most despondent of times.
Among the ones who deserve special mention and a huge Thanks is Rahul dev Burman.. His art lives on and will continue forever..however cliched that may sound.
Memory is a clever thing..it maybe the relative of truth but not its twin.
Last night a bunch of us mad hatters who need no excuse to get together and sing out his numbers, found a valid reason. His birthday. So there we were an eclectic mix, in gay abandon, barbecuing, in this lilting, wet and utterly romantic weather at a Madh island bungalow juggling our memory and chasing to beat each other with the most delectable of his tunes.
My childhood years were spent close to R.D....not in the manner, most of you guys imagine, ears all perked up for juicy tattle. Its just that his bungalow, a quaint Burmese cottage with the most amazing exterior, was just a hop and a skip away from ours. I recall many a tale of his contributions to his erstwhile father S.D. Burmans music, from the tender age of 7, say some. I, for one would not disbelieve that. Finally during 'Aradhana' and due to the failing health of S.D., R.D. took over. The song "Roop tera mastana" which was one of the reasons for Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore becoming the craze of the nation, is claimed to be his effort. Never before did music have the sexual innuendo that was attempted by the music, rendition and flavour of this melody.
The common favourites in the lexicon are too many to enlist. Some of my personal favourites are the not so well known."Kya jaanoon sajan, hoti hai kya gham ki sham, jal uthe sau diye, jab liya tera naam" from "Bahaaron ke sapne"..years later my music tutor had challenged me that the day I render this one to perfection, he would grant that i have learnt light classical. In all fairness I confess that I am nowhere near perfection....But I love this number..as also "aaja piya, tohe pyaar doo gori baiyan tope war doo'...also" Hum bewafaa hargiz na the, par hum wafaa kar na sakey", sweet, soft, simple and touching.
Panchamda as he was fondly called.. a musician par excellence.. ahead of his times
He was the pioneer of rock and pop music in India without a doubt.It was R.D. Burman who truly brought the groove into Hindi Film Music, ushering in the era of electronic rock and providing Hindi film Music with a whole new 'happening' sound. His hip and energetic youthful compositions proved extremely popular from the late 1960s till the early to mid-1980s. The music arrangement of his songs is unparallelled and a source of inspiration(plagiarism) to many of the present lot. If imitation be the best form of flattery and all of that, then for sure the timelessnesss of his tunes and his genius is recognisable in most numbers today.
Destiny however plays a cruel trick on some phenomenal talents. Whether, Mirza ghalib, Van Gogh or R.D., their worth is evaluated after they have departed. His last years were spent in the misery of professional rejection, personal turmoil and financial constraints. His last films "Parinda" and later "1942 Love story" was released after his demise. How can anyone forget 'Kucchh na kaho..kucchh bhi naa kaho'..it gives me goose bumps even now...he could actually transport you into the make believe world he seems to have created just for you. It behooved no picturisation to enhance the richness of melody.
It would be heartening to know that he watches from somewhere to witness that he is not forgotten...to know that the pain of survival has been erased from his soul, what remains is the glory of an artist who has not died unsung.
“The fame of heroes owes little to the extent of their conquests and all to the success of the tributes paid to them.”
Monday, June 26, 2006
As if breaking out of the reverie, driving down a highway, far into the wilderness, braked screechingly. There before us was this huge masterpiece of Nature, in all its glory. Ele-phant, literally meaning Huge-arch in Latin. A light as if turned on inside. We stood inquisitively looking at each other. Intently watching, as if for signs of recognition.Elephantine memory , from a previous birth maybe? Who knows. Its just that this majestic intelligent animal had a strange effect on me.
He must have been around 9 ft tall (baby?) and in absolutely no hurry to go anywhere. It was as if he had condescended to grant us a privileged 'close up encouter' at leisure. We looked for something to feed him, as a token of gratitude for his largesse I suppose. All we could find in the middle of nowhere were knick knacks, biscuits and such like. Placing them in his trunk seemed a daunting task. So , carefully placed them within trunkable distance! And then came the struggle to get the biscuit into the fold and into his mouth. The hilarity of the situation was unmistakable.
A few clicks on our camera with each posing with the maharajah and we were on our way, smiling at the closeness of the bond which seemed to have developed . Animals and humans, so near yet so far? What is it that has brought on the distance?
This morning, however, pain and sadness could not be pried apart. Read this report.
I somehow felt responsible and ashamed at the destruction caused by our ignorance. How could they be blamed for the horror of land grab that made them homeless and agitated. There had to be answers. As if to perpetuate the memory of my chance encounter discovered this write up by an elephant lover who has dedicated her life to their conservation. What I read there only confirmed why the bond seemed so real and tangible.
"Each one is, of course, like us, a unique individual with its own unique personality. They can be happy or sad, volatile or placid. They display envy, jealousy, throw tantrums and are fiercely competitive, and they can develop hang-ups which are reflected in behaviour. They also have many additional attributes we humans lack; incredible long range infrasound, communicating in voices we never hear, such sophisticated hearing that even a footfall is heard far away, and, of course they have a memory that far surpasses ours and spans a lifetime. They grieve deeply for lost loved ones, even shedding tears and suffering depression. They have a sense of compassion that projects beyond their own kind and sometimes extends to others in distress. They help one another in adversity, miss an absent loved one, and when you know them really well, you can see that they even smile when having fun and are happy."
And they are now dying.. being killed for greed. I cannot bear to look at the ivory inlay table and ignore the horror that could have led to it being there. There are just about 30,000 left in India. In botswana they are being hunted out as they are perceived as a threat to the natural habitat of man!!
So the next time we go to the zoo or to a circus all we have to do is remember that an elephant grazes upto 20 hours a day in its own environment. Here it is kept in chains, without water and food to perform for 'fools' ( ask them what they feel about us from up there).
We as a collective people must take a stand and open our hearts and minds to obliterate ignorance that leads to destruction and finally extinction of another 'Masterpiece Of nature".. the gentlest and Largest of all land mammals.
Wonder what will ensue when bones of humans will sell in parity with ivory and space for humans will diminish?
Sunday, June 25, 2006
This time there was a motley crowd of participants including those from Pakistan. Talent on both sides of the border is unmistakable. To top it our sensibilities match. No surprise there considering there is little or no difference in language, habits, culture and ethnicity.
Any wonder then that yesteday the winner was announced and it was a Pakistani! One had expected it, not just from the fairness angle but also in keeping with the latest affirmations of cordiality between the two countries.. The Bus service to Ravalakote across the border was flagged off a couple of days earlier by Sonia Gandhi, amidst fanfare and hype.
Yet... Javed Akhtar the renowned poet, lyricist, writer, was denied a visa by the Pakistan Consulate!! He is Miffed- and rightly so. Because of the hue and cry raised by the media and others, he has been granted one on second thoughts.
MUMBAI: Javed Akhtar, who was granted a visa to visit Pakistan following the uproar provoked by the initial rejection, has asserted that he will tour the country only if its highest authority issues an apology. Akhtar was to lead a 50-member Indian delegation of prominent actors to attend the Karachi premiere of K Asif's magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam on Saturday.
The point I am trying to make is as follows: Will somebody please spell out just exactly where do we stand as neighbours? Are we presntly blowing hot, cold, lukewarm? Conflicting signals lead to unrest and dis-ease. Terrorism is as active as ever in POK, random acts of aggression are being reported sporadically all along the border. So while we honour the Pakistani artists who come to our country, singers, musicians, rock stars and the latest entrant in the laughter challenge( please note that the game show was Great INDIAN Laughter challenge- with a pakistani winner) yet Javed is denied visa!
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The picture that comes to mind on hearing the term "Eunuch" is spontaneously one of a garishly dressed, overly madeup, loud gestured err.. person. What never fails to mesmerise me though is that much acclaimed and popularised hand clap, which has become a trade mark, thanks to the numerous Indian films incorporating it either to add color or lend a comic interlude. It was almost unbelievably vibrant, that hand clap, and so effortlessly did they sound their arrival. No need for ring tones there. At the risk of being looked upon as 'silly', I'd like to confess that I have spent many an hour trying to reproduce it with the same clarity and sharpness. That I have failed miserably, may also be noted.
Are we ready to accept them from the periphery of the fringes of our society into our midst? The report, as if to woo us, shows how a serious effort is underway to 'tone down' their lewd gestures and made up appearances, to change tactics, as if it were, to flow into mainstream society. Will that help erase the aeon long deeply ingrained vision in our psyche? Can we succeed in marginalising the stigma associated with the abnormality of their being. Harsh ..but true.
Speaking purely from the compassionate, tolerant and loving aspect of my nature, I can honestly state.."Why ..ofcourse,I will accept them, any time." But the question that arises is, in what capacity? Will I ever be able to view them as a friend,boss community leader, political leader, leader of their commune? If you notice each category mentioned, I inadvertently kept distancing them away from me, as if to retire back into my comfort zone. And the options that came last seemed most probable as one which would receive assent. Tell-tale..huh?
The matter under consideration should also be whether or not they will be successful in amalgamating themselves in our lifestyle and in our midst with ease and facility. Quite an uphill task , I presume. Being conditioned to live among those who unquestioningly embrace your presence, where nothing that you do, think, feel, desire is considered freaky or quirky, a zone of belongingness,well ensconced in a private parallel universe and then to open yourself to a world which has so far perceived you as a 'thing' that at best served to amuse, where temporarily good humored camaraderie was displayed and then wanted you OUT.. is a slippery slope. It would require guts, fortitude and a preparedness for mental anguish.. yet again.
To be born a eunuch, must require a lifetime of adjustments and conciliations. After having achieved a synchronocity with that milieu, to then extricate and present yourselves before a possibly alien and antagonistic world would be akin to bearing birth pangs all over again..
Why do we need subject them to this? Or why would they feel the desire to set out on this dauntingly Herculean effort?
Probably because the burning search for answers to the question "Why Me?" may not appear with such regularity and frequency , if they do carve a niche for themselves in our midst.
Acceptance is the cornerstone on the path to enrichment, fulfillment and eventually satisfaction. Acceptance by us, those who they probably consider the 'charmed ones' will turn the neon on the good that life has to offer.
Sexuality, or rather lack of it might just take the back seat in the high road of a life they deserve to enjoy as much.
Sincere efforts undertaken to reach out and touch their lives by involving ourselves in their personal stories and glories, fears and turmoils, needs and desires,will lessen, to a large extent the chasm which divides us and aid in a realisation of the commonality of the soul and its journey.
Let us begin thinking on these lines. The destination lies far ahead, the road unlit unpaved, uncharted. Let that not deter us. A little humaneness and diffidence to our conduct will help. It is a matter of proving to ourselves, we can be humane too. Perhaps we need a eunuch to help us realise that.
Global voices online has linked this post
Cross linked at Desipundit
Friday, June 23, 2006
When the suicide happens to be of a woman army oficer,(not the first in recet times) Susmita Chakraborty all the above emotions get amplified. The fact that she had opted for a career so pre-dominantly male in its intrinsic nature and majority enrollments, automatically empowered her with qualities deserving of applause. As also telling of being a determined, spirited go getter, having crossed the hurdles, broken centuries old shackles of tradition, customs and norms.
Ergo that such a person had to succumb to feelings of ineptitude in dealing with the cards fate seemed to have dealt, is a hundredfold tragic.It seemed as if she had to bow down , finally to the fact that she was born a woman!
This observation is not born of bias, any more than disgust. Its birthplace was the assertion by an army officer Vice Chief of Army Staff S. Pattabhiraman's reported statement that the 'Army can do without women'.
While giving him the benefit of the doubt, that his observation had more to do with the rigours the job entails and less to do with the obvious inferences of a prejudice against women, yet, one cannot help but assert that the army had a duty towards ensuring that new women recruits ought to have been accorded a 'Special job orientation' programme, in addition to counselling sessions that could alleviate such occurrences, in an effort to pre-empt their decision in recruiting women officers.
Had the Army betrayed her? According to news coverage on various channels, she was deeply disgruntled by the fact that she was put in fields which were contrary to her interest, not at par with her professional skills, which resulted in humiliation and demeaning, apparently. Her job entailed organising parties and looking after supplies. She had expressed her resentment at various junctures to the officers and her family. Resigning would have meant paying back a 'surety' which had been signed and which would have meant selling her parents home. Staying on was 'suicidal' for her. Literally.
Sadly, as in most cases, it is the starkness of an innocents death that finally shakes the powers who be out of their stupor of indifference into initiating preventive measures. In this case Sushmita had to die in order to make the Army awaken as to their inherent faulty structure.
Incidents of the kind could result in two totally diverse repurcussions. First, women candidates, may get inhibited at the 'fear of the unknown', fresh from initiatives to take on newer avenues , underlined by this suicide. Families and dear ones will sow further seeds of disapproval and disgust at the recriminations of a decision to venture into a field pre-dominantly male, alien and unwelcoming.
One cannot say with certainty that there is an absence of male prejudice towards women who do attempt to take on careers that epitomised male strength and stamina. That there is no male reservation to womens inclusion in this final male bastion, whereby their pride and ego receive a perceived 'blow' which states insiduously'whatever you can do I can do'..am intentionally not including 'better' to express unbias, would be erroneous. Merely playing the role of interlocutor.
The second option could in fact be the reverse,and get the future women cadets mentally prepared to expect the worst and give their best. It could serve as a lesson in gaging what not to do or expect in tandem with gearing them up attitudinally to combat the enemy within, before comabatting the enemy without.
Whatever the future course of action undertaken by either the army or women, one cannot deny the shattering of dreams and disillusionment of a young brave woman officer, who had crossed the threshold of the safety of her home to serve the nation 'tangibly' and all she was accorded in return was a relegating to the background jobs .A lowering of her self esteem to such an extent that she found it umworthy to live.
The least we can do is not exhibit indifference at the death of a young life snuffed out in its prime.
Update: Reacting to the discriminatory statements against women in the army, of Vice Chief of Army Staff S. Pattabhiraman's, BJP spokesperson Sushma Swaraj has demanded his suspension. The National Commision for Women has openly criticised his remarks..
Update: There was a growing suspicion that 'arranging parties'insiduously meant more than an innocent connotation, else why would Susmita have objected so strongly. A M.Sc (chemistry) had been compelled to metamorph into an 'event personnel'. Why the need to enroll in the army, had this been her goal? Clearly 'job dissatisfaction' and gender insensitivity, at more levels than one, was at stake here.
Update: Damage control exercises underway by the army. Latest statement
Women have done us proud: Army Chief
Teethwal (LoC), June 23 (UNI): Army Chief General J J Singh on Thursday said women have an important role to play in defence services and are a source of inspiration for others to join the armed forces.
"Women have done the Indian Army proud. They have always played an important role in the Army and other defence services. They will continue to play a vital role," Gen Singh told journalists here after inagurating the Teethwal model village.
He said the women have always been given challenging assignments and never let the Army down.
"We give women tough assignments and they have always proved their mettle and done exceedingly well. In fact, it has been proved time and again that the women are a source of inspiration for others to join the armed forces," the Army Chief added.
Gen Singh said women personnel have scaled heights in Army and other fields.
Cross linked at DesiPundit
NowPublic has linked this story
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Just read the plight of two women who have been harassed beyond narration.
Please do your best in whatever capacity..
From my side, a strongly worded correspondence is going to reach the concerned officials soon.
Any coincidence that the suffering 'two' happen to be women?? Again!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
But humans are allowed a few quirks .. distinguishable ones.
For me, its to do with being called Kaveetaa ( mark the extra a) and not Kaveeta, not kavita either.
Believe it or not, there is already another Kavita Kaul..bless her..as well as a kaveeta..
Not that it was the reason for my christening, just offered as proof of the propriety of my decision:)
To avoid ambiguity..in favour of all involved..wish therfore to clarify once again..me is Kaveetaa Kaul of Sachiniti.
So pals.. Kaveetaa kaul...welcomes you to her world!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Without indulging and succumbing to anger, outrage, revenge and retributive averments, let us attempt to make a balanced, unbiased assessment.
Beginning with the most obvious inferences before we progress to its supposedly manifold not so jejune implications.
Why now? Fifty nine years after Independence, and almost five years after the born again Muslim music Director A.R. Rahman had stylised the same in his rendition. Fishy and more than meets the eye, undoubtedly.
Does this resistance to include a National song in a school curriculum, in praise of ones motherland, come from the majority of the Muslims? Is the cleric merely the mouthpiece of these insiduous sentiments? Or, is the Islamic cleric once again trying to incite unrest by widening the chasm which originated with the British, never again returning to a status quo ?
In all probability, the work of idle minds, addicted to proving sporadically, how Muslim masses are putty in their hands.
In my humble opinion, it is time that the Muslim intelligentsia who clearly discern the irrationality behind these conflagrations, opt to speak, thus polaraising themselves from the Fundamentalists. It is imperative that the citizen of India is secure in the notion of secularism. Having said that we need to ascertain and feel assured also that our secularist tolerance is not being misconstrued. Those who second that India is their chosen land and respect for the motherland an accepted concept, ought to validify their residence by being vociferous NOW.
It is not enough that the Hindus voice outrage at this Fatwa, but Muslim brethren who have reasons to consider this their homeland, need elucidate their resentment in times such as these.
Hindus who utilise this turn of circumstance to now wage a war generically on all Muslims, with statements as 'Let them go to Pakistan, if they cannot respect our nationalistic sentiments, or adhere by them', will ignite an issue which needs to be viewed as a Fatwa and not a 'majority view point'. An over-the-top reaction can degenerate into unreasonability.
What is the 'locus standi' of a fatwa and whom does it control is a matter that the Islamists need to clarify and pontificate.
The law of the land, imho needs to be universal and supreme. Laws within laws within communities, is bound to lead to dissension and interests of people suffer in the confusion.
What this Fatwa seeks to do, prima facie is, challenge our constitution in its decision making powers while simultaneouly flagrantly exhibit the underbelly of secularism , in its consequential analysis.
While not denying that our Muslim brethren may have faced hiccups in certain areas of civilian life, yet with all the sense of fairness one can vouch that Muslims in India have enjoyed a fair deal in most spheres, political, economical, and social. They have prospered and multiplied in population and wealth, progressed shouder to shoulder with Indians as a whole.
Can our Hindu brethren in Pakistan, proclaim any of the above? Population of Hindus in Pakistan is a point in reference.
Consider this..on the one hand they demand a ban on Vande Mataram, on the other, DEMAND RESERVATION!!!
We, as a nation need to involve ourselves in issues which need public opinion to be mobilised.
"In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die."
Sunday, June 18, 2006
"I dont believe this"..said me."After all, she has a right to say No..How dare he make a show of his bravado..she was not here to perform an item number..why confuse reel with real?..Demi Moore exposes too.. would she be pounced on thus and molested..these men..they dont want their sisters to dress this way , but these Brothers do love to watch dont they now..why is it decent to watch and indecent to wear.. atleast she wasnt leering and lusting at someone.. whats worse.. ogling or displaying"
All this while my 17 yr. old, tousle haired, just woken from his slumber, grogggily gazing at the frenetic pacing of his mother, waiting for it to stop..or so I presumed, stared vacantly .. when all of a sudden, he mumbled.."Malaika Arora Khan wears skimpier clothes, would Mika do this to her?"
I stopped dead in my tracks..eyed him steadily, as if for the first time. It did seem so.. I had no answer. This talk was meant to expose sonny to an irrational biased prejudiced thought process I so wanted him to be free of. He must respect women, IRRESPECTIVE. No matter what, my son was not going to be one of those creepy crawly males, who succumbed to pre conceived notions, victims of a closed mind.
And hence the tirade against Mika..
Now, continuing from the dead on tracks bit.. I was watching him, mouth agape. He continued.." You know my friend Katy, she dresses this way too, in fact all of my school mates wear minis and tees.. but theres no way I or my gang would misbehave with them.. They carry themselves well Mama..Neither will they ever cross the line nor will we..Maybe Rakhi gave Mika the impression that it was okay with her, whatever he did. She needed to draw the line in her behaviour at the party..and be careful of not being misunderstood.. more because of her reputation.. finally what would create a misunderstanding was what she said and how she behaved ..for that mattered.."
He continued .." what Mika did was totally wrong, but Rakhi had a role to play in it. She knew what happens at parties and been ready for disadvantages of the image she holds and made a greater effort than other girls to avoid trouble and kept her reserve."
These were irrefutable arguments. He was right. She must protest.. Her 'No' had to be regarded as just that... But she had left herself wide open ..
I understood his viewpoint..seemed to have gaged wrong by Mika and that of Rakhi. wanted to call hubby right away to give him the news that 'Sachin has grown up'.. into a fine young lad. If he could think that clearly in the morning, with a ranting mom, and a ferociously hungry tummy, then he was ALRIGHT..
Beaming from ear to ear.. I say to myself "I must have done something right!!"
Of course, it goes without saying ,had he displayed a bias, prejudice or irrationality..hubby would have been held in contempt and responsible!
I have had the good fortune to meet some really humane, progressive and enlightened souls here whose writings have touched the depths of my soul and brought forth a feeling of well being and an urge to better myself. This has happened often enough to make me want to keep writing.
On the other hand there have been encounters with the truly imbecilic kinds who opt to be armed with 'malice for one and all", which once again make you wonder as to why do some people blog?
A case in point: I had written a post "Kiss and learn" which was a think back on the Rakhi Mika incident. Mikas taking advantage Of Rakhi, had appalled and disgusted me. My son, a young lad of 17, in an effort to perhaps calm me and rationalise the issue pointed out that it could been avoided PERHAPS with caveats on Rakhis behaviour.Maybe a caution for others..he attempted to say.
The Mikas of the world are not going to vanish in the blink of an eye? So where was the harm in advising to be wary?? Only a stunted mind would interpret this argument as 'inviting to molestation' or seconding it.
So someone who calls Himself/herself 'confused' (apt alias) and writes at 'retributions' " Life is a streetcar named Desire' leaves a rather harsh presumptuous comment on the blog. I am ALL for divergent viewpoints, so published it , without a second thought. But when somebody wants to DISTORT there is no limit to the UNREASONABILITY it can descend to.. which led to this remark by 'confused..An example of how the blogosphere for some is a space to exemplify their decayed, decadent persona:
"But you sons's statement that he would not misbehave with his schoolmates only because they carry themselves well is intrinsically wrong. If they are not able to carry themselves upto his standards, will he misbehave with them then?"
If you read the blog you will realise the extent of distortion here. Somersault in cyberspace! Turn the argument on its head.. Further the word 'only' was added for effect to mute the argument.So, in other words,he/she conveniently resorted to Hypothesise, conjecture, create a faulty premise, and scream out the deduction, all in one go.. ALL because it suits his rant. Logic, reasonability be damned!!
Whats interesting or rather abominable is that while he goes around beating his chest stridently proclaiming himself as a guardian of womens rights and need to respect them, all he does when it boils down to his own actions is Utter Disrespect for me and others. All his claims disappeared into thin air huh? Of course ‘practise before you preach is as alien a concept to him as UFO’s were to Neanderthals. Hypocrisy!!
As a thumbrule I treat people on my blog with respect as I would expect them to treat me and other commenters. Almost every post has seen the emergence of an argument with a commentator or another. Likewise, this time too, I responded patiently, explaining how perhaps our point of view had not come across in a small write up, and proceeded to explain thus:
"lets face it, when an incident that is so unsavoury in its flavour and has chances of it becoming the 'flavour of the season'then all concerned citizens try to analyse, dissect and postulate their stand in the hope that such and such like are not repeated"
and I continued "There is a difference between our perception of reality and reality as it is. It would be ideal if we women were allowed to just 'BE'..wear whatever, do our bit and live life in as fast a lane as our male counterparts. Till such time as this does not happen, its PRUDENT that we keep ourselves at bay from predators.
This was the point my son was making and I agreed. Cannot pretend Mika is not there..but can be careful when in his vicinity."
This is an excerpt, an example of the tone and effort to elucidate on the post. Later, a host of commenters left their comments., as usual. I then receive a comment from confused again which was aggressive, derogatory and bullish in its tone and which I decided not to include.
I have the right to moderate my blog and NOBODY is going to bully his/her way in to my blog. Somebody called Chandni commented too, which was a repetition of the previous post of confused, and which was clearly a 'support' post for confused. IT showed NO EVIDENCE of being a response.. which meant that all I had written in the morning had been IGNORED. All that would ensue was a fruitless back n forth. The attempt now was anti-ALL crusade. A "My opinion above all else" unshakable obstinacy.. It was not carrying the debate any further, on the contrary turning into a rant..endless rant heading to nowhereland !
Since I have a flourishing day job and other things to attend to as well.. I thought it best to ignore it and move on. Also the fact that there appeared to have been multiple postings as evident from ip addresses.
But for some its more important to stir up a storm,a rather than accept free will of bloggers to moderate unacceptable comments and act in complete contrariness to their preachings, asking for respect but not showing any! The term 'control freak' has been coined for such as these..
The matter was over as far as I was concerned. But the malicious, libelous, unfair post by her/him invited a response. My kindness and lackadaisical approach had been misconstrued as weakness I suppose.
So 'confused' gives it a dimension adopted by losers.
He has been banned from other sites as well for the same reason. What is glaringly obvious is an inability to tolerate rejection of his viewpoint. So while he can embark on a rampage trying to demolish people and their freedoms, others have to bow in servitude to his "confused' bickerings. I also wonder really why he/she keeps referring to himself/herself as '"WE"..How many aliases are there ?
Its funny you know, when people use handle names themselves , go around the blogosphere hiding their true identity, then come on to a blog of a woman who speaks of her concern for the decay in society and exposes her son for the first time .. ALL UNDER HER OWN IDENTITY..while this alias chooses to make it a shouting match behind a MASK then makes a show of some GALLANTRY by ranting on his blog..This is not just HYPOCRISY.. but delusional sense of RIGHTEOUSNESS and lack of DECENCY..
All one needs to do is read the relevant post and my comments .
Soon this post will go lower and the matter will be forgotten. In fact I am purging it out of my system simultaneously while writing it.
I will continue to speak on matters which deserve attention, as I have on this matter, since I have a daughter who is in her twenties and can imagine that girls her age need guidance to face the predators. This post was an atttempt to do just that. Nobody can enforce views and people learn only when they are ready to.
Words are alive.. cut them and they bleed. Hope all who write on cyberspace would realise that and make an honest committment and effort to cultivate gentleness and kindness in speech. Debating, arguing, presenting your point can be done in a manner which desists from stepping on peoples toes. There are ample examples of a civilised discussion. If you dont adopt it then others will exercise their right to keep you away.
Viewing the larger picture from a broader perspective,if we cannot make somebodys day, why spoil it for them?
Anonymous left this comment ".a 'confused' mind equates vindictiveness with peace , defaming with contentment, and retribution with vindication."
Since my efforts at resting the contentious debate have been met with consistent indecency, I have no recourse but to solicit legal advice.
Friday, June 16, 2006
I have just read the open letter to Manmohan Singh, written by a girl of Indian origin settled in Malaysia.
Come to your own conclusions.There is little I can add here. It seems an extension of the previous post.
Monday, June 05, 2006
It was recently reported that a woman got married to a snake. A story I read on Indianpad.
What could have been her motivation? Was it truly a choice? Honestly I cannot decide whether amusement is the reaction I feel or despair at this example of Indian tradition (it is not the first) so rooted in beliefs which trigger queries whether progress in India is ever going to arrive at the doorsteps of our villagers, or will there always be a disparity of such giant proportions between metro life and rural life?
Oh well.. atleast it will keep her safe from in-laws..No dowry death for this maiden!
Friday, June 02, 2006
Were Indians in danger of being dictated to by the poilitical parties as to what we should be viewing? Was this a decision taken by the majority of the populace of Gujarat ? Or were they too chicken to oppose it? Was cultural policing also going to be the mantle of politicians? And finally where will it end?
It was bad enough that Aamir Khans stand had been misconstrued, manipulated and intentionally sensationalised to rationalise the extreme uproar by the politicians. But to hit out professionally for the sole purpose of demonstrating clout is unaccceptable.
It is time that we make it amply clear to the Politicians "Minister Saab..run the country ..not my life!"
Mahesh bhatt has filed a PIL in the Supreme court to this effect.
Being blackmailed into accepting a Hitler-ish stand point , would have sounded the death knell of any star participation in social causes. which would have been a pity. After all, lets face it, their word holds value and their presence gives weightage to an issue. Why penalise a celebrity for trying to make a difference in whatever manner he/she deems fit?
It is quite exasperating to envision an India where we are outwardly modern, emancipated, well on the shores of development..yet a prey to the machinations of political agendas.
Where are the so-called "young turks" of our political scenario? Is their silence a clue as to the power that is wielded by the bosses who matter in Gujarat, or is it not politically correct(pun intended) to grant their visage and vocals to a cause which imperils just a Film?
PREQUEL to this post
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Leonardo da Vinci
Youth was understood as being a time of carefree laughter, sunlit days and glitzy nights.When innocence had not yet lost its bloom and dreams slowly unfolding within graspable reach.
In todays scenario, its the time for agitations and agitatedness. Whether misinformed or misguided, the energy of the youth is there to spare. So those vile enough to recognise the strength of latent power, and indomitable will of the young, are using/misusing it for their hidden agendas.
Reservations per se and in the present connotation and denotation leave much to be desired. Basically the government is making the kids of today pay for the lapses of their lackadaisical attitude and policies. Dreams are being trampled upon, hopes demolished and students have been welcomed into the big bad world rather unceremoniously. Whoever said Life is fair!
And then there is the young of Gujarat who have been anaesthetised into believing that Aamir Khan is enemy No 1, who has to be penalised for daring to expostulate on the rights of the poor. They have been numbed into adhering to the dictates of fanatical politicos who rightly belong to era of Nazi Germany where the politics of hate help perpetuate and ensure longevity of power.
Jews are a plenty..if one is a Nazi.
The visual of students barely out of their teens, with gleeful revenge in their eyes, rebellion in their stance, and animosity in their speech , belligerently warning their ilk against endorsing Aamir, his films and his stand, angers you. Not just because it goes against all sense of righteousness and fairness that you believe you deserve being a native of free India, but also because you are forced to see the hand behind this agitation, despite strong attempts at anonymity.
To expect that a 17 year old will obtain the wherewithal to stage demonstrations of the kind in full public view without the support of the powerful, is stupid and naive. One can only pity the folly of the innocents to have allowed themselves to fall prey and been manipulated thus.
Aamir realises, one hopes, that the youth of Gujarat has seen RDB too!!..It is not enough to merely instigate youth, but to motivate it ethically. Energy when improperly channelised without affording ample guidance and education, leads to such monumental blunders.
To ask them if they really agree that a fellow student should be ostracised, threatened and boycotted, by the community for watching a film Fanaa in mumbai,since it had been banned in Gujarat, is not going to elicit an honest response. But when the furore has died down and the spotlight snatched away from them to the next band of the exploited, what will then restore the failed sensed of self esteem they have traded for this moment of paper glory?
Two sets of angry voices for totally opposing motivations. One more than deserved, the other painfully undeserved. Highlighting the emptiness of youthful exuberance. Misinformed and misled..into the wilderness of a crazy world.
Friday, May 26, 2006
turning into Fanaa comments)
Democracy is under seige.Clearly.
Aamir Khan has raised his voice for a social cause. He is being targetted by the BJP for simply endorsing the order of the supreme court, simply reiterating the need to rehabilitate the villagers threatened to be displaced by the dam.
What is ludicrous is the blatant flouting of democratic principles by a party which is the leader of the opposition.
What is common between Fanaa, the film, Titan watches, Coke and Innova? Aamir khan. So the BJP reckons that all these ought to be banned in their stronghold Gujarat. Apparently this seems to be a power struggle by Modi and his loyalists in attempting to prove who is the bigger star, Narendra Modi the politician, or Aamir khan the star.
As of now, round one goes in favour of Narendra Modi. Fanaa was not allowed to be released and a bunch of BJP activists, sporadically have gone around smashing coke bottles, while reading out a prepared speech , with a hidden smirk , at the thrill of being on National T.V. That is what they diligently assured. Media was present for this staged demonstration. More fake than the ketchup masquerading as blood in Bollywood.
While the Film industry openly expressed support for Salman khan, when he was indicted for killing the buck, no such luck for Aamir. It is not surprising. He has been reclusive and private. In fact the continuous appearances on television channels in the past couple of days by Aamir would equal those he may have relented in his whole career of 20 years, A chink in the armour here Aamir. Green light a-blink now on chat mode eh?
No major harm done for the star though. He has the support of the masses on this one. The ludicrousness of the political party and its activism is glaringly under focus. In the long run, the film is gaining publicity, curiosity has tripled and sympathy vote goes for Aamir.The channels rake in the moolah, with TRPs having spiralled. So the bottom line .. all is well.
Where is Arundhati Roy, Medha patkar? Has the media intentionally sidelined them?
* Taran Adarsh's hugely popular and widely read website "IndiaFM" reports this news.