– an irresistible compulsion to return home.

English language vocabulary amazes me. Really!!! My own vocabulary isn’t that impressive (and I am working on it) but from time to time I come across words in the english language – words I’ve never heard before -but I can so relate to them. This was the word of the day some time back on this app from that I’ve on my phone.

So here it goes – come 6-7 PM or whatever the quitting time is and the shutter must come down for me. I’ve to return home from office. I just can’t stay a minute more. I become desparate & cranky. I stop talking to people around me at that time. I run…. literally!!! My effeciency is at it peak in the early hours of the work day, but my speed is at its maximum at 5:45. I try and wind up whatever is remaining and RUN. So much that some times I’ll even keep things pending, come to office early the following day to finish them, but I won’t sit past the quitting time. And I hate it when I’ve to sit past the quitting time because somebody else isn’t ready to give me his input on which I depend because he/she came late and they don’t mind sitting extra hours and expect me to do the same. I don’t put with that shit! I let them know.

I have this thing – I don’t like spending evenings within 4 walls. I feel choked. I’ve to see the vast open sky at dusk. I’ve to feel the evening breeze. I’ve to be the free man…

Does this happen to you too? What do you when you feel so?

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What happened in Peshawar.

The most original writing I’ve come across in a long time…by Malayam poet and lyricist Rafeeq Ahamed

Read on…

What is the history of religion if not a continuum of crusades, jihads, assassinations and communal riots? The value systems and ethics that religions stake claim to didn’t evolve from a religious framework. Society produced them in its struggle for survival and progress.

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Blame the British…

Every time I am in a discussion on issues related to poverty or infrastructure(or the lack of  it) in this country with friends or colleagues – somebody has to blame the British for
it all – “Buggers took everything from here” – is the standard concluding rant. And everybody else concurs.

Little do they realize that our own leaders have looted the country much more in 65 years
than the British did during their rule. I mean….just look at the numbers that come out each time there’s a scam. The vast majority can’t even write that kind of amount in figures.

The point is – the British were colonialists. They weren’t missionaries. They didn’t come here for the welfare of Indians. They came here to exploit. That’s what colonialists and conquerors do isn’t it. Why blame them – they were just doing what they set out to do. Does blaming them solve our problems. If anybody is to be blamed – its ourselves. They merely exploited our religious, racial, linguistic, caste divisions most of which exist even today!!!

In fact – India in its current form wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for the British Raj. Had it not been for the British – we wouldn’t have had this vast railway network even. Now when I say this – I do realize that they didn’t build this network so that Indian people could travel. They built it to ferry goods and troops faster. To strengthen their grip on the country. But the point I am trying to make is –  the least our politicians could have done is to expand this wonderful legacy and manage it well.

What prevented us ? Are the British responsible for India being a poor country? Or – are we a poor country in the first place? I say – We were never a poor country. Not today, not any time in our past. We are a mismanaged and a corrupt country. That’s all. Look at it this way – What are the resources we lack? We definitely do not lack in human resources. And for the natural resources that we’re short of – we have enough other resources which we can barter or trade in exchange for the resource in deficit.

It’s very easy to blame somebody else for our problems. As if that absolves us of our responsibility. This society needs to introspect. We can’t fix our problems when our diagnosis itself is wrong.

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They have sown the wind. They’ll reap the Whirlwind

145 people including 132 children were killed  in the  Peshawar School Attack. Horrendous and shocking as it is  I am not really surprised they choose to attack a school. Forget the reason they gave – (avenging the killing of their families by the Pak Army) irrespective of whether their reasoning is true, irrespective of whether they themselves believe in their reasoning  – this attack on the school was coming in any case.

I mean think about it – in a long war – you must ensure that you cut off your enemies supply lines. You destroy his factories. You deprive him of his weapons. That’s exactly what the Taliban did right – only in this case – the Children were the enemy’s Weapons and the School – their Factory.They needed absolutely no reason to do this. They just had to. And that is why I also believe – this is not a one off case as some people would like to believe. This is just the beginning. There will be may more such attacks on such factories – factories which (if allowed to spread unchecked) produce the line of thought which not just questions but also threatens to wipe out the Taliban’s own fundamentalist ideology.

And this is Pakistan’s own creation. Like its said in the Bible – They (Pakistan) have sown the wind. Now they’ll reap the whirlwind. And so they already are…

They must be obliterated now – before its too late, before it consumes all of Pakistan.

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Enough has been said and written about social discrimination people in our country face for belonging to a particular caste, colour, language or race. This post is not about that. People even in the west face some kind of discrimination – though nothing sort of the level seen here.

I want to highlight a very different kind of discrimination – that against rivers, mountains, animals, days of the week, food!!! and what not..

Sounds stupid? Well…..

Our people discriminate against rivers and mountains by ranking them on their Holiness quotient. So we’ve some rivers holier than the other. Which means its okay to pee in the Vishwamitri but you can’t pee in the Ganga. Which is not to say that they don’t pee in the Ganga. This holy tag really doesn’t help now – does it?

Next come animals – Cow being the holiest of them all. Its absolutely okay to kill, beat, whip or stone a dog or a pig or any other animal for that matter except cows which have to be treated like a goddesses.

We’ve associated days of the weeks with worshiping different gods. So on Mondays people go to the temple of Shiva, Tuesdays and Saturdays are for Hanuman and so on…
Amavas is considered a bad day to start any new venture.
And recently I also found out during lunch hour in my office that only a specific cereal must be cooked on a particular day of the week. So come Wednesday and 9 out of 10 guys is going to bring moong-ki-daal. The only updside of this being you get to know 10 different ways of preparing moong-ki-dal.

Coming to food – you cannot cook Khichdi (even with other items) on an auspicious occasion like the few days just preceding a marriage in the family – “Don’t ask why, you can’t cook Khichdi. That’s it“. Lemons have come to be associated with bad luck. So some of my neighbours and acquaintances won’t accept a few lemons from my backyard. I feel bad when they reject such a nice gesture. And I pity them too. What is the poor lemon’s fault? What did it do?

Banana’s and Coconuts are considered to be sacred fruits most ideal to offer to the gods.  There may be many more such examples.

What do these things say about our society? The society has become so docile – it has become void of any rationality. By and large I believe these people are cowards because they don’t want to question established norms and customs. Lest they become outcasts. What kind of lives these people live – timid?

What’s your take on this topic?

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Photography strictly prohibited…

You’ll find that sign  on every dam, every bridge, every airfield in this country. Relics of the Raj. It made sense in those days when intelligence had to be gathered physically on the ground. There were no satellites then.

But today?  4-5 decades since the first satellite was launched!!! Makes absolutely no sense. I can understand to an extent old signboards not removed – just another example of failure  absence of Systems in this country. Absence of systems to re-look into old laws, systems, practices and change them to be in line with the current times.  On the contrary – as if this wasn’t bad enough, new sign boards are still put up every time a new bridge or a dam comes up.

Little do these bureaucrats understand that this gives the security personnel deployed on the site another opportunity to fleece unsuspecting tourists clicking pictures even when at times when no such notice board exists at that place or at least is not to be easily seen. Lack of pictures of a picturesque place also affect the tourist inflow to such places. It deprives photography enthusiasts of an opportunity to satiate their hunger for a good picture,  opportunities for which are few in our not so clean country.

You can’t go to the country side and click pictures of a beautiful railway bridge up close. Not without bribing a few policeman or begging to them. You’re at their mercy. The Indian bureaucracy derive some kind of sadistic pleasure making the common man plead and beg. Makes them feel important and powerful. They live in denial, in an era which is long gone. In this age of Satellites & Google Maps/Earth they’re outdated – to think that preventing people from taking pictures would protect our buildings.

Its frustrating!!!

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In the name of Religion…

Find a beautiful mountain, Drill a hole in it, stuff it with dynamite & 3…..2…..1….. BOOM!!!

There goes the mountain- call it a creation of God or a result of millions of years of nature’s processes – destroyed within a matter of seconds.

…and somewhere else hundreds of Km’s away comes up a temple. No questions asked.

Right from my childhood – I’ve been visiting historical temples and I’ve really loved it. I have loved the architechture, the taste, the craftsmanship, the detail, the magnificence.  I don’t hate temples. I hate what goes on in them but that’s a different story.

I am not questioning the idea behind those temples. That was a different era. They didn’t mine the way its been mined these days – recklessly. But what I’ve been seeing in the last 20 years – huge temples coming up in every nook and corner of the country and every time I pass through one of those – images of a mountain exploding flashes in my mind and I feel despair. To make matters worse – these temples are gaudy and tasteless barring a few exceptions.  You’ll also find in many instances these new temples right next to an ancient temple only much bigger (and of course Gaudy) than the ancient temple as if trying to make a point – what point?…… guess.

As an example – There’s this place called Palitana in Gujarat. One of the holiest Jain pilgrimage centers. There’s a temple complex of about 1000!!!  temples(Yes you read that correctly) temples, big and small, constructed about 800 years ago on top of the Shetrunjay hill – an architechtural wonder. And as if this 1000 wasn’t enough – our people have constructed not less than 20 temples (as of the year 2000) at the foot hills of the mountain from where the climbing starts – and each of these bigger than the biggest temple on top. And you should see the Marble and Granite and the Sandstone used and you wonder – just how much of  pristine area these buggers must have destroyed in their race to create – ‘My temple bigger than yours’. As for the aesthetics of these temples – the lesser said the better. This is completely against the principles of  Jainism.

Little do these people/trusts who construct these temples realize the irreversible ecological damage this does. The trees that are cut, the birds living on these trees forced to flee, the effect on other animals that depend on the ecosystem, the disturbance in the natural flow of water, the affect of removing such large amount of stone of the soils water retention capacity.  Do they have the slightest realization that they are destroying the creation of the same god whose temple the intend to make. This in a country like India where you’ll find hordes of beggars particularly in the vicinity of the temples, homeless people all around, child  labourers.  Why not spend the money on creating shelters, schools, hospitals for them. Wouldn’t that be true service to god.

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