Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Month: April 2018

SUNDAY SHOPPING

SUNDAY SHOPPING

 

Sunday is our weekly shopping day. It is the same old routine. Find parking for your car. I prefer the scooter as it is easy to manoeuvre. Hand over a few shoes and sandals to the “Mochi” (cobbler). Yes one odd piece you find shearing off and going to get one from Bombay is not worth the petrol to be burnt.  Our man Friday is such a smiley chap and will wish you with so much of warmth that I can’t help but shaking his hand every time we use his services. He will be waiting patiently even though it would be beyond his duty hours and will also tell you that probably we did not notice that the other shoe too needed a mend. The other day it was raining heavily. We had to get my daughters school shoes repaired and we got late, he knew tomorrow she has to go to school, he waited for us. Advantages of a small place I must say.

Next stop is our sabzi-wala. One of his workers is “Walter”. I love to see him glow with excitement seeing me and my wife. He will wish us the loudest good evening and then speak only in Marathi. By now he knows what we prefer. They generally hand over a basket to you to select your vegetables. I do it the other way, I tell him to do it for me. This way I ensure I will not get a dressing down from my wife as I still have no idea which bhopla (kaddu/pumpkin) is good and which bhindi (okra) is “Kauli” (tender) even after close to thirty years of marriage.

I was noticing how people pick up tomatoes. They will pick up one and drop it. Pick up the second one press it, look around it and drop it, pick the third one up and put it in their basket and this happens to more than twenty they need. I kept noticing that how long that one particular tomato is not picked up. I was amazed that the ones that I had fixed my eyes on were picked up by the next lady. This lady also dropped quite a few and picked up the ones dropped by the previous chap. The sabzi-wala puts up a huge basket full; one actually is confused as to what to pick up and what to drop. As the basket empties out, he doesn’t replace or refill them. A person who needs them will have to pick up from what is placed in front of you. Smart, I would say.

Then I came across one guy not taking off his helmet. He was just pointing out to Walter to weigh what he wants. Soon I realised he had his mobile stuck inside his helmet and was hands free of sorts. We Indians have a jugad (improvise) for everything. Then I found one fellow with his helmet’s face guard over his forehead.  That too was for a purpose. The pan masala he was chewing and the mixture which accumulates inside the mouth has to be spit out.  I asked him then why do you wear it, he said traffic police.

My macchiwali is very smart. She will shout uncle surmai sasti ho gai hai (Fish has become cheap). So even if you don’t want to buy it you get carried away. She will take out a small one and say pandrah shau 1500. You look at her and are about to turn back she says shaat shay pannas 750. You show two fingers meaning 200, now she looks back as if to say, what nonsense you are talking man. I realised two things if you get into a conversation with them you will not be able to wriggle out. Second is become “besharam” (shameless) and haggle and haggle till cows come home. Moment you start become a bara saab you will not know when she has stripped you.

After all this shopping is generally my haircut time. The head massage after that is the attraction. The ladies I leave at a general store to pick up their shampoos and lipsticks.  I don’t know how these barbers know which hair to cut. I find him snipping at the same place for ages neglecting the rest of the circumference. He always asks me “Chota karun” (shall I cut them short). In the first thirty seconds he would have cleared the head and it takes him the next ten minutes to find hair and keep snipping.

I remember going to a saloon in Bombay, that chap took an hour to snip off what my barber does in ten minutes. The only thing was that he used about 11 types of scissors and shavers. Another thing I noticed in our desi barbers. Once they have snipped some hair, they continue doing the sniping action behind your head in thin air. Why they do it, I will have to research. The difference between my barber and the saloon wala nai was 450 bucks. My nai does a better job any day and gives me a head massage free. The saloon chap will charge me a fortune.

Be that as it may, small little things and personal touch matters. My daughter keeps asking me that dad you have friends all over. The auto wala, the sabji wala, the chana-mufali wala, the chicken wala, macchiwali (I call her my girl friend) even the cobbler and the barber greet you so nicely. I tell her yes beta, it is nice to know them too as they do very important jobs. It is our duty to treat them with dignity and show respect. Will my daughter understand the importance of these people, I wonder!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

DISHING OUT HEADACHES

DISHING OUT HEADACHES

 

I am not happy with Mr Tata. The reason is because my life has not become “Jhingalala” even after “isko laga dala”.  It forces me to take a “Disprin” often. You will ask me why, the reason is Tata Sky.

After having got fed up from the noisy news, I said to myself, let me explore other channels that the dish throws at me. I realised, it gets irritating as there are more than umpteen news channels in all shapes, sizes and languages. I try and remember my favourite news channel number not because of the content but because of the charming news anchor. I generally don’t subscribe to what they say, how they say & to whom they say it to. Earlier they used to fight on debates at night, now it is a whole day affair.  I find a “macchi market” quieter.

See I drifted from where I started and this exactly happens on the panel discussions. You start with a topic and land up cursing the founder fathers of India. Tata saab, I subscribe to a bouquet of prime sports but half of them say that I have to subscribe to them separately after paying. Sir please, I would suggest can we have an exchange offer. I shall surrender to you all news channels and you give me all sports channels. One more request, kindly avoid WWF kind of channels. For that I will continue to subscribe to a news channel.

As the definition of bouquet goes, it says an attractively arranged bunch of flowers carried as a gift or for a ceremony. I am sure a bunch of flowers could be of a varied variety or even single. Here we have a single stem with multiple flowers like the gladiola. No smell, same colour, some half open, some withering. That’s how our news channels are. All of them latch on to one story and all have got the same agenda. I don’t want to see a wilted flower but I have no choice but to see and hear what is being doled out to me “Zabardasti”.

I find if one has to really gain knowledge, one needs to get away from the idiot box. As they say you have to be in a learned mans company to learn and that is what happened with me yesterday. I was invited by none other than an Ex Naval Chief. It was a real privilege to meet a man who has seen so much, known so much, reads and writes so much. The hour and a half spent with him felt as if I am in a different world. I confessed to him that this is the first time I am meeting an Admiral. I was in awe, starry eyed, feeling so good deep inside that word cannot express.

His thoughts and understanding of things happening around us is unmistakably from the years of his experience and deep understanding of this country’s affairs. I must confess Sir that I forgot to present you with the mangoes I carried, in my excitement. My wife gave me such a dressing down and my daughter is still laughing. Believe you me sir, my mind was blank but I remember each and every word you spoke. Thank you Sir, it was an honour to shake hands and take a picture with you.

This reminds me of a “Kabir ka doha”. “Ek Ghari adhi ghari, adhi se puni aadh, kabir sangat sadhu ki, kaaten koti apradh”(spending few moments or fraction of those moments with learned people cleanse you or wash away all your dirty thoughts). Thank you sir and that is how I felt yesterday.

Today, we are enslaved by our cell phones. We sway, get carried away and get influenced by the negativity being spread through social media, especially the news. Let me not mince my words here to reflect on the political representatives who are there to just spew venom. It gets embarrassing to hear that the people who love to recite kabir are in what kind of sangati that they create an atmosphere of hatred all over.

I have no choice as my family is interested in dance and singing programmes which also are part of the jhingalala guldasta. I cannot stop them from their entertainment. News channels definitely are no more “seedhi baat” but are pure and unadulterated “bakwas”. Serials are elongated versions of a ball of dough. One can keep stretching them till eternity. They repeat the same expression from 30 different angles in those 20 minutes, with sound effects that never happen in actual life.

Be that as it may, I think I will find learned people and be in their company rather than rely on things that are dished out to me from a dish. I don’t want to become kabir & give pravachans but I definitely want to get rid of the headache by understanding life in a better perspective rather being a couch potato. Will I be able to do it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MISS MONEY PENNY

MISS MONEY PENNY

 

 I have been visiting my new girlfriend Miss Money Penny every alternate day since first of the month. She stays at a very convenient location and on the way to office. Invariably I find her sick as her main door shutter is always half down. Well she is my ATM. Shutter down means two things, either the bank people are filling in cash or there is a mechanic inside trying to locate where all the hidden money is.

Moment I wish Jai-Maharashtra to the ATM guard, you can straight away make out from his expressions that will the darling give me cash or will it show you its tongue by spitting out a white chit of paper, stating no funds.

BSNL net connectivity is another issue here. It works in a typical “Bhartiya” way that unless you kick the ATM twice it will not hand over cash. Sometimes it is so slow that you tell the guard, look friend, I am going to have a cup of tea, in case my sweetheart decides to shower her blessings, please collect the amount for me. The damn thing becomes so slow that to punch those four numbers one has to wait till an X appears on the screen, which takes ages. If you press a wrong pin, out it will spew a “parchi” stating your transaction is cancelled.

Most of the times one finds the home page very dim. One really has to touch the screen recalling from your memory, one wrong touch and she gets angry. Instead of savings if you punch on current you are back to square one as there is a difference between a chalu khata (current account) and a bachat khata (savings account). “Khata chalu nahi hota aur bachat hum se hoti nahi”.

As the line outside gets longer, people start losing their patience. They are afraid that the man inside may take out all the money. You find people start knocking & peeping thorough the glass door. I wait coolly as I get hold of the friendly cats that live there to play with.

Then there are some people who just do not come out. After 15 odd attempts he will come out grinning to tell you that he was just checking his balance. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!! Moment you go in you find the damn thing working fine and you swipe your debit card. It says, your transaction is being processed. Suddenly you hear lots of churing, flipping, Cheeeen, Chooooon sounds. Then you hear that very familiar sound of counting of notes, Kharrrrrrr.  It brings a grin to your face that today is my day.

In between the transaction you get a sms that your account has been debited by say 5000 rupees. Your eyes get lit up, though they are fixed at the mouth of the orifice which throws out the money. No money comes. You skip a heartbeat, still no money; you again hear the churning sounds, some solace, out comes parchi inadequate funds. Now you don’t know what to do. It is 8pm now the earliest you can contact the bank is tomorrow morning. The whole night’s sleep is gone. At five in the morning you get another sms that the transaction has been cancelled. Phew! You breathe a sigh of relief.

Next day on your way to the office you wave at the ATM guard who by now is a MIP (most important person). Everyone has his mobile number saved in speed dial mode. If you see him smiling and waving back then “miss money penny” is obliging. If he raises his hand with a frown on his face and with a vigorous twist of his wrist means you are forbidden to even look in her direction.

Our ATM is close to our hospital that means a visit to the doctor is inescapable. Reason is moment you enter the ATM cubicle you get chilled to your bones. From the hot and humid climate when you enter a chilled deep freezer you have goose bumps all over. Moment you come out, the blast of heat hits you again and its “sard-garm” already. You ask the guard “itna thanda kyon”, he says that the cats like it chilled. I looked at the cats and said balle balle.

At last I could get hold of some cash on the 18th of this month. This was not through the ATM but with a self cheque by standing in queue for an hour and a half. The Bank Madam as she is known is very strict. I said madam 18 days of this month have passed, when the ATM will be up and about. She said if you have waited for so long, can’t you wait for another week. I thought to myself why not. I knew that the bank and bankwali are thoroughbred bhartiya from the State bank of “Bharat”.

At last the manager gave 20k to me as a special case and told that do not return this month for more. She doesn’t know I have an account in another bank also. Will that banks Miss Money Penny give me what I need?  I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

ANNA-HARA-ZARA-RE  

This piece I had written when Anna had started his crusade against corruption, 19/04/2011, I heard he was again on fast for the MSP for farmers. In the din of other news, his story was washed out from every Indians mind, thanks to the media. Should he continue his crusade now? I wonder!!!!!

ANNA-HARA-ZARA-RE

Over the last couple of weeks we all have been witnessing a campaign started by a simple Ex-Army man, who faced near death in the Khemkaran sector in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. He is on a fast to death at Jantar Mantar. Khemkaran became a graveyard of the Paki tanks and Jantar Mantar should be the burial ground of the corrupt and corruption. Great going Sir, every Indian salutes you and shall support you. ‘THE CORRUPT” and their accomplices need to be booked. Your crusade has begun and now it is our duty to carry it forward to its conclusion.

Anna, you started your reformation from the grass roots and now your crusade is hitting the highest political masters. You say that you will lose your security deposit if you stand for elections. Is it that you don’t have money or is it that you are not corrupt? For winning elections public support is required and you have already won their hearts and minds. I suggest that you should be part of the political process. Then only all those working under you can be controlled. Thereafter you can bring to justice all others whom you find unfair, unjust and corrupt. To be able to annihilate all corrupt political practices, you yourself need to understand how they do it. An important aspect we were taught in the Army was to fight against militants and to finish a militant, you got to think like a militant, be better trained than him, shoot better than him, garner more local support than him, have your intelligence better than him and ultimately destroy him. For militant here read politician.

The media today is the greatest watch dog for these political big-wigs, they can take them head on but the foundations of corruption lie deep down under. It starts from the lowest rank. Our society watchman charges Rs 5/- from every Dhobi, Bai, Paperwala, Machhiwala, pavwala etc. Can we stop him? I think we can, if we give him adequate remuneration. That poor man stands for 12 hours, running errands for half the society members to make that extra buck besides doing his duty. Corruption starts here.

Items sold through PDS are siphoned off. Poor man gets nothing. Kerosene meant for him is used for adulterating other fuels. A gas cylinder is available faster in BLACK than the three weeks wait for the WHITE. The MNREGA money is going in the wrong hands. The mid day meals are eaten by the greedy, proxy attendance by rural teachers and doctors leaves the illiterate as illiterate and the sick further sick. The middlemen and farmers are always at logger heads and are not allowed direct access to the mandi’s. Food is rotting in FCI godowns since decades. The hungry are never fed.

Healthcare, employment, literacy and two square meals a day is the bottom line. Social security, shelter, physical security & women empowerment are also places where corruption is rampant. Today, we fear our Police not because they are strict but because they will drag us everywhere for no fault of ours. So, pay a small token which makes him happy and saves me the inconvenience.

NGO management needs focus Anna. Some of them are government aided, some are not, and some are fraud too. I would like you to crusade for them too. They need to be grouped together, made to focus, distributed equitably, and supported adequately as they are linked with the grass roots more than anyone else. We should empower them through you. Let us stop the ministers from distributing TVs, Mixer’s and lap tops & subsidised rice. Let the NGOs do it, then we shall see the strength and power of the vote bank.

Fast track anti corruption courts which are adequately staffed to give out justice in a time bound manner is also the need of the day. Let the Lok Pal and Lok Ayukta be set up. Let them not be politically influenced which is also a form of corruption. Anna, there are miles to go before you and I sleep.

I also want you to crusade for the Police, Armed Forces and Para Military forces too so that the government gives them better pay, perks and privileges. They should have an assurance that where ever they go they will get a place to stay, a school for their kids, and their domestic matters in the village/town they belong to be looked into even after they leave for duty or transferred. Let the Gram panchayats and the zila parishads be extra sensitive to their issues when he is posted to far flung areas. Let this man be assured that on retirement, he shall have a roof over his head.

One last thing Anna, let us focus on the MPs and MLAs, downwards to the Sarpanch. Let’s take a bottom up approach. Let the government protect every citizen who exposes corruption cases. If we do ten such cases in every state every month the corrupt will be shaken and stirred. Corruption shall definitely evaporate one day. I said, ANNA-HARA-ZARA-RE, should not land up as ANNA-HAAR-NA-JANA-RE is my prayer. My heart and soul is with you, as they say when the going gets tough the tough get going. Will Anna succeed in his mission? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PERCEPTION & REALITY

I was sitting in a closing meeting of ISO certification the other day. The lead auditor was a Bengali and a senior citizen. He appeared to be very transparent and upright, the way he had spelt out conduct the audit. At the end of a two day gruelling process we all were awaiting the pearls of wisdom from him.

In the industry, I find that all these ISO certifications are a must if you really mean business. There are some companies which have a clause inserted in their business plan that they won’t do any business with companies without these certifications. It is not surprising though all these auditors have a standard check list, in addition they get hold of your standing operating procedures and then start picking holes in your system one by one. At the end of the day every Industry fears for a thing called NCs (non-compliances) which are Major NC and Minor NC. Let me not get into the nitty-gritty’s now.

I also happened to find out that there are quite a few agencies that do this accreditation and most of them are based in US of A or UK. Isn’t it surprising? An industry in India is being certified to the satisfaction of these countries that have no clue how our industry actually functions.

Manpower is the first thing which is axed in all industries. They want a lean mean fighting machine. Asking for overtime is a taboo. Working late is routine and expected. You have to be multi tasking with ten hands of Goddess Durga. The work which should be done today should have finished last week. The reports and statistics need to be produced in past tense. The beauty is that people still produce them. Aim is to show you are working basically covering your backside by sending mails.

Let’s come to social accountability. Is anyone responsible for the manager category? The whole system is worker oriented. It is assumed that the industry would be taking care of its managers automatically. The truth is very far from it. Then comes the union bazi, well lesser said the better about it. In all my experience, I have only seen union leaders taking the goonda approach or are kept shut with money depending upon the number of workers and the size of the industry. People talk about food basket, minimum wages, statutory compliances, safety procedures etc. Do they really mean what they say?

Problem with us Indians is that we want to ape what the US manual says without giving it due thought about comparative resources which are made available there. Their mind set, their culture needs to be taken into considerations. Above all they are far more honest and far less corrupt than us.

Environment is an issue; the watch dogs want every industry to produce only oxygen and pure water as its waste. One micron this side or that side there will be hell to pay. Issue doesn’t end here as these microns are managed by cash or kind. The boiler inspector will not even boil a cup of tea in the container but certify things as if they are straight out of the sauce pan. I was not aware that a job like a lift operator needs a certificate from an authorised institution, like a drivers licence. More are the compliances more is the outflow of cash, plus stay in company guest houses on the house.

I got cheesed off at this auditor mentioned about retired “sarkari karamchari”. As per him they only take a hefty pension without having worked. His brother gets a good pension working at “CHEETOROUNJAAN LOKHOMOTEEBS”. Then he started off on the income tax he has to pay. All of that is eaten up by government people especially the forces. These were the pearls which ultimately fell. I lost my shirt and told him that friend I gave my yesterday for your today. If you cannot be grateful for our services then you have no business to utter what you are uttering. The irony was many of the employees started agreeing that all their taxes are eaten up by government people especially from the forces and why are they penalised for it.

I walked out of the hall feeling hurt, that imagine what the civilian psyche is. As if they are the only ones paying to run this country. They seem to be ashamed to pay tax for the forces. They will never understand what each person in uniform went through. These people have been static, lived in a secure environment, getting hefty pays and getting the best of facilities with his family, with children getting best of education, contributing zero to nation building.

I really felt sad about the knowledge these people have about the forces. Should I waste time to teach them about what the armed forces are all about? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

INDIAN MILITARY ACADEMY TALES

IMA was supposed to be a cake walk for us “nangas” but it happened to be otherwise for me. I was very happy to see Baljeet Sandhu in my platoon, after all SAIKAPIAN school types. The term break after NDA had cast a spell on me as I went through a nasty cycle of typhoid; jaundice and malaria in one go. I could barely stand on my two feet. Thanks to Rajinder Bhagtana who took real care of me till Dehradun. He had accompanied me to NDA wing along with Hitesh Kohli also. Heesh do you remember Jalandhar railway station.  Hope my memory is correct.

On arrival at IMA they asked us to deposit our identity cards of NDA for new ones to be issued. Let me confess now folks I had lost my NDA I card in fourth term in Ajmer when I had gone to attend my cousins wedding. She was the sis of Sanjeev Vajpei (G/65) God bless his soul. Can you believe it I did the entire monthly I card checks including drill com without one?  Now don’t ask me how I did it, I just did it. As it is I was shifted from Charlie to India Sqn with 28 days restrictions which finished with 42 of them besides the EDs & Lal Makans. Had I reported this loss, I would have definitely been a Brigadier if not a General.

Loss of I-Card, 14 days Restrictions from the Bhagat battalion parade ground into the tea gardens became a routine for me. I think I finished with 42 here also. I lost count actually. This did not deter me from doing my monkey tricks.

I remember how the Keren Company diving team was selected. Maj Satinder Singh (PARA) landed in one of the PT parades. Typical of him, all those who have passed all PT tests to my left. Half the second termers moved there, all those who have passed all higher tests to my right, so half of the rest moved there. Then he said all those who have passed two first class tests come to me. Seven of us came forward including me. You are now the company diving team, ustad inko swmming pool main le jao. So I learnt to do the “pike” and “swallow”. Shammer that I was I chose spring board as maximum he could push me to 3 meters. Who wanted to dive from seven or ten?

I also had a cat. All winter she used to be in my cabin in my rajai and when it came to littering she used to go my next cabin an Iraqi called ALI. This man used to keep a brand new quilt in his cupboard for cabin cupboard. He realised it too late and the cat had done her job. Anyways she became our fond pet. CSM Johnny and I have a pic with him. Do you guys remember Najim abdul lateef, tofeek ali wali quli blah blah blah another Iraqi. He had twenty four names and his sir name was Mohammed. Bugger only asked for pondies.

We had an ACC course mate Dili P Gurung, (God Bless his soul too) we became chaddi-buddies. I had a heater and used to make halwa very often. Basic Punjabi instincts. We used to have a typical laundry cupboard. I had a false bottom in it to hide all my gadgets like the sauce pan, ghee and various masalas. One day I had gone to Dehradun on liberty, Daju as I used to fondly call him did not come with me but promised me that once I come back he will get fish from Prem Nagar from his old ACC connections. He used to fondly call me EL. I came back and had fantastic fish fry and as luck would have it Capt Rayan Peter Lobo landed up on a Sunday surprise check. Daju was on 14 days run and my heater was confiscated. I disowned it. I had more company running around the tea gardens with me. Daju touched his ears that this was the first and last time he ever cooked in his cabin.

I had a bhabhi in Dehradun staying on Nashville road. Doonites would know the road and so would Salim Asif. We had had khana once, remember Salim. So there was a wedding in the family so I and Daju were invited. We went through Thimmaya battalion short cut on our cycles. We had a blast. Enjoyed the reception, daju carried his guitar and played like hell with the live band there. It was close to midnight and we both were a little high, well fed and feeling confident that no one will catch us while entering Bhagat battalion. As we were passing the FRI gate we heard a voice STOP. Instinct was to scoot but now we were gentlemen so we stopped. In the dark we saw a lady sitting on a lambretta scooter and a “Surdy” roaming around. Bloody hell, it was GJ. He took my cycle, mam sat on the danda and off he went. I had no choice but to sit on Daju’s danda. GJ had newly joined so asked us which company, I said keren. Name I gave him. Next day morning a Sikh Regiment jawan came looking for me. A shinning bike was handed over to me and I was told to report to his office at 1.30pm along with Daju. We got 7 hackel orders for not maintaining our bikes. They were cancelled before we were marched out. That used to be the spirit.

Next outing both I and daju were at bhabhi’s place. It was late already and we could not have got back in time. We found both our bikes punctured. We dug into our pockets and we had no money for a vikram too. Bhaiya offered yaar take my scooter and we did. I brought it and parked it in Bhangi platoons first room which was used as a batty’s store room. Next Saturday we decided to scoot after lunch. It was winters so wearing monkey caps both of us started from Keren company tea point. By the time we turned from the swimming pool turn I got an inkling a scooter is following us. I told daju not to look behind and I did the typical, “Nap de killi”. It was difficult to manoeuvre along the canal due to the pot holes but nevertheless. Two scooters were on a race. We reached the FRI gate and I took that road which used to go to clement town. Soon we turned back to find Sarkar kicking his scooter. I think his petrol finished. We enjoyed the evening in doon and came back in a Vikram. Got down at Prem Nagar and sneaked in.

Once we had finished our camp in the Sharanpur jungles we were getting ready for camp fire. Daju and I decided to carry a bottle of beer each and we will sit somewhere half way for a boost as it will help us finish the march with ease. It was Daju’s idea. The beauty was we carried the bloody bottles of beer till the end and they got confiscated when our kit was checked at the end of the josh run. Patil was generous enough to issue us another couple of bottles with promise to pay next week after Daju’s pay day.

We were third termers and cross country practice was on. We used to run to Garhi Cantt and turn towards RIMC and then get back if I remember the route correctly. Daju had his Gorkhali friends in Garhi and we had decided to have tea with them. Daju’s girlfriend was standing there to receive us. A voice came from behind buggers if I don’t find you guys in the third enclosure you guys are in for trouble. Capt Sarkar was following us again. We saw the family waving but refused to recognise them. We just about finished in time and escaped his wrath.

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MALLYA MANSION

It is indeed my singular privilege to announce to the world that Mallya has finally decided to settle down in life just behind our house. It is a hill slope spruced with all kinds of vegetation and trees. Many trees have died with age and exposed a clearing for this mansion to come up.

I was a little skeptical when someone told me that your wife speaks to someone secretly. He comes to the backyard of your house. We have been married for almost three decades now; I couldn’t care less even if she spoke to the most handsome hunk. In fact this morning only she introduced me to him. I was awe struck to see him taking so much of pains to keep an eye on his mansion from a vantage point.

In the mornings I usually have a cup of tea in my garden from where the site of this new development is clearly visible. I am a frequent visitor to that area to look after a host of fruit trees and exotic plants I grow. Our green house, mango trees, custard apples, beetle leaves, coleus collection, star lilies, peace lilies, papayas, exotic peppers and pineapples adorn the place. I did see someone sitting, not realising that he was on a reconnaissance mission. Well, I always thought that people really love this nice green place so he must be finding some solace and tranquility. Actually, he was observing his future house from all angles and at various times of the day.

I was intrigued why he is making such a small entrance and that too on an almost vertical slope. It must be for security reasons I reckon. There are a plethora of people after his blood. Various hawks and predators will not spare him or his family. I really admired his thought process and security concerns. He will be even safe from snakes as they too will not be able to scale that kind of vertical cliff. In case a snake does climb up, it will be exposed for someone to raise an alarm for it to make a hasty retreat.

Then my thoughts went to the construction material he is using. I ran through the numerous kinds of cements available. The toughness and strength of each was worth a look but I failed to understand why he was using the local made clay. First thing which came to my mind was camouflage. As it is he is hiding from the world. If this house blends with the background no one will be able to spot it. I also saw some natural horticulturists on the job. Various vines and creepers were already growing to further add to the blending with the back ground.

Soon my mind drifted to the kind of tunnel which was being dug at the entrance. I at once understood that this should be for limited ingress. I also ran my imagination that what about the air passage if it is a “goofa” (cave). There would be provisions made for air for sure. I also thought about the daily needs and things like that. Fish being available in abundance should be the staple diet I suppose. With such a personality they would have worked out a logistics plan for it without doubts.

Who will be accompanying him in this mansion was my basic doubt? I know he lives life king size. So I kept a vigil to see if someone does visit. As his reputation goes, I spotted a beautiful lady accompanying him. Her attire was out of the world, so fresh, so colourful and so appealing it was. I dared not venture near the couple, as I found them to be very shy. Moment I used to pick up my camera, they would move away. So I decided to let them be. Their dressing sense was out of the world and their choice of colours was definitely classy.

I have fallen in love with my new neighbours and have decided to let them enjoy their stay. Yes, as concerned people I will make available for them all facilities such as water etc. For electricity, I feel they are self sufficient as they are totally dependent upon solar energy. A beautiful way to conserve nature I suppose.

This morning when I heard my wife talking to Mallya from the kitchen, I peeped through the other window and I found a “KINGFISHER” which my wife has named Mallya visiting his nest. This is the “Mansion” on the hill slope. I tried to photograph him but missed the opportunity due to its shyness.

Welcome Mallya (the bird kingfisher) to our neighbourhood. Hope you will have faith in us that we mean no harm to you and your new nest. Can we earthlings learn from this beautiful creature a few things in life and be the king of good times? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CRIMINALS AMONGST US

The name “A” does not strike a chord with me but as I read and see news coverage; I feel a sense of belongingness towards her as if she was my daughter. Today, my guts churn when I hear her name because people of this nation have turned into “Darinda’s”. I feel helpless that I could do nothing to save her. I clench my teeth in disgust to see the culprits roam alive. I wish they would have thought about their own daughters before drugging and hurting this angel, all of eight years. Definitely, morality has died in them; humanity has no value for them. Insanity has made way into their psyche. Well, heaven and hell is here only, the little one is in heaven but these B’s need to be in hell today.

Nirbahya’s (N) case is still fresh. The scars and wounds are yet to heal. Those culprits too roam free. Today I heard, another girl has been raped & destroyed mentally and physically in Surat?  Rape cases are just figures to be rattled out as a statistic in the parliament. All “Kotwali’s” maintain a crime chart. They maintain a rape case graph displayed on their notice board. The reality is that the numbers of reported rape cases are on the decline, as the mental rape done by the police to the girl and her family dissuades them to report. Rapes can be done in police stations by “wardi wala goondas” too.

The PM can’t do justice. He says there are enough laws. The CM can’t do justice, the DC and SP can’t do justice. The beat constable can’t do justice. Courts delay justice and take their own sweet time.  They want a witness for a rape! My foot!  CM says that he has suspended a few people. The DC says that his district is too big to handle, the SP says he doesn’t have enough man power. The beat constable says that no one has reported any incident, after all someone needs to lodge an FIR. My second foot! When the citizen is asked what should be done, they say hang the rapist in public but when asked to co-operate, everyone slams their door as if nothing happened. The whole cycle then keeps repeating itself. Asifa’s keep perishing.

I will avoid politicians and politics; however, ministers do discuss what the previous governments did not do and what they have done in the limited time they had. Nehru and Gandhi are always going to be the ones responsible for the condition of the nation that exists today. No one will talk about the deteriorating moral systems. No one will talk about intolerance & hate crimes. No one will talk about citizen safety. No one will talk about how to make our policing strong. Every politician has his own agenda, get elected, make some noise, become a minister, perks and privileges’ galore, make big money, dharna, bandhs and when it comes to brass-tacks they hide behind the petticoat of our justice system.

Rape has raised its head to such an extent that it is becoming more of a prestige issue for some. What do the dastards want to prove by doing this heinous crime should be the focus? As it is the common citizen is afraid of mafias & goondaism. I as a citizen am happy if nothing happens to me and my family. If it happens in my neighbourhood I will definitely go and pay my respects and condolences. If it happens in some other city or state, the first thing which comes to the tongue is “bach gaye” but I will not do anything to help the state machinery or my fellow citizen.

I am saddened to my very inside for all the A’s. I shiver at the very thought of it. I pray for her soul and her parents. I also pray that at least once we should have quick justice like in Saudi Arabia. One man court, verdict-guilty, criminal taken to the city square, firing squad prepares the place, order given to fire, criminal shot in the head and finished, he is hanged on a boom till evening for all to witness. Period!

Issue here is that the criminal will be finished but the crime will still remain. When will be able to control that criminal instinct of future rapists? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY ATTENTION SPAN

I came back after a brisk evening walk yesterday and it was about time for the IPL match to start. A quick freshening up and I dug into my favourite sofa to watch the match. Can you believe it, I did not even know which teams were playing and did not even want to find out. 20-20 is all about sixes and fours, that’s all I wanted to see.

Possibly Chennai and Punjab are the only two teams I recognise, Chennai because of their distinct yellow colour and Dhoni, Punjab, because of my favourite Priety Zinta. Rest of them I get mixed up between the blues of Rajasthan and Mumbai. The red, black, oranges & purples of the other teams only add to my confusion. One purple team member wears an orange cap and one blue team a purple cap. What exactly is happening?

I was a diehard fan of cricket as a kid and I clearly remember getting up early morning with Dad to listen to the running test match commentary on a transistor for India-Australia matches. I knew each team member by name, their centuries and wickets taken in their career. Today, I hardly even know the Indian team except a few names.

The interest in the game now has reduced to lifting my eyes from my mobile to TV at the precise moment when the bowler is crossing the umpire and is about to deliver the ball. Moment the batsman hits the ball, my focus changes back to my mobile.  I am in a different world from the time ball is fielded and the bowler is about to cross the umpire with his next ball.

I invariably miss boundaries being hit and fall of wickets. At that crucial moment it just so happens that my eyes are on the mobile. I then have to wait for the replay. Even the replay is so slow that by the time the catch is taken I switch to read another message. Moment I look up the action of catching the ball is also over and I only get to see the reaction of the bowler pumping air. I enjoy reading their lips in super slow-mo dishing out choicest adjectives.

As the bowling end is changed I utilize that time very gainfully. I open an unfinished game of candy crush. I quickly crush a few and look up to see I have missed two overs. One keeps promising to oneself that I will watch the complete next over and you keep the mobile to the side. One tinkle of the mobile and your promise to yourself is the first thing to go for a six.

It doesn’t take much time for me to lose interest in the game if every second ball is not a six. If the game is slow, I change to a news channel. That attention span doesn’t last long there too as one realises there is only noise and flick back to IPL.

The critical time is the strategic time out. It is time for me to run to the loo. Wife rushes to the kitchen to bring in dinner and by the time the countdown starts we are on the dinner table. The beauty is when daughter asks papa kaun kaun khel raha hai and papa goes blank. Quickly I put on my specks to find out which teams are playing. I have to confess, I don’t know. We just laugh and pounce on our dinner.

These days Captains chat with commentators. In good old days this was unthinkable stuff. I remember playing cricket matches with YPS Patiala in their grounds. They were a co-ed school. After school all the girls used to come and sit next to our fielders at deep boundary positions. This used to be the biggest distraction for us SAIKAPIANS. Nice dainty little girls in skirts and mind you some of them were naughty. Moment the ball was hit in those fielding positions, hooting used to start and at that crucial moment if your eyes got off the ball, the ball would cross the boundary, as some skirt used to go a little above the knees to reveal a “fine leg”.

Be that as it may, I feel we are focussing on too many things at one time. We think we can multi-task but the fact of the matter is there is loss of focus, no concentration, loss of interest, neither watching TV nor watching mobile, ultimately lading up confused as what did you do.

Ultimately at 10 pm I leave the TV room. At the end of the day who played with whom on which ground and how many runs were scored, who won and who lost is just like a blank thought in the mind. I leave it for the next day’s news headlines. How many of us are also doing the same thing what I do? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PM ON FAST

Gone are the days when Gandhi ji used to go on a fast and the world used to get shaken up. I think the British gave up because his fast was a more deadly weapon then any gun. PM Sahib decided to do the same. He is on a fast as a mark of protest because our representatives stalled all work in our “Gole Market”. It appeared more like a “Gole Macchi Market”. The basic decorum and the discipline of the august houses suddenly evaporated into thin air. PM Sahib must be in a terribly angry mood to take this action. Indeed it is very unfortunate for India but who cares.

I remember we used to ask the Adjutant, how is the bosses’ mood? Last minute check used to be with the COs runner, if he nodded his head straight, then you had a chance to put across your argument. If he nodded sideways meant hell is going to break loose. One entered the COs office at one’s own risk. Many times if you were called, you meekly asked the adjutant Sir, what is the agenda? His simple answer used to be “Danda”. There was no use for any guess about your condition when you came out. A good adjutant used to keep a chilled glass of nimbu pani in summers or a hot cup of tea in winters ready, knowing the aftermath of the firing you got.

Imagine if PM saab is in a foul mood and tells his secretary to call a few ministers to his office. Finance Minister, asking for a chilled nimbu pani “in winters”, holding a shredded noting sheet of a few lakh crores which the PM just tore off for no reason.  DM coming out all guns blazing at the Chief’s, stating PM passed though Delhi Cantt and found the Chuna-Geru was not up to the mark. Transport Minister trying to send a message to avoid meeting to the PM stating he is struck in a traffic jam. Foreign Minister already on a flight to Bhutan, when asked why? She says, because of that dhokla issue or was it dhoklam, she forgot.  General Saab already fit-chuted and ready to para jump over Iraq, just in case some more Indians had to be brought back.

Bosses mood was an indicator for things to come our way. It was like the daily horoscope. I remember one of them used to get in good moods moment you talked about a party. Who is throwing it and for what reason was beside the point. Another one used to be a bridge enthusiast; so one could wait till the cows came home and have lunch at dinner time, office started after that. One used to be that training type, if your dangri smells of sweat and your patka is full of sand, it was ok with him. So you knew what to do moment you saw him, just do a front roll in the sand and your day was through. One was a stickler for punctuality, one second late for any parade meant you were on leave that day.

In the civil I find mood swings more and very difficult to predict. He will talk soft but mean harsh. He will record every incident and keep quoting it, till you die. They provoke you and make you react, burden you ‘without resources’, backtrack from their words, mean something & say something. They assume that you will interpret what they say in a manner what they don’t mean. At least in the fauj a boss used to fire you, abuse you, kick you, and shout at you but at the end of the day things were forgotten over a drink. If he was really annoyed, he sent on an LRP (Long Range Patrol).

Be that as it may, where will the PM go to express is displeasure? For him, our diversity is now becoming our divisiveness. We are no more united. Everyone wants a bigger chunk of the pie. If not then hamper parliament proceedings. That’s what the reason is for the PM to react. How do you control such people, the PM per force has to go on a fast to show his unhappiness; a sad state for India.

I consider it a matter of shame if the PM has to go on a fast like this. Knowing the Indian mentality it will make no difference to any of those elected representatives who did not let the houses function. Had these guys thought about the country first, things would have been different? I wish the PM follows our adjutant and introduces stalls of Nimbu Pani and Chai outside both the houses, for all MPs found misbehaving. When will this Gole Machhi Market return to the stature and maintain the dignity required of our Parliament? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

KISMET FATE & DESTINY

So many innocent children of Kangra have gone to heaven in that one fraction of a second. Some motorcycle suddenly appeared around the bend and the driver swirled the bus to avoid him. The driver could have dozed off also. The road must be bad and the driver was avoiding pot holes. The driver could be over speeding. The brakes of the bus could have failed. The driver could have been talking on his mobile also. No end to conjecturing. Finally, we have to leave it to the lines on our foreheads.

I can just grieve and offer my condolences to the bereaved families. I cannot get that time back just to reverse the bus a minute or two before the mishap occurred. Happy families shattered for no fault of theirs. The complete village would have plunged into darkness.

I am sure the school would have never thought of such an incident could ever happen. The driver would be probably one of the best, as no school would take chances with young lives, when the terrain and weather is known. Was the bus running late for school? The problem is punctuality which is taught in school. You get late and the gates are closed. Whom do we blame then, the circumstances, our values, the safety norms, the driving skills, the road conditions, the government or our destiny?

Will five lakhs promised by the government to the victims be enough to bring back the smile and laughter that kid used to bring home? Can those pranks, love and affection be replicated by money? Is that child replaceable in that amount? I say why double the amount can’t be spent on road widening and road safety. Is there a dearth of money or is it the lack of will? The latter might be the case.

What will be the after effects of this mishap? A committee will be set up to investigate the accident. The school may have to shut down is the most likely option. The findings will be sealed in a file and bite dust. Some road repair and construction work would be visible; some visits of high dignitaries will be executed; some reports will be generated; a monitoring cell would be opened; all schools and school busses will be audited; a new office with furniture and a vehicle will come up for a while and then like all “sarkari mehakmas” they will surface only after the next accident. God forbid it should never happen.

When bodies come home the cries of the beloved ones are inconsolable. A kind of current goes up my spine and my “rongte” (goose bumps) come up every time I think of the tragedy. A kind of shivering sensation passes through me, thinking of the unthinkable. Those children who have left us are now on their next journey but all those who are injured and critically ill, I think the country can at least pray for them.

Compensation to the injured should be even more. Their life time treatment should be free and they should also get a life time stipend to look after themselves. I know the idea sounds ridiculous and governments will go bankrupt paying for numerous accident and trauma cases. Well, that should be the penalty for not looking into the public amenities. This should be the price the governments should pay for the neglect and apathy towards the facilities of a common man. I don’t say accidents won’t happen but to create circumstances that accidents are negligible is also the prime responsibility of every government which represents me and my children.

The day I have to die is already destined but why pre-pone my destiny due to neglect and callous attitude of someone responsible. As it is loss of life in India is no big shake. Trains can roll without an engine. You run over pedestrians and still roam scot free. You call a protest for no reason, a stampede or firing occurs, a few dead here and there is no issue. You can fall in a drain, you can be hit at a red light even when your side is green and die, is as common as anything. It happens only in India.

When are we going to get out of this syndrome of chalta hai? India has to realise that every life counts. The people who run India, if they focus on the people they represent and their peoples safety, then they would be worth the salt they eat. If they have to continue their dharnas and bandhs for the heck of it then we can keep blaming our kismet, fate and destiny. Whom should I thank to be alive, my luck, my God or “Mai-Baap”? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BHARAT KYON BANDH

Today there is a call for a nationwide Bharat Bandh I suppose. The Aam Admi is going to be the only one to be most affected. Commuting will be difficult, we are used to it. Essential services will be hit, what is new about it. Banks and Sarkari offices may have to be closed, so what. Vandalism may happen, well that is in our nature. Poor taxi-walas, chai-walas and daily wagers will be the sufferers. It happens every time. The big-wigs will still get their essentials through their back doors, from milk to liquor at a premium which they can afford to pay, nothing novel about it.

Bandh will be declared successful depending on the number of riot like situations created, police stations burnt, vehicles turned to cinders, number of lathi charges and the number of people who die in stampedes or firing. Neta ji gets more fuel to ignite and exploit the situation as also curse the government for poor law and order situation. His pride will be to court arrest by doing a drama in front of the cameras and get carried by policemen. Ho gaya bandh. Desh gaya tel lene.

Opposition takes to the streets, nothing original about this too. They go all out to defame the ruling government, this is routine, irrespective of who is in power.  Police will declare a red alert and a precautionary 144 but who cares for “Dhara ek sau chawalis”.  People gather in groups, in multiples of 50. Police catch people whom they can single out. Then situation goes out of their control, alas the police become moot spectators.

Daily wager sits and waits to feed those five people in his family who per force will go hungry today. They are now fully acclimatised to such bandhs. Schools would be shut down as a precautionary measure. Buses would be forced to be off road. Lonesome streets with ply card yielding “Hai-Hai” shouting people would only be seen. Most of them are paid for a day’s work. Ask them individually what their issue is, they won’t be able to tell.

Do we need Bandhs in the first place? Is it necessary to bring the country to a grinding halt? People may be travelling for business, joyous occasions, solemn occasions, interviews, hospitals etc just to be stuck and stranded for no fault of theirs. Is it justifiable? Should it be tolerated by the voters?

Where is the law to ban bandhs? Netas call it there democratic right. My foot! Neta ji can do bhashan baazi, neta ji can demand apologies from all and sundry but netaji will do nothing to refuse a call for a bandh. Netaji will never blame himself for any chaos. Neta ji’s have gone to the extent to bandh karo the parliament. Neta ji is netaji ji, period! They prefer to gorge on Chola-Bhaturas and then sit on a day long symbolic fast without realising the poor people they represent will go hungry.

I would suggest that all those who want to participate in a bandh can very much afford to get one “fawra”, “genti” “belcha” “jharoo” and one small tarpaulin. Let the netas lead from the front. Let the people who give “chanda” to parties provide dumpers and let us clean our cities. Every drain and every nali can be cleared. Every single piece of plastic & paper can be picked up by those who congregate needlessly for sloganeering.  Let no parliament function but then let all citizens get together and clean up India on the day of bandh. Is it possible?

I can assure you that the power of collectiveness which is shown by wasting precious man hours sitting and gossiping on stages, giving bhashans, cursing each other while the common man looks up to the “mai baaps” for redemption from the shackles of bad times will transform India. Clean your parks, clean your stadiums, clean your roads, clean your public amenities, clean your busses, clean your trains, we will see the difference. All those who can afford it, just do “geru-chuna” to the trees along the road. Netas who claim to be leaders of men need to set an example here. See how things transform in this country.

If bandh is a necessity, then let’s bandh karo corruption & useless bhashans. Let us band karo communal divide and suffering of a common man. Let us pledge to bandh karo throwing garbage on the roads, let us bandh karo wastage of electricity and water. Let us bandh karo obstructing parliament & getting fake news spread. Let us bandh karo all those who vandalise, burn, loot or damage things during bandhs. Let us bandh karo the very concept of bandh. Does it make sense to the planners of such bandhs?  I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BEING A MAN

Ek hook si dil mein hoti hai,

Ek dard jigar mein rehta hai !
Main raton ko uth-uth rotan hoon,
Jab sara aalam sota hai.

This couplet reminds me of the condition of our dear “Sallu” who is now placed in the same barrack as our very own and very dear Aasa Ram Bapu. Suffice to say, it is amply proven that venison is not easy to digest. Courts have been ruminating over it for the last twenty years and still not got to the bottom of the case. It took so long for the judges to understand that the buck was killed. Finally, they had the guts to stop this buck-buck. For bhai it must be another film set as “quadi number 106” now is in his correct place.

I know he has his die-hard fans and millions at stake. Many lives must be waiting to be touched by his being human campaign. For once he must have thought that this trauma and torture of court-kachehri must end. I am convinced that our judicial system, courtesy our great lawyers can turn tables upside down. Thank God it was not proved that the deer’s committed suicide in front of bhai which transformed his heart and he opened his NGO just to take care of nears and deer’s. Sau Sau choohe kha kar billi haj ko chali.

I was a Captain when this incident had happened and I was posted in Jodhpur, I still find Bhai so much attached to the city. Probably it is the Mirchi-Baras, the Maave ki kachori’s, the Makhaniya Lassi, the Ghewar and the smells emanating from Rawat and Janta Mishtan Bhandar which pulls him back. I hope the jail authorities will allow visitors to bring all these delicacies. Bhai, remember to tell someone to get Gulab Jamuns from Tripolia bazzar. I know the chana dal  and patta gobhi sabji will not be palatable. Mom’s homemade Biryani cannot be delivered to this jail “set” for sure.

I am amazed people of my age are grand dads and you are my age, give or take a year. You defy aging. I am sure by now you also must have forgotten the count of the long list of judges who would have changed and also many witnesses who would have kicked the buck-et. As per my knowledge a black buck lives about 15-20 years, so that generation of deer’s would have been either eaten by someone or would have gone to heaven and you still rot in quagmire of judicial jargon. Thank God they decided to make you peeso chakki at last and be done with it.

Most channels are only interested in his conversations with his fellow inmate “assa ram”. There are a number of jokes going around including people requesting bhai not say his prayers, for obvious reasons. News channels had gone to such extent to do non-stop “buck-waas” and find out reactions from the murder convict who was lodged with him previously. I hope the “buck” will stop there.

I am looking forward to the prawachans which our bapu would give bhai, in case he is within hearing distance. Someone told me that Bapu has started dancing while singing a song, “Bambai se aya mera dost, dost ko Salman kaho…………..” well rest I leave to your imagination.

Bhai actually would need to eat a lot of Chavanprash to survive the harsh climate of Jodhpur. To add to the misery I am told today about 80 judges of Rajasthan have been transferred yesterday including the one dealing with his case. So the bail application may only see daylight till the new judge saab arrives which may take many days. Till then Bhai you can remember all the ads you endorsed and kill time but remember to eat something for the fan’s sake.

Finally, kanoon could hear guns fire, pin point the person who fired them and understood our black buck was dead. The long arms of justice saw through the “buck-waas” which had been going on for the last twenty odd years.  The amount of “Bucks” bhai would have spent for this case could have been better used for another charity, Had Bhai just told the truth then; judges might have taken a lenient view. Now, if courts find him guilty that means he never understood what being human is all about.

Be that as it may, five years is not a long time in jail. I hope you are not looking for any special treatment or “Buck-shish” from anyone, as now “Being-a-Man” is what should save sallu from the media which has made him a Bali-ka-Buck-ra. Have you understood mere-bhai? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

LET US BOWL A TEESRA

Cricket has been played traditionally with a red ball; then came white and now we have the pink one. Has cricket changed? From a 5 day test match with an additional day of rest, now we play for five days continuously. We had one day matches with sixty overs now it is fifty. We also had the Kerry Packer series of night cricket. Now is 20-20 time. Umpteen rules have changed with time, technology has taken over. Cricket as a game has been evolving.
I remember as a school kid we used to go and witness matches of North Zone versus West Indies/ England at Jalandhar. I used to be fascinated by the red colour on the pants of fast bowlers along their zips. I used to wonder why we need to clean the ball so vigorously. I was unaware that the bowlers used to shine only one side of the ball. Wasn’t that a kind of tempering? While playing for the school as an off spinner I used to rub both sides, at least batsmen would not complain of a dirty ball being bowled at him.
Do you guys remember a game called “French Cricket”. You drew a small circle and stood inside as a batsman. Bowling was done under arm, feet had to be together and you could not move or turn once you took a stance. Ball hitting below the knees was out. One bounce you were out, caught. Runs were rotating your bat around your body before the next ball was bowled. It was improvisation in cricket at its best. It was also the fastest and most intense cricket I had ever played.
I remember our school wicket keeper used to pass the ball to the slips, who in turn used to pass it to cover or mid off and then to the bowler. Except for the keeper all used to rub it on their pants. My mom used get very annoyed.  She used to curse the ball manufacturers for using third class dyes. She never could understand the pride in us to have our white pants red. I can also never forget the smell of a fresh new ball just out of its box.
Bowlers have been using their sweat to moisten the ball on one side or to make it rough and heavy for air resistance to alter its swing. They use dew on the grass to dis-balance the ball too. They also apply soil or spit for a better grip. Is it not tempering?
I am of the opinion that let teams use any substance to alter the aerodynamics of the ball. The same ball should be given to the opponents after the same number of overs as a penalty. Both will be on equal footing. Why should we penalise the captain or the team, let us make tempering official.
Today, with so many cameras on you, there is no way one can hide. Poor Srishant tucked his towel which cost him his career. Definitely this dirty bookie business is something obnoxious. I can assure you, for any bowler, it is not easy to bowl a no-ball if he is in his rhythm. To predict that on a particular ball of an over the bowler will bowl a no-ball and the batsmen will hit at midwicket and the fielder will drop the catch. Quiet impossible! At the national level, how can someone stoop that low? Money does make a mare go alright but selling your conscience for money is food for thought.
Why then make a hue and cry about Harbahajan and Murlidharan for their bowling actions? If the ball can be tempered with, so should the bowling action and even the batting stance. Why have fielders in those typical positions, just place them at random. I remember once I saw a test match recording, there were nine slips. Why have an umpire, the cameras should do the trick or have a robot with DRS facility placed instead.
Ball tempering has also evolved over the ages. From bowlers using Vaseline, to now they are using sand paper. People like Afridi even tried to chew the seams of the ball. In-swing and Out-swing are passé, now we have reverse swing. Off break and leg break are old fashioned. The Googly and China man were a challenge to play earlier. Now we have the doosra. Time has come to move away from the traditional “Caught Knott-Bowled Old”.
So let’s have cricket with a Teesra. I will leave the batsmen to innovate something new & better than the upper-cut, Viru style and the helicopter shot, Dhoni style. Then we shall see who the actual winner is. Will any country be able to beat India? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

BURNING ISSUES OF INDIA

At this rate India will completely burn down soon. No one appears to be happy or satisfied. This is happening in a land of saints and faqirs besides crores of Gods and Goddesses. If we count places of worship, there would be countless. If I start counting people who are engaged purely in religious activities in terms of sages, saints, gurus, evangelists, maulvi’s, granthi’s sadhu’s and sadhvi’s, it would be a sizeable number of our total population. With so much of piousness why so much rage is seen.

Like we clear fields by burning the stubble for new crops, do we have to cleanse India like that? Let us all come to the streets and fight then. We have reached a stage of such intolerance for everything that I have to put myself into jeopardy every day as I am pushed against the wall as a common man. So either I perish or form part of the mob. If I have to perish, why shouldn’t I cause some damage?  Hate and hatred is the norm sprouting all over this country. What are the reasons? I don’t need to guess. Who is responsible? God only can tell.

I read the scriptures but cannot tolerate any other religion. Holy books are to be read and forgotten. How many follow their teachings in the first place? I made castes to keep someone under my thumb, to do my chores and menial work. God never made castes. Then I thought to help such people, I reserved places for them. Now they are better off than me but still demand their old status. The ones who really deserve it are still deprived. The ones who have it just don’t care. India can keep burning.

I only go and tell my neighbour that my guru gives fantastic teachings in a hope that the neighbour goes and listens to him and follows the guru. I listen from one ear and let it pass through the other. I want everyone else other than me to be upright, truthful and honest. I want every Indian to be righteous, patriotic, law abider, God fearing but me. Moment my comfort level is shaken, I must violently protest. Beat, burn, damage, uproot, kill, and inconvenience everyone else. Stopping a train and bus is no big shake. Burning them is even simpler.

My conscious only speaks for my advantage. Actually I have no conscience left. It is flexible kind of inner voice. If everything is for me I let it be, if anything is for the country, who cares is my attitude. The real “me” is full of greed for anything which I can get hold for free. Even a rubber-pencil will do. Next year if you don’t give me that, I demand it and protest. The succeeding year for not getting a pencil I can burn the country.

The truth is that for whatever genuine purposes the governments started things, as they were relevant in those days, now have to be per force carried forward. Everyone who got used to those luxuries cannot part with them. Reservations are one of them. Grand dad was a genuine case and utilised this privilege, his sons and daughters too needed it to some extent is understandable. Thereafter, there was a requirement to review the order which never happened for the vote bank. Grandson now by virtue of being a son of gun drew benefits’ by default. If his son is deprived of the special status, all hell will break loose. It is irrelevant whether he owns two SUVs, a house, two shops and has a government job.

Who cares about the police today? If the police are armed so are we. Let us enjoy this one day of a forced holiday, reason unemployment. One more day of loot and arson makes no difference. One odd guy gets shot; compensation becomes the need of the hour. The next of kin get a government job. FIR against the police officer who fired is lodged. So now you have the police to look after you. A chair to sit in the police station and a cup of tea is assured. A soft spoken “daroga” for your requirement will be there. Probably you will get a lift home in a police jeep. India can continue burning.

Well I think we Indians understand only one language when it comes to disciplining our own selves. Your guess is as good as mine. My attitude is to extract every pound from the state machinery, if deprived, create a chaotic situation. We will burn assets of the nation for no reason. With such deeds we shall burn in hell, the scriptures say. Well, who the hell has seen hell? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY CHOICES AFTER TWELFTH

If I were a twelfth class student today, fresh out of the exams, would I have already thought about my career? What would be going on in my mind? I think there would be utter chaos and confusion of selection of a stream triggering random thoughts to do this or something else? The twelfth mark sheet would be instrumental in further planning. Retest is besides the point due to these leaks.
If I get about 70-80 percent in twelfth, will I have a future? What career options do I have? Is there a scope for me to pursue something of my interest? Actually, do I know what my interests are in the first place! I am now transiting through a phase from a school going kid to adult life. I definitely need a career which should fulfil my dreams, excite me, suit my temperament, allow me to continue my hobbies and also pay me well.
Mom and Dad have generally been struggling all through their lives. We don’t have our own house as yet. Mom always picked up jobs in every place father got posted. They always insisted on savings. I saw them buying gold for obvious reasons. Everything used to be on a tight rope, there was a kind of an unseen discipline which we loved to hate. For them books and studies were the only priorities.
Dad preferred his scooter to the car. Mom would never let us feel lonely and dad always boosted our morale. Now was the time for my transformation to step into new shoes, walk my own steps and face my own challenges. Dilemma in the mind was eating me up.
Easiest for me was to continue studies. Now it will be college time, freedom, independence, new place, new friends, time to experiment with life, learn new things, get worldly wise and enjoy. Second was to become a professional as professional could be.
Donations were a big no from Dad. He was there for guidance, sharing knowledge and unflinching dedication for us. Mom had additional virtues of love, care and affection, besides being the best cook. Will I survive in this mad bad world without them? Will I miss home and homemade food? Will I be able to take on a hostel or paying guest? Percentage of marks was below the cut off of a good college, so admissions on merit would be an issue.
Suggestions from people were overflowing to do this & do that. The final decision was ultimately left to God. He would be the guiding light. As the saying says “God helps those who help themselves” so it again boiled down to me. The confusion kept compounding.
Had I scored well, my mark sheet would have spoken for itself. Medical is too tough, engineering I can’t even spell, Literature is not my cup of tea, arts is Greek and Latin to me, Law is difficult, then what else is left.
I decide to join the forces.  I love adventure, mountaineering and sports. I love to travel, I like to meet new people and I love to drive. Dad doesn’t know I have been driving the car on the quiet. I can name all kinds of battle tanks existing in the world today.  Let me give a try for NDA.
They will not only make me a graduate but give me all that I desire. I don’t have to worry about marks much plus they do give a good pay. I just have to be an upright, truthful, hardworking and an honest person. I have been standing first in debates and declamations in school and participated at state and national level and won prizes, which should help me.
Mom with her heart of wax said “mera sona beta” will not join forces. They have a very tough life. No food, no water, inclement weather and terrain. On top of that these militants. If he gets posted to Kashmir what will happen. He should never go to the North-East, it’s too dangerous. Deserts are too harsh. Dad just sits and watches all the rona-dhona and winks at me.
Phew! I won’t have to appear for JEE, CAT, NEET, TOEFL, PMT, CET blah blah blah.  One day, Mom wakes me with a registered letter from UPSC. I open it and see that I am 200 in the merit list and on 01 June I have to join NDA. I pick up mom and give her a swirl; she is like what the hell. I say mom “zindagi ban gayi”. I pull that letter from her hand and rush to announce it to the world.
Can I have a better career after twelfth other than the Forces? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!
JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

LEAKED EXAM PAPERS

The phrase “paper leak” is very old. However, today the size of the leak and frequency of such leaks has increased many folds. If I compare the weight of class ten mark sheets today to its value of yesteryear’s or for that matter if I compare the value of graduation today to doing Matric in my days, it is almost the same.  I find that use of certificate of tenth today is only for authentication of your name and date of birth for any official document you have to make as per government directions.

In the good old days a tenth pass meant something very prestigious. In case it was a “first class” that meant that you were part of the intelligentsia of that time. Distinction meant that no one could ever look down upon you. By the way first class was just sixty percent. Today, if I say I have got 60 percent marks, no one will give me a job of a peon. Perforce the only job which the government would force me to do would be to become an entrepreneur, for which the government promises a handsome low interest loan. To do what! To make “pakoras” of course. Chai I won’t try as I may land up becoming the top notch administrator of this country.

As a school going kid I remember our teachers used to make us study hard. Extra classes, personal coaching in the hostel was a norm. All academic doubts used to be addressed; every possible book on earth was made available for practice. Tests used to be held time and again. Of course I cannot forget the ultimate weapon called the “Chittar” which worked as the ultimate “kunji”.

It used to be a challenge to find out which teacher is setting the paper. Our morale used to fluctuate as per the teacher’s reputation. So if Sir “A” is setting the paper meant one will barely get passing marks. We used to hope that Sir “B” should set the paper. There used to be a fair chance of passing with a little grace marks and leniency if required.

The teachers used to give us subtle hints during practice sessions that this question should be expected. Just knowing that much used to give us confidence that friend I shall be definitely promoted this year without a retest. Many of us still used to fail. Nevertheless, it did not matter as the focus used to be to play every game, remain ever naughty and still at the end of the year look forward to be promoted.

Students in those days also used to try and get hold of the question papers. Meticulous planning used to be done. Once the teacher setting the paper was identified, after school his desk in the staff room used to be the target. If nothing was found there then every carbon paper which used to come out of the stencil used to be focused on. In my school, final papers used to be printed in our printing press. If still no success was there then the printing press wala uncle was befriended. I remember he used to join two cigarettes, place it between his pinky and ring finger, cup his fist and then take a long swig of that unique two in one cigarette in dum maro dum style. If that endeavour of offering him his brand of cigarettes’ too failed then copying was another means used. Chits were also popular, along with peeping into the neighbour’s sheet.

Social media has taken this paper leak to the next level. Within one second the question paper is circulated all over the world. Today, I know getting admissions to a good college is difficult as the cut offs are very high. I want to understand were these papers leaked for students who were weak in the subject or to score cent percent or has it become a commercial business to earn a fast buck. What is going to be achieved out of it? Nothing may be an appropriate word.

Where are we heading as a country as far as these exams are concerned? We are encouraging mugging and memorising only. All those people who can by heart and vomit things on the answer sheet verbatim are bound to get better marks than a student who applies logic to solve questions. Reproduction of text books in copy paste style is the new norm; then we better have robots as students rather than having children in schools.

Can I choose a career today with my education, I can’t. Can I plan my child’s career, the answer is no? I land up in some job and my first job becomes my career. My child fights with the system to survive and then get a job. Our systems keep getting corrupt and difficult by the day. Money is the new answer to every question paper and job. Is there a guarantee that the retest paper will not be leaked and citizens will not be inconvenienced? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 © Noel Ellis

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