Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: BEHAVIOUR

MIXED FEELINGS OF PAST AND PRESENT

I was reading an article where the author mentioned floppy disks and cassettes which one had to wind and rewind using a pencil. The present generation is oblivious to all that because we are talking of bullet trains and sea planes. There used to be a time when Indian cars never had ACs and the same used to be with the trains. The highest class used to be First Class. The luxury was your seating space but you had no control on the weather. The privilege used to be to alight right in front of the railway station gate instead of lugging your holdall, steel trunk, Khane ki tokri and a surahi for water. Times now have changed, whole trains are Air-conditioned, cars come with AC by default and if you ask for a non AC car it will attract raised eyebrows from the salesman.

The sheer pleasure of sitting in the window of a train or a car in the good old days is indescribable. The passing landscape, the lush green fields, the hillocks, the tractor and the bullocks, the one odd pair of the Siberian cranes, the eagerness to read the passing railway station boards, the nangu pangu children waving at your train are some memories which I remember vividly. Today, there are trains which don’t stop till they reach their destination. The complete train is a vestibule. Catering services used to be the poori sabji ka thela on the station, not now. I have travelled in times when the compartment windows had no grills. Entry to a coach used to from any window as doors were invariably blocked.

The steam engines evaporated, diesels took their place and now being replaced by electric ones. Speed, comfort, conveniences, facilities, housekeeping of both the trains and stations have come of age. Modernisation, mechanisation, technological advancement is adding to the improvements.

I remember when the electronic watches were placed at the stations, one used to look at them in awe. At New Delhi, I was amazed to see a huge arrival-departure board. It was a roller kind of a board where in a blink of an eye the name and timings of the trains used to change. Each alphabet used to roll giving a mesmerising feel. That place was frequented by pick pockets. I lost my red coloured wallet with eleven rupees and eighty naye paise many moons back.

Today there are chopper rides to shrines, piped gas to homes, Railway line has reached Srinagar and the day is not far it may go to Leh and beyond. RO-RO services are taking off in the sea. Inland water transport is being exploited. From tarred surfaces to cemented highways, from a single lane encroached road, to eight lane highways, India has come a long way. Provided, we Indians understand and utilise these facilities as our own. We need to treat each asset as our personal belonging. We must utilise it and leave it in the same shape as if we would be using it again. If swach bharat can start, so can hamara bharat campaign.

If a bus, train or road is made for us, let us keep it safe, secure and well maintained. Let us not litter. Let us not dig up roads by putting our tents for jagran or family functions. If a tap does not have water doesn’t mean it has to be twisted or pulled out of its socket. Let each community take charge of all assets in their area and look after them. It can only happen when each one of us is educated and understands the importance of every asset created by the government is for our use.

There are bus stops but no one uses them. The place where the bus is supposed to stop a vendor obstructs it. Where there is a two wheeler parking a four wheeler will adjust into it.  Who cares for a red light or a pedestrian crossing? The policeman will drive without a helmet but fine you for not wearing a seat belt. A civic sense of responsibility has yet to creep in the minds of us Indians.

I don’t mind a sea plane or a bullet train if it is for the common man. I will love to use it like I did for the metro and monorail. If all such things are going to bite dust after the initial launch then it will force me to ponder. The basic issue is I as a citizen want facilities but I as a citizen want some other citizen to look after it, some other citizen to provide security for it, another citizen to clean it and likewise. When will I start chipping in my bit? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

NICHE OR NEECH

I found Mr MSI finally getting entangled in his own web of words. The words he used to describe his and my PM were the neechest as neech could be. Now that the words have been fired, the only option he had was to twist the tail as is done everywhere in politics for everything which goes wrong. The blame game starts and he blamed it on him being a south Indian. Aye yai yo. We simple, uneducated Indians can see through the smart act of yours sir.

Be that as it may, had he had his way and say, if Modi ji had lost the elections I am sure a new chai wala would have been serving the parliamentarians. That is what he meant when he said that in seven generations Modi cannot become PM. I wish MSI saab you had served in fauj, you would have known the moment you become over confident in your job you tend to be callous. With all the insurgency experience one may predict that the militants are holed up in one house, it invariably happens that they are in the house behind you and that’s what has happened to you. So instead of you being the hunter, you have become the hunted.

I can understand your hatred for the party PM belongs to, or your dislike for their beliefs, or for that matter the abhorrence you show to the man himself. Today you have been suspended from the party officially by someone equivalent to your son. How shameful and disgraceful can it be? Well, you are the best judge. You lived in a house so long and now you have to sit outside and tell your children stories that how you wanted to carve out a “niche” but landed up ousted for using the word “neech”.

I have heard you speaking both languages very fluently. The “tongue of slip” which happened when you wanted to convey neech rajniti and not a neech person is not possible because of your south Indian genes for sure. It was deliberate; it was a definite. It was a conscious derogatory attack, it meant to insult if not abuse and it was aimed at belittling the PM which was clearly evident from the tone and the tenor of your conversation.

You have been a polished diplomat of this country and a thoroughbred politician. You may have been a rebel in the congress but I have seen you as a refined, well read and a distinguished Indian. You have represented India the world over in many forums and conducted yourself with grace and finesse. To see such a person suddenly turn into this foul mouthed, uncouth person is difficult to fathom. A person who is so clear about the country’s history and geography, a person who spent umpteen years in Pakistan during the worst times, who may not have used such derogatory language ever for the enemy, then how as per you can your own elected Prime Minister become neech or do low level politics. It was the most indecent word that you could have ever used. If the way the PM and his party have been able to sell themselves in Gujarat which is hurting the congress, result day is not far. If your choice of words for the PM can change the mandate to the congress, I think you are in for a shock. I wish both the parties good luck.

I used to yearn for your debates on NDTV in a programme called “politically incorrect”, where I found you to be most politically correct. Your opponents used to waiver but your arguments, your flow of thoughts, your understanding of Indian politics used to fascinate me. Your clarity of mind and the eloquence in putting across your opinion was beyond compare and convincing but the day you came out with the chai wala comment you started losing me and many others from your fan club. Now you have lost me completely. I know I am no one but definitely as a citizen I want to express my anger and anguish at your deportment and behaviour about the most prestigious position of this country. Not done by gentlemen sir. I am not sure if there are any left in today’s politics.

You have been shown the door. That’s the least Congress could do. I wish you could have had a graceful exit. Your apologies make no difference now, as the damage has already been done. You can keep justifying the word neech, doesn’t make a difference to man or beast.

Just one more request sir, whatever grudges you hold against whomsoever, including me, be done with it once for all. Stand at India gate and call everyone all the adjectives you know and spit out all the bitterness as fast as you can. That reminds me BJP welcomes people from the congress with open arms, so kindly get into an uninterrupted and uninterruptable dialogue with Modi ji and gang as soon as possible. After all you and him are not India and Pakistan. Ni purintu kontaya? (Have you understood?) I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

RUMOUR (AFWAH)

As usual after dinner I sat down to scan news channels. I landed up with Mr Rajat Sharma explaining his views on the movie controversy. Well, I am sure he laid to rest all rumors, propaganda and whispering campaigns to rest. Hope Padmavati turns out to be a block buster. I rarely watch Hindi movies but this one I definitely will.

Be that as it may, I being from Rajasthan and served there extensively understand the feelings of our brethren and their rage to tear apart the world for the insult they perceive has been done to their pride and valour as also to the rich traditions of their clan. I have heard of many heads being chopped off in the years of yore for AAN, BAAN & SHAN. Hope now things will cool down. Let us leave Deepika’s nose and Bhansali’s head for the time being.

I sat down to research these words on the net and this is what I found. A rumor or rumour (spelling differs between American and British English) is viewed as “an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern”. Rumour is a kind of propaganda which refers “solely to the control of opinion by significant symbols, or, to speak more concretely and less accurately by stories, reports, pictures, and other forms of social communication”. Rumors are also often discussed with regard to “misinformation” and “disinformation”. Rumors can be created and planted by nearly anybody, require limited resources, can be deadly for those in its direct path, and can instilL fear. Controversy on Padmavati falls aptly into all these slots is my view.

Basic characteristics that apply to rumour are; One, they are transmitted by word of mouth. Two, they provide “information” about a “person, happening, or condition and three, they express and gratify “the emotional needs of the community”.

Someone divided rumors into three types:

  1. Pipe dream rumors: reflect public desires and wished-for outcomes. (Achhe din) (Pun intended)
  2. Bogie or fear rumors: reflect feared outcomes. (You will go to hell if you don’t pray and don’t do abc).
  3. Wedge-driving rumors: intend to undermine group loyalty or interpersonal relations (The Hindu-Muslim riots are fuelled by these types of rumors)

Propaganda on the other hand is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism.

In addition, there is something called a “smear campaign”. It is a term that loosely means a coordinated effort to attack a person’s character. Some people term it as an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Rumors, as IEDs, are low-cost, low-tech communication weapons that can be used by anyone to disrupt the efforts of communication, civil affairs or outreach campaigns such as those undertaken by governments in crisis response situations or militaries in insurgencies. Well, history of India has umpteen examples of it.

One must understand that to spread rumors you require rumor mongers. These people now have the modern tools of sms, face book, twitter and other social media to spread the word faster and create far reaching results as happened in the Padmavati case I suppose.

In the Army, we had posters displayed in our offices saying do not spread rumors and we used to encourage our men to come and speak to us if they heard anything abnormal. Rumors need not be military in nature; they could do with some event happening back home. It was our moral duty to educate our men and their families not to drift away by such sayings and believe in the systems which existed thus we could control all sorts of panic, both in the battle field and in peace by curbing and controlling spread of rumors. I still remember anonymous complaints were never taken any cognisance of as many used to be planted stories.

Suffice to say AFWAH FAILANA and KAAN KA KACHHA HONA are different sides of the same coin and both need to be curbed. One must see for oneself, hear it from the horse’s mouth, understand the ground situation, weigh the pros and cons, believe in your training, have faith in your systems and God and then only react, rather than intimidate fellow citizens who are artistes and creative personalities by profession. Hope by now the boil in the blood would have subsided or will we have another rumor being spread for something else soon? I wonder!!!!!!

JAI HIND

TO STAND OR NOT TO STAND

Our National Anthem has been in the headlines since the last couple of days. We Indians are not on the same grid on whether to stand, sit or lie down when it is played. We are also not sure as to when it should be played and where. We are also not clear what all occasions are solemn and what all occasions are not appropriate for it to be played. We all actually want to just talk about our rising goose bumps when we hear it and the patriotic kind of feelings it injects into us. We all are ready to give a lecture to one and all how to show respect to the anthem and flag but are unwilling to leave our pop corns for the fear of them spilling over. It is 180 bucks after all. We basically do not want to stand up once we have sat down in the cinema hall due to lethargy. That is the problem.

While watching TV and flicking channels, say, we land up on the opening moments of a hockey match. We may not understand the meaning or even the tune of the national anthem of another country but we will like to follow the lip sync of their players to try and understand what is being sung. We all will appreciate the way those ten odd spectators of the other country carrying their country’s flag with their hands across their hearts. On the other hand we will keep fidgeting for at least one stanza to stand up for “jana gana mana”. In case the camera focuses on us during the process, then to hell with my patriotism. I will wave all my hands and jump on my feet so that in case even my bai watching the match on TV will recognise me. Another reason for doing so is that the cameraman may not focus at me again unless there is a good looking girl sitting there.

Well, in the forces we do the “Rashtriya Salute” on various occasions, no one has to tell us to stand up. If the “Nishan Toli” is trooping the National Flag all of us in uniform salute. The salute is not given sitting down but standing in “Savdhan”(Attention). Yes, all those who are battle causalities and are on wheel chairs are the only people who are allowed to salute sitting down and they too pull their arms to their sides before saluting. There is another exception when your right hand is bandaged, immobilised or amputated; the person salutes with his left hand but salute he will. After all, the tricolour is being unfurled or being paraded and the “Rashtriya Gaan” are being played. That is the importance we as soldiers give to our national flag and the National Anthem. We fight for this flag, we die for this flag and we come draped in this flag. This was taught to us, drilled into us and now it imbibes in our blood as second nature. We don’t need debates whether to stand or sit, we know what to do.

Another thing is, moving around when the anthem is played. Why can’t people just stand straight? What is so urgent in that Whatsapp message? Why does some part of the body feel itchy at that precise moment? Can’t the description of the dress of the lady in front of you wait? Wait for the anthem to be over to discuss all that is under the sun after those fifty two seconds yaar? If you spot your old neighbour in the stadium, why you can’t hold waving to him? Hold your horses friends, join your heels, pull your arms to your sides, stand rock solid, don’t fidget or move, leave that itch for a moment, leave your pant stuck at the wrong place for less than a minute, concentrate on the anthem, sing along and there after you cheer and jeer for any team, is my view.

As a child I remember, the national anthem used to be played in cinemas at the end of the movie. All of us used to stand. Slowly, as time passed by, everyone used to be in a hurry to get to the cycle stand to locate ones bicycle and rush back home. People who had to catch buses after the show did not even wait for the movie to finish. The cinema owners stopped opening the exit gates initially but pressure of the people to break their doors left them with no option but to open up moment the final acknowledgements use to roll. We were impatient then and we are super impatient now.

Well folks, when it comes to India we will tolerate no nonsense from anyone, isn’t it? If I tell people that the symbol of your nationalism the National Anthem and flag is being disrespected due to our own despicable behaviour and nonsense, would anyone agree? I am no one to tell anyone to stand or sit and I cannot question the courts either but if people cannot understand how to respect our national symbols then God only save us. If for this also courts have to intervene then why do we call ourselves Indians in the first place? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

WHEN PETS DON’T HAVE ALL THE FUN

If you see dogs with tails between their legs, whimpering, whining, running helter-skelter, digging up holes, huddling up with other dogs, shivering, avoiding food, basically scared almost to death, it means it is Diwali time. Dussera on wards, their behaviour takes a turn and suddenly from a happy go lucky dog it appears subdued and lack luster. The dogs which used to chase cats and squirrels’ at the drop of a hat are found moaning to themselves in squeaky voices sitting quietly in a corner. At that moment if a cat came and cuddled up, it won’t object all. This is a consequence of the fire crackers. The loud bangs and flashing lights scare the daylights out of them.

This year somehow the bangs drastically reduced. It has been few days since Diwali; I have yet to see the stray’s in my colony surface. Most of them have gone in hiding and I know there are numerous rain water drains which are the safest places. The hangover of those loud bangs must be still fresh in their minds. In a way it is good as we have a pack of about 10-12 strays who have now become the bosses of the colony. They do intimidate and gnarl colony residents sometimes.

These crackers are a kind of trauma for the dogs at least. I have observed dogs urinating with every bang. One can only pity their plight. Like on Holi people colour the dogs, on Diwali I have seen some sadistic people tying up series of crackers to their tails and lighting them. It is the cruellest from of torture I should say. What do they achieve out of it is anybody’s guess?

I am an animal lover and have made friends with almost every cat and dog here. To satisfy my “petty” feelings, I talk to every dog and cat during my walks. In the last couple of years most of them have started responding. I see their faces light up on seeing me which is indicated by a small meow in response to my voice, a wag of a tail if not a lick from the dogs. As a habit, I wish everyone during my walk. I wish these animals too and they respond back. Some people don’t, well lesser said the better about humans. There are a few cats which sit on our benches in the lawn, some allow me to approach them and give a tickle on their necks and if in the mood let me tickle their bellies too. I love it.

Be that as it may, I think people of India have taken cognizance to appeals given for reducing pollution, Diwali crackers being one of them. After all we all got to breathe easy. Sentiments should not come in between life and death. If we can save every drop of water and every unit of electricity for a better future, we can save the environment by bursting fewer and fewer crackers to save us from passive smoking and trauma to the ear drums. Every year many markets go up in flames causing colossal damage. People of jhuggi-jhonpris also keep their fingers crossed with a prayer that hopefully no stray rocket will make way to their humble dwellings.

The fire department is on super high alert. Hospitals get thousands of burn cases due to cracker injuries and lots of vision related issues. The issues related to lung and breathing is well known too. The trauma these crackers cause to the new born, old and infirm are also a cause of major worry. Let us give them the peace they deserve.

What I have understood about my own self is that unless I get kicked and pushed by someone I don’t listen to orders. I always argue of how not to do things. I always try and bicker about things if it is forced on me. I try and avoid following the rules and try and get out of the situation somehow. If still I have to follow that order I do so with utmost reluctance, cursing every government & organisation for the burden it puts on my finances and hurting my sentiments.

I wish the animals also have some place to complain to save them from the trauma, shock, suffering and pain. Let us be just be good and compassionate citizens of India. Political interference is not required or else we will find religion coming in to sort out the ache these animals suffer from during our festivals. Let us collectively decide so that courts are left free to do their primary job rather than order a ban on sale of crackers. Hope we see wisdom in it before they ban bursting of crackers completely. Will anyone see reason? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

It is quite a challenge to handle civilian employees especially those who don’t understand logic. Why? I don’t know. Let me share with you an incident which most of us faujis will laugh off as a silly issue. However, if I see it as an issue for employees it becomes a big one. I don’t want to draw any conclusions from it but suffice to say may God grant them wisdom to understand that there is life beyond making an issue out of a tissue. Here goes!

Let me give a little background to the story. We have two busses one of which is a shift bus and the second one is for CSR activities. Schools are closed for Diwali so the CSR bus is kept as a standby to the shift bus. A Sunday before Diwali, as a tradition both the busses are sent to Bombay for Diwali purchases as a welfare measure for employees. Thus we have to ensure all shift people have to be picked and dropped in company transport for that day.

The company had a hired 7 seater which the contractor withdrew without notice three days back. In addition there is a company owned 7 seater (Xylo), whose electrical systems packed off in its last trip; it now can function in day only. We were about to send it for repairs as we have a small car (I-10) but unfortunately that met with an accident and had to be sent to the workshop. There is no provision of hiring any additional vehicle whatsoever, call it the terms of reference.

To add to the crises on Saturday night the plant developed an issue, so many of the technicians had to be held back. Once the criticality of the plant was resolved were they allowed to leave? Some of them had been in the plant for about 24 hours. Hats off to them!

Be that as it may, the real complications start now as instead of say 4-5 people who were supposed to be dropped the numbers swelled up to 14-15. They definitely cannot fit in a xylo. They all came and sat in the shift bus which was detailed to go to Mumbai and refused to budge. The time of release of all the vehicles was 6.15am. The employees decided that they have a birth right on the shift bus and shall not adjust for about 20 kms with other passengers and families who also had to travel on the common route.

The solutions offered to them were, firstly, we will do two trips of the Xylo which was not acceptable to them as they were not able to decide who should go in the first trip. No one wanted to hang around twiddling his thumbs. The second solution offered was that kindly be accommodative for these 20 kms and let the Mumbai marketing people also stand along. Priority to sit on the seats shall be given to the shift people. Third solution given to them was the Xylo will accompany the busses, carry seven shift people especially those who stay nearby. This was also not acceptable to them either. Third solution offered was that Mumbai marketing people sit in the xylo and these people will then board the bus after 20 kms having dropped the shift people.

Ultimately after 60 minutes of haggling, pleading, requesting, coaxing, cajoling repeatedly did they agree? One hour was wasted in futile discussions. Everyone got delayed. I even offered to drop people in my car if worse comes to worst but by then some good sense prevailed and after heated parleys people left for their destinations.

What did you gather out of all this folks? Had the shift people been a little accommodative, a little adjusting, a little more flexible, a little more sensitive, a little more open minded, nothing of this sort should have happened. Had logic been applied, a kind of crisis situation should never have arisen. Imagine a person who waits for this shopping trip suddenly finds his trip being cancelled or delayed. How can shift people be so unreasonable? Why do people have to be difficult? Why do people make things harder when they know that resources are limited?

Had the shift people created a win-win situation in the first place, everybody would have been home and in Mumbai in time. We are all working for the same organisation but without unity and brotherhood. We don’t have a helping nature. My Ego is supreme. Anything in which I am a little uncomfortable is not acceptable to me is the psyche. Problem solving and issue resolving is not in their blood as most of them become mere Tamashbeen’s (spectators) to have some more masala to gossip about. How to help the other person who is going out of his way to tide over a situation is expecting too much. It is my way or no other way. Do what you have to or let everyone be inconvenienced.  My comfort comes first always and every time.

All is well that ends well friends. I did not want to get into telling them “when I was in the Army”. Thank God a body called the “workers union” did not get involved otherwise situation could have worsened. Over all a sad state of affairs as too much of welfare has spoilt them. Suffice to say one more day has passed, let me wait for the next challenge. Will these people ever understand? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

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