Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: COMMUNITY

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

LET US KEEP OUR FAITH PERSONAL

I had a very uncomfortable encounter this time when I went visiting my home town a few days back. I happened to attend a Christian Convention where various learned speakers of Theology come and share the word of God. Well, given a choice I would not like to attend such events as a personal preference. Considering the family issues like leaving me alone at home, I rather being the odd man out accompany them to such events. The speaker in the afternoon was tolerable as his story was interesting. However, the speaker in the evening was terrible. He had a captive audience of about 2000 and delivered the most hopeless sermon I ever heard in my life. I tolerated him for a little while but I gave up in between and had to walk out of the venue to breathe some fresh air.

What he spoke was immaterial; the content was irrelevant to the topic given to him. It was just out of courtesy and respect people tolerated him or they were helpless as they had already paid for the dinner coupons after the event. I am convinced that speakers like him are the very reason that people of other faiths detest Christians in India. He spoke in such a manner as if the audience was non believers in the Christian faith. I am convinced such people do not deserve to speak. It was a very sad state indeed that none of the senior priests and church elders had the guts and the gumption to tell this man to walk off. Was it the fear of being impolite or was it fear of God that brings bad times to anyone who opposes such a speaker. Well, I could only protest by walking off.

Be that as it may, I had another encounter with a person in the same convention, who I respect very much. We met during the social gathering after the service was over. I was proceeding for a cup of tea when I met him. The first thing was the praise of my writing skills; I felt really touched and thanked him. The next thing was he said why you don’t write for the church and about spirituality. I said sir give me a break, it doesn’t mean that if I can write I can write about anything. I am not interested in preaching nor am I interested in writing on something of which I have limited knowledge. Besides it won’t be prudent on my part to write about things that do not interest me as of now. The person still insisted and wanted to strike a deal that at least once a week I should write being a prolific writer. I really got uncomfortable and had to tell him that sir please let me have a cup of tea as this conversation is heading to a tense situation amongst us.

He backed off, I moved on and I sat down to think is there something wrong with me. The faith I have in my God is very personal and I don’t have to tom-tom it around. I being a military man, it is my faith that has seen me through the ups and down of life, in good times in bad times in happiness in sadness, in ill health, in fact every life and death situation. I can speak to my divine strength as and when required. I don’t care about the place I am in, I don’t care about the time of the day, I don’t care about the position I am in. I speak to him when I need him and believe you me he has always heard me and guided me. I shall leave it at that.

I don’t know why I get tense while attending any church functions when I go home. I am not sure if my upbringing is such. I do not like or support any religious fundamentalism either. This was evident when I did not appreciate the conduct of the speaker and there after being pushed to write on something which I have not studied to present my views. I would rather stay away from it. I felt pity actually for all those people who sat through the discourse and I feel sad for that learned person who assumed that if I can write on things such as Pakistan and Kashmir, I can write about religion too. May be that person had too many expectations from me.

There was once an officer once commissioned to our unit. We received him and left him alone to set up his room. It was a shock to find about 15-20 golden framed photos of Gods and Goddesses hanging around his charpoy instead of a nude posters from the latest issue of debonair.  We rushed to the senior subaltern to report it and immediate corrective action was taken. That night he was on the lawn and rum down his gullet through a funnel during his dining in. The next day being Sunday, most of us got up late. To our horror and surprise one man only in a dhoti, with a three finger smeared teeka of sandal wood on his fore head, a janeyu hanging, kharaau (wooden slippers) on his feet, came to give us Prasad. He had been told to attend mandir parade. Half of us almost died of shock. It took many counselling sessions to get him down to mother earth and told how to behave like an officer.

Well folks, for me religion and faith is very personal. I cannot stand anyone trying to force it on me. I am convinced I know my divine power and he speaks to me, guides me and blesses me. My faith in him ever grows. Same would be the case with you too. Let’s keep the harmony growing amongst us. Will my message be understood in the right spirit? I wonder!!!

JAI HIND

 

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