Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: HUMAN NATURE

WHATSAPP KI JAI

Today, as I decided to clear my phone memory. I was shocked as to how much junk I carry. Thank God it is in electronic form or else I would have been buried alive under the weight of 27409 messages, 3081 images, 1619 video clips, 774 audio recordings and the same number of PDF files. Imagine if I went into reading and watching everything, I would live a hundred years.

Then I sat down to realise who all are my genuine friends out of the long list of phones contacts, found quite a few. However, there are a few perpetual “goodmoringers”. Many are the religious kinds who have to send you holy pictures and verses from all religious scriptures as a routine. Then are the pious kinds in the first half of the day and as the day wears out they turn into people with coloured eyes, especially of the bluish kind.  God save me from the chain mailers too. Then there are some nocturnal birds. They wake up past midnight, clear their phone memory and go off to sleep. My apologies to my foreign friends, as we in India don’t bother to check the time in your part of the world. Our urge to forward messages is so strong that we can inconvenience you at our will.

Then there are those repeaters, I am included. How can one remember what all have I sent to whom all? The beauty is that the person retorts immediately as if you have committed a murder, that you had sent it on Friday the 13th in the winter of 2008. Initially I used to say sorry but now I don’t bother. One has decided to hell with such complaints, how can one keep tight control on one’s fingers. Though, one does definitely try not to repeat a previously sent forward. Well age is catching up so such mistakes should be pardoned.

Then, there are people whom I call the fastest finger first. You send a message and before you say Jack Robinson, the same message or video lands back in your inbox from the person you just sent it to. That will be followed by two huge sorry emoticons followed by folded hands which are actually high fives modified to Indian conditions. Very rarely someone calls to say sorry.

Then we have the people who wake up once in a blue moon. Probably their work doesn’t allow them to interact much but if you see their status, they are online on all social networks. You find them checking messages you sent within seconds of its delivery. I grade them in the status of dormant volcanoes; they just spew some ash and fire once in a while.

Then there are people who are collectors. They even save good morning messages which they intend to share with their grand children when they grow up. Such people have huge memory cards in their phones. What else they save, God alone knows!

Then there are a few sermonisers. They can send you anything from a missing child’s pic, to a blood donor’s list, to availability of a kidney, to when to eat banana, do this and don’t do this etc. They will keep shoving anything and everything at you. They don’t even read what is written but will forward them thinking you may read it and benefit probably. In the bargain they do send attachments which they never saw and are of the adult kind. Then they go silent for a while to resurface after a gap and get back to their old habit.

There are a few who are allergic to those two words “Read More…” Moment they see those words they delete it. Who wants to waste time reading long stories? Such people are on the network for visual effects only. My articles are generally dealt like that.

Then there are people who copy paste jokes and download stuff form old mails, I call them the benevolent friends. They are really exerting, to read, to sift, thereafter to copy paste. They even add a few emoticons and then share it with friends. I look forward to such posts.

Today, laughter is restricted to those two emoticons, ha-ha, or Lols you send back. No one is actually laughing his heart out. Real fun and laughter is dead. People don’t watch even TV properly. Their heads are down on the mobile thinking they will be able to follow the story. At the end of it, they land up sending a wrong post to a wrong person. When they look up, they have lost the plot of the serial too.

To make out the difference between necessity and addiction is a tough call. I want to keep in touch with friends genuinely. How will I do it? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

LIFE IN THE YEAR GONE BY

A stage comes in life when one realises that time has now come to shed all negativity in life. Not that you are going to attain saint hood but as life gives you experiences you tend to mellow down for the better.  One realises that the bitterness you carried was for no reason. The unpleasant situations were self created most of the times or were reactions to people’s unpleasantness towards you. The anger within you was more for things which you could not do but you were forced to do against your will. The animosity and hostility against people was futile and for no reason actually. People reacted nastily to you either in self defence to prove a point. The dislike for orders in your official capacity will always stay and mixing official life with private life was the icing on the cake.

We created unknown enemies’ due to conjectures, guesses, speculations, assumptions, suppositions, imagination, presumptions, gossips, rumours and deductions thereof. No one cared to find out the truth, no one spoke, most of us just whatsapped, instagrammed, facebooked and old timers like me might have sent a few mails. All this was done to show that we are in touch but the thought may not be from the heart.

Many of us are on various groups; one good morning goes with a copy to all. We cover ourselves by sending wishes to even our so called “enemies” thus. Things I find are becoming more artificial, more kind of mechanical, where you have a fake or a pseudo connection with everyone. Yes one can understand the list of friends is growing on social media but actually the distances of our hearts are increasing.

To show you are in touch, you like a picture or comment on it because you do not want to offend the other person, secondly to acknowledge and show that you have seen the post, thirdly is to show to others that you are close to that person. Beyond that I doubt if we are true to even the thought behind the “like” button. Thumbs up sign means everything, an emoji means more than everything. A “heart” means that you don’t have time to comment. Most of us are copy pasting if not forwarding posts which will repeatedly come to you from at least 15 different sources. God save us from the videos which do the rounds repetitively. Free “gyan” (knowledge) is distributed abundantly, like I am doing now.

Well if this is what I and you feel, then this dangerous trend appears to be consolidating that we all are living in this make belief world. The status you display, the smiley’s that you paste, the kisses that you shower mean actually nothing.

One definitely feels on top of the world if a girl sends a wink. One goes through the roof if a girl sends a wink with a pout and kiss. If red lips come your way from her one feels like taking a “chuttie”(leave) that day  just to think yaar ye kyon bheje. (Why have lips been sent to me?) Out of shyness the girl will not say sorry that it was sent by mistake. Actually, she wanted to send a frown but next to the frown was the kiss emoji which got selected and the finger was already on the send arrow. Off it flew. You keep assuming what she wants to covey, she keeps hoping against hope that you don’t see it. People write “love and big hugs” but when you meet in person hugs evaporate, love disappears, life goes on. Right!

Families and friends sit within Wi-Fi range to communicate on phones.  People look for open Wi-Fi networks to download all the stuff they can, saving their data pack. People try and guess Wi-Fi passwords just to log in.  Let me share an experience. Some kids start a conversation  with leading questions like uncle you were born in march na, you say no, November, they say 12th  you say 2nd  and the year they guess as they would have already extracted it out saying that uncle you look 40. You tell them you are 54. Then you find a sudden silence, eyes on mobiles as everyone is guessing the password. Your car number and scooter number would have been tried already. Uncle is uff smarter.

Be that as it may, last year I learnt to grow flowers and they helped me to keep my negative energy at bay. Flowers helped me to smile & bring joy and happiness every time I opened the front door. One got a sense of achievement as your hard work had paid.  It gave a sense of contentment and satisfaction too. I found a way of avoiding people who emanate negativity energy and are a bad influence.  Some I deleted from my mailing list. I also had to exit from some groups. To top it all, I got off the damn idiot box which is a big relief.

This year I look forward to meet and greet people better. How far it will work out, I can’t say. I don’t want to make it my New Year resolution either but put in a genuine effort to be a better person. Is anyone coming along my way? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

7000 CRORES

Philanthropy means the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by generous donations of money to good cause. The synonyms are: benevolence, generosity, humanitarianism, public-spiritedness, altruism, social conscience, social concern, charity charitableness, brotherly love, fellow feeling, magnanimity, munificence, liberality, largess, open-handedness, bountifulness, beneficence, benignity, unselfishness, selflessness, humanity, kindness, kind-heartedness, big-heartedness, compassion, humaneness, patronage, sponsorship, backing, help, historical alms giving, literary bounty, bounteousness. The interpretations could differ, but the spirit remains the same.

As I was going through the news on the net I read somewhere that a family is going to donate 7000 crores for their philanthropic activities. My goodness Lord, firstly I am feeling tizzy hearing this amount. Secondly, I think if these notes are in 500 rupees denomination then it would be more than 14 crore notes itself. Number of Rs 500 notes needed to have a value of Rs 1 Crore = 1Crore/500= 200000. Weight of 1 Rs 500 note =1.15g, total weight of Rs 1 crore in 500 denomination = 200000 x 1.15=23000g =23Kg. Therefore 7000 crores x 23=161000 or 161 tons, if an average truck carries 20 tonnes, means 8 huge truck loads. Size of a 500 note is 66mm x 150mm, so if we lay them head to head in piles of 5 lakhs each means 140000 bundles means it is 210000 km. The distance to the moon is 3844000 km and circumference of the earth is 40075 km. Baapre! Well you can figure out the ratios on your own. My mind is boggling and boggling and eating circle after circle.

Be that as it may, if I divide this 7000 crore in my 125 crore deshwasis, we all shall have about 56 crores each in our kitty. Achhe din a gaye samjho. Leave alone the promise of 15 lakh in each account you can distribute 56 crores each. Half of India as it is doesn’t work because of berozgari, now we shall make sure the working India also stops working. Everyone will go sit and wait to finish his or her 56 crores. Even if I say I will spend 1 crore a year, at this stage when I am well past 50 years of age, I better double the spending, God knows how much time I have at my hands. A new born can live with his parents till 24 and then add another 56 years with a crore to spend a year will see him through till 80 what else does one require.

I have one question though, how much Izzat can we buy in this huge amount. My answer is zero. Izzat cannot be bought it has to be earned. Why I say this is because the people who are fighting for their Izzat to be restored need a very paltry sum from the government. The old and tired veterans need to go home as they have spent their time in hell already. The lucky ones came home and the luckier ones came back draped in the tri colour. At least they are not witnessing treatment which is being meted out to their own brethren by their government for whom they sacrificed their lives and limbs. Government may never understand Izzat, Pride and Honour, how can they understand benevolence.

Well, I am sure this amount will be a drop in the ocean for a country which is exploding from all ends. There is so much of pressure on every system that every bit contributed towards a good cause should be welcome. From infrastructure to health; from education to agriculture, from population to environment, you name a thing and we are bursting at our seams uncontrollably. We are refuting norms, throwing garbage and drainage, sewage, spewing toxic smoke everywhere. We are just living our lives and who cares about the future. If all this money is spent judiciously on a sustainable and maintainable model then I would say it would be worth it.

I saw a scheme called dial 102 for ambulances collapse. Today, most of the ambulances are rotting in junk yards in most states. There is a patient mafia, (patients are created on paper), fuel for the ambulance mafia, a telecom mafia connecting calls on the ambulance help line numbers. The issue is not the dearth of ambulances, it is the dearth of will to run and maintain them. The hospital infrastructure and cleanliness should be the top focus. The free availability of medicines and tests should be a fundamental right. They should be cheap and affordable for all. Ambulances need roads to run, not pot holes to negotiate and traffic jams to wait to clear. They need trained paramedics, even if they are idle most of the times but they are needed at crucial times, like the Armed forces.

Schools and schooling need to be sorted out. Education system needs to be focused on. Vernacular needs to turn to national education system and that should be internationally accepted. Food needs to be in good supply. No man or dog should go hungry in this country. Why should people beg? Why should they do menial jobs? Why can’t we have sustainable drinking water and electricity through out. Why farmers commit suicide? Why can’t we have non polluting industries and vehicles? Why can’t we have non corrupt people in all government machinery? Where are we lacking and why are we lacking in these? Is it because of lack of money and funds or its misuse?

Well, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind and that is the will to do it for the country. What I have written in jest about the length and weight of the currency and the distribution to individuals is not the issue, my calculations may be grossly wrong. The issue is that sir; either you sit with the government and address your benevolent issues through them or let us shut the government and start only charity to sustain this country.

I am not sure the causes you will take up, the states you will cover or for that matter people whom you are going to touch with your charity but promise me one thing sir, let not one pai get into the hands of the corrupt. Let this money be spent what it is meant for and not for getting files cleared to start your projects. Let this money be spent on the real needy, I beg of you, teach the needy how to fish and don’t start serving them fish.

I can assure you many veterans would love to join you to take your cause to its culmination. Take them on board sir, for it is difficult to corrupt them. Take them for their honesty and administrative skills. They shall not let you down. Mittal saab, I need 56 seconds of your time to read this article, will you be able to spare them, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

IN CONVERSATION WITH CATHERINE

Catherine and I were driving down to Alibaug over the weekend when we struck up a conversation. I was listening to the stereo and my wife was appreciating the music system and the stereo effects. Catherine was not enjoying the drive at all; actually the same was the case with me. Reasons were many. One was the dilapidated condition of the road and the pot holes. Besides, the village dogs accosting us barking at their loudest and snarling with their dirty teeth. Hens along with their chicks thought the road was for them.  Worst of all was the chaotic traffic jams. Above all the weekend crowd who were pouring into our territory by the dozens. They were blocking traffic in garb of purchasing something or asking for directions in these narrow alleys. Quite a frustrating kind of a drive it was all in low gear.

I ignored her and kept my concentration on driving but there were pieces of the conversation which kept striking me again and again as she asked me the first question. Have you paid road tax? I said yes and that to a hefty amount. After a pause she asked me, why are there so many pot holes then? I had no answer. She told me, Noel, please take me out on a long and majestic drive, where the road surface is smooth, maybe on expressways where the thrill of driving can be enjoyed. It appears that here every time we venture out she is worried about checking out how long will the suspension hold and she told me that this way it won’t take long to give away. I just kept quiet and listened.

The next question she asked me that do you pay toll tax? I told her yes and where ever my ID card works I don’t. She said never mind, you have actually paid life time toll tax by serving the Indian Army, so I won’t ask you again, however, she continued to say that where does this toll money  collected  from the other vehicles disappear. I said I don’t know and continued focusing on the oncoming traffic and the huge potholes.

I was wondering to myself, that last year I saw lot of work going on this road. I used to have a smooth ride but where has the road vanished. This must be happening year after year and taxes which were being collected going down the drain. I again started to listen to the stereo and this time I changed the channel of my choice. I got lost in the music and lyrics as we were getting close to our destination.

Catherine was in a chirpy mood and threw another question at me. She said do you pay income tax? I replied in the affirmative. I am sure that some portion of that must also be allocated to the development of infrastructure in this country. I said surely it must be the case, I am not sure of the percentages. She appeared to be questioning the government head on. She continued to quiz me, see why there are so many accidents on the road? I said reckless driving! She said yes, just then two bikes whizzed past overtaking us from the wrong side and missed hitting us by a whisker. The basic reason is that the infrastructure is not being planned as per our expansion of population she said. I could not agree with her more. Her observation was that our population is exploding and so is purchase of vehicles but government is not making better and broader roads. I said yes. After a while she said, it is time for the government to wake up and I just kept mum.

A little ahead Catherine again poked me. I said now what and she said, you pay income tax, professional tax, GST and all the other taxes which the tax man can think of. I replied to her that it appears that you have got hold of a book on finance. She wanted to know where each and every pie went. I actually didn’t know. I looked at the setting sun from out of the window and thought to myself that yes she is right; over these years I couldn’t even hide one paisa of my income and all my taxes go down the drain, without much of accountability and returns.

At last Catherine blurted, I don’t want to be a dented and painted car for no fault of mine. I told her that I shall definitely convey her concerns to the people who matter. I then requested her to just keep quiet for a while as my wife watched the moon rise from the other side. I switched over to John Denver singing “Country Roads, take me home”, on the car stereo.

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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