Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: INDIAN

METRO MENTALITY

 

 

METRO MENTALITY

While working in Mumbai I have used jam packed public transport, faced traffic snarls and escaped the monsoon deluge. I have also walked to office in knee deep water. I used to travel through Dharavi and smelt the stench and experienced the slowest moving traffic ever. People had right of way; traffic could wait even on a green light there. You had your eyes concentrating on people, one foot on the clutch, second on the brake, hand on the horn and an abuse on your lips. I have yet to see a foot over bridge or any effort of de-congest it.

People don’t want to move out from metros. Gurgaon is an example. You name a corporate it is there. The chain of malls I saw for the first time left me dumbfounded.

It reminded me of one our first ever visit to a mall in 2004. My wife, daughter and cousins decided to do our Christmas shopping. As we were done, I found a Barista counter near the main entrance. We sat down to have coffee. Suddenly there was commotion and people started to leave. I was observing this exodus sitting facing the entrance door.

I walked across to the gate to find the same thing happening on the opposite side malls too. Desperate honking and fanatic waving was going on. I asked the security what it is. He said there is a bomb scare in the mall opposite. I told myself don’t panic Noel and walked across to my gang sipping coffee. Kya Hua was the typical question and kuch nahi, relax was my typical answer.

I mentally started making escape routes as I had no idea of gurgaon. We had a few shopping bags and our new Christmas tree. Daughter was barely three. First thing I did was picked her up and made her sit on my shoulders so that my hands were free as I felt at home carrying a “pithoo”.

We had parked about a mile away in a private plot as their underground parking was full.  Outside there was only chaos. Road was jammed because all husbands or drivers who had gone to fetch their vehicles were now waiting for their better halves. Some cars had brushed each other so that typical Ma-Behen was on between drivers. No one bothered that there are others who need to use this road. In fact it was an eerie kind of panic as no one knew what the situation was. Everyone just wanted to flee.

I heard that NSG had been called in so I understood matter is serious better evaporate before something blasts. We reached our parking lot. My cousin knew a route which was not blocked. By then it was shocking to see people had by now put their small kids on car roofs and handed them ice creams. I thought to myself, look at our mentality, people are now in time pass mode and have come to witness a “tamasha”.

Police was nowhere to be seen, red lights which were functional when we came were no more functional. Some people tried the smart act of taking U turns at the red light had added to the chaos blocking both sides. There was no method in this madness.

I told my cousin lets scoot before we are trapped. We reached the main highway zig-zagging & went up the flyover; one only saw headlights and bright red tail lights glowing for miles. We reached home and said a prayer and hoped there would be no blast of any kind.

The Bomb Disposal Squad with their sniffer dogs had to alight well short of IFFCO chowk due to the jam. They could carry only hand held equipment and by the time the dogs reached the mall they were tired and had to be rested before they could start their job. Mera Bharat Mahan!

People celebrated all night, Chana-Mungfali, Ice cream-Bhutta walas had a ball. Water was sold at price of petrol. Cars ran out of petrol as the jam could not be cleared till the wee hours of the morning adding to further chaos. No one left their cars or cleared the area either. It turned out to be a hoax call.

In our village here traffic gets jammed due to tourists. They break lanes, halt at will, without being sensitive to the limited road space. I prefer my scooter to go to market. It is easy to manoeuvre, easy to park and can wriggle trough any jam, besides carry our weekly shopping with ease. Thank God we are far from a metro. Will our basic Indian mentality ever change? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

INDIA IS A BIG KUTUMBH

 

 

INDIA IS A BIG KUTUMBH

 

We are a huge joint family with all Chacha’s, Mama’s, Taya’s, Bhai, Bhatija’s, their children and grand children staying under one roof. The “Bade Papa” is a chronic bachelor who decides everything for the house. The family now has got very complex as it has people of all religions, castes, creeds and professions as part of this extended “kutumbh” called India.

Our neighbours are quite hostile. They were part of the big joint family but decided to separate ways. The head of the family gave them some land to settle. Now besides fighting almost on a daily basis they have started throwing a lot of “garbage” across our fence. The other neighbour belongs to a different race and wants to keep grabbing our land.

The huge problem “bade papa” is facing that the family is growing at a very rapid pace and uncontrollably. The mouths to feed are increasing by the day and resources are limited. So to somehow manage the household Papa has told each member of the family to contribute to the central pool of income. Families (States) will be given some part of finances and balance will come to his pool (GST).

The farming brethren are in dire straits. People in this profession are feeling neglected. Then there are people who are the protectors of the family. They too are fed up of inimical neighbours and the rebels within but papa is yet to decide how to tackle them as he feels that things may get sorted out by peaceful means. Let’s wait and see.

Many youth of the family are educated unemployed or uneducated unemployed. Quite a few of these guys have become rebels due to frustration. Loads of them decided to go to foreign lands. It’s a different issue that only a few are well settled. Some of them have taken up arms against the family.

In far off lands bade-papa has a very good reputation as he visits very often. They hero worship him and believe he can take this family to greater heights.  He also pleads to them to contribute to the family’s development by sending money and investing.  How people and countries are responding to his call, I am not sure.

There is another issue in the family that some of the chachas and mama’s are very orthodox. The Bahu-Betis are having an issue. “Sir dhak ke rakho” kinds. These people see things through their perspective and lay down dictates for who can meet whom, what to wear, what to read, what to eat, whom to marry etc. They do read scriptures but don’t follow what they preach. All family members who converted to other religions are hounded & even lynched. Bade-Papa does condemn it but can’t control such people. Is it on purpose? I don’t know.

He has a set of elders (ministers), who help him run the house assisted by some more family members (bureaucrats or brats) who actually control the whole system. The brats are far more educated than the elders. Papa has got after the brats but if they revolt the family will come to a standstill. So he is trying to push them hard. How hard? Time will tell.

Papa also speaks to the family once in a while from his heart and “man”. Papa is a stickler for cleanliness (Swach Bharat and Shauchalya). He appears to be worried as the rebellious people (opposition) are stalling his good work but the family moves on.

Time now is approaching to choose a new head of the family. People actually are in two minds whether to vote him out or stay with him. People do not see a strong alternative either. The “Bari-Mama” is projecting her son who fails to impress.

Family members are complaining about everything, from prices, to petrol, to high taxes. The “media family” appears to be biased, if not sold. Corruption at higher levels may be under control but at lower levels is rampant. The whole family appears unhappy in more ways than one.

Family wants the promised achhe din but papa’s dream has not been able to materialise into reality as yet. Which family or family member is actually benefitting and who all are left out. I can’t say.

Today, the kutumbh and its systems have become too unwieldy and super complicated.  Bade-Papa is in a dilemma as he cannot displease one family member at the cost of other. There is a need for a game changing, strong and effective head of the family who can unite this entire household as one. As they say Vasudevah Kutumbhkam. I feel bade papa now also needs to concentrate on Vasudev Kutumbh “Kam”. Bade-Papa is leading by example. Got it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

SIR JEE KAL

 

 

SIR JEE KAL

 

I am dil se Hindustani therefore I think in my mother tongue and write in a foreign language. So please bear with me as at many places I have used Roman Hindi. So here goes……….

I was wondering what would be the scene in a battalion which is going in for a surgical strike and they have to take a couple of news anchors along. I am sure the breaking news would be, “Times Now or Never” is the first channel to conduct surgical strikes. Two news anchors sacrificed their internet services for several hours. Cameras did precision shooting; all enemy has been captured on tape. Commandos were incidental.

CO Sahib Bahadur announcing to the paltan that for today’s strike we shall have Navika and Rahul (names changed for security purposes). Mera dono ankh main aansu hai, ek khushi ka, kyon ki media pahli baar saath main hoga, doosra gum ka kyon ki Navika ko wapas lana parega. One jawan asked why so? The CO replied that he anticipates that Pakis are already fed up with the beating and bullshit they get from their wives. This anchor should be left for the Indian politicians for the same purpose.

Imagine one commando sees ten missed calls from his wife in the commando base. He better call her back before he gets an ultimatum and tell her janu I am alright. I have just come for a stroll in the Pakistani jungles. Can I get you something from Pak? She would worriedly ask hope you have your visa and passport, koi check karega to. Then say yaar kindly go a little ahead to Lahore and get some “Mohammadi ki Nihari”. If nothing else then meri skin ke liye multan se multani mitti hi le ana. Imagine what the commando will do, strike gaya tel lene.

Imagine another Commando who is a pure “pandit”. Abhi meri pooja nahi hui hai I cannot fire before that. It is about first light and is time for the morning namaz. Commando Ramzan opens his compass to find the direction of Mecca and spreads his durrie. By the time he has finished praying the raid party is ex-filtrating.

God save that raid party in which a commando like me is there who is all for vastu and timings as per rahus and ketus. I might drop two uzi rifle magazines and carry a crystal dolphin to make my raid a success. Then attack precisely in the afternoon at mahurat time. God save us then!

I would suggest next time someone please tell the channels minute to minute details of the preparation also as narrated below.

Commando bahut subha utha, fir langar ja ke bed tea piya. Fir jungle pani ke liye gaya, a kar breakfast kiya. Fir CHM do admi langar working ke liye detail kiya to make “sakkarparas” for the operation. Commando Noel Ellis ke ghar se telegram aya “daddy serious”, par us ka chutti cancel tha. Us din poora strike team ko do anda aur ek rum ka peg CO saab ke taraf se diya gaya. CO saab ke darbar main point aya ki pichli baar strike ke baad bara khana nahi huaa. CO sahib ne bataya ki is bar pucca hoga.

CHM ne fir BPET failure ka list bataya. Teen commando jo chutti se aya tha fail paya. Jitna bhi “katagiri” log tha un ko kote duty par lagaya. Admi kam hone se company clerk ko team main shamil kiya. CO saab ne bataya poora team ko saat din ka CL diya jayega ane ke baad. Fir sab ka dress equipment check hua aur Commando Ellis ka mobile aur purse jabt kiya gaya aur sakht warning diya kyon ki “sikoorti” leak ho sakta hai.

Navika madam ke liye special olive green colour ka lipstick aur cammo colour ka face cream indent kiya gaya. Rahul ke FSMO main shaving razor na hone ki wajah se saat din pitto parade ka adesh diya.

My request to these TV fellows who think they have acquired a lot of knowledge of military operations, you better leave things military to the Military. Please stop calling these Pakis and those anti India chaps on your shows. It’s bad for national morale. You can discuss with the politicians whatever you want to but please leave us faujis out of politics.

Be that as it may. The politicians should thank the Forces and stop sermonising about the surgical strikes. Next time let us take a few politicians & anchors to witness it all first hand. That man who went on the nation’s behalf knew that he might not get back alive. He did not sleep many nights but rehearsed as his country’s Izzat was at stake. That soldier did not know it will generate such pathetic news debates. He went to give the enemy a bloody nose and gave it. Forces never say “sir jee kal”, we finish our jobs today. Anchors & politicians stop behaving like enemies within. Will you ever care for our sentiments too? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR

 

Red Land and blue land are two neighbouring states, is generally the opening narrative of any Army exercise. When it comes to more than two “naughty” neighbours then we refer them as Nark and Chandal. No need to guess who is who. One is burning from within and the other engages with us like a devil. India keeps trying to tackle them but hasn’t been very successful till date.

Same is the case in the neighbourhood of Swarg. On one side I have Nark and the other side the chandals. Both are friendly and diplomatic and say “Namaste bhai saab” but both are jealous and envious of the hard work we have put in the garden and our life style.

The difference between Swarg and them is that we are a land of traditions, sabhyata, sanskar and grooming in the best of manners and etiquettes from the best of institutions. They are raw, crude, rusty, a little uncouth, loud mouthed yellers who incite you to pick up a fight for every small little thing. India just ignores them and moves on.

The compliment I got on buying my bike was bhai saab aap ne nai “fatfatti” li hai. Hello madam hawa ane do. I controlled and counted till ten and said to myself bhabhi ji, my bike goes dug dug dug dug and not pit pit pit pit pittrrrrrrrr like yours. How dare you call it what you called it! This was while we were enjoying our evening cup of tea in the garden. You think I would have given mithai for such a compliment. Well, with a heavy heart I did, even India-Pakistan exchange sweets on happy occasions.

The other country could not be left far behind. This is how the parleys went. Actually Bhaisaab hum bhi motorcycle khareedne hi wale the, par mere Mister ko scooty pasand hai. Fir main bhi chala leti hun so humne idea drop kar diya. I kept waiting for some further inputs like congratulations on your new purchase but the only thing I registered was padosi hone ki pahli mithai to banti hai. I went inside and told my daughter poora dabba pakra de, kahin nazar na laga de meri bike ko.

This neighbour keeps doing the dhoklam thing once in a while. We have a mango tree in our back yard and it was laden with fruit this year & half the branches over hang on their terrace. The fruit was hanging so low that we could touch it. I requested our horticulture people to pluck the fruit. They told us Sir, there is about two to three weeks time for them to ripen so we waited. One fine Sunday we went to Alibaug and on return all mangoes were gone till where her bamboo could reach. To kill her guilt she sent about a dozen across. We gave it to our safaiwala. The icing on the cake was when our people came they plucked out more than four buckets full in the first go and same number after another twenty days. We distributed them to the world, not them. Khundak main.

I have these neat rows of bricks geru chunaed nicely. This lady will place her foot on one of the bricks as if asserting her dominance and shake it till it gets up stuck. Same happens in case of a common water tap. They know that every evening after office we water our plants. They will come and ghusao their pipe in it just before our time. We didn’t react. We waited how long one can water their lawn. Then feeling guilty she said, bhai saab lawn main pani dena tha kya, still wondering why we have not reacted or requested her for our turn. This thing continued for a week, we just didn’t react. Now she has lost interest in watering her plants.

The story doesn’t end here. The amount of surveillance done on us is fantastic. Can you guess who their spies are? If there is a bunch of slippers lying outside, people go on a vigil as to what is the occasion. Conversations are over heard by taking positions like snipers in windows. Eavesdropping is routine. Anybody visiting our place has to go through their personal scrutiny as if the Dalai Lama has visited Arunachal.

God bless both my neighbouring countries. Their frustration levels have reached such a peak that their fatfaties are now backfiring. They need to service their minds and mentality or else this guessing game will kill them. I and my wife enjoy this cold war. We sit on our bike, give them the biggest smile and wish them the time of the day. I wave at both these “Bhabhi jis” but I avoid giving them a flying kiss for obvious reasons and go dug dug dug dug dug dug dug dug………………………

JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

JUGADU TALES

 

 

 

JUGADU TALES

 

Necessity is the mother of invention and in India it is called “JUGAD”. We can modify anything, copy anything & duplicate anything. To make any contraption, the brain is Indian, the brawn is Indian, tools are Indian, finance is Indian, the consumer is Indian and it is best suited to our Indian needs. The “jugaadu” in me was waking up as I walked around my colony yesterday.

I was astonished to see countless mangoes strewn on the ground. With so many children around how come this fruit hasn’t been touched. Reasons could be like; this year was a bumper crop, so now we are fed up of eating mangoes, it has rained once and people avoid eating the fruit as it becomes infested with worms and insects. Another reason could be that fruits of a particular tree are either very sour or very feeka (Tasteless) but one thing that caught my nostrils was the smell of fermented fruit, that fruity-mangoey kind of liquory smell.

This reminded me of a conversation with a colleague who won panchayat elections a few days back. Country made Daru and non-veg is a make or break for any election here he claimed. More the daru flows the probability of winning is directly proportional to it. This has to be continuous for many days before voting. I said you must have spent a fortune. He nodded.

How do you procure and transport daru without getting caught? He said sir; for police there is a jugad. There is a distillation plant in my backyard and has been brewing nonstop since last few months. He refused to part with the recipe. I was very curious to know the mode of transportation. He took me to his car and opened the dickey and I found a huge inflated truck tube along with smaller tubes. He said all these are the left overs. I touched them and they went “thull-thull” like a water bed. I was thinking to myself that thank God we are going tubeless.

I went into flash back of the good old days in school. During the summer vacations we used to be vagabonds roaming around every nook and corner and it used to be fun collecting used test tubes from behind the chemistry lab. I saw a broken distillation set & picked it up. I brought that equipment home and buried it in the backyard fearing dad’s wrath.

I also got hold of old rum bottles and made out a concoction in which if I remember correctly I made a slurry of jaggery, lot of “peesi hui long & elaichi”, sugarcane juice and some home fruit juices. I filled about ten bottles and buried them close next to our guava tree in the backyard. All this was done in total secrecy, in the afternoons when mom and dad used to take their siesta. This was in class XI. As time flew by, we got busy with NDA preparations and later for XII boards, those graves were never dug. Mom kept wondering where her fridge bottles evaporated.

One fine day, dad decided to put manure in the fruit trees. He dug those circular pits around the trees when he accidentally dug out one bottle of that concoction I had prepared. It had turned jet black. I confessed to dad that all this “jiggery-poggery” I had done. I was preparing for getting a solid thrashing. He said let’s try distilling it. That reminded me that I had a distillation set buried too. How effective or defective it was time would tell. The rubber hoses had worn off and glass had broken at places but we did a jugad for all that.

Distillation started and the end product was an absolute clear tasteless liquid, flavoured with elaichi. I had tasted dad’s rum chori-chori but this damn thing had no taste at all. Patience was running out as it was taking hell of a long time and finally the first bottle was left with a gooey black residue. In the evening an uncle came to visit. Dad said let’s try Noel’s special brand. Uncle used to be an occasional drinker and used to make a weird face when the first sip of Hercules or Sea Pirate XXX used to go down his gullet. Dad also proudly told him ghar ki bani hai, two years old hai. Dad stuck to his usual rum. Uncle was all smiles and laughing. Just as he was about to leave he just could not get up from the sofa. All hell broke loose.

It hit him so badly that he had to leave his scooter at our place as we could not figure out how to open a Bajaj Chetak due that typical twist of the handle with which the lock opened. Dad was impressed that for the first time I did something practical in Chemistry. How hard my chemistry teachers tried, I could never balance an equation but I balanced the whole contraption of this distillation process which started from a make shift “chullah”, to pipes from the kitchen tap for cooling and finally collecting the “liquid gold” in another bottle. The “pahle tor di daru” as it was called in Punjab, was a success.

Should I do a jugad to make some mango liqueur for old time’s sake? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CANTTS ARE FREE FOR ALL

 

 

 

CANTTS ARE FREE FOR ALL

 A weird kind of feeling sets in when one hears that the cantonments have been made free for all. When I was posted in Jaisalmer in 1985, reaching the railway station from my unit used to take 30 minutes. At times the station bus driver was briefed not to let the station master turn the signal green till officer’s vehicle was in site. I remember I missed the train once and caught it at the next station called Thaiyat-Hamira, as my jeep had got stuck in sand. One always cursed why the cantts are so remotely located. I think we didn’t want spies sneaking into military locations.

We used to dislike going to the distant Air force station in Jaisalmer but could not help it as all VIP movement used to take place from there. Hell used to break lose if one found one item missing which meant more than an hour’s delay to fetch it from the unit. The station was fenced with various check posts. Security SOPs were strictly followed. By the way on the lighter side, I always used to wonder why the Air Force Police chap carries a compass as part of his accoutrements’. Did he use it to guess the direction from which I came from or that he set a new bearing every time he moved from the gate?

Be that as it may. Suffice to say cantts used to be far from towns to avoid being a hindrance to any civil traffic or people. As time went by people started to slowly creep closer to the boundaries and encroach prime land. I remember Nabha, a small little place in Punjab, where, from ones backyard one could get milk through the barbed wire fence. One could choose the buffalo to be milched. If that black beauty did not look at you and say moo you could tell the person to skip to the next one. “Saron da saag” used to be exchanged in “dolu’s” full across the fence. It could have been bombs too. People wanted the road through the cantt open but they also understood the security concerns.

Nabha had Bouran gate, Alhoran gate, Patiala gate, Dulladi gate & Mehsi gate, which used to be manned and used to be the first check point for people trying to enter Nabha fort. Those gates did signify that the fort was protected from all directions. Military stations & cantonments too are protected areas. Exposing those places to the public gives an opportunity to anti national elements to have a free run. Leaving our doors open does attract thieves I suppose.

Inside Nabha cantt we had a “Ghora khana” and “Hathi khana” (Horse & Elephant stables). It was like having your Armoured Regiment and the Mechanised Infantry Battalion. These locations were closely guarded as the animals needed protection against sabotage and subversion. Someone could steal the animals or poison the animals and their fodder or could pollute the ponds in which they bathed. Fit animals could be replaced with lame ones. All these were security concerns of the King who had many enemies. In modern times if someone can get in and sabotage our tanks and BMPs costing crores, we might be unfit for war. Well, time will tell its repercussions.

I was talking to a friend of mine and she totally turned me off by saying that you army men think too much of yourselves by calling us “civilians”. She further went to say that I must remember that the forces are under the civilian rule so don’t think you guys are superior kinds. If this is how our fellow countrymen think about people who live and die for the tri-colour, then there is something wrong with someone’s mentality. I dare not say the “civilian mentality” lest my friend feels offended again.

Doesn’t a security guard of your society ask you at the entrances that whom you want to meet? Doesn’t he register your mobile number, name and address before letting you in. Then what is the issue if they check you at an Army check post. By the way, the Armed forces adapt fast to changing situations. Our families are also now mentally prepared in case of emergencies like Pathankot. We know how to look after ourselves and we are flexible enough to cope with any challenging situations. That’s how we are bred. Opening of roads do irritate us but don’t bog us down.

In case an Armed forces man is on duty in Kashmir and gets a message that his house has been burgled, his car has been damaged, his little child and parents have been hurt and manhandled badly while he was in an operation putting his life at stake for the sake of the people who don’t know and understand what an encounter with a terrorist is. Can those people assure him the safety of his family when he is risking his life for citizens of India?

I also know of people who are best friends till the time they can lay hands on a couple of bottles of liquor from the canteen. If such people feel hassled to show their identity and get equally inconvenienced like every other soldier, before entering any restricted area, then God help us! If opening the cantt road is for ego or vote bank, then it’s a shame. Why have security and protection for ministers then? I was sent out to rot in the desert for one year because our parliament was attacked. Had one odd MP been shot dead, then would the forces been given a free hand & told to eliminate Pakistan? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CHOICE OF ARMS

 

 

CHOICE OF ARMS

Choice of Arms (COA) used to be announced close to passing out in IMA. One could see three types of faces on hearing what has been allotted to you. Happy, sad and faces with no expression. Some people who opted for Ordinance landed up in Rajput Regiment, some could not opt for ASC because of their instructor’s pressure to join Gorkha Rifles.  Thambis got Sikh Regiment and Sikh gentlemen were allotted Madras Regiment. UP people got Naga regiment and J&K types were allotted Marathas. Most of us became “casualties” except for the super block kinds. (First twenty in the order of merit)
The Batty (Battalion Commander) used to announce the COA. GC 19964 you have been allotted Infantry, I almost swooned, with tears in my eyes that I have become causality. I was about to about turn when he announced Mechanised after a pause, I said what! I just could not believe my ears, as it was my first choice. The watery eyes changed to eyes glistening with pride eyes and then he added Recce and Support, 17th battalion. My expression turned to a frown that ye Recce and Support kaun sa keera hai. This was in June 1985.
When you come out of Batty’s office, you find GCs eagerly waiting, not bothered what they got but are more concerned on what the others have got. Quite a few of them gheroaed me asking Kya mila? Kya mila? I said Mech Inf. People almost fainted. Is sale ko Mechanised kaise mil gayi. The NRS (Nearest Railway Station) given to me was Jaisalmer. I did not even care to register it at that moment as the excitement was too much. The next thing was to have a beer, gum main ya khushi main.
I reached my room picked up an inland and wrote to Dad. All this while dreaming of the APCs (Armoured Personal Carriers) BTRs and the SCOTs, I had seen in Kapurthala cantonment. My motivation was Mech Units which used to come for equipment display to our school. I used to be awe struck when they told us these APCs float on water and used to show us a propeller at its rear end. I could never have asked for more from God.
Now to find someone from Recce and Support in IMA was like finding a needle in the haystack. I was lucky to find a Kote NCO of 17 Mech looking after my Karen Company Kote. I asked him ustad 17 Mech kahan hai, he said he cannot tell because of “sekorti” and equipment cannot be divulged as it is Top Secret. I asked a few Mech officers posted there, none could tell me what this recce and support battalion was all about.
Rumors were hot during that time. Posting locations, names of COs, characteristics of Brigade Commanders etc started floating around. There were certain fauji brats who knew various stations and hardships of those areas. So even if people were happy to get their choice, they were a little apprehensive of the areas they were going to serve. Well, in IMA who is bothered except taking the ANTIM PAG (final Step) which is the culmination of the POP (Passing out parade).
I was told that you are the luckiest person joining an elite battalion. One company is always on training in France. One started dreaming of the Eiffel Tower straight away. One company is equipped with helicopters for reconnaissance. Ones imagination ran wild that you are the next Rocky & Rambo combined. Pakistan you better watch out. Flying choppers whole night in my dreams used to leave me exhausted. The third company they said remains in India for training. I thought to myself as the unit is hush-hush, I will become a secret operative. I wanted to leave for Paris immediately but why have they told me to report to Jaisalmer. The excitement was too much to digest. Now, that once in a month beer became a weekly affair and that one fag a day became five. From Panama I graduated to Wills Kings. After all we were Mech People.
Be that as it may, COA got us busy drafting DO letters to the Commanding Officer as the first piece of military writing we were practicing. Life took a different turn that day when parents blessed their children and piped us. At least the civilian crowd like my parents had no idea what the difference was between Infantry and Ordinance. For them we were Officers of the Indian Army. We had made them proud beyond words.
All of us from different regiments took oath to abide by the Constitution of India and to go by land, sea or air to defend our motherland even at the peril of our lives. We had no choice left except to be an Officer and a Gentleman.
Our minds were blank as we did not know what was in store for us. Our thoughts were just conjectures. We didn’t know what a battalion looks like and what really happens in one. We all were happy folks, bubbling with josh and eager to join our outfits. All the training was in your heads, we were raw, unpolished and unaware of what lies ahead. We had joined one of the finest professions to be in service of our nation.

JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

IMPEACHMENT OF OUR PILLARS

I saw Mr Kapil Sibal speaking to the press in the most apologetic manner the other day. He was briefing the press as they were about to initiate the process to impeach the Chief Justice of India. Suddenly they find him to be a useless fellow. I could not stand it for more than thirty seconds and switched off the TV.

I picked up the dictionary to understand this word impeach and other words starting with IM. It means to accuse, bring to court, indict, prosecute, charge and put to trail someone. I was amazed that out of all the people they found the head of our judicial system of which all the Sibal’s, Manu Singhvi’s, Manish Tiwari’s, Salman Khurshid’s and Chidambrams are part and parcel of.

If we don’t trust the highest judicial office then who shall we trust? There is a system to appoint a person for this office of which the opposition is a member. How can CJI suddenly become immoral? If they want that the only institution which is doing its job impeccably to become immobile then there is something basically wrong. It is an immodest act by the opposition. The impact will impair the judicial system for sure. The idea is to be an impediment in the normal working procedures. They act like an imp. Impudicity is lack of modesty which it taking its toll on our system. The impulse to show the other person down reflects the impurity of thoughts.  The government of the day appears to be impuissant-unable to take effective action, kind of powerless to tame these free roaming impalas called the opposition parties.

To create an imbalance in an established system is the aim of opposition. I find more of imbecility rather than reason. Where have these people imbibed such a spirit and how such notions have got imbedded in their minds that a few lawyers are trying to undermine the judicial system of this country. I am no lawyer nor do I know much of law but I am not a dodo either that I don’t understand what is going on and why.

The present government is already at logger heads with all such parties and how to get out of this imbroglio is the moot question. The opposition will do all that it can to derail the smooth functioning of the government. The way the opposition imbrues (stains) the ruling party is what is intriguing or is it to add a little imli (spice) to life in the already dull & non functional parliament.

The congress is imitating what its opposition did to them like a “Nakalchi Bandar”. If they could not function they would not let this government to function. It appears to me a little immature as they drag such high offices into politics. The tradition of fingering the opposition is from times immemorial which they want to continue.

Had everything been so immaculate, this country would have been a golden bird by now. The black, white and shades of grey are all part of this political and judicial system. The long time which the judiciary takes to bring the culprits to book causes immeasurable pain to many definitely.

How to break this impasse also needs to be worked out. The seeds of jealousy which are implanted in the heads of politicians are difficult to remove. Due to this implicit innuendo our system is bound to implode. I think the government of the day has now got immune to this mudslinging. They have reconciled with this immutable–unchanging trend that has been set. Political disaster is imminent. Let us not confine this to the centre; it is happening all over the states too.

Why do we have to be impenitent or unapologetic for our actions? It is high time that we gradually move towards a system where the government and the opposition work in sync. The opposition today appears to be imperceptive, lacking perception. They only think about their narrow gains. They are impercipient- failing to perceive something which might harm the country in the long run thus imperilling the stability with their imperious- arrogant and domineering behaviour. I am sounding like Shashi Tharoor.

Why can’t we implement the judicial reforms? I implore-beg earnestly to this government. Let us make it impersonal. Let’s not take decisions impetuously or rashly. Let us not be impolite and let us reduce the imponderables. Imperfections will always be there and can be corrected. Let us not improvise at the spur of the moment rather have impeccable laws and lawyers to withstand these challenges.

Let us my dear politicians unite for the sake of this country. Calling names won’t work. Cursing will not either. We need to stop doing “Ghatia Politics”. Tomorrow they may initiate proceedings to impeach the Service Chiefs and the President also? Can they? 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

PM ON FAST

[ninja_form id=1]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

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

ANN DAATA IS NO MORE

The farmers went back after their protest, so did their news from every TV channel. Out of news is out of mind and who cares actually. The magic wand of “false promises” from the Mai Baap has relieved the farmers of all the debts and met all their demands it seems.

 

For an urban chap like me, he just needs easy money. Give him enough to buy a home, a car, a good bank balance, a well balanced family and children studying in best schools, a good job. Electricity 24×7, garbage cleaned and recycled automatically, air which is pollution free, all criminals behind bars and all pending court cases resolved. Where am I in all this? I am the urban dreamer.

 

I want the police to lodge complaints automatically. I want a good, cheap and fast transportation system. Even the auto I travel in needs to be air-conditioned. I don’t want any traffic jams. I want every red light turn green when I come.  My train should fly. My plane should never be late. My Sabziwala should have each and every variety of vegetable and fruit, irrespective whether I buy it or not, just for me to feel good.

 

When I go to a shop, I should find tooth paste from 10 gm to a 500 gm of all companies. I should get something free with every purchase. Malls should only be for window shopping. There should be no waiting at any restaurant. I go, I sit, I order and food should be served before I finish reading the menu. The bill should be reasonable and I should not have to tip. Parking for cars & toll should be free. All my documentation should be automatically updated and I should be treated like a VIP.

 

My bank balance should be healthy; if I spend, it should automatically be topped up. My bai should always be on time, never take leave and do all the cooking, cleaning, washing, dusting and dishes perfectly. She should not ask for any Vim or a broom. My kitchen should have all the ingredients of “Sanjeev Kumar’s” kitchen and bai to cook better than him. My TV should be huge, tata sky HD should be free, my mobile data should be unlimited and my mobile should automatically recharge when it hits the fifty percent mark.

 

If this is what I want, then let me get to the farmer again. That poor chap is in debt. He doesn’t have water for his crops. How does my vegetable vendor keep what I desire? I want purest fresh milk. Well, there is no fodder for the animal. I want best quality flour and rice, how do I get it? I want sugar but sugarcane is being procured from the farmer below cost price. I want potato chips but the potatoes are rotting in the fields as the cost of uprooting them is not viable. Even if I collect them, the price of transportation is beyond my means. Even if I transport them, the road conditions are such that potatoes cannot reach the correct market without breakdowns, delays and middle men and there are no cold stores.

 

I decide to approach my elected representative; he suggests organising a rally in protest. We gather people and walk for days in the scorching sun. We don’t care if we have food or water. We do not have any media coverage either. We are frail, old and weak.  Someone gives us food, someone water, someone slippers and we reach our destination with blistered and blood oozing feet. The Chief Minister meets our representatives and gives an assurance that what we desire will be met in the next few months. I believe him and thank him. They now provided me a free ride back to my land.

 

I sit looking at the skies. There is no change in my condition. My bank is threatening to take away my mortgaged land against which I took a loan. I have ten mouths to feed. I wait a little and then one day I take that extreme step of drinking pesticide from the bottle which I bought for my crops. Even my prayers to my God and my MAI BAAP the government went in vain. I better meet God and ask him personally what wrong have I done to deserve this life. My representatives whom I elected for a biryani and a few hundred rupees have decided not to work and not let any work happen. Let me then be my own law maker.

 

My soul leaves my body. I find media covering every corner of my village? Why is so much of police bandobast at my house? Why is the Mai Baap sitting with my family? Why am I being treated like a VIP? Why are people suddenly calling me ANN DAATA? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

 

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

JAI KISAAN

185 odd kilometres, one week, 35,000 + farmers, blistered and battered walked all the way to ask the State Government to grant them a right to live with dignity. Crops got destroyed, mounting interest on loans, drought like conditions and still farmers not being looked after by their elected representatives. The irony is that there is a ministry dedicated to the agricultural sector in every state. Issue is not lack of funds but ensuring that those funds reach the last man tilling the farm.

It was terrific to see the spirit of Mumbai, irrespective of the religion, caste or creed; groups came out in great numbers to provide water and food to these men and women. I was shaken to see the condition of their feet. No slipper can last 180 kms in this heat. These people could walk this far without causalities and dehydration because they are the sons of the soil. They toil day in and day out in their parched farms. These guys put in their heart and soul to grow food but due to unfortunate circumstances and nature’s fury are forced to come on the roads. The man must have prayed to his God to stop the hail at one place and ask for water at another. What else could he have done?

The ladies too accompanying them were brave hearts of kinds. It was very sad to hear that when asked by a reporter one of them said if I have to die, it must be for the cause of farmers. Death is as it is written all over when there will be famine and nothing to eat. I salute that lady, may her physical and mental wounds heal fast and may she have respite from the torture she has gone through.

I remember my Commando training, where blisters on blisters on blisters on feet were a common thing. To reduce the pain we used to puncture them so that blood and water accumulated in them could ooze out and give us that temporary relief. I was just about 21 when I did that course. All these people were well past 50. If I had to walk it today, I would probably walk a maximum one day that too with Reebok shoes, nice t-shirt with a slogan written, a cap to shade me from the heat, my ray-bans which I can never part with and a water point every five kilometres, sun tan cream, energy bars for strength, ambulances in tow and medics on call et al.

Ask the marathoners, they go through a physical & medical check before participating. Companies sponsor the event. Doctors, paramedics, ambulances are standby. Police are deployed for traffic bandobast throughout. Cheering parties, celebrities and ministers present in large numbers at the venue. Security is tight lest any untoward incident takes place. Photo ops, flags being waved and news headlines made, media standing at every nook and corner. Medals and money is given to the participants for a 32 odd kilometres event.

Were any of these farmers a known face? Were they looking for publicity? Where were all the “VIPs” during this time? Many stars claim that they order from big basket that moves food straight from the farm to your kitchen. Well, production of food doesn’t matter to them, eating it is what matters.

Did you find any of these people breaking any rules or cause indiscipline? Did you hear any loud speakers and see huge shamiyanas? They were told that children have exams the next day so they moved late at night to their destination, so that a common mumbaikar may not be inconvenienced. That’s the spirit of our Kisaan. What they got in return after so much of struggle is only a hope and a promise. Just imagine in circumstances prevailing he has agreed to still stay hungry and in debt for six more months for his mai-baap the sarkar has promised to look into his issues.

As per reports about 4500 agitations were done by the farmers across India in the last one year. How many were covered by the media? I have seen agriculture specialists coming on channels and giving out nuts and bolts of what is right and what is wrong with the agricultural sector. They also lay down solutions for the short term, medium term and long term. Does any Government bother to listen?

It is not that only the farmers of Maharashtra who are suffering, this calamity is across India. We eat but we don’t care for the real producer of food. We pray to God to keep our plates full. Will we the people ever understand what it really takes to produce that one roti ka atta. Had our “ann data” not been working in the heat, rain and dust, what would we be feeding on? Will just saying JAI KISAAN suffice? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 Noel Ellis

THE ANGER WITHIN

The day guns fall silent on the LoC would be the beginning of progress in both our Kashmir and Pakistan. The day the thought that jihad for Kashmir has to end, peace will prevail. The day the separatists of India decide to change their mind to stay with us, harmony will return to Kashmir. The day Government of J&K allows and opens up to the idea of doing free business, setting up factories and industries, Kashmiri people will get employment and flourish. Prosperity is the key to elimination of all dissatisfaction and alienation I feel.

I was watching one video of Hafiz Saeed where he was telling Donald Trump to go climb the nearest tree. Then he talked about life after death and jannat which he and his associates will get if they sacrifice their lives for Kashmir. Well, lesser said the better about such people. Till the time such like people walk the earth, the dream of peace, progress and prosperity can be laid to rest.

Well, just blaming him and his ilk will not get us to any solution. Awakening of Kashmiri people is the solution. The day they understand that destruction will lead to more destruction, things might fall into place. India’s war preparedness has made no difference in Pakistan’s attitude. Three wars and unlimited skirmishes on a daily basis including holding on to a piece of glacier where men die more due to inclement weather is no justification for peace. All of us who serve there know that many will not come back but still we go. We also know that many of us will not be recovered for years and our families will wait in hope that someday we will return from our graves frozen in eternity.

The centre has been helping J&K monetarily & militarily since decades. The reciprocation of this gesture is never seen by the rest of India. Roads, rail and other infrastructure should now be looked after by the people of the state but security forces have to be deployed to escort their own convoys. Bridges of love and tunnels of affection are nowhere to be seen.

The only thing I observe is apprehension, as to what next. This is the feeling in both, the Kashmiri’s and security forces. Every person in the forces is counting the number of days of his tenure. He doesn’t have a choice to refuse unlike many other organisations. He does his job to the best of his ability and wants to get back home at the earliest. Who would like to stay with unfriendly people? Similarly, it is for the Kashmiri’s. In case they find the forces too harsh they construe a plan directly or indirectly to cause harm. Overall this is a cat and mouse game going on. Fact remains neither the security forces are happy nor are the Kashmiri people.

If I am observed from the first ray of dawn to last at dusk, at odd hours I am mustered and questioned. If my privacy and freedom is curtailed, if my movement is restricted, naturally I will have that revolting feeling. To top it all, if someone from the village gets killed by the forces. He may be a militant or otherwise, emotions flare up. Result is stone pelting. Now, the security teams deployed come under constant surveillance. Each and every movement and routine is observed and passed on. Result may lead to an ambush or an attack on the camp.

Today’s Kashmiri generation was born under the barrel of the gun. They don’t know what free life is. They are used to restrictions of all kinds. They are afraid, scared and terrified from within. However friendly the forces may appear but the anxiousness due to the uniform and gun does not let them be their normal selves. They hear stories from their elders who naturally glorify their own kith and kin. They also hear stories of atrocities of the forces which may be exaggerated, hearsays and even lies. The child is confused and he doubts his own existence. What should be done to minimise his pain and hurt to his psyche? That is where the solution lies.

Pakistan keeps adding fuel to the fire. Open borders and inhospitable terrain facilitate movement of people. The trust deficit between the state and the centre remains. Just by giving money solutions can never be found. Just by policing and counter insurgency grids bitterness will never go. Stoning the security forces will not help their cause either. This only aggravates the anger in the security forces. Pelting is done for the same purpose to incite and solicit a hard reaction. It’s a psychological game to be understood in its totality.

I too get carried away when a security person gets martyred. The rage inside me tells me to act against all those who were involved. Like my annoyance shoots up so must be the case in Kashmiri people too. How many lives need to be lost to end this anger within? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BUST THE BUST

It all starts with an idea that let us do something different. How do we make our presence felt? It is by simply announcing that we are here. If no one acknowledges our presence then you do something to attract attention. This I say in context of breaking various statues & busts. Imagine India can be brought to a grinding halt for such things. I don’t know if these people were really sentimental or they were hired goons. Politics of the matter aside, how and why should someone deface or pull down any statue in broad daylight, where police is present and does nothing to sort these people out. Then they blame it on sentiments of the public, is just a cover story.

The basic reason is no fear of law enforcing agencies in the public. Everyone knows police will come at the last moment once the damage has been done. Police hides behind the veil of no one informed them. I ask, don’t they have their mukhbir’s (sources) to give them advance information that an incident of pulling down Lenin’s statue is going to take place. The public hires a JCB from somewhere, as if this equipment is readily available. People gather in hundreds without the local police getting a whiff. Definitely it has political patronage. Who will report to the police? A common citizen has no trust & faith in police as instead of treating him as a facilitator, he becomes the perpetrator of crime. He is questioned, grilled and harassed, by that time it’s too late.

I reckon that the police must have been informed in advance by politicians to not to come near the crime scene till such time riot has finished? Why don’t we put all those who did it behind bars for ten years and the SP and staff of that police station in the clink for life for dereliction of duty? If this does not deter people then God save this country.

It reminds me of a visit long back to Kingsway Camp in Delhi to meet friends. They took us to the Coronation Park. There was a pure white marble statue of King George the Vth besides other Kings and Governors of the British Raj. These statues were displayed in the smaller domes near India Gate but later all of them were shifted to this park in 1960. I shall not comment about the anti-British sentiments here but I shall talk about the artistry and the marvellous work done on stone. It definitely deserves a place in some museum. I appreciate that they were not destroyed but relocated. Many of them are now broken with marble chipped away either in transit or by druggies and bootleggers who frequented that place.

The Bamiyan statues of Lord Buddha in Afghanistan were decimated by the Taliban by firing all sorts of explosives at them. What did they achieve out of it? I don’t know. Even naming and renaming of roads etc has the same effect. Call it Connaught place or Rajiv Gandhi chowk, which one will you relate to. Call it Kings Circle or Maheshwari Udyan, what are you at ease with? In Bombay aka Mumbai one will never reach “fountain” unless you know the bus number or you know it has been re-christened as Hutatma Chowk. Well that is what the state of affairs is today.

I remember when posted in Jaisalmer many moons back, there was a corner stone in our mess, well engraved giving out who built the barrack, the date of inauguration etc. That piece of marble should still be found embedded in that wall if the building still exists. One fine day the mess was renovated again. From the hessian cloth false roofing we had graduated to plywood. We now had a new TV room, a nice bar and a dance floor. Our corridors and ante room now had marble from makrana. It was a total transformation from clay floor covered with tarpaulins. Someone decided that why not turn the stone Ulta (reverse) as time was short to get a new one engraved. A mason removed that stone and to the utter surprise it was found that someone had used this idea already. Was another stone was put in its place or we continued with the same one, I don’t remember?

Why are we trying to change history and the truth of our times? A statue or a bust, which has no powers to retaliate should be left alone. Trying to take law into your own hands speaks of a dirty mentality. I urge the security forces to use appropriate force rather than waiting for a statue to be destroyed and then appear on the scene. Will politics allow any stern action? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

LOTUS LOTUS EVERYWHERE

Today, I think there are only four out of 29 which are BJP free states. When are they going to be conquered, well let me not conjecture? Slowly and steadily they have been taking objective after objective in military parlance. In case they have not been able to destroy and decimate the opposition, they have been able to get enough foot hold to make their presence felt and even align with a few to form governments even if they are diagonally opposite in ideologies. Now, sooner or later the lotus is going to change its colour from pink to saffron.

A few things which I want them to achieve if they want to really do justice to the mandate they are getting. I know they have not been able to create jobs, I know they have not been able to sort out Pakistan or China. “Achhe din” are nowhere on the horizon. Well, that should not deter them to sort out Kashmir at least. They need to bring in uniform civil code. If nothing else they should do away with reservations of any kind.

You make us wear saffron, no issues we shall consider it as an Indian uniform. You make us do yoga, no worries again, as churning my stomach, twisting and entangling my hands with my feet is a distant dream for me. You want us to chant shlokas, no sweat; the only thing is that someone will have to explain to most of us what it means. We will sing Vande Matram, we will shout Jai Hind. We will stand for Jana Gana Mana without debate. The only problem with me would be to change to a complete vegetarian; Thori gunjaish rakhna bhai is main. I promise to eat my vegetables and salads with curds in the afternoon. Actually with age catching up I have no choice but to listen to the doctor’s advice.

The experiment stage of BJP government is over. This I say in case of GST and de-re-monetisation. Now any further experiments would be at the peril of something. Can we have free flow of goods between states? Can we have better storage of grains and cold store chains for all perishable goods? Can we have better policing? Can we have better politicians? Can ladies be safe? Can education be abundant and free? Can law and order be maintained? Can judicial cases be disposed off quickly? Can we eliminate the corrupt and corruption? Can we breathe pure air, drink pure water and milk? Can we get unadulterated medicines? Can medical treatment be affordable for all? Can everyone have a home? Can everyone have dal-roti at least? Can we all communally unite under the lotus?

I have asked for too much. I am being too idealistic. So let me then get down to mother earth in true Indian style. Let me move with the current, manipulate what I can, influence where I should, lick and get my work done, butter the correct side of the toast or maybe butter both sides, get a Tigrrum (jack) for all my needs, bribe my way through, get hold of a good lawyer to see me through in any court, get a good CA to help me file zero income tax return. Get hold of someone in the police who can bail me out in crisis, last but not the least get hold of a mai-baap the politician, who’s one word on telephone or a letter on his letterhead will do the trick. If still I am stuck then use his paplu (personal staff) for that personal favour.

Nay, I can’t do that. It is not in my blood. I would rather die than do all the above. However, how can I contribute my bit to nation building? I pay my taxes and EMI regularly without default. I obey traffic rules. I wear my helmet and seat belt as a drill. I have linked anything and everything to my adhar card. I do swach bharat from my heart. I motivate people to be good citizens. I use the shauchalaya even if I have to bear the stink in the sulabh. I save water, petrol and electricity as much as I can. I do not litter and sometimes I admonish people who litter as their birthright. I plant trees for the environment. I am sure there would be many like me.

Well, any party and its ideology don’t matter to me but what matters to me are my fellow citizens, their welfare, safety and security. If the lotus can achieve it, I am for it but if I have to bear the brunt of paying for someone who runs away with my hard earned money from my paid taxes, I will not tolerate it. Can I do anything about it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE SADMA OF SRI DEVI

Life has become so uncertain that will we meet the next moment seems unsure. A beautiful soul has gone. This I say in context of Ms Sri Devi, may her soul rest in peace. She really had come to “girao bijali” in her hey days and now has become “Hawa Hawai”. Sad indeed but that is destiny.

My generation grew up with a kind of crush on her. Though, I was never a very big movie fan however still we had moved on from Rekha’s generation to hers. She added a different flavour to various characters like the typical south Indian accent and the real Indianess to the roles she played. Sari never looked so ravishing ever. If I can say that the typical figure of an Indian woman was enhanced by her without an iota of vulgarity and crudeness.

In the last two days, media has gone hyper to cover her death. Where Nirav Modi and gang have evaporated? It appeared that media discovered a secret tunnel from her room in Dubai to India and channels had posted sentries all along the route, as if her soul will stop at each check point before her mortal remains are consigned to flames. Channels brought in doctors, cosmetic surgeons et al to find out the side effects of all drugs and surgeries. I was amazed to see bath tubs being put in front of the panellist who were calculating the displacement of water as per the Archimedes principle and various buoyancy theories. Well, I can only tell those channels that please drown in “Chullu bhar Pani”.

Stories of her liquor consumption and its effects on body temperature were hot news. All theories how heart fails were headlines. Reporters getting hold of the post mortem reports through their so called “sources”. Channels were trying to pick faults in those reports as if doctors in Dubai are clueless about procedures. Conjecture, speculation, guesses were the only things flying left right and centre. Reporters were even trying to speculate the embalming time as if it was a special final make up session for the actress. It appeared kind of a mockery being made of her death.

Think about the family, they too must be watching TV to get the latest updates. Discussing her personal life, her habits must be really heart breaking for them. I would appreciate if news channels run hit movies of hers during prime time as a tribute, for the next one year. Let me see how many channels dare do so. Across the spectrum of news channels there was nothing else being discussed.

I stand with the film fraternity as she was a respected senior member. The way news channels were trying to take reactions from co-stars through leading questions like, according to you could she have drowned in a bath tub? Obviously the person would say no. Could she have suffered a heart attack while sitting in a tub? Pathetic questions from sick news anchors. I switched off everything.

As responsible citizens I feel we should leave the technicalities to the technical people. Let us also not encroach on the personal space of a family which is in grief. By taking a byte of a co-actor she will never come back to life. I am sure as an adult and a mother of grown up children who are about to release their own movies what she did with her life was her own conscious decision. Why are we force feeding it to the world that what could have happened and what could have gone wrong?

The last thing I would tell the media to refrain from sensationalism. Terrorists are supposed to follow that line. India has its own issues, let’s high light those. Her extraordinary life was not like that of a common man. She lived a luxurious life and had enough money to afford it. We can’t even think of such a life style.

Well Ms Sri Devi, you definitely left a mark on many of us. I wish you peace for ever. I offer my condolences to the bereaved family, may you all find strength to bear the loss. I also convey my displeasure as a common man to the media that there is a limit to everything. The power of Google, power of the mobile and the power of your media platform is well understood but the art of framing stupid questions, the guile to conduct endless futile debates about a soul who ruled millions of hearts is not worth it. We definitely have forgotten how due respect needs to be given to any departed soul.

When will our Media Rest in Peace? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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