Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: LIFE (Page 1 of 2)

MY CREDIT CARD

At times I wonder I should have taken more interest in Maths in school. Today when I listen to the FM as he quotes figures left right and centre I just nod my head. My course mates have been talking since morning of figures of commutation of pension, gratuity, NFU for non functional people like me or whatever it means. I do try my best to understand them but I can’t make head or tail of it. I think it is a mental block and I feel let the block stay this way. There will be some “Good Samaritan” who will work out the calculations for many of us. I am being honest so am confessing my phobia of such calculations as they are a nightmare for me.

What ultimately matters is that sweet sound of “Ting” which rings on the mobile indicating there is a sms and you find your account 3232xxxxxx4343 has been credited by X amount. What else do you want man. My agenda thereafter is to see how to spend that amount at the earliest and be done with it. Why should I bother the bank to take the pain of keeping it for me? The bankers have better things to do I suppose. Good that they have given me and my wife a debit card; I have recently started to use it also. I only had known to use it at the ATM machine to draw cash. Don’t ask me about a credit card. I will die with tension when I will be told the same amount you spent today will be have to be paid in 45 days. Why not pay now and sleep well, after all you can’t avoid paying. My story starts here.

Moment you default on credit card payments all hell breaks loose, I believe. Someone told me that the interest rate is about 35% or something. A person like me will be a permanent defaulter, reason being if I keep seeing money in my bank I shall keep spending it. Further, if I have to keep reminding myself that I have to pay back means I have taken “udhaar”, which is against my principals. If a toaster has to be bought, buy it and finish off with it, why delay paying for it. Why do we have to keep adding award points for future purchases or for that matter get a gift voucher at an eatery for a paltry discount of 500 bucks? My goodness, can’t we un-complicate life.

Well in our pay brackets people generally can afford credit cards. It means you are already well off, if not very well off. In most of our cases less mine children are generally settled and working. Many spouses are working too. Most of us are on re-employment or second employment. Still if we have to think buying things on credit, it doesn’t gel with me. If one is buying a car say, then a loan is the best option. Simple! One can keep arguing that when it will be a rainy day and when you may not have money to pay then the credit card will come in handy. Banks will lure you with zero charges in the first year and thereafter charge you a hefty amount as an annual fee. If you can afford annual fees you might as well clear your debits. Yes, the card may come with free insurance of ‘n’ lakhs. One feels happy chalo at least insurance is there. Then they will offer you one complimentary free ticket for a movie which you can’t go to watch within that stipulated time. You end up opting for a useless air bag instead, convincing yourself that you will use it during air travel possibly twice a year.

I have a few friends who play with money. Let me explain, pay one company with a credit card today, wait for 45 days or whatever is the maximum free limit of time and pay this credit card bill with another credit card. Such people have at least 4-5 cards and they rotate their money. They will give a cheque to someone and then online put in a request for stop cheque and then play with that money again. I wonder how they keep a track of how much to pay, to whom and when. I would definitely get all mixed up. Not my cup of tea at all.

Let me confess to you truthfully folks that I one day had decided to get a credit card. So I called up the help line and with all formalities completed they told me after a month that sorry sir, the courier company has refused to deliver it in the place where you stay. I gave them an option that can I give my friends address in Bombay; they said no, your address needs to be verified. I said ok, I can collect it from your nearest branch which is about 20 kms away, I offered. They said sir but you don’t have an account there. I got fed up and told them that you are ready to give me a credit card on my  account which is in New Delhi and can’t deliver it to a place convenient to you and me, so keep the damn card with you, thank you very much. I decided to hell with credit cards since that day.

I know my “giani” (know all) friends will come down heavily on me all guns blazing. I am also expecting a call from at least ten banker friends who shall read this and promise my new card home delivered free of cost tomorrow. But what will I do with it, my bai doesn’t accept them, my machhi wali refuses to entertain me with it, my kiryana wala doesn’t know about it, my coconuts are home grown and free, basic gadgetry for my home I have already, my wife is not a shopping enthusiast, the village liquor chap gives beer only on cash, my ATM is happy with my debit card, so should I still go in for a credit card to complicate my simple life. I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

IS INDIA ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Bechare Modiji is in a catch 22 situation. Where to start and where to finish? What to do and what to leave? I applaud his efforts of making a beginning but his efforts need an equal thrust down the chain. Unless the states and center sit together on one national agenda, one national priority then only it will be possible to chalk out a path. All citizens have to chip in and be on the same grid.

With all that I see, read and hear, it appears to me that our industries are in a mess, trade is in a soup, railways are derailing, women and child care no one cares, farmers are left in wilderness, defence of the country is short of manpower and equipment, terrorism and militancy are never ending. On the surface things look calm but the undercurrents are giving a different signal. Why is my perception like this? Why do my senses infer everything is not right? Why am I uncomfortable with the way things are? The common man is perturbed. He is unsure of his future.

Unemployment and job creation are mismatched as on date. What can a youngster do even if he is educated? The political game plan of dividing the people of this country is leading us nowhere. Plus our religious fundamentalism and intolerance is adding fuel to the fire. We are becoming our own enemies; appears to be path of self destruction.

Be that as it may, if the PM says that he is satisfied with his efforts, definitely he will have the overall picture. I am sure he will reveal it in one of his “man ki baat”.  Money is not the issue I suppose for the government but money cannot work on its own. People who are responsible to distribute the resources and money have to show accountability.

The underlying factor is the sincerity in effort, good governance, close monitoring, no corruption and no shortcuts by one and all. If we could stand in queue for our turn to get money from the ATM after demonetisation, we need to be prepared to stand in line for everything else. We need to have patience in this world of internet and twitter. We need to have the will to sacrifice our luxuries for the sake of this nation and its future. We have to think India first.

I can give this moral lecture because of two reasons, firstly because of my background and training in the army I know what discomforts are and how to overcome them. Secondly, I am financially ok even if I have to live on simple dal-roti. The rich will never feel the pinch but what about the poor, middleclass, unemployed people who are running from pillar to post for their living? Petrol and diesel prices add to their woes. The farmer who provides us food is dying a slow death due to lack of support. The Defence is facing an external enemy on multiple fronts is also involved in the internal aggression needs full government backing. Our education system is cockeyed with multiple types of education, multiple fees structures and barriers due to the federal system in this country. Our huge orchestra is playing in a concert with many instruments out of sync and out of tune thus producing only noise which is clearly visible in parliament and news debates.

Red tapeism still exists. There are multiple rules and regulations for the same thing. There are laws but getting justice is difficult. Justice gets delayed that it is almost kind of denied. Corruption in government departments is still rampant. A common man has to grease someone somewhere up the ladder in cash or kind or through a third party. Bribes are camouflaged when they change into Diwali or New Year gifts; people stay on the house with family in resorts maintained by companies, provision of chauffeur driven vehicles on holidays, booking of air tickets etc at the corporate level have become the new normal to oblige and get things done.

Basic health care doesn’t find a place in our national priorities. People die, children die, makes no heads roll. The pathetic condition of the stinky, dirty, filthy government hospitals makes you wonder whether you have come here to be treated or come here to fall sick. Conditions of public toilets & toilets in schools are no better. Policing is under pressure too. They don’t know whether to listen to their political bosses or face the consequences of disobedience. Women are unsafe, schools are unsafe, hiring domestic help is unsafe, filing an FIR is a task in itself besides harassment of the common public never ends. Thus faith in system is reducing.

I kind of feel upset about the whole scene in the country. The beggar on the railway platform, the leper on the red light, the small child selling national flags on the footpath would never know that he too is a hero in his own way. Though they shall live and die in anonymity. This person will have a large enough heart to feed two street dogs. Push your car without charging if you are stuck, eat the left overs which you throw away in dustbins and still proudly salute the national flag because he considers himself an equal citizen of India. He too hopes for achhe din. It is another matter how we treat them.

We have now got to shift focus to nation building. A road map needs to be laid out and we the people have to get involved to implement it. I suppose the vision is there but the will to implement it with all sincerity is lacking. Am I the only one feeling this way? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

FEELING NOSTALGIC

I am working in an organisation which has quite a few ex-servicemen working under me. It feels so good when one receives salutes with the same josh as one used to get when I was in uniform. The loud shout of Jai-Hind still gives me goose bumps.  Sometimes it feels that one never left the army. It makes me emotional as one had never imagined the same izzat will continue. I am definitely lucky.

In my office I miss my dak “in-out” tray. How can I forget the “pending” tray, it actually used to give nightmares as to why something was pending? The wall clock and calendar are still displayed, I still have a bell on the side of my desk to call the runner; the only difference is that I have to ring it more than ten times for half a minute each to catch somebody’s attention, unlike the reaction in the unit. Here we have one person looking after one floor and he has more than ten offices to look after. Sometimes this man does the disappearing trick also.

I also miss my fly swat which used to be my secondary weapon during peace time. I had mastered killing a fly with a flying shot. The glass of water still remains, the coasters are still there but the blazer cloth on my table has gone missing. I still love to have that important information under the glass of my table as a ready reckoner. The nominal rolls are still posted on the notice board along with the training programmes. I still have an operations board with maps and enlargements to show the general area, its major assets, routes of “ingress and egress”.  I love that arrow which prominently shows “YOU ARE HERE” or else I will be lost. I display an arrow which shows north prominently, by the way I will fail if you ask me the difference between true north, magnetic north and grid north.

I also have another board which gives me a feel of my good old days is the parade state board. The only thing is that now there are no companies and platoons but contractors and vehicles. From a black board we have moved to white board, from the chalk we have graduated to temporary markers but the feeling of knowing where each person is gives you a satisfaction that all must be well.

I used to have a white “Sunmica” writing board with lots of china graph pencils and some “chindi” to wipe things off, basically the progress of things and my follow up points which I miss. I also miss the draft pad, a light green shade of paper with a prominent green line about two inches from the left side if I remember correctly. Our clerks were always short of paper and this draft pad used to be the saving grace. The good old glass paper weights, the golden pen stand with a blue and red ballpens called pen Wilson. I used to feel a little jay when the Second in Command’s pen stand used to have slots to keep paper pins and we had a magnet to which anything metallic used to be stick.

I also miss the red and green bulbs denoting busy and free lights. The parallel set of lights in the Adjutant’s office which used to become a waiting hall of kinds for the umpteen cups of tea, waiting for your turn to be fired by the CO. The worst used to be at 2’o’clock. The COs jonga used to be ready to take off, the 2IC inside, red light on, you are hungry and waiting for that one signature and suddenly there is commotion. The adjutant springing out of his chair, both the lights switched off together and off went the boss. 2IC comes and tells you that brother prepare for op area tomorrow. You say sir my leave starts tomorrow, he says which leave, you say sir let me speak to the CO, he says CO has left for Div HQ and there were no mobiles. The only thing one could do was Peechay Mur daur ke chal.

Well another thing typically fauji I have in my office still are those chairs with white covers on their back rests.  I miss my small note pad with your appointment written on top. The Int Section used to nicely cover it, put a talc cover and then fire an “imprinta gun” on a tape. Out used to pop your name and stuck in the centre of your note pad. For lesser mortals they used to stencil the name. So to make up for my love for my name I display the same in form of a metal name plate on my office door with pride. It reminds me that old chap you better maintain the fauji decorum here as people call you Colonel saab and look up to you.

Today we had a kind of orderly room to reprimand a chap for dereliction of duty. I felt so sad for this retired Army clerk who has now become a discipline case beyond any ones control. I have been with him for five years. How I covered him up at the peril of my job is only known to me. How I went out of the way to help him, counsel him, counsel his family, wife too was involved like a unit lady, got him treated for alcohol dependency, motivated him to go through a rehab, sat with him in his hospitalisation, adjusted his leave and pay when he did not have any left and all those things that you do in fauj but to no avail. Today, I had to take his resignation. One could give a pitthoo in the unit or an extra guard check but here I just can’t do any such thing. There is a limit to give “lift” and tolerate nonsense. Incorrigible people are everywhere. I never give up but fauji methods don’t work in civil.

My heart is heavy, my mind is not reconciling with the fact that I as an ex serviceman had to take such a drastic step against another ex serviceman. My conscience did not allow army’s image to be tarnished anymore. If this man has decided not to listen to logic, so be it. He better be relieved from duty and left free to live his life the way he likes. Have I done the right thing? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

CHANGE THE GOAL POST

Let us start with an assumption that we are going to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, nothing wrong, most of the countries are doing it. What if I say that the same nuclear technology will also be used for making bombs as a safety and security measure for my country? I sign all declarations and prove to the world that our intentions are very pious & holy but this needs to be done for the country, nothing wrong in it again. Well, time passes everything is fine and one fine day one bomb explodes and people die at a very large scale.  You then say that actually this bomb had an alternative use for a long lost dream of India called population control. You start justifying it by saying; see how many people we have reduced from this earth and from India in particular. How beneficial it is to the country, so many lesser mouths to feed, so much lesser burden on the economy and infrastructure so on and so forth. Everyone wonders if the minister justifying the explosion is in his senses or out of his wits.

What has happened here is that there has been a change of not only the goal post but change in the game itself. The venue changed, the rules and regulations were tweaked as per circumstances and in fact there was nothing original left as to why we started this whole nuclear exercise in the first place. We kept testing the waters and kept adjusting our aim and destinations as we went along as per our convenience. We used political jargon, some facts and figures, some percentages and some decimals to create an impression that what we are presenting to the public is correct and convincing. Poor public which is naive, illiterate and actually is not concerned because if the gareeb janata keeps getting his roti somehow, achhe din or no achhe din, he continues to believe in his political masters. They make, bend, change, tweak, modify and then justify the rules with sugar coated figures.

Well that was my aim to confuse myself so I started with the nuclear example and have still not revealed why am I writing all this. Well folks, I happened to hear our very dear Mr FM & DM briefing the media on the RBI report on the effects of re-monetisation I suppose. At the end of the day the whole exercise of demonetisation aka re-monetisation was done as the colour of the old notes was not matching the PM dresses. In the bargain if the tax payers base of the country increased by 17.971%, well what is wrong with it. The hundreds of tonnes of raddi collected in form of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes will be now handed over to the wall paper industry to change the colour of the walls of the North and South block. The black money which was supposed to come pouring in is still stuck in some foreign land and nothing in black could be retrieved. The cash less changed directions to less cash and the figure quoted was also in fractions of a percentage like 15.237%. Who knows how this figure has been calculated or arrived at and how accurate it is. At least I am not interested. The militants were supposed to be hit by demonetisation but they continued their demonization. Yes the only people who hit them were the armed forces and they shall continue to decimate them.

Added to this chaos of demonetisation came GST. What good it is to man or beast and what services it is taxing that no one is clear to be frank. Now we actually have a demonetised GST economy. The world economists are pondering over it as a special case study to find out how is it going to affect the coconut exports of Maldives as they are convinced that in India nothing has changed. Why I say this is because the trains keep derailing killing innocents travellers, children are again being massacred in hospitals. Babas and Baby’s keep ruling the roost. Bombay and Delhi cannot get over the deluge of rains. Pakistan continues its nefarious activities as usual. China is doing what it wants to do. I am where I was, except for my increasing weight I can find no change in me or my environment around.

It is not surprising at all because the FM handles the defence budget; he is also the DM. In the same breadth, he must be handling the home budget also so he should be the home minister too. I am not surprised that they have amalgamated the rail budget into the general budget but then where is the need to have a railways minister? If FM is going to handle all the money then why have so many ministers floating around. Here I find no logic as the people who are experts in their fields especially defence find themselves not even in the playing eleven of the game. They have been kept merely as extras. Which game they are going to play that the PM will decide? How long they will play that game before shifting to another sport that too is left to him? It is as simple as the cabinet reshuffle. From HRD to textile to another ministry in three years is like Mithali Raj shifting from cricket to badminton to boxing. Then we will expect her to win every game for India, while Sindhu and Mary Kom are told to play kabaddi and do sailing. What is the difference in sport a, b or c?

Well friends, this is not the first time the goal posts have been changed in this country. It was all started with good intentions like the surrendering of gas subsidy. Opening of the bank account was the next initiative. How far has it been really successful that Bhim, Paytm or such portals will tell? Kashmir boils with no goal post in site. Achhe din are just games people say but don’t play.  Will all these exercises bring some peace if not ache din with or without a changed goal post in the near future? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

BLACK SHEEP OF BABA

The BRRSI verdict is going to be out anytime now. Which side the verdict is going to go is quite clear from the bandobast that I see in and around Rohtak. It has been turned into a fortress of kinds. Imagine what difficulties the common man must be facing. More than hundred companies of forces deployed. Army is on standby in case of any eventuality. Dera is being evacuated with streams of followers exiting, most of them ladies that too senior citizens. What were they doing inside intrigues me? What will be their future? Neither BRRSI nor they themselves know.

What was so much of manpower doing inside the camp? They were producing nothing except CO2, H2S and manure. What education was being imparted there, God knows or was he conducting brain-washing sessions? I believe he castrated many men which I heard from testimonies of people who escaped his clutches. Well all this needs to be investigated. I would like to know the status of his real sisters too. Was the motive to have castrated males around his close cordon to save his sisters from the wrath of what he used to do to the other female disciples? Were the sisters aware of his adventures? All this is shrouded in mystery. His bubble has burst and many lives saved.

I am not sure if every follower who is leaving the camp is being properly docketed, their names and addresses etc. How long were they there? What all did they see and do in the dera? I could see that most of them are poor and basically the Punjabi speaking community. I was not aware that there were so many grades in the Punjabi society. Yes, once upon a time mom used to scare us that behave or else Nihang baba will take you away. I happened to visit Beas once as a kid and was quite surprised to see another massive Sikh establishment so close to Amritsar. A breakaway from the main stream I suppose. One was only interested in the tasty subsidised pakoras and langar food in those days. I know of people who turned vegetarians, non smokers and drinkers as they were going to take “Naam”. One never questioned that, as that was beyond my purview of things and still is. For me a Punjabi was a friend and jiggrey yaar, which sect, which guru he followed made no difference to me.

I have been explaining to people the difference between Catholics and Protestants often. In Protestants there are Methodists etc.  For a normal Indian a Christian is a Christian, that’s it. Similarly for me, a Sikh is a Sikh, a Hindu is a Hindu and a Muslim is a Muslim. To be frank Christianity is the most divided religion on earth today. People have modified the ways of worship that is all. Anyone who could convince a few people, lecture about the goodness and wellness of being close to God, show some spirituality, do some kind of miracle started to have a following. From one mouth to the other, one neighbour to the other and the chain continues. I would say that slowly these babas and babies become so influential that they gave targets as done in ponzy schemes. Besides, the insiders were threatened with dire consequences not to open their mouths. A person who has no other job, who is getting food, shelter, clothing and a safe place to stay with all facilities would rather play safe.

I am reminded that once I had gone to Mount Abu for a holiday with my family. Moment I stepped out of the bus a person approached me and handed me a pamphlet about “Bhramakumari’s”. I politely requested him not to pester me. Next day we took the tourism bus and the first place they plonked us was their ashram. Nice, neat and clean, nothing religious, a few ladies and a few gents dressed in whites were moving around. Then we were made to sit and listen to their story. Well, I was not impressed or interested in it at all. It was rather a pain to wait for the thing to get over as we were more interested in site seeing. Moment we came out, again a person approached me and asked me when you are joining the thing; I got cheesed off and told him to buzz off. I moved on and enjoyed the rest of the day culminating at the sunset point. I am not sure what those ladies follow or preach but I do not appreciate being indoctrinated into anything forcefully.

Well what I gather from the social media is that when one is oppressed that is the time when one is most susceptible and vulnerable to be carried away. Moment one finds solace, one tends to drift away under the wings of such frauds who promise peace of mind. Moment one starts believing in it you are done. The baba who gave you comfort latches on to your mind and exploits you, once you give in you are gone and there is no turning back. Thereafter, one cannot stand anything derogatory against the guru. Had this issue been nipped in the bud in 2007, things would not have taken such a drastic turn.

My only wish is that this man should be charged with treason. Every inch of his land and property anywhere in India should be sold off and all the losses made up. Let there be a law that any cult, any baba, any baby, any maa who thinks that politicians can be put in their pocket would be put in the clink. I also want to inform all politicians, dare you become black sheep of any of these God men and women for your political gains and donate even one paai of my had earned money from public fund to them, then you too should be booked for treason and impropriety. Will it make any difference to these baba’s and their black sheep, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

MY CHINESE EXPERIENCE

I have been avoiding writing about China and its recent mis-adventures purposely. Let me confess, I am no expert on China. Though we used to have an army pamphlet about China but I could never remember even one organisation chart of their units or formations. Reason was that moment I used to visualise them, all faces used to look alike. So to differentiate HU from HUI and JING from PING became a nightmare for me and I decided in case a question lands up in my exams, I shall just write “Ni-Hao” and leave it at that.

Their script always fascinated me. Their architecture fascinated me too. The “SHAOLIN” movies were my favourites. Jackie Chang was too good but the exaggeration of the drunken monk kind of movies made that fascination fade away. Their aerial tricks and their flying mid air fights were definitely a wow factor but were a bit too much to swallow. I could not watch those Kung-fu kinds of movies as everyone kept picking up fights for no reason. They could fight with a tea cup, a broom, or even a spoon. What I disliked the most was the sounds they made while fighting. I was more comfortable with dishoom-bhishoom stuff.

I used to wonder while playing cricket about a term called “China Man”. Well it was a left arm leg spinner bowling an off break to a right handed batsman. I am sure you would be confused like I was for many years. That’s the aim of this ball, to surprise the batsman. I remember Navjot Sidhu, “Sherry” was in the slips when YPS Patiala was playing with my team from Sainik School Kapurthala many-many moons back. They had this left arm spinner and Sidhu kept shouting to him from second slip, China maar China isko. I laughed as I knew what he was talking about. This boy bowled a china man a bit too short of a length; I went on the back foot and gave it a solid whack. Off it went for a four towards square leg. I winked at sherry. I never got a china man bowled at me in that match.

Yes, Chinese food still fascinates me. I was introduced to it while in IMA Dehradun in a small eatery on Rajpur road called YETI, if I recollect the name correctly. Slowly we weaned off to the basic Momo-Thuppa kind of stuff near Ghanta Ghar due to financial constraints as a GC (Gentleman Cadet). One always thought those people were Chinese. Later when I served with them did I realise that how real Chinese noodles were made. Lovely people they were and Tashi Deleg to all of them. We Indians now are hooked on to the Tibetan cuisine for sure.

Another incident of how far I could dig my soul into the Chinese military was when I was made the CO of a Signal Regiment in a war-game of a mountain division against China in Staff College. Firstly, I had no idea about the terrain in the East of India where this Dhoklam thing is happening. Secondly, my phobia of learning anything about Chinese Army petrified me like hell. Thirdly, I was a Mech officer, commanding a Signal Regiment almost killed me. The only Radio sets I handled were the ones fitted in my BMP or the ANPRC with a ten foot telescopic antenna. I knew if the instructor asks me even one question, leave alone Chinese tactics I will forget how to spell “signal”. Well, the great moment arrived and I had to brief a truck load of Directing Staff (DS) on a map about my role as a Commanding Officer of a Mountain Division Signal Regiment. One of the Brigadiers asked who amongst you is CO Signals. I stepped forward, sir yours truly. He said Noel we don’t have time; we give you five minutes for your briefing. I said sir trust me I will take only two because of enemy jamming. The DS burst out laughing and moved on to CO ASC battalion without even listening to me. I thanked my stars and must have smoked a pack of cigarettes after that, as I was feeling so goddamned relieved. You may lose a war if you read the “signals” wrong, isn’t it? I had won mine.

The recent intrusion in Chushul took me down memory lane when I was posted there. I had the privilege to climb the heights around Chushul to experience firsthand how conditions of 1962 would have been for our soldiers. While counting bunkers, I remember the doors used to be jammed due to frozen ice. The bunkers had to be aired for a couple of days to open up. Imagine how they would have dug those bunkers. Standing atop Pankha heights, the Pongang Tso staring at you like a vast ocean and the air strip appeared to be a highway of some kind. My head bows in respect to every soldier who participated in whatever capacity in that battle. It was indeed a humbling experience, an experience of a life time. The Trishul heights, the Spangur area etc were the most beautiful places I ever saw. My brothers who bore the brunt of 62 war fought with minimum strength, underrated equipment; clothing not fit for that altitude and weather but their morale was high, their spirits were dauntless; their courage was rock solid even when the enemy kept chanting Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai. Today one finds the saying painted on many stones, “In the land of Lamas, don’t be gammas”, is absolutely true.

Be that as it may, China is huge, China is tough and of course China is strong in every way. That should not deter us from keeping that country at bay. These incidents which are happening are not really what their actual intentions might be as I reckon. There is something more sinister to it.  We got to be prepared to take China on. Are we ready? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

INDIA NEEDS TO UNITE WITHOUT A WAR

If there will be a war with either China or Pakistan or both in the near future, are we as a country ready to cope with it? The Armed Forces will do their best I am sure. What I am sceptic about are the people who are other than armed forces including me. Are they going to do their bit for India? I know this country always unites during wars. My question is will we unite as “Indians” without and before a war? What cost will we have to pay for this unity is the big question? Can we put India first? The consequences of war will take us back by more than 50 years. How will we plough back, the very thought gives me the shivers.

Natural calamities I can understand, do take a toll. What I am afraid of is the manmade disasters like goondaism, dadagiri, corruption, bribery, fraud, dishonesty in thought and action, lynching, stalking, agitations for reservations, etc as prevalent today. Why do we destroy national assets in case we want reservations? Why do we burn our transport and buildings if we want water? I feel in case of war some people still won’t change from doing such misdeeds. It needs a miracle to change our basic character. People will still make money by hoarding, by hiding things, by manipulating, by creating an artificial shortage of certain essential goods and services. War clouds can never be wished away but trickery and deceit can definitely be avoided for the sake of this nation. Chances are that the war clouds may not rain. However, in today’s times we better be prepared for a cloud burst. Death may fall from the sky as bombs during war. Enemy can target anything, so citizens of India let’s brace ourselves up for it. Let us join hands for the nation’s sake.

Let us be prepared for rationing and curtailing of our freedoms including the press. Rationing of food grains, fuel, clothing, transport, medical care, freight, railways, air space, internet, mobile telephony and you name it. Doesn’t it look scary? Doesn’t it sound outlandish? How will we function without internet or a mobile? How will it feel when military special trains will be given priority over super fast trains? How will it feel to live with black outs? There is a difference between power cut and black out. You will have electricity but can’t switch on lights. People will still switch lights on until a bomb will find their building. How will it be to live in trenches? How will it be when suddenly you are unemployed as your industry is obliterated in an air attack? Air raid sirens blowing, you shall be rushing to shelters? From your luxurious, chauffeur driven, air conditioned BMWs, you will be sharing space with 10 others in a hot and humid bomb shelter. How will it be when all facilities that one takes for granted are suddenly withdrawn? You will be checked, frisked and questioned. Your daily routes diverted and movement restricted. It will be difficult to imagine and unacceptable to most.

Let me ask another question here, how many of the able bodied men and women would volunteer to join the forces if need be? I will request all those who send mails and messages to change ones DP to the tri-colour on Independence Day and Republic Day to be ready to join the war effort. Saying it on face book and twitter is easy, doing it on ground needs guts. Trolling on social media is easy but assaulting the enemy on the battlefield is a tough job. To stalk a girl in Chandigarh is easy but to stalk the real enemy is never done the “Barala” way. Desh Bhakti doesn’t come from the free flowing ideas in JNU but it comes from within our Indianess. It comes from our soul and not from our tongue. Singing Vandematram and shouting Jai Hind is desh prem. Having tears in your eyes when lata sings “ai mere watan ke logo” is your feelings for the soldier. Standing up for the National Anthem is our duty. Desh Bhakti actually is when one understands the meaning of each of these compositions and slogans and inculcates them in ones lives and that is the need of the time.

I am ready to offer my services again if the nation needs them. We the veterans will definitely do our bit. I request all the corporate honchos who do lots of number crunching, graphs, pie charts etc to understand that all that is fighting on paper. All that may impress your bosses. All that may get you incentives. All that may get you various awards. If you people are such experts, please volunteer to do social service during war. Promise to be a sentry of a society at night. Promise you will not do any fraud whatsoever ever. Promise that you will not lie and fudge figures. Promise that you will pay your taxes truthfully for this country. Promise you will report every happening correctly as seen and not as perceived. Promise you will not back bite and back stab your fellow workers. Honesty has to come from within; unity has to be understood in its totality. Time now is to build “Desh Shakti”.

Be that as it may. Over the year luxuries of life have become necessities and we take them for granted as our birth right. I am sure my countrymen shall unite moment the balloon goes up. We have to anticipate things and be prepared mentally. We need to forget caste, creed, religion, region, language and any form of reservations. Bombs and bullets cannot differentiate any of these. We need to keep the independence of this country intact by doing our bit, war or no war. Will we? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

WISHING ALL MY FELLOW CITIZENS A VERY HAPPY 71ST INDEPENDENCE DAY

JAI HIND

LET ME CHANGE MY NAME

The jokes going around today is that we are soon going to change of name of Chowmein to lachhas of some kind to boycott anything Chinese and Rogan Josh to whatever. Will our love for the noodles die? Or will our stomachs revolt if we get something with a different name. Lesser said the better.

The pleasure we get in changing names of places, streets and roads etc is something which I don’t understand. As far as my memory goes as a kid, I remember JULLUNDER becoming JALANDHAR. This was very prominent on its railway station as we were frequent travellers unlike frequent fliers in those days. Our summer or winter holidays used to start with a steel trunk, a big holdall, a basket full of food, a surahi, loads of comics and long waits at Jalandhar for our connecting train. We were excited to see this change of name. As the train from Kapurthala chugged in, I had my eyes fixed at the board of the station which used to be the first thing one saw. My curiosity did not end at that till I dragged my dad to that board. The engraving of the old name was still there. The old name was clearly visible under the fresh paint. I am sure the old engraved name still exists even today on all boards as they too are part of our heritage.

What changed with the name, was it the location of the station? Was it the train timings? No. The ticket window remained at the same place. The milk booth did not shift. The aloo poori stalls did not change their menus; the water taps did not start pouring coca cola. The “pappar wali rehri” still sold papar. The cleanliness of the stations remained pathetic even after change of name. For the local folk the pronunciation remained the same even if the spellings in English had changed. As far as Punjabi was concerned the spellings in gurmukhi didn’t change. The only people who worked overtime were the painters. I am sure this painter would not know the English alphabet nor would have understood why this change. His job was to paint, that’s it.

My name has its own derivatives and people have called me Neol, Nawal, Novel, Nole, Navel, Ellie, Ellias, Alice, Alish, Elle, Elsh uffffff. In my unit many called me Elli Singh as I spoke fluent Punjabi. Did my character change? Did it make any difference to my personality? I tried changing my name in the Voter card thrice now but somehow these fellows have to make a mistake by interchanging a vowel or a consonant. Thank God my address and date of birth is correct and they allow me to vote and I vote for my candidate. My political affiliations don’t change.

I hope you people know where Rajiv Gandhi Chowk is in Delhi. Of course it is Connaught place. The auto wala will fleece you if you use the new name and may take you to your destination via Kirby place. Bombay became Mumbai and people take offence to calling it with a B. Fountain became Hutatma Chowk, Kings Circle became Maheshwari Udyan, Zoo became Jija Mata Udyan and Marine drive is Netaji Subhash Chandra Marg. What do we all call them in our daily conversation is the point I make? VT still remains VT and so does Jacob’s Circle. Some change I must say.

I used to love the name CAWNPORE now rhymes with ear-pur. As a child I have many memories of this mill and its chimney on which this name used to be written as ELGIN mills. I remember my mother used to pick up a lot of those white Turkish towels which were sold in the open market at dirt cheap prices. I believe Jubbulpore was one of the first to be renamed in 1947. Cochin, Madras, Waltair, Mysore, Bangalore etc are all in front of us with changed names. Has life transformed there? Has the infrastructure transformed the way of life? Has the name change cleaned the place better? By changing the name does governance improve? Does unemployment reduce? Does illiteracy vanish? Does health care come to your doorstep? I think all of you know the answers.

I am convinced that all the politics that goes into just changing names if devoted to things that are constructive would serve a better cause. If you try to obliterate history, it doesn’t happen. Faith, religion, beliefs, sentiments even if they take the centre stage we should preserve our heritage. Slowly and steadily I see our “virasat” turning to ruins as in case of most of the palaces. Our forts are falling apart, our heritage buildings slowly decaying; our names are going into oblivion. If just by changing a name our destiny can change, nothing like it but if it is done only for cosmetics and the heck of it, then is it worth it, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

RAKHI A FINE THREAD

It is touching gesture to see ladies tie Rakhi’s to people of the Armed Forces. There are so many who make lovely handmade Rakhis and send them across to soldiers guarding the borders. I salute this love and affection and this warm gesture. This is true culture of India. This shows all those who many not be directly or indirectly related to people of the armed forces show solidarity with an unknown person, on an unknown mission, in a God forsaken place to feel that people are with me, people love me and care for me. Above all he gets the morale boost that he has to carry out his duty even better as now he is duty bound to protect all those who have taken time out to remember their “God Brother’s”.

I have seen moist eyes with tears on the brims when soldiers remember their beloved ones and especially sisters. The tears are a symbol that we too are humans and have feelings and care when they remember folks back home. Tears are for sisters who used to tease them, sisters who have now got married and gone away, sisters who are no more walking the earth, sisters who were their best companions; sisters who gave all the instructions till one got married. Many of the soldiers don’t have sisters but feel a sense of pride that now they too have one. It is sentimental friends, it is moving.

Be that as it may, behind the brave face that a soldier puts up is actually a wax like heart. He might appear tough in front of the enemy but a small letter from home melts him down. A soldier when he sometimes comes across a child who resembles his younger sister or even daughter actually wants to lift her up and throw her in the air and catch her like he used to do back home but his duty prevents to show his emotions. His feelings don’t change even if that child is related to a militant or any other family. This I speak from my own experience while deployed for OP Parakram. My six month old child did not know why papa is going or where is he leaving for. She could never question me as to why do you have to leave me when I need you most. She could not even speak then. Every child I came across, I used to remember her and felt like hugging the child, to play, to blabber, to make the child laugh, tickle her just to get a feel that through this child I feel at home.

The oath that a brother takes is to safe guard his sisters and to keep them away from harm’s way. It does not translate on ground. Sisters are murdered, raped tortured and groped everywhere. Therefore, I ask this question why can’t this promise be fulfilled by the people who are is positions in the government to look after women in particular. Don’t the women of this country want freedom to move freely, wear what they like, study what they like, work in which ever shift they want to, make friends with boys and feel safe in this country? I have a feeling that it happens because my sister is my sister and rest of the ladies I don’t care. If anyone who dares to cast a dirty look at my sister, I will tear him apart but if the same thing when happens to someone else’s sister, I will leave the scene as why should I get involved in it.

What about ladies who don’t have brothers or fathers or husbands. What about ladies who cannot protect themselves. What about ladies who are infirm, or differently abled. Who will look after them? I think it is the citizens and people in politics who are responsible to give ladies the confidence that they are free citizens of this country. Therefore, the onus of repaying the commitment when this band is tied on a minister’s wrist doubles. He has to ensure that the policing set up and vigilance to protect ladies is top class. The politicians are totally accountable and responsible for their safety and freedom. They shall fail in their duty and promise of Rakhi, if they can’t deliver on women’s safety.

Ladies and gentlemen many of us have daughters. They will walk into this mad bad world as they grow in age. They will be career women, home makers, soldiers, sportswomen etc tomorrow. Why can’t we give them a tension free life, a free atmosphere, a country with a broad minded mindset, the freedom to feel as a privileged citizen of this country rather than a person, who constantly remains in fear of being ogled, molested or being looked down upon?

This can only happen when our temples of democracy decide that time now has come to change. Time now has come to ensure that this change in mindset is brought about in their constituencies. The way PM Sahib is concentrating winning hearts and minds of voters for elections; I would suggest this same team should also concentrate on safety and security of women. All elected representatives should take a vow that they will not allow anything to happen to any lady under their jurisdiction. For this what means and methods they want to employ I leave it to them. Remember dear sirs, the soldier will never let the women of this country down but this thread of love tied on your wrist should not be just symbolism, it should translate into action. Will the brothers listen? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

BAN EVERYTHING CHINESE

I have been seeing posts and videos saying that let us stop buying Chinese products. This Diwali we shall not use any lights or Rakhi’s made in China. Instead some people are emphatically propagating to buy pure Indian products only. Well, we have been hearing of make in India, made in India, made for India, made by Indians and many such slogans. The reality is that we in India do not make goods which match the prices of Chinese goods. What we make don’t even last as long as a made in China product. The quality in our products is lacking. Cost of our product is also unaffordable, thus forcing us to look for alternatives elsewhere. We Indians also have a tendency to buy products which have an imported stamp. It may be made in Korea, US or Timbuktu; we love to buy that stuff or am I conjecturing too much. This, the inner voice in you can only tell.

Let us see the car purely made in India. The poor Ambassador has finally died its own death. The old work horse of the taxi people and the Indian Army, Hindustan Motors finally shut shop. HMT watches, where are they? I wore one with pride many moons back. Today, we hear of Bharat-Benz, Maruti-Suzuki, Ashok-Leyland, Swaraj-Mazda etc. These names are related to a foreign product or are in partnership with them. So are many of the banks. The Fords, Toyotas, Mercs and Hondas are pure foreign brands. Computers too are assembled in India. Name a brand which is pure Indian in mobiles or doesn’t use imported products in its components. For industries many chemicals are ex-import, technology is ex import, raw material too is ex import. Lesser said the better.

Take apparels, take cosmetics, take any product and you will find a foreign hand in that. I am not propagating Baba Ramdev products, though I love his biscuits and Sarson ka tel but just food for thought that we love to enjoy all things foreign. How many of us wear Khadi? I am sure there would be many. Our markets opened up, our currency stood its ground and products which were unheard of in India now are available at affordable prices.

Take the defence equipment. Aircrafts are American, French or Russian, tanks are Russian, missiles from Israel; war ships and submarines are from Britain, Russia or France. Bofors is ex import, Tatra is ex import, BMP is ex import, most of our ammunition is ex import, special clothing is ex import, parachutes are ex import but our land is indigenous. AK-47, bullet proof jackets are ex import, but our spirit to operate all these is pure Indian. We just won the tank competition in Russia standing first amongst 19 countries driving and firing the Russian T-90. I salute all our tank men in black dungarees for this achievement. We adapt ourselves to any equipment very quickly and master its use.

If we talk of the trade deficit with China, it stands at around 46.7 billion dollars today. My goodness Gracious Lord, this must be many ship load full of dollars. How will we get out of it? How will we reduce it? How will we find means to balance it out? Well there are many economists who will work it out for us. The figure of those many billions appears as if India has to pay back China that amount. If we don’t pay we all are going to die by the Chinese torture method. The feeling this word trade deficit gives me is as if we are sunk and the burden to return that money back is my responsibility. Soon time will come when the atta we eat would be Chinese. As it is they are making artificial rice, eggs and vegetables. Well, I have the PM & the Industries Minister to look into the specifics of trade and the Finance Minister to pay for all that. Should I bother?

Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is we are importing more and exporting less. This doesn’t mean that we are not paying for what we are importing. Only thing is that we are not earning as many dollars as we should be earning through export. Let us start producing world class stuff so that it gets consumed within the domestic markets and meets the needs of our population and export. Today, if we even have to import dal, wheat and onions, isn’t it an irony. We have not been able to make cold storage chains to preserve our surplus. Our grains rot in FCI godowns and we talk of trade deficit.

Well friends by just boycotting Chinese products we are doing a lot of harm to the traders who have already paid for it. The item is already in India, it has been paid for because we only demanded it. Some trader facilitated it. We got things at price of dirt. The trader also made a profit. It did not hurt your pocket either and now suddenly you say that don’t but anything made in China. Is it fair? Let’s give a date after which all Chinese imports officially are stopped? Traders to dispose of items till a particular date, then take him to task. I say let us stop buying anything imported. Period!

Let us get after the government to set up a mechanism so that imported items are banned till the Indian mindset gets used to using and enjoying everything Indian. All trade deficits will evaporate. Today we export Iron ore. Is there a justification for it? Why this product can’t be used in house and iron made cheaper for iron and steel industry to flourish. Why do we allow import of scrap and kill this industry. Then as a stop gap measure we increase the import duty on iron scrap so that the domestic market picks up. This is only a knee jerk reaction with no long term strategy in place.

Well it is not as simple as I am portraying it. Can we exchange products for manpower? I don’t know. By boycotting things won’t resolve issues with China. By setting up a clear goal for use of Indian products vis-a-vis Chinese and other imported products can we sort this out?  China has banned whatsapp and twitter. Do it in India and see the results. Half of us will be on the verge of committing suicide if not murder. I have also seen posts on calculations of the number of products, revenue generated from it and how if we stop it will hurt China. Agreed, if you don’t buy from one shop then you have to have an alternative. Similarly, China will look for another client for its products. It definitely has the capacity to survive without selling to us. So let us make classy Indian products at affordable prices for the common man. Can we? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

AIR INDIA AND ITS NEWSPAPERS

Kripiya kya aap mujhe galiyare main jane ki jagh denge, mujhe mutr visarjan karne jana hai. I said I have heard of murti visarjan, asti visarjan, what is this mutr visarjan? My imagination started running wild, that look at this lady she now is going to drop dirty kitanoo like things from this aircraft. What about swach bharat? What if Amitab bachhan comes to know that people are doing it in air also? Well she said you bloody fool haven’t you seen the movie 3 idiots, where this “Mutr” word was used. I apologised to her and asked her that ma’am how come you spoke in such chaste Hindi to say a simple thing that kindly allow me to get to the isle to use the wash room. Of course what you do there I leave it to you. My sah yatri blushed and said well, I was forced to read this Hindi news paper and my thoughts started to wander off to shudh Hindi. Well, ma’am I said, you are lucky, though my mother tongue is Hindi I could not understand half of what you meant. Had you known my name you wouldn’t have dared to say all this in Hindi to me. She said why, I said form my looks I resemble a Thambi and from my name people take me to be Goan. She said I agree.

Hmmmm, she then cursed me and gave me a dirty look because while we were in this deep-deep conversation the Hawai sundaris brought in shudh shakahari bhojan in their bhojan ka thelas. This lady sitting next to me was getting fidgety to go, so I requested the hostess that the lady here has an issue and she wants to go to the wash room. The sundari was an auntie; she folded her hands in Namaste style and told this lady to hold on till they finish their formalities of bhojan vittran. I asked the sundari, madam, what do you have for non vegetarians, she said she has the main door, I said what do you mean and she said catch a bird, I understood that this “bird” doesn’t get the pun, nor is interested in any fazool ki vartalaap. I had no choice but to relish pure Indian Kanda Poha along with asli makhan-amul makhan, and jaam. I asked her give me a bun, she looked at me and frowned, how dare you call this a bun, it is the pure Marathi Pav. Ask for one pav I might give you two. I said mala pav denaar nayi kaye, she said thamba veil lagil. Basically shut up and wait for your turn and don’t maro line on me. I looked at my co-passenger and she looked at the news paper I was reading. It was “Pudari” a Marathi one. I had transformed in one flight. She was impressed.

Well, our flight was of about an hour, while these sundaris were serving there were three more in the isle who were trying to tell us how to fasten our seat belts since take off. In fact there was one standing next to me. I told her yaar we are now mid way of our journey, put on some music, she curtly reprimanded me to learn to behave and listen to the peti jakarne aur kholne ki instructions. I said petticoat hota to sunta bhi, peti agar noton se bhari ho to chalega, ye kya khel hai kabhi peti bandhne ka sanket on and kabhi sanket off. She told me in pure bambaiya hindi, yede chup chap baith kar kursi ki peti bandh le, kuch ho gaya to baad main mat bolna madam ne bataya nahi. I thought to myself crash ho gaya to main peti bandhunga ki kholunga. She announced that Air India main ye peti wali  ghoshna (announcement) kam se kam 20 hindustani bhasaon main hogi. Jis main samajh jao vo theek. I kept waiting for the “prastuti” in English but by then we landed. I looked up towards the sky as if to ask God save me from this atyachaar (torture). God said beta ye Modi ji ka raj hai, us ko jo karna hai vo karega. Tu chup chap pav maska kha aur kat le. I said dhanya ho bhagawan aap ne gyan diya, I will have to think of going by loh-pat-gamini next time. Us main na peti, na petticoat, jo karna hai karo, jo khana hai khao aur jidhar jo visarjan karna hai karo.

This came in my dream yesterday so I thought I must share my dream with you all that soon on our National carrier we will get news papers in 7-8 Indian languages. Well, though I take pride in my mother tongue and I am fluent with quite a few other Indian languages too but this is stretching a little too far. This way soon you may find the aircraft like a train where one English news paper is distributed amongst 5-6 people and then you exchange pages. At the end of the day one will have an assorted newspaper like a fruit chaat. I think I have dreamt too much, I need to have my “chota hazri” and then get ready for office. Will someone get hold of this fellow in the DGCA and tell him to grow up or else we shall carry our own raddi in the language we understand from home itself. Why give newspapers in the first place? Will someone visarjan karo my vichaar in “Assaan Bhasha” to the concerned authorities? Will air India hence forth also change its name to HAWA BHARAT, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

TOO MUCH OF POLITICS IN MY LIFE

Politics, politics and more of politics is dominating the whole scenario in the country. Though politicians are meant to do politics but now every citizen is doing politics. In fact politics now is a loosely used word associated with corruption, unfair means, manipulating, back biting, rumours, polarisation etc. Everyone wants a piece of the pie without making much effort by just doing politics. The only effort most of us do is to get hold of a politician and involve him in the game plan.

Getting educated was supposed to be an act of learning but today for an admission politics starts. You join a college, you better be part of a student’s union which is backed by some political party. What to wear, what to study, what to eat, what to teach and how to teach is all dominated by politics. All educational institutions get politicised somehow. Merit is considered after politics. Teachers and professors who are supposed to shape the future of this country are dragged into the world of politics.

Say one is educated, now to find a job you got to find a politician first. Politician’s pull-push, his goonda element matters besides the power of the pink coloured notes you can shower. You get a job then the local politics of your workplace takes over. Initially, they will not let you settle down, moment you make a sincere and honest effort to highlight issues of inefficiency in your workplace, politics against you starts. You now become the target of rumours. You have to change your job due to unnecessary pressure and tensions. Politics will again come into play when you as an outsider are shortlisted in another company. News spreads like wild fire that an outsider has been considered.  Dharna’s, threats, news paper campaigns by local political parties become a pain to handle. You may stand rejected even if you are the most deserving candidate.

Armed forces too have been dragged into politics. Politicians are firing from the shoulders of the soldier’s salvo after salvo. Soldiers die for this country day in and day out but political sermons of cutting out rations continue. Though praises keep flowing but when it comes to giving relief to this man, politics takes over. The politicians and the people who control the politicians do not let the armed forces live with the dignity they deserve. Well, politicians who have no knowledge of warfare, tactics or military equipment are the last word for the forces as to what will they eat, if they get to eat, what will they wear, what will they fire and with what will they fire, when will they fire, at whom they can fire. They also lay a rider if you fire and kill there will be an FIR against you and if you don’t fire and die we won’t even come and pay our last respects. Politicians run to the military with folded hands when things get out of their hands or when they come for votes. They however fail to hold the hand of the man in uniform who not only keeps him safe from external and internal aggression but allows him such a free hand called political freedom.

Law and order though being a state subject has now got politically manipulated. In case the policemen take a stand they are humiliated in public by the politicos. Postings of people have the blessings of the politicians.  Same is with the builder-political nexus and builder-police nexus. Politics is done best if money flows or the “yes sir three bags full sir” system is in vogue. Am I conjecturing too much or is there just smoke and no fire in what I say?

Today, politics is discussed on every goddamn channel available on air. There is a certain group of politicians who can be seen parallel on multiple channels. They can say something on one channel, throw a red herring on another, blame the opposition on the next and just keep mum on a channel which doesn’t tow their line. They deflect, divert, obfuscate, turn, twist, side track, deny, confuse, complicate, puzzle and lie openly and blatantly. Even the dogs in the drawing room know that this discussion is nothing but bak-bak politics. The poor fellow whines and whimpers to switch channels as he doesn’t want to be “dogged down” with such belittling politics on TV.

I am waiting for the day in my India when I will see constructive politics both by the opposition and the ruling party. Dirty politics has destroyed our fabric thread by thread since independence. I am waiting to see the opposition debating an idea rather than finding faults in a person. Criticism is not a big shake but positive criticism definitely is in political circles at least. Today, I as common man can see through the ploy of blame game politics. If things are to change then politicians need to be above board if they want this country to progress.

If politics is everything on which this whole country hinges on, from policies, to regulations, to laws, to legislation, then I feel that there needs to be proper training and grooming of these politicians. I respect the mandate of the people as they pass the first test to win elections. All of us passed our entrance exams and then were trained in what we did so that everyone was on the same grid, then why not for politicians. Why not put these politicians through their paces. To be called leaders they have to be trained irrespective of their family back ground. Will they agree? This is food for thought.

Today the opposition has been decimated so badly that they don’t matter in policy making at all. If at this pace things continue, opposition will get wiped out in the near future. That will be another disastrous day in Indian politics. It will be anarchy and no more democracy which needs to be understood. The complications also arise when the center and state don’t vibe. The federal structure is also under threat, unless everyone is thinking India first. Politics cannot be above India.

Over all I see we are a politically confused nation as we don’t actually know what politics is all about and how it should be done; which the politician takes advantage of. Politicians tend to forget that it is the peoples will that they have come to execute. They play with our sentiments and we allow them because we become helpless once the ballot is cast. Till we the people understand politics and the politician’s game plan, till we ensure that the politician does what needs to be done for us and make him accountable to “we the people” for every paisa we pay as tax, we will continue to be victims of political manipulation.  Are we willing to take the politicians on? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KOI LAUTA DE MERE BEETAY HUE DIN

I remember as far as my memory goes mom used to take care of all small little things in life that one just took for granted. From waking me up, to bathing me, to dressing me up, making breakfast and tiffin, polishing the shoes, filling the water bottle, (though one drank from any tap or hand pump in those days), checking homework, tying the knot of the tie, ensuring the school badges are put correctly, check all the books were in the satchel, last minute peeling the pencil with “her” spare sharpener, knowing mine must be hiding in the mystic maze of my school bag. Let there be a button missing she could produce one and stitch it in a jiffy.  I used to dilly dally, refusing to dress up. I would hide my belt sometimes. I would lie on the floor and “faaat” used to come a tight slap. Simple words, behave or I call dad used to turn the tables. Drink your milk or else the dog is waiting and the milk used to go glug glug down the gullet. A neat little hanky used to be attached with a safety pin on the shirt with instructions to blow my nose, who cared. A small prayer at the door was the norm.  She never forgot to give a curt reminder to bring back my tiffin which I forgot yesterday. The list is endless and all this was done like clockwork and a whirlwind.

Moment you left the house your world was different, your school friends became the world. Maths teacher was the most dreaded one, the moral science teacher used to be the sweetest one; the best period in the day was games period, followed by arts and crafts. Pine cones used to be footballs during recess, every stray dog was a target for throwing stones. One odd fight a day used to be routine. How difficult it must be for mom in those days without washing machines, I can imagine now. Your tiffin was for friends and friend’s tiffin was for you. Lovely days they were!

How I got inspired to write this piece was that yesterday while on our weekly shopping trip to the market I observed a few kids.  After having had my hair cut I was waiting for my wife to join me and these kids in the street were ready to play night cricket under the street lights, five six of them, ranging from 5-8 years of age. I couldn’t help but laugh because I had been there for more than ten minutes and they could not decide how to toss. The toss winner was supposed to bat I assume, so one of them picked up a shiny packet of “gutka” with mangoes (AMBA) printed on it on one side. They agreed to throw it up in the air. “AMBA”, was the call by both teams and AMBA it was but then how can both win the toss. In the mean time one chap brought a thrown away carton to make the wickets, so they decided to call the toss once again after a heated discussion on who will call as I assume all were captains of their own kind. So one chap again called amba and he lost the toss. Well, he had the bat so he decided that sorry this is no way can a toss be held. So one sensible chap suggested yaar lets not waste time and finish with the toss as it might rain in another minute. It was no less than the national team so toss had to be done I suppose.

This time they decided to throw that gutka wrapper higher and they did. The wrapper got caught in a gust of wind and landed up in a wet mud pile standing straight. The road is under construction that’s how they were playing on the main road. So another controversy started. Heated debate and parleys, so ultimately they decided to flip a coin. Issue was none of them had a coin. Now how do they toss without a coin? Again discussions and debate to change the mode of toss and they found a piece of mirror with a deep orange colour on one side. Up it went in the air and down it came and got shattered, shattering the toss again. Now things were getting out of hand. Standing and watching the chaos and commotion took me back to my days. Then one of them approached me “uncle ek rupya cha nane hai kaye” (Uncle do you have a one rupee coin). I being the only vela and the only spectator was the person they approached. I peeped in my purse, unfortunately there was not a single coin inside, I meekly said “naye” (No) and sheepishly grinned at them. Just then I heard my wife say good haircut, I said thank God you came to my rescue and both of us scooted from there. Those kids must be thinking what a “fokatia” chap this guy is. Only thing he has is a big mush.

Well, nostalgia set in the way we used to write numbers under the bat and draw straight lines outside keeping the bat face down to decide the order to bat in the good old days. “Koi lauta de mere beetay hue din”. Well, I relived them seeing those kids yesterday. Would you like to relive them too? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

FAUJ KA RATION AUR MODIJI KA BHASHAN

Today the social media circuit of the fauji kind is full of “Ration pe Bhashan”. What all rations will discontinue in what all military stations is matter of grave concern I suppose. Most of the officers are worried about their bai’s running away, for obvious reasons. I can vouch for it that my free rations were the biggest spoiler of our maid’s figure. Well, rice we didn’t eat. Bread was given in lieu of atta. Oil was toooo refined. Butter was not good for health said the doc. Daal’s were too stony. Cheese, we kept begging the supply depots yaar pleeease give us a reason to say cheese. Ek Murgi ke saath do anda used to come free as so called chicken used to be a yucky “egg layer” and not “broiler”. Meat was always malnourished and injected with water. Bhindi used to reach us as bhindi dry. Potatoes could go straight to the pot as they were automatically peeled in transit. Gobi was mostly fired. Palak came to us as squashed soup and so on. This I am talking of a decade back of the condition of our wonderful rations. Today, my ASC friends might take offence to it but never mind.

The other issue which bothered me was that fresh rations were collected for a week, so rivers of milk used to flow as minimum seven packets had to be collected. One could now make paneer, kheer or curds choice was yours. In summers by the time the milk from the military farms (MF) reached us it was mostly curdled. The fat percentage used to be just above the threshold of the minimum required to call it milk, balance used to be SNF (solid not fat) a term I picked up as DQ, notwithstanding the water content. Our child refused to drink the MF milk as it used to taste “different” from the pure cow’s milk we could get from the civil.

I remember I was deployed in the outskirts of Srinagar valley and my post was a four hour walk from the road head. Imagine the plight of chickens as they would have travelled many kilometres to reach our admin base. By the time they used to reach my post most of them were dead. My Senior JCO suggested that Sir let us send a chicken detachment (det) to the base. I asked for what, he said sir; they will cut and clean them before they died. As I was a pure man eater kind found logic in his wisdom and sent a det from the company HQ who’s only job used to be cutting chicken, plucking chicken feathers and sending them up as dressed chicken. My boys used to hang 10 chickens each on a bamboo with their necks blobbing up and down as they travelled up to the post. What a sight!

Then we had an MOH category (Meat on Hoof). The sheep and goats of Rajasthan used to travel more than 500 miles away from home to reach the base. They used to go mad on setting hoof on terra-ferma. From deserts to my post they used to go berserk eating the green-green grass of the greenest pastures. All the starving they had done while travelling in military vehicles used to be made up by eating anything green including our dress. Notwithstanding that within a week they used to grow fat and were sent up through the half link patrol. My anxiousness used to keep increasing with every passing hour when this patrol used to get delayed. On reaching the post I used to find at least two boys almost fainting, reason used to be that they had to carry the damn sheep on their shoulders because they refused to walk in this altitude and mountainous conditions. Worst is that most of them caught a cold on arrival. While inspecting them one could see the long greenish squishy liquid oozing out of their noses. I used to call the nursing assistant and tell him to give a few “paracetamols’ each for one week and report back when their noses were nice and shiny having acclimatised with cold conditions and altitude. Then only they were ready to feast on. Meat and rum issue was ultimate.

In high altitude one got used to tinned rations. Given a choice the companies would tin anything that moved. We had tinned tuna, meat and chicken in all forms, all fruits including some I had never heard the names of, in sweet sticky syrup. Then there used to be lot of this dry stuff. Dry and dehydrated onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, even egg powder. With egg powder we used to make tons of bujia for the whole company in the mornings. Beans never used to cook even after two days in a pressure cooker. Milk powder was used as “choona” to mark the volley ball court or make gulab jamuns. Dry fruits, no one cared to eat as they gave a bad rumbling tummy. Of course, how can I forget Milk Maid, the best of thing we used to enjoy! Condensed milk was the only reason to fight with my wife when she had joined me at Lukung post (Pangongtso) many many moons back.

Well, the last ten years I never had a chance to crib for what I ate, as I ate what I bought. I do not know is it psychological to say that the army rations were not good. I remember my wife being a good baker and used to make excellent cakes out of the tray of eggs we used to keep getting off and on, as I had declared myself a vegetarian as far as the free fauji rations were concerned. The extra milk always came in handy for puddings which are now off my menu as sugar is catching up but give me tipsy, I shall break all rules and to hell with sugar.

So my dear fauji folks, you guys may have to survive on “Maggie” of the Ramdev kind in peace stations. The calculations of ration allowance with the taxes being cut at source due to the implementation of the GST would be good enough to get half a plate of Gol Guppas per week. The issue is when you get rations you crib, now that you won’t get rations there is more to crib about. This will help all of us to take care of the indigestion which is going to be a fall out of the free ration ban.

Modi ji ka lamba bhashan aur fauj ka tagra ration (Modiji’s long speech and army’s strong ration) have no meaning whatsoever, sab dikhava (all show biz). As the saying goes, atta bhi mehnga, chini bhi mehengi, mehanga har saman, fir bhi mera Bharat Mahan. Achhe din kab ayenge? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SIXTY SIX MIXED FEELINGS

Mama I don’t want to go to office today was the first thing that came to my mind as the alarm rang this morning. I was feeling uncomfortable, miserable and down. The feeling was the same when after the term break one had to go for the first muster. I remember we used to count DLTGH, cutting away, smudging those dates in our diaries, on our tables, inside our drawers, behind every note book of which ever subject we had. It used to be a dilemma that should I cut today’s date tomorrow morning or should I cut it today itself. On the way back to NDA one got that kind of eerie feeling which I had while going to office today. Never in my life have I felt so home sick. We used to dread to get to NDA especially in those “faded OG” TATA busses. How we used to rush to get a seat on the newer type ones. That feeling which used to come moment Khadakwasla used to come in sight was the feeling that came afresh after ages. I want to start striking off dates for the next one today onwards, hopefully on a cruise. I shall be there with my wife and daughter for sure.

Friends, I took an additional day leave after coming here as the hangover of the dose of friendship, camaraderie, bonhomie, fellowship, association, love and bonding we shared was still fresh in my brains. The laughter which roared from every group if calculated in terms of energy released could have flown the “Tejas” to Pakistan, decimated it and come back. If we packed the good vibrations of that cheer in forms of bombs and attach them to Sukoi’s we could devastate our enemies with a force greater than the nuclear bombs which fell on Japan. The atmosphere was so strong in positive energy that words cannot fathom. I was falling short of words because I did not want the event to end. I know what the organisers would have gone through weaving such an experience for us. Notwithstanding the pressure on them and the nitty-gritty’s being meticulously looked into. The man who took the onus to organise it deserves a grand kudos. All that followed was the true espirit-de-corps of being part of the great course called 66. A grand salute to every course mate who attended and his family for enriching our lives. At least 10 years have been added for sure.

It was first time in my life that I was claimed by two squadrons equally in this get together. When I was told to leave Charlie squadron ages back, my heart weighed a ton but could not help it. India Squadron became my second home thanks to my course mates. I remember the way I was welcomed in India Squadron. It was evening tea time; the hustle and bustle was at its peak as the cadets were reporting back from term break. Appointments were already in, so were people like me who were on restrictions, plus there were some like “Kathpalia” who had come for GCI. Cabin allotted to me was on the ante-room side facing the parade ground. His cabin was the corner cabin in line as the bathroom. I was walking with my mug of tea into my cabin when I heard, hey you! I gave a dirty look and went inside. As I was about sip my tea in that red plastic mug there was a fanatic knock on the door. You bloody Bas***d, didn’t you hear me, wake me up at 4.30 tomorrow morning. I opened the door; I was in my gown and nothing else underneath. You Fu***r don’t you know me, as I opened the cabin door. I said no I don’t and go and hop for all I care. His rage and fury knew no bounds, come outside and start rolling you son of a glitch. I shut the door again and sat down to have my tea. By then due to the commotion CQ and CSM landed up and told him, yaar he is a fifth not a second termer and mind you he has been sent here after being duly marched up to COM for the charge of manhandling. Kathpalia made me his pal instantly and offered to wake me up whenever it was convenient to me. I lived in peace ever after.

Well, nostalgia creeps all over me as I have yet to come to terms that the get together is over. Thank you my dear organisers, you all were fantabulus. My wife and daughter are still in no mood to either cook or go to school. The new friends we made and the charming ladies I met cannot be cupped together in two palms like one does to water. ACA of the ladies kind must remember that I am a discipline case, so, not easy to control and handle but cheers to her effort. As she was listing out suggestions for improvements for the next bash at the airport, the only suggestion which came to my mind was that the horses should smell better, Johnny is witness to that. Narpat don’t mind as this is on the lighter side, because with the amount of food, snacks and liquid we ate and drank, we could only blame our smelly farts on the horses and muffled the musical farty notes in different octaves under the roar of the tornado’s.

My sincere thanks to each person behind the scenes, the bands, the working parties, the drivers, the cooks, waiters and maslachi’s, the house keepers’ et al. Though we the RSI kinds were separated by locations but were united in the spirit of 66. Jaws still hurt, eyes get moistened both by the thought of the laughter we shared and the ache of separating from the bonds we made. So my friends let me say Au revoir, Dasvidaniya, sayonara, till we meet again. We have to meet again. Cheers friends and “girl friends”, hipipip hurray 66.

IN CASH AND BODY BAGS A SOLDIER PAYS HIS TAXES

 

I was going through the summary of the GST bill sent to me on social media. I came to know that it has been tabled as a “money bill”. Well it is all about money going out of my pocket so I tried to find out what does it mean. Folks I gave up moment I saw the text of the money bill. I suggest don’t waste your time looking at it. The gist is that Rajya Sabha has just to go through certain paces for formality sake on such bills. People there may fret and fume and pick faults in the bill but the last laugh will be had by Sir Jaitley and his team in the Lok Sabha as they can show a “THENGA” to the upper house. What the states are going to do is obviously clear. Resistance might be there from only non BJP states, so dear common man will it be good, bad or ugly for you, time will tell.

Be that as it may. I would like to know, will there be only one tax on my Colgate and Thums up? Not that I use any. Will my carry home income increase with this bill? Will my income tax reduce? Will goods be cheaper? Will availability of items increase from the PM to my Bai who may prefer to use a “daatun” instead of paste. For PM Sahib it is herbal and natural besides Baba Ramdev recommends it and for my bai it’s free and readily available from the jungle. No VAT and this that needs to be paid.

FM Sahib, you pay me a pay/pension depending whether I am serving or retired and you tax it at source. I have no issues with that. Then you lay down how much will be tax free and how much won’t be. No issues with that too. Then you lay down income slabs on a sliding scale, I grant you that also. You also give me ways and means to save my money under 80-100cc category or whatever. Tell me one thing, if I have to earn to save why I earn in the first instant. If I have to earn and put it back in a scheme then why is my pay scale fixed? Why don’t you lay down that this much amount will be reduced, this will be put in compulsory saving till you retire, and this much I will take back for the government? Period! Why do you want me to fill forms and show you how much you gave me and how much I owe you and how much I have paid you back, and in case if I don’t pay by 31st March you further add a penalty to it. What nonsense this is! My pay scales are fixed by you, then why keep deducting. Do it once for all and save me this tension of filing returns. Half the times I am posted at places where you don’t provide me the net and most of the times how hard I try I can’t make out head or tail what to fill in where, though you claim filing is a cake walk. My foot! Please save me this agony also sir like you are doing for the GST. Tax me once and then let me relax for life time.

I have some more issues with you sir. OK fine you tax my pay, pension now you tax my pension plus pay as I am now working for a corporate. Firstly, you put me at a disadvantage when I come to the civil world as I am seen as a person with double income. They don’t realise I gave 25 years or more for this nation unflinchingly and earned my pension. Secondly, certain people don’t want to pay taxes as they say most of it goes in the pay and pensions of people like me and the balance goes to feed all “sarkari damads” like the parliamentarians. Out of every rupee only some part reaches the beneficiary rest is siphoned off due to your enacted laws and poor administrative controls. I can forgive them as they know not what they say about me but you all need to find answers for your part.

If I have paid you the tax which was due on my pay and say I save some of it which I put it in FD, you charge me tax on its interest also. What the hell? Then you add that interest to my rest of the income and tax it again. If the scale tips over to the next tax bracket there is a quantum jump on the tax which I have to dish out. I decide to buy a house from my savings. I pay you tax again including all swach bharat, beti parhao, kissan cess etc. The bank’s loan me the amount and charge me interest where as my pay comes in that bank only.  You give me a tax rebate equivalent to peanuts on housing loan, where do I go? When builders fund you and your parties then no one opens his mouth but the builder opens his mouth wide when he charges me with all taxes and cess’ and half the thing he wants under the table. I buy a vehicle and for that I pay registration fee, insurance, road tax, environment tax and you name it. I paid so much of income tax to built roads then you charge me road tax besides you don’t let me off without paying toll tax too. Is it right? I go to a dhaba I pay no taxes on what I eat. I go to a restaurant and the last five lines are taxes and charges for what I ate. Depending on the type of eatery, they charge many times the amount for the ambiance and a waiter and you want me to pay the government of India for giving my daughter a treat. Isn’t it ironical FM sahib? I don’t mind paying for a rail ticket as the railways have definitely improved; unfortunately there has been an accident today.

If you really see the soldiers, they actually are paying taxes to the nation by putting their lives at stake for you people who don’t understand their worth and treat them as cannon fodder. One political decision to sort out Kashmir has been delayed by you for donkey’s years. How many more body bags would be sufficient? How many lost legs and limbs do you want? How many widows and orphans do you want for this nation to run in terms of taxes my dear sirs? Don’t we protect you in the close cordons when you as MPs move around in bullet proof cars? A man hangs on to a modified footrest to protect you and still you want us to pay taxes. If you are the chosen one of the people why do you need any protection from your own people?

You have one rank called MP, with one pay and one pension. You thrive on our money and want us to pay you both in cash and body count, how sad! You keep getting paid as you never feel like retiring. We soldiers take oath to dedicate ourselves to the nation even at the peril of our lives and you people want us to perpetually remain in peril and continue to be martyred without you people being harmed. We obey the rules laid down by you and you snatch away what we earn. We are still magnanimous to give you back enough in taxes and personal sacrifices, which you mismanage for obvious reasons. Some of us luckily survived, we have grown old and weak and silently sit at Jantar Mantar peacefully to make you realise that it is high time you gave us our due sirs. Are you listening yea members of parliament? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHO CARES FOR MOM

Today it is shutters down for the milkmen and the sabziwalas of Maharashtra. The Bhindi which was selling at 20 bucks a kg has shot up to 80. Thank God I had picked up a big 50 kg bori of onions so at least my dal will have a tarka but rest of the vegetables and milk prices have sky rocketed. My milkman has gone out of coverage area. Even after repeated calls one gets to hear the same recorded message. I am sure he needs to sell milk but he is under pressure if he carries those two small little dolus to our place. Drain cocks of milk vans have been opened on the roads so let us no more cry over spilt milk. Doodh ki nadiyan (rivers of milk) were bahoing literally. Any vendor trying to sneak in with veges was also being targeted. Well, I do not see anything but vegetarian in milk and vegetables. Then why are we creating such a hullabaloo. Well friends of all the things it is the cow, leather and beef responsible.

 

For things non vegetarian, the vegetarians are going to suffer. People like me will still continue to relish fish and chicken but what are the vegetarians going to eat if this agitation continues. Reason is a self created save the cow policy. We still have not moved from the middle ages of guy hamari mata hai. So let mom be mom and she needs to be respected irrespective whether the poor man dies without his basic needs of food. Let the children be deprived of the milk they deserve. Let the cobbler use plastic and ragzine to mend your shoes, let the “mothers” roam on the road and be hit by trucks and cars. Let mothers eat the poly bags lying on the streets. Let us Indians suffer at the hands of another kind of extremism. Let us have an independent state of “guyistaan”. Like the ISIS now we have footprints of GRIS (Gow Rakshaks of Indian State) creating mayhem.

 

Is all this making any sense to anyone? Can a country whose PM is visiting countries which eat beef as their staple diet be boycotted to protest against their anti India feelings? When something happens to an animal whom I consider to be my mother shouldn’t India go to war with them? Shouldn’t India ban all products and produce of that nation? Shouldn’t India take this matter up with the UN or ask for a Cow protection force to monitor atrocities on cows. Shouldn’t India ask for aid from all countries who support us with green grass, fodder and cattle feed for the millions of cows that it has to look after. Shouldn’t India ban the “vilaayati-mem” so to say and let the desi-gai be the only one acceptable to give milk. Aren’t we spoiling our culture by bringing western sabhyata to the Indian soil by importing all the Holstein and Jersey cows from all over the place? It is shameful that such cows roam freely with such huge udders that it gives a complex to the Indian cows.

 

In some states of India cow is not considered anything but an animal. Biology says it is an animal, the world says it is an animal. It looks to me like an animal, then why suddenly everyone has to start quoting the constitution of India what it says about the cow. Till the time we don’t develop our mental faculties this won’t change. Till the time we don’t change to a modern outlook this shall continue. Till the time we have sadus and sadvis calling the shots we will have issues. The politicians shall continue to exploit sentiments. I ask is it acceptable to produce five to ten litres of milk from a desi cow instead of 40-60 litres from a foreign cow a day. Is it fine to have 150 kgs of beef rather than having 300 kgs from an imported animal? Will it be better to produce 10 litres of urine or have 25kgs of dung per cow per day? Or will it be more useful to have 15-20 litres of urine and 40-50 kgs of dung per day? Will it be ok to have 4 square meters of hide per cow or 8-10 sq meters? Well if the quality of all the stuff the Indian cow is producing is 200 times better than the foreign cows then it should be considered to breed our own indigenous ones only. However, when we need to feed so many mouths, let us be practical. Milk and a cheap meal is a basic necessity today.

 

I am definitively not suggesting that our own breeds be wiped out. They need to be preserved. I would rather suggest that let us have some method in this cow madness. The disease of cow vigilantism is spreading like the mad cow disease, which needs to be curbed and stopped with immediate effect. The industries linked to the cows also need to be safeguarded. If we link it to religion we shall go nowhere. A farmer cannot afford to hold on to lame or sick animal. The farmer cannot feed them or afford the medicines when the animal is ill. Government today cannot look after its humans so looking after its numerous free roaming mothers is farfetched.

 

Well, we Indians are very Hippocratic about everything. Till the time it doesn’t affect us, we have no issues. We also are very fanatic as far as religious ideology is concerned. We start quoting the constitution when we want to otherwise do not even know the contents of that document. We are pseudo as far as culture is concerned; we want to preserve the traditional values but with a modern outlook. We will watch porn, but will not allow lovers to kiss in public. We are pretentious when it comes to our sensitivities. We can fake our feelings to hurt other people. We want to portray our country as a superpower as we launch rockets with satellites but cannot portray it beyond snake charming and the great Indian rope trick. Well we are a bogus kind of people, because we do not have either our aim clear or our priorities right. We the people, if don’t act intellectually, we shall definitely lose all of them to this dirty politics over cows. We need to free it from disease, ill health, ill treatment, neglect, and sheer useless vigilantism.

 

I hope in my India we can breathe freely, drink freely, wear freely, watch freely, live freely, speak freely, read freely, eat freely, follow our religions freely, travel freely and above all be free from all religious and political hatred. Till the time we let ourselves be manipulated by the politicians, neither will mother cow be looked after nor will this country progress. When will all this madness end? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

🇮🇳 JAI HIND 🇮🇳

BLACK COAT COMMANDOS

Isn’t it ironical that all the prime witnesses of the Babri Masjid demolition have got bail? A case of 1992 has come up for its conclusion in 2017. The courts have yet given two more years to finally decide on this case, meaning it will take 27 years to conclude that no one is guilty. I am sure many witnesses would be in their graves by then or will be so old that the court may decide to grant them pardon on compassionate grounds. Well, I am not for or against any Temple or Masjid but I am definitely disillusioned with our judicial system and its process. There is a law of the land. There is a rule book. There are the people who did it which can be seen on tape. There were leaders supporting it. People saw a building being broken brick by brick. That is why I ask, what this due process of law is? There was a judicial commission made and it recommended certain things. Why have they not been considered or brought to its conclusion till date?

One more thing I cannot understand in India is that people who were candidates for Prime Minister, one has been a Chief Minister and in fact are sitting members of the present parliament today, besides being sadhus and sadhavis basically “holy” men and women: if such people start “lying” because their lawyers have twisted the whole facts upside down doesn’t gel with me. They act as if they did not hear, see or utter a word on the issue. These people who have been part of the law making process for India do not have the moral courage to own up and say yes we did it for whatever reasons; popular support, political pressure, emerging as a leader, honouring the manifesto, being swayed away by the wave of that time, whatever. At least say it, own up and be done with it. God save our judiciary, democracy and this country if such trends continue. The longest running commission called the Liberhan Commission concluded the whole issue but in vain. After the passage of so much of time do the courts think that such prominent leaders would remember what they said and did. In so many years a generation would have changed, the lawyers and the judges would have changed. Are we doing justice or hog wash is the question I want to ask?

If an open and shut case of Kasab can take four years to hang then I can understand why this case has taken so long. From lodging of an FIR, to being produced in front of a magistrate if the time given is 24 hours, then what is so great in finishing cases in the same time frame by all the courts? Why do we then teach law is my basic question? Is it to twist the truth? Is it to camouflage the facts? Is it to ensure guilty be left roaming scot free? Or is it to earn regular income by lawyers? Or are the Courts justifying their existence thus? The long list of pending cases adds to the woes and miseries of the genuine people. A murderer sentenced to death can appeal to the President of India, who may not react to the appeal. Cases then shall never end.

I do not know if we do periodically review the number of guilty in our jails. Why there are delays in trying people? If the maximum limit of any charge is say 7 years, are there people who are still languishing in jails beyond that? If so, why are they not let free? On one side our judicial process is so super slow and on the other side our jailing process appears to be cockeyed. In India jail to prisoners’ ratio is remarkable. There is no place inside and we keep adding people. Then claim we taught them to make candles, yoga, biscuits and bread. Well, before these people turned criminals, why hasn’t our systems trained them to earn a living. They wouldn’t have become criminals in the first place. 24 hours in jail terms is two days. I don’t understand the logic at all.

Today, we have people giving on the spot punishments, like the IIT student who went for a beef festival. Akhlak, who stored some kind of meat at home or the valentine day squad making boys and girls to do squats and the cow vigilantes groups who are most active today etc. But we do not prevent fraud, corrupting, deceit, at all levels including the judiciary. If our issue is resolved we don’t care if we used hook or crook. We move on. If we can delay somehow the “Tareekh” at the court, even by producing fake medical certificates, of the lawyer, the accused or both at different times, the hearing automatically keeps getting delayed. The judge changes, the jury changes and our system continues like hither to fore but law stays blind as blind can be.

Be that as it may, I not a qualified person on law and have no justification to comment on the judicial process or the judiciary but as a layman and common Indian I feel that there is too much amiss. Today, if the internet network becomes slow all our faculties go berserk. If need be we will climb on the mobile tower to get that one danda on the network, but just look at our judicial processes, 27 years to understand that what was done, who did it and why it was done, who instigated it, who are guilty and who should be taken to task. All this will happen after thousands of witnesses will be re-examined. I want to salute the patience of the judges, the patience of the defence lawyer, and hats off to the lawyers who are turning this case on its head. I hope it doesn’t turn out in the end that Babar turned in his grave and thus the Masjid self destructed. The people who had climbed up the domes were actually trying to save each brick. The instigators, who are out on bail now, were actually standing there to witness a miracle that how does a Masjid automatically transforms into a Mandir. The speeches they were making were actually divine chants which empower the creator to do such miracles. The police were mute spectators of the blind, deaf and dumb kind.

I think I need to rest my case as nothing in India will move without an affidavit on a stamp paper, a notary’s signature, a lawyer, a judge and the most important person in all this drama is the typist, who has to key in 40,000 words dictated verbatim at lightning speed by his bosses and keep a record of the same. Many of my uniformed community have now joined the “black coat commandos”, I wish them luck. I wish by 2025 we would have no pending cases in any court. Is it possible? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

 

A FEW DANDAs THEORY

 

A couple of day’s back I received a message from one of my groups to stop subscribing to the Hindustan Times from the first of next month. Reason was that the paper questioned the Army Chief commending Major Gogoi. Well, if one felt so strongly then why didn’t they stop subscribing from the same day. The same thing happened when TOI carried a news feature questioning the Army a few years back. The paper’s circulation may not have taken a dip except from a few of the uniformed community. There was another instance when the Indian Express carried a feature where they declared that Gen VK Singh almost did a coup by moving a few Mechanised columns from Hissar and a Company of paratroopers towards Delhi. The same sentiment echoed within the services community. Did the appeals have any effect, God only knows?

Well, as far as I am concerned I am off the news papers. Not worth wasting my time as I have better things to do. Thanks to the paperwala who now has shifted his business to selling vada-pav and Kanda-Bhajia, as he also realised the futility of feeding garbage to so many people. For a few days I had difficulty in doing potty but now I am relieved from one more addiction after I quit cigarettes and liquor ages ago. I have quit newspapers too. My bai has been complaining though that there is no raddi in the house. Well, I promised her I shall buy her enough “raddi” from the market as and when she misses the ritual to sell.

Be that as it may, I am now getting a feeling that I must quit viewing news channels too as I observe that in the garb of freedom of press and speech they are taking the nation for a ride. One Major Gogoi has given them so much fodder that they can generate debates on the jeep incident till cows come home. Even the Auto show programmes have now started telling us that they will henceforth provide seat belts on the bumpers of the jeeps for all stone pelters in future models. They are promising ergonomically designed bumpers for their comfort with provision of water and airbags in select models, just in case the jeep meets with an accident. They are also looking into the comfort level of this person as he or she may have to sit there from five to eight hours continuously. The auto companies now are in competition to have warning boards placed on bonnets with press fit alphabets in English and Kashmiri. However, they have yet to find a solution if that man has to go for a natures call while in that position. The textile designing firm making “firans” have been contacted to provide adequate holes at the correct place for the same.

Yaar you press walas please understand that rape, murder, beef, moral policing, adultery, corruption, mis-governance, pilferage, politics, cow-vigilante, politicians, yoga, bureaucracy, porn, internet fraud, railways, liquor, transport, poverty, roads, youth, shipping, coal, drugs, industries, education system, etc are some of the subjects that should get you better TRP ratings. Leave the army alone please. They are the last bastion for this nation and in Major Gogoi’s case; he was called in as a last option as no other means were left. He did what he did and if need be will again do what he is supposed to do. It was an SOS call, when everyone else failed to respond. To all the peaceniks please question the politicians for the mess they have created. Army is a means not the end. Politicians are the ones who made the ‘Raita to failo” and now you want the army to clean it with a broom, which doesn’t have a “Danda”. My foot! If all these peace lovers can go to Kashmir without Army protection and speak to them and convey to the Indian government a definite solution for Kashmir like they suggest on news debates so vociferously and boisterously. I will give them all a Bharat Ratna straight away.

In my humble view, a solution is possible if we have a few “dandas” given. The first one is to the Pakistan. Shove it so hard that they do not henceforth allow their soil to be used for any terror related activity against India ever. The way they support the Kashmiri struggle, by training, funding and supporting these vermin should never occur in their minds for generations to come.

Second danda needs to be given to the politicians of both J&K and GOI. The most troubled areas are in Mehbooba’s constituency, she knows every detail and I have a gut feeling she is covertly supporting all those who want freedom from India like she used to do earlier. Her silence on all issues in and around her constituency is ample proof for that. If that be so, let there be Riasat-e-Kashmir, Riasat-e-Jammu & Riasat-e-Ladakh for actual Kashmir management. Time now has come for a Danda to be given to all those who bicker and create trouble or think of pelting a stone. Danda to the Hurriyat with immediate effect; either put in jail or deported to the country of their choice. Stop making a hole in the plate in which you are eating from. All funding stopped, period. Danda needs to be given to the GOI too. With such a mandate if not now then when and who will scrap article 370, bring them under one flag, one constitution and all judgments of courts be made acceptable there. It is now or never.

Another danda to the media to stop lowering the morale of this one apolitical institution called the Indian Army. I know they have military experts with contrary views but give the forces a break. The sentence “with due apologies” is now well understood. Stop apologizing and stop questioning the uniformed people. You run news channels because we protect this nation and give you the freedom to air your views. So limit your views to the suggestions I gave, leave us to do our job. We know how to do it and we do it to the best of our abilities; fearless and dauntless even after hearing such negativity the news channels spread. You can be rest assured, we shall not be intimidated by the press or the peaceniks. Army is not meant to carry weapons for show. The Army fires and fires for effect should be clear. You want one chap tied on a jeep to save hundreds of dead, or you want people dead. Choice is yours. The protesters can keep protesting, next time they throw one stone, one bullet should be fired at them. One news channel creates a negative hype; the second round should be towards them. Enough of this bloody nonsense!

From the two nation theory, let us have a few danda theory implemented in J&K straight away. If it is we the people who have to decide, then so be it. If we are going to let Pakistan meddle and fiddle with our peace, choice is again ours, if the government wants to wait for a miracle to resolve this issue then let us wait for me to become the PM. Will it be OK, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BEATING THE HEAT

 

Temperatures are heating up all over. The political ones are boiling for the post of President; the Pakistani posts are being pounded and roasting. The heated valley is being Gogoied. Congress and AAP are evaporating from minds due to heat of their inefficiency. Naxals are adding fuel to the fire. Here, the mangoes are falling off the trees and watermelons ripening fast due to the sweltering heat. The heated news debates are cooking only bitter venom. The retired Generals have gone “grey” in the heat of arc lights at the studios trying to drill in their two pennies worth. The bheja of the common man is being fried as he doesn’t see “ache din”. The farmer is waiting for rains after the summer heat. My wife too has decided to start heated arguments moment I refuse to get ice cream. Worst is all the colony bitches are in heat too. “Udi Baba” hot is getting as hot can be.

I remember as a child summer holidays used to be a time to beat the heat. In one of our windows dad used hang lots of “KHUS” bound together in wire mesh. On top of it used to be a perforated tube made out of old ghee tins rolled up into a pipe with lots of holes for water to drip down evenly across the “CHIC”. The pipe was drawn from the tap used for watering the garden. Inside the room used to be a “KESSELs” table fan running full speed. Mattresses were put on the floor. Mangoes were chilled in the buckets and watermelons were cooled by covering it with a wet cloth. Hand churned ice cream in those wooden churners was ultimate. Everyone wanted to eat but no one wanted to churn. Getting ice from the ice factory for the ice box on a cycle used to be my duty when I grew up. Empty rum bottles were used to chill water. The expertise to use the ice pick came with age and experience. We had no fridge, TV or scooter then. I remember as a child sitting on the carrier of my dad’s cycle, with 5 Kgs of ice, covered with four to five gunny bags. My bums used to be chilled by the time we got back home but the ice remained intact. In case there would be a party at home additional ice was put in a pit dug behind the house covered with saw dust. Good old days they were.

Summer holidays was a time to play, we never felt the heat, never got dehydrated, never bothered to cover our heads. We drank water from the first available tap. We actually never knew what temperature was. We sat on hot swings without hesitation. After that initial burn, the metal plate used to cool down automatically after a brisk rub on the bum. Cycles were put on road and additional valves purchased as they were the first ones to leak. Competitions used to be climbing the highest on any given tree chosen at random. At mid day, time used to be to run to the tube well for a bath. Odd time was preferred because the operator used to go for his lunch break, imagine having a chilled bath at 12 noon. Clothes used to be smeared with purple stains of jamuns. Half of us had only one eye to function with as the other used to be invariably swollen due to a wasp or a honey bee bite. Knees were always raw with bruises and cuts, elbows black and dirty; hair didn’t matter till they were on your head. Mine used to be short so used to be the saving grace during fights.

We used to know every tree, every shrub and every bush in the vicinity. We knew every fruit which was in common areas, we also knew all the pits where the litter of our favourite dogs used to be and play with them. We knew where parrots were nursing their little ones. Putting on socks on our hands, climbing on each other’s shoulders to get to the nest, getting bit by mom parrot, falling down like a pack of cards as red ants would have bitten the friend on the ground, then changing tactics to climb again used to be favourite pass times. We did not have even landlines in those days. Parents never bothered nor came looking for us. In case one got hurt, one knew the infirmary and Mr Succha Singh used to keep cursing under his breath but apply tincture or that bluish liquidy medicine for all cuts and bruises. That one neck less T shirt used to last whole summer till all the alphabets used to blur and mom used to decide to use it as a “poncha”.

Morning sleep used to be till 6 am, and if dad used to be in a good mood it used to extend till 6.15. Dogs used to be waiting for us to give that slight inkling of life and jump up and wash your face with licks. The excitement to go for a morning walk with us without any leash used to get them scratching the mesh door till there was no mesh left. Running and coming back just to see that you are still coming used to excite the dogs like anything. Your one call and all of them at your heels were the ultimate playoffs of that time. Cricket used to be next in agenda. The eucalyptus tree was the wickets with three parallel straight lines dug into the bark as stumps. To add authenticity, one perpendicular line used to signify as the bails. Evenings used to be pittho or satoliya. Play till the streetlights came on. Get home where dad used to be waiting watering his pots before he shouted for you. We were bathed and cleaned and pressure washed with the same pipe from the grime outside the house itself, even if you didn’t feel like having a bath. Dogs used to frolic along side and enjoy the artificial rain.

We never bothered for food. Wherever we were, in whom so ever’s house and whatever we got to eat was gobbled without any questions. Mom used to be shocked that we ate “lauki ki tari wali sabzi” at so and so auntie’s house. At home, there was no way anything of the gourd family would be touched, even by dad. Well, today things have changed, we have Maggie and lays. Everyone has a big smart phone, there are no playgrounds left. Outdoors has changed to online. Your status on whatsapp matters more than the real state of affairs I suppose. Tolerance levels have come down, patience levels have drastically reduced, broad mindedness has narrowed, open mindedness is nowhere to be seen. Social security of the child has been shaken for reasons best known to us Indians and our society.

The camaraderie has evaporated the number of friends and their love and affection is now limited to social media. The wrapping your hand around your friends neck and keeping it that way the whole day has long gone into oblivion. We are now living in an artificial world, where the heat generated in our thoughts is generating only hatred. In my hearts of hearts I am finding it difficult to balance between the past and present times. I think I need to chill more. Will I? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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