Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: MUMBAI

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

 

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

 

INDIA AS I SEE IT

It is high time for us to think of India, for India, by Indians otherwise we are heading towards disaster. All our make in India will be break in India. People in Hawai Chappals, will sit on Daryai Ghoras and never see the real Hawai jahaz. The political party in power has its agenda clear to win all elections, fine, I have no issues. But what I perceive as a common Indian citizen that the highest political machinery is busy in party promotion agenda like in Delhi and Mumbai municipal elections. The focus on India seems to be getting blurred in the bargain. This is where I am going to draw your attention today.

We are a vast nation is an idiotic statement to make. We have numerous problems is also foolish to say. We have diverse culture, languages, dialects, weathers; terrain is an understatement to make. We have porous boundaries with many nations and a few of them are hostile is an obvious fact. We have Terrorism, Insurgency, Naxalism, and Maoism besides “goondagardi” across the length and breadth of this country. Then we have so many castes and tribes scheduled or unscheduled is a different issue altogether. Unscheduled are those who after taking benefits and privileges’ in one generation misuse the reservation policy for their sons and daughters of subsequent generations, thanks to our reservations policy. Our major part of the country is affected by floods every year the rest with drought. Our agricultural sector is in a mess, our education system ranges from Madarsa’s, to ved-vidyalas, to convents, to Government schools, to International Schools.

Our elected representatives are history sheeters (so what charges have not been proved) and many are illiterate so to say. We employ lawyers for finance, engineers for defence, aviators for power, uneducated for HRD, what an irony. We suffer from fraud, bribe, donations, trickery, adulteration, as a national disease. Corruption flows in our blood and is part of our DNA. We bribe Gods, offerings are offered as “conditions apply”. We have interstate problems. We have gender related problems. Our population ratio is skewed. We are short of power. We have poverty and unemployment only as an election issue and part of every manifesto. We built infrastructure with no aim. We copy many policies which failed in other countries. We have a shortage of security force but no shortage of population. We lack a national security doctrine. We do not have a defence minister on paper. The one we had evaporated overnight. We are a land of sadhu’s and saints. We have everything but nothing with us. We can’t even win medals in sports, unless it is a Bak-Bak competition.

There is also one strata of population who go for shopping of their undergarments to Europe. They drink Jamaican Rum only in Jamaica. They get disturbed if they see a beggar touching their car. “Dirty ho jata hai”. We have NGOs and individuals donating millions in charity. We have religious institutions earning in millions & feeding millions. We are basically a concoction of only one of its kind of society. The beauty is that we still remain India. India still has not collapsed under its weight of problems. We fight with each other; we fight with our neighbours, within our states and within countries but desire peace and tranquillity. We appear unified, but are split into splinters of caste, creed, religion, region, gender. Democracy is not allowed to function, constitution is made a mockery of by states like J&K. Judiciary is overburdened that they now tell us what to eat, what to wear, what to see, what to talk. Soon we shall find bedroom rules too. Media has gone berserk covering, debating and discussing everything which shows our country in bad light without them realising how much disservice they are doing to this nation by washing dirty linen in public. Media has gone international; in fact, one shot on the mobile is as good as a whisper to spread a hearsay or rumour.

We have religious fanaticism, from protection of cows, to religious conversions, to fatwa’s for all and sundry. We want to be modern and progressive in outlook, but traditional and conservative in practice. We want to bring people to invest and make in India, but do not want to cut down the red tape. We want foreign collaborations but want to control the stakes and distribution of profits. We want to safeguard our policies, our systems and money at our terms and conditions. We have been just pussy footing while dealing with our enemies both internal and external recently. We oppose policies because we as a political entity are in opposition; we only know how to pick faults everywhere. We won’t suggest improvements. Politicians do not want to control the bureaucrats, fearing their strong lobby. We lack political accountability. Basically we are a nation of chalta hai kinds. We think of too many consequences. We delay in taking decisions. We are more interested in what the other chap is not doing. We are basically Hippocrates of kinds. We are not true to ourselves and our Gods, then how can we be true children of India.

We dream of an ideal nation, “sone ki chirya” (Golden Bird). We dream of housing for all. We dream of education for all. We dream of justice for all. We dream of security for all. We dream of food for all. We dream of transport for all. We dream of monetary stability for all. We dream of jobs for all. We dream of water and electricity for all. We dream of no war with anyone. We dream of health for all. We dream of welfare of all. We dream of everything which is required to live as an ideal society and a nation. But we want a third party or a miracle to do the dirty work to achieve the aims. Our national fabric is weak. We can’t stand for our national anthem; we don’t want to sing our national song; we don’t want one constitution, we don’t want uniform civil code for all, we are a big drastically divided family, where everyone is on his own, doing what one feels like at his own convenience, fighting with everyone if the comfort levels are broken, cursing all and sundry, and still surviving as a nation. My dear “Deshvasio”, till when can we continue polluting our hearts, minds & soul of this country, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

LONG LIVE THE FINGER

I saw my poor newspaper lying on one of my side table wanting to be picked up, opened, read, shuffled and laid back to rest in its huge bundle at its final resting place for the bai to pick up and give it away for raddi. My cup of tea in hand I decided to give a glance and saw a row of people gesturing obscenely with a finger pointing as if to say “up yours”. It caught my eye and my thoughts that as it is the newspapers carry all kinds of weird things let me just check these out. On wearing my specks the picture became clearer that they were celebrities with their fingers up. Generally, I find bollywood stars with a thumsup kind of ad, but fingers up cajoled me to investigate. Now I got hooked on and even saw big political netas and their families with the same gesture. I thought this must have been a mudslinging match which netas are very famous for. In Mumbai these two fraternities’ that is netas and abhinetas are loggerheads on national issues like Pakistan so finger pointing is no big deal. As I turned the pages the mystery was finally revealed that these were BMC elections. All these people were actually posing with the ink marked fingers. Long live our democrazy.

This time I found that these elections were in mid week. It appears to be a tactical victory of kinds for the election organisers. Reason being had it been on a weekend most of the glitterati and the literati of mumbai push off on weekends to tourist destinations in the vicinity. So instead of voting, they enjoy boating and floating away from the humdrum of a hectic life of Mumbai. Now they were caught between the ‘aasman” and “khajur ka per”. They had no choice but to go out and vote. Who should I vote for is a big question?  For a cause, for a party or for the sake of media, well your guess is as good as mine.

Be that as it may, I again want to get down to basic issues of this mega city. First is the space crunch. No space for a house, no space in your house, no space in the bus, no space in the train, no space on the road, no space in the slums, no space for privacy, no space for garbage, then what do we vote for. Half the city is running towards VT and the other half towards virar. There is no space on the foot paths; no space under flyovers, no space over the nallas, no space for Meethi River to flow, no space for planes to land, in fact there is no space in space above Mumbai. Even the pigeons are fighting for space in the kabootar khanas as they don’t find space on any tree. Well the space for trees has been eaten away by something else, even the crows’ ride BEST buses to commute as they are afraid of cables which may cause fatal flying accidents in the crowing community. They can be charged for ticketless travel though.

The worst space crunch I find for the madly in love couples. Sea fronts and beaches are there favourite joints. Even in the scorching sun, love knows no bounds, armed with an umbrella, not for the sun but to hide identities from the public to do things which should be done at home. As 15 people staying in a 2BHK flat is not an uncommon phenomenon. In fact, there is a space crunch on the parapets of the sea faces too. The witness to their “conversations” is the sun and the sea, rest of us only can read the manufacturers name on this multipurpose love enhancing gadget called the ‘chaata”. I also get surprised that all parking lots are always full at such places, to create space for your vehicle you got to have a lot of space in your wallet. The scene at the station when a train arrives is as if rats have suddenly been released to follow the pied piper. If you are a novice at stations like Dadar and Andheri, you may not be able to get down only because you are pushed back by the crowd waiting to board. Best is to stand in the crowd which has to get down, just don’t worry on who stepped on your toes just flow with them. You may reach your destination in a crumpled shirt, torn pant, nicked hand bag and maybe a picked pocket and sweaty as hell.

One does often see the green and orange vehicles of “Clean up Mumbai” kinds. My salute and hats off to those people. They toil day in and day out in that stench, picking up all that we throw. Most of us who have used taxi the “kali peeli’s”, one dreads to get behind these trucks. I can assure you, the nauseated feeling you get from the aroma generated by the fumes of the truck is better than anaesthesia. The trail of a dripping liquid which oozes from one of the trucks pipes, is like a scent of a woman that you get when you smell one whizzing past you on a bike. That trail cannot be obliterated. They are the actual heroes of Mumbai, who carry our garbage. Did they vote? Or could they vote should be the question? What is the BMC doing to keep them safe, and do their job without the stench and stink? Will the citizens vow to help reduce the stench by properly packing garbage? Such culture is missing in us Indians. I was staying in a society in Mumbai few years back, everything which was not of use, from diapers, to napkins used to he hurled as missiles down the fire duct. One could see the lift roof littered with paper and wrappers. One saw overnight dal and rotis being released from as high as the nineteenth floor, in a poly bag which used to land on cars below making a beautiful spread on the roof of many a Mercedes. Well, hope the voters of Mumbai make their vote count for them too.

The budget for BMC polls is more than many state budgets, so the moolah is a big attraction for many. The drains are blocked, in fact choked, the nallahs are full of plastic, the roads are full of potholes, the foot paths are uprooted once they are laid, the hawkers are on the roads, the busses stop in the centre of the roads, infrastructural waste is dumped anywhere and everywhere, population is exploding but Mumbai moves on. The vada pav never falls short is this city that never sleeps. The rich, the poor, the blue collar, the white collar, the dogs, the cats, the pigeons and kites, the dadas and bhais, the ganpati and the tajia,   the Parsis and the Christians, the Chawls and Skyscrapers, the slums and high rises, the Bentley’s and Ambassadors, the kaali peelis and Ola, everyone has embraced Mumbai. There is still space for everyone; there is a certain warmth in the air of Mumbai which attracts you. Kuch baat to hai Amchi Mumbai mein.

As far as I remember this finger pointing gesture used to indicate to my buddy that I see one terrorist over there. You cover my back while I, pointing the same finger towards myself am going to take him on. Thereafter, we used to give a thumsup and silently move on till the job was done. I do not know finger pointing or finger painting which is more important. There we used to point this finger to the lips to keep absolutely silent and freeze to listen to various sounds around us. Here we finger point and make noises that we voted. Well, situations are different, circumstances are different, and there is no comparison at all. The only thought which cuts across my mind is will the results of the voting finger, bring about a change in life in Mumbai. I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

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