Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: POLITICIAN (Page 2 of 5)

WATCHMEN AND AUDITORS

Malya’s and Modi’s have taken this country for a ride because our chowkidars were sleeping. At least king of good times gave good times to many. I wish I was in his circuit when his times were good. At least my beer belly could be blamed on someone. I would love to enjoy at least a few weeks of your hospitality. Thereafter, let people blame you for swindling, I won’t even think of writing about it. That’s a promise.

Mr Modi, jewellery wale, I have fallen in love with diamonds. I always want to give one diamond piece to my wife every year. Till now I have never been able to go beyond one tiny earring. Today, the situation is such that I don’t even step into a jewellery shop. Basically for two reasons, one that hope this jeweller will not scoot moment he has made enough. Two, I just can’t afford it. May I request you to present a fistful of diamonds to let my wish come true? I know you have a heart of gold.

Coming to your name sake who is running this country. He is definitely doing sewa of all the gareeb, shoshit, vanchit, peerit only. I the common man is nowhere on his agenda. The moneyed men, he has on his cross wire is perfectly fine with me. The man who is actually bearing the brunt of this firing is the middle class. I don’t even have money to book my ticket and run to Bangkok. On second thoughts why should I run, I never did any hanky-panky. I am actually taxing myself by paying all sorts of taxes. Why am I on PMs Sniper’s scope? I don’t know.

Be that as it may, the desh ke chowkidar reminds me of security guards in most of our housing societies. Invariably they are old, retired and looking for some time pass in their twilight years of life. One guard’s wife confessed to me that “Buddha doesn’t sleep at night; he will do a good job guarding your assets”. We in India select or rather elect our own security guards. Their performance is generally far below expectations. They may not have the requisite qualifications or temperament and they do not have a magic wand either. Last seventy years we have been experimenting with our chowkidars. It should not take us a hundred to finally decide whom to keep.

A typical security wala is given a chair, a danda, a head gear and a tie. He sits there day and night looking at his mobile or gazing at people passing by. The only thing he actually secures is his attendance register, where he signs and shows it to the supervisor. He is never briefed except one odd day a trainer comes and makes him do savdhan, vishram. Poor chap will not know how to wear a belt even. He will invariably be wearing plastic shoes. Shaving is out of question. Half the time he would be on an errand of someone, either to walk the dogs or get dhaniya & paneer. He does look forward to some bakshsish on holi & Diwali and maybe someone who can give him a bottle of cold water and a left over meal.

The buildings security is actually ram bharose or on the street dog who has adopted the building. Who comes, who goes & who does what, is not the guards concern? He is only responsible to open the water connections at the correct time or all hell will break lose. Now, if the society is India and the guard is anybody’s guess. What should we expect?

Today, all these frauds are blamed on audit. Well lesser said the better about audits. It is the same whether it is a safety or a security audit. Yes, audits are conducted on paper. When a tragedy happens army is called to build foot over bridges where as the audit reports bite dust for years.

Financial audits are also a kind of hog wash. Auditors are supposed to find irregularities and suggest remedial measures. Audit reports run into many pages. Presentations are made, follow ups are done. Sometimes, dictates’ that not more than three audit observations will be accepted. Non compliances are an absolute no-no. Auditors are “entertained & looked after”. A fee is set. This is at whose cost?

Now that an audit regulatory body has been made, the government can refer cases to them. My view is that this is cosmetics to give employment to a few. Initially as a new broom there will be lot of sweeping. Slowly they too will be put into place.

Do we need an efficient, non corrupt chowkidars and auditors? Or do we need people who understand and know how to manipulate the system. They constantly keep the poor common man guessing, confused, illiterate and divided? When will we understand this simple thing? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY RELIGION IS SAFFRON WHITE & GREEN

Splintered is a feeble word I would use for India today. We are kind of disintegrating as a nation. Fragmentation has become a new norm of our society. Even our ethos is crumbling with every passing day. The whole world is our family is way too big a statement. Today, we are split down the middle, even in our families. Then we have our social gradation which separates us, followed by our religion which makes us drift apart further. Now we also have various kinds of fringe elements adding to the chaos. Is this the India of our dreams?

The segregation starts moment a child is born. The difference is being born in a municipal hospital or a super speciality hospital. The gap is seen between the haves and the have not’s. Then comes our schooling, in that comes gradation due to Vernacular medium, English medium and International schooling. Religious schools & institutions shred us further apart. We stand divided at every step but are united to fight for destruction of this nation.

In the armed forces we too have groups called Combat groups. We have squads, sections, platoons, detachments’ and Combat teams. We have Brigades, Divisions, Corps and Commands. However, we train together and fight together. We are divided into such groups to unite our Hindustan. We carry our religion, which is the national flag on our sleeves.

A crew of a tank, a gun or a BMP is an ultimate team. Everyone is a cook, sentry, gunner, commander, operator and stick. If the driver doesn’t switch on the master switch, nothing functions. If a loader doesn’t load, the gunner can’t fire. If the commander doesn’t designate a target, the driver will not be able to position his vehicle correctly for the gunner to fire. If all of them do not come together as a well oiled team, they cannot fight the enemy. Where does religion come in here?

In battle there is only one aim, annihilation of the enemy. I don’t know if religion, caste, creed, ethnicity is becoming our biggest enemy.

In an army convoy if the leading vehicle is too fast, the vehicles following will get scattered. If it is too slow, they all will bunch up. If they do not follow SOPs & drills and adhere to speed limits, there is likely hood of convoys getting mixed up and accidents. Aim is to get every vehicle, men and material to the designated place, at the right time, in the designated order, in the best state of preparedness, for accomplishing a mission. That is what India needs. There cannot be a hindu-muslim-sikh-isai convoy. Yes, the “mandir vehicle” as it is called is also part of the convoy. Anyone so desirous of “tekoing his matha” can do so while on the move but without breaking convoy discipline.

During war water and food is limited and rationed. It is distributed equally to everyone. There is no discrimination. In battle if a man is thirsty and you offer him a sip of water and a tonne of gold, what will he go for? What will a soldier carry in battle? Is it ammunition or his religion? Religion has no place in war, it is the country that comes first always and every time. Rest doesn’t matter.

We have one organisation which is above religion and politics that is the Armed Forces. The seeds of animosity and bitterness cannot be and should not be planted in our blood. Every officer loves his cook as much as he loves his gunner. Every man counts, every trade has his role to play. The doctors don’t see your religion to treat you when you have a bullet in your chest. When blood is infused, no religion is printed on it except its group. Life and limb needs to be saved not religion.

If this much is clear then at least on the day when soldiers are being laid to rest after making their supreme sacrifice for the nation, let news channels not debate, as they show scenes of coffins and the last post being played with politicians this Hindu-muslim-sikh-isai issue. Let that soul depart in peace.

My country is supreme; rest all has no place in military ethos. I have pledged my life for the tri-colour, I shall go by land, sea or air, where ordered, to defend it from internal disorder and external aggression is the pledge I have taken and a promise made to my countrymen. If I die in the line of battle, the only place where my religion comes in is to give me a befitting farewell on my last journey. Otherwise I have no religion. Is my religion loud and clear? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

IF WISHES WERE HORSES

As we grew in service we realised that there were some things we did not like and some things were not done in good taste by our seniors too. There used to be many things which were required to be done due to the circumstances prevailing at that time and sometimes we had an indecisive person. Some were welfare oriented, some were strict disciplinarians, some were hard training masters, some were party people, some were professionally focused and some were technological wizards. Only some were perfect thorough bred Officers and Gentlemen. However, there was something good about everyone. There was something to learn and emulate from each of them.

I remember we had a boss who used to say, if a senior officer opens his mouth shove a chicken leg in, if he opens it wider shove the second one too, nothing wrong with this approach. One day the Army Chief landed up in the unit, I was told. It was midst of summers and the unit was under canvas (tents). You name it and every imaginable cold beverage on earth was catered for. The unit baniya’s tent was co-located and on a pre-designated signal, he was to start piping out hot jalebis. As a courtesy the dignitary was asked, Sir what would you like to have? He said a hot cup of tea. It was like a nuclear bomb which fell on the tent. Mess had not catered for it; baniya was already churning out jalebis, so our waiter just warmed the kettle of chai from the langar and served it. The Chief was so happy to drink it that all officers whose smile had been wiped off suddenly breathed a sigh of relief. Life goes like that. No one thanked the waiter and his presence of mind.

There was another VIP visit in a different operational sector. No stone was left unturned to make it a memorable one. Waiters and cooks were mustered from every unit and formation. Due to his reputation even the cooks wore a helmet to prepare the banquet. The menu was continental. We all proceeded for lunch after the operational briefing. The spread looked delicious and sumptuous. As the dignitary went around shaking hands with all lesser mortals like me, one senior officer asked him sir how about a glass of beer. He said do you have soup, the answer was affirmative. Sir you want a hot one or a cold soup, the answer was cold. It was served in a jiffy. He asked for a slice of bread and shouted loudly; friends’ lunch is served “CHARGE”. No one moved, then he told his story which went like this, “Jab Khane peene ki umr thi to kisi ne khane nahi diya, ab umr nikal gayi hai to tum khila rahe ho” (When I was of age no one offered me a meal like this, now I am at an age where I can’t eat all this). I can only have soup as permitted by the doctor. Well, we ate till our belly’s ached.

Be that as it may, it disillusions me to find our “pradhan sewak” acting like a “pradan alochak” for whatever that means. Had he been in place of Nehru and Gandhi what would he have done is a matter of conjecture. Why, what those people did at that time is history. Why are we digging those old graves? It is quite obvious that elections are around the bend. The need of the time is to look ahead by at least fifty years if not half of it or are we so myopic that we can’t see beyond 2019. Your time is now Mr PM, do it for the country. Tomorrow, the next generation should not start cursing you for your decisions or indecisions of today.

As my experiences tell me that every new incumbent takes time to settle down, you have had four years already. In the army, before a CO says Jack Robinson his successor is in. The new one goes around changing things. If nothing else he will make a trophy with his name and change the curtains of the guest room. The very thought that my predecessors were nincompoops should never happen. One must keep adding values to enrich and improve, rather find faults and curse the founder fathers.

So dear PM Sahib, I am looking forward to achhe din. The founders of this country have left a legacy. It is now your duty to take it to greater heights. They gave us India in whatever shape, should not be questioned. They freed us from the Union Jack. Their intentions can never be doubted and their integrity cannot be tainted. What have your party predecessors achieved for India, if I may ask? There will be no end to the argument then.

What does this country have in store in this century you cannot predict? What will be the circumstances, what will be the resources, what will be the compulsions, what will be the world order, if Gandhi and Nehru could have predicted this 70 years back, India would be in “bahut achhe din” phase.

If wishes were horses and beggars could ride and turnips were watches I would have one by my side! Sahi ya galat? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CHAI PAKORA TALES

I came across a byte how the “pakorawala’s” shot into fame when they were mentioned in certain despatches in the Rajya Sabha. The famous “chaiwala” has already left a mark and now is a chance for this man to come to lime light. I saw many news anchors; mind you head of news channels going around their studios tasting various types of pakoras made by these hard working simpletons. I am convinced that to become successful in this country one has to either become a chaiwala or a pakorawala. This reminded me of days many moons back when “khalis doodh ki cha” and “garma garam pakoras” were in vogue.

I honed my skills of making chai as a little boy. The cuppa tea I used to brew used to be one litre of pure “bhains” milk, two big table spoons of tea leaves, two green elaichi’s nice and crushed in a “kharal”, four or five big spoons full of sugar and boil all these together. Tea used to be a minimum “dus ubala” which meant the concoction used to rise and fall at full heat in the “degchi” ten times. The dancing tea leaves would come up to the brim and then I used to lift the vessel off the “pump wala stove” to let it settle down and repeat. Then put one tea spoon of tea leaves in the “channi” and pour the liquid into my mug enamel. The brownish colour used change to coffee colour and that’s what I called a good cuppa steaming hot tea.

Well, if chai comes can pakoras be far behind. My favourite used to be bread pakoras. The “besan” coated ones I used to relish “aloo bhar ke”. All these were deep fried and in fact in the good old days it used to be in Dalda or Rath ghee. I recall dalda used to be a yellow colour tin with a few palm trees and Rath used to be a sky blue one with a chariot printed on it. Later they started calling it vanaspati, I couldn’t make out the difference. Much later refined oil came in. Today, if you tell the doctor that I had ghee, he will start looking at his watch as if my time to walk this earth is over.

They say that my dad’s era used to be of desi ghee, my era was of dalda and the present generation are the refined oil kinds. Meaning that all the desi ghee kinds were strong and hard working, the dalda kinds worked hard but the refined oil ones just don’t (pun intended). Never heard my dad or grand dad fall ill or had cold or cough. Their sweet dish used to be a hot cup of sweetened milk with a big spoon of desi ghee and a dash of haldi. Halwa of any kind meant ghee floating on top. “Tarka” meant shudh home made desi ghee ka tarka. Roti always had ghee “chipor” ke.

I remember in my ancestral home town doodh & jalebi made in pure ghee used to be a staple breakfast. There used to be long queues to get that crispy, juicy, entangled piece of sweet. The way the halwai used to “fainto” the milk and jalebi’s together was a treat to watch. The milk used to drop more than a meter and a half & not a drop used to spill. The attraction to eat was not only to do with the taste but the presentation of the milky wonder.

In Punjab it used to “chola bhaturas”. Deep fried ones in ghee. The small flour ball was pressed and lifted in the palm. Two or three claps of the hands used to turn it into a bhatura. Then with an artistic throw in the piping hot Jacuzzi of ghee with the anti clock wise rotation it used to be chucked in. Swirling and turning as it went down. Before the bhatura hit the bottom of the “kadhai” it used to start rising. A huge sieve used to press upon it. Out of the bubbling ghee used to pop a crispy bhatura which was flipped in style while the next one was thrown in. All of us used to wait for our turn, mouth salivating all this while.

One could never master was the chutney these “rehriwala’s” used to make. Mom could never replicate that taste. Their green and red chutney was different from our home made ones. Everything was served on a “pattal” and licked clean by us. At the end of it asking for additional free chutney was our birth right. The “committee ka nalka” was the only source of water for the burns in the mouth. If we were lucky, it used to be a bottle of “milk badam” or “bante wala soda” from the next thela.

Life has moved on, the place where I am is “vada pao” and “kanda bhajia” territory. Let me assure you the taste is out of the world. Order a plate and you will repeat the order before finishing it. I dare say should these pakorawals go on strike; there will be hell to pay. Will they be able to live a life of dignity as was mentioned in the august house? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CONDOLENCES ARE NOT ENOUGH

It was sad to hear that four more brave hearts fell to Pakistani shelling. “Condolences” have become such a common word now and are not enough. The whole country stands with the armed forces, we know. Solidarity is not enough. Today, condolence has become more akin to pity. Solidarity appears to be just a verbal support and assurance. Though every show of support is welcome but to mitigate the loss of a martyrs family is impossible. A person in that fraction of second when a bomb explodes next to him lives no more. That very second he is on a different journey leaving behind shaken comrades, ladies beating chests and wailing children.

In the line of duty there are already enough hazards. Inclement weather, hostile terrorists, enemy fire, illness, accidents, besides politicians getting FIRs lodged against own armed forces. This adds on to the misery and lowers the morale of a soldier. Every man in uniform lives with these risks. In that bat of an eyelid he is gone. Risk increases many fold if they get engaged with the enemy. With every step closer to the enemy it is a fifty percent chance of survival. To make his sacrifice count, what all does this man do is unimaginable by many of us.

Last 70 years we have borne the brunt of the enemy. What we get in return is condolences, pity, sympathy, empathy and all those bombastic words. The huge bhashans, the endless debates, veterans boiling their blood and the next day it’s the same routine. Tri-colours are in constant demand and so are the wooden boxes to carry the mortal remains. Firing squads, wreaths and guard of honour has become a SOP of every Military station. All these things are done internally by the armed forces and on the quiet. Who else will care?

Are we doing enough to stop this constant flow of bodies home? Why can’t a living being come back to live happily ever after?  Talks don’t work out; retaliation doesn’t work, then what next. People say war is not a solution; then what are the means to sort out Pakistan. Is it diplomacy? Is it international pressure? Your guess is as good as mine. Passing resolutions in parliament and making a hue and cry on TV doesn’t work. It has to be action on all fronts. Question is when, how and by whom?

What they portray in movies is very different from reality. In movies the emotions are faked, the josh is faked, blood is fake, ammunition is fake, the smoke is fake, the explosions are controlled, blood sweat and grime on the actors face is the artistry of the makeup artists. Even the panting is faked, the firing is faked. The hospital, doctors, and nurses all are faked. Tears are faked. The storms and winds are faked. The pain of a wounded soldier is faked too. The reel life is nowhere close to the real life.

In actual war nothing can be faked. We keep hearing of fake promises on the political front every now and then as also of political battles. Terms like maidan-e-jung, chunaavi akhara,  ran bhoomi  are common parleys during elections, well sirs, verbal volleys and an MMG burst are totally different. You may shoot from your mouth and influence a few people but when it comes to the real bullets it takes a life and limb with it. It maims, it injures the heart and soul of not only one individual but his whole family and his armed forces fraternity very deeply.

Words like hum un par naaz karte hain, naaz marne ke baad quon karte ho bhai. They are very bahadur, we are where is the doubt. Hum Pakistan ko sabak sikha denge, which text book lesson are we talking of. Hum nakon chane chabwa denge, hope you know your biology right. Aar paar ki larai hogi. Kis ke aar aur kis ke paar, I ask? How many politicians have lost their lives taking a bullet on their chest? What has been done to stop this bloodshed by those who run this country? Enough of cannon fodder we have been. No more death is acceptable.

I will accept that we don’t need an unnecessary war. I will accept what the political decision is but I will not accept politics over the dead bodies of the martyrs’. I am ready to face enemy bullets happily for my nation provided my nation’s representatives promise me to finish this issue from its roots. If diplomacy is the solution, so be it. If the Armed forces can find the best solution for you, give your orders but kindly stop showering condolences as they appear artificial. Are the corridors of power listening? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

DREAMING OF BUDGET 2019

 

DREAMING OF BUDGET 2019

As budget is approaching I am getting a little excited. At least this year I hope to add a few bucks to my savings without the government poking its nose and sniffing out every rupee I save. Not that a single pai is hidden from them. Everything is in their knowledge and everything is taxed, my pay, my pension, my FDs, even my arrears too have been “axed” at source. I actually get a little sceptic when I do not see achhe din (AD) on the horizon even after being taxed so heavily.

Definition of AD will vary from person to person. A farmer will give you a very different story; a soldier will tell you his version. For an industrialist it is the EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation) or whatever that means, for me is what have I saved at the end of the month after paying all undy-fundy taxes and EMIs.

I, the common man needed a roof on my head that meant I take a home loan that meant I live from EMI to EMI. The bank is charging me exorbitant interest. After having paid my loan for ten years now I still find I have yet not paid the full interest back. By when will I pay the principal amount, intrigues me?

Just in case I kicked the bucket the banks insisted that you insure every EMI. I did that at a premium. Then one fine day the bank approached me that the interest rates have reduced will you be interested in changing your plan. My face lit up and I fell for it and I paid a premium again. When I checked the bank’s website recently it still doesn’t say that the tenure of your loan has been reduced. I spoke to my inner self and decided to just stay happy. At least I have a roof on my head.

The story doesn’t end here as I stay far away from my home. I pay society & maintenance charges every month. If I miss out they charge me interest. Besides they have installed an electricity meter recently, though I have yet not fitted a single light bulb but have to pay the electricity bill with a penalty. I think I will have to live with it.

The situation today is that during the good old days gol-guppa’s were ten to a rupee which is exactly the opposite today. I wish the value of my money too would have sky rocketed the same way. The only saving grace is that our thelawala doesn’t charge GST but go to a restaurant you have no choice but to pay for the sake of your country.

This is a crucial year for the government so I also expect it to be a popular budget. After all it is a question of our votes for elections 2019. I can be rest assured there would be some more taxes. I am hopeful though I should get some relief on the direct taxes that I pay. Some slabs will be tampered with, some good English will be spoken in the parliament, some boo-booing will happen and the budget will be passed. Rest of the sessions will be drowned in the usual hungama that happens. Common mans “uncommon representative” would do a “peaceful but boisterous” protest. Parliamentary proceedings will be disrupted. Sessions will be adjourned in the garb of democratic rights by loud sloganeering and walking out to have their hot cuppa tea, can’t expect much from them.

Cigarette smokers will stock up fags as they know particular brands will be in short supply. The pan wala will ensure more than adequate stocks are available including home delivery but at a premium. Same will be the case with wine shops. Everybody knows that these are two items will be taxed to the hilt. Will it reduce the number of smokers and drinkers is a different matter altogether?

Somehow, the common man is the biggest stake holder in the unorganised sector as per the PM. From a labourer to a fisherman, to a helper in a garment shop, to an outsourced housekeeper everyone has big hopes from the government. The industrialist, the entrepreneur, the auto wala to a bus river to a brick klin worker all want to live well, all want to educate their children, all want safe drinking water and good health services above all they all want to save a little for the marriage of their children, if not the rainy day.

If DAVOS will help I have no issues, if BHRAMOS will help I have no issues either but if every Indian has to vote for a “false promise” of achhe din then I have an issue. If communal politics will be the foundation of our democracy then I have an issue as well? Will someone clarify? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

COMMITTEE OF VULTURES

I watch discovery channel often and have seen vultures patiently waiting perched high on trees or hovering high above in the skies looking out for the slightest hint for their daily kill. The word patience is their biggest weapon. They do have talons and sharp beaks but their greatest ability is to wait and wait for their prey. Another plus point is their eye sight and smell. Soaring high up, they can pick out tiny movements on the ground. Their communications are fantastic as they can relay the presence of food so quickly that other vultures in the area gather for a feast. Finally, no one in a venue (group of vultures as they are called) goes hungry.

Another thing if you notice is that they can snatch food even from a pack of lions. They know how to divert their attention and pick up whatever they can as the lion pack splinters and runs to chase them. One team is agitating the lions to attack, while the other patiently waits for the lion’s patience to run out. Once the lions separate, it is a feast for these feathery creatures. They will hop, dance, fly, skip around and spread their wings to show dominance but patiently with no signs of hurry. Moment lions lose patience, the vulture wins. Lions in their greed try to shoo them away, they cunningly steal their meal. That’s the game they are good at. Politicians and babu’s are just doing that to us.

We the ex servicemen are like a pack of lions. Everyone wants to be the Alpha male. The one who started the pack, tried to keep all together but unfortunately when patience ran out he went looking for greener pastures. His efforts went in vain. The so called vultures kept encircling, they kept waiting for you to splinter and splinter we did. The recent developments at a veteran’s rally showed these signs. This implies that we shall fall prey to the vultures.

Haven’t we been taught in our basic army tactics to wait for the enemy to come in our effective range? Opening fire too early cautions the enemy as well as reveals ones location, giving a chance to him to either change course or tactics. Opening fire too late allows the enemy to run over your defences. We started our campaign to fight the government asking them to restore our Izzat and now have landed up not only losing our Izzat but also our credibility and integrity. Someone kept waiting for us to fight over the carcass. Now the vultures are going to sit back and enjoy our kill. They will laugh at the tamasha we created. Sad but true.

The whole nation stood by us and still does. The nation will never stand for the greedy. We had a case in point and were in a win-win situation. Today, we lost the plot completely. Why we lost the plot was because we were in a hurry. We wanted things in black and white. We forgot we were apolitical people, we forgot the main cause why we were agitating, we forgot that someone has understood our tactics and is waiting for us to make the first move. The enemy never revealed anything. We showed movement to draw fire. The enemy now will take pot shots.

As a veteran I followed OROP agitation closely and still do & my salutes to everyone. I wrote about their yeoman’s service too. I feel heart broken when my own brethren show signs of dissent and discontentment amongst each other. The values and traditions we imbibe as soldiers are long lost in today’s behaviour. Is it for personal gains or there is some other motive to it, is a matter of time to reveal? I have to have some patience for that.

The politicians formed a one man committee to look into the OROP grievances. Where did it head, God alone knows. By the way, a group of vultures is also called a committee. When the vultures feed together they are called a “wake”. Well, they “wake” when we sleep. They pounce when we let lose our guard. Though it is a myth that they encircle their prey flying high but in reality it appears that they do so waiting for the opportune moment to make a kill. Actually they wait to see signs of infighting amongst animals. They don’t waste time then and swoop down to enjoy the booty. Once on the prey, they gorge out each piece of flesh.

A few ways to keep them away is by never show you are weak. Keep on your vigil. Have patience.  Raise an alarm when needed and stay with your “pride”. Collectiveness gives unity and strength. Don’t waiver from your path; keep moving as a herd which will always keep you safe. Do we ex servicemen draw any lessons from the animal world? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MATTER OF AN INCH

These days I avoid commenting on the state of political affairs. However, when people get loggerheads with national security, I can’t resist keying a few words. Today, I would like to deal with a politician who rubbed the Indian Navy on the wrong side for not granting permission for a floating jetty to be constructed in the Malabar hills of Mumbai. Well Sir, the least I can say is little knowledge is dangerous. If another 26/11 happens, the same politicians will not only run to the Navy but also provide a mile of land to establish a security hub where they refuse to give an inch today.

Be that as it may, you call Colaba area posh. Rightly so, it is the inhabitants and the culture of the citizens staying in that area that make it posh and Navy is definitely one of them. Real estate prices are not the only indicator for the poshness of a place. It is the environment, the facilities and national assets that make it so. Don’t you see smart men and women in white who add to the definition of posh?

If I have to suggest, why do we have all Mantralay’s including yours in Delhi? Let the Maharashtra Mantralaya shift to Deonar dumping ground and our Parliament to the Gazipur land fill. Two things would happen, one, the habit of opening their mouths too much by the politicians will stop due to the stench. Second, that area will become posh.

The Navy should be patrolling the Pakistan border as you say. Rightly so, you should be patrolling the Indian roads then. Why do you politicians chicken out while giving orders to sort Pak out? Navy would be more than happy to shift their Headquarters to Karachi or Gwadar as the case may be. You want to be in the arms of your darling every evening, what has the navy chap done to deserve a life buoy around his neck at the end of each day.

Once Pakistan is taken care of, thereafter, you won’t have any requirement of the Western fleet. Army too will be able to concentrate on the direction which is getting hotter by the day and so will the Air Force. Kindly minister sahib, visit those forward areas. I request you give us a few feet, where roads and other infrastructure can be built for sustaining the troops. The forces will be more than happy to find their colleagues being evacuated in time and saved. We want living legends and not dead jetties.

Let us be clear that minister ship lasts as long as the government lasts. How long will this one last, next election will tell? Once the Navy is sent off to patrol, they definitely won’t be able to vote, as they would be guarding the high seas for this nation. This should not give you a wrong notion that their vote won’t count. If need be, the armed forces will make it count one day. We are protectors of this nation and not people who lower their morale by ridiculous statements. We serve every government irrespective of who is the minister of which ever ministry.

The joke going around is that, if you can’t give an inch of ground, we definitely can give the government a nine inch boot in next elections. The men in uniform owe their allegiance to the tricolour & the constitution; politicians we know owe their allegiance to whom, for what and why.

One more thing I want to ask Minister Saab. You keep every inch with you but please ensure that servicemen and ex servicemen do not have to beg for their rights. Their families are looked after while they are at the borders. Their children get admissions in schools, their properties are not taken away by thugs, their aging parents are treated with dignity and their documents are made without greasing any palm. Too much of rum has been spilled in the corridors of civil authorities without relief to this man guarding the frontiers. The beauty is that even when you don’t give him his due, he still doesn’t let the country down.

I wish you become the Defence Minister one day, maybe just temporarily and understand why they denied that facility. The person whose baby it is knows, isn’t it? I know you can’t think beyond business, profits and commerce but National Security should never be compromised at any cost, ever.

Well, Indian Armed Forces have a different business to deal with. So kindly take back your words and give us that inch which you have decided not to give. We have been taught and believe in that Chetwode Motto which says “The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your country comes first always and every time”. Construction of a jetty for commercial purposes comes last always and every time. Does it make any sense to you Mr Minister? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE GREAT INDIAN TAMASHA

I am not sure why we are after the 2G scam when we are now hooked on to 4G and beyond. The outcome had been predicted many moons back. 250 witnesses were “grilled”, 10 odd people went to jail including politicians, over a lakh pages were printed for a 67 page judgement and what comes out of it, a dead rat. How many draft pages would have gone down the shredder, the person handling the incinerator will tell us. One party took advantage and won elections just highlighting this rat. The investigating agencies kept investigating playing their “pied pipes” but could not find any rat. The courts found no evidence worthwhile to nail any rat. Someone had the last laugh. Any guesses?

Be that as it may, parliament has been stalled for the umpteenth time. It is business as usual for the politicians as they feel at home disrupting proceedings, sloganeering and with dharna culture. Poor Sachin spent 365 days preparing for his maiden speech which got beeped out due to the din. When it came to increasing their salaries the pandemonium came to a halt. When it comes to OROP, they don’t have funds. The tamasha continues. I just don’t understand this new kind of “democracy” and where is it heading. Is anyone really bothered about the nation or should we keep dancing to tune being played by our “elected representatives”?

Someone shared with me certain things about the custodians of our democracy. When Bofors scam happened, who suffered the consequences, it was the armed forces. After Bofors, we got new guns this year after a gap of 30 years. Why? The Armed forces went to war during Kargil. We almost went to war again after the attack on parliament without a God damn good artillery gun. Bofors was low on spares, their prime movers were off road and ammunition was grossly short thus imported overnight at exorbitant prices. No one questioned the whole issue as it was for the defence of the country. The politicians knew if something drastic happens, this country will not spare them. The ammo was bought at “onay-paunay daam” to save their skins. When Service Chief’s highlight such issues no one pays heed but when politician’s skin is stuck in the zipper then anything can happen.

The shortage of Bofors ammunition was taken up to the MoD level during Kargil war. No country was willing to give ammunition at such short notice. One country agreed but charged an exorbitant price. War had already broken out on those icy heights and ammunition was running out. Causalities were pouring in. Ammo had to be shipped to Bombay & thereafter moved up north by train and then by road to Kargil. Ship would take two days to load, 4-5 days to travel & two days to unload.

Bombay refused to handle ammunition as all other cargo operations would have to be stopped for safety reasons. Ship came and waited for two days outside Bombay. Unloading was not on the national priority so the destination was changed to Vizag adding another 6-7 days for movement. Mind you war was on. Railways had to re-position their rakes. Due to ammunition movement and safety reasons, speed of trains had to be restricted. A 48 hours became 96 hours plus journey, then time for unloading and reloading at Jammu. Finally, movement to Kargil by trucks which would have taken another three to four days till it reached gun positions. Kargil was over by then. Shocking! Thanks to the Armed forces they still evicted the Pakis as our nations integrity was at stake.

Did anyone smell a rat, bat or cat then? The only thing which was later highlighted was the coffin scam. My foot! We kept waiting for orders to go across in the winter of 2001 but rotted in our operational locations till end of 2002, away from our families because of whose indecision, any guesses?

We the people of India including the Forces have now become puppets with strings controlled by politicians. The armed forces especially are on the wrong side of the receiving end. What planning these “puppeteers” do is not visible to the common man. The whole show is choreographed so nicely that we miss out on the larger picture. Our judicial process, our investigating agencies everyone seems to make a mockery of things. I call it wastage of paper, time, effort, resources and money of the tax payers hard earned money.

I am disillusioned, I don’t know whom to believe and trust as I have become a mere moot spectator and allow myself to be used for narrow political gains. Tomorrow, another charge sheet will bite the dust, another Kargil might happen, another political party will cry foul for scams and win elections and the cycle will continue. The soldier on the other hand will keep his vigil and never let down his guard. He remains oblivious to the real motive of the political game plan. Can someone stop this bloody tamasha? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PRIME MINISTER OF GUJARAT HAS WON

I have a basic doubt, what is the difference between elections and democracy? I fully understand that the elections are a means to elect candidates to run the democratic process. However, I have now got confused, why we are mixing up the two. The electoral process has its own importance and democracy is a way of governance adopted by the people of India. Then why have state elections become more important today that the PM and his cabinet congregate in Gujarat lock, stock and barrel for days on end leaving their primary jobs.

Parliament, our temple of democracy, was abandoned in a way. If I put it across crudely, to hell with parliament! We shall get hold of its agenda in the coming sessions. What goes of India if sessions have to be cut short, postponed or even cancelled? Parliamentary proceedings will be stalled by someone as usual, so what is the use of wasting time sitting on those green or red cushions and walk on the same colour carpets depending on the house you are a member of. India is resilient, Indians can wait, India per say is not a priority during any state elections. Is this the whole idea of democracy or is this a kind of making a mockery of it?

The pradhan sewak, becomes the pradan bhashanwala. The same old rhetoric, the same old jumlas, the same old brain washing technique is applied to influence the public. Results show the effect. I still don’t know who are the actual contestants is Gujarat. The only one I saw was the PM. He is fluent with the local language, terrain, intricacies, feelings, sensitivities of the public no doubt. Does that mean he should neglect his basic responsibility and only pay heed to states undergoing polls so that by hook or crook his party wins? I am in total disagreement on this.

My argument can be shot down saying all official papers and documents were signed during election time. However, the impression I get as a common man is that every minister is on temporary duty to Gujarat, on the government’s expense. The dak from Delhi must be transiting through air, land or sea along with connected personnel. Tickets of Rajdhani’s and last minute air tickets must be costing the exchequer some amount. All the DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) quota seats of the railways must be blocked for travel conveniences’ of such staff. Imagine when the heads of important ministries like Defence, Finance, Law, Textile and many others have pitched their tents in Gujarat?

Be that as it may, it hardly matters to mantri ji as things in India can wait till cows come home. India won’t run away anywhere. Even when Pakistan slaps us daily, elections are priority one and democracy will decide how to act against Pakistan in due course of time. Today, BJP netas would be in their party offices in party mood, enjoying one more holiday. Crackers will be burst. Supreme Court will not object to the pollution they shall create today, that’s another irony.

I consider it the failure of the states politicians to allow the central govt getting involved in their elections. Definitely they can go and cast their vote if they belong to a state but it should be on proper leave of absence and on their own money. No one has the right to fritter away the tax payer’s hard earned money. So what he is the PM of India? If he is doing it for the nation, I have no objections to it. If he is doing it for his party then he might as well use party funds only. I consider it a narrow minded vision of interfering in state politics from where he rose to such an esteemed office. For me the nation comes first always and every time; state will automatically be looked after if national interest is supreme.

In the army, if I belong to a battalion then that affiliation will stay for life. After I command my unit (like you became the CM of your state) I get promoted to higher ranks and responsibilities, I cannot get involved in the units day to day functioning. I can go and motivate the unit alright but I have no right to meddle into their day to day functioning. PM saab you now are a “General” of India, please remain at that pedestal. Let the people of the state decide whom they want to be governed by and not by whom you as PM recommend. Mota bhai, tamne samjan padi? (Have you understood elder brother?)

Can we have a new legislation through a “democratic process” of non involvement of PM and his cabinet in state elections? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MIXED FEELINGS OF PAST AND PRESENT

I was reading an article where the author mentioned floppy disks and cassettes which one had to wind and rewind using a pencil. The present generation is oblivious to all that because we are talking of bullet trains and sea planes. There used to be a time when Indian cars never had ACs and the same used to be with the trains. The highest class used to be First Class. The luxury was your seating space but you had no control on the weather. The privilege used to be to alight right in front of the railway station gate instead of lugging your holdall, steel trunk, Khane ki tokri and a surahi for water. Times now have changed, whole trains are Air-conditioned, cars come with AC by default and if you ask for a non AC car it will attract raised eyebrows from the salesman.

The sheer pleasure of sitting in the window of a train or a car in the good old days is indescribable. The passing landscape, the lush green fields, the hillocks, the tractor and the bullocks, the one odd pair of the Siberian cranes, the eagerness to read the passing railway station boards, the nangu pangu children waving at your train are some memories which I remember vividly. Today, there are trains which don’t stop till they reach their destination. The complete train is a vestibule. Catering services used to be the poori sabji ka thela on the station, not now. I have travelled in times when the compartment windows had no grills. Entry to a coach used to from any window as doors were invariably blocked.

The steam engines evaporated, diesels took their place and now being replaced by electric ones. Speed, comfort, conveniences, facilities, housekeeping of both the trains and stations have come of age. Modernisation, mechanisation, technological advancement is adding to the improvements.

I remember when the electronic watches were placed at the stations, one used to look at them in awe. At New Delhi, I was amazed to see a huge arrival-departure board. It was a roller kind of a board where in a blink of an eye the name and timings of the trains used to change. Each alphabet used to roll giving a mesmerising feel. That place was frequented by pick pockets. I lost my red coloured wallet with eleven rupees and eighty naye paise many moons back.

Today there are chopper rides to shrines, piped gas to homes, Railway line has reached Srinagar and the day is not far it may go to Leh and beyond. RO-RO services are taking off in the sea. Inland water transport is being exploited. From tarred surfaces to cemented highways, from a single lane encroached road, to eight lane highways, India has come a long way. Provided, we Indians understand and utilise these facilities as our own. We need to treat each asset as our personal belonging. We must utilise it and leave it in the same shape as if we would be using it again. If swach bharat can start, so can hamara bharat campaign.

If a bus, train or road is made for us, let us keep it safe, secure and well maintained. Let us not litter. Let us not dig up roads by putting our tents for jagran or family functions. If a tap does not have water doesn’t mean it has to be twisted or pulled out of its socket. Let each community take charge of all assets in their area and look after them. It can only happen when each one of us is educated and understands the importance of every asset created by the government is for our use.

There are bus stops but no one uses them. The place where the bus is supposed to stop a vendor obstructs it. Where there is a two wheeler parking a four wheeler will adjust into it.  Who cares for a red light or a pedestrian crossing? The policeman will drive without a helmet but fine you for not wearing a seat belt. A civic sense of responsibility has yet to creep in the minds of us Indians.

I don’t mind a sea plane or a bullet train if it is for the common man. I will love to use it like I did for the metro and monorail. If all such things are going to bite dust after the initial launch then it will force me to ponder. The basic issue is I as a citizen want facilities but I as a citizen want some other citizen to look after it, some other citizen to provide security for it, another citizen to clean it and likewise. When will I start chipping in my bit? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PRACTICE MAKES A MAN PERFECT

 “KARAT KARAT ABHIYAAS KE, JARMATI HO SUJAAN

RASRI AVAT JAAT TAYEN, SIR PAR PARAT NISSAN”

                                                                                   ‘KABIR’

Practice makes a man perfect is the idiom which Kabir wrote from all the experiences in life. He further says if a rope keeps going over a stone over a period of time it does leave its mark. The same is happening in case of Rahul Baba. The way he is pushing the scale with gusto is definitely becoming a concern for BJP. To get those seats, woo voters, brainwash the public change their mindset is the mantra for politicians. On the other hand to retain their clientele, PM and his team are blazing all guns and the congress is retaliating.

I find the Chief of the Congress forces addressing rallies these days. He appears to be well rehearsed in recent times. What I am not sure is where the other Generals of his party are. Just because baba has been anointed the head of congress, the rest of them have taken a back seat it appears. Though baba karat karat abhyaas (after a lot of practice) is looking a little sujaan (learned) but unless the full weight of the rope is put on the stone, there would be no nishan (mark) on the targeted stone. BJP has mustered all their bigwigs for this campaign; I don’t see the full force of congress pushing the envelope.

The calibre and the variety of ammunition baba is firing doesn’t meet my eye but he is definitely making a dent in the armour plating of the opposition. The chinks are now visible; call it anti modi, anti BJP, anti GST, anti notebandi, anti traders or whatever. There is definitely a shake up call to the BJP. 150 seats is a lovely figure, at least the tension of the next five years will be over. Then Modi ji can focus on 2019 general elections. Firing abhyaas needs to improve from both sides though.

Let me come to the quality of speeches which I am force fed day in and day out. They are disgusting least I can say. They appear to be extempore depending on the crowd’s mood and sentiment. Speeches appear to be cheap with no substance except rhetoric. The only thing I find is they criticise the other party and involve the crowd by asking leading questions. The crowd says yes and there are squeals and bursts of laughter. It is good entertainment for everyone. Once the rally is over, the rush is to collect the payment, the packet of food, a bottle of water, find your transport and get back home. People don’t even remember who spoke in the rally and why.

I have yet to understand, is it the aura of a political person which attracts the common man to such a rally. Chalo let’s go and at least see Modiji or Rahulji in flesh and blood. How does one find time to leave his business, farms or jobs to go and listen to the political bhashan baazi. We Indians are vellas (free), unemployed and will do anything for a free ride and food, weather notwithstanding.

Rahul has been rubbing Mr Tata and Nano on the wrong side lately. Mr Tata actually must be having a good laugh the way you say that he has manipulated land and electricity and might send you a Nano complimentary. This is where you need to do a lot of abhyaas, to get your facts and figures right in terms of homework. Tata is one family which has nurtured this nation till date, don’t ridicule them. You want to shoot Mr Modi, don’t fire your gun form Mr Tata’s shoulder. To be fair then rope in all the Adani’s, Ambani’s, Goenkas and a host of others with industries there.

Be that as it may, political mudslinging has become the new norm of today, name calling, defaming, misquoting, rekindling hatred towards each other, dragging families and false promises is the way today’s politicians manipulate to get votes and win elections. Look, he has not done this but we will compensate you with that. We will reserve this and that, we shall reduce prices of everything and we will give you double the compensation for your land etc are political gimmicks which our public buys. Money is not going to go out of the politicians pockets. Ultimately you and I are going to pay each paisa as taxes.

Neta’s win elections on our hard earned money with a promise to distribute it to all and sundry with a major chunk to themselves and then they shall sit in the parliament making legislations for me as to how to pay the government back. What rubbish is this? They will promise the moon on a dark night. As a citizen of this country I need to do abhyaas how to get a good system of governance, good politicians and a strong country. Netaji please keep your bhashans with you and stop wasting our time. When will this dawn on the common man to understand that the rope which needs to leave a mark is being slowly cut leaving the common man dangling on it? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

NICHE OR NEECH

I found Mr MSI finally getting entangled in his own web of words. The words he used to describe his and my PM were the neechest as neech could be. Now that the words have been fired, the only option he had was to twist the tail as is done everywhere in politics for everything which goes wrong. The blame game starts and he blamed it on him being a south Indian. Aye yai yo. We simple, uneducated Indians can see through the smart act of yours sir.

Be that as it may, had he had his way and say, if Modi ji had lost the elections I am sure a new chai wala would have been serving the parliamentarians. That is what he meant when he said that in seven generations Modi cannot become PM. I wish MSI saab you had served in fauj, you would have known the moment you become over confident in your job you tend to be callous. With all the insurgency experience one may predict that the militants are holed up in one house, it invariably happens that they are in the house behind you and that’s what has happened to you. So instead of you being the hunter, you have become the hunted.

I can understand your hatred for the party PM belongs to, or your dislike for their beliefs, or for that matter the abhorrence you show to the man himself. Today you have been suspended from the party officially by someone equivalent to your son. How shameful and disgraceful can it be? Well, you are the best judge. You lived in a house so long and now you have to sit outside and tell your children stories that how you wanted to carve out a “niche” but landed up ousted for using the word “neech”.

I have heard you speaking both languages very fluently. The “tongue of slip” which happened when you wanted to convey neech rajniti and not a neech person is not possible because of your south Indian genes for sure. It was deliberate; it was a definite. It was a conscious derogatory attack, it meant to insult if not abuse and it was aimed at belittling the PM which was clearly evident from the tone and the tenor of your conversation.

You have been a polished diplomat of this country and a thoroughbred politician. You may have been a rebel in the congress but I have seen you as a refined, well read and a distinguished Indian. You have represented India the world over in many forums and conducted yourself with grace and finesse. To see such a person suddenly turn into this foul mouthed, uncouth person is difficult to fathom. A person who is so clear about the country’s history and geography, a person who spent umpteen years in Pakistan during the worst times, who may not have used such derogatory language ever for the enemy, then how as per you can your own elected Prime Minister become neech or do low level politics. It was the most indecent word that you could have ever used. If the way the PM and his party have been able to sell themselves in Gujarat which is hurting the congress, result day is not far. If your choice of words for the PM can change the mandate to the congress, I think you are in for a shock. I wish both the parties good luck.

I used to yearn for your debates on NDTV in a programme called “politically incorrect”, where I found you to be most politically correct. Your opponents used to waiver but your arguments, your flow of thoughts, your understanding of Indian politics used to fascinate me. Your clarity of mind and the eloquence in putting across your opinion was beyond compare and convincing but the day you came out with the chai wala comment you started losing me and many others from your fan club. Now you have lost me completely. I know I am no one but definitely as a citizen I want to express my anger and anguish at your deportment and behaviour about the most prestigious position of this country. Not done by gentlemen sir. I am not sure if there are any left in today’s politics.

You have been shown the door. That’s the least Congress could do. I wish you could have had a graceful exit. Your apologies make no difference now, as the damage has already been done. You can keep justifying the word neech, doesn’t make a difference to man or beast.

Just one more request sir, whatever grudges you hold against whomsoever, including me, be done with it once for all. Stand at India gate and call everyone all the adjectives you know and spit out all the bitterness as fast as you can. That reminds me BJP welcomes people from the congress with open arms, so kindly get into an uninterrupted and uninterruptable dialogue with Modi ji and gang as soon as possible. After all you and him are not India and Pakistan. Ni purintu kontaya? (Have you understood?) I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MOST AUSPICIOUS TIME

I find it quite amusing when a news channel spoke to an Ex Air Chief about preparations to sort out Pakistan after 26/11 as revenge. Then the channel got after Dr Man Mohan Singh. Well, the Air Chief stated that plans did exist to strike and strike hard. It did not happen. The final go ahead is of the Govt and not any Chief or even PM. Thus to guillotine the PM of that time is not fair. To top it all, they dragged Rahul baba and his mom into it, who may not have any idea of warfare as such. The same yard stick should have been applied by the channel when the NDA Government was ruling and the attack on parliament had happened, in all fairness. To conjecture, had we done this that day, the repercussions would have been different is stretching it too far. Either we should have done it, now that we haven’t, let us not brag about it, is my view.

Which Chief will say that there are no plans to sort what we all desperately need to sort out? We were unprepared in 1947, still we did our best. 1962, we braved it out against all odds. 1965 was no different and we came out victorious. In 1971 we created a new country. Kargil, who can forget? Such plans are never revealed but are continuously made, war gamed, modified, improved and updated. Nation is always supreme; the tri colour has to flutter, come hell or high water. I would rather say that after the experience of Kargil and deployment in OPERATION-PARAKARAM, the forces are definitely better prepared. Our operational options have been refined and our logistics has been practiced thoroughly. Men have seen all four seasons change in operational readiness during that time. Nuclear option can never be ruled out and we are prepared for the worst.

India has waited far too long to retaliate. It has tolerated and been patient enough against all nefarious activities and nonsense done by Pak. The country has sacrificed too many of its brave hearts to give peace a chance. The “PAAP KA GHARA” (pot of sin) of the adversary is filling up and needs to be shattered. When, how, by whom, by talks or otherwise are questions better left unanswered?

This reminds me of an anecdote of my good old army days.

We were a newly raised unit in a God forsaken place called JA-SALE-MER many moons back. It was month of May and we had to move for field firing. As usual, we are kind of superstitious in the army, so the unit pandit ji was told to take out a “Mahurat” (auspicious time) for the convoy to move. Pokhran ranges were just about 100 odd kms. Pandit ji came up with all rahu-ketu calculations to 9 am. It used to be 45+ degrees in May at 9 am and rising. Anyways, as usual the convoy lined up and the paltan fell in. 2IC was about to take the report when people started falling like nine pins due to the heat. He ordered the paltan to “Visarjan” (break off) and called the pandit ji to his office and told him. “Pandit ji, mauhrat niklega aur kal subha 5 baje ka nikelaeg”. Koi shak? (any doubts). Aap ne jis ko jo chadhana hai chadah do (you can offer whatever to whomsoever) but if mahurat is delayed by one second you had it. Pandit ji did a peechay mur, daur ke chal. (About turn and run for life)

Next day Pandit ji instead of his usual white dhoti kurta was in a new never used combat dress. Dot at 5 am the nariyal was broken and off we went. BMPs had already reached and the “shubh arambh” of firing was to be done by panditji by firing the first round of the 30mm cannon. I was the Commander of the BMP. I had never seen a Pandit scared to death ever. Here I had one who had only performed poojas in front of BMPs. The closest he reached the tracks was to keep a nariyal under the track. Anyways, panditji had for the first time put on a head gear, shivering, sweating and he got the orders to fire. Bang and it hit the target (the gun of course was laid by the gunner). Pandit ji from inside the cupola looked at me Sahib bahar aa jaun (Sir, may I come out). I said let the MCT (Mobile Control Tower give clearance). They did. From that day onwards pandit ji used to come a week in advance to ask, “sahib march karne ka muhrat kitne baje ka nikalna hai”. (Sir what time do we need to set the auspicious time to move). I hope it is being followed even today by the paltan. God bless my Paltan.

Pakistan you better be aware, we are a land of pandits. The mahurat will definitely be taken out and the date, time and place of attack will be of the choosing of our Chief’s that shall be revealed by the forces that auspicious day. It did not happen yesterday. Will it happen tomorrow? Or will it happen in the near future; I leave it for everyone to wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

7000 CRORES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BITTER SWEET

This morning, to catch up with what is happening in the world I put on news and was taken aback to hear that West Bengal went to war with Odisha. Last many years they had been fighting and now as usual our courts intervened and pronounced the judgement in favour of Bengal. Thank God no blood was spilled, however lots of “Chaashni” (sugar syrup) flowed down into the Bay of Bengal in these years. Yes friends, finally the courts have decided that the “Rosogoola” was invented in Bengal. The whole of Bengal went into celebration mode and threw these white, fluffy, sweet, round balls of flavour at each other. Finally, this epic battle came to an end.

Is this what we have come to? Is this the only thing left with for the courts to decide? I sincerely pray to all the judiciary that please if you have such cases just throw the files out of the window. I am sure you have better things to do. I am a little perturbed as to who will now file a case for the Gulab Jamun. I am not sure whether such cases should be accepted by the courts, leave alone states fighting to claim a sweet. The river waters flow from state to state, the lands are demarcated, languages across states are common, wind doesn’t differentiate boundaries, crop pattern is the same then why this fight over who invented a rosogoola of all the things.

I was imagining a scene where our dear Didi would be standing in court in one witness box and Mr Naveen Patnaik in the other trying to defend his claim. Judge being our own from the movie Johnny LLB, Saurab Shukla. Didi must have had Arshad Warsi on her side who would have gone deep into the case to the real origin of the place where the sweet would have been conceived, including producing the most secret and ancient recipe which would have been written ages ago in the script which would need deciphering from the scriptures. That would have been the most clinching evidence produced to nail the case.

The judge would have been waiting for him to produce this evidence in court for the “devil in white” to make an appearance due to which this battle started. At last with dripping hands in the slurpy sugary syrup he would have dug his teeth into it. The sense of ecstasy which would have appeared in his eyes and expression would have helped him finally make this decision that the rosogoola belongs to Bengal. To be eaten by everyone till death and then broken the nib of his pen.

Let the best rosogoola win is my contention. With passage of time, as diabetes is becoming a menace for all sugar related issues, I think we should get over with the fight for this sugar drenched roundels. It should not be a matter of concern who invented them or where they originated. The matter should be that how best without causing any diseases this item should grace the menu at various functions. People praising its softness and the quality of it to melt in the mouth should be more important. The courts should have never come in but then who would have decide the actual winner. I am sure the judges would have got tons of them from Bengal complimentary.

I am also not sure if some other country may have already patented the sweet which may cause more bitterness to the taste of this traditional Indian Mithaae. The odishaiets will not leave this here. I expect this battle to go up to the highest court and may go in for an appeal to the President of India. Had it been the previous president, the ruling would have been in favour of Bengal again. Obviously, Pranab da cannot be unfair to the land of his origin.

I have never researched the subject of sweets. It would not be out of place to find out about the other Indian sweets like the ladoo. Who claims to be the originator of ladoo? Who has the patent, I do not know and similarly for my favourite besan ki burfi? Gajjar ka halwa won’t be a bad bet to check for either. I hope we don’t land up in another Indo- Pak like conflict over this, if Pak claims the origins of halwas and pinnis is from their country, India might go to the UN.

Let me not conjecture too much but I feel that there has to be a limit to all this nonsense where states are going to courts for trivial issues which should not waste even one minute of any court in India. The numbers of pending cases are already piling up and here we find that a sweet has created bitterness out of a non issue. Tomorrow someone comes and claims that Agra ka petha originated in China, it would be a nuclear explosion of kinds.

Be that as it may, will my craving for sweets and especially Rosogoola ever subside, I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FILTERING DELHI SMOG

Invisibility is increasing or is it visibility is decreasing is the state of affairs of our National Capital. As they say every person has a fixed number of breaths in his life time, when this adage was written it was taken for granted that it would be pure air. All things “Shudh” are no more shudh. Ashudh is getting ashudher. Every breath you take, your “counter” keeps counting but it does not filter out the impurities that are doled free with it. One micro gram of carbon is free with every litre of air one inhales. We will take anything free even if it is at the peril of our lives. No one needs to be blamed except me & myself.

Let us leave the Delhi government aside. They are only capable of issuing orders for odd and even. Beyond that they blame all and sundry. Doesn’t the North and South block breathe the same air or are there special filters circulating clean air for the high and mighty. It just struck me that our circular parliament building will come into action shortly for the winter session hopefully by then all smog will have cleared off. The observation I have is the shape of the parliament building. It looks like a huge air filter of a vehicle. Therefore no matter how polluted the air is, nothing will penetrate through.

Pardon my saying so, it also depends on the thickness of skin of our law makers. Nothing can percolate through either. Another thing I find that hampers the smooth functioning of systems is the bureaucratic filters. A file goes from one desk to another. Form one department to another, from one ministry to another, it might be approved or disapproved it comes back the same way to the clerk who initiated the case. Imagine a sanction which goes through such stringent filtering of so many laws, by laws, clauses, notes, foot notes, annexure, appendices, rulings and finally reaching the top man. What is left of the original would have been soaked, rinsed and dried by the end of it. What is dished out to the public is anybody’s guess.

Well it reminds me of my fauji days where we were taught that sand is a natural filter for water, so to get the basic impurities out of it, we used to fill sand in a pitcher, pour dirty water on top, make a pin hole at the bottom and then wait for the water to drip, drop by drop. All those who lost patience and drank dirty water landed up in hospitals for dysentery and all those who had the patience to wait also landed up in hospitals due to dehydration. So the government is like that, you will in any case land up in hospital.

It is a fact that processes in our government’s machinery move at snail’s pace. To procure a machine, someone has to first say that it is needed. Then a group of ministers (GOM) will be formed. They shall roam around the world to understand it and give the final nod. Then someone will suggest putting the best brains together to order a product manufactured in Timbuktu, modified for Indian conditions. Finally, delays in budgetary approvals followed by the tendering procedure. The machine will be handed over after a photo operation, press release and front page coverage. It might find a mention in the MAN KI BAAT too.

A nut case like me will be made responsible to run and maintain it. Within two days I will damage some part. The same will be demanded and the whole procedure repeated. Now someone in Bhatinda will be contacted to make a replica which may or may not fit. The equipment will soon die its own death. Fog or smog stays where it is, as two seasons would have gone by. By then election time would be fast approaching, it would be summers by then, to hell with smog, people are fools and will forget.

Some people will die of lung and related ailments will make no difference to Neta ji. If “note bandi” could take a few lives so “fog bandi” deserves its share of sacrifices too. Road accidents due to poor visibility and smog will continue we will blame the potholes. Trains will run late, Flights will get diverted. Crops waste will continue to burn. Garbage will keep smoldering, blame it on the people, if there are no people there will be no garbage. Construction will continue without adhering to pollution norms. If nothing else blame it on Pakistan.

If the main cause of this smog are the winds from north which carry sand particles than those need to be trapped. People of Punjab and other neighbouring states have already started bundling up the stubble which now needs to be encouraged on a war footing before the next season. Vehicular and construction pollution has to be drastically reduced. No garbage whatsoever be burnt or allowed to be burnt should be our sincere pledge.

When the root cause of the smog is known, the polluters and pollutants are known, what I as a citizen have to do is known, then what the government and its agencies got to do should also be done. Is it lack of resources? Is it lack of funds? Or is it lack of will? I wish it was a pollution driven chemical attack on the parliament, this matter would have been sorted out in one day. When will this filter shaped parliament ever understand the value of each life which voted for them? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

ARMED FORCES TO RESCUE POLLUTED INDIA

The buzz in Delhi and the media is pollution. To that extent my mind has got so polluted that I cannot think rationally anymore. The constant bak-bak, tu-tu-mai-mai about the subject is getting on my nerve. Worst is what can be implemented now is being deferred or postponed. Governments are busy with what they are best at doing that is passing the buck. It is not surprising that now even Pakistan has started blaming India for polluting its air, like we blame everything on ISI and Pakistan.

How can the Armed Forces contribute to reduction of pollution in North India? I have an idea. The serving folks will kill me for what I am going to suggest but I shall take it in its stride because we have done so many things for this country so why not chip in here too.

Let all transport aircrafts sprinkle water over the complete affected area, from Punjab to UP and from Himachal to Rajasthan, in and around Delhi where smog exists. I don’t know if our aircrafts can be modified to carry water but if need be let’s do it to our transport fleet. If the Government of India or for that matter Delhi goes to hire such aircrafts, it would be two seasons passed due to governmental delays. In case government hires aircrafts emergently, the exorbitant rates it might have to pay and how many people will make money needs to be considered. Yes, if we need to buy a few aircrafts which douse forest fires, let’s start the procurement process now for the next season.

The basic issue is the burning of stubble in Delhi & its neighbouring states. This year the farmers have already burnt what they had to but for next season let there be a massive logistics exercise by the Army or under the Army with Indian railways included. The complete fleet of the armed forces transport, civil hired transport (CHT) and goods train rakes be mobilised with adequate manpower by forming a grid across the affected states. As the farmers harvest, the trucks pick up the stubble and transport it to the remote desert of Rajasthan by rail and road.

Few things will happen; one, animals in Rajasthan’s will never go hungry. Two, thermal power plants can utilise this for generating power. Three, tremendous amount of compost can be generated which can be sent all over the country for farming. Four, in case Rajasthan wants to start organic farms along the IGC (Indira Gandhi Canal) I can assure you we will have radish (mooli) and carrots three feet long. Five, prices of vegetables will drop and six, there will be no need to import vegetables. The only thing is we will have to ban “Mooli Parathas” for obvious polluting reasons.

Let us try it out for one season. Let us have no burning of any crop waste. All this has to be done in a time bound manner and no one can beat the forces in punctuality. Let the government agencies clear all roads for passing of these huge convoys and railways give highest priority to such rakes. Let the CHTs be moved under the army supervision to places earmarked. Let a civil organisation get into fodder distribution and compost making so that well before the next crop all that was received is disposed off. Once the forces have shown the way let the civil administration take over and carry out this ritual as their primary duty to save people from pollution.

I am still not sure how do the developed countries expand their infrastructure without polluting their cities. Why Delhi needs to stop construction? Odd even rule needs to be followed but not with a double whammy that you quadruple the parking charges. Make Delhi so transport friendly that everyone commutes by public transport. If you count the number of cabs in Delhi the figure would be in many lakhs. Registered four wheelers may touch a figure of one crore plus. So rather than having 20 cars in the PMs Fleet can we reduce a few. Down the line Mantri’s who have such categories of security also need to prune their fleet. The Army Chief goes around with just two or three vehicles. Could anybody be a bigger target than the Chief himself? Let’s stop this show-sha bazi.

Well complete North India is gripped with this menace. Let us implement the short term measures today, plan for the long term in the next 30 days and be ready for its implementation in the next harvest season.

I gave this suggestion of using the forces in jest. You never know I might be given the Nobel Prize for “idiotic thinking”. If we as a force could do so many things for this country then why cannot we contribute to saving the residents of North India from this deadly pollution?

I have one more suggestion; someone needs to take the responsibility straight away irrespective of state, center, gram panchayat or whatever. The citizens have to stand up with the government now. Situation is becoming desperate. Stop this mind pollution, stop this venom and hatred spreading, stop all kinds of pollution of minority, majority, Hindu, Muslim. PM Sir, India is the biggest canvas where you can paint a collage. Let us see it emerging rather than it getting blurred in this mix of all sorts of pollutants. Will it be now or will it be never? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

 

THE BEST CAREER

As I sit back and look at the journey of my life, had I continued in the Indian Army, I would have retired at the end of this month. In the civil where I work with now, I may go on for another 6 years if all goes well. Well, I am not sure will I be able to last that long because of my nature which does not go very well in civil, which is to take a stand for my subordinates or for something which my conscious does not allow. Well, this attitude has cost me my job many times. I still continue to bash on regardless without bothering about the outcome.

This brings me to a question. Which is the right profession then? What can be termed as a satisfying career? In which job can you keep working till the day you like, keep earning and enjoy the best of life? Is it the forces? The answer is an absolute no. Is it the corporate? My answer is an absolute no again. I find two professions which might fit in the bill. One is to become a politician and the other is to become a holy man.

Be that as it may, the thought that triggered me to write this piece was the way armed forces are being used in the country today. It has been proved that the forces will come to the rescue of this nation for anything and everything including building a foot over bridge or cleaning the mountains besides all that we keep doing routinely in Aid to Civil Authorities. Why do we do it so professionally? It is because this comes from the ethos the men and women in uniform imbibe in them.

The simple formula we follow is Z-KIT-BM. The landmarks (Zamini Nishan) are given to get familiar with the terrain and area of responsibility, the information of both, own side and the enemy is given in great detail (Khabar dushman ki aur Khabar apni), the aim (Irada) of the operation is made crystal clear. It is short, crisp and precise. The modus operandi (Tarika) is then told so that no doubts are left lingering, including various contingencies. Thereafter, we discuss the administration (bandobast) and finally are the communications (Milap) between all parties participating in the operation.

Last but not the least we also synchronise our watches (Ghari Milao). This is the most important ritual, as we do things time bound. We then get to work even without orders. In case our leader becomes a causality or is not available, the next senior assumes his position automatically. We work, we rest and we get back to work again amidst all chaos till we achieve our aim as given out in the Irada. We fight till the last man last round, if rounds finish we get our bayonets on, if bayonets break, we don’t give up even then, we use are bare hands to achieve the aim even if we perish in the process. That’s our culture.

All this I do not see happening in the civil. First, I find the main aim is “paisa banao” (make money). Second, is to paisa bachao (save money), by not paying well and cutting down on salaries, amenities and manpower. To achieve greater heights the formula becomes lick, lick and lick. Butter every side of the toast. The formula used is, “KAAM NA KARO, KAAM KI FIQR KARO AUR FIQR KA ZIQR APNE BOSS KO ZAROOR KARO” (Don’t work, just worry about work and keep telling your boss that how worried you are) is the key to success. Secondly, for any fault, blame all and sundry rather than own up responsibility. Make someone the scapegoat. Let truth never prevail. If caught, run away or go to court.

Sit long hours in office twiddling your thumbs. In fact your boss does the same but apparently it should appear that you are the most sincere employee. Bring a pin and describe the process as if you bought an aeroplane. Discuss it repetitively in all meetings the efforts you put in to research about it, the hurdles you faced in the selection process, the difficulty with which you could convince people to pass your budget, not to forget how many mails you sent and the paper work you did. How you almost visited the vendor, got the pin loaded and followed it through every octroi post. Blame the delay on the non cooperation by some who did not give a crane to unload this pin especially if you hold a personal grudge against him. At the end expect a complimentary mail for you to keep in record to show it during your appraisal. Life actually sucks.

The profession of babas and baby’s I don’t have to discuss. Politics I don’t know and about politicians I won’t utter a word. One thing I may like to tell the people who run this country is that, Sirs, if you don’t make the profession of the Armed Forces the best career option in this country, if you don’t give the serving and the veterans their dues and Izzat, then your profession will be jeopardy someday. Politics as a career is alright but will you be able think beyond the petty politics and pay heed to the writings on the wall called “Khabar Apni”? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

IN CONVERSATION WITH CATHERINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

Page 2 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén