Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: SATIRE (Page 1 of 8)

MISS MONEY PENNY

MISS MONEY PENNY

 

 I have been visiting my new girlfriend Miss Money Penny every alternate day since first of the month. She stays at a very convenient location and on the way to office. Invariably I find her sick as her main door shutter is always half down. Well she is my ATM. Shutter down means two things, either the bank people are filling in cash or there is a mechanic inside trying to locate where all the hidden money is.

Moment I wish Jai-Maharashtra to the ATM guard, you can straight away make out from his expressions that will the darling give me cash or will it show you its tongue by spitting out a white chit of paper, stating no funds.

BSNL net connectivity is another issue here. It works in a typical “Bhartiya” way that unless you kick the ATM twice it will not hand over cash. Sometimes it is so slow that you tell the guard, look friend, I am going to have a cup of tea, in case my sweetheart decides to shower her blessings, please collect the amount for me. The damn thing becomes so slow that to punch those four numbers one has to wait till an X appears on the screen, which takes ages. If you press a wrong pin, out it will spew a “parchi” stating your transaction is cancelled.

Most of the times one finds the home page very dim. One really has to touch the screen recalling from your memory, one wrong touch and she gets angry. Instead of savings if you punch on current you are back to square one as there is a difference between a chalu khata (current account) and a bachat khata (savings account). “Khata chalu nahi hota aur bachat hum se hoti nahi”.

As the line outside gets longer, people start losing their patience. They are afraid that the man inside may take out all the money. You find people start knocking & peeping thorough the glass door. I wait coolly as I get hold of the friendly cats that live there to play with.

Then there are some people who just do not come out. After 15 odd attempts he will come out grinning to tell you that he was just checking his balance. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!! Moment you go in you find the damn thing working fine and you swipe your debit card. It says, your transaction is being processed. Suddenly you hear lots of churing, flipping, Cheeeen, Chooooon sounds. Then you hear that very familiar sound of counting of notes, Kharrrrrrr.  It brings a grin to your face that today is my day.

In between the transaction you get a sms that your account has been debited by say 5000 rupees. Your eyes get lit up, though they are fixed at the mouth of the orifice which throws out the money. No money comes. You skip a heartbeat, still no money; you again hear the churning sounds, some solace, out comes parchi inadequate funds. Now you don’t know what to do. It is 8pm now the earliest you can contact the bank is tomorrow morning. The whole night’s sleep is gone. At five in the morning you get another sms that the transaction has been cancelled. Phew! You breathe a sigh of relief.

Next day on your way to the office you wave at the ATM guard who by now is a MIP (most important person). Everyone has his mobile number saved in speed dial mode. If you see him smiling and waving back then “miss money penny” is obliging. If he raises his hand with a frown on his face and with a vigorous twist of his wrist means you are forbidden to even look in her direction.

Our ATM is close to our hospital that means a visit to the doctor is inescapable. Reason is moment you enter the ATM cubicle you get chilled to your bones. From the hot and humid climate when you enter a chilled deep freezer you have goose bumps all over. Moment you come out, the blast of heat hits you again and its “sard-garm” already. You ask the guard “itna thanda kyon”, he says that the cats like it chilled. I looked at the cats and said balle balle.

At last I could get hold of some cash on the 18th of this month. This was not through the ATM but with a self cheque by standing in queue for an hour and a half. The Bank Madam as she is known is very strict. I said madam 18 days of this month have passed, when the ATM will be up and about. She said if you have waited for so long, can’t you wait for another week. I thought to myself why not. I knew that the bank and bankwali are thoroughbred bhartiya from the State bank of “Bharat”.

At last the manager gave 20k to me as a special case and told that do not return this month for more. She doesn’t know I have an account in another bank also. Will that banks Miss Money Penny give me what I need?  I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PERCEPTION & REALITY

I was sitting in a closing meeting of ISO certification the other day. The lead auditor was a Bengali and a senior citizen. He appeared to be very transparent and upright, the way he had spelt out conduct the audit. At the end of a two day gruelling process we all were awaiting the pearls of wisdom from him.

In the industry, I find that all these ISO certifications are a must if you really mean business. There are some companies which have a clause inserted in their business plan that they won’t do any business with companies without these certifications. It is not surprising though all these auditors have a standard check list, in addition they get hold of your standing operating procedures and then start picking holes in your system one by one. At the end of the day every Industry fears for a thing called NCs (non-compliances) which are Major NC and Minor NC. Let me not get into the nitty-gritty’s now.

I also happened to find out that there are quite a few agencies that do this accreditation and most of them are based in US of A or UK. Isn’t it surprising? An industry in India is being certified to the satisfaction of these countries that have no clue how our industry actually functions.

Manpower is the first thing which is axed in all industries. They want a lean mean fighting machine. Asking for overtime is a taboo. Working late is routine and expected. You have to be multi tasking with ten hands of Goddess Durga. The work which should be done today should have finished last week. The reports and statistics need to be produced in past tense. The beauty is that people still produce them. Aim is to show you are working basically covering your backside by sending mails.

Let’s come to social accountability. Is anyone responsible for the manager category? The whole system is worker oriented. It is assumed that the industry would be taking care of its managers automatically. The truth is very far from it. Then comes the union bazi, well lesser said the better about it. In all my experience, I have only seen union leaders taking the goonda approach or are kept shut with money depending upon the number of workers and the size of the industry. People talk about food basket, minimum wages, statutory compliances, safety procedures etc. Do they really mean what they say?

Problem with us Indians is that we want to ape what the US manual says without giving it due thought about comparative resources which are made available there. Their mind set, their culture needs to be taken into considerations. Above all they are far more honest and far less corrupt than us.

Environment is an issue; the watch dogs want every industry to produce only oxygen and pure water as its waste. One micron this side or that side there will be hell to pay. Issue doesn’t end here as these microns are managed by cash or kind. The boiler inspector will not even boil a cup of tea in the container but certify things as if they are straight out of the sauce pan. I was not aware that a job like a lift operator needs a certificate from an authorised institution, like a drivers licence. More are the compliances more is the outflow of cash, plus stay in company guest houses on the house.

I got cheesed off at this auditor mentioned about retired “sarkari karamchari”. As per him they only take a hefty pension without having worked. His brother gets a good pension working at “CHEETOROUNJAAN LOKHOMOTEEBS”. Then he started off on the income tax he has to pay. All of that is eaten up by government people especially the forces. These were the pearls which ultimately fell. I lost my shirt and told him that friend I gave my yesterday for your today. If you cannot be grateful for our services then you have no business to utter what you are uttering. The irony was many of the employees started agreeing that all their taxes are eaten up by government people especially from the forces and why are they penalised for it.

I walked out of the hall feeling hurt, that imagine what the civilian psyche is. As if they are the only ones paying to run this country. They seem to be ashamed to pay tax for the forces. They will never understand what each person in uniform went through. These people have been static, lived in a secure environment, getting hefty pays and getting the best of facilities with his family, with children getting best of education, contributing zero to nation building.

I really felt sad about the knowledge these people have about the forces. Should I waste time to teach them about what the armed forces are all about? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PM ON FAST

Gone are the days when Gandhi ji used to go on a fast and the world used to get shaken up. I think the British gave up because his fast was a more deadly weapon then any gun. PM Sahib decided to do the same. He is on a fast as a mark of protest because our representatives stalled all work in our “Gole Market”. It appeared more like a “Gole Macchi Market”. The basic decorum and the discipline of the august houses suddenly evaporated into thin air. PM Sahib must be in a terribly angry mood to take this action. Indeed it is very unfortunate for India but who cares.

I remember we used to ask the Adjutant, how is the bosses’ mood? Last minute check used to be with the COs runner, if he nodded his head straight, then you had a chance to put across your argument. If he nodded sideways meant hell is going to break loose. One entered the COs office at one’s own risk. Many times if you were called, you meekly asked the adjutant Sir, what is the agenda? His simple answer used to be “Danda”. There was no use for any guess about your condition when you came out. A good adjutant used to keep a chilled glass of nimbu pani in summers or a hot cup of tea in winters ready, knowing the aftermath of the firing you got.

Imagine if PM saab is in a foul mood and tells his secretary to call a few ministers to his office. Finance Minister, asking for a chilled nimbu pani “in winters”, holding a shredded noting sheet of a few lakh crores which the PM just tore off for no reason.  DM coming out all guns blazing at the Chief’s, stating PM passed though Delhi Cantt and found the Chuna-Geru was not up to the mark. Transport Minister trying to send a message to avoid meeting to the PM stating he is struck in a traffic jam. Foreign Minister already on a flight to Bhutan, when asked why? She says, because of that dhokla issue or was it dhoklam, she forgot.  General Saab already fit-chuted and ready to para jump over Iraq, just in case some more Indians had to be brought back.

Bosses mood was an indicator for things to come our way. It was like the daily horoscope. I remember one of them used to get in good moods moment you talked about a party. Who is throwing it and for what reason was beside the point. Another one used to be a bridge enthusiast; so one could wait till the cows came home and have lunch at dinner time, office started after that. One used to be that training type, if your dangri smells of sweat and your patka is full of sand, it was ok with him. So you knew what to do moment you saw him, just do a front roll in the sand and your day was through. One was a stickler for punctuality, one second late for any parade meant you were on leave that day.

In the civil I find mood swings more and very difficult to predict. He will talk soft but mean harsh. He will record every incident and keep quoting it, till you die. They provoke you and make you react, burden you ‘without resources’, backtrack from their words, mean something & say something. They assume that you will interpret what they say in a manner what they don’t mean. At least in the fauj a boss used to fire you, abuse you, kick you, and shout at you but at the end of the day things were forgotten over a drink. If he was really annoyed, he sent on an LRP (Long Range Patrol).

Be that as it may, where will the PM go to express is displeasure? For him, our diversity is now becoming our divisiveness. We are no more united. Everyone wants a bigger chunk of the pie. If not then hamper parliament proceedings. That’s what the reason is for the PM to react. How do you control such people, the PM per force has to go on a fast to show his unhappiness; a sad state for India.

I consider it a matter of shame if the PM has to go on a fast like this. Knowing the Indian mentality it will make no difference to any of those elected representatives who did not let the houses function. Had these guys thought about the country first, things would have been different? I wish the PM follows our adjutant and introduces stalls of Nimbu Pani and Chai outside both the houses, for all MPs found misbehaving. When will this Gole Machhi Market return to the stature and maintain the dignity required of our Parliament? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BHARAT KYON BANDH

Today there is a call for a nationwide Bharat Bandh I suppose. The Aam Admi is going to be the only one to be most affected. Commuting will be difficult, we are used to it. Essential services will be hit, what is new about it. Banks and Sarkari offices may have to be closed, so what. Vandalism may happen, well that is in our nature. Poor taxi-walas, chai-walas and daily wagers will be the sufferers. It happens every time. The big-wigs will still get their essentials through their back doors, from milk to liquor at a premium which they can afford to pay, nothing novel about it.

Bandh will be declared successful depending on the number of riot like situations created, police stations burnt, vehicles turned to cinders, number of lathi charges and the number of people who die in stampedes or firing. Neta ji gets more fuel to ignite and exploit the situation as also curse the government for poor law and order situation. His pride will be to court arrest by doing a drama in front of the cameras and get carried by policemen. Ho gaya bandh. Desh gaya tel lene.

Opposition takes to the streets, nothing original about this too. They go all out to defame the ruling government, this is routine, irrespective of who is in power.  Police will declare a red alert and a precautionary 144 but who cares for “Dhara ek sau chawalis”.  People gather in groups, in multiples of 50. Police catch people whom they can single out. Then situation goes out of their control, alas the police become moot spectators.

Daily wager sits and waits to feed those five people in his family who per force will go hungry today. They are now fully acclimatised to such bandhs. Schools would be shut down as a precautionary measure. Buses would be forced to be off road. Lonesome streets with ply card yielding “Hai-Hai” shouting people would only be seen. Most of them are paid for a day’s work. Ask them individually what their issue is, they won’t be able to tell.

Do we need Bandhs in the first place? Is it necessary to bring the country to a grinding halt? People may be travelling for business, joyous occasions, solemn occasions, interviews, hospitals etc just to be stuck and stranded for no fault of theirs. Is it justifiable? Should it be tolerated by the voters?

Where is the law to ban bandhs? Netas call it there democratic right. My foot! Neta ji can do bhashan baazi, neta ji can demand apologies from all and sundry but netaji will do nothing to refuse a call for a bandh. Netaji will never blame himself for any chaos. Neta ji’s have gone to the extent to bandh karo the parliament. Neta ji is netaji ji, period! They prefer to gorge on Chola-Bhaturas and then sit on a day long symbolic fast without realising the poor people they represent will go hungry.

I would suggest that all those who want to participate in a bandh can very much afford to get one “fawra”, “genti” “belcha” “jharoo” and one small tarpaulin. Let the netas lead from the front. Let the people who give “chanda” to parties provide dumpers and let us clean our cities. Every drain and every nali can be cleared. Every single piece of plastic & paper can be picked up by those who congregate needlessly for sloganeering.  Let no parliament function but then let all citizens get together and clean up India on the day of bandh. Is it possible?

I can assure you that the power of collectiveness which is shown by wasting precious man hours sitting and gossiping on stages, giving bhashans, cursing each other while the common man looks up to the “mai baaps” for redemption from the shackles of bad times will transform India. Clean your parks, clean your stadiums, clean your roads, clean your public amenities, clean your busses, clean your trains, we will see the difference. All those who can afford it, just do “geru-chuna” to the trees along the road. Netas who claim to be leaders of men need to set an example here. See how things transform in this country.

If bandh is a necessity, then let’s bandh karo corruption & useless bhashans. Let us band karo communal divide and suffering of a common man. Let us pledge to bandh karo throwing garbage on the roads, let us bandh karo wastage of electricity and water. Let us bandh karo obstructing parliament & getting fake news spread. Let us bandh karo all those who vandalise, burn, loot or damage things during bandhs. Let us bandh karo the very concept of bandh. Does it make sense to the planners of such bandhs?  I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BURNING ISSUES OF INDIA

At this rate India will completely burn down soon. No one appears to be happy or satisfied. This is happening in a land of saints and faqirs besides crores of Gods and Goddesses. If we count places of worship, there would be countless. If I start counting people who are engaged purely in religious activities in terms of sages, saints, gurus, evangelists, maulvi’s, granthi’s sadhu’s and sadhvi’s, it would be a sizeable number of our total population. With so much of piousness why so much rage is seen.

Like we clear fields by burning the stubble for new crops, do we have to cleanse India like that? Let us all come to the streets and fight then. We have reached a stage of such intolerance for everything that I have to put myself into jeopardy every day as I am pushed against the wall as a common man. So either I perish or form part of the mob. If I have to perish, why shouldn’t I cause some damage?  Hate and hatred is the norm sprouting all over this country. What are the reasons? I don’t need to guess. Who is responsible? God only can tell.

I read the scriptures but cannot tolerate any other religion. Holy books are to be read and forgotten. How many follow their teachings in the first place? I made castes to keep someone under my thumb, to do my chores and menial work. God never made castes. Then I thought to help such people, I reserved places for them. Now they are better off than me but still demand their old status. The ones who really deserve it are still deprived. The ones who have it just don’t care. India can keep burning.

I only go and tell my neighbour that my guru gives fantastic teachings in a hope that the neighbour goes and listens to him and follows the guru. I listen from one ear and let it pass through the other. I want everyone else other than me to be upright, truthful and honest. I want every Indian to be righteous, patriotic, law abider, God fearing but me. Moment my comfort level is shaken, I must violently protest. Beat, burn, damage, uproot, kill, and inconvenience everyone else. Stopping a train and bus is no big shake. Burning them is even simpler.

My conscious only speaks for my advantage. Actually I have no conscience left. It is flexible kind of inner voice. If everything is for me I let it be, if anything is for the country, who cares is my attitude. The real “me” is full of greed for anything which I can get hold for free. Even a rubber-pencil will do. Next year if you don’t give me that, I demand it and protest. The succeeding year for not getting a pencil I can burn the country.

The truth is that for whatever genuine purposes the governments started things, as they were relevant in those days, now have to be per force carried forward. Everyone who got used to those luxuries cannot part with them. Reservations are one of them. Grand dad was a genuine case and utilised this privilege, his sons and daughters too needed it to some extent is understandable. Thereafter, there was a requirement to review the order which never happened for the vote bank. Grandson now by virtue of being a son of gun drew benefits’ by default. If his son is deprived of the special status, all hell will break loose. It is irrelevant whether he owns two SUVs, a house, two shops and has a government job.

Who cares about the police today? If the police are armed so are we. Let us enjoy this one day of a forced holiday, reason unemployment. One more day of loot and arson makes no difference. One odd guy gets shot; compensation becomes the need of the hour. The next of kin get a government job. FIR against the police officer who fired is lodged. So now you have the police to look after you. A chair to sit in the police station and a cup of tea is assured. A soft spoken “daroga” for your requirement will be there. Probably you will get a lift home in a police jeep. India can continue burning.

Well I think we Indians understand only one language when it comes to disciplining our own selves. Your guess is as good as mine. My attitude is to extract every pound from the state machinery, if deprived, create a chaotic situation. We will burn assets of the nation for no reason. With such deeds we shall burn in hell, the scriptures say. Well, who the hell has seen hell? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE ITCH TO FORWARD MESSAGES

These days I find a message circulating regarding a massive earthquake in and around Delhi which will cause large scale destruction. People have been advised to leave the town and go to safer places to avoid aftermath of this calamity. Well, thereafter it being a fake message gained momentum. People rebuked their friends for spreading rumours to the extent their discussion ended up in fights. Some quarrels went thus far that people were removed from groups permanently.

The description of various kinds of people that exist on social media has already been doing the rounds. Most dangerous are those who see a long message and just forward it to everyone including their groups blindly. There are bound to be occasions when this starts a chain message competition. What do you do about it? Should we believe it, ignore it or simply delete it, is the dilemma.

A sane person will just ignore it I suppose. Some intellectuals will try and find out whether it is authentic. If they find it fake, they too would ignore it. Some of them may still forward it that just in case it happens, let me inform nears and dears. Some pranksters forward such messages for fun, to see if it really returns back.

Let me now become an urban metro man. Firstly, I am looking for a free wifi to save on my data charges. My main concern is that my mobile should continuously keep receiving messages irrespective of which social media platform they come from. “Akhir apna bhi tashan hai”. (My reputation is at stake) People should know that I have a costly phone and the damn thing rings. Most people I find just keep scrolling their phones. They would have opened say face book or Whatsapp and they would continuously keep rubbing their thumb on the screen. Then press the side button to switch off the light. Repeat it several times a minute.

Another funny thing is that people keep their phones on the minimum light mode. This is done for two reasons, one is to hide from your neighbour who has a bad habit of glancing into your phone while he is scrolling his own aimlessly, the second and most important is to save battery. Battery is the juice of life and without it survival would be next to impossible. The brightness settings are modified moment the thing is plugged into a charger. If I say it in simple terms “Mufat ka chandan ghiss mere nanadan”. (Use anything which is free)

Today, we all have become virtual zombies, constantly checking our mobiles, constantly forwarding something which may or may not pertain to anything and constantly trying to distribute “free ka gyan”. The logic is if it has come to me it has to be sent. People who had never wished me good morning ever, now send umpteen morning wishes. You ask them is the morning really so good. The reply comes, I sent you because of its content. I then ask, it is 8 pm in the evening and still its morning for you. Have you shifted to the US? He says no. Then I ask who this “Chimman Lal is”, he says I don’t know, so I can’t but resist asking again that see the last line after good morning. Oh! He says I didn’t read till that far. I say fine and delete it.

Many moons back, while learning radio telephony (wireless communication) our instructor’s taught us the meaning of a few terms. The first one was “OK”. This meant the message has been received. In mobile terms that the message has been delivered, the bell of the mobile has rung and your face has lit up that there is a message. The second term was “ROGER”, which meant “message sun liya aur samajh liya”. (Message has been received and understood). In today’s terms, that single grey tick has now turned into two grey ticks and possibly blue. Samajh liya is notional as no one has the time. The third used to be “WILCO”. This meant “message sun liya, samajh liya aur us par amal kiya jayega”. (I have received the message, I have understood the message and I shall act upon it as directed). In today’s terms, I have seen the message, I may not have read it or understood the contents of it but I shall forward it to all my contacts as a habit.

Be that as it may Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sending this long article, let me see how many really acknowledge that they have seen it, reading is not compulsory, commenting I dare not ask. Many of you will forward to your friends. Let me see how many of you have understood the meaning of the three terms and are itching to contact me? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 Noel Ellis

ANN DAATA IS NO MORE

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

JAI KISAAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

 Noel Ellis

BUST THE BUST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

LOTUS LOTUS EVERYWHERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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

PUNJAB MATRIC

This year some six lakh students skipped board exams in UP. The way they cheat khule aam is tauba-tauba. In Bihar I think assisting in cheating by climbing windows of multi storey buildings is a profession of sorts. It was nice to see students in chappals as I remember shoes could take on at least ten to twenty questions. If socks were taken into consideration then the complete exam could be managed unless you took the wrong subject notes. It reminded me of my days as a class ninth student.

In class ninth my Dad insisted that I must do “Punjab Matric” as it was called in those days. I was studying in a CBSE school then. He said that we all were going to stay in Punjab so a state degree would be instrumental in getting me a good job in Punjab Government. I had no choice and the more I resisted the more he got adamant. Once or twice I got a solid beating also for it.

Be that as it may, my first waterloo was arithmetic. As it is I was zero in maths. I got an MBD refresher from Vir di Hatti in Kapurthala. I can never forget the author; it was Barkat Ram Nair and sons. It had calculations like which day of the week was Gandhi ji born. It was Friday if I still remember it correctly, don’t ask me the formula please. Profit and loss, shares and debentures were bouncers for me. I was algebra kinds as somehow I used to find that notty fellow called ‘x’.

My second waterloo was the Punjabi itself. My Punjabi was half Hindi and half Punjabi. To ratto the Punjabi “kaida” of “oora-aira” took me some time. I used to get mixed up with “matras” and of course the alphabets. “pappa” and “dhadda”, “mamma” and “sassa”, they all looked the same. Well, now that my matriculation form had been filled there was no way out.

My third waterloo was history. From the battles of Panipat, to revolt of 1857, from Shivaji, to the East India Company and of course Akbar, Birbal, Humayun and who was whose son, it was beyond me. I had a lot of cramming capacity as I used to participate in declamations and plays. So the only option was to by heart the father, son and son of a gun.

Saving grace was English. For Punjabi’s English was like going to the gallows. I remember I used to take exams in the evening sessions as a private candidate. I had also the unique distinction of being the only English medium candidate in that centre. As luck would have it I had all girls around me. Well, when it came to the English exam I was kicked and nudged by this girl sitting behind. “Baau kuj taan das de” (Sir tell me something at least). The one on the left kept winking at me; each wink meant the question number. Where was Priya Prakash those days? The girl on the right kept tapping her pen and the one in front kept showing me fingers behind her neck, unfortunately she could not ask beyond question ten due to the limitation of the number of fingers.

The best part was that was the first time I saw where all ladies hide their “parchies”. Well, I don’t have to elaborate. I also came to learn where all they can write on their bodies, it was interesting. After the exam when one went to the toilet it appeared to be a “raddi ki dukan” with rolls and rolls of paper. As I later came to know that girls were striped to bare minimum to “excavate” their knowledge banks in form of chits.

Then came the maths exam and it was my turn to take favours. When I asked for the formula; they gave me the “faar-moolah”. I asked for the value of x they gave me back some “rakam”. Ede nal onu guna kar de, te ode naalon es nu manfi. I thought to myself if I got to fail I will fail myself and not take help from anyone to fail. And fail I did, I got a compartment in maths which I cleared subsequently.

Another funny thing my dad did was he wrote my date of birth as 1969 instead of 1963. Well, no one checked birth certificates then. The logic he gave was I will retire six years late. Good that I did not join “Gormint” of Punjab and my Sainik School mark sheet saw me through to NDA.

Indeed board exams are a nightmare for many. People claim they are double MAs etc but has any one of you done double matric? I have? Why did I do it? I still wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

NANI TERI MORNI KO MOR LE GAYE

Have you heard that old Hindi song, “nani teri morni ko mor le gaye, baki jo bacha tha kale chor le gaye? It is true as Mallya and a couple of Modi’s  lagaoed solid choona  under the very nose of the pradhan chowkidaars of India.

I wish I had that money was a dream. Some I will donate to charity. I also started imagining how many bundles it would be. Will it fit in one big truck? Should I start vacating a bedroom to keep this entire mullah? I still won’t quit my job so as to be richer than these guys besides Ghar ka kharcha bhi to chalana hai.

What would I do with the first gunny bag? Open it, smell it, count it, recount it and put it back. I would go to the bank and ask them what would be an amount which will not draw the attention of the IT dept and start depositing small amounts. I would open bank accounts in the name of everyone in the house. Suddenly I realise, if I save, someone else will take a loan and run away so I cancel this bank wala plan.

Then I thought of buying real estate, one big farm house in Alibaug and a resort in a hill station with fruit orchards and a river quietly flowing by. Sitting on a beach chair with my angling gear deployed, hat on and my line cast. My spinners, flies, bait and jigs all gleaming in the early morning sun. Little droplets of water like glistening diamonds hanging on the line. A fire lit besides me and a kettle hanging with steaming water. My dog next to me and every time I cast I pull out a big one.

I decide not to buy in Alibaug as even Sharukh was not spared and his property is sealed. For a farm house you have to prove that you are a farmer. So I decide to buy some agricultural land instead. I am confident that with just a portion of that money a few hundred acres will be mine. Then I decide choro yaar, kaun pange main pare and I drop the whole idea.

Another idea struck me as I had worked with a few builders in Mumbai. They will help me to buy property there. One house next to Deepika Padukone and one next to Sachin Tendulkar, just a choti si asha. One, I will give on rent and one I will keep for my personal use. Then I thought I don’t visit Bombay often, how I will maintain these houses. I decide to give both the houses on rent. Well, I had decided to leave Bombay to lead a peaceful life then why trouble trouble. Idea dropped.

I haven’t spent anything till now, so what to do with it. I decide that I will buy a Bentley for the family, a Merc SUV for me and a Harley for my daughter. We will go on long drives and visit hill stations, stay in best of hotels and enjoy. Then I realise that all this will be minimum ten to twenty day trips. Will the corporate give me such long breaks? The answer was to forget it. Well, I have only one garage for parking so this idea also fizzled out.

I decide then to have the best of food at least. I ordered from Grofers. I got a reply that sir your place is way out of limits of our delivery zone. I realised that as even Axis Bank promised to deliver my cheque book in four days are still trying to locate my place after 21 days. A personalised customer care representative keeps arguing with me that I have changed my address. I tell her sweetheart, my adhar, my pan, my driving licence and the bank website still show me staying at the same place. Why will I run away from the cheque book delivery boy? I better send my GPS fix, as I heard blue dart delivers stuff even to the North Pole.

I get up from my dream and realise that yaar khani to dal roti hi hai, why take unnecessary tension of keeping so much of money. Even if I buy all geetanjali jewellery, how much beyond a nau lakha which now may be called a nau carora will my wife wear? So let me dalo mitti on this thought too.

I have decided to live as an izzatdar citizen of India. What these guys have gained by fleecing us that time will tell. Hello Mallya and Modi saabs, still nothing is lost. Come back and face the music, return what you can and peeso chakki for what you can’t and be done with it.

Hope the pradhan sewak charges you guys with dafa 302, tazeraat-e-hind.  I have decided to completely dafa karo the thought of so much money? Can Nani sleep in peace then? 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

FM HIS BUDGET & I

Yesterday was a leisurely lazy Sunday after ages. To have a hot cuppa chai in bed was amazing. The week gone by was hectic, not because of the budget and its analysis but due to many parties I attended. I walked out into my balcony to get a bird’s eye view of my garden. It was a pleasant surprise to see our mango tree in full bloom in the backyard. The sweet smell of the blossoms just took my breath away.

Be that as it may, I switched on the TV to catch up with the world. Lo and behold there were quite a few channels showing post budget interview with the FM. For me the budget came and went. Being a total zero as far as finances are concerned I go into a tizzy when I hear the financial jargon used to explain the budget. Our FM saab was throwing them one after the other like a volley of arrows at the anchors which were piercing through them and the audiences heads. To save me from the agony I switched on my mobile to catch up with what my friends had updated on social media.

In the background, the duel of words between the FM and the anchors kept running and I kept switching my eyes from mobile to TV and back. As soon as I heard the word “middle class” my ENT nerves awakened. It appeared as if lakhs of crores will flow down like a waterfall from the TV to my drawing room. Moment he said “gas” my stove lit up and started preparing breakfast. “Petrol” was a little confusing. He somewhere mentioned income tax, I raised my brows to listen keenly as if all my taxes will be washed away like my sins but then he mentioned the “tax net”. I found myself entangled in a fishnet with no way to escape.

He talked about miles of roads & rail, millions of houses, this subsidy and that subsidy. He also mentioned somewhere about the Sensex. My eyes sparkled again expecting my investments to double by the end of the interview. Then he brought in the long term gains. That’s where I switched off mentally. I lost patience when he started making comparisons of inflation, fiscal deficit and all those kinds of words. I switched off the TV and carried my cup of tea to my garden to watch my investment of time in the flowers which were paying rich dividends. I swear the smile returned to my face. Flowers were my gains, my achievement and my accomplishments.

In hind sight, I started to visualise the intelligent looking faces of those “clued-up” anchors. In garb of what the opposition says and critiques say, they were trying to weave a gauntlet around the FM. They were constantly trying to give a knockout punch as also check his knowledge and grip on the budget. I must admire the FM, he never lost his cool nor was he found lacking on the subject. With a calm demeanour he just counter attacked them with questions, facts and figures which under no circumstances could the anchors rebut immediately.

I was just thinking how much of research work these financial analysts do to cherry pick loopholes into the budget. There was not one word of praise by the anchors for either the budget or the FM. They were only there to strengthen the “chakravyuh” which the FM was well prepared to break. One by one, item by item he demolished and justified every pai that he allocated and was going to extract. The anchors must be worried about their own pockets as if the FM would tax every question they asked and levy GST on them. You pay and then proceed.

FM being a master of this subject knew the ropes well.  He also knew that these anchors come with a script and cannot deviate. He bombarded them with figures with a straight face; frankly the anchors would have had no clue of. Even if he told some untruths, I dare say lie, one can always cover it later. He justified every word which was in print and he did it with grace and finesse. I closely observed the FMs body language when a mention of Raga and his tweets on the budget came up.  His piercing look appeared to tell the anchors go teach him the table of two and the spelling of budget.

Finally, FM very well knows that this government needs to survive. Elections 2019 do matter and so do the people. My only fear is that my meager savings should be preserved. Will the FM shower his blessings on the common middle class man in the next budget? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BUDGET CAME AND BUDGET WENT

It was nice to hear about the increase of pay of the topmost people who are involved in governing India in this budget. I feel it is less. On deeper thought, this way it is the easiest for the parliamentarians to justify their salary hike. Actually, they don’t have to get it passed through the budget directly. All of them sit and decide, move a bill and the motion is passed by a voice vote as the “yay’s” always have it. FM is capable enough to cater for that amount without a bat of an eyelid.

Be that as it may, I would like to thank the government for whatever we got for the OROP and the serving people through the 7th pay commission. Yes, there are issues to be sorted out, let us give it time and I shall leave it at that. With this the armed forces have definitely been looked after. So “Jai Jawan” stands good. You may or may not agree.

This year’s budget also shows a quantum jump for the rural and the agricultural sector. “Jai Kissan” must be in mind while doing allocation.  People will always argue it is far less. Well, we are still a monsoon based agricultural economy. Come drought farmers are in for trouble, come floods the crop is washed out, come good monsoons, we have a bumper crop thus prices fall. Our “ann daata” needs to be resurrected.  If this budget can uplift them, nothing could be better.

Frankly, budget was “Greek” to me. My “Choti si asha” was to see my income slab shift a little higher but FM saab left it untouched. People in the tax bracket should not ask for more he means. For every hundred rupees we earn, you take back 30 rupees. My company pays me salary and government takes tax before I even see my pay. Yaar ye kya baat hui. For my services to the nation I earned a pension. You cut tax from my pension too. If I save and make an FD you don’t spare it either. I invest in stocks; you take the devil’s cut from it also. Catch 22 for me.

I pay GST on a sliding scale which goes up to 28 percent. So out of my 70 rupees left with me after 30 percent is cut, you snatch 28 more, so effectively I am left with 42 rupees. Overall what message does it convey that more you earn more tax you pay, right. Who will set out this definition of “more”? I don’t know.

I think let us forget about saving and shaving both. Enjoy what you get; blow it off today, tomorrow one doesn’t know what all will be taxed. I like this term “Cess” which pops up every now and then. If they find that the tax collection is lesser than expected, they levy a cess on it. Wah bhai wah, tax bhi lo aur cess bhi. Paisa bachao to tax, kharcha karo to tax, karo to kya karo.

On the eve of the budget I and my neighbours got together in our lawn to watch the lunar eclipse and there was an eerie kind of discussion on the budget. The gist of it was to hell with the budget let’s admire the moonshine. I was lucky, I was in office yesterday so missed out on the FMs bhashan. I was also lucky to have gone to attend the Raising day of the Indian Coast Guards in the evening and missed out on the discussions on the subject. Swear I am feeling relieved. As I don’t know what FM said and now I am not interested in what he meant.

I can understand FM saab, it is a tough job. You can’t keep everyone happy. To visualise it across the length and breadth of the country considering India’s diversity, must be a herculean task. I am also convinced that to dole out a financial system which will help this country grow needs a visionary with a third eye and a million brains. I also am convinced that one has to take risks and experiment. What might work, what may not, will only be seen in times to come? I fully understand that FM saab you also need votes in the next elections.

My wait for the next budget has already started. Let me assure you sir, just raise the tax slabs by five lakhs which is less than five thousand a month, more than 75 % of the salaried class will vote for you and dare I say you shift the slab by another five you shall have all of us in your kitty. Will the common man be “bambooed” too much this year? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

A SHIP CALLED INDIA

I am not a sailor but when I peep out of the Porthole, all I see is beti jalao not bachao, bus jalao not chalao, dukan aur makan jalao not banao, if nothing else is left then burn tyres and effigies of all and sundry. Nothing seems to be hunky dory on this voyage on a ship called India.

At a drop of a hat we gather together to show akrosh. We gather in thousands without a thought, without an aim. Most of us are tamashbeen. Throw stones at a bus; break them and burn them. We are so illiterate & blind that we cannot even recognise a school bus. The poor driver, conductor and students have no defence but to let it happen.

Which way is India going? We can cause mayhem and destruction for a movie or a baba. Hold a city to ransom for reservations. Ignite communal violence for beef, throw petrol bombs on trains and blame it on hurting public sentiment. If I put it the other way around, are we not hurting the national sentiment? It is time for an SOS (…—…) call.

Issue is there are no more morals left. Today, the Zameer is dead, Insaniyat is finished, humaneness has vanished, tolerance has been subverted, patience has evaporated, humanity is in danger, compassion has been swept under the carpet and civility no more exists. Did the founders of India even dream of such things when they set sail on this voyage?

We can talk of projecting India as a super power. How can it be if we are so communally motivated? The negative energy thus being produced is actually not letting the wheel of progress turn. Everyone is exerting without being in sync and tune. If we have to find faults and pick holes in every system and oppose its implementation we can forget about progress. It appears that India is like a rudderless craft. It is carrying a lot of stuff but drifting with the current and the wind. The Captain is trying to steer it but the power train is not firing all cylinders. He often leaves the ship and goes abroad to accelerate its growth but comes back to find its crew has burnt quite a few of the ships compartments. Though the captain knows the ropes but appears to be caught between the devil and the deep sea.

On this Indian ship, the security is vigilant but the internal organisations are at loggerheads. The crew which belongs to various regions, ethnicities, speaks various languages and belongs to different religions is taking too much time to start functioning as a team. The diversity is difficult to fathom. The galley cannot cater for every ones choice. A thambi will have to get used to Chola bhaturas and a Punjabi to sambar vada. The engine room is the parliament and is so noisy that all issues get drowned in its noise and heat. The crew is just making steam without understanding the need of the ship, as they are oblivious of the weather, wind conditions and currents while they work deep inside their work stations. Hope time has not come to shout May Day.

The journey for us is long, moreover our own crew has become in-disciplined, the sea is rough with hazards popping up every now and then, course is being set and reset but the ship appears to be relatively static. The expectation is to move this 125 (crore) tonne ship at the speed 69 knots and even more. We find the engine room not responding, the oars are not being pulled in unison and attacks by pirates are stalling the progress. Why can’t we have all hands on deck?

Task is difficult and time is running out fast.  Let us not self destroy our ship by agitating and protesting. Let us not add to the misery by burning our own bunks. Let us for once think and act as one team India and climb the Jacob’s ladder to reach a different world. The Admiral and his fleet is as effective or efficient as each crew member. Individually all crews may be brilliant but when it comes to brand India the flotilla appears scattered, is a feeling I get. The star board side of each ship is not aware of what is happening on the port side and the stem doesn’t know what is happening in the stern. The saving grace is it is still afloat.

Let the Captain be the guiding light. All those who are trying to make a hole to sink the ship need to be taken care of. Let’s not create a situation to abandon ship. We need to be above board and leave no one marooned. When can we have such a BRAVO ZULU moment? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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

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