Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: STUDENTS

A BUS CLEANERS DAY AT WORK

In India quality of life is nowhere to be found for the common man. The reason why I make this statement is in view of the brutal murder of this little child in Gurgaon. It could have been any school for that matter. Many schools will wake up and do a self audit to plug any loop holes. Many schools will continue the way they were, taking chances till something drastic like this happens again. My issue is not with the schools, my sympathies are with the parents of this child, how heart wrenching it would have been to bid farewell to this small soul who had yet to begin his life’s journey.

I am just supposing that after his education in such a prestigious school a child would have got admission to a good college. I assume that the child would have got close to 90 % marks and could have been refused admission to Delhi University. The parents would put in their efforts to even pay capitation fee which exists in various forms and got him admission. Maybe his life would be much better off thereafter as career prospects would be multiple. Say this child would have got close to 80% marks; I can assure you except for a private college the child would have nowhere to go. Two things would happen then; either the child would pursue his studies in all sincerity or become a vagabond and be part of the educated unemployed people of India. My story starts here.

Say he becomes a conductor of a school bus. What is his life? Start early in the morning on a fixed route, meet the same people and children every day. Reach the school by the stipulated time and then do what! While away time, waiting for the 2’o’clock bell to ring and same routine in reverse order to leave the children. How much will he be paid for this duty? Peanuts are an understatement. Those hours spent inside or outside the school premises wasted playing cards with other conductors or listening to stories of other drivers and cleaners, just waiting. Curse the traffic, the government and anything on earth. Smoke a few biri’s or cigarettes sitting on haunches, abusing and picking up a fight with the other driver if that bus is parked wrongly or has taken his permanent space. People intervene, a compromise struck, a black eye and life moves on.

With the mobile era a few of them would be busy with them. I have yet to understand that such people get so many calls from all over especially while driving the kids around. The prime minister will also feel that they are busier than him. What content from the internet they would be watching I should not comment on that. What they discuss about the children and especially the bai’s/moms who come to leave the kids to the bus stop, kindly let your imagination run.

Let me now imagine the place where this person might be staying, or the colony in which probably he would find a shelter. Any guesses? The same fights for dominance of space and no place for ablution. Can we imagine his issues, no latrines, no water supply, no PDS kerosene for stoves, one small KHOLI, and probably he too will have a family. If God has been kind he would have two children, no system of health care, landlord mafia pressurising for payments, wife in family way expecting her third, pressure on him not to be late for duty, children playing next to the dirty muddy, murky Nala near the railway tracks, life goes on for him. He won’t even have enough money to buy a detergent for his uniform if he has one. Will he stink of sweat or of the firewood he burnt to keep himself warm on a winter’s night? One can keep conjecturing.

Where is his quality of life? What is his mistake to walk this earth even if he is educated but could not find a job matching his qualification? Why can’t he be given the same dignity of life as anyone else? Why is he insecure of his job? Why has he no access to boarding, lodging, healthcare, basic civic amenities? Why has he to survive every day? His children don’t go to school, his wife is dealing with her own problems, he comes back home with provisions then only she cooks, he now has got into a habit of drinking so besides the load of the household this lady has now to deal with abuse. The area stinks, the neighbours are no better, he lives life and that’s it.

Well folks I am not taking sides of this brutal killer but I am trying to imagine his psyche. Though he might be educated, might have a family but his thinking and mentality cannot go beyond the company he keeps. Governments and NGOs must be doing a herculean job in trying to give him his due but overall he doesn’t care. For him every day is survival, just survival to make two ends meet.

What came into is mind at that particular moment, needs through psychiatric investigation. Drivers and cleaners using toilets used by children need to be thought through by the schools. Definitely all schools need to pull up their socks. To expect total integrity from the lowest paid employee in the school chain is asking for too much. Lots need to be done, lots need to be introspected; quality of life needs to be improved for him, you and me. Who will do it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

 

JAI HIND

INDIA NEEDS TO UNITE WITHOUT A WAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

BATTLE TANK VERSUS WATER TANK

As a kid I remember when Dad used to take us to an Army cantonment we used look at every piece of military equipment in awe. My kindergarten school had many army kids and they used to come in those old TMBs (Tata Mercedes Benz) or SHAKTIMAN trucks modified as school busses. We could spend hours sitting on our haunches imagining what all attachments it used to have, like the pick axe, the shovel, the jerry cans, mule tanks etc. Some trucks had winches on their front bumpers. The numbers painted on them used to be a mystery especially with an arrow pointing upwards. We at that time had gone through a phase of the war of 1971 with Pakistan so as boys our basic game used to be fantasising using all the military equipment we had seen in our lives to defeat of Pakistan.

I subtly remember while passing through Jalandhar Cantt there used to be these Pakistani Patton tanks at the entrance. I cannot describe how proud one used to feel just looking at them as Indian Army got these as war trophies. Even till today if I happen to pass by military equipment displayed in any town, I make it a point to have a look. I remember having clicked many photos on the tanks that used to be displayed in front of Sudan block in NDA. The feeling of elation and a sense of pride that crosses your mind moment you see a military convoy passing by is indescribable. One has seen many of them as a child, huge guns in tow, all covered with tarpaulins. Even one saw many military special trains passing by. One always waved to the faujis and wondered is war imminent. I used to long to be part of them, as I wanted to live that life on a train, with a tarpaulin tent made on a barrel of a gun, eating cooking and yet cheerfully waving to us going towards the border.

We used to have military equipment displays in school. One used to speechless when an NCO used to describe an Artillery gun or an Air Defence Gun or an APC (Armoured Personal Carrier) of the BTR-60 kind or SKOT. Heavens used to break loose when a KRAZ with a 130mm gun in tow used to come for a demo deployment. Though one could never understand the words of command but the whole process used to leave our jaws open. I clearly remember touching those practice rounds and getting bewildered at the size of the 130 mm shell. We even used to follow those tyre tread marks of the APCs. One could never imagine that APCs can fill air in them from inside. One used to think of one’s own bicycle, if this could be possible. The way the baffle plate used to go up and the propeller used to be exposed at the rear. To imagine that this huge beast could float was pure fiction. Though, I later joined an outfit which had both the BRDMs and BMPs as my bread and butter.

One really dreamt of joining the forces as a child. The starched dungarees with big pockets close to the knees were something fascinating, crisp uniforms, shining stars, glistening equipment everything used to mesmerise us. The wooden pointer with a white tip in a pocket on the shoulder was awesome. I even remember going through every detail of an army ambulance. One was very impressed by the fans inside as one had never seen them in cars also that time.

Today, during Republic Day Parade, the main highlight is the equipment that the country displays. It gives an inherent sense of security as the commentator gives the description of the various tanks, guns and missiles. The mind starts appreciating the skills of the pilots who do formation flying, or refuel midair, or do a vertical Charlie right in front of your eyes. Your mind doesn’t register when you hear that all these aircrafts have come from faraway air bases like Pune, Delhi Ambala etc on a precise call and accurate time. How can one stage manage a machine moving at double the speed of sound to fly past exactly when the last marching contingent has just saluted the President? Well friends, the coordination, the discipline is mindboggling and that is what impresses us.

The marching contingents are no less matter of pride and honour when all those Gorkha hats tilted at just the precise angle do an eyes right. The “turras” of the pagris suddenly appearing broadside like a peacock displaying its feathers is an awesome experience to see. The front foot lifted higher than the shoulder and dug in the tarmac for Dahine Dekh (Eyes Right). The dipping of the tank barrels and turning towards the President as a mark of respect is mind blowing. The commentator when he starts listing out the decorations of each passing contingent, one is really baffled to hear what mettle these people are made of. Yes one does get a lump in the throat and moist eyes when a widow of a brave heart comes to the President to take a medal which her husband won. It is heart breaking on hearing the citation about his bravery. Ones head bows down in respect and gratitude and a small prayer to thank the martyr that brother because of you we all are alive today.

I do not know what JNU people are made of. I am sure they would be more patriotic than all of us. Fortunately or unfortunately I too am a graduate from JNU only thing is my campus was in NDA. I wish you guys learn to make peace and also learn to be prepared for war. All those who oppose a tank being displayed in the campus deserve a water tank to remind them to save water. Please take inspiration from water tank and debate whether we stand by our Army or otherwise. If installing busts of personalities they want to emulate satisfies them, so be it. I only have one request friends that please ensure that no bird droppings are seen on those busts. Ensure every student knows whose statue it is and what he did in his life time. Please make sure that at least once a year you all go and salute this great man rather than sitting under the shade of the statue and make plans of how to create the next kanhiya like episode.

I having served my motherland more than 20 years in the Army would request you if you are so interested in history and are so vehement against putting a tank, kindly put a bust of all Param Vir Chakra winners with space for more to come for a change. I am sure they too shall form part of Indian history. These war heroes have definitely given you the freedom to attack your VC to fire verbal salvos towards him with words which neither have direction nor will meet any target. Will they ever understand why we say Jai Hind and Bharat Mata ki Jai, I wonder!!!!!!!!!

 

GULLY CRICKET MATCH CONTINUES

Yesterday I came across the same little fellows playing cricket on the road again. Today, the venue had shifted a little but the road under construction was the same. I again had a little time at hand to observe them closely as my wife had gone into the cream and shampoo shop and I had to twiddle my thumbs waiting for her.

The “arena” today was much neater and cleaner than the last time but was dug about two feet deep and a layer of cement had been put to level out the road. The whole field was 20 meters in length and about 20 feet wide. On one side was a water pipe line which they had earmarked as the boundary for the match. The other side boundary was the edge of the road itself. The wickets were a high metal stool given by the chicken wala uncle on which a big burly cat of the Garfield kind generally sits. The long on/off boundary was the beauty parlour board which was exactly 20 meters from the wicket. Today they were 9 of them including a wicket keeper in that virtual cricket stadium. Vehicular traffic was totally cut off as a little ahead of the parlour board was a road roller standing, waiting for its turn to roll the road.

Well, it was interesting that today they were batting as per a sequence; except for one aberration things were much smoother since last Sunday. One fellow who picked up the bat out of turn was called a YEDA God knows what it means. My main focus was the rules they made as to how one could get out. You hit the ball, one bounce and someone caught it you were out. You hit the ball over the dug road on either side you were out. Any ball going ahead of the parlour board you were out. Any ball cut and went behind the wicket keepers legs you were out, besides, bowled, caught and leg before as normal ways of getting out.

My goodness, what pressure it must be putting the batsman! In the given circumstances one could barely survive a single over. As I observed turnover of the batsmen was quite fast. The beauty was that none of the bigger boys wanted to run and do fielding. So the youngest of them was made to field at long on so to say. The only favour he got was for fetching the ball from far was a baby over that is he bowled three balls for his over in which rest of the rules were the same.

The guys were so meticulous in counting the number of balls left in an over. I heard even the batsman counting the balls announcing it loud like, three to go, followed by two to go in English mind you. The icing on the cake used to be, in case there was a controversial shout for out.  This was referred to a lady running this auto spares shop on the opposite where I was standing. Every one used to make the sign of the replay towards her, as done by the umpires. Auntie’s decision used to be final. Everyone used to cry in unison “out hai” instead of How was that. By the way all sockets in auntie’s shops were plugged in with mobiles of these fellows. In between they used to run to take their calls. They took incoming calls at the peril of the shouts by rest of them not to leave the field. Punishment of attending a call used to be missing your turn to bowl an over.

Well in those twenty minutes they would have bowled 10 overs, about 4 people got out; there were about 10 controversies whether someone was out or not. There were similar amount of referrals for decisions to auntie. Two fist fights for dropping catches. One chap kept picking up pebbles and hitting the fielders who were not concentrating on their job. As the heat of the match picked up my wife had finished her shopping. I had some change in fact a ten rupee coin and called their batting captain of my last encounter that do you need a coin to toss, to which they said “chal foot yede”. What did that mean, I wonder!!!!!!

 

KOI LAUTA DE MERE BEETAY HUE DIN

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

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

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

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

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

LEARNING AS YOU GO

I was a happy go lucky chap in school interested in everything co curricular. I had no particular aim in life as such. Then one fine day my “brainwashing” started. I was in a school which wore a uniform, had a kind of military discipline; it also had strict teachers as also officers of the Armed Forces such as Colonels, Squadron Leaders, Flight Lieutenants, Captains of the Indian Navy and Army above all my dad was more OG (Olive Green) than OG can be. I was made to focus on only one thing and that was NDA. So I actually got used to this indoctrination technique, where everyone you met did not ask you how were you, but how well your preparation for NDA was. I did not disappoint anyone as I joined the illustrious institution.

My second makeover was done in NDA. Whatever shades of the civil life was left in me got converted into becoming a cadet? My morning prayers used to start with I love my country and continues as such. This cadet could manage a cup of cold coffee to a bicycle valve, a KD (Khaki Dress) to a raincoat out of thin air. I could roll in my sleep and crawl while resting, eat doing a head stand. I could dance without music and enjoy my supper in empty plates. I could produce a pen and paper even while wearing an under wear, though we hardly wore any. I fought daily battles with bedbugs which is a torture technique I mastered. I could let a bee or a fly sit on my nose without scratching or swatting at it. I could blow hot & blow cold in the bathroom sessions; I could roll up hill and up a staircase. I could jump in blind wells of the “Charlie” kind. I could navigate with no map in all out of bound areas. My nose was so sensitive that I could detect a fag three squadrons away. I did “Savdhan Chal” to every scooter, car, horse and dog on a leash. I could watch movies with my back towards the screen. I could run fifteen miles between dinner and lights out. I could beat Shivaji in climbing Singharh fort. I could sham, I could pill, and I could feign the biggest limp. I could improvise conjunctivitis with paste rubbed in my eyes. I could sleep 25 hours in a day if I had the choice. I could only keep awake if a lady teacher took my class. Overall, I was brain washed in such a manner that I forgot who I was. It was surprising they conferred on me a graduate’s degree at the end of it. After all I was on a journey to be in the noblest profession.

My brain washing continued in IMA. Well, I was promoted from Cadet to Gentleman Cadet. You learnt the honour code, you learnt military law. One mastered the art of disguise, not to camouflage for battle but from the Drill Ustad to go to Dehradun to meet some girls. I was drilled hard to keep the integrity of my motherland till the peril of my life. I promised to go where my duty needed me by land, sea or air. I pledged my life to the nation and the tri colour, to keep it safe from all external aggression and internal disorders. I was put through my paces of everything what I needed to lead men to battle. I was conditioned to keep the safety welfare and honour of my men foremost always and every time, the honour of my country  came next and my own safety and comfort came last always and every time. I was now transformed into becoming an Indian Army officer, young, full of josh, rearing to go.

I joined my unit in the deserts and was conditioned to become a desert fox. I was trained to not only fire weapons but to strip a vehicle apart and put it back together again. I was accustomed to learn to change oils, open a BMP track, taste petrol or diesel depending on the flavour of the day. I could munch on sand with food, and live on limited water. Above all, I was hardened to be happy in all circumstances. I was skilled to be a jack of all trades. I was supposed to know what a pink Gin was as also a Molotov cocktail; I memorised names and numbers of everyone in my Unit. I could fill a 3008 or a 958 as if writing letters to my “would be”. I learnt to ride a camel and drive a BMP as a second profession. I could communicate with hand, flag, radio, eyes, bird calls, and you name it. I was taught to remain silent and avoid even the rustle of my clothes. I was tempered to walk in the sands survive in the heat, snow and jungles. I was determined to eliminate the enemy before they get into our side of the border. I was at ease to look after the ladies as well as children, I was told to be compassionate and kind. I was taught how to live and work with the men; overall I was made into a unique fighting machine, tough, resolute, upright, caring, honest, dedicated, and professional, a man proud to adorn the uniform, a man proud to lead his men.

As I led my life’s journey I learnt cultures from the north to south, east to west of this country. I learnt to ski with the same ease as I could jump with parachutes from all sorts of aircrafts. I mastered the art of being a champion rock climber. I mastered many languages including three of foreign origin. I soon became a professional logistician during near war situations and moved everything by rail, land and air including the dogs we befriended at our posts. I learnt to balance between private and professional life. I learnt how I could live without my family especially my child whom I could never see taking her first steps or when she started to talk.  I was sent to the Capital where I saw the highest offices of the government of India function. Overall, my indoctrination continued unabated.

I one day brainwashed myself to revert back to the civvies streets. I let myself to be trained again at India’s finest management institute in Ahmedabad. I prepared myself that hence forth no lunch is free. Privilege to get a gypsy at the railway station with a glass of tea won’t be there anymore. I will have to stand in queue if I want to pay my bills. I must re-learn to ride a scooter, buy milk and vegetables. I brainwashed myself to iron my clothes and go to the market for a haircut. I prepared myself to wash my own car, polish my own shoes and shine them better than while in service. I just transformed myself to now live with and live for my family. I geared up that now my priorities in life are different from what they used to be but I shall continue with India first and a veteran for life.

In a life span of 54 odd years, I would have adapted myself to 54 types of places, circumstances, living conditions, bosses, situations, state of mind and state of affairs; basically I learnt to remain cool under any circumstances that life can throw at me. My blood and DNA will always remain Olive Green. Will I keep learning as I go? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

INDIA AS I SEE IT

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MY NATIONAL CHARACTER

ISIS is at our door step. When did it creep in? How did it creep in? Why did it creep in? How long will it stay in? I don’t even want to make an educated guess. Are we citizens sleeping? Are we true citizens of this country that we can’t even keep an eye on our neighbourhood? What kind of parents are we that we don’t know what our child is doing? As I see things today, it is only when such incidents come to light that people start sermonising about what, why, when and how should things have been done. Who is to be blamed? Why was there an intelligence failure etc? Only when such events affect us personally that we actually start reporting all that we see and hear. Then we want full police protection and cooperation to get over the crisis but the first step which should have been taken by us to report anything unusual gets missed out in the din of events. It is time to wake up dear countrymen. It is time we be more vigilant.

I do not blame this individual who would have given his house on rent to the terrorists. Well, he needs to earn something on his investment. One coolly assumes that the antecedents of this person who is renting his house would be good. Blind faith and too much of trust, nothing can go wrong with me and “chalta hai” attitude are killing this country. We have no time and inclination to find out if he is a student, where is his college, does he have an authenticated identity card. If this man has come to work, which shop or organisation does he work for, its location, the owners etc. Issue here is that in India most of the people who do business have no proper procedure of hiring people. A wage or salary is fixed and payment is made in cash, that’s it. There are no details to verify background of this person. Today, proof of identity can be obtained if the right people have been greased at the right places. Date of birth certificates, domicile certificates, panchayat certificates, ration cards, driving licence, and even mobile sim cards, all can be obtained at a fee. Least realising what damage are we doing to the fabric of this country for our petty gains.

We want security, but we don’t have faith in our security providers. If I need to lodge a police complain, unless it is against a specific person, police won’t entertain your FIR. They will grill you till you are roasted charred and fed up. They dissuade you with all negative repercussions. They also put a fear in your mind if any of your statement comes out false. They make you sit the whole night and as their shift changes, the next person has as much patience to wait for you to get irritated and withdraw the complaint. Our police are not user friendly; I say so with my personal experience, whatever anyone may claim. You seem to be the accused rather than the other way around, thus one fears to cooperate due to unnecessary harassment. If this is the attitude of our law keepers, then how should I approach them? Every time a wardi wala comes for surveillance, even for your passport a 500 ka patta has to be parted with. Once your phone number gets registered in a Thana, please be ready to get calls at unearthly hours for all purposes including employing a son of a constable in your company for the FIR to make any head way.

Our population is increasing in geometric progressions, our systems are corrupted, our policing is third rate, our politics is divisive, our character is dubious, our judiciary is slower than snails, our laws are outdated, our bureaucracy is only red tape, our parliament doesn’t function, many of  our parliamentarians are history sheeters, our people are not honest, our milk, water etc is adulterated, our medicines are duplicate, our education system is deplorable, our pollution levels are the highest, our agriculture is declining, our housing is falling grossly short, our transportation is rickety, our food is unhygienic and costly, our toilets are in the open, urinals are walls and trees, our industries are shutting shop, our banking is facing issues, our women are unsafe, our children are insecure. Terrorism is now in the hinterland. Anything left to curse except my own country or am I talking about Pakistan. Above all, I don’t have any patience. I need a fast buck, a big house, a nice car, and decent meals. It is I me myself. Nothing else matters to me.

Politicians on the other hand want masses to remain uneducated so that they can be easily disillusioned, brainwashed and made to vote in their favour. They cash on the negatives of others, spread communal hatred, communalise the public till elections are won thereafter evaporate into thin air. They deal in black money that too in cash. They deal with all kinds of mafia. They do benami purchases. They eat out of party funds. They mobilise funds by illegal means. They do not want the people to understand the reality of politics. They make policies to suit themselves. That’s what I am the true Indian politician.

If this is my personal character and the state of my country then who shall I say is bothered about anything? Governments can claim that they are doing one window clearances, but to reach that window one has to go the same old bribery way. The government claims that infrastructure is being built at a fast pace, but it is way behind the requirement. People are not parting with land; people are illegally occupying government land, above all people are encroaching on land falling in path of developmental projects to get better compensation. Can this nation then progress? Can there be a national character assigned to all of us.

Unemployment has reached to such levels that people with post graduate degrees are way under employed and under salaried. Government people don’t work and nether let you work. Files and cases are buried deep under the red tape. Even a peon asks for “bakshish” to take you to any office. We as a nation lack that sense of Indianess, our souls are sold, and our minds are one tracked, paisa and only paisa. Paisa for my next ten generations, property for my sons and their sons, what nonsense!

It is easy to say a chai wala has become our PM and I also see that he carries a vision to take India forward. He too is part of us so at times he forgets he is the PM of India. Our infighting with ideologies as political parties, our personal differences as netas, our power struggle for that one chair, may be it panchayat elections to the Presidents elections, everything is put at stake. How then can we justify that yes we as a nation have that moral fibre to engage with the world? Can this be done by our PM alone or for that matter any government? In any case the government does everything during an earthquake, flood tsunami, draught, avalanche, landslide or any manmade disaster including war? But, is only the government accountable to build the nation? Do we as citizens owe some responsibilty too like character building?

Let us citizens start by paying our taxes sincerely. Let us start by cleaning just 25 meters around our homes. Let us citizens just contribute a little to build a strong Indian character to keep our country out of all harms length. Can we? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OUR YOUTH THINK DIFFERENTLY

It was amazing to see the “Yuva-Shakti” on the streets of Delhi in the last few days. Thousands of them, beating the heat, with the tri colour raised above their heads, marching with an aim so as to be heard loud and clear that do not mess with us or we can bring our capital city to a grinding halt. Media was on high alert as always with its reporters all around the campuses, following each and every small move. Live news debates and coverage continued continuously. Police was on tenterhooks making longer and stronger human chains, just in case the animal within the crowd gets unleashed. Politicians keeping mum, just in case they are dragged into some uncalled for controversy. Gurmehar bore the brunt of all this for no rhyme or reason. Kiran Rijiju who was always politically correct as usual about what he tweeted. Well, overall it was more of a political rally of kinds, where students just to prove that they have a fundamental right of free speech, came on to the roads. Icing on the cake was the professors too joining their students.  Well, “jab miyan biwi razi to kya karega Kazi”.

I still doubt that was there a need to stretch this issue so far? Was it politically motivated? Which appeared obvious, as the students wings are the extensions of the political parties they support and are funded from there too? Or was it that neither the teachers were interested in teaching nor were the students interested in studying. “Mausam” also has not gone all that hot in fact just right. Holi is around the corner, what police could have maximum done was to fire water cannons, so rain dance and pre Holi celebrations could have been enjoyed free of cost. Dad and mom will never know as we will avoid the camera, many must have gone loitering in the malls and cinema halls of Delhi and NCR, by evening one had to head home also. So call off this chaos at an earthly hour, otherwise justifying it would be difficult.

I like the show of strength and solidarity by the students. They can unite, fight, abuse, break all norms of decency, now a day’s there is something called trolling as per the new norms of social media; they can threaten, pressurise and bully anyone and everyone. I better watch out. Students can block streets, they engage the police on all nonsensical duties other than what they are supposed to do, they can incite the politicians to give fiery bhashans and discuss the pros and cons on TV debates till cows come home. They all know that to find from where the issue actually started is like finding a needle in a 100 haystacks, so cover it up by mobbing it. Girls are also smart enough to jump into the fray to cover up for the rest. Boys are no less; many must have taken the advantage of the situation and would have definitely troubled the girls from the opposing camps. I know it is done from both camps. The MCs and BCs are given equally by boys and girls, besides the other adjectives laced with superlatives. The F**K word is used like S**T word of the erstwhile times. The CH*****A word is like saying bewakoof gadhe. Not the Gujarat wale gadhe kinds, but the actual ones.

How many man and woman hours of study were wasted? How many hours of uncalled for police deployment? How many additional hours the engines of various vehicles had to run for whatever reasons, wasting fuel? How many TV channels and their reporters earned their living thanks to the students? How many road side eateries enjoyed your company friends? Overall, what did you achieve in the end? Well, justifications and arguments will never end as to who is right and who is wrong. Seriously, people of my age are not interested in it at all. Friends, if you guys are really interested in Desh seva, let me give you a piece of advice, take it or leave it, join the armed forces. I can assure you, the first test you shall come across after the initial screening; if you are capable enough to pass that would be the group discussion. All your communication and convincing skills will be tested out within 15 minutes. As you shall progress in those tests, you will get a chance to do some public speaking too. Yes, instead of climbing up statues and delivering your lectures from there you may have to stand under a tree and speak. I am sure you guys and gals will do a wonderful job.

It intrigues me that why should students be on the road when their place is inside the classrooms? Why are debates on the streets when they should be debating amongst themselves? I fail to understand why dirty linen should be washed in public? I am also surprised that for a comment which someone doesn’t like, I can be threatened to the extent of rape and death on face book and twitter? Where are we heading? Is this what we are taught in schools colleges and homes? Is this part of our upbringing? Is this going to be my future generation of this country and through us shall emerge our political leaders? Is this right? Is this justifiable? Shouldn’t it be confined within the campuses itself? How can these students hold the country’s capital to ransom? Why can’t their professors control them? Why is the college management so inefficient? Or should I blame our democracy for this?

I just know this much that none of these students would like to live without their father. As for Gurmehar’s case, her father was a martyr of this nation. For the other fortunate ones your fathers are living with you, caring and cuddling you, supporting you, being available to you when you need them, financing you, worrying about you, guiding you, scolding you, holding you, offering his shoulder when you cry. Most of you cannot fathom it at all. War kills, Pakistan kills, terrorist kills, is not the argument. He got killed not for you to hold this country to ransom, but to give you space and freedom to debate what you like. He sacrificed himself for this country, for you to live another day to come to college and study, which I see you people are not interested in. He and I contributed taxes so that the funding of your colleges can be done and infrastructure be created for you to be in the lecture halls and not on the streets. He stopped these evil terrorist by taking a bullet on his chest, and here you slap each other, grope each other, pull hair and tear clothes like goondas. Think about it friends, you shall lead this country soon. I won’t like to be lead by hooligans like you.

Is it our flawed education system? Is it lack of discipline? Is it too much of freedom? Is it too much of democracy? Is it taking advantage of the system? Is it a cover for something else? Is this the way we learn the basics of politics? Is this how we groom our future leaders? Is this really true freedom of speech and expression? Is this acceptable to the parents of these students? Is it acceptable to the political leaders whose party they support? Will these guys ever understand the pains of sons and daughters of martyrs’? Will these boys and girls use their education for the purpose of taking this nation forward? Will these guys learn to give some izzat to the fallen soldiers and their kin? Will they ever join the armed forces? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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