LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR
As life takes a turn where our children start getting married, suddenly you realise that you are becoming a “Buzurg”. I happened to attend three weddings technically over the week end of the SEEKERS family. Those teeny weenie, pram bound, diaper and nappy wearing lap kids were ready to start their new journey of their married lives. How time flies, as if it was yesterday. The image of the kids and the parents still remains of what you saw when you met them for the first time ages ago. The kids were replicas of their parents.
It took me some time to fathom that our kids are now bankers, marketing wizards, architects, interior designers, roadies, army officers and women officers in the Indian Armed forces. Some are psychologists, some HR Professionals, some IT champions, some engineers and some like mine are still in school.
The parents with more grey in their hair, more bulges around the waist, wrinkles galore, some balding, some already grandparents but with a heart of a teenager still. On meeting time became static. We are transported into an era when we were in our twenties and early thirties, some newly married, some bachelors. Some of course remained chronic bachelors quite long. The dainty looking brides who joined the paltan now transformed into loving mothers and mother in laws. Their nakhras and jhatkas still intact but the outlook to life now sees a sea of change.
As I looked at all the kids my heart felt so happy and proud, completely filled with joy to just meet and give all of them a hug. It had been ages that we had met after being duty uncles at mess parties. Thanks to the social media I was in touch with some, however, meeting the future generations face to face was an out of the world experience. I supposedly was the common factor of one wedding and I have the proud privilege to be called “Noel Ram Gharjore”. I can pat my back for it.
Kids’ handling their parents was an awesome treat to watch. Dad who won’t listen to anyone was now quietly obeying them like a puppy. “Dad avoid sweets”, back went one rasogoola out of the two he had picked up. Mom, don’t forget your medicine and pop came out a pill and went into mumma’s mouth. Life had changed I realised.
After the initial pleasantries and bear hugs, the topic very intently discussed was health. Earlier bachelors discussed girls, movies etc. Now they were married and discussing life style changes. When I said I do not drink anymore and have quit smoking, it came as a shock to many. Diabetes was the centre of discussion, followed by arthritis and asthma. Most of us had morning “starting trouble” from joints to the obvious. Blood pressure was fluctuating and was directly proportional to the happiness being generated. The heart beats were keeping pace with the sudden gush of love. Laughter remained the best medicine though.
The parties where we all used to stand throughout the night as youngsters saw a change as people like me could pull chairs to sit down. How dare one sit if a senior was standing were the ethos but things had changed. Old anecdotes, the loud laughter did not change. Who did what to whom and why did not change? Many secrets which were hidden deep inside, now were freely flowing across the table. The echoes of laughter and the interjections added to the flavour.
Another thing that had changed was that most of us had retired. Most of us were enjoying the second innings, some still working and some in no mood to work. What did not change was the josh and gusto. What did not change was the brotherhood. What did not change was the camaraderie. What did not change were the spirit, love and affection for each other. What did not change was the mutual respect for each other. Ladies looked more beautiful and stunning was another thing I noticed.
Yes perceptions did change and especially about me. Everyone praised my writings, though there were critiques too but they were for me to improve. It was an honour to be commended by very senior officers who saw me with one pip on my shoulder. The way I received blessings from them, I shall continue to look forward for more and strive hard to write better.
People who were not there were missed and stories of such people were the most interesting ones. A little “tarka” to the tales was an added bonus. Unlike in the good old days when you were supposed to just listen as opening your mouth had its dire consequences.
Another nostalgic thing that happened to me was that I could share a room with my buddy and room partner of Infantry YOs, Commandos and Mech YOs. The only thing is that the bugger snores like a road roller. I did hear a lot of people confessing about their snoring sins. Well very few admit it openly like me. I have mastered the art of answering back my wife in snores perfectly.
Well, Arjit & Pooja, Ila & Shubhanshu, I wish you all good luck and God speed, may almighty shower his choicest blessings on you all. Also to my seniors and juniors and their better halves may our bond grow stronger. There is one life to live and one life to love and our children helped us to relive it. Thank you children and be blessed. Let me live up to the new name Noel Ram Gharjore.
Three Cheers to the “Satrah ka Parivaar” and HAR MAIDAN FATEH.
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!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
By Noel Ellis
In ARMED FORCES, ARMY, ARMY CHIEF, ARMY LIFE, Bandh, BEHAVIOUR, BLOCKAGE OF ROAD AND RAIL, CHANGE, CHRISTIAN, COMMON MAN, COMMUNITY, CORRUPTION, CULTURE, FAUJ, FAUJI, HINDUSTAN, HUMOR, INDIA, JEHAD, JEHADI, MILITANT, NEWS, PADMAVATI, PAKISTAN, POLITICS, PROTEST, RAJASTHAN, RIOT, SATIRE, TERRORISM, TRADITIONS, WAR
A movie has become such an issue that most of India has decided to see it moment it is screened. The rest of them are waiting to get a free show. The judges have seen it, the jury has seen it, the judgement has been given but egos cannot see it. Some people have decided to carry batons to the hall. Just in case they find things going out of hand they would at least sort out people selling popcorn at exorbitant rates. A movie today can hold a country to ransom is a new high of sorts. With all due apologies to the people of the toughest martial clan and all the sons of Raja’s as they are the “poots”. I just want to ask where their Raj is and where is their Rajwada (Kigdom). Many of them are unemployed and most of them are living in their Jhooti shaan (false pride).
Be that as it may, I have one suggestion that as Pakistan continues with relentless firing every day. Kindly take your naked swords to charge at the real enemy. By intimidating a few artists, producers, lawyers and maker of movies if you all are achieving that sense of pride & honour which was achieved after conquering the enemy’s garrison then I will not utter a word. However, if this Dhakosla (pretence) is going to cause destruction to national assets and loss of life, it would be the most shameful thing a warrior clan can do.
Times have changed; those forts of yore do not exist anymore or are in ruins. People have even looted their stones. Most of the haveli’s have been converted into hotels and resorts why not object to your traditions of the bygone years for this. The place where decisions were taken to fight the enemy is being used as dancing arenas. Place where horses and elephants were stabled are now nowhere to be seen. The place where troops used to rest are now places of entertainment, why not object to all that. The chivalry has gone.
When you can’t afford to continue that royal life style then how can these few meters of celluloid hurt your sentiments? I think the issue is not with Rajasthan alone. That’s how we have splintered ourselves in India. Instead of binding and bonding we are looking for opportune moments to disintegrate besides spreading hatred and spewing venom.
Well let me then get to my clan, the clan of the Olive Greens, where someone is committing Jauhar for the Izzat of India on a daily basis. The actual enemy are the insurgents, militants, terrorists, jehadis & pakis or are they the corrupt which we don’t address but find a movie maker our biggest enemy.
Let me take an objection then to all movie walas that stop making movies about fauj and faujis. We are not rum drinking, merry making, and partying type of characters. We don’t jump off aircrafts and land in our girlfriends arms. We are not gun trotting people who shoot anyone and everyone. We are not Rambos who kill by the dozens and don’t keep a count. We are through professionals. It’s a shame to show faujis selling the country by movie makers then. My engineer friends would love to have girls hanging upside down from bridges while they diffused IEDs. I can assure you if that happened, no challiya, or challiya ki girl friend would walk this earth again.
I then also want to say that why is it that only “Micheal” daru pee kay danga karta hai. What about people of all other communities. Let me not get into it as we are just two percent of 125 crore deshwasis. Who all like to speak English, especially after 8 pm, who all are into “chitta” (drugs), Kala (Black money), Dab-Khadabba (spotted, tainted with corruption and criminal cases)? If all of us start taking objections to such portrayals then this country will only move towards self destruction. If we don’t educate ourselves & continue to stick to the old virtues, we will never progress. Choice is with us to go back to the dark ages.
Let us stop doing this nonsense. I suggest in case one is so touchy then better become a “Kamikaze” pilot and go across and sort out the enemy. If that is not workable then get after the corrupt. Two things will happen, one, India will have peace, and second, India will progress. Bharat and Hind will be saved from the enemy without and evil within. When we are going to unite as one? When we say one for all and all for one, I see one for one and all for none. Can we make our Bharat Mahan this way? I wonder!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
I just happened to see our RM take a Sukoi ride. I am sure after a hectic 24 hours on our Air Craft carrier Vikramaditya, to fly in an aircraft would have left her flabbergasted. My salutes to you Mam, it needs a lion’s jiggra (heart). What you went through in a sortie or a day at sea, these men in white and blue do it on a daily basis. You must have spent some time with the folks in Olive Green too and I am sure you would have cherished every moment. You can be rest assured that the country is in safe hands. You can bet your life on them. They won’t let India down is now stamped, signed, dated and sealed with your visit.
Be that as it may, moment I saw the SU-30 rolling out with the RM, the first thing which came to my mind is that the Air Force would have put her in the cockpit with the best pilot. In all probability it would have been the Commanding officer. My mind wandered as I was just thinking had she sat in an army vehicle then everyone would have gone looking for the best driver. Reason for detailing the best driver is that he avoids all dhachkas (bumps) while the memsaab is sitting in the gaari (vehicle). In other words the lady has to have the smoothest ride. Saab ke saath, parvah nahin.(If makes no difference when sir sits) Ask the pilot mam, what he must be thinking while you were on board. He would have ensured not a “G” extra. They are indeed the best of best.
This reminded me of my good old days when we were in a place called Lalgarh Jattan. It was so God forsaken that the nearest STD booth was in Ganganagar about 20 kms away. We had just been allotted a house and were busy setting it up. Wife complained of severe back ache one day, probably she might have got a catch, shifting the black steel trunks around. Simple fauji drill I did, took her to the MI (Medical Inspection) room, got medicines and off we went. However, the pain did not subside. The third day she just could not get up from the bed. I panicked and decided to take her to MH (Military Hospital) Ganganagar. Whole night she cried in pain and I could just do nothing about it except rubbing Iodex.
As luck would have it, due to mobilisation practice I was not able to accompany her. My company driver Rajjan Lal was detailed and Major Kandari volunteered to accompany her. I spoke to Rajjan and told him that make sure the drive is smooth. My wife was furious because I wasn’t going along. She said “your office is more important than me” etc. Rajjan gave me the most assured look, half pitying me and said memsaab aap fiqr mat karo (madam you don’t worry). I bade her good bye at about 9 am and at 11.30 Rajjan was back. I asked him what happened as I could see him totally white faced and with dried up lips. I knew something was not right and just hoped my wife was OK.
With a stammering voice Rajjan sheepishly said memsaab theek ho gaya (Madam is alright) and he has dropped her home. I exclaimed, what! How can this miracle happen? Sheepishly he said sir, I was driving very slowly till Khayali Wala (a village), suddenly the road became good and I sped. It slipped out of my mind that madam is sitting behind and I missed a speed breaker. The jonga jumped over it, she said Bhaiya main theek ho gayi, ghar chalo. (Brother I have become OK take me home)
I picked up my bike and rushed home and found she was happily in the kitchen. I asked what happened. She said the sprain (CHOOK) in my back was straightened out by the driver as they jumped over a speed breaker. She landed with a thud and heard a crackling sound and suddenly all pain subsided. I thanked my stars and thanked “Dr” Rajjan. Rajjan thereafter never missed a speed breaker till retirement.
Well, Madam, I don’t know how many of your aches and pains the Army, Navy and Air Force would have removed. However, you definitely need to look into what pains them the most and that is their IZZAT. For every Indian’s tomorrow they are giving their today. Do take a closer look at issues of all those serving and of all those who gave their yesterday too. You will then always be given the smoothest ride. Do you get my point madam? I wonder!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
By Noel Ellis
In ACHHE DIN, AHMEDABAD, AIR TRAVEL, BEHAVIOUR, BULLET TRAIN, CHANGE, CIVIL LIFE, COMMON MAN, COMMUNITY, CULTURE, DISCIPLINE, GUJARAT, HINDUSTAN, HISTORY, HUMOR, INDIA, LIFE, MEDIA, MODI, NETA, NEWS, PM, POLICE, POLITICIAN, POLITICS, PRIME MINISTER, QUALITY OF LIFE, ROAD, ROAD CONDITIONS, SATIRE, SUGGESTION, TRADITIONS
I was reading an article where the author mentioned floppy disks and cassettes which one had to wind and rewind using a pencil. The present generation is oblivious to all that because we are talking of bullet trains and sea planes. There used to be a time when Indian cars never had ACs and the same used to be with the trains. The highest class used to be First Class. The luxury was your seating space but you had no control on the weather. The privilege used to be to alight right in front of the railway station gate instead of lugging your holdall, steel trunk, Khane ki tokri and a surahi for water. Times now have changed, whole trains are Air-conditioned, cars come with AC by default and if you ask for a non AC car it will attract raised eyebrows from the salesman.
The sheer pleasure of sitting in the window of a train or a car in the good old days is indescribable. The passing landscape, the lush green fields, the hillocks, the tractor and the bullocks, the one odd pair of the Siberian cranes, the eagerness to read the passing railway station boards, the nangu pangu children waving at your train are some memories which I remember vividly. Today, there are trains which don’t stop till they reach their destination. The complete train is a vestibule. Catering services used to be the poori sabji ka thela on the station, not now. I have travelled in times when the compartment windows had no grills. Entry to a coach used to from any window as doors were invariably blocked.
The steam engines evaporated, diesels took their place and now being replaced by electric ones. Speed, comfort, conveniences, facilities, housekeeping of both the trains and stations have come of age. Modernisation, mechanisation, technological advancement is adding to the improvements.
I remember when the electronic watches were placed at the stations, one used to look at them in awe. At New Delhi, I was amazed to see a huge arrival-departure board. It was a roller kind of a board where in a blink of an eye the name and timings of the trains used to change. Each alphabet used to roll giving a mesmerising feel. That place was frequented by pick pockets. I lost my red coloured wallet with eleven rupees and eighty naye paise many moons back.
Today there are chopper rides to shrines, piped gas to homes, Railway line has reached Srinagar and the day is not far it may go to Leh and beyond. RO-RO services are taking off in the sea. Inland water transport is being exploited. From tarred surfaces to cemented highways, from a single lane encroached road, to eight lane highways, India has come a long way. Provided, we Indians understand and utilise these facilities as our own. We need to treat each asset as our personal belonging. We must utilise it and leave it in the same shape as if we would be using it again. If swach bharat can start, so can hamara bharat campaign.
If a bus, train or road is made for us, let us keep it safe, secure and well maintained. Let us not litter. Let us not dig up roads by putting our tents for jagran or family functions. If a tap does not have water doesn’t mean it has to be twisted or pulled out of its socket. Let each community take charge of all assets in their area and look after them. It can only happen when each one of us is educated and understands the importance of every asset created by the government is for our use.
There are bus stops but no one uses them. The place where the bus is supposed to stop a vendor obstructs it. Where there is a two wheeler parking a four wheeler will adjust into it. Who cares for a red light or a pedestrian crossing? The policeman will drive without a helmet but fine you for not wearing a seat belt. A civic sense of responsibility has yet to creep in the minds of us Indians.
I don’t mind a sea plane or a bullet train if it is for the common man. I will love to use it like I did for the metro and monorail. If all such things are going to bite dust after the initial launch then it will force me to ponder. The basic issue is I as a citizen want facilities but I as a citizen want some other citizen to look after it, some other citizen to provide security for it, another citizen to clean it and likewise. When will I start chipping in my bit? I wonder!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
As usual after dinner I sat down to scan news channels. I landed up with Mr Rajat Sharma explaining his views on the movie controversy. Well, I am sure he laid to rest all rumors, propaganda and whispering campaigns to rest. Hope Padmavati turns out to be a block buster. I rarely watch Hindi movies but this one I definitely will.
Be that as it may, I being from Rajasthan and served there extensively understand the feelings of our brethren and their rage to tear apart the world for the insult they perceive has been done to their pride and valour as also to the rich traditions of their clan. I have heard of many heads being chopped off in the years of yore for AAN, BAAN & SHAN. Hope now things will cool down. Let us leave Deepika’s nose and Bhansali’s head for the time being.
I sat down to research these words on the net and this is what I found. A rumor or rumour (spelling differs between American and British English) is viewed as “an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern”. Rumour is a kind of propaganda which refers “solely to the control of opinion by significant symbols, or, to speak more concretely and less accurately by stories, reports, pictures, and other forms of social communication”. Rumors are also often discussed with regard to “misinformation” and “disinformation”. Rumors can be created and planted by nearly anybody, require limited resources, can be deadly for those in its direct path, and can instilL fear. Controversy on Padmavati falls aptly into all these slots is my view.
Basic characteristics that apply to rumour are; One, they are transmitted by word of mouth. Two, they provide “information” about a “person, happening, or condition and three, they express and gratify “the emotional needs of the community”.
Someone divided rumors into three types:
Propaganda on the other hand is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism.
In addition, there is something called a “smear campaign”. It is a term that loosely means a coordinated effort to attack a person’s character. Some people term it as an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Rumors, as IEDs, are low-cost, low-tech communication weapons that can be used by anyone to disrupt the efforts of communication, civil affairs or outreach campaigns such as those undertaken by governments in crisis response situations or militaries in insurgencies. Well, history of India has umpteen examples of it.
One must understand that to spread rumors you require rumor mongers. These people now have the modern tools of sms, face book, twitter and other social media to spread the word faster and create far reaching results as happened in the Padmavati case I suppose.
In the Army, we had posters displayed in our offices saying do not spread rumors and we used to encourage our men to come and speak to us if they heard anything abnormal. Rumors need not be military in nature; they could do with some event happening back home. It was our moral duty to educate our men and their families not to drift away by such sayings and believe in the systems which existed thus we could control all sorts of panic, both in the battle field and in peace by curbing and controlling spread of rumors. I still remember anonymous complaints were never taken any cognisance of as many used to be planted stories.
Suffice to say AFWAH FAILANA and KAAN KA KACHHA HONA are different sides of the same coin and both need to be curbed. One must see for oneself, hear it from the horse’s mouth, understand the ground situation, weigh the pros and cons, believe in your training, have faith in your systems and God and then only react, rather than intimidate fellow citizens who are artistes and creative personalities by profession. Hope by now the boil in the blood would have subsided or will we have another rumor being spread for something else soon? I wonder!!!!!!
This morning, to catch up with what is happening in the world I put on news and was taken aback to hear that West Bengal went to war with Odisha. Last many years they had been fighting and now as usual our courts intervened and pronounced the judgement in favour of Bengal. Thank God no blood was spilled, however lots of “Chaashni” (sugar syrup) flowed down into the Bay of Bengal in these years. Yes friends, finally the courts have decided that the “Rosogoola” was invented in Bengal. The whole of Bengal went into celebration mode and threw these white, fluffy, sweet, round balls of flavour at each other. Finally, this epic battle came to an end.
Is this what we have come to? Is this the only thing left with for the courts to decide? I sincerely pray to all the judiciary that please if you have such cases just throw the files out of the window. I am sure you have better things to do. I am a little perturbed as to who will now file a case for the Gulab Jamun. I am not sure whether such cases should be accepted by the courts, leave alone states fighting to claim a sweet. The river waters flow from state to state, the lands are demarcated, languages across states are common, wind doesn’t differentiate boundaries, crop pattern is the same then why this fight over who invented a rosogoola of all the things.
I was imagining a scene where our dear Didi would be standing in court in one witness box and Mr Naveen Patnaik in the other trying to defend his claim. Judge being our own from the movie Johnny LLB, Saurab Shukla. Didi must have had Arshad Warsi on her side who would have gone deep into the case to the real origin of the place where the sweet would have been conceived, including producing the most secret and ancient recipe which would have been written ages ago in the script which would need deciphering from the scriptures. That would have been the most clinching evidence produced to nail the case.
The judge would have been waiting for him to produce this evidence in court for the “devil in white” to make an appearance due to which this battle started. At last with dripping hands in the slurpy sugary syrup he would have dug his teeth into it. The sense of ecstasy which would have appeared in his eyes and expression would have helped him finally make this decision that the rosogoola belongs to Bengal. To be eaten by everyone till death and then broken the nib of his pen.
Let the best rosogoola win is my contention. With passage of time, as diabetes is becoming a menace for all sugar related issues, I think we should get over with the fight for this sugar drenched roundels. It should not be a matter of concern who invented them or where they originated. The matter should be that how best without causing any diseases this item should grace the menu at various functions. People praising its softness and the quality of it to melt in the mouth should be more important. The courts should have never come in but then who would have decide the actual winner. I am sure the judges would have got tons of them from Bengal complimentary.
I am also not sure if some other country may have already patented the sweet which may cause more bitterness to the taste of this traditional Indian Mithaae. The odishaiets will not leave this here. I expect this battle to go up to the highest court and may go in for an appeal to the President of India. Had it been the previous president, the ruling would have been in favour of Bengal again. Obviously, Pranab da cannot be unfair to the land of his origin.
I have never researched the subject of sweets. It would not be out of place to find out about the other Indian sweets like the ladoo. Who claims to be the originator of ladoo? Who has the patent, I do not know and similarly for my favourite besan ki burfi? Gajjar ka halwa won’t be a bad bet to check for either. I hope we don’t land up in another Indo- Pak like conflict over this, if Pak claims the origins of halwas and pinnis is from their country, India might go to the UN.
Let me not conjecture too much but I feel that there has to be a limit to all this nonsense where states are going to courts for trivial issues which should not waste even one minute of any court in India. The numbers of pending cases are already piling up and here we find that a sweet has created bitterness out of a non issue. Tomorrow someone comes and claims that Agra ka petha originated in China, it would be a nuclear explosion of kinds.
Be that as it may, will my craving for sweets and especially Rosogoola ever subside, I wonder!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
As I sit back and look at the journey of my life, had I continued in the Indian Army, I would have retired at the end of this month. In the civil where I work with now, I may go on for another 6 years if all goes well. Well, I am not sure will I be able to last that long because of my nature which does not go very well in civil, which is to take a stand for my subordinates or for something which my conscious does not allow. Well, this attitude has cost me my job many times. I still continue to bash on regardless without bothering about the outcome.
This brings me to a question. Which is the right profession then? What can be termed as a satisfying career? In which job can you keep working till the day you like, keep earning and enjoy the best of life? Is it the forces? The answer is an absolute no. Is it the corporate? My answer is an absolute no again. I find two professions which might fit in the bill. One is to become a politician and the other is to become a holy man.
Be that as it may, the thought that triggered me to write this piece was the way armed forces are being used in the country today. It has been proved that the forces will come to the rescue of this nation for anything and everything including building a foot over bridge or cleaning the mountains besides all that we keep doing routinely in Aid to Civil Authorities. Why do we do it so professionally? It is because this comes from the ethos the men and women in uniform imbibe in them.
The simple formula we follow is Z-KIT-BM. The landmarks (Zamini Nishan) are given to get familiar with the terrain and area of responsibility, the information of both, own side and the enemy is given in great detail (Khabar dushman ki aur Khabar apni), the aim (Irada) of the operation is made crystal clear. It is short, crisp and precise. The modus operandi (Tarika) is then told so that no doubts are left lingering, including various contingencies. Thereafter, we discuss the administration (bandobast) and finally are the communications (Milap) between all parties participating in the operation.
Last but not the least we also synchronise our watches (Ghari Milao). This is the most important ritual, as we do things time bound. We then get to work even without orders. In case our leader becomes a causality or is not available, the next senior assumes his position automatically. We work, we rest and we get back to work again amidst all chaos till we achieve our aim as given out in the Irada. We fight till the last man last round, if rounds finish we get our bayonets on, if bayonets break, we don’t give up even then, we use are bare hands to achieve the aim even if we perish in the process. That’s our culture.
All this I do not see happening in the civil. First, I find the main aim is “paisa banao” (make money). Second, is to paisa bachao (save money), by not paying well and cutting down on salaries, amenities and manpower. To achieve greater heights the formula becomes lick, lick and lick. Butter every side of the toast. The formula used is, “KAAM NA KARO, KAAM KI FIQR KARO AUR FIQR KA ZIQR APNE BOSS KO ZAROOR KARO” (Don’t work, just worry about work and keep telling your boss that how worried you are) is the key to success. Secondly, for any fault, blame all and sundry rather than own up responsibility. Make someone the scapegoat. Let truth never prevail. If caught, run away or go to court.
Sit long hours in office twiddling your thumbs. In fact your boss does the same but apparently it should appear that you are the most sincere employee. Bring a pin and describe the process as if you bought an aeroplane. Discuss it repetitively in all meetings the efforts you put in to research about it, the hurdles you faced in the selection process, the difficulty with which you could convince people to pass your budget, not to forget how many mails you sent and the paper work you did. How you almost visited the vendor, got the pin loaded and followed it through every octroi post. Blame the delay on the non cooperation by some who did not give a crane to unload this pin especially if you hold a personal grudge against him. At the end expect a complimentary mail for you to keep in record to show it during your appraisal. Life actually sucks.
The profession of babas and baby’s I don’t have to discuss. Politics I don’t know and about politicians I won’t utter a word. One thing I may like to tell the people who run this country is that, Sirs, if you don’t make the profession of the Armed Forces the best career option in this country, if you don’t give the serving and the veterans their dues and Izzat, then your profession will be jeopardy someday. Politics as a career is alright but will you be able think beyond the petty politics and pay heed to the writings on the wall called “Khabar Apni”? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
Our National Anthem has been in the headlines since the last couple of days. We Indians are not on the same grid on whether to stand, sit or lie down when it is played. We are also not sure as to when it should be played and where. We are also not clear what all occasions are solemn and what all occasions are not appropriate for it to be played. We all actually want to just talk about our rising goose bumps when we hear it and the patriotic kind of feelings it injects into us. We all are ready to give a lecture to one and all how to show respect to the anthem and flag but are unwilling to leave our pop corns for the fear of them spilling over. It is 180 bucks after all. We basically do not want to stand up once we have sat down in the cinema hall due to lethargy. That is the problem.
While watching TV and flicking channels, say, we land up on the opening moments of a hockey match. We may not understand the meaning or even the tune of the national anthem of another country but we will like to follow the lip sync of their players to try and understand what is being sung. We all will appreciate the way those ten odd spectators of the other country carrying their country’s flag with their hands across their hearts. On the other hand we will keep fidgeting for at least one stanza to stand up for “jana gana mana”. In case the camera focuses on us during the process, then to hell with my patriotism. I will wave all my hands and jump on my feet so that in case even my bai watching the match on TV will recognise me. Another reason for doing so is that the cameraman may not focus at me again unless there is a good looking girl sitting there.
Well, in the forces we do the “Rashtriya Salute” on various occasions, no one has to tell us to stand up. If the “Nishan Toli” is trooping the National Flag all of us in uniform salute. The salute is not given sitting down but standing in “Savdhan”(Attention). Yes, all those who are battle causalities and are on wheel chairs are the only people who are allowed to salute sitting down and they too pull their arms to their sides before saluting. There is another exception when your right hand is bandaged, immobilised or amputated; the person salutes with his left hand but salute he will. After all, the tricolour is being unfurled or being paraded and the “Rashtriya Gaan” are being played. That is the importance we as soldiers give to our national flag and the National Anthem. We fight for this flag, we die for this flag and we come draped in this flag. This was taught to us, drilled into us and now it imbibes in our blood as second nature. We don’t need debates whether to stand or sit, we know what to do.
Another thing is, moving around when the anthem is played. Why can’t people just stand straight? What is so urgent in that Whatsapp message? Why does some part of the body feel itchy at that precise moment? Can’t the description of the dress of the lady in front of you wait? Wait for the anthem to be over to discuss all that is under the sun after those fifty two seconds yaar? If you spot your old neighbour in the stadium, why you can’t hold waving to him? Hold your horses friends, join your heels, pull your arms to your sides, stand rock solid, don’t fidget or move, leave that itch for a moment, leave your pant stuck at the wrong place for less than a minute, concentrate on the anthem, sing along and there after you cheer and jeer for any team, is my view.
As a child I remember, the national anthem used to be played in cinemas at the end of the movie. All of us used to stand. Slowly, as time passed by, everyone used to be in a hurry to get to the cycle stand to locate ones bicycle and rush back home. People who had to catch buses after the show did not even wait for the movie to finish. The cinema owners stopped opening the exit gates initially but pressure of the people to break their doors left them with no option but to open up moment the final acknowledgements use to roll. We were impatient then and we are super impatient now.
Well folks, when it comes to India we will tolerate no nonsense from anyone, isn’t it? If I tell people that the symbol of your nationalism the National Anthem and flag is being disrespected due to our own despicable behaviour and nonsense, would anyone agree? I am no one to tell anyone to stand or sit and I cannot question the courts either but if people cannot understand how to respect our national symbols then God only save us. If for this also courts have to intervene then why do we call ourselves Indians in the first place? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
If you see dogs with tails between their legs, whimpering, whining, running helter-skelter, digging up holes, huddling up with other dogs, shivering, avoiding food, basically scared almost to death, it means it is Diwali time. Dussera on wards, their behaviour takes a turn and suddenly from a happy go lucky dog it appears subdued and lack luster. The dogs which used to chase cats and squirrels’ at the drop of a hat are found moaning to themselves in squeaky voices sitting quietly in a corner. At that moment if a cat came and cuddled up, it won’t object all. This is a consequence of the fire crackers. The loud bangs and flashing lights scare the daylights out of them.
This year somehow the bangs drastically reduced. It has been few days since Diwali; I have yet to see the stray’s in my colony surface. Most of them have gone in hiding and I know there are numerous rain water drains which are the safest places. The hangover of those loud bangs must be still fresh in their minds. In a way it is good as we have a pack of about 10-12 strays who have now become the bosses of the colony. They do intimidate and gnarl colony residents sometimes.
These crackers are a kind of trauma for the dogs at least. I have observed dogs urinating with every bang. One can only pity their plight. Like on Holi people colour the dogs, on Diwali I have seen some sadistic people tying up series of crackers to their tails and lighting them. It is the cruellest from of torture I should say. What do they achieve out of it is anybody’s guess?
I am an animal lover and have made friends with almost every cat and dog here. To satisfy my “petty” feelings, I talk to every dog and cat during my walks. In the last couple of years most of them have started responding. I see their faces light up on seeing me which is indicated by a small meow in response to my voice, a wag of a tail if not a lick from the dogs. As a habit, I wish everyone during my walk. I wish these animals too and they respond back. Some people don’t, well lesser said the better about humans. There are a few cats which sit on our benches in the lawn, some allow me to approach them and give a tickle on their necks and if in the mood let me tickle their bellies too. I love it.
Be that as it may, I think people of India have taken cognizance to appeals given for reducing pollution, Diwali crackers being one of them. After all we all got to breathe easy. Sentiments should not come in between life and death. If we can save every drop of water and every unit of electricity for a better future, we can save the environment by bursting fewer and fewer crackers to save us from passive smoking and trauma to the ear drums. Every year many markets go up in flames causing colossal damage. People of jhuggi-jhonpris also keep their fingers crossed with a prayer that hopefully no stray rocket will make way to their humble dwellings.
The fire department is on super high alert. Hospitals get thousands of burn cases due to cracker injuries and lots of vision related issues. The issues related to lung and breathing is well known too. The trauma these crackers cause to the new born, old and infirm are also a cause of major worry. Let us give them the peace they deserve.
What I have understood about my own self is that unless I get kicked and pushed by someone I don’t listen to orders. I always argue of how not to do things. I always try and bicker about things if it is forced on me. I try and avoid following the rules and try and get out of the situation somehow. If still I have to follow that order I do so with utmost reluctance, cursing every government & organisation for the burden it puts on my finances and hurting my sentiments.
I wish the animals also have some place to complain to save them from the trauma, shock, suffering and pain. Let us be just be good and compassionate citizens of India. Political interference is not required or else we will find religion coming in to sort out the ache these animals suffer from during our festivals. Let us collectively decide so that courts are left free to do their primary job rather than order a ban on sale of crackers. Hope we see wisdom in it before they ban bursting of crackers completely. Will anyone see reason? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
Someone said uproot the Taj Mahal, thereafter people came up with an idea to demolish the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament. Then a few suggested the Red Fort too should bite the dust. I am amazed at how people think and add fuel to the already lit communal fire. One thing is clear, the way we are trying to tamper with history it will definitely have consequences. What Aurengzeb did or did not do is not the question but had we Indians got the guts we should have not allowed him to invade us. Had we been united then we would have not allowed anyone to leave a landmark or any legacy. We aren’t united even today thus not learning from our history.
Be that as it may, I was thinking why not rename the Grant Trunk (GT) road. It was named Sher Shah Suri Marg once. Who was Mr SS Suri? Please dig into the history books to find out don’t ask me. A Punjabi song popular amongst truck drivers about the road were “GT road te, haye road te….” Bus drivers used to believe in, “Chak de phatte nap de killi, subha Jalandhar sham nu dilli”. I remember traveling this route by road as well as rail as a child and it used to be the most prestigious route called the NH-1 from Lahore to Calcutta. I have seen this road transform from a road to a Highway and that is history.
There was no direct bus or train service to Delhi from Kapurthala, my residence. The nearest place to get a bus or train was Jullunder now Jalandhar (change in history). A small bus stand on GT road Jalandhar used to be congested like hell. To identify a bus going to “Garha” village or Delhi was difficult. If the bus had its chassis bent, torn silencer, splattered with mud, doors missing, broken windows, hanging head lights and the radiator glaring at you over a half hanging fender one could assume this is a local bus. A nicely painted, well dressed driver, Jalwa horn blaring, cushioned seats, freshly cleaned if not painted body; with lots of hanging jhalars all around the bus was an indicator that this could be a long route bus. Of course the shout in short bursts, Dilli-dilli-dilli-dilli. The conductor used to make it very clear “Rah di sawari koi na hove” (passengers getting down enroute need not mount) and mark my words Phillor and Phagwara people were dropped only at Ludhiana.
GT road was broad though but did not have dividers in between then. I have seen it grow from two lanes to six lanes and to what it is today. There were hardly any flyovers. In those days buses and trains used to race side by side. Closer to Ludhiana somewhere near Dhandarikalan, “keenu” used to be a new citrus fruit introduced those days. The long route busses used to stop for a quick drink of freshly squeezed malta or keenu juice.
Ambala Cantt used to be a major junction and the trains used to halt long enough for dad to rush to Puran Singh da dhaba and get fresh mutton curry and tandoori rotis. From there reaching Delhi was either from the Meerut-Gaziabad route for Old Delhi or the Kurukshetra route for New Delhi. We mostly travelled to Old Delhi. Moment one heard the heavy sounds of those typical clangs and bangs on the common rail and Road Bridge on river Yamuna hugging the red fort walls one knew “Ab dilli door nahi” (Delhi is not far away). If history has to be changed then the Bombay-Ferozpur Frontier Mail and Delhi-Amritsar Flying Mail also need to be re-named.
Why not change its name into Akbar road, no-no not the Azeem-O-Shaan Sahensha but our very own indigenous Akbar saab who is now an MP. With no offences meant sir and no religious flavour as till date I am confused who was Akbar’s son, was it Babar or Humayun or neither. My history is pathetic as it is. I always get mixed up with the fathers and sons of that era. With the present generation they won’t even care to find out who was who and we talk of changing history.
Why not name it Noel Ellis road? Half of India will not be able to pronounce it first of all. The only qualification I have is that I am a common citizen of this country. Why history can’t be created by renaming a road on the “aam admis” name. Why do we always look up in history to name things after all those oldies, or all those political figures? Well, freedom fighters too now are being felicitated at many places. I gave my youth too for keeping the country’s sovereignty in tact by serving the motherland by being part of one of the finest Armies of the world. Yes people may say I am living person. I will argue lets create history by not naming something on somebody who is already dead.
These days I find only polarisation and hatred being spread. I do not accept it as a citizen of this country. All those who try to change history will become history themselves. Today’s generation cares two hoots whether you name a road or a building on anything. We are a modern India so changing ancient history won’t work Mr Dhotiwala. Can you guys grow up? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
I had a very uncomfortable encounter this time when I went visiting my home town a few days back. I happened to attend a Christian Convention where various learned speakers of Theology come and share the word of God. Well, given a choice I would not like to attend such events as a personal preference. Considering the family issues like leaving me alone at home, I rather being the odd man out accompany them to such events. The speaker in the afternoon was tolerable as his story was interesting. However, the speaker in the evening was terrible. He had a captive audience of about 2000 and delivered the most hopeless sermon I ever heard in my life. I tolerated him for a little while but I gave up in between and had to walk out of the venue to breathe some fresh air.
What he spoke was immaterial; the content was irrelevant to the topic given to him. It was just out of courtesy and respect people tolerated him or they were helpless as they had already paid for the dinner coupons after the event. I am convinced that speakers like him are the very reason that people of other faiths detest Christians in India. He spoke in such a manner as if the audience was non believers in the Christian faith. I am convinced such people do not deserve to speak. It was a very sad state indeed that none of the senior priests and church elders had the guts and the gumption to tell this man to walk off. Was it the fear of being impolite or was it fear of God that brings bad times to anyone who opposes such a speaker. Well, I could only protest by walking off.
Be that as it may, I had another encounter with a person in the same convention, who I respect very much. We met during the social gathering after the service was over. I was proceeding for a cup of tea when I met him. The first thing was the praise of my writing skills; I felt really touched and thanked him. The next thing was he said why you don’t write for the church and about spirituality. I said sir give me a break, it doesn’t mean that if I can write I can write about anything. I am not interested in preaching nor am I interested in writing on something of which I have limited knowledge. Besides it won’t be prudent on my part to write about things that do not interest me as of now. The person still insisted and wanted to strike a deal that at least once a week I should write being a prolific writer. I really got uncomfortable and had to tell him that sir please let me have a cup of tea as this conversation is heading to a tense situation amongst us.
He backed off, I moved on and I sat down to think is there something wrong with me. The faith I have in my God is very personal and I don’t have to tom-tom it around. I being a military man, it is my faith that has seen me through the ups and down of life, in good times in bad times in happiness in sadness, in ill health, in fact every life and death situation. I can speak to my divine strength as and when required. I don’t care about the place I am in, I don’t care about the time of the day, I don’t care about the position I am in. I speak to him when I need him and believe you me he has always heard me and guided me. I shall leave it at that.
I don’t know why I get tense while attending any church functions when I go home. I am not sure if my upbringing is such. I do not like or support any religious fundamentalism either. This was evident when I did not appreciate the conduct of the speaker and there after being pushed to write on something which I have not studied to present my views. I would rather stay away from it. I felt pity actually for all those people who sat through the discourse and I feel sad for that learned person who assumed that if I can write on things such as Pakistan and Kashmir, I can write about religion too. May be that person had too many expectations from me.
There was once an officer once commissioned to our unit. We received him and left him alone to set up his room. It was a shock to find about 15-20 golden framed photos of Gods and Goddesses hanging around his charpoy instead of a nude posters from the latest issue of debonair. We rushed to the senior subaltern to report it and immediate corrective action was taken. That night he was on the lawn and rum down his gullet through a funnel during his dining in. The next day being Sunday, most of us got up late. To our horror and surprise one man only in a dhoti, with a three finger smeared teeka of sandal wood on his fore head, a janeyu hanging, kharaau (wooden slippers) on his feet, came to give us Prasad. He had been told to attend mandir parade. Half of us almost died of shock. It took many counselling sessions to get him down to mother earth and told how to behave like an officer.
Well folks, for me religion and faith is very personal. I cannot stand anyone trying to force it on me. I am convinced I know my divine power and he speaks to me, guides me and blesses me. My faith in him ever grows. Same would be the case with you too. Let’s keep the harmony growing amongst us. Will my message be understood in the right spirit? I wonder!!!
© Noel Ellis
By Noel Ellis
In ARMED FORCES, ARMY CHIEF, ARMY LIFE, BABAs, BRAINWASH, CIVIL LIFE, COURTS, HINDUSTAN, HUMOR, INDIA, JUDGE, JUDICIARY, JUSTICE, LAW, LEADER, MINISTER, MODI, NETA, NEWS, NEWS PAPER, POLITICIAN, POLITICS, PRIME MINISTER, PUNJAB, PUNJAB ROADWAYS, RAILWAYS, RELIGION, SATIRE, TRADITIONS
One baba has brought the North of the country to a standstill. 200 plus trains have been cancelled, 10 lakh potties on the road side and increasing every minute, as many plants and trees watered. 40 companies of CAPF mobilised, Army on standby, busses halted on the borders and so on. Air Force summoned in as I believe helicopter movement is on the cards. Poor Navy, they can’t mount warships on trailers or else they too would have been made part of a naval blockade in Panchkula. I am not ridiculing the navy but I am ridiculing the state of affairs in this country that just look at this person he can hold this country to ransom. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have declared holidays in schools and colleges till 28 Aug. Kya baat baba ji, where were you all these years. Police as usual is about to hand over the baton to the Army as situation may go out of their hands.
There have been a few more babas who were on my radar screen, one of them is languishing in Jodhpur jail and I don’t want to dirty my fingers typing about him. Then there is another baba who claims to have a third eye. He can somehow find out from smell of your burp the number of aloos missing in the aloo ka paratha which you fed to a black dog, on an amavasya, at the turning of the road near the kabristan. He can motivate you to distribute jalebis to all the diabetic patients. He can clear all blockages between you and your “kirpa” by trying to remember which place you belong, what khana or mithai or deity is famous in your hometown and then come out with weird solutions. Innocent people lap it up as the brainwashing is done by such ungodly men. Hindustani today is just looking for solutions which are sasta and tikaau.
Well, today if you want to lead a colourful and peaceful life you either become a baba or a politician. No responsibility, tremendous fan following, catch the nerve of the janta, exploit the naive public, say anything and it becomes gospel, divert attention anywhere, exploit sentiments, give some jobs as your maintenance staff, money is not an issue as people donate, if they don’t they are made to donate for fear of God and dire consequences. Both ways the sufferer is a person like me. They make the rules, they break the rules, they tell me what to do and what not to do, and I simply follow. Why? because I am illiterate, if I am educated I don’t apply my brains, even if I apply my brains I am threatened of consequences, even then if I rebel I am one of the very few. Add religious and political fanaticism to it, like every political party today is saintly and holier than thou and every baba has become a politician. His voice for vote counts, so what is left for you and me is to follow them or be left out.
I was watching the type of people following this so called MSG. Either they were people who are senior citizens or they are the youth who are unemployed. I don’t say they are uneducated but are basically vellas. Who will leave the fields when the paddy crop is in full bloom? Who can leave their homes where there is family and cattle to look after? Who will join such a movement at the peril of his job? Who is ready to face consequences including death due to police action? They are people who have been completely brain washed or have reached such a stage of life where life and death doesn’t matter. Some youngsters may risk their lives for the compensation which their folks may receive after their death or injury.
Whatever said and done this trend is taking this country on a different turn. The path to attain moksha is given in all scriptures; the only thing is we go to the wrong people who interpret it for us in their own way. We in India are such blind followers of anything which is chanted with a mantra because our upbringing is such. Please, I don’t want to hurt any religion or sentiment. I just want to put across that we are blind followers of anything which shows us a ray of light or hope. We have lost faith in our own selves completely. I would say we go beyond that, moment we come out of the temple we start comparing our chappals and in case circumstances permit, we don’t hesitate to exchange ours in the very presence of our God. We make him witness to our crime and thank him for providing exactly what we needed. We donate an additional coin if the colour matches our dress. That’s what we are.
Our thoughts need transformation. It is time now when another baba may emerge. There is already one who started with yoga and now is marketing beauty soaps and shampoos.
Countrymen and women, let us not make matters worse, let us not lose lives. If this baba is upright and correct the courts will set him free but if he is not let him face the music. No one in this country is above law. In case the verdict holds him guilty just walk away from him. Who can’t make a mistake, we all are mortals. You would have made one in judging him as he did not reveal his other side to you. If he proves he is innocent then why do you worry? The inconvenience you are causing to the nation is tremendous. The loss that is being caused because of your blockage is unwarranted. Will your baba be “sachha” enough to foot the bill of all the forces deployed and all the destruction which occurs? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
I read this heart wrenching news today that Promod is no more. A NDA Brigadier rose to be an actual Brigadier, hats off to you brother. Well for all those privileged people let me confess, we used to feel jay of all those who had one star* on their satchels. We used to admire those who had two of them and were called Generals**. In fact all of us still take a bow for those who had three stars and continued as Field Marshals***.
I and Promod were from the same battalion in NDA, he was in Alpha and I was in Charlie. Basically we clicked as we attended many French and English classes together. Promod was a happy go lucky person with dopey, sleepy, large but glistening eyes. He was fun loving, jovial and a spirited person who would win any ones heart. I am sure his nature was such that even if he would be angry he would not be able to show it. Well, what bonded us instantly was that we were smokers. Once I moved to India Squadron in V term, I met another Brigadier called G Prakash. Both these guys were class mates from Sainik School. My interactions with Promod increased as fags used to be available with me as a last resort. He only taught me where to hide them. He taught me how to smoke a Panama non filter till your finger tips and lips got burnt. In fact I got introduced to panama and got hooked on to it. My last empty pack of the luxurious Wills Gold went out of the window and saved me my budget imbalance.
This bugger was good at billiards, so one fine day I was introduced to the night billiards in India Squadron. But as luck would have it the DS of Air force caught us. We were given a stern warning and imagine an Alpha squadron chap went scot free in India Squadron as the DS was new. Then one fine day we all decided to have a nonstop billiards session. Sixth termers never gave us a chance during earthly hours, so we decided to do something at unearthly hours. So if I remember correctly, I, G Prakash (He is an Admiral now I suppose) Ajay another naval dope* and rest my memory fades decided to report sick. Reason we decided was conjunctivitis. Now how to ensure we look devastated with this communicable disease as one used to get 7 days SIQ (Sick in Quarters) for that. Promod suggested let us rub Colgate in our eyes and see the effect. I had never reported sick in NDA nor had been SIQ ever and it was close to end of term. I fell for it.
Dr Maj Mrs SK Singh looked at all of us sitting in the corridor of the MH and signed our SIQ slips without questions for a change. Knowing her reputation we were expecting to be told to attend all parades with closed eyes. With blood shot eyes all of us came to India Squadron smoked a fag each, slipped our SIQ slips under the door of the CSMs undie and off we rushed to the billiards room. The game started and to our utter surprise the DS body of India and Lima Squadrons landed up and shooed us away. Later we found the whole billiards room smelling of dettol and phenyl as we were told they got it disinfected seeing our condition. “Mokashi” the Batman used to wait with breakfast till almost 12. We used to quickly gobble bread, jam and eggs with a fresh plan, how and when to play the next game.
It was decided that we will now play night billiards; whole day we shall sleep and play at night. First task was managing blankets that we did with ease. Next was hanging them on the anteroom windows, with a little ingenuity we did that also. The game and fags began. We played and played billiards. The in offs and pots suddenly started falling in place. The long shots and flukes were perfected, the fouls and misses reduced drastically. We became experts in repairing tips of the cues ourselves. Game was top class. Company was top class. Time was ours. A jam session used to be on every day. We were the kings of billiards in NDA.
My room was on the first floor ante room flank, basically a safe haven for all the billiards playing stalwarts. So one fine day after being fed up having the same old cold bread, squished eggs, liquidy butter and jam in those huge tiffin’s we decided to “seko” our toasts in the morning. I had managed a heater from the helper on which he used to melt wax for our drill boots. Unfortunately the electricity went off. So another fag session and a decision of playing a twenty point game and be back to toast our slices. We peeled off the blankets and forgot to switch on the lights and the game begun. Suddenly there was shouting of AAG-AAG (fire), bloody hell my room was drenched as drenched could be. All of us were in pyjamas and shorts, nothing on top. DS body was lined up in my flank. My lock broken, as it is it used to be a piddly one? My heater with the squaddy and on the last day of our SIQ I got 14 restrictions for cooking in the room. We had left the toasts on the lid of the tiffin and forgot to switch it off while going for our World billiards Championship. The lights came on, we had left the toasts which were ready to be toasted but they got smoked and burnt down to cinders.
Promod and rest of the gang evaporated into thin air. I think MK Sandeep* was also there. I was marched up and till end of term I must have done 28 more restrictions. Well my dear Promod, we may not play billiards anymore but I fondly remember you as a super soul with a heart of Gold. Rest in Peace my brother. We shall miss you. A small thank you from me and LXVI course for all the lives you touched and all the friends you made. Cheers Buddy, wish you better times wherever you are and we shall remain friends for ever.
© Noel Ellis
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
© Noel Ellis
By Noel Ellis
In ARMED FORCES, ARMY CHIEF, BLACK MONEY, BRAINWASH, COMMISSION, CONGRESS, CORRUPTION, CULTURE, Defence Minister, DREAM, FAUJ, HINDUSTAN, HUMOR, INDIA, KABADDI, LEADER, MINISTER, MODI, MP, NETA, NEWS, PAKISTAN, POLITICIAN, POLITICS, PRIME MINISTER, SATIRE, SPORTSPERSON, TRADITIONS
I had just finished watching the Kabaddi match last night, which is far better than watching the “kabaddi on news debates. My instinct told me that the match between “BJP Lotus Giants” and “Congress Handcrafters” being held in the polling stadium of Gujarat for the famous of Rajay Sabha Cup from where three members were going to be selected for the national team is going to be interesting. There were various reporters spread all over India taking reactions from spectators. Some of the anchors had already declared the results prematurely. There were political experts on every channel trying to give out all kinds of opinions like the good old Lala Amarnath. Tension was in the air. There were players who were surrounding the third umpire’s office as some controversy had erupted. The final results were to be declared after the third umpire “The Election Commission” would have reviewed each and every move replayed in “slowmo” from every angle. The situation was touch and go.
Well, my patience ran out and I went off to sleep. This morning I found that the unpredictable happened due to “Duckworth Achal Joti” method. The Lotus giants who were expecting a clean sweep lost one seat to the Handcrafters. What difference does it make in the Rajay Sabha? I don’t know. But after this round I know that congress has already declared a definite victory in Gujarat in 2019. We all know “there is many a slip between the cup and the lip”. Till the time the game is fair and square may the best team win; if my constitutional bodies aka referees abide by the rules, I shall have all praises for them because I know my country is in safe hands.
Be that as it may, come to speak of fairness, honesty, integrity etc my instinct to trust our political set up has gone totally wonky. I don’t know why. The congress had huddled together their MLCs in Bangalore and released them on voting day and still some cross voted it seems. The rumors that they can be bought at a price by the opposition were hot. How far they are true I can’t speak with authenticity. But there is no smoke without fire is also true. Does it mean that the value of this politician is just those few crore rupees? Is this what we have fallen to? His Zameer and conscious is for sale. If this is how I am going to earn a living then what am I going to do when I sit in parliament. Naturally, I will loot my country any which way I can. If money is the criterion to sell off my soul then this country has a very faint chance to dream of “acche din”.
The icing of the cake would be if one of the two people elected yesterday from the Lotus Giants is made the Defence Minister of India. One is already a minister so chances are that the present portfolio with that minister continues, I am worried about the other one. I will have no choice but to accept him as that’s the law of the land. So, all my brothers in uniform I wish you luck. PM Sahib, I still insist you have people qualified with more than 40 years of service in Defence of the nation, please be fair and do justice. Am I asking for too much? Let me not drift into my dreamland again.
I am still not clear as to why do we join a political party and have loyalties depending upon the price offered by another party. How can we switch at a moment’s notice? Why do political parties fear that their workers will change teams? Is there nothing called trust left in this nation? Do we need to use unfair means to woo people to defect? Should false promises and hopes still have place in our political system? The larger issue is, are we building this country or ruining it? If we are ourselves not sure on which side we are going to stand then when it will come to decision making for the poor and common man our decisions will be biased based on who offers us the best returns. We are corrupting this system at the highest level and then we are expecting the lower levels to be the most honest people. How can this be possible? My disillusionment for the political class keeps getting deeper. I am now convinced that money makes the mare go.
Thank God a few institutions are still upholding the Constitution of India. Otherwise this country if left to the people who know how to manipulate the system would have sold this country out by now. I was amazed to hear the hard work and toil the political workers were claiming to have done. The midnight oil that they burnt as if they were going to sort out Pakistan. They claim to have won a battle and appeared fatigued sitting in their offices and roaming the streets as aimless nomadic workers. The bursting of crackers and dancing on the streets was as if the enemy had been conquered. The rejoicing and celebrations continued through the night. Who paid for all that? Someone needs to take an account of that too. I see the waste of money in every electoral process irrespective of the political inclinations and affiliations.
Well folks, I am now looking forward to more Kabaddi of the political kind in 2019. Will I see team Lotus Giants lifting the “acche din cup”? I don’t know. Do the Handcrafters stand a chance to bounce back, I have my serious doubts, is there any other team capable enough, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
The jokes going around today is that we are soon going to change of name of Chowmein to lachhas of some kind to boycott anything Chinese and Rogan Josh to whatever. Will our love for the noodles die? Or will our stomachs revolt if we get something with a different name. Lesser said the better.
The pleasure we get in changing names of places, streets and roads etc is something which I don’t understand. As far as my memory goes as a kid, I remember JULLUNDER becoming JALANDHAR. This was very prominent on its railway station as we were frequent travellers unlike frequent fliers in those days. Our summer or winter holidays used to start with a steel trunk, a big holdall, a basket full of food, a surahi, loads of comics and long waits at Jalandhar for our connecting train. We were excited to see this change of name. As the train from Kapurthala chugged in, I had my eyes fixed at the board of the station which used to be the first thing one saw. My curiosity did not end at that till I dragged my dad to that board. The engraving of the old name was still there. The old name was clearly visible under the fresh paint. I am sure the old engraved name still exists even today on all boards as they too are part of our heritage.
What changed with the name, was it the location of the station? Was it the train timings? No. The ticket window remained at the same place. The milk booth did not shift. The aloo poori stalls did not change their menus; the water taps did not start pouring coca cola. The “pappar wali rehri” still sold papar. The cleanliness of the stations remained pathetic even after change of name. For the local folk the pronunciation remained the same even if the spellings in English had changed. As far as Punjabi was concerned the spellings in gurmukhi didn’t change. The only people who worked overtime were the painters. I am sure this painter would not know the English alphabet nor would have understood why this change. His job was to paint, that’s it.
My name has its own derivatives and people have called me Neol, Nawal, Novel, Nole, Navel, Ellie, Ellias, Alice, Alish, Elle, Elsh uffffff. In my unit many called me Elli Singh as I spoke fluent Punjabi. Did my character change? Did it make any difference to my personality? I tried changing my name in the Voter card thrice now but somehow these fellows have to make a mistake by interchanging a vowel or a consonant. Thank God my address and date of birth is correct and they allow me to vote and I vote for my candidate. My political affiliations don’t change.
I hope you people know where Rajiv Gandhi Chowk is in Delhi. Of course it is Connaught place. The auto wala will fleece you if you use the new name and may take you to your destination via Kirby place. Bombay became Mumbai and people take offence to calling it with a B. Fountain became Hutatma Chowk, Kings Circle became Maheshwari Udyan, Zoo became Jija Mata Udyan and Marine drive is Netaji Subhash Chandra Marg. What do we all call them in our daily conversation is the point I make? VT still remains VT and so does Jacob’s Circle. Some change I must say.
I used to love the name CAWNPORE now rhymes with ear-pur. As a child I have many memories of this mill and its chimney on which this name used to be written as ELGIN mills. I remember my mother used to pick up a lot of those white Turkish towels which were sold in the open market at dirt cheap prices. I believe Jubbulpore was one of the first to be renamed in 1947. Cochin, Madras, Waltair, Mysore, Bangalore etc are all in front of us with changed names. Has life transformed there? Has the infrastructure transformed the way of life? Has the name change cleaned the place better? By changing the name does governance improve? Does unemployment reduce? Does illiteracy vanish? Does health care come to your doorstep? I think all of you know the answers.
I am convinced that all the politics that goes into just changing names if devoted to things that are constructive would serve a better cause. If you try to obliterate history, it doesn’t happen. Faith, religion, beliefs, sentiments even if they take the centre stage we should preserve our heritage. Slowly and steadily I see our “virasat” turning to ruins as in case of most of the palaces. Our forts are falling apart, our heritage buildings slowly decaying; our names are going into oblivion. If just by changing a name our destiny can change, nothing like it but if it is done only for cosmetics and the heck of it, then is it worth it, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
It is touching gesture to see ladies tie Rakhi’s to people of the Armed Forces. There are so many who make lovely handmade Rakhis and send them across to soldiers guarding the borders. I salute this love and affection and this warm gesture. This is true culture of India. This shows all those who many not be directly or indirectly related to people of the armed forces show solidarity with an unknown person, on an unknown mission, in a God forsaken place to feel that people are with me, people love me and care for me. Above all he gets the morale boost that he has to carry out his duty even better as now he is duty bound to protect all those who have taken time out to remember their “God Brother’s”.
I have seen moist eyes with tears on the brims when soldiers remember their beloved ones and especially sisters. The tears are a symbol that we too are humans and have feelings and care when they remember folks back home. Tears are for sisters who used to tease them, sisters who have now got married and gone away, sisters who are no more walking the earth, sisters who were their best companions; sisters who gave all the instructions till one got married. Many of the soldiers don’t have sisters but feel a sense of pride that now they too have one. It is sentimental friends, it is moving.
Be that as it may, behind the brave face that a soldier puts up is actually a wax like heart. He might appear tough in front of the enemy but a small letter from home melts him down. A soldier when he sometimes comes across a child who resembles his younger sister or even daughter actually wants to lift her up and throw her in the air and catch her like he used to do back home but his duty prevents to show his emotions. His feelings don’t change even if that child is related to a militant or any other family. This I speak from my own experience while deployed for OP Parakram. My six month old child did not know why papa is going or where is he leaving for. She could never question me as to why do you have to leave me when I need you most. She could not even speak then. Every child I came across, I used to remember her and felt like hugging the child, to play, to blabber, to make the child laugh, tickle her just to get a feel that through this child I feel at home.
The oath that a brother takes is to safe guard his sisters and to keep them away from harm’s way. It does not translate on ground. Sisters are murdered, raped tortured and groped everywhere. Therefore, I ask this question why can’t this promise be fulfilled by the people who are is positions in the government to look after women in particular. Don’t the women of this country want freedom to move freely, wear what they like, study what they like, work in which ever shift they want to, make friends with boys and feel safe in this country? I have a feeling that it happens because my sister is my sister and rest of the ladies I don’t care. If anyone who dares to cast a dirty look at my sister, I will tear him apart but if the same thing when happens to someone else’s sister, I will leave the scene as why should I get involved in it.
What about ladies who don’t have brothers or fathers or husbands. What about ladies who cannot protect themselves. What about ladies who are infirm, or differently abled. Who will look after them? I think it is the citizens and people in politics who are responsible to give ladies the confidence that they are free citizens of this country. Therefore, the onus of repaying the commitment when this band is tied on a minister’s wrist doubles. He has to ensure that the policing set up and vigilance to protect ladies is top class. The politicians are totally accountable and responsible for their safety and freedom. They shall fail in their duty and promise of Rakhi, if they can’t deliver on women’s safety.
Ladies and gentlemen many of us have daughters. They will walk into this mad bad world as they grow in age. They will be career women, home makers, soldiers, sportswomen etc tomorrow. Why can’t we give them a tension free life, a free atmosphere, a country with a broad minded mindset, the freedom to feel as a privileged citizen of this country rather than a person, who constantly remains in fear of being ogled, molested or being looked down upon?
This can only happen when our temples of democracy decide that time now has come to change. Time now has come to ensure that this change in mindset is brought about in their constituencies. The way PM Sahib is concentrating winning hearts and minds of voters for elections; I would suggest this same team should also concentrate on safety and security of women. All elected representatives should take a vow that they will not allow anything to happen to any lady under their jurisdiction. For this what means and methods they want to employ I leave it to them. Remember dear sirs, the soldier will never let the women of this country down but this thread of love tied on your wrist should not be just symbolism, it should translate into action. Will the brothers listen? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
Kripiya kya aap mujhe galiyare main jane ki jagh denge, mujhe mutr visarjan karne jana hai. I said I have heard of murti visarjan, asti visarjan, what is this mutr visarjan? My imagination started running wild, that look at this lady she now is going to drop dirty kitanoo like things from this aircraft. What about swach bharat? What if Amitab bachhan comes to know that people are doing it in air also? Well she said you bloody fool haven’t you seen the movie 3 idiots, where this “Mutr” word was used. I apologised to her and asked her that ma’am how come you spoke in such chaste Hindi to say a simple thing that kindly allow me to get to the isle to use the wash room. Of course what you do there I leave it to you. My sah yatri blushed and said well, I was forced to read this Hindi news paper and my thoughts started to wander off to shudh Hindi. Well, ma’am I said, you are lucky, though my mother tongue is Hindi I could not understand half of what you meant. Had you known my name you wouldn’t have dared to say all this in Hindi to me. She said why, I said form my looks I resemble a Thambi and from my name people take me to be Goan. She said I agree.
Hmmmm, she then cursed me and gave me a dirty look because while we were in this deep-deep conversation the Hawai sundaris brought in shudh shakahari bhojan in their bhojan ka thelas. This lady sitting next to me was getting fidgety to go, so I requested the hostess that the lady here has an issue and she wants to go to the wash room. The sundari was an auntie; she folded her hands in Namaste style and told this lady to hold on till they finish their formalities of bhojan vittran. I asked the sundari, madam, what do you have for non vegetarians, she said she has the main door, I said what do you mean and she said catch a bird, I understood that this “bird” doesn’t get the pun, nor is interested in any fazool ki vartalaap. I had no choice but to relish pure Indian Kanda Poha along with asli makhan-amul makhan, and jaam. I asked her give me a bun, she looked at me and frowned, how dare you call this a bun, it is the pure Marathi Pav. Ask for one pav I might give you two. I said mala pav denaar nayi kaye, she said thamba veil lagil. Basically shut up and wait for your turn and don’t maro line on me. I looked at my co-passenger and she looked at the news paper I was reading. It was “Pudari” a Marathi one. I had transformed in one flight. She was impressed.
Well, our flight was of about an hour, while these sundaris were serving there were three more in the isle who were trying to tell us how to fasten our seat belts since take off. In fact there was one standing next to me. I told her yaar we are now mid way of our journey, put on some music, she curtly reprimanded me to learn to behave and listen to the peti jakarne aur kholne ki instructions. I said petticoat hota to sunta bhi, peti agar noton se bhari ho to chalega, ye kya khel hai kabhi peti bandhne ka sanket on and kabhi sanket off. She told me in pure bambaiya hindi, yede chup chap baith kar kursi ki peti bandh le, kuch ho gaya to baad main mat bolna madam ne bataya nahi. I thought to myself crash ho gaya to main peti bandhunga ki kholunga. She announced that Air India main ye peti wali ghoshna (announcement) kam se kam 20 hindustani bhasaon main hogi. Jis main samajh jao vo theek. I kept waiting for the “prastuti” in English but by then we landed. I looked up towards the sky as if to ask God save me from this atyachaar (torture). God said beta ye Modi ji ka raj hai, us ko jo karna hai vo karega. Tu chup chap pav maska kha aur kat le. I said dhanya ho bhagawan aap ne gyan diya, I will have to think of going by loh-pat-gamini next time. Us main na peti, na petticoat, jo karna hai karo, jo khana hai khao aur jidhar jo visarjan karna hai karo.
This came in my dream yesterday so I thought I must share my dream with you all that soon on our National carrier we will get news papers in 7-8 Indian languages. Well, though I take pride in my mother tongue and I am fluent with quite a few other Indian languages too but this is stretching a little too far. This way soon you may find the aircraft like a train where one English news paper is distributed amongst 5-6 people and then you exchange pages. At the end of the day one will have an assorted newspaper like a fruit chaat. I think I have dreamt too much, I need to have my “chota hazri” and then get ready for office. Will someone get hold of this fellow in the DGCA and tell him to grow up or else we shall carry our own raddi in the language we understand from home itself. Why give newspapers in the first place? Will someone visarjan karo my vichaar in “Assaan Bhasha” to the concerned authorities? Will air India hence forth also change its name to HAWA BHARAT, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
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