Wednesday, 18 June 2014

I demand but won't supply!



Economics- main theories based on demand and supply. They are directly proportional. This principle can be applied to society, especially to Indian society. Let me explain!
We as a society demand too much. I guess we are spoilt by the preamble of our Constitution or the lack of understanding of it- Government of, by and for the people. People the backbone and the foundation of a democracy. And ours is a vibrant one. But we the people demand way too much. We sit on dharnas, go on strikes, protest, all to project some demand or the other. Not that all forms of protest are unviable and uncalled for. Some are legitimate demands which need to be heard and acted upon. But most of them stem from our belief that the state is our surrogate parent and hence has to pamper us. The people running the state i.e. the government is our ‘mai-baap’. And at such elevated levels the government too looses the connect.
After a brief introduction to the demand side now lets analyse the supply side. Do we on our part supple the raw material for good governance? Good governance is a very abstract notion. Tangibility is rendered only when we participate and the government implements. Lets take the example of the railway timetable. Its abstract because its on paper sanctioned by the concerned authorities but doesn’t apply because we pull the chain to get down at our doorstep or to halt at an unmarked station. The railway authorities on their part fail in giving it the required shove. So both demand and supply are working here. Our demand for trains on time can be met if we too supply some form of self control and discipline. Its just one example we can take so many of them from our everyday life. Not looking after public property, not giving our 100 percent at our work place.
The new government has been in power for hardly a month. A major power crisis is facing the state of Delhi. But Congress is already holding protests demanding ‘acche din’. People oh! Those fickle creatures are rallying behind them demanding that Mr Modi don the magician’s hat and perform miracles. Forgetting all along that the party bearing the torch now was in power for over three consecutive terms (1 term= five years!!). Power infrastructure wasn’t built in a day just like Rome! Here too one can see demand is paramount, people won’t hold their end of the bargain by not stealing electricity, paying bills and conserving energy.
Now congress is in power – in the Opposition- even though this power is running on single phase! They have had a decade at the helm. They must have run out of fresh ideas, overcome by governing lethargy, bogged down by complacency. Now when some other party with fresh ideas and new vigour is trying to function they should provide the much needed support. Question when the real need arises, not to stall the efforts of the new government. Its almost as if the more fingers they point the better their wounds will heal inflicted by defeat. Constructive criticism and positive support even from the opposition benches is what India needs. I know its asking for a little too much. After all the powerful today were warming the same benches yesterday and behaved similarly. But someone somewhere has  to change and lower the gun in a Mexican standoff- like situation so that India can gain.
I can’t conclude without a mention of the court jester Mr Arvind Kejriwal, Mr Rebel-against-everything-political. He finds nothing good in anything! Critical analysis of the degenerative type gushes from his ever-coughing mouth. He can only carry the torch on the streets of Delhi but can’t light the diya in the temple of  governance. Those 49 days he got in power were spent house-hunting and spending nights in the open. A country which has stood the test of democracy, has the largest railways network of Asia, has the third largest army in the world, is the largest democracy of the world, is the IT hub is so because its political leaders have done something right somewhere. So being only critical is not going to help. Sure in the present we have lost the plot but Mr Kejriwal has lost the entire ramlila-maidan. Some soul searching is required from all quarters so that its a collaboration between all the players of the state – the government, the opposition and the people. Only then can Mr Modi perform the humungous tasks he so confidently set for himself. Otherwise ‘acche din aane wale hain’ will remain a swansong on the wings of tomorrow and as we know tomorrow never comes!

Friday, 13 June 2014


 I AM M.A. AND YOU......?
I always say there is difference between being literate and being educated. Collecting stacks upon stacks of degrees and then uttering only non sense is not education. On the other hand teaching one’s mind to absorb, assimilate and utilise knowledge gathered from whatever source is worthwhile and productive. It doesn’t matter if that knowledge is garnered from outside the system.
I heard Smriti Irani speak at the women’s’ forum organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I must say I was stunned. Earlier I was stunned to learn that her degrees were not right. Her education credentials were doubtful. Having supported the BJP’s campaign for change and development in the election season I felt that most of the candidates were above board. This allegation against her cast a dark cloud over my faith. Then thanks to youtube she came alive – intellectually with a vision and confidence inherent in a highly qualified person. Her civility and humility hit me and I in turn hit that cloud of doubt away. Leaders with impressive tails of abbreviated degrees too could not match up to what she spoke. I hung on to every word she said and saw what education could do irrespective of whether its attained in a classroom and stamped by the authorities or got through perseverance and self learning.
See how all the Oxford and Harvard returned have been steering our ship- sometimes on track and sometimes totally rudderless. These desi- bred, locally trained and grassroots progenies too should be given a fair chance to prove themselves. A chance they definitely deserve and need our support too. And after that if they fail us then of course we have the power to vote again!

Sunday, 8 June 2014


 MODI NE LE LI.........

Modi ne le li sabki jaan!!! He spearheaded an unprecedented campaign. Travelled the length and breadth of the country – tirelessly and purposefully. The motive was to unite a diverse nation, once again on the twin planks of development and governance.
A leader who had been treated like a pariah by the media and the political elite alike has now inadvertently turned the tables on them. The elections of 2014 were like a cyclone with Modi at the centre of it decimating the political bigwigs in its wake. It left so many baffled and red-faced. Party edifices crumpled like termite ridden structures. So many planners and non-planning squatters got the axe. Like in UP M&M threw out so many of their aides. In Bihar some willingly tendered their resignations for they were too big to be axed. Some took responsibility for not being able to implement disaster management programs during the ‘cyclone’. Some looked around them hunting for people to shift the huge baggage of ownership. Some left the parent ship willingly looking for greener pastures. Some symbolically volunteered to relinquish their dynastic fiefdom. No need to say that the weight of their surnames and their gynaeology acted as a life line otherwise Mrs Gandhi’s thick diction and Master Gandhi’s fumbling rhetoric is surely not something which can rightfully let them hold on to the reins of the grand old party of India.
Vocal mantris got kicked out. Rajasthan congress headquarters saw an old fogey going out on his backside! He dared to question the legacy of sycophancy. Infighting and bickering has left a fledgling party like AAP struggling to survive. It has become a circus with fresh acts every day. Some revoked oppressive laws hampering their vote banks almost overnight. Just after Modi took oath J&K saw the change.
So all in all it has been an annihilation of sorts. The social pariah has become the PM and is going about changing the way Delhi Durbar functions. Revamping and remodelling on modern and efficient lines. Till now he has been living outside the box – drawing admiration for fresh ideas and contemporary thinking. One Mr Tharoor praised him and drew flak from the elitist blabbermouths.
Meanwhile the lesson learnt by those who could not make it to the corridors of power should not be forgotten. Change is sought, is gradually arriving and will completely change the face of Indian politics- so constructive inputs, criticisms and grassroots upliftment should be incorporated. Though some have still not let go of the degenerative mindset and have started hurling stones for matters which have no direct bearing on governance. Smriti Irani bears witness to this even before she had an opportunity to prove her worth. These foolhardy, battle worn creatures of habit need to  know that its time to change into a new garb. Its been a pan-India mandate for Modi and his style of functioning, rising above party ideologies. Its a mandate for what Modi professes – willingness to work and earn one’s rightful place in the sun. Its imperative that we see and acknowledge this change and step up for a new era.

Friday, 30 May 2014

                                           BAAP NUMBERI BETA DUS NUMBERI

Badaun! Bad One! Bed 'em!! One hamlet but different interpretations. Ever since the news of two minor girls raped and then hung in the village square started flashing on national TV, it set me thinking. We as a civilization have advanced quite a bit. I have many a times claimed to my friends that we are living in bright times but they are more of 'dhoop-chhaun' times. There are still some grave pockets of darkness which are eerily similar to the barbarism of the medieval times. This particular incident unfortunately is typical of the times we have left behind thousands of years back. But the mindset sadly carried forward. 
Reasons behind it are being ascertained but whatever the reason punishment is doled out to the females. After a long spell of inaction the police are slowly shuffling their feet after shoves from the NGOs and of course sometimes the torch- bearing media. 
Sadly UP a state where I spent most of my teenage years and am very fond of, is dotted with such badlands that too in the bastion of the ruling dynasty. When 'Baap ji' was in power I ascribed such lawlessness to his  'goondagardi- ki- rajneeti'! Those were the times when we as the young generation used to think that to be a politician one had to do all that to stay in power. It was the done thing. Politics of appeasement and coercion, arm twisting and butt-kicking, politics ruled by the illerate and the uneducated. We were of the view that only goons entered politics and had to nurture their gundagardi to maintain a hold over the gaddi.
Then slowly we saw fresh, sauve, foreign returned faces on the stage. Faces which looked young and modern, faces with degrees stamped over them. One such face was that of 'beta ji'. An educated young man of our generation with a well brought up wife by his side. I thought now the things will change. Ladies think differently and the young men have metrosexuality written all over them. They will do things differently hand in hand with their better halves. Times will change and 'baap ji's party will get a make over. His governance will experience a major shift. 
Alas! that was not to be. 'Beta ji' was born with a defect, he had no spine and no vision and of course no guts too to change the way the party functioned. and the state of affairs did not see much change. Still riots happen, still women are lecherously hounded and devoured and then hung out as lessons in submission.
But now the pockets of light know that they truly have a very sharp and potent weapon in their hands which has shown remarkable results recently- the vote! Hopefully the inhabitants of the pockets of darkkness will grab the light and illuminate their worlds too!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Taaza! Taaza! straight from my pen... have a dekko!


AB KI BAAR...........

If Manmohan Singh is ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ then Rahul Gandhi seems to be the ‘PM by accident’ – accident of birth and accident of the Gandhi surname happening to him. Apart from that he seems to have little credibility to sit in the driver’s seat of the largest democracy in the world. I feel Congress needs to step out of the shadow of the family which Nehru started. A fresh approach and a fresh non-Gandhi face will give it a complete overhaul. I don’t think the Gandhi clan has been blessed with the rare PM-gene.
On the other hand it was a pleasure listening to Modi field questions posed by the impish Rajat Sharma. His rise from the sidelines of the party to the centre stage cannot be without merit. His credibility rests in the fact that almost everybody questions him and his credentials. After all nobody kicks a dead dog. Modi has the mettle even though he might not be the perfect candidate. He is the most eligible one visible on the horizon of the next five year plan.

His charisma and conviction has the potential to salvage our sinking ship. We need a leader with a strong spine who can stand tall and take decisions and connect with the people he is leading. Someone who can hold his own on international platforms. As of now Modi seems to fit the bill. How will he fare in the PMO I don’t know but I am ready to vote for and take that risk rather than allow that fumbling scion stumble through another term while his mother once again gets in the wings to act as the prompter! So ab ki baar.... change ki sarkar! Ek chance to banta hai yaar!

Friday, 11 April 2014


                                                                I GOT INKED

Finally the day arrived when I went for voting! It had been a distant dream. Having led a sequestered life in the forces, where voting just didn’t happen due to the nomadic nature of the job I was a ‘drawing room’ activist. Perpetually worrying about the state of affairs in the country, how those rotten politicians were sucking the country dry, and then cursing the ‘bloody Indians’ for shopping for such ‘rotten tomatoes’ and plonking them in the parliament. I was happy letting my lips serve the nation.  But then a posting to Jammu, my home town, changed the scenario.
My name was on the voters’ list giving me the permission and the opportunity to vote. The booth was set up in a Government school in the middle of a busy township. I went with some trepidation streaked with confidence. Finally I will send my chosen candidate to the Big House and make Modi the PM. I have let the cat out of the bag – yes I have voted BJP- not for their manifesto but just for change. Congress has spent a decade partying now is the time for the other half to go to the ball. But novelty of the PM and the situation might make them dance the salsa. Later may be they will get back to the ‘Lok Sabha Beat’ but till such time India might see some good done to it.
I have digressed from what I set out to say. Well the voters queued up- ladies on one side and men on the other. Policemen kept a vigil. I too joined the serpentine line and waited for my turn. It was scorching hot. The April Sun didn’t take leave on voting day as the rest of the state had. I was sweating and tanning. My carefully maintained complexion getting a solar make over. I was taking the pain to stand for hours in the sun and vote for my preferred party but did those ‘netas’ even realise the effort some of the pawns in the Big game go through to light their way to the coveted office. Elderly ladies and very elderly ladies too joined in but were mercifully spared the torture of shuffling on ‘hot’ feet. They were especially lead into the booth where they cast their vote. One of them arrived on a plastic chair lifted by her two sons. I wondered again what choice had that ‘mataji’ made? Would she choose as was her wont or had she made a conscious decision of supporting a better candidate? There were women who had left their kitchens and lined up with toddlers in tow, dressed up in their best ‘suits’ and darkest lipsticks. I felt that the exercise of casting their vote gave them a sense of freedom and power, a sense of control which they had compromised on so many levels.
We were sent in batches of four. The polling officials meticulously checked our identification proof with their own lists. We were directed from one official to the other. I felt lost and then found, lost some more and finally found again as the man with the prized ink carelessly dipped the twig of the ‘sesam’ tree in the inkpot and smeared my index finger with it. Unknowingly he had accessorised my attire. That finger was on its way to being photographed and ‘facebooked’, ‘whatsapped’ or ‘tweeted’. Choice was mine and I chose all three.
A cardboard box hid the beeping machine. As I moved towards it a very tall and a very old man walked in on doddering legs. We made way for him. He was ticked off the list, inked and led to the cardboard box. He was weak in the eye and the knee and those darned symbols on the machine made no sense at all. His thick glasses did little to help. But it was a journey which only he had to undertake much like the heavenly one. He bent low-low-low and very low till his nose was touching the EVM and only his outstretched legs were visible from behind the cardboard box. He shook and he twisted and he turned and shook again, a little more twist to the left and we heard the long beep. He had done it! He emerged from behind the box, a smug smile on his face. It was one triumphant walk for him which he might not take the next time.

Having never seen an EVM in my life I was thrilled to see it materialise. I approached it with the confidence of a pro and pressed the blue button next to our national flower. I had heard about the lady who kept pressing the red light on the EVM hoping to make it sing. I didn’t want to be that lady. I got it right in the first go. I came out of the booth but sadly that thrill was missing even though I had a great time observing the regulars. I walked back home relieved for having done my bit in saving the country and getting inked. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Heroes Moulded in Glass

Hi friends, here is the 1st Chapter of my forthcoming release...

He lay dying among the dead. The vast open skies above him were azure with feathery specks of clouds floating by. Around him there was only barren rocky surface of colossal Himalayan peaks. He was resting against a huge boulder looking around on the landscape which stretched along for miles where so many of his fellow soldiers had lost their souls. His combat uniform was caked in blood some his own and some of the others he had killed or watched being killed. He felt the life force slowly ebbing out. Tears sprang in his eyes, he didn’t want to die, not now when life back home was about to begin. Flashes of simpler, happier times rushed past in his brain. He saw the faces of the people who were waiting for his return. They were the ones who would be worried for him, eagerly awaiting any news of him. He had fought enough, he had fought the aggressors and then his injuries. He had survived till now, managed to hold on for over a day and a half. Now was not the time to give up. He had to stay alive, he had to keep himself safe for Kash, for his son. He fought back the numbness and willed himself to draw energy from the love of people back home.
Slowly he came down on his stomach as he couldn’t stand upright due to a fractured leg, he was sure it was a fracture because it hurt like hell, and then there was the enemy perched like vultures on the silent peaks preying on the valiant soldiers scaling the mountain. The war was still on. Lying face down, he crawled down the mountain towards the safety of of his own country. It was painful to move even an inch. His entire body screamed out in pain and revolt. Shrapnel embedded in his flesh bore deeper and caused excruciating pain. When he could take it no further he stopped near a small Himalayan stream which was gurgling its way down to the river. Its water was fresh and sparkling with life. Its purity touched him and he stretched an arm to feel it. He cupped some of its water in his bleeding hand and drank greedily. He had not eaten anything for so long, ever since he led his team on the mission. His rucksack in which he carried some dry fruits and chocolates had disappeared when he had fallen off the cliff. The coolness of the water brought some degree of satiety. Suddenly he heard stones rolling down from the heights and lay still next to the stream on the sparse greens. He did not move, playing dead. The enemy was on the heights and could observe any movement, especially during the day. He stayed that way resting on the cold earth waiting for any other sound but nothing happened.
Soon he fell into a deep sleep brought on by fatigue. He had managed to crawl a few feet and had used up all his energy. Some of his wounds had opened up and were oozing blood but he felt nothing. He had already crossed the threshold of pain which was humanly possible to bear. So that now his mind was oblivious to any more discomfort. Only his will to survive and live to fight another day kept him going.
“Sid! Wake up! Time for school!” he heard his mother calling out to him and opened his eyes with a start only to find himself engulfed by the star spangled night. There was no other sound except the water of the stream he lay by. His stomach growled with hunger but there was nothing except water. He grabbed a fistful of grass and chewed on it to quieten the rumbling of a hungry body, drank some more water and began his downward decent under the cover of darkness. Now he was less cautious, the night gave him the security he needed. The war was raging around him. He could hear the guns firing and shells exploding on distant peaks. He didn’t know how many more peaks they had to liberate. He had been on a mission that had been successfully completed with the help of his men but he himself had been seriously injured in the exchange. He was happy to be alive despite the fierce battle which he and his boys had fought. He was sure the tricolour was aflutter on the conquered peak but there were some more to wrench out of the enemy’s control. Had his body permitted he would have gone for another conquest but at the moment it was of prime importance that he kept himself alive.
He had managed to cover some distance, crawling with the help of his elbows which were badly scraped. He needed some rest now. So he turned on his back and lay supine looking at the night sky again. The twinkling sky brought the old nursery rhyme to his mind and he started reciting it. It kept him occupied and kept his mind off the pain. The sky was absolutely clear. In fact one could attempt to count the stars although an impossible feat. The moon shone brightly in the glory of the sun’s borrowed light. The peaks were sufficiently illuminated and he knew this would be his chance to reach the safety of an army camp. He may not be able to survive another day in the open. The night temperatures were pretty low. His weak body would not be able to hold on for long. He had to get through, he had made a promise. And he always kept his promises, atleast conscientiously tried to keep them.
The moon was slowly making its way across the sky. Siddharth mustered up enough strength to take the arduous journey down the hill. He again started crawling slowly, carefully, aware of his surroundings. A few feet away he felt a backpack in his way. He grabbed it and rummaged through it. It belonged to some soldier, which one was hard to tell in the darkness. There were the standard issued items in it and a pack of chocolate. Siddarth thanked the stars, not just his but the heavenly ones as well. He took cover behind a rock, there was no dearth of them on the barren mountain sides, and sucked on the gooey sweetness of the cocoa. It was Cadbury’s so the backpack must be of an Indian soldier. Having something after so long made him forget all his worries and he sank into the pleasure of the moment.
In the happy state of mind his mother’s voice rang in his ears. He remembered the day when his mother waved a letter in his face. He was deep in sleep. He grabbed the letter with half open eyes and looked at it. It was an interview call.