Monday, 30 December 2013

Waiting for Tonight…

‘… When you will be here in my arms’, so sings Jennifer Lopez as I sit down to write a post in a dinghy little flat that we are using as temporary residence while attending a wedding in the family. It is Christmas season and also wedding season at the same time in India, since the last two months of the year are considered auspicious for marriages (I know not why).

Weddings, as I've found to my knowledge, are very hefty affairs to manage. It becomes excruciatingly more difficult or laidback in direct proportion to the number of relatives invited for the occasion. It also matters if the guests are local residents or travelling from elsewhere.

All other wedding preparations aside, it is highly important to take care of one’s guests. Arranging for their residence, their water supply, their electricity, their food and transportation can be very gruelling when arrangements also have to be made for other aspects of the actual marriage.

The concept of the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’ is not foreign to the ears and if you haven’t heard about it or are unsure to what extent it is true, let me assure you that it is indeed so (I speak only on my experience). Sometimes I wonder how most of the time, these weddings go off without a glitch. Maybe it is years of training in a big Indian family that conditions one to prepare for such a big and important event.

But as it is in the wedding that I've come to attend, the best part of the wedding is in the whole family being involved in the preparations. All the uncles and aunties and brothers and sisters and cousins coming over in advance to help out the family and lend a hand in organizing the event. More than a social function, it serves as a bonding agent that brings far off relatives together and presents an opportunity for clueless cousins to meet the family, perhaps for the first time as it is in my case.

To see people you haven’t known are related to you or to see people you already know from somewhere turning out to be your fourth or fifth cousin. To be amused at your uncles being younger to you or meeting a horde of grand-uncles who are fairly young. To engage in the harmless fun of calling young girls ‘aunty’ and dishing out relationship advice to uncles who have just entered college and look up to you.

I’m not sure how many of my readers will be able to relate to this but if you can, you know what I’m talking about and those who can’t, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Christmas Realization

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way”, I can hear the choir sing as they move from one street to the next, spreading the joy of Christmas.

I go to the window of my first floor apartment and gaze upon the myriad of colours that stare back at me from the multitude of lights upon the neighbour’s giant Christmas tree. The silver bells, the little drummer boy, Frosty the snowman and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer hang there in oblivious calm and apparent joy at the birth of the saviour.

It is no longer a silent night. Noisy crowds jostling through the lanes; trying to get home for Christmas, attempting to buy last minute items, getting last minute gifts and renting out Santa costumes.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

This winter wonderland hardly gives me any peace, so far away from home am I. In a different city, a big town. No mangers here, no real life plays of the birth, no family, just the loneliness of this room and the desolation of a lost Christmas in work.

Mother had called me, she had been crying. She said, “Please come home for Christmas” but I said I couldn't. Not if I wanted to keep my job. I needed the job, badly so. She cried some more then. I couldn't bear it and slammed the phone. Cruel, but necessary nonetheless.

It is starting to snow now. A White Christmas had been predicted but had seemed unlikely. This was a problem. How was I to go now? Yes, I’d decided to go the moment I put down the telephone. To hell with the job and to hell with this city. I could be a farming man once more, like my old man.  I’d called mama right back and told her, “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

Living in this strange city I've realized that there’s no place like home. My bags are packed, I’m ready to go. Oh little town of Bethlehem, I’m coming home.

And as for the weather, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Note: This is a work of fiction. It is integrated with a collage of Christmas carols in the spirit of the season. Have a very merry Christmas and a fruitful New year!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Search for Home

Living in another city, away from home has its pro and cons. Well, more pros and fewer cons, oh wait, or is it the other way around? Anyway, once you’re adjusted, it’s pretty alright if you can compromise with certain things like food, water, weather conditions and the people. There are other factors too but chief among all is the need for shelter – A roof over one’s head. And incidentally, that’s the hardest thing to find nowadays. Especially for a bachelor, a spinster or both together.

First of all, people don’t trust young people even a single iota. They seem to be damn sure that there’s going to be rave parties and naked people and rapes and orgies and that they will one day bring the police down on them. They seem to be particularly wary of engineering and medical students, I don’t know why.

Speaking of trust, foreign students have an even tougher time finding residence and only God help those who come from the Middle East; their life is basically hell if they don’t find host parents or hostel accommodation. People, at least in India are very wary of people from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran because to them, all these countries are synonymous with terrorism. Anyone and everyone from this side of the continent is not trustworthy and have basically come over to bomb the hell out of a railway station or market. Now I know this sounds bad but wait, there’s more. They will be refused gas lines, be kept watch over and be tracked just because some maniacs are bent on creating hell on Earth.

Then, there is also the factor of the ‘Great Indian Middleman’. The broker is an important piece of the puzzle that is home searching. It is nearly impossible and high improbable that you will find something suited to your needs without the help of a broker. If you do, you’re in luck, but I wouldn't depend on it. The broker will charge around the same amount as the rent, so you end up paying double. But is that it? NO! The homeowner will take three times the rent as insurance in case you cause damage. So if you’re a student without a job and nobody to support you, you’re broke.

The area problem is another hurdle that not many can overcome. Rents differ from area to area and it is hard to find a suitable accommodation which is near to essential areas and affordable at the same time. There is compromise to be made most of the time.

Hence, as you will probably deduce from my first hand experience, living outside is not as hunky dory as you presumed in your sweet world of fantasy. So think twice!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Optimism Lost?

Today was the convocation of the 4th batch of students who completed their Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication and Journalism from my college. It was an intense affair or at least I felt so, having attended such an event for the first time. Well, the ceremony was austere, the receiving of medals was enthusiastic and the food was quite alright. But the highlight of the event was the speech delivered by the keynote speaker, an editor-in-chief of a French publication. That address was the clinching factor in today’s programme and I’m sure that it had a profound effect on all those present there.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.
The self-styled ‘Frenchman’ spoke at length on journalism in India and his experiences of having been the correspondent for South Asia for another publication in his younger days. But most of all he spoke about the disappointment that Indians have in being Indian. The lost passion of being proud countrymen that only erupts when lousy neighbours come knocking at the borders. He said that India had great potential, that of manpower, of wealth (albeit black money), of natural resources and of education. But even in the face of all this, the people of India only see destitution, poverty, corruption, starvation, crime rates and terrorism. Today, the people of India are so blinded by the problems in their nation that they have forgotten the great wealth that lies within. And maybe, just maybe, it is the fault of the Indian media.

He didn't go into the reasons but explained how one just had to pick up an Indian newspaper or watch an Indian news channel in the morning to utterly destroy one’s happiness and descend the ladder into depression. He also made a very important point in context to history, going on to say that skewed history and ignorance or disinterest in the subject has led Indians to lose faith in their country over time. But, he says that there is so much good in India. It is not the people who are corrupt, just the ‘system’. But so is the case everywhere else. India’s political structure is no more corrupt than any other nation. It is just that the Indian media needs to change its parameters to judge the situation of the country.

Well, that’s what the man had to say and we, prospective journalist were listening so attentively that had the fire alarm blared out, we wouldn't have paid attention. Anyway, when I pondered over this, I think I sort of accepted his explanation. I, as an Indian, certainly do not think very highly of my nation in relation to human rights, poverty alleviation, standard of living, minimum wage, employment, child welfare and a host of other issues. But come to think of it, there are many other things that have seen progress here and to name them would be a herculean task. But one hardly pays attention to those achievements today. It is not wrong to put problems in perspective, but it is definitely wrong not to revel in what we excel.

There is indeed a lot of good in India and we would do well to realize it.

Here is the video of Monsieur Francois Gautier delivering his keynote address at the convocation.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Of Archaic Traditions & Modern Culture

In almost every religious legend I've heard or read about, it is said or written that first a Man and a Woman were created into this world to procreate and populate this world. It is always been a belief that a man and a woman are the ideal pair and in the natural order of things, these two creatures should meet and propagate the human race. Well, one can understand the concept but what is it about that people are so against two people of the same sex loving each other? First of all, there is no further need to populate this world. Secondly, there is absolutely no record of any God mentioning that homosexuality is unnatural. On the other hand, I believe there are records and stories about homosexual love in great civilizations of the past.

History intrigues me and forces me to ponder upon what has changed so much in the near past which has led to the persecution of those who love.

Have we become more morally conscious as time passes by?

Have we a greater understanding of the workings of the mind of the higher being?

Have we knowledge of all what was meant to be?

And for that matter, who decides what is morally correct?

The decision by the Honourable Supreme Court of India to criminalize homosexuality by overturning the decision of the High Court of Delhi has left the liberals, the gay community and modern thinkers aghast and frustrated at the blatant disregard for the fundamental rights of Life, Liberty, Equality and Expression that constitute the foundation of the Constitution in this nation.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.
It is not only the Justice Department, but also the Parliament of this country that should be held in contempt of the basic human rights that the people of this country were promised at the time of Independence from the British Empire. The compilers of the Indian Constitution, in their futuristic vision, left provisions in the same in order that with changing times, outdated laws and their sections may be amended to accommodate the changing times and be compliant with the wishes of the people. But alas! The representatives of the people represent only a certain section of the population and totally ignore the rest.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Today, there are religious leaders who claim to be messengers of God, saying that homosexuality is against the Almighty. That in public interest (to save our souls), the country must not decriminalize homosexuality. There are also precedents in history where people have tried to control the people by this very fear.  

King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta, a charter by the Barons to limit the monarch’s powers which were held by divine right.

King Henry VIII of England challenged the divine right of the Pope and instituted the Church of England, where he became the Head of the Church.

Adolf Hitler, through a painting of Jesus in his resemblance, believed that he had divine right to rule the world. We know what happened there.

And so, surprisingly I have come to the conclusion that ancient human civilizations were far more advanced than given credit for. Modern culture has been doing nothing but alienating people and creating divisions in society. Go figure!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Celebrating Nonsensical Things

There is a rising trend among teenagers today. I know not whether it is relevant everywhere but I've certainly seen a fair share of the teenage public engage in this particularly irrelevant and to an extent, nonsensical celebration. Now this is my personal view and I’m open to other interpretations, if anyone would like to offer any.

The trend I’m referring to is celebrating ‘one week’, ‘one month’, ‘two months’ and so on and so forth, of a relationship. Two people, apparently in love, announcing to the world that their relation completes a milestone in time. I wonder why.  When I was in the middle of my undergraduate studies, I used to be amused at the first and second year kids celebrating a week together. I would think that they were relieved that it had lasted that long. I mean that we as humans of course need reasons to celebrate but I wonder whether those celebrations were not in fact sighs of relief at the endurance level of the couple.

Secondly, the concept of gifting things to one’s partner for absolutely no reason at all is also alien to me. I do not get how people gift each other chocolates and stuff. I have seen boys and girls who get a limited amount of money from home to spend while in college, especially those whose homes weren't in the same city. These people would buy lavish gifts and this and that for their partners all the time and then would borrow money from other people at the end of the month. This, I thought to be a literal bribe for the partner to stay along with them. I mean, it may be alright once in a while but how can one afford to spend recklessly and then complain that their parents didn't love them enough to pay for their expenses?

For some time now, I've been observing a couple of teenagers and what strikes me is their adherence and leaning towards foreign soap operas rather than Indian ones. Good job kids! But anyhow, my point is that it may be possible that teens today are influenced enough by these English and American television shows to believe that relationships do not in fact last as long as their parents advertise. I have also watched said shows and since I've just passed this stage a couple of years ago, I think that’s what has also run through my mind at one time or another. Is it not harmful then if one thinks about it? That teenagers today feel that their relationships, should they choose to commit to one, will ultimately fail; which is leading them to be overjoyed at every little step along the way?

Now, I’m not against the television shows or any media in particular, what I’m afraid of is a senseless generation of Indians who believe whatever they see on the ‘idiot box’ and that is a matter that should be given serious consideration by parents as well as the teenagers themselves. They need to be made aware of the fictional nature of these shows by their parents and/or teachers. Students in the mass communication field are aware of what happens here but what about the rest? It is absolutely imperative to for parents to talk to their children about one of the topics considered taboo in Indian society. When even love marriage is considered sacrilegious in this country, I wonder how communication between generations can take place on this apparently delicate topic.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Fight for the Streets

It had been an exhausting day with assignments, voice-overs, projects and a heavy dose of ‘Contempt of Court’ in college. When we finally managed to escape at about 4 pm, we were half dead and in dire need of tea, the international symbol of rejuvenation and the ultimate reviver of all things that are brain dead. And no, I do not exaggerate. So the four of us proceeded to the nearest corner and ordered tea.

That is when it happened - The gang war. Not of thugs or dogs, but of the multitude of shoe-shine boys one finds roaming around the office complexes in Ahmedabad.

As we were sitting there, sipping tea and just talking about nothing in particular the effect of Iran’s nuclear deal in respect to India’s oil export, we noticed a commotion just across the road. There were about six boys around the ages of 8-10 talking down another one of them. The poor kid most probably being bullied or made fun of for not earning enough. He started crying after a few minutes of silent sulking. Getting increasingly encouraged, the other boys continued while a few of them stopped and looked concerned. Having enough of this nonsense, the victim finally snapped and threw a punch at the principal offender who was about two inches taller than him. After that, it was a complete free-for-all and the rest of the boys just picked their jousting partners at random and there began the first kiddie street brawl I’d ever witnessed in my twenty one years.

This scene was being observed by around thirty or forty people from offices around the block. Some of them even bought peanuts from a nearby vendor and began cheering them on. People were just watching as if this were some form of entertainment and a delightful diversion from their mundane lives of home-office-home. I felt as if I’d gone back to the glorious days of the Roman Empire and was seated among the bloodthirsty crowd in the Coliseum. No one, absolutely nobody gave a damn about the plight of the kids, and if they did, they sure didn't show it there. Yeah, who wants to get in the middle of a brilliant fight and get mixed up with the supposed child labour mafia that they saw in Slumdog. Anyway, the fight continued till the tallest boy caught the collar of the crying kid and asked in the meanest tone he could manage,

“Idhar ka Don kaun?” (Who is the Don of this area?)

Wow! Silence. Everyone was stunned by what the little blighter had managed to say and with such conviction! After that, the rest of the boys caught the little one and took him away before anyone could do anything about the situation.

I don’t think I need to write anything more about this since all my readers are capable enough to understand the implications of what I've witnessed today. Some of us must have witnessed such things happening in our own cities and countries and others must have heard about it; but everyone has surely understood the plight of children today, at least in India.

Where is compulsory education?

Where are anti child labour laws?

Where are children protection groups?

Where is the social and moral responsibility of parents?

Where are the police?

Where does the moral fibre of civilized society stand today?

These questions lie unanswered and will probably remain so for the foreseeable future.

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Happily Ever After Party

The Big Fat Indian weddings have been famous and notorious all over the world for being beautiful and mind-bogglingly expensive. They are pompous, extravagant, have lots of unnecessary trappings and are, as mentioned before (bordering on the obscene) expensive. But it is all in the name of tradition. One can put the blame on the endless line of predecessors who thought fit to celebrate their union by throwing insane parties that lasted anywhere between three days and a week. Inviting people from all corners of the empire/country to gape in awe at the kick-ass way they could afford to feed a host by blowing up all their life savings in one huge bash. 

But weddings are seldom recognized to be what they may or may not have originally meant to be, that is a gathering of the community, meeting and reminiscing about what has happened and the opportunity to meet new people and develop contacts with possibly related or similar minded people over long distances. After all, that was a time when the word communication meant travelling vast distances and meeting up with relatives only a few times in many years.

But today, though there may not seem to be a difference in Indian weddings, I feel there are subtle changes taking place within the mindsets of people. There are several factors contributing to the change in the wedding scenario in today’s world, I've tried to bring up a few here.

First of all, is the factor of cost. With democracy and taxes and inflation, the expense incurred in marriages have risen up exponentially which means that the more people one invites, the more their bank balance dwindles. Everything, ranging from taxi rent, hotel bookings, the pundit/priest, the halls and food have prices shooting through the roof. Then there is also the cost the bride’s father has to pay to get his daughter married. Arranging a wedding, decorating a girl in gold, bestowing lavish gifts upon the groom and feeding an army can certainly be a tad expensive.

The second factor is that of communication. In today’s world, in contrast to yesterday’s, is the benefit of greater communication ability. One can talk and meet people with anytime with those once magical instruments called the “flying chariot” and “akaashvani.”  It is unnecessary and also virtually impossible to invite all the people you know because due to technology today, one may have contacts with millions of people around the world. So unless one is the sheikh of someplace or owns maybe a dozen oilfields, so many people cannot be invited.

The third and last factor affecting the Indian wedding is the change in generation and hence the evolution of thinking and freedom from age old traditions that bound the older ones. The Indian society is subtly changing, independent thought processes are getting bolder and are gaining impetus largely due to the social media and interaction with people in other parts of the world. The present Indian youth seems to be distancing themselves from their culture, not in a way that is defiant but in a way that promotes rational thinking and gives rise to the freedom of thought independent of their parents and grandparents. Marriage has no longer retained its traditional meaning today. Anybody can and possibly will marry anyone they want. They might also feel it was a mistake and marry again. Orthodox thinking today is making way for the future in which everyone is a master of one’s own fate and is hardly if ever controlled by others. Now if you’re going to marry more than once, can you afford that bash again? Because your parents sure can’t.

Note: This is the author’s personal view and has been written with statistics in his own head. He has merely written what he has observed in his surroundings. If one holds a different view, the comment box is begging for your thoughts.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Man & his Mop

I’m sure you know how the whole week passes by with not a moment to spare for yourself? At least for me it’s work – work – work with no time for the hair I’m trying to grow once again. I’m aiming for shoulder length but let’s see till when I can manage to hang on to them with this hectic schedule and the inherent heat that has seeped into the atmosphere here in Ahmedabad.

I cannot fathom how women with long hair manage to take care of that mop but I put it down to years of practice and struggle with the mass of black snakes the Gods thought fit to put on various parts of the body. Well, I’m pretty new to the experience since this is only the second time that I've tried to grow my hair, the first being when I completed school and moved on to college. I was in the place which you’d probably call a ‘hair phase’. Wanted to be the cool dude with the hair but ended up chopping the locks within just four months partly due to frustration, partly due to the heat and partly due to the fact that my parents were horrified at what I’d done to my hair and refused to acknowledge me as their son in public. Yeah, that bad.

Well, this time I've managed to cross the four-month barrier and it’s looking pretty good so far. The heat has abated and I do not plan to have my hair chopped down due to any pressure this time, parental or otherwise. But then there is another problem of finding time to groom this hair. I admit that even this time around I've had a pretty hard time managing all this volume upon my head and I've considered more than once about walking the path to the barber’s shop but I've maintained my resolve till now only because of the compliments I keep receiving now and then from friends and that’s what keeps me going.

Let’s see how long it lasts…

Note: I've not put up a photograph of myself in the fear that somebody will break my illusion of this hair looking totally awesome.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Ranking Them

Before I raise your hopes, let me make it abundantly clear that this post is not about what rank I managed in this semester’s exam, it’s also not about Sachin’s score sheet and it is definitely not about India’s standing in the development index of the world. This post is merely about whether the armed forces dishing out officer ranks to eminent civilians is in fact effective for what they claim it to be or if it is just pompous nonsense.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Let me begin by sharing the names of and honorary ranks of some of the more known personalities who have been honoured this way:

Territorial Army
Honorary Lieutenant Colonel – Kapil Dev
                                                Mohan Lal
                                                Mahendra Singh Dhoni
                                                Abhinav Bindra
                                                Mary Kom

Indian Air Force
Honorary Air Vice Marshal – J. R. D. Tata
Honorary Air Commodore – Vijaypat Singhania
Honorary Group Captain – Sachin Tendulkar

Now, I have nothing against these truly great Indians who have made this country proud in their respective fields, but all this rank-giving led me to think if all this is really necessary.
I mean most of these people have already received awards both, at the national as well as international stage so why give them ‘Honorary’ ranks in the military force of the country?

There is an explanation that I kept running into while researching on this topic. The reason apparently is that when the youth of the country will see their idols get ranks in the military of the country for performing in their own field (read: serving the nation), they will also feel the urge to join the in the nation’s service. It was apparently used as a public relations tactic to recruit more men and women to fill up the vacancies in the military ranks. I know not if this tactic has succeeded.

On the other hand is the reasoning that dishing out stars on the shoulders of those who have not earned them the right way is an insult to all the soldiers who have given up the better part of their lives for the defence of the nation. An insult to those brave souls who stand guard at the gates of our nation, letting us sleep in peace while they lay down life and limb to prevent any harm to this great country.

There is also the point of everyone being good in their own field. Reward and honour them as they deserve but restricted to their field. Why shower these unnecessary trappings, uniforms and prefixes on those who, first of all have no need of them and secondly, it probably makes no great statement other than earning the defence forces the adjective of being pompous and grandiose.

These are the two sides of the argument which I've tried to put across as objectively as I could manage to. Now, I’d like to know your opinion on the same.

Oh, and yes, the following is an article by a retired Brigadier on the same issue. I highly recommend you go through it. 'All Gentlemen can't be Officers.'

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Haiku #6 – Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

With empty bellies,
Standing under heaven’s door;
The Lord will provide.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Of Trial and (T)error

Everyone in India and possibly half the world knows of the most controversial Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 General elections in this fair country of ours, thanks to the numerous news channels who have nothing else to report. And everyone certainly knows what he has done, what he is doing and what he will most definitely keep doing in the future and I’m not going to insinuate anything about the same, least I be arrested and thrown in jail for voicing an opinion.

Image Courtesy:

It is well documented that that there have been several attempts on his life, both allegedly as well as allegedly proven, supposedly in retaliation to his (mis)deeds of the past. Now, the state police have tried a lot to thwart these “terrorist” attacks on his life but everyone keeps blaming them for wrongly shooting up people all over the place. I respectfully disagree.

How are the security forces supposed to protect their leader without killing people and branding them terrorists?

How are they supposed to bring about an air of mystery around their leader without creating controversy and then blaming the other political parties for doing it?

 How in the world are they going to propel him from CM to PM without having him on the front page of every newspaper and on every second sentence spoken by Mr. Goswami?

Isn't it obvious then that the latest spate of bombings in his rally were by those ‘terrorists’ who just wanted to kill him using small explosives and bombs without timers? In fact I’m surprised that no alleged terrorists were shot up and instead a couple of them were caught by one of the security agencies. Well, you know what happens when you cry “wolf” all the time, nobody is going to believe you when it really comes. But I believe them (please don’t send me to jail).

That being said, the irony that I’m writing about the unnecessary publicity of the man I’m writing about, hasn't escaped me. But then, somebody had to and today, the truth really is that you might love him, you might hate him, you might not care about him, you might have not yet formed an opinion about him, but you sure as hell can’t ignore him.

Note: This post has it's roots firmly planted in sarcasm and is meant to be taken in good humour (if you like it that way). These views are the author's alone and just to be on the safe side (not to be thrown in jail), all characters mentioned herein are fictional and bear no resemblance to any person dead or alive.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

India – Space OR Backspace?

So, we finally launched the much awaited vehicle to Mars and became just the fourth nation in the world to do so. Well played ISRO, well played.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

But as is usual in India, not everyone is happy about this achievement, among them being social activists, environmentalists and even some former scientists. They place forth several arguments as to why India’s mission to Mars was a waste of time and money. The first argument they make is that the primary aim of the mission is to search for traces of methane gas  on the red planet but the “Mangalyaan” supposedly carries no instruments that can substantially make sure if that is the case or not.

If true, I wonder how is it possible that rocket scientists, sending a multi-million dollar spacecraft to another planet forgot to put the most important piece of equipment on board.

The second argument they make is that with the amount of poverty and disease and illiteracy and unemployment in India, how could the government waste millions of dollars sending a rocket to a planet that has been deemed dead, devoid of life? Why not use that money for the development of rural areas and irrigation and poverty alleviation?

First of all, isn't there money already allocated to all departments according to necessity in the general budget of the country? Doesn't the nation have enough number of schemes to feed the poor and for disease research and development of roads and canals? How can these two things even be linked? And however, every year the amount of money being caught in scams around the country is probably ten to twenty times the amount spent on this particular mission. And secondly, as a matter of fact, only 0.34% of the country’s GDP is allocated to ISRO and out of that, this mission must have cost only another fraction, so this argument seems completely baseless.

The third argument was regarding the use of science to benefit the people of the country and not attempt to show off India’s prowess to the world.

This can be quite a tricky question but there is an answer for this too. Today, India wants to be a superpower, it desires to be included in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but for that to happen, India first has to flex its muscles to show what it can achieve. It’s bad enough that it is not doing anything about its irritating neighbours, but by launching a Mars mission before China, India has proved a point and it has indeed raised its reputation in the matter of space technology development and application in the world.

So, it is up to the people to think how a Mars mission, while making no difference to the common man, still makes an impact on how the common man’s nation is looked upon by the world community.

Monday, 4 November 2013

A Fourth of November Resolution

Today is the first day of the Vikram Savant 2070, according to the Hindu calendar. It is the day of starting anew and being done and dusted with the old. But it’s also the day after Diwali. People being forced to wake up early in the morning with a massive hangover, getting dressed to meet pasty faced relatives whom they only meet in wedding receptions, being fed sweets all day long and then sleep with such severe acidity that the first day of the year couldn't have been more tragic.

However, this year, my Diwali has been pretty quiet owing to a number of factors including those of sickness and general laziness. But, since it’s New Year and we people (being dumb) take resolutions on this day, I decided to take one too – for a change.

It happened just a couple hours back. I was just spread on a chair, browsing through a blue coloured social networking site when I noticed that one of my exes was online and I immediately opened up a dialogue box and started a conversation, I still don’t know why. I chatted for quite an hour or so on how we had been and how life was treating us. I might have made one or two sarcastic statements, but on the whole it was quite pleasant and I even suggested getting in touch again, despite my nature not being inclined to do anything of that sort.

Later, when I had a moment to think back upon what I had done, I wondered if I had indeed begun a new chapter with an old friend or rather just scratched open an old wound that had just healed. It was a bit confusing at first, for I had gone against my nature and made contact with someone I broken ties with, with the more I thought upon the subject, the more I realized that I had forgiven her. That I had no latent feelings of hate towards her and for that matter, I never had. I had just been heartbroken but I had never thought ill about her. All this time I was running away not from her but from myself and my feelings! How absurd!

So, my resolution on this November New Year is that I shall try to repair all relationships strained accidentally or knowingly, in jealously, in spite or in innocence. I shall endeavour to build bonds again. Let this New Year indeed be a new beginning for all relationships broken, severed and shattered.

A happy New Year to all!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Half a Year & Half a Century…

It is now exactly six months that I started writing this blog and although I realize that I haven’t done anything great, it has been no mean feat for me to achieve this milestone. It was a day of vacations this first of May and it is a day of vacation on this first of November that I’m penning down my 50th blog post. And… it feels good.

When I look back at these past six months, I see how much I've grown as a writer; not only through introspection but also through what my readers feel when they read my work. I mentioned before that completing six months was no mean feat for me, I said so because I’m very fickle minded. I take interest in one thing but then tire of it and move on to something else (I should be the brand ambassador for Fasttrack). But blogging has clung to me like barnacles to ships and chewing gum to shoes, which is the only reason why I’m still here. Those who feel it will understand the strange pull of writing what you feel and waiting for others to read it, to think about it, feel what you feel and maybe, just maybe realize what made you write what has been written. It is that feeling that brings me back to my letter pad and pen no matter how busy my schedule.

However, it wasn't just the pull of blogging but also the push of a friend that helped me get here. Namrota Mazumdar has been a true friend in need by exhorting me, through a very innocuous method, to write. She has been poking me (virtually) which brings my writing to the forefront of my thought-shelf and a new piece of writing is born. Thank you Namrota.

A special thanks to all my readers and especially those who take the pain of commenting after reading my work. You give me true insight into my work and help me improve as a writer and as a prospective journalist. You are my inspiration and my motivation.

Score: Brendan Dabhi – 50* Not Out.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Wall of Gold

When I glance at the news nowadays, all I can see is GOLD. Everywhere. God-men dreaming up gold, The Archaeological Survey of India seeking gold, Australian scientists finding gold in Eucalyptus tress and religious places with basements full of gold.

And well, what do you know, one of my friends’ cousins also found gold in the walls of his house when it was being demolished! Wow, I mean how lucky is the guy? He dares to break up a house that has been in his family for generations and instead of being struck down by the wrath of his ancestors, he becomes a millionaire! He found gold in almost every wall of his house and by the time he was done breaking up his house personally (presumably with a sledgehammer made of gold), he was also scratching the porcelain toilet seats to make sure they weren't made of gold too. It seems that every wall had a couple of random bricks moulded out of gold and nobody knew about this secret since his great-great-great granddaddy took it to his grave. Whoever said that you leave this world empty-handed hadn't met Mr. Goldmason here. I mean, if you want to leave something for your descendants, you might want to mention it to them before dying; that might be a good idea.

However, I was intrigued at the idea of this guy finding gold in his house and so upon inquiry, I found out that it was a particular tradition in that part of India to bury gold in either the walls or under the floor, so in times of need, the family found never die of hunger. Just make a hole in the wall and Voila! It’s raining money again.

Now my father has this weird obsession of bettering his house. He keeps renovating his home every year and so his friends have started joking that he’s actually hiding money in the walls of the house, especially the washroom, since we have this perpetual leak in one of them that refuses to get repaired. Now, after hearing the above-mentioned stories, I've found myself often wondering if I might eventually find money stashed in the walls one day. It’s a hope against hope and a pretty hopeless one at that or so my father has told me and I must unfortunately agree. It’s just bricks and mortar.


Monday, 21 October 2013

Hang the Blundering Bowler!

The 19th of October, 2013 was a very interesting day for Indian cricket. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli’s thunderous innings against the Australian bowlers  was brought to naught, some claim, by the lone disastrous over by Ishant Sharma, wherein he conceded around 30 runs to the opposition and thereby handed them the match on a silver platter. It was widely believed that after such an overwhelming hammering, the Aussies would simply not be able to take the match home but they managed to win it and people claim it was only and only because of one over that India had to face defeat.

I've been getting hateful (albeit hilarious) Facebook shares and Whatsapp messages from the moment the match was lost. Here are some of the things I received, displayed below for your pleasure:

This is just a fraction of what is happening to the poor guy for the past two days and if this was an important match, this poor guy would have probably be stoned by the crazy Indians who happen to get overzealous at anything that has to do with cricket. It is as if they don’t know that India also plays other games like hockey, tennis, badminton, rifle shooting, football, chess, billiards, boxing, wrestling among others. And it is not only the people, but also the national media that is giving rise to this notion that the only game worth playing in this country, is cricket. Agreed, India got thrown out of the Olympic Games and doesn't qualify for the Football World Cup but that doesn't mean that there isn't anywhere else where we don’t play at all.

It is indeed a sad state of affairs that other sports don’t even have a fighting chance to stay in the game, literally! I’m speaking with reference to what I've observed in Gujarat and it pains me immensely to say that though the government can build a number of cricket stadiums and to speak on an international stage, even introduces a new sport in Formula One racing, it cannot support the infrastructure of games that are unfortunately dying out due to its negligence. In my city, there’s hardly one football ground that’s any good and one hockey ground that’s bearable. Table tennis players, chess players, tennis players, badminton players, volleyball players all have to fend for themselves.

Shouldn't the State and Union governments take a look at other countries like Russia, China, Great Britain, Australia and the United States and at least try to reach out a helping hand to those who are trying so hard, despite such difficulties, to help players and athletes play their game?

And shouldn't the government try to get us back into the Olympics or that isn't necessary because cricket isn't a part of it?

Sometimes when I ponder upon this topic, I feel that there is truly no hope for Indian sports (except cricket of course).

Sunday, 13 October 2013

VolksWagon Durga

So it’s that time of the year again when people who are neutral to both parties, have to decide where to go; to Garba or to Durga Puja. I had to make such a decision this year because of two reasons, the first being that the majority of my friends are Bengalis and the other being that the place I used to go to watch Garba, cancelled at the last moment due to torrential rains (that came out of nowhere).

So, this was the year of the Mother Goddess and so we went around visiting all the Bengali associations organizing the puja, clicked a lot of photos, ate a lot of chicken and also prayed a lot wee bit.

One of the main places we visited continuously over the days was quite close to my place and one of my friends was involved in service at the alter there. The first thing we noticed as we entered the place was a stall containing two shiny new cars of a certain company that had played a major role in sponsoring the event. I was amused and so was my friend because we were hoping to test-ride that very car the previous day. How curious! An omen? Maybe… Anyhow, we proceeded within and payed our respects to the Mother Goddess after which turned directly to the awesome and highly over-priced food stalls that one usually finds at such occasions. This became a routine for us and every day we couldn't help but notice the cars right at the entrance. We held our tongues at the religious sentiment of our zealous friend but one day we simply couldn't restrain ourselves and we told her what we had envisioned for Durga Puja next year. Goddess Durga riding a car instead of the Lion and running over the Demon Mahisasur.

Her reaction? Well, let’s just say that if she were Cyclops, we’d be charred remains of human beings; that’s how she looked at us. But after a moment she looked towards the massive statue, glanced at the cars and burst out in a fit of laughter that assured us that we were not going to be kicked all the way home after all.

This incident however has drawn me to think of events and especially those of the religious kind, which have become increasingly more commercialized over the years. When we look at Navratri or Ganeshotsav or Durga Puja in this instance, I’ve felt that religion has not only become more politicized as we know, but even more commerce driven. Asking conglomerates to sponsor such events instead of collecting money from the religious; leasing out food stalls to restaurants and caterers instead of having community meals and putting up hoardings and banners at a place of religious worship are all signs that, according to me, is leading the youth away from not only religion, but also spirituality per se. when we youngsters see our God/s being sold out in such a way, we tend to wonder about the futility of it all. It is exactly contradictory to what is taught to us by way of religious education here in India.

How then can the older generation rightly claim that we, the youth, are not spiritual?

Don’t they see that they have lost us somewhere down the line?

But I think, on the brighter side, it is this very disillusionment that has allowed the youth today to think freely and that in my opinion is what is required today; to think fresh, anew, without the bonds of religion to hinder the progress of this nation.

Note: This post is not meant to be disrespectful to any religion, people or God/s. It is just my personal opinion on what I've observed in my vicinity. Any connection to people (living or dead) or Companies (and franchises) or Gods (and Goddesses) is merely coincidental and is not deliberately meant.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Perilous Day-dreaming Syndrome

A very dangerous habit, this day-dreaming syndrome, as I came to realize through the horrible experience of an unfortunate friend. Well, I used to day-dream too, and still do, but I exercise it with a bit of caution – now that I know how it can come back to bite your bottom later.

So, this is what happened. My friend is an artist of sorts. He keeps drawing people’s caricatures in an attempt to improve his artistic skills. I think he knows that he is hardly any good at it, but I give him a lot of credit for trying and trying and trying again. When he started his college year, he quickly made friends around because of his open nature, yet brooding nature. But a month hence, people started withdrawing from him, keeping their distance, even avoiding him at some stage. This, a couple of people found very strange because among the people avoiding him, were mostly women. When asked, a couple of them accused him of being a pervert because he kept staring at their breasts sometimes. Many people just shook their heads and muttered intelligibly. The matter almost reached the ears of the Director of the Institute. Things continued going downhill for him until one guy decided to check things out for himself. So he started observing this fellow minutely till he discovered that my friend had absolutely no fascination for breasts and that he as staring into space, thinking out his caricatures. It happened more than once that he was pulled out of his own world by this amateur detective while seemingly staring at nobody in particular. It was only then that people started realizing that he was merely going off into his artistic world and not fantasizing about every woman in the college.

One can imagine how such an apparently harmless thing as day-dreaming can lead to such serious consequences, especially for someone who is not even aware of what is happening around him/her. But, there is also another thing to take out of this story – How we judge people immediately and brutally upon the comments or observations of others. How we are so easily mislead by our own brains or others because we are too lazy to find things out for ourselves. It is almost horrendous to think of the number of times we have judged others based on others’ opinions. Given a moment of reflection, I’m sure a lot of people will recollect at least one incident where they judged a person before even talking to them.

I believe in this matter, we are rather like a flock of sheep. The one who is at the head will turn in a particular direction and the rest will blindly follow the bleater in front. There is hardly any sense of wait – take a breath – talk – find out for yourself. All we want is everything to be fast but how about taking a moment to review those decisions. To really see and not just glance at what passes for unimportant, because that review will mean the difference between a good friend and a scorned pervert.

Moral of the Story: Day-dreaming makes you a pervert.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Youthfest Chronicles #3 – The Event

If you managed to read the previous two installations of this series, you’ll know that we were still hard at practice for the first stage of the competition. Now, twelve days later, finally I’ve got the chance to update you on what took place in the actual competition.

The event was scheduled to be held on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of September, but due to heavy unseasonal rains, the last day of the event… and obviously my event was postponed to Sunday, the 29th of September and so was the valedictory function. My new college had participated in around 14 events in the first stage of the competition out of which it won two, my event being one of them. It also won 2nd place in the rally that that takes place at the beginning of the Youthfest, not unlike the Olympic unveiling ceremony.

My former college, my much loved and cherished home participated in almost every event and won in more than half of them (obviously, it always does). I was a proud man in the Youthfest this time. It was indeed special for me since I was about to participate against my former college, standing in competition against my friends and that too in more than one event. This first round of the Youthfest was especially close to my heart because I had supporters from not one but two colleges. It was very heart warming to see my former college mates sit through their events as well as mine, just to support me.  to see them clap and hoot for me as if I was still one of their own, to feel so close to home when so far, to feel their cheers through my being, to gain courage through their prompting and win and then see them cheering when I went to receive my award.

Even though I owe my allegiance to my present college, I still believe, 

“Once a Xavierite, always a Xavierite!”

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Youthfest Chronicles #2 – The Hullabaloo

It’s been about two weeks and a half that the invite for the youthfest reached our college. Since then it has been just noise and chaos in the institute, mixed with lots of excitement and tons of enthusiasm. All the professors and students alike have no time to eat or even rest, now that the youthfest is just three days away. Sometimes, things get so hectic that it feels as if our college was hosting the event. I dare not think what would be the case in that eventuality.

The college is participating in more than half of the events in the competition and that alone has sent hearts racing to give good performances and grab a number of prizes. Practice times running till late in the evenings, tired students sleeping in lectures, computers working overtime on music editing, logistics department running around for costumes and orders being placed for tea and snacks on the hour… This is the Youthfest.

This is the first time that the college is participating in so many events and so it becomes a matter of even greater importance that we perform well in our biggest youthfest participation of all time. Last time around we won in only one event and so it is highly imperative that we improve the performance of this college. Since this is a post-graduate institute, there are many previous rival contestants under one roof, many of whom will be most likely competing against their own Alma maters. It remains to be seen how they perform in that respect.

Since we have students from various fields and backgrounds, the youthfest has become a bonding catalyst where everyone, from whichever field they are, have a definite role to play in the triumph of the institute in this prestigious competition. It gladdens everyone’s hearts to see how one event can bring such camaraderie and healthy competition not only in one college but across all the educational institutes’ participation at this stage.

More on this story as it develops…

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Oh Uncle!

I recently celebrated by 21st birthday. I was happy, I was feeling responsible, I was feeling like a real man. But then the kid happened. And my happiness was ruined.

Alright, so I might have been ranting a bit over there but let me explain.

I just turned 21 this May and on the blog post I published that day, I ranted about a lot of things which I’m not going to repeat here (To save you the horror). Basically, I was feeling young & wild & free, along with a bit of responsibility on my shoulders, but not any older than that.

Now, a few months down the line, I've come back to another city to continue my education and staying as a paying guest with a wonderful family who treat me quite well, considering my disgusting, out-of-sync lifestyle and blatant disregard for hours that are meant for sleeping. This place is a flat system with four buildings and as expected, accommodates a multitude of kids (who I feel, all go to the same school...). These kids usually play around in the evenings around the block and keep hitting cars and bikes like drunken Gujaratis in Diu.

I’m not usually in the vicinity at these times but I managed to befriend a few while helping them with their oversized bicycles one day. So the day before yesterday, as I was walking back home, a toddler of about 7 or 8 came up to me and asked absolutely innocently, “Uncle, why didn't you come for my birthday party?”

I looked at the little guy funnily for a whole minute and then chuckled in amusement at my own befuddlement. I had had a whole host of feelings in that one long minute. I had been shocked, then horrified, then bewildered, then intrigued and finally… amused. Of course, the kid was eight, what did I expect. Alright, maybe I expected a bhaiya (elder brother), but not UNCLE!

I didn't know what to say to that. In all the plethora of emotions I was running through, I actually forgot to answer his original question. I went, “Wwwhat? Huh?”

So he kindly repeated his query for me, “Uncle, why didn't you come for my birthday party?”

I replied, “I’m so sorry, I was very busy.” But in my head, I was going, NOoooooooooo! Not Uncle!

Satisfied with my answer, he turned and went back to his mates as I walked in a daze to the elevator and pressed 5.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Haiku #5 – Despair

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Far off lights I see,
But just darkness here prevails;
Too close for comfort.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Youthfest Chronicles #1 – The Notice

It’s that time of the year again when a multitude of college from all over the country get together to participate in what is possibly the biggest student competition in the country – The Youthfest. And this is also my excuse for not being regular to post on the blog recently.

The Youthfest is a series of competitive events much like the Olympics, but on a national and student level. Colleges from a majority of Universities send in their entries to participate in events based on art, theatre, literature, dance and music.

To participate at the national level stage though, the participants get screened about three times at different intermediate levels. Here are the levels:

Inter-College level

Inter-Zonal level

Zonal level

National level.

The first level events are hosted by a college in a city, the second level in another college wherefrom the university selects their team. The third level is hosted by a university in a university from any of the four zones of the country and the fourth level is hosted by any one of the eminent universities of the nation where the best competitors from each zone gear up for national glory.

My college received an invitation to this year’s Youthfest a week back, but the anticipation for the same was high long before that. The preparations in many colleges begin in July, though the first level competitions begin only in September. This is not only to gain the upper-hand over local competition but also a matter of pride for those institutes who advocate the all-round development of their students.

Rehearsals and practices have begun in almost all disciplines and we hope that this we can do well for our new institute. Last year this college won Gold in only one event, but this time, with the entrants in many fields, we are sure of defending our previous title as well as achieving even more of the same.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Mystery of the Disappearing Blogger

The following story is my first attempt at fiction. I submitted it to the Coffee Beans Competition and won. My very first Story-writing Award! Here is the story for your kind perusal!

The Mystery of the Disappearing Blogger
By Brendan-Anton R. Dabhi

I had been summoned to the police station at two on Monday morning. Two cops came over and hauled my ass to the waiting jeep. I tried asking them what the problem was but they just cryptically answered me saying that their senior officer wanted to have a little chat with me.

They sat me down in one of the offices and brought me a glass of water to clear my head. I gulped it down. “Can I get some more?” I asked. 

“In a moment, um… Bendaam.” he said, stuttering, trying to pronounce my name with a kind of swagger that was supposed to impress me but which rather gained him a sigh and a withering look. I didn't care to correct him at two in the morning. I’m not exactly a morning person.

“What am I here for, sir?” I asked.

“A woman has gone missing in Mumbai and you were the last person to contact her before she went off the radar.”

I was immediately apprehensive and the first thought was for my cousin who I’d messaged on Whatsapp just two days prior to this interrogation. I, however, kept my thoughts to myself. “Well, who is it?” I ventured, dreading the very thought of someone I knew, being lost.

Officer Pundit, the officer interrogating me, said, “Do you know a lady by the name of Namrota Mazumdar?”

I was shocked! Namrota? Missing? How was that possible? I had sent her a mail just… And then I realized that I had sent her a mail over the weekend and had got no reply.

“Oye? Boy?” officer Pundit snapped his fingers in my face as I escaped my reverie. “Yes, yes I know her. What happened?” I asked; the nervousness clearly evident in my shaky voice.

Completely ignoring my question, he asked, “When did you last contact her?”

“Umm… I don’t know, may be yesterday or the day before that.”

“I need a better answer than maybe, kid.” He growled, evidently not very happy to be jogging my memory so early in the morning. “Yesterday or the day before that? Come on, answer me.” He demanded.

I took a guess and told him that it was the day before that I had sent Namrota a mail regarding a blogging competition. He looked at the paper in his hand and nodded approvingly. He then asked me if I had noticed any change in her writing style or if she seemed stressed the last time she’d contacted me. I replied in the negative, but the fact was that I really didn’t know. Our mails to each other were just really short one-liners.

He seemed to relax visibly. He leaned back in his chair, arranged his papers, put them back in the folder and got up. I got up too. He looked at me and gave me a smile. I was bewildered. Where was the rock-hard piece of stone that was questioning me? Why is he smiling? Is this interrogation over? All these questions were running through my still sleep-addled brain at the sudden change in expression of Officer Pundit.

“Come on” he urged, putting out one hand towards me and pointing at the door with the other. “Let’s sit in my office” as he waited outside the holding cell till I exited it too and then closed it behind me.

We had to cross the main doorway of the police station to reach his office and I noticed a number of policemen lounging about, poring over files and talking to people. My eyes also managed to wander over to the big wall clock above the doorway which proclaimed that it was just a quarter to three in the morning. How was that possible? I thought to myself. The interrogation felt like it had continued for over an hour or two.

When we reached his cabin, we asked me to sit in one of the chairs facing his desk as he took a seat behind it and regarded me in quiet contemplation for a while, making me even more uncomfortable and nervous than I actually was. He then gave another of his beatific smiles and said, “Don’t worry, Brendaam. It’s over. Now you can relax. No need to be scared. You’ve been cleared.”

“What?” I asked, in a voice that came out about a pitch higher than I’d anticipated. “I was a suspect? You thought I had something to do with Namrota’s disappearance?”

“Well, yes. We have to regard everyone as a suspect until proven otherwise. Don’t you watch CID?” he asked, chuckling at his own little joke. “But now it’s OK, I know you’re not involved in any way.”

At that moment, a constable came in carrying a file. He showed it to his superior who approved of whatever he saw and then sent him off. As he was leaving, Officer Pundit shouted after him, “Order two cups of tea, Balwant.”
“Yes, OK sir.” He shouted back, already halfway across the building.

“Now Brendan”, he said, “I need you to tell me what you know about this lady and what do you think happened to her.”

My elation over him pronouncing my name right was dampened by my apprehension over Namrota’s disappearance.  “I don’t know sir. But we are fellow bloggers. I follow her blog regularly and I've noticed something strange there.”

“Do go on”, he urged, placing before me a cup of steaming hot tea that had just been brought in by the Kitliwala.

“Well, her last post was an advertisement about some product or another. It seemed very unlike Namrota. I don’t think she had ever done anything like that before; using her blog to advertise something. I don’t remember what it was exactly but I think I know why I remember it; it was because the post had a kind of forced quality. It was as if she had been forced to write that particular post.”

“Uh huh? You think so?” he looked perplexed.

“Yeah, it was as if she was coerced into writing that post. Do you think she might have been blackmailed or be kidnapped by those people, sir?” I argued feebly.

“It is possible, we cannot rule out any possibilities…” he trailed off, looking into the distance and sipping his tea. The silence of those few minutes was so intense that I could hear the gears in his head turn and creak as he sought to make sense of the information I’d just piled onto him. “Very well, we’ll keep that in mind. Thank you.” He stood up and shook my hand. I took that as a cue that I was being dismissed. “Balwant will drop you home, alright?” he asked.

“Yes sir, thank you. Could you please inform me when you do find her?” I asked hopefully.

“Sure boy”, he replied absently as he picked up his phone to make a call.

I was driven to my apartment by the constable and as I sat down at the dining table, the shock hit me. I suddenly realized the enormity of what had happened. One of my blogger friends was missing, in another city, possibly without a trace. I was stunned, unable to move. When I finally came out of this trance, I groped at my box of cigarettes and struggled to light one with my shuddering hands.

I know not how I lived through those four days in the constant fear of my phone - the fear of bad news.

However, on the fifth day, just as I was about to leave for office, my phone rang. It was Officer Pundit and he informed me that my hunch was right. Namrota had indeed been kidnapped by the company whose advertisement had appeared on her blog. She was being held against her wish by those people because they wanted her to keep writing for them. Both the accused, the owners of the company had been apprehended and were being held in police custody. I thanked the officer for the good news and breathed a sigh of relief. Namrota was safe.

I reached office and got online only to see that I had a mail by no other than my lost-and-found friend. It was a letter of thanks and heartfelt gratitude for my help in solving the case. She said that she hadn't been mistreated and that she was unhurt. I was very glad to hear that.

Later that month, I heard on the news that the two guys responsible for her disappearance had been declared unfit to stand trial because of their mental instability. They had been admitted into an asylum for the criminally insane.

Later that day, I sent Namrota a one-line E-mail that went:

“Wow! What a Week!”

Note: This story is a work of fiction and any/all characters bearing resemblance to real people are mere coincidences.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Light after Dark

It’s one of the best Sundays this year is going to have for me, or so I think. I can hardly believe my good fortune. I was not surprised that I didn't make it into the winner’s list at the IndiBlogger awards because I’m an infant blogger as yet but imagine my absolute delight when I realized that in lieu, I had won two other awards to make up for the earlier disappointment.

The first award of the two that I was nominated for was by Niranjan. He nominated me for the Awesome Blog Content Award.

ABC Award by Niranjan

The second award was presented to me by Namrota. She selected my first fiction story writing attempt as one of the three best that had entered her Coffee Beans Competition.

Coffee Beans Competition Award by Namrota

I’m very thankful to my two fellow-bloggers who thought I deserve these prizes. These accolades hold much importance, especially for a new blogger like myself; for only when appreciated as such, does one realize that readers like your work and you try to perform even better and in fact try even harder not to disappoint those who have come to expect something from you.

I shall strive, to the best of my ability, to serve my readers.

Yours truly,

Brendan-Anton R. Dabhi.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A State of Mind

I’m sure a lot of people reading this post will have heard this phrase on the news in context of the poor, so eloquently spoken by our very own Rahulbaba. He said that poverty was a state of mind and that it had no relation to materialistic wealth, whatsoever. While many people, mainly the opposition parties, went up in arms about the Gandhi scion making fun of the poor, it got me thinking about the rigidity that prevails in each of our minds. The set patterns and the type of thinking that we are used to, the mould we are set in and the fact that we absolutely refuse to think outside of the same.

Our set notions of our society, our country, our traditions and our systems refuse to change. It is as if we are stuck in a rut. We allow ourselves to believe that things cannot change. We let ourselves be fooled into thinking that things are better the way they are and they can only get worse if we attempt to meddle in these powers that are (apparently) beyond our control.

Well, I really think the problem is that we are afraid of change.

We think that we are in a good place; we want to delude ourselves into thinking that it’s all good and that things should keep running as they have been, for decades and perhaps centuries. Well, there must be a reason why nobody changed them before, right? But nobody ever questions the past. Or maybe they do, and they do not like the answer, so they bury it right where they found it.

A very intriguing line spoken by one of my professor’s comes to mind, “A revolution comes, but on an empty stomach.”

I think this holds quite true. We have this ‘chalta hai’ attitude that has come close to destroying our country, this ‘let go’ attitude that has even brought us to the brink of war… and yet we do nothing. We do nothing, not because we can’t but because we still have reason not to. But the day our false mirrors of excuses collapse, we will realize that we should have checked our mindsets long back.

That we can do something – Today!