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!”