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.