Monday, 31 March 2014

Sleep: A Luxury

It’s been a while that I've written on the blog. That’s the problem when work intercedes to interrupt your dialogue with your blog and your readers. The last couple of days have been hectic to say the least. It would be an understatement to say that I was swamped with assignments left, right and centre. However, now that I’m back (for the moment), let’s see what we can do about it.

The assignments I mentioned above, well, they haven’t been affording me any sleep lately. Earlier, I used to sleep late as a choice, as part of my lifestyle. But lately, it’s become more of a compulsion and I can’t pretend to like it. Although a necessity, sleep has come to become more of a luxury to me and the same thing got me thinking of how I’m not the only one who can’t afford this luxury. There are many more; many more who either don’t have the means or those who have too much of them to get the blessed commodity of relaxed bliss. For example:


These people are those who get no sleep and no appreciation for that either. With a ridiculous grading system in place, these people work their backsides off day and night in the hope that they will manage to either get into another top institute or get a good pay out of their hard work. Others just hope to scrape through a curriculum which makes no sense to them whatsoever.

The Homeless

These are the people out on the streets. These are people who are considered the back-end of society and the trash of the cultured and civilized world. These people attempt to sleep under the light of the moon and myriad stars, exposed to the elements of nature. They hope that somebody, one day they might just find a place to rest their heads on and a covering to shield them from the snow and rain.


Mere children who have lost their parents due to any of the hundred reasons available. These kids try to find sleep in alleys and if they are a wee bit lucky, in foster homes and orphanages. But it is hard to imagine them getting any sleep with what they've been through. Memories haunt them. If they have none, the void haunts them. They don’t sleep at night, they cry.


Players, racers, riders and fliers; they must not get sleep either. In this cut throat world of competitive sports, it must be imperative to remain at the height of one’s performance at all costs. If not, then they immediately get replaced. There is no place for those who do not perform. I don’t imagine they get much sleep before a game, thinking about strategies and analyzing weaknesses, of others and their own.

Security Forces

People who serve their nations with their lives must hardly get any sleep at all. Danger, or the expectation of the same must constantly keep their minds on alert about the slightest sounds. By that calculation, they must never sleep, only rest.

Rich Folks

I often wonder how it would be to become so fantastically rich that I could even have a gold commode in my diamond encrusted bathroom. But that aside, I don’t imagine that these rich folks would also be getting much sleep. Tension must surely ruin their days and nights. Robbery, murder and bankruptcy must surely be working their way into their million dollar heads. Poor rich people.

And so, it is quite apparent that even though one might casually talk about sleep, it is a precious commodity that can only be had by a few lucky people. Others just have to make do with pretense of the same. Oh blessed sleep, when will you knock upon my door?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Replacement of the Journalist

Journalists are those who have taken up the challenge to inform the general public of what is happening around them. They swear to do so with all the morality and with every ounce of ethical matter they posses.

Now, I know that it doesn't always turn out this way and some journalists tend to go off the path they started out on, however, this is the code of the journalist and it has remained as such; preserved within those few who have upheld the torch of truth in the bog of deceit that surrounds us.

I, like any other aspiring journalist, would like to believe that there is still something to be salvaged from the apparent wreck of journalism. Although my realistic side does tend to give me a slap now and again about my childish folly, I want to believe that every journalist is human first and a pawn of society second.

This is because the journalist has something that is called a conscience. An inherent feeling of what is right and wrong. And even though they cannot afford the luxury of subjectivity in their line of work, they still have the sacred duty of protecting the society in their role as gatekeepers of any and all information that is received by the mass.

Image Courtesy: Google Images/The Guardian.

I recently read somewhere that a few media houses had begun using robots, yes, robots to automatically update news from sources. These ‘technological marvels’ auto-update news on the basis of pre-set priorities from a given clutter of information.

How, I ask?

How can a machine tell what information is to be disseminated and what is not?

How can a machine distinguish between right and wrong?

How can a machine judge situation based on real-time scenarios the way humans do?

I believe they cannot. Period.

They say that these robots are just supplementary machines to help the human journalist spread information faster. At present they only update harmless news which requires no analysis. Well, what next? The next thing you know, computers will be compiling full page reports on happenings. Will the human element be taken out of the equation entirely? I probably think so.

Maybe I’m being paranoid and maybe I’m just worried that I may not get a job when I finish communication school, but is this justified? Computers dishing out analysis that require the human mind and conscience to do the job?

I think not.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Religion as a Brand

It was at a recent summit which I attended that I had a speaker mentioning that religion was rather like a ‘brand’ of the company God Ltd. He elaborated a little, not to inform or influence or hurt the public’s sentiments in any way, but to get us thinking about the same.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

I admit, I for one was stumped when he first mentioned this metaphorical example but when I pondered over the subject, I did indeed realize that his words might have been true in a way. The various religions indeed are all different paths to the Almighty, the power in the heavens, Bhagwaan, Allah, the All Father, the Everlasting Flame and so on and so forth. That power may have different names but I like to believe that everything humankind worships is one single entity morphed into different forms by human imagination through time and culture.

Hence, by that logic of mine, different religions do seem to be the brands of a single corporation operating at different places according to one’s folklore and collective histories.

As I gave more thought to this theory, the more intrigued I got, even more so when I actually managed to pinpoint some things that had been said at the summit. There are parts of brands that are irrevocably linked with it, and the same seemed to be the pattern with religions. Here are some of them:


Each religion seems to have its own logo. If the religion does not have a definitive one, individual deities certainly seem to do. In case of a monotheistic religion, the one deity also seems to be represented by a certain symbol that can, in my view, be considered a logo.


Each religion has its set of jingles if not one. These jingles may vary over time and language and across cultures if the religion is widespread, however, they do exist. They are also known as hymns and bhajans. It sometimes happen that these jingles may closely resemble those from other religions but that only seems to happen if two or more religions are interspersed within a common population.

Colour Schemes:

Each religion also does seem to have its own colour scheme, the colour worn by those who serve the deity. Of course, these are also bound to variation over time, space and cultural orientation. But still, a common colour scheme is usually apparent in organized religions, may they be large or small. It would be partial to name the colours of only a few religions, so abstaining would be the best option.

Brand Ambassadors:

Almost all religions have brand ambassadors in the form of prophets; the messenger who interprets the works of their deity and pushes everyone along to promote their religion as one does a brand. They have usually traveled places, helped people and persuaded people to follow their brand of God in the past, that’s where I draw my reference from.

Hence, I’ve come to accept the fact that religions are in fact different brands enticing people to choose their particular road to eternal salvation. That does not of course mean that any brand is better than the others. This post has not been written to hurt the religious sentiments of people of any religion. It’s also not to offend the Lord, obviously. It is just a harmless observation on situations presented in and around us. This post is a work of fiction and is supposed to be treated in the humorous way in which it was written.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Forced Colours

The pan-Indian festival of Holi is upon us. On this day, people play with colours, water and whatever colouring agents they can lay their hands on. Others celebrate it by beating their husbands with sticks. But usually, it is done with colours.

People in my part of India and especially my city are mad for Dhuleti. Actually Holi is the serious festival and Dhuleti is the fun one, so most of the people in my age group are more interested in the day after Holi. People stock up on colours days and weeks before the event. It is the day when everything is forgotten. Religions, caste, creed, age and sex go out of the window for this festival caters to one and all. No grudges are held, no limits are drawn, and it is a complete free-for-all. Even people who don’t know each other throw colours on each other and on passersby going down the road.

Image Courtesy: Google Images/Thomas Hawk.
But this joviality is also a problem. Sometimes it just goes overboard. People tend to do things they would never do normally. Things they would even abhor and not be seen doing in other circumstances. But the colour is their mask, their protection from the roving eyes of the world. They can do anything and everything; it is the day when Dr. Jekyll willingly sets Mr. Hyde free to do as he likes.

But not everyone wants to play with colours. Some have reasons and some don’t, but they know that they don’t want to play. And that is the problem. People just won’t accept the fact that someone doesn't like to or want to play with colours. It is a given that everyone has to compulsorily do so. Along with all the joviality and fun, people also seem to lose their common sense and sensibilities on that day. They don’t tend to think of the reasons why people might not want to join in the loads of fun that their having.

It never seems to occur to them that there may be a myriad of problems, physical, psychological and societal, that may prevent people from having themselves coloured like the canvas of a four year old.

Now, it may seem from above that I don’t like colours. Wrong! I love colours and till I finished school, this used to be my favourite festival, but then something painful happened in the festive week that scarred me. I can no longer celebrate this festival without horrible memories of that incident giving me nightmares. Just like me, I’m sure there will be others suffering a similar fate. People with reasons they cannot tell anyone, others who cannot express. People like us just tend to say “NO” and expect people to respect that decision. It seldom turns out that way.

I’m writing this post in the hope that all those who read it will be compassionate to those who do not or cannot play Holi. I do this in the hope that on that day, people enjoy, but don’t force people to enjoy. And I hope and pray that everyone has a safe Dhuleti.

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Rise of the Machines

[People say that the answer to whether or not we are alone in the universe is the scariest, I beg to differ. I think that the answer to another question is much more frightening. One that is much more probable; not only probable but possible.

Will robots one day rise up against humankind?

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Now it may be that a number of sci-fi movies of such plots might have induced this paranoia, but assume for a moment that humans do one day decide to build computers that can think for themselves, rationally and without the buffer of morals.

Movies like the Terminator series, I, Robot, War of the Worlds and The Matrix all give reasons that are pretty valid to my paranoia struck brain, for an inevitable attempt at global domination by robots.

Another scenario wherein Artificial Intelligence might deign to take over the reins of governance on this planet is a loophole within the three laws themselves.

The fact that robots are already being used in war is not a great solace however great its merits might be. They are learning from us, what we know, what we do.

Beware, for they are coming not for you, but for the generation to come.]

[This is my article for the Youth Connect magazine. You can read the entire article here: A Horrific Scenario: What If Robots Stand Up Against Humans One Day?]

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

On Retribution…

I've always believed what goes around, comes around. You do good and good will come back. You do bad, that will surely come back. You do nothing; you’re dead weight on this planet. However, thinking about retribution all of a sudden, I penned down the verses below. These things happen when I go into these sudden episodes of words flowing into my brain. Some people call it inspiration, some people a muse, I call it both.

So, here is my poem on the age-old phrase, ‘Karma is a bitch.’

Karma is a Bitch

Coming back to haunt your dreams,
Your every moment;
Image Courtesy: Google Images.
Karma is a bitch, they say.

Just because I can’t, she will.
She’s coming for you,
Karma is a bitch they say.

She has been lying in wait,
A stalker she is;
Karma is a bitch they say.

No matter how, when, where, why.
Image Courtesy: Google Images.
She will strike, I’m sure;
Karma is a bitch they say.

When you did me wrong, she saw,
She smiled and waited;
Karma is a bitch they say.

And now that you are exposed,
She sharpens her scythe;
Karma is a bitch they say.

You cower and weep and beg,
She still smiles and swings;
Karma is a bitch they say.
-          Brendan-Anton R. Dabhi

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Real and Wannabe Teacher…

There are good teachers and there are bad teachers. There are funny teachers and there are serious teachers. There are engaging teachers and there are simply boring ones. There are humble teachers and there are those who are those whose pride cannot be accommodated within the classroom.

It is this last category of teachers that have the most influence on the students’ capacity to learn in class. This is an opinion of a student and has not been verified by researchers or experts in the field of teaching psychology or whatever it is called. Even though it is so, a little credibility is affordable in this case since it comes from the experience of those who are guinea pigs to different methods of teaching.

I've been meaning to write on this for the past one week but work has kept me away from my blog. However, now that I've finally managed to get to it, allow me to expound on the type of teacher who is well received and one who is scorned at by his/her students.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

I have come to believe from my most recent experiences that it is all about attitudes here. If a teacher can manage to build a rapport with the students; forfeiting all egotistical problems, delusions of superiority and manage to gain the trust of the students not with politics but with good teaching, they tend to become almost some kind of idols in the hearts of the ones they have undertaken to impart education to.

As a post graduation student, I can safely say that I have seen more teachers in my life than have most Indians, and by that right I comment now that those who think themselves above those whom they have deigned to teach only manage to lose the long-instilled respect that students hold for their ‘Gurus’.

For example, if a ‘teacher’ keeps drilling the fact that he/she is better than the students (the fact they already know) the students kind of tend to lose interest altogether in the subject and instead choose to leave the classroom for better activities like drinking tea, watching a movie, playing a mobile game or just sleep with their eyes wide open (I’m glad to report that I've now mastered that art). There develops an undercurrent of discontent and some order of dissatisfaction with the person who is teaching. However smart or experienced that person may be, the moment he/she loses the student’s respect, they cease to be a teacher.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

In contrast, a person who engages with the students, allows them their little freedoms, makes them comfortable in class and tries to make them take an interest in the most boring of subjects with the help of humour, dialogue and practical understanding; in short one who puts in the effort to understand the audience and is willing to meet them halfway, gains the benefit of trust and a good ear. That person may, in my opinion, be called a teacher.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Remnants of a War

These days there has been a huge influx of news relating to the Second World War and its repercussions. Thinking about them and what they mean have drawn me to some interesting conclusions.

First was the racist news about some cartoonist in Germany drawing a derogatory caricature of Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook. Germany definitely needs to take care of what it does relating to the Jews.

Then there was the news relating to a memorial in Hungary which describes the Eagle of Nazi Germany attacking the Angel of Hungary. The memorial is surrounded in intrigue since this would be absolving Hungary from its war crimes of helping the Third Reich to send its Jews to concentration camps.

The third piece of news is about the recent winter storms revealing long lost bombs and mines from the WW II era on British beaches.

These are the remains of a war that changed the face of the world and set up a new world order in the matrix that we see today. One is social, one is emotional and one is physical.

The roots of racism, entrenched in German history possibly cannot be wiped out, most of all by the Jews. So when a German cartoonist, knowingly or unknowingly does something to offend the Jews, the scars of yore are bound to spilt wide open even after almost seven decades. Hence, the divide at the social level.

There was Hitler and then there were his allies. Hungary has been recorded in history books as being a willing participant in Germany’s crimes. The Jews in that country were deported to concentration camps with the active support and help of government officials. So, when the government builds a monument that absolves the state of all blame, it is bound to enrage the not only the Jews, but also the rest of the population who carry the guilt of the forbearers. This is hurt at the emotional level.

Imagine walking on the beach and seeing something shiny and pointy sticking out of the ground, only to find that it was a bomb or artillery shell from WW II. That would indeed be a shock but for the citizen of the UK living on the southern shores, this is a common occurrence. This has now even intensified because the recent storm has uncovered a lot of these and increased the danger to the people. These remnants are physical.

These remnants may turn up in many ways, as portrayed above, but turn up they certainly will, perhaps to remind us what man can and will do in the throes of power. Perhaps to remind us of the pain and suffering the whole world endured for the ambitions of one man. Perhaps to remind us that entire cities can disappear overnight. Perhaps to remind us that that we can be responsible for our own destruction.

Or maybe as an omen of things yet to come…