Monday, May 19, 2014

An open letter to the Prime Minister-Designate, India: Narendra Modi

Dear Sir,

First of all, congratulations for that thumping victory for your party which made May the 16th, 2014 etched in the History of India forever. Never in my 27 years of existence had I thought that I would ever witness something of this sort, given the dependency of the national parties over the regional parties in our country and owing to the fact that the electorate of India has given a chequered mandate in so many general elections in the past. But this was not the case this time, as the BJP gathered 282 seats on its own and the NDA under your leadership and constituting 29-odd parties gathered 336 seats out of the total 543. As far as I am concerned, I am a strong believer in the two-party system. In other democracies in the world, wherever there is a two-party system, it has proven efficient and resulted in a strong government as well as a strong opposition. But in India, this liberty of having so many parties only create nuisance. Although I agree that for the time being, it is a necessity here because we still have a daunting challenge of providing social equality and there are certain sections of our society who don't have proper representation among the national parties.

Now coming to the important thing. Sir, you are a Gujarati. And everyone knows that Gujarati and Gujarat means business. So, I am sure that you would have already started to work over who you want to be in your team, and who will be appropriate in which department. As we wait for you to take oath as the Prime Minister, and announce your cabinet, we expect some able minds in your core team. Minds, who are in complete sync with you, who are absolutely loyal towards you and who can understand what is best for the people of this country. We cannot afford another PM who doesn't know what his ministers are up to. We had enough of that in the last 10 years! Your past record is the testimony of what awaits us and I am happy with that.

There are few things over which we need immediate attention and action. The most important being the current foreign policy towards our neighboring countries. With your advent, there is a feeling of shock and awe among them, and we should make sure that they understand that it would be foolhardy to do any funny business from across the border, now that you are the boss. A tough exterior with a tinge of humanity is what is the need of the hour. They should be made to realize that the Nizam in India is changed now, and they should better behave accordingly. Zero-tolerance policy towards cross border terrorism should be enforced with immediate effect, and we should make it clear that until this nonsense stops, there cannot be any dialogue.

Regarding the issue of corruption and black money stored in foreign banks, we need action now. Many of your interviews and speeches were filled with assurances that once you are in power, you will take steps towards curbing corruption and bringing back the black money. Well, now nothing should be stopping you as you own more than 50% of the house! Change policy, change rules, do whatever it takes,  but do this and do this quickly.

The stock market has soared with your advent, and the Rupee has strengthened against the Dollar. That is a good sign. Everyone is expecting you to bring reforms in India's economic policy which sends a good and encouraging signal amongst the investor in and outside the country. With the largest working population in the world, we must ensure that strong measures are taken in order to tap this potential. I remember you once said that I want to see an India wherein the Americans are lining up for our Visa. Well, this is very much possible if we play to our potential.

Coming to my home state, Uttar Pradesh. Everyone is shocked. I am shocked, and I am sure you are surprised too. Who would have thought? You won 73 out of the 80 seats and the rest of the 7 seats going only to the family members of the opposition political parties. Such was the impact of your campaign, that the Uttar Pradesh which is infamous for choosing their candidates on the basis of caste, creed and religion unified for you and practically plummeted the opposition! You owe us now, Sir. You need to do something to improve the standard of living of the people in Uttar Pradesh. People are angry, they are hurt, and they want change. They want you to personally ensure that things change there. We need roads, electricity, jobs, security, social harmony, and someone to hear our plight. Two years ago, I wrote a similar letter to the then elected Chief Minister of UP, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav. I was hopeful that being a youngster himself, he will understand my pain. He will bring change to the way things are being done in UP. But he did nothing. On the contrary, whatever little we had was also taken away from us, rendering us helpless. You are bound by the oath you took at the banks of River Ganges in Varanasi, to bring change in our lives. Uttar Pradesh will never behave the same way it did in this general elections, if we are let down. Please don't let that happen. Not on your watch!

In the end, I would sincerely wish you all the best for your new role as the supreme leader of this beautiful country. I know that the people of Gujarat have made a big sacrifice by letting you go, but you have a bigger responsibility now. You have 1.25 Billion people to think about, even those who didn't vote for you. Thank you sir, for providing us hope. Make Atal Ji proud.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sachin - For the last time

For the past two months since Sir Sachin Tendulkar announced His retirement from all forms of Cricket, I wanted to write something which could sum up my feelings about this fateful decision of His. So much has already been shown/written/read that whatever I say/write actually doesn't matter the least. And I am no writer, so it is all the more difficult to pen down correct words to describe His greatness, not only on the field but off it, and also what He has meant to me for over the past 17 years that I have followed Cricket. But still, I am trying a make an effort in this direction as He had always believed in giving one's 100% in whatever one does, and it doesn't matter if he/she fails - the more important thing is that at the end of the day one should not have this regret that his/her effort was not up to the mark.

So let me clear this upfront - I didn't cry while He was giving His farewell speech just a few hours ago at the Wankhede Stadium. It was not my place, for who am I to cry at His departure? What have I done for Him that I should take credit of anything He said or did today? We all saw Anjali's eyes well up, and even Sara was about to cry, it was inevitable and rightly so. His family has sacrificed so much, and the thought that He is finally done and dusted with Cricket will obviously be overwhelming.

Then there is Vinod Kambli - an old 'friend' and a 'Cricket expert' who never missed a chance to spew venom against Him in the past few years, just to get some footage on his stupid TV news show. He was 'seen' crying on that show today; I don't know why? Either they were just crocodile's tears or just the thought that now as Sachin is retiring, he will not be getting similar air time after this whole retirement carnival gets a rest.

Ram had Lakshman to accompany him to the forest during their exile. His younger brother, his aide and shadow. Well, Sachin had Ajit, His older brother, His friend, philosopher and guide. Ajit never married, so that he can give his full attention to his younger brother's career. It was because He had Ajit is why we have Him today. Kambli also had talent, but he didn't have someone like Ajit. So he faded into oblivion, and today we all just know him to be a clown on a terrible TV news show. That is the power of family, and family values. So, if Ajit wants to cry today, he deserves to do that.

The whole point I am trying to make here is, that success has many fathers and failure is an orphan. Today, Sachin is synonymous to success, so everyone wants a piece of Him. I mean, Siddhu cannot just stop reminding us about how, back in 1994 in New Zealand, he had a stiff neck and thus Sachin got promoted to the opener's position and there we found the best ODI batsman the world has ever seen. What the hell man! What the hell is wrong with you? Not many people know that you were in a night club the night before the match and got your neck bruised in a scuffle. And it was Sachin who came to the team's rescue and took additional responsibility as an opener. Thereafter, His talent and hard work made Him the best in business, not your stupid break!

We Indians are very emotional people. We get moved very easily. I am not saying it is a bad thing, as I too am very emotional. I only have a problem with emotions which are not genuine. God knows I cried when we lost the 1996 World Cup Semi Final to Sri Lanka, or when we lost the 1999 Chennai Test match against Pakistan, or the 2003 World Cup Final defeat against Australia, or 2009 Hyderabad defeat against Australia when Sir Jadeja was not able to make 18 runs off 3 overs after He made 175 out of the required 351! I can recall countless instances of sorrow as well as happiness. Who can forget the desert-storm innings of 143 at Sharjah and again the swashbuckling 134 two days after? Or 241* without a single cover drive in the whole innings lasting some 10 hours. Or 200* when He broke the most coveted ODI barrier. But then I cannot just forget the headline 'ENDULKAR?' from The Times of India in 2004. Or Sanjay Manjrekar's jab after jab in 2007. Or Kapil Dev's rants since the 2011 World Cup win.

People, I am no expert, but I am very clear over one thing. If I support something/someone, I go with that thing/person till the end. It is not like an 'add salt to taste' approach with me which is with most of the Indians. Please try to understand what I am trying to explain here. Not taking away anything from the fans, I just want to highlight that it was us who have been the most cruel to Him over the past many years. We were cruel to Him when He was injured, but He said nothing. We constantly questioned His integrity on our 'prestigious' primetime TV shows, but He responded with His bat. We, practically, were sucking His blood during the period from 99th to 100th century, but He didn't show that on His face. The only time something was visible was a sigh of relief after that 100th century. It was neither joy, nor happiness, but relief - because we couldn't just let go!

I don't know what will be the readers' reaction to this post, but that is how I feel. I bid Him farewell, and hope that He finds some way to remain attached to Cricket, because even I know, He just cannot live without it.

#ThankYouSachin #BharatRatna #TakeABowMaster #GodOfCricket

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Am I against the USA?

It has been brought to my notice recently that every time when I post anything related to the USA, I become overly hurtful, dramatic and biased; and apparently it seems that the post is being written in a bad taste. Well, I just want to clarify that I believe that the USA is a great place to live and work in and Indians who are talented and fortunate enough to make their way all the way to America are definitely in a better place than India. Not even in a hundred years from now, India can catch up to what the USA has achieved today - not because we don't have the resources, or the capability to do so, but because we are still not ready to change ourselves. Even if someone tries to do something different around here in the positive direction, we have forces working continuously towards dragging us behind even farther from where we actually started. The way things are, we can never provide a level playing field to our next generation and this is the biggest reason why the USA is better than any other country  in the world, because they give their kids an equal opportunity to thrive and succeed, and any kid can dream of becoming the President of the most powerful country in the world.

So, I begin with stating that I have nothing against that nation. My anger and frustration is towards those who undermine the importance of other people, places, races, communities and incidents. A person dies in America due to a terror attack, and suddenly everyone is reporting it, talking about it, condemning it, lighting candles in his memory, and doing what not. But no one gives a shit when scores of people die all around the world by the same bullet, bomb or tank. No one cares - not even their own people, media or government; so how can we expect Americans to care about that?
They made an African American man their President, but when an Indian American girl wins a stupid beauty pageant, she gets racially abused on the internet. And if I raise my voice against this nonsense, I am wrong?
They have the power to invade anyone around the world for no apparent reason, and I, who chooses not to be the part of their mission, am wrong?
Their companies flood the markets world over, with depleted and dangerous products which have been banned in their own country or tough guidelines have been set for their sale and marketing, but they don't care squat about people using those products anywhere else. All they care about is how to generate revenues, and I am wrong?
India has thousands of flaws of its own, and I am a vehement critic of that, but the USA is not perfect either. And we should be the ones to make sure that the truth comes out. But we choose to be politically correct. Well, I am different and am always ready to show them the mirror.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Charade

Rahul Gandhi’s opposition to the ‘tainted’ ordinance is nothing but a charade. When the President of India himself questioned the credibility of the ordinance and sought for a clarification, this was the only option left for Gandhi to save some face. This was nothing but a desperate act of damage control (which happened because of the questions raised by the President), by sacrificing whatever little respect our dear PM had left of. I think Gandhi got this idea from some old Hindi movie wherein the hero is not really a hero until he comes from behind and sweeps the stage by doing something unexpected, thereby getting applause from the audience and the tag of ‘Angry Young Man’ from the critics. But believe me this is not going to happen in this case.
 
As for our PM, he must be uttering, “Et tu, Brute?”

Friday, September 13, 2013

मोदी बनाम आडवाणी - कौन जीतेगा?

आज भाजपा के प्रधानमंत्री पद के उम्मीदवार के तौर पर नरेंद्र मोदी के नाम की घोषणा होने की संभावना है। इस खबर से आडवाणी और उनके कुछ समर्थक बड़े व्याकुल हैं। ८५ पार आडवाणी, पार्टी हित और देश हित से आगे अपना हित साधने की कोशिश कर तो रहे हैं, पर उन्हें ये समझ लेना चाहिए कि उन्होंने ये हक उसी दिन खो दिया था, जिस दिन वे पाकिस्तान जाकर जिन्नाह की तारीफ़ों के पुल बाँध कर आए थे। उनकी भलाई इसी में है कि अब वे राजयोग की उम्मीद छोड़ दें, और उम्मीद करें कि २०१७ के राष्ट्रपति चुनाव (अगर तब तक वे जीवित रहे तो) के समय उनके नाम पर आम सहमति बन जाए। और जहां तक रही सुषमा स्वराज की बात, उन्हें आडवाणी की अंध भक्ति त्याग अब दिल्ली विधानसभा चुनावों की तैयारी में मन लगाना चाहिए।

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Teacher's Day


After all these years, I have realized one thing about teachers. In order for the student to be a better person in life, a teacher should be strict with him/her. This modern day nonsense of ignoring their mistakes in the name of American style of schooling is nothing but BS. Tough Love is what is required. The motto of my alma mater Hartmann College, Bareilly is 'He who loves knowledge, loves discipline', which, in the long run, is possible only if the student understands that if he/she knowingly does anything wrong, it will only make his/her teachers' head held low in shame. An element of respect should be there, and fear of letting your teachers down is required for all of us to do the right thing, all the time. And then, once you have achieved something in life, go back to them, greet them and seek their blessings, because they were the ones who actually felt bad for themselves when they scolded you for your misdoings, as they thought that they had failed as a teacher.

P.S: Nowhere here, I support corporal punishment. That is the worst thing which could happen to a child’s self-esteem.

P.P.S: Happy Teachers’ Day!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dark Is Beautiful - A Nandita Das initiative


When I was a kid, no girl in my class wanted to sit beside me, or talk to me, or share their things with me. I was confused why in the world this happens to me. Slowly I realized that their behaviour towards boys with fair complexion was entirely different. The girls found those boys cute and behaved normally with them. This made me feel sad for myself and it created a feeling of insecurity in my mind about the colour of my skin. I seldom complained about this discrimination to my parents and taunted them that because they were dark skinned, I had to face the wrath of this world.

Later on when I was sensible enough, I decided that one day I will be someone where this divide will not matter, and then I will show to these people that skin colour is not important, and had they spared a minute to explore the inner me, probably I would have proved to be a better friend than those 'cute' boys. But to my utter disbelief, I still find some advertisements aired on TV that in order to bag a good job, or a beautiful girl friend, one should  be fair skinned. And in order to become fair, you should use this specific fairness cream. This disgusts me! So basically what they are trying to imply is that your skill, talent and confidence doesn't matter a bit when it comes to corporate world. All they want is 'cute' people working for their company. God damn this senseless mentality. I am proud of the colour of my skin and like being 'unfair'. At least I am not pretending to be someone who I am not. Thanks, Nandita Das for this campaign, now I love you even more. #darkisbeautiful

Friday, March 23, 2012

Life and Death - An ode to the Shahadat Diwas

I always believed there were two kinds of men in this world – men who go to their deaths screaming, and men who go to their deaths in silence. And then, I met the third kind. – Excerpt from the film Rang De Basanti (2006).

I am sure every hot blooded Indian who watched this film was moved by it. The feeling of patriotism got rejuvenated inside everyone. Even I felt the same way. But today, I don’t want to discuss that. Because that illusion of false patriotism soon withers off in most of us as soon as 15th August or 26th January is over, so there is no point talking about something which comes and goes so often.

I want to talk about fear of death. Everyone has it. I too have it. But, it is said that the three men who died on 23rd March, 1931 didn’t have that fear. It is believed that the pride in dying for the cause of Indian independence was so humungous that it wiped away the fear of death from the minds of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru. They, among others had a single point agenda throughout their life – Freedom of India from the shackles of British Raj, which made them who they were – fearless youth who could do anything to achieve what they wanted.

I wish I could think like they did – not in the exact sense though, as we live in different times. I want to live a life which is free from any kind of inhibitions caused by fear of death. We all know that eventually everyone has to die. But what we often forget is that we have a sufficient amount of living to do before the moment of death arrives. We live under a constant threat of the unknown, and never let us unleash in the way we always wanted to. If somehow that sense of fear is suppressed, I believe living would be a whole different experience altogether.

Fear is a great driving force which could lead people to do stuff contrary to their will. I mean, insurance companies are booming these days just because they could tap this inherent human tendency. The more fear they can inflict upon their customers, the better it is for their business. But ever gave a thought about one small thing – is life so dull that it requires the fear of death to live?

I think I myself am confused about what I want to convey. Nevertheless, the following she’r is written by a fellow comrade of those three fearless men.

तुझ को ज़िंदगी बाद--फ़ना मिलेगी अश्फ़ाक, तेरा मरना तेरे जीने की बदौलत होगा... - अश्फ़ाकुल्लाह खान

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A letter to the CM-elect, Uttar Pradesh

Dear Mr. Yadav (Junior),

I would like to congratulate you for securing a clear majority in the recently concluded Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh and on the verge of becoming the youngest Chief Minister of the state. I am sure, not even you would have thought that your party will secure 224 out of 403 seats. Nevertheless, your hard work and the social engineering which you undertook more than three years ago finally paid off well. It was an empathic win indeed.

But now back to business. I want to highlight my concern and seek your attention towards the needs and wants of the people of UP. I, a software engineer working 2000 kilometers away from my hometown, feel that there is a need to overhaul the existing system which was rampant during the tenure of your predecessor and even before that when your father Mr. Yadav (Senior) was the CM. I did my engineering in order to serve my people, and to have a better lifestyle for myself. But after four years, when I looked towards my options I found that if I wanted a job which was synonymous with my qualification, I would have to leave my hometown and would have to come to a place where nothing suits me right. I would not be able to eat what I am used to, I would not be able to celebrate my festivals which I had been celebrating since childhood, and moreover I would have to listen to the rants and taunts of the native people of that place, and would be the subject of their whimsical attitude towards me. Here I would like to mention that perhaps it’s not their fault altogether. If I were at their place, perhaps I would have done the same thing because then my subject of whimsical attitude would have been ‘odd man out’.

I am neither complaining about them, nor I am trying to gain sympathy for my miseries. This was what I chose for myself because it was the best option available in front of me. Had there been a job in my state, which suited my academic qualification, I would never have chosen to move out of my comfort zone, even if that paid me lesser than what I am getting right now (not that I am getting millions, anyway). I want you to understand that you are about to become the Chief Minister of that state which boasts of its highest population in the country. It has ample resources to fulfill its needs, but the problem lies in the fact that those resources are not being used properly to fulfill the need of all. I can assure you that if you strive towards making UP a better place for young educated budding professionals like myself, no one would be tempted to leave his/her state in order to seek jobs in other states.

My dear Bhaiyya Ji, no one wants to live away from their families and friends. We all want to be there, to help each other out in times of need, to celebrate festivals in which we believe in, to enjoy the delicacies which we like since childhood. But we can’t. Because people like you, who have the power to change things and make UP a better place, don’t do anything. People like you just want to enjoy your tenure doing nothing, and time and again just want to gain political advantage so that you can extend your tenure.

But now, the face of UP politics has changed, since you are the CM-elect and not your father. People like me are hopeful that people like you would do something different in order to make life easier for people like me. I am not a very optimistic person and I seriously don’t expect that you would somehow just wave a magic wand and the face of the state would be changed in one night. That doesn’t happen. Even your father’s comrade from past took five years to change few things in the neighboring Bihar. What I expect is for you to try and work towards development. I can guarantee that if you are willing to move one foot in the positive direction, there will be a million other feet which will help you reach there. Think about it!


Yours,

A homesick Software Engineer

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Adieu...

Hi...

I guess I should officially declare this now. I'll not be blogging any more. It's been a nice long journey which came to a halt as soon as I joined Infosys in January this year. I came back home but I guess I have lost touch now. So now I think I should say it a good bye. I'll not be writing any more. Perhaps this is one of many costs of doing that work one does not like.