Tuesday, October 17, 2006

ONE !

Imagination is a beautiful gift. And since imagining comes free of cost, I’m imagining this …. Imagine if India and Pakistan were one.

The varied cultures, the rich heritage, the beauty & uniqueness of both nations, would have been amalgamated. I’m assuming that since the two countries and the predominant religions would be under a single command, people would live in peaceful accord, thus giving no room for political gimmicks to appease a certain community. There would be no incitement, no hatred, no “minority”. All would be equal. India is a beautiful country, and a lifetime may not suffice to imbibe all of it. I’m sure Pakistan is a wonderful country too. The people are courteous and the women, inspiringly beautiful. A few wayward elements do not make the entire nation, and although both nations have their own terrorism & internal political problems, that is NOT what these nations are. They have a great many common virtues. They have great many common fallacies. They have a lot to learn from each other, and they have a lot to teach. Tolerance and love is common in both, and a unification would probably do a world of good.

The Cricket team would be a wonder too. I can be forgiven for bringing mundane issues here, but the ongoing Cricket series inspires me on this. Imagine a team with Rahul Dravid, Inzamam ul Haq, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohd. Yusuf, Harbhajan Singh, M.S. Dhoni … What a formidable team that would be! And what a pleasure to watch!!

Life is also like Cricket. You win some, you lose some. You learn to be sportive, and you learn humility, the oh-so-precious virtue. You learn that a few hard knocks can’t bring you down, because there will be another challenge, another tomorrow. And you learn how to survive handsomely against all odds.

But would such a massive nation be governable? Would the internal peace, system and infrastructure break down? That is a question which eagerly awaits its own answer. But above all, the million dollar question is, can this imagination ever materialize? Questions unanswered, and hope remains…

Monday, October 16, 2006

SHAADI KARWA DO...


What is with our elders & their fascination of getting us married? As if the sole purpose of their existence is the see us walk to the altar / tie the knot / exchange vows! I do realize that this is a matter of genuine joy to them, but do they have to have it at the expense of the person involved? If they want to look out for a girl or a guy for you, they are most welcome to go ahead with it, but lease stop eating our heads over it. There is something called doing things discreetly. The “In your face” approach is vulgar and intrusive. Imagine everywhere you go, people gushing, “Arre ! Kitna bada ho gaya hai. Ab to aapko iska shaadi kara dena chaahiye.” As if we have nothing better to do in life !

It is said that the best way to make them shut up is to tell them at someone’s funeral – “ You’re next.” If only it were so easy. I try putting them off by telling them I’m not marrying for another 15 years ( not true but…), but that only opens another Pandora’s box of animated discussions.

Oh, our elders !!!

A NEW LAW BUT...


As on 10th October 2006, another law has been added to the Indian Constitution. A law against Child Labour. A long awaited and a welcome legislation. The irony cannot be more obvious. The irony being, that how can our policy makers take so much time to come up with these important decisions and still fail to have foresight?

I am bad at statistics, so I cannot state what percent of the children of our beautiful country are stuck in some business establishment when they should be spreading their wings wide and flying towards literacy and yes, to a certain extent, the carefree period in their lives. The New Law provides for the abolishment of the exploitation of these children. But as always, the Indian Government has not taken any remedial measures. It is easy to say, “Don’t employ children below the age of 14, otherwise you could be liable for a heavy monetary fine, or worse, a year in prison.” But why don’t they have the grey matter to think WHAT are these children going to do? Most of them earn a LIVING through these jobs. Why would they leave their jobs and go to school when they THINK they are not getting any benefits out of it?

A TV report on a prominent news channel showed urchins sifting through garbage to look for leftovers to eat. Sure, they are happy they don’t have to work, but at the same time they have no clue where their next meal is going to come from. Is this what we want? That these children should wander aimlessly and dine from the garbage? That, my friend, is a worse punishment than tem working for someone. At least, that way they have a hope that they’ll not go hungry.

Now don’t get me wrong. I do not advocate child labor in any manner. I also disclose this fact that there were children working at home a few years ago. Now those children have grown and are no longer under the purview of this new Law. We all understand now that it is criminal to have children in our employ. But at the same time, I fail to understand why nothing is being done to improve conditions for them? You say you want them to go to school? Where are the schools??? Where is the infrastructure? Where are qualified teachers? Where is the money to access all this? And most importantly, where is the WILL on the children’s and their parents’ behalf to get them to school???

A child who has never been to school will never know the benefit of attending one. Let’s be honest – we never had a clue either when we were kids. And we also will accrue to the fact that once you start earning, in most people, the yearning for education takes a backseat. Complacency sets in, and one wonders, why do I need education when I’m doing so well without it? How does the Government propose to get these children to school, and with what motivation? There are mid-day meal schemes in South India, which provides children with one free meal if they attend school. That acts as a great motivation, because surveys have shown that attendance has gone up by 70% since the introduction of this scheme. But then the government again has to take it upon itself to ensure that the children don’t come for the food alone. There has to be a dedicated team of teachers & support staff to make the children’s visits a purposeful experience.

But oh the people & the Government !!! There has been corruption in the Mid-day meal schemes itself, with use of sub-standard cooking materials, children falling sick, exploitation of the subsidies provided- for other purposes. The same corruption perverts the entire system. How do you propose to brighten the children’s futures if there is so much of perversion at the grass root level? The Law to abolish Child Labor is a noble one, but how can you expect to reap ANY benefits without a contingency plan? Without a plausible backup?

There is no shame in admitting that in our country occasionally lacks in planning. This country yields the brightest minds, yet we don’t seem to have a concrete structure to deal with such inconsistencies. We gain so much from this new law, but until practicality is brushed into the system, we stand to lose more than we gain. Because I want these children to go to school, to enjoy their childhood, to be the brightest tomorrow of India, not eat out of garbage. Our President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam calls them “Ignited Minds” and there should be no dousing of the same…

Thursday, October 12, 2006

PERCHANCE TO DREAM...


It is said that our dreams are the products of our subconscious – what we think, or don’t think. What bothers us, or occupies us as envisioned in the dreams

But inexplicably, most of my dreams have been out of context, and about people who I’ve never met, places I’ve never been to, and events I have no connection to whatsoever.

What drives these dreams? I have no clue…..

ADRIFT




Of late, I find myself drifting away from my mother. I’ve never been that close to my parents since my education has taken me out of home for most of my years, and the link that HAS existed has been there with my Mom. But not very recently, I’ve started moving away.

Maybe it’s what this age is all about. I realize that its not right. Our lives are something we have to take in our own hands and be responsible for it, but at least in India we owe part of it to our parents who put so much of THEIR lives into ours so that we have a great future ahead. There are some relations that should never be strained or broken. But that’s what I find happening to me

What’s wrong with me?

Friday, October 06, 2006

COFFEE BLUES

While the world sleeps, Im wide awake.

All thanks to the large cuppa hot coffee I greedily gulped down yesterday

3 A.M. and still no sleep in sight

I pay for the sinful company of Coffee...