Monday, December 31, 2012

Nirbhaya is dead!

[This is not a real post, just a jumbled dump of my thoughts.]

Nirbhaya was the name given by TOI to the girl who was gangraped on 16th December in Delhi. Another newspaper has called her Amanat and some others have given her the nickname "braveheart". The details of the case are well-known. Six men, six animals I'd call them though they are lower than animals in my estimation, raped a girl in a bus, beat her and her male friend with an iron rod and brutally tortured her, sexually assaulting her with the same iron rod.

One of the reasons I don't follow news is to avoid reading such horrible things, but this was too big to have escaped my notice. My colleagues told me on 22nd. Then I could not stay away from it as the girl was fighting for her life in the hospital.

I did not want to write a post on it and I don't know if I would be up to publish this, but all these thoughts have been swirling around in my mind since then and I feel that I must dump them on paper if I am ever to have any piece of mind. I don't know if it would work but I need to try. It's been driving me crazy!

There needs to be logic or order in this post since it'd just be a dump of my thoughts, only for my eyes.

The men who did this unspeakable thing were the bus driver and his friends. I consider them lower than animals. Even animals don't rape.

The thing that gets me and that has made me cry everything I think of it is that she didn't deserve it. She was a good girl, a productive member of the society and from all the facts that have come out, a brave girl! She did not deserve such an end to her life!

The bastards who did this, on the other hand, are scum of the earth. Most of them have previous criminal record. But they are still alive. Why?

I don't consider rape as a sexual crime even though it is classed as one. Rape is crime against human dignity, any person who attempts to take away the dignity of another human does not deserve to be treated as a human being himself.

The worst thing it has done is it has made me ashamed of my city and my country. I am painfully aware of the fact that people hear "India" or "Delhi" they think about shameful incident. I have been always proud of India and especially Delhi but now...I am even ashamed to be a man. :(

Then Friday evening came the news that after battling with her injuries for 13 days Nirbhaya died in the hospital in Singapore!

The last time I was this sad was when my father passed away last year. Of course, that was more personal but the sense of shock and irreparable loss is the same!

The saddest thing about this whole incident is not the 6 monsters who did this but that we have a system where they felt that they could.

Even when I was completely enamoured with the western culture I still liked the Indian culture. And as I grew up I liked and respected it more, the thousands of years of tradition, the immeasurable stores of knowledge...but in Indian culture we hail the woman power as the goddess, Durga, this how you treat your goddess, like animals? Like objects of lust to be mauled, harassed and tortured?

What the fuck! How can you treat an innocent girl like that? She is someone's daughter, someone's do you dare to lay a finger on her?

But we don't have a system where a normal citizen can expect to be protected by the police. We have a system where a normal person is afraid of the police.

And then we wonder why India is not a super power!

India will never be a superpower unless we stop the two-faced, double-standard bullshit and recognize Indian women as the power that they are.

Every time the issue of crime against women comes up, there are always some jokers who comment that women these days wear revealing clothes and thus provoke the attacks on them. I want to shove their faces in mud! Believe me you have not seen revealing clothes until you have been to a nightclub in London, or New York or any Western country. But they have much fewer cases of rape.

Because in England the maximum sentence for rape is UNLIMITED! In England, a girl can walk up to a policeman and say, "That guy is harassing me!".

We cannot call ourselves civilized until we change our basic attitude towards women.

What an irony it is that the city that has a female chief minister has a rate of 1 rape every 14 hours!!

Rape is worse than murder and must be treated as such. When you kill a person, you merely kill them, when you rape a girl you take away her human dignity and that is unpardonable.

I am proud of my country and my city that the general public has risen against this state of affairs but I am not holding my breath for any real action. The fact that the government didn't react to this incident immediately shows that the politicians do not consider it an outrage that it is, for them it's just one of those issues. But the people are not having any of that nonchalance from the leaders this time so they had to act or pretend to.

Congress is proposing a law where maximum penalty for rape would be 30 years with chemical castration in extreme cases. But in a country where last year rate of conviction for a rape case was 1 out of 635 cases, what effect do you expect it to have? One?

And then they make such a big deal about a police constable dying in a ruckus with the protesters. You want me to feel sorry about a lousy cop? Frankly, one girl like Nirbhaya is worth a 100 Delhi cops any day!

There is not shortage of those also who blame films for corrupting the culture and inciting such crimes? Really? So what do you do when you watch a cooking show - go rob a restaurant? Stop making excuses for your bloody, barbaric mindset and be a man! Not an animal, a man! A real man!

In this tragic, heart-breaking affair there are a couple of things that I feel thankful for. I am proud of the people of my country who have shown the power-hungry, chair-chasing politicians that they cannot tamed by a few cops in the demand for justice! I am proud of the Indian media who reported all the developments in the case but kept her identity confidential.

And I am proud of my country for giving her the respect that she deserved, for having the sensitivity to cancel new year celebrations official and private to mourn the loss of a brave girl who was the pride of her country even in death.

(I have decided to publish this post but I can't bear to read it, so it will go without proofreading. My blog will sport the black banner for a week.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reblog: Purba Ray on Social Media

Sometimes I like to share with my readers something great that I have read on the internet. This particular gem I found on BlogAdda but it is from one of the bloggers I read regularly.

Purba Ray's writing style is so easy-flowing that you will have finished half the post before you realize it. Make sure you click the link at the bottom of the post to read the full post. A very thought-provoking and relevant post.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Grow up, will ya?

"Growing old is mandatory, Growing up is optional."

How true!

Recently, I have been thinking about growing old even more than usual. You see, after staying 39 for a loooong time, a whole 12 months, I finally turned 40 this year. Was I looking forward to it? Not really! Was I dreading it? Not really!

You see, I think growing old has some real benefits and in our pursuit of eternal youth we often disregard them. I had a teacher in primary school who used to tell us wonderful things which were not all to be found in the textbooks. In one of his discourses, he quoted - "Nobody is rich enough to buy his past."

True. But then people do try. I really dislike it when people talk about the "good old days" of childhood like it was a euphoric time with no problems. There are many songs and poems on the subject, one of the most popular ones being the famous ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh - "Ye daulat bhi le lo, ye shohrat bhi le lo."

[Translation: Take away my riches, my fame, even my youth I am willing to give up, if I could just have back the rainy season of my childhood, that paper boat and that rain water.]

Cool. Sounds good to hear. But I dislike the expression of these sentiments (I love the ghazal!) not just because I like to move against the tide but because my memory is better than these other people. I remember, and very vividly, that the childhood time was not a time of trouble-free Eutopia, it was a time of fun and misery as equally as today's time is full of hassles as well as pleasures.

I remember very clearly the problems I had. The prime problem was money, always. Even to buy a simple rubber ball I had to save 3 days of my allowance. Then second biggest problem as with everybody else - freedom. I had to follow the rules of my strict father. I wanted to play in the street until late night, he had some silly notions about study and homework. Guess who won!

In my teens, it frustrated me that all the grown ups, my parents especially, practiced a set of double standards towards me! When they needed me to do something it was always, "You are a big boy now so you can...." and when they wanted to deny me something, it was always "No, you are too young to do that!" Believe me, I protested against this discrimination much more vocally than Anna Hazare stood against the corruption. You think it had any effect? Ha!

I am not alone who suffered these slings and arrows of misfortune. But most people choose to forget these things and colour their childhood memories pink in their minds and wish for the return of that time. Well, in the words of Samuel Goldwyn - "Include me out!".

Now, let's tackle the present time. Leaving aside the whole physical progression I want to focus on the mental part of growing up. Money, oh yes, the same problems as childhood, but I make much more than I used to have and I understand it better and know how it affects my life. Freedom, within the law, a LOT! If I want to play a game all night Friday night and sleep until 1300 on Saturday, I don't have to ask anybody's permission.

I have much more confidence in anything I do and that makes it all the more probable that I'd succeed in whatever I do!

Simply taking all the things that make me happy or bring me pleasure, unlike my childhood, I have a huge choice.

When I was a boy, coming home early from school during exam days and having 4 extra hours to play in the street was heaven!  I don't care about that now. But imagine this. Just as I am going to bed I notice the Moon peeking in my window, it's a full Moon, or almost, and looks mesmerisingly beautiful! I can't resist and end up postponing the sleep, taking out the DSLR, setting it up on the tripod and taking some great shots with my telephoto lens (75-300, if it matters). Pure, unadulterated pleasure!

Now, if your mind works like I think it does you would argue that the problems of childhood were trifles compared to the problems a grown-up has to face. And I would say - bullshit! The real size of a problem never matters, it's only the subjective experience that matters!

"A hill is only as steep as it seems to the person climbing it!"

For a child losing the finger of his parent in the crowded market is just as panicky as for a grown up to find that his girlfriend of 3 years is leaving him for a job in another city. Can you honestly say that one of the problems is bigger than the other? Says who!

Another favourite ghazal of mine, also sung by Jagjit Singh, is
"Mujhko yaqeen hai, sach kehti thiiN jo bhi ammi kehti thiiN,
Jab mere bachpan ke din they, chaand mein pariyaan rehtii thiiN"

[I believe that what mother told me was all true.
In my childhood days, the fairies did used to live in the moon.]

I wanted to talk about all the things that have changed in me and the things I have learnt, but just giving the background has taken up so much space that I will need to be brief.

One of the things would sound like a riddle is that with age you learn to appreciate what the age means!

Patience definitely improves over the years and so does understanding. My yearning to learn new thing is still the same as it was so that is a constant rather than change. But my confidence in my learning abilities has increased and my learning abilities themselves.

People's perception of you also changes. Based on your age they may consider you "wise" even though you might say the same thing that you have been saying for the last 20 years!

Friendships ripen and you learn to appreciate them and also learn to let go where the letting go is mandated.

And persistence!! The capacity to plow along on one track without giving up definitely increases with age!

One thing that I do feel but know that it's an illusion. The feeling that my experience has taught me a great deal. I know that 5 years from now when I look at this post I am going to say, "What bilge I used to spout thinking myself so wise and smart!" But now I know that I will do this in 5 years's time. 10 years ago I wouldn't have known that. See?

The topic is big, so much to say and a lot of it that cannot be described. But I am very interested in hearing your thoughts on the topic. Do you think it's a downhill journey or some things get better with age?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stupidity is God

Think about it:

It cannot be seen nor grasped but its presence can be felt everywhere.
It is immortal like Lord Krishna said in Bhagvadgita "Nainam chhindanti shastrani, nainam dehti paavakah.."
Weapons cannot kill it, and fire cannot burn it....
Also from the Gita - "You can only kill the stupid but the stupidity is never born and never dies."

Chacha Ghalib said long ago (and he was a wise man) - "AhamakoN ki kamee nahiN Ghalib, ek dhoondo hazaar milte haiN."
(No shortage of stupids, Ghalib, you search for one and you will find a thousand.)
That shows that stupids and stupidity is everywhere and isn't that what every religion teaches us - that God is everywhere?

Some people might argue that God created the world, well, do you think the entity who created Hitler, Mussolini, Kassab and so many others like them is an intelligent person? Come on now!

Omniscience - stupid people know everything! Just ask them!

Omnipresence - According to all religions God is in every single one of us. And we all have stupidity, to some degree or other.

Omnipotence - All engineers are busy in making things so simple and fool-proof that they cannot be misused or abused. Yes, along comes one stupid person and....

Need I say more?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


No, I don't have anything to say I just wanted to comment on this extraordinary date!
what's extraordinary about it, you ask? Nothing! Not a single thing. Except that this kind of sequence will be not occur for the next 89 years until 1/1/2101 now.

Big deal!

When I was younger we had Halley's comet appear in the sky and there were news stories on how this won't repeat for another 89 years or so. Or was it 900? Anyhow, I was impressed. Only to realize a few years later that there was something else happening in the sky that was equally rare. Then another few years get the idea.

I have seen some of these amazing sights and lived through some such wonderful (?) dates but I stopped being impressed with them.

My philosophy now is...forget about the next 900 years or even the next 100 and...MAKE THIS MOMENT COUNT!

'nuff said.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Why Indians give advice?

Suddenly it occurred to me yesterday that unlike English we don't have that many expressions for showing sympathy, formally, to someone who's sick or hurt. In English you just hear someone say they are in a bad way and you can let loose with a multitude of platitudes.

"Oh, so sorry to hear of your accident, mate!"
"Aww, I am sorry!"
"Oh, may he rest in peace!"
"Get well soon!" (that one sounds more like an order).

We have none of those. I mean we have the words and sentences in Hindi, but they are not in use so much in real life. If you start saying those things in real, it sounds phony and dramatic.

I remember a line I read long ago - हिन्दुस्तान में राय  और चाय हर जगह बिना मांगे मिलती हैं।

(In India, you get advice and tea unasked everywhere.)

Maybe that's the reason.

We don't want to sound phony like a politician by quoting platitudes so we show our compassion and sympathy (of which we have an abundance) by giving advice.

As soon as you say, "I am feeling a bit of fever.", Uncle Ji would say, "Arre beta, you must take care, this season is not very good. Take two of ..." and so on. Some people would show off their knowledge of off-the-counter medicines while others would advise herbal remedies. Those who don't possess any specialized knowledge would at least tell you to see a doctor, or even recommend their doctor to you.

What I am saying is that, despite the lack of formal concern-showing phrases in daily use, we have our ways of showing genuine concern and compassion for a friend in distress. Where a Western woman would say, "Oh, get well soon, dear!", an Indian woman would say, "मैं अदरक की चाय बनाकर लाती हूँ आपके लिए।" (I will make some ginger tea for you.)

Of course, this a very generic and very subjective picture of both cultures and exceptions exist on both sides but....I am just dumping my thoughts on paper here and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Click that comment button.

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