Thursday, July 29, 2010

CWG ki khul gayi pol, beech sadak fat gaya dhol!!!

SG posing with Commonwealth Games 2010 logoImage by ComSec via Flickr
Are we excited about these games? Yes, if you are a journalist. Yes, if you are a policeman. Yes, if you are a labor. Yes, if you are anyone than a Delhite. Because we hate these games!!!

I, as a common person living in Delhi, want to vent out my feelings today.
The government initiated these games with a budget of 345 crores but it has already reached 35K crores and only the government knows that where will this figure be by the end of these Games. Frankly speaking, we wouldn't have mind these games being held in Delhi if it had done some good to it. But it has not. All it has given us are roads with some creatively done potholes, flooded drains, days long jams (deliberately not written hours. I didn't want to insult the jams at least!), week long power cuts, cunningly raised prices of vegetables and so on and so forth.

In a country where the average income of a person in a day is something less than Rs. 7, why did the government had to flaunt its treasure by bidding for these games. Can we afford these? Is this only a way to show that we are developing. NO. Why couldn't our government ever take some sane decisions? WHY??

I know the list of question is endless. But the point that I want to drive home is that its high time that we accept ki its not only difficult but highly impossible for us to match countries like China, England etc. when it comes to hosting international sporting events. And also winning medals in those events. when China hosted Olympics in 2008, they topped  the medal tally with a total of 100 medals. Any guesses as to where will we be in this year's CWG? My heart aches to even think about this.

The bottom line is that there is no need and the government has no right to spend the taxpayers' money on such 'futile' things. Instead, its high time that it opens its eyes to face the reality and a frustrated Delhite!
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Educated Fools!

I was as usual waiting at the bus stop in the scorching heat of Delhi for a bus to Gurgaon. At 12:30 in the after noon, waiting at the bus stop, I felt like killing the person who started my company. Finally the lady bus arrived and I just stood at the stairs. It was so crowded that I didn't need to make my way. I was pushed inside the bus. Was it that the entire Delhi was travelling to Gurgaon at the same time or was it that HE has some scores to settle with me? I managed to squeeze myself in so that I could stand on my one leg as if I was doing some sort of tapasya. I hooked on to my cell phone to see what was FM playing and to get some respite from the auntie talks and all the non sense that was happening around.

The bus halts and a lady with four babies steps in to the bus. One baby still in her arms. All of them crying and howling. Chaos!! The lady was all hassled up and probably all the atoms inside her were in motion because of her kids..Well, she pulled and pushed and kicked almost everyone to balance her. But no one had the courtesy to get up and offer her a seat. I know we should not expect it from the ladies as they are too engrossed in their chit chats and 'gentle'men are not so gentle these days. However, I am a strong believer of the fact that if the government is providing us any benefits then we should avail it. Yes, I am talking about one seat in the ladies' row which was occupied by a handsome looking guy. All eyeballs rolled towards him with high expectations but that chap did not bother. An uncle ji tried to tell him but he never looked at him. Meanwhile our Mother India continued her struggle. Now this was getting on my nerves. I have this weakness of not able to digest any sort of injustice (poor me!). I went up to him, patted his shoulder once and called him. No reply. Another attempt. No reply. Fine! I snatched his phone and asked him to get up. He replied to my shock,"Why?".
"Because you have occupied a ladies' seat", I said.
"So what? I paid for the ticket"
"But the government reserve it for us" i replied
"I am not getting up", came the blatant reply.
"Okay, then wear this and behave as a proper lady", i told him while handing him my bangles to wear them.

That was it. Probably he was embarrassed. He got up, left the seat and got down at the very next stop.
Mother India was finally seated.
And I heaved a sigh of relief.

Child Labor

It was early morning when our train halted at the Haldwani station. I had wrapped myself in two blankets but was so cold that if I took a sip of cold drink, it would freeze into a cube. Mom and dad were still sleeping. It was very satisfactory for me to see such peace on their faces. Last month had been turmoil for my family and it was after a lot of persuasion that Ma and pa had agreed to come for this short vacation to Nainital. I was lost in my thoughts when the smell of adrak waali chai started playing with my nostrils. I decided to help myself with a cup of it.
The train was to stop here for about 45 minutes. She was to be removed of some valuables that we passengers left as a mark of respect to her. I got down from the train. I followed the smell like an enchanted rat. I could see a chai wala at a distance. I walked up to him and ordered one for myself. Since the preparation was to take some time, I sat on the bench next to the makeshift shop. It was a lovely site. A peaceful one. Away from the pollution, population of the metropolitan cities. I just sat there and observed people the way I usually do. Suddenly I heard someone singing a pahari song in a very beautiful voice. I turned around and saw a small boy not more than 7 yrs of age washing tea glasses in a cold water tub. He was not wearing any sweater or for that matter anything that was even close to be called a woolen. This was another case of child labor. I had seen a lot many when I was working with an NGO in Delhi. I remember once we had staged a demonstration against this whole malpractice.

At Jantar Mantar, 26th November 2003
Our lead was making the audience count its ill effects. After about five minutes she handed over the mike to a small boy, Manu, who looked at her in rare amazement. The boy started speaking.
Main kabhi school nahi gaya. Mera admission hua tha. Lekin jaa nahi paya. Mere papa ne ek din mera school bag chupa diya aur mera haath pakad kar sardar uncle ke garage par le gaye. Papa ne unse kaha ki yeh lo aa gaya. Ab jitna kaam karana hai utna karao. Aur shuru ho gaya mera kaam. Main sab kuch karta tha. Chai banata tha, chai pilata tha aur ek din galti se chai ka glass bhi dhoya. Sardar uncle ne glass dhote hue mujhe dekha aur kaha ki yaar yeh faayda hota hai chhote chhote haathon ka. Chai ke glass mein kitni aasaani se ghus jaate hain. Aur us din ke baad se mein saare glass dhone laga. Agle din ek gaadi aayi jiska ek screw lagana tha lekin sardar uncle ka haath wahan tak pahunch nahi paa raha tha. Unhone mujhe bulaya aur screw mere haath mein diya aur mujhe andar ghusa kar bole ki zaraa gaadi mein kas de. Jab kaam karke bahaar nikla toh kaha ki yeh faydaa hota hai chhote chhote haathon ka. Main kaam karta raha. Mahine ki pehli taareekh aayi aur sardar uncle ne meri pagaar meri haathon par rakhi. Meri pagaar kisi bhi aur mazdoor se paanch guna kam thi. Pagaar rakhte samay unhone kaha ki yeh fayda hota hai chhote chhote haathon ka.”
Manu stopped and looked at us. We all had tears in our eyes.

Cut to station, Haldwani.
I had tears in my eyes. I handed over my shawl to him and walked away. The chaiwala was still shouting.

Dreams becoming reality...

Monday, November 2nd 2009
I finally get a call from someone who can help me realize my dream of working with Google. The person asked me to pen a write up on why I aspired to work with Google.

Tuesday, November 3rd 2009, 10:00 am
I start writing.

Why I aspire to work with Google
It has been a year I started working with Infosys Yahoo!. It has been a great experience. But there was something that stuck me right from day one. It was GOOGLE. In our training period when we were trying to understand the in and out of Yahoo! as a Search Engine, there was always something that stood at the back of my head. It was Google. We started working. Still Google remained with us. It was difficult for me to digest that to complete Yahoo! work we used Google. All I knew about Google was that it was a search engine that helped me finish my science projects in no time. What I did not know was that it is such a big threat to someone’s business. It is worth mentioning that in our training period we learnt more about Google than Yahoo!.
But I needed to know more. I decided to google out Google.

Sunday, March 5th 2009, 8:00 am
I opened my HP notebook, connected my net connection. With a cup of coffee balancing itself comfortably on my kneecap and my reading glasses on my not so sleek nose, I was all geared up to dissect Google. “Google” was my first search query in the search box. It took a millisecond to throw back an amount of data that if printed would be enough to destroy the Jungles of Amazon. I started reading.
I started with the history of Google. I was highly impressed with the way the landing page enlisted out each and every event in the life cycle of Google. Its metamorphosis from its ‘Back Rub’ days to its present day name ‘Google’. The choice of the name was in itself an amazing thought to me. The precursor for the name is “googol”, a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros.
I kept on reading, getting more and more excited about all of this. I saw the pictures of its offices across the Globe. Google is huge. It is vast. It is never ending. Google products were the next topic. I had so many times used Picasa to upload my photographs but never knew that it was a Google product. Gmail, Google Latitude, toolbar, desktop etcetra etcetra. The list goes on. As I kept on reading there was a thought that started stretching itself in my already occupied mind. I ignored it and kept on reading. But with due course of time, this became disturbing. It did not let me concentrate. I had to pay heed to this thought. So I removed my glasses and closed my eyes. I saw something. I could see a blurry image of something written and a girl standing next to it.
Yes, I recognized her. That was me standing next to the building of Google Quarters. I opened my eyes immediately. I knew it. My mind had decided to work for Google. I agreed with it. I have to work for Google. I have to work with it. Not because I am not happy with my present work but because I want to work for the best. I wanted to work with a company that holds 80% of the Search market. I wanted to work with a company whose name had become synonymous with the word search. I wanted to work with the company which is a dream company for each and every Search Executive. I ached to work for accompany that set the trends. I longed to work for a company that knew no limits of creativity. I wanted my name to be associated with the company that could think almost anything and make profit out of it. I wanted to Google myself in Google. I decided to start working on ‘Mission Google’.
I looked at my watch. It was 6:30 in the evening. I shut my laptop.

Tuesday, November 3rd 2009, 12:30 pm
I finished the write up. Read it again. This did not seem to be a write up to me but this was what I had always felt and I just penned it down.

Back lane

I was wandering with my sheet converted into a bag and dangling at my right shoulder, when suddenly a red turbanwallah stopped me, snatched my bag and searched in it. I looked in complete astonishment.
“This damn thing has nothing in it!” He hurled my potli aside.
“I know you scoundrels very well. You roam around with these empty baggage waiting for a right opportunity!”
Actually he is not wrong; but then everyone is doing precisely this. Each one carries an empty bag dangling in his heart looking out for a chance to grab something sometime.
I was hurling abuses at him when I suddenly bit my tongue red. What I really wish to tell is that I relished the taste of my blood. I savored it going down my gullet. If only the resources of our food could be churned out from our bodies, we’d be liberated from all the hassles and struggles of our living.
I had now reached the Bungalow road. On both sides of the road, are the beautiful buildings made of polished stones. Multicolored gardens make these bungalows more spectacular. The road beneath my feet is so clean that as I walk on it, I appear myself to be a blob on it.
I turn to enter the back lane. As I enter, I feel perked up with the familiar odors tingling my nostrils. Lost in my thoughts, I turn the garbage in front of bungalow no.2 upside down. I spread the garbage like an eager dog. I start sorting it out and pick up the objects of my choice and put the rest of the refuge into the bin. The filth of the lives of the people living in these houses stares nakedly at me as I turn over the garbage cans belonging to each of these houses. This drum usually has waste paper, half and quarter empty bottles of liquor and countless cigarette butts. The master of the house is so engrossed in his newspapers and in the news around him that he has no knowledge of the goings-on his household. Day in and day out, when this professor blackens the bundles of sheets, his young wife warms up her young servant in the room right next to his.
To begin with, I search for the liquor bottles. Hard Luck!! Not a drop of liquor in any! Rascals! I remember the day when I laid my hands on a half filled bottle. Wow!!! I almost fainted in excitement. I drank all of it on my empty stomach and entered into a world full of beautiful women who kissed and licked my body and sucked away all my fatigue.
As I moved ahead still thinking about that fateful day, Babu, the dog, started barking.
Why are you barking, Babu? Remember this much, Babu – All these walls stand secure here because they keep their mouth shut. They would crumble down the moment they opened they’d speak up. Now, tell me Babu, from where does the mistress of this house come so late in the night? I questioned pointing my finger to bungalow no.3. No, you fool, her husband knows it all. In her absence, he only puts the children to sleep. When she gets back, he opens the door and pulls her inside by the same arm that carries the purse. But quiet! That’s none of our business. So what if he is just a clerk. He lives in much style! So what if with his own income he would not be able to meet even the two ends. He has a huge bungalow!! Whatever he does is just fine. The bin of their house is generally empty. They usually throw their filth in their neighbor’s bin, only to keep the back of their house clean.
The drum ahead to this drum is overflowing with garbage. I sit down searching for objects of use. The maid of the house rushes out of the backdoor and dumps the filth on my head – garbage over garbage. The owners of this drum are two brothers. They run a cloth business. The older one lives on the ground floor while the floor above is occupied by the younger brother. Their old invalid mother survives on the terrace. Many a time, I have heard her wailing for food. The brothers would let their mother die of hunger, while the left over in their bins is enough to feed ten people at one time. The older brother chides away his crazy younger brother all time. As for his wife, he would keep on looking for a chance to get her alone and paw at her. Battia, had let it out to me – all the five children of the younger brother are actually the elder brother’s progeny. The older one’s wife is no less….she has her crazy brother-in-law in her power.
I examine their garbage slowly and carefully. I had heard that the shopkeepers indulge in dark doings and when there is a police threat, they throw bundles of notes into the garbage to save their skin. Today, I found nothing. Just few knotted up bunches of hair of both the women. I picked them up and threw them in my potli. All at once, I heard the sound of the old woman’s wailing from the terrace. Who would attend to the old woman? I wondered!
I moved ahead. Hardly had I taken a few steps that my ears perked up with the sound of a child’s cry. I looked around…there’s no one…I hear the sound again…both the animals…the dog and I…start moving towards the cry. We now stand near an open garbage bin in which, we see a new born baby, lying on the surface of the garbage. As I look at the baby, I start wondering-What times are we living in??

Atharan Adhyaya

Adhyaya One:
Panditji swayed as he chanted the slokas from the Gita, and then reverted to poetry to explain the slokas.

Lord Krishna uttered these words of encouragement to Arjun, ‘O Arjun, whenever the pot brims with sin I take birth in this world to end all the evil.’
Suddenly a voice was heard (other than the panditji of course). Panditji said with a frown,’ yes, speak up brother…’
“Panditji, I would like to know if there is any space left in the pot, and if it is already brimming, why is Bhagwan Krishna not born yet?”
Adhyaya Two:
But what could the poor Lord do? He had lodged himself in the womb of a noble mother but during this time her husband decided that they wouldn’t have a child until their next promotion. That is why, after consulting the doctor Lord Krishna was aborted in the womb itself.
Attempt one failed.
But the Lord God had to be born. This time He took refuge in the womb of the unmarried sister of the same person (Attempt One). She was having an affair with one of her colleagues.
“But where can we stay after we get married? I stay with my cousin”, said the male colleague after his sweetheart broke the news of her pregnancy and asked him to marry her. So, finally Lord Krishna was again sacrificed at the altar of housing problems in Mumbai.
Attempt 2 failed.
However, Lord Krishna was quite determined to be born. This time it was the turn of a middle aged state minister’s wife. He had no children and was medically proven to be impotent. But the minister was desperate that his wife should have a child somehow. That is why, he never saw his new private secretary coming out of his wife’s bedroom. Well coming to the point, the lady got pregnant and Lord Krishna was born on the auspicious occasion of Janam Ashtmi.
Adhyaya three:
Just as in Dwapar Yug, when the Lord showed yashodha maiyya entire universe in his mouth, similarly the Lord God opened his mouth to show his mother that he did not have mud in it and she saw the entire universe in it. Convinced that her son was indeed an incarnation of God, she ran to take him in her arms, but if the Lord God remained confined only within her arms, how would he then redeem this world?
Although he had taken birth to redeem this world, he would not do so until he grew up. And he had to grow up slowly and gradually, in months and years; After all he had no alternative but to follow the rules he himself had made for this world.
Meanwhile the pot of sin kept spilling out the elusive sin. It ran in rivers and streams in all the four directions. People? What could people do? Except bathe in these polluted rivers in order to maintain a semblance of cleanliness.
Coming back to Krishna Gopala and his honorable minister father Shri Bhagyawan, it was a worldwide known fact that for the upbringing of his son, his education and his secure future, he accumulated so much of wealth that even if Lord Krishna took birth several times on this earth, he wouldn’t have been able to spend all that money…even if he indulged in squandering it.
Adhyaya Four:
Krishna Gopala stayed with his father till the primary school, and then he was sent to USA for further studies. Since at that time Mr. Minister held the education department, he very well knew that the government would not go beyond the education policy. Moreover, he thought, it was useless studying one’s own language. (After all no one could question the supremacy of a Nehru or a Gandhi just because they spoke English much better than the English themselves). If Krishna Gopala goes abroad when still young then on his return he would surely give even the best a run for the money.
When Krishna Gopala arrived in America, at first he cried bitterly. Little did the Americans know that the Lord himself was performing his Lila. They did all they could do to make him feel at home. Soon he began to feel so much at home that he began to believe he was born there…where? Who knows where! Who were his parents! Who knows where they are! At the same time, the human rights’ movement had swept the America and for them the rights of an adolescent were separate from their parents. The child had the right to be independent of his parents. After spending many years in America, Krishna Goplala succeeded in getting a degree for himself. ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ were just two words either in books or in the letters that his parents wrote to him. In all these years, growing up in a human form, he had forgotten that he was actually Lord Krishna.
Krishna Gopalal had a torrid love affair in the last year of his school. He was about to commit suicide but he did not. His next love affair was during his college days when he fell for an American girl with whom he broke up himself. The girl was about to commit suicide. She did. His last affair was when Lord Krishna was in the Law school. Finally, He got married to Cathy.
Cathy was bold and beautiful. She told her husband quite frankly,”whether it’s you or somebody else, it is no different; I married you only because I wanted to see India anyway”
Krishna Gopala too, had not married Cathy for herself alone. He wanted to carry the whole of America with him to India. With Cathy, he would feel as if he was still living in America.
Adhyaya Five:
Alighting at IGI Airport, Krishna Gopala could not recollect the face of his parents. At the reception counter, when his father-old secretary-his real father, rushed towards him, he greeted him with an artificial warmth, “How are you dad?” But the Lord’s artificial father pushed him aside and explained to him, “I am your dad, son”.
On reaching home, the Lord came to know of his mother suffering from acute blood pressure and her being lying in the ICU of some hospital.
Adhyaya Six to Sixteen etc. etc.
Adhyaya seventeen
Yashodha maiyya returned the very next day from the hospital and embraced her son in such a firm grip that Krishna Gopala wondered at the strength of the old woman. Was her blood pressure shooting up again? “Take it easy, Mom” He said.
“How can I Gopala? My God and my son have both returned home!”
“Yes, I have returned home but where is your God?”
But before, maiyya could answer him; she fainted in sheer exhaustion of her joy. And to Gopala’s much relief she was again lying in an ICU!
Although the doctors had discharged yashodha maiyya from the hospital with strict instructions to keep a control over her emotions, whenever she saw her son, she would take him in his arms and embrace him.
At first the daughter-in-law Cathy put up with it for some time, but then after some time, she confronted her husband, and said, “Who is your wife? Your mother or I?”
“Isn’t it obvious, Honey?”
“Are you asking me why that old woman is so possessive of me? I myself don’t like it a bit”.
But Cathy seemed to be possessed. “Shall I tell you the truth? Your mother is actually a sexual pervert and wants to treat you like her husband.”
“You can take it any way you wish! But if you want to stay with me then make your choice!”
“Alright, honey, we will stay here for a few more days, and then return to USA.”
“Yes we will visit Agra, Ajanta Caves and Mohan jo daro”
“Sure, honey”
Adhyaya 18:
Yashodha maiyya could not stop crying and the honorable minster looked more grim and grave than at the time when he was convicted for the multicrore-scam.
Cathy and Gopala were leaving for America. The minister had organized a path of Gita. A special pandit was invited who could translate the slokas into English.
(Spiritual benefit for Lord God and Cathy!!)
“Hey Arjuna, whenever the pot brims with sin, I make my appearance in the world…”
Listening to panditji with great attention, Krishna Gopala couldn’t still remember that it was he who had uttered those words to Arjun.
He put down his cup of tea and said to his wife, “Interesting Honey isn’t it?” Then he laughed at his own thoughts,” You know what- each one of them here was Lord Krishna before their birth but after his birth forgot who he was and why was he born here.”