Shooting ‘Stars’!

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Your Honor, but!?

What exactly had been said:

For the last six to eight months, there has been a growing despondency, I would say. Kiran (wife Kiran Rao) and I have lived all our life in India. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, for the first time she said, ‘Should we move out of India?’ Now that’s a very disastrous and a big comment to make to me.

What happened next was unprecedented. The actor, Aamir Khan, had become the most sought after discussion on social media news feeds and, yet another scapegoat for media houses nationwide. His statements had been in many a places misquoted, misinterpreted and served as a mouth watering appetizer for millions. What followed further were aggressive debates, discussions and so called ‘in depth’ analysis as to what the actor ‘might have’ intended. All of this in turn only strengthens, the actors remarks on the state of growing intolerance in the country that seems to be on the boil with each passing day. The statement that was made was only a concern that had been raised in public. He had never made a mention that he was indeed leaving the country nor does it point out to any anti national comments in any regards. But, the disastrous means by which reporters of various news channels had misconstrued his statements for rise in viewership is nothing but a new low as far as the ethics of journalism in this country is concerned. This indeed had been many a times highlighted; be it the case of the Nepal earthquakes earlier this year, or the disastrous turn out of poll predictions for the Bihar elections of 2015.

Earlier this week, in an interview that the Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani had given to Barkha Dutt; she was asked to layout her thoughts on these statements made by the actor, to which she had responded stating:

Aamir Khan is a brand ambassador for tourism in our country – Incredible India – and that what’s incredible…that he can be a brand ambassador for our government and he can be on a platform in front of the Information and Broadcasting minister (Arun Jaitley) and speak his mind shows that free speech thrives.

With all due respect madame Minister, but, the way in which the whole situation was allowed to spiral out to such extremes has in itself, a scent of intolerance in every step of the way. But, what is more ‘incredible’ is the fact that how an individual who had filed false documents pertaining to her educational qualification still continues to hold on to her portfolio as a cabinet Minister in New Delhi. And, more bizarre was how the reporter had never touched upon these topics for the chance she had for this said interview. This again, reiterates how journalism is more or less being streamlined alongside those issues that are currently in trend in the present tense.

Aamir Khan is perhaps, the latest in a series of celebrities from the film fraternity who had been targeted for speaking his mind out. But, if this is the plight of individuals who hold such esteemed positions in society, it is rather easy to value the voice of the ordinary citizenry. Times have turned around so much so that, the Prime Minister of this country is eligible to carry out his ‘Mann Ki Baat‘ on national radio, unquestioned; and the rest finds themselves in a position were they cannot. There is certainly no doubt that there is an air of intolerance prevailing in the country. But, the manner in which facts are distorted and how news feeds are tailored to suit the taste of the end user is bound to have disastrous implications in times to come.

– Breathe.

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On the Question of the Sexes.

Yes, she can.

Yes, she can.

A point in time where opinions and remarks can get easily twisted, and where social judgments can be made to sway in favor of viewer-ships for mainstream media houses; this, probably is one of the most touchy topics of the present age; second only to those on the grounds of theology, perhaps. The question that I would like to pose is not on who’s getting it right and who’s not; but, rather on the very question on the idea of the ‘equality of sexes‘, for, I find that it lacks a sense of conviction and a direction as far as gender equality is concerned. In most debates and discussions on the acts of sexist views and on the grounds of equality we find individuals fighting it out to make themselves heard and mixing up the discussions with their personal emotions of hurt or despair rather than highlighting as to what the course of action needs to be.

My question is rather very simple, and straight forward. Equality literally translates to ‘the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities’; this is what Google had to say and, I believe it has a point there. Ironically, I feel that this is not the case when it comes to gender perhaps. Why? I’ll quote a small instance for example, to validate my point. In every hostage crisis that takes place, what do you think is the first demand put forth by authorities to strike a common ground? Does this ring a bell? As always, the demand would be to first let go of the women and children who are held captive. But, why ‘women and children‘? Why not men and children for a change? I mean, Isn’t that the very essence of equality, as to what Google teaches us? Isn’t this pure broad day light discrimination on the grounds of the sex to which one belongs to? In literal terms, yes (mind you, I said literal). The argument that would be posed immediately by those opposed to this would be the fact that, men are physically and mentally more prepared to handle the trauma that would unfold in such crises than women are. The counter argument that I would like to pose in response to this would then be on the question of the demand for reservations for women in the armed services of this country where, the argument raised by the same individuals revolve around the lines that women are in no way subordinate to men in terms of carrying out tasks which is demanded of them. This can be in all terms treated as hypocrisy, none the less. Such double standards do not go hand in hand, if a consensus has to be attained.

The ad that you’ve seen above was part of Del Monte Ketchup’s 1953′s ad campaign. The gist of the campaign was to highlight the fact that their new bottle of ketchup’s were far easier to open up as in comparison to the conventional ones at the time. This had invoked a lot of hysteria at that time (as what sources from the internet points out) stating that theirs was a campaign of sexist vandalism. Agreed. But, not during the 50’s perhaps. I would agree to this notion if this ad had been released in the present times, where women are more well versed with opening a bottle of beer with their bear teeth than men are, which is a good sign (mind you, on the context of opening a bottle, not turning alcoholic ). The point I wish to make over here is that times are changing, and fast. But, so needs the quality of arguments. Acts such as undermining the achievements of Dr. Matt Taylor, the brainchild behind the Rosetta mission and the scornful media outrage and spats against him for wearing an offensive t-shirt are not worth appreciative. These can be bluntly stated as shout outs for garnering attention by isolated so called ‘feminists’ who portray themselves as advocates of female rights who wished to be heard and those who later joined the chorus and later on promoted by media houses owing to its ‘trending’ status.

Social injustice exists. I have never said no to that. I have not touched the topics of rape, molestation and other forms of injustice that is predominant against women, especially in India, and those that needs to be addressed in the strictest of means. The idea that I would like to garner here is to put an end to using equality of the sexes as a mere excuse and as a tool to gain mileage in arguments. Be it political or personal.

– Mind you.

My Review: One Life Is Not Enough.

 

This would perhaps be one of my first reads which I believe sheds light into the corridors of power as far as the world’s largest democracy is concerned. K. Natwar Singh had previously served the prestigious Indian Foreign Services for close to 31 years before taking up his retirement voluntarily, to enter the grand stage of Indian Politics as the Minister for External Affairs. His autobiography gives in depth details and analysis on India’s Foreign Policies right from the Nehru era till 2004 when he had to step down as Minister due to his alleged involvement in the Oil for Food scam in Iraq which was shed to light by the Volcker’s committee report under the United Nations.

His book had been criticized extensively by the Indian National Congress as he had brought to light many of the chain of events that had transpired from the moment his name had been mentioned under the Volcker report. He goes an extra mile in even mentioning the name of Smt. Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Indian National Congress and questioning her actions and her hold and control that she exercised over the party. It’s worth mentioning that only a handful of Congressmen have stepped this far in criticizing the Congress President and this is one such. The book talks in length of K. Natwar Singh’s term during which he had served the Indian Foreign Service and his experience in working under the tenure of the late Prime Ministers Shri. Jawaharlal Nehru, Smt. Indira Gandhi and also under the young and vibrant Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. As far as the literature is concerned, it is well versed and has a diplomatic tinge to the style of writing. Some of the other important contexts of the book would be the foreign policies that India had pursued mainly with it’s next door neighbors which includes China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It highlights the key notes both on the winning and losing edges as far as the policies and relationships which India had shared with her next door neighbors.

The book also as with most biographies or autobiographies are concerned as it is with this one, has a collection of great moments captured in photographs which gives a sense of power and the high stakes at which the actions or the chain of events that progressed as narrated in the book. One of the major insight for me was the realization of the close bonds that India had shared with the erstwhile USSR right from the beginning of India’s independence all the way up till it’s fall with the onset  of the 90’s. The other major highlights would be the LTTE crisis that had persisted in Sri Lanka and how the Rajiv Gandhi Government had made a total mess of it and how it all in the end, culminated in the untimely demise and assassination of the Ex. Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The same would also go for the Golden Temple crisis which later took a toll on his mother’s lifer prior to his.

This would certainly be a recommendation for anyone who is interested in getting to know as to what it is like to serve in the helm of power and what goes around along the corridors of power in New Delhi from 10 Janpath all the way till 7 Race Cross Road.

– One Life Is certainly Not Enough.

Resource’d’ and Outsourced.

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Bottom’s Up!

‘Today, we have two new “resources” who’ll be joining us from here on’. It was with these words that I was led into my team by my manager on day one. I still remember those lines to this very day. Why? It felt rather very awkward, that’s why. It’s more appropriate to refer to an individual; a being that’s merely human by his name rather than refer to him as a mere blender! It struck a wrong note somewhere and, something definitely didn’t sound right. It even had me wondering whether if it was some unsaid and undefined protocol that was upheld all throughout. This was my first project; all excited and at the same time, jittery and downright nervous. I saw curious fresh new faces everywhere; in that small conference room, right in the middle of nowhere in the Deccan city of Hyderabad. When I say ‘in the middle of nowhere’, believe me, it really does mean nowhere. Faces that were curious; sizing me up from head to toe. Some had smiles on their faces with a pinch of sarcasm in it (new guy in town, boy! you have a long way to go), a few who weren’t the slightest bothered (the kind I prefer the most) and a couple of others who were genuinely excited; fresh blood I guessed, maybe from last week’s intake; all smiles and jumpy.

It was with this welcome note that I had started off work in the corporate poop chain. The ‘Great Ugly Indian Software Dream’ as I call it these days. If someone came up to me and asked me to describe myself in a line or two, this would be my best answer: ‘A job level 3 Systems Engineer who prefers not to work on weekends‘. It’s as simple as that. I’m that one in a million young lads in this country  who got lured into this ‘promising’ rat race. The money smells good. I’ll never say no to that (when has it not?). Satisfied? Obviously No. I’m but only flesh and blood!  But like many others, I sin myself everyday, waking up and going about the same mundane tasks day after day, year on year. Well, if the non Indian reader wonders out loud as to why we keep at it; well, it’s because this generation of mine is cornered to use such opportunities as mere lifebuoys. We make use of these to survive not our marriages, but those of our kin, our close aides, colleagues, friends, acquaintances and so on. For you see, the moment you’re 22 in this country (I speak from a male perspective), and if you happen to be unemployed, attending your best friend’s/sister’s/brother’s wedding or any other occasion for that mater, will be your exclusive access to hell or a dimension that’s closely parallel to it. I’m sure anyone who’s gone through it, agrees best. You’ll find yourself alienated among-st the mob of people who jeers you at the back of his/her head. You find people embraced in unison, laughing, making merry, but, somehow you feel the jokes on you. You try to converse, but conversations don’t last. People don’t seem interested in you anymore. In short, you smell money everywhere, and for once you despise it. Society is by and large a devilish reincarnation of the devil himself. Period.

And, that my friend is why, those like me sin myself everyday; and, not because we embrace it. Because, for you see, as long as I have this lifebuoy on, my next door neighbor won’t shoot me point blank for stealing a wink at his daughter, to name another, I’ll always be treated with respect and courtesy the moment I step into a bank. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if you the reader happens to be a Job Level 1 Gardner preparing a bed of roses or a Job Level 1000 President of some Third World Nation planning to nuke someone; the idea is to keep marching forward. To keep searching for what truly excites you, to what you desire the most and to persevere until the day you reach the blessed shores of what you had been yearning for and on that day you’ll finally get to shed off this lifebuoy of yours for all of eternity.

– Just another blender.