25

Oh Homer! That feel!

Oh Homer! That feel!

Dear Conscience,

How have you been? I should’ve returned your call sooner than later. I deeply apologize; I really do. This perhaps is the first time I’m returning you a reply despite your repeated knocks at my doorstep. I write this out to you as I stand here at the cusp of realization; as an adult whom I would say has lost his way traversing the well trodden path rather than cult one up for himself. One among-st the many. Yes, I agree; ironic indeed. I sit here, brooding over all that you had whispered to me over these years past. Of all those thoughts you’ve shared, of all those times when you’ve asked me to hold back and those times where you’ve asked me to fire away. But, in all those moments, I fear, I’ve failed you miserably. I should’ve not. Retrospection, rather than regret would be a more apt way of viewing my reconciliation towards you. I would like to let you know that I now hold you in the highest of my regards, just like those many voices like mine who’re gearing up to treat you the same as they turn 25 this year and in years to come.

The shout outs of a 25 year old is in every way, a very lone voice of descent. He shouts his lungs out but, none to lend him an ear. He stumbles, but none, to pull him back up. He becomes an idol of not worship, but rather of mockery and sarcasm. His every step, his every move, scrutinized for reasons most bizarre. The longing for a voice as surreal as yours to take up a form in person is immense. It’s not a question of a choice of good over evil but more of a question of right over wrong, for in most cases what is good needn’t always necessarily be what is right. The mind is troubled indeed. It lacks the sense of direction it once had.

I write this out to thee, to where ever is it that you may reside to lend me an ear, to pull me out, to idolize my very train of thoughts, to galvanize it from whatever it is that may turn it to rust.

Truly your’s.

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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.

The Nineth Semester.

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Shout. Out. Loud.

It’s said, that a picture speaks a thousand words. And, if I go by just that, this one shot speaks volumes of a time that once was. It can’t be pened down in words; for, words will fail me if I try to describe it out as to how and what it felt like to be amongst these guys. If you knew them, I can bet you down to my very last penny that your days in college were nothing rather short of being termed as epic. Period. Those stretch of four years starting off from somewhere down the month of July 2008, all the way up till mid May of 2012, was a prime highlight down the rather mediocre timelines that one mostly gets thrown into thereafter. With each day that passed us by, we were never close to the obvious but rather oblivious to the fact that we were all creating memories; memories that I believe would suffice to last a lifetime.

It’s been close to two years since we all parted our separate ways, each with his own sense of hopes, ideals and aspirations to fulfil. Times were different back then, it was simple, plain, lucid. Eat outs, getaways, college festivals, fights, parties, and so, on and, on and, on. It had the right mix of everything in it to make your day right. There was never a time when you had to think twice before you had to shout out loud. Times, lives and the very train of thoughts have changed drastically since then. Our’s was a generation that witnessed the transition between the erstwhile Nokia expressMusics to the rise of the green alien. The fall of the much loved and hyped social frenzy, Orkut and the advent of Facebook.

Times have changed, and most of us seem to be picking up forms and perceptions that contradict the one’s we embraced and cherished the most at one point in time. Even amidst all the madness that I get thrown into each day, this part of the story never fails nor does it cease to bring about a smile to my face, for it’s only thoughts like these that truly bind us to what we once believed in and what we wanted with ourselves. Feeling nostalgic is rather too little a word to describe as to how it feels like at this point in time as I pen this down. I hope, I pray and I wish that once, for once I would get a chance even for a day for that matter, to be amongst these guys. I wish the semesters could start all over again.

Relive.

Past Forward. 2013.

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Move On.

I was lucky enough to grab myself a window seat this time around. The bus doesn’t seem that awfully crowded this time around though, but still, it’s a long drive from Trivandrum, all the way up till Hyderabad; roughly 1300 Kilometres and 22 hours by road to be more precise. Travel. If there’s one word that could wrap up and give a vivid sense of my past one year it would be just that. This past one year had so much of content and life in it that, I’m having doubts as to where I should start off with. It would rather be inappropriate if I started off in the chronological cycle of events. Started off local, but ended up in places I never thought I would be at. When I say this, one must not get misled with the bamboozled context of road trips down Europe or having Chinese from the far east, all of those in years to come perhaps, hopefully.

This particular year is truly special to me in more ways than one. Of which one being my first job. And, most of what transpired down the year primarily revolved around the same. As with most new year’s, I had ended 2012 with the hopes and aspirations for still a better term for the proceeding one, but however, unlike most ones, this year did surpass my expectations in a wide bandwidth of ways.

The main highlight which I would like to focus upon would be my brief stay in Mysore for a period of around six months. Mysore does bring back a sense of mixed emotions, it was a distinct twilight between where I was in college and as to where I am now. Perceptions changed, altered views and concepts I had previously and, at the same time gave me a fresh insight into as to how things went about around me. Great eat outs, movies, repeated getaways to Coorg, all put together made it most memorable indeed. This year, I had witnessed a fresh wave of new faces being added up into my friends circle; I cherish this particular fact the most. What started off as mere acquaintances ended up as very close ties. My collegue Habeeb, being a sarcastic retard himself and dis-speakably a dear friend to me, both at the same time, is one such brave example out of the many which I would like to point out.

Following my Mysore chapter, Hyderabad was up next on my list; though I hardly had one. It’s all a matter of fate and destiny, I suppose. And, it is here that I continue to dwell upon; atleast for a minimum for the next year or so. This city of pearls has much in the offering. I was lucky enough to have by my side a good lot of Hyderabadis as my close aides. If there’s one thing that I like the most of Hyderabad, it’s definitely the food. If you’re a carnivore or even an omnivore for that matter, Hyderabadi dishes are yours for the ambush. Be it the much famed Hyderabadi dum biriyanis, the kebabs, the shawarmas or the quintessential fruit salads from Milan’s at Mellapally. It’s all the more sure to bowl you over. It’s a city that is vibrant in it’s own terms and, unique to it’s own ways. If there’s one thing that I’m fervently waiting for would be for the holy month of Ramzan to arrive, and with it the streets of this great city of the Nizam will open up itself for still a much fancied dish that is most sought after, the Haleem.

It was from Hyderabad that I had set forth for Vishakapatnam, the coastal town of Andhra Pradesh which I’ll soon be having to refer it to as the erstwhile state rather, post it’s bifurcation in days to come, perhaps. From there I had stretched myself all the way up til Bhubaneshwar, the capital city of Odisha. The trip in itself was rather a short affair. It was unplanned and spontaneous. I had the opportunity to catch up with old time mates and celebrate a sparkling Diwali. The best memorable trips will always be the ones that don’t go according to plan; period.

This past year had a lot more in store than what I could put down in words. It was versatile and had me think in ways that were odd to me before.What it made me realize the most was to enjoy the most trivial things that gets thrown at us, to make the most of what comes one’s way.The new year is just a little over an hour away as I pen this down. I believe it’s about time I wrapped up things and looked forward to what’s on the other side.

Welcome 2014. InshaAllah.

The Little Red Riding Hood of Mysore.

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Madame K.K.

Nineteen pairs of footwear. That’s right, nineteen. Sounds sweet? If, such is the case, then, Madame K.K. here is the one you should be meeting up with. However, this was the count she had, when I last saw her off from Mysore. As far as I can gather, there are women, and then, there are those like Madame K.K. over here; those who stand a league apart. As, I had mentioned earlier in my previous posts, the best part about my time spent here in Mysore, was getting to meet up with a broad mix of people. Those, with a peculiar blend of ideas, beliefs and viewpoints. K.K. was one such.

My perception of a typical female from way up, North of India, was one of a flamboyant, loud and, of a cheesy stand point; one that shouts and cries out for all the attention that she could garner. This, but however, was an exception, a big one, rather. A good friend, collegue, a pacifier, an honest ‘appreciator of beauty’ (which, she knows best.), crazy, quirky, down to earth, great big smile and, with a hand that is eager and ready to help you out if the need be. The charisma and energy which she used to exhibit, always seemed to reverberate to all those around her; be it, with the way this lady expressed herself or simply the way she used to carry herself forward. Being the daughter of an officer from the Indian Army, I believe one shouldn’t be expecting anything less.

As a good friend and a collegue, she had always given in, all the support I could possibly ask for, be it on any given normal day; or even the worst ones; all alike. For the tomboy she is, it was always comfortable sharing with her just about anything under the sun and, those above it; not just for me I believe, but for all those who shared her company. You give this lady a truck load of luggage with a ticket to any remote corner of this country; and, if you least expected her to whine over the whole task at hand, then, if such is the case, you’re highly misled. This, my friend, is not your average Indian female that you possibly see around everyday. This was one trait in her that I used to adore the most.

Having been in Mysore, for close to six months, one thing that I’ve learned the most, was to value those who stand by you through thick and thin. And of those, amongst whom I do, this lady would certainly top the list. It’s been close to two months since I last bid her farewell. Times change, people change. It’s evident. There’s nothing much one can do to alter it. But, in all probability, I hope this fine lady over here, stands up, to this test of time, for, this is one leading example, that I would always like to look upon to.

Keep Smiling Madame. Always.