Archive for May, 2009

The Omni Present Journalist

A leading News channel in India can be proud of one of its reporters whose name I know not but who loomed large. There were serious discussions on News channels by one and all on the chances of victory of this group or that alliances; but when people on the screen are too serious or too noisy, the viewers are tempted to switch over to other less important but more interesting channels.

Election campaigns had been in full swing. The media people were on their toes and she was among them… the one I had referred to at the top. She was different from others, but I won’t say she was more scholarly than the rest, or more charming. She was Omni Present! Today she might be in a South Indian city, chatting with hawkers or taxi drivers and the next day she could be seen in a remote village in North India, listening to the grievances of the farmers.

Besides English and Hindi, she seemed to be quite at home with a couple of other languages; and her mission was not exactly to know the preferences of the voters but to highlight their problems. In short, even as she was enjoying every bit of here encounter with all sorts of people, she was making you happy too.

Business Outsourcing!

Business Outsourcing!

Dignity of Labor

Dignity of labor, though an imported “culture”, is taking roots in India. Gone are the days when certain jobs were looked down upon and the ones who took up such jobs were supposed to be dull heads. Government jobs commanded great respect in those days, especially in the marriage market, mainly because there was security of job and, of course, the possibility of what is euphemistically called “Side income”.
The contempt for hotel workers in the middle class families was such that if a boy was not good at studies, the parents would keep telling him that he was suitable only for some “Hotel jobs”.

Not that there was no craze for professional courses but that was the monopoly of the upper middle class. Now the attitude of the of the people has undergone a sea change. They do prefer government jobs for the same reasons; but there are options which are considered to be far better than government jobs. After the advent of information technology, the government jobs became the choice of the less fortunate!

Now a days, the so-called middle class families who had nothing but contempt for hotel jobs are sending their kids to catering colleges which will ensure them a “decent job” in the Hotel. You may be a supplier or a cook but at the same time, well dressed and the jobs have sophisticated names! And what more, you speak only English!

Nature’s mercy

It was a Sunday morning,
Bright and sunny.
I was at liberty to go anywhere or
Sit and hope doing those sundry works.
But off I moved, letting
My legs to do the rest.
Summer was at its peak and
You can guess how hot it was.
There were no shades en route
Except the shadows of the building here or a wall there.
I was longing for some cool drinks
But all I could see was a petty tea shop
Something was better than nothing
And I opted for a cup of tea
Soon, things changed for better
Nature took pity on me and others like me
And she slowly openly her huge black umbrella.
In a jiffy the sun and blue sky disappeared
But there was message from nature
Sent through the thunder
“You have just 15 minutes to take shelter”.
I knew what it meant and turned around
And just when I reached home it began to rain heavily.
The plants and trees seemed to say
Thank you skies thank you skies.

Our ancestors

Children, behold the Chimpanzee:
He sits on the ancestral tree
From which we sprang in ages gone.
I’m glad we sprang: had we held on,
We might, for aught that I can say,
Be horrid Chimpanzees to-day.

By Oliver Herford

It was a bold decision indeed. Had we not jumped from those trees it would have been a costly miss for us. Blue or yellow or orange or red would have made no difference to us. Coffee or tea would have wasted their special flavor in the air. Gold and silver would have remained unpolished underneath the earth along with crude oil and coal. Cotton would not have known its worth. Thunder and lightening would not have had any impact on us—we would not have known that light travels faster than sound. What would have been the fate of Darwin or Helen of Troy for that matter? Christopher Marlow’s immortal lines “was this the face that launched a thousand ships…” would not have seen the light of day. Apple would not have acquired the prime of place among fruits. Remember this oft repeated prescription by the physicians—an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

What would have happened to family relationships? Unthinkable…one’s grandfather could be one’s mother’s third or fourth husband as well. Thus far and no further, I leave it to your imagination.

Fasting: Indian style




Save the religion please

When we think of religion what comes to our mind is divinity, love, non-violence, honesty etc. If a person is religious it ought to mean that he is making an attempt to rise above pettiness or hatred and anger. Daily visits to the places of worship should enable a person to shed his ego or greed or mean-mindedness. 

But unfortunately religions themselves have become a source of tension these days. The finer sides of religions have paled into insignificance and the people are subjected to some rigid rules. Fundamentalists interpret the religious texts according to their whims and fancies and the young minds are poisoned to such an extent that they believe the survival of their religion depends on the annihilation of the people practicing other religions.

The remedy lies in the hands of the religions themselves. All those who believe in the finer qualities of religion should sit together to revive and spread the message of peace, love, unity and respect for each other.

Beware of unsocial elements

In 10 days from now the suspense will be over in India but not so, if it is going to be a hung parliament. Right now all of them are optimistic about the victory of their alliances which include the congress-led UPA, the BJP led NDA and third front led by none or all (it seems there is a fourth front too). One hopes there won’t be any uncertainty after the verdict.

Anyhow, whoever manages to scrape through, their top priority should be efficient handling of the law and order situation, which is hopelessly bad now. In a democracy, it is not unusual for the people to protest against certain policies but what is happening in the name of protest is violence, destruction of public property and at times even the police and army personnel are not spared. Then comes the most dreaded violence, which is euphemistically called ragging in the educational institutions.

The success of the next government will depend on its ability to contain these unsocial elements and it needs courage and a down to earth policy and cooperation of all political parties. In short, India needs an efficient home minister who means business.

It is cricket, cricket all the way.

Some people in India complain that cricket gets more publicity and encouragement than any other sports and games. Be it Olympics or Asian games or international hockey or football matches India makes its humble presence and returns home empty handed. But Cricket is a different ball game as far as India is concerned. There may be ups and downs but they bounce back before long.  There have been world class cricketers in India who not only enabled India to occupy a reasonably good position at the international level but inspired the boys all over India to opt for this game. Now the position is such that wherever you go, you can see the boys playing cricket…and cricket alone. They watch cricket matches on TV and learn the trick of the trade and apply them when they play their own mini matches! Everyone wants to become a Tendulkar or a Sehwag and some of them do make it to the top! Cricket has set an example and it is for other sports and games to learn a lesson or two from cricketers instead of complaining.