Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Monday, 12 December 2011
Santa came to my house on the eve of every christmas to deliver my gift, wrapped properly in white cotton which was so soft that sometimes if thought the cotton itself was a more valuable gift.
My mom said that the cotton came from Santa's beard and he had left a part of him with me. Even though my mom seemed very knowledgeable about the rituals santa followed , she did not think very highly of him.
I know this because she would never let me wake late night to catch santa or atleast have a glimpse of his flying sledge. Sleeping late one night in a year to catch a glimpse of santa and flying reindeers was not a tough ask for me, but she was not going to give up. Probably she must have caught him sometime sneaking into our home, she does not appreciate anybody doing that, not even santa. I always wondered how santa came inside my home . Dad used to make sure that the main door was locked properly and all the windows were grilled. Only if i could ask him the secret passage ,I would have used it to go to the playgrounds.
That was 15 years ago. I would never had figured out who the real santa was all by myself. I overheard some kids unravelling the secrets of christmas gift reaching kids. The next few days I tried to figure out how i could prove the poor ignorant kids wrong. But with time the realisation sunk in. I felt bad that my favourite argument will not be of much use now. But it also solved a lot of myteries. I found it hard to believe that my request to santa for a bike was turned down twice , now i knew why. For all the super powers my santa at home had , he surely was not reading my thoughts. Also now i knew why my mom did not think too highly of santa.
I have not become a complete athiest now, but yes having a real santa would have been a great help in making a decision. I still watch all those movies in which they show north pole and santa claus with dwarfs working overtime to make sure the kids get their gifts. I wish it was true. I miss believing in santa, waiting for gifts, quitely watching the night sky in hope of catching a stray reindeer .
One thing I did not miss though was the feeling of being looked out. My santa at home was practically as good as the santa from north pole would have been. He did not have the white wavy beard or wear a red coat or laugh like santa but then he is available all round the year. He also eventually bought me a bike and above all paid my college fees.
But the one thing I like the best about my santa at home is the fact that he carries a cell phone. So everytime I need anything from santa I do not have to pray along with a miilion of other kids in competition to grab his attention. I just have to give him a call and he is there for me always , everytime , all the time. I have my own personal santa and I am very happy with this arrangement.
Tring tring.............."Hi Dad .........can you bring me some chocolates today "
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
All my life, I wanted to once experience how it felt to fly high up in the sky. Well, now I am here gliding in the clouds, only ruse is that I am no longer alive. A few moments ago, my bike's front tire got stuck into a water filled pothole in one of the busy roads of Mumbai. My life on earth ended thanks to the great work by BMC (Bloody MCs).
As I was gliding , involuntarily , the wind carried me towards an office of sorts , an impressive edifice with huge doors . The walls had a heavenly white glow. On the door was written ‘ENTER’, not welcome or anything, just ‘ENTER’. If my MBA friend was around , he would have told these folks how bad such language is for business, but then this particular business is immune to all MBA principles I guess.
I slowly entered through the gate to find a young looking guy, sitting behind the table working diligently on his laptop. Initially I thought he was one of the visitors like me, but his comfort in this place made me think he has belonged here for some time. I gingerly walked towards him and he as on cue looked up and me and smiled, a little forced smile but a smile none the less. He showed me a chair to sit on. I sat and spoke for the first time since death.
Me: Hi, I am....
before I could complete my sentence he spoke still looking into the laptop.
HIM: I know who you are. You are 198212080615.
Me: Am I?
Him : Yes, don’t worry you can now forget about your earthly details ,you have a new identity here.
I did not know if that was a good for me or bad.
Him: You know, I don’t like you much.
Me: (nervously) why is so sir.
Him: You software engineers live your life working on off days and you even die such.
I had absolutely no clue what he was saying. I did work a lot on weekends but I died on a Friday.
Him: It’s an off day here.
Me: You have an off day here? I can come later if you want.
Him: Yea you can, just that your body has already been taken care of by your family. So you have nowhere to go back to.
Me: Really, so soon, I have been dead for only a few minutes.
Him: One min here is a few days of earth time, so you don’t see any service unavailability as far as death is concerned.
That sounded a bad dialogue from a worse gangster movie.
I did not know what to say or do next, it was my first time here. As I was going through possible topics to talk about in my mind , I looked outside a window and saw some huge buildings , magnificent and extremely regal . There were a few others still under construction. I looked back at him, still busy with his laptop.
Now I had his attention.
Me: Are these the places where you put us.
Me: You seem to be building quite a few new one out there.
Him: Yes, the Indians seem to have a lot of spare time of late . We even sent a few of our best men to sell contraceptives to them. But they seem to love the natural way.
Me: But aren’t kids God's gift.
Him: They sure are, and Indians seems to be spending all their spare time trying to get one.
Some thing came to his mind and he took his eyes off the screen and towards me.
Him: Where did you say you are from?
I was in a fix now, I had not a clue who he was but I wasn’t ready to be in his bad books. And my death surely relieves me of my patriotism. But ,I wasn't ready to lie , not here at least.
Me: I am from Bombay.
He grinned, a sarcasm filled grin.
Him: What do you think my name is? Thackeray. I know Bombay is in India. And if I was Thackeray, you would have died once again for calling it Bombay and not Mumbai.
Me: I guess dying once again is not logically possible. Is it?
Him: If I was an Indian politician, what makes you think logic concerned me.
He was right, and that brought a smile on my face. I guess I was warming up to him. I had a few questions to ask. I was just waiting for the right moment.
Me: Sir, do you mind me asking you something.
Him: Go ahead.
Me: Which ones of those buildings are heavens and which ones are hell.
Him: All of them, floors 10 and above are heaven, floors below 0 are hell. Floors 0-10 are for people we don’t know what to do with.
Me: Where do I go?
Him: I am still on with your life file. Let’s see.
Me: Do you realise I shouldn't be dead. It wasn’t my time yet. I haven’t seen anything yet. I am still a virgin.
Him: Well, it’s entirely your fault, not mine.
Me: What do mean? You think I should have paid for it like my friend.
Him: No you crack head. I meant that you had were Genghis Khan in your last life. You had your share of fun for 7 lives in one lifetime.
Me: What The Falooda . You mean I will die a virgin for the next 6 lives too.
Him: Actually 6.49 live.
Me: 6.49? What is this? A Bata showroom?
Him: Actually, this was kind of a premature end for you, so you will carry on in the next life.
Me: And how will you do that.
Him: My guess is, you will be born in India and would be something like a 35 year old virgin.
Me: Kill me, please, kill me.
Him: In your own words 'Not logically possible'.
I wanted to scream to 'Logic my behind'. But then he was going to put me on the floor . So I controlled my anger and started looking out of the window. After some time I got bored and wanted to talk again.
Me : So , you know who would be going in to the new buildings ?
Him: No, we decided to build them keeping in mind the toys people like to play with down there nowadays.
Me: Proactive..... Guess there is no democracy or democratic decision making here.
Him: Not yet at least. Gandhi has been busy in hell.
Me: What The Fungus.. Gandhi in hell.. What god forbidden substance do you smoke? Did you lose your brains betting on India beating Zimbabwe?
Him: Easy with your language boy.
Me: Seriously man? Gandhi in hell is like Hitler with Nobel Peace Prize.
Him: I know. Nobody put him there; he has a free pass to go where ever he wishes. He just chose to be in hell trying to improve living conditions there.
Me: ohh.... well I can imagine that. He must really be God's favourite child.
Him: Frankly, He isn’t anymore. Last time he met God, he lectured him on the power of forgiveness and wanted hell shutdown. Since then God has been running away from him. And I mean that literally. That old man can surely work up some pace.
Me: I know he can.
Him: Since then, God has put a board outside his gate saying 'Gyan dena mana hai'.
We shared a good laugh after this. Then suddenly something struck me.
Me: You have been referring to God as Him.
Him: Stop there. I am not answering that question. I don’t want any women's organization shouting my name outside my door.
I couldn’t stop laughing at his predicament.
Me: So even you are afraid of women.
Him: Don’t you guys down there have a saying 'Hell Hath No Fury like A Woman Scorned'. I can confirm that to you.
We laughed heartily while he still continued to peek into my life. After a while I thought I will get to know him.
Me: How old are you? I mean in earth years.
Him: May be a few thousands.
Me: Really? You don’t look so.
Him: Well our anti ageing products out here are much better than what you have down on earth.
Me: Women on earth would be dying to get here.
Him: They do still.
He smiled at his own observation. I was still looking outside the window.
Me: Tell me something sir, what are these people, working as labourers on the new buildings. What were these people on earth?
Him: These guys were special. They spent their life building magnificent places of worship on earth and some similar God's work. So we let them do more God's work here.
Me: So if these guys are here, who is on the top floors of the buildings?
Him: Mostly Atheists and Politicians.
Me: What the Frooty ? Atheists and Politicians?
Him: Well I can’t explain completely why God loves atheists so much but I know why politicians are up there.
Me: Enlighten me.
Him: The politicians are there to be punished.
Him: The politicians spent their lives giving false hopes to people, so we send them to the top floors with the hope of spending the afterlife in heaven. The atheists who have very little faith in God's judgement anyways throw them out of the top window, and they fall straight into hell.
Me: Very interesting.
Him: Come here now. Your calculations have been done.
I was nervous now.
Him: You go to the 5th floor, in a room without windows and doors.
Me: What? Why?
Him: All your life you have done everything for yourself, insulating yourself from things around you . If you did not put anyone in misery you also did not help anyone out of misery. So it’s only fair you be put in place where you are isolated from the rest of the world.
I was sad, but it was fair, I was indeed too busy with my own self.
Him: But I have a special thing for you. I will set you up in a room where you have a blast every once in a while.
After a few minutes I was there with 71 other guys in a white washed room with no windows. And true we did have a blast once in a while. Every once in a while there would come a guy with some big weird vest with wires dangling out of it , and on seeing us ,the 72 virgins , will cry out something and boom , will explode into many pieces , which i am told would end up in the lowest floors.
Monday, 15 August 2011
A doctor friend of mine told me our nation is inflicted by something similar to what AIDS virus does. The very systems that were supposed to protect us have turned against us . A political system which was supposed to take us forward on modern thought and polity has turn regressive by eery passing year . We now have a party for every cast , sub-caste , religion and region . A police which was supposed to protect us and maintain law has for been found guiltyin innumerable circumstance to have been in cahoots with the guilty . Sometimes commiting crime themselves , otherwise cleaning up the evidences for a paltry sum or just being mute spectators to a burning man who they were supposed to protect . A judiciary which was supposed to be blind to class and caste has become blind to time . Delays in justice now run not in years but in decades . Nitish Katara , priyadarshini mattoo , jessica lal and plenty others have been the victms of the failure of our judiciary . Every structure of our democracy is under attack . As these systems failed our rulers watched in glee . A system run on money and power forms their strength. They are not all corrupt , but there are far too many of corrupt in the systems. As the recent spat of scams showed us ,those corrupt in the system have made themselves indespensible and those not have turned blind to corruption.
A wise man once said, Peace is not absence of war , but result of victory. We are at war with our own systems and this year the war has found a face and a symbol. A battle field has opened up and lines have been drawn. The moment has come , this is may not end the war but this could very well be the waterloo moment .On the 16th of this august a fight for our freedom from corrution and an irresponsive and irresponsible governance will be fought. And non-voilence , as it was then , will again be the weapon of choice . Non violent the method may be, but it would need no less fire in the belly to win this battle . No less courage and determination would be required . No less endurance to pain and no less resistance to mud slinging will be asked for .
An old man on his 74 year old feet ,with a Gandhi topi on his head ,has decided to stand up and fight . He has called up on this generation to join his fight . Will this generation stand up on its young strong legs . Will this generation answer his call or will watch in silence as it always does . Is this generation going back to the coffee table to talk or will it walk the talk this time. I dont know what it will do . I know what I will do . I will spread the word . I will show my support in every which way possible . When our nation celebrates its 100th year of independence I wanna look at the kids , show them the tricolour pinned on my shirt and tell them I have earned it . I will stand up .
Monday, 11 July 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
As an engineer I was supposed to do calculus and develop algorithms in my life. These things somehow made sense to me. Even though I was never the best but I still seemed to be going somewhere with them. But the two things which refused to get into my head were the language of law and the laws of economics. They always seemed so complicated, so alien to me that all my efforts to understand ended up futile. At the end of trying to understand them i would be so tired that I would go back to doing my serverside programming. I have a few aspiring MBAs and a few MBAs as my friends, Whenever I asked them what the hell was wrong with the economics of this world , they would start teaching me futures and equities and commodities and many more such terms . It always would seem as if I was getting near them and then suddenly they would bounce over my head.
My grand old man once told me, if your solution isn’t simple, its not the solution . So I decided to go and find out the simplest way of understanding economics. The basic rule that governs it all. After talking to many MBAs and commerce grads my problem was still unsolved. Then I went to friend of mine, The Gujju, who i was sure would be able to answer me. And he did, in a manner that suggested I had asked him something that was common knowledge. He asked me if I remembered what was taught in the high school economics book, the demand and supply curve .Surprisingly I remembered and remembered it well . He told me whatever jargons the CEOs , CFOs or the MBAs used ,it would always boil down to the demand and supply rule. Wherever there is money, there is demand and supply channeling it around . That was my Buddha moment. Suddenly I started understanding economics. I still did not get the terms but I understood the basic rule. He also gave me another piece of advice , to nod when an MBA talked , that’s the quickest way to shut him up . Any questions and arguments will only extend your trauma.
Having satisfied one part of my ignorant self, I decided to try and satisfy the other using the same principal. I decided to keep it simple. I once read a renowned journalist, he opined, in India we have too many laws but too little justice . I wondered if I could understand India's judicial system using the same rule that I used to understand economics. The demand and the supply rule.
It is not difficult to see how judicial system in India works once you have applied the rule . In India the supply of laws is perennial, every year some new rule is added to the already overflowing reservoir of laws. This abundant supply of laws has made it cheap. Law is bought and sold at every court in this country, sometimes in the name of out of the court settlements and sometimes as bail . Although it must be noted that not all laws are in equal supply. Some are more readily available than the others. Take for instance the traffic laws. They are the cheapest, and are bought and sold at every signal. I sometimes feel they are like the FMCG, the fast moving consumer goods. There are other laws covering petty crimes which fall in this category. The laws covering serious crimes are a little more costly . Murders, rapes, kidnapping are a little costly to buy off , but nonetheless are bought and sold. These laws are not sold in the open market, their availability is restricted to some sophisticated markets . One with money can always find these places with some helpful lawyers eager to show you the way. The most costly of them are the Industrial laws . The laws need consistent investment. The big industrial houses invest generously in the political parties which return the favor once the come to power or reach a position to decide who comes to power. These investments are costly also because the product that the consumer demands has to be custom made as per the customer's demands. The choices of the customer are respected and it is believed that in absence of laws that can be tweaked to help the customer new laws are created to cater to customer's needs.
As far as justice is concerned, in India it is in scarce supply. If the conviction rate can be seen as a variable to the scale of availability of justice, it can be defined as abysmal. If we take into account the amount of time our courts take to deliver the verdict, the supply of justice looks even worse . In such a case justice in this country has become extremely costly and can be considered only as a luxury for the rich . No wonder that many a poor accused in this country spend more time in the jail than their conviction would have warranted had their case been heard. On the other hand the rich move on with their lives often after committing heinous crimes because they were able to buy the bail. Where the poor have to often rely on public prosecutor who is poorly paid, sometimes incompetent and many a times corrupt; the rich come with a battery of foxy lawyers to bid for verdict in the great auction of Indian judiciary .
In a country where food and kerosene are subsidized for the poor, i feel a day has come when the finance and the law ministries will have to subsidize justice too. And also add justice into the basket of items they use to calculate inflation.
Applying the rule of demand and supply may not have helped me understand the language of law , but it has helped me to understand the nature of indian judicial process . I remember an old movie climax where the police officer shouts at our hero, who is holding the villain at gun point "Vijay , kannon ko apne haath me mat lo " . I wondered would I be able to say that to a poor vijay holding a gun at a rich villain . I would be urged to look the other way.