Saturday, August 29, 2009

Such people do exist!

This one is another anecdote from my trip to Mysore last month.
I met this 50 something gentleman who teaches in the engineering college in Mysore. Nothing out of the ordinary right? A professor earning his living in the sleepy town of what really took me away was, when I asked him his background and where he had studied from. His reply really surprised me, coz we don't really meet people like him anymore these least not in our generation.

This gentleman had done his engineering from the prestigious IIT and had even earned his PHD from IIT and had done some commendable research in his subject area. Guys, this chap was pure unadulterated brain! And after all this all he wanted to do was live in sleepy Mysore with his wife, and share his knowledge with young enthusiastic minds. For some of us, this may seem very illogical or impractical, or just not being in step with the world and times. But for him this was life and that too the kind he wanted! Simple. Who are we to judge?

But, as soon as we got out of that place, I turned to my husband and said - what the heck is he doing here? I mean the world is out there for him! I wondered what really fascinated him about his middle class life, a nagging wife, a sleepy town, his lifestyle, his struggle to build a house, everyday challenges of commuting on public transport?? I mean aren't those the very things that all of us want to escape and so we go for 'bigger' and 'better' things in life?

That set me thinking...really how many of us today, would choose a relatively unknown, quiet, sober life for ourself, when we could have the world at our feet. When armed with the best qualifications and brain we could have the best opportunites for us anywhere in the world, then why would you or me ever choose to leave the worldy things and live a quiet life in a sleepy little town? How many of us would leave a good flashy, globe trotting lifestyle, money making opportunites and choose a mundane life full of struggle?

Well, maybe a lot needs to be said about the younger generation and their aspirations. Maybe we need to revisit our whole value system today and ask what drives us and why? At what point did we take a different direction form our predecessors? Yes, the world is a different place today than it was a few years ago, but our basics are still the same. But, still such people as the professor exist and proudly chose the life they want and like.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jaago press jaago!

Is there nothing happening in the country, in the world today? Nothing worth talking or reporting about? The only thing splashed on every news channel is - Salman Khan jumping onto the IPL bandwagon!

Hello! give me a break!! What the hell is happening to journalism? I can imagine an India TV or Aajtak running this news for the next 4 days...but no! each and every news channel only has Sallu bhai, Hamare pyar salman khan...and in how many movies hes played cricket or even looked at a bat and ball!! No wonder, nowdays people view news channels for entertainment! I hear this so often now -Kahin kuch accha nahi aa raha toh news channel laga lo...ample entertainment!

NDTV and IBNs of the world I want to know:
the latest on the Mayawati statue issue...there is supposed to be some more activity on that
details on the dossier India sent to Pakistan and what happened
the reality behind Karkare's killing
when is the juduciary thinking of hanging Kasab. I cannot pay tax to feed him anymore.
the proofs and reasoning that the cops have against people picked and labelled terrorists.
the latest on the education reforms.
how the government is going to deal with the muthalik's of this country.
what happend to the Shiney Ahuja case. I want to see him hanged if he is proved guilty.
how well the government is equipped to tackle the swine flu and other virus/health hazards.
what the economists are saying about achieving 9% growth.
if the economists are hinting that the recession is over.
about the latest technologies that can benefit me and make my life better.
more on farmer loans and how the govt is helping their families and preventing suicides.
why its not being made mandatory for judges to reveal their assets.

Believe me the list is endless, I havent even gone anywhere near the international scene! . Today every citizen of this country wants to know the truth, the details of everything. Press is the fourth pillar of democracy and sad to see how they play around with their duty and make a joke out of it! What a shame!

**Gosh! in the ad break I just saw movie trailers being played on 2 news channels!** I can't take this anymore, maybe saas bahu saga is more bearable! Switch to colors or something!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Birthday cheer around the house

I had another birthday last another year older...friends reassured me...ur only as old as you think and stuff like that...but getting on to the other side of 30 is actually great! Im loving more free, more confident, more experienced, more grounded, more happy, more ME...yeah :) Its good people, its dam good!

This year hubby surprised me! He's not the romantic/ mushy types who would say sweet nothings, come up with thoughtful gifts, surprises, or shower me with compliments, but this time he started the birthday celeb a day ahead. When I came back home from work in the evening...i was just standing in my room with my mouth and eyes both wide open....this is what I saw on the bed and my hubby jumped out from behind the curtains to surprise me with a song.

Awww..I was so touched...and then laughed like crazy to see him do such acts...i never imagined him to do such things! he knows i like flowers and this brightened my evening. I still have this in one corner...but shall have to do away with it tomorrow..they are so wilted now :(

Absolute bliss..and then retail therapy followed...aaah! who am i to complain..the shops and shopping was great, everything was perfect! How could we forget the cake! hubby had ordered my favourite choco walnut cake on the D day. I even got a musical candle (made in quite wary of made in china things!) nevertheless I had fun blowing that too. Guys! but that dam music doesn't stop till you cut a wire in it...yea it can get embarrassing/irritating after a while

To top it, the strangest birthday gift ever arrived...Although, I loved it...but just did not expect it for a birthday. The new dining arrived nicely packed and the store guys fixed it.

It goes very well with the decor and now i have a big big task-to dispose off the old dining table and the chairs! But, i love this one and complimented hubby on his choice. Hes improved a lot being with me :) There was a time when I was so afraid when he wanted to do some home improvement...guess now I can take his suggestions!

The flower vase is also a gift from a friend.

We also added some light to one corner in the living to make it more warm and cozy. The green vase, the flowers were all chosen and arranged by hubby. My next post shall be written from there. Oh! I am so loving it!

We finished the day with some good dinner and music!

Hey! wait...i just remembered I didn't get one of those big Archies greeting cards... the really big ones, which compete with my 5 feet tall frame...hmmm..i have a reason to complain..and i shall lodge it pronto with hubby dear.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mr Prasad, is you daughter cattle?

On a recent trip to Mysore, I met Mr Prasad at a relative's place. Mr. Prasad is sort of a local influential person out there, or at least he said so. (I would say he was the local moral police). The kind of guy who would tell people what is wrong and right, sort out petty domestic issues, get the neighbourhood kids admitted to engineering colleges with lesser donation, etc, So, you basically get the drift about the kind of person he is (hes the kind im allergic to!!)...okay read on then...

Well, he boasted about himself endlessly...later about his family - his wife (homemaker), his son (engineer in the making), and his daughter( sitting @ home after completing her MBA). He added his son is studying electrical engineering...and quickly asked which stream of engineering I had which i said - none. I'm not an engineer, I had a masters in sociology. He looked disappointed to hear that and quipped what was sociology and what could I do with it. He was also surprised how I had found a job in an big IT company...maybe my dad's influence...hmmm and then said - aap dilliwalon ki baat hi kuch aur hai!! (Wow! what was i supposed to make out of that??) anyway im confused, i smile ...i move on.

I asked him about his daughter. This is what he had to say:
She is a good and pretty girl.
She has completed her MBA and now at home.
She is waiting to get married.
We are searching for a good engineer match for her.
We are collecting a good dower for her.
She is learning how to run a home under her mom's supervision right now.
She has mastered cooking.
She goes to the temple regularly with her mom.

Well so much for who his daughter was...I asked why she was @ home and not working in Mysore or nearby Bangalore, where most young boys and girls have moved to for work. He added...I have educated her...that was my duty and now it is the time for her to learn household jobs and keep herself ready for marriage. Sending her to work will corrupt her and she will meet all sorts of people which might not be good for her (ladki barbaad ho jayegi). Moreover, sending an unmarried girl away to Bangalore is a no girls these days are too much. We read about them in the which I wanted to say quite a few things to him about his sense of morality and right and wrong...well, i did not. My husband was giving me very uncomfortable looks and praying I don't start off...and since it was his relative's place i shut up so that i don't embarrass them!

He said as soon as he finds a good match he will marry her off and be relieved...u know the types who would say beti ki shaadi kar ke ganga nahaunga...just that Ganga doesnt flow in Karnataka...thank god for that! (gosh! is she after his life right now...that she must be thrown out asap!!...I was getting so mad at him). He added when she gets married it is up to her husband and in laws to decide what has to be done with her...if they want her to work she will work and if they want her to run the house she will do that. He was very clear that as soon as she gets married she will be settled in life and its none of his business anymore and she is her husband's property and he will dictate what has to be done with her!

By this time I had lost it! I mean did he think his daughter was cattle to be given away loaded with jewellery, lots of cash, TV, AC, utensils and what not...when she is out of his shed in somebody else's shed, she becomes his property and then he doesnt give a dam! She was like a puppet who would dance to her new family's tune. For him his daughter settling down in life was she getting married, preparing idli dosa, having 4 children!

There are so so many such people in this country, who still have well defined places for women and make them abide their rules and stay within boundaries. Scores of Mr. Prasads all over this country have laid out the rules in their homes, communities, and neighbourhoods. Lakhs of women in this country have been forced or conditioned to believe and accept the roles that their 'masters' have carved out for them. The whole concept of getting settled in life differs for men and women. Men are settlled when they get a good job and start getting good cash home. Women are settled when they find a good husband and get married. Till then Mr. Prasad rules and then another Mr. Prasad in the form of the husband takes over! It is a vicious cycle, which produces more and more Mr. Prasads who trade in cattle each day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sometimes u gotta stand up & do what is right

So, what right did i do today? hmmm...ive got thinking to do on that simple a question it may seem, it might be a difficult one for some of us.

There is a brave and coward inside each one of us. And there is a constant dialogue that goes on between them and one wins. So when does the brave me win and muster up enough courage to do the right thing at the right time? Maybe some of these are truly brave-

The person who is determined to stand up for what he/she thinks is right and can speak his/her mind out.
The person who starts life from scratch, when all is lost. Think of all the war widows and how they put together their torn lives.
The person fighting cancer and not letting the pain and agony show up on his/her face and carry on with life like any other day. Read what being brave and will power can do
A journalist reporting from war torn Iraq beacuse he/she believes in the power of truth and making people aware of reality.
What about women in Afghanistan and Iran..aren't they brave enough to bear what they are today bearing or are they cowards to bear what they are bearing. (read this interesting bit -
The NYC Firemen who were going up the WTC stairs to save lives while everybody else was rushing down. Well, back home our NSG commandos, who did an incrediable job during the Mumbai Taj attack. Now, they are all truly men of honor.
The soldiers who bid goodbye to their wives and children and go to the border, knowing they might never see their families again.
The girl who says no to a marriage in exchange of a fat dowry, specially relevant to our Indian social system where marrige is the cornerstone of a girl's life. I salute all those women who have raised their voice aginst this evil system and have gone against the stiff social norms and rules.
The spouse who stands up against his/her abusive partner and fights the system with or without help.
All rape victims who to start with come forward to lodge police complaints and fight for their dignity and honor.
Or maybe something as simple as to speak the truth.

Yes, we all need to get up each day and do the right thing and be brave coz one who is brave is truly free!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Court ruling: Maybe we need to learn something

Remember the guy who got on a plane in the US with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it? Did you know his trial is over? Did you know he was sentenced? Everyone should hear what the judge had to say.

Although, I do not entirely agree with the foreign policy of US and the way they deal with terrorism on many ocassions. But there is lots we need to learn from that country. This is one such instance that should wake up our judicial system...Jaago!!! Read below for the verdict.

Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court.

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say.
His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for therecord, Reid also admitted his 'allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah,' defiantly stating, 'I think I will not apologize for my actions,' and told the court 'I am at war with your country.'

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below: January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid.Judge Young:
'Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you..On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively. (That's 80 years.)On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed. The Courtimposes upon you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 toAmerican Airlines.The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the lawrequires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier, you are not, you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal.'You are no big deal.What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing? And, I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom, so that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure.Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will.Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.

So, how much of this Judge's comments did we hear on our TV sets? Pass this around. Everyone should and needs to hear what this fine judge had to say.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Only, what I am not is an Indian

I was born in India, grew up here, stayed all my life here, but who am I?

I keep quiet when I see crime against women and children.
I keep quiet when I see rampant corruption and politicians manipulating the system.
I still look for quotas or some reservation to take me forward in life.
I give away my hard earned money to a certain behenji to erect her statues all over the country.
I hate the system, but do not vote, coz it is too hot to stand in the queue outside the polling booth.
I love to criticise the government machinery, but never want to become a part of it.
I stay indoors when there is a natural disaster and people need a helping hand.
I pay bribes to the traffic cop to let me go when I jump a light.
I hate standing in lines at the passport and RTO offices, so catch hold of agents and grease all the palms in the food chain.
I keep quiet when hindus kill muslims and muslims kill hindus.
I keep quiet when churches are burnt and mosques pulled down.
I get scared of fanatic groups on Valentines Day and stay away.
I keep quiet when I see the 16 year old maid's daughter being married off.
I do not want to rent out my house to people belonging to certain religious groups.
I make a face at the mannerisms, culture, food of people from the other parts of the country.
I have nicknames for people coming from other regions and I harden the regional lines.
I buy international brand products more than i buy a tata or a bajaj.
I quietly see our education system being played with by politicians who are far away from the pulse of the people.
I can but don't opt for programmes like each one teach one that can benefit the society, coz my weekends are for the mall, clubs, parties, movies.
I keep quiet when I see environemt being raped in the name of development.

62 years of independence and still grappling with basic questions...

I am everything Hindu, Muslim, Christian, SC, ST, OBC, tribal, north indian, south indian, maharastrian... Only what I am not is an Indian. Are you any different?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Oh! to be a child again...

If you have grown up in India, you know this one by heart -
Jab mein chota baccha tha, badi shararat karta tha,
meri chori pakdi jaati.....

Childhood is the most special time of our lives....What do you think when you think of your childhood? what images, thoughts come to your mind? Many many many...everyone is flooded with different childhood memories, but yet they are all so alike...Some of my favourite ones-
Hating to get up in the morning to go to school...Result being dragged out after all the loving polite reminders.

Dozing off in the loo, only to be woken up every time when mom would bang on the door. I was deaf to knocking...sorry could never hear it!

Running after the school bus..(see i told you sleeping in the loo can be bad)
School bags, homework, the favourite and hated teacher (hated the arithmetic teacher forvere and always!). Oh! how did i forget my favourite water bottle, fancy pencils, pencil boxes, the smell of new books and copies...aaah! i just loved it :)

Coming back to yummy home made food..sluurrrpppp
Play time in the evenings, cycling, board games...there really were no video games at my time...thank god for that!

Fights with my younger brother and my parents trying to calm us down and the ocassional spankings that we both got..he much fun now to think of it...although we hated and howled about it then! Wow! time has a great way of changing at how we look at things!
Ya, of course the international bookfairs that papa took us to! he got me lot n lots of wonderful books wonder he is an educationist. And of course the picnics...zoo, museums, parks, fairs...oh! i loved them all!

Hey! yes the birthday parties, when we wore our best new dresses, cut the cake, and waited for the gifts...aahhh...those days! couldnt wait to open the gifts...and hoped people would go back home soon, so I could have my time with MY gifts...Mom, dad you should have let me open the gifts as soon as somebody gave them to me...that way I would have never waited for the guests to leave ASAP!!

My summer vacations, the most eagerly awaited 2 months of the year. Last day before vacations, when we happily wished everyone Happy Holidays (polite way of saying good riddance to you for 2 months, dont show me your face again!) My summer vacations are flooded with memories of boarding a train and visiting my granparents place, farms, climbing trees and scraping knees, mangoes, litchis, playing with cousins, making friends with farm animals, roaming the fields, fishing, fetching water from the village well, taking a dip in the lake, counting stars lying on the open terrace with cool breeze touching my face, my granpa's clinic, his garden which he used to take great care of, my granma's stories.
Those were the days my friends...thought they would never end...aaahhh this is endless... I dearly miss those days!

Wow! this turned to be a good exercise...i feel like yesterday once again with a song on my lips and a lighter fluffier child ike heart :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

But what about men?

I was watching Sach ka Saamna - our Indian version of Moment of Truth on TV last night where this big fat lady probably in her early 50s, on the hot seat confessed that she beats up her husband (a thin short fellow)...her reason was that his sarcasm irritates she beats him up!!! Well, she didn't seem to have any remorse or guilt or apologies ...she was right there saying it on national TV for some moolah - yes i do beat him coz his attitude bugs me!!! And all the husband had to say - she can do what she wants, I have never touched her! Wow!! i mean what an arrangement! Why the heck is that frail guy taking all this shit!

Husband bashing is a may shy away, protect their honor, egos...but men ARE being increasingly bashed up in homes, more so in Indian homes. I have read about such incidents, but seeing a woman confess it on TV yesterday really set my mind thinking. Women are becoming aggressive and venting it out. There are more and more reports these days of wives taking the iron rod in their hands. Gone are the days when we only heard of wives being beaten or tortured. Should we say now women are the power centers in homes...some would say they always have been :)

Related to this, I read an article last week in the newspaper...a social organization, maybe it was some NGO, of married men who are holding a meet in Shimla on 15th August (India's independence day) to declare independence from their wives and to think and discuss what makes wives into vampires within 6 months of marriage!!! Are you laughing reading this bit...i too did initially...I read this bit out to my hubby, who stared at me and asked me whether this was a joke..and i was no...this is serious buddy!

Times are changing and men are raising their voice against lop sided rules and laws. Making their scars visible and forming associations, running helplines, seeking help. We are living in a violent aggressive world and the reasons are plenty...the home is the battleground of the sexes and the fight is on...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

When was the last time you played Monopoly?

Gosh! it was ages ago for me...and i was so so super delighted when we went window shopping today and ended up buying Monopoly from a bookstore. My hubby was a bit taken back why I couldn't stop talking about it and I was in a hurry to get back home...I just kept telling him..babe you have to play this...I just cant wait to unwrap and get my hands on it...I was happy like a kid who got her fav game on her bday as a present :)

We played for 2 hours and finally had to quit it midway, as it was past dinner time and hubby's tummy was growling! and of course who else, but yours truly won :) yayyy!! yayyy! yayyy! yayyy!
oh! i can sleep like a happy contented child today!
A well spent Sunday and Goodnitie everyone!

Sunday morning...

Sunday mornings are special. We have ample time to prepare some good breakfast! yippeeee!!! The weekdays are a rush rush with cornflakes, bread, buns and the like...sunday is pancake, yummy stuffed omlettes, baked beans, baked cheeze sandwiches, parathas...aaah!! life is so good on Sundays :)
To top it...its a lovely day outside today. See, what bloomed in one of the pots today...just added more color to the day. I told you Sundays are good...