Posted in Extras

यह मेरी प्रेम पत्र पढ़कर…

प्रिय नरेंद्र मोदी जीl धन्यवादl
आपकी मन की बात सुनी थीl बहुत सच्ची बात हैl

आप तमिल लोगों पर कितने प्यार करते हैंl और इस उम्र में तमिल भाषा भी सीकते हैंl तमिल परंपरा पर आप को कितना मर्यादा हैl आपने कहे आपका प्यार कभी दिमिनीश नहीं होगा तमिलों परl हम भी इधर केहने चाहते हैं कि हमको भी आप बहुत पसंद है और हमको आप पर जितना प्यार है की वह प्यार भी कभी दिमिनीश हो नहीं सकताl

मेरी आँखों में आसूं बहती है आपको देखके l आपकी सेंस ऑफ कमिटमेंट मुझे बहुत मूव करता हैl रोज आप बीस घंटे काम करते हैं हमारे लिएl और आप सोते भी नहीं हैंl छुट्टी नहीं लेतेl पार्टी कभी कहीं नहीं बनते हैंl सिर्फ काम, काम, काम पूरा दिन, हर एक रोज, हर एक महीना, हर एक सालl आप अपने के लिए अब तक क्या कमायेl स्वादिष्ट खाना काये? नया घर बनाये थे? स्विस बैंकअकाउंट है आपकाl आप के पास क्या जीl आप के पास हमारे जैसे आम आदमी है जी बसl

आप सौ साल जिए इस देश के लिएl आप हमारे मन में हमेशा हैं और आप के लिए यह पूरा देश प्रार्थना कर रही हैl आप अब तक क्या किया हम जानते हैं और आप बहुत कर चुके हैंl लेकिन अब समय तो अच्छा नहीं हैं किसी के लिए इसलिए किसी का मन नहीं लगता हैl कोविद कारण है और आप भी जानते हैl इस विनाश काल में हम कुछ स्ट्रांग होना चाहिएl आप तो स्ट्रॉन्ग ही हैंl आप पर हम सबको पूरा विश्वास हैl

आप की माँ क्या त्याग किये इस देश के लिएl हमारी नमस्कारम हैं उनकी चरण मेंl आप अपने ख़याल रकनाl आपकी तबियत की चिंता हैl आप की हाल कैसा हैl आप की सफ़ेद दाढ़ी EVR का जैसा हैl आप अच्छे लगते हैं इस रूप मेंl आप की आवाज़ सुनकर में यह पत्र लिख रहीं हूँl पब्लिकेशन के लिए नहींl सिर्फ आप को पता होना है कि आप हर एक दिन मेरी प्रार्थना में हैंl

आप से मिलना हैंl जब आप दोहा आये थे, मुझे शौक थी आपसे मिलने किl लेकिन भीड़ बहुत था. आपको डिस्टर्ब करना मै ने नहीं चाहती थीl दूसरा भार चेन्नई में देखूंl God willing. टेक केर जी और धन्यवाद आप की तमिल बात के लिएl

यह पत्र मै ने आप के लिए हिंदी में लिखी थीl किसी के मदद के बिनाl (सिर्फ गूगल ट्रांसलेट प्रयोगकी l मेरी ग़लत भाषा को क्षमा कीजियेl ) नमस्कार जीl

Posted in Lateral Thinking

Concentric Circles Of Interest.

There are two circles of ‘Interest.’ Or rather three (if you include the tiniest circle of control where we can exercise control like with our family for instance). The middle or inner one of the larger two concentric circles is the circle of influence where we can hope to have our way or say. We can hope to have some positive or negative influence within its ambit. The third or the outer larger circle is the circle of (no) concern of ours! We may evince some healthy interest in this circle without actual involvement. Or we may plunge headlong into this circle for better or for worse. Where we belong to in the scheme of these circles makes for all the difference.

These circles of influence and concern were first spoken of by the American author and public speaker/mentor Stephen Covey. Now his theories are syllabus of management schools. Still the circles fascinate even the housewife me as they clearly mark a distinction among the priorities we make and the result we infer thereupon.

In the circle of influence which is the inner core, we can exert our personal influence, go for something worthwhile and be proactive. A lot of benefits can be derived from here. We have control over our own actions and behaviour. We are responsible for our own state or condition with none to blame. We can maximize our potential and reap rich dividends with optimal utility of resources at our disposal. Normally this is the story of the ‘rags to riches’ men. For that matter, any high achiever can vouch by the circle of influence. The tapping of right opportunities at the right time is crucial. Those of us who have unwavering attention on the circle of influence can truly make a mark. These guys have a positive approach to things and the good vibes can leave an impression on all around. Such men and women are worthy of emulating. Their journey with pumped up energy to the pinnacle of success and glory can be an enthralling one full of spirit and adventure.

Its not that each and everyone of us have to reach a prescribed height in life. We all have our own small and tall personal summits to climb. Every story is still commendable for the efforts and merits thereoff.

There may be rare exceptions when some can be the cat on the wall when it comes to choosing between the two circles. Media guys can claim occupational hazard as the logic for extra curricular interests. Others can be masses who heroworship sportsmen etc. Theirs is a contained curiosity with no side-effects. We can look upon this as a welcome distraction, if not anything more. A change of scene.

Finally there may be the daring or the overconfident who may be more concerned about the outer world circle. Classic examples may be our political leaders, social activists etc., for who there is a sustained interest in what need not have to concern them in the first place. Perhaps nothing is illegal, yet nothing is warranted either. It also takes a great initiative and spirit to nurture any extraordinary interest when it comes to truly ambitious among us who would like to act as catalyst to social or political change for instance. It can be about anything really, why reduce the scope of anyone’s concern at all. Sky is the limit for these hopefuls. It has to be a personal calling if I may say so.

It is when the lesser mortals get stuck in the circle of concern that can waylay them off their original intended pursuits of goal, that we have a problem in hands. Hindus may refer to such a hanging state as ‘Trishanku swargam’ Unwarranted interest in the circle of concern can prove to be detrimental. It can cost us our peace of mind. It can make us lose focus and be least productive. It is simply unhealthy when you delve deeper with this circle of concern, because it is not going to add value to one’s self. Beyond a point, engaging oneself with this third outer world of concern is not advised.

Can we stop floods or earthquakes? Can we change the flight timings. Simply none of these are in our control. Can we cleanse or reform our society in a day of rapes and other crimes. Healthy discussions and debates are fine. Getting carried away with these factors can have no positive effect on our self. Pre-occupation with these worldly issues can be disturbing. Social media is breeding more of frustrated citizens sitting on the fence of circle of concern wherein they have no business to belong. If it is not in our power to move or change anything for the better, what is the point in cultivating hate or pessimism or negativity.

How to prove proactive in the circle of concern. We can organize sections of society with our position and influence, we can raise awareness, we can channelize our energy to constructive criticism and fruitful action, we can try to usher in changes for betterment wherever and whenever possible. That will be truly appreciated. Over social activists, the social workers are good here. One has to work from grassroots level here.

Still this is no reason to underestimate or undervalue or undermine those who limit themselves with their circle of influence. Their scope is still vast for not having a damaging or counter-productive effect within their small enclosure. The motivation others derive from such simple straight soul is remarkable We need not have to aspire to change this country, this city. But we can strive to make a difference in small willing and interested circle. Which is why in Bhagwad Gita, Krishna says, ‘Do your duty and leave the rest to God.’

Posted in Political

Who Defines What.

‘Classical is a hoax’ claimed a Carnatic vocalist/writer.

I have always felt different about things than my friends.

Why are the colours black and white considered inauspicious by Hindus. Black especially bears the brunt but it happens to be my No.1 fave colour followed by dull tones such as grey.

Why and how did the hyena get portrayed villain in the Lion King. Why should always Lion be considered the king of the jungle. If you watch wildlife channels such as Natgeo or Animal Planet or Discovery, it is pretty evident that the male lion is no hero but feeds with the cubs on the hunt brought home by the lioness. Even the lioness waits for the hyena pack to finish the prey first if they can, lingering in the sidelines to pounce on the kill at the right moment. The hard work is done by the hyena and other scavengers and the lions mostly pride on others’ trophy. This lion-hyena angle always used to be explored by my son who’s all the way for social justice. The hierarchy we have defined for in the predatory world out there is justified neither.

Why do scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, lizards and cockroaches make us squirm. Why is it that the butterfly makes our heart flutter, not the earthworm that does the dirty but necessary work. Why do we shy away from the skunk or the porcupine.

How many nations in the world teach/tell their children the painful truth. Will American kids be told outright that they ethnic cleansed mercilessly the native Americans and are merely squatters. Will the British and other European text books explain how many ethnic races were wiped out clean by their forefathers for the spoils they loaded back in their merchant ships to sail back home. Today we talk of immigration as if we parachuted into this 21st century from nowhere.

I wouldn’t want to be drawn into Tamil Nadu politics or PSBB or Siva Shankara Baba issues. I heard a statement by a topnotch woman from the reputed school. I would like to point out that not the finest IITian until today can repeat the immaculate Stapathi engineering work of the Brahadeeshwara temple at Tanjore or for that matter, any engineering feat executed in ancient India. And these stapathis had the calculations in their head. They did not have to attend organized institutions with research labs to derive at their math. Tanjore temple by Raja Raja Chola that is a millennium old is earthquake proof with a circular base that can rock and shift. This is the secret that the Tanjore dolls hold. Which community did the Tanjore stapathis belong to. We had the Grand Anicut dam built by Karikala in the 3rd century CE. Every single ancient Hindu temple to those like heritage houses for instance of Chettinad etc., were erected by whom. India is sprinkled with ancient architectural and engineering marvels every single square kilometer east to west, north to south. May I know who were the brains behind these impossible creations. We had circular stairs in our home before it was demolished. Completely calculated and executed by an illiterate mason of those times. How he arrived at the angular steps and load bearing capacity – who can guess. Madam PSBB, detaching myself totally from political issues, I would like to bring to your attention that, your IITians and IIMs who may be products of your so-called superior and elitist schooling are fit for only one thing: when they have to be on equal footing with everyone else, they are ready to flee the country for a few extra greenbacks. I am talking about the marvelous engineering that belonged to the lowest castes of India all these centuries in which none of the upper castes partook anything. They are the brainchild of none from FCs. The men who built ships, who studied the flow of the water stream and erected wells, the men who raised great cities and townships and the men who designed the finest jewelry of precious gems and metals from the mines they unearthed and worked, the men who ran the economy and founded banking systems, the men who specialized in metallurgy and mixed minerals and practised medicine – I am sure all these did not belong to the forward community at all. Yet we had the state of art, precision technology like the Konark sun markings and the hanging pillar in Andhra. The least celebrated brains of India, today it is a shame that any particular community must try to snatch their victories and claim success for themselves. Whoever it is, I condemn such a thoughtless and horribly prejudiced statement. It shows how ignorant and shallow some minds can stay without evolution or betterment of any kind.

Well any knowledge and/or every knowhow is a treasure accumulated with practice and perfection, be it cattle rearing or costume designing or agriculture. No occupation or art is acquired without training hard. Simply every intelligence counts. When you associate a particular acumen with a overhyped community and claim to be the best among the worst lot, it means your world view is limited or distorted. You don’t take into cognizance the sum total input of the entire community who in every little/single way chip in and help sustain a society. I will have to refer again to ‘the Elephant and the blind men story.’ Staking claims of tallest order is the mindset of a meanest coward in my opinion. You have to be sick. Over politics, it is these reckless statements that hound me because they’re welcome with applause by a convoluted section among us.

What happens when our contorted education breeds this kind of one or two dimensional academics. They are good with their books but India hardly boasts of fresh innovations. Memorizing is what has been the inherent gene in some communities for centuries and that will enable them memorize to the letter t every single word in journals, magazines, textbooks, etc. The real thinking, analyzing, innovating, executing brain is not this. With this limited scope wisdom, you can at best become from the desk clerk to the CEO but not the deviser, discoverer. That’s my take in any case.

I don’t expect the state politicians to talk responsibly or sensibly but I do expect it of an educationist.

We live in a world where credit is quickly and hastily given to the superficial layer without a consideration to the actual workmen. All the science and engineering and mathematics of ancient India have been claimed ownership by one particular community which is sad. Countless nameless science and math achievers have been brushed just like that under the carpet for the reason they did not bother to document their expertise. Take the case of Bharat Natyam. Once the dance form of the Devdasis, it is not anything new. It has been in existence for eons. Only dusted now and adapted to current times.

Bhoodan movement saw landbanks that were donated by wealthiest of this country for equitable distribution to marginal farmers and the landless, to usher in a sense of justice. The banks of the Vaishyas were nationalized overnight. Princely kingdoms were taken over and even their pensions annulled. Nobody fled India because everyone gave up for India out of love for the nation. Only one group wants to leave India if they have to share everything with everyone. I am by no means casteist.

Years back I came across a thesis that, a literate gene travels 14 generations. And imagine the family trees branching thereof from both paternal and maternal sides at each level. It means, once you learn a letter, the mutation can carry your memory gene for as many generations (do the permutations and combinations for 14 generations taking in the branching families either sides). Your genes remember. From far and wide. Imagine the sum total effect on the cumulative benefit derived from two millennia of such an education even if by word of mouth for some forward communities. So that much of fixed deposit some communities are already born with. How can you even pit them against the downtrodden who are taking to books hardly in last 30-40 years. This Hindu hypocrisy is very unsettling. You are discrediting them of everything when you have had a headstart in everything: from being endowed with the best of residency in the heart of a township to education and comforts of life. The banished ones who had to fend for themselves cannot even today claim equality. Your children have to attend the creamiest schools yet you would want reservation at par with the municipal school children. How much more unfair can this world be.

These inequalities disturb me terribly. I hate both casteism and classism. If I raise this topic with friends, I risk losing them. It pains me so much that nobody is even willing to listen. When I hear my thoughts reflected in some one else’s mind and words, it brings a drop of tear to my eyes. I just stand vindicated. I know now I am not a freak for the way I feel at the bottom of my heart. The weakest and the most vulnerable always have my heart.

My maid, my ironwalah, my autowalah, even my future vettian – these are not here by their choice. They are here by BIRTH (that you cannot find in any other place on earth) because I pushed them down to this level so that I can climb up on their hunched backs. By I, I mean my ancestors/forefathers. I had to stamp down on someone and see to that they had to wait for centuries to produce a first graduate with govt quota, is proof enough of how much I have made good living at someone else’s expense all these ages… So is it not time that I feel the remorse and make some amendments long overdue?

I don’t expect anyone to grow up, because they seriously do not have it in them. If I hate India for anything, it is for this reason. I just know, someone gifted with such an empathy is a rare find. It calls for intellectual honesty, something most of us remain in denial of.

Meanwhile the preening peacock dances away as India’s national bird and the common crow stays boo-hooed. A dollop of soul searching will do everyone some good.

Posted in Interests

Informal vs Formal Talks/Speeches

Excited to be back in the informal Tamil forum, one which is not ‘organised.’ For, the handful of us have no elected president or vp or secretary to run the show. A group of us were into such a down-to-earth setting of Tamil speech club if I may call so (for lack of any other term for description) that I left with my departure to India by the end of 2019. Initiative by Sri Lankan Tamils principally, the get-together used to be bi-monthly at a friend’s place who lent his spacious residence for us to enjoy pure literary Tamil company not corrupted by formality of tailormade speeches or awards/prizes/ certifications or even an enrollment/membership fee, or any such paraphernalia that normally went with formal speech fora. Each of us took a turn to treat everyone with a sumptuous typical Tamil breakfast of Idli, Dosa, Pongal, Vada, Sambar, Chutney with Filter coffee that we would order from a franchisee of Saravana Bhavan or Vasantha Bhavan or Aryas here in Middle East. Hearty exchange of ideas, sharing of thoughts, recitation of poems penned, singing our own lyrical compositions, sometimes some interesting games would keep us engaged for almost two hours. No dilution of quality. No laid down rules. No censorship because as adults we thought we were aware of what to talk in a public platform. Attired informal but for festive occasions, we dressed as per the season. The meetings always began with Thamizh Thai Vaazhthu and closed with a Mangalam. We would decide on the course of the meeting unanimously with inputs from everyone. We discussed the next meet’s agenda together. No hard and fast rules. No tab on speeches but we stuck to meticulous timing without a prompt. Every single one of us got to intereact with each and every other member making for truly an inclusive and totally transparent forum with representation from all quarters. Not more than 15-20 of us could make it in any case. We would disperse after a light banter at the end of the session to wait for the next meeting in a fortnight’s time.

After attending formal English speech clubs I am able to appreciate better the informal speech environment of the Tamil Koottam (simple name for the very earnest effort). Credit goes to the Sri Lankans for not allowing an inch of manouvre from the purpose of the meet, keeping the substance mattering all the time, yet managing the affair matter-of-factly without drawing undue attention to themselves or trying to boss over. The gesture needs emulation in every arena. Very mature handling.

I am not denying how much I have benefited from formal speech clubs. Toastmasters, to be more precise. In TM environment, I learned to LISTEN first! Then I noticed others’ mistakes that I thought I must avoid. And finally I grew out of my stagefear. Not that i am now totally not shy of the stage, but to a large extent, I was able to successfully quell it,reaching out to audience with direct eye contact. My takeaway from TM is my new found confidence over anything. I learnt to write briefest speeches, because I am notorious for my longwinding write-ups! I learnt how to wrap up quick, how to give a thunderous intro, build a convincing body and then make an impressive retreat that left the audience thinking. I don’t know how much I achieved really here, but I took my own sweet good time to reach level 10 or the final step to become a competent communicator that normally took others 6 months to one year only! I spaced out my projects because I also shared my time between India and here. With every level, I wanted to match my speech quality equally. Awards and certificates meant nothing to me.

But I am all for the high achievers who make some very good speakers in the TM world. I have listened to some greatest and moving speeches packed with a punch, delivered on the dot. Drawn from life experiences, there have been one or two that even moved me to tears. I think I may be the only housewife in my club hahaha! I wonder at their reaction if I am to tell them I am a granny now hahaha! The mix of the crowd is good in TM whereas in Tamil club, you know what to expect. I like TM for the different kind of experience that I cannot savour elsewhere.

The point is I have no desire to improve myself beyond a point in the formal TM atmosphere. I may continue as a member but I lack the initiative to take it upward from where I am. May be I am too spoilt by the informal Tamil gathering where my heart truly belongs!

We are all not TED material here hahaha! I like to keep things simple and stressfree!

Tried my hand at the Tamil TM as well. Quality of speeches was a sore disappointment there that made me quit half way.

We give our valuable time (!) to these activities because we want something from them, to add value to our lives. This is why we listen to music, we read books, play games etc. Anything that does not serve the purpose is a waste of time and effort. In fact, it is an affront to our learning spirit and pesonality!

My conclusion is that, the informal speech fora are the most democratic, with everyone on equal footing. But to convene such meetings, the members must hold extraordiary discipline and self-control. None is obliged to anyone and no one needs to be bothered with responsibilities. Partially this is true of TM whose office bearers too do a thankless job. TM has no profit motive either. It is self improvement with active enrollment and participation, each one paying for his/her through which is fair. For me personally, an informal gathering still keeps my mind free. We have met in parks as well, in winter times.

I hope to grow with both the speech clubs. Each serves me in a unique manner. From both I derive benefits that cannot be quantified. Not an articulate speaker, I most favour translating my thoughts into words here in my blog 😀

Posted in Political

NRI, the Non-Required Indian!

தங்களது இலவச ஆலோசனை எங்களுக்கு தேவை இல்லை, மன்னிக்கவும்.

Non-Resident Indians, NRIs in Middle East, repatriate their earned incomes in foreign exchange to India. Add value to Indian economy. Middle Eastern nations with whom India hardly shares a similar wavelength in most global poltiical issues, still employ a sizeable chunk of Indian population, blue collar and white collar in equal measure. India is saved a huge bother, otherwise it would be a task for the Indian government to productively engage this mammoth NRI population in Indian industry. It is a blessing that the employment scene in India is not as messy thanks to gulf job scene while at the same time India earns valueable foreign exchange from millions of expat workers gainfully employed in gulf countries. Double bonanza!

Contrast this to the NRIs from the US. Useless lot who talk big and contribute not a single penny to Indian economy. What is Sundar Pitchai doing for India. Isn’t Shiv Nadar of HCL a far better example we must all emulate. What is simply the role of the NRI Indian Americans in Indian scene than foment trouble with their volatile ideas and provocations. Will they ever return to India and try to fit back? Will their children take to living in India. In what way do these guys feel responsible contributing their unwarranted comments to events and happenings in India. Who is asking for their suggestions or remarks. What is their value edition to India sum total. Keep your dollars jingling safe in New York bro, here we in India can take care of ourselves. Don’t poke your lonnnngggggg nose into our Indian affairs. Remember you gave up your Indian passport to embrace Uncle Sam. With that you cut your umbilical cord connection with Bharat. You are welcome on OCI card, you can be our guest, make your home, enjoy our hospitality, but just like you cannot vote in Indian elections, you are not entitled to your political views on India.

Rule applies from Rajiv Malhotra to everyone. Nobody is special. Unless you are willing to live in India six monthsat least every year. Otherwise cut your nonsense and look after your own business.

Posted in Extras

May your rich life spill over into your writing pages…

I do not know about others, but I make sure I don’t read other bloggers so that my ideas stay fresh and original and do not get influenced even inadvertently by their thinking ways. In other words, I do not want to mimic anyone or borrow words.

I started blogging amateurish during my Malaysian days. I didn’t know what it was and I could perhaps be one of India’s earliest bloggers who knows! India Times had a blogging portal in 1999 and it was then that my blogging journey began. My first reader was a young Pakistani. We met in an online chat room and I gave him the link to read me up. For me this was a life changing experience. I was interacting with someone who was from an enemy terrain, who was opposite sex (even if he was younger) and i was letting someone read my thoughts! First it was overwhelming but I trusted my first reader because I found him extremely decent. In fact I adopted him as my younger bro!

I blogged mostly what came to my mind then, consisting a series of new posts and my brief comments on them, nothing more. Blogging space used to limited in those days. Hardly a page was allowed for each post. Plus, my writing was still like a school composition.

Through this Paki friend of mine (with whom I quarreled over Kashmir (!)) I got interest in their media. It is here that I discovered my blogging Guru (!) so to speak of. My interest in blogging grew in leap and bounds because, I found someone writing from his heart. I also found that the blogger who stroked my interest in writing was arrogant to the core, rogue, rascal of first order and rowdy but highly intelligent and versatile. Beneath the veneer, I suspected a kind soul, a big heart. I thought I liked his style. He is the only blogger or columnist I read up regular until today. He has such a profound influence on my thought process. I guess I inherited even my rambling style from him!!! For years I read his blog posts based on his personal experiences and life that gave his words a legitimate touch. A rebel in everyway, first I was intimidated but gradually I came to appreciate his way of life and ideals. Coming from a terrorist country under military command, I was aware, he had to stick to boundaries. Nevertheless, I found his sarcastic and satirical pieces a very intelligent representation of his deepest thoughts and dismays. In last few years, the columnist has evolved into a researcher and author, but if you ask me, I like his past avatar the best over this his present sobered down self. That was what inspired me even if he was a lot repetitive in those days. I picked up my books based on his recommendations. There was a hitch: how do you tell anyone your mind guru was a Pakistani!! My husband noticed me reading him and said, I must log out! I tried telling my friends about him and they said, he must be a spy! Simply nobody liked the fact that I read a Pakistani journalist-author! Most were scared and the rest thought very lowly of the country. This is the first time I am writing about him openly in my blog. What a fine taste in everything, what a sense of humour, what a well camouflaged aching for the way things turned out, that was masked in satire and sarcasm. You can be an author/columnist/blogger, in short a journalist, easily in India. But to be one like him in his country needs utmost courage. I drew my own courage to write on sensitive subjects from my Maanaseega Guru. I have read his first book as well. Rambling as usual nevertheless, I loved it. I am touched by his life experiences that have molded him into the kind of guy he is today. I like his brand of music. Sense of dressing everything. Deepest respects and admiration here for my Guru, from a middle-age housewife from India whose thought process he has influenced. Charming. Of course, now he is watered down version of how he used to be. Currently my guru writes a lot on international media and on international news having well read the foreign publications and journals and research works, but in my memory are his cricket stories, jail protests, college days, campus politics etc. His India stories piqued my interest as well and mostly my comments to him were kind of like, ‘bast**d’ or ‘rascal’!

(My guru may have no idea he is my inspiration. May not even be aware of my existence in the first place).

After dwelling on my ideal blogger/columnist’s pieces for over ten years, I decided that I had to be honest like him in my writing and it is okay to draw from my life experiences. After all I have no secret to hide and I am nobody important. It is fine if I disclose certain personal things because they lend my blog an element of authenticity. Also in very different ways from his, my life is also conditioned by unique experiences. I thought these can be told without harm to a limited audience. I decided that I would never invite audience to my blog. Whoever comes here is an accidental visitor. Most return!

Today I find some of my friends blogging. They are excellent nostalgic bloggers/writers and I hope and wish they drink from the fountain of life too before they set out on their intended course.

Ahead lies this journey, a very interesting one full of vivid scenes and encounters that can be felt only by the mind. I am following such a road and I am enjoying this walk with my co-travelers. My life I feel is rich because of their intelligent and interesting company.

Most of us here are keyboard warriors quite like some armchair intellectuals out there. But the rewards we reap by way of hearty contentment is immense. You feel a sense of purpose. You feel a fulfillment.

At least this is my personal experience. Grateful to all who make this adventure of mine worthwhile.

No, absolutely no idea of going professional or public. Happy as I am. Amateurish. Appreciative of the handful select audience.

Posted in Food For Soul

நான் அறிந்த தெய்வம்

Inspired to write this:

அன்பற்ற ஆசாரம் பழுது

நேயமற்ற நோம்பிலும் நேர்த்தி குன்று

மனிதம் இல்லா மந்திரம் வீண்

வாய்மையில்லா வேதமும் விரயம்

ஆர்வமற்ற கலை அப்பழுக்கு

உயிரற்ற ஓவியம் விலை போகா

இனிமையில் சொல்லும் சுடும்

இசைவில்லா முயர்வு தோல்வியே

நம்பிக்கையற்ற நெறி தவறும்

உருக்கமற்ற கதையும் கவராது

கனவில்லா துயில்வும் சுகமில்லை

ரசனையற்ற மனமும் வெறுமை

பொருளில்லா புத்தகம் பலனில்லை

மணம் இல்லா மலர் சூடுவதற்கில்லை

மக்கள் இல்லா செல்வம் மங்கும்

பேணுதல் இல்லா உறவு கெடும்

ஆக்கமில்லா செயலும் செல்லாக்காசு

 பிடிப்பில்லா வாழ்வு பாழ்

நோக்கமில்லா மார்கம் தடுமாற்றம்

தூய்மையற்ற அகமும் விளங்காது

சமத்துவம் இல்லா சமூகம் அவலமே

சமநீதி இல்லாத சமயம் அயோக்கியம்

மானுடமற்ற மதம் மூர்க்கம்

ஆறறிவு கேட்ட மனிதன் ஜடம்

உன்னதமில்லா எதுவும் உயர்வன்று

ஒளியற்ற ஆலையம் கேடு

சீரற்ற வழி செம்மை இல்லை

பகுத்தறிவற்றாரை கடவும் கடந்து போகும்

Posted in Economic

One Size Fits Not All: Standardization/Regulation Hick-ups In India.

In colourful vibrant India, everything has to shine a different shade. Every kinder garten kid must flutter like a butterfly in a different pinafore than the kid from a second or third neighbourhood school.

The range of secondary school education boards we boast of: Respective State boards, CBSE, ICSE, NIOS… and of course the latest IB (even though if you follow IB syllabus you will have to necessarily go for graduation to a foreign university as Indian universities do not recognize IB school certification). Not to leave out the rural municipal schools/urban corporation schools which may adopt state board stream… Where is a uniform platform to contend.

You would never know whether private buses ferry industrial workers to factories or kids to schools unless you read the nameboard, because school buses ply in all colours from yellow and blue to pink and green.

How are college campuses. How many tiers. For Tier I we have IITs and IIMs and AIIMS etc. Tier II has NIT etc., Tier III comprises other engineering and medical colleges, and so on… Every tier seems to have a qualifying entrance specific to the their layer. No standardized selection/admit procedure or test.

Hail a black tuktuk (auto rickshaw) in Delhi. In Chennai hail the yellow one and in some states of India watch out for the green ones.

How about sizing in India. Are our brands and sizes compatible. Size XL in one brand can be size L in some brands in the country whether it is a t-shirt or trouser or kurta. You can never take the sizes for granted. Shoe sizes? Shoe size 38 in one brand and size 40 in a different brand and size 8 in a third may be the same fit! And here we have the next level of confusion. UK size or US size or Europe size??? Shoe sizes now measure from 6 to 12 (US sizes). But what is really the standard Indian size for garments or footwear.

Aerial views of geographical locations excite us always when we board a plane. The only country where the aerial view is so mixed-up, confused, hazy and clueless is India’s! I have landed in well planned and organized countries in Europe, Asia and America. I can’t help comparing and concluding that the bird’s eye view of my nation is just a sample of things to come once we land. Co-ordinated town planning and organized development missing in us so that, India is an eyesore when you look down from the skies.

Is our water consumption metered? Water is the scarcest natural resource as we know, even if replenishable. The upper middleclass among us have access to abundant piped water supply, footing a bare minimum bill (by way of a flat water tax and minimum fixed water charges), with the regular unmetered municipal/corporation water filling our basement sumps to the brim, while the lower middle/working class have to run after the water tankers. Notable is the absence of a civic water distribution system that must be in place for the poor and the neediest among us. The rural scene is unmentionably pathetic. Who are we shortchanging here. India could be the only third world nation that does not meter water. Go see the European nations and America my dear countrymen and government. Not even a glass of water is free even in restaurants where it is always free in India wherever you go, especially in restaurants.

What about a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for all Indian citizens, the most important of all. Why do we have separate laws governing followers of different faiths. High time everyone is brought under the single umbrella of a uniform statute. Are you hearing me pseudo liberals and leftists. Or are you having your moment of selective amnesia. Dear Indian bhais, do you enjoy special religious laws in the US and in European countries. Can you have four wives as per laws in the west. Whereas in India, I recently chanced upon some real life cases. Legally sanctioned. A muslim man who retired as govt servant left behind four wives. After him his pension was drawn by his first wife, then second, then after her the third and then finally the last who was only 20 when she married the old man. The man’s four wives were drawing more pension for longest number of years than the man’s service record, close to over half a century. In which country on earth is this possible including in middle eastern.

Is there anything in India that is properly standardized, regulated. Anything at all streamlined effectively and hassle-free that you can go about your exercise without a bottleneck.

Conforming to uniform national standards across the board will be a national benchmark. It will be a day of reckoning in Indian history.

Until recently before GST was introduced, even the Sales taxes and Excise duties varied from state to state on crossing border. Now with the imposition of a uniform tariff, long queues in checkposts are eliminated. Some attempt at regularization of revenues, a commendable attempt! Seamless pan India trucking for all-India permit holders. The fuel and time and charges and manpower saved!

Aadhar unique ID and PAN (Personal Assessment Number (for Income Tax)) are like baby steps at standardization/regularization and linking of both may not be a hundred percent foolproof method to prevent loopholes but may go a long way in preventing duplication of accounts and hoarding of black money.

Driving licences and Passports were easiest to standardize and centralize.

Voters IDs have some regional input like the PDS Family cards.

Without standardizing education, some learned so-called pundits talk about reservation. Yes, reservation in India is possible when every kid in India either attends the neighbourhood creamy academy or the municipal school uniformly. When the differences start as early as in kinder garten, there is no way we can suspend reservation quotas in India for the moment. Privileged classes have to make amends to accommodate the under-privileged to usher in some sense of social justice in the country. Reservation is merely a compensatory pay-out.

NEET may be a bold step towards regularization of admit of candidates to our medical universities even if it may pit our rural aspirants in a disadvantageous position.

At a very slow pace, India is going for standardization across the board.

Is standardization/regulation not possible at all in a country like India. Remote chances even if a country seven times as large as India, the United States has managed to achieve sort of an equilibrium, so to say. In India, the differences are culturally rooted and have been in place for centuries. We will have to work harder and with sincerity to weed out the discriminating factors dividing the society.

Only a satisfactorily literate society can realize the objective goals of a flourishing economy. In such an event, standardization is the natural outcome. A free and fair economy is possible when we have level playing ground for everyone in our country.

It takes a strong will on the part of administration/government to enforce laws to standardize our economy notwithstanding criticisms.

Inclusive growth is the only way to grow uniformly and evenly. Over next few years, hopefully we can count on more standardization and regulation-regularization enforcements for bringing in equality and social justice across the spectrum.