Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Laal Batti Syndrome


image courtesy:newsmobile.in


We Indians are not very specific in what we choose. In many ways our choices are not ‘our’ choices. Like Darwin’s Homo sapiens our choices alter shapes in conformity to the external factors. We seek the inner self only as a matter of spiritual theory but when it comes to choosing a career we look around for inspiration.

So on one day a child aspires to become an Army Jawan after watching the movie ‘Major Saab’. On the other day he finds in him a cricketer in making as he launches into the television for a mundane IPL match. The same child stuck in a traffic jam when sees a flashing red beacon make its way through, realises how he always yearned to serve the nation through bureaucracy.

The blitzkrieg surrounding the 3Bs-Bollywood,BCCI and Bureaucracy vie for a space in transitory young ambitions . Thanks to the Govt recent complete ban on the use of beacons, except emergency services, bureaucracy might further slide down the list of career choices.(pun intended).

During my growing up years in Bihar of 90s, a convoy of Ambassador cars bearing red beacons engulfed the surrounding not only with  flashing red light but also enthused a sense of aura and inspiration.  The roads revealed an empty space as the red flash pounded on it. The motion of every other being was arrested as if  time stood still for everyone except the convoy.  People awed  and envied the spectacle in equal measure. Far in the corner of the street a firm hand of a father would clasp the soft shoulders of his son prodding him to capture the moment in his dreamy eyes. The image of the fleeting red flash would sparkle a flame in the ice cold vision of the son. The old father would stoop down to his ear and whisper, “This my dear son, this should be your future”.

Back in 90s of Bihar a child was literally initiated into bureaucratisation under such glares of  flashing red-beacons. So much so that she/he suffered from a Laal-Batti syndrome in which any flashing red light from an aeroplane in the sky at night to an ambulance on the road aroused the similar passion and pride.

Before the advent of globalization and before the nimble mind of a child was  bombarded with multitude of career choices , every child in a middle class family was taught to respect the ‘I’. To a spiritually inclined mind ‘I’ would mean to respect the ‘self’. But in the Bihar of 90s SANSKAR channel was yet to be and Baba Ramdev was yet to unleash his yoga skills. So for a middle class family ‘I’ meant a two step process to nirvana- first IIT and then IAS. In pursuit of these one may not attain nirvana but one did certainly remember his Nana.

The favourite pastime of my uncle and aunt was to ask, “beta bade ho kar kya karoge?”. I was clueless about my next day plan so the term ‘bade ho kar’ seemed infinity to me. To rest the case for once and all I would vaguely answer, “I want to sit in a Laal Batti car”. I didn’t know what they understood out of it but their  faith in my educational abilities and mine in their mental inabilities certainly made them imagine me as a government driver.

Although, Lal-batti were also associated with ministers but that did not espoused as much as reverence as that of a District Magistrate or any designated government officer. Probably because there are no such examination like Indian Ministerial Services to qualify, so all  aspirational stories ended their fate at the gates of Public service commissions.

Soon as the competition grew stronger and the career options widened anything under the sun and sandwiched between  ‘Indian’ and ‘Services’ found its acceptance among  anxious parents. As long as alphabets were concerned, in the world of careers, ‘I’ and ‘S’ had attained eternal glory. It was regarded that ‘I’ and ‘S’ would solely bring home the daughter/son in a Lal-Batti .  So we saw a rise in number of professions which could draw equal applause from society and a Lal-Batti car in garage- ITS,IRS,IRPS,IRTS,IES,IOFS,IP&TS, I-what-not- S. Such services disguised as elite government job came to the rescue of aspirants. Services the name of which could not be taken in a single breath, services which revealed no clue about the nature of work. Services which were only buyable in the hope of a Laal -Batti car.

Over the years this Laal-Batti had become a symbol of awe and inspiration for several aspirants spending their best of youth in coaching institutes of Delhi to Hyderabad. A symbol of power, privilege and responsibility for the officer designate. And a symbol of fear and subjugation for an ordinary man. The Laal-batti became synonymous to the VIP culture we became so much accustomed  to. Having seen its prime it is appropriate that it must depart. And when it does it will be missed by its seekers. RIP-Dear Laal Batti.


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Sunday, January 22, 2017

de-Merits of Drinking


Drinking and socialising are synonymous. Socialising quotient in an individual is more when people are drunk  than when they are allegedly under complete control of mind. So much so that you can intentionally slap a drunk friend and still get a “tu mera bhai hai” in return. Or demand a 100 rupee note and be prepared to get heaven in return “tujhpe jannat qurbaan bhai”. It is a different matter that their socialisation (unlike M.N Srinivas’s sanskritisation) is limited to people who are equally drunk and so there is no class upliftment. To those who are not drunk it is still socialisation with an added ‘anti’ as prefix.

Had it not been the moral support of alcohol hundreds of young adults, ditched by girls who change their boyfriend as eagerly as their dress, would become the loitering Devdas like the pet dogs around NewDelhi’s Connaught Place  market. It is then the booze that uplifts the moral of depressed soul to escape the promise of love and die together to find new promise of hate and forget her. With melting ice cubes in glass, melts his attachments and vengeance related to Paaro. The glass of whisky becomes a symbol of love and hate, of trust and betrayal. Holding it high in hand he invokes the Kishore Kumar inside him to sing  “Ye jo mohabbat hai ye unka hai kaam...!”.  

It is scientifically proven that the joy of drinking is more after a sudden heartbreak. These heartbreaks transform to eureka moments after few drinks when the sleeping creative beast is set large to take toll through facebook and whatsapp status updates.  By the time the bottle rescues itself from the drunkards all misgivings are laid to rest and focus shifts  to the new prospective Chandramukhis in the college. Thus, happy ending to Devdas.
Emotions travel faster than light in an inebriated atmosphere. It takes a nanosecond for a smile to turn into a sarcasm and sarcasm into mouthful of abuses. Sound energy of abuse and laughter transforms to potential energy of kicks and slaps establishing the law of conservation of energy. If you ever happen to land under such a situation it is better to pretend as drunken and concentrate on chakhna and masala peanuts. Lest you might become the target for energy dissipation for being an unequal among equals.
Such locations are where one can hold an audition of India’s Got talent. An aroma of alcohol and a hanging cigarette smoke unleash the hidden talent of an otherwise dull character. Jagjit singhs and Ghulam Alis perform incessantly till a Pankaj Udhas takes over. A singer , a poet, a philosopher, an economist, a political pundit  born and die with every new peg. The one who never held a broom properly in his hand  declares himself as a guitarist. Someone insists in reciting urdu shayaris by Harivansh Rai Bachhan while other passionately outpours Shakespearean sonnets in English that too without attending Rapidex English speaking course.

 Undisclosed relationships forged over a few cans of beer and sealed silently in elite whisky bottles are more stronger than the ‘in a relationship’ status updated on facebook timeline. The fb relationships might last upto few ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ or a fortunate one might live to see a few ’shares’ too, but the bond of beer lasts till your memory lasts. One may forget the name of the first teacher who  taught to hold a pencil but never the name of an acquaintance who taught to hold a beer can. “Yaar usne hi peena sikhaya”, a friend told me as tears swelled up in his eyes as he recollected his days of nurture and  enlightened me about the goodness of drinking.  And since ‘peena’ and ‘jeena’ rhymes in a go so he went on to extend the monologue to  “aur usne hi jeena sikhaya”.
Drinking is a great equaliser of masses. The poor forgets his poverty and the rich forgets his pride. A single whisky bottle, 4 glasses and a common cigarette puff can cut across caste,creed, age and religion and establish harmony more than any festival or politician’s speech. Even a hundred vedic mantras can’t energise the atmosphere more than mere clinking of glasses and resounding ‘Cheers!’. Summing it all in a quartet from legendary poem Madhushala by Sh. Harivansh Rai Bachhan:
बजी न मंदिर में घड़ियाली, चढ़ी न प्रतिमा पर माला,
बैठा अपने भवन मुअज्ज़िन देकर मस्जिद में ताला,
लुटे ख़जाने नरपितयों के गिरीं गढ़ों की दीवारें,
रहें मुबारक पीनेवाले, खुली रहे यह मधुशाला। 

Ps: No liquor was consumed while writing this post. An advice from my side please don't drink and write. or was it drive??Whatever. Given an option to Drink and write or Drink and drive, I'll prefer only drink. And if you insist on two acts i'll write and drive .No drinks. Because I watch movies and in movies they warn ' Alcohol is injurious to health'. I joined my left and right hand as a link on 20th in solidarity to liquor ban in Bihar.All because I am a tee-totaller. If you don't believe then I'll tell that soon in another boring combination of 700 words or so. 


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Saturday, December 24, 2016

It's a Bus, It's a Train, It's a Railway-Man


“Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year.”- Thomas Mann
Time simply flies. Minutes to hours, hours to days, days to years. Years to 5 years. 5 years into the world of a legacy enriched for hundred of years diligently by people now no more, world of rolling wheels and cruising metals, world of rails, tracks and bridges, world of Indian Railways.
 These 5 years also gave me an opportunity to visit several places across India. Opportunity to interact with several wonderful people and make long lasting relationships.
 I learnt about a species of superhero called Railway-Man whose single pursuit is to keep the wheel rolling and the giant moving. Whose muscles are not of steel, like Super-Man, but his thoughts are. Who doesn’t weaves a web of silk, like Spider-Man, but brilliantly weaves a web of railway tracks. And unlike all superheroes he wears his underwear correctly. 
Image Credit:pinterest.com
He can battle it out equanimously under a scorching sun or a shivering cold night or a thunderstorm. Like every superhero his personal concerns take a backseat when there is an emergent call to duty. After a cyclone or an earthquake he watches first for others well being and the train’s safety than his and his family. The first call he makes is to ensure if everything and every train is safe in the section and then to his family. When needed he works relentlessly under demanding situations- the tougher an environment the better his skills. Time and again he complains of better working conditions, of better facilities and this is what sets him apart from other superheroes. He shows he is human yet can exemplify superhuman capacity under all situations. The next time you sleep peacefully inside a train, trust that there are several such superheroes  from the engine driver to the controller at station to the one at tracks out there to help you reach your destination.
image credit: indianexpress.com

A site work of Railway yard for laying new turnout

On a lighter note, he is considered the Godfather of railway tickets among his friends and family . A quarter of his annual income goes into securing berths for lesser mortals who could not manage to login to IRCTC website during tough times-read tatkal hours. As a champion of travelling souls he becomes the last minute hope of a confirmed ticket. He is expected to possess a wand and a magical charm through which he could get a waitlisted ticket into fully confirmed berth anytime any day across anywhere. A powerful vision he has, people expect him to foretell their future- whether a waitlisted WL24 seat on 18th of next month will get confirmed or not.  A  Railway-Man sitting thousand of miles away is humanly expected to know whether the Yeracud express will arrive at Tiruvallur station at right time or not.(How?Tell me how!!?) Like Spider-Man he too possesses a sixth sense. His sixth sense is always awake in the form of an ever ringing mobile phone. Just  a ring and a brief “Halo...halo” can recharge him in minutes even from a deep sleep. So intense is his affection towards the phone that when it does not rings for an hour, he by default checks the miscall status.

Coming back to my experience I don’t consider it an accomplishment for having honourably survived these 5 years. Someway somehow it ought to happen. As long as you keep on moving on a straight road the destinations don’t count into your achievements. Nor can I boast of my actions giving due direction to this rolling world. Like time this legacy does not wait for anyone nor it is enslaved of anyone's endeavour. It sets its own ambitions and knows how to surpass them. This legacy worships motion, faster the better. Day in and day out it is propelled not by the brilliance of one or two minds but by its own sheer momentum gained over a period of 160 years. Like time it moves ahead at its own pace. We who are part of it are just fleeting characters in its ever expanding saga. Howsoever extraordinary we may consider ourselves, as the story unfolds we realise that the roles of our characters are limited. 5 year is a long time,in a short span of life, but I never considered my actions shaping this organisation’s story. If it were not me, it would be someone else playing the character.  Like time it will carry me ahead whether I make an effort or not.
These 5 years of association though gave a mixed feeling. To be honest, at times I considered it as my biggest achievement and biggest mistake of life so far. Don’t know why. But may be as in life our perspective changes with our circumstances so does it in an organisation. Being human I think one can afford these two point of views. I may or may not be a part of its journey in the next 5, 15 or 30 years. It doesn’t matter who comes and who goes. All what matters is that the wheel should roll and the giant should move.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Curious Case of Salary Slips


An image of  bunch of salary slips

*Also on readxp.com*https://readxp.com/thoughts/curious-case-salary-slips/*
While other people receive salary statements, we as govt employees receive salary slips or pay slips in government parlance.

Any thing which is not tangible does not goes down our throat. The pay slip is not just a piece of accounting paper. It is everything what a slip is ordained to be. It is born as a slip and it dies like one. You can fold it over and over, roll it, crumble it, or laminate it 15"x5". The last being least recommended because of least profit and more effort.

The joy of a government employee at the sight of a neatly folded salary slip as the first thing on his office table is inexplicable. Sensing the worthiness of the immortal paper, the peon brings it like a pleated shawl, with full guard of honour. As though he is entrusted to deliver the Padma Shri to  his immediate officer. The officer also reciprocates with cheap love and a rare grin. In a spirit of celebration and generousness  an all paid tea party is thrown to office staff with an added complimentary samosa.

Then arrives the moment of pride and satisfaction, sensed by a labourer having secured an evening meal after an exhausting day’s work. The employee lifts the slip up delicately and carefully in open palms as if it were a new born baby, caressing and savouring through eyes every feature of it. A convulsion of emotions ranging from fear to ecstasy surrounds him as he slowly unfolds the slip. As if he were a groom and the salary slip his newly-wed bride whose veil he has to uplift to reveal the beauty hidden underneath.  In both the case anxiety is at an all time high even though the product is known before hand. 

What lies inside are messages encrypted in fonts once used by Soviets during cold war. The numerals are so well sized and uniform that it is hard to differentiate between 8 and 5. Only a lethargic mind seasoned under controlled government atmosphere can judge that his payment is 50000 and not 80000. At the bottom, in clear letters one can read his exact Date of Retirement. It is a nirvana statement that makes very clear that your job is permanent but you are not. Next is the puzzle round. With abbreviations so tough that may bewilder even the geek god of social network acronyms. For each ‘SLAP-Sounds Like A Plan’- type we get many slaps e.g NPS, GNPS, PPF,GPF,PF,DEDN,TRAN etc. DEDN may resemble Dehradoon but it is the most crushing reality of pay slips -Deductions. Our attitude towards our work load and deductions is equal- we desire both to be minimal.

No organisation has better believed in and practiced recycling than government offices. A paper  is recycled and reincarnated so many times that it loses interest in its own existence. Once a dull grey texture evincing a sombre expression becomes part of a paper's life, it is considered fit for pay slips. The pay slips are recycled so many times that the trees from which they are derived, if paid their due royalty then their offshoots would be millionaires by now. It becomes so coarse in due course of time that one can use it efficiently as a sand paper or in place of tissue paper to soak off oil from your face.

The favorite pastime of a government employee is decoding his salary slip. Unfortunately it is the most strenuous of all. So much so that I find standing upside down far more easy than understanding my salary slip. The much hubub surrounding 7th pay commission revealed to me realities of life and salary structure.  It became  more like a Sudoku puzzle to find your new basic pay after the pay commission report. I am sure understanding a genome of an organism would be far more simpler than our salary structure. But old habits die hard. We seek pleasure in things which kills time, provided it is not ordered by the boss.

Well everything put to rest, as you start adjusting with a compromised bride as your wife so do you with the net salary in your life.(Mind you, it rhymed!). Salary slip is not just a piece of paper. It shows each one of us-in crude words- our actual aukaat and -in decent words- our worth in an organisation. Receiving it is a ritual, a practice, a festival celebrated in the last week of every month. It is the choti Diwali before the actual one when salary is credited in bank accounts. It is the mortal hope and resembles the collective happiness of ever complaining but sincerely working government employees.


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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Coins and Notes Call a Nationwide Strike

image courtesy : canstockphoto.com

The auditorium was packed beyond its capacity. Notes and coins of all denomination were jostling for space. Sweat ensured that all notes new and old looked crumpled as if just rescued from drowning into a washing machine along with a lousy jeans trouser. Torn and worn out notes were pulled up by young brigades wearing silver lined suits. All had assembled to stage a protest.  A protest to earn their self-respect back, a protest to mark their dissent, a protest to bring back the nawabs of Indian currency-500 and 1000 note. It was ironical that those who always comprised ‘change’ or ‘chuttein’ among Indian currency had assembled to resist a change initiated by Govt on 8th of November.

“Remember remember the 8th of November, the ban on 500 and 1000 note. I know of no reason why these currency denomination should ever be forgot”, roared a tattered 5 rupee note as its body trembled like a piece of paper. The improvised dialogue of Guy Fawkes met with thunderous applause from  crowd of 10 rupee, 20 rupee, 50 rupee notes. Whistles and cheers echoed from the fully occupied backbenches as the chiller coins  danced in jubilation .

A 25 paise coin from Bengal, where it is still worth a handful of jhaalmuri, representing the Ting Ming Congress (TMC) addressed the crowd next,”They banned me and my brethrens... hum chup raha,but now their overnight arrest and ban of our leaders will not be tolerated.Karara jawaab milega..karara jawaab milega”, a rupturous crowd was overjoyed.

Next, the Chiller Party of Minting (CPM) representative Bindi Karwahat came down heavily on govt and dared to ban one rupee coin as she uses a rupee coin to make a bindi on her forehead.Her bindi is reportedly safe now as the govt has no plan to ban currency of lower denomination.
AIADMK- All India Anti DeMonetisation Kratikaris have agreed on the sidelines of dubbed Tamil movies on SetMax to stage their version of Aakrosh divas called “Mera Aakrosh Divas” or “Ek aur Aakrosh Divas”. Questioning the intention of government DeMonetisation Kyun (DMK) party chief has lately questioned the govt’s move that created a fear atmosphere among the ordinary currencies of India.

“No one is safe now”, said an old 50 paise kaka.”I have seen many of my siblings being  arrested and banned but in this way never. As long as we coins are used in tosses of cricket match we are safe, but what about the notes?They are still unsafe”, he added.
Taking an offence on its face value a fifty rupee note replied,” You are tossed buddy,  we serve casinos ”.

In a nation driven with emotion, no speech fair or unfair, concludes unless tears swell up in the eyes of spectators. Thus a sobbing crowd next welcomed in admiration the badi bahu of currency, the estranged wife of Rs 500 and a note that served for long the nation’s economical interest with her value of Rs 100. “My tears are not yet dried and I will not let it dry my friends. I seek an answer and I seek it now”. A wave of sympathy, regard and a sense of revenge swept across the crowd. “If a black marketeer uses us for his vested interest, are we to blame?Are we to blame if  someone keeps us not in the bank accounts but unaccounted in the dark lockers of his home? Are we to blame if our foreign counterparts are valued more  than us?  Tell me, o chiillers at the back, are we the Kala Dhan?” The coins rolled down from the back and occupied the front space . The auditorium echoed with “No!! No!!! we are not”. 

“You prefer silence when someone amongst us is kidnapped and replaced with a new face. Silence prevails when we are humiliated by introducing a note of higher denomination even without seeking our approval. Silence prevails when democracy becomes democrisis.  This casteist nation has turned racist. They have labelled their people on the basis of caste and now we are called White, black and pink money.  Will you be silent now when our unity is at stake? Will you be silent when your revered leaders are banned overnight without serving a notice period?Tell me, Will you just remain mute spectators of our dooming fate at the hands of Bourgeoise debit and credit cards. Will you not O! Proleteriat of the nation's economy revolt?Kab Aakhir kab khaulega re khoon tera Faizal?"

Chairs flew up in the air, curtains were ripped apart, beads of tears mixed with sweat sparkled from the clenched fists raised in air . Every coin and note worth its value screamed in resounding approval, “Paanch sau ka, hazaar ka..sabka badla lega re tera Faizal

Thank you for reading.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Wednesday!Re-Modified - Common Chaiwallah's Uncommon Story


BJP MOTION PICTURES : A WEDNESDAY! Re-MODIFIED

  

*Also on theunrealtimes.com* http://www.theunrealtimes.com/2016/11/13/neeraj-pandey-announces-film-on-5001000-ban-a-wednesday-re-modified/*
Neeraj Pandey is set to release the sequel to  his 2008 thriller  drama A Wedenesday. Set on the backdrop of PM's million dollar stroke that is set to change the face of Indian Rupee(Re). The movie is titled A Wednesday:Re-Modified.

The protagonist is an  old chai wallah who is frustrated after serving chais from morning to evening to affluent people.Poor chai wallah is highly irritated when people emerging from luxurious cars offer notes of 500 and 1000 to him and ask "Chacha Chuttey kar do". Feeling it as a mockery to his honest profession at the hands of people who have no worth of Gandhi's ideals or his currency notes.

Tired of such contempt of large currency notes he arrives on the roof top of an under construction building and calls the Governor of the Bank of Nation to share his 'Man ki Baat'. He asks the governor to ban 500 and 1000 currency notes  from Wednesday onwards. If not, he would detonate bombs kept in Chaipatti dabbas delivered as a Diwali gift by him to all banks in the city .

The conversation that ensues is as below:

Chai Wallah (CW): Aapke ghar me cockroach aata hai to aap kya karte hai Governor saab.Aap unko paalte nahi maartey hain. Ye dono note kaala dhan ban kar mere ghar ko ganda kar rhae the aur aaj main apna ghar saaf karna chahta hoon.

Gov: Tum ho kaun?
CW: Main wo hu jo apne pocket me itna chiller le kar rakhta hai ki kbhi usse koi 500 ka kbhi 1000 ka chutta karwa leta hai. Main wo hun jo month end hone pe ye sochta hai ki is baar savings account me minimum  balance maintain hoga ya nahi, ya is baar IT walo ne kitna tax kaata hoga. Main wo hoon jo mahiney ki aakhri taarikh pe office jata hai to uski biwi har do ghante baad phone kar k puchti hai ki chai pee ki nahi, khana khaya ki nahi. Dar asal wo ye jaan na chahti hai ki salary mili ki nahi.

Main wo bhi hu jo kabhi Credit Card k line me fasta hai, kbhi Aadhar card k. Main wo bhi hoon jo saal me do baar SALE season ka wait krta hai. .Main wo hu jo jab shaan se apne imaandari k two wheeler pe nikalta hai to kbhi Mercedes ko side deta hai, kbhi Fortuner ko. Gaadi koi bhi brand ki ho bewajah side hota mai hi hoon. Bheed to dekhi hogi na aapne. Bheed me se koi bhi  working class ko dekh lijiye main wo hoon. I am just a stupid Chai Wallah, sorry common man wanting to equalise everyone's debts.

Gov: Aaj Achanak Ye Stupid Comman Man Kaise Jag Gaya, wo Bhi 100 kilo chai patti k saath.

CW: Kyun, Jag gaya to taklif ho rahi hai ?? Jindgi bhar ghut - ghut ke marte rahna chahiye tha mujhe...Dusro ko apne saamne amir hote dekhte rehna chahiye tha mujhe .. aur ye achanak nahi hua hai Governor sahab, Yu kahiye ki time nahi mila , fijul k media k uljhano me aur Videsh se kala dhan laane k chakkar  me ye kaam jara neglect ho gaya, Lekin der aaye durast aaye.. Wo dono notes aaj hi ban honge...

Gov: lekin ye do hi kyun? Aur bhi to hain 100 aur 50 k notes?
CW: Bas 100 aur 50 hi to hai humare paas saab inko ban kiya to khayega kya common man.

Gov: Tumhara koi apna kareebi kya tumse jyada rich hai ya jyada badi gaadi hai uske paas jisne tumahre Chai wala hone ka majak udaya?

CW: Kyun..mujhe us din ka wait krna chahiye jab koi apna, mere se jyada paise kama kar mujhe beijjat kar k chala jaaye. Jaan na hi hai to suniye. Ek marwadi tha jo roj mere dukaan pe aata aur 7 rupaye ki ek cutting chai pi k chal jaata. Naam nahi jaanta tha uska bas Udhaar khaatey me uska phone number rakha tha maine aur naam rakha tha Udhaari. Ek din wo ek kaali mercedes me aya aur 1000 ke dus note de kar bola "Chacha udhaar utaar dena aur KEEP THE CHANGE".


Gov: to tum ye us last k english sentence k badle me kar rhe ho?
CW: Nahi nahi nahi...English me itna weak bhi nahi hoon. I always knew what CHANGE is. After all we brought the CHANGE in 2014. par ye acceptable nahi hai saab..ki koi bhi meri chai dukaan k saamne apne kaale dhan ki kaali gaadi me, kaale suit me aakar, apne kaale dhan k 1000 k note ko futkar kara le.   Unhe fakra hai apne badi gaadiyon pe, 1000 aur 500 ki gaddiyon pe, Hawala transactions pe...mujhe fakra hai khud pe..ki main aise logon k 1000 aur 500 ke notes ko ban karwa raha hoon.


Gov: Tum saabit kya karna chahte ho?

CW: Main saabit kuch nahi krna chahta . Governor saab main bas aapko yaad dilana chahta hoon ki people live in poverty by force and not by choice. Aapko kya lagta hai ki jo log kaala dhan rakhte hain wo system se jyada inteligent hai? Arey internet pe 'how to hide money in India' search kar k dekhiye, teen sau baawan sites milengi ki kaala dhan kaise chupaye.

Gov: Tumhari ye home made add salt to toothpaste wali philosophy galat hai ..ye sahi tarika nahi hai. ? logon ko time to do.
CW: Haan..lekin aaj main tarikey k baarey me nahi! Natijey k baarey me soch raha hoon. Aap log saksham hai aise logon se niptaara paaney k liye. Par nahi..Why are you not nipping them in the bud. Mujhe yakin hai ki jo us din wo Udhaari apne black money ka note de kar Keep the change bola tha..wo ek bahut bada sawaal tha. Ki hum to aise hi black money hoard kar k amir ban jaayenge...ki tumse1000 aur 500 k futkar maangenge..Tum kya kar loge. Yes!! They ask us this question..on a Monday, mocked us on a Tuesday...I am just replying on A Wednesday!!! 

The movie is set to release early next year.



Thankyou for reading
   

Monday, October 31, 2016

Once Upon A Time Only Honesty Was The Best Policy




Image Courtesy: clipartpanda.com
It was summer. Not the one of 69. But 99 and unlike Bryan Adams those were not the best days of my life. I was in class 9th and my school principal knew me by name. In those days, even if your class teacher called you by name and not just a blaring “YOU BOY!!!”, then it mattered a lot. So when my Principal, Colonel B.R Sharma, knew me by name I had all the reasons to enjoy envy of my friends.

My brother likened him to Mahatma Gandhi, I likened him to Hitler.Perceptions can alter even when you have a similar upbringing. After biting time ideally in his plush chamber and having surpassed all  morality limits in thrashing kids he pacified himself in conducting Moral Science lectures for young kids. A decree was passed that every student should buy and carry his own Moral science book during each class. Amid much obese books of Social Studies, Science and Mathematics, the Moral science book was like zero size Kareena Kappor among the latest bollywood queens. We carried the book not only on Fridays when his class was designated  but on all days. Not because of love of Kareena  but because of fear of Col. Sharma.

Since those days were not the best days of my life so I forgot the Moral Science book on a particular Friday. After several rounds of my prayer pleading God to annihilate the Principal altogether went unheard, I dexterously opted to conjure the Sanskrit book of similar dimensions as the Moral Science book and hid behind a wall like structure of a friend.

The Principal after wasting time in roll call threw his most reliable bait that fetched him an instant prey amongst us.

“Who all have brought their own MS Book?”

The topper lifted his hand midway through the question and like an epidemic spread all of us held our hands up screaming, “Yes Sir!”.

The next moment he asked me to read loudly a paragraph from my book. I looked below and found a shloka in Sanskrit which meant –When you are wounded, The blows fall heavily.

I slyly picked my bench-sharing friend’s book and read a paragraph out of blue.
There was utter silence in the class like the one before a storm. I knew I was reading a wrong paragraph but refused to stop in between.

The Principal interjected my monologue in between, asked my name and then signalled me and my bench-sharing friend to stand in front of the class.

The next moment we were facing the crowd of spectators eager for  fireworks to begin anytime soon. The principal asked us to open Chapter 3 and read it loudly to whole class. My chapter 3 was in Sanskrit but my friend jumped the bandwagon and read the topic loudly -HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY. As he rapidly read the script, I defended sudden blows and slaps from my Principal as he repeatedly asked “What is the Topic you rascal !!?”.Everytime I meekly replied “Honesty is the Best Policy sir”. The blows grew heavier as if the fact that honesty and its best policy status were being nailed down into my head. Fifteen minutes later I emerged with a swollen face and an idea that honesty-whatever damn thingy it is-is the best policy.

To me the definition of honesty remained as confusing as Java programming to a civil engineer who finally settles on his mettle for testing and leave programming at peace with itself. Several years later as I entered the professional world I met  people who while demystifying honesty unshackled it from its earlier burden of righteousness, truthfulness,trustfulness and other illness. This was a lot different from what I read in MS book several years ago. Honesty had suffered a character assasination by now. I realised that Honesty can be defined in various ways as per the subjective needs of a person defining it. In scientific equation honesty is a variable factor ‘H’ directly or indirectly proportional to the atmospheric conditions at its defining moment. Theoretically no one is honest and practically everyone is. One thing common though was that no one doubted H’s ‘best policy’ status as long as it satisfied their life’s equation.

Everything was normal till one day a colleague introduced me to a person as “Dead Honest Person”. I was taken aback by the honour bestowed on him. I was inquisitive for how can one be dead and honest at the same time. He was alive and he was allegedly honest, at least under certain atmospheric conditions. Being honest and then dead is accepted but not being dead and then honest. So shouldn’t the correct attribution to it be Honest Dead person? But then my Principal never introduced us to anything called ‘Dead Honesty’. So was Dead Honesty a forlorn elder brother of Honesty which died during its long struggle to keep its head high. Or is it only Honesty which is invariably the best policy. And if it is so why another variable ‘DH’ in this subjectively defined world.


Whatever it is, I am no Kejri-Man to accord ‘H’ and ‘DH’ status to any. I hardly know anything about honesty. Neither this post intends to stuff your mouth with a dose of honesty as the image suggests above. All it intends is to tell you that it was summer of 99 when my Principal col. B.R Sharma knew me by name, for reasons already explained above.


Thankyou for reading


Monday, September 19, 2016

Hometown Calling-Nostalgia Around


Image Courtesy: quotesgram.com


There is something in your hometown that refuses to move ahead with time. Something which always opens a flood of memories drowning you deep down with it. Something which can only be perceived when you stop there in a familiar spot and realize that life can still be lived with an unhurried pace. Something which tells that this part of world which we left for the better part does still breathes calmly. Here the time desists to keep pace with the time we know.
May be it is the nostalgic fragrance lingering in the wind that blossoms the memories of childhood in the garden of life.
May be its the narrow alleys that want you to run down the length shouting and play hide and seek around the corners. May be its that old house that has painted in various colours your voice, your laughter, your cries on its walls. May be its only waiting you to hum a melody before it echoes back your childhood to you.
The streets, perhaps they have humbly shielded their bends and directions for the child in you so that you are not lost as you seem to be on the way of life. Your footprints are all there over it and you never long for a company while you travel far and far away.
May be its the trees which admires your new strength but happily stretches its old hand for you to hold and swing down again.
Is it the field which has secretly preserved your place like a treasure where you fought to play once. Or is it the park which is swelled up with children but becomes happier when you pass by as a grown up . As if it begs you to come and join others, come and dust off the soil from its face.
May be it is the cheerful noise of children inside the school bus that has just stopped nearby. But it is not just a noise rather a name. A name resembling yours or you think it is yours? Perhaps all your kachha and pakka dost are still inside. Perhaps you should have stepped in and hug all of them together before the bus went out of sight. Perhaps the happiness we seek now was left there inside the bus. Perhaps many years back you left the bus at the wrong point and are left back all alone in high pulsating and ever demanding life.
The crowd, carrying a wave of faces, always seems familiar here. The expectation that among the faces you come across a person who seems connected to you. A face that resembles your first crush, your first love with whom you spent the best time of your life.
May be its that old bicycle which your brother held firmly at back while you learnt how to ride. That when he advised don't ride too far all alone he actually meant so. May be he is still waiting there for you to turn around so that you two ride along.
The little girl holding a boy and hiding behind a small tent made out of a saree looks so close to you. Perhaps she knows you but is afraid to accept who you are. Perhaps she is your sister who loved your innocence. May be she is dearly protecting a part of you from you. May be she just refused to grow and separate from you. May be you too should have refused to grow.
This place reminds you of a young beautiful lady, your mother, who in her prime youth sacrificed her dreams to help you realise yours. Who hid behind her smiles trying times she never wanted you to notice. The lady whose one touch of magical fingers seem to shun off all troubles away. Suddenly every bit of this place plays a sequel story on the reels of time from the day she left you crying at the gates of school to the day you left her crying as you moved out of home. You wish that the story unfolds slowly as you admire the beauty of your mother we failed to notice then. But it has moved fast, really really fast. The wrinkles are set, time has done its job. Probably she never wanted you to move away but never said so. Probably she still yearns for the day you will come running into her lap as she would again caress the child in you.
The sight of the school and class rooms you attended freshens you like a student just admitted. The last bench must still be lying vacant for you. May be your favourite teacher still calls out your name during roll call. May be you must just go and reply promptly raising your hand above your head “Present madam”.

The noise of the dismissal bell still sends shivers down your bone. Your feet trembling to run down the corridors, launching down the steps three at a time, carrying bag full of books but never feeling heavy, rushing out of the main gate towards a tree where you know your father is faithfully waiting to carry you back to home on his motorbike, cruising happily in the wind safe and secure. May be he is still waiting there. Waiting now for his turn and you to come and carry him back to home safe and secure.
May be it is all just an imagination. May be it was all once true

Monday, August 29, 2016

Transferred and Transfixed : This Too Shall Pass


Image courtesy : 8tracks.com

The best and the worse quality inherent in a government job is in its transfer policy. Best-becuase every three year you get to see new places. Worse-because you get to see them even if you don’t want to. Therefore, government job offer letter boldly clears its stand on transfer when it says – “Transfer should not be considered as a punishment”. Which means, that as a punishment even if you are posted among  people who look like the first inhabitants of earth you may curse god but thank govt for the opportunity bestowed upon you. The next important thing is to buy a three year calendar in advance and start striking each day as it reluctantly passes off till you are again transferred. Policies of Government jobs and beliefs in Hindu mythology have startling resemblance. Transfer-posting and birth-rebirth  find their basis in law of karma. Your karma in previous posting place- which includes your relation with your bosses and  Jugaads you have established- and Karma in this life governs your next posting and your next life respectively.

Getting transferred is also like listening to Punjabi hits these days. Left without an option, you first dislike the way words crumble upon each other, then try to get along by humming the tune, then somehow manage to hum it. When your blabber becomes proper words and your senses acclimatises with the hoarse and loud music then your ears are served yet again  with a latest hit.

There is also an unsaid rule underlining all transfer and postings which is also called as Law of Least Comfort. It is an extension of Murphy’s law and says that out of all posting place available at the time of your scheduled transfer, you will get the one which puts you in the least comfort position. Another law is the Law of Inverse Choices. It says, that the preference order of the transfer choices exercised by you is inversed ,by the mighty and not the almighty,  at the time of your actual allocation.

Having said this, I still consider transfer and change of place and nature of work as a way out of monotonous life. Stagnation in any form kills the very essence of life which is evolution. Change is always better for an individual and the organisation. Be it in thought, deeds or place. Like a stream of water moving down a hill gets enriched with essence of herbs and flowers. So does an individual moving ahead in life. After all,  life is all about meeting new people, visiting new places and experiencing new cultures. Bundled together in memories these experiences are forever cherished.

Lecture and nice talks apart, let me tell you my part of story:

My life has been on a recent turmoil as I suffered the first blow of transfer as a government employee. To a place where if you need to satiate your hunger in a restaurant after 9 pm then all you got to do is to sit, take a deep breath and relax till that feeling subsides. A place still serving its people with more number of Talkies cinema than multiplexes.

The over hyped government bungalows and helping staffs had deserted me. All I was left with was two sets of sweaty cloth,  McD Aloo Tikki Burgers for lunch and dinner and a sun shining above to ensure that me and perspiration always go along. The transfer to a new posting place made me sympathize with Manoj Kumar's character in the movie Roti, Kapda, aur Makaan. I rate my struggle a notch higher than his as more than often I had to fight even for a filterd water. So in my case the movie be better renamed as Roti,Kapda,Makaan aur Filtered Paani. The struggle for basic amenities ran into days during which every hope of a  better living was brutally murdered at the hands of a daunting task of searching a house on rent. Once I contemplated writing a book on '101 Reasons Why Not To Join A Government Job'. But dropped the idea as selecting 101 out of 1000 accumulated then so far seemed more difficult.

It has been around a month that I shifted into a new rented accommodation and the whole house still bears a look of a stampede. As if someone made a large heap of all packed boxes and set them to explode.  As I write this post, I find myself surrounded by a violent mob of packed boxes and angry luggage yelling and pushing to be set free. A few more days like this and I could be charged for a mass  genocide of innocent boxes. Bound with mind numbing duty during day hours and spending wonderful evenings in this clutter, I take turns to curse God and Govt both in equal measure.

An unattended, dusty, 10x15 inches framed wallpaper, partly hidden by a soiled cloth is lying listlessly in a corner. Presently, it serves the only ray of hope  for a better life ahead as it reads                “ This Too Shall Pass”.


P:S – Allow me to take this platform to thank a dear friend, Vipin Kumar (posted as Assistant Divisional Engg/ Railways), and his wonderful mother, in whose house I took shelter during my initial days after transfer. Thank you for making me feel like a part of your family and all the help extended.  Forever obliged




Thank you for reading

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Motion Se Hi Emotion




An act that creeps unconsciously into your consciousness and adulterates your thoughts day in and day out, I suppose , that is addiction. You repeatedly perform an action everyday that seems so obvious and one fine day you realize that you are so much comfortable with it or so much  uncomfortable without it.

What? What did you think just now? Come again loudly you dumb mind of mine! Of course, I am not talking about daily ablutions. No, not also about  mastery in brushing teeth twice daily.

Disguised above is an effort to humbly boast about writing as an addiction. All those wasteful lines were part of 'make word count 600' bug I am presently infested with. Those were also beta version of a magnanimous opening about writing as a skill that I will vomit all around in the next stanzas. Skills which in nascent stage are just Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V but then manifest into a pest reluctant to die anytime soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

From Kansas to Alabama- My Years In Uttar Pradesh




Kanpur Central Station


"I have never been to the U.S, but I have been to U.P”. This famous sentence was once not said by William Wordsworth. Had he then Wordsworth would had his name rechristened by the local populace of Uttar Pradesh as William Gorakhpuri or Wordsworth Lakhnavi. The overwhelming hangover of colonial regime interspersed with Indian fervour finds its utterances in names like Faithful Ganj and Burlington chauraha. So it would also not be surprising if the landmark Taat Mill Chauraha were renamed after Wordsworth as Taat Will Chauraha or rather Willyum ganj.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Land Of Falling 'Degrees'


Image Courtesy: Sitepoint.com

 India is as much a land of religion as much as a land of degrees.Religious structures throng the nook and corner of its vast stretch. So does thousands of degree colleges. Temples in Varanasi, Betel shops in Patna, Momo stalls in Gangtok and Engineering colleges in many cities are prosperous business entities. The abundance is so significant in some cities that 7 out of 10 times a randomly tossed stone will hit an engineering college. The remaining three it would be a coaching centre.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mere ODD-EVEN Ayenge- Karan-Arjun Revisited






*Also on theindiasatire.com*


It’s an action-packed story. No, it is a thriller. Alright, let us not be partial, it is an action-packed suspense oriented melodramatic emotional thriller.

This is not an ordinary punar-janam script. It is the Baap of all of them.

It goes like:

Once upon a time in the urban fartlands of Dilligarh there lived a rustic and dreadful Thakur. Thakur Durgandh Singh. Durgandh? Because his presence created an atmosphere of durgandh-read toxic gases- in the village. The two sons of Thakur, Nitrate Singh and Sulphate Singh, had intoxicated the atmosphere of the village by setting up many industries and construction units that emitted noxious gases. Particulate and construction dust lingered now on the otherwise clean air of Dilligarh. People were afraid of their presence. Where other villagers moved in cart or bicycle, Thakur and his crony family, sister BEHENzene and mother  AMMAnia vroomed past on dusty roads in their  motor vehicle. The naive villagers did never object to the noxious gases their vehicle emitted and consoled themselves with just covering their nose with a torn piece of cloth. Whoever raised his or her  voice against Thakur khandaan polluting habits were meted a capital punishment of forever living in toilet-less slum. The ignominy and horror of openly defecating in a field ensured that no one ever attempted a dissent. The tyranny of Thakur khandan abjectly left the villagers to meekly surrender and suffer in an atmosphere of above permissible limits of Durgandh, Behenzene, AMMAnia, Nitrate and Sulphate. 
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