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Happy Chinese Diwali Sir

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“No, I will not buy any Chinese lights this Diwali”, said the Additional District magistrate (ADM)  suavely, as he signed papers brought to him by his aged office babu.
The babu nodded in affirmative. But the affirmation was not loud enough , so saaheb looked straight into the eyes of babu and repeated “NO CHINESE ITEMS!! I say”.
The automatic response system of babu was triggered, “Sir,sir, sir,sir” . Every inch of his body shook in affirmation. ADM saaheb was fond of repeated ‘sir’ in a row and the babu just gave him enough.
“Very well sir, I will shortly arrange to send 100 diyas  and 50 candles to your home . No Chinese items sir”, babu grinned. The last line pleased the officer more than the combination of 150 diyas and candle.
Himanshu, a man aged around 30 but a young boy by Provincial civil services examination standards, observed the ADM saaheb and his Babu. Having completed his training schedule  he  had reported for joining as Sub Divisional Magistrate. Thus he displayed all th…

Rain Rain Go Away, Don't Come Another Day

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Have you read the nursery rhyme which goes like: Rain Rain Go Away Come Again Another day, Little Johnny wants to play.
This rhyme always makes me wonder why does Johnny wants the rain to go away? What game is he involved in that he can't play now in the rain. How selfish of him to be bothered about his game and not the rain's as it tries to play along with the thirsty earth. Why can't he play an indoor game and let the rain play outside?. "Come again another day?" Johnny! are you nuts? What are the chances that on an another day you will not be annoyed by rain again. Oh Johnny! don’t throw tantrums and give us a break. Please you boy let the rain just rain.
How can someone not like rain. What if Johnny was not Johnny? What if he was a native Indian Jassi or Hari? Or say our own street lad Hariya who jumps and waddles in any knee deep water overflowing from a drain just after the first showers. I could have bet a thousand tomatoes, when the price of tomatoes were Rs…

Travel: Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary- Bird's Paradise

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Keoladeo Ghana National park or the better known Bharatpur Bird sanctuary is as good a heaven for birds as it is for birdwatchers.  Thanks to almost no rainfall this season both were missing from this spectacular natures abode as we planned an almost sudden trip to Bharatpur.
On Friday night we looked around for places in an around Aligarh for a much needed weekend break. Just before we fell for Delhi (yuk again!!) Google baba enlightened us with a 110km far sanctuary. It was non-other than  Bharatpur , the one  we all might have marked as red dot in school geography Atlas book. By 8 am next morning  me and my spouse hit the road and by 11 am we were in Bharatpur.  We checked in a government guest house and allowed our lethargic body to compensate for a lesser morning sleep.
Bharatpur is a small district in Rajasthan and shares border with Mathura and Agra in Uttar Pradesh. It is well connected by road and rail networks. Nearest airports  are in Delhi and Jaipur, both roughly  180 km a…

The Laal Batti Syndrome

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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…

de-Merits of Drinking

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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…

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

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“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.  He can battle it …

Curious Case of Salary Slips

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*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 …