Mar 092010

……as to which side should I take. There is a non violent side, which I feel will not be heeded in our cause. Then there is violent side, which I strictly oppose, but I feel that this side has some hopes of winning as against the other side. But considering all, I still feel that which ever side I am on, our cause will be the ultimate looser, unless proper authority takes a notice of us.

It all began a few months back, when it was decided to include our 53 villages into the newly formed Vasai-Virar municipal corporation. This proposal was brought forth few years back, but due to huge resistance from us, the original residents of this area(who have fought against the administration, land mafia and anti-social elements throughout our life to preserve our culture and our environment), the then chief minister of the state of maharashtra, Vilasrao Deshmukh, chose to withhold the formation of the corporation. Then in december 2008 Ashok Chauhan was selected as the successor of Vilasrao Deshmukh, and appointment didn’t seem to matter to our villages in any large manner(because we have a phrase here in our place, “Kavre aale aan kavre gele, aami hai tahe hao”, meaning, many came and went but we are as we were). Little did we know that this change in the political scenario at the state level would lead to this huge turbulance in our peaceful vasai.

Here are some pictures of my Vasai….

(p.s. Photos shown above are not a mere sample items but the actual representation of  the beauty that our villages are. Keralites, on seeing this photos, go nostalgic. Source of photos

Somehow, the land mafia managed to get the proposal cleared and the 53 villages were included in to the newly formed corporation. 49 villages which had been opposing this move, united to fight against this undemocratic order. Peace loving people as we are, we choose the non-violent path of the great Mahatma, for our struggle, and our united leaders chalked out few protest plans which were being carried out in the august of 2009 in peaceful and organised ways. But as the protest was reaching its height, it was disrupted by the actions of the well known land “grabber” mafia and the then member of legislative assembly(I doubt whether he knows what MLA stands for) Hitendra Thakur alias “Appa”. The result of this was innocent people being beaten brutally by the police and jailed for two days.

This incidents lead to much stronger unity in vasai localites, and they elected Mr. Vivek ‘Bhau’ Pandit in the assembly elections that immeditaly followed, as he was seen as the only candidate having a real chance in the elections. After few months of inaction from the government about this issue, it was decided to intensify the protest again, and other rounds of non-violent methods were chalked out. One of it included the decision of Mr. Pandit to go on a fast until death, till the issue was addressed by the government. Fearing a propoganda of this issue, the government did the most inhuman and cowardly thing we could imagine. First of all Mr. Pandit was picked up by a large police force and the other protestors were brutally lathi charged. Then a particular village, wagholi, about 10 km away from the place of protest, was targeted by the police force in large numbers. A curfew was ordered for that area, but was never announced to the public. As most of the male population of that area was out in the city for their jobs, the only people in the villages were old men, women and children. This police force brutally lathi charged on anyone and every one they could find in the village. Doors of the houses were broken down, glass panes were broken, inner doors were broken. Old men were dragged out of the house and repeatedly assaulted with the stick. Women were dragged out of the house and beaten. Children were slapped. And I am not recounting a fake incident. It was recorded by tv channels who were present in that area. This videos were later aired on national television which we saw in the evening. You can see some of the police brutallity here. Protectors of the society turned in to perpetrator of a the crime. Friday, the 9th of march turned out to be our Black Friday.

Even after seeing the video, one of the minister chose to label it as mild lathi charge on protesters. While the chief minister, on one side said that an enquiry would be made in to the incident, on other occasion was caught on video telling a reporter, who was questioning about this incident to “forget it”. I am not so good at expressing my feelings, so I feel you all should have been here to feel the anger and the hatred.

All my life I felt that I would grow up to be a man, lead a normal life, untouched by anything really bad if I played my cards right, and so on. I would go to my work daily, and come back in the evening, and my life would have nothing to do with the problems of the naxalites of the gadchiroli and such things. But now I know, my life is always affected, its just a matter of time before I realise it. This village could have been my village. The old man being beaten brutally could have been some one I love dearly. And all this even after I cared less about politics, politicians and their ways.

The family members of the affected are very angry. A small spark is enough for the ever impending explosion. Political leaders on our side are asking them to refrain from any violent way, but I think I know how they feel. And I think I know now what it takes to convert a normal human being to a naxalite. We were fighting for our rights, but the non-violent ways were not acceptable to the caretakers of the worlds largest democracy.

The government had promised to conduct an enquiry and present the report by the end of this week. But knowing the state of affairs that this state is in, I do not have much expectation form them. But our people feel there is some hope. And its hope that has kept us kicking throughout this struggle.

Mar 072010

The first moon mission from India blasted off with billions of hope on its back, and completed its job as defined. The results of the project were out some days back, and our very own chandrayaan it did not disappoint with its findings. The Nasa payload, was successful in finding ice in one of the crators on the moon!! Thats a very good news to us.

But I fail to understand how its a good news? Is Nasa or Isro or any other space organisation or government planning to build a pipeline from moon to the earth? Till that doesn’t materalise, the ice(water) stays there. Or may be they are planning to build civilisation around the source of water. But then, only people like Dennis Tito, Richard Branson, Vijay Mallya and such other people, will be able to afford the trip. So the discovery doesn’t seem to be of any consequence to the comman man, except for and additional chapter in our geography text books.

Get real my dear scientists. There are no any inventions which will help us to use any of this discoveries in near future. Of course discoveries are very much needed for the progress of the mankind, but should the issues at hand be not dealt with first? I would not touch the subjects of injustice, wars, and many other issues. But why not just think about the water problems? Billions of dollars were spent for this discovery on the moon, but I think a fraction of that amount could have helped in solving the problem at hand. Huge desalination plants for purifying sea water wouldn’t have cost much as compared to the Nasa payload. Now take the case of India, and Mumbai in particular. All the reservoirs supplying water to this megapolis, are found to be getting more and more insufficient each year. Now, the government has vast amount of lands under its control, so why isn’t anyone thinking about digging out more reservoirs on this lands. But that would translate to lesser real estate space, meaning less income to the politicians.

Technologically we are achiving feats, but we are going way ahead of our times, and in the process writing our history towards extinction.

Feb 172010

Yes, I am into my exams. Yet I find time enough to post a quick one. Thats not because I am well prepared. Thats because of the lack of any zeal towards exams. I had explained previously the circumstances under which these exams are conducted. Maybe thats one of the reason why I wouldn’t had cared less.

Second thing is, yesterday when I got the question paper in my hand, I was very happy to find few question that I had prepared. Now it was matter of just bullshiting something. The only problem was, the lack of support from my writing mechanism, my hand!! Its was a painful affair. The pen pressed between the middle finger and the thumb, started sending some signals to my brains, making me to forget things. I was just trying as much as possible to finish the paper. And after that, there was another paper on the same day.

It takes just one examination paper to realise how we have been avoiding pen and relying on this keyboard for such a long time. But I had to do what I had to do. So write I did. Thinking less of this pain, and more of the pain if I had to repeat the paper after two months.

Now I have two days break for preparation of  two more subjects. So My hand can rest for two more days. Hoping its better this time.

Feb 132010

With all respect to shahrukh khan and the team of My name is khan, I would like to declare that I am not against anything said by Mr. Khan in recent past. Neither is my intension to agree or disagree with certain “regional” political parties in this post.

But I was browsing through the internet for sone info and feed about the controversy, when I came across certain forum, where many of the members requested the general public to “support” Shahrukh and my name is khan. And I started thinking whether these people have likened shahrukh to a malnourished  child in the interiors of India, and the film, my name is khan, is a fund raiser event for the benefit of the same.

Support?? Whats there to support in it? Or rather, why the use of the word support here? Should “support” not be used for something really worth supporting. If shahrukh is not supported, it doesn’t mean that he is going to loose out on money or fame. His life will continue, so will the life of these political “leaders”. Eventually they kiss and make up. Its only the general public who looses all the energies behind such dramas.

So if you want to really support, try supporting some cause.

Feb 112010

I accidently deleted all the files on my web hosting account today. And my blog went poof!! My heart skipped a beat when I realised my mistake. There was no recovery of my error. I was about to give up when I remembered that I had taken an export of my posts. I found it lying somewhere on my pc. And I was happy to recover all my post after a huge battle with the settings on my webhost panel. All but one. Being a human, I will not give up so easily at the feet of technology, and will write the missing post again if need be…

Feb 112010

A friend of mine came home to invite me for a function at his house. And I was bit pleased. This was the indication of a new life that I am living. And how is that? As some of you know, I am a marine engineer. And my job involved extended period of stay on ships. I have sailed for around 3 year in the period of previous 5 years. Whenever I was at home, my only contact was with few friends, who themselves happen to be mariners. And except for close relatives, I didn’t know anyone in our area. Thats quite different from a villagers character, as everyone knows everyone else in a village. I never used to get invited for any function except by my relatives. And neither would I attend if any, as I was sure I would feel out of place amongst strangers. Then I stopped sailing. And landed a job in city. This involved long travel by trains. Which automatically resulted with friendship with fellow commuters who were regular in the compartment. And one of this commuter is the person who has invited me for the function. I wouldn’t ever have known that this person, travelling along with me, was a person from neighbouring village, had he not been introduced by another of my friend who travels with me. But as it turned out, we have become a small group in the compartment, and friends enough to be invited for functions. Now I see the difference in sea and land life. Money is one factor. But it is suppressed by the life I live on land. The overall social life is much better than on ship. As days go by, I know more people, and more about them. I get time to socialize. I get time to pursue my hobbies. I don’t feel out of place anywhere. And above all, I get to be home, every evening with my family.

Jan 312010

I just had my bath, but that didn’t inspire me in posting this. Its was the TV.

Television has come to this world long back, and its had become somewhat an integral part of our life. I remember those days when we used to keep free time in the evening for the tv shows. In India, doordarshan, our national carrier, beamed vast genre of programs and serials. And one of them was the Soap Opera.

The very first soap opera beamed on national tv in India was “Buniyaad”. Many of you might remember it. Though I didn’t understand what was going on in it, neither was I interested, but I watched it regularly, cause we had just one tv(it’s the same case now, but I wouldn’t care less) and my parents were interested. Or may be because our national tv beamed only two channels, and the other one’s clarity was once in a blue moon affair.But what can I say about it? I just “Grew with it”. So long it was, that I celebrated few of my birthdays seeing it.

Then came cable tv, and later satellite. And along it brought flood of soaps. It was a bit difficult for us to understand the language( or the pace of it rather)  of the programs in foreign channels(english), so we stuck to hindi and marathi(I knew these marathi maanoos issue would surface sooner or later, so I had to be thorough). Anyway, me and my brother had some control of the remote now and then, to watch sports, discovery, news etc. Else it had become a sole property of my mother. And for what? These soaps(am still talking about the tv ones, not the bathing ones).

Prime time was like information time for my mother, when she could get enough info to discuss at the office, with her friends, the next day. Lots of serials, with a trade mark double k’s in the title, were aired on prime television, and they were like a religious affair. “I must see these serial today”, was the favourite sentence of my mother. And after few month of viewing, the name of the serial on my mothers lips used to change. I just didn’t understand why my mom would change loyalties so suddenly. And then I investigated, and realised, that some of the serials were off air, as the TRP’s were going down.

I see that this is a very common practice followed nowadays. Soaps are being aired for a long time. Families break up, families makeup(an of course, lots of makeup goes on the ladies). People die. People are reborn, resurrected, reunited. Sane men commit crimes. Murderers have a change of soul. And lots of bullshit. And you know how they end? Poof!! Just go of air. Without any explanation to the viewers.

But the viewers are least bothered. After enduring the drama of few families, interrelated by a spiders web, and affecting each others life in some way or the other, the viewer gets bored and wants a fresh outlook to life. Which the new soap provide. And the producers are happy. Cause the directors, script writers have given up on the story which they have messed up after such a long run.

You know what, soaps, in India at least I would say, are a waste of time for the viewers. You sit an hour in front of the tv, watching an actor trying to get an expression on his face which should be there but of which he is incapable, is a total waste of your time. These programs go on and on as the writer is able to write the script. It can include lots of festivals in it right on time. And these inclusions are the fillers, as the writer has lost it all.

Whenever you watch a film, how would you feel if the film builds up a story, but just midway, the director comes on the screen apologising that this was all he could manage, and that the end of it?

Then why don’t you feel the same about soap?

Jan 292010

Isn’t it? I feel so. I have always felt so. What am I doing? Right now I am studying for my higher exams which will ensure a stable and secure life ahead. You feel thats very good for me?

Well, I have been doing this all my life, and so are you. I passed out school with flying colours , and I felt a protective shield around me. I was someone great. Then I move to college, and I found that I had life ahead to think about. And the shield just disappeared. I passed out college, then graduation, and got caught in this endless loop of struggle for better existence on this planet. No job. So further studies. Which landed me a job at sea. But I was not satisfied with this arrangements for my future. So I cleared some higher exams which secured me a higher post at work. But still I didn’t feel that I would be happy enough with life at sea. And at some point during this time I saw the film,”The Gods must be crazy I“. And I realised that in a quest to make life easier, man has made his own life more and more difficult. To find simplicity in life, I left a very good paying sea job and joined on land.

And now I see how easy it can be to have better life when you downgrade your expectations.

In an attempt to make our life easier, we have somehow managed to harness ourselves to all the difficulties which we could create for ourselves. Its always exams, deadlines, places to reach, people to meet.We are never satisfied with what we own, may be not for greed,  but because of that secure feeling that each one of us want for ourselves and our families. In our race towards a better tomorrow, we have messed up our today. That better tomorrow is at the horizon. But it always stays at horizon. Because we live in today, not in tomorrow. And we mess it up too.

So why not try and live better today, and think less about tomorrow? Hold yourselves back at a point. Draw a line for your requirements. Forget about pleasing others for some time, and please yourself.

After all you can live by earning only what you need. And just a bit more…

P.S. : Personally, I always dream of a peaceful life, far away from the city, with bare necessities at disposal. In the laps of nature. But that would be like swimming against the current. And the current is too strong.

Jan 232010

I found this particular article in the Times of India page 10 in todays print edition quite amusing. I wouldn’t differ if some of you found it to be just informative. But my analysis; here it is.

The Presidents

Rajendra Prasad

Term of Office | January 26, 1950 to May 13, 1962

First President of independent India. A freedom fighter, Rajendra Prasad was the only president to serve two terms in office.

Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan

Term of Office | May 13, 1962 to May 13, 1967

A prominent philosopher, writer, a Knight of the Realm who held the position of vicechancellor of Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University. He was also made a Knight of the Golden Army of Angels by Pope Paul VI.

Zakir Husain (1897-1969)

Term of Office | May 3, 1967 to May 3, 1969

He was vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. Husain died before his term of office ended.

Shri Varahagiri Venkata Giri

Term of Office | May 3, 1969 to July 20, 1969 and August 24, 1969 to August 24, 1974

The only person to have the distinction of serving as both acting president and President of India. V V Giri was
   a recipient Bharat Ratna, and his previous positions included minister of labour and high commissioner to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed

Term of Office | August 24, 1974 to February 11, 1977

A veteran politician, he held various cabinet posts including food & agriculture, education, industrial development, etc. He died in 1977 before his term ended, and was the second president to have died in office.

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1913-1996)

Term of Office | July 25, 1977 to July 25, 1982

N S Reddy was the first CM of Andhra Pradesh. He was the only MP from Janata Party to get elected from Andhra. He was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha on March 26, 1977 and relinquished this office on July 13, 1977 to become the 6th President of India.

Giani Zail Singh

Term of Office | July 25, 1982 to July 25, 1987

Zail Singh served as Punjab CM and later as Union home minister in the Indira Gandhi government.

R Venkataraman

Term of Office | July 25, 1987 to July 25, 1992

A former freedom fighter, he first served as minister of finance and industry and later as minister of defence.

Shankar Dayal Sharma

Term of Office | July 25, 1992 to July 25, 1997

Sharma had been chief minister of MP, and then Union minister for communications. He also served as the governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra. As vice-president, broke down in the Rajya Sabha while witnessing an ugly row by the members.

K R Narayanan (1920-2005)

Term of Office | July 25, 1997 to July 25, 2002

India’s first Dalit president. Served as India’s ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China and the US. Regarded as an independent president who set several precedents and enlarged the scope of the highest constitutional office.

A P J Abdul Kalam
(born 1931)

Term of Office | July 25, 2002 to July 25, 2007

Eminent scientist and visionary who played a leading role in the development of India’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes. Kalam also received the Bharat Ratna and has authored 4 books.

And the Precedent..

Pratibha Patil
(born 1934)

Term of Office | July 25, 2007 –

Patil is the first woman to become the President of India. She was also the first woman Governor of Rajasthan. In 2009, Patil followed Kalam’s precedent and flew in a fighter aircraft.

It can be seen that all the previous presidents had some sort of qualification under their belt. Some were former ministers, governors, scientists, writers, freedom fighters etc.

But a precedent has been set by selecting a president based on conveniences of the ruling party. Without any bigger qualification to promote(enlighten me if I am not well informed), except for the will to fly in a fighter plane, it seems that the cause of women’s rights and the protection of a particular community(read marathi), has been the judging factor. A precedence of this sort at such a high level in the governance doesn’t go down well.

(Data sourced from The Times of India)

Jan 182010

Well. Am taking my chances. Against all odds, namely the surveyors at the examination section of the mercantile marine departmant, India, I start my struggle to procure the Certificate of Chance. Or the CoC, as majority of mariners, know it. I was among those who called it Certificate of Competency, but my colleague Jimmy, enlightened me about the true meaning of this abbreviation, and that left me thinking.

Certificate of Chance!! Is it? More I ponder upon it, more I feel that, for once, my friend Jimmy, has said something true. Certificate of Chance. Yes, it is chance, that confers upon you this certificate, to work on board a ship at a higher position(Though that means nothing for us marine engineers, as all the job profiles in the engine side, on a ship managed by Indian superintendents, are same. Sloggers. But that’s a different matter altogether).

No matter how many ships you have sailed, before appearing for the exams of a higher CoC, you always have to leave it to chance to clear through. No matter how hard you study, and how good you write the papers, the results appear to be printed based upon a game of dice.

Your chances are good if the surveyor is in a good mood. You, an aspirant second engineer, will get off answering to questions meant for a trainee engineer. There is no unravelling of true knowledge possessed by the examinee in the oral examinations. It just depends on whether you came in after another examinee, who has foiled the examiner’s mood.

In short, the examinations for CoC gauge your chances, not your competence.

Right now I am studying for my certificate of chance. But I wonder whether I should study or just leave it to chance? After all, Life’s a struggle, and we all leave it to chance.

%d bloggers like this: