Aug 282010
 

This happened a few days back. As my monthly travel pass was about to expire, I went to the railway station to get it renewed. To avoid the peak hour rush at the platform level booking office, I chose to use the booking office on the foot over bridge, which people rarely used. There were very few people ahead of me, and few more came after me in the line in sometime. The person at the counter was old, and quite slow, which seemed to be due to his age. People in line ahead of me, were getting restless and and kept on passing comments at his slow speed. Eventually, it was my turn to book my pass. I noticed that his speed, the lack of it rather, was not due to his age, but due to the modern system that he was using to issue the tickets. It was taking him some time with me because he was unable to call up the name of my destination station on the screen, using the short codes used by the computer. He actually didn’t know the short code for my station, because it was out of the way from the regular route, and would have been rarely used by him. People behind me were getting restless and kept on taunting this man. Finally he had had enough of it, and burst out in anger, yelling that they could go to other booking windows if they were in a hurry.

People would see this as the lax attitude of government employees. Many feel that this man, or people like him, do not want to put in enough efforts to learn the job in new way, because of their laziness. Some say that the government should lower the retirement age so that people like him are out of the system, making way for younger generation.

I would say that this man was one of the best ticket issuing person in his days, when they had the old card system. Maybe, he could blindly take out the correct card ticket from the correct shelf for each and every ticket he issued, during those days. But these computer!! He is unable to get the hang of the intimidating user interface, or the QWERTY keyboard. He had never applied for a typing job, never taken a typing course, and now was not the age to speed up. The railways booking system was upgraded, but they couldn’t upgrade the man simply because, he was not upgradable!! He had a job which he did perfectly well till now, but a small machine has rendered him less of use, more of an obstacle in the system.

So what should the person do? Put in more efforts towards learning the system? Believe me, it’s difficult to get older people to learn how to use mobile phones to their fullest potential. Forget the computers. Above that, programmers design the user interfaces, thinking that a scientist would be using it, not a layman.

So should the person leave his job and retire? What about all the financial commitments he has back home? His son has to go to college this year. And his wife is not keeping well. So will his pension meet his needs? People!! This person is a ticket issuer at the railway counter, not the owner of the railways, who can afford luxuries of leaving his job before retirement.

Why not change our attitude towards him? Why not take it a bit easy with him? If we are always in a hurry, which we always are, why not use the other automated systems that the railways have put in place for us?

Think us to be him in a few years. Some crazy scientist invents a gizmo, and the world, the younger generation, accepts it gladly, in lieu of the computers, which we are masters at. Should we be expected to be masters at the new gizmo? Some of us will be able to learn it. Not all of us. It will be something out of the world for us, at that time. Just think of an old man who excitedly tells someone, how a computer popped up his photo on the screen, while we take it for granted, and laugh at this man behind his back. We will be this old man in few years!! Do we want to be laughed at, taunted behind our back, when we grow old? It’s not for the old people to catch up with us. It’s for us to slow down things for them.

Needless to say, I didn’t get my pass at that window. I didn’t complain. How could I, given the circumstances?

Jul 232010
 

It is a welcome move to order a stay on the transactions carried out between CIDCO and Avinash Bhosale. The Times of India’s exposure in their leading newsmedia, lead to this intervention from the maharashtra government. The Times view say that though the decision is a welcome development to this case, they hope that this is a genuine move and not a cosmetic attempt to deflect attention.

Well, TOI, wake up!! By now you should lean that the government takes action only when these type of cases are highlighted through the media. If they really think that there should be an enquiry, then the case has to be pursued and highlighted continuously. If the media settles down on such cases, the government feels at ease and dumps the cases, because they can’t afford to expose themselves!!

The TOI starts its news with the first statement as, ‘acting upon the scam first eposed by the TOI…..’ I don’t say that it’s just the TOI using such beginners for a ‘expose’ news article. Every news group does the same. They expose, they print that action was initiated due to their expose, then they sleep. It feels like a battle won, but they forget to wage a war.

The voice of the common man goes unheard these days. Its the responsibility of the media to act in such situations. For proper functioning of governence, there are many element required to function smoothly. But main elements are, the ruling party, which runs hand in gloves with the scammers, the opposition, which is divided amongst themselves and falling apart, the common man, which goes unheard. So its the media which has to wake up and show their importance in running the country.

Jun 282010
 

I am one of the first person to board the maharashtra state transport bus, and in between chitchats with my friend, I look around and observer the interior of the bus. Seats in green, torn at places, do not promise a comfortable ride. Small sliding windows, some jammed in place others cracked, are designed more to block the wind. The bus is very old with nothing worth mentioning except, maybe, the long service it has rendered. Well………Almost nothing. Because as I look on the frame separating two windows, I see something written in marathi. Along with the seat numbers of the respective seats, I could read the designations of the persons to whom these seats were reserved. Of course, in cities, these reservations are rarely followed, except in case of ladies and old people.

The first few seats are reserved for the members of the parliament and the village panchayat head and other “dignitaries”. Then there are seats reserved for various ranks in the government. Around the middle of the bus, I could see seats reserved for women, and though I couldn’t make out on the seats at the very rear, I was sure they were reserved. May be the last, long bench seat, was kept unreserved for anyone to occupy.

Reservations!! How deeply are they rooted into our system!!! I was unaware of this fact until I left my school. Then I found that there was something called as reservations for people without resources, and I didn’t fall in any of those categories. Of course I later found out that people who had joined on reserved seats, rode flashy bikes, and gave treats to friends in fancy restaurants throughout their college life.

During the times of kings in our country, in the pre-colonial era, the society was divided in to different casts. Some, called the Brahmins, were considered the best of us lots, had reserved rights everywhere, and were immune to law. Others were warriors and merchants and were some levels below the upper class. The lowest class was of the shudra, or the untouchables, who didn’t have much rights, weren’t allowed in the society, and were altogether a neglected lot. To do away with this caste system, the leaders of free India, after the British times, framed the constitution, and in a bid to uplift the downtrodden, brought reservations in the system. The people belonging to particular lower castes, were given priority to jobs at government offices, public institutions and also for education. Lots of leeway was given to them in the matter of their selection, so that they could be benefited from this scheme of reservations. All was well, theoretically. In reality the situation was quite different. Very few of the lower class population got any benefit out of it. Actually this scheme were never much advertised to the needy. Their condition remained pathetic as ever. In the mean time, our politicians, judging the huge vote bank this reservation system could generate, passed bills after bills, including lots of other castes and categories. The people, who were covered by this categories, immediately grabbed the chance with both hands and established themselves in their place. More and more people kept on asking for reservation based on caste, language, religion etc. and many were granted. Finally, by the time the government woke up to the ill effects of this system, it was too late, because any change(read reduction) in reservation could topple the government.

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The reservation system should have been introduces with some foresight to its ill effects. It should have been time bound. Say for example, how many generations does it take for upliftment of a community? If a particular generation is given some benefits to improve their living conditions, then that generation would we capable enough to support the next generation, which could do much better in terms of finances when it grows older. At this point, the third generations should not be allowed to avail any benefits. This kind of system would have forced the first and second generation to work towards the betterment of their future generation. But, since this benefits are never taken away, all the generations have taken it for granted, and have tried least for their upliftment. Secondly, lots of castes and communities have been included in the reservation system. There is no consideration to the financial status of the people benefiting from it. How can any facility be reserved for a person who is black or white or brown or who speaks a particular language and follows a particular religion? What is the base for this system? Why isn’t the scheme of reservations based solely on the basis of the financial condition of the person benefiting from it? Isn’t that the right criteria for upliftment of an individual in this world ruled by money? If a person is rich enough to support himself and his family, then why not give him his basic right, which everyone else gets, and leave him to “maintain” himself? Why pamper a rich person, and waste the resources of our country?

The scheme of reservations was brought about to wipe out the gap between different castes. How can the caste system be abolished, if we create categories in terms of reservations? It has added to the divide amongst the people, by favoring some and neglecting others. And those neglected, bid their time and ensure that they get special treatment in some other way.The divide between Brahmins and shudras isn’t of any value any more. The divide between the rich and the poor has evolved which needs to be addressed.

Above all this, the government is mulling the women’s reservation bill. This bill will help bring out more involvement by women in active politics. That’s a pretty messed up thought. What do we expect from the advocates of this bill. Will the go in to interior of the villages and train women in to politics, so that they participate in to the political matters actively? That’s not what I think. Women’s reservation bill will further aggravate the dynasty rule problem faced by India at this moment. A women, who is interested in making a career in politics, should start from scratch, proving herself to the voters if she has to win. The seat should not be dished out to any particular candidate, male or female, without proving themselves. We do not want any more Rabri Devis ruling us.

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Where does reservations take us? I belong to general category, and though I do not regret that I am not on the better side of this affair, it would have been good if I would at least get my worth. I know few people who have abused this scheme of reservations, since they fall under reserved category. A close friend of mine scored very less marks, but got admission to a very reputed college. He was later barred from appearing for the exams for three years due to some malpractice that he followed in the examination.

I even know at least one person who did not avail of this reservation just for the sake of availing it. This friend of mine scored very low marks in physics, chemistry and biology, the three main subjects considered during medical entrance. He could have easily got admission in to a very reputed college, even with this poor marks due to his reserved status. But he opted out of it. He said that medical education was not his cup of tea, and he was better off studying something that he can manage to complete.

There are lots of schemes for the welfare of the people, but it all depends on the implementation of these schemes in proper way. The way in which the reservations scheme is abused, there is no end to it, and we might just end up leaving nothing for the people who are worth their value. The politicians will keep on abusing this scheme to generate more votes. The reserved category people abuse to better their already well to do lives. But we still have millions of beggars on the roads. We still have uneducated folks, who have never seen a 100 rupee currency note throughout their life. We still have people who do not know that life exists outside their domain.

And I will not be surprised if the people in the open category are finally found fighting for some reservations for themselves.

May 222010
 

It was one of the worst days for Indian aviation. The news of the Mangalore plane crash left us all shocked at the office. I wouldn’t like to give hyperlink to the details of this news, cause you might have heard/seen it on media.

But as I reached home in the evening, I was shocked much more to see the media, building up the accident for their benefit. I saw a video conferencing being arranged on a particular channel, where in the host seemed to have got in to a heated argument with an official on the matter of safety at the airports. The anchors were even even daring enough to guess the reasons for this accidents, where as I feel, no one has any technical knowledge. I even saw a tv anchor flying a miniature sized plane on a picture of a runway, depicting the incident.

My humble request to these channels is to stop all this nonsense as there are people have near and dear ones who might be watchin it on tv. How sick will your presentation look to them? You are fighting over the safety of building the airport at such unsafe place, but did you ever cover this faulty project when it was underway?

The plane has a blackbox which records all the voyage data including few last conversations. It will take few days, may be months, to analyse the data and find what went wrong. Will the tv channels give enough coverage at that time, and try to bring the guilty to justice. Or will it be wrapped up in the coverage of another celebrity wedding, because the plane crash will no longer be a high profile case for them.

If we remember, justice is yet to be delivered to the union carbide victims, but how many media channels are interested in highlighting the case, is known to all. It seems that the media waits for the things to happen, so that they have something to cover.

And Mr. Patel, forget your political stunt of resigning on moral ground. Is there any justification for resignation?

May 212010
 

Summer….Oh it’s so hot these days.One of the most boring period of life for office goers. The heat becomes unbearable even in India, and people take this opportunity to cool off at hill stations around my country.
That being said about grownups, summer is the time most of the school kids wait eagerly for. It brings the much needed break from schools and studies and, heat or not, lots of play time.

My childhood summers were just plain days, with lots of activities like cricket(bat-ball, as we called it), and sometimes, kicking football in the evening on the neighbouring ground. But one of the activities which brought lots of pleasure, and some relief from the heat, to us kids, was swimming.

As mentioned in my earlier posts, I am a villager, and we donot have recreational facilities like swimming pool. There might be lots of swimming pools in those days(When Mumbai was Bombay, and the trains ran empty) in the city, but the only swimming pool I knew, and used, was the one a kandivali in Mumbai. The only swimming facility in our villages were the common irrigation wells used for watering the farms. Now this wells are very big in side and even reach as much as 20-25 fts in diameter. Also they were very deep and always held more than 6 feets of water during peak summers. These wells used to turn in to a playground for grownups and kids alike during summers and provided for ther basic desires of swimming.

But I had a problem. I was afraid of drowning. And above all, I was afraid of heights. To get down to the water level, we had to step down on the flat stones mounted on the sides of the well. These stones were just enough wide two feet, but spaced far apart, about 2-3 fts. Using these facility to go down was not a worry for grownups. But we, the short legged kids, had to sit down on the steps and stretch out our legs for the next step. Thinking this to be an almost impossible feat, compounded by my fear of height, and complexed by the fear of drowning, I avoided going near the wells. It was a common tradition to throw children who feared water, into the well( with other people already inside). That child, once inside the well, would almost always get over his fears.

But I was not thrown in to the well. I used the kandivali facility, since my dad’s school, St. Francis D’Assissi, Mt. Poinsur, had arranged swimming classes for students of their school.
I was thrown in to the deep side of the pool, lifering around me, by my dad’s friend, while the children got in to it using the steps in the shallow side.

I managed to come out, and was thrown back in again. That was his last throw. I never came back out, guessing his intensions. Within seven days, I could swim across the pool and in few days more, along the length without the life ring. But by the time I was ready for my village well, my life ring was punctured, and my father wouldn’t buy another.

So I went to the well one summer afternoon with my brother and friends. The journey was covered halfway on shaky legs, and remaining half by dragging me to the well. I promised to enter the well on my own if they promised not to push me(of course, there were elders in the well, cooling off and supervising). Now, I must describe the life ring in villages. Its either two coconuts tied to each other which provide enough bouyancy, or two oil containers made of plastic. The plastic ones were rare since we used postman oil, which came in metal drums, so wewere left with only one choice, coconut. I doubted the ability of those  two coconuts to help me float. I tied the float across my waist, and took my own sweat time to lower myself to water level. Each step took about 2 minutes, with one leg down, then back up again, then other down, no no difficult to balance, then back to first leg. And each of my step was vibrating at resonance.

Finally in to the water, I felt I had conquered somthing big. Slowly I picked up swimming without the floats, or had to because the floats were rotting off. And the swimming sessions kept on extending, sometimes going as long as 2 hours.The cooling effects, and the exercise that swimming gave us in those days had no substitute.
The summer swims continued all throughout my school and few college years. But as more and more people started to have jobs, the attendence at the wells declined till a point that there would be only 2-3 people swimming.Finally, I was one of the people to drop of the well swimmers list due to job. Later I did get to swim in a swimming pool on my ship, but that swim has no comparison with the swim in a cool well.

Due to lack of usage, the well has become dirty, and is only fit for irrigational purpose. Face lifting it is not worth as there are no people with enough spare time at home.

I still yearn for the cool summer swim in the well…

Mar 162010
 

So what is development?

Lots of things are being done, lots of changes made, in the name of development. But the true question when put  forward, produces some vague responses, very few laudable, but most of them hilarious. No one seems to have understood, or have a desire to understand the true meaning of development. My attempt of an answer to this might be unsatisfactory to a few, but its my view point and you can comment upon it.
An example to start. Our area is being converted in to municipal corporation from a village panchayat, and we have a view that it will affect us adversly.
Hence there is a huge resistance from our side to this move. But its difficult for some people, and one particular person from a nearby city asked me and my friend, who stay in the same area as mine, why should we resist since the formation of municipal corporation brings about development? My friend ask him the million rupee question, “What is development?” The prompt reply was that there was construction of lots of huge buildings, which wsa good for the city. When asked as to how many of this towers had proper access road or electricity for 24 hours or continuous water supply, there was a mumbled attempt to some answer, but in vain. Then the next question was about the location of a government run hospital providing to the needs of poor, on which the reply was prompt and pointing out one particular hospital. We reminded him about the condition of the hospital and the lack of experienced doctors. We even pointed out how it was used only for carrying out autopsies. On being asked about a good educational institution, he pointed out many of them located in the gram panchayat area, but none so well known from the city area. So is this development? What has stopped any city from building proper health care centers or educational institutions, when it can keep on building huge commercial buildings?
I work in the city of Mumbai. I stay in a village which is around 60 km from my workplace. The british connected my town with the main city way back in 1925, since they had some foresight towards future population explosion around the financial hub. But the condition of this mass transport system has not improved much since then. The crowd, keeps on growing, no matter how many lines are added to the route or no matter how many coaches are attached to the trains. And this transport system has reached its saturation point with further expansion impossible. The travel time has increased due to congestion at nodal station.
Half of my life is wasted in travel to my workplace. Surely there is a roadway as an alternate, but if all the people start using their personal vehicles on this roads, the condition on roads would be much worse than now.There is no proper mass transport system to connect two cities. So whatever “development” was done since independence, seems to have dragged up back in time.
Food, clothing and shelter are the three basic needs of mankind, and any kind of progress or development as we call it, needs to keep in mind this three basic factors for survival of our species. But building high rises seems to be the priority of our authorities, thus neglecting the food department of our basic needs. What about the agrigultural land that is turning barren because farmers are preferring migration to cities for jobs, due to lack of any proper support mechanism to the farmers from the government in case of any natural calamity. What about the water supply? Major city like Mumbai faces acute water shortage in summers, even after water cuts throughout the year. How can any city, or a country be developed if its not self sufficient in food? Agriculturally advanced countries like the USA, Autralia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, which are self sufficient in food, are much ahead of us with regards to development.
What about the secondary needs of mankind like transport, power etc. Lets say electric power. We all know that India has a huge shortfall in supply of the power to its consumers. Except for major cities, rest of the India faces scheduled power cuts, which are increasing in frequency. So isn’t the city thriving at the expense of small towns and villages. Why this unequal treatment when both pay equal taxes? And how much of this tax has been used for true development
by government? Private firms, which can charge higher amount for power supply, build up huge power plants on large scale, but how much megawatts of power has the government added in previous 10 years? Not much I guess, else the demand supply gap wouldn’t have increased explosively.
We build buildings and then we remember that we had to have wider roads for easy traffic movement. So we demolish those buildings or houses which are not strong enough to resistance. After the road is completed our gas company remembers that it has forgotten to lay down pipes for supplying gas to the buildings. Dig dig dig. Then our telephone company again goes dig dig dig to lay down communication lines. Oh!! The municipal corporation forgot to laydown proper sewers aroud the city. So dig dig dig. The road endup being digged up more often than usable. A very recent case makes my point where the construction of a skywalk begun with digging of road and in the process congesting traffic, breaking up communication lines and water supply pipes. Then the dug up holes stay for few months and were ultimately filled back. It seems that the project scrapped. Only sign of that project is the damaged road which, I doubt, will be repaired soon. The civic authorities seem to not know that the planning is amongst the first step for proper development.
No one is against development. But the consequence of development were better life for mankind, and this doesn’t seem to happen anymore.
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 http://onevasai.com)

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.

Feb 132010
 

I remember an incident that my father-in-law narrated some time back. And I feel this is the right moment to reproduce it.

A door to door salesman had come to my in-laws house, and was trying to sell a clothes washing powder. He was really persistant about the high quality of the product even though my father-in-law was not interested in it. My father-in-law used to work in big Indian company, manufacturing popular brands, and he had some idea about the products. But the salesman kept on claiming that the product the best in the industry, and could remove any kind of stains. He even claimed that he would demonstrate the abilities of the product. Finally my father-in-law, agreeing that he could conduct the test, gave him a shirt with a fresh stain of pickle.

This poor fellow, soaked the shirt in that powder for almost half an hour, and no matter how much he tried to scrub the stain, it wouldn’t budge. The salesman was sweating at his loss, when my father-in-law gave him a cup of tea, and said goodbyes.

An article in todays leading newspaper brightened up my day and prompted me to post this. Everyone is aware how misleading advertisements are being feed in to our lives through media. people having some knowledge are hard to be mislead, but many of them get duped by such ads. This conning act has been transfered from door-to-door salespersons to multinational giants. And think about the effects on our health if such ads are for food products. Its not just us grown ups, even kids are influenced by such ads. Its a welcome case for us consumers, as the administration is taking some interest in such matters. This should really serve as a deterrent not only to companies manufacturing food products, but also to all the consumer products manufacturers. Those who make tall claims, should have a support for such claims.

And, somebody please tell the producers of this advertisement to stop it from being aired. Its a “Dimaag Koo Shot”(shot in the brains)!!

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 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.

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