31 December 2006

Happy New Year

Every time I ponder over doing something the unrelenting laziness cantors the moment. When I try to doze off, a sense of spryness engulfs the mind. Is this vegetative state we define as mind-in-action or is it an ordinate illusion from the reality. Talking about reality it very much depends upon what we want to feel and little about what others want us to perceive.

Let’s not blabber any more into the everlasting canopy of neo-reality. Let me take you through a thought of mine that intrigued me since the time I was playing with the likes of a bunch of kids whom I so effortlessly called friends. How many times we hear the same old clichéd question posed to us? Though over the stretch of time with growing number of candles in our birthday cake and apparently incrementing the age-cycle we loose the overall perspective of the answer. Answers that in childhood every kid gave with a smile, what do you want to become when you grow up? Gosh! Do we still remember the answer that used to make our neighbors envy the lucidity of our sweetness or is it that we have out grown ourselves so much that pondering over such primitive issues tickles the funny bone in our body. Either ways, it is fascinating to muse over such questions. Some call it expectation others name it facing-the-reality.

The prism of thought can be best reflected when there is light. So, when this New Year starts may be just before realizing the canopy of “resolution”, ask yourself what once you have answered so gleefully and what you are today.

What do you want to become when you grow up? Happy New Year.

22 September 2006

Don't Break

Have u ever seen bamboo trees bend under pressure from the wind? Then u must have noticed them return gracefully to their upright or original position after the wind had died down. When I think about the bamboo tree's ability to bounce back or return to it's original position, the word resilience comes to mind. When used in reference to a person this word means the ability to readily recover from shock, depression or any other situation that stretches the limits of a person's emotions.

Have you ever felt like you are about to snap Have you ever felt like you are at your breaking point Thankfully, you have survived the experience to live to talk about it. During the experience you probably felt a mix of emotions that threatened your health. You felt emotionally drained, mentally exhausted and you most likely endured unpleasant physical symptoms. Life is a mixture of good times and bad times, happy moments and unhappy moments. The next time you are experiencing one of those bad times or unhappy moments that take you close to your breaking point bend but don't break. Try your best not to let the situation get the best of you.

A measure of hope will take you through the unpleasant ordeal. With hope for a better tomorrow or a better situation, things may not be as bad as they seem to be. The unpleasant ordeal may be easier to deal with if the end result is worth having. If the going gets tough and you are at your breaking point, show resilience. Like the bamboo tree, bend, but don't break!

07 September 2006

Many Needs, One Life!

Humans have 9 lives.

I am smitten by the notion why on earth cats only have nine lives. It beats my contingence to reflect that the “Age of humans” is limited only with a timid life span. But digging deep into the nuances of a single and may be simple life opens the astounding sense of reality. It’s more that the usual Food, Clothes, Shelter and may be Sex that fall on the grades of humans. Some say needs some say wants; I say it’s the expression of life.

Problems due to missing 'basics' in people’s lives tend to develop over time, and so can be easily missed. Then, when the problem arises - be it anxiety, depression, addiction or some other nasty - they can't for the life of them fathom out why! It's therefore a great idea to know what your own garden needs in order to grow well, so when you see something starting to wither, you can check your list and apply the necessary nutrients.

1.The need to give and receive attention.

2. Taking heed of the mind body connection.

3. The need for purpose, goals and meaning.

4.A sense of community and making a contribution.

5. The need for challenge and creativity.

6. The need for intimacy.

7. The need to feel a sense of control.

8. The need for a sense of status.

9. The need for a sense safety and security.

It may seem that a life that meets all of these needs would be intolerably busy. But of course, one activity can meet many needs. Charity work for example, could be said to fulfill 1, 3, 4 and 5, and could contribute to 6 and 7. Walking with a friend as a pastime might go towards 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Generally, what this suggests, and what has been borne out by recent research, is that a more complex life is a healthier one. Then if one area of life fails or is taken away from you, your basic needs are maintained, at least in part, by those that survive.

So the message is... If your progress through life has gone a bit awry for you or a friend, check if there is petrol in the car, and that the battery is charged before going to a mechanic to have the engine taken apart!

28 July 2006


Fight! Punch! Kick!
Don't bleed. Don’t' cry. Don't repent.

Since the time we are born till the time we pass away we fight with ourselves assuming that we are fighting for ourselves. These fights make us grow the world around us and eventually we shrink to that very point where we started all these fights. Life is a zero sum game. For instance, a newborn child fights for survival away from the comfort of mothers' womb with itself to accommodate itself towards the realities of the world. With the passage of time we fight with ourselves to bridge the gap between our aspirations and realities. While we mature we fight with ourselves to the extent of compromises we are ready to make. When we eventually have families we again start fighting with our aspiration and realities about what we want our kids to do. Then on later ages we fight with ourselves in accepting the realities. At the end we fight to link ourselves away from the earthly pleasure to the eternal truth that whenever there is a beginning there is an end, leaving behind a life full of struggle, a sojourn.

Just that in this fight with us we don't bleed, cry or repent only grow into different stages of life and leave behind the past as heap of experiences for others to fight.

25 July 2006

Resurrection of a Prince

Nothing beats the survival instinct. Nothing can be scarier when the only thing left is to count the seconds; hoping it turns to minutes, wishing the minutes passes into hours and hours into days.

The ordeal started innocuously. In a country where the senses of civic authorities are a debated topic, instances like a boy drowning in a open man-hole, an old man falling into an open pit or an old lady washed away due to poor drainage system are a matter of routine news. Then, what made the news of a 6-year-old village boy from Kurukshetra falling in an uncovered pit 52 ft deep with a diameter of just 18” different?

He refused to die.

Even after staying in the claustrophobic darkness for 50 hours when millions of 6 year olds are lying in the comfort of the near ones playing in the greenery of this world exploring their innocence. He refused to die. When his friends were playing with toys and making merry. He was playing with fate and an almost assured oblivion. It all started when a 6-year-old boy named Prince from a village located in Kurukshetra in Northern India was playing with his friends inadvertently fell into an open pit dug up by the civic authorities. The time was 6 o’clock in the evening. Sitting at the nadir, 52 ft below the ground in total darkness without water food or any social help. The 6-year-old boy whose birthday is just couple of days away is hoping for a miracle or was he too young to understand the dimensions of miracles. Destiny never plays an open-ended game.

Help came in the form of efforts by the villagers after nearly 6 hours, they tried to put a rope and a bag down at the bottom so that the child can be rescued. Nothing worked out. Prince was left in his own fate. Next morning the news spread to the local authorities. The police tried its best but to no avail. A good 24 hours had passed. He was still sitting in the darkness waiting someone somehow to help him. Without food-water and a feeling of desperation the waiting continued.

He still refused to die.

The army was called in along with the doctors. The news of this boy has become headlines in all major news channels across India. People started pouring in. Psychologists, Ex-Fireman started giving the technical analysis of the case in hand. The nation was again gripped with agony. A 6-year-old boy has roused the emotions of a nation of 1.3 billion people. The doctors arranged for an oxygen supply in the pit through a pipe. A plan of action was taken. The armed forces started Operation Prince. With the guidance of 16 Engineering Corps based in Ambala, the army moved in. A well was to be dug 7 ft away from the pit, which will connect the pit through a tunnel. A CCTV camera along with a light bulb was sent in the pit. The first picture of the boy sitting in the pit was displayed. Millions of people across India were assured that the boy is alive. The tedious job of digging a well was undergoing. It was almost 30 hours. The 6-year-old boy looked at the camera with fear. The first words were “Papa, please save me!” he started crying in fear. The gate of resilience was breaking. The country ached in agony. People from all over the nation along with different places of the world started calling various news channels to pass on their prayers. The chord of 6-year-old boy touched million hearts. Food along with water and glucose was sent in to the boy. At 3 am in the morning he was sent in with chocolates. The first communication between the father and that boy took place during that time. The tide was turning. Deep sense of insecurity was somehow patched. Food was sent in. As food is universal to living species it draws so many of living organisms. Insects also came in to have a share beneath the normal grasp of humans. Millions watched in distress the 6-year-old small boy trying to get the better of a small insect. Trying to trash it by throwing moulds of sand. Even living in 21st century the resonances of the prehistoric means are so pronounced. The army kept on digging another hole. Things were going perfectly just to be interrupted by rains. There was panic everywhere. People were running not for their cover but to arrange cover for the pit so that the 6-year-old doesn’t get affected anymore. The nation skipped a beat.

Next morning things settled down for the better. When India woke up in Sunday, the only news that dotted was the fate of the little boy, the struggle of the 6-year-old. Politicians flocked in. The Prime Minister made a statement. More equipments alongwith specialists were called in. Today is Prince’s birthday. Just that he is lying 52 ft down from the surface.

He refused to die.

Morning rolled into afternoon and afternoon rolled into evening. The army completed digging the well; they were now making the tunnel. The nation was praying in Temples, Mosques, Churches, and Gurudwaras. News of prayers irrespective of age from the length and breadth of the country was coming in. It was almost 50 hours. The picture of a hand of an army man reaching the hand of Prince was euphoric to millions of people glued to the news.

He has done it. He has done it!!

A 6-year-old boy beat death with his resolve to just stay alive. In a world that is dotted by so many complexities, a small boy from a near anonymous village with only hope and resolve and may be prayers of millions just caused a miracle.

Seriously nothing beats the survival instinct.

30 May 2006

Reserved Yet Vacant

I'm temporarily taking off the article that I've writen regarding the debate about Reservation in education. The reason is that initially i planned a two part article but eventually i decided to merge both the articles. So i'll be updating this post in next few days time.

To all those who visit my blog, please go through the earlier posts and leave your comments.

Thanks for your support for running this blogsite.

15 April 2006

A Change That Is YOU

The smell is intoxicating me; my eyes are getting heavy and my thoughts gone for a toss. Hold on, I’m not tipsy; neither I’ve come out of an election procession, just that I have just finished a soap opera from the house of Balaji Production. Had Alfred Nobel been sitting in the couch and watching the ever going soap operas that the cable dish out, he might actually used his invention bombing the likes of these saas-baahu serials. What amazes me most is the amount of fan following these serials generate? To refresh the mind of the avid viewers as well as those of you who are quite alien of these facet of our culture I would like to give you my take on these.

Don’t know how to start; actually it was out of curiosity that I have started watching these serials. The expensive costumes, the highly dramatize acting, the matrix like fighting and the trio of “Anger-Jealousy-Tear” exactly in that sequence, coupled with three times slow-motion of a scene makes our industry a genre apart. Even though the story line ends up being in predictive lines, the writers are smart enough to create new dimensions and that too in matter of days even at times minutes. On a last count a very famous serial was having at least 7 directors shooting at the same time but with different plots. I thought we all should learn the art of multitasking from them, Is Bill listening? There is as if a mathematical relationship between the name and the starting letter. Each Balaji Production has to start with the letter “K”, with each serial having an extra “a” or “e” or “I” in their nomenclature. Surly some people make it a point to show that they are good in alphabets too!

The story line hardly matters rather than the name should be numerologically perfect. This lead to my next part of the post which about a story that I have heard while I was a kid from my grandpa. He used to tell me that it is based on his friend’s life.

He is Mukul, a very ordinary boy staying in a very ordinary village in East India under British India. Born exactly 100 years back when the best a man could buy is the dream for independence. He was not a very good student, neither was he excellent in anything. As I’ve said, a very ordinary boy. But one thing that stood out is his tenacity. Mukul was then in class VIII, pretty heavy for his small head. The books hardly made any sense, rather the likes of Mangal Pandey was his hero. Oho! I forgot to tell you about his family. Mukul was the youngest child of the family. He had one elder sister who eventually expired when she was just 12 years because of bleeding while giving birth to a still-born child. Mukul was 6 years old then, a year later his mother expired. The world collapsed for him. There is only his Baba left to support him. Mukul was in class VIII; he had a passion for football. He left the school to join the local coaching club. He used to come everyday in the morning at 7 am and practiced till 5 pm taking couple of hours of break for lunch. His Baba always aspired that his Mukul will one day bring pride to the village by becoming a good player. Everyday Mukul used to come for the practice along with his father, who used to sit at the bench wearing the black glasses under the mango tree. With every passing day Mukul tried to improve his play, but he was never taken into the first 11 of any match. He kept on trying for 3 years. In these three years he used to come in the morning for practice and his father would silently sit in the bench. But in these three years he never got a chance to play. At times his coach used to tell Mukul that he is not good enough than the rest of the boys. But he never gave up. One day he went to his coach and urged him, “Please sir, let me play in today’s match”. His coach replied,” today is final match and I can’t take chance”. Mukul was adamant; he went on insisting that his coach should take him in the first 11. After a great deal of conciliation the Coach agreed, but told Mukul that he will play only for first 20 mins. That 20 minutes changed the complexion of the match, Mukul scored 3 goals in first 20 minutes, his coach didn’t replace him and at the end of the match Mukul scored 8 goals setting a record. The victory was euphoric, the entire village was proud of Mukul. His fathers dream came true. “Mukul… Mukul, where is your Baba” Coach asked. “Sir, the man who used to sit in that bench watching me practice from 7 in the morning to 5 in the evening was blind. He was my Baba. He had faith in me that I’d one day make everyone proud by playing. Sir, he expired in the morning and today I played so that he can see me playing a match from the skies above”.

Believe and self-conviction can change lives. It is for you to understand how capable you are.

23 March 2006

INDIA - A Reality Check

It is human to speculate on the future of giants, elevating them to godly manifestations. It is human to take the giant’s workshop as an economic behemoth, divorced from reality. But with a burgeoning population of 1.065 billion, the world simply could not help but to note India’s ascendancy to an ‘economic superpower’ status. On the face it, statistics, for the most part, justified optimism. India’s GDP stands at a hefty US$600.6 billion (or US$3078 billion, adjusted for purchasing power parity) averaging a staggering 6.2% economic growth rate (1993-2003). At the end of the 2005-2006’s first quarter, India reports an 8.1% growth rate, not bad for an economy that stagnated at the ‘Hindu rate of growth’ – a 3.5% average annual growth rate – just decades ago. With apologies to Marx, the railroad analogy works well for the optimists describing ‘Shinning India’ – efficient, quick and zooming into the First World circles. But like its railways, India’s economic behemoth would crush hundreds of marginalised Indians along its track to global competitiveness.

To be sure, India has the tailwind advantages. Relative to the world average, it has a massive population, the second largest after China and a hefty 482.2 million labour force to deploy. Its state-of-the-art lycées, the likes of India Institute of Technology (IIT), yields the much needed engineers and entrepreneurs to run its technological parks and enterprises. Skilled labour is relatively cheap, prompting influx of multinationals, from General Electrics to American Express. Its Silicone Valley and call centres are much publicised, both as an Asian Wirtschaftswunder and as the economic behemoth it is, devouring American and European jobs.

With such glowing testimony, it is really no surprise that India’s economic engineers love to think of India as thrusting into the future through the wonders of Information Technology (I.T.) from its quaint slum-ridden legacies. India’s service sector constitutes 51% of India’s GDP Its wager on massive high end IT intensive industries – from call centres and transcription of medical records to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) – are reaping the economy a healthy growth rates. Yet, behind the munificence of India’s Silicone Valley and the hubris of their legendary call centres lies the often neglected story of India’s displaced thousands.

In all fairness, an 8.1% growth is no less an Herculean effort – India now sets its aim for an annual 10% growth rate. But, economic growth rates are merely success stories of capital and profit not that of labour. The story of India should rest on its productive structures but rather on its people, their lives and their living standards. In no breadth of political philosophy was it ever to pursue economic functions for its own sake, above its social functions. India-optimists tend to confuse a vibrant economy as an ends in itself. From 11.6% unemployment to a gaping budget deficit, flaws within the economy are growing more evident by the day.

Back-office India

It is grave misnomer to describe India as ‘the world’s back-office’, at least not in the same sense or breadth of 19th century Britain as ‘the world’s workshop’. For all the talk of India’s ‘large-scale service-sector’ growth engines, ironically, its service sectors only account for a mere 23% of its labour force, of which only 770,000 (just under 0.165% of India’s labour force) employed in India’s prided IT-enabled service sector. Elsewhere, India’s staggering growth excludes a growing ‘unorganised service sector’ in with limited income mobility.

Here, the issue of income mobility is of little surprise. Its has a 61.3% adult literacy with secondary and tertiary education enrolment standing at 53% and 11%, respectively, all of which are below the world's average. Even technological saturation is unremarkable, indeed decrepit. At the most basic level of communication, the effect of technology is unremarkable. Just 4.6% of Indians are covered by telephone lines – hand phone subscription accounts for just 2.5% of its population. Indeed, with just 0.7 computers for every hundred people, a mere 0.4% internet penetration – lagging behind China (2%), Malaysia (11% and South Korea (58%) – and 0.02% Broadband penetration, the general backwardness of technological saturation is nothing short of a scandal for India's I.T. intensive sector.

Of computers and hand phones, Internet and palmtops, from India’s façade of modernity, it can be too easy to be fooled into imagining a socially liberal India. Particularly among the more rural parts, tradition still exhibits its pervasive influence in contemporary Indian society. Preference for males, due to matters of dowry and whatnots, rears its ugly head in illegal foeticide and in more extreme cases, infanticide. This somewhat account for the ‘male heavy’ gender ratio at 105 males to every 100 females, being worse in the more traditional villages and towns. Indeed, incidences of domestic violence are still high with some incidences of bridal murder in the event of dowry default and, perhaps more pathologically, ‘honour killing’. Sadly, like all other vicious circles, this can be self-perpetuating. The gap between male and female literacy (71.2% vs. 50.8%) would condemn women to a continuous line of immobility and discrimination.

Poor India

India’s consumer boom embraced at most 15% of India’s population. Poverty in India, on the other hand, grasps an estimated 25% of Indians. While official figures point to a declining poverty level, this can be deceptive. In his ‘Poverty and Inequality in India: Getting closer to the truth’, India economist, Abhijit Singh estimates 364 million or 35% living in absolute poverty. “Half of Indian children are clinically undernourished and almost 40% of all Indian adults suffer chronic energy deficiency”.

The story of poverty in India may indeed be that of unique circumstances. Where in most countries, the persistence of poverty is primarily a case of powerful elites requiring it for the sake of personal enrichment and as a means of gaining political clout, there is a more insidious motive in the Indian experience – to reinforce religious norm and the caste system. Such claims are often consistent with the worse incidences of poverty typically affecting the 150 million Dalit under-castes and 70 million tribal villagers.

The success of the Indian technocratic elite amidst a background of poverty is not so much a case of real fiscal mismanagement than the case of priorities gone wrong within multiple levels of the administration. For the large part of it, the State is largely at fault for India’s regional imbalances. Successions of the central administration by shades of neo-liberalism, from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Indian National Congress (INC), often betray the hopes of the marginalised Indians. Indeed in true Indian outsourcing fashion, tasks for poverty alleviation to rural development were often left to the market forces – or what is now dubbed ‘New Market’. Not surprisingly, market forces are poor servants to the impoverished. In the case of Mumbai, India’s largest city at a population 17.4 million, its largely unskilled workforce saw its textile mills giving way to ITES parks (IT-Enabled Services), throwing a large chunk of its workforce to unemployment and bare-subsistence desolation.

The case of Mumbai is just one among the many cases of the pervasive urban bias in India’s development. While, constituting the larger part of Indian employment (60%), the case of infrastructural and structural development in India’s agricultural is scarce. Such negligence can be particularly costly. For want of agricultural infrastructures – irrigations, transports to open markets and modern agricultural tools – literally wagers the livelihood of India’s largest employment sector, to the mercy of monsoons and middleperson. But these physical deficiencies are just one facet to the general inadequacy. Illiteracy, poor land laws – including Land Ceiling Acts – and lack of microfinance force farmers to fragmented land parcels while preventing benefits from scale economies. This is simply a case of priorities gone wrong; the state chasing after growth sector, ignoring the employment sector.

In tribal and Dalit populated parts, state negligence in providing basic infrastructures, from education to health facilities, can be particularly appalling, adding yet another hurdle towards income mobility. The state of Bihar, for one, has a per capita income of merely $94 against the national per capita of $560. Basic amenities, such as electricity, could be a luxury in the less developed parts of India. At times, even water access is scarce luxury – only 86% of the populace have access to improved water source. 80.4% of India faces severe water stress – consumption of water exceeding 40% of available water.

Given Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ‘no rollbacks of the New Market’, the shifting political balance – between the BJP to the INC – merely thrusts the helm of neo-liberalism into the hands of more effective ministers. At the micro level however, state ‘effectiveness’ is pretty much in the eyes of its beholders. Corruption is rife within its public office, stymieing public services from education to health. Transparency International (TI) ranks India 88th in terms of corruption (1 being the least corrupt, 158 being the least). Cases of police involved in serious crimes, such as kidnapping for ransom, are not uncommon. TI estimates US$4,833 billion loss from petty corruption alone.

The Indian Inflation

On one hand, gaps in the Indian social model may lie in the very monstrosity of its population. With a 1.066 billion strong population by 2003 and growing at an average 1.55% from 2000-2005, experts project a 1.563 billion population by 2050, surpassing even that of China’s. To be sure, a large population can be a boon in itself. In context, however, the case of India is far more dubious. India’s population boom and regional imbalance is a recipe for polarisation and desertion of rural landscapes. Already, population concentration in Mumbai (17.4 million), Delhi (14.1 million), Calcutta (13.8 million), Chennai (6.7 million), Bangalore (6.1 million), are doing little to the general welfare of its inhabitants, instead creating severe water stress, massive unemployment and welfare degradation – a case of too many people chasing too few resources.

Let them eat cake!

India has a neat piece of economic machinery going on, in any case. True, even in the strictest economic sense, its sophisticated machinery leaves still leaves much to be desired. It has a 22% debt service ratio, a whooping 11.6% unemployment and a foreign debt as large as 22% of its GDP to contend with, asides from wrestiling with issues of regional imbalances. Abysmal infrastructures – even in favoured port cities and urban centres – from congested ports to poor transportation do little to improve India’s competitive edge. Even the very factor underplaying India’s service sector ‘successes’ – a relative low wage – is working against itself; top graduates from India’s famous lycées are migrating abroad in droves, for want of greener pastures. Somehow, however, India’s economy is hobbling forward, imperfections and all. But in the case where the economy and society is really better off with the service sector boom, is it really too much for the privileged beneficiaries to share a bite of their cake with the marginalised millions?

11 March 2006

Too Busy to Mail

"Do you ever realize that you never take the initiative to write to me?" emailed my second cousin. It was only then that I came to grips with the reality of this modern convenience called email.

In the days of yore – that is, less than 10 years ago – we used to write letters. I can remember my grandmother writing letters to her sister. She used to sit and write laboriously in Bangla because she wrote only on rare occasions and her control over the involuntary jerks of her hand was not perfect. She used to write long letters filled with affection and emotion, and ended by loudly proclaiming her lingering doubts of whether the hour's labour would be proportionately rewarded by the unreliable postal system. It never failed to amuse me to watch her write so passionately, and like all grandsons I used to tease her.

On one of those occasions, annoyed by my teasing, my grandmother considered it appropriate to enlighten me of the more illiterate ways of living, which to this day are prevalent in rural places. She narrated the tale of a friend who was not as fortunate as her to have enjoyed schooling, which, then, used to be a luxury for girls. Her friend, according to her, would visit her not very often. But when she did visit, my grandmother knew that she had come for a letter to be written. They both would sit and gossip, and invariably she would ask Grandma if she could spare a few moments to write to her eldest brother who was on his death-bed or her once-a-neighbour who had been blessed with a new grand-daughter.

Two generations. Indeed it is a gap too big to bridge considering all the technological advancements that have been transformed from luxuries to necessities in life. Yet, it is not uncommon to see in Bollywood movies a mother asking the postman with unabashed enthusiasm to read the letter that her long-lost doctor-son has written from the city. No, I am not writing this to address the issue of illiteracy, which is far more serious than the topic at hand, and is being attended to in haste and in indifference by supposedly responsible organizations.

If my opening sentence did not make it clear, I proclaim now, I am writing this to make you write to your second cousin who thinks you don't think of her unless her email knocks at your inbox.

The past generation used to – and still does – take a lot of effort to write letters or make their friends write for them, and to read or make postmen read for them. Why, many a youth would agree that they get excited when they see their fathers handing over covers saying, "Beta, you've got a letter." I also have many a friend sitting before the computer moaning, "Nobody writes to me these days."

Why then do we not show the same enthusiasm in taking the initiative to write? I will leave that question for you to think over and analyze, for lack of time is not a satisfactory answer.

Anyway, times have changed. Now the keyboard replaces the pen, and email has made letters redundant. Still, has the situation changed?

Last week, when we struck upon the topic of emails, my friend confessed that he only replies and never once writes afresh. I nodded. I truly understood and empathized with him for I had developed that habit too. If email had died between the two of us, the only other decent means of communication would be the telephone. But then on the phone you have no control over the length and content of the discussion, leave alone the propriety in terms of time, location, and actions of your friend.

Even now I am baffled by the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of the email, not to mention the disuse of sticky and relatively expensive stamps. No more leaky pens, no more blotches on paper, no more licking covers, no more accumulating stamps, no more walking to the post office in the rain. Just the click of a button and you can rest assured that your message has gone to the right person unless you get an instantaneous reply from the daemon. What more can you ask for, other than voicemail, which already exists!

Such comfort and luxury. But to what end? There are still many like me who are lazy to the bone. Of late, my laziness had gone to the extent of just reading emails and even procrastinating writing replies. But one day I resolved. I resolved to at least reply to the emails as and when I read them. And I have kept up my resolution. That is, unless some overenthusiastic friend replies to my replies with such haste that it is annoying to keep writing to the same person over and over again on the same day.

One day I should also resolve to start 'composing' emails instead of merely 'replying'.

Consider the number of emails in your inbox and the number of persons who have emailed you. Pick your top ten buddies from them. Remember that all of these friends would treasure a short personal email that originates from you in a way incomparable to a 'thanks-for-reminding-me-of-you' reply. Now, would you wait for the next email from them so that you can press the 'reply' button and write? Or would you rather press the 'compose' button right now and start typing away?

14 February 2006

To My Valentine

"Kabhi to ki hogi suraj ne chand
se mohabbat
Tabhi to chand mein daag hai,
Mumkin hai ki chand ne ki
hogi bewafai
Tabhi to suraj mein aag hai."

Most of the times in this world very small and inordinate thing give the spark to the mundane-ness of life. I was in standard 11, when it all started. I was doing my studies from JPBS School – an all boy’s school. The libido of adolescence and the fun of being part of the Gen-X were so thrilling. I went to another college fresher party (Obviously uninvited officially but still could manage a pass from some CONTACTS). We had been part of lots of fun, each member were tagged and given a number. Then came the special moment, we were being sited opposite the girls. The rule of the game was that the anchor will call out numbers at random, one from the boys’ gallery and another from the girls’ gallery. Then the candidates will be asked to perform something based on a draw. I was wearing number 5, astrologically perfect according to the numerologists as I was born on the same date. The game progressed and I gradually became very conscious of the “what if!” factor. When things had to go wrong they will always go wrong. I heard the announcement: “Number 5 and Number 3”.

I skipped a bit, I raised my hand for clarification but to my horror it was my number which was called. Why should I be scared! This is my moment of Glory… Come-on Sam, pump yourself. But the mere thought of trespassing in an alien college was enough to give butterflies in my tummy.

As if the surprises kept on coming, some days are just like that. I was told to perform a ball dance with number 3. “Who the hell is number 3”? I kept gazing in the direction of the girls’ row. I saw a girl wearing a blue kurti with properly made hairs and beautiful eyes (just that I’m sharing this with you don’t tell it to anyone, she has the best and most kissable lips that I have ever seen) rose.

Voila! It’s just my day. All of a sudden I could feel the devil and the angel inside me singing the same tune. “It’s your day Sam.”

She was very apprehensive. The noises and the cheers and the Oh-So-Obvious looks are filling up the room. She is just 2 feet away from me. I was lost. Her eyes kept me distracting, my brain was running riot and it seemed that someone has pulled the cell out of a clock. A couple of footsteps and we are in arms distance.

The noise receded and the titanic tune started filling the air. I looked sidewise only to find people putting their thumb up, in a sign to boost my ego. I was apprehensive of one thing that I don’t belong to that college and I’m a trespasser. I came close to the girl and whispered at her ears, “I’m not from this college, so please don’t mind and please try to understand my situation”.

I don’t know whether that was foolish enough or brave enough on my part. Just that I was honest and I value that. I hold her waist, just before dancing she told me “Hey Mr.5 thanks for telling me the truth, actually I’m also not from this college, just a trespasser”.

Thanks for trespassing Number 3. Love you and happy Valentines Day from Number 5.

02 January 2006


Man has searched for his soul, since he has been man. So much confusion to explain something immortal, through mortal eyes. Something nonphysical, through physical thoughts. Conjecture and hypothesis, from the learned and the not. Where does it exist? Can we measure it?

Such folly. Love is your answer, and a simple one at that.

When we fear, do we not-fear death? Fear pain? Fear ridicule? Fear aloneness? But when we love, A TRUE PURE LOVE- do we fear death do we fear pain do we fear ridicule do we fear being alone This is when these mortal, physical beings briefly touch their own soul. Only through pure undiluted love, completely free of fear. Then, and only then, can we see with clear eyes, the answers for which we have so desperately searched.

Fear drives us from love, goads us into complacency, it destroys, it creates a distance between humanity, fear is mortality. Love is comfort, it does not recognize time, it has no bias, and it never started, and will never end. We do not have to create love, for it has always been there, only remove fear, for it is man made. Then we can see our soul without any fear.