the saleswoman who sold me ‘guilt’

It was yet another day, I was at home, watching the news when the door bell rang. I went over and opened the door. In front of me stood a 40-something woman, dressed in a salwar kameez and panting uncontrollably. Alternating words and her breathe, she asked me if there was a lady at home to which I replied in the negative. This seemingly innocent admission of the fact, as it stood then, apparently hurt her.

The panting changed into an expression of pain as she shot her next question at me, “Is anyone at your home unwell or something?” Again, my answer was in the negative. Two negatives anyway didn’t make a positive so I was pretty much expecting further dismay and she delivered.  “Nobody at your place is ill or has a problem from the health point of view,” she lamented, as if it was the most unbelievable thing to be told. By now, my heart had melted. I felt bad for the woman who was trying so hard so sell her stuff but I could do nothing about it. With a grim cum guilt laden face, I replied, “No, sadly there is no one like that at my place.”

She withdrew. Lost, defeated and with a deep sense of failure, she retreated. But what was wrong with me? Why did I feel ‘guilty’ that ‘there was no one unwell at my place’? Thats when i realised that the saleswoman did sell me something – defective guilt! 🙂

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I think I know who attacked the Indian parliament

Been a witness to the drama over the Indo-US nuclear deal? I have.

Our politics has hit a nadir. To understand that, you need to simply read the following five lines:

  1. Congress-led UPA government negotiated the Indo-US nuclear deal, so it supports it
  2. Left hates anything that has letters ‘U and S’ placed consecutively and thus opposes it
  3. BJP-led NDA is in the opposition and did not bring the deal, so it opposes it
  4. Samajwadi party and smaller parties wants to keep BJP at bay, so they support the UPA
  5. Other parties hate Congress and are worried that Muslims oppose the deal and thus oppose the deal

At a time when the country’s energy security appears far from comfortable, these are the reasons our politicians don’t want to discuss such an important piece of legislation. It is not surprising that none of the so-called leaders have had the gall to utter out opposition after the nuances of the deal were finally revealed when the text of the India-specific agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was ‘leaked’. The government’s role too has been far from clean but which leader or party has it in to engage the government into sensible debate??

The way our system is and leaders are, I sometimes feel that the guys who attacked the Indian parliament in December 2001 were not terrorists but frustrated Indians.

Enough is enough!

Normally, when you have been through a lot, seen it all and not liked it, you want to change things. Keeping this universally acclaimed principal in mind, when you are frustrated with something/someone and you know the water has gone above the limit, you decide to act decisively. With a determined mind, all set to act on your agitated thoughts, one yells out, “Enough is enough!”

Come to think about it, its an anti-climax. You can equate it with the hype built up for an Indo-Pak cricket tie and it being rained off before starting! It is a flaw, the expression is. I mean what are you trying to convey by saying something like ‘Enough is enough!’? Is it something that you had to yell out so that the world could enlighten itself on it? Or you discovered the mantra in those moments of anger, pain and frustration? Or is it something that noone has ever acknowledged before you chose to? WHAT??????

Enough – the word, throughout the history of its existence on this planet, has always been known as ‘enough’. I can assure you. I even pledge that never was ‘enough’ known as ‘dsflkjgvn’ or aerhdewdfen’ (or any such typo I can come up with). Then why do we keep on harping ‘enough is enough’? Let us make a start somewhere. 

In fact, the time is ripe, right now. You have just read this post and decided that you won’t ever visit my idle-mind workshop that this site represents. So, go on, determine it for yourself and tell me how I have had it this time or how I could ever fall to such an extent and all that sort of things. Say what you like but you know what not to say 🙂

I WAS IN KGB…yes, you read right

Guys, it is serious.

After my stint in KGB, I was firm…I had to move on.

Never was I supposed to revisit it.

No friend was ever supposed to come close enough for me to reveal it to him/her.

Apart from my colleagues there and my parents, who saw me through that period, nobody on this planet was to ever know!

But it came back. To haunt me, to never let me forget and to rekindle my past.

It wasn’t very pleasing. But nonetheless, it is something I couldn’t erase from my life. Now, after I share it with you, I know, it won’t be forgotten..ever.   

As I was cleaning my drawer, it tumbled out….my report card of KG, standard B.

I’d scored very less..

Goan diaries – I

Goa isn’t exactly known for its diaries but may be after I write, it will..

For those who do not know, I visited Goa between June 7 and 10. Since friends were busy and none of them was unlucky enough to be forced to join me, I made the trip alone.

Saturday June 7

It was Tom Petty number I hadn’t heard before but it was a recommended one nonetheless. So it found a place in my cell phone as I prepared for my Goan odyssey. Little did I know that the song would come to define the trip I had undertaken. Dodging the activated shuffle system, it played out as my journey from Mumbai began at 10pm. Its lyrics rang into me as I looked out of window in the bus:

Into the great wide open

Under the sky so blue..

Out in the great wide open

A rebel without a clue

From being an unfamiliar number to a ‘member of the core group’, it made the transition quickly. Felt as if it was being sung by someone seeing me. It always feels nice to have found good company among many, doesn’t it? I slept a happy man…(in this, I must also acknowledge the assistance lent by bus walla who played Imraan Hasmi starrer Jannat

Plan, shall we?

Trouble is that animal which hunts in a pack. This, I was reminded of, when I saw our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh address the nation on fuel hike. If curbing inflation and reversing his party’s electoral fortunes was not a worry enough, the man has to now pray that his countrymen show restraint in using fuel but still vote for his party.

 

Looking at it from the point of view of a middle class Indian, the party has been spoilt. After years of suffering under license raj, where you could only buy Fiats and Ambassadors, he had only recently started to feel the ease of a Hyundai and the power of a Scorpio. But even before his next generation could savour these luxuries, attempts have been made to stall him. So delicate is the situation that after PM Singh announced a hike in prices, global crude oil prices dropped immediately to $124 a barrel because the world was relieved that India will find it difficult to buy and thus the demand would fall.

 

Whose fault it is that we stare at this ugly situation? Not the world’s and certainly not that of the middle class Indian. I would raise my finger to a habit that has long besieged us Indians, as a habit – utter disregard and implementation of planning.

 

Let’s take the case of Mumbai. The city has always been the country’s commercial capital. This tradition continued even after liberalisation of our economy. As the size and contents in the wallet of Mumbaikars grew, the roads shrunk with the increasing amount of cars. Even while this went on and on, our policy makers only woke up recently and announced a Metro rail and a monorail and air conditioned corridor for railways and air conditioned water transport and what not, as cheaper alternatives to car users! Since these things don’t come easy and our policy makers aren’t exactly the most efficient ones, we can conveniently wait for next five years for any of these things to materialise. So, would you blame the middle-class Mumbaikar if he can afford a car and wants a decent ride to work place in an air conditioned vehicle? I won’t. In the commercial capital of a country that aspires to a superpower, it certainly isn’t asking for too much.

 

Thus I don’t see a substantial dip in the fuel consumption even though it has become costly. Net result being that the lack of planning on part of our policy makers has driven us to where we stand today. I am surprised that many bureaucrats I have spoken to have agreed with me on this.

 

Moving ahead, some of these bureaucrats told me that past is past and that we need to look ahead. Fine, as you say, Sir.

 

A few days back, I was on my way home in train from the hill station of Matheran. The railway line there was a two-track one which caters to up and down train traffic. On seeing that, I wondered if these bureaucrats will start constructing additional railway tracks even though the area is, for now, out of Mumbai’s mad land grab. I wondered if these bureaucrats will wait till the traffic rises there and commuters are forced to perform ‘rail rokos’ or will they plan and implement earlier? What will take place on that track near Matheran, I somehow believe, will be the future of how the emerging India deals with its issues.

 

Mother Night

It had never really occurred to me until a few moments back. As I was feeling the night and consuming with immense greed, the solitude it provided, it struck me with as little a surprise as perhaps your left hand hitting the right. Felt as if it was always there in the dump yard of the larger dumping ground my mind (mmm…actually even my body) resembles these days. It is the answer to why I like the night more than the day? What is it that the night gives me which a day, with all its big bang apparatus and crowd, can’t? And why am I, once again, choosing to write a heart-felt essay in the dead of the night rather than in the day,  without losing out on sleep and disturbing my already-slow metabolism?

 

In a pattern similar to Gautam Buddha attaining enlightenment under the aegis of the grand Banyan tree, I chanced upon an answer to these questions over the aegis of my modest domestic swing with a little support from my newly-acquired Philips headphones.

 

Night is like a mother, I feel. This one line lent an immediate explanation and helped me resolve and rationalise all my feelings towards the ‘Night’. Beginning at the dawn, a Day does all it can to take you away from yourself, your comforts, your likings and makes you do things you don’t like, don’t want to do, tires you, makes you feel hungry and thirsty and reminds you how blissful your Mother Night is. Day grinds you till there is not much left. And even as you are about to drop in despair, She, Mother Night, takes over. Makes you come back, unwind, forget your worries and relax. She takes you closer to what you like, what you want and, at the crux of it, takes you closer to yourself, much against the distraction you’ve been through. She has no conditions, no demands but simply loves you and wants you to live well. Like an understanding parent, she will not force herself upon you, rather she will let you be alone and grow. She will provide you room to explore, think for yourself, and form your opinions even as she struggles to keep the raging world outside at bay. That, to me is why I love the Night and feel it is like a mother.  

Even ones response to ‘Night’ is akin to what most sons do in real life. Like most, you behave like an insensitive child and show little concern for what she has given you and gradually start craving for the Day to come by. Anyway.

As I had stated earlier, this thought came to me and got ‘downloaded’ within just the way a new file does but this file my system seemed totally well versed with. Lastly, I also got a reason behind some of the not-so-important things I have come to know about people in the world. Like why AR Rehman composes music at night, like why most people like to read at night, why so many people like to write at night and even why I could never study at night and would always sleep. Just as Rehman’s heart and mind blooms in the soft light of the moon, my heart and mind felt tortured when I held my textbooks with me. Good I gave it up the day the government made education non-compulsory!  

Hope the last line was a decent end to this piece of writing. If not, then may be the last line now is. Whatever, I can’t stay up and keep searching for the best end. It is ‘Night’ and she is awaiting to take me to do another thing I love immensely, sleep.

Good Day! (Because Night is better as well as Best)

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