Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Full of contorversial FAF - Arundhati Roy

It was simply disgusting knowing what India’s noted writer, Booker Prize winner and human rights activist Arundhati Roy spoke and wrote on Kashmir. Sadly, it was inconclusive, unproductive, negative faf-speak meant to be controversial (only) without mettle.

Quoting one of the newspapers, she said, “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact”. She lashed out against India’s policy of oppressing “the people of diverse culture” and praised the Kashmiri struggle for increasing “consciousness in India about the oppression you face”.

And later she justified saying, “…what I say comes from love and pride... they (whatever she said) were a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir… for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways…”.

The worst part in this whole media hype is that the solution to the Kashmir problem is not even being discussed. Everything that happened was emotion without action veering towards negativity.

Arundhati, being a respected personality could have instead pull the strings towards a solution, could have lobbied for a particular set of action points, could have tried to bring the central government, state government, opposition political parties, and other representatives of public opinion to one table.

How it is (whatever she said) was a ‘call for justice’? How would that bring justice? How would secession bring justice to the common public of Kashmir? I have spoken to localites in Kashmiri quite extensively and I can vouch for the fact that they don’t want ‘secession’. They realize that the lack is of an effective, efficient leadership which can steer Kashmir to development and progress.

If the local leaders couldn’t run the state with abundant central Govt. funds, how would they run a separate country with no external fund?

How is Kashmir ‘one of the most brutal military occupations in the world’? You can’t call the military ‘brutal’ by the count of military personnel alone. Once I had stopped my bike at Lal Chowk to speak to one of the Jawans, when the first thing he said, “Do not stand too close to us, we are the soft targets of grenades thrown from those wooden windows”. That is the actual plight and fear of the Jawans posted in Srinagar that the media completely ignores. Even if I agree with Arundhati for a moment, then she should have instead delved into the reasons of ‘Kashmir’ becoming a military occupation. Just saying that it is ‘one of the most brutal military occupations’ is very ordinary and controversial. It is just plain copying what many others have said in the past and is a waste of effort, time and energy.

How it is (whatever she said) providing justice to the Kashmiri Pandits that were thrown out of Kashmir by the Islamist fundamental groups? Is she even bothered about the Kashmiri Pandits? How is the Indian Govt. responsible for the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits? Why is Arundhati, being the Booker Prize winner blabbering?

One of her other points was about ‘justice for Dalit Soldiers killed in Kashmir’. Who killed those Dalit Soldiers? Why she is only concerned about ‘Dalit Soldiers’? What about the other regiments? Why is she casteist? Who have killed these soldiers? It is clearly either Pakistan, or ISI or Islamist fundamentalism. So how is her statement even relevant to ‘justice for dalit soldiers’?

Dear Arundhati, the need of the hour in Kashmir is an effective political leadership that can steer Kashmir towards quick economic progress. It is also the easiest strategy to implement given the political and cross border scenario. Issues with Pakistan, communal tension would always remain, or would need a longer term solution, but time cannot wait and standard of living cannot be compromised.

We should take Mr. Modi as an example for developmental politics reducing the gap between Hindu and Muslim mindsets. Today Mr. Modi gets a sizeable chunk of votes even from the Muslim community.

With economic progress and effective local leadership, Kashmir can march ahead as a progressive state. With progress, employment and rising income, communal hatred, Pakistani interference and orthodox fundamentalism will ultimately get marginalised.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Power of Development Politics. Mr. Modi shows us the way...

In October 7, 2001, when the Indian economy was going through turmoil, Mr. Narendra Modi took charge of Gujarat as the Chief Minister. In February-March 2002, Gujarat faced the worst communal riots, where Mr. Modi was labelled as the primary anti-Muslim responsible for the killing of over 1200 lives by the media.

Turn to October 12, 2010 BJP and Mr. Narendra Modi in Gujarat is stronger than ever. BJP has swept the polls to six municipal corporations in Gujarat retaining power with two-thirds majority in all but one of them. In this age of fragmented polity where getting a majority seems unreal,  BJP bagged 80 percent of the votes (30% Muslim votes) in almost all the places. Interesting to note is that these poll victories came just a few weeks after the BJP won Kathlal constituency in Anand district in a bye-election. This assembly constituency was a strong Congress bastion from the time it came into being.

How did Mr. Modi and the people of Gujarat make all this possible?

One particular remark of Mr. Modi caught my pride and attention. He claimed that only politics of development can do something good, not the politics of vote bank. He said, "I have succeeded to deliver my message that politics of vote bank or politics of appeasement would not do any good, but the politics of development would do"

The truth in this statement is the future of India. The truth in this statement will bring in faith of the Indian population into the political democracy. Development, prosperity and improvement of the standards of living will and can bring in a permanent political stability. And will tag along prosperity with stability.

Today we are being short-sighted. The political attitude is of vote bank politics, 'blanket' politics, immediate selfish goals and corruption ridden personal growth. It is vicious cycle that takes us away from socio-economic development.

Mr. Modi also could have been short-sighted after Godhra. He could have assumed his imminent fall in the next elections and could have concentrated his energies in making as much wealth as possible for a lifetime. Instead he chose the difficult path of development.

He once said, "An opportunity to work is good luck for me. I put my soul into it. Each such opportunity opens the gates for the next one."

Faced with massive economic losses brought in by 2001, he concentrated on reorganizing the government's administrative structure and embarked upon a massive cost-cutting exercise.  As a result of Gujarat government efforts under the guidance of Modi, Gujarat registered a GDP growth rate of over 10% during his first tenure. This was the highest growth rate among all the Indian states.

Gujarat is probably the only state witnessing a double-digit growth for a long time and also the only state growing higher than the country's 8-9 per cent growth. Gujarat is growing faster than some of the Asian economies.

It's all about labour harmony, infrastructure development, transparent policies and prudent State fiscal management, which have contributed to Gujarat's growth. For instance, the man-days lost due to labour unrest in Gujarat is only 0.65 percent as against 5 percent in Maharashtra.

During my stay in Ahmedabad, I remember Sabarmati River as a dry riverbed for years, now it is flowing bank to bank. If the Sabarmati has begun to meander once again, that's because the water is coming from the Narmada canal, courtesy the ambitious river-linking project of Mr. Modi.

Sabarmati in full flow is an apt metaphor for the miracle that Modi has pulled off in making Ahmedabad a model for urban development. Today it boasts of wide roads, minimum traffic congestion, BRTS and ample green spaces along with malls, multiplexes and coffee shops. It is a delight to hear Mr. Modi speak about development. He once said, "Our roads will be as good as the Autobahns of Germany".

This is at a time when most Indian metros are creaking under their own weight. Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi - speak of any metro and you would see chaos.

It would be worthwhile to dig a bit deeper on the unique Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) with a high-speed dedicated corridor for AC CNG buses that will ply a 55-km stretch. The concept of BRTS was first proposed by the Gujarat Govt to the centre, which was later copied by a few other states. Today, Ahmedabad is the first city to have successfully launched the first phase by the intended deadline. It won the prestigious 2010 Sustainable Transport Award this year from the Transportation Research Board in Washington. Ahmedabad BRTS has caught the fancy of several countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and Tanzania.

There are many such success stories. You can read about quite a few them in

It's a proud moment for India that a political leader is showing us the path of long term development to win a democratic election, to be a popular leader. This is learning and teaching to all the national and regional political parties including the BJP, who have not been far-sighted like Mr. Modi in Delhi and the other states.

Lets salute to the power of development.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Twitter - Truely a phenomenon.

“What’s twitter?” I used to ask. They use to say, “It’s a new micro-blogging site”. Honestly I didn’t understand the sentence in context, content and attitude. It had made me feel outdated. More irritating was the un-easiness because nobody had a clear answer for me. That was 2008.
I had talked to myself, “You have to jump into the water in order to learn swimming.” I opened my twitter account and named the account @lifeisbetter.
Almost immediately, I was clueless on twitter. I found twitter to have no head or tail, no start or end. How do I search for my friends, how do I create a network, how do I meet new people, how do I upload more photographs, who will read my tweets that takes a long time to compose in 140 characters, and so many such questions were left un-answered.
I didn’t return to twitter for a few months. It had left a bad taste because I couldn’t relate to the seemingly in-thing. Now that I look back, I realise that my mistake was in my pre-conceived notions. I was looking for social networking site in twitter, which it clearly is not. It is much to the power infinity more than that.
This post is about my discovery about this amazing phenomenon called Twitter. It is simply incredible.

Twitter takes you closer to your favourite (or hated) celebrities.
It was the celebrity quotient of Twitter that got me back to it. I could follow @gulpanag and read up on her opinions. She even responded to some of my tweets. I was elated and so would so many of us when we get to interact with our demi-idols, know their lifestyle, next movies, where-abouts and personal candid photographs.

Twitter is an excellent news channel
Thanks to one of @gulpanag’s tweets that I got introduced to @outlookindia, which opened a whole new world of relevant news being available to me to devour. I am currently following @outlookindia, @thehindu , @ietweet , @DNA , @BBCIndia among a few others who actively tweet about news and opinions from respected writers and journalists. Then there are individuals like @sonaliranade, who untiringly tweets about financial and political news from all around the world. It is such a pleasure to read up on varied topics on a single platform.

Twitter is the easiest to access
Twitter is an example of growth via sharing. Twitter is perhaps the only platform where over 50% access happens through third party applications. Twitter made it very easy to allow other websites and mobiles to access twitter. The result was that we have got better third party applications
with better navigation and UI to access twitter than the twitter app itself. Today I access twitter mostly through my mobile phone. I have downloaded a mobile application called ‘Pocketwit’ from Google labs for my windows phone. It is convenient, easy and multi-faceted. It has all the twitter features for reading / posting tweets and much more. In fact, as per latest data, 20% of new twitter users join via mobile device, as opposed to signing up on the web.

Twitter has led to many innovations and business models
Two years back, I had read an interesting one-liner for twitter. It said, “Twitter is the SMS of the Internet”. I found it to be an intelligent line, but not anymore. Today the line seems very shallow and narrow in its scope to define the juggernaut – twitter.
The twitter revolution came with a lot of associated products and services. Thanks to the total API support of Twitter programmers. Software developers easily came up with amazing products that compliment and supplement the twitter experience. The three most significant among them are: tiny URL sites like, photoblogging sites like twitpic, text-shortenning sites like Twitxr and 140it. The restriction of 140 characters has led to all these inventions.

  • One can shorten a long URL and post it directly to twitter along with a message by logging on to also let us know about how many people have clicked on the URL.
  • One can upload a photograph on Twitpic, which gets converted into a tiny URL and then one can write a message along with the tiny URL to post it directly to Twitter.
  • If the tweet is longer than 140 characters, sites like twitxr and 140it helps in shortening it using shorter words like r for ‘are’ etc. If the tweet is still longer after than 140 characters, then it stores the tweet in a tiny URL and lets the user post it directly to twitter.
It is amazing that how much we can now do with 140 characters. Imagine a news item tweet with a tiny URL, which you can click for details. You can choose to read more, or decide to let go. Even amazing are the mobile applications to access twitter. For instance, Pocketwit gives me all these features in one platform. You just need to put the long URL and it becomes a tiny URL. It connects to for the same without the mobile user knowing the complexities. Pocketwit allows me to shoot, convert that image into a tiny URL and post it to twitter. It also allows me to browse and post an existing image in the mobile. It is integrated to Twitpic in the back-end and photos are actually getting uploaded to twitpic and can be also viewed by logging onto Twitpic !
Twitter has led to so many innovations and applications that we have websites like whose complete focus is on the third party twitter applications.

Twitter is second only to Google !!
Twitter is doing over five times the search queries that Bing handles at 19 billion per month, and about 20% of those that mega search star Google processes. In a tweet, one can prefix # in front of an important word and these words help in searching the tweet easily. Twitter co-founder Mr. Williams said that Twitter does about 600 million queries per day and added to say that “the figures aren’t all apple to apples”. The search queries from third party applications and mobile application are not fully accounted for. How’s that compare against the major search engines? Working from ComScore figures from December 2009, we have the following data set:

  • Google: 88 billion per month
  • Twitter: 19 billion per month
  • Yahoo: 9.4 billion per month
  • Bing: 4.1 billion per month

To conclude, Twitter has been a true phenomenon not only for networking and publicity needs but also for socio-economic-political discussions, viewpoints and news. It has given a new meaning to sharing and collaboration. It is still nascent in terms of its use for advertising and promotion. I believe there is a huge scope for monetizing twitter to benefit human kind.
Great Job Twitter. Thank you Jack Dorsey.

This blog is an entry to the "My Favorite PC App" contest. Check out numerous apps for PC/Netbooks available at the Intel AppUp Center. If you are looking for an opportunity to build and monetize your applications, check out the Intel® Atom™ Developer Program.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taking a pause.. in the journey of life.

I am becoming 35 next year..and really dont know if I would live till 70 with all the voluntary and involuntary pollution that I subject my body to. Half my life is almost about to be over.

Isnt it quite a milestone? Time has come in life when time is suddenly appearing to be short in supply. Every day that I would wake up, live through and sleep off, would become that much costlier. And the cost of every passing day would only grow exponentially.

Does it mean that I need to do everything faster and accomplish more things within a day? No, of course not. Thats would be crazy. But it surely means that I cant afford to let go of days frivolously as I have been living till date. It simply means that I need to pause and rethink about living the remaining half of my life.

I may either decide to live the same way, or decide to change it. The most important thing I felt that I should definitely take a pause. Time is now to really dig deep and do things that will make me smile, proud and happy... and unrepentent."

I am smiling, proud, happy and unrepentent about the 34 years that I have lived, but  at 34 years, I dont have the same plans and ambitions that I have had when I was 17/18 years old? The variables of life have changed. My interests, passion, aptitude, strengths and weaknesses are more clear to me. I have a larger arsenal of knowledge and experience.

The decision or direction that I decide to take is not important in this public forum. Its more about the means and the significance of a pause in living life. Its difficult especially in a fast paced fuzzy life of Mumbai, but if you want the most out of your life, you have to take a pause, rethink, and re-prioritise.

Clearly and expectedly perhaps for me, time is to change how I live my time.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dabangg - Highest first friday collection at 14.5 crores

This is one case study that I would like to request the authors of Superfreakonomics - Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner to research. It would also perhaps interest the 'Tipping Point' maverick Malcolm Gladwell.

It was July 23rd when the promos of Dabangg got released and like the wind Dabangg just got into everybody's nose. I felt it was a viral campaign of the physical world. I didnt meet a single sole who was not waiting (or desperate) for the movie to release. Desperate, I say, because all of us wanted to catch it on the first show or on the first weekend. Nobody was waiting for others to give review.

I was not wrong. Dabangg released to a biggest response in 2010. Taran Adarsh tweets, "As per initial trends, 'Dabangg' will be competing with just one film – '3 Idiots'. It is expected to cross 13 crores that '3 Idiots' did on a opening friday. 'Raajneeti' - the biggest opener of 2010 did Rs. 10 crores.

Dabangg is about crazy bollywood masala and wholesome entertainment. It has comedy, action, typical hero-villain antagonism and item numbers. To dig a bit deeper, the movie has the hero having an idealist mother, a father-son relationship which is sour at best, police that are funny, pot-bellied and corrupt and a villain who has an akhara (village gym) and men with guns.

What clicked for me was the consistent characters, the dance moves and partly the dialogues. Salman Khan was the angry young man in every scene of the movie. Sonakshi Sinha (acted really well) was the shy but mature village girl, who dotes on her father and would not marry till he is alive. Even after her marriage and during the songs, she is shown to be shy. Arbaaz Khan played the idiot brother who is not serious about anything in life, but his girlfriend. Throughout the film, he takes wrong immature decisions.

Yes, the film is a must watch, but how did we know about it so much in advance? How can we explain the hysteria before the release of the film. All the multiplexes enjoyed 'never before' advance bookings for Dabangg. Even the share price of Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision, co-producers of Dabangg, have jumped 40 per cent in the last one month before the movie was even released.

What was the tipping point for the movie? Was it the promo? Was it Salman Khan? Was it the dialogues on the promo? Was it the dance moves on the promo? Was it Anurag Kashyap (brother of the first time Director - Abhinav Kashyap)? Was it the Zandu song (or the balm!)? 

I dont have the answer but it was indeed a great sociological phenomenon nevertheless. It seems to me that the 'connectors', 'mavens' and 'Salesmen' (of Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point) came together to like the movie and promote the movie to make it an instant opening hit.

Friday, August 20, 2010

About dirty Ganges and rampant corruption...

Recently I read a very enlightening book by Mr. Pavan K. Varma. It is called 'Being Indian'. It is a brilliant book of insights from an extremely observant intellectual, who tries to demolish myths and generalizations about Indians.

He gives a great epic on his views on Indian psyche, on what makes Indians tick and what they have to offer to the world in the 21st century.

I was stuck by two obvious traits that we experience everyday but don't normally think too much about the root cause. It is about why our holy Ganga  is dirty and why do we have such rampant corruption in the smallest things we do in our day to day life.

He says, Indians don't care about the community as much as they care about themselves. The whole world revolves around himself and his family, community coming among his least priorities. Then he adds, Indians don't care about the means as long as the end is clear, positive and good by conventional standards.

Most of the phenomena that we observe around us can be explained by these two traits.

Whether it is the noise pollution / water pollution during Ganapati celebrations in Mumbai, or the garbage disposal behaviour of Indians, we see that Indians do not care about the community as a whole. They do not care how dirty the Ganga is, as long as the belief is to become sin-free by immersing in it. All common sense would imply that any holy place would be most cared for, clean, organised and looked after. In India, we hardly see any clean, organised temples across the country. There are efforts by the temple committee but those efforts end in their personal benefits and their personal beliefs about their part of the duty towards God. Its ultimately all about the end.

The author has given innumerable instances to prove this trait including those that we all know in Mahabharata involving Lord Krishna and Arthashashtra written by Kautilya.

In the same breath, Hindus, contrary to popular belief, have no inclination to understand the six schools of Hindu thought. Their pre-occupation is with the ritual of religion and the rewards that it can offer. The pursuit for the fruits of religion and not the religion per se. The end is important, not the means.

The author gives an interesting example of the Gora Baba in a village near Lucknow. The Gora Baba - an English man who died during the 1857 revolt, is known to fulfil every wish of his followers. Since he was an Englishman, he is offered liquor, cigarettes and meat. A prayer is incomplete without the lighting of a cigarette, which is then offered along with the agarbatti.

It is this trait that make us tolerate and encourage the smallest and silliest of bribes that we pay in our everyday life. The job should be done and ultimate profits should be made, and in the process if we have to organise for chai paani, its alright till the job is getting done quickly and to desired results.

I am sure we have enough examples of such instances, stories and anecdotes.

The book is a well illustrated and substantiated personal opinions of Mr. Pawan K Varma. Any Indian with interest to discover Indians should definitely read the book.

You may decide to disagree with his views, but his views would definitely widen your horizon of thinking about Indian and Indians.

For me, it worked. I loved it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's the time?

Yesterday, I bought the first watch of my life.

It was closing time at Croma in Malad, Mumbai. Three of their staffs were waiting for my transaction to get over, and to call it a night. I paid, got my warrantee card stamp and wore the bright black-dial, chrono-fitted, multi-function watch. From the World of Titan.

It was independence day discounts all over the place, and I bagged a cool 50% discount.

While the sales lady was closing and packing my empty watch box into a plastic bag, I started chatting with the other two staffs on the various mobiles on offer in the next table. I was basically interested to find out if the mobile that I had bought last month is now available in half the price. Luckily it was not and to better that, there was only a scratch and win offer on mobiles.

Feeling good, I was about to leave when I saw the watch on the sales lady's wrist and asked for the time. Everybody was hurrying to close all the counters and so, it must be really late.

She immediately dug her hand onto her pants' pocket to fish out her mobile and obliged me by telling me the time. It was 10 minutes to 11 PM. One of her colleagues was also about to take out his mobile.

I wondered if I had just bought a watch which is on my wrist. I wondered if both the sales persons were actually wearing watches on their hands. I had. They were. Then why the mobile?

I wondered how human behaviour has changed in a span of 5 years from swinging and rotating one's arm to find out the time to fishing out the mobile.

Amazing!! When everybody had stopped looking at a wrist-watch to look at the time, I bought one. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Disappearing Number - An experience

It was an experience that I didn't think existed.

I have been kind of a regular at going for 'Plays' at Prithivi and NCPA, and have always liked the intensity and passion of performance in them. I thought of it as an art done by artists seriously interested in that art, unlike Bollywood that seems to be more about capturing mass appeal, lesser risks and making profits.

But yesterday was different. It was surreal. I had gone to watch 'A Disappearing Number' at NCPA and it managed to break all my pre-conceived notions about a play, its beauty, its art and its limitations. The only thing expected was great acting, everything else was un-expectedly awe inspiring and beautifully creative.

The play, conceived and directed by Simon McBarney of Complicite Company tells the story of the intense relationship between the mathematicians G. H. Hardy and Srinivasan Ramanujan, a 23-year-old Indian genius with no university education. The play also had a parallel love story of a lecturer at a British university, Ruth, with an American hedge fund manager from Los Angeles, Al Cooper. Ruth is shown to be an ardent fan of Ramanujan and Al becomes enchanted by one of her lectures that he randomly attends about the notion of 'an infinity of infinities'.

While the story of Ramanujan is performed in linear time, the story of Ruth and Al travels back and forth in time bringing in relevance and context to the presentation. While the story was good and touched me for it being about an amazing Indian, what caught my admiration was the production values and on-stage ideas that were executed to communicate with the viewers about intricate mathematical concepts.

The play seemed like a jadoo (magic) because of the extremely creative and coordinated use of video footage, recorded audio, and an exceptionally designed stage setting, which could become a Cambridge classroom and a Caurvery riverside within seconds. To me, it has re-defined the creative possibilities in a stage by the use of great acting, backstage coordination, use of props and the use of new media technology.

The play effectively manages to convey the unity and infinity of the universe with continuous and congruous use of actors, shadows of actors, audio/visual aids, props like the over-head projectors and the ever transforming stage.

Let me try to bring into life one of the scenes that tries to represent the concept of continuity, infinity and that there is no gap between two whole numbers, say 1 and 2, because we have the infinite series of 1.1, 1.11, 1.111 etc between 1 and 2. Essentially the scene was representing that the whole world is continuous.

{I decided to delete this paragraph, as my explanation may not do justice to the spectacle that the team at Complicite Company produced on stage. Instead thought of inserting an image.}

Amazing Creativity. Amazing Teamwork. Amazing Screenplay. A must watch for anybody especially if you get emotional about art and creativity. I almost cried with happiness, exhilaration and sadness.


Read more about the 'A Disappearing Number'
Read more about Simon McBurney - my idol now. I have to know and see more of him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Surprised in Jammu City about Srinagar

Today, I got pleasantly surprised as I was entering Jammu city for the first time in my life. Ending my Ladakh biking trip, I am to take a train back to Mumbai tomorrow.

I had an impression of a city comparable to Srinagar. While Srinagar is the summer Capital, Jammu is the winter Capital of Jammu and Kashmir. So common logic implied that both the cities would be similar in development and progress.

I was by far under-estimating Jammu.

Jammu city is a clean, modern well planned city that has wider roads with quite a few fly-overs. It has a six lane bridge, the likes of which is even unseen in Delhi and Mumbai. Interestingly, the bridge is so wide that one lane is used for casually parking vehicles for a lazy evening chat.

I wonder what is to blame for this stark difference between Jammu and Srinagar. Is it the local governance? Is it terrorism? Is it something else?

While in Sonamarg yesterday, I was having an interesting discussion with two local shop-keepers. They were openly antagonising the local governance. They were strongly opposing the dictat of Omar, Farookh, Mufti and the whole gang.

Ironically Omar thinks otherwise. Please read this article that was published in the Hindu.

Frustrated, the shop-keepers were saying, "They should go and stay in their villas in London and America...Kashmir does not need them... India is giving enough money to the state but everything is being used for personal benefits and to buy properties abroad. They added that Manmohan Singh is a good person but if our own people are corrupt, then what is our future..."

Then they said something quite remarkable. They said, ".. there is one person who is a good politician. Karan Singh from Jammu side is a good man and thinks about the state and our people..."

Frankly, I dont know if Dr. Karan Singh is from Jammu but now that I am in Jammu, it surely looks like he is from Jammu...

Srinagar is one of my favourite cities. I wish for as much development to happen over there as I have seen in the Jammu city. I pray that Srinagar also gets a Karan Singh as a leader working for the development of the region.

Omar perhaps need to get out of his ivory tower.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Political thought: Changing the way politics is done and perceived.

Politics today suffers from chronic In-breeding. The cause of all the political myopia, the lack of depth in political innovation and the deepening of the structural flaws in the system.

While China is winning diplomatic battles across South Asia in Sri Lanka, Australia, Burma etc, we are still struggling with an in-efficient, toothless, direction-less democracy.

Today, we are facing a dire need for a paradigm shift in political thinking and in the perceptions of politics in the minds of the common electing population. We need to think of ways to facilitate better implementation of developmental politics.

In my previous blog on 'Political In-breeding', I had mentioned about a model to reform political thinking to create developmental strategies rather than strategies just to win elections. This blog post is an effort in that direction.

Like any school or any education institute, which is known by the quality of its students, a country is also known by the quality of the people governing it. The education institutes get the quality by the strict entrance examinations or merit requirements.

For a country, it is not as simple.

For a second, even if we assume to having the best brains to run the country, would they be able to run the country to development? I wont think so.

How would they know how to run a country? How would they know the theories of management, the theories of International Relations, the theories of Financial Prudence, the theories of Industrial and Manufacturing economy and similar millions of other theories essential to govern a country to development?

Today, we neither have a proven model to filter-in quality talent to run the country, nor do we have a model to educate the filtered talent to run the country well. Some may argue that we have the Indian Administrative Services. My response is that I am clearly focusing on democracy and on the elected members of the society, who gets the power from the support of the masses to run India.

So this narrows down to two points of inflexions which can change the way politicians do politics to run the country:
  1. Making of a new Politician
  2. Educating the new Politician
Both these point require out of the box analysis with details to arrive at a model that can be implemented. I would write on each of these points in detail in two separate blog posts (just to keep each post easy and short to read)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Amazing Americas at FIFA 2010 Creating History

Another 10 minutes to go for Paraguay to make history of sorts. It is 18:40 IST, 20th of June 2010, the 27th match of this world cup edition is being played. Paraguay is leading Slovakia by a solitary goal.

Its nothing surprising. It is not an upset result. But do you realise that this result with all the other results by the South American, North American and Central American teams in this world cup create a hostory of sorts.

None of the American teams have lost a match till now. If we take the carribeans into account, Honduras has lost one game, that too, to a South American team - Chile. No European team has beaten an American team in this world cup 2010....

As we speak, Paraguay is 2 goals up in the match against Slovakia.

The European powerhouses except for Netherlands are displaying a rather lacklustre play of the ball given the stars that they have, and given the popularity of club football in Europe. Spain losing to Switzerland, Germany losing to Serbia, France losing to Mexico, England drawing with Algeria, Portugal drawing with Ivory Coast leaves the ground completely to the American teams.
So that brings the Americans into the top two slots of every group that they are in:
Group A: Uruguay, Mexico (France is third)
Group B: Argentina, South Korea
Group C: Slovenia, USA, (England is third)
Group D: Ghana, Germany (No American team)
Group E: Netherlands, Japan (No American team)
Group F: Paraguay, Italy
Group G: Brazil, Ivory Coast (Portugal is third)
Group H: Chile, Switzerland (Spain is last)

Is this a beginning of a paradigm shift in the game of football, in the marketing of football, in the merchandising of football, in the hooliganism of football?

We will have to wait and watch. Things have changed for sure.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Women are not in the receiving end, our culture is!

I am having a bad time with some of my female bloggers. If I show up to them, they will probably kill me. Anyways let me shoo my embarassment aside and let you know the interesting discussion.

I found this interesting and very well written blog by someone who calls herself 'Desi Girl'. You should definitely read the comments... berrate me or support me.

Attaching my last comment, which kind of defined my objective in all this mess.

OK peace! Throwing my white sqeaky clean towel into the ring! I washed it myself.

You know, the day I returned from my engagement, what was the first comment I got after a few formal congratulations. “Dude, thats not a engagement ring, that suffer-ing” With that statement and by being engaged, I entered into this cycle of wife bashing. I was completely taken aback and in a few days began seriously wondering, why these people have got married in the first place?

The reason I quoted this experience was to just prove that there are enough guys (looks almost like a majority) who think things are bad for a man in a marriage as well. This is sort of an answer to Malabika’s statement about “why are things bad for women at all?”

Life is unfair and things are bad for everyone, if you look at it that way.

Today if I start a blog dealing with ‘Man’s suffering because of his marriage’, and provided I am writer of IHM or Desi Girl’s callibre, believe me, I can have a good follower base… with all kinds of jingoist comments against wives, ..

We all know that relationships are difficult. Why do we say, “Shaadi ka laddoo jo khaye… “, “Shaadi Barbadi” etc etc along with the hazaar jokes about marriage? Similarly we have thousands of jokes around Saas, Bahu? Also, I had this “one room philosophy” which basically meant that the best of friends will also fight the moment they stay under one roof, irrespective of gender.

The point what I feel very strongly is that we should not fan this fire by giving one sided point of views. We are educated resourceful guys having a balanced view on life. Can we survive by rebelling against the other gender or our mothers (own or in-law) from a norm point of view?
These kinds of propagation is delaying marriagable age, breaking families, increasing divorces, confusing kids, and leaving our parents support-less. Today relationships are becoming more & more difficult… Our patience and perseverance are at an all time low. I feel, we are not propagating the right attitude and spirit by such venom-filled posts against a custom without giving an alternative worth the salt.

And nuclear individualistic lifestyle is definitely not the alternative. Even economically, nuclear family is disastrous. It eats away national savings without the motivation to save for the family.

Do we want to have homes for elders like we have in US, or like we have creche today in Mumbai? I do not want to leave my kid in a creche even it means reducing my income to half. Do you want the abortion rates that we have in US? Do you want ‘Juno’s’ to be omni-present in our society?

Have you read ‘its not about the bike’ by Armstrong? He didnt know his father and his mother was 18 years old when he was born.. Imagine why he cycled everyday for hours… Impressively, he used his frustrations in a productive way.

We may not. Our sons may not.

Have you guys read, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray and Love and then Commitment? She is the apostle of individualism and nuclear family. Just read how confused she was from the age of 17. How she was handling relationships? How she had to resort to medications? Luckily, she is a gifted writer and had the intelligence and the money to live through her crisis (and earn from it also).

We may not. Our daughters may not.

We have to devise a way to live with our families in a constructive way. We have to be team players, family men and women.

Cheers everyone. Peace.
We are in the same boat, brothers and sisters.
May God bless.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Are we in the right frame of mind to deny ourselves a joint family?

I was completely against joint family but today i cant figure why? I professed 'girls be careful marrying a boy living with his parents'.. now I cant fathom why I thought like that.

To each, its own! Now I would say!

During one of those days feeling the blues of being out of home (away from parents) from class VI till today, when I should be taking care of my parents, something someone said startled me.

One of my friends (much younger to me) made a hardcore comment that "I want to get married to a joint family."

WHAT? I thought. She continued, "We need someone to guide us on how to run a home and how to become a successful home-maker. I just hope I get a good mother-in-law"

Till then, I was so surrounded by thoughts of today's modern women being independent, knowing how to balance personal & professional life (in Mumbai you would hardly find a husband who wont want his wife to contribute to the kitty), that I never thought this aspect of a woman's perspective to a joint family.

It was a time when I always felt guilty about seriously wanting to give the comforts of a young intelligent bahu to my aging parents. In my heart I was convinced that they deserved to relax now. My mom and dad worked, borrowed and foregone every luxury to make their 3 sons have the best of education. Today we are all migrant labourers earning very well and they are alone.

I felt that I should be with them but how do I say that to my wife who is not going through these dilemna and who cant understand my need for a joint family with her supporting me. So I felt guilt both ways...

Now armed with what my friend said, I started questionning my guilt, my guilt for thinking about a bahu for my parents... It is ultimately a mutually beneficial relationship corrupted by hyped up saas-bahu serials. Its not that bad when I see my life and my growing up years.

I started talking to many of my other friends about their concept of joint family. I clearly see a particular pschylogical profile opting for joint family. Its primarily the perceived (or real) lack of independent will in a joint family that a girl is scared of. Almost all wives of love marriages opted clearly for nuclear families.

I understand that with a culture of individual choices engulfing India, everyone wants to lead an independent life without interference. We seek independence in terms of our actions - what we wear, what time we sleep, what do we eat, drink etc. That is understandably not possible in a joint family. A tinge of conventionalism do creep in a joint family, the degree of which, again depends on the education and awareness levels of the family. Independence of thought is however possible. I have led a very independent life from class X and today I discover that independence of thought rather than independence of action is what I should crave for.

So I started observing joint families closely.

I found that joint family has critical economic significance too. As an effective support system, joint families can resolve the problems of modern-day housing, domestic labor (how many murders in Mumbai !!), baby-sitters (I remember seeing one video where the baby sitter was slapping the baby because she was crying) and destitute homes for women and children. China, for instance, encourages joint famies to solve the problem of housing.

Quite interestingly, one of the reason why our Indian economy could survive the economic crisis was ample domestic savings. Domestic savings is led by the concept of joint family. In the west, there is no motivation to save and individualistic consumerism has lead to national debt like that of what the US is facing today.

On a personal level, my quest took me to my childhood. I used to love going to my mama's house. A joint family with 3 mamas, mamis, kids and koka-aita (grandfather-mother). It was so much fun with the VCD player, story sessions, games, food, hide & seek and so much more... Kids surely love joint families and learn so much.

I remembered my grandfather and grandmother getting sicker by the day and the way the joint family tackled those times. My grand father and mother were a lucky couple. I miss them a lot.

What a support system! It supports everyone. No one's lonely and no one's overworked. I have heard of wives being loaded with work (unfairly) but I have not seen unreasonable expectations. Saas is older and so may get to relax a bit more. I have seen my grandmother going hand-in-hand with my mamis, and my mami used to tell her to take some rest.

When a couple can fight, how do you expect a saas & bahu not to... But i realised that all the fights stay in check in a joint family. First of all there is an authority, secondly there are enough distractions for a fighting pair - be it a couple or saas-bahu. And there are kids that bring the best out of everyone.

There was privacy too. I remember having this unsaid rule (don't remember who gave it to my head) that we were not supposed to get into any of the bedrooms (Ya, we had the luxury of quite a few bedrooms) while playing hide & seek.

Joint family is also a very potent bed of learning your roots. You get to know the relations and culturally you are given a good foundation. I would have hated to have a situation to learn only from my parents. Perspectives are many and strengths are multiple. You just absorb all. I am sure, weaknesses will also be many. Luckily I was, and am always a positive child, boy and man. It is anyway not a good thing to think bad about elders - again a learning from being with all of us.

Joint family as a concept has been our tradition and is the reason of our Indian-ness. It is the symbol of 'unity in diversity' and acts as a classroom for team spirit.

Today as I understand more about life, I am getting converted. Although I won't impose my thoughts, yet I wanted to lay down my thoughts for everyone to read, introspect and decide for themselves.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

CD/DVDs - Half baked inventions !!

Always had a grudge against CDs & DVDs.

Initially because I had a cool stereo tape recorder bought with my own money... and then because those damn saucer like discs were painstakenly costly.

Now I hate them because of their lack of immunity to dust (India is perennialy under construction) and rough weather. You cant expect me to always hold them by the edge and treat them with a 'handle with care' sign all the time. Once you keep it in the open, it will sneeze the next time when you play it. It beats (skips) the shit out of the music. And to top it, its not curable.
Once it sneezes, its cremation time, dude.

I always wonder why the intelligent morons who invented them didn't think of giving it a shelter from scratches, dust and other electro-magnetic fields.

It definitely has its pluses. Has a great apetite for storage, that too, good quality storage. Looks sleek, modern and high-end. Output is of hi-fi quality. But it has to be all that and more, when the aim was to make the good'ol tapes extinct.

However, the morons were so engrossed on the look and the shine of it that they forgot to cover it (give it a shelter). It is worse because the predecessors had a shelter to make it work for years. Its even (more) worse because the head that reads the CD/DVD is much smaller than the head of the tape recorder that used to read magnetic tapes. It was an easy kill. Morons.

They could have thought of lasers to read the disc (Isnt that an idea?). You dont even need a peep-hole to read the disc with laser. Laser as a technology surely existed then.

By the way, this blog is a patented thought. You jerks, dont even think.

You guys must now realise how pissed I am, with one of my favourite CDs refusing to play without sneazing. You know what, it is in my trash bin now.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Career Councelling - Let them choose. We would facilitate.

Today I bumped into an over-joyed emotion on FaceBook from a very sweet cousin of mine, saying 'my results are out'. The immediate question to my mind was, "how do I diplomatically get out the examination that he is referring to?" He sure is a sweet cousin of mine, but I had no clue of his exact age and the class he is in. The reason is my 10 years stay in Mumbai chasing big dreams, chasing whatever looks interesting and whatever promises to pay-off.

The next instant, he perhaps understood my dilemna thousands of kilometres away in Duliajan, Assam, the message pops in saying, 'Class X - 90%'. I quickly replied "Congratulations". I was overjoyed. At the same time, I felt a little stuck thinking, "he must be now burdened with expectations to choose science and become a doctor or an engineer."

This brought me back to my thoughts to one of my earlier blogs about where I want to be vs where I am. It brought me to thinking about career councelling, or for a better word, the importance of career assessment.

I often lament saying, "We need to better career councelling in India". But today I am quite stuck thinking, how do you give career advice? What is career councelling when it comes to the elders of a family guiding the young ones in the family?

This blog is an effort to understand our responsibilities as parents, elders, seniors, to guide our sweet young energetic ones towards cultivating dreams for themselves and towards achieving them.

Career councelling is mostly a self discovery process. So the first rule of thumb is that we can not impose our thoughts of a good career to our sweet young ones. (I am quite liking this term - SYO). We have to help them discover themselves, their interest and their passion. No career or means of livelihood is a bad career. It can only be a bad choice.

That makes it clear that as elders, we need to facilitate choice and the act of choosing, and not choose for our SYOs.

The act of choosing is a serious business. It needs a clear responsible mind, hardwork, discipline, honesty, introspection and respect and all other such human virtues. This is where we elders should come in, in whatever capacity possible.

We can instill good values in our SYOs and make them responsible citizens.

Standing up for one's own mistakes, understanding the value for each penny earned, knowing to do his/her own homework, binding his/her own books with the brown cover and labelling each book, washing the tiffin box himself, making his own school bag with the books that is required by the class routine for the next day, keeping a diary, and many other such seemingly mundane routines actually make a SYO feel responsible or makes him responsible.

He needs to get a clear sense of his responsibilities vs his elders' (mostly parents) responsibilities. He should be clear that he is not going to get imposed with a career choice. That is his responsibility to choose.

As I said, the act of choosing is lot of hardwork and discipline. One has to be aware of the options to choose from. Here, we elders have a big role to play. We have to give an unbiased view of all the possible career options that our SYO has.

The keyword here is 'unbiased'. For instance, farming is not a bad career option as compared to being a doctor. Singer Lucky Ali is a passionate farmer. However, it is our duty that we provide a summary for each of the career options to the best of our abilities without being judgemental. For an emerging economy such as India, a necessary element of the summary should be about possible family life in a particular career chosen. In our ambition to be a high flying MNC executive, we forget that we might have to become migrant labourers staying away from our extended families, which many may not want to in the long run.

To my mind, one of the biggest task that we have today is to demystify medicine and engineering as career options. It feels so regressive to me to predict that when you are little older than a toddler, you want to become a pilot and when you are giving your board exams, you want to be an engineer or a doctor. It is saddening to see all the IITians going for IIMs, which clearly shows a lack of focus in terms of career planning. Moreover, it is Government spending (subsidies) going waste.

Secondly, to choose well, our SYO has to be aware of his own self, interests and aptitude. There are a number of online assessment test to get to know one's own interests and aptitude. Let me share an interesting link which I found while researching on online assessment tools. Although these can help in knowing oneself, but it has to be complimented with self introspection, observing elders'/others' career and lifestyle, lots of reading and exposure to all possible media, especially the Internet.

I remember my days when I passed my class XII. I rebelled not to study medicine or engineering just because everyone wants me to be doing one of the two. That probably was a childish emotion but I know the reason now. Thank God that my parents always supported me in whatever I wanted to do. Otherwise, it could have been worse.

This blog is just a summary of my opinion of the responsibilities that we elders have towards our SYOs. There is lots to read on the Internet. It is the everyday parenting that counts in giving the wings to our SYOs to fly towards their dreams.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Conflict of Individualism with Collective Knowledge

Elizabeth Gilbert - the famous author of 'Eat Pray Love' and 'Committed' sums up her western upbringing as: "You matter". She talks about personal happiness through a very personal, individualistic search for contentment.

Today one can read umpteen similar viewpoints supporting happiness via individualism, freedom to choose one's own destiny towards happiness, opportunity to shape one's own life's ambition and dreams, independence to choose one's own love (life partner), liberation from conservative tradition and promotion of the self.

Elizabeth Gilbert describes this phenomenon beautifully when she writes, "I was raised to believe that I was special. My 'me-ness' was always prized, and was recognised as being different from my sister's 'her-ness', my friends' 'them-ness' and everyone else's 'everyone-else-ness'."

I see nothing wrong with this attitude but fear that it may instigate rebellous-ness. Rebellion in itself too may not be bad but when laced with ignorance can create chaos.

Elizabeth Gilbert had to travel the world at the age of 37 to research and discover 'Marriage' - the stubbornly enduring old institution. That too, after being married earlier for 6 years. Fortunately, she had the money, motivation, intelligence and resources to take the effort. But was it worth it? It is interesting to note that she hardly mentions the role of her family, her upbringing in teaching her notions about marriage.

My contention is that decisions and directions in life is best taken with maximum possible understanding about life. It is the relative wisdom that would ensure relative contentment. My belief is that individual wisdom can never be richer than collective wisdom. My belief is that the family support system is the most self-less of all source of collective wisdom.

The culture of individualism conflicts with this benefit of collective wisdom because an individual has to suspend logic and obvious reasoning to take advantage of collective aged wisdom. There are many aspects of life's wisdom that cannot be understood at a particular point in time. Individual wisdom comes with age, experience, education, circumstances. So it may be prudent to believe in collective wisdom without really understanding the same.

If we take wisdom in terms of the understanding the institution of marriage and the effect of individualism in America, it was as early as 1800s when social conservatives suggested that 'this trend toward expressive individualism in marriage would spell out the very breakdown of society'. What they specifically predicted was that 'allowing couples to make life matches based purely on love and individual whims would promptly lead to astronomical divorce rates and a host of bitterly broken homes'. Dont you think they were kind of correct?

To reiterate, it may not be always possible to understand 'why is it what it is' for whatever our elders advise us, society administers, neighbours gossip etc. We need to open our intuition and instincts to accept views and opinions irrespective of whatever it is termed - 'traditions', 'superstitions', 'customs', 'gossip', jokes etc.

We should not let the collective wisdom of our extended family support system get diluted with fervent individualism. We cannot afford to re-invent our worldly understanding every lifetime. Of course, we can choose to disagree, but with extreme caution.

The western concept of individual choice may sound cool. But beware, its lonely and devoid of worldly time-tested logic. We have to let collective wisdom survive the onslaught of western individualistic culture.

Everyone of us cant be Elizabeth Gilbert.

Friday, April 16, 2010

We ignore dental hygiene.

Last week one of my friends had to extract six of his teeth due to decay. It was alarming and a shock for me.

Dental hygiene becomes a thought and a concern when we find difficulty chewing with one of our teeth. Unfortunate but true that we visit our dentist when a tooth pains. Even in Metros, where dental knowledge and expense are relatively higher, dental hygiene is most neglected.

It’s when we are returning from the dentist with our first root canal done then we are thinking of taking care of the remaining teeth. Even then, how many of us know how to take care of our remaining teeth?

For many, the obvious may be to start brushing after dinner before going to bed. For some, surprising it may sound, it is brushing regularly from now. It is worse if it is a promise to brush properly from now.

Dental hygiene is a serious concern that we are seriously not concerned today. We have to understand that tooth decay is irreversible and realise that the sorrow of not having a critical tooth like a molar or a canine is lifelong. Tooth decay not only spreads to other teeth, but also produces a foul smell.

Did you know that a root canal is actually a process to cut off the supply of nutrients and blood to the tooth, making it a dead brittle tooth, which can chip off any time? Scary, isn’t it?

Dental hygiene is easy, cheap and has long term benefits. It comprises brushing, flossing, cleansing and a six monthly visit to your dentist.

Our daily dental hygiene plan should involve brushing our teeth twice in a day - morning and before going to bed, flossing our teeth and rinsing our mouth with a mouthwash once in a day. Brushing is for overall cleaning, flossing is to remove deeply lodged food particles and cleansing is to reduce the bacterial count and activity.

If we double this daily regime with a six monthly visit to the dentist for specialised tooth cleaning and check up, we are surely assured of a healthy pair of teeth for a lifetime.

It is always re-assuring to have one familiar dentist, as he would know your teeth structure, history and your lifestyle better. So go and make friends with a dentist today. I have made mine.

Wish I had the good sense to follow these instructions when I was a kid. It is important that we teach and enforce dental hygiene to our kids. The best way to enforce is to do it ourselves. Kids learn from their parents, as they take them as examples. If the parents brushes twice daily and enforces the kids to do the same, it is very likely that the kids will pick up the habit too.

I am going to meet my friend tomorrow to look at him and silently resolve to start a more stricter dental hygiene regime. I dont want to extract any of my tooth till I am fifty. Period.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reservations against Medical Seats is a Criminal Offense

Reservation like License Raj is a bane for any modern democratic society. It leads to discrimination and misuse by the mighty. More than discrimination, I worry about its ability to foster inefficiency.

We may decide as a strategy to tolerate inefficiency in politics, inefficiency in civil services et al, but we can't tolerate inefficiency in the medical practice.

Reservation for medical seats towards scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and other backward classes is tantamount to assisting murders and death due to negligence. In this case, this 'negligence' is actually 'disguised' ignorance.

Medical science is a quest to understand the human body, which is so vast that it has the potential of giving a nobel prize every year for another zillions of years. I believe through many discussions with doctors that we perhaps know only 20% percent of the human body and its myriad behaviour.

So, medical science needs students with sharp intelligence, memory, insightful analysis and an aptitude to grasp complex scientific logic. Additionally, it needs life-long curiosity to crave to learn more every passing day with newer discoveries and theories.

In contrast, reservation is bringing in students with lower intelligence, lower aptitude and lower analytical ability into the medical fraternity.

This has obvious dire consequences and more so because of the following two reasons:
  • The non-medico society knows very less about medical science. This leaves very little argument against a wrong prognosis. I remember one of our neighbours not allowing his child to drink water, as he was having loose motion thinking that water will only make it worse.
  • The doctors are kept in God-like social standing. They are the opinion makers. So, naturally doctors are not questioned and are followed with blind faith. That is the reason perhaps, of the existence of Hippocratic Oath.
I have had so many instances of stupid mis-diagnoses that it pains my heart.

In spite of the fact that Parkinson's Disease is one of the heavily studied disease, my father was mis-diagnosed twice by doctors who had Masters in medical sciences. A year later, a 4th year student told us about my father by just looking at him for a few minutes during my marriage function. I have to mention that she was the topper in her batch.

I have heard of so many gastro-intestinal complications due to mis-prescription of antibiotics without proper guidance about the side-effects of antibiotics. My uncle expired due to heavy intestinal bleeding due to wounds in the intestines caused by excessive antibiotic doses.

One doctor could not recognise peripheral vascular disease which is ultra-common in heavy diabetic patients. It is unbelievable but it was me who had to pin-point that this is PVD, but it was a bit late.

A good doctor is one who can think out of the box assisted by his clear understanding of the various facets of medical science. A book worm (one who believes in mugging) who passes his medical exams can never understand medical sciences too well.

We have to seriously understand and give a thought to abolish reservation for medical seats in all Government colleges. And very quickly at that.

Another disease affecting the medical fraternity, I thought I should mention, is the prevalence of admission through donations. Donations seats are as harmful as reservation seats to the common man.

Beware Indians.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Introspection: We chase security till death!

Today I am about to be 34 in about a few days. I think I have had a successful stint at leading life to a respectable position. I have grown from earning 1500 a month to earning in lakhs. I have learnt to keep myself productively busy. Very busy.

But a strange thought is currently depriving me of all my pride and contentment.

We are only taught and doctrinated to chase security. We are not taught to chase our dreams.

Security, I feel is a transient term, a state of mind that changes with context, time and money.

I have been chasing security. I have been chasing money. I have been chasing the easiest and the most secure way to make money. Not knowing how much is enough money. Not knowing how much money will give you enough security.

I surely had a passion and an inkling of my interests. I am happy that I didnt go completely haywire. I studied advertising at MICA. Designed communication for McDonald's

Then I think the inevitable had to happen. I aimed for convenience, comfort, stability and security. I jumped jobs and skills that were of interest and convenience to me and that which could fetch me more money. Soon, I had EMIs to pay, a house to run, a car to drive, a bike to ride. I had a lifestyle to maintain. Pubs to go and luxuries to experience.

Maya-Nagari Mumbai, all the while assisted me in my quest for security. I didnt realise and understand the maya.

I took the stand still-traffic to be a necessary evil to be waded through. I took to working 10-12 hours as if I had no option. I considered the brown sky without any stars to be the natural sky. I took the honks, construction sounds, and all the artificial sounds to be natural. Sometimes I think I will become deaf. I took to staying away from my parents as something that everyone in a metro does. It seemed normal.

Thinking of what's next become a priority. Ambition, Performance, Ego, More Money, peer pressure became a way of life... Anxiety is accepted. They say there are pills that are abused to control anxiety. So much for security.

I forgot to look back, to introspect. Today, I feel a bit shaky. Security still alludes me. Security has become a never ending chase.

Time to think. Time to realise my dreams. Its never too late.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Memento Memories - We too keep notes!

OK. So what am I doing?
Oh, I'm chasing this guy.
No. He's chasing me.
Ah! Fuck!
I have this condition.
A condition?!
It's my memory.
No, no, it's different from that. I have no short-term memory.
I know all about myself, I just...
Since my injury I can't make new memories. Everything fades.
If we talk for too long I'll forget how we started...

For any movie maniac, this would ring a bell. Memento for many, Ghajini for few.

Just for the un-initiated, Memento is a 'must watch' psychological thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, adapted from his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story "Memento Mori". The movie later inspired one of the greatest bollywood blockbuster - Ghajini (the Ghajini hair cut, though was original bollywood creation).

This is not a movie review, but a reflection of the movie that fell on me.

The movie is about Leonard Shelby who believes in his life through notes, Polaroid photographs with caption and permanent tattoos on his body. Since he has short term memory or practically doesn't remember anything and anybody, he trusts his instincts, handwriting and tattoos.

'You really need a system if you're gonna make it work. You kinda learn to trust your handwriting... ...where you put them is really important. You need a jacket that's got, like, six pockets... You just kinda learn to know where things go and how the system works...'

Don't we all write notes? In the corollary, don't we find people who doesn't write notes inefficient and often forgetful workers. Don't we consider 'Post-it Notes' as one of the world's most innovative products? Don't we find ourselves a bit lost if the minutes of the meeting are not circulated or noted?

The only difference being that Leonard Shelby had too short a memory. We all have short memories and some reference memories.

The movie makes a great statement on belief systems, instincts and intuition. Its all about self belief about what you perceive in life.

...I have to believe in a world outside my own mind.
I have to believe that my actions still have meaning.
Even if I can't remember them...
I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still here...

We too know so little about the world in spite of being scientifically so advanced to send men to space. The only option is to have faith and belief.
Its believed that medical science only knows only 20% about the human body. There are innumerable diseases that the medical fraternity calls 'Auto-immune Diseases', which in simple words imply that we don't know the cause and cure. We know so little about what's going to happen in the next instant.

We have created technology to fill ourselves with documented knowledge - wikipedia, google, blogs, libraries et al. But can we read, understand and assimilate all of that in one life-time to understand life,... to understand ourselves.

Am I really sure that the laptop with its lithium battery wont burst on my lap while I write this blog? Its all about my belief that's making me continue to keep the laptop on my lap

So what we do is we believe in our instincts and strengthen them through daily conditioning. Its about habits that we pick up from our childhood and the culture that we come from. We have to accept them and be happy with ourselves. One life time is too short to keep thinking of changing for the better, especially when it is difficult to understand 'what is better'

Conditioning didn't work for Sammy, so he became helpless.
But it works for me.
I live the way Sammy couldn't.
Habit and routine make my life possible.
Conditioning. Acting on instinct.

The movie beautifully portrays that this system of belief, instinct and intuition can be strengthened by conditioning and has to be complimented by past memories (references). Otherwise the system will shake and dis-integrate. We have to remind ourselves about who we are.

Today, in our busy lives, we tend to forget who we are, where did we come from and why we are wherever we are. Its about an un-ending desire for progress and material success accumulating stress, anxiety and confusion in the process. We forget our objectives, about why we started the journey and instead create newer objectives.

We all need memories to remind ourselves who we are.
I'm no different.

Leonard Shelby could keep his single mindedness because of his systemic notes that he either tattooed or written on Polaroid photographs. Everyday the first thing that he reads is 'Remember Sammy Jenkins' which is tattooed to his left upper arm just by the side of his thumb. That statement starts his process of understanding his life, his condition, his purpose and therefore deciding on his next move.

We are not so fortunate. We don't have a trigger to start the process of understanding life everyday. And we end up our days scampering like rats.

The best part of Memento is that Leonard Shelby can choose to not remember a few details in his life. He starts every day with a clean slate with no hatred, biases and pre-conditions. Morever, he can choose to not write notes about something that he may repent in the future. He can choose to forget. Today, most of our sadness and depression is about the memories of our past.

We may not remember the minutes of an important meeting, but we would surely remember our sad moments, failures, humiliations and bad relationships. Some memories are best forgotten but we cant help it.

We have to let go of some of our past. Even if it means 'no learning from that past', it's worth it.

To cut long story short, Memento is an amazing insight and perspective on memory, instincts and conditioning behaviour. A must watch for an healthier outlook towards life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This time it is Muslim Reservation.. Frowning!!

Just had a frown reading a news item on twitter that the Andhra Pradesh government has received a major boost with the Supreme Court upholding the validity of four percent reservation provided to backward members of Muslim community in the state.

Still frowning but just a bit relaxed that it is just an interim order. Thank you Allah!

Earlier last month the Andhra Pradesh High Court had termed a separate quota for Muslims as 'unsustainable and unconstitutional' and ruled against a Congress Government act - Reservation in favour of Socially and Educational Backward Classes of Muslims, which was passed on 23 July 2007. According to the act, 15 socially and educationally backward Muslim classes (students and employees) were to get 4% reservation.

It seems to be the season of ripe reservation. MIM (Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen)- one of the political parties opposing the women reservation is campaigning for this reservation. Cool! (More frown)

One of the points pro this act says that reservation actually began on the basis of religion. It says, an individual enjoys schedule caste (SC) status if he is a Hindu or Buddhist making his religion the deciding factor. Muslims and Christians SC people do not fall under SC reservation. (smiling & frowning)

Although plausible in the present day context, just imagine the blunder we have made in the name of SC reservation. How ridiculous it seems today that someone thought an SC cannot be a Muslim. Likewise, this Muslim reservation will also be ridiculed in the future for some silly mis-assumptions and mis-conceptions of the present.

It is interesting to look at why the High Court had opined that the Act is unsustainable and unconstitutional.

Unconstitutional simply because it is violative of Article 14 (equality before law) and other provisions pertaining to prohibition of discrimination by State on grounds of religion, race, caste, SEX or place of birth. Wonder how the Rajya Sabha approved the Women's Reservation Bill!!

Unsustainable because it failed to evolve and spell out proper and relevant criteria for identification of social and educational backwardness and inadequate representation in public employment among classes or persons belonging to Muslim community. The data which was relied on was actually collected and observed made by Anthropological Survey of India to make an anthropological profile of Indian population.

Cant fathom why the Supreme Court ignored these bases... Sometimes I think that I am just increasing my chances of static wrinkles on my forehead by frowning and getting angry on these news items. Who cares about me and my wrinkles?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What's wrong with live-in relationships, asks Supreme Court

Marriage as a forceful essential convention has got a kick in the butt.

The Supreme Court yesterday opined that a man and woman living together without marriage cannot be construed as an offence. This, along with the January 2008 Supreme Court ruling stating that 'if a man and woman are involved in a live-in relationship for a long period, they will be treated as a married couple and their child would be called legitimate', makes for a great change in the Indian social fabric.

With respect to physical security, the female of live in relationship is already given protection under the Domestic Violence Act 2005. In terms of the fear that the male partner may leave the girl with kids is also no longer true. In the court of law, it will be very easy for her to prove legitimacy.

With respect to children, the SC judgement has dispelled all doubts and apprehensions crucial for the children’s future, their prestige and treatment among the society. They will be treated at equal footing in the court of law.

I have always questioned marriage as being the ultimate weapon for eternal togetherness. You may want to read this. These changing societal landscape only proves that nature ultimately will raise its head out of human-created shackles like marriage. Although it may not reduce the significance of marriage as a safe institution, but it will surely encourage and support the rebels to follow their instincts and conscience.

Like the Indian economy grew after the 1991 liberalisation, the social economy will also get enhanced by this liberty given to choose the way we want to spend our life with our partners.

This will also bring women into equal economic footing, as they don't have to face the pressures of convention inside a marriage.

Divorce and break-ups will be a lesser taboo and emotionally less draining. It will ultimately be considered natural.

Relationships will be stronger, as the likelihood of each partner taking the other for granted will be lesser. We all know that marriage as a social bind changes the dynamics of a relationship. 'Shaadi ke baad change ho gaya hain' will be a lesser heard phrase.

This judgements and developments may finally make 'marriage' a lesser inspiration for jokes. It may lead to lessening of the significance of one of the oldest proverb - 'Shaadi ke laddoo jo khaye woh pashtaye, Jo nehi khaye woh bhi (nehi) pashtaye!'

Jay Ho!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Husband, Wife, Marriage, In-laws.. an unending discussion!

Bringing you a very interesting dialogue that IHM and I are having. This is in continuation to my previous post - What I understand about 'Paraya Dhan' - A response to one of IHM's blog. I am putting her responses and my replies.

You may read her blog - Paraya Dhan and her limited rights - first to get the discussion entirely.

My 1st response: By the end, I stay confused. Somehow I cant relate to so much brouhaha about so many things. I feel there is too much superficiality, complications and double standards in your writing and in the messages. I think the perspectives are too narrow and urban-ish.

IHM: Urbanish perspective? Not entirely.I think basic problems women face are the same all over India. Divorce is still a dirty word – we force girls to ‘adjust’ and live with their in laws even if they don’t want to; a large number of widows still stay unmarried; girl- children are still unwelcome, getting married and staying married (and staying a suhagan ) is still very important for a girl…

My 2nd response: Marriage as an institution is man-made and is a fault-ridden convention. The other name of marriage is adjustment, compromise and adapting to a new family. Both the boy and the girl goes through new requirements in life. If you want to be in the convention, you better be conventional. Divorce will ALWAYS be a dirty word, adjustments will ALWAYS be required, staying married will always be important for both THE MAN and the woman. Widow re-marriage is surely an issue that my dad once fought for. I didn't understand why he was not letting my masi stay close to us. I was a kid. I wondered why he got her married to someone so far away. Now I understand and I respect my ‘Deuta’.}

My 1st response: Or perhaps my perspective is narrow and Assamese.
I am born and brought up in Assam, where there is no caste system, no class consciousness, no religious sentiments (changing drastically with ISI being active and Bangladeshi immigrants). I have not seen domestic violence, dowry and dowry death, divorces and ‘nuclear families’ (the few ones I saw were unhappy). I loved my joint family upbringing. I was fed (with hands) by the aunts more than my mom ever got a chance. Games like hide & seek, community swimming in the pond, getting honey from beehives wouldn't have been possible without a joint family.

IHM: A fun filled childhood no doubt. I know male children are preferred there too. Shouldn’t all children be loved equally? Let me ask you this – why do parents all over India prefer male children?

My 2nd response: I agree with you here but I have always seen parents being happy with a boy and a girl. A pair is considered a blessing. So, I have seen parents wanting a child depending on the first child. Yes they may be a bit skewed towards a boy for their first child. But this is going to change. This thought and preference had a genesis / reason which is past due date and the fundamentals have changed now. I understand you being pissed with this status-quo, being a woman, but at the same time please agree that things are changing. No point stressing or rebelling too much about it. Its like the Indian motorist honking the daylights out of the sound ecology, even when he knows that traffic can only move that fast, or worse when he knows that the red light has just turned green. So although it is a valid point you are making, you cannot get too prejudiced and jingoist about it. And talk only of girl issues in marriage. Our (educated bloggers) discussions should be gender-neutral or gender balanced. You know we Indians are actually much better off. Have you seen movies like ‘North Country’ and ‘Mississippi Burning’? You will realise the rural US of A. We have had woman presidents and prime-ministers. How many countries can boast of that?

My 1st response: I really don't understand so much fuss. I would just want to say, why cant we just let nature take its turn.

IHM: Is it unnatural for adults to marry the ones they love and to make a house of their own?

My 2nd response: Of course it is natural. It is also natural that her elders would want her to convince them of his worthiness. They can get difficult at times, but they are your elders, your family and I am sure they will understand. However, ‘making a house of their own’ is a bit dicey and implication laden proposition, because the corollary implies that they are BREAKING AN EXISTING HOUSE of their own. It is natural that they will face a harder test from the elders. Why is this bothering you? Isn't the fallout of their want for a house of their own, natural too?

IHM: Is it unnatural for a girl to want to be wanted and loved by her biological parents as much as any other child? Or is it unnatural for a society to let all children love their parents, not just the male children or just female children?

My 2nd response: Of course it is natural for a girl to feel wanted by her biological parents. Its a crime not to let the female child not love their own parents? But the duty of the girl is also to give love and get love from her new parents. It may sound harsh but she has herself got into an existing convention called marriage. The boy is also in the same boat. He is the son to her parents. Ya it is worse for the woman because she has to stay with the husband’s parents. But that's a patrilineal tradition. And has not happened by fluke. You should understand that it is worse for the khashi and Garo MEN to stay with the girls’ parents; theirs is a matrilineal tradition. On a lighter note, the son also has a lot to go through in a joint family. Just imagine how difficult it gets to the man to have two women in his life – Mom and wife? Ha! If you are interested, let me tell you about an interesting Assamese custom. The mother of the groom does not attend the actual marriage puja. She cries and bid farewell to her son till the front door of her house. You may be thinking, what crap!!? But its true. She acknowledges and willfully bids farewell to her son to another woman – his wife. From the day of the marriage, her son is the responsibility and property of his wife. So woman favouring tradition does exist and society has acknowledged the position of the wife.

IHM: And is it unnatural that all women want to be valued even if they only have daughters/ or no children/ or no husband or no brothers? Do think about it.

My 2nd response: I thought. Like all woman want to be valued irrespective of her marital / reproductive status, all man also wants to be valued the same way. Have you noticed the way society looks at a divorced man, child-less man or an unmarried man. I know you may have noticed that about a woman. Men are also in the same boat. Society is crazy and helpful at the same time. It will eat you up if you are not among one of them. Importantly (and relevant to this discussion), there is no gender bias.

My 1st response: There are woman who do not think that household work is mundane. They love to be nurturers. They love to be provided for, to be submissive and feel sexy. And there are women who would always crib about a supposedly generated status-quo of women’s deplorable plight & jump up and down for women’s independence in terms of financial security.

IHM: There are also women who want a little more than household work. Won’t it be better if each did what they are inclined towards?

My 2nd response: I am a big support of free will. Women should be allowed to whatever they are inclined. And I don't believe that they are not allowed. There is resistance but things are changing. But the point I am repeating is that marriage requires certain adjustments from both the boy and the girl. And convention says that the girl is the nurturer. But woman do have a choice. In my hometown Duliajan, 99.9% woman are, as you call them, ‘Provided for’. But
interestingly the only MLA winning 3 consecutive assembly elections in my home constituency was a woman. See, there are choices to be made everywhere. But every choice has resistance applying both to THE MAN and the woman.

IHM: Do you really believe that the problems that are discussed on this blog are not genuine? I understand that it may not directly concern you, maybe it has never touched your life directly, but does that mean the problems do not exist?

My 2nd response: The problems that are discussed are not representative and are skewed towards woman. Problems may actually exist, that's not the point. My point is that I always rebel against skewed discussions, scenarios and logic. Skewed discussions never veer towards root causes of a problem phenomenon. Skewed discussions are more of crib sessions and finger pointing sessions. Of course culture plays an important role for a skewed scenario. For instance, a girl slapping a man on the streets would everyone have assuming that the man must have done something wrong. Similarly when I am in your blog and your forum, I feel I am in a skewed scenario with remarks and cribs without any clear analysis. I don't want to escape, and instead want to provide my two bits. So I am responding even after losing 2000 words to smoke. (My first try at this response got deleted). Consider another imaginary analogy of a 'man-blog' saying “Monogamy sucks, Polygamy is the way”. Going by my opinion that Men are intrinsically seeders (do you agree?) and there is a good chance of a rush of man-supporters to that blog. But that blog or the discussion that will ensue may not keep the general female population in mind. It would be definitely man-skewed. That's not productive for the overall society. Remember blog (pen) is mightier than the sword!

My 1st response: Today in Mumbai with increasing number of blogs (aka awareness) about women independence, I see more confused woman, more confused about their role in the society. More divorces. More under-eye circles.

IHM: The dark circles were always there, and the confusions were NOT permitted to women, so our folk lore and folk songs are full of women ( and their parents) fearing or complaining about a girl’s in laws.

My 2nd response: Folklore are also filled with remarks ridiculing marriage, ridiculing a wife’s tantrums, cracking jokes on Joru Ka Gulam etc etc. Also don't forget jokes. When I was engaged and was wearing my engagement ring, one of my seniors told me “that's not a wedding ring, that's suffe-ring. Ha! Again repeating, boys are in the same boat, IHM.

IHM: Today women are in a position to be able to do something about the confusions. And I agree it may disturb those who were comfortable with the old system, but should that mean we do not look for alternatives?

My 2nd response: I don't believe that anybody stopped women from getting confused. Marriage is also about giving shoulders to each other to get confused (and cry!). And we are successfully getting confused all the time. Why do you say, confusions were not permitted to women? Also I don't know if your blog or the comments are doing anything about solving the confusions. Its not analysing the issue keeping the husband in the picture. If you read one of the comments in my blog when I published my 1st response in my blog, shubhra says very aptly “Confusion arises when people/women confuse traditional views for being 'sexist'. Women being the nurturers of the family should not be considered/termed as 'Dependants'. No one would like to be associated with this word. Traditionally women have been perceived as biological production plants in certain societies and have been inhumanly treated..Probably that is the reason for such angst in the modern woman... They have been taught how their breed has been tortured for years and the only way to change this is to become financially dependant. I would plead all the women to treat this as a phenomenon practiced in few societies and not generalise this as a traditional norm. Domestic violence should not be acceptable to anyone, including women..But at the same time every woman should have an insight into who she is and what she wants from the society and from herself..Only then will she realise whether she wants to be a nurturer or a provider...or both(if she can balance the act) Once she accepts who she is, she will not feel the need to prove herself by going out of the way to fit into the modern society." Very well said, Shubhra. Thanks.

IHM: No divorces may or may not mean happy marriages. A lot of couples stay together even when they are unhappy – and that does not mean the marriage is successful, it simply means they are afraid of society’s reaction to a separation. Living together only because they have no choice is always a good idea?

My 2nd response: You are absolutely right. ‘No divorce’ is a farce. However, I again repeat, the man is also afraid of society’s reaction. Why do you forget that? Marriage is difficult and people do stay married for fear, for kids etc. It is a gender neutral phenomenon.

My 1st response: The reason is we are not letting each one be. Our support systems are breaking. We don't know our neighbours. We don't play hide and seek anymore!!

IHM: About Support Systems. Widows were often returned to their parents’ home and their children were discriminated against by whoever supported them – brothers or in laws. Today we realise that even if one needs support, one need not be dependent – today a widow can earn and ensure that her children and she, both have respect. Isn’t this a better system? Here I feel even the brothers can’t really be blamed – it was a forced responsibility. I feel a society where all adults can take basic care of themselves is a healthier society.

My 2nd response: I believe in re-marrying the widow and supporting her from all sides. But ya there are cases of her being sent away and blamed for the husband's death. I have not seen it myself though. With education, woman will start getting independent financially and you are right all adults taking care of themselves is a healthier society. Sau taka! But again, its more like social in-consistencies created by the strong and mighty. The similar analogy is the Brahmin-Non Brahmin issue. For centuries, Brahmins never allowed the non-brahmins to go to pathsaala. They always wanted the non-brahmins to be illiterate so that they don't understand their mantras that they recite (one of the reasons). Let me tell another interesting thing about ‘Brahmin mantra’. Did you know that on the marriage fire (don't know what it is called) the pandit actually marries the girl to himself and then hands her over to the husband. If you
decipher the sanskrit mantra you would see that he is the one who is marrying the girl first. He is a Brahmin and has a first right (of refusal!) over all of us. Another thing about Mantra that I read was, when one gives pind by the funeral pyre to his parents, the panditji through mantra says that the son actually is the cause of his father’s death and he has to wash his sins by giving dakshinas – a cow, a goat etc etc… Today things have changed and will continue changing.

My 1st response: I have seen both worlds. I have seen my joint family. And I have seen khashi and Garo families where the youngest daughter gets the property of the mother and the boys go to the girls’ house. I see how they beautifully manage.

IHM: They should be treated like all other adult family members- like equal members, taking part in all decision making, and their opinion should have the same value as other members.

My 2nd response: I completely agree. It will change with education and awareness. It will also change the way a mother in law (also a woman!) is overpowering and has an uneven say.

My 1st response: In Mumbai (perhaps in all metros), I have seen woman going to their parent’s home when she is about 6-7 months pregnant. That completely leaves me NUMB. My parents and the parents that I have grown up with would have taken that to insult. If the daughter in law feels more comfortable in her parent’s house after marriage, and not in the husband’s house, it is a curse for the in-laws. Believe you me, I have always met wives who are happier delivering in their husband’s home, therefore.

IHM: I think a woman should be able to choose who she feels more comfortable with – a girl who can go to her parents house whenever she likes is definitely happier than a girl who will fear that her show of love or trust for her parents might be taken as an insult by her in laws. Such things should not become a matter of honor or insult, this is the reason why women feel oppressed in Joint families.

My 2nd response: I agree. I don't debate free will. But I have observed that in-laws do take extra care so that she actually feel comfortable, esp. when there is a social obligation. See in the cases that I have seen, both the son’s mom and the daughter’s parents have given farewell to them and they have themselves for everything and the boy’s parents in most case. So the girl never thinks that she has the option that she can go to her parents. so she does not feel oppressed at all. A person in the desert may not feel the need for an AC, when he does not know about the existence of AC. Its like only when we buy an AC, that we cant sleep without an AC. See I am not referring to giving support back to parents, financial or otherwise. Both parents should be taken care of. They are our elders. Period.

My 1st response: Last week, one incident shook me up. One of my team members came to me and requested me for a leave of 1/2 days. She said her sister has got chicken pox and so her mother has to go and take care of her. And obviously since she had a baby, she cant come to office. Now the question that puzzled me was ‘where is her sister’s husband, parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts…’
I (we) take ‘paraya dhan’ very seriously. If somebody can trust their dhan to us and call their own blood as our dhan, we will better take care of her and make her the cynosure of our eyes.

IHM: An adult citizen’s welfare cannot be left to her family’s good intentions. When adults live together, there can be disagreements and there can be ego clashes, an adult should be able – if she so chooses, to live in her own house with her spouse, without being made to feel guilty.

My 2nd response: Good intentions are all that we have to trust and make our future. If we cant leave anything to good intentions, then most of the concepts in this world will collapse. As I said, living in her own house implies NOT LIVING in her husband's house. So it is natural to face resistence. Please note that her husband's house is her house now. She may not feel it in the first few years of her marriage, but she will be the overpowering SasuMa one day thumping her rights in every little detail. So its perhaps a bit of a trade off for the woman in the first few years. On a lighter note, I hate wearing ties but who is forcing me to work in a bank. Me myself. Fact is I forced myself hard to get into a bank because it pays. I never dreamt of the salary that I get in reality today. But the fallout is that in a bank, you have to be in a bloody formal dress. So I believe that for any problem or discomfort, we should first think why we got into the problem situation. Are we making a trade off? Then suddenly you may find relief.

IHM: The biggest problem with ‘paraya dhan’ is the girl belongs nowhere, the parents raise her to fit into another family, and the other family makes her their honor, pride and responsibility. Take a look at what girls all over India go through as kids because they are ‘paraya dhan’. What about their childhood?

My 2nd response: I dont agree that the girl belongs nowhere. In fact it is the dream & destiny of girls to marry INTO a good, wealthy, generous, loving family all over India. Also, today’s bahu is the SasuMa tomorrow. She is the bloody owner of the house and has all the keys for a good 20 years of her mature life. A man can never become as powerful as the SasuMa. Even otherwise, as a wife, you tell me who decides the colour of the house, the sofa set, the window curtains, the drawing room, the drawing room table where the husband cant put his leg, the colour of the shirts that the husband wears, the ganjees and underwears of the husband, … today, tell me who decides the nursery school, who decides the auto rickshaw taking the kids to school…and so much more that the wife does.