Monday, December 15, 2008

From Darkness to Light

The dust has settled now and I thought it was over with me.

But I was in a restaurant in Kolkata and there was a loud noise. My heart skipped a beat and everybody present there was looking in the direction where a balloon got burst; with fear in their eyes. Then I realized that 26/11 terrorist attack was still living with me; and living with others.

So we were hit by another terrorist incident and this one was different from others. It was marked by the audacity of terrorists, and also the television coverage that they got because of it. For almost three days, entire India was glued to television.

This incident brought terrorism so near to common man. It is difficult to relate with a person blown by a bomb in the train, but the impact is much more when we discover the count of dead after three days of anxious wait on television. It is also not pleasant to know that terrorists can attack a family dining in a restaurant, or those sleeping peacefully in an obscure building.

I think the aftermath this time should be different. I hope we are really fed up of terrorism and we will not take it any more. But a voice inside me keeps murmuring; this reaction is because elites were hurt this time. I dismiss this as a vague thought and try to figure out why blasts in north east or Naxal attacks in interiors almost go unnoticed.

I also try to figure out why workers of the hotel were helping their guests amidst the attack; or how the GM of Taj was working for the safety of guests when he had himself lost his entire family. Can this ever be lure for money or promotion… I imagine what goes in the mind of a commando unit which knows that they might be sitting on a ticking time bomb. I salute them all and envy their love for their job.

I hope that sooner or later we will find a solution for this menace, but I still do not know what it shall be. I get irritated by people who keep on repeatedly stating ‘we must something about it’. I also do not like those who feel that ‘hot head’ is the solution for everything.

Winston Churchill once said that democracy is the worst form of governance, but it is better than all other forms ever tried; and I cannot agree more. I know that we will have to and we should live with our democracy, though choosing the right representatives remain our job.

I also do not understand how attacking Pakistan is going to help us. Though we will have to pressurize Pakistan to deliver but turning into another Iraq (and this one with nukes) by destabilizing it can be more dangerous. At the same time we also have to find answer to the homegrown Sadhwi Pragyas and the likes of Indian Mujahideans.

When all this was happening, I felt a rage inside me. But in a calm mood, I feel blessed that I am in government service and work for my country. In case you are naive like me and do not know what should be done now, just work for this country.

Let us take it from darkness to light; and that can only be done with a calm mind

Friday, November 21, 2008

Of Tiger, Mistakes and a Freak

Read a quote today “I have nothing to do and the complete day to do it” So out of complete ennui, a blog comes that can be titled as Of Tiger, Mistakes and a Freak.

Lest I raise your expectations and face the aftermath, I should explain the meaning now. After many days I started reading novels again and finished three in a week. The blog’s title connects all of them.

The first one that I read was ‘The White Tiger’.If this novel deserved a Booker or not might be debatable but according to me it is worth a read. The story is short and it generally does not get dull. The protagonist ‘Balram Halwai’ binds you with his dark humor.

At times it betrays that writer has seen poverty only with a rich man’s sympathetic sunglasses. Anyways, the writer’s description of ‘India of the dark and light’ does remind us the grim reality of growing divide once again (and my guess is Booker judges love it).

If this novel had come half a century earlier, it would have been branded as pro communism. An analogy can be established between the plot and ‘socialist revolutions. The protagonist ‘Balram Halwai’ represents the oppressed proletariat who overthrows his exploitative bourgeoisie masters by a violent revolution.

Now let us move to the Indian writer of masses, Chetan Bhagat. This man has made the best use his MBA degree. He knows the real meaning of 4 P’s; product, price, place and promotion, the meaning that is still to be discovered by the likes of Shobha Des and Vikram Seths.

His first novel sold 5000 copies in the first month, second sold 50000 and the third one has crossed the threshold of 500000. He writes what the youth of this country want; college life, fun, dreams and romance (of course with some premarital sex). And then it is priced at 95 Rs; certainly worth buying on a small train journey.

Coming to the ‘Three Mistakes of My Life’, it’s a ‘perfect’ novel. In other words, it is what Chetan Bhagat wants to write. It is much better than ‘One Night at Call Center’ and has many witty one liners that shows his growth as a writer.

I guess that he has a fetish for Bollywood movies, so his story at times starts looking like a Bollywood masala flick where everything is possible. But again, his novel is small so before your rail journey ends, this novel also finishes. Certainly worth its 95 Rs price!

And now coming to the third novel/book; ‘Freakonomics’. Of late (see I did not write Off late) I have developed a liking for Economics and this book is certainly for people who are discovering Economics. In case you have no opinion on the subject, this book is strongly recommended. Trust me once you read this, you will be able to answer what is common between teachers and sumo wrestlers; or better still ‘Why drug dealers still live with their mothers?’

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just for the sake of it

Of late I have not been blogging. So this blog is just for the sake of it. It is a bunch of unexplained, unverifiable, random musings; nonetheless I feel no remorse in unleashing them on my naïve readers.

1. So why was ‘Rock On’ a hit? My take is that it had two elements that add beauty and mystique to life; Friendship and Passion.

Coming to the later first, in life we do not know how to have a good time. In many lucky souls, there is an inner voice that tells them that. A very few of them actually pursue it and that is when they attain self actualization. In others, the guilt of abandoning their dream remains. They go for the ‘best career’, ‘right moves’ and so on but somehow their inner voice keeps on disturbing them.

So when we see guys in ‘Rock On’ pursuing their passion, we ensure that at least in reel life, their move become a hit.

And now about ‘Friendship’; in the beginning I belonged to a school of thought that said, ‘There are no friends in the real world’. But years passed by and friendships just happened. If I look back, I made a decent number of friends who despite of ‘I being myself’ accepted me. Now I know that friends make our stay in this world comfortable, and we all like to see and feel the magic of true friendship.

2. I feel that as we grow in life, our dreams become ‘realistic’. It is a euphemism to state that life is not as colorful as we expect it to be in childhood. I was a dreamer and I motivated myself by believing that if I perform well in studies I will be everyone and everything in this world. In contrast to this on my first job, my manager motivated me by saying work well and you will get a pay hike. Yuck! What kind of motivaion was that. That was the day I welcomed myself in the real world. (Though I could never stop dreaming of becoming everyone and everything)

3. I got married and people have been asking me what has changed. Well, some things have certainly. I can no longer talk on phone for hours without facing an angry glance. I have become accountable and I have to give account of the towel thrown on bed, missing socks and what not. Since I will have to give account of these lines too, I think I should cut them short.

4. Like all great men, I cannot resist in giving a talisman. Whenever in doubt about anything, think ‘Anand hi param uddesha hai’ or ‘Happiness is the ultimate goal of life’. But this happiness has to be eternal so if you feel something can give you ever lasting happiness, do that!

5. After many days I found an intelligent celebrity blogger who writes more than "I got up at this time, named my dog this and met so and so.". Read Ramgopal Verma’s blog here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The World Beyond

It was 3 am. Her bleary eyes were hooked on to the monitor. On screen the message read, “This game would take you beyond time into another dimension and nothing will be same again. To proceed, press Enter.” She thought for a second and pressed the key that read……PLAY HTRAE

The reaction was nothing of the sort she expected. Her Hollywood movies instinct had predicted that heavy winds will blow, there will be an earthquake and she would find herself on an unknown land. But the laboratory was still the same; gloomy and silent. And that silence was unnerving; and the wait too…

But what choice she had other than to play that game. It had the answer for mankind’s age old quest.

All this had started by a stupid question, what can be beyond life? Being a student of astrophysics, this had always perturbed her. She constantly irritated her mentor, Dr Banketu with this and their discussions one day had given rise to ‘Hypothesis HTRAE’.

But she never again thought about it and Dr Banketu took retirement. When last she met him, there was a mysterious twinkle in his eyes. He only said he was going to change this world and she had dismissed it as one of his whimsical prophesies.

And then it all came back. Dr Banketu had vanished. He was not kidnapped, killed or missing; he just vanished. It was certain that he had entered his lab but he never came back. His wife only knew that he was designing a strange game HTRAE, and he was going to test its final play.

Suddenly it all flashed back. Years back, on that night they had found their perfect answer to ‘what lies beyond life’. Dr Banketu had absolute faith in equilibrium of nature and he was explaining that everything in this world is balanced; Negative by positive, matter by anti- matter and so on.

She had jumped and exclaimed, Earth is balanced by anti-earth! They named it HTRAE hypothesis, spelling earth backwards. So exactly similar to our earth, there must be an earth that spins opposite, is made of anti matter and has an opposite life. When a person dies on earth, he just goes there. Probably this was what scriptures called, heaven or hell.

There old men are born who get younger and younger and then one day vanishes from anti-earth. They make re entry on the earth in one of the wombs. This completes the cycle of life. Both of them continued reciting Gita ‘I am neither created, nor destroyed.

HTRAE and EARTH cross each at certain points and these are the times when dead are seen walking. These are also the times when maximum ghost stories are born. Everything so perfectly fitted in the hypothesis HTRAE. They had even calculated the velocity an object needs to enter HTRAE.

These thoughts kept on coming to her mind while her eyes were fixed on changing waves of the monitor. That eerie silence was making her uneasy. Everything seemed to be so eternally quite that she felt time had stopped moving.

And then she felt a hand on her shoulder. “Welcome to HTRAE” Dr Banketu said.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Eternal err English August

As the days pass by, my appreciation of the eternal ‘English August’ keeps on increasing. It has been good twenty years when the novel was published, but not an iota has changed in the districts. I wonder when the trickle of trickle down theory will reach the interiors of India.

I got married recently. I know this, my colleagues in office know this and I doubt entire Bankura district knows this. So from all the corners I receive the query “Is your family staying with you?” Family, which family! I do not understand how I can create a ‘family’ after two months of marriage.

I have received official mail addressed to “The AS, IAS”. Well, well, well I am happy. There is The Himalayas, The Ganges and to and to give competition to all there is ‘The AS’.

I live in a palatial circuit house. Bathrooms here are almost equal to the room size. And there are some co-inhabitants too. At least eight lizards live in my room and the count is still on. Everyday my meal becomes a little spicier because of the 5-6 ants that mistake my daal for their swimming pool. You see, I live in perfect harmony with nature.

For those of us who have lived in cities, rural India presents a completely different picture and you have to live it to believe it. Add to that a different language and a different cultural milieu and that leaves me pondering if I actually know India.

Reading ‘digital divide’ in newspapers is one thing and feeling it on the ground another. I have to go to 50kms to another district to watch a decent movie in a mall. It was hard for me to explain to my driver what internet is and his sole idea of internet is examination results.

Otherwise Bankura is a beautiful and different place. Here bicycles outnumber the automobiles by many times. For the first time I have seen saree as a school dress and girls as small as in class sixth wear sarees. The taste of Rosogulla is beyond words and even other sweets are way better.

The natural beauty of the district is very good. In case you want to see some pictures of Bishnupur in Bankura, you can see them here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

When better half blogs

For a long time I could blog in isolation. She sustained all my provocations and refrained from commenting. But now she has decided to maintain her blog.

And that is not a good sign for my humor :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wedding Blues: Part I

I got married!

In case you are confused, this is not a humorous post. It has been one and a half month and I am still trying to digest it. In my district people ask me if I am staying with my ‘family’; …………family?

Lest I forget the fateful ninth day of July, in the year 2008 when my world got changed, I must chronicle it in my blog.

1600 hrs: The crowd kept on swelling and by late afternoon population density of my house equaled a Train’s general compartment. I was feeling awful but I tried looking busy touching numerous feet, meeting long lost relatives, exchanging smiles and giving impression that for me recognizing them was nothing but a cakewalk.

1700 hrs: Just before proceeding for the marriage venue, a ceremony started outside my house. My n number of brother and sister in laws started ‘grooming’ me. Grooming is a euphemism for almost stripping me outside my house and helping me with new clothes. Big kaajal was applied too on my 'golden facial' face.

After that an old dictator like relative pronounced that I cannot go to my house till I bring the bride there. I panicked as I was left in custody of my peripheral relatives.

1800 hrs: Sanity surfaced when my mom came with me for the ‘Well pooja’. I found that interesting when my aunt explained me the role play. Actually groom's mother was supposed to put her legs inside the well threatening that if her son does not get ready to marry, she will jump into the well. And then the son acquiesces by proceeding for the baraat.

1900 hrs: When I was getting ready for the baraat, all my near and dears were also getting ready. So here I was, getting ready for ‘supposedly’ the most memorable occasion of my life in an unknown house. All my siblings who were to help me vanished to their own beauty parlors. I somehow managed to enter that long Sherwani.

2000 hrs: I reached the marriage venue in time but most of my relatives were not so disciplined. First the bus got full, then there was a traffic jam and ultimately a vehicle of our side got entangled in a road accident. Sitting in the marriage venue in a fancy dress among the zillion stares was hell!

2200 hrs: When everyone was there, my baraat’s luxury car went missing. Locating it took another good half hour. And then the baraat started. The frenzy of baraat dance grew and I was left alone, in the ailing AC of the car that was moving at a snail’s pace. I wondered why this night was so slow.

2330 hrs: The baraat finally reached. I was not allowed to get down as bride’s brother had to carry me in his arms. Poor he because I am not on the lighter side; poor me because I was almost dropped three times.

0000 hrs: I was (slightly) tense and (slightly) nervous sitting on the stage facing a large staring crowd. And then a smile came on my face. She was slowly coming in her blue bridal dress; my stupid old friend. All eyes were at her and mine were there too. We shared a subtle smile and suddenly I was at ease.

Monday, August 11, 2008

All in a Day’s Work

Today I will tell you a story. If you a purist, you will call it an incident. If you are naïve (or unconcerned) , you will pass it as a story.

Once upon a time there was a boy. Err…….. When the story occurred he was a man; educated, employed and married.

His job was a coveted one. He worked in the king’s administration, or he was the Regal Administrative servant. But then the King posted him in a far off land. To go there one had to pass seven deadly seas and people there spoke a different language. So for acquainting him to all this he was put on lengthy district training.

The good part of this training was that he was not given any responsibility; the bad part of this training was that he was not given any post. In other words he sometimes felt he was treated as a boy, and many time he felt he has already become a man.

Everyday he was sent to a different regal department. He being the King’s representative was treated with awe and honor; and all departments strived to impress upon him.

One such department was King’s Cart department. All carts paid taxes to the king. There was tax on cartload; there was tax on number of passengers. Above all, there was a tax on Cart driving license, a license that was difficult to get.

He learnt everything big or small and saw all procedures, trivial or urgent. But the he wanted to see a raid that was conducted to discipline erring carts. So a special raid was conducted to show to our young Regal Agent. Every inspector tried to be impeccably honest. They caught all the erring carts; they punished all offences big and small. A cart was fined here for a slight overload; a cart was fined there for a trivial traffic error. Our new Regal agent felt a tinge of guilt.

And this was not all. The traffic inspectors caught a frail old man with a wrong cart driving license. He was refusing to pay the fine. On any other day they would have left him with a small bribe but today they were demanding the hefty fine. They brought him to our Regal agent.

He was asked to act as a judge and punish this erring man. The man caught our protagonist’s feet and cried for mercy. He told him tales of his poverty, he told him tales of his professional woes. He also told him of his inability to pay the fine and he described in detail what shall happen to his family if he was jailed. He fell in a deep moral turpitude. He asked this man to wait.

Should he put duty before self and punished this man. Or he should pardon him listening to his heart. He pondered and thought; and thought and pondered. In the evening, he told the inspectors “Do to this man what you think is right” and left the raid.

From far off he saw the inspectors accepting some folded old currency notes.

PS: This is a 'story'. It might be 'distantly' related to some incident but most of the things are fiction here. Please treat it like that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Life on the Other Side

A crap movie is running in front of me. I am sitting next to somebody, talking to her and writing this blog. Lest you forget, I am married now. So I am permitted to write the blog, condition being I have to sit next to her.

It has been a long time and I owe you all updates. So here they are. In case you feel that quality has changed, blame it on the crap bollywood movie running in front of me (AND NOBODY ELSE!)

1. These days I am on, actually, err eh, oh yes, where people go, to visit after marriage, or tour places, OK I embarrassingly say it now ‘Honey moon’. So I am in Goa with my wife, seeing beaches, managing things, and still trying to digest that ‘I got married’.

In case you think everything is romantic on this world you are completely wrong. Today me and my wife decided to be friends again and we are feeling lighter. We were actually getting depressed feeling that we are on our honeymoon.

2. My marriage was an OK affair; I played my role well and she did her part. I still feel I acted in a play in which priests were the dictators, oh no directors. The Herculean ceremony ran for days together, drained complete energy out of our entire family, and extracted, dried and extremely exhausted two of us, the poor bride and the groom. Now I know why people marry only once in their lives.

3. After marriage most of our worries got over but the only concern we have is of our costly wedding dresses. Next time we can use them only if we get a role in Mithun Da’s movie. In case you have any contacts, please help us. Having wasted a considerable part of our parent’s income on our wedding dresses, we are worried how we can justify that expenditure.

4. Since I have not updated you on this, I much tell you that I have joined in Bankura district of West Bengal as Assistant Magistrate and Assistant Collector. To make it flashier I should tell that I have conducted raids with motor vehicles department, excise department and attended election meetings. Now when you are decently impressed, I am subtly adding that I have no office, no permanent vehicle and the Bankura district is so large that it does not even have one Internet café.

Let us hope I shall meet you soon. But as now I am a ‘responsible’ married man, I may blog less often. To tell you the truth, I am still thinking of ways to act more mature. If you have suggestions, do let me know.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Treasures

The broken video game symbolized many things.

I was ten year old and had gone to Bombay on vacation. The Video game was being sold on a beautiful shop and it became irresistible. After desperate persuasions, blackmailing and many tears I succeeded in getting it bought.

Today I found it. It took me back to a different world. It was the world of a kid whose worries were limited and desires small. And his world began and ended with his family.

To utilise my time at home, I was trying to clean it and the buried treasures kept coming back to me; or rather taking me back along with them. They meant a lot then; today they mean much more.

I found a picture of my parents. They were young and happy, and smiling too. My mother had put make up and my father’s face was serene. For me they would have been the prettiest couple, better than those of any fairy tale.

Why don’t you two look same today!

I found a statue of Buddha. There used to be a Dussehra fate in our town. I haggled with the vendor and bought it for one fourth. For next month or so, it was a must drawing room topic. Jaiswal uncle praised me a lot, Shukla uncle teased me in his familiar manner and my mother kept reassuring me that I had done a good job.

The statue was in good shape…………. but the dust had set in. An effort had to be done to see it properly.

I found a broken transistor too. To me, it was always broken. My father kept teasing my mother that it was the only thing he got as dowry. Enjoying that banter gave me absolute pleasure and I kept changing sides.

I was never allowed to open it and inspect; and my parents always thought they will get it repaired. Perhaps they forgot one cannot go back in time!

Everything that kept coming back had inscribed on it, people and places, and events too. They were happy and sad, dark and bright but they all greeted me with warmth. I told them that I loved them too; and many a times in my dreams, or when I am awake too; I desperately pine for them.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Let the PM wait; let the Bharat Darshan Chronicles wait. And let every agenda on my blog’s list wait. At present I just want to be myself. This is the time when I wish to sit and watch things passing by…… on the lanes of memory.

Before you are more perplexed by my incoherent musings, I must tell you the cause. My stint in Mussoorie is over. It was more that 9 months of LBSNAA, it was more than 9 months of ‘training’; and wasn’t it yesterday that I was preparing to go there.

The life there was good, the life there was life. I never noticed that I liked it, and I never noticed I was attached. But today I miss it all.

I miss you my friends when I loved you. I miss that too when I hated you all. Perhaps I never cared for you; or perhaps I was too shy to admit so. There were lives made, there were lives pined for. And I was honored, every time you shared that small secret with me.

Lest I forget; though I never will; I admit that I loved that coffee machine, I loved that lounge. And lest I forget; though I never will; I loved those two friends too, whom I pierced from my bouts of wise cracks.

There are things that stay there, as we move on in life; the clouds, the cold, the mountains and the ‘exhilarating’ horse riding (pun intended only for one who will get it). And now we will see the heat of the districts.

Coming out from this poetry mode, I must also tell you that I am going to do my district training in Bankura district of West Bengal. So if you see the inactivity on my blog, blame it on poor internet connectivity in interior districts.

Turbulence in life will also increase from the event that’s going to be in July. I know the consequences of using the word turbulence knowing that she will read this sooner or later, but can’t resist my humor though. I am getting married then.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Visit to Democracy; or the Symbol of it: Part I

The time was 11 AM on the 5th of May. The heat in Delhi was unforgiving but 92 officers got formally dressed up, ladies in their saris and gentlemen in their black Band galas (our ceremonial dress) and started their day in the capital. We were having our attachment with the citadel of Indian democracy, our Parliament.

The parliament has a special bureau that specializes in research and training about parliament and its procedures. It is called Bureau of Parliamentary Studies (BPST). It runs courses for first time MP’s and all others who are stakeholders in our democracy. We were attached with BPST for a five day course.

After an hour’s journey we reached the parliament and entered the BPST after a multilayered security checking. The schedule for the day was to begin our course by watching a live session in the house. So after a small briefing, we proceeded towards the Lok Sabha.

While walking in the corridors of parliament, I was having multitude of thoughts. This was the system I stood for; this was the place where the fate of our nation is given shape. In the Kaleidoscope of time I saw Viceroys walking, our parliamentarians of British India giving speeches and then Nehru delivering his ‘tryst with destiny’.

Lost in these musings, I reached the visitor’s gallery of Lok Sabha. My first reaction was, Lok Sabha is so small! It was smaller than any auditorium and looked like a congested classroom. The press gallery was just above the speakers whereas the Visitor’s gallery was at the remaining periphery. MP’s were entering the house and taking the seats allotted to them. They were cracking jokes, having cross talks and some were making strange salutations to introduce humor in the house.

I spotted Dr. Manmohan Singh, Sharad Pawar, Pranab Mukherjee, Advani, Shahnawaj Hussain, Lalu Prasad and many others. The Speaker’s entry was announced and the house resumed order. First the agenda of the house was announced and then Speaker announced that proceedings against the MP’s for unruly behavior in the house shall be stopped. The decision was applauded by all members. Then on some issue regarding an apology, the house went in a pandemonium.

When silence was restored L. K. Advani referring to Pranab Mukherjee and said to the speaker “Sir, I along with the leader of Opposition, Shri Pranab Mukherjee promise full co operation in running of the house”

Speaker instantly shot back “He is anticipating” and the house burst into laughter. After making some other announcements the house was adjourned sine die. The entire thing happened in not more than 15 minutes and to tell you the truth I was awed by seeing so many great personalities.

Here I must also tell you how visitors sit in the gallery. Absolute silence has to be maintained and there are marshals to ensure that. One cannot cross one’s legs as it amounts to showing disrespect to the house. You even cannot put your hands on your friend’s shoulder. Also, visitors are present there as if they do not exist. So they do not rise when the speaker comes, they also do not rise when MP’s and Press rise for the National Song.

We came back to our BPST classroom. After one or two lectures, Speaker Sri Somnath Chaterjee came to formally welcome us for our course and addressed us. A noticeable thing was that he was very humble and apologized three times for coming 2 minutes late.

Our first day ended and we rushed to our hostels to get rid of our Band Galas. Many more things happened during BPST but they shall be blogged in the second part. Come Back :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Of A Love, and A Story

“It will go away” Abhishek said as if feeling the pain of Shivangi himself. His expressions were of a scared child; or that of a hesitant liar. Three days back, Shivangi, his wife had fallen from the stairs. There was only a minor injury in the back but the pain had lingered.

Abhishek had known Shivangi for years. Theirs was the kind of relationship that others call ‘made for each other’ types. They fell in love while in school, went ahead to make their careers, and then got married.

Shivangi quickly controlled her tears, listening to Abhishek’s pleading. She was more concerned about his panic than her own pain. He was still a teenager for her; a stubborn teenager who loved her. He could never see her suffer, he could never see her cry. Her tears made him restless; always………. ‘almost all ways’. So much had changed but Abhishek never grew up.

She quickly took bath and got dressed up in her best to show him that she was fine. After a long time she saw him carefree and she felt the same love she felt for him ten years ago. Thoughts wandered taking her to the marriage and then she remembered Abhishek was her husband...... H U S B A N D

Every time the word sounded so strange!

Life after marriage was same. They were more of friends and the stereotyped ‘man and wife’ roles had not yet emerged. They still were Abhishek and Shivangi.

“You are not going to the office today, right?” Abhishek asked. Her thoughts were broken and she came back to the present. Her project’s deadline was coming near she was already behind schedule.

“I have to go today. The pain is subsiding and I think I shall manage” she announced. Abhishek was not too happy with that. He tried to convince her why she needed rest. It began from logic, then turned into an argument and then went on to become ‘cant you do this if I say? ’

But she decided to go. She went ahead not noticing the frown on his face, not choosing to notice the frown on his face. That day he did not give her a call in office. Some feel restless if they do not read the newspaper and some feel restless if they miss their tea. But for anyone in love, nothing creates more restlessness than not receiving a phone call from the lover.

So in the afternoon, she called. In the beginning he refused to speak. In next few calls there were pauses, long cryptic pauses. She now understood that she had miscalculated his anger. She came home worried, and somewhat concerned. She started with apologies and then she tried to cajole.

His outburst came naturally; something he never controlled. It began from her lack of care for herself. Then he screamed how less his words meant for her. And then the flow took its course. Corpses came out from the closet; the ‘once upon a time’ issues emerged. He reminded her of all her flaws, of all the wrong things she had done and of all the things that were not so good between them.

And then he stopped. There were tears in her eyes and they were more than her injury had caused in last three days. She was crying and he could see her suffer.

PS: Many people have asked me what happened next. The truth is I don’t know but if I have to guess, I will say they they lived (happily/sadly) ever after. But yes, they lived together :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Do We Lack Brain?

Watched ‘Shourya’ on this weekend featuring Rahul Bose, Minishaa Lamba and KK Menon. There are movies that are bad and there are movies that are more than bad. You are disgusted not only while watching them, but they also disturb your calm for coming few days. Shourya is that kind of movie.

Its biggest crime is that it is a ‘bad copy’ of ‘A Few Good Men’. Copying is not good but making a bad copy is obnoxious. Mr. Moviemaker copied and did not do even that job well. First of all they made a complete mess of the story. The accused maintains a constipated face all the time and rarely speaks to enlighten the audience what has happened. Before you make any sense, the intermission comes and you wonder when the movie shall begin. And as soon as it begins, it ends!

There is no case and it is also not solved. You may say that it is also not a movie. Oh yes there some outpours from Rahul Bose and some from KK. Perhaps the reason is that producers vaguely remembered something similar in A Few Good Men. Now Bollywood walas do not have good English, so you cannot blame them from not copying the content. They brought our most clichéd outpour, religious hatred. And bingo, the case is solved, accused not guilty………… Wait a minute, was the case about a murder or communalism?

Now let us come to the actors. Rahul Bose speaks much more than required. He is a bad imitation of carefree Tom Cruise. Minishaa Lamba is there because of the dictum ‘A bollywood movie must have a female lead’. KK is OK because he comes for a small time, so he does not have time to spoil his role.

I feel that they decided to make a copy, and then add bollywood masala to it. So they added songs, added a beautiful female but forgot to write role for her, and decided to bring comedy by Rahul Bose’s foolish jokes. To help the audience in remembering the name of the movie, the characters repeat word ‘Shourya’ in their each second dialogue.

I am disappointed because movie is actually meant for the niche or the multiplex audiences. There also did the producers feel that viewers will not be able to appreciate a solid case. You can neither close your mind thinking it to be ‘David Dhawan genre’, nor can allow it any work as it will lead to only questions, not answers.

It not only is a bad movie but it also brings a bad name to the army. The blame of communalism scars the biggest reputation of the army, that is secularism. To add to the confusion, in the end they show various news reports of human right violations by the Indian army.

Why can’t Bollywood produce one good flawless movie? I rephrase, Can’t Bollywood produce one good flawless copy?

I seriously wonder that do we lack brain.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bharat Darshan Chronicles-III

This is third part of the Bharat Darshan series. If you are a new visitor, you may read the first and second parts by clicking the hyperlinks.

We traveled from Dantewada to Vishakhapatnam by road. The landscape of the region is marvelous spreading across Chattisgarh, Orrisa and Andhra Pradesh. The entire road runs along Eastern Ghats.

The path had ideal setting of sceneries we used to draw as a child. There were beautiful mountains and the river running across them. Then there was that colorful sky at the sunset with various shades and the red ball of fire vanishing in the horizon. There also were small scattered hamlets that dissolved in the landscape as twinkling lights along with sunset.

We reached Vishakhapatnam at around nine at night. Our attachment was with the Eastern Naval Command. A submariner had come to receive us. He introduced himself along with his rank and that’s when we realized that we should have known the hierarchy of the armed forces. Our predicament was to continue for next few days. We were taken to a Navy guest house named ‘Kremlin’, signifying our long defense ties with Russia. Our rooms were in no way less than any good hotel. After dumping our luggage, we rushed to the Mess, to have our dinner. A Mess in armed forces is quite different in many ways.

The atmosphere is formal with a proper dress code. You go there and sit with a stern face and the rest of the job shall be done by the waiters. A plate will appear in front of you along with other items. You try hard not make any noise while eating with the fork and knife. After that you close your plate by putting the fork and spoon parallel and the waiter will ensure he picks it from the right direction. Those three days of ‘formal dining’ were the most stressful part of our attachment.

Next day our Navy attachment officially began with a visit to Maritime Warfare center. There sailors are taught, how to control a ship with the help of computer aided simulations. War games are prepared and trainees learn to use the controls of the ship. After this we went to visit a warship INS Ranjit. The captain of the ship was the only serving Mahavir Chakra winner in Navy. He explained us about defense equipments, materials bought from Russia and the difference from their American counterparts.

Here I have a good news for ladies. Any lady who goes on a warship receives a salute from the officer in command. The reason is that they treat ship as a lady, so it is a token of respect. And then came the visit that we can never forget; the visit to submarine INS Sindhudhwaj.

The difficult life that submariners live has to be seen to be believed. A person cannot stand erect in a submarine. When it ventures out in the sea, the submariners get a ration of one mug water a day to do all their activities. They have no contact with the outer world and no one other than the captain knows where they are, how long the operation shall continue and what is happening in the outside world. Also in case of an accident or attack, the chances of survival are slim.

In the evening we had an interaction with the Chief of the command, a Rear Admiral. He briefed us about the importance of Navy in general and operations of Eastern command in particular. He explained us how Navy is a strategic force which has an important role in the present geopolitical scenario. He also told us about the continuous struggle of Navy to get a bigger share in the defense budget. The official schedule had no plan of taking us out into the sea but we requested him for that and he agreed. The day after was going to be in the sea, on a warship INS Kripan.

Our sea journey started early in the morning. We were welcomed by the captain and the entire crew. There we came to know that in the night at two, they had returned from a military exercise. They had been in the sea for last two months and now they were going to have rest. But then they were asked to take us into the sea. I was really impressed by their cheerfulness in entertaining the forced guests, i.e. IAS probationers.

The weather was good and it was amazing to feel the breeze on the deck Even walking was difficult due to wind but we tried to emulate the Titanic pose. We were treated royally on the ship with juices and shakes being served on the deck After sometime the captain gave a go ahead to the exercises that were simultaneously being planned.

A ship called INS Sukanya came along and then both ships exchanged man and material by rope. They sent us ‘Idlis’ while our ship sent a bag of sweets. Then men were exchanged via rope connecting the two ships. After that an IAF chopper landed on the moving ship and then flew back. Firing on a target was also practiced and there I fired the first machine gun of my life. The day spent on the ship was one of the best experiences of Bharat Darshan.

That day we came back late. In the evening some of us went to the beach. Staring the raw form of nature evokes strange feelings and the philosophical questions come gushing back to me, what is life, what is my aim, and what I want to do. Many times the truth of life is equally simple and complex. When I look back, I feel that everything in life just happens and we are only spectators.

Next day we went to see the ‘Satavahanas’ that was training school for submariners. The training there is more difficult than life in the submarine. And after every three years, everyone has to come back and go through the training again. In the afternoon we had a debriefing session with the Chief of Staff, Admin. It was more of a general ‘Gyan session’. He shared his philosophy of life. Interestingly he criticized the hierarchy of civil services, an element that was more pervasive in armed forces. He told us an interesting story.

A young IAS was newly posted as an SDM in a district. The DM called him for a meeting that was for discussing the arrangements of marriage of his daughter. The young officer had no clue so he took his head clerk along with him for this meeting. The DM asked how many sweets should be present in the wedding. The head clerk prompted the SDM to say that five kinds of sweets will be good.

After the marriage, our SDM received a call from the DM thanking him for the arrangements of sweets. When the SDM inquired from his head clerk how arrangements were made and from which fund the money came, he replied “Sir, didn’t you pass an order for spraying insecticides in the villages. The insecticides have been ‘perfectly’ sprayed and that is where the money came from”.

Well, I sincerely pray that we don’t end up spraying insecticides in such a fashion. Our official Navy attachment ended with this. For most of us, this was the first close interaction with armed forces. I was inspired by the great work they are doing for the nation work and I wish that we, as civil servants are able to emulate it.

Next day we had to move for Rajamundry, and then to Sringarei coalfields for our public sector attachment

Friday, March 28, 2008


Today I will tell you the secret of successful blogging, if you do not have anything to write, write anything. In other words I want to say that I have nothing specific to write so I will write LBSNAA times….

Disappointment galores:

The report of Pay commission is out and media got it completely wrong, we have no such desire of jumping from the roof. Do you remember bold headlines, 40% hike for babus, of yes a good 40%. But did anyone forget to mention, hike is only in the basic pay. The real hike may not be more than four thousand rupees a month and the recommendations shall stay for next ten years. There is a feeling that in government, honesty is penalized. Previously we were having peanuts, now the honorable pay commission may enable us to eat groundnuts, indeed a qualitative improvement!

By the way, I just love news channels screaming, Holi bonanza for babus, showing money raining in offices and Newspapers asking SMS’s from their worthy readers if any hike in salary for civil servants justified. For a long time, I was missing a good comedy show.

A Learning Experience:

We are learning horse riding and I must tell you, horse riding is a real learning experience. By just sitting on horseback we learn to worship the person who invented the automobiles. We never even felt before how comfortable it was to enter a car, have a smooth ride and stop it as per our wish. Horses are ‘almost’ the same, just a few probability issues here and there.

And trust me horses are real fun too. It is funny to see, yes see (and not feel) a probationer kissing the ground when horse revolts thinking how can LBSNAA make a donkey ride a horse.

Inservice Jokes:

An auditor from Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS) audits an IAS and tells him that his working style conforms to the full form of his service, IAS= I am Safe. The IAS replies that you too exhibit the traits of your service, IAAS= I am absolutely safe.

What do you call the mess of Intelligence Bureau; An Intelligence Mess.

My Great Discovery:

Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate. During Bharat Darshan we were having a lecture by a private organization. While explaining about Corporate Social Resposibilty, they elaborately told us how much they have done for the differently abled kids and they also added that they have opened many 'mentally retarded schools'. Oh I shouted Eureca!

I discovered the truth why I write such stupid blogs and moreover you read it. All of us studied in mentally retarded schools which told us what is right rather than allowing us to discover the truth. By the way, professional academies are not very different!

Monday, March 24, 2008

And this is how it began

Hope is a good thing, and no good thing ever dies. Looking back, he can say that it is true.

It was a perfect case of love at first sight. Angel was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and this was the reason sufficient to fall in love. Though his previous ‘first sight loves’ proved to be a disaster, he still had hope. With full faith in his abilities, he decided to make a strategy to win over Angel.

The plan of action was to take help of Sandhya. Oh yes, I haven’t told you about Sandhya. She was the bubbliest girl in the class and had a horde of friends. Her laughter could be heard from a mile and everybody liked her. Incidentally she was also the best friend of Angel.

So he befriended Sandhya and soon started talking to her for hours. In a way they became the best of pals and he was awed by her ability to look deep into his heart. She could castigate him severely and still pamper him as a child. Their ease with each other was natural her company was a real bliss. Thus time passed and passed and days went and went.

Our protagonist was living a happy life when murmurings started in his brain “Actually Sandhya is the right girl for you”. Once again he discovered his true love; and this time he decided to tell her all. But loving a girl is one thing, and telling her that another.

That day as usual, she rang him and their long conversations began. They talked about their childhood, they talked about their friends. He again told her about his crushes and then he told her why Angel was not a right choice for him. That is when it happened.

She asked him bluntly, who was the new girl he had started liking. At times, it requires all the effort in the world to utter few words. He was taken aback, found it hard to breathe but he mustered all his courage to utter “YOU”.

Suddenly he saw stars in front of his eyes and before she could give any reply, he banged the receiver down. This was one of the few times in his life when he felt foolish. First he told her about his previous crushes; then he discussed about Angel and after telling all that he said he actually liked her. What a proposal it had been!

Next few days were filled with melancholy. He was too scared to go to school, so he kept bunking it. He started appreciating Ghazals; and felt all of them applicable to his life. Without being formally rejected, he felt being one. In a way, life seemed all right but everything is not that voluntary. Soon his mother forced him to go back to the school.

He did not know how to behave, so he acquired a permanent sad and hurt look. He rarely talked to Sandhya and continued behaving bizarre. When it became quite uncomfortable, she came and said “Can’t we just be friends?”

Well he agreed; actually he had to. The story remained in the same phase for quite some time. The strange thing was that he still had hope!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bharat Darshan Chronicles-II

This is in continuation to the first article on Bharat Darshan. If you have not read it, you may see it here.

Early in the morning we started for Kirandool block. It is two hours drive from Dantewada. The BDO of the block had come to pick us up and we were going to stay in the government quarter allotted to the BDO. He himself stayed in another town which was good for the education of his kids.

The schedule for the day was to visit some nearby villages. The BDO decided that first he will take us for lunch which was organized on a Waterfall known as 'Phoolpada'. I was amazed by the beauty of the waterfall and its surroundings. Some years back it used to be a favorite picnic spot for the tourists but today hardly anyone went there as the region was badly naxal infested.

The arrangement of our lunch was done by men from a nearby village. They had carried with them utensils, cooking material, vegetables etc inside that dense forest. Lunch arrangements for four of us had required not less than forty people!

There I interacted with the Sarpanch of the village. He was illiterate, naïve and knew nothing about the government schemes. But he told me about the reasons for rise of Naxals, also called as ‘Andarwale’ in the region. I was also not aware that Dantewada has been declared as the capital of the red corridor by the Naxals.

Incidentally I also discovered an interesting fact there. Tribals still hold their arrows with forefinger and middle finger and they never use their thumbs. Does that remind you of Eklavya’s story?

After having our lunch, we went to visit the village. From a long distance we were welcomed by a Gaur dance party which escorted us into the village dancing and our entry became almost like a procession.

Tribal villages are divided into small ‘Padas’. Not more than six seven houses are clustered in a Pada and the next Pada can be half a kilometer away. This causes a big burden on the administration in providing electricity, water supply and roads.

Also, people live in joint families and they never go for division of agricultural land. They still have big plots of lands registered in names of their ancestors deceased long ago. This causes a big problem in providing them the government benefits as majority of them are designed for small and marginal farmers.

We came to our quarter in the late evening. On TV, news was being flashed that a police station in a nearby district has been attacked by the naxals. The peon staying with us consoled that naxals ‘generally’ do not attack civil servants, only police is their target.

We were slightly worried that night and our worries got magnified by the gunshots we heard in the late night. You might like to know that we were in a house whose front doors even could not be bolted due to misalignment. I forced myself to sleep but I remember having restless dreams. Early in the morning we called the SP who told us that everything was all right. The gunshots were fired by the police itself to check their preparedness.

Next day, we went to visit a local ‘Haat’ or the markets organized weekly which were marked by heavy police presence. There are two things that shall always be present in a Haat. One is the traditional cock fight. Blades are tied on the nails of the cock and the winner cock bleeds its opponent to death. A considerable amount of money is gambled on such fights.

Second is the ‘Sulfi drink’ or the ‘Bastar beer’. This is local booze made from the Sulfi tree found in the region. Enjoyment of life is a major component of tribal society and social drinking is also a part of it. Both men and women consume liquor and in the late afternoon many of them can be seen drunk.

They have many customs which we may not be looked favorably in ‘cultured’ society. During spring season, unmarried boys and girls go in the forest to collect forest produce. In the night they sing, dance and booze in the forest and spend the night there itself. It is also a method of finding one’s spouse.

Tribals live a contended life. They are happy with their lives and many times they do not like the externally enforced ‘development’. They also do not want to work hard for improving their lives. I still wonder what is important in life; to be happy or to be ‘developed’.

We also interacted with other government officials posted in the region. They have their own set of problems. A doctor told us that naxals coerce them to treat their wounded members. After that police harasses them for helping the naxals. Police also at times pressurizes them to issue fake postmortem reports when they have not even seen the dead bodies. And then we wonder sitting in cities why no doctor is ready to serve in interior areas.

Two days passed away safely in the block. We had to see the same ‘Gaur dance’ three times, drink ‘Sulfis’ everywhere and take petitions for electricity, hand pumps and government benefits. The initial enthusiasm was waning away and it was becoming difficult to maintain the same zeal. Next day we came back to the NMDC guest house. A major thing in the area that was left till now was to see a ‘Salwa Judum’ camp.

Literally Salwa Judum means meeting for peace. When Naxalism was deeply entrenched, naxals started targeting innocent villagers in order to force them for joining the naxal movement. They also started imposing heavy levies on the traders. This created resentment among the general public.

In one Haat, people decided to march towards interior villages and convince the villagers to quit naxalism. When a big crowd entered the village, naxals were not able to frighten them away. This became a method and it caused a sharp decline in the cadre strength of naxals.

They retaliated by brutally killing innocent villages whom they suspected to be Judum members. Exodus of villagers started from the villages towards the cities.Thousands came abandoning entire villages and Sulwa Judum camps were set up.

So next day we went to visit Dornapal camp. Its population is more than 17000, which is many times the original Dornapal village. It looks like any other city slum with narrow lanes, bad sewage system and dense population. But I must say that administration is taking good care of them considering their scarce resources.

Government has given support to many for building houses. Ration is provided to every family free of cost. There are Aanganwadis, primary schools and ration shops. And these families keep waiting for the time when they will be able to go back again to their homes.

The strategy of Sulwa Judum has always been controversial. But one thing is certain. The tribal way of life is completely changed in the camps. Many houses have got electricity connection, TV’s and their clothing now is similar to the urbanized people. I doubt if anyone in camps shall ever go back. The question remains that, is changing the way of life of tribals an affordable price in fight against naxalism.

Our official assignments were over and the plan for the day after was to visit the Kanger Valley National Park. The park is famous for the ‘Gandak’ limestone caves. Dripping water causes formation of protruding limestone structures. It is completely dark inside and we had to carry many torches and a horde of guides with us. Then we went to the Tirathgarh waterfalls where steps have been made by the falling water. Chattisgarh has good potential for tourism and this part had considerable presence of tourists as effect of naxalism was less in the region.

In the evening we met the collector, briefed him about our observations and thanked him for making our stay comfortable there. Next day early in the morning we went to the famous ‘Danteshwari Devi’ temple. From there we started our journey to Vishakhapatnam, where we were going to have our Navy Attachment. In the evening when we were reaching Vishakhapatnam, we got the news that Jail has been broken in Dantewada and more than 300 naxals have escaped!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bharat Darshan Chronicles-I

As promised earlier, I shall share with you all my experiences of Bharat Darshan. They will be long, they may be boring….. but trust me they will tell you about ‘Bharat’; which may be different from your perception of India. To minimise the boredom, I shall keep the chronicles in small episodes.

With the beginning of December, the cold was getting worse in Mussoorrie. Foundation course had just ended and those not into IAS had gone to their respective academies. LBSNAA wore a deserted look and we all who remained here wanted a desperate change. So we were happy to pack our bags and move on to Bharat Darshan.

Bharat Darshan Tour, alternatively known as the Winter Study Tour is an integral part of IAS training. It is an eight week tour of almost entire India starting from first week of December. The course handbook describes its purpose as “to expose officer trainees to a wide range of organizations and situations they are going to run into during their careers and also give them a glimpse of the diversity of our cultural heritage.”

Our journey began on 8rth Dec. The group had 11 members with one lady officer. Our first destination was Dantewada, the heartland of Naxalism where we had our tribal attachment. We started by a bus from the academy to Ambala and from there we took Chattisgrah Express to Raipur.

The entire journey was more than 48 hours long. I chatted with the group, started reading ‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth, sat idle, walked in the train and tried to kill the long idle hours. I sat at the window for hours looking outside. Civilizations came and went; lone lights twinkled at the far ends and fields made way for the cities. At times the monotony was broken by the rivers; and also by the the sound of train passing over a steel bridge. Looking outside the window was a serene bliss and when I look back, the path was more beautiful than the destination. Perhaps the same holds for life too.

We reached Raipur station on 10th morning. And that was the place where realization came that we are into a premier service. Five Boleros had come to pick us up, there was a horde of local officials present and a meticulous arrangement was in place to welcome us. From the station we proceeded to the newly built State Transit House.

Raipur is a mid sized city, still very much different from the densely populated cities of north India. Roads do not qualify for being of the capital of a state. Big construction works are visible and the State Guest house was also recently made. A small surprise was waiting for us. Dantewada was still eight hours away and these Boleros were meant to carry us there.

We started within an hour as it was not advisable to get late in reaching Dantewada. The countryside of Chattisgarh is full of forest cover. Teakwood is abundantly present along with other dense vegetation. After half the journey when we passed a district called Jagdalpur, there was a noticeable difference in infrastructure. Roads became narrower, they were in bad shape and the signals of my Reliance mobile went away. There was unfinished work going on at many places and the number of police pickets increased. Incidentally, the naxals heartland had just begun.

It was quite late when we reached Dantewada and we were taken to an NMDC guest house. I was surprised to see a public sector maintaining such a good guest house. The rooms had all the modern facilities and the staff was very cordial. Most of them were Malayalis and the guest house had the entire staff from Indian Coffee House. Next day our tribal attachment had to formally begin by a presentation by the DM and SP.

On the way to collectorate, a small program was arranged for us in a village. We were traditionally welcomed by flowers and garlands and the local villagers presented the traditional ‘Gaur dance’ for us. The dance was performed by more than thirty men and women with all the paraphernalia like big drums and head-gears having Bison horns. We also met some orphan physically handicapped children who were looked after in a nearby ‘Ashram’. The Ashram system in Chattisgarh is a kind of boarding school. Books, dresses and food are provided there and children go to their houses once in a fortnight.

We were touched by the elaborate arrangements done and the respect shown to us. We could not understand why they are taking so much pain for entertaining us. We were just probationers and we could have done nothing for them even if we wanted to. But then we realized, they did not want anything from us. It was due to the respect that IAS still commands. The dancers were elated when we took their drums and headgears and had a photograph with them. Our appreciation of the work that Ashram was doing for the orphans was good enough to bring a smile on their face. There are times when one feels good to be in service, and this was certainly one of them.

The meeting with the DM and SP turned out to be an eye opener. We came to know about the gravity of situation in Dantewada. DM and SP were not using government vehicles due to the frequent landmines. Most of the policemen were in civil dress. The entire district is in a complete war like situation and battle lines are clearly drawn. And the administration is fighting a real war when the region is not even declared as ‘disturbed’.

The big deal about declaring a region as ‘disturbed’ is that special schemes can be adopted there. For e.g. there is 50% lack of administrative staff but no incentives can be provided to those working in the interior areas as it would be against general financial rules. If shoes have to be procured for the policemen, it will take the normal hierarchical chain where a file may have to pass through twenty tables, and a small query at any level may send it downwards tracing the same path.

Before visiting there we all knew that Naxalism is a socio economic problem. The simple solution is, develop the region and Naxalism will vanish. But we were wrong. Reasons of emergence of Naxalism are socio economic, but once it finds its roots, it becomes a law and order problem. Why will Naxals allow development if it can threaten their own existence. Hence in the interior villages, there are no schools, no connectivity, no electricity and in short no government. In case you want to know what is ‘interior’; today also there are police stations where it takes 72 hours for any outside help to reach!

Next day we had to move to interior areas, live there for three days and understand the ground situation. No security cover was given to us as it could have invited trouble. Our drivers told us that naxals must have by now come to know by now that we were going to visit their terrain. To tell you the truth, we were all little scared!

The chronicle shall continue. I have many more things to tell, so keep coming back.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why I became a Civil Servant?

This article by cosmic voices has prompted me to write my answer to “Why I became a civil servant?” The reasons are very much the same as mentioned there but I could not resist imparting my wisdom on this vital subject.

There are questions like what is truth, what is morality, what is right. And then there is Dholpur House’s (UPSC Office) variant of these, “Why you want to become a civil servant?” Somehow I could escape/fool/convince board members about my reason there and now I can calmly blog the truth.

My answer is, I had nothing else to do.

Not convinced, OK, I shall elaborate. I come from middle, middle class and my parents are in government service. I knew what they knew, what the township in which we lived knew. My license to success in this world was education. And what is the biggest success one can achieve through education. You got it right, civil services. I wanted the biggest TV, smartest car, largest house, the most beautiful girl in the town, and along with all of them, the best job.

Some of you might not be very happy about my platonic reasons. Till now I have given reasons that came in my adolescence. Where was the zeal to do something for the country, where was the motivation from inside to do what I really wanted to do, where were the ‘more mature’ reasons. I shall give them too.

I hated the slow way in which the clerk in a government office did his work. I could never forget the nurse in the government hospital that misbehaved with the patients. I turned my eyes from the horde of beggars on the traffic signal as if they do not even exist. And then, adrenalin gushed in me too when I watched Rang De Basanti.

After all such incidents, I heard a voice inside me, do something about it. The answer available was, become a civil servant. In fact as I grew, I could satisfy all my ambitions by dreaming to become a civil servant. I wanted to have a social status, a secure future and a challenging work. I also wanted to make my parents feel proud. Whenever I had an ambition, I asked myself, “Will it be satisfied if I became a civil servant?” The answer was always yes.

As I grew, it became an obsession and I had to achieve it. No other service could have offered me even half of these. The bug of becoming an IAS entered in the childhood and I had no escape.

The reasons may sound selfish, but in my philosophy of life, everything has to be done in one’s own self interest. I help somebody not because of my kindness, but because I feel good after that. I would like to work for my country not because one should work for his country, but because ‘I’ shall feel happy after doing that. I never believed or unfortunately could not have any 'benevolent' reasons.

I do not know if what I was able to state the truth, or if I even know the truth. That is why I said, this question is a variant of all those philosophical questions which do have ‘right’ answers. Everyone has to seek his/her own definitions. I even doubt if UPSC members are really serious when they ask “Why you want to become a civil servant?”

When all my ‘selfish’ goals are satisfied in this service, and I knew no other alternatives, tell me am I not correct when I say, I had nothing else to do!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Proposal

He never was the 'romantic types'. Love was something that just happened, like most other things in his life. But the problem being in love is, there is another party and that too may have expectations.

So his girlfriend had some expectations that were imported from foreign lands. She kept on saying “You have not proposed me yet”. This is what happens when there are number of diamond advertisements with men putting the ring in the drink on a candlelight dinner. I bet in real life girl would have gulped the ring and then both would have proceeded to see a doctor.

Long years ago he had somehow uttered “I love you” and that was pretty traumatic in itself. But then this is how life is. One cannot keep on hearing the taunts for whole life. So he decided that he shall propose her, formally.

After Herculean efforts in shopping he managed to buy the ring. The plan was that he will get a lot of flowers, some chocolates and candles. The decided venue was the roof of her house on which he shall propose her with candles and chocolates among the red roses. He also wrote a sentimental poem (which she still claims was a speech) for the event.

The fateful day came and his preparations were perfect. He rang her and told that he will come to meet her in the late evening so that she too returns late from her office, those being her busy days. This would have given him time for preparations.

He reached her house along with fall the paraphernalia. The big items were promptly hidden on the stairs. Then he rang to reconfirm when she was coming.

And then it all began. He could hear the ring tone very loudly. He realized it was ringing from just down the stairs. When he turned back he saw her coming back with her big smile. He almost panicked and rushed outside citing an excuse to hide the flowers and candles on the roof. When he went there, the roof was locked !

He took a deep breadth and came down. There he found her jumping and eating the bunch of chocolates which he forgot to hide. She was so happy discovering the chocolates.

He decided now to do away with candles too and salvage whatever was left of his plan. He brought the bouquet of roses and called her in the balcony. She was surprised by his nervousness. And then he began his poem/speech. It took her time to realize that he was ‘formally’ proposing her.

After one paragraph he forgot his lines, thought for a while and anyhow completed it. And then he came on his knees to present the ring. She was so shocked that she also sat on the floor. Under great confusion he gave her the ring, difficultly uttered “Will you marry me?” and completed the proceedings. She promptly accepted and hugged him. Then she cried for a second and laughed for an hour.

And after that he decided he will never propose anyone again.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back to Blogger

Lest I cause any delay in writing a blog (having alibi of completing report backlogs), I should tell you all that I am back from my Bharat Darshan, and back same as I was………….almost.

I am safely back from the Naxal battlefield of Dantewada, from the machine gun firings on INS Kulish at Vishakhapatnam and back mesmerised from the SHG’s magic of Rajamundry.

I also happen to be back from the blasting mines of Singareni coalfields and the hitech city and changing face of India, Hyderabad.

Then I roamed in Bangalore, in Chitradurga and missed Hampi by a whisker. From there I touched the sand of Mariana beach in Chennai and got amazed by the beauty of Mahabalipuram.

Not to leave islands of India, I went to Andamans and floated on the absolutely clear waters of Havelock beach.

To match the distances of Andamans, I went to Assam and then to Arunanchal Pradesh, with the 2nd mountain Division of Army. Having almost completed my trip, I went to the Kaziranga National Park and spotted wildlife before returning to Delhi.

After all this I am back and back with a lot of stories…. or tales to tell, and that I shall tell in detail. So keep reading.

Are you still thinking why I wrote “I am back ‘almost’ same”?
Forgot to tell, got engaged on 10th feb :)