Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Secret To Being Still

The unethical have a lot to speak about ethics. This is my learning from a set of recent events.
Maybe they do so to cover-up their own misgivings by pointing their fingers at others, to deflect the audience's attention from them or perhaps this is their defense mechanism of denial that is at play or maybe they should be diagnosed with selective amnesia where they forget their own wrongdoings that they beg to be reminded of.
No one is a saint and everyone has a skeleton or few hidden in their own cupboard; every saint has a past and every sinner a future; yet, we like to point out to the small slips and accidental falls of others trying to wear a halo around our head as we carry our self with a 'holier than thou art' attitude while speaking a hypocritical and sacrosanct language all the while.
Do we ever forget to look at the log in our own eyes (?!) before we try to pull the speck out of other's???
Every fellow manages to somehow reach a point of dissonance to justify their stand while criticizing others - the easiest being, 'I did it for his/her own good' statement that is often made to justify their cruel and rude actions. (Bull crap). However, how good are we in the first place to pick on others and/or criticize? Best left to oneself, the least one can do is remain calm and not condemn. If our concern is to help build and change the other, we better do that with gentleness - this takes time. Fruits don't ripen by force.
Why can't our concerns be real as we deliberate a peaceful way to help people.
Some people take this patience for granted and use their very nature to manipulate and get things work their way or they are too stubborn to change or perhaps filled with a heavy and blinding ego, they refuse to see the consequence of their action. Sometimes I wonder about any other choice we have other than being more patient in situation such as these that tests our patience even more. This situation tests us more than it tests the other I suppose.

"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.
And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." said Fredrick Nietzsche.

The universe that must support our plans must be supported by our plans too. If energies around can have an effect on us, wouldn't it work the other way around too? To bring the mind to rest, thoughtless and to be still, seemed difficult and impossible at first. With a little bit of reflection, the mind does become still and when we pause, the universe does control the rest around us. If goodness is in our heart, peace can be spread even in silence - while riding a bus, while making tea or even while walking away from chaos - without the need to even set apart any time for deliberating it. There is always space and time for goodness and peace. Perhaps this is zen or perhaps why bother to name it at all...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pros and Cons of Abolishing 500 and 1000 Rupee Notes

Yesterday night was a bit of an excitement mixed with frenzy for many as  a NEWS spread in India during the midnight hour, once again, since the declaration of our independence. The NEWS was that Modi has abolished notes of Indian Rupee valued at 500 and 1000 overnight - the highest denomination in the notes currently printed. Everyone who has these notes, have time till December 31, 2016 to account it and exchange it in banks or post offices.

The Pros: 
  1. Black money stored in the form of currency notes within the country will be flushed out as people will not be able to account the same or exchange it unless they put in a lot of effort to do so
  2. Future storing of black money in the form of notes will be difficult as Rs.100 would bulk up more than 10 times and consume as much space than the situation is at present
  3. Price of gold will raise; as this will be a safer and more culturally common and relevant way of storing excess money now. This means more returns for people who have been investing in gold already
  4. Money might be easier to handle and track with debit card transactions that might become more common as card transactions might be preferred over bulky cash transactions - making business faster and waiting in queues shorter
  5. The use of plastic money might boost e-commerce and cashless exchanges - the new trend for start-ups in India
  6. Thefts and pickpockets might go down taking crime rates down with it

Thats all.

The Cons: 
  1. There is a hint that the notes have been replaced with 'new' 500 and 2000 Rs. notes. Then this whole thing is a humbug. Point 2. of the pros is then off the list (Source:  PM Modi had today banned not just these two high value currency denominations, he had also unveiled their replacement, in the form of a new Rs 500 note and one of Rs 2,000.)
  2. Black money storage from the current point forward becomes easier with the current highest denomination doubled. Which means Point 1 and 3. of the pros is off the list too since people will find an alternative means to shrink their storage place and find new space to store more with a higher denomination being made available
  3. The whole frenzy of the people to dispose the notes they have is foolish as there is time to do so till this year end. So calm down people; the world is not coming to an end (...yet)
  4. Business - especially chota valas who refuse currency notes of 500 and 1000 denomination are more foolish. Business is more important and customers harder to get. These notes can anyway be exchanged and it would be a boost to the business if a shop keeper accepts the notes and gets the commerce going using this situation and reaping the harvest. Requires sense to think in this case - the hardest commodity to ask for anyways these days
  5. The corrupt will become more corrupt and find reasons to accumulate what they have lost in this barter in the near future - habits, not notes, that needs to be abolished
  6. In this case of taking old notes and releasing new ones, then, is just going to be like how Mohd. Bin Tughlak shifted his capital from Delhi to Daultabad/Deogir - a 'tughlakian' decision that made him lose more than he thought he could earn and an earner of negative press that we learn about till date of 'what not to do'
  7. One more ban, one more renaming and one more flop awaiting - as is the sequence in a country where people think like a slow starting tubelight 
  8. Anyways, the initial election manifesto was to bring back black money deposited abroad into India within 100 days that entered a delay as it required a change in taxation policies. What happened to that? Did we change our double-taxation system? Are we still talking about that?
  9. Wouldn't this exercise make the people who foreignized Indian black money look smarter than their Indian counterparts and help set an example for the corrupt to emulate for the future?
  10. Is this once again the typical re-naming stunt that is not uncommon these days. After all, what is in a name?

Seems like the con's outweigh the pros in this (dis)regard just for the simple reason that the notes are going to be re-introduced and very soon, in higher denominations. Was that a calculation intended or a consequence unthought of?! 
However, this great idea (minus the reintroduction bit) I remember coming from a Tamil movie called 'Pichaikaran' that was released in March this year and here is the scene from the movie for proof that the idea is not something that was born yet only something that has been adopted. Talk about originality...

Monday, November 7, 2016

Types Of Children (including the Trophy and Token Child)

Recently I realized that children fall into at least four categories - depending on the reason why they are born or based upon the way they are parented later.

The trophy child like a trophy wife, is the child one has for the status it brings along. Much like how a just divorced and quoted to be impotent man or an infertile woman finds the fastest and quickest way(s) to have a baby... just to prove the point - nothing more and nothing else. For them, the child is nothing more than a showpiece - parents seem attached to this child yet more for self-obsessed reasons than anything else - to create envy among the snoopy ex and/or to shut slanderous mouths and as a proof for their own active sex life. These are children one 'has to' have.

The token child on the other hand, is more like a child/children one has for the very heck of it. Much like how one has one for the very reason that one 'must' have at least one; or when 'more the number of kids, more the verility', is assumed to be true by absurd personalities in some even absurd societies.
Here, it is all about the numbers. How many girls? - this in case it is in the North Eastern part of India, How many boys? - this applies to the rest of India. The token child in many marriages is just born out of no reason at all; with no purpose and of little value. It is like a token exchanged to evade the stigma it might bring otherwise. Born out of the duties performed connected with marriage (including having a child) and raised as a duty connected therewith thereafter. These are children one 'must' have.

The accidental child, like the name suggests, is born out of what the parents might see as a "mistake" including (yet not limited to,) a goof-up while trying to use protection or being too drunk and/or carried away to not use one. These are re-creations made by mistakes during recreations - a foolish one to regret for the rest of the life.
Or these could also be the ones a person is pushed to have not as a matter of choice yet one that rises out of force and compulsion like in the event of a rape or as a matter of tradition (like in the case of a child born to a Devadasi). These children carry the burns and scars and the damage more than the parents. These are children one knows not 'why s/he has'.

The love child on the other hand, is born out of love. A symbol of trust, care and respect that the parents have for each other. This child carries with it the genes and the energy that created it in the first place and enchants others with its very presence. Unlike the other two, these are passionate children who are easy to love and fun to be with. Not just made out of skin and bones, these are children with a heart and soul. Rare yet the most sought after.

Biblically, at least,  we are taught that we are born out of sin; Psalm 51:5 says, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me". This makes sex - a natural need according to science and a non-verbal form of love according to psychology, seem like a sin... if I were to believe it.
Perhaps this is just an(other) attempt by the church to make people feel guilty even from the womb so that they may establish their authority over them for the rest of their freakin life. Children are not conceived by sin, atleast in this category; they are conceived out of love, as they need to be. Love between the father and mother passed on to the child. Love formed out of trust, care and respect above anything else. These are children one 'wants to' have.

Having a job, is similar to having a child - nevertheless a want and never a need - some have it for the heck of it, some to avoid the stigma attached in the event of not having one, many have one by accident and very less for the fun of it.
We get stuck with jobs just because 'we have to' rather than take up a job 'we want to' - much like those arranged marriages many find trapped into which later one justifies to attain a state of cognitive dissonance to put up with it.
Very often, we are stuck with trophy jobs, token jobs and whatever other bastardly job comes our way in the event of not being able to find the true passion or love of our life that brings life and commitment to what we do. It is not just the person who suffers yet also a great deal of injustice done meanwhile to the job s/he holds as well.
Today, we all sell ourselves cheap. The mind especially, is always up for sale to the highest bidder. From becoming the 'other woman' in the white house to becoming a lot lizard for cheapskate punters during a hoe stroll, our opportunities seem limitless when we are not decided. Sometimes, it is not for us or for that money that we work anymore... it is perhaps just for the heck of it and for the fact that we have nothing better to do...          

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Excerpts From An Essay On Identity, Conflict And Violence By Fredjeev

Chapter 5 - The Upward Mobility of the Downtrodden

The plight and fight of the socially (pushed) backward and traditionally oppressed communities is more like a life on the wheel. The victims of violence and injustice today being identified and recognized as such, command more than demand their special provisions for upliftment in the name of social justice - be it the Dalits from India or the Africans settled in America or the indigenous people who were devoid of their rights in their homeland like the Maoris of New Zealand or the Red Indians of America and every other colonized country like India that is yet to recover from the after-affect of the mad nightmare of the past.
This self-imposed need to be identified and recognized as one belonging to the victimized, marginalized and scheduled groups is a mandate to avail the welfare rationed from the stored loot of his/her majesty’s invasion supplied in the form of grants, aid and other concessions. This identity of the ‘receiver’ as an ever-marginalized group or as a forever-developing country at large, gets further cemented by the media and good Samaritans of the development sector who make a sensational coverage of this group time to time to showcase them as dirty, humbled and always dressed up in rags while at the same time, the ‘giver’ wears the cloak of superiority, authority and pride to break and throw morsels for the rest to fetch.
On one hand, the people who carry the burden of the earlier oppressors and who are widely pointed to for the blunders committed once for which they have no rationale claim to be blamed, are subjected and go through the same level of human disregard and discrimination which once their predecessors (alone) had to be blamed for. This phenomenon is a turn of the wheel as we see the ones who were up yesterday being crushed by the ones who were down today - just for the simple way in which things have turned. Sadly, identities that were fought to be cast away have simply become more certain, defined, nurtured, wilfully promoted by many and unwilfully thrust on the rest - for the same reason it was earlier done - for survival. 
A resulting paradox - an ingroup that fought against an outgroup for stratifying and discriminating it by labeling it, now takes up yet another fight to belong and be identified with the group it is fighting with - quite ironically incidentally is the new identity the ingroup wants to establish while taking pride in upholding it only reaffirms its identity rather than find opportunities to shed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

To Bike Or Not To Bike

Just got into a dilemma on personal choice.
During recent events in the domestic line, and after test riding a few bikes - something I did after a long time, a very long time of course - the best of all the bikes I rode, I enjoyed riding a 535cc stove-like thing which shares a part in the vintage period on its own. The Continental GT a.k.a Cafe Racer from Enfield is a sure good ride.
The issues however are a few; and as most issues go, they were seen more by others than by me.
Issue 1, was the riding position. You got to crouch. Many who do not pick the bike because of this unconventional riding position when compared to the regular and majestic Bullet (that my brother decided to pick for himself). Yet then, there is a difference between a legend and a racer. This is a Cafe Racer and you ride it the way it should be. The issue however that I faced during the few test rides was the way your palm slips off the handles when you cross the 100kmph line. Perhaps that is why you have riding gloves. Yet, it moves.

Issue 2, was what my daughter pointed out to. She said that with that 'red' seat-end at the back, I looked like a baboon on the lose while riding it. Issue mitigated if I chose a 'black' one and chose to look like a gorilla instead.

One of the worst bikes I ever rode - the enfield himalaya - over hyped, boring and devoid of any riding pleasure. Think my kids were right when they called it a "toy" and the people in the shop laughed and grinned in agreement.
Recently, a friend of mine said that he saw a girl ride it in the high range; perhaps that explains it all. And with that being said, I think I should be able to rest my case on this one.

Meanwhile, Mahindra comes out with this NEWS today: Mahindra reboots two-wheeler business, will revive vintage brands BSA, Jawa

And with that, what will I do?!
You got this JAWA - a bike immortalized by my Dad (on a personal front) - the key to the bike which he had that I still hold. A vintage by all means and still looks like a retro holy 'stove' just like the other, (don't know what is on with me and the stoves...) is still powerful with its 350cc engine just like an ordinary Bullet and above all, I wouldn't have to look like a baboon or gorilla by choice while riding it.

In the meantime, as I dread reaching the Hobson's choice and wanting to choose just one and be contend with it rather than have an affair with the other all the while. Decision-making has not been so difficult for a person with no wants for a long time. Well perhaps this is what life is all about... where one can play dice with the universe in the context of time. And what way better than to bargain with the past...  

What Did You Say

Case 1:
A few years back in 2008, during a cricket match between India and Australia, a balle-balle spinner 'is supposed to have' referred to Symonds, an Australian cricketer as a 'monkey'. Incidentally, Symonds is a Caribbean by birth who was adopted by Australian parents; which seems to give him all the required reasons to feel bad by this name-calling. This incident was discussed widely as a racist-spur and as a lowly act by the turbanator.
When I read that, I couldn't help laughing at the possibility of misunderstanding what was being said and a diversion that worked well for everyone at that point of time.

  • First of all, an Indian cricketer who knew so much to twit(?!) Seriously???
  • Second, the possibility of not being heard correctly during a multilingual meet in an international arena and
  • Third, a more possible word that was used that perhaps was best left misunderstood in this situation that rhymed the same as 'monkey.'

Considering the fact that the turbanator (as he was fondly referred to), was a boy from a middle class family from rural India with an educational background not exceeding school-level who played galle-cricket, the word that must have popped out during the moment of frustration, as suggested by the local dailies (and promptly removed later), must have been the common verbal abuse used in the Indian context-'makhi' and not monkey as cleverly reported later.
Surely Bajji must have thought that a word against the mother must be more offending than the racial slur inflicted - a point to be considered from an Indian perspective. While perhaps Symonds, from another perspective, would have been better entertained had he gotten a chance to understand the actual meaning of the word used than the altered word later suggested for all that he must have undergone as a kid. However...

Case 2:

This is what a 'Fakir' a.k.a 'holy man' from India looks like:

This is what Gandhi looks like: 

Any resemblance between the one above and the one below cannot be counted as coincidental unless the person perceiving so, is either a deliberate fool or completely blind. 

The point in focus is when Sir. Winston Churchill referred to Gandhi as a 'half naked Fakir'. 'Half naked'-by the measure of the khadhi cloth waggling on his body, agreed. Referring to him as a "Fakir"?! makes me reach the three point question once again:
  • First of all, a Brit who knew so much about Fakirs(?!)
  • Second, the possibility of not being heard correctly during a multilingual meet in an international arena and
  • Third, a more possible word that was used that was felt best left misunderstood in that situation that rhymed the same as 'fakir' that perhaps would be synonymous with the Biblical, 'Go forth and multiply' statement - if you know what I mean.

These words come from the same guy who in 1937, told the Palestine Royal Commission: "I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

The same guy who during his role as minister for war and air in 1919 on being criticised for advocating the use of chemical weapons - primarily against Kurds and Afghans said, "I cannot understand this squeamishness about the use of gas; I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes".

This is the same guy who said that Indians had to be blamed for the Bengal famine and quoted that "Indians breed like rabbits".

Churchill told the cabinet on another occasion. "We should be rid of a bad man and an enemy of the Empire if he died." This about Gandhi.  And do I still believe that he would be good enough to refer to Gandhi as the 'fakir' when he could have jolly well called him with another word sounding similar in terms of rhyme and rhythm?! 

Interestingly, Gandhi is said to have regarded Churchill's expression as a compliment. He felt unworthy of being called "a fakir and that (too) naked - a more difficult task." He then implored Churchill: "Trust and use me for the sake of your people and mine and through them those of the world."  
If only he had understood or read between the lines, I wondered... or what if perhaps he did... 
What a diplomatic escape and a political opportunist he must have been either way...

Monday, October 17, 2016

Movie For The Thoughtless Or Others Likewise

A movie I watched a long time ago, provided me with a grim reminder me of where we are heading to as humanity... humanity that is forced to comply to thoughts and suggestion without a thought of its own. Often in classrooms today, I make it a point to ask the class to "THINK"-though that is (definitely) not a part of the portion the Universities want me to cover. 

Mentioning that, 'thinking' seems to be too much to ask for these days; perhaps, the loftiest idea to have even suggested something like that in the first place. Having spent most part of one's precious life conforming to authority and adhering to ridiculous disciplinary routines and procedures with unquestioned submission in school(s), at home and in religious and other related mental institutions, the essence of becoming a thoughtless human being seems too easy to reach for a depleting generation for whom the major "source" of information comes from the facebook. 
A huge vote bank success for the politicians, media and educationalists in achieving a set of thoughtless parasites who will never have the spine to stand up or question the lot. 
And a big round of applause in standing ovation to all the idiots who pile up into the making of this system...

Suggested movie to see: Idiocracy and here is a clip from that movie:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What If Every NEWS Had A Connection

A fellow gets bitten by a snake while trying to take a selfie with it. This happened in India's northwestern Rajasthan state (where else?!) after forest department officials removed the snake from a school. No kidding check NEWS here: Snake Selfie

Talking about snakes, imagine coming back home after a long day only to realise two huge pythons have picked your roof as the perfect spot to settle a score. For one family in Queensland, Australia, this sadly was a reality. Read the NEWS and watch the video here: Pythons on the roof-top And all this while I thought watching our Priest waiting to talk about sin (ironically) was the worst that could happen coming back after a long days work.

A new species of a ground-dwelling lizard has been discovered in Goregaon's Aarey Colony and Thane's Badlapur forested belts, 130 years after the last such gecko was discovered, and has been named after a Bengaluru-based scientist Varad Giri. Finally Indian Scientists discover something-so what if it is a lizard that was just right up the wall?! check NEWS here: The Indian Edison

A video, currently trending on YouTube, shows the adorable moment a little girl hugged actor Sunny Leone and simply refused to let go. Apparantely, the child wanted to go home with Sunny. Surely the mother of the child must have realized the truth in the phrase 'Like father, like daughter.' Catch the NEWS here: Everyone loves Sunny

Doctors at a Chinese hospital said a baby boy born with a total 31 fingers and toes will receive a series of surgeries free of charge. And here I am wondering what is wrong with the Chinese... Check NEWS here: China has more than it can handle. First people and then toes

Meanwhile Docs from the US of A have succeeded in creating the world's first baby using a new "three person" fertility technique today. The five-month-old boy has the usual DNA from his mum and dad, plus a tiny bit of genetic code from a donor. Perhaps the need of the hour in that country. Check NEWS here: Whose kid is it anyway?!

Also, Nathan Desai-(one more) disturbed lawyer in US of A of Indian origin was wearing military-style clothing with Nazi symbols during the 20-minute shooting spree when he fired at passing cars. Desai's name was written with the 's' capitalised in media reports in Houston, making it sound European, but his father was identified as Prakash Desai which helped confirm his nationality that will help stereotype the rest.
See now that is the advantage of having just one father. Check NEWS here: What is in a name?!

Well, if you guys still wish to continue this streak, this might be the NEWS you needed. An Indian-origin doctor from a UK sperm bank has launched a new mobile app for women who can browse and pick the right candidate online to father her child. Check here: App'se Baap takh

Humanity should be wary of seeking out contact with alien civilizations, Stephen Hawking has warned once again. "One day, we might receive a signal from a planet like this," Hawking says "But we should be wary of answering back. Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn't turn out so well." Well he was at least right about that. Read here: This man seems attacked

Now that brings us to the end of the NEWS for today and I wish I could start a NEWS channel to provide humanity with NEWS that no one cares. Until then, keep making NEWS for the world... 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On Staff Meetings and Other Gullible Academic Pursuits

Since I have been writing for a while about some acts fit for a circus happening within the academia, thought that I might as well write one more as an add-on to what has been said so far.
This one is to all those departments, schools, colleges and universities who proclaim that they are conducting 'seminars and conferences' at 'state, national and international' levels-yeah right(!) for they settle for nothing less...

To the fellows who Organize:
Why? Well, here goes your modus operandi (that you thought we never noticed.): You make one of your several phone calls to establish a 'quid pro quo' with a classmate or a glassmate living across the district and convince him/her to send some of the students from his college so that you may return the favour when s/he is in need sometime later-over a secret and convenient handshake thus, a pact is signed and the deal sealed-once that part is done, you gladly go on to announce on a carefully hoisted banner that a 'state-level seminar/workshop on (some God-cares a damn) some random topic is to be conducted in the campus soon. 
After having learnt this invaluable lesson on how to fool around-now that you are recognized as one of the greatest organizers of events held in the campus by authorities who buy your crap, you would then proceed to call a person from across the state and call it a 'national-level' program. The next greatest career achievement of your life time. 
This only to proceed to the next level of marking your star-studded achievement-by bringing in a tourist (preferably a white skinned one and preferably with an accent to match that no one understands) who you pick up during your stroll into a neighbouring supermarket to light the 'kuthuvilakku' (the lamp) and call it 'international-level' program. If nothing else works, the international seminar/conference can still be conducted if you invite your neighbour, the NRI, who just returned for a short break and let him/her do the honor of whatever the otherwise tourist must have done-technically this fellow holds a foreign passport too and what if s/he has a funny Indian name(?!) we shall cover it up with his/her fake accent.
As you climb higher in this ruthless pursuit, you only seem to be falling lower, lower and lower at this only to get better and better in doing so... and hey, just to mention, we are watching.

To the fellows who Participate:
The sad lot who sit like mute animals waiting to be butchered. Who are you people? Where do you come from? What do you even get in return for being a part of this sado-masochistic endeavour? Do they push you to attend these or are you pulled towards the food and people during these gatherings? Did you even realize that if you weren't there (together with everyone else,) this endless nonsense would never happened? Does anyone stop you from walking out of this deep-pitted pit of despair if you chose to-perhaps just to make your point clear to the spineless and senseless rest? Still, you refuse to go and decide to stay. Don't tell me that its for the content; seriously(?)! Could it be then for the lousy certificate they give at the end that perhaps someday may add points required for your promotion or the required formalities to be completed to get that degree they might put on hold? Don't you already see an emerging consensus network operating in synchronized coordination feeding into each other's gullibility? Duh!

To the fellows who write and read those papers in these seminars/conferences:
Surely cut, copy, paste and plagiarize is not yet considered an art in academic writing. Has anyone really read an academic journal or anything else of that sorts in the recent past? Crap, nothing less than pure crap is what most of the writing has reduced to-in content as well as style. Perhaps those sheets of paper if not wasted, could have been put to better use-perhaps to make toilet papers-the difference being-instead of shit transferred to paper like it does in the former, one would at least be glad to see the vice versa happen in the latter. 
At the end of the day, what else do the readers deserve more than this enh?! One begets the other with the fall in quality and the whole system is so flawed and grossly stinky-with everyone together in it-that no one gets the right to question the other about each other's stink or each other's contribution to the pollute.

Staff Meetings: 
Stored the best for the last. This is one place where Einstein's Theory of Relativity would take a humble bow towards the nearest exit for sanity's sake. This is where time stretches irrespective of how relatively senseless everyone feels about what is happening before, during, after and around these so called meetings.
This perhaps is the most seeded ground for the powerful, powerless and the clueless to gather under one roof to prove 'who is who' and for the rest to understand 'why so'; this brings together the shamelessly agreeing 'Yes Sir Community' together as they pledge their loyal devotion to the ones who take their positions above-setting an example for the rest to follow suit; last yet not the least, this holds the majority-the audience-who put up with this gruesome task of waiting as they wonder with an earnest angst within about the delay in the arrival of the samosas and bajjis to fill the vacuum in a place void of any decisions or common sense that has been there for a while.
Seriously, do you even have an agenda in these meetings? Have always wanted to ask, 'How on Earth do agenda-less meetings last so long?' How are things made to appear so organized in this chaotic mess?

Until then, let me run to catch one meeting or perhaps two and wish that this time, they will serve some vadas too... 

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Politics In Tea

'So how would you like to have your tea?' if asked, one would probably start imaging the Darjeeling, the green, the oolong, the silver tips, the golden tips perhaps or maybe even the orthodox or the humble Indian chai being served and sipped with a delight... seldom would any normal one even remotely think that someone actually asked you 'on what you deserve it to be served in?(!)' 'Would it be in a porcelain cup, tumbler, clay pot or coconut shell perhaps...' Somehow, like many other finer and more uncouthed things that happen in India, this question of 'what to serve the tea in', comes with a need to reveal one's caste-based identity-an identity that could determine your dignity, respect and esteem more than anything else that you would not have to work on to deserve the same. 
It is sad yet a reality that in some shops in India and still many homes, there is a 'double-tumbler' system that prevails when it comes to serving tea. In some tea shops, people considered and labelled, 'the untouchables', are served tea in cheaper and/or broken glass, aluminum, clay, plastic or other disposable containers while dominant caste groups get served in stainless steel tumblers or shiny cups made of glazed china clay. If you are too unfamiliar or unslottable into a particular caste or due to some strange reason, your enigma/charisma is such a put off that the tea-master (the guy who brews the tea), will dare not ask to your face the caste you belong to, then your caste is assumed and to make no mistake, you will be served in a disposable cup and anything equally less. Some of these places-shops and homes included-have even separate entrance for different caste groups-usually the higher through the front and the lower through the rear. 
Why does this happen? I don't know. Why does this still happen? I really don't know. Perhaps people do find some excuse or the other to stratify and discriminate. I really do wonder if there is any scientific research done on this issue in this area to prove that majority of a particular so and so community often let glass or stainless steel cups slip through their fingers and in order to reduce loss to the enterprise, such a scheme is laid. Other than that what else can be even close to an excuse?! Ignorance? Apathy? 
Recently, I came across a canteen inside a superior college, in a state that claims to be 100% literate and in a district where a hartal can be declared at the drop of a hat for any (non)issue-where not two yet a 'triple-tumbler' system is still prevalent. Paper cup, stainless steel tumbler, cup and saucer-student, teacher, clergy-you decide who gets what. Now what do I blame it on?! Ignorance or Apathy?! or a socio-cultural idiosyncrasy in a cultural context in motion? Shame, shame puppy shame... 
Technocratic discrimination has dwindled bureaucratic lines and at times rides comfortably in the girdles of our blindness and our failure to even notice these marked stratification and discriminatory lines. This is the same hollow tunnel through which the comfort of the oppressor creeps in along with a support system that encourages these practices. Everyone is to be blamed. Some for being blissfully ignorant, some for being comfortably apathetic, some for being the confident perpetrators and others for being silent promoters and humble acceptors of these practices. Following the tea trail, the ruin of its reign seems to unfold the more and more one tries to ponder-straight from the slavery used to lay the plantation (Have you read 'What Colour Is The Soil In Munnar?!'to the system of slavery that is installed by the way it is served. 
For now, when I look around and see teachers, students and clergy sip through their tea in a hurry-choosing to carefully ignore this simple yet deliberate mistake happening around them in this canteen-situated within an educational institution-in a state ruled by a group that promises equal treatment to all, I am amazed at the complacency of the discriminated lot who choose not to stand up, nevertheless ask-for whom I write this; as the famous quote by an author unknown goes, '“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” 

Well, at the end of the day, how do I like my tea served? Pretty plain, neat and simple-like everyone else's please. Until then, my ahimsa, my way-am boycotting the canteen until they chose to change the cups along with their attitude. Chai anyone?!