Sunday, December 27, 2009

Of reflections and predictions

The last week of December invariably brings with it the indefatigable urge to reflect on the glorious past and predict the uncertain future. To add to the bursting excitement, this year is the turn of the decade too. 10 years of glory or the lack of it finds acres of space in televison, newspapers and every inch of space that can find an interested audience. It is that time of the year when no one is in the 'present'. It is either pondering over the past or predicting the future.

The past is a shrewd teacher, for nothing is better understood than something learnt the hard way. What better teacher than experience itself! The month of December is more blessed in this regard than its lesser endowed cousins for this is the time generally devoted to reflection, ponderings and deep contemplation. The act of contempaltion if taken up with the right rigour and more often could probably end up being more beneficial. Events of relevance crop up according to their chronological order by the month. News reports dusted, dumped and fading into the oblivion suddenly get leverage unforeseen till after sometime after they made 'sensational' headlines. As the decade draws to an end there are questions of the events, personalities, places that had a significant impact. Is Phelps a better swimmer or Bolt a better Olympian? Should Zidane have head-butted Matterazzi or let his inflamed sentiments dour for his nation? And everyone has an opinion of renewed vigour on every inanity.
The greatest achievemnet for the year undoubtedly must be the Copenhagen summit. The initiative to bring the entierity of mankind in unison against a common evil ought to deserve an appauld. The proceedings of the meet though left a lot to be desired but there still recides a hope to see us being polarised in the right manner purposefully different from petty partisan leanings.

They say thinking about the future cannot change your past, it can only ruin your present. But when we are blessed to share an era with the greatest numerologistis, its nothing short of a crime to let the opportunity go by to have a 'glance in advance'. Most are busy deciphering what 2010 adds up to and what it has in store for the bebefit of each one of us, of course for a paltry price. The stars are about to change and are to take an entirely new course, only a fool would ignore the celestial call and to his own peril. If you are thinking its just the last column changing when you write a date, you are just blissfully ignorant of the signaficance of an auspicious ocurring. The Chinese with their calendar would vouch for it.
New year resolutions is one the greatest display of grit and determination that December witnesses. Unfotunately the novelty for most does not stand the test of time and 2nd jan sees a meek surrender of the resolute many. It is really painful when you have to wait for 364 more days to decide on what to take up next, resolutely. Just how long the new year be able to sustain its newness is remained to be seen.

But the best thing about the 'new' year is undoubtedly the reason it gives to party and rejoice! Faced with the plethora of problems that surround us in the growing complexity of life, the occasions are fast fading and the new year's eve gives it a fresh lease of life. Nothing gives more pleasure than to drink and dance away in the night and usher a change with a belief of having put up a year long's industrious efforts. It is earned afterall. This year due to an astonomical phenomena the eve is a 'blue' moon night. The sky has decided its time to conjure a blue moon on new year's eve. Partying and making merry once in a blue moon certainly does not harm anyone.

The 'new' year does have an aura with it that makes us all do the same. It is time to bid the now stale 2009 adieu and welcome the now new 2010 in the best way we possibly can. Drink, dance and making merry. Thats the best way to usher in something new than be involved in anything bland to the refined tastes.

Happy new year :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Food for thought

Pizza, burger everywhere not a morsel to eat. The growing 'boom' of the service indusrty is not without an influence on matters of choice of food of their paymasters!

The pleasure of a pizza and the lure of a burger accompanied by the atrocious prices of a normal balanced diet has resulted in desolate desperation of those who depend on the market for their basic necessity for subsistence, food.

The lull of an Indian thali seems deceptive for a simple wholesome diet which countryfolk make do throughtout their lives costs so dear now that one can think of relishing it only once in a lifetime. Fancy a Maharashtrian thali for 250/- or a buffet for 500!! More the price more upmarket and authentic is it made to sound and most end up cherishing it for a fleeting sense of nostalgia. "This is what my father ate when he was 13 and my grandmother made it with such skill!!" This is probably what you end up paying for what your father had for not more than 10 rupees and this rough estimate would be true after considering the inflation. Straight from grandma's kitchen causes the heart to melt. "Let me go back in time and see how it was then" is another of the cliched reasons for ending up at "Unlimited @ 500."

Good eating joints are few and far between. Most are hidden are from the privy eyes of their 'franchised' counterparts. Their cry in wilderness isl ost somewhere in the buzz of hovering flies all over. Fast food is here to stay. So long as there are deadlines are to be met it does not matter what you eat to keep the lifeline running. A quick bite of a subway subs is nothing less than elixir to a dying man seemingly in a hurry to meet his deadline.

Its not surprising to watch food which do nothing more than satiate your hunger sell more than the proverbial hotcakes. And it is notsurprising either to witness the declining health standards, specially amoung the urban crowd. Forking 100 rupees for a vada-pav kind ofsandwich with fancy vegetables put in garnished to suit an individuals taste which aniway seem all the same might seem outragoius to the thought but the urban herd has its own psyche and the subways of the world contnue to prosper. The peak hours makes the host wish he had more hands to make the 'subs'.

Places offering a Gujarati thali or a Maharashtrian thali or a South Indian meal which provided a complete package of entertainment and a value for money cuisine are breathing their last. Gone are the days when sethiji yelled young Raju "7 number saaf kar aur teen number pe 1 rice-plate laga." And the ganji clad cook dutifully obliged for he heard it directly from the saab. Its not too different now, Rocky has replaced Raju and instead of "kya chaiye" its "how may I help you sir". A svelte, smooth and sophisticated glorifed 'waiter' with a hundred thank yous is enough for making one pay 100 times more.

Money bring trouble with it they say. Even our 'aunty ka mess' is on life support now. Aunty herself has given in to the pressure of the 'outside' world. She has started dishing shit and charges exorbitantly for it. "Its no longer a mess beta, it's a haatel now. "You know na its the only authentic food in the city.

The Food and beverage industry is just the place if one has loads of money and no ideas on how to double it in not more than 30 days. A healthy investment in an upmarket place, a make-do cook and a scum who does not shy from a hundred thank yous and a million thank you and most importantly"why dont you try our....., today's special is......" is all it takes to divert one from the food itself. A recipe to get rich.

The rice plate is bleeding itself to death. The imposters are flooding the market. Raju is out on the streets, nobody would hire him without a degree. Its time to realise the virtues of a balanaced diet and revive the ancient meal. This would surely make even one's grandmother proud.

P.S Thank you Insen for suggesting a topic to write on :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Balkan state of India

Does more of state ensure development or more states lead to progress? A vehment demand for a seperate state of Telangana has cropped up in India and not for the first time since it was formally formed.

Our ambitious plans to become an economic superpower when the whole world is set to become one and show our might by shedding the ignominious tag of 'developing' country cannot see the light of day unless we set our house in order first.

The word 'seperate' has caught the fancy of all Indians alike. Maybe its time we realise we all are the same in being uniquely different. If every cultural identity, language and ethnic distinction warrants a state, there would be more states in India than the millions in Koda's bank account(this does not necessarily mean the rest of the politicians are God sent). This is all the more true in a country like ours where all these factors change in no more than 100 mts. But sadly, 'India' and its unity and a pride in being born here never finds mention in any of the vociforous demonstrations.

With the demand for a seperate state of Telangana causing tectonic shifts, the head that wears the crown of thorns has a real problem in his hand now and ignoring such a call is sure to spell the political doom of the powers to be. How is that for chossing the lesser of two evils?
And it is but a perfectly natural as human beings to cash in on every act of benevolence that is bestowed upon mankind. A circle of high intelligent men with immense capacity for thought are now demanding Andhra Pradesh itself be divided in 3s tates and Hyderabad be declared a union territory. Has Make hay when the sun shines ever been more true?

We proclaim 'unity in diversity' as an exclusive attribute of our country. We pride in being united inspite of the difference that seemingly divide us. Probably no country has ever seen more programmes on national integration. In this mellee of redrawing the state borders and more demanded from 5th class students in memorising the states and their capitals, where is 'India'?. The sad demise of Potti Sreeramulu and consequently Andhra Pradesh being granted the status of a state in India has set a dangerous precedent. Maybe a wrong message was sent. One can always have their way if one has the right muscle and the and the will and patience to fast oneself unto death for a cause, however ludicrious it might sound.The government in matters of grave importance needs to lead public opinion than trail its least common denominator.

Regionalism poses a potential threat to national integration and its time to stem the rot before it threatens to hinder our foray into the world, lest it sees us as tribal and primitive in our demands and be able to compete with the highly modernised on an equal footing.

'Balkanisation' seems a passe now. The number of times people of India have shown an intent to divide and divide further,Indianisation seems more suited to fit the the expression.

Monday, December 7, 2009

17 years later

It has been 17 years since secularism, one of the founding principles of our land, was smeared with an indelible scar and the wait to bring to book the hatchers of the conspiracy which shook one of the fundamental pillars of India continues with agony giving way to despair and now a complete hopelessness.

The Justice Liberhan Commission's findings though delayed and long drawn have been a bold step forward and at best could only act as another precedent but a deterrent to anyone with such vile intents? This should take some time getting an answer to, lest there is another commision set up to look into the findings of the Commision set up to report on the demolition of the Babri masjid.

Taslima Nasreen aptly depicted the plight of hindus in countries where they were in minority. That Sangh's ideology did not care about their fellow devotees from lands afar is another farce of their beliefs. This has led to a series of 'fundamentalist' tussels resulting in great lose of lives and national property. And the Sangh still blatant in their denial of any wrong doing, in fact claiming their demand to be in sync with 'modern' India with their outworn ideas, does cut out a sorry tale.

On the 6th of Decmeber the state of UP awoke to Hindu fundamentalism, a phenomena hitherto,associated with extreme Islamists. A havoc created, which has been proved now to be 'meticuluosly planned'. The rath yatra that led to a destruction of such magnitude that shook the entire country was led by 'leaders' who were to be donned with the impending responsibility of running the countryand fortunately the country has been saved of the ignominy of its continuance.

17 years on and we are not anywhere close to justice than where we had started from. The 'indicted' leaders are leading a cozy and luxurious preparing for a life post-retirement from active politics and at best a perhaps little miffed at not being at the party's helm till now. Now that they have been away from the public eye, their antics in Ayodhya have perhaps faded in the long list of undoings that have happened in the more recent past. Lets hope law does have long memory and the acts that make a mockery of what our country's principles are appropriately punished.

Justice delayed is justice denied is probably the oldest juducial cliche. Let this not be delayed further else people would lose faith in law being the paragon 'leveler' and the guardian of our constitution.