Thursday, 28 January 2010

Men on the morning TV

Missed the baasi (baa-see) supply of hourly letterman I always get in the morning at seven here. Courtesy ‘Star World’, thanks, I love it even if it is not live; it is relevant. Well, it was late at eight, and my dog kind-of satisfied, after he took me out on our regular morning walk. It had lasted for nearly an hour, and also since we had started late today, we had to face this agony of missing the show.

My Tata sky has about twenty news channels roughly, and you can flick them in one order. Thanks to digital technology available now. First one is DD, then the hindi ones, followed by the english news channels. While the hindi channels had regular Sallu and Dhoni being interviewed, the English ones showed what the CNN and BBC showed - a Live Obama 'state of the union' speech! Now there was something sinister about it. I can say this because I am just a simple observer, not any political commentator, living in today's globalised world. People attending the speech in the hall, clapped after every sentence the American president had sort-of completed. Nothing made sense to me, except some vague stuff he talked on job market in America, trade and Afghanistan and Eye-rack.
Well, I write this blog just to remind myself that Obama is America's president, not mine. Bhaiya, you can keep your CHANGE, I need more to survive in today’s world.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

India 61st Republic day Parade

India is probably the biggest country in the world when the population and the land area indicators are together taken into account. Such big and dense is the mass that it allows most of its critics as well as its well-wishers into defining it as a cacophony. But the way this world works for a country- it is either only a ‘collective’ or a ‘consensus’ based sound which would come out, therefore defining it.

Reference is to the 61st Republic day yesterday and its most symbolic and anxiously celebrated event - its parade. I again stayed glued to it on my TV, choosing the old DD out of other twenty odd channels covering it live. It is not that I always watch it in some ardent nationalist like mood since childhood, like me many did not take it seriously. My uncle, a colonel in Army I had a drink with later in the night, played his regular round of golf. My website contractor continued with his work, although he didn’t forget to remind me that he had to keep his office open on this 26th because of my deadline which I insisted, not his time management skills. Most of the shops, coffee shops, wholesalers and chai-gallas (Gujarati for road tea stalls) stayed open.

My small office of three people stayed closed. In solidarity with hope for continual free air and free talks we are able to opinionate today. For those who might be a little eager to catch up - this ‘Republic’ day parade (A TV channel wittily calls it ‘Free-Public’) ceremony was over by 11:30AM; and most of it in the thick winter fog of Delhi. Probably, because we have a faster pace of life now, or as it is happening in most parts of the world, as humans we are becoming less patient. Reduced time slot allowed lesser exhibition of military missiles, and the cultural event had the same fervor - especially dances by the confidenter school children in Delhi, and obscure dance groups from elsewhere in the country spreading an energy and vibrancy, through amazingly graceful women which signifies sure empowerment of women tomorrow.

Indeed much of this is unlike the reality, for this was then a celebration event. To the Korean guest delegation, and few who saw it, saw a confident India, toned down, mellower as it probably would like to be in the world’s eyes.

It was one of the few days in a year when we partially remember our forefathers. And, as writers or blog writers or commenter, or even as general speakers we can always perpetually criticize our system, our politics, but definitely for once we can unequivocally celebrate the commonality that is people, celebrate hope…right?

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Ballad of an Easy Ride

After a heart-blip I faced some time back, this is a therapeutic period for me, and an attempt for a self imposed convenient rehab. Heart-attack is a world-wide disease and event, phenomenon only to be underestimated in most parts of the world; with so called developed ‘west’ being the worst biggest victim, and emerging economies like India walking into the same booby trap. So, here I am thinking it might not be a bad idea to share some words while I undertake this little journey of ‘taking-it-easy’ times. Also, to fore-warn that my coming blogs, for next few months to some years, will try to focus on so called ‘matters related to Heart’, and I sincerely hope for these advisories to fade with time, if and as I recover better. Following couple of paragraphs is some reminisces on how my bike and me, we together have been pulling this journey.

Only a few days back, when dusk smelling of tar had given way to the darkness, I sat on my bike, pulled the choke knob under my seat, and pushed the self button. Before starting off I would let the engine run idle for mandatory two minutes. I pulled up my jacket’s zipper unto my neck, for it had been unusually colder for a semi arid city like Ahmedabad. Unusual quietness had surrounded me, not only because of my helmet but the fall of the day had also announced an end of a combination of holidays and weekends thoroughly enjoyed by a collective mass of people. In other words, it was just in the air. The air felt full of oxygen, uneasy calm, and it felt good. ‘Ballad of easy rider’ tune started to take shape in the back of my head, unseen thoughts of a new road trip started getting clearer.
I thanked my bike too, for it was this same machine, which a couple of months back took me to the doorsteps of the emergency doors of a hospital at 3:00AM in the morning. I took the bike only because I wasn’t sure about the severity of the event. It could have been a mere muscle pain, and having never called 108 in my life before, I really wasn’t sure of availing the service. Anyhow, the bike was comfortable, and undoubtedly faster. At Sterling hospital emergency door, the chowkidaar was taking it easy on a plastic chair next to the sliding doors, also staring at some bunch of people. Must have been some reason for a loved one critical they were there and my bullet’s rattle wasn’t amusing either, but I couldn’t help it until I found a parkable corner next to a compound wall. And then I scrambled to the doorstep, asking chowkidaar I need attention, which he, I think – half understood, half-suggested I make my way inside. He then rushed inside, probably on second thoughts, and an attendant came from inside too. They told me to wait until a wheel chair came, which I felt unnecessary and I frog-leapt to the bed. The other attendants inside the emergency ward were busy, for there were others in other beds too. One by one, different attendants would calmly and warmly come to me, do their job which for them was their routine. Then came - doctors, family, more attendants, specialized people... People - who for that moment were only warm, started to get warmer, until I went in for that peaceful post-angioplasty sleep.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Heart is like Ass

Most people are often bewildered when they hear of a close known one surviving a heart attack. And especially when one is in his early thirty’s. Surrendering their wisdom or judgment of ‘why-such-a-thing-happened-to-him?’ to a knowledge mostly acquired from cinema, theatre, books or some other emotional source. A while back, I used to think the same too.

Rather it could be useful to look at the factors which go into making of such an event. Incessant smoking, sleeping alternate nights, and that too for few hours, moving from a low fat diet country to a society where food control department is perhaps the most corrupt –in other words bad oil, bad traffic, shouting and picking up fights on the road, pollution too maybe among similar other things - not good for a typical machine to work healthily.

The second link in the chain is, good and timely medical care. Statistics say that, 75% of the people die of heart attack because in spite of the strange-pain they get, and which cannot be sleeped away, they still choose to ignore it. In other words, underestimate it, thereby burdening the argument on a person’s lifestyle as the main cause. And, of factors not easily discernable - of which ‘emotions’ is one.

Well, there is nothing emotional about it. ‘Heart-break’ is different from ‘Heart-attack’.

Perhaps for an easy comparison, - one’s ‘Heart’ is like one’s ‘Ass’. Body organs either, they are only yours you know, and it is up to you to keep em safe.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

To reprise a Quote

Sometime back, a man was so determined in collecting hay that it finally became a heap. Taller than he, he wanted to burn it fast. Hardly realizing that in the process, he had already done all the donkey work for someone else to take the honors. He could put out the fires , thereby saving most his hay -but in the mayhem getting his fingers burnt.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Maha-Sankrant (Yesterday and Today)

Yesterday and Today were kind-of clairvoyant, otherwise known as Makar-Sankrant (pronounced Muckker - Sun-cra-ant). Most of the India peninsula is entangled in a kind of frenzy. Start of a new year and start of festivals, of which the spree and quantum will now end with Santa Claus’s B’dday. Every possible region or caste or group have to celebrate these two days in their own special way - ranging in from the mellow palm-joining-puja to the weirdest antics of kite-flying festival in Amdavad (colloquially – Uttar-raa-yun).

Panjabis of North celebrate on a night previous – called Lodi (Low-uh-duh-e) -which basically means family and friends gathered around fire with supplies of popcorns, peanuts, and every kind of fatty preparations India can cook as sweet snacks. Everything is allowed - condition being that it is should be digestible, either by the tummy or the fire in the center. Larger the group larger is the circle, therefore, higher the bon-fire.

Within this frenzy, somewhere comes my village’s own custom too - in which, everyone is supposed to feed animals one lives around with. I would regularly see some peaceful cows, pitiable dogs, and birds and crows around. The preparation for these guys is a three layer arrangement - of puri as base, vada as next layer, and the uppermost of sweet-yogurt spread’d on top. Deadlicious it could have been but nobody came - because, them the dogs and cows were just well fed, and crows were too intelligent to get trapped by millions random kite strings of Uttar-raa-yun. They weren't around, for I noted the leftovers still on the roof top in the evening. Glad, the Good-Samaritans helpline bikes came within five minutes as promised, and took away the injured pigeon from my hands, earlier fallen onto my roofs top.