Posted by: saket71 | April 20, 2010

Forgive..for your own sake

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that violet sheds on the heel that crushes it” said Mark Twain. I have in my own time, been quite vengeful and aggressive on matters that meant great deal to me. I had always felt it my solemn duty to return to people in the same coin what was given to me. That the coin carried with it so much of heat that it burnt the palms of my hand, went unnoticed in the drunken stupor of fury. The moment our lives start touching other peoples lives, there is bound to be conflict, given that every interaction however, brief or long, involve rubbing across of different set of values. It is not advised here to shut your own self down, and close your independent thought. Also, I am not very sure of the possibility of the after-life as a great equalizer, which I believe is the fantasy of a fertile, imaginative mind, trying to rationalize the general “success” and well-being of people who seem to be deserving neither.

But when we talk of the people that we love and care about and still continue to be angry with, forgiveness if the way. It is not the way of releasing them from the bondage of anger that you have tied around them, it is a way of liberating your own self. The people who, in heart of your heart, love and want to continue loving, because and in spite of what they are and how they acted in the past. You want to love them, and you are in constant struggle with your own self, pushing the moment of forgiveness, till you are rich enough, old enough, or if nothing else, till the right moment. But when the so called right moment arrives, how will you recognize it through the string of moments that hangs in front of your eyes like rain drops precariously hanging on the steel, window bars.  Each passing moment is as special as you decide to make it be. Your kids, spouse, parent, might have acted in a manner which did hurt you, but as long as you can be sure of the love that flows in the depth of the relation that you have with them, a love which does not allow you to be as unkind with them as you would at time want to be; step forward and stretch your arm wide open to embrace them. Forgive them for what they did, accept them for what they are, and stop fighting the internal battle, which I assure you, will be resulting into defeat for both the concerned parties. Time, as we know it, is very limited, you can not make time for them, just give it away from what you have to the people you love.

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Posted by: saket71 | April 14, 2010

Reviews of my book-If truth were to be Told

Around two months since launch of the book , finally a happy moment was to see some lovely review which came in. Eldtho had put it so nicely when he wrote “Reading the book gives a feeling akin to lying on a canoe and gliding through a calm river on a full moon night, watching the stars, drifting aimlessly, yet reaching many destinations, and wonderful ones at that.” I am however, struggling to find some way to get a professional review to the book.  Reviews are as yet on http://www.serenewoods.com at http://serenewoods.com/reviews.php?id=425.

Posted by: saket71 | April 6, 2010

Too Much of Television

Sania-Shoaib controversy refuses to die down, thanks to television,  in the meantime people continue to die on account of poverty in the state which has adopted elephants, last  I heard, it was tigers which were getting extinct. While  some channels have obtained the horoscope of the couple and put their in-house astrology expert on task, others with self-proclaimed sense of self-significance are debating, with dedicated prime hour slot, why this matter should not be given so much of airtime and why it is so down -market and “uncool” to be so intrusive about the private affairs of people. It is another matter that they bring together a complete panel to discuss it in prime time. In the mean time, Mayawati claims having no money for right to education and for feeding the poor. Any issues of poverty and unemployment in the state is being addressed by encouraging Garland mking industry as a cottage industry, apart from the spree of monuments which is brining huge employment opportunity to the masses. The social distinctions in the state of Uttar Pradesh is fading with uniformly distributed poverty, death and poverty are great equalizers.

The matter of marriage has now also become a state subject with Pak foreign minister throwing his weight behind Shoaib Mallick, although the classification of Shoaib under state or non-state actor is not very clear to him, as yet, But yes, he agrees that Shoaib is from Pakistan, and no Geo TV sting is needed for that. Indian culteratti and literatti is all charged up with Aman ki Aasha, looking at cross-border market to sell their wares, while the corpses keep coming back draped in Tri-color from the border. Kasab is still looking for a suitable role in the movies, while three of his friends who went out looking for extra sambhar in Delhi, are probably doing rounds of studios. Shoaib Mallick has offered one Billion dollars to Ms. Ayesha, I would say she takes it and forward a quarter of it to Ms. Mayawati, which could help avoid hunger deaths in UP, which are not happening.  God bless the couple I would say, and may sanity prevail in the masses, so they start taking interest in the weddings happening in their own family. Regarding the people reading the horoscope of the couple, hope the entire channel with its crew could go to Nasik to settle the Kaal Sarp issue, once and for all. In process they could also do something about Kaal sarp in Indo-pak relations, but then, with five other countries around, is Pak all that important?

Posted by: saket71 | April 5, 2010

Changing Houses, and My Baby.

The weekend has gone into searching for the new house, the family of three, braving out the hot Delhi summer, searching from one house to the other. My daughter, the pink, little lady cuddling in my lap, felt as if it was some baby’s day out. At times like this when you are about to uproot the entire setup, you actually start realizing the significance of having a firm root, let it be in Saharan desert or on the North Pole, roots, my friend, you need. I have lived my entire childhood in multiple places, on account of father’s transferable job, and at the end felt like a man trapped in the No Man’s Land. I have spent couple of years in each school, do not know which one I can call home or the one where I grew up. Possibly that is the reason that I feel closest to my graduation years, for, there the claim on the alma mater which I have is not less than any of my classmates, as we spent equal period there.

Anyway, coming back to the topic, couple of houses seen, what it would mean is pulling off the enter support system that we have and opt for a new one. Change, says Obama is good, I do not know how much to believe that good-looking guy, his views on good and bad Taliban, notwithstanding. I look at my daughter, the pink face, reddened by the exposure to the Delhi summer sun, cuddled in my lap in sleep, and I almost feel the guilt. The pang hits me harder than the truth, as we try to explore the option for arranging a new maid to babysit, while the parents are out on work. Possibly the transition, would also entail a brief shifting to a day-care center. To send the little wonder, that I brought back from the hospital two years back, into the big, bad world is not an easy decision to live with. I read brave sayings, like ships are meant to be in the ocean and life has to go forward. None of these cosmetic bravery lotions that I put on my worried face, along with the empty laughter, is courageous enough to look straight into those two blue pools filled with shining stars with which she looks at me.

What worries is not the act of sending her out itself, but the fact that nobody considers her wishes into this, and worse, this is not an act in isolation, it is the beginning of the days to come by, of life that is to follow. She is going to be out alone, and I will not be around to protect. It is the start of the slipping of the tight rope that one holds of life in the hands, which in the end leaves you with empty hands, bruised and battered, with a mesh of protruding nerves on the back of the palms.  As I bid you your first little farewell out of your small house, I wish to tell you, that I love you more than anything else in this world, that I will always be there to hold your tiny little hands, when your stretched out hands are left unanswered (you are so quick in reaching out with a hand of friendship). I tell you this now, when you keep on talking with mumbled words, and you can not understand what I say, I will keep on telling you, when you will not want to hear me. Growing up is always a painful business, I pray, you could do it with as little of pain as is humanly possible. I also hope you will like the new house, as it is going to be your house only with your mother and me as a visitor, that you will hopefully be able to tolerate for a long time to come.

Posted by: saket71 | March 31, 2010

Social Networking…too easy to be good

The era of facebook and twitter has flooded the individual space to such a large extent that there is little room left these days to attach any significant measurable value to the connections you built there. In terms of re-discovering the long lost friends and relations, it is truly a marvel, but the ease with which you can connect makes it so very difficult to look for meaning in the connections you build in there. There is always a sense of ease, and comfort and happiness in the nostalgia. No matter the difficulty of the past, it always carry some endearing value for us and we try hard to cling with out bleeding claws to any kind of symbolism which represents the past. Surrounded by those symbols your life is no more than a museum of strange artifacts.

Your search the web, find all sort of alumni lists, group lists, ex-co-worker sites and sit there feeling some imagined security in numbers. The ease with which you can join the large monolith which is a group, seriously impairs your judgement. In real life, when you had actually met those people, irrespective of whether you were a loner or a gregarious person, You always had a sense of judgement, which allowed you to segregated people around you into Friends, Acquaintances and strangers. There was a degree of difficulty attached with having friends and keeping them, you need to meet up with them for a tea, sit with them possibly across the night, lending support or at least an ear in their darkest of the night, when the morning stared at you with funny kind of face, with semester papers waiting. The difficulty which you face and sustained, strengthened the bond. It was not a homeopathic affair, it was a strong treatment, which left you drained and charged at the same time. This effort created value in the relationship. Your inner bliss was not linked to the quantity but depth.

Do you ever pause and try to introspect the emptiness which looks at you with hollow sockets as what should have been eyes, through the darkest nights, as you see messages floating in front of your social networking space with neither space, nor time, nor consideration for you, and the harder you try to seek comfort in the five hundred number of connection on your facebook or orkut page, more painful this helplessness becomes.  You are no  longer a person, you are another head added to the group. You have betrayed yourself to join the world outside, a world which does not resonates with your music, but is a cacophony of sounds, and you keep your inner music suppressed, afraid that it might not further add to the scare spread around you. Just to put things in perspective, all people who belong to the group you joined, alumni group or ex-workers groups, when were around you physically, would you be sharing your thoughts with all the hundred odd people who worked with you in your previous organisation or in you alma-mater. Most certainly, it was always a set of your closed ones who were privy to your deepest thoughts, all those thoughts, by virtue of open social space are now spread out open, running around for covers to hide their nakedness. What most urgently pushed the idea of this post is the fact that I had been observing for quite sometime, an alumni group that I had joined on, had of course made my facebook page more lively, messages moving to and fro, between people around. I sit as a mute spectator, looking at the messages flowing around, unconcerned unloving. Then I posted a message, which I considered fun, it affected sensibilities of one of the group member, and it set me thinking, I had the same ideas when in college, why this guy was not offended then. First, I thought to put the blame on the overall social polarization, but then the truth dawned on me, in college, I would not be sharing space with him, he was not a party of the my coterie which comprised of like minded people, and we had taken to mind our own respective businesses. The mob, or the group, is always the conspiracy of majority to alienate and stifle the free-thinking minority thought. It is time for spring cleaning, my friends, to selectively build and refine the circle, which loves you as much as you love it.

Posted by: saket71 | March 26, 2010

Get a Life..

We have killed independent thought and the ability to take responsibility in the new generation, and it is not mostly out of love but often as a counter-guilt measure to pay off for the time spent at home, trying to strategize not about work, but mostly about workplace, and at the drunken stupor with which TV  is watched post work, or hours spent networking with unbearable people.

After arguing continuously on the con-call, although with creative and newly acquired vocabulary, which could strike the colleagues with to borrow from Jr.  Bush, with “Shock and Awe” as we reach to the bed to sight our young ones going to sleep, with ever innocent smile, kiss her on the forehead and promise to ourself, Just one more step, few more measures to be taken, to reach where I wanted to reach, and then will have all the time for you. But, honestly, have not already lost the tab of the place where you where striving to reach. I remember, once in Mumbai, walking at fast pace, once out of the local train, got so much in habit, that on a sunday, I with my classmates of MBA based in Mumbai, all still blissfully free of family responsibilities, planned day out and returning walked with same breakneck pace out of the suburb station. Then I pointed out that we are out to walk, to have fun, not to reach anywhere, it being a holiday and we all ended up laughing. Now, in our lives we are so very much walking in the same manner, out of sheer habit, that we do not even remember, where we were heading for. Through the deepavali vacations, in engineering college, when mess would close down and we had no money to eat apart from some bread and sauce, we would sit near the highway and count Maruti Esteems, not a very regular sight those days in Raipur (when hostel had one moped, and one Bike in total) and somewhere would pray in heart of our heart, if only we could manage to afford a car by the time we had a family, we could take it that we have reached where we wanted to be and time for enjoying gained thus far has come about. Then the car came, then the house, then it is about power and prestige, and some time we are running for neither, but out of sheer habit. We do not even know why we are running, and in the this entire exercise, do not even realize what we are loosing.  We every night promise the young ones to spend more time, or as they say these days “Quality time” once we set things up in order. Are you sure, the kid will have time for you when you reach the target, if you really have any. Do you know where you are going. Reminds me a story of a guy sleeping under the tree, who was asked by people to work hard, then what he asked, you will have a great job, then what, riches, then what, happiness and the guy retorts, But I  am happy right now. You have all the things around you to make you happy, you are insulting the gifts that you have with you today chasing an ambiguous dream. Don’t delay your life, my friend, make the most out of every moment. When with your family and friends, put the phone on vibrator mode, don’t take calls, on each call ask yourself can you  not take it later. You do it when you are with the boss, or client, neither of the two will take more than ten days to find a replacement if you are gone; why not extend the same courtesy to your family which will never be able to find a replacement should you, god forbid, go away. All days are as great and as ordinary as you make them to be, don’t wait for a red herring day, No matter what went before, a man’s life can start today. Let us commit it to ourselves to make each day as great as it could possibly become.

1. Limit the TV time to not more than 1 hour, except on one day of the week when you just want to corrupt yourself.

2. Limit phone calls, keep a notepad near the phone, so you can write down to call up when it is convenient for You.

3. Get Active, take your kid out, to a temple, a church, wherever, something which both of you could remember the day by.

4. Go out in open, people traveling to your city spend money to do site-seeing, you do not do thinking you will do it some day. Remember, all days are as great and as ordinary as you make them, do not wait for THE day, take your kid out, may be to sit on the side of a bridge and gaze into sky.

5. Meet up with a friend, you do know, you should always be in touch with a friend. Call up in your time to see how they are doing, there will be initial period of unease, till the time it all melts down. Now with a lot of responsibilities, it will not be as before, but nearly as good should be good enough to make the day.

6. Call up your parent, smell the roses, let them nag, you are not going to be any different when you grow up. In our own thoughts we are all heroes and can not be snapped, they too would be finding difficult to handle being snapped down. Hear them out, as a client, holding the key to multi-million deal, and don’t hide behind the immediate family grind not permitting you, your parents are your responsibility, and you owe it to nature, which bestowed us with enough sense and feelings to take care of species, when they are across their prime.

I do hope you will try it, not tomorrow, today, as I try to do little of it every and trust me, even little is big enough to make me feel every day as destination not a journey. Do it and Journey will become destination.

Posted by: saket71 | March 26, 2010

10 Janpath, Khap Panchayat

Yesterday was a remarkable day in a sense with a lower Haryana court taking a brave decision against the Kangaroo courts in the state called Khap Panchayats in the state. The court order is the right step to put brakes on flourishing parallel governance system, oftentimes nurtured and patronized by political parties, given the bulk voter-base they bring with them. So while this was something refreshing in real sense, there was discouraging news of the Khap panchayat in 10 janpath, delhi. The panchayat has decided to mark Amitabh Bachchan as an outcast, stopping his hukka-paani, all because he is representing Gujarat as a brand ambassador, a state, which as will of masses would have it, is governed by Narendra Modi.

While I hold no brief on Mr. Modi, regarding his alleged role in Gujarat riots, from what seems to me, his involvements in the riots are far less clear than what of Mr. H.K.L. Bhagat (Late) and Sajjan Kumar, who chose to lead the crowds from the front, like great generals, sadly in a war within the country. The two gentlemen have been seen frequently moving in and out of inner congress political circles, without causing much embarrassment to either of the party concerned, except for the time, when running off the non-bailable warrants they chose to go in hiding and party chose to feign ignorance of their whereabouts. Modi on the other hand, is asked to resign on account of being summoned by the Special investigation team, not as a victim, mind you, but as a witness. Anyway leaving Modi aside, the great proponents of gentleman behavior in Indian polity, have no issue in seeking to alienate some of the stature of Mr. Bachchan for his personal and professional affiliations. And the matter in the question is of a public event, organized to inaugurate a public construction, paid for by you and me in taxes. It was not the inauguration of a congress headquarter building, but worli sea-link, and the party issues a diktat asking constitutionally elected chief minister to keep away from people not liked by high command. But in any case with UPA in place, we have already opted for Moscow style of government, where power rests not with PMO or president house, but with 10 Janpath. Wonder what is going to come next, changing the cover of the currency notes to remove Gujarat connection. Heard Modi talks a lot about Mahatma also in order to sell his state and get investments for the state.

Posted by: saket71 | March 24, 2010

Living In and Out of Law..

Supreme Court of India today came out with the decision legalizing Living-In relationships. I am not very sure if the man on the street trying to work out the implication of the increased VAT (Value added Tax)  on his food economics would care too much about it, but looking at the television, people seem to be quite charged up and agitated on either side of the divide. Some people hailing it as a landmark decision, liberating womenfolk and charging those opposing it as proponent of the Hindu nationalist agenda. A guest, someone who stood for liberty of Art, culture or some such elevated ideal, somehow found it to be related to Hindu agenda, latter working all out to put women into medieval cages, and how had some idea as to how the idea of opposing it un-Islamic, and thereby, somehow hindu nationalists were all charged up by this significant victory of Islamic agenda of Women’s liberation. I am appalled by the way the whole discussion was done, and more than that was surprised by the feigned anger and enthusiasm that participant were showing (good for TRP, I guess).

The gentleman referred to the Renaissance which came about in the western world centuries earlier, breaking the shackles of the Victorian, conventional mindset. What they comfortably overlooked was that where did the mindless breaking of chain left them, look at the broken homes and the social network limited to the government sponsored social security number which the individuals are left with.

In a world of packaged everything, preferably with an MNC tag every thing has become so convoluted in the Indian context that speaking out your mind implies risk opening your self up for social sanity checks. Have come to know that Che Guevara T-Shirts are a huge sell outs among young, never mind that the Delhi government itself released wrongly done photographs of Bhagat Singh on Martyr’s Day. Every body is interested in philosophy, meaning reading Paolo Coelho “The Alchemist” , seriously into literature, having read two books of Chetan Bhagat. This generation, aimlessly driven by dwarfness of ideas, over-marketed as much informed than the earlier ones, talks about independence and considers women drinking and smoking out as a sign of liberation. How, no one cares nor bothers. Media makes noise, and most often the argument revolves around that many people are doing it anyways, so..I do not understand this line of argument. Gay marriages is OK because many people are already doing it, same with wine and drink and now with Living-in. True, you are protecting your right to independent decisions, I am not against it, but why encourage the damage you are inflicting on the right of generation which is about to follow. Same with murders and corrupt practices, so many people do it, so should it be made legal. People are not committing rape or murders out of choice, nature has so designed them that they love doing such criminal acts.

Two people living together, fine by me. As luck would have it, I am a man, I am not supposed to get pregnant, or bear a child. Should the woman keep the child once he arrives out of wed-lock. Possibly, people will contest this saying that court can enforce it on parents to ensure the upkeep of the child. But then the question is what happens to the freedom then. And for the sake of argument, let us assume that court does that ( it seems to be busy in deciding its own cases like RTI purview and disproportionate assets of Judges), is it not the kids inherent right to deserve upbringing in a naturally cohesive entity called family, and not into a court enforced arrangement. When it is pointed out that such provision could lead to more women abuse, counter comes, but women are abused even in institution of marriage. So, does this provision make it any better, or increases the possibility of abuse??

It is something like saying, that even sitting in a house, people sometime die of wall collapse, so let us all go out and sit on the highways, waiting to get hit by trucks. Or rather we should ensure that houses are build in a better way that accidents are minimized. When women in family are abused, rather then showing them the way out of the family, why not we make regulations which strengthens the family and addresses such ills. At one point and time in life, we are all so much prone to be driven by our instincts, that we do not realize that every today is pregnant with a tomorrow. Every passing moment decides the future it will provide us with depending on the way we respond to it. Every response is to be thought out, for it can not be reversed, at best later you will be only able to control the damage, but not without a sense of loss and grief. Let your decisions be driven by logic, and when driven by logic, they must be taken, irrespective of what the society, the demagogues, the desire, honorable courts or with due respect, Paolo Coelho tells you. To borrow from him, if you want something too deeply to happen, the universe will conspire to make it happen, but once that happens, you will be left alone to carry the burden of it. Stories of life do not end with “Living together happily ever after”, that is where they start from.

Posted by: saket71 | March 15, 2010

Future to Present

We become what we do, we are today what we did in the past. The current is always known for the recklessness, which borders on brinkmanship, we look at present and think that future will forget what we are doing today and will forgive our misdoings. It does not so happen, not especially if you are not willing to put the blame of the outcome that you receive in future, on people around you, system around you, or the ill-luck. In fact, you feel like a drowning soul, gasping for breath trying to reach out for some air, stretching out hands, hoping to touch some rope that you could hang by, Some way to put the blame on anything but yourself.

Look deeper, you will find that you are today what you made yourself, you are the some total of all the mistakes you made and also of course, some good things that you did along the way. It is those right things which kept you alive.  In the arrogance of your youth you kicked the ground, and believed, oh so erroneously, that you live in an independent world; You negated the ecosystem in which you have grown, tried to replace it with imagined vacuum or people who were as empty as you were, if not more. Every single act that you did, act of arrogance, act of unkindness, will invariably come back to you, and if you have not wisened up with years, you will throw your arms up in the air and say “Why me?” This denial takes away the capability to make amends, you keep on taking up wrong friends, wrong jobs, wrong attitude, and enter into a cyclic downturn, as if running down the steep mountain slope where if we stop we will fall. And this is not to imply that we are just bearing the wrongs of the past into present, what is present today will become a past tomorrow, and therefore,  it is critical to understand that every sweet, innocent looking moment, hides within it a storm which is well capable of blowing you off your feet. Do not sleepwalk, for you are going to become tomorrow, what you chose to do today.

Posted by: saket71 | March 2, 2010

Tailor-made for a relation

Ever since my daughter came in to being, I constantly being surprised by life. More than surprises which have suddenly become visible to me, I am more amused at my own self, which is almost alien to what I had always believed myself to be. I am known to be very critical, but looking at her eccentricities, I find myself more pleased with all the stuff she does, than critical of it. She would take a pen, only to make a mesh of ink stains on my shirt, and I would still love her for it. It is really sad that when the positions get reversed the same patience and tolerance is nowhere in sight. For instance, it is so common to hear, that I would love to stay closer to my parents, if only they were not so nagging/ critical/ interfering; your kid is all of that and you do not insist them to change for a moment, and you love them in spite of all that. But we are not ready to extend the same flexibility to other relationships we have, even with the spouse. It is a constant struggle to keep up with the demands of relationship, you love your spouse and would not be angry or annoyed and be ever so loving, if only they were little reasonable, little accommodating, little more fun-loving/ serious about things, thinner/ fatter. Not so with the child, I do wish, some magic charm of the love I have for my daughter rubs off to the relationship I have with my parents, with my spouse and my friends. It is the strength and courage to tolerate, forgive and accept which I strive for.

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