Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Me & My Vagabond

Like many others, I even fell pray to the critical illness of one sided love during my college days. It took almost 2 semesters (1 yr.) to come out of the confusion. As I was recovering from it, I used to listen to all those sentimental heart broken songs. But as they say, time heals everything. I got rid of the abnormality too  and became normal once again. However, the whole episode introduced me to some nice heart breaking songs and one of them being Main Aur Meri Awargi by Kishore Kumar from the movie Duniya (1984). Awesome lyrics by Javed Akhtar and music by R.D. Burman. I used to listen to this song in a loop, lying down in my hostel room, staring blank at the ceiling. Now, I can't stop but laugh at myself when I think back :-D But the song is still my favorite and I listen to it often even now; ofcourse I no longer stare blank at my ceiling.

Here is the song:

It’s a long way to the sea

in a move to align the cost structures across all geographical sites, all are expected to fill up their own water bottles from the water dispensers...
      A house-keeping guy was trying to move a water dispenser, newly bought, in the cafeteria. So, when his job of filling up the water bottles will be done by people themselves, from these water dispensers, it means from tomorrow he is no longer required for this task. I felt as though I was being asked to do something which is going to take over my work soon and is a threat to my daily bread & butter; and still I have to do it and I am doing it. I remembered an Assamese movie named Xagoroloi Bohudoor (It’s a long way to the sea). The story revolves around a boatman who earns his living by sailing boat in the nearby ghats. Problem arises when the government decides to construct a bridge on it which will deprive his earnings. His son who lives in city wants his father only to take care of their property. I co-related that it's the same feeling of watching the inauguration of a bridge by a boatman, he knows everyone will use the bridge to cross the river and he has gone unemployed from now onwards. Although, people says life moves on, this is not the end to it, sometimes I feel these thoughts to be too much heavy. May be strong "F" (feeling) part of my character kicking in here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

An Hour for the Earth

One of my friend tweeted ... "We Celebrate Four Earth Hours everyday. Some of the fortunate folks from rural India celebrate as high as 12 to 14 hours of earth hours daily !!!" I took a moment and thought for a while and felt the strong message behind this. But when rich nations talk about conservation of energy, I feel a bitter hypocrisy. Developed nations waste energy like anything. Wash off yourself first before pointing fingers at others' ass. Last year when I was in the States for some weeks, I myself observed how the lights in the corridors of buildings are switch on 24x7, that too all incandescent bulbs.. while we in India, inspite of being poor are far more energy conscious to buy CFLs. And one fine day these nations will come out of an idea of observing Earth Hour to conserve energy. Waste energy all through the year and as a mere stunt of showing care, observe Earth Hour. And, news channels will say "Sydney Dims Lights for earth Hour"... "Lights in Eiffel Tower switched off to observe Earth Hour" etc etc. I am not against Earth Hour. Even I'll keep my lights off from 8:30PM to 9:30PM to observe Earth Hour. Its a good way of spreading the message among rustics. Save Energy For India's Self Reliance.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons? ... I don't know

I have a very strong habit of collecting ebooks. It's like people collect stamps, coins, I collect ebooks. But, I am restricted to collecting only technical books... books on computers, or IT as people call it. Well, I don't think I am doing piracy or anything like that, because whenever I like a book, I buy it. And I strongly believe in buying the original book. Anyways, I am not  trying to write about piracy here. Most recently I realized that all these years I am just collecting books but not actually reading them. Everytime, I carry my laptop its like I am carrying an ocean of knowledge and wisdom in the form of bits and bytes, in the form of ebooks. And, I never ever spent some quality time trying to read them. Lately, I am feeling a bit guilty... I am feeling the same way little Franz felt in Alphonse Daudet's The Last Lesson. Many of us must have read this prose in high school. Every time I think about life seriously, I feel like little Franz. I feel how much time I must have wasted doing nothing. When time is actually running out, I feel there was so much good things to do. Its not that I am going to die sooner, but ya, there was so much thing to learn and know.  Just posting The Last Lesson here, as it happen to be one of those proses which I find relevant in our lives.

I started for school very late that morning and was in great dread of a scolding, especially because M. Hamel had said that he would question us on participles, and I did not know the first word about them. For a moment I thought of running away and spending the day out of doors. It was so warm, so bright! The birds were chirping at the edge of the woods; and in the open field back of the sawmill the Prussian soldiers were drilling. It was all much more tempting than the rule for participles, but I had the strength to resist, and hurried off to school.
When I passed the town hall there was a crowd in front of the bulletin-board. For the last two years all our bad news had come from there—the lost battles, the draft, the orders of the commanding officer—and I thought to myself, without stopping:
“What can be the matter now?”
Then, as I hurried by as fast as I could go, the blacksmith, Wachter, who was there, with his apprentice, reading the bulletin, called after me:
“Don’t go so fast, bub; you’ll get to your school in plenty of time!”
I thought he was making fun of me, and reached M. Hamel’s little garden all out of breath.
Usually, when school began, there was a great bustle, which could be heard out in the street, the opening and closing of desks, lessons repeated in unison, very loud, with our hands over our ears to understand better, and the teacher’s great ruler rapping on the table. But now it was all so still! I had counted on the commotion to get to my desk without being seen; but, of course, that day everything had to be as quiet as Sunday morning. Through the window I saw my classmates, already in their places, and M. Hamel walking up and down with his terrible iron ruler under his arm. I had to open the door and go in before everybody. You can imagine how I blushed and how frightened I was.
But nothing happened. M. Hamel saw me and said very kindly:
“Go to your place quickly, little Franz. We were beginning without you.”

I jumped over the bench and sat down at my desk. Not till then, when I had got a little over my fright, did I see that our teacher had on his beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt, and the little black silk cap, all embroidered, that he never wore except on inspection and prize days. Besides, the whole school seemed so strange and solemn. But the thing that surprised me most was to see, on the back benches that were always empty, the village people sitting quietly like ourselves; old Hauser, with his three-cornered hat, the former mayor, the former postmaster, and several others besides. Everybody looked sad; and Hauser had brought an old primer, thumbed at the edges, and he held it open on his knees with his great spectacles lying across the pages.
While I was wondering about it all, M. Hamel mounted his chair, and, in the same grave and gentle tone which he had used to me, said: “My children, this is the last lesson I shall give you. The order has come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The new master comes to-morrow. This is your last French lesson. I want you to be very attentive.” What a thunderclap these words were to me!
Oh, the wretches; that was what they had put up at the town-hall!
My last French lesson! Why, I hardly knew how to write! I should never learn any more! I must stop there, then! Oh, how sorry I was for not learning my lessons, for seeking birds’ eggs, or going sliding on the Saar! My books, that had seemed such a nuisance a while ago, so heavy to carry, my grammar, and my history of the saints, were old friends now that I couldn’t give up. And M. Hamel, too; the idea that he was going away, that I should never see him again, made me forget all about his ruler and how cranky he was.
Poor man! It was in honor of this last lesson that he had put on his fine Sunday clothes, and now I understood why the old men of the village were sitting there in the back of the room. It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more. It was their way of thanking our master for his forty years of faithful service and of showing their respect for the country that was theirs no more.
While I was thinking of all this, I heard my name called. It was my turn to recite. What would I not have given to be able to say that dreadful rule for the participle all through, very loud and clear, and without one mistake? But I got mixed up on the first words and stood there, holding on to my desk, my heart beating, and not daring to look up. I heard M. Hamel say to me:
“I won’t scold you, little Franz; you must feel bad enough. See how it is! Every day we have said to ourselves: ‘Bah! I’ve plenty of time. I’ll learn it to-morrow.’ And now you see where we’ve come out. Ah, that’s the great trouble with Alsace; she puts off learning till to-morrow. Now those fellows out there will have the right to say to you: ‘How is it; you pretend to be Frenchmen, and yet you can neither speak nor write your own language?’ But you are not the worst, poor little Franz. We’ve all a great deal to reproach ourselves with.
“Your parents were not anxious enough to have you learn. They preferred to put you to work on a farm or at the mills, so as to have a little more money. And I? I’ve been to blame also. Have I not often sent you to water my flowers instead of learning your lessons? And when I wanted to go fishing, did I not just give you a holiday?”
Then, from one thing to another, M. Hamel went on to talk of the French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the world—the clearest, the most logical; that we must guard it among us and never forget it, because when a people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison. Then he opened a grammar and read us our lesson. I was amazed to see how well I understood it. All he said seemed so easy, so easy! I think, too, that I had never listened so carefully, and that he had never explained everything with so much patience. It seemed almost as if the poor man wanted to give us all he knew before going away, and to put it all into our heads at one stroke.
After the grammar, we had a lesson in writing. That day M. Hamel had new copies for us, written in a beautiful round hand: France, Alsace, France, Alsace. They looked like little flags floating everywhere in the school-room, hung from the rod at the top of our desks. You ought to have seen how every one set to work, and how quiet it was! The only sound was the scratching of the pens over the paper. Once some beetles flew in; but nobody paid any attention to them, not even the littlest ones, who worked right on tracing their fish-hooks, as if that was French, too. On the roof the pigeons cooed very low, and I thought to myself:
“Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?”
Whenever I looked up from my writing I saw M. Hamel sitting motionless in his chair and gazing first at one thing, then at another, as if he wanted to fix in his mind just how everything looked in that little school-room. Fancy! For forty years he had been there in the same place, with his garden outside the window and his class in front of him, just like that. Only the desks and benches had been worn smooth; the walnut-trees in the garden were taller, and the hopvine that he had planted himself twined about the windows to the roof. How it must have broken his heart to leave it all, poor man; to hear his sister moving about in the room above, packing their trunks! For they must leave the country next day.
But he had the courage to hear every lesson to the very last. After the writing, we had a lesson in history, and then the babies chanted their ba, be bi, bo, bu. Down there at the back of the room old Hauser had put on his spectacles and, holding his primer in both hands, spelled the letters with them. You could see that he, too, was crying; his voice trembled with emotion, and it was so funny to hear him that we all wanted to laugh and cry. Ah, how well I remember it, that last lesson!
All at once the church-clock struck twelve. Then the Angelus. At the same moment the trumpets of the Prussians, returning from drill, sounded under our windows. M. Hamel stood up, very pale, in his chair. I never saw him look so tall.
“My friends,” said he, “I—I—” But something choked him. He could not go on.
Then he turned to the blackboard, took a piece of chalk, and, bearing on with all his might, he wrote as large as he could:
“Vive La France!”
Then he stopped and leaned his head against the wall, and, without a word, he made a gesture to us with his hand:
“School is dismissed—you may go.”

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Pink Colored Slip...

How do u define a pink slip in the language of music ? Aaah... nothing to do with me being fired (atleast... till now). It just came to my mind. The following content is compiled here and there from the internet... just excerpts from some songs.

Eminem - Rock Bottom 

My life is full of empty promises, And broken dreams
I'm hoping things will look up
But there ain't no job openings
I feel discouraged hungry and malnourished
Living in this house with no furnace, unfurnished
And I'm sick of working dead end jobs with lame pay
And I'm tired of being hired and fired the same day

Bruce Springsteen - Down Bound Train 

I had a job, I had a girl
I had something going, mister, in this world
I got laid off down at the lumber yard
Our love went bad, times got hard
Now I work down at the car wash
Where all it ever does is rain
Don't you feel like you're a rider on a down bound train.

Fastball - Nowhere Road

It's a nowhere road, It's a nowhere road
No matter where it goes it's a nowhere road
It's a nowhere road and I'm tired
It's a nowhere job and I'm fired
It don't matter what they say
You can't get there going this way?

Rod Stewart - Moment of Glory

Packed up all her bags and returned to her mother
Hurt and disillusioned but never down hearted
And meanwhile back in Boston the culprit lie thinkin'
Fired from his job and missing his children

Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Just One Of Those Days

I pleaded my case but she wrote the pink slip
then I just shoke my head I said I don't beleive this
she sent me to the head of the discipline staff
I tried to play it off so I started to laugh
I said ha ha this story is great
it's a big misunderstanding one big mistake
he didn't think that it was funny he didn't even smile.

Eric Clapton - Double Trouble

Lay awake at night,
Oh so low, just so troubled.
Can't get a job,
Laid off and I'm having double trouble.

Simply Red - Money's Too Tight to Mention

I been laid off from work my rent is due
My kids all need brand new shoes
So I went to the bank to see what they could do
They said son looks like bad luck got a hold on you
Money's too tight to mention
I can't get an unemployment extension 

Ida Cox - Pink Slip Blues

Just a little pink slip, in a long white envelope
Just a little pink slip, in a long white envelope
Was the end of my road, was the last ray of my only hope
After four long years, Uncle Sam done put me on the shelf
After four long years, Uncle Sam done put me on the shelf
Cause that little pink slip means you got to go for yourself 

The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
But Heaven knows I'm miserable now.
I was looking for a job and then I found a job
And Heaven knows I'm miserable now.
In my life why do I give valuable time
To people who don't care if I live or die? 

Another one in this link:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Musafir ...

Saans rukti kahan hai kisis ki khatir
Ye safar to hai bas khudei ke khatir
Lamha lamha zindagi ka, lamha lamha zindagi ka hai haazir
Musafir hai, musafir

Chalte hain woh bhi jo tham jaate hain
Raaston se bhi aagey kadam jaate hain
Koi thehra kahan hai btaa phir
Koi thehra kahan hai btaa phir
Lamha lamha zindagi ka hai aakhir
Musafir hai, musafir

Baarishon ke ye mausam to pal bhar rahe
Khushak aankhon mein bheege se manzar rahe
Ek ehsaas ki ungli ko thaam ke
Tai kar raha hoon main, marhale shaam ke
Marhale shaam ke, marhale shaam ke
Lamha lamha zindagi ka hai aakhir
Musafir hai, musafir

Zindagi ko sabhi kuch kahan hai mila
Saans ka har kadam deta hai ye salaa
Jo na mila woh maujood har pal raha
Waqt mujhme hai tehra main chalta raha
Lamha lamha zindagi ka hai aakhir
Musafir hai, musafir

Song Name: Musafir
Film/Album: Lahore

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Women In India... as I see it

March 8th is celebrated all over the world as the International Women's Day (IWD) and some countries like China, Russia, Bulgaria, Vietnam even declare this day as the national holiday. I am not really aware about state of women in these countries, but its such a hypocrisy on part of China to celebrate IWD. The whole world knows how Chinese authorities violates women’s human and reproductive rights by doing forced sterilizations and abortions on Tibetan Women. Anyways. My own India wont be far behind in celebrating IWD. TV channels will telecast programs and movies dedicated to women; shopping malls will give special discounts to women on this day; coffee shops and restaurants will be decorated in pink and what not. But is this one day affair is all what's required? Crime against women probably surpasses all other crimes in India, even though majority of the crimes goes unrecorded. Its high time that Indian authorities look beyond 33% reservations for women in the parliament. Just compiling the reality of the status of Indian Women in the eve of 99th International Women Day...

Female Foeticide and Infanticide: Cruelty against women are witnessed in the form of abortion of female foetus and killing of infant female. Female foetuses are selectively aborted after pre-natal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of girls. As a result of selective abortion, between 35 and 40 million girls and women are missing from the Indian population. In some parts of the country, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 800:1,000 which is a matter of grave concern. Preference of male child and so called burden of marriage associated with female child is the sole cause of this crime. Although, pre-natal sex determination is illegal in India, but many many greedy doctors still do such heinous crimes.

Discrimination within household : Preference for the male child leads to gender discrimination inside the household itself. This is reflected in amount of food given to the female members of the family, which results in malnutrition and diseases related to nutritional deficiency. On the other side, women (mother, wife, even sisters) are by default considered as the cook and caretakers for the family members, which is even seen in urban Indian households.

Deprivation from the Right to Education: Indian society, specially rural India, regards girl child as a temporary member of the family, as they think girls are meant to be married off. So, an utter apathy exists for the education of children. As a result of this, female children are often deprived  from their right to education. Life is just spent caring for the husband and children and the family.

Lack of Opportunity to Work: While rural India sees female children being deprived from education, upper caste society in India prohibits their female members to work. Education is primarily meant for getting a decent bride-groom.

Dowry: Dowry is a curse for Indian women. Majority of the women related crimes in Indian society is due to dowry. Its because of dowry female foeticide and infanticide are prevalent. The need for a dowry for girl children, and the ability to demand a dowry for boys exerts considerable economic pressure on families to use any means to avoid having girls, who are seen as a liability. Dowry is demanded from the husband’s side (in-laws) when younger women get married and when it doesn't meet the greed of the husband's family, newly married women become subject to verbal and physical abuse. In many cases, young brides are burnt to death by her in-laws if the parents fail to meet the requisite dowry demanded. In the majority of cases, the legal system has no impact on the practice of dowry. It is estimated that a dowry death occurs in India every 93 minutes. Its so shameful that I see people of my generation, the so called well educated and well mannered, also expect dowry when they are getting married. They say that its a social status for their families. What The Fuck!

Other forms of Crimes Against Women: Killing of women are reported some parts of the country when they marry with someone from other caste, religion or just against the will of the family. Women are again doubted for their chastity and subjected to a lot of crimes.

Along with all these, India shares with the other countries of the world, the crimes against women like rape, molestation, sexual harassment at work places, forced pornography, prostitution etc.

Since centuries, women in India are always at the receiving end. Oppression of women are sometimes due to religious reasons. Islam permits polygamy and gives women fewer rights than men. Among Hindus, preference for the male child is likewise deeply enshrined in belief and practice. Hinduism represent the ideal woman as obedient and submissive, and always needing the care of a male: first father, then husband, then son.

The status of women in a society can be determined by their education, health, economic role, presence in the professions and management, and decision-making power within the family. It is deeply influenced by the beliefs and values of society. Awareness and enthusiasm to think and question the existing beliefs and social notions is very important to put an end to this.  Although things have improved in recent past, but we have a long way to go. Anyways, Happy Women's Day to All ...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

when the days are all same ...

It becomes extremely difficult to distinguish between any two days when the days of a week are all the same. Waking up in the morning, get a cup of tea, go to office, have breakfast, work, have lunch, work, have tea, work, come back home, have dinner, watch TV and finally go to sleep. That's a long sentence, but it tell about most of the days of the year. When life becomes so mechanical, we usually forget about things which are done subconsciously. A few back days, I felt utterly confused after reaching office whether I switched off the regulator of the LPG at home. While my subconscious mind told me that I had switched it off, my conscious mind kept telling me that it was done yesterday not today. The confusion reached such a stage that I rushed back home, and checked the cylinder to find that it was properly switched off. This is just an instance of many such occurrences. Is there a cure for it ? I guess no...