An Ode to 2015

Whattey year it has been.

Roller Coaster ride. I started out employed and I am ending the year in the same way. All that time in between the two dates, well , doesn’t count.:P

The year was fast. I mean express fast. That is for sure. Lots of ups and downs like all of you. Lots of traps and pitfalls. Yet, I survived and am stronger than I was on 1.1.2015.

Time teaches us a lot of things. The best of it would be the fact that it shows us who we really are. It shows us the darkest side of us and finally brings us out to see the Sun. That is what happens to all of us and I am no exception for that rule.

Thanks you all guys for making my year a fantastic one and I hope to write an Ode next year this time with all of you too.

Wish you all a very Happy New Year 2016 and let all this good come to you and make you cheer the whole year!! šŸ™‚

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What the Beep!

Now that the controversy around the beep song is almost dead and all those people who had an opinion have voiced theirs out, it is my turn to rant.

Disclaimer : I have not watched the video yet. And I don’t intend to watch it anytime soon either. All the opinions expressed below this point is absolutely personal and whoever suffers from serious intolerance issues, Thanks for reading upto this, Good day, Buh-bye!

Ya, so back to my matter of subject.

The beep song. So the song is offensive to women? So it comes from an actor and a music director, both quite established in their fields. So the song abuses/objectifies women. So the song is said to have been unintentionally leaked and was not “released” on purpose.

I mean, why all this craziness yaar?

That song is not the only one that came out in the six odd decades that turned out to be demeaning to women. Many other songs have somehow “escaped” the eyes of our “ever watchful” censor board. But, yeah,well who cares about all those things, right?

One more light observation that I made was that while all this noise was happening down south, there was one guy who escaped a deserving punishment on mere technicality and also he was awarded support for further livelihood. Did we even care about it? Nope, all those feminist activists here were busy burning effigies of the actor and the MD.

I do accept that people who are in a public light must behave in a socially responsible way and must be careful about the image that they portray to the world outside. This applies for all celebrities. Please don’t get me started on ” Dude, They have their own private lives” thing. I don’t care about that much. All I care about is their public life. Being a celebrity comes at a cost. That cost is the cost of being responsible for their actions and accountable for their statements. One cannot have the cake and eat it too.

Moreover, let us take a moment and look at the root cause. If some action of some person really offends you, it would mean that person meant something for you. So before you actually consider somebody as your own Demi-god or even actual God, kindly do a background check,fellas. Failing in that aspect and expecting pure gold from them is well, your ignorance. I would put it this way, “You deserve nothing less”.

Like everything else, something cheap gets sold better and this is no exception. In a country where nobody raises any voice against wrongful judgement which borders on absurdity, sleazy movies in the name or art etc, I guess this is fitting.

Time to rethink and re establish our principles,may be??

Remembering Dhanushkodi-The Ghost Town

While it has been a desire for my family to visit Dhanushkodi everytime we visit Rameshwaram, it so happened that I beat them to it and get a chance to go there. It was one of our perennial outstation work and being stuck up in the dry district of Ramnad, it was on one scorching afternoon that we decided to head to the Ghost town of Dhanushkodi.

Rameshwaram , I have always loved for the beauty of Pamban and also for the incredible Engineering marvel that is the Cantilever Rail Bridge. Dhanushkodi had intrigued me since long. I had read about the history of the place and was waiting for a chance to visit and I got my chance, Thanks to an Audit Assignment.

So we, my friend and I set off on a jeep to Dhanushkodi (Jeeps are the only mode of transport to and from Dhanushkodi)late in the afternoon. It was a bumpy ride, literally, because the path was marshy and uneven. The scenery caught my eyes first. I went all “WOAH!!” The sand was all white and the landscape was barren. Not one tree around and rare sight of bushes and grass.

It felt surreal. I really felt a rush of feelings, some happy that it was probably the most silent and peaceful place I have ever been to and some of utter despair because this was one place that was bustling one night and was completely doomed the next morning without a trace of live. It made me all philosophical thinking how short and fickle life is. I made a mental note to tell all my dear ones that I LOVE THEM, coz nobody knows if I might me alive the next day.

And so, we roamed around , went and stood in the beach. That was a beautiful moment to spot the confluence of Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal to my left. Indian Ocean was rough and the Bay was calm and to see both extremes rushing onto each other made me smile. The sea was of a brilliant shade of blue , soothing.

We also saw the ruined remnants of the Church and a rail track that had the ill-fated Boat mail once upon a time.

Apparently this is a Ghost town which was ruined by the Cyclonic storm in 1964. The storm was so bad that it triggered a tsunami and wiped off the entire town , overnight. The only form of human beings that one can see there is the people who sell fish for a living . Even they wind up and return back to their homes in the mainland by 5.30 PM.

The trip was worth the wait and I wish I had thought about this then, I don’t have any more pictures. Sorry people, now I have started documenting in a much better way. The picture attached in here is the view of the sea from Pamban and not Dhanushkodi. Again, Apologies! šŸ™‚

So try Dhanushkodi guys! Worth your time and a perfect place to contemplate and realise how small we are in this whole wide universe.

Sunday FunDA!!

I was not much into poems. Since childhood, due to the existence of a blissful concept where we had to memorise poems and write it for the exams and get marks and shut the books, I have not been much into poetry. I grew up. I grew up to respect people who had the ability to write poems. And that was that. Nothing more to it.

I didn’t even know that there were people who got together to read and enjoy poetry. Very recently I happened to come across a poetry reading session that was organised byĀ the online library “I love read.in” ( A wordplay on the sentence I love reading šŸ˜› .Pretty cool eh?) on the works of Shel Silverstein and Ogden Nash. ( I didn’t know who they were) . They also have this cool program to inculcate the habit of reading storybooks among school kids. When I heard about it I so wished we had such an initiative when I was at school ( 7 years back, at least!) (http://bookloversprogram.in/MSL/website/ Ā  Ā  Ā  -the link in case you get all nostalgic and want to check it out) . You know, it gets me all sad when kids of my younger bro’s age don’t know or even care to care about Hardy Boys or Jane Eyre or Dracula… šŸ˜¦ . Alright I am getting into a “rant mode” here, now let’s get back on track šŸ™‚

My cousin and I decided to check it out because we were desperately looking for some kind of entertainment that were not visual or music. So, on 13th December afternoon,we promptly reached The Brew Room in Besant Nagar for the session. I promise I had no idea what was going to happen.

Slowly people started coming in and we got settled with lots of chairs,coffee tables and a bunch of bells ( to call to order food šŸ˜€ ). We were an odd lot. We had huge variety in the small group of 12-15 people. Literature students, interns, IITians, Storytellers, Fashion grads, High-schooler etc. Wow! That is some variety,I thought.

Enter,Amrutash, the poet ( I mean, for the evening because he was the one reading out poems ) Ā with a few books of poems by the two poets. He began with a short intro about Shel Silverstein and proceeded to read out a few of his illustrated poems. It was Fun, with a capital F. šŸ˜€

Though he began as an illustrator, it was later in his career that the transformation into a children’s poet was completed. Uncle Shelby ( That is how he has been calling himself in some of his works ) also had varied interests and talent inĀ penning down songs and plays.

silverstein

Shel Silverstein

That was followed up by a reading from the collections of Ogden Nash’s poems. Man!That was funny and blended with rhymes and rhythms all through the poem. ( I am giving one of the poems of Ogden Nash too )

Ogden Nash was an American poet who was known for his humour in the poems. ( He looks endearing ,doesn’t he? )

Ogden_Nash.jpg

Ogden Nash

His poems have that rhythm in words and usually rhymes well. He is known to have incorporated the elements of daily life into his poems and his style was unconventional and at times ,sarcastic.

Everybody who has a baby thinks everybody who hasnā€™t a baby ought to have a baby,
Which accounts for the success of such plays as the Irish Rose of Abie,
The idea apparently being that just by being fruitful
You are doing something beautiful,
Which if it is true
Means that the common housefly is several times more beautiful than me or you.
Who is responsible for this propaganda that fills our houses from their attics to their kitchens?
Is it the perambulator trust or the safety pin manufacturers or the census takers or the obstetricians?
Men and women everywhere would have a lot more chance of acquiring recreation and fame and financial independence
If they didnā€™t have to spend most of their time and money tending and supporting two or three unattractive descendants.
We could soon upset this kettle of fish, forsooth,
If every adult would only come out and tell every other adult the truth.
To arms, adults! Kindle the beacon fires!
Women, do you want to be nothing but dams? Men, do you want to be nothing but sires?
To arms, Mr. President! Call out the army, the navy, the marines, the militia, the cadets and the middies.
Down with the kiddies!

The session was even more peppered up when somebody blurted about about the French fries šŸ˜› and it was then that I understood whattey combination the poems and food was.

All in all I had a fabulous time and thanks to the organisers. We do have lots of events lined up and I am even more eager for that.

Pic Source- WikiPedia

 

Change is the rule of Nature, Is it?

STOP-RAPE-NOW-280_1449290a

 

It all began with the Nirbhaya rape. Or it seemed so. After that, all hell broke loose.

One faction blaming that the girl should have pleaded with the rapists and called them “brothers” to stop getting raped. Another team saying that ” Boys will be Boys” and yet another brainy dude saying,” The girl asked for it” and many more other variants of the same crap.

Now it has come to a situation where a 28 year old infant has gotten raped. Was it asking for it? Ohhhh, it must be the clothes that she must have been wearing!! Or was it because she couldn’t open her mouth to plead her “brothers” to leave her unharmed?

I am sickened by this. Rape is an unforgivable crime. Whoever be the victim and whoever be the perpetrator. I am more sickened by the attitude of the people who respond by giving bullshit comments and answers. Such people must also be punished along with the perpetrator for being insensitive and inebriated while commenting on an issue of national importance. Insensitivity must be made a crime, to be honest.

Does it even occur to these buggers that the issue is one that must be dealt from the grass-root levels? Well, the past generation is done and dusted with, at least the current generation can do their part and pave the way for a safer environment for everybody out there. And mind you, I was not emphasising on women alone when it comes to safety. Men and boys are equally vulnerable too and they need safety too.

Law enforcement needs to be strict and strong. It has to strive to achieve its goals of justice and relief to the victim and must not be twisted to provide relief to the perpetrator due to flimsy grounds like age or sex. That is not going to solve anything and such sick bastards must be castrated.

Like charity , certain qualities must be inculcated from a very young age and respecting the other person’s privacy is one such quality that seems missing a lot, these days.

Change, for God’s sake, Change!

Thinking times

This post is my answer to a question asked to me on Quora.

10 Things that I don’t like about India as an Indian.

It took me a while to frame the answer, but then I think I have summed it up well.

I am an Indian. I am happy and proud to be one too. India is a country of extremes. So like everything else , we find imperfections here also. The ten things that irritate me,as an Indian would be

  1. People who throw garbage everywhere except the dustbin. Many a times I have actually seen educated and seemingly cultured people throw wrappers and waste papers on the roads or in public places. I am a big protester of this and have on many occasions asked them to give the wrappers to me so that I can dispose them off in the proper way.
  2. I hate the apathy of people regarding traffic rules. People who talk loud about bribery and unruliness of policemen should first obey the law of the land. Breaking the law and being cheeky about it does not warrant VIP treatment. I am in no way in support of bribery but just am talking about the root cause.
  3. The adjustment mentality. I refer to a very common example. I am yet to see a chaiwala in Indian Railways who sells a full cup of coffee. We pay for a full cup but we don’t care to fight for the full cup that we pay for. Similarly, selling stuff at a price over and above the MRP. Many a times I have literally taken classes for those shopkeepers who do this. I would ask those big time protestors to begin with small issues like this. When we don’t stand up for the right thing, then we are not designated to complain about exploitation.
  4. Spitting in public. The very suave citizen on a fucking awesome high end car, lowering the window glass and spits on to the road. Such a turn off. Equally irritating is the intellectuals who spit from inside the bus through the window. Do they even care about others on the road?
  5. Pissing in public. Enough said.
  6. Talking about rights when they don’t give a damn for their duties.
  7. The obsession with how the society would perceive us and status.
  8. Donating a highly valuable diamond crown to a deity but driving away the poor child who comes to him asking for food.
  9. Reservation system in education and jobs. And then putting the blame on brain drain.
  10. The quintessential “aapko pata hei Ki mera baap kaun hei?”

 

Sigh, so much for ranting eh??

Chennaiyin Recovery and Retrospection

The last few weeks have been harrowing in Chennai. Incessant and obnoxious rains. That was all that was there. Nothing more, nothing less. The aftermath is ridiculous too. It has been a great scene that the City rose up to the calamity in a brilliant way and I am sincerely happy to chip in that we are on our way back to normalcy, though slowly.

Now starts the time to retrospect as to what really caused this damage. Was Chennai not designated to withstand this calamity? What was the real reason behind the damage of this scale?

Do you think that the root cause developed overnight? Nopes. Let me tell you what might have been Ā major contributors towards the flooding that took a toll on the city.

  • Construction beyond the approved plans for the city. I get that the city expanded ruthlessly in the past ten years but lets face it, we have been expanding onto the areas which were actually spaces designated as lakes and other water bodies. We have been encroaching unscrupulously over them and now bearing the brunt of all of it. Chennai was never a dry place. That’s why we had all those water bodies, in order to store the rain water that we get during the North-east Monsoons. I also heard that some parts of the city that was in the original plans of the city stood like a rock in the ravaging rains. That was solely because the place had a proper layout and plan.
  • Lack of civic sense among the people. I know this would be a little harsh at this point in time, but then, its high time we accept what idiots we have been. Throwing garbage on the roads and being cool about it isn’t funny or even sane Ā at any levels. For Heaven’s sake, there are places marked for disposing off garbage and we would do well to dispose it there. The general apathy is disgusting and arrogant,guys.
  • Also, I heard various accounts of my friends who were field volunteers that the people who were affected demanded variety when the food packets were distributed. I mean, is this the time for vanity? Dude, hundreds of people are remaining to be rescued and supported and all that you care about is the absence of variety in your food? Can’t you be grateful that the food given to you is fresh and hygienic? The laziness of some people astounded me too. They had wanted the volunteers to come to them and give them the relief materials. Not impressive at all,if I might say.
  • In addition to all this I happened to hear few complaints that the materials were delayed or not available due to absence of Government machinery to give orders and guide them. In the times of a Natural disaster, one does not wait around for orders. Following the hierarchy at these times is utter nonsense and not right. I never thought we were gonna be depending on the government for everything either. It is high time we stand up for ourselves first and then think about blaming others.

But,what makes me shudder even more is that, despite all those melodramas that people put up before the cameras of the presstitutes, they are not going to change their voting pattern. Very recently, in a heated debate on a similar topic with one of my good friends, there was a point about the memory span of a voter. I realise that it is true. We have a very short memory span as a voter and I dare say that we are way too forgiving too. We do not really remember things that had taken place earlier and do not cast out vote accordingly. It was totally right when somebody had actually mentioned this as the electoral pattern of the country.

In India, people do not cast their vote, they vote their caste.

As simple a statement that was, it gave profound insight into what we are doing. Until we keep selling our votes for a quarter bottle and a pack of chicken biryani,until we conclude that the better the freebies, the better the CM/PM, until we are going to decide our vote based on the caste of the candidate, it is grossly unfair and unreasonable for us to expect anything tangible from the government.

I would then say that we got served what we deserved for our own recklessness, stupidity and greed.

 

Unity redefined :) #ChennaiRains

This piece below is an answer to a question asked to me and a bunch of other Chennai-wasis about the floods,the day the rains started lashing the coast. This is how it was as on December 2nd,2015.

It is bad.

You know how it feels when the place you have lived and loved all through your life gets submerged in water? It is inexplicable.

I have never heard or been in such a situation in Chennai before this. It has been raining for the past 24+ hours non-stop and Chennai is completely isolated from other parts of the State. All the entry and exit points have been cut-off and the rail and air terminus have been shut down. Trains and flights have been cancelled and the only mode of transportation that is still plying is the bus. That is unreliable and dangerous too,given the circumstances.

We have the Indian Army deployed here for the relief work and the forecast for two more days from today looks grim. Houses in the ground and first floors are flooded and people have taken shelter in high rises.

The magical part of all these is that We are still alive and thriving.

Chennai twitter is abuzz with help pouring in,not from anywhere else, from the Chennaiites themselves. More than 3000 people have opened up their homes, hotels,offices etc to provide shelter to those who are stranded. Many people have come forward to recharge the phones with a small amount so that they can get in touch with their families and loved ones and assure them about their safety. Scores of people have offered to cook a meal for the needy and services of picking those meals areĀ under way. Several Star hotels have prepared food packets for the people andĀ are looking for help to distribute it to those in need. Malls and cinema theatres have been magnanimous enough to offer to accommodateĀ people for free.
So yes, we are alive and surviving.

It is a very tough situation in Chennai right now. This is the second spell of rains lashing the city in less than a month’s time and trust me we are struggling. But, we are also helping and reaching out to people in whatever small ways that we can. I have heard and seen pictures of common people giving packets of biscuits and other eatables to the Traffic cops and the Bus drivers who are working their asses off to ensure that the people are safe.

Sadly, we had to put in lots of efforts to inform our counterparts in the other parts of the country through media like Facebook and Twitter since, well, the National Media has other important things to cover and publicise, like the Sheena Bora Murder case and How Rahul Gandhi had the nerves to speak in The Parliament.

We have observed the spirit of Brother-hood from the Mumbaikars in similar situations and I am so proud to say that we are implementing that darn well too.

We are gonna survive this and come back stronger than ever. We are waiting for the rains to subside a little so that we could be back on track at the earliest.

Dating Game

Chennai’s tryst with monsoon has done something good with me. It has helped me rekindle my interest in reading which ,sadly,had been on a Hibernate mode for the past five years.

So, on a reading spree, I lay my hands on a Danielle Steel book, Dating Game. I have no idea what made me choose this book overĀ all other titles that filled the bookshelf. Was it the Bubblegum Pink cover? or Was it the Title about dating and referring to it as a “Game”?Ā or Was it the mention of Danielle Steel in bold block silver letters? I do not know. I had just read a few books of Danielle Steel before andĀ had observed a pattern in most of her works. Stories of personal tragedies and disasters and how the protagonists made strongĀ comebacks from all setbacks made the usual theme as far as I have known. I,personally like reading about such comebacks. So thereĀ I go, Page 1,Page 2…..

This was a story about a marriage of a quarter of a century falling apart in a night. That was the beginning. A perfect marriage shatteredĀ in an instant and how She struggles to come to terms with it. Also, this was a story about how a change of location would do loads
of good when things go awfully wrong.

In a wholly new place and thrust into a vulnerable situation, She manages to be courageous enough to take risks and live on. That wasĀ the need of the hour and that is what exactly She does. Ofcourse She has help from various ends, in the form of her daughter and son,Ā a watchful and protective mentor, few good friends etc.

The story also gave Gyaan about certain paradoxes in the realm of Dating. It also illustrated the beautiful relationship that the Mother-Ā daughter duo enjoyed.

A few portions of the book made me yearn and pine. A few portions made me sad and some other,happy. Most importantly,this bookĀ hit me at the back of my head and said ” Dude, go with the flow. Bad things happen to all. Just live on and be brave. Things will get
better”.

I am still at a loss if that was a reference to the current floods in Chennai or a general pointer to my life, but it was good,nevertheless.
Here I am, not sad that I judged a book by its cover.*wink**wink*

The Great Gatsby

It was with great scepticism that I accepted this book from my friend. I have a dubious reputation for being intolerant
towards Classics. Of course that would mean that to date I have not read any of the major classics of English Literature.
One fine evening of grumbling and being cranky made my friend suggest this book and in consequence, the movie adaptation of
the same name. It gave “hope”,they said. So,badly in need of some good news, I took the book out and started reading.

The story,being set in the post WW1 period gave a fairly good fodder for my visualisation of the scenes described in it.
With detailed descriptions about the vehicles and castles, I found it easier to imagine what the actual scene would look
like,if it had really taken place.

Jay Gatsby is mysterious enough and Daisy seems just the Lady who would marry for Honour. Tom Buchanan is stereotypical.
Jordan Baker and Nick (the Narrator) seemed a little fresh for me.

A story of loss of love and attempting to get the lost love back seemed far-fetched to me. The deaths towards the end of the
book were hurried up,or so I felt. However, I enjoyed the beautiful subtlety that Mr.Fitzgerald had strewn all through the
book. Not a big fan of explicit references, I loved the polished links and descriptions of a lot of complex emotions and
scene backdrops.

A few of my favourite quotes from the book would include

“Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory
heart”.

” He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance
in it,that you may come across four or five times in life”.

” I wasn’t actually in love,but I felt a sort of tender curiosity”.

” The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain”

“He stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only a wisp of air,to save a fragment of the spot that she had made
lovely for him.”

Not that the book gave me hope, but it did give me nice quotes in a form that I thoroughly enjoyed. It took me back to
those days of high school English classes and skit practises.

Oh, The Nostalgia!