Friday, August 31, 2007
PS: in that screen shot pic, text says: "Questions are pretty much being asked by every single one of us out there."
This idea is inspired by the Dastangoi tradition, a performance I am yet to see live. If there can be stories inspired by Persian folk lore; there are mannnnyyy stories in our folk tales.
Wait till you hear about the ghoda bhoot...Sleepy Hollow seems a comedy before THAT one and my 80-year-old granny told me that.
You know, when growing up, I loved the Amar Chitra Katha and Panchtantra stories, very good stories and fun series. I remember this particular story about a war between Owls and Crows, and duderinos! That story had strategy, angle, emotion, action, everything. :D I am thinking...how about doing Panchtantra story-telling/reading sessions? We become one character each...and hmm...work it out. I am on. Who's interested?
PS: Anyone have old comics around? Don't want the comics, but can you photocopy stories for us? Can we discuss what all we guys might have? Am gonna call Mom tonight, I think I should have a nice bunch... even old Champaks and Tinkle would do. C'mon people, if you know people who might have them, do approach them for us. Or put me on to them.
Need someone to take over/start a version of this blog on Wordpress (of course with links here). Will start the blog, but need someone to be moderator/admin with me there.
Similarly, am thinking having another version on Sulekha.com, will be good for us too. We could put out small posts as intros and lead to this blog. What say people? Volunteers?
Also, who has a good voice, clear speech, time and interest in doing podcasts for us?
Mail back: email@example.com
PS: Today we got two contributions, one from Citizen Carebear and another from Madhusmita. Will be using those two subsequently. We also saw Amin, Amna and Soil&Music interacting for the first time.Welcome and thank-you guys!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
It happens only in India
(bhai = brother)
I will not stereotype any section or community; even if it means asking my friend to shutup with a stupid joke. If I cannot stand up against religious-cultural bullshit/stereotyping; I will not actively participate in stereotyping. That’s my bit today. Yours?
Those of you who tune in to the news must have seen the video or heard the news about the chain-snatcher being lynched by the public in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar. What initially started out as a case of a mob going out of hand and the police abetting in the inhuman treatment – the thief was tied to a police bike and then dragged on the ground – is now becoming a religious-shenanigan. Rabble-rousers Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has decided to provoke the public by saying that the chain-snatcher was beaten because he was a Muslim. And of course, India being India, certain people are getting over-excited.
And yet I wonder, is it just the uneducated who can be swayed by religious sentiments? I am an educated Indian – perhaps far less educated than the doctorates and other bigger degrees that one is supposed to have, am not even a post-graduate – but I have been to one of the best colleges in the country and am also a media professional. Given those two facts, tolerance for religious differences should come rather easily to me. Sort of part of the job, ethics, etc.
Political Science was one of the media papers in college and my final year 100-mark thesis was on Shiv Sena and the hand Saamna and Marmik (those were the Marathi newspapers brought out by the Shiv Sena) played in the 1993-94 Mumbai riots. I had run away from home - to Mumbai - to well, interview Bal Thackeray. But my father and my college sabotaged that attempt... Anyway. So I pretty much STUDIED the way religious sentiments are played up, incited and played out for vested interests and yet…
A year back there were bomb blasts at the Mahim-Matunga railway stations (July 2006) and there was an undercurrent that perhaps it would erupt into another Hindu-Muslim riot. I was here in New Delhi, staying in a locality called Panchsheel; one of the better-moneyed colonies of this city (rented apartment people!) when the news broke on air.
Standing on the terrace, I was thinking of calling a friend in Mumbai when my phone rang… it was another friend – a Sikh gentleman and a biker – who lives in the Nizamuddin side of town (Muslim majority area). He sounded worried as he called…
“J Bo, are you at home? You stay there and don’t get out. Something is happening,” he said. He is a biggish Sikh boy and usually is the first to get into an argument. He sounded scared… and it was infectious. I went inside the house to hear him better and the TV – on mute – showed scenes from the blasted stations. The kickers and breaking news flashing were hinting at building tension (TRP or truth?) and the possibility that Hindus and Muslims might start killing each other gain… Before I could ask him exactly WHY he was asking me to stay indoors, a loud vrooming noise could be heard from the road.
Watching from the terrace, a strange scene was unfolding – rather repeating itself – on the main road (visible from terrace). Muslim young men in sherwanis and the traditional scull caps were going to and fro, 3-4 of them on different motorbikes and scooters. There were about 20-30 bikes and the boys on them were shouting slogans and going up and down the road.
I narrated what was happening to my friend – still on the phone – when he said that the same thing was happening in Nizamuddin as well. “I have never seen them this excited. Something is about to happen. You stay indoors. Don’t get out.” By the time he got off the phone, the motorists had taken eight more rounds on the road. I started calling my friends too… asking them to stay indoors. It was very eerie… I kept expecting a blast to ring out any moment, or someone to throw a bottle on the terrace from where I was watching, or someone else to start dragging people from inside their homes and hacking them… No, I wasn’t being imaginative; all this HAS happened in Mumbai. Gujarat. Till the phone rang again…
“Listen, the Muslim boys you see on the scooters are not rioters. Today is xxx*, they are celebrating xxxx. They are celebrating a festival J Bo. They are celebrating and we are getting scared.” We both kept quiet for a bit, don't know how long, and then we hung up without the byes and take-cares. We are both educated. (xxx* = forgetting which one, will tell...and that too; most kids in Indian schools know all Hindu holidays... let me hear them rattle off all the Eids and for that matter when we have Onam and Pongal... Honestly, I am NOW making it a point to learn. I don't know all of them. And I think, I AM ashamed, and sorry that I have not bothered so far...)
THAT day; I was ashamed. Growing up, we celebrated Durga puja with Ma-Papa; but that was not a choice. You did what you were asked to. So one can say that I am Hindu by birth and not necessarily by choice. I would perhaps not choose any religion at all. However; I had always thought that I was pretty open-minded when it came to accepting other religions and religious views.
The brightest girl in our class in college was a Muslim. My caretaker is a Muslim. One of my father’s best friend’s is a Muslim. One of my close-friend’s girlfriend is a Muslim. And yet that day, I got queasy. Because there were many Muslim boys. It was a mob on two-wheels.
I know that at the end of the day, any mob does NOT see religion. They do not see reason. They do not see sense. A mob does not recognize neighbours. A mob does not hear logic. And yet, while I was scared of the mob… BUT was it JUST the mob, or was it the sight of many scull caps? And WHERE did that thought come from? I have NEVER been hurt by a single person of that faith, EVER. So...why did I think like that... or get scared? Is someone feeding me those thoughts... the repeat a 'stereotype' many times and it becomes a truth angle?
If I were a Muslim… What would it feel to live in a nation – in fact now the world – where your religion is looked at suspiciously? Where you are considered a minority? What does it feel when friends might look at you suspiciously because the way you pray is different from theirs?What I understood about myself; and perhaps a bit of the Indian psyche that day: We are a nation of mistrust. We, as a people, are closed to anything that could be different from us. We don’t trust our government (it's funny that we choose the morons), our police (oh well, relatives and the police are both things we have to live with), we don’t trust our doctors and our lawyers (both lie to take our money), our gurus and priests are free-loaders and any faction of us that becomes the majority, will have a condescending tolerance of the minority factions (I mean c'mon, even in clubs we have THREE different levels for people to party on - And it's not to sell better service, it's JUST to sell a stupid exclusivity, to make some feel superior and the others, aspirational).
We are simply SCARED of anything that is different. Of agreeing that perhaps there are other ways of life and living and those could be better too (each to his/her own). And of course, being amazingly lazy, the thought of trying to understand something different does not enter our heads. So we get scared and we start stereotyping and making fun of it or defiling it or whatever. School-kid tactics actually; but like most damaging are the insults in childhood, so are these tactics. Till THAT fear stays in you and me, the likes of Bal Thackeray, LK Advani, Narendra Modi, RSS and RJD WILL be able to play up sentiments and blow-up issues beyond proportions. But what do we do to curb that fear? HOW do we trust each other? I don’t know… do YOU?
Hindu-Muslim, bhai bhai
Zara si aafat, jhat bane kasayi?
Disclaimer: The views expressed in posts written by me, are expressedly mine. No other contributor or reader of this blog is responsible or should be held responsible for what I write in my posts. Or who I name.
PS: I realise this is not a game. I realise I am naming factions and parties here. Let no one think that what is said here does not matter. YOU are spending time here, it matters. I am a nobody. But a 100 bodies have ALREADY been reading this blog. If it makes a difference to two, we are happy. Hello Citizens, we touched a 100-readers mark on Aug 30; and it's just been five days since we started. That is GOOD news. Let's keep this rolling.
Those who wish to contribute stories, anecdotes, recipes, pictures, music, thought for the day, a drawing… Please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. No cut and paste please, we are looking for original content. If you don’t want to contribute, just spread the word! Talking, for us, is never a bad thing. Hum baat zyada karte hain, achcha karte hain. ;)
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Ashok Rajpath Street in Patna is where one can find literally hundreds of coaching centers.
It is in fact, a haunt for many young people in Bihar hoping to crack various entrance exams and secure a bright future for themselves. However, there is another coaching institute in Patna that is a league apart from all these.
The students attending it are mostly poor, are housed, fed and coached for free. And it boasts a success rate of almost 95 per cent in the IIT JEE. It is called the Super 30 and it is run by an IPS officer Abhayanand and a mathematics teacher, Anand Kumar.
“We wanted to help the children who were intelligent but who did not have enough money to pay the IIT coaching fees as they are quite expensive,” says Anand Kumar.
The two of them consulted teachers, principals and schools before shortlisting their first batch of 30 deserving candidates. Most of the students who enrolled were the children of marginal farmers and from panchayat schools.
They were brought to Patna, provided food, lodging and coaching under one roof and free of cost. And the results speak for themselves- when the entrance results for 2003 were announced, 18 of the 30 had made it. And this year, 28 students made it to IITs.
But as a testament to the teaching methodology at Super 30, the students compete not on the basis of caste or quota, but sheer competence. And every year, battling funds crunch and poaching by rival coaching institutes, Abhay Anand and Anand Kumar make sure that at least 30 deserving students like get a shot at making their dreams a reality.
One good Indian is all it takes,
To create an India we wish to make.
In one of the greatest nights for Indian football in a long time, a solitary goal from NP Pradeep against Syria clinched India's first title victory in the ONGC Nehru Cup in Delhi on Wednesday night. Bob Houghton's men accomplished the remarkable feat through a 43rd minute strike against tournament favourites Syria, which should prove to be a new beginning for Indian football. Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia hoped the victory would herald a new beginning for Indian football.
Read full story
Hello, can one talk to you,
Could you spare your minutes few?
This is about the Media,
And sincerely one had no idea...
That you could hate it so much,
And refuse even to touch;
Or consider the simple concept,
That even the media could take some wrong steps.
(While you are such a human strong,
You have never done a single wrong?)
Come let's blame it on the Media,
It's always a bloody good idea...
To say Hey Cameraman!
You should also have been Superman;
To stop that blast and prevent that flood,
And fight the villains, and curb the blood.
(While you vote for the villains,
To launder your clandestine millions?)
Come let's blame it on the Media,
It's always a bloody good idea...
To ask hey how come you Reporter,
You don't have that noose a little tighter?
Around a corrupt politicians' head,
Who steal our very daily bread.
(While you walk with pride,
And give them a hefty bribe?)
Come let's blame it on the Media,
It's always a bloody good idea...
To say they did nothing but write,
Too many words, some banal, some trite;
And yet those words don't fill with dread,
For on our land the killers still tread.
(While you will never do your bit,
For it's far easier to throw a fit??)
Come let's blame it on the Media,
It's always a bloody good idea...
Secure in your homes to sit and complain,
Call the media names; give them some pain.
But let me tell you, You are also the SAME;
You do NOTHING else but play the blame game.
But then let's blame it on the Media now,
After all the Public is always holier than thou.
This was in response to some reactions to the earlier Maaro s**le ko post -- written as a response to this story -- where some of you wrote in saying "What did the media do when that man was being beaten by the Bhagalpur-mob?"
WHAT DID THE MEDIA DO?
They did their jobs. They brought you the video so that you could SEE and be able to judge for yourself; as any sensible, thinking, sensitive Indian WOULD do.
And please, DO remember, the man shooting that video was/ is a CAMERAMAN. He is NOT Superman. What would YOU do when you see a mob of 50-100 thrashing a man? Jump and lie on top of the man to protect him?
What did YOU do when that girl was being disrobed by a mob in Mumbai? HOW many of you came ahead with a shirt or dupatta to COVER her?
Get REAL. The public seems to FORGET that a media person present at a bomb blast sight, accident site, a site where dead bodies of children are being found is AS MUCH HUMAN as you sitting on the OTHER side of the monitor or TV screen with your feet up on the table before you, sitting in your air-conditioned environments...
Why blame us for talking to corrupt politicians and taking their bytes? YOU voted for them and gave them that vantage point in the first place. One could go on with this forever...
It IS funny to see media people clamoring behind a politician with their microphones and their cameras and their falling dupattas and their dishevelled hair. It must be a FUN job to see people crying around you, mothers holding their dead babies and a father crying over the remains of his raped daughter and wife and NOT be able to do anything MORE than bring a news report TO an AUDIENCE that will eat popcorn while watching that video and then turn and say, "But what did the media do?"
IF you can make better journalists... COME. Email your stories, what you report, make it UNBIASED. One will put up your stories HERE on this blog.
MAKE SURE, though that you DON'T make a single mistake, DON'T show any human frailty or personal bias when doing that story, get the BEST bytes and something different from the 52 other TV channels present there and STILL come back home to your wife/husband and kids and smile and talk as if nothing happened.
Original appears here: Blame it on the media
Very few of us are reading this... for whatever reasons. Channels and news websites with India news have mostly negative news flashing... It feels as if the country is about to explode. But is it?
Is there good news happening around you? Positive things? Happy things? Please write in...
Aiii... more people needed to contribute, more and more and more. More Indians.
(PS: Goddammits, every other country goes around lighting candles for every other reason and we can't... yadayadayada. They are also better paid and work less hours than us? I have never been outside the country, but that's what reader comments on the Official Site say. What's the real deal? Ok, ranting over)
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
It happens only in India
I will not throw my cigarette butts and toffee wrappers on the road. If need be, I shall wrap those in a paper to throw in a bin later. Or use the ashtray in my car. That’s my contribution today. Yours?
Sree, writes/contributes from Canada and says, "30 States, 1618 languages, 6400 castes, 6 religions. My India. And here is my application in white paper for the J.Bo, J Bites Indian Shitizenship.
We Are The Litter Soldiers.
An ad campaign on Indian Television few years ago: A taxi driver at a traffic signal, spitting on the road. A woman in a car drives close to the taxi, lowers her window glasses, looks at the taxi driver and says "Cheee" making a grimace. The taxi driver has an embarrassed look. A slogan shows up on screen: “Say Cheeee, Keep Mumbai Clean"
Likewise, it is my dream too to have a litter free India.
We, as a nation, have made several sincere attempts to keep our streets clean. All of it died out in time. We Indians have short memories; let it be an explosion or an eruption, OR a litter free campaign.
When America still cries for a 9/11, we have moved on with every disaster that has hit our land. We are eager to get back to what we call a normal life. If only we just pause and think for a while, the getting back to life can be made better than the same old same old. If only we develop the mentality that having better things in life is not being less humble. If only… We just stop littering on the streets.
An Indian, who spits and pees in one super-shot on our streets, is able to control and quit while in a foreign land where it is punishable. Makes me wonder what we can do to inject some sense of patriotism in our everyday life other than just painting faces in tricolours or spending Rs 5 on a microscopic flag on an August 15th.
Do we need to give out flowers to everyone who peepee in public and hope that such embarassment/ Gandhigiri, will make them quit? He would probably find a flower free space to unzip his pants.
Nothing works in India, and let me say in the same breath that we can make it work in India. And thus my wish to RIP in a litter-free, clean India can be made possible. I often visualize the nightmare of having an unsatisfied death knowing that I shall be taken through a litter-some street for my funeral.
Canada has a Litter King who did the unthinkable by legally changing his name to 'Litter King’, so that no one will forget about his mission to keep the streets of his country litter free. He walks with an ice cream bucket as his crown and cleans trash from the streets. And he hopes one day his campaign catches on. His message to his people,"Protect Your Land. Okay?”
One man just might make a difference in a country like Canada, where almost all the streets are litter free. The Litter King has the task to finish off the already satisfactory job or remind his countrymen about the importance of having a clean land. But in India, we need several minds to unite and start from scratch.
We should protect our land, very much like the brave soldiers who fought in Kargil.We are the Litter Soldiers. But how? Ad campaigns alone seldom work. We have seen that.
Gandhigiri seems to work when aimed at aforeign land and its people, rather than our own.
When the Gujarat disaster happened few years ago in 2001, there was an online campaign started by a website to light virtual lamps for the departed souls. Several thousands were lit by Indians all over the globe. People seem to think better in front of a computer. And right here we have the bloggers’ strength to pretty much scribble down our dreams about a better India. And let me dream, that someday we can make some of it, if not all, a reality.
PS: It takes one, we now have three writing here: two out of those will not litter. Not bad at all. Happy at this small, small start… and hoping for more. We need more. Come one, come all…and even if you want to laugh at us, just pass on the message, okay? :)
Please DO mail your contributions - email@example.com: It could be anything, something you write, a funny picture you have taken, share a recipe by the aunty in your locality....anything that is India.
Pune: Seventeen-year-old Anita's little sister helps her wash her bike everyday in the hopes of getting a quick joyride. But for Anita, the cycle is more than just a form of transport. It's an engine of change.
"Initially, I was studying in a Marathi medium school in Sone Sanghvi, but since last three years I have been coming to this place. I used to walk and got late every day. Even my teacher used to get angry. But ever since I have got my cycle, I am able to reach on time,” says Anita.
Traveling to a school seven kms away was an uphill task for many teenage girls in the Shirur taluka of Maharashtra. Until bicycles came their way through an NGO called "Ashta No Kai" which means 'a better future'.
It's founder Armene Modi wanted to raise the literacy level among women in Shirur. So she started a bicycle bank, to help young girls take the road less traveled.
"We started to give to girls at a very nominal cost of Rs 300 deposit. When the girl finished high school we asked her to return the bicycle and recycled it to another girl,” says Armene Modi.
According to Armene, the bank has brought about a visible change in the girls attitudes.
"We have visibly seen a decrease in the drop out rate and we have visible seen the marriage age of girls increasing,” says Armene.
Initially, Armene faced a lot of resistance from the villagers. Now there are more takers than donors for these prized vehicles. Armene says even though the literacy rate of girls has risen in Shirur her work is far from done. She wants every girl in Shirur to ride her way to success.
PS: this is not promoting any site, will be picking up stories about One good Indian from wherever I can... all those who read about a single person trying something, mail me links at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, August 27, 2007
It happens only in India
I will not sit in any auto that does not go by the meter. I will insist on going by the regulated fare system, even if it means waiting for five minutes for another auto. That’s my bit today. Yours?
(mail contributions to: email@example.com)
General Rule of Rain in Delhi: When it rains, autorickshaw drivers will hike fare prices and will generally haggle/harass more than on other days. Also, I will not haggle and if pissed off sufficiently, will either report the number to the police or note it down and report it to this blog. ;)
I don’t have a car and since whenever I get into a DTC bus, I get into a fight – just a general dislike for being felt up – I have to take autos, like many others in this city.
Now the New Delhi government has introduced the NEW meters in Delhi that start at Rs 10 for the first kilometer and ticks at Rs .45 every 1km. With the introduction of this new fare system, NO auto-driver and I mean NO autodriver has any business to EVEN suggest going without turning down the meter. YOU are supposed to call and inform about the ones who do.
(Calculating auto fare IF it’s the old meter and starts from Rs 8 = Note kilometers on meter and subtract one from it + left-over kilometers multiply by 4.5 = whatever the result, add a Rs 10 to it and pay. Eg. If distance is 10, your fare = 9 x 4.5 + 10 = 50. (erm, use your calculators, i made a mistake calculating even this bit! had written 55 earlier, heh heh)
Since the introduction of new meters (start at Rs 10), auto-drivers have no business charging anything other than what that meter says, no matter how long or short the distance. They even try, “It’s Sunday” madame to get more money out of you.
NOW, earlier the Delhi Traffic Police HAD a complaint number printed on most autos: It was mandatory to write down the complaint number at the back of the auto-drivers' seat and also behind or on the sides of the auto. The mandate being that the complaint number had to be conspicuously displayed.
Today, that number does NOT work. IF you DO call the Delhi Police on 100, the calls are not answered. The Police Control Room (PCR, 100) was called at 1.24pm yesterday (August 27); but there was NO RESPONSE. Delhi Police insists that they ALWAYS pick up calls or return calls. There is a caller-id facility that they have. So what’s happening Delhi Police… rakhi holidays perhaps?
Interestingly, once you DO call the PCR van and it arrives, the policemen will do their best to NOT register a complaint. PLEASE REMEMBER: If you EVER make a complaint to the police, no matter how mundane, have it written in their log books – every PCR van is SUPPOSED to carry a log book – and ASK them for a complaint number. Unless you are Sonia Gandhi or Shilpa Shetty, they will not remember your complaint; and since most policemen anyway suffer from voluntary amnesia; PLEASE take that complaint number. It works as your PAN number when dealing with the police.
Yes, auto-drivers are also trying to earn their livelihood; but since I TOO work hard for my money, I really don’t like parting with it more than I have to. Perhaps you can pay a Rs 100 for a distance where you should perhaps pay Rs 70… please DO NOT pay that extra Rs 30 out of sympathy or whatever. Not everyone can pay that extra money and it’s like letting a carnivore taste human blood…
Furthermore, since there is no Traffic Police number to call and Delhi Police DOES NOT respond to calls; KINDLY note down rogue auto-drivers’ numbers and mail me; or post as a comment on this blog. Once there are 50-odd numbers, I WILL approach the Police and ask for answers. Of course meanwhile, I shall be calling them if and when need arises. And once they do NOT respond to my call, say five times, I will take my call records and approach them. Oh yes.
If you can take pictures of autodrivers when they refuse to take you anywhere – they usually sit with their legs up looking nonchalant while refusing, makes for a fun pic – please use the camera on your mobile phones, take the pic of the driver and the auto with the number visible and mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let us see HOW long does this official loot continue.
I don’t know the public transport complaint rules – read cab/ auto – rules in other cities. Those who know, would appreciate if you fill me in. Also, if people reading from other cities can give complaint numbers to reach the authorities; would be grateful.
Meanwhile, here are the autowallahs who refused to budge because it was a Sunday and wouldn’t go by meter. Two of them also said: “Dekhte hain tum kya karti ho.” (Let’s see what you do). Well, very soon.
DL 1R F 3256: this man is also a marijuana smoker and is so stoned and argumentative, you should not sit in his auto at all!
DL 1H R 1729
Dial-an-auto-service: However, not ALL auto drivers are the Devil’s minions. A whole lot of them are hard-working people working to meet ends meet… Even before they get money home, they have to pay something like Rs 250 as a daily rental for using an auto. An autorickshaw costs Rs 1-3 lakhs (additional 5000 to install a new meter); and not every autodriver can afford to take a loan for the same. So they drive rented autos according to pre-decided time slots. Some auto-drivers have started keeping cell phones and you can call them like a taxi-service. Am collecting numbers and will start publishing them here soon so that those in given localities may avail the service.
Meanwhile, some taxi numbers – tried and tested – good service, non-interfering and always provide a taxi.
Chhote Yadav, Vasant Kunj: 9868748342
Taxu Ranvir, Gurgaon/VK: 98116-18863
Delhi Traffic Police landline: 011-2337888
More to come…
PS: The Blank Noise Project and I love street dogs do NOT link to this site. However, both are trying to work in different fields that need help in India. Got pictures of street dogs that have been adopted? Please mail them to me...will pass them on to blog moderator on doggie-blog.
I will not jump any red light today or allow those whose cars I ride in to do it either. That's my contribution today. Yours?
Traffic signals in India are like a microcosm in themselves. Much happens at a traffic signal: It’s a market place for everything from flowers to toys to magazines and incense stick, it’s a place where along with alms, lives, love and hope are found and lost. Some people sleep at traffic lights. Some fall in love – well they did in Kaho Naa Pyar Hai! Many earn their livelihoods on traffic lights; and I mean the beggars and vendors AND the money-extorting traffic cops. And also, traffic signals/lights have stories to tell. Stories that are played out daily, each time the light changes. Here, our first contributor, blogger Crimson Feet shares the story of the Solo Soldier.
The Solo Soldier (renamed from original blog)
The best part about moving from Bombay to Noida has been the drastic changes in my travel routine...
Local train ---> Royal Enfield Thunderbird
1hr 17 min one way ---> 17 min door-to-door
Expensive cab rides ----> Peaceful bike sojourns
Cramped roads with pollution ----> Wide roads with pollution ;)
Saturday night frenzy ---> Weekend travel to Dehradun/Rishikesh/Chandigarh/Lucknow etc
I like to have my Sony thump crooning my favrourite number right into my brain during these peaceful bike rides to and fro bet home and office. A few days ago I saw an old man shouting through a hand-held loudspeaker on a traffic signal on my way back from office.
His shirt read “Follow traffic rules”: Yatayat ke niyamon ka palan karein.
He was old but looked ferociously serious about what he was saying. I could only “see” him till I switched the thump off and tried to “hear” him. Too much noise, I couldn’t pick a word. The seconds remaining on the signal were getting closer to zero, and throttles were being pulled... He looked back, and with a thumping conclusion to his speech, moved aside to let the traffic pass...
Between Noida’s Sector 29 and 58, there are five-six traffic signals, and rule violation is so rampant, that when I decide to stop at a red light; I fear I will cause an accident because EVERY other commuter is jumping the red light and I am the ONLY one standing!
Still, PROUDLY yet, I do STOP when it’s a red light. Of course the worst part is when MY signal is green and I find commuters ready to bang into me irresepctive of their situation in life and on the road!
The old man seemed hesitantly proud of himself too. He looked "ignored" and YET had the conviction to keep doing what HE felt was a good thing to do... May be he had had a tragedy in his family, maybe he was mad. As I crossed him, I wanted to catch his eye and nod approvingly. He never looked At anyone, just stared blankly into nothing; and I felt him to be more alive than most of us commuters...
I think he should know that his effort is NOT going waste.
PS: Crimson Feet, thankyou for this.... Please tell him next time… And if anyone else living in Noida sees this old man, Stop, and thank. And DON’T jump that light.
Those interested in contributing: Please mail links or pieces you have written, or
pictures you have taken to : email@example.com
Saturday, August 25, 2007
It happens only in India
“Kuch karna zaroori hai kya? Why cannot you be content to see what is happening around you? And anyway, what have you done so far that you think you can make a difference?” said one. “One person’s will or wanting it does not really matter when we are 6 billion of us clubbed together sharing the same resources,” said another. And that’s what it boils down to: Those who care, those who don’t and those who pretend they don’t give a damn. We’ve just reached the 60-years-of-Indepedence landmark; and yet some things really make me wonder if that figure means anything at all. Both good and bad things. We cannot answer if one person can make a difference. You see, because usually, for one person to make ANY difference, he/she needs MORE PEOPLE behind them. This is one start, hoping more would join.
In the time of superheroes, this country needs a Hero.
We are not it. We are the anti-heroes. Show allegiance, join in, we need more people to write here. Whenever you want to, or talk and share stories. A course in writing or workshop is not needed, just a will and a want are. Don't send friend requests. We don't care for friends. But we care for ideas. It is our country, and yours; and we are not bothered about those who don't care. Yet.THOSE WHO WANT TO MAIL ME STORIES, INSIGHTS, VIEWS OR PICTURES ON INDIA FOR THIS BLOG, MAIL AT: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will not let my auto-driver get on to the pavement today, or zigzag through traffic. That would be my contribution today. Yours?
The real reason behind road accidents in India are not malfunctioning traffic lights (when it rains and when it doesn’t), lack of road sense or general apathy to rules. It is Morons.
Like the morons who ride bikes and think that unless they stand two inches in front of the stop line, their peepees (PP, pyari penis) will shrink. To reach the beginning-of-the-line, they will zigzag through an already-constricted traffic, causing further confusion and much honking. THEN, in their excitement of having reached ahead, they will promptly twist the front tyre, lose control and fall, JUST as the light turns green. So that others either run him over or brake suddenly. Result: An accident.
Or, those morons, who immediately brake, right in the middle of oncoming traffic: To WATCH an altercation or fight happening on the side of the road. And they’re usually looking at the other side of the road. Or at girls standing at bus stops, or inside autorickshaws or are walking on the pavement. All this while, their bike’s noses will be right in your car’s backside, so that if you break, either the moron goes flying on to your bumper or lands on the road. Result: An accident.
And of course, those morons who think pavements are to pave their path for reaching ahead of others. If in India, NEVER walk on pavements: You are most likely to get killed there. (Thinks of certain film stars and big industrialist son’s practicing their obstacle driving skills on pavements…)
Or the coupled morons with her happily massaging his back and him craning his neck backwards to listen to her or blissful in the massage. To prolong their mutual pleasure, the coupled morons usually ride at 20 kph in the middle of heavy traffic, the other fast movers circling them, creating a sort of mid-traffic love island, honking like crazy, sending dirty looks… while our coupled morons ride on unaffected… Till someone either bumps into them or vice-versa. Result: An accident.
The bigger the crowd around an accident sight, the more likely it is to watch either a death scene or a fist-fight. It is REALLY funny, how Indians stop on their way – presumably to work or other important destinations – to watch an Accident Scenario. We have all the time in the world. No wonder productivity sucks.
But we hardly help. Because we like a good show, but don’t want to be part of it ourselves. Because we wonder what’s in it for us. Or how it would inconvenience us. Or perhaps, MOST of the time, we just don’t care. Tamasha hai, let’s watch. Yes, there are those who help etc; just don’t go expecting it. you don’t get miracles and change of character on a daily basis.