Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Twerpa the banker

Twerpa calls herself a banker. How she become one is a puzzling story altogether. Having neither the qualification nor the aptitude, she pulled strings with 'friends in high places' to get herself the opportunity - trumping so many others who, undoubtedly, would have been so much better at the job. And, deserving of it, too. As is characteristic of the ruling political party in this region, they would rather have their lackeys appointed to such offices than allow for a process that favours the professionally eligible, qualified, or the meritorious. 

Anyhow, it is interesting to see how Twerpa spends her work day and sets an example for professional excellence, something she takes immense pride in boasting about. She reaches work well past 10 in the morning and takes a good half hour or more to settle in. But, barely has she settled, a troop of her colleagues accost her, forming a phalanx around her, chattering inane gossip - more likely about the colour and style of their clothes, dinner the previous evening, or malice about an absent colleague. Never mind that there are a number of already exasperated customers patiently waiting in line, most of whom have travelled from far away places. Twerpa pays them no heed. Neither do her colleagues. To her, these customers are unimportant and troublesome distractions that incur on her precious time.

Juicy tittle-tattle now at its end, Twerpa irritatingly summons waiting customers and rudely inquires the reason for their visit - after all, these irksome pests need some telling off. How dare they congregate at the bank! It doesn't matter that they have some bothersome difficulty or gripping necessity that requires patient redressal. Twerpa's annoyance knows no bounds. She is loudly discourteous. These people forget that she is the one doing them a favour and not the other way around! With utter resentment writ large, she peers into her computer screen and lackadaisically clicks one key at a time using only one finger, while the other hand is busy navigating her cell phone, scrolling through dozens of WhatsApp forwards and endless groups that she is a part of. Even as she does this, she mumbles that she should be given a lifetime service award for her contributions. Exactly what her contributions have been, no one can tell.

But, in the midst of such a dreary day, Twerpa has some relief. The clock has just struck 01:00 PM. It is lunchtime and this comes as a huge consolation. Unperturbed by the swathes of people that have now formed a long line in front of her desk, Twerpa uproots herself from her chair with boundless energy and firmly places a desk sign that reads 'closed' and marches away, as if she has finally achieved victory from the excruciating torment that she has suffered through the morning. She certainly needs much deserved rest.

Speeding away on her scooter without bothering to wear a helmet, she reaches home in a matter of minutes. After all, lunch is a scared affair, which cannot be indulged in at the workplace. And, certainly no amount of work, however pressing, could interfere with this privilege. So, Twerpa spends more than a leisurely hour savouring her meal, while customers at the bank wait patiently not knowing if they would meet a responsible hand to tend to their requirements. Evidently, nothing of this concerns Twerpa who spends some more time at home, napping after an elaborate meal. Perhaps, this is her idea of work-life balance.

After what seems to be eternity, she returns to the bank. Even then, her disposition is not inclined to attend to customers who, by now, have spent most of the day waiting for the likes of her. She casually saunters off to her desk only after stopping over to meet and greet a few colleagues, at whose desks the conversation is about what they had for lunch.

For all the attitude and importance that Twerpa displays, her job is menial and does not require any creative effort or decision-making skills. She is required to update account statements and ledgers while managing a help-desk for customers who visit the bank. Something as trivial such as this, she is unable to perform even to the basic standards of customer satisfaction. Evidently, she is neither concerned nor makes the effort.

With a system that thrives on individuals grovelling and being toady, than being critically evaluated for their performance, or for the lack if it, Twerpa has not a thing to worry about. Her job is under no threat whatsoever. Neither will she be questioned for her conduct at work. Her friends in high places, equally incompetent and unproductive imbeciles, guarantee to shield her. Consequentially, Twerpa will have a comfortable job for a lifetime that will not require her to even make the slightest effort. And, in the end, she will walk away with fat pay-cheques, annual bonuses, endless perquisites, and a pension that she is entirely undeserving of. A whole host of other unmerited benefits apart, she enjoys a tonne of public holidays, annual leaves, and off-days caused by plenty of strikes that political buffoons so relentlessly impose. But, above all, the lack of accountability and responsibility must be the two most shining traits of Twerpa's job. Makes one wonder if we live in times where the customer is actually king or sin!

Monday, January 31, 2022

Whereabouts

Jhumpa Lahiri's Whereabouts is the reflection of a certain kind of life, which, you could say, is engagingly involved but detached, immersed, yet removed. A bold but guarded existence that is keen, observant, perceptive, and practical, living in bare reality, far from pretensions or wishful thinking. 

Set in an unnamed place, evidently in Italy, this is the story of the narrator who goes about her everyday living in the backdrop of her solitary life. Lahiri's expression of even some of the most elementary things, in a manner that is exquisite, yet simple, makes for wonderful reading - often allowing the reader to plunge into some sort of recollection and escape, contemplating how life was or would have been under similar conditions. But, above all, it is hugely refreshing to the mind, to be able to induce a calm sense of detachment and freedom from the mundaneness of human existence, although that is not overtly conveyed in any sense.

The dominant theme of the narrative, recounted in first person, is a focus on the passage of life itself, that is fleeting, complete with everyday occurrences, beautifully described, often with limited words, yet, in a tastefully appealing manner, surely to have a lasting impact on any perceptive mind. It is an incredibly powerful portrayal of how life is transcendental and that the nature of events is momentary and fading, without lasting consequence.

Even so, it has everything in it - love, the lack of it, romance, desire, deceit, age and its effect, vulnerability, emotions, people and their interactions, and so on. What it does not restrict itself or follow is a certain structure or form. Instead, one finds immense freedom and relief in the manner in which the story is recounted, knowing that there are no fixed destinations to arrive at or people to go to. There is a deep sense of liberation in that thought.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Dumblore Cottage

Dumblore Cottage stood mid-way on a lofty hill surrounded by tall Pine, Oak, and Eucalyptus trees. Nestled in a beautiful setting, this place was home for a brief while. The owner, a certain Mr. Fickle Henpeckshaw must be credited for picking what he must have thought was a swanky colonial name for his drab property. That, he did, decades before organized builders adopted the trend for their expensive, fashionable apartments, littered across India's large metropolitan cities.

But, Mr. Henpeckshaw can be offered no more praise. It is very likely that he chose the name by sheer accident, given his comprehension, or, more likely, the lack of it. For Dumblore was no more than an incongruous, ugly monstrosity, covered in wretched pale-yellow paint giving it a thoroughly distasteful appearance. On the inside, the onslaught of this reeking pale-yellow had a more pronounced and nauseating effect in the form of an uglier, cheap mosaic floor that ran across the entirety of the house. The only two things that were of any positive consequence were the wicket gate and the gravel-filled walkway that lay covered with pine leaves most part of the year.

The Henpeckshaws were an unpleasant and boisterous lot. Mrs. Henpeckshaw, who heaved herself across the grounds, with some difficulty, even at the most odd, ungodly hours, was particularly snooty and cold. On sunny mornings, she would be sprawled on her 'favourite' rusted armchair, bawling out long lists of inane instructions to whoever appeared in her presence. The old bat would be seen flapping about without purpose as if her sole intent was to cause discomfort. She was not unlike a medieval vassal to whom the title of being landlady automatically meant being irksome to those who set foot in her property. Quite naturally, she was disliked by all. I suspect by her family, too.

And then, there were the children. Noisy, uncouth mongrels. All three of them. With their funny names or whatever else that they were always yelled at to be brought to attention, even if for a moment.They ensured that every gathering, however important or otherwise, was quickly turned into an utterly disorderly circus. Keep away from the madness was the generally accepted, but unspoken perception.

But, Rosy, the dog, was a class apart. Pleasant and fine-mannered, like a well-schooled lass, she was the only solace that came from that crude lot. She was full of love and you could be assured of a very warm greeting whenever you met her. There were no ulterior motives. An incredibly loving soul in a terribly soiled world, you could say. But, then, so are most dogs, if not all. One can hardly meet a human being who is dog-like. And, for that reason, one's faith in pooch-kind remains undamaged. In saying so, I do not speak only for myself, I can be certain.

Mr. Henpackshaw was rather inconsequential. He was comical in his appearance. Clad in ill-fitting baggy trousers and a dull gray sweater that sagged upto his knees, the old carthorse could be seen trudging about with his filthy cloth bag. But, no one paid any attention. Neither did he demand any. He had no mind of his own. Almost any question put to him would be met with the stony "I will tell you later." That was his stock phrase. One needn't have been intelligent to surmise that it was Mrs. Henpeckshaw who did all the thinking. He was only vocalizing her opinion. That was all he was permitted to do, other than, of course, running errands, paying the bills, and grocery shopping.

The Henpeckshaws received no visitors. They weren't the hospitable kind. Although, you couldn't say the same of Rosy, the dog. Almost anyone who ventured into the property got a sound yelling from Mrs. Henpeckshaw. It appeared that was her only motive in life. Even the dutiful postman was not spared. The tenants got it, too. I suppose everyone got used to the spectacle or simply put up with it. After all, no one wanted to fight the eccentric, old maniac. So, they let it be. The annoying twerp milling about with no purpose or consequence.

Our stay was brief and lasted no more than a year, when we found ourselves moving to another place we called home. But, that brief interlude of passage spent at Dumblore was formative, although it is the mighty blue hills and the wonderful trees that I will remember and cherish most. And, Rosy, too.

Nearly forty years have passed since. It would be a gross understatement to say that times have changed. They have, indeed. So have the topography and the landscape. The new has become old more than many times. The past is barely discernible. There are few people or elements that share this bygone era that now lingers in only in memory. Of the few that exist, they are scattered far and wide, unsure of meeting in the future. Perhaps, not inclined, too. Disconnected, you could say.

But, there's nothing that will fade the recollection of Dumblore. Not even the vagaries of time or the savageness of life. Nestled in a misty hill that has been pillaged endlessly and its remains conditioned for  countless monstrosities that have since cropped up, Dumblore still stands firm in my memory, as an icon, defiant in the face of changing times, as a momentary escape to fight life's passage, in an attempt to preserve something that is now lost forever, yet inconsequential. You may call this romanticizing the past. But, since when was being romantic a bad idea?

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The tales of sordid Sinpra

Sinpra was an English teacher. Exactly how she became one remains a mystery beyond any measure of comprehension. It simply defies logic. Her capabilities are non-existent and her qualifications dubious. For the teaching profession, that is. And, there are plenty who would vouch, under oath, that she hadn't once held a Wren & Martin in her hands, let alone teach or even read from one. Of course, it is doubtful if she knows what Wren & Martin is.

It is surely a matter of great fortune that Sinpra has retired after long years in teaching, a profession for which she had neither the inclination nor the aptitude. Mercifully, a whole crop of students now stand to be spared of her ineptitude. But, what a whole lot of others had to endure being her students is so shameful that the only reparation lies in her being prosecuted for criminal delinquency, negligence, misdemeanour, and a host of other related charges. It can well be reckoned, without an iota of doubt, that she, along with her kind of shamefully incompetent teachers, may have well caused the present state of unemployability among the youth in India. The present state of public discourse and intellectual bankruptcy are other similar such fall-outs. If these are not crimes worthy of severe punishment, then I do not know what else is.

But, before you hee-haw about the severity of my accusations, here are somethings for you to consider. It is "estimated that 33% educated youth in India are unemployed due to lack of future-ready skills, despite obtaining a degree. Over 53% of the respondents also confessed that they were unable to find the job of their choice. Almost 75% said that training in futuristic skills could have helped them in bolstering their professional career." [Source: ImaginXP]

Anyhow, this post isn't about India's plaguing employability problem or some shining quick-fix to make things better. I could go on and on about supposedly educated or qualified people who cannot put together two sentences of any language to make sense about what they intend to communicate. However, this post is about Sinpra and her aptitude, or better still, the lack of it.

Sinpra's letters are comical or tragic. Or both, depending upon how you would want to look at it. She almost always doesn't begin with any salutation. There are no dates either, presumably due to the foolhardy notion that contemporary letter writing, even of the utmost formal kinds, does not require any dates to be mentioned. And, then, there is her spewing that comes with either no punctuation at all or so full of them in all the wrong places. Decoding the garbage she produces in the form of sentences is evidently far more complicated than the efforts of Alan Turing and his group of code-breakers who broke the Enigma during the Second World War. 

On one occasion, when she declared the passing away of a relative who lived in a far off place, some of us struggled to comprehend the facts, lost in the appalling nonsense of her lingo, bewildered and wondering if it was the person in question, their spouse, or the place that had actually passed away!

Sinpra is the kind you would call 'WhatsApp Queen' or 'Chancellor of the WhatsApp/Facebook University' - the abhorrent kinds who would unfailingly and relentlessly inundate you with ludicrous forwards imploring you not to ignore them and to continue circulating them onward. Just how an entire generation of people seem to be hooked on to this despicable activity, on an everyday basis, is difficult to comprehend.

For every retired or banished Sinpra, there are hundreds more that emerge. Crawling like vermin, deep and high into the echelons of a tired and superfluous system that requires urgent reform, if our future generations would have to find any place in an increasingly competitive world. 

But, these deadwood Sinpras that infest our systems will fight tooth and nail to avoid any reform or even the slightest mention of it. How else could they survive and thrive? Other than by keeping alive an unmeritorious ecosystem of dimwitted non-performers who have callous and scant regard for their profession or the consequences of their actions. Ever notice maggots feasting on rotting flesh or flies gorging on fecal matter?

Friday, January 01, 2021

Forever, Dad!

 

It is widely accepted that by the time you realize your father was right, you would have a child who thinks you are wrong. Fortunately, for me, I did not have to get that far.While I would not lament too much on the supreme merits of a father's counsel or wisdom, I must acknowledge how that counsel and wisdom have benefitted me enormously over the course of my life. It is nothing short of a blessing to have been protected and cared for by someone so wise, in a manner so unique and unconditional. Or, very special, might I add.
 

It is now more than twenty days since our beloved father passed away. The void that he leaves behind is incomprehensible. It is also painfully unbearable. But, knowing the eternal truth, that one must pass over, is comforting in some small measure.
 

Our perspectives were very different. He based his life on empathy and compassion, I drive mine on the basis of practicality and purpose. We were poles apart. He was a reservoir of patience, while I am in a perpetual sense of hurry. He was accommodating, I am questioning. He found no fault, while I find fault even in perfection. But, the beacon of my life - driven by a sense of integrity and commitment - is a gift due to his doing. He taught me to be kind, compassionate, loving, and forgiving, even when there was no necessity. And, this is what made him larger than life. Above all else, if I am endowed with a sense of being non-judgemental, it remains entirely due to his perseverance. While I had scant tolerance, or regard, for his sense of unconditional humility, something he was so famously known for, I realize how much he valued humanity as a whole, regarding it as part of him and as a larger part of where he belonged. He is the closest that I will ever know of someone who had perfect harmony in what he thought, believed, and conducted. It is, I reckon, not possible for me to attain such a position of nobility!
 

This heartfelt account is by no means a eulogy or a tribute. I would like to see it as a memoir, a tiny recollection of such a vast and nearly faultless life, of service, duty, commitment, persistence, perseverance, and integrity, all of these in extraordinary measure, even during the most trying circumstances. Character, he defined, in an outstandingly saintly manner, is what one would do when one were not witnessed.
 

As I haltingly write this clumsy piece of prose, I am exceedingly in a position to question my own self, my life, my being, my existence - as to whether I would ever be half the person that he so easily was. I could only wish.
 

Truth is that I do not know where I would begin. There's so much, I know, that lies ahead and so much that has come to pass. If anything, I am extremely grateful for his stewardship and for the gift of his person. I know life would never be the same again. In the end, we have lost his form, not his person. And, I am immensely comforted by the memories of our togetherness and love, which will endure well into time.
 

For an incredibly proud and timeless legacy of truth, justice, and steadfast uprightness, thank you, Dad. You are forever. Rest in peace.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Are we Human?


Apart from the debilitating impact of the pandemic, globally, and in India, there is a larger crisis that is unfolding, here at home. One that so many of us are comfortably unaware of, as we whine and groan about the discomforts caused to us during the lockdown - even as we are comfortably holed up in our homes, treated to good fare and privileges.

Perhaps, never before, in our history, have we considered, acknowledged, or actually cared for the economically backward of our populace. Today, as an emergency unfolds, we are faced with a grim reality of the haves and the have-nots - of us and them.

So, as scores of us purportedly turn advisors, healthcare experts, newsmakers, and whatnot, on Facebook and other social media platforms, millions of migrant workers across the nation are grappling with what is a catastrophe of unparalleled scale and proportion - loss of income, food shortages, locked down in unfamiliar lands far from home, and a very grim and uncertain future concerning their livelihoods. As if those were not already enough, there is an exodus of migrants seeking to go back to their hometowns - almost often through extreme hardships - by foot, bicycles, and so on. Sadly, many of them do not make it to the end of their journeys.

If the stark images of a weeping Ram Pukar Pandit (the man from Begusarai, Bihar, who lost his son and was unable to make it for his funeral) and those of a mother dragging her child on a wheeled bag do not move you, I don't know what else will.

We are once again presented with stark realities of how unequal and divided we are as a nation. While a lot of us are enjoying our privileges and ensconced in a comfortable life, whiling away time to weather this storm, there is, evidently, a much larger section of people who cannot afford even the very basic necessities that you and I are so commonly and casually entreated to. Should this be a cause for concern? Well, it should be much more than that.

Such is the utilitarian demand for this body of people that our infrastructure, housing, sanitation, transportation, and a whole slew of other services that have and continue to benefit us have been due to the tiresome labour of these folks. I wouldn't be mistaken, therefore, to say that our economy is significantly supported by this echelon of people. It is estimated that a staggering 150 million people are migrant workers, far from the place they call home - only so that they can afford a square meal and seek hope in harshly painful uncertainty.

Now to explain to some hallowed souls why this rant of a post - Over the last few days images and videos of people scrambling about, scuffling and fighting to steal biscuits, wafers, and the likes have gone viral. Several armchair activists have been quick to guffaw and lambaste "the pathetic and immoral lot" and seek to educate them about values and decency. Twitter and Facebook are awash with advice and opinions on how these people, "these looters", should be treated and appropriately punished. Educated, erudite, and supposedly evolved people being volubly critical about the actions of a people who have been desperate, pushed to the edge, suffering in untold ways, and robbed of dignity. And, here were are, preaching morality and decency from the comforts of our homes, unaffected or unmoved by any measure of a tragedy that continues to unfold all around us. Our only concern, it seems, is to ride the moral high horses, as if were are a virtuous lot, free from blemish, of any sort. What a shame!

We may never experience anything close to the difficulties that some people are put through in life. And, mercifully so. But, how has our sense of empathy been so hard to find? Or did we ever have any compassion in us, at all? Or is it that we think that it is the burden of a certain section of people to slave-labour for the rest of us to thrive?

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

Monday, August 20, 2018

Marooned in Kerala

The scale of any tragedy can only be estimated. One could never possibly imagine the colossal scale of impact. Therefore, it is useless to pretend that one is able to. The situation in Kerala is no different.

Even as I write this, I cannot comprehend that over 661,000 people are presently displaced and there is a looming threat to thousands more. Over 350 people have lost their lives, and the destinies of their families have changed forever. Across the state are hastily organized relief camps where people are coming to terms with the misfortune that has befallen them. Over 200,000 people have taken refuge in over 1,500 relief camps across 14 districts of Kerala. As report after report streams in, the distressing picture of a state in misery is inescapable. It is also unparalleled and unprecedented.

And, during these distressing times, emerge heroic tales of compassion and selflessness. Men in uniform brave walls of water to ensure that lives are safe and the extent of the tragedy is mitigated, while ordinary men and women, fisherfolk and good samaritans, without any means, training, equipment, or comfort, comb neighbourhoods, night and day, to ensure a diligent and concerted search and rescue process, often disregarding grave perils to their own lives!

However, Kerala's woes are only beginning. Roads, bridges, and public infrastructure have been ruined. It is estimated that 10,000 kms of roads are damaged and require rebuilding. The scale of damage caused to houses across hundreds of villages and towns is unfathomable. Scores of villages lie inundated in water and debris, without power, communication systems, or access to relief measures. Essential supplies including provisions, potable water, medicines, fuel, food, clothing, beddings, etc., are in short supply. Corpses of dead animals lie littered in water, threatening an outbreak of disease and infection. The state of healthcare infrastructure to respond to the aftereffects of this tragedy cannot be immediately assessed. Entire plantations of cash crops lie devastated. The state government has pegged the economic loss at a staggering Rs. 195 billion (Rs. 19, 512 crores). These losses continue to mount even as I write this. The human cost and emotional impact of this tragedy are far from being calculable.

But, this outpouring of mine should not be construed as an abridged version of news reports. It isn't. Elsewhere, lately, there have been noises of the not so nice kind. It is being propagated that this tragedy has befallen us since we are lowly, immoral, and unholy 'beef-eaters', besides being utterly ungodly and uncivilized in desiring that our women be allowed the basic essential (not privilege) of equality to worship a Lord Ayyappa, who it seems, according to the archaic beliefs of some people, desires only male patronage! It is futile, I know, to reason with nitwits whose intellectual disabilities do not permit them to comprehend cultural beliefs outside of their own tiny and seemingly important realms of existence, that they glorify as being the holy grail of living. No, that is not how this tragedy has come about. Not due to the wrath of gods, nor in the consumption of the holy cow. But, yes, due to a blatant disregard for the environment, and the proximate cause being the incessant downpour that has struck us mercilessly and unabated for months. But, this is not the time for a post-mortem. Not yet. There will be agencies, bodies, and commissions of enquiry, established exclusively for that purpose. They will, in turn, determine, rightfully so, that beef, gods, and religion have nothing to do with floods and natural disasters. However, I'm not sure if that inference would satisfy those relics steeped in mindless and medieval attitudes. There is simply no cure for foolishness and the rest of us have little choice but to endure the pain of sharing the world with such imbeciles. However, mercifully, such dim-witted, gormless, and unintelligent voices are not the reflection of the population at large. They are isolated and individual at best.

Now, it is imperative that I state the purpose of this write-up. It is, as I mentioned before, not the summary of news reports to aggregate facts and figures. Neither is it an opinion to counter the mindless voices of some severely disordered who continue to attribute wildly insane reasons to the cause of this grave tragedy that has struck millions. This post is to express gratitude to nations and people who, from far and wide, across the boundaries of cultures, borders, and religions, have stood with us in solidarity during our time of grief and misery. Your support in gesture, kind, and capital are acts of kindness that we shall, forever, remain indebted and grateful for. It has reaffirmed in us, once again, that during calamity, we can stand together as one, to shoulder each other, in exactly the manner which is expected of us. During these trying times, we are witness to extraordinary feats of courage and selflessness by ordinary people whose zeal and zest allow us the gift of life. Armies of volunteers, military and medical personnel, government officials, and ordinary people continue to brave incomprehensible dangers to ensure that further lives are not lost. This is a true reflection of the unequivocally positive nature of the human spirit and its endeavour. It is this gift that keeps us alive, literally! But, Kerala is in need of a whole lot more. There is so much that needs to be done and we could do our bit, in our own way. No act of kindness is small, inconsequential, or insignificant.

As the moral and social philosopher, Erich Hoffer once said, "the hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." That is what I find myself doing today, an atheist in prayer, one who is counting his blessings for the fortune that he continues to enjoy.

If you are in an affected zone, here is how you can request for help: https://keralarescue.in/request/ 

To contribute in kind, please see https://keralarescue.in/reg_contrib/ 

To contribute to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund, please see https://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/ 

Important Announcements on the Floods in Kerala: https://keralarescue.in/announcements/ 

A list of relief camps across Kerala: https://keralarescue.in/relief_camps_list 

Relief Camp Requirements: https://keralarescue.in/camp_requirements/ 

List of Registered Requests (District-wise): https://keralarescue.in/requests/?district= 

District Needs & Collection Centers: https://keralarescue.in/district_needs/ 

Register as Volunteer: https://keralarescue.in/volunteer/ 

NGO/Company Registration for Volunteering: https://keralarescue.in/NGO/ 

District level point of contacts: https://keralarescue.in/contactus/ 

Map view of Relief Resources and Flooded Streets: https://keralarescue.in/map-view/ 

Google Person Finder (Kerala Floods): https://google.org/personfinder/2018-kerala-flooding 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Better Tomorrow

Nothing defines India better than its agrarian identity. It seems reasonably agreeable to see agriculture and India as being synonymous. Agriculture, in India, can rightfully be considered as being among the oldest professions that exist. History teaches us that the practice of agriculture, in India, dates back to well beyond the times of the Indus valley civilization. This is our strength. This is also our identity. Although, it will be judicious to state that it is not our only identity.

It is no small measure of success that our country ranks 2nd, in the world, in terms of agricultural produce. This is by no means an accident. It is the result of generations of hard-working, well-meaning families, who have toiled, in the face of indescribable adversity. To understand that a staggering 120 countries are beneficiaries of Indian agricultural exports is a fact that should, and does, bring immense and eternal pride. It is also powerfully humbling.

But, that is not all. Even in the face of a rapidly decelerating share of contribution to the GDP, agriculture contributes 17.32% with a Gross Value Add (GVA) of Rs. 23.82 lakh crore. If that is a number that appears bewildering and beyond comprehension, allow the effect to sink in. Hell yes, it certainly is incomprehensible! Some of us nouveau, entitlement-willed, math-whiz, logic-driven, page 3 aspirant corporate honchos who do not understand the magnitude of that number - I suggest we open up an online converter that will throw up the dollar equivalent that shall perhaps help us break it down, to the limited connotation of our perception, and assist in understanding the enormity of what it accounts for.

And, while you do so, here is something else that you would like to know: No doubt, India is witnessing a never-before transformation that is changing the landscape of this nation, in ways that were never thought of before. With it comes a massive change in its ethos and demographics. Never before has that been more evident, than it is today. We live in an India where the fashionable persuasions of professions (and disciplines) such as Information Technology and Banking & Financial Services (to name only two of many influencers) have transfigured new-age living to whole new dimensions and possibilities. Well, good, indeed. That surely is the social measure of progress that a vast majority of urban India frenetically yearns to become part of. Certainly, nothing wrong with that. But know this; even while we pontificate about automation and robotics as trends and drivers heralding the next big wave of industry transformations, agriculture accounts for 50% of our workforce. That's some 600 million people across the country. Or 8.87% of world population. Could there be a bigger employer? Perhaps, yes. But, I do not know of it. Neither do I care. What I do know is the obvious - that a vast majority of the Indian workplace cannot and will not be defined as being swanky, temperature-controlled, piped-music ambient, artistically charactered offices that are nestled in monstrously vertical spaces towering into our skies. So, while a great many of us go to work in these classy, upmarket locales, we must not forget that we are only a minuscule populace, if not altogether a negligible lot that exists. We are not a representation of India's progress. We are only an example. A tiny example, at that. It can be estimated (because I have not found updated statistics) that India's arable land-bank aggregates to about 159.7 million hectares (or 394.6 million acres). This is second only to the United States. The stark abjectness of what is Indian couldn't be more saddening than it is today. Surely, we couldn't be more divided - or different!

However, all of that pales in the face of some of our most debilitating problems there are. And, that begins in attempting to comprehend the plight of the Indian farmer. Surely, no one would be more quintessentially Indian than the Indian farmer. Or so, I think - much to the dismay of so many who would fire up a discourse on how our society has existentially been plural and illustrious of individuals with diverse occupations. While we debate, I would like to point out that no class of people have, in India, been more undervalued for their contribution than the Indian farmer. How, you would ask. I only have to tell you about the debt-ridden, compensation-starved, pitiful state of the farming community in India. Could there be a more pronounced state of irony than the fact that the very people who produce food in such volumes are forced a life of starvation and pittance, without adequate recompense? If you have the slightest measure of empathy, you will agree that I'm being mighty charitable in my illustration. Make no mistake, though. My description is a reflection of my ignorance. The situation is frightfully dire and more atrocious than we can possibly fathom. Downfalls in remunerative prices of commodities, woeful cash crunches (thanks to measures such as demonetization), problems related to marketing and selling, and a general slowdown of the agricultural sector apart, it would be handy to know that over 13,000 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2014-15 (No information pertaining to 2016-17 is available since the National Crime Records Bureau is enjoying an onset of summer slumber). And if that wasn't appalling enough, it was ascertained (in 2014) by the National Sample Survey Organisation, that the average monthly income of an Indian agriculture household, in 2012, was Rs 6,426 (Yes, you guessed right - the NSSO, like the NCRB, likes to work between its slumber).

So, when 35,000 weary, tired, and forlorn souls marched into India's megapolis - our lieu déterminé for everything finance, trade, and commerce, we could be absolutely certain that they did so to demonstrate the plight of their deprivation than the collective abilities of their potential. And, in doing so, they couldn't have been more mindful and decent. I might also add, among other things, their ability, in the face of suffering, to be human. Recognizing that the timing of their march coincided with ongoing school-leaving examinations, (that have long been a source of punishing strain to the student community, more for their outcomes which have lasting social implications), they decided to trudge along during the night, to make their arrival inconsequential and not obstructing to the city's functioning. Consequently, there were no disruptions - not one incident, which is so uncharacteristic of a protest, of any protest.

Mercifully, we, as a people, rare as it may seem, invoked wisdom and exercised restrained in not resorting to any callous, lofty, moral, and virtuous preachings that 'such actions of the uneducated and the uncivilized were unwarranted and detrimental to normal living.' Mumbai, on its part, known and loved so much for its resilience and compassion, despite its breakneck, unbroken pace (which is the stuff of legend), welcomed them heartily, offering them a place in what is proximate to the ultimate seat of its executive power. This, to me, is the perfect reflection of Indian ethos. What followed, was, indisputably, a triumph of our democratic values and traditions. The government's accession and the subsequent calling off of the protest are glorious examples of human success. More importantly, they reflect the application of wisdom in the most appropriate measure - in the hope for a better tomorrow.

May history evidence this to become a precedent of sorts, a testimony of our ability to accord significance to our priorities. But, at a more personal level, may this also be an opportunity to express a debt of gratitude to those millions out there, whose thankless job it has been to ensure that we have been well fed.

Monday, February 19, 2018

India's National Newspaper

Two things prominently stand out from my childhood – the Nilgiris (the blue mountains of Ooty) and The Hindu. India’s national newspaper, is for me, a memory that transcends time. It is, as it has always been, very timeless.

My association with the paper began while in school, when my father, ever diligent in his efforts to inculcate in me an early practise to begin reading, sought me, every day, to spend a few minutes, to read a small portion of any front-page news-item. I was required to identify five words, which weren’t known to me, and refer his red, bound, ‘Oxford English Dictionary’ to obtain their meanings. For a restless adolescent, this was a problematic affair. And, a particularly uninteresting one.

However, some of the most gripping incidents of childhood and teenage years, I read from The Hindu. The paper, to me, seems synonymous with the breaking-news culture of present-day television news programming (although, looking back, I must say that the quality of reportage was different by galactical proportions and could possibly never be compared with the shite of these days). Many an account, good and bad, have since been associated with their dutiful, unfailing bearer. In many ways, it also was my connection to the world outside, offering an uninterrupted glimpse of people and places I couldn’t readily comprehend.

Slowly, I was enamoured by the fascinating writings of Art Buchwald, Palagummi Sainath, Paul Krugman, Chinmaya Gharekhan, and Bibek Debroy – to mention only a few. Growing up, it didn’t matter, nor was it evident to me, that the paper carried a heavily tilted leftist bias, compounded with attitudes such as pro-Chinese, pro-Sinhalese, pro-Gandhi dynasty, and what not!

My first brush with India’s entirely ‘page 3’ newspaper, (whose name I shall dutifully refuse to pronounce, which also appropriately, and ironically, reflects the depressing times that we live in presently), came about in 1997, when my meandering took me from home, for the very first time. Immensely popular, especially for its bollywood-trivia and intensely salacious style of story-telling, it was voraciously consumed en masse. Blasphemy in colour – or so, I thought!

Suddenly, The Hindu, even with its unrivalled mastery of the English language and celebrated journalistic expression, seemed old-fashioned. Its readers were looked down upon as relics from a pre-historic past. An increasing lot, who had not the slightest inkling of what class-act journalism looked like, pontificated, at length, about how the paper was ‘overrated’.

But, was the paper losing appeal? Or, was it becoming the preserve of a very select group of readers? Was sensation becoming a mass requirement? Evidently, it was not everyone’s newspaper. And, with its limited availability, its circulation and readership, it was no match for its wildly popular tabloid rival. Even though the paper made progress, it lacked a national presence – in a very big way. And, then, the coverage – or the lack of it. While other papers offered sections of news pertinent to a whole range of subjects, oftentimes properly categorized for easy and quick consumption, The Hindu continued its focus on a very limited range of topics.

Could the paper do something to keep up with changing times? Absolutely. Should it change fundamentally in doing so? Absolutely not!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Putting Pen to Paper

Sometimes, somethings take a lifetime.

A few days ago, on a whim, I did something I hadn't done for a very long time. Strolling into a stationery shop, I bought myself a bottle of ink. Whether it is to make good on a lifetime of deplorable handwriting, or to be able to revisit a time and an age that is most cherished, I wouldn't know - but, the feeling was one of monumental excitement and enthusiasm.

Diligently washing and cleaning a modest collection of fountain pens that hadn't seen light in more than a decade, I felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, a powerful, gripping recollection of the past. A torrent of memories arrived, unleashed, as if freed forever, from a dark, deep abyss, that had contained and restrained them for what seemed a measure of eternity.

And, then, the words poured, haltingly at first, then steadily, as if they had been reassured of a definite indestructible path, until, in the accompanying of their joyous arrival, the outpouring reached a celebration of sorts - words lending form to thoughts emancipated from their cavernous hold, where they lay concealed and buried, strangled and lifeless, forgotten and consigned, until the chance action out of an impulse had finally set them free.

Truly, somethings take a lifetime.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Rock Me Tonite

Anyone who has followed rock music and its progression has most certainly understood, recognized, and celebrated Billy Squier, for his immensely popular music thematic to a more softer yet inherently contrasting loudness, contained together, that has since been classified as the genre known as 'arena rock.'

It has undoubtedly become a cultural inflexion in the evolution of yesteryear music - often standing out as a milestone that signalled the advent of a whole new age.

In the words of historian Gary Donaldson, who comes closest to describing the phenomenon, as being 'big hair, big voices, and really big guitars', this new form resulted in musical reactions like never before and rightly spawned subcultures that changed the social definition of onstage-performance, style, and appearances that now remain immortalized and often revered.

Little wonder that the period of the 80s is still considered the golden era of the new rock movement that gave rise to an army of names who would go on to establish themselves as influential and admired voices earning legendary fame and cult status.

But, I digress.

This is not about the style or genre, neither is it about the metamorphosis that came about so famously. It is more personal, actually. And, that is the recollection of the 1984 super hit, 'Rock me tonite', which, for me, is the 'truest' and the most absolute hallmark of Squier. Apart from of course the wonderful energy and electric tempo that this track so richly demonstrates and evokes, it is also in many ways the transformation of the artist - to embrace the then-emerging phenomenon that was known as techno-pop, the result that can at best be described as the fusion between the output of elegant guitaring and a new wave of electronic sound.

Critics may argue, and rightfully so, that this was a milestone that signalled the end for Squier - thanks in part due to the original video that portrayed, or rather sought to associate, a hideously stereotypical gay-theme with the rampant drug culture that seemed, at the time, most acceptable socially - perhaps to categorize and justify the typification. But, make no mistake, the adverse reception wasn't for the portrayal of a community as much as it was for the heavily laden homoeroticism that instantly put distance between Squier and his audience who almost univocally called out that "he's gay and he's on drugs."

But, I'm no critic. I'd like to think of myself as a music-buff to whom Squier's music, 'Rock me tonite' in particular, has appealed in a very big way. And, one line in the track, expresses the most descriptive of my feelings, when I listen to it, that "you feel the blood poundin' way down inside."

Monday, January 29, 2018

On the Nature of Daylight

Max Richter is a very gifted being. If being a musician isn't beatific enough, he makes the sort of music that cannot quite be catalogued as belonging to any particular genre. The outcome of his pursuit is much beyond music; it is a certain substitute for language itself, the kind of expression that requires little articulation, in comparison to the burdensome semantics of any language, but can be understood clearly and instantly. His work has a certain subliminal effect of appealing to the innermost self as an intensely powerful substance that can evoke a multitude of feelings - truly rapturous and capable of consigning the beholder to faraway worlds and places that have no names or directions. Yet, that is merely the beginning.

The tone of his music plumbs depths that are deeper than the fathomless, the undiscernable. Profound and penetrating, in so many ways, and so much beyond description, there is considerable evenness, and yet the avoidance of any obvious structure or form, causing cataclysmic euphoria, like nothing else. While there is a very steady pulse, often throughout each piece, the distinction lies in the absence of any strong culmination. It causes the beholder to remain in a zone of the eternal. Perhaps, this is a very conscious effort to render it formless or minimalistic, and yet enormously evocative and haunting.

But what is most characteristic of Richter's music is not the music, it is the sensation of it - the undefined and yet permanent effect of the ephemeral, or the transient nature of feelings and emotions that it so skillfully causes to examine. Like a déjà vu, a deeply intuitive experience that is familiar only for a brief moment and is soon incomprehensible.

In creating what he has, Richter has ventured beyond limits of the classical and the postmodern, and his work, often interspersed, is a demonstration of his creative brilliance. However, that is the material part. What lies beyond is how his music seeks to offer a perspective, to the mind, to experience passions and sentiments as they are called upon by the notes and the hues, the feeling of the indescribable, the observation of memories, the trail of thoughts, and a glimpse of the unknown, of what is perhaps consciousness itself.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

With Winter Gone

The notion of normality or the purpose to seek normalcy is perhaps the biggest undoing of our lives. It is a hideous fallacy. Nothing is normal. There is no state of normalcy. Normalcy can at best be defined as a state of inertia or inertness - 'as having no inherent power of action, motion, or resistance.' Normalcy is also perhaps indicative of the only kind of certainty there is - that of mortality.

In truth, there is only change, the transcendental, the evolutionary. The human mind, linear, and morbidly fearful that it is, refuses to accept this ultimate truth. It goes as far as even rejecting it and drumming down all notions that contradict the acceptable. Not surprising then to see how people, collectives, and organizations spend a lifetime defining structures, systems, and processes in a quest to attain a normal state of being. Our institutions and social systems are built on this premise - contrived by linear beliefs and ignorant or disregarding of contrast. Consequently, so much of life is unseen, unknown, and unexplored. Worse, life is oft lived in a state of not being able to deal with life itself!

The intricacies of our lives are aplenty. They come in all forms and dimensions - overt, subtle, or unseen. But, they are there nevertheless. We don't see it, though, for we are consumed in defining our lives in the paradigm of what is normal and acceptable. In keeping with the need to exact purpose, form, and structure, we are caught in a compulsion to see and define things as being absolute, normal, and complete, as a means, as the ultimate.

The truth couldn't be further from this. The truth is that life is dynamic, as momentary as the clouds in the sky, and as formless as the river that runs its course.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Birds of Paradise

It is late in the afternoon. As I sit on the porch to savour this beautiful moment of calm stillness, soaking in the intensely beautiful greenery all around, a lot of movements catch my eye. It is magical and picturesque, to say the least - like a silent motion picture abuzz with countless characters in perfect harmony. With the sun preparing its descent, long creeping shadows fall across the expanse. There is a mild breeze, and it is quite cold this winter day. What appears to be a Honey Buzzard, one of the many species of raptors found in this region, circles overhead calling out intently, mimicking the cry of a kitten. A restless pair of Racket-tailed Drongos flitter about trying to catch insects mid-flight, putting up a spectacular dance of sorts in the air. Warblers, colourful and in plenty, hop about in unison, like a well-choreographed troupe of performers milling about to silent orchestration. Scaly-breasted Munias, an entire community of them, have descended on the wayward grassy patch, diligently scouring it and feeding on grass seeds.

Not far away, a pair of Sunbirds flitter about on the bushy Hibiscus plant, constantly hovering about near the flowers and drilling tiny holes on them in a dexterous effort to extract nectar. Surely, modern-day aviation must have designed the intricacies of mid-air refuelling, learning the ropes from these wonderful birds. A Vernal Hanging Parrot arrives to perch on a Banana plant. For a moment, it does absolutely nothing except to slowly tilt its head in a comical motion. Having satisfied itself, it ambles its way, rather clumsily, to the large unripe cluster of fruits. However, the fruits are not its objective. The heart-shaped crimson-coloured inflorescence, or the 'banana-heart', is what this creature is after. Settling down on the edge in a precarious balance, it begins a meticulous process of tearing away the bracts and extracting nectar.

Meanwhile, on the Silver Oak tree, a family of Scarlet Minivets, bright orange and yellow, are milling about, hopping across branches. They are not alone! Unperturbed by their going about, a flock of Magpie Robins dart to the ground below and make off to the tree, with insects, where they can devour them. It appears to be some sort of a merry-go-round with these radiant white and black creatures jumping about and flying back to their perches of safety and repeating themselves endlessly. Elsewhere, a funny looking White-cheeked Barbet descends on a Papaya tree and investigates the possibility of cutting up a fruit. But, the tender fruit is not ripe yet and the bird abandons its endeavour and flies away, perhaps to locate another possibility.

The neighbouring coffee estate abounds with hectic activity. A Greater Coucal is noisily foraging in the undergrowth. It hops about in a very unbirdlike manner and its striking red eyes stare at me ominously before satisfying itself of the inconsequential nature of my being. Not far away, an extended family of noisy Red-whiskered and Black-collared Bulbuls are enjoying themselves in the bird bath. Vying ardently to secure a moment longer at the bath, they fight and scramble among themselves causing a roisterous ruckus, while a more gentle and well-mannered pair of spotted doves walk about on the courtyard, nibbling scattered grain. And, there are sparrows! Where couldn't they be! A crew of sparrows has perched assertively on prime spots of real-estate - the bushy juvenile Mango tree in the courtyard, the White Bauhinia, the electricity line, and wherever 'sparrowly' possible. From their vantage sit-out, they scurry about to gather grain or seeds and aggressively drive away all competition - often, many times their size!

But, unbeknown to them all is a pair of intent eyes, regarding every move with malevolent glare and discerning these happenings as if to be ready and to pounce on an unsuspecting visitor, like a blitzkrieg! However, on this pristine day, there would be no casualties. His Royal Majesty, Lord Fudicus Cattus Fudicus, aka the Mighty Lord Puddix, the benevolent ruler of the stately provinces of Wayanad, and of our humble home  - the friendly (and opportunistic) neighbourhood tabby is satiated after a veritable meal of leftover fish heads. He is no mood for ambush and so, his subjects, our winged visitors, have survived to live another day, in what is surely paradise regained!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Ramparts of 2017

Aside from Franck Vergh's magnificent monochromatic memories of the cold war times, Jason Silva's marvellous insights about anything under the sun, George Carlin's timeless, bold, and extremely hilarious views, David Whyte's intensely wise summations of life itself, and some of the finest books that I have so voraciously and passionately consumed, this year has been one of epic passings. What prevailed during the beginning has long since come to pass, and what occurs now was hardly speculated. In that sense, it has brought about such a phenomenal depth of change that the very scale of it seems incomprehensible in hindsight. To sum it up, life's been shaken and stirred!

But, I couldn't be happier to have gotten outside of my comfort zone, that little inconsequential, paltry, and stale cocoon, with its perpetual shadows and inhibited views. It reeked of putrid familiarity and wasted charm to be in there. Some sort of arrested existence, as if a veil had hideously enveloped the senses and prevented comprehension. Inertia couldn't be better defined.

So, symbolic as it seems to welcome a new beginning, it is, for me, equally important to consign away relics of the old and await the promises and possibilities of the new, and that is truly what life's purpose seems - to let go and to embrace in the spirit of worthy passage and to continue a journey of curiosity and contentment.

May we find new horizons!

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Human Faculty

I'm oft left to wonder how the human mind could construct a form in ways that cannot possibly be imagined and yet be thoroughly enthralling, to say the least. Take, for instance, art, literature, music, or cinema. It is ceaselessly amazing to witness and celebrate human creativity and to realize how marvellous our minds truly are.

What would be more wonderful than to feel absolute rapture, exaltation, and awe when one chances upon a good book or when listening to some fine music? You could say the same about a lot of other things - the outcomes of creative human endeavour and the expression that it results in.

I wonder what fuels creativity. Is it passion? Or desire? Could circumstances and the manner in which one's perceptive abilities are oriented contribute to creative expression? But, I suppose my question is rather purposeless. I should be asking if we reward creativity enough, for it to be taken (and pursued) seriously

Sure, it is easy to imagine a world without human beings - but, would it be easy to comprehend a world without the expression of human creativity?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Silence

What do you make of silence? The experience of extreme quiet, away from all the mechanized din that takes up every moment of life on the wheel (you know what a hamster wheel is, don't you?). What does it take to stop, to examine, to breath, and to revel in nothingness? To let thoughts flow unremittingly and without restraint or consequence, to let go of plans and desires, wants and needs, ambitions and goals. What would it take, even for a moment?

And then, I pause to look up at those marvellous, tall trees that tower into eternity, uttering not so much as even a whimper about the prominence of their timeless existence, the wind that carries along, all-permeating, and yet subtle, the birds and the beasts, their calls never out of place or unsuitable in the world they are a part of, the elements and their natural accordance, all in perfect symmetry and synchrony. How much there is to celebrate in awe the wonder of the natural world. How magical it seems to revel in the perfection and yet the elementary, everyday occurrences of nature. How proverbial, poetic, and romantic it is to be able to partake in this marvel.

Why is it that the noises we make are so damningly difficult to live with? Why don't we fit into the natural world with the same ease and adeptness that all other beings possess? The answer is perhaps in the understanding that we do not belong in such soulful sanctuaries. And, suddenly this realization, momentary as it is, allows me to contend with the miseries that grip my life - the senseless chatter emanating from the television, the odious ringing and beeps of the cellphone, the inconsiderate, distasteful, and uncharitable garble of people around and about, the nauseating pandemonium of vehicles and everything artificial, the commotion and racket of all farcical, clownish religious establishments (and their equally appalling proponents). I could write endlessly about this.

But, silence or just the thought of it - it is meditatively calming and soulful. In silence, I could live on, forever.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Lone Fox Dancing

Books are gateways to idyllic journeys into far-off worlds. They are expeditions of indulgence, for in undertaking such voyages, one is transported to enchanting places and multitudes of emotions. And, as indulgent I am in such gleeful delights, which is, I suppose, the supreme pleasure, of most bibliotaphs, oftentimes, I find myself buying more books than I can possibly consume.

So, one morning, on a whim, and to fight off a gripping sense of inertia that has overrun me lately, I went about to rummage my stockpile (not a 'collection,' since I haven't graduated to such an exalted stature, nor I possibly will), to find myself staring at the 'Lone Fox Dancing' - The Autobiography of Ruskin Bond, a treasure I had acquired not so long so.

To say that the prose was eclectic would be an act of self-aggrandizement and arrogance on my part (for I possess no skills or qualifications to review such a prodigy). But, say it, I nevertheless will, for that is how this master chronicler has woven his account.

Not so long after, I trudged about on winding paths in the misty hills on which stood tall pine and deodar. Overcome by a deep sense of nostalgia (of times from my own childhood spent in the hills of Ooty), I began to understand the ways of a man who had trounced the oft-inescapable (and enforced) notion of a regular life - to search for freedom, for deliverance, to undertake a peregrination of his longing - 'to put pen to paper', as he called it. It wasn't fanciful or lucrative. Far from it, actually. Steeped in strain and struggle, it conveyed the unbounded eagerness of a man resolved to do what he loved. Not that he envisioned it would take him any place. I suppose he didn't care for the outcomes as much as he was enthralled by the machinations of his life and the blissful wilderness that he was so purposefully ensconced in. I doubt he cares even now.

Bond's account is not macerated with his literary pursuits. While there are rich portrayals of that endeavour, the book is much larger than that effort. It is life itself, the comings and goings of people, the rich description of deep, personal emotions associated with such occurrences, some pleasant, others acerbic. It is a work of outstanding artistry that quite effortlessly articulates the mind of a reticent man (in which, being quite withdrawn myself, I found reassuring comfort and tenderness)

In the end, which came about much sooner than I had expected, I was left feeling joyful and troubled - The first for obvious reasons, while the latter for having finished the book all too soon!

But, deep within my being will remain etched forever those snow-capped hills, bungalows from a distant past, coniferous trees, the taste of tangy apricots, and the astounding views from a window that opens to the mountains.

Long may the lone fox dance! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Moments at Sunset


Our most valuable possession is life itself, for in its span we strive to add meaning and purpose to our existence, explore possibilities, realize potential, build relationships, foster creativity, enliven with hope, make memories and commit to evolve our being. 

But the most striking distinction of all is that we are given an opportunity to be part of a unique tapestry of infinite magnificence and incomprehensible riches. We must, therefore, be eternally grateful for this priceless gift and should endlessly cherish this wonderful marvel because only in doing so do we find true happiness!

Footnote:

Picture taken in Gorai, Mumbai on 28 January 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Scorcher

I am blessed with comrades, some of who are pundits in the most bizarre sense! They seem oblivious to the obvious while lamenting at length about possibilities galore. Naturally, imaginations run unrestrained, or, perhaps more appropriately put, illogical.

Now, before you begin to wonder what the bone of contention really is; a certain 'enlightened' someone who is adept in the written word, most casually put forth their 'humble point of view' that there was no bigger sham than that of climate change! Terming the phenomenon as unfounded and largely unscientific, it was argued that this 'ongoing scare' was 'overrated' beyond measure. According to their, ahem, most humble opinion, this was a 'tactic' employed by intergovernmental agencies in order to gain a foothold in the scheme of everyday things, due to they being largely ignored or, according to this wisdom-extraordinaire, not being given their place and due!

Just as one thought uncharacteristic of the aggressive, yet nonsensical campaigning of a certain taco bell loving billionaire and, more recently, the statements of a Harvard educated Indian sociopath, and the rabid pronunciations of a former and failed Indian politician against the nation's Prime Minister on a TV show, this seems to outwit all of them put together, and by epic proportions.

One need only look at the plaguing problems India has been facing lately (not that India is a lone victim of climate change). I reckon it wouldn't take even the most dense minds to misunderstand that climate change is a hideous reality, which unfortunately cannot be wished away! Entire regions facing drought, crop failures, menacingly rising temperatures and almost perennial water shortages should suffice to indicate, i suppose.

Well, i'm expected to end this diatribe without further commotion, but before i leave, i'm curious to know the cause for such a dimwitted assertion; What must have caused your exalted self to falter, i wonder. Was it the extra-strong tobacco that you weren't quite used to? Perhaps the tawdry weed thy smoked for intellectual pursuits? Or, am i entirely wrong blaming the condition on commodities?