Remembering Rajiv Gandhi…

Much has been written about the Rajiv Gandhi’s brief foray on to the national stage. When he was sworn in as prime minister, Indian politics was tinted yellow by old-fashioned, normal bulbs but the reluctant entrant, who was thrown into the cesspool of ‘Indian Politics’ could not be the ‘white light.’

The first two years of his Prime ministership were decent if not great. He started out as an idealist, willing to bring changes and clean the country of casteism and communalism. Two accords (Punjab and Assam) are the examples. The face inherent in the initiative was that of a genuine peace-keeper and a leader keen to transform Indian lives. But sadly, Politics is not run by the ideals and idealists. He soon realised it and preferred to play it the traditional-congress way. India had lost a leader already!

He started looking at political gains eventually. Calling a constitutional amendment to overturn Supreme Court’s decision in Shah Bano case[1] and opening the gates of disputed Ram Mandir of Ayodhya[2] in an attempt to appease the Hindus (Just) because he had pleased the muslims earlier, speak volumes about the cheap politics, he later got engaged in.

I remember him for the revolution he brought in country’s IT and telecom industry with MTNL and the introduction of fiscal policy for the first time. His underlying theme was modernism. He radically transformed the Panchayats and municipal bodies and brought employment and education policies. Indian industries went on a modernisation spree during his tenure. But the downside was growing budget deficits, mounting foreign debt and India becoming the fourth largest debtor-nation.

Controversies, disasters and scandals marred the belief of people in Rajiv Gandhi eventually. Bofors scandals[3] shattered the clean image. The imbroglio of Bhopal[4]was another black mark in his career. Sending IPKF [5]to Sri Lanka to mediate between the LTTE and Sri Lankan leaders only added to his troubles.

It is not worth looking at the personality or the merits or otherwise, but what’s worth is the impact of Rajiv Gandhi era. Talk about Indian IT industry in 2017. The foundation was laid during his tenure.

Footnotes

[1] https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=…

[2] Babri Masjid – Wikipedia

[3] Bofors scandal – Wikipedia

[4] Bhopal disaster – Wikipedia

[5] Operation Pawan – Wikipedia

Blackholes of poverty

“Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.”

Sylvia Plath is right. I’d never be able to write what I truly feel about this thing.

There’s something with the title that seems to have gotten stuck to me. When I decided to write this post, I jotted down my recollections of all the scenes (alike) I’d experienced growing up. Images blur and merge. There was this person who would come to our house to collect the cable charges at the end of every month. That’s when my father would tell me stories of his exploits. I was enamored of his resilience, and the way he dealt with the curveballs life threw at him, without regret.

Needless to say, today’s incident sent me back to 2000s. Some things about me have stubbornly refused to change. I get too emotional at times, you see.

The kid in the picture is the son of our housemaid, whom I prefer to call ‘didi’. Here’s the conversation I had with him today:

Kid: What are you watching?
Me : A comedy show. Comedy- People laugh at somebody’s jokes.
Kid: Okay.
Me: What do you watch?
Kid: Nothing.
Me: Why?
Kid: We don’t have a TV.

I didn’t know what to say next.

There is a similarity between the kid and the aforementioned man. They are both poor, though in a way somewhat different. I don’t know if didi’s struggle to save her home and herself through a period of time shaped by poverty would ever be successful. I don’t know if this inquisitive kid (Yes, He is. He knows tapping on ‘battle’ will start a battle in Clash Royale.) would get things that are so ‘common’ among us.

But what I do know for sure is that they are one of the many loosely connected episodes when spliced together would make a show- ‘Blackholes of poverty’. For some, it would be a thing to laugh at, a comedy show and for others, it would just be a ‘hard thing’ to write about! 

Engineering: Failed successfully

Although the third one, I believe this post was many months in the making or at least the thinking. Everything in my life was suffused with my belief in a lack of choices. I was afraid to take risks as I feared failing. I couldn’t muster up the courage to tell my dad that I wanted to write when he got me admitted in one of those ‘IIT-JEE’ coaching centres. What was I doing next? I was trying to justify my presence in the world of engineering, using principles of math and science to solve technical problems on commercial applications. So glad I can still use words like ‘math’, ‘science’ and ‘commercial applications’ to good effect when I am not doing what my dad would’ve imagined me doing after college.

Did I fail college? No, I nailed it.

I met some incredible people while attending college who have surprised me in a pleasant way with the close connection we share even today when we are all caught up with work. In a way, I succeeded. I’m not telling you stories now. I’m telling you the raw truth. It’s 2:27 AM in the morning as I type this sentence. I just finished chatting with a college friend. 15 minutes? Yes, 15 minutes with him gave me just enough time to walk over the wide pavements of memories we created together. When I say I nailed college I mean I won people. I made friends that would last into eternity. I am lucky it was I who could grab the opportunity of hanging out with those lazy, good-for-nothing bastards. I’m glad that I made myself worthy enough to be counted in their circle. That means success to me.

But time flew astoundingly fast. Now I just live my life one day at a time which only revolves around a desk-job and it is like living in an isolated world. I can grief in my own way without having to deal with their mockery of me. I can watch the football games without having to deal with the routine banters. Even though I grumbled at them constantly for making those banters, I enjoyed them. I believe college is the last shot you get to enjoy yourself before the world licks you hollow.

Life is short. One day you are here and the next day you could be gone. Engineering, for me, did not come close to what my father had imagined, but it is relevant and hugely important to me. I do not have any regrets that I could not stand out in the college crowd for being a great student and shit. I was lucky enough to spend my engineering period with a great bunch of friends. It feels like there was so much I needed to say in those final moments of good-bye but the time passed in a fleeting glimpse and I couldn’t. I just want to tell you all how happy it is to have great friends. Wherever you are in your life right now, you must understand that people around you form your metric of success and happiness. To some, it may seem like the simplest of things, making friends. But it is not if I put ‘real’ in between ‘making’ and ‘friends’. This is an effort to thank people who knew when I wasn’t myself and were always there to support me. I want you to thank your friends too. Don’t make the mistake of shutting yourself down and grieving in your own way when there’s someone out there caring about you. Pick up your phone and talk it out with someone who made you smile every time they did a stupid thing. Thank them for all the beautiful moments you have had with them. Make sure you have made enough friends to process the pain if need be. Make sure you have friends to listen to your crib-monologues in the middle of the night. Make sure you have friends who are used to hearing stuff like ‘I-have-something-to-tell-you’ quite often so that you need not write a blog post to thank them :p

PS: Dedicated to people who made engineering a fun experience 🙂

Going Indian

I have experienced many of the things I write about. This post takes me back to a time in my early childhood. I suppose I must have been around seven or eight years of age. I recall one night after I had gone to bed and I was dreaming a scene that might have occurred as a result of dad’s patriotic lectures. In my dream I saw people dressed in military colors standing around or over what I believe was their prized possession. The details are hazy in my mind, but the scene remains as if it were yesterday. If the charm and suffering on their faces is anything to go by, they were enjoying their success. Also, There were times other than this particular instance when I watched them; their passion, persistence and dedication. Such was their detachment from normality that they’d lose sleep, not eat enough, forget about their predicament, forget about themselves. On one occasion, I myself was in a dress, the visual so vivid that I could still see it sometimes.

I’m talking about my dreams which you do not know and which you do not think are important enough to know. Right? If you’re like most, you’ll probably think- “Don’t foist your shit on me. I have better things to do.” Okay, Go ahead. Close this window and get busy living or get busy dying whatever suits. If you’re not like most, you’re different and you’ve my respect. The kind of respect you EARN. Thanks for sticking around!

I wish I had a visual journal of incidents from my early childhood. Why? Because I have known the visual imagery of dreams to retain until externality acts upon it and obliterates it from within. Every once in a while throughout the growing years, I would recall the scene as if it steered me to a direction to which I was bound. Fast forward 15 years to 2017, I have stopped dreaming. Vanished too is the strong desire to do something for the country. I hope you realize it’s not just me, though. So I ask this question today-

Are we enough Indian?

What I wish you to tell is this, that there runs through the whole history of India, through the years since Sepoy Mutiny (1857), a path seeking to embody Indianness and modernity at once, or, it is perhaps more accurate to say, a path retaining the aura of a more long-standing Indianness. And somewhere between doing our jobs, taking care of family, and having life experiences, we have forgotten our fundamental duties. I’m talking about the 11 sentences written under the Article 51(A) we oftentimes remember only when we are to sit for a Political Science exam and then offload them like they were so many kilos of burden. I’m not going to mention them all and make my trash talk any longer but here’s the link if you want to read them.

(Read at: http://www.constitution.org/cons/india/p4a51a.html)

Take a few hours out of your busy schedule and assess yourself. Do you deserve the ‘Indian’ tag? Ask not what Narendra Modi can do for you, ask what you can do for Narendra Modi. I’m sanguine if all of us put our hearts together to understand the legacy wise men- Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, B.R. Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh and alike have left, achche din aa jayenge.

#TruthAloneTriumphs

#सत्यमेव जयते !

What to write about?

I feel like I should write very often, but my thoughts have slightly derailed under a pile of work and whatnot. I’m surprised by how I’ve managed to adapt to my new life doing something I had never imagined doing, to pay my own overheads. It is comforting to see the life from the top of the pile and be happy but quite difficult to praise it from underneath. The least I can do is hoover out the dust from underneath to reveal what it had once been. May be this is just what I need right now. Take out the word cards. Play the word game. 

Reading beautiful words delights my soul. I have over a dozen folders of saved e-mails, articles and Wishcard-enclosures. The words are too good to delete. I don’t think everyone wants to be a bestseller, but deep down, we all have a dream of telling our stories. I believe the content doesn’t matter as much as we think it does. So I focus on the flow of emotions. It doesn’t always have to be organised and coherent to be beautiful.

Writing helps me keep my creative juices flowing. As I’m writing this sentence, I literally hear myself, my voice, in my head although I have no idea what I’m writing to this point. No, Wait…

I’m doing what I’m lamenting that I’m not doing by writing about not doing it anymore.

Words have the power to give you a ‘nice summary’ to your vague and disorganized writing.

Words have the power to change our lives.

Grab your pen and start writing!