Monday, May 03, 2010

the ways of terror

panic may have ruled delhi. the US, UK and Australian governments have sent across intelligence reports saying that terrorists are planning a massive operation here. police is on high alert, and so are people. i am not sure if footfalls have fallen, but in the places where i frequent, i see the same level of activity. then, in time square, half way across the world, they discover an explosive device.

what place is safe? how long can people continue to live in a state of high alertness? or, as the LG of delhi said, how practical is making vigilance a sixth sense? is it that we should learn to live with terror? or, that we should learn to live, in spite of terror?

in reply, people may quote people living endlessly in siege in palestine, iraq or afghanistan. with all due respect to them, suffering elsewhere should not be taken as a justification for suffering inflicted on someone else. if we have the potential to conduct the world cup hockey and to get the city ready for commonwealth games, we can survive this as well.

to wind up, the athletes who are reluctant to visit India for the games because of terror alerts should look around their own more familiar surroundings and see for themselves that terror these days is boundary-less. and if you give in to fear, you are conceding defeat; you are losing to them, against whom you are engaged in a war.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Enlightened Politics- Poltu…

The premier institute where I’m doing my MBA has a very active political scheme with a very exemplary instance of working democracy. Coming from a highly politicized state and having studied in a college where politics was a day-to-day affair, (we had a single party ‘democracy’) the lack of political activity here during the first 8 months of my stay here took me by no surprise. I had heard of how only colleges in Kerala wasted time over ‘useless’ exercises of campus politics, and since I’m at a premier institute now, I thought I would miss all of it now. I did. Hostel council election here is a model for how democracy could work in Monaco or other rich European principalities. It is divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’. A typical election campaign conversation:

Campaigner: Sir, aap free ho? [B.Techies here still call seniors ‘Sir’, as it has been embedded in their culture. Not that we care.]
Sir: Haan. Bataa. Kya baat hai? [‘Sir’ is genuinely surprised, because this seemingly active and popular guy has never talked to him before this]
Campaigner: Sir, elections aa raha hain. Aapne dekha hoga ki pichhle baar ve log kuchh bhi nahi kiya.
Sir: Oh, aisa hai kya?
Campaigner: Haan, sir. Ve log election time pe jo promise kiya tha, jaise ki baddy court, basketball court sab- ek bhi nahi hua. Hum log aise nahi hai, sir.
Sir: Ye, ‘hum’ aur ‘ve’- kya hai?
Campaigner: Sir, hum yaani, hum log. Hum sub, sir. Ve log jo pichhle baar elections jeete the.
Sir: Haan, mujhe wo to pata chala. Utna to logic mujhme bhi hain. [Sir was a JMET qualifier. :P well known for logical ability.] Par, ye division kis basis pe hain?
Campaigner: Basis? Sir, hum jo hamare saath hai. Ve jo unke saath hain.
Sir: To agar aap kal unke side defect karoge to kya ‘ve’ hum ban jaaoge?
Campaigner: Sir, defect karne ki koi baat nahin.
Sir: To aap un logon ke saath kyon nahi hain?
Campaigner: Ve log bahut bakar karte hain sir. Bahut promise karte hain, lekin kuchh hota nahin.
Sir: Aur tum log?
Campaigner: Sir, hum log jo kehte hain, wo kar dikhaate hain.
Sir: Kya aap un logon ko useless bula rahe ho?
Campaigner: Aise nahin hai sir. In all due respect, ve log kuch karte nahi. Bas faltoo main baatein karte rahte hain. Hum aise nahin hain.
[Sir is looking for some real political issues come out of the campaigner, but, to his surprise, he keeps on repeating that the others are useless.]
Sir: Hmmm. To aap log bahut active log hain, aur ve log bas bakkar maarte hain. Na?
Campaigner: Haan sir.
Sir: Phir bhi ve log pichhle baar jeet gaye.
Campaigner: Sir, pichhle baar election me bahut politics hua thaa.
[Sir is confused. Election me politics nahi hota to kya hota?]
Sir: Ek baat samjhaa mujh ko, theek se. Kal phir kayee log aayenge. How will I know if they are from your group or from the other group?
Campaigner: Sir, A, B, C, etc. are from our side. Baki X, Y, Z, sab unke side main hain sir.
Sir: Phir bhi, I can’t understand. Ye division kis basis pe hain. I mean, koi political ideological difference toh nahi hain. Aap ko bhi nahin pata ki why there’s a difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Campaigner: Sir, sach bataoon, when we were in first year, C floor pe sab active seniors rehte the aur D pe sab bakwaas karne waale. To hum ‘C’ waalon ke saath join kiye aur ve log ‘D’ waalon ke saath. Wo ab bhi continue kar rahe hain.
Sir: I’m staying on ‘A’ floor!
Campaigner: Ab aise kuch nahi hain sir.
Sir: Thank god, you didn’t say that since ‘C’ is closer to ‘A’, vote for ‘C’.
Campaigner: In short, sir, hamaare panel ke liye vote keejiye. We’ll ensure ki mess mein south Indian khaana bhi miley.
[Sir thinks, brilliant election campaign! Are these the kind of people who started that political party of intellectuals?]

This is based on last year’s election campaign. Elections lurk around the corner for the next academic year. I eagerly await more such conversation. Poltu people, please don’t ignore me after reading this blog. I’m very much interested in the ‘issues’ and will vote, like an ideal citizen of a model peaceful democracy. I can’t wait for it to be scaled up and implemented throughout the country, where the division will be based on which floor you belong to and who you know the best.

P.S.: One good thing is, it is violence free and doesn’t affect the studies and lives of students. No outside political power can influence them as far as I can notice, and I hope that it remains so.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Random thoughts reposted: what if...

Pre-script: (since i'm tired of writing post scripts; i promise i used to, some time back.) this is a post that i made a long long time back, maybe during my summer internship. i know i can check the exact date, but i don't want to. so, this is what i had to say, then:

Vernon God Little is a book i read ages ago. that book begins wid a small town police lady asking the 15 year old suspect of a high-school firing mishap about two things of everything. two underlying forces, two kinds of people, two kinds of statements. it turns out that two kinds of forces are cause and effect; two kinds of people- citizens and liars; n two kinds of statements- truth and lies. is there a grey area?

our minds generally hate the grey area. the area that questions- what if. for example, what if today was a sunday in winter at delhi? what if i was elsewhere, and not at delhi. what if ... what if people didn't hate "what-ifs" so much. the problem is that, most of the times, what lies on the other side of what-ifs are things that we want to have, things that we like.

for certain things, people don't care about what-ifs. "What if the earth was flat, not a sphere?" who cares. what if Delhi wasn't the capital of India? at least, I don't care.

for certain things, people are afraid of "what-ifs". "what if it was me in the crashed car instead of him?" or "what if I get caught while dozing off in the class?" (Nothing much happens in the second case. but still!)

so, even grey areas have classifications. it is the inherent nature of man to classify things in the name of simplifying them. you classify stuff into various bogus names that often don't reflect any of their properties- Class A, Class B, Class E...

now back to the present.
it is winter now. well, almost past winter. i am writing one of the last set of exams that i would, in any educational institution. hopefully. because, i had had such thoughts a coupla years ago, when i was in the final year of my graduation. but this time, i'm pretty sure.

it's been my habit to leave things half-done. like what happened to this post, and many more like this. and i'm sure at least some would have been left better unpublished. i guess i'm getting too much philosophical about life, at 23. blame me, yes. go ahead.

current set of what ifs:
what if i had completed that post then itself?
what if i didn't feel like completing the post now?
what if i don't feel the desperation to publish this post now?
what if i had not joined mba immediately after my graduation?
what if i was in a different b-school?
what if i had got placed in a different company?
what if i was a poet, instead of a b-school student? or maybe, in spite of being a b-school student?
what if i stopped asking what-ifs?
what if someone found this post interesting?

i just told (i mean, over gtalk) a friend of mine, an ace blogger, that i won't be posting anytime soon, due to a creative block i'm facing. but i can't help it.