Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mercurial

Ever wondered when did the phrase “India-Pak match” became synonymous with a “fierce battle between two groups perceived as radically different from each other, where defeat is unacceptable, and even if the victory is Pyrrhic” ? When did it become a symbol of the clash of the arch-rivals, mortal enemies, of friends and foes ? Since when did it symbolize aggressive conflict, violent and red ?

It is most interesting , that when an actual India-Pak match does take place, even the most apathetic person to this game turns into a cricket-is-my-religion type super patriotic fan who swears by the game. In all likelihood, they have never played, they don't know much about it , they don't give a rat's ass usually, and yet, you find them at the edge of their sweats, jeering the other team more than cheering their own. For this brand new fan of this sport, it is no longer a war of the bat,ball and human spirit; but of pride and religion. Winning is of the utmost importance because it wounds the pride of the other. It is no longer a game but it is War between the very Gods they worship. If you have heard the crass jokes on it , you would know what I am talking about. For them, their religion comes before the nation. For they cannot conceive the notion that both were a part of a larger nation. They shed blood through halaals and jhatkas for a victory .

I guess, it was their kind, who could not see beyond their “own”, and in their short sightedness , upset the equilibrium established by time and fate. All they ended up with was a deep rift , ever widening . And just imagine how much more colorful life would have been , if there were more pieces in this picture, more characters in this play, more nations carved of the old one, a multi-national tournament of blood and feud .

Leave them aside, the actual fans of the sport, living for the next match, practicing their yells. Those who think of themselves as patriot-cum-jingo's, where in fact , all they are capable of is shout harder,swear sharper and burn more fat and blood. They are the ones whose “patriotic feelings” disappear like some cheap,fast vaporizing deodorant, drowning gradually, in the stench of sweating over the contest. When the match gets over, it fades out of existence. From “Go India Go” to “Who cares , as long as it doesn't affect me directly” . You might say, why the pretense to be so overly patriotic , when they actually aren't ? Because deep down , they know the truth , but to drown the voice of their conscience with their pretentious over enthusiastic screams , which gives some gratification . The heat of their passionate cries warms them up somewhat, for sometime.

When the match gets over, they go back then to their lives, back to their squabbles. They look for a common enemy to unite them , rather than accepting differences among their own. They go back to surviving and profiteering, the real fans and the fake ones . Living as they do , till the next Indo-Pak match , or whatever pumps them with their periodic dose of Patriotism .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Elixir

At last, he found a place. It was dark,dingy and shabby, but it would do. He locked the door. The cubicle was air tight. Although he was sweating profusely and slightly out of breath, he couldn't care less. The release would come soon. He had been looking forward to it, all day long. His excitement was visible, like the child who enters an ice cream shop. He was palpitating .

With unhurried hands, he took it out gingerly, and put it into the conical chamber. It would be ready in a while. He let out a slightly impatient sigh, as he went over his day. It had been very long , and very hard. Grueling to the gills. The fact that he needed his fix every now and then didn't help at all. And to add to his woes, he was an asthmatic . But what is a man supposed to do ? How can you handle the dreariness of daily life , when you are so accustomed to it ? His brain craved for it. It almost shut down every now and then . His skin showed the signs as well .

The light had turned green. The vapour was ready to be inhaled. He decided to save some in his flask, for a later dose. And then, he dove in.

A few seconds later, he was on cloud nine, with a rainbow around his shoulders. Euphoric . Ecstatic . Elated. Pleased . Content . Relaxed . He could feel it in his head and heart . And his lungs too. So pure and pristine was the pleasure he experienced, that he almost passed out.

It was, an elixir. He stayed there for an hour. And then left, a relatively happier man. He knew he couldn't live without it , and looked forward to the next rendezvous.







It was 2049 , A.D. He came out of the roadside artificial oxygen booth.



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p.s. How many of you thought that my character was a drug addict ? :) And pardon the scientific inaccuracies , if any . And I guess , the moral of my story is clear enough . To those who didn't get it , what drug are you on ? ;)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Cook and The Janitor



Thanks to Smitha and Indyeah :)

Religion is like a kitchen . The food for your soul is cooked . It should be the food for your soul , cooked by people who should be well versed in that art . The different religions/faiths/schools of thought could be the different cuisines . It caters to different kinds of people with different needs . A good cook would be the one focusing on cooking a nutritious meal , without making a song and dance about the ingredients , the utensils or the people who eat it . He wouldn't force the food he likes down anyone's throat . He wouldn't decide whom to feed or not. He would also check his own recipe if people have an upset stomach or food poisoning .

Politics is like a toilet . It has devolved into this state . A dirty , filthy , stinking toilet . One that needs to be clean for the general well being for our society . One that is responsible for the many diseases that our society suffers from . A toilet , that is should be cleaned and maintained by custodians, chosen by us , but they usually end up doing something else , many a times in cahoots with , or under the influence of some really crooked cooks . That is why a person , who enters politics with very pure intentions , would be nothing short of a great social worker , willing to manage and clean the society's sewage .

Now what happens when you don't separate the kitchen and the toilet ? What happens if the janitor and the cook start messing with each others work ? First , you get some really bad food . Let's say , you some how digest it . When the time for your ablutions come , all you have is a dirty toilet ? And heaven forbid , if you are sick , then you are screwed . Picture the janitor promising good food, or the cook directing you to choose a particular janitor , or the janitor favouring a particular kitchen . How bloody disturbing and messy does it all sound ! I can picture the cook and the janitor running to and fro , from the kitchen and the toilet . And what happens when the cook starts cleaning or the janitor starts cooking ?

Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh !!!!!




Secularism is a must , in its pure and unadulterated form .

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Param Veer

Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought; he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do!! He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use."Are you from the software industry sir," the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop.Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car. "You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today everything is getting computerized.""Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and well built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school.He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.

"You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside." Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naivety demanded reasoning not anger. "It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it." For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement. "It is complex, very complex." "It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid," came the reply.

This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone. " Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing." He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home the point."Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centres across the country.Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?"The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium.This was something big and beyond his imagination. "You design and code such things.""I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "but now I am the Project Manager." "Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so your life is easy now." This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, "Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work.Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality. To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday."Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realization.What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth. "My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to be in the Line of Fire".

The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.

"I know sir, I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire." He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time."There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the Tricolour at the top only 4 of us were alive."

"You are a...?"

"I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil.They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft assignment.But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier. On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain sahib (Captain Batra) refused me permission and went ahead himself. He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded,his own personal safety came last, always and every time."




"He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir....I know,what it is to be in the Line of Fire."

Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he switched off the laptop. It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man for whom valour and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far attributed only to epical heroes.

The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight. "It was nice meeting you sir."

Vivek fumbled with the handshake. This hand... had climbed mountains,pressed the trigger, and hoisted the Tricolour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute.It was the least he felt he could do for the country.

Source - A forwarded email
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Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor on 15 August 1999, the 52nd anniversary of India's independence. His father Mr. G.L. Batra received the honor for his deceased son from the President of India, the late K.R. Narayanan. Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, and his Delta Company was given the task of recapturing Point 5140. Nicknamed Sher Shah ('Lion King' in Hindi) for his unstinting courage, he decided to lead the rear, as an element of surprise would help stupefy the enemy. He and his men ascended the sheer rock-cliff, but as the group neared the top, the enemy pinned them on the face of the bare cliff with machine gun fire. Captain Batra, along with five of his men, climbed up regardless and after reaching the top, hurled two grenades at the machine gun post. He single-handedly killed three enemy soldiers in close combat. He was seriously injured during this, but insisted on regrouping his men to continue with the mission. Inspired by the courage displayed by Captain Batra, the soldiers of 13 JAK Rifles charged the enemy position and captured Point 5140 at 3:30 a.m. on 20 June 1999. His company is credited with killing at least eight Pakistani soldiers and recovering a heavy machine gun.The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes, such as Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and Three Pimples. Along with fellow Captain Anuj Nayyar, Batra led his men to victory with the recapture of Point 4750 and Point 4875. He was killed when he tried to rescue an injured officer during an enemy counterattack against Point 4875 in the early morning hours of 7 July 1999. His last words were, "Jai Mata Di." ('Hail the Divine Mother'). For his sustained display of the most conspicuous personal bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy, Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.


Batra's Yeh Dil Maange More! (My heart asks for more!), erstwhile a popular slogan for a Pepsi commercial, became an iconic battle cry that swept across the country and remains popular with millions of Indians, invoked at patriotic public events, in memory of the war and the soldiers, and as a symbol of the indomitable spirit of Indian patriotism and valor in face of future attacks.

Upon reaching Point 5140, he got into a cheeky radio exchange with an enemy commander, who challenged him by saying, "Why have you come Sher Shah (Vikram’s nick name given by his commanding officer)? You will not go back." Captain Vikram Batra is said to have replied, "We shall see within one hour, who remains on the top."

While dragging Lt. Naveen back under cover, Naveen pleaded to Captain Batra to let him continue the fight in spite the injuries to which Captain Batra replied "Tu baal bachedaar hai!! Hatt jaa peeche," ("You have kids and wife to look after! Get back!").

Batra's last words were the battle-cry "Jai Mata Di!" ("Victory to Mother Durga!")

"Ya toh Tiranga lehrake awunga, ya fir Tirange mein lipta huwa awunga, lekin awunga" (Either I will come back after hoisting the Indian flag, or I will come back wrapped in it, but i will be back for sure).


Source - Wikipedia
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He was 25 when he sacrificed his life , 10 years ago . I am 25 now . I cannot but only dream of making such a sacrifice and dying such an honourable death .




Image Source - Google Image Search