Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A lasting impression...

Films such as RDB, Yuva etc have surely made an impression in the minds of the Indian youth and I'm not the first one saying that! also not trying to list out the "major" events that had the RDB flavor to it...

Just wanted to highlight yet another development that seems to be inspired by these films...

IIT graduates out to do a 'Rang De' act in UP politics

CHANGE OF HEART(LAND): The GenNext is out to win the poll battle for Uttar Pradesh

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will witness the entry of a new, hi-tech generation into the state politics this year as a group of IIT-Kanpur graduates have come together to fight the polls with a resolve to clean up the "dirty politics in the country".

The Bharat Punarnirman Dal or India Regeneration Group comprises a group of young IITians, who have decided to contest at least 20-25 seats in the UP Assembly elections next month.
"Enough of drawing room and coffee-house discussions. It is time qualified professionals rise to the occasion and make an effort to put the country's politics on the right track," news agency IANS quoted the Dal's founder president, Ajit Shukla, as saying.

Shukla and his colleagues floated the party in Delhi last December. Since then they have also roped in young people from other professional fields like medicine, law, humanities and social research.

"We feel the time is running out and we must get down to real business," Shukla says. "We had been debating over the question for quite some time," he claims.

The political first-timers talk business-like when they explain their poll plans. Shukla, for instance, has decided to contest from Lucknow's prominent Cantonment Assembly constituency, and is ready to take on some political bigwigs. Similarly, 10 other IIT graduates will take on some top politicians across the state.

A 2002 batch pass-out from IIT- Mumbai and a resident of Deoria district in Eastern UP, Shukla says he decided to plunge into politics as he felt that the time has come to "rid Uttar Pradesh politics of its ills."

Shukla's comrade-in-arms Omendra Pratap Singh, an IIT-Kanpur passout, is equally enthusiastic about the venture. "We are going to leave no stone unturned to put across our message to the electorate. I am sure people are also sick of the general degeneration in politics and would welcome a positive change," he told IANS.

Omendra left a plum job with Tata Consultancy Services to join politics. "I thought I was cut out for something more meaningful, something for the larger good of the people."

He will seek election to Kanpur's Arya Nagar Assembly seat. Similarly, Punit Nath, a practising doctor, proposes to contest the General Ganj seat in Kanpur.

Whether these young aspiring politicians will stick to their agenda of "regenerating" India or not can be debated and discussed in our living rooms and office canteens for days together... At this moment, I think its an act worthwhile...:)

Killer MiG-21...

Readerspeak: One more for RDB files

An Indian Air Force MiG-21 fighter jet crashed over West Bengal on Thursday, killing the pilot - Squadron Leader Swapnil Sakar Pandey. Pandey's cousin Vaibhav Vishal wrote in to

On Thursday, sometime during lunch, I saw the news ticker talking about some MiG-21 crash near Kurseong in West Bengal.

The pilot was feared killed, it said. "Yet another one for the RDB case files!", I thought to myself, feeling good about my astute social commentary skills, especially the wise 'RDB case files' bit, and continued digging my teeth into my lunch box.

The parathas were awesome.

At around 5:30 pm, my sister gave me a call. The aircraft was being piloted by Squadron Leader Swapnil Sakar Pandey. And he was killed, indeed.

I knew the guy as Golu. He was my brother. My first cousin. My aunt's only son.

Two years younger than me, Golu always always always wanted to be a fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force. He wanted to serve the country. He wanted to fight the enemy.

He wanted to fly those massive aircraft. I would always think hard why a multi-dimensional guy like him - somebody who could play six musical instruments and sing like a true blue rockstar; and paint, photograph and write with equal ease - would want to get into such a uni-dimensional job.

Fly, fly, fly, and then some more. Golu thought otherwise. And he clearly knew what he wanted. So a fighter pilot he did become the day he could.

Swapnil Sakar. Dream Fulfilled.

Till March 1, 2007. It was supposed to be a regular practice flight. Apparently, the plane developed a snag, as is now becoming a norm with the MiG-21s, immediately after the take off, with its tail catching fire.

Our man could have ejected himself and saved his life, but the aircraft would have then crash-landed in a populated area. In order to save all those lives, Squadron Leader Pandey maneuvered the machine towards the forest area, and while he did try to eject himself post that, evidently, it was too late.

He saved the lives of unknown people when he could have saved his own. He could have, in the process, also saved the lives of his parents, his wife of one year, his three sisters and all of us from his extended family.

But he chose to save people he didn't know.

I don't want to blame the Indian Air Force for continuing to fly the MiG-21s, despite so many young men losing their lives. I don't want to blame the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi for his rather cold and callous statement with reference to my aunt: "She understands that there are risks involved in military aviation. Sometimes things don't work out. I am sorry that she has lost her kid," I don't want to blame the Air Force authorities for not finding the black box of the aircraft yet, or at least not telling the world about it. I don't want to blame anybody for killing my brother.

I'm glad he is gone.

Despite my crafty attempts at social commentaries, I really am at a loss to understand how this whole thing works.

RDB propagates killing the ones who are responsible for killing our young men. I don't want that. That is a route for the revolutionaries. And I really don't know how it helps, anyways.
For me, the solace lies in knowing that we are better off without such nice human beings. We deserve a world sans good people.

There is no place for the likes of Golu amongst us. We don't deserve such unselfish, sensitive men. We don't want such saviours. We don't want any patriots.

We want regular people around us who don't care. Because we don't care.

Call it pessimism. Call it giving up. Call it acceptance. The news never made it to the headlines. Yet another one, right! While the kid killed himself to save others, I continued biting into my parathas, didn't I? So should you.

Forward this note to people you know, if you can. If this can lead to even an iota of movement anywhere - amongst people like us or the babus, the ministers, the Forces OR within me, or you - Squadron Leader Pandey's last flight may just achieve the heights it could not.
Golu is dead. Now please help me kill my cynicism, guys.

(Vaibhav Vishal is Director, Program Development with MTV Networks India Pvt. Ltd.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Just received this message as a forward...dont know if Jim Morrison really wrote this...nonetheless, it reflects my thoughts at the, here it is...

Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself-and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to-letting a person be what he really is.

I think the highest and lowest points are the important ones. Anything else is between. I want the freedom to try everything.

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on and individual level. It's got to happen inside first. You can take away a man's political freedom and you won't hurt him- unless you take away his freedom to feel. That can destroy him. That kind of freedom can't be granted. Nobody can win it for you.

That's what real love amounts to- letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending- performing. You get to love your pretence. It's true, we're locked in an image, an act- and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image; they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you're trying to steal their most precious possession.

People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that's bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they're afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they're wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.


Jim Morrison

Monday, September 11, 2006

One of my closest friends, Winnie had written this piece long long time ago...I think all of us identify with it, at some point or the our oh! so fast and all too busy lives...
We all need a little time
To introspect, to hope
To lay on rugs in futile slumber
Counting illusions...
Time to think,
and ponder
and criminal thoughts,
and meandering,
Delusions of penance...
Time to rejoice,
and enjoyLove,
and beautiful life,
Looking at utopia,
just out of reach...
Time to bereave,
Lost friends,
forgotten passions
Housed in unforgettable memory
Drowned in intangible grief...
Time to console,
Make a child smile,
just for a moment
Feel the good vibes,
Rejoicing in his happiness...
We all need a little time,
Sometimes also a little love...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Random Mumblings....

I sometimes wish I could delegate someone to just take decisions for me.

On an average day, there are soooooo many decisions to be made...whether to go to the gym or not? whether to go nicely dressed to work or to just put on some shirt and black pants and tag along the damn black blazer? whether to get ready quickly and walk to office or hop on to a bus? or to laze around and take a rick?

And then there are other really horrid ones that keep haunting....and never let you be!!!

whether to do what you always dreamt about or to do something that you know you'll be good at?

whether to do something that you're interested in or to do something that you're trained to do?

whether to study further or to stay back and excel in the big bad real world?

whether to pick a fight or to just let things be?

whether to say that you're hurting or to just cry for a while and forget it?

whether to be the way you are or to be the way someone you care for wants you to be?

whether to splurge and party now or to save for the rainy days?

whether to plan each day or to let time and 'Destiny' take its own course?

The list is neverending...addendums are a sure thing for this post!
Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on! Keep thou my feet;
I do not ask to see
The distant scene--one step enough for me.
[Hymns, 1985, no. 97]

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I hope you dance...
Its amazing how you find something that you really want (or sometimes need), just when(and where) you least expect it. It has happened to me many a times...
In law school, the boys hostel LAN always had, much as I hate to admit it, the better collection of music and movies (classics and otherwise!). We did manage to get some songs from the net and some more imported from the few generous boys. I could boast of possessing the best speakers in the hostel and a reasonably good collection of music...ranging from Indian classical instrumental to Bryan Adams....and some of Floyd's genre....and ofcourse, the old yet mushy and melodious hindi songs.....but something was always missing....
One morning, after class, I chose to surf the net (read chat with Ron) over my afternoon siesta...I had heard Shravya talk about some reallllllllly good song on the not so happening LAN...and how she thought that it was fanastic...she probably used all the flowery adjectives that she could, to praise the song....Knowing her, i didnt think i would really like the song that much, if at all...

Nonetheless,I found this song on the shared folder of this particular woman I could'nt stand (for various reasons), and for a matter of fact, still cant!
I loved the song...the lyrics of the song...the way it sounds....blah blah much so that I printed the song and pasted it on my otherwise neat and clean wall, just above the comp, so i could read it anytime i wanted!! I was so thrilled that I even went and thanked that woman for sharing that song!!!
It still cheers me up....this song was originally sung by a lady called Lee Ann Womack, and recently sung again by Ronan titled 'I hope you dance'.
I hope you Dance
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
and wonder where those years have gone.)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

Dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance..
(time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
and wonder where those years have gone)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Oh! So Cute!!!
Was generally reading the NYTimes this morning...and somehow happened to bump into some link somewhere that lead me to one of most read articles in January 2006 that reads 'Cuteness is distinct from beauty, researchers say, emphasizing rounded over sculptured, soft over refined, clumsy over quick. Beauty attracts admiration and demands a pedestal; cuteness attracts affection and demands a lap. Beauty is rare and brutal, despoiled by a single pimple. Cuteness is commonplace and generous, content on occasion to cosegregate with homeliness.'

Havent we all heard, if not used the term 'cute' being used to describe just about anything, from a cute lil earthworm to the new neighbour's oh, so cute! dog to the Prince of Bollywood, the cutest of them all, Abhishek Bacchan!!

I remember clearly, during my XIIth Std exams, my friends Ketul, Pritesh and I used to study together . Some form of joint studies it was, more fun than studies. On one such occasion, we were in Ketul's house and his domestic help was being exceptionally nice and bringing in constant supply of goodies for the 'hardworking' children. So much so, that I said "he is soooooooo cute!!Isnt he?" And that was it, I was brutually 'killllleed' by the two evil 'friends' who heard me say that.....and guess what, the next day, my entire class knew about me latest 'cute' crush!! Worse still, those two evil 'friends' still pull my leg over this!!:(

Being the first batch in Law school, we had a reasonably good rapport with the non-teaching staff, the mess workers and the other support staff as well. In our third year in Law school, we shifted to our new campus, and as it happens in most hurriedly finished buildings, many a things were left unfinished in the hostels. It so happened that many rooms, including my room did not have curtain rods. Since my room was one of the few rooms that were visible from the boys hostel, curtains were an absolute necessity. The Hostel Welfare Committee (yeah! even we had one of those!) member was tired of pursuing the electrician cum odd job man, Uttam 'da' to get the rods fixed. Once, my friend Saloni and I were walking back from class, and we met Uttam 'da' on the way. I told him, 'Please, aake mere kamre ka curtain rod fix kar dijiye!' and smiled my usual way. (For those who dont know me...I m one of those who keeps smiling, all the time! so, keep those stupid grins at bay!!! grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!). He smiled and said, 'Pakka! abhi aake karta hoon!' I liked the way he smiled (esp coz he had two cute dimples!). Saloni, being the B***** that she is, maaroed a smart one and said, "Dont tell me, Hetal! You find him cute??" I said, "yes, kind of!". She was totally disgusted, and chose not to respond! And guess what, Uttam 'da' came to my room and fixed the curtain rods within barely fifteen minutes! You dont even want to know what Saloni did to me after that!! The entire floor knew about this....and by tea time, the boys, too knew!!

Its not over the fourth year, we used to have joint classes for 'clinical education' where they would teach, or atleast try to teach 93 of us drafting of documents etc. What we mastered, in the end was probably, how to read newspaper in the front row, or how to sleep with your eyes open, or how to ask the most useless questions and take the class to a different plane altogether(I promise, ill dedicate an entry soley to clinic classes!!). Coming back, on one such day, we didnt have enough chairs in the class room, and as usual, I had walked in 5 minutes after the class started! Understandibly, there were no vacant chairs for me. Our man, Uttam 'da' was called and asked to fetch chairs for the ten odd latecomers. I was standing in one corner of the class, far far away from the prof, where I usually sat, and slept during the clinic class. Uttam da came with a chair, and like a 'knight in shining armour' walked strainght upto me, and gave me the chair! and needless to say, the entire class, led by Ms. Saloni had a hearty laugh!! So much for the 'cute' dimples!!

They say that one must learn from one's mistakes, I surely dont seem to follow that....coz a somewhat similar instance happened a few days ago. Law firms, in general have a very strong hierarchy in place. One does only what one isto do, nothing, absolutely NOTHING else.

In our office, though we have a vending machine for coffee and tea, the 'decorum' requires us to call the 'boy' and ask him to deliver it to our seat. One such day, the 'boy' gave me my usual coffee and water. In a little less than fifteen minutes, he came and asked me again, 'Madam ji, kam cheeni wali coffee/chai pilaao kya?" (Should I get you some more tea/coffee with less sugar?) I could'nt help but smile, and say 'how cute!'. Much to my dismay, my colleagues, who are otherwise engrossed in their own world, heard me say that....and since then, I have had it!

Mebbe it is time I learnt to use the word a little more judiciously!!