Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Death, You Have Been an Experience

I was driving the car. Having just dropped my mother and brother, I was turning around a sharp bend when a car came around and hit me hard. It jolted me out of my senses, and I was stunned by its impact.
I got out of the car at that moment to see the rear totally mangled, looking like a piece of waste metal that is of no use to the smelting workshops and gets discarded. Anger boiled over as I walked in search of the person responsible for it. There were minor bruises on my forehead luckily, and just thenI saw the man, standing there, inspecting the wreck of the car.
"You! How dare you do this to me and my car!" I shouted at the driver, running towards him lest he ran away.
He looked at me, surprised, as if he had seen a ghost. "I'm sorry madam, but its not my fault. Believe me, I was just sitting by the side and eating some chocolate cookies."
He was scarred on the forehead with a big gash, and yet the man had the gumption to pretend that he wasn't responsible. I was not gonna let him get away so easily, and before long we were both in a police station, with the police officer looking at us nonchalantly.
"Why are you not arresting him? He nearly killed the both of us due to his rash driving," I spoke, as a few relatives of the man streamed in.
"But sir, I had been eating and not driving. It was someone else. Wait, let me show you," he said, while he fished into the purse of one of his female relations, and brought out a gold foil mess. "See, I told you so," he said, "I had just handed it over when it happened sir."
"Why are you letting the dead tell you what to do sir?" he screamed.
"Dead? Who's dead?"
"You are madam. Its been more than a year now, and you turn up at the police station every night," spoke the constable quietly.
The world just swam in my eyes, as I tried to bear the shock. Am I really dead, I thought, when all of a sudden, a faint voice started calling me towards itself.
******************************************************************************
"She's opening her eyes," someone said in a distant sort of way.
"Thank God."
I opened my eyes, and all of a sudden immense pain surrounded me. I was in a hospital, bedridden. The doctor was checking on me, and was smiling when I recognized everyone around me.
"You are quite a remarkable person. You were dead for about a minute just now," he said.
******************************************************************************
Its been a year since then. I taught myself that life needs to be enjoyed fully, as if there will never be a tomorrow. It suits none to crib about what you do not have. Instead, rejoice over what you have, and remember, the thing that matters the most is your family, I once remarked to a set of friends with whom I was drinking wine.
*******************************************************************************
"Get up you oaf. Will you never end your sleep?"
I got up, shocked. So it was just a dream. Or was it my life at another plane of existence? I will never be able to answer that, even as the sun blinded me teasingly with its bright rays of light.

(P.S. This was a dream I just had in the morning. I wonder what it means.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Intellectual Bankruptcy of India - When Will It Stop????

Today the Delhi based newspaper Hindustan Times reported the news that Nobel laureate Har Gobind Khurana, the man who decoded the RNA sequence, died on Wednesday at the age of 86. His story is little known to today's Indians, and perhaps life prior to the Nobel Prize is forgotten in India. I am raking up a dead man's past because I want to point out  certain things that happened in his life that continue to happen even today, and we should stop and think for a moment what we have 'achieved'.

Har Gobind Khurana's story was like any successful Indian emigrant's story with the typically filmy twist. Very few people would know the fact that he had applied for the post of lecturer with both the Delhi University and Punjab University, Jalandhar. As every successful emigrant's story goes, his application was rejected just because he did not have any political affiliation. My point is that the reason we today suffer intellectual bankruptcy in India even today has been the fact that true intellectuals were conveniently pushed for out of our 'system' and replaced by sycophants and yes men who always were searching for post retirement benefits. C.V. Raman had left the Indian Institute of Science in absolute disgust for these very reasons and had set up the Raman Research Institute, which has also since seen a decline due to non-support.

The intellectual bankruptcy that India faces today needs to be arrested fast, for we have already lost genuine intellectuals, and today's intellectuals is symptomatic of what is precisely wrong with our country. This attitude of booting out people if they do not suit your 'political affiliation' needs to be done away with at all costs, and Indian universities must take a leaf out of Harvard's staunch defense of Subramanian Swamy after an inflammatory article. It is surprising that in a country as democratic as ours, the education system (or whatever is left of it today, thanks to our actions) is so Communist in its nature. If we cannot deal with it, God save our nation from becoming a nation of idiots.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Inflation and the Manipulation Behind It

It has been some time now that we have had high inflation rates, and this has been pushed to the extent that for the first time in India we have a situation where housing loans now would perhaps pass on to the children of the lenders post their retirement because of ballooning interest rates spiraling out of control. It does not surprise anyone that this situation of super inflation (as I would call it) does not come under control. There are multiple reasons behind it. I shall talk about a couple of them, and hope others pick the signals up as well.

Food prices have gone up across the world. Continuous monitoring by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has shown that prices have risen five times since 2007, when food was treated as a commodity and future trading was allowed with the blessing of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and big agricultural giants like Cargill, Dow and Monsanto. This has already created havoc across the world which frighteningly led to food riots in many countries in the past four years, notably Egypt, Jordan and Mozambique (these are ones that I can recall). Why are we allowing this to happen when even today people are not able to buy food due to the impossibly high prices and in contrast we never produced more food ever in our recorded history? Contrast this with the fact that we have touched the million farmer suicide mark in India (read here as brought out by the great journalist P. Sainath).

Another major reason that we have seen such great growth is that foreign investments have increased and our export sector is recording ever increasing sales. All this has led to a surplus of cash floating in the economy while also putting stress on our financial sector for money. How is this possible in the face of a shrinking world economy? Obviously, this has implications that there is a major problem of illicit money floating around, with people mostly bringing in their illegally earned wealth, also pointed out by a recent Kotak Securities report (read here) and has been continuously noted by people like Subramanian Swamy (yes the man). Instead of investigating these issues, the government in turn shot back by saying that all these are nothing but lies, making you question the intent of the government of the day.

There are a lot more issue to talk about. I will dwell in them over a period of time. Suffice to say that there are a lot of things going wrong with the way the economy is getting disconnected from the people who make it up in the first place.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alahda

हर्फ़ ब हर्फ़ किस्सा लिखा था जो तुमने
मैं आज उसे मिटाने आया हूँ
तसव्वुफ़ के दरीचों में जो बसर किया था तुमने
मैं आज उससे अलहदा करने आया हूँ
ताउम्र साथ चलने का वादा जो किया था तुमने
उसकी रेशमी डोर को आज मैं तोड़ने आया हूँ
मेरी बातें मेरे किस्से मेरी यादें जो चुराईं थीं तुमने
मैं उसका सर्मायी चुकता करने आया हूँ
जो अंदाज़े बयाँ से कायल किया था तुमने
वो अलफ़ाज़ तुम्हें आज लौटाने आया हूँ
तुम्हारा वजूद मेरे लिए मायने नहीं रखता अब
बस इतना ज़हन कराने तेरे शहर आया हूँ
 

The Economic Slowdown Needs Immediate Address

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