Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sad End of an Innocent Victim

It couldn't have been worse for the family of the Engineer who was abducted and beheaded by some brutal elements called the Taliban. What they achieved through this cowardly act is not clear. If the Taliban call themselves a force, they should have fought their enemies; to kidnap an unarmed civilian and murder him mercilessly and keep hiding like eunuchs makes them look the meanest of creatures on the planet.
Hope the bereaved family musters the strength to face the hell that its life has turned into!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What will you do?

I got a lot of brick bats for my last post. Some threatened to walk out of my blog; some said they had never seen anything sillier than that; some said they were so upset with my post that they didnt eat for a couple of days!
Actually, it was all serious business around that I thought I had to make some sense out of it. In any case, there is some food for thought this time.
When an ambulance gets stuck in traffic, what is the public supposed to do? When there's no where to move, what will the public do? When the arrogant thick skinned wooden heads dont know they have to give way, what can one do? When some one is fighting for life amidst the traffic, can anything be done at all?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Moral of the Story: Nothing is Impossible!

I have been an ardent proponent of the school of thought that there is something about the way Indians do whatever they do, that can not be matched all that easily by rivals. They have their own patented ways of going about things - just the way the Japanese are known for their technological inventions, Germans for their Engineering prowess or Americans for their unused brains when it comes to External Affairs.
I was travelling by bike the other day in a blend of Urban and the Rural, at normal speed. I could hear the sound of a weird engine approaching me. Since I had to concentrate on the road to avoid any damage to the shock absorbers, I didnt take much strain in turning back to look at the source of the sound - though I kept wondering what it might be. I could hear it nearing me, gradually. It must have been travelling slightly faster than me; in a while, I could see its shadow overtake my bike and then, I could see the wheel. Strangely enough, it was another bike. But the noise was something that I wasn't used to. As I turned to have look at who was riding it, I was shocked!
Not because of the person who was there - but because of the place where he was! He was sitting on the Petrol Tank of the bike and was leaning on the handle bar. And Im sure even if he wanted to move a couple of centimeters forward, it would be an agonising experience for him. His feet were on the crash guard and his folded knees were in front of the bike, right above the wheel. Well, in a nut shell, it was an awkward position - you wouldnt want to give it a try; that's for sure!
Even as I was wondering why he chose to ride a bike that way, the vehicle kept overtaking me. I didnt want to risk losing my balance while trying to grasp the gravity of the situation - still, kept glancing at it. Then, I came to know why he had placed himself that way - there was one more guy sitting , well, not on the seat, but on the petrol tank, again! He was leaning against the back of the first joker; he held his head atop the first one's shoulders, and he had his hands on the bike's head light. I didnt have the time nor the courage to see where he had placed his feet - because, by then, I could see that there was one more man behind the second person.
I almost lost balance then and decided enough was enough. I managed to pull up at the road side, and stopped safely, letting the threesome move ahead! To my horror, it was not a threesome at all! The three were followed by two more gentlemen! The third one was on the seat, the fourth one fully on the seat and the last guy, half on the seat and half aerial! There was a sack tied at the end of the bike, just beneath the last man!
I was lost! Here I was, trying to focus on the road, avoiding pot holes and riding so carefully, all alone - and here was a five man army, that kept overtaking me slowly and steadily, and kept going even as I called it quits!
I was trying to figure out something - I had to find the answers to some questions! "Of the five, who was actually Riding? How many of them knew how to ride a bike? How did they get into their positions? How would they fill petrol? Okay, if a police constable wanted to check their licenses, who is to be held responsible? How many licneses are necessary to ride a bike in such a way? Should all of them be above the age of 18? Can there be more than two "Riders" for one bike? Who would change gears? Who would apply brakes? Or was there only one driver and were the rest, navigators? Or were they passengers? Well, were there just two wheels???"
I was confused! And I decided that I had to find the answer to the puzzle that would make the Chief Justice resign!
I re-started my bike. I over took the train. I wanted to see how they stopped the bike. I blocked their way as I reduced the speed gradually, in such a way that the train had no other option but to stop on its way. The ten eyes were frowning and the five faces were annoyed, even as they came to a complete halt! I blocked them completely and got off the bike.
I could see ten feet on the ground - still couldn't make out who the driver was! I approached them.
"What?" asked one of them - I wasn't sure whose voice it was, of the five.
"I have a problem with my bike and have a long way to go" I said.
The gang looked puzzled. Five voices followed. "So?"
"Can you give me a lift please???"

Friday, April 14, 2006

Shame on you, Bangalore!

There was absolute anarchy right in the heart of the famed Silicon City! With shops plundered, every visible glass broken, petrol stations damaged, showrooms rampaged, the scene in Bangalore by the evening of 13th April 2006 was that of a war zone. Worse, despite all the pillage, not much security was visible on the roads that evening; in other words, anyone could easily have taken advantage of the absolute lawlessness and the prevailing commotions. Whether such incidents have been reported remains to be seen.
What follows is a sample of the havoc that a mindless mob wreaked on the Capital City of Karnataka, following the demise of Film Icon Dr Raj Kumar. The snaps are not exhaustive - they are all from the vicinity of the residence of the departed Hero. Worse incidents have been reported from the other parts of the City - including that of a Police man on Duty having been beaten to death!
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Karnataka has interestingly remarked that a major reason for the commotion was the dispatch of police forces in huge numbers to the neighbouring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu on election duty! That does raise some speculation as to the logical abilities of a state that sent so much of its force out as to not provide security to the path along an 11 km long procession.
On the other hand, it makes on wonder if the solution for a perennial menace has been dug out by the new Government - if Karnataka has been benevolent enough to pack all of its force out to its neighbours on their election duty, the Government would certainly let all of River Cauvery run down to Tamil Nadu this summer. So, do we rejoice at the prospect of a dramatic solution to the River Water issue?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

She was not meant to be mortal: Medha Patkar

What would you make of the arrest of Medha Patkar? Is it an alleged instance of the "Government machinery having been let loose on peaceful democratic demonstrations?" Does it illustrate the chicanery of politics in having found an escape route from a deep rooted problem? Is it proof of how thick-skinned rulers have become when it comes to the salvation of the weak and the vulnerable? Does it show the autocratic ways of power in a democratic country, which is adamant on raising the dam at the cost of the public, irrespective of public moods?

The move to arrest Ms Medha Patkar could involve all of those aspects. To me, it is an unintentional noble deed that resulted from ulterior intentions. It's sad that Medha Patkar hasn't received even a fraction of the attention that has been showered on Ms Sonia's (Gandhi) "renunciation" of power. To have people who are ready to die for the lives of others, in this age, is a miracle! To dedicate one's life for a selfless cause propels Medha Patkar to the echelons of the likes of Mother Teresa. Ironically, even the Mother's beatification was done after much debate, posthumously.

The Government's intentions could well have been to avoid a huge public uproar and the prospects of the situiation veering off control if her indefinite fast proved to be fatal. But it might well result in the noble deed of saving the life of a great person whom India has to be proud of. People like her are not supposed to be victims of their own strengths. They have to live on - as they have the power to change the lives of many more. Medha Patkar would be able to make a difference to the state of affairs not by dying for one cause - but by fighting for many more, still greater causes.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Media, are you Listening?

Things are not supposed to be bad. But reality is never the ideal. Having said that, to accept reality as it is and call it "being practical" is a farce! "Escapism" or "Opportunism" - both of these terms would fit in to describe the scenario then.
It is good to note that some people in power realise they have a responsibility as well and take the initiative in voicing their thoughts, when they sense things turning from bad to worse! Aamir Khan is sensitive to the trends in today's media and has chosen to speak out - precisely, to the point. His interview to Tehelka slams the media for what it is - and what it has become over the years, faced with hectic competition, well on its way towards saturation in the industry. Some cheap stuff on the stack have decided to set the rules rather than living within the boundaries - and have set the ugly ball in motion, that could very well pick up momentum and spread filth all around.
My observations upon personal interaction with youngsters - teenagers in particular -has been mixed; it has reaffirmed my belief in their willingness to change things; it has hinted of their feeling of desperation at the way things are in this country. Pessimism has already found its way into some of the young souls. In a nut shell, they all realise that where they find themselves is not the best of situations.
It becomes a very important responsibility of the media, then, to support the youngsters in their quest for the ideal. But what happens in reality - as is mostly the case, against the ideal - is evidence of the media pandering to the sensuous yearnings of the rotten mind, oblivious of its powers in shaping the future of the society - and the effect that its behaviour has on the present generation.
Aamir Khan may be having his personal reasons for the opinions that he has - but there is a greater end that is being served in what he has said; and he has realised the importance of his words and has uttered them with a purpose. We need a lot more of such voices that remind the media of the purpose behind its existance. Voices can be more powerful that legislations - and a proactive attitude by the intelligentia could even make laws redundant!
Wake up - before it's too late!