Thursday, May 31, 2007

Whose Gain, at What Cost ? - II

This is India. On one hand we are competing with and aiding the best of the world in the fields of medicine, technology, humanity, beauty etc. and on the other hand we are struggling within ourselves against the dowry system, child marriages, child labour, Sati pratha and many such social diseases which are still hollowing our society.

In India, even now it is common to see marriages where bride & groom hardly get to know each other before their wedding (sometimes they do not even see each other) or a husband throws out his wife for not bearing a male child or where sex education is still a taboo.

This is in continuation of my earlier post where I wrote about a woman who died on the operation table to fulfill her husband’s wish.

Now, the next case was a horribly shocking one for me. I fail to understand why some men treat their women as commodities, a toy which can be played around at their capricious whims and fancies. I don’t have words to describe this woman’s situation. Three months have passed by; it is still haunting me terribly.

As she was being shifted to the adjoining bed from a wheeler bed, I could see her writhing in pain. A newly wed bride (it was third day of her married life), her hands adorned by still fresh mehndi (henna) and tinkling bangles. Her off white saree was fully soaked in blood.

Reason ? A man who happened to be her husband, who had pledged in front of sacred fire to take care of her happiness and safety; could not control his desire to ‘conquer’ her and pounced upon her like a beast. He didn’t want to waste a single moment after the wedding. After two days of continuous rape, there she was lying in almost unconscious state accompanied by her mother-in-law. That monster didn’t even have guts to come to the hospital.

She was immediately shifted to operation theatre and was given thirteen stitches to her private parts. Her family at Ajmer was not informed as this was ‘nothing’ according to her dominating mother-in-law who obviously wanted to defend her son. She was continuously cursing the bride for not ‘co-operating’ with her son and making it such a hue & cry.
Without letting mom-in-law know, I somehow managed to speak to her busy doctor about hospital filing a complaint but on what basis, the doctor asked me. It was neither any accident nor the husband had beaten the patient. The hospital has its own set of rules before taking such steps. The police case could not be filed unless the bride herself complains. What a mockery !!

For the fear of arising of such a situation, the mother-in-law never left the patient alone. I was very bluntly told to mind my own business. I myself was going through a tough testing time then, did not want to multiply my problems. Could no longer stay there, asked Suhani if I could go home and came back saddened.

Probably I am selfish to the core and a coward as well.

Later, I came to know that the mom-in-law took her home the same evening... only to be attacked again by that beastly creature who was waiting there.

My heart aches.
I can see one more death in near future.

Think of it. With what dreams that bride must have come to her new home – a home full of strangers where she wanted a little love and a place to blossom.
Sometimes I do not want to believe in the institution of marriage.

Current song- Zindagi Tune Hume Kya Diya, Kuch Bhi Nahi – Jagjit Singh

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

कल रात - Translated

I somehow managed to translate the poem, for non-Hindi readers. I know I am late, not getting enough time. The translation is just below this poem but as I always say, translations are never the same; they don’t convey the same emotions. So, Hindi readers please don’t even look at it. You will be disappointed. It does not have the same magic.

कल रात थी बहुत हसीन
समां था कुछ ज़्यादा ही रंगीन।
अचानक वो मिले कुछ ऐसे मोड़ पर
जा बैठी पहलू में, सब कुछ छोड़कर।

मुद्दतों बाद हुई थी मुलाक़ात
कुछ कहने सुनने की नहीं थी बात
बस आंखों से जाम पिए जाते थे
और उनका नाम लिए जाते थे।

वक़्त से कुछ लम्हे चुराए मैंने
और समेटकर दिल में बसाये मैंने।
फ़िर न जाने कब हो मुलाक़ात
वक़्त का तकाज़ा भी तो था साथ।

कितने अमावसों के बाद
कल आयी थी पूनम की रात।
हसीन पल और अनकही हसरतों से
भरा नहीं मन छोटी मुलाकातों से।

वादा लिया है अगली मुलाक़ात का
पर यकीन नहीं उनकी किसी बात का।
नाउम्मीद हो चली थी मैं,
लेकिन कल कैसी खिली थी मैं । :)

Last Night

Very beautiful was last night,
even more enchanting was the aura.
I met him in an unexpected way
Ran into his arms leaving all aside.

No words to say or listen to..
the meeting was after an eternity.
Whispering the names and
intoxicated thru each other’s eyes

I stole some moments from time
and treasured them in my heart.
for, time stood there knocking..
who knows when we’d meet again.

This moonlit night had come after
countless dark nights.
Beautiful moments & unsaid desires..
hearts are not yet filled with small meetings

I have taken promise for next meeting
but not assured of his words.
Despaired I had become..
but, how had I blossomed yesterday. :)

Current song- In Dino, Dil Mera Mujhse Hai Keh Raha – Soham

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Paper Book – A Death ?

From tiny mobile phones to enormous flat-panel televisions, the digital age has stamped its presence long back in the blood system of our daily life. The technology is going cheaper day by day & is easily available to common man.
There is an obvious analogy between what iPods have done to LP Gramophones and what electronic books may do to the printed page. While the physical medium of books is least likely to be changed, there is an emergence of electronic books or e-books. What then of the printed book? Has the Internet made it redundant?

As books go digital, new questions, both philosophical and commercial, arise.

How, physically, will people read books in future? Will technology 'unbind' books, as it has unbundled other media, such as news, music albums and photography ? Will e-books cannibalize their paper counterparts ?

Will reading habits change as a result? What will happen to bed-time stories ? What impact will it have on our lives ?

With e-books giving us company, do you think we are going to pay heed to our handwritings ? Is it the right thing to happen or is it killing some of the finer characteristics of us ??

Personally, I am a bit old-fashioned, I love paper books, love to receive and gift them.. it has a certain personal touch and I don't want paper to go away entirely, but at the same time I won't have any regrets if we achieve a world in which access to all the world's content is instantly available on a global basis, without killing trees, burning diesel, or building warehouses.

And now the question is, what is a book anyway?

A book is a package of large quantities of subject matter, whether it is fiction, art, factual information, educational material or anything else. While books will always HAVE a place, I can't say that books will always be restricted to paper. I can see many great advantages of e-books over the traditional paper books but I still don't think that the rise of the e-Book will be quite as meteoric as some of these other forms of media have seen.

First let us see the advantages of an e-book.

The change has already happened for encyclopedias. Wikipedia, free, collaborative and online, has eaten into sales and usage of paper-bound alternatives. So books that people would not traditionally read in their entirety, or that require frequent updating, are among the top to migrate online and perhaps to cease being books at all. Telephone directories / dictionaries will also fall in this category.
And until recently, classrooms remained virtually unchanged - desks arranged in neat rows facing a chalkboard/ whiteboard at the front of the room, students taking notes on paper, and read from printed textbooks. Things started to change with the advent of projection equipment and individual computers. The trend is continuing, and the next casualty of the technological revolution appears to be the printed textbook.

Another advantage is that e-Book readers can have instant updates and revisions, and electronic contact with all other readers of each book, thereby sharing ideas and reactions more rapidly and with more people. Further, electronic books need not go out of print, are cheaper and less bulky than paper books if you want to carry them.

For children unlike paper books, e-books can be multimedia: letting us mix voice, music, color, motion pictures and leading to animated talking books.
I can see the supremacy of paper over monitor has started diminishing. There are many who believe that the new generation of learners, aka the Net Generation, or N-Gen, are much more accustomed to reading and learning from a screen.

The idea is attractive because theoretically, e-book technology allows you to load many books and periodicals on a reasonably small hand held device, making it easier to travel with lots of reading matter.

And the biggest advantage is it being environment friendly; we can save our trees and environment.

Still, there are many people who remain skeptical about moving from print to screen. Reading on screen and paper for comprehension and accuracy tend to lean in favor of print. There is a decline in speed and accuracy, and an increase in fatigue, when reading from a screen rather than paper.
Many editors still prefer to proofread from paper, where the errors seem to jump out more than on screen. Many e-publishers state that the vast majority of e-book purchasers print before reading. Also, e-books are much in need of standardization.

A paper version appears to be almost necessary and it is certainly convenient. Many students still cannot get to computers easily and many students do not like to work on the computer for longer hours. Many (including me) are of the opinion that a paper version is much easier to use when preparing for a test or exam.

I won’t talk about the piracy as I don’t think it can be avoided in any form.. physical or electronic.

However, commercial pressure from Internet-based e-book sellers will cause traditional book shops to struggle to remain competitive. Book publishers may still be in charge of the printing presses, but that may soon be irrelevant. They need to find a new role in the Internet age, and those who don't succeed may become increasingly marginalized.
Perhaps the slow response of publishers to digitize textbooks is a blessing. The delay will give educators and others an opportunity to more closely examine the costs and benefits of using electronic books in a classroom setting.

Personally I would want to read bedtime stories from paper books to my children and grandchildren. I do not want to believe that the electronic format will ever become more popular than paper books, I do not want that personal, human touch to go away, I do not want us to become slaves of this electronic age but at the same time I know acceptance of the electronic format will continue to grow.

And I do believe there is room for both.

Current song- Chandni re Jhoom – Kishore

Technorati Tags:

Friday, May 18, 2007

India Shining - II

When Abhi replied to a query of Confused Sam on my other blog, it reminded me of a small town called Ghoti. This picture was taken at the same place last year on Diwali day. As we were stuck in a traffic jam, I had nothing to do except click click click..
It was nice to see the vibrantly coloured Indian deities on a hand-cart getting sold for as less as Rs 25.00.

Current song- Aicha, Aicha, Passing Me By – English version

Technorati Tags:

Monday, May 14, 2007

बस और नहीं

The translated version for non-Hindi readers is just below this poem but as I always say, translations are never the same; they don’t convey the same emotions. However, I also feel that something is better than nothing. :))

नहीं, बस और नहीं बुलाऊंगी मैं
कहूँ, तुम याद नहीं आते तो झूठी कहलाऊंगी मैं।
हर बार बह जाते हैं गुस्सैल लहरों में
अब रेत घर नहीं बनाऊँगी मैं।

तुम भी तो कभी बढ़ाओ पहला कदम
अब न पहल कर पाऊँगी मैं।
कह दो तुम्हें नहीं है इंतज़ार मेरा
ये झूठ तो न कह पाऊँगी मैं।

कतरा भर ज़िन्दगी जीभर जी लूँ ज़रा
गर और मिली तो ख़ुशी से मर ही जाऊंगी मैं।
क्यों हो तुम खामोश खड़े
आ जाओ, आ भी जाओ, अब न चल पाऊँगी मैं।

No More

No, no more shall I call you.
If I say I don’t think of you, I shall be lying
No more shall I build sand-castles of my dreams
For, your anger always washes them away.

You must also step forward sometime,
I can not do it anymore.
Say that you don’t wait for me
Oh ! I can’t utter this lie on any score.

Let me live this slice of life to the fullest
For, I'll anyway die of joy if I get some more.
Why are you standing away in silence
Come, come to me, I can walk no more.

Current song- Katra Katra Milti Hai, Katra Katra Jeene Do – Asha Bhosale

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Differently Strong

1. A student named John aged 14, jumped off the fifth floor of his school building. He left a five-page note that said he was killing himself because his classmates tormented him with names like gay and teased him for his growing beard so early in life. He had never told his mother about this.
2. Another 13 year old, Minakshi hanged herself with a dog leash in her bedroom. She too left a note for her family. It read: “If I try to get help, it will get worse”.
3. A young boy of seven refuses to go to school and when forced, starts crying.

What do you think these cases could be ?

These are nothing but the cases of bullying.

I think I was also a victim of bullying although in a subtle manner. Yes, I think it was bullying, else I don’t know what to call it. And like the people mentioned above, I too had never told my mother about it. BUT I survived.

Not early in life but in college. She was with me in college, my classmate but very different from me. She was strong, outgoing, party loving, extrovert, ‘I care a damn’ attitude, ever ready to go out with a new guy, flirt, smoke etc. Sudden disappearance for 2-3 days without telling her folks was her way of life.
I had none of those ‘qualities’. The only common thing between us was intelligence. We both were intelligent. While my intelligence showed some results in academics, her intelligence was doing a good job in her fields of excellence.

I am unable to recall how it all started but now I think she was jealous of me & hated me largely. The reason was very simple.
She hated it to the hilt when any guy (same batch or senior) ignoring her, approached me to be friends. Of course, I was much better than her in physical appearance (pun intended) and studies but she wanted to be “The most wanted”.

The guys (oh, they are guys after all, can’t blame them) used to make silliest of excuses to talk to me… notes, library, lab, bus, cricket, songs, home…anything. That bothered her. In particular, she was conscious about 7-8 guys (three of them our seniors), who had not shown any interest in her and were always ready to help me in any manner whether I needed any help or not. :)

I was always getting the compliment of being a girl whom a guy would love to take to his parents to meet. It was all intolerable to her.
She started calling me names, making fun of me in front of her group.. for every little thing where she thought I could not match her. If my new dress was appreciated by others, it was her job to call it atrocious. My dresses, sandals, hair, handwriting, my name, my feminine body, even my being a front bencher.. everything was hit upon. She tried to attack me whenever I was alone.

Not that I was from a village or a small town or my views were primitive. My views were more advanced, contemporary & matured than her; all my friends irrespective of their genders were welcome to my place unlike her. Though we both had visited each other’s places on some occasions and I had even bought cigarettes for her many times, there was something in me which she hated terribly. Somehow we were never on the same platform.

Now when I think back, it was a difficult time for me. Though I felt hurt most of the times, I kept quiet. Oh yes, sometimes I answered her back in simple words “Not that I can’t do it but I DON’T do it by choice”.

There is much more to say here but the gist is “I SURVIVED”. Survived the bullying without anybody's help, not because I was strong, but differently strong.

What is bullying ? Bullying usually involves one or more people teasing, being violent towards or harassing somebody on an ongoing basis.

The most common form of bullying is name-calling. Children call others names for many reasons: short or fat, a different skin colour, or a physical disability. Victims are often smaller or weaker, shy and insecure than average.
Boys bully more than girls, and the tormenting is more often physical. In girls, bullying often takes more subtle forms but this can be every bit as painful as physical aggression.
Many parents are unaware of the happenings as it mostly happens when the person is alone and the person experiencing bullying may be scared to tell anyone or feel ashamed about being bullied.

Who are bullies ? The children who receive more forceful, physical discipline from their parents, view more TV violence and show more misconduct at home are more likely to become the bullies. Bullies often want people to look up to them, and they try to achieve this by acting tough. Their behaviour is usually initiated to create status for themselves. They are often unhappy, immature and unpopular in school, but other kids may associate with them out of fear rather than friendship.
Many boys who have been bullies continue their style of behaviour in later life. As adults, they are at increased risk for criminality, marital violence, child abuse and sexual harassment.

Indications that a person is being bullied could be:

Lack of motivation
Vagueness around certain topics
Unusual behaviour

Physical injuries

What to do if you think someone is being bullied

Talk to them - It is a good idea to talk to the person you think is being bullied to find out what is going on with them. Try to remember that the person you are talking with may be very sensitive about the situation and may be scared.
Let them know you care - Help them feel good about themselves. If a person is being bullied their confidence may be low and they may feel lonely. It helps to let them know that you are a friend and care about them. It can often help to point out all the great things they have to offer to help them to feel good about themselves.
Include the person into your group - Making a special effort to include the person in your group may help to increase the person’s confidence.
Stick up for them - If you see someone is being bullied it may be helpful to stick up for them but take care to ensure that in trying to do so you don't make the situation worse or put yourself in danger.
Speak to someone - Letting someone else know about the situation may help you to solve the problem. A teacher, counselor or another adult could be helpful people to talk to. It may also be helpful to involve the person experiencing the bullying in this process. Together you can go and talk to someone about the situation.

And in the end, try to make that person differently strong.

Current song- Pour que tu m’aimes encore – Celine Dion

Technorati Tags:-

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ye Hai India Meri Jaan !!

Have you ever traveled like this ?
Imagine waking up on a Monday morning in Chembur, Mumbai to find a massive Boeing 737 parked calmly outside your house !!

Yes, it’s true !! A scrapped 75-foot-long Boeing 737 belonging to India's private airline Air Sahara, minus its nose, tail and wings and placed on a trailer, has been parked in on the Chembur road off the Mumbai Pune highway when it was en route to Delhi.

The plane has become the centre of attraction with people coming from all over the city to take a look.
The common people have been fascinated with planes and never seen one so closely so it is fun to see an airplane on the roads when one is only used to seeing cars and auto rickshaws.

Not only them, some homeless people found a better use of it by converting it to a makeshift kitchen. And some even strung a clothesline where the plane's wings once were.
The quick ones with business mind found an opportunity to whisk away some parts of the plane until the police arrived yesterday to guard it and cover the luggage hatch with a piece of cloth.

Well, it all started at about 3 am on Sunday when the driver of a giant trailer carrying the fuselage of an Air Sahara plane out of the city asked for directions to the Mumbai-Pune highway. The aircraft was headed for Delhi where it will reportedly be used at a flight training academy.

Someone pointed the driver towards a left turn, which he trustingly took, only to end up driving past Duke's factory at Chembur to a point of no return. Entering a road off the main highway, the driver found himself hemmed in by two-storey buildings, garages and small shops, unable to turn the 75-foot monstrosity around. After that all the three people (driver, cleaner, helper) fled from the scene.

And the Mumbai’s Traffic Police seems to be at a loss as to how to move the mammoth aircraft, which is sitting on a trailer wedged in a bylane off the Eastern Express Highway, with hardly any space to manoeuvre.

Yesterday evening i.e. on Thursday evening, the Traffic Police met with UTC Carriers who is transporting the plane to discuss how to move the plane from the location. The deputy commissioner of Traffic Police said it will be moved at a time when there is relatively less traffic, in all possibility at late night, and is likely to be taken to Khopoli.
However, the facts state otherwise, as the enormity of the aircraft and the width of the lane may make the whole endeavour a difficult proposition.
As the trailer blocks one lane there has been traffic congestion on the narrow road. Rush of onlookers have also been steady since the word of an unusual sight had spread.

I can not help myself saying "Ye Hai India Meri Jaan !!"

Current song- Run Away – Linkin Park

Technorati Tags:-

Thursday, May 03, 2007

India Shining - I

NO !!!

YES !!!

Technorati Tag:-

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


This is another one from my box of few scribbles of poetry and was written around the same time as You. Again, I have not changed a single word of it.

Together we were a jungle team
full of play and wild scream.
Together we dreamt to dream,
laugh and cry in gloom and gleam.

Scratch and bite, love and fight ..
all through day and night.
Agreed, we at fault together
then where is my equal right ?

Every night we drink together ..
You, that poison and I, my tears.
How could you turn our heaven into
something, which even hell fears ?

I gaze at space the whole night
while you sleep the day away.
If you wanted to depart,
couldn’t you find a better way ?

With you I learnt the meaning of ‘us’
but you taught me the word ‘away’.
I die hundred deaths every day
For your happiness, I still pray.

Current song- Bahut Pyar Karte Hain Tumko Sanam – S P Bala

Technorati Tags:-