Saturday, March 17, 2007

Prime Duty - A misunderstood concept

Many a times, we talk about our rights & duties as citizens of our beloved nation India. Our constitution has also laid down certain rights & duties for the citizens. But have we pondered & ever asked ourselves: what is our Prime Duty?

The functioning of India, & as a matter of fact any nation is based on the national policy adopted. These policies, according to which the administrative setup functions, are sketched out by politicians. These policies affect the life of each & every citizen. Now, if any policy goes wrong, or has an undesired effect on our life, we resort to blaming the politicians. But then, the basic question arises: Who are the politicians? We are the ones who choose them. Politicians are the representatives of the common masses.

If we go to the root of the political setup of our country, we find that at the grass-root level, it is the individual who forms the basic structure of the setup. Let us take an example of a tree… if the root of the tree is strong, exploiting the best of its environment, the tree is sure to grow the right way, developing into a healthy tree beautifying its surroundings. Similarly, we, the people are the roots of the political system in which we live. If we are strong, strengthened with political awareness & know-how, having knowledge of policies which are beneficial to the system, surely the political tree will grow the right way. The root supplies only the beneficial nutrients to the tree while filtering away the rest of the materials. Similarly, it is the individual who has the power to supply the political system with politicians who chalk out proper policies for our nation. To nurture & strengthen the political system is our prime duty as responsible citizens.

India is typically an agrarian country. After the huge success of the Green Revolution, a good amount of crops are harvested every year in our fields. However, sometimes the situation can be seen that huge quantities of food grains rot in the godowns while some people starve to death. Food is not properly distributed. What is the cause of this?

India is one of the main producers of sugarcane in the world. Due to proper cultivation techniques, we are able to have a prosperous crop of sugarcane every year. Still, much of the sugar we consume is imported from other countries. What is the reason behind this?

As we all know, the sensex is making a slow & steady climb upwards. Multinational companies have recognized the potential of the Indian market & are readily investing in India. There is also a substantial dollar flow in the economy. Inspite of all this economic progress, prices of commodities continue to soar everyday. The cost of living especially in the Indian cities is much high. What may be the possible explanation for this?

The reason for all these malfunctions taking place is a deficiency in policies. The deficiency may exist at the planning, development or the implementation stage, but definitely, there prevails a shortcoming somewhere. The responsibility for this shortcoming lies with the policymakers & the responsibility for choosing & electing the policymakers lies on our head. And over the years I believe, we have been addicted to blaming & cursing the politicians for the ill-effects faced by us. By putting the blame on their heads, we try to turn a blind eye to our faults. Ultimately, WE are to be blamed for this. The duty of finding solutions to the problems lies with the educated class.

So how long are we going to escape from our duties? Should we continue to live the way we live or should we give it a little more thought? Are we ever going to see light at the end of the long, dark tunnel? It is up to us to think & find a solution to this. IT IS DUE TO THESE REASONS THAT OUR PRIME DUTY REMAINS A MISUNDERSTOOD CONCEPT…

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It feels great !!

That's what the badge I got read: "I donated blood today....It feels great".

Today, a blood donation drive was conducted in our college by the NSS wing of our college. On last two occasions I was unable to participate in this drive, but finally today I got a chance to do a tiny little part for the society I live in.

The response for the blood donation drive was enormous and I had to wait in a long queue awaiting my turn. Finally I was called and a sample of my blood was taken for the haemoglobin test and for the Thalassaemia test. Thalassaemia major is a lesser known genetic, blood disorder which affects the child if both the parents are Thalassaemia minor. The child has to undergo blood transfussion on an average of 15 days. So along with the blood donation drive, we were also going to be tested for Thalassaemia minor.

I was very enthusiastic while I lay down on the cot, since this was the first time I was going to donate blood. The medic came and put the syringe inside me. I lay quietly and my heart went out to the 1 lakh children of India who were undergoing this hellish expeience of being a Thalassaemia major. I also remembered the victims of the bomb blasts when people all over Mumbai poured in to donate blood. And it felt nice that I could actually save lives by lying on the cot for 5-10 minutes. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction as my blood flowed out of me, ready to serve someone needing it more than I needed.

Hardly a few minutes passed and I was on my feet again, feeling no dizziness or numbness whatsoever.My friends and I sat down for a cup of coffee and biscuits. Everyone was smiling and happy for the cause they had volunteered.

And I thought, "Was this one of the selfless act I did?" My heart replied in the negative and my mind told me, "Certainly not, YOU felt nice and YOU felt satisfied. So where is the question of there being a selfless act?"

Smiling, I agreed with my mind and put on my shoes...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

...Finally I danced !!

Dance !!! Another one of the many expressions of art... And art has been an inherent part of me. Throughout my life of past 20 years, I have been exposed to various forms of art...painting, floral arrangements, Indian classical music... all thanks to my mom. Having learnt to play the Tabla for 6 years during my schooling, rhythm flows through my veins.. it has become an inseperable part of me. So, it was very natural that i explore new ways of expressing this rhythm apart from what I have learnt. I thought, "Hey! I haven't tried dancing anytime..." I remembered my school days; the school orchestra, the dramas, etc. But never had I participated in dance. I don't have any such reason, but the fact remained that i never explored my dancing skills. But now slowly I wanted to try it out. The recent dance competitions on television acted as catalysts to my thought and finally I made up my mind to give dancing a shot. And our college's Annual Cultural Festival came at the right time.

In my vacations starting December 2006, I had learnt Red Hot Salsa practising it by watching an instructional video. My dance partner Sneha and I decided to give it a try during the festival. We gave the auditions, got selected... me getting selected for the Group dance too. I was enthusiastic of my new venture.

Came March and the practice for the dance started. But I got a shock on the 1st day of practice when Sneha came to me and told that she would not be able to dance. I was disheartened but nevertheless tried to overlook it and concentrate on the group dance. But then something happened that brought a cheer to my heart. A girl in the dance group, Ruchita happened to know Salsa and it so happened that we two decided to give it a try in the Couple Dance competition...

With hardly a week to go, the first two days of practice had me struggling to grasp the steps... both in group dance and couple dance. But gradually I picked up and tried to bring finesse to the dance. Since we had selected the theme 'Salsa and Jive' for couple dance, I had to learn to do most of the 'guiding the girl' part of the dance. It took us about a couple of days to achieve a good comfort level with each other. And when finally we did, we practised on many different steps and yes....'locks and lifts'!!Now, I knew that I had to try to be as flexible as possible and expressive; since without expressions and proper gestures, the dance won't pull off well. But gradually I managed that, and Ruchita was also acquiring the grace in the steps with each passing day. Managing between group dance and couple dance was very difficult, but with whatever little practice we did, I eagerly awaited the day of 9th March.. the day of Couple dance competition!!

I wore a shimmering full sleeve red shirt apt for salsa with black trousers and she wore a red top and a black knee-length skirt. The competition started and we were going to be the first couple to perform. I was eager as well as tensed.. as anyone giving his first ever dance performance on the stage would be. I just prayed to God to help me pull off the dance well and the next moment the curtains opened.A loud cheer from the audience came instantaneously when we started the dance. The music, the rhythm and the cheering boosted my spirits further more and I felt like being in some sort of a trance.. We performed our locks, lifts and again a wave of cheer and shouts.. I was so engrossed in dancing that I didn't know how time fleeted by. The performance ended again with cheers from the audience. We came back to the Green Room and I was in a very excited mood. I thanked Ruchita for giving a good performance and Shashwat, my friend who had choreographed our entire dance sequence. And so finally I did what I wanted to do for such a long time.... Finally I danced !!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Reminescences of D-day

This is a poem I composed, the inspiration of which is the wonderfully made movie 'Saving Private Ryan'. The poem describes a first-person witness of the D-day landing of Allied forces at Ohama beach, Normandy. And what followed was one of the gruesome battles of WW-2.

Reminiscences of D-day

The guns boom all over the seas of Ohama
The monstrous splash of a shell drenching me all over
The saline seas appear tainted and accursed
And the thunderous waves appearing ominous.

As a commander, dauntless I ought to be
But I can't help as I feel my hands freeze
They tremble as I take a sip of brandy
Blurred as my vision gets, holocaust of the world I see.

I look at my men, they look at me
Without a word, their void expression speaks to me
The superficial grit and war cries, inaudible to our hearts
Some throw up, others grip the Cross, letting prayers do their part.

I take out my wallet, clearing the droplets away
That damp photo of my family providing me warmth
The memories gush into me like a quiver of arrows
A smile escapes my cracked lips, hoping it won't be the last

I keep the memories back in their place
And think of the dark coast that lies ahead
The final moments of prayer and a final check of weapons
A final pep-talk and into the jaws of death.

The sirens go off and we rush out of the boats
Amidst the blind barrage of machine-guns, we crawl ahead
The first few moments and half of my men dead
Some groan aloud while blood oozes out of their heads

A deafening sound and a blinding flash
A shell explodes chopping soldiers to pieces
I duck down and wait for what's coming next
And the gore of my comrade smears my sand-plastered face

I trudge along, as soldiers are meant to
Dodging bullets and splinters amidst the hellish firepower
With the stench of blood and smoke piercing my soul
Firing randomly as my mind ceases to think

I lose count of time, the battle drawing to eternity
Faceless corpses lying on the beach with fishes for company
The nauseatic feeling engulfing that Doomsday
Man kills man...for what?...why? questions unanswered till today.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

From a train's window

Recently in January 2007, the IEEE members of our college had been on an Industrial visit to Mysore-Ooty-Bangalore. It was almost a 24 hour journey by Udyan express. In the afternoon, as I sat by the window-side, I happened to pen down these thoughts...
As I sit in the train to Bangalore, enjoying the afternoon breeze by the window-side, I see the countryside fleeting away. This view of the countryside is an absolute refreshment for a person like me, so used to the mechanical and concrete life of Mumbai. The fresh breeze, which is nothing short of a luxury gushes in, fills my mind and soul with a new energy. The greenery of the fields and the trees is a bliss, reminding me of my roots which lie well concealed deep inside my outer form. My eyes behold the flora of all sizes, colours and appearance; the trees which have weathered many a storm over the years, the shrubs springing up from the mother earth and blades of grass which are looking as fresh as the morning dew.
Someone like me can’t help but contemplate on the vision outside the compartment. While my friends are playing, some sleeping, others listening to their MP3 players, I am listening to the sound of breeze as it blows across my face. The view tenderly coaxes me to think about the life I have lived, am living and will live. The flora reminds me of the various kinds of people in life. Some of them old, the thick rugged bark of trees reminding me of their wrinkled hands and face. These people are like the pole star, constant and guiding, just like the solitary tree I am seeing on a distant horizon. The shrubs remind me of my teenage life, in which I see my reflections of a boy wanting to grow, expand and flourish; but at the same time, very close to his alma mater. The twigs and the thin stem reminding it everytime that it has a long way to go before it can independently stand on its feet. But the sight that fills the heart and eyes with that happy smile is that of the tender blade of grass, eager and curious to see the world around it. The blade which bends in the breeze and can easily be trampled upon ! It is a manifestation of my childhood; innocent, a blank slate, with people around writing the letters of life and blessings on it. The mind was unbiased and carefree, away from evils of the world and tensions of life. I can’t help but smile again. I extend my hand to touch that blade of grass, but alas ! Its only in memories and photo albums.
As I turn my eyes away from the grass, I again see the distant, solitary tree… far, far away. And then I trace the uneven terrain between this grass and that distant tree. My mind and soul, in unison ask me, “Isn’t that the stretch of life?” Sometimes flat, sometimes uneven. Barren somewhere and greenery elsewhere. Rocky at some places and muddy at the other…
The train meanwhile halts at some station and far away, I see cattle grazing to their hearts’ content. Aren’t these the people who are or have been a part of my life at some stage or the other? Known or unknown to me, these were the people who have shared a give and take relationship with me. There would have been moments when I acted irresponsibly and these people were the one’s whom it affected ! Such a simple scene: that of cattle grazing in a field – but it speaks volumes on human relations.
I close my eyes to capture these fleeting images. A moment later, I hear the train whistle as if to add a bottom line to my thoughts. It resounds the fact that life is short, and so much to be thought, realized and acted upon. The train halts at a junction and a shrill cry of “Chai Chai” jolts me back to where I was !

4th Jan 2007

Yet another blogger !!

Hey !! It feels good to be a part of the blogger community...
By nature, i like to share thoughts with people around me. I like to listen to their viewpoints, their take on the subject. Sometimes it really helps you getting a totally new spotlight on the subject. I enjoy being in a company that is lively and likes to talk.
When it comes to writing, there's no forcing me to write. I write only when my mind tells me to pick up the 'pencil'.... and then words flow naturally.
In order to share this flow of words from my mind with other netizens, I finally decided to blog.. share my everyday experiences and events that inspire me, appeal to me. And to discuss about topics and get feedback from other bloggers. I hope this blogging experience turns out to be a great one !!