Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Spreading smiles!

“Yeh dosti hum nahi chodenge…” Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra were singing the song and promising each other to stay together forever, on the 70MM.

“I use to sing this song with my friend Ajay, when I was young. I so miss him. We use to work together in a mill. We use to return back home together, each day humming this song. Her mom use to make amazing Aaloo Parathas. We use to have it with curd and pickle. Sadly I don’t know where he is now!” Emotional Rajendra went to flashback, remembering his best friend.

“I use to dance on this song with my sister! We use to go to nearby temple and dance till our last breath! Our mom use to come shouting at us, scolding for running away from work!” Ranjana in her 60s something exclaimed, looking at Hema Malini dance in the movie.

“My kids use to repeat these dialogs. They use to enact it. One use to enact Gabbar and the other kid as Sambha”, gushed someone from the front. He was very excited and enjoyed every moment of the movie showcased.

The atmosphere became rather emotional. People from varied backgrounds in the age of mostly 60 years plus stayed together at the ‘Home for old age people’. Each face telling their own stories. Grey hairs indicating hard work done by them when they were young and fresh. Each wrinkle on their face narrating different shades of life, the ups and downs they have seen and the hardship they have gone through. Their slow yet steady movements showed their determination, no matter what, they will survive all the odds. The grandpas and grandmaas started sharing better part of their life with us. Time when they were young and restless. They were aggressive and were ready to take on the world, unlike now, where they are dependent on others.

I experienced the above moments of joy and satisfaction at an old age home at my native place. And after looking at their enthusiasm, to face the odds and enjoy their remaining life, with whatever they have, I was deeply touched. Truly, age is just a number. I was sitting amongst people with 60 years plus in their age. Rotaract Club, run by our college, gave me this life time opportunity. We students a group of around 20-25 visited the old age home regularly. Our mission was to spread happiness in the society. We thought that just by contributing money or clothes, we were contributing towards their survival, but not towards their living. We wanted them to enjoy. To laugh and think life is still beautiful and nothing matters more than courage. Courage, to forget the suffering and smile!

We decided to add an entertainment quotient in the life of old age people. Movie screening was one of the events we use to undertake once in a month, selecting the most popular one among them. We also use to conduct competitions for club members and entertain the aged ones. That day, in the evening, we organized Mehndi competition. All the old age people were asked to sit in a big circle in the open area. Our members put mehndi on their hand. They were thoroughly excited. The grandpas and grandmas kept on narrating their experiences while the process of putting mehndi was on. The stories were deep, honest, touching and eye opening! I even thought of recording each story! The feelings I had, I cannot express.

All the members had that satisfying feeling. An effort well taken. A task worth doing again and again. We tried to give the aged ones something beyond money, an experience, something they deserved after toiling for all these years, a smile and a sense of belongingness!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: There are very few tasks that gives you actual satisfaction. You do it because you want and nothing else. No one to prove, no one to impress, no rating and performance pressure, nothing to gain, nothing to show off. It is imperative to give something back to the society in some form as we keep exploiting it in the journey of life.

PS: The above post is a real account and my recreation for Tata Nano "Spreading Smile" contest.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

"If you love someone by heart, the universe conspires in your favour!"

15 days back, I wrote a love story, my first love story. It was taken well by the readers and gained appreciations but every time somewhere they mentioned, why the sad ending? At that time I held myself, explaining them the situation of Hari - that he was helpless, that what he did was in good interest of all the parties involved. But I couldnt tell them that it was only the first half, only Hari’s side of story! What about lady Anushka? She was also deeply in love! How can she just let her love fly away? Sometimes mistakes are done by one partner but the second has to take lead in time, to avoid mis-happening!

Here’s briefly telling you the first part, a recap, for those who tuned-in late and didn’t read the first story. Hari and Anushka studied together is MBA School in Mumbai. Hari is from small town, an introvert, brilliant at studies. He has seen his family and parents going through thick and thin. This one thing motivated him to take all challenges head-on and make life for his parents luxurious and comfortable. On his journey he met Anushka, a delhite, typical spoiled brat. Their college assignments and combined studies brought them closer and they fall deeply in love. Anushka quit smoking, drinking and up-trend outfits for Hari’s, her love’s sake. Hari always thought that he was incorrect in restricting her yet his family background compelled him to do so. If they had to marry, she had to change. Yet on last day of college, when Anushka boozed and broke free, Hari was confused. Such behavior would distant him from his parents, if it ever happened after marriage. To keep up his parents expectations and remove restrictions on his love - Anushka, he let his love fly away. He applied his brains in the game of love, instead of heart! (to read more about character and how the love story flowered, you can click on the link "...and I let my love fly away!" and read the first part in detail.)

Anushka was dejected heart -broken after hearing it from Hari. She felt cheated. She couldn’t bear the trauma. She became numb. The world seemed to be collapsing and nothing made sense to her. Life became uninteresting and not worth living. She realized her mistake but was not expecting such a big blow. Lot of arguments happened, good and bad words were exchanged between Hari and Anushka, everything to hit dead end. Hari was determined to sacrifice his true love because of his love for parents. He never wanted to see them hurt. Yet he was not happy with his decision. He wanted some miracle to happen and things to fall in place.

Anushka went back to Delhi, her home town, as she got placed in Unilever, Delhi. She behaved in rude manner with her parents and didn’t even contact her local friends. She was lost and wanted to dis-connect with the world. Days at Unilever went fine and she started spending more time at the office. Yet she knew something was missing in her life, the happiness quotient. The company sent her to a small village for her initial market study. The six months time she spent in the village proved vital in changing her life. More than analyzing the taste and preference of villagers, she analyzed their lifestyle. Their simple yet peaceful living. Somewhere she wanted to understand what goes in upbringing a child, the values, the culture.

She met lot of families in the village who could barely manage two meals a day. She listened to stories of young kids, how desperately they wanted to get out of poverty and backwardness. They had dreams of getting educated from top business schools, some wanted to become pilot, some doctor and treat their ill parents. They had great urge to make their parents and family condition better. They wanted to rub shoulders with their cousins, who were better off, residing at metro cities. Each story had different names and situation but the feeling was the same. To grow, to prosper. Anushka made good relations with lot of families and visited them often. She even ate at their place sometimes. She realized how humble they were. Their needs were so limited and yet they wanted to conquer the world.

After six months, she reported back to Unilever, Delhi. Her boss, Mr. Shushant Sharma was very impressed. He recommended her work to his seniors. Anushka knew what she has achieved. More than recognition and awards at the office, she learnt what she couldn’t at her business school - understanding human behaviour, reasons that run behind the mind, while taking decisions. What forces an individual to prioritize between two love!

On the other hand, Hari somehow managed his work at Pantaloons, Kolkata. It was more than six months the two had contact with each other. Anushka got Hari’s number from a common friend and gave him a call. Anushka and Hari were meeting after more than six months. Place - CafĂ© Coffee Day, Delhi, their all time favorite. For the first five minutes both were silent, with no clue how to proceed. They suddenly stood and hugged each other. Stories were communicated without even speaking. Both knew what they wanted and what was right. The fresh appearance of Anushka was narrating her effort she put to understand Hari’s thought process. That how much important it was for Hari to keep his parent’s expectations up. Her six months field work taught her and changed her completely. The new Anushka was the real changed Anushka. This time it was not by force but by choice. She loved her new Avatar and carried it like never before! Hari was all the more happy to see Anushka enjoying what she is rather than smiling for the sake of her love!

Hari whispered to Anushka, “You did it! Without you, this would have been impossible.”
“We did it. It was you because of whom I could travel so far. If you love someone by heart, the universe conspires in your favour!” replied Anushka.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Blog Awards: "Itni Shiddat se maine tujhe paane ki koshish ki hai..."

"Itni Shiddat se maine tujhe paane ki koshish ki hai; ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saajish ki hain"...lol. I am really delighted and excited to receive my third Blog Award.
Appreciation from peer blog buddies always thrills you! Thnx a lot Surbhi for Awarding me!

Now as a rule after receiving awards,
1. In order to accept this award, please post it on your blog with the name of the person awarded it including the link to his blog.
2. Pass on the award to 5-10 of your most loyal followers.- Contact those followers and let them know they have been chosen for this award.
I take this opportunity to Award "The Versatile Blogger" Award to the following blog buddies.

Lazy Pineapple
Choco Desserts

Another Award which I received earlier from Choco Desserts but I wasnt knowing the rules of acceptance. So I take this opportunity to award it to following "Cool" blog buddies!

Keep Blogging... :)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

NEWSpapers - any relevance left?

Gone are the days when I use to have tea and breakfast while reading newspapers. Reading newspapers while sipping hot tea, trying to manage the flying pages and yet completing the paper was the way morning use to begin. Time has changed a lot and thus the technology. Today I just scan the newspaper, and read important news online between work. With technology advancement the frequency at which news is delivered has increased and the time lag between occurance of an event and its reporting has drastically come down. But what about the content? The relevance? The focus on important issues?

It doesn’t take much time, now-a-days to read newspaper. Not because nothing is happening but because sensational news that ensures increase in newspaper sale, are reported again and again, ignoring the events which would otherwise doesn’t help in increasing the top line of the company.

Content: When you pickup the newspaper from outside the door, the first thing you read is the headlines on the front page. What is your reaction when you see the IPL news or Mr Lalit Modi appearing daily for 20 days on front page headline? Dhoni says something and it is published on the front page. The publishers forget that they are the national newspaper with huge circulations reaching the masses. Important issues that the masses are concerned of, always take a back seat. Such issues are published in some corner of some page. If you look at the content of each page by the way it is classified, for example “Nation” page should carry all the important events happening in India. And the followup of those issues. But you would actually find more than half of the page with advertisement or some state/ central government propogating achievements.

Focus: If an issue is published over and over again, it becomes a big news. How much importance should be given to a particular event is also justified by the number of days it appears on newspaper and its follow up by the media. Lalit Modi managed to seek reporters attention every now and then. But Mr. Jairam Ramesh, who has spoken so many things contradicting to the government policies, in his on-going visit to China, but such news are reported once or twice and becomes history. The issues that are against government, against BCCI, against ruling party of any institute appears as if it happened and it didn’t impact anyone. Jesica Lal verdict, poor farmers plight in Vidarbha, ever rising inflation, fallout of Greece economy and other more serious issues are reported as if they dosent make sense for a comman man.

Importance: An event becomes as big as where, or on which page it appears on the newspaper. If it appears on the front page, it should be a serious one, which might impact masses and for a large time. Mr. David Cameron became UK’s prime minister, a conservative party leader after 13 years of democartic government rule. It is Britain's first post-war coalition government. Now a news of such importance which will definitely have lot of repercussions on the Indo-UK trade and ties, if not published as a headline, isnt honesty with the profession. News related to powerful people or glamourous people never fails to appear on the front page with larger columns.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: We read and form an opinion. We see the world the way it is shown. NEWS paper should refrain from biased opinion or undue promotions. Let the public decide what they want to read and how much and not the publisher and powerful few decide what to feed.

"To hear one voice clearly, we must have freedom to hear them all." Kerry Brock

Thursday, 6 May 2010

What punishment should Kasab be given?

No amount of punishment can even come close to the brutality and horrendous act of killing by Ajmal Kasab and his companions. Investigation says that he enjoyed the process of killing. He wanted to destroy The Taj like the way they did to J W Marriot in Pakistan. He wanted to consume human blood. He killed several innocent people and left thousands of people to cry for the loss of their near and dear ones. Eminent layers are fighting asking for capital punishment for Kasab.

So what punishment should be given to Kasab? A life imprisonment? The punishment will be too less to pacify the sufferers. It means that he will survive till his last breath. In India, earlier life imprisonment meant 14 years and then it became 20years. Now it is made up to the last breathe taken by the criminal with lots of clauses and considerations added to it. Two views over this: How would a mother who lost her son in the attack, would be able to come to terms? That the terrorist who killed his son, is still alive and will remain so until his natural death? This is certainly not acceptable. On the other hand, none of the convicts in 911 cases has been given a capital punishment!

So, next option is to give him capital punishment (hang him). Now this again is such an easy way to settle the matter. Kasab came to Mumbai and was always clear that he is not going to go back alive. He was prepared to sacrifice for Jihad or whatever they say. It will be such an easy escape for such a brutal act. And our law and order is in such a pathetic state, that even if he is given capital punishment, the execution might take as long as 20years or more. If the court pronounces capital punishment, the case will go to High Court. Upon acceptance, it will move to Supreme court. From there it will move to the President of India, where, Kasab can apply by mercy and considerations. It was easier for me to say that the case will move from here to there and from there to here, but the amount of time lost in the transition, is beyond explanations.

After case goes to The President of India, it goes for further examinations and considerations. In India as many as 32 cases of similar punishment are pending since 1998. Kasab’s case will be added in the queue as he cannot be executed until the queue is over! For example: Afsal Guru (who masterminded attack on India parliament) is awaiting his execution from last 5 years! The reason, cases ahead of him are yet to be executed!

My view is: Give him a capital punishment and hang him without wasting much time. But before doing that, make videos of Ajmal Kasab, where he is narrating his story, his family background and why he joined this mission. Show him requesting the new breed of Pakistanis and fellow terrorists not to sacrifice their life for money or in the name of GOD. God or Allah never asked to sacrifice life; he always asked to make life beautiful by following humanitarian path. Show in the video how pathetic life has become for him and his family because of his one wrong decision. How he repents and wants to go back in time and change that one decision that killed thousands of innocent people! Show these videos world over; broadcast them in Pakistan again and again. Such videos won’t stop addition of new Kasabs in the terrorist list but may influence few, that’s what we want. To reduce terrorism to zero.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: I have given my verdict, waiting to listen from you all. Hope some senior lawyer or a decision maker reads this post, sometime!

PS: I just pray god, we get some landmark decision in this case.


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