Saturday, August 20, 2011

I AM ANNA - Hinjewadi Protest March

Yesterday I attended a protest march supporting Anna Hazare's movement:

Like many others, I was really shocked and appalled by the misdeeds of the government ‘Delhi police’. And wanted to protest very badly against it. Of course I could not just pick up a stone and throw it at the Congress headquarters Delhi police station. So I picked up my blackest T-Shirt this morning, as my sign of mute protest.

In office, by a mysterious stroke of luck, I read that there was to be another protest. Importantly for me, it was scheduled AFTER I read the email(yesterday I missed out on a protest march as I checked my email late. Uffff!). This particular march was organized by Hinjewadi Association, along with Pune chapter of India Against Corruption. The morcha was to be held from Infosys Gate No 1 to Wipro Gate, in “Rajiv Gandhi” Technology Park, Phase II, Hinjewadi, Pune, India.

Now, my office is in Phase I. So, with a couple of friends, we travelled to Phase II, to participate in the march. A large crowd had already gathered, and was swelling pretty quickly. Many amongst the crowd were wearing Gandhi topis, with ‘I AM ANNA’ and ‘Mee Anna Hazare’ written. Some of the guys were holding placards showing the slogans – more for helping us chant than dispaying to others. Of course it goes without saying that everyone in the protest was ‘youth’. All of us were from the IT industry. And a little surprisingly, there was a considerable amount of female participation. The fairer sex comprised about 40-50% of the entire crowd.

To be fair, I have some reservations with a few clauses in the Jan Lokpal Bill(will blog about that later), and so I was primarily there to protest against the tyrannical behavior of the government. Standing in the crowd, I started getting the ‘feel’ of the protest. I have attended a few election rallies in the past(seriously!). But this was another ball game altogether. This time I was actively involved in protesting, whereas in election rallies you are just a passive spectator. I was obviously excited about this whole thing. And I could see the difference. It was morally boosting. Because all of us were for a selfless cause. And we were all feeling extremely patriotic. The atmosphere started getting electric. The chants started with Vande Mataram, and Bharat Mata Ki Jai. I was a little shy at first. And so were many others. I saw quite a few guys, and a lot many girls smiling shyly as they chanted the slogans. Some guys were cracking jokes to desperately get some female giggles. But gradually all of us started getting used to the chanting and became serious about it. We were there for a cause. Most to support Jan Lokpal Bill, and some like me, to basically express my angst against the government. And I have to honestly tell you. I started getting emotional about the whole thing. As I saw tricolours flying in the air, and chants of Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai filled the air, I realized that this is about the closest that I was ever to our own Freedom Movement! Why? You might ask. My answer is this:

Only twice in my entire life have I seen so many youth with so many Indian flags and feeling so patriotic. The first time was when India won the World Cup again. And the second time was this – Anna’s movement. Since Anna’s movement is more directly involved with the politics and causes of Indian aam junta, I will credit this as the most successful national movement I have seen in my lifetime. And I will repeat, for me, this was the closest I could get to the Indian freedom fighters. Yes, there were no Britishers ready to shoot us, but remember, just a few days back the Maharashtra police had fired at protesting unarmed villagers and killed 3 of them. Eerily, the shooting had happened just a few kilometers away from Hinjewadi (on the Expressway). The patriotism, the selflessness, the spirit and the energy was invigorating.

In the official email, the organizers had mentioned a total of 5 slogans that were to be used in this peaceful rally. But that did not stop a few of us to indulge ourselves in other slogans. One I can’t seem to forget is, “Baaki sab chingam hain. Anna hamare Singham hain!”. :D

After we sang the national anthem, and the chanting renewed, we realized we were standing at the same place for the past 15 minutes! It was then that a few of the organizers announced that the rally was cancelled because they could not get permission! I mentally abused the police again (it sounded improper to foul the atmosphere by actually uttering those bad words). However, the chanting resumed. The organizers advised us to disperse. Interestingly, gradually the crowd automatically started moving towards the Wipro gate. Not to be left behind, I joined the cavalcade. While walking, and chanting, I couldn’t help myself from imagining a few of those brave Maharashtra police officers again arriving in jeeps, armed with their service revolvers, enthusiastically pumping bullets into our hearts and earning a few medals from themselves. What if that actually happens? A bullet strikes my heart. What next? Will the entire nation erupt on streets? Indian Spring? Instability? Confusion? Anyways, the Maharashtra police was obviously involved in more important tasks, and conveniently ignored us – petty criminals who were marching without permission.

The march was snaking around on the footpath. And there were thousands of us. Easily more than 5 thousand guys. Many vehicles were slowing down to have a look. I saw quite a few blue collared workers staring at us. To be fair to them, the sight was unusual. This was not a group of protestors bought by the political parties. Friday meant most of us were dressed in casuals. There was western wear. There were hot babes(quite a lot :D). There were ameerchode. And there was the middle class. This industry is used to work in AC, away from the heat and dust. But we are not away from the pulse of the nation.

The march ended few meters short of the Wipro gate. J So technically we did not complete the march! With final chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jaiiii, and Vande Mataram, the crowd finally dispersed.

This was the first time in my life that I actually felt that I have performed some action that was directly affecting my nation. It is my firm belief, that this movement is going to have a huge impact on the future of India. Mostly, for the better!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why I hate the next generation!

First a disclaimer. I don't 'hate' the next generation. But, honestly speaking, I do have a bias towards them (meaning roughly anybody born after 1984). Somewhere within me, I feel they are 'bad'. :D Let me tell you the story behind this unfair bias:

My school classes had just ended, and I was happily walking home. I must have been in 5th or 6th standard (somewhere around 1995-96), and was dressed in our unflattering uniform - shorts and half shirt. After I came out of the secondary school gate, I had to cross the primary school to reach home. There, along the road, were lined up the primary school buses, with small teeny-weeny kids(I considered them kids then, since I was obviously a grown up). Even in those days, I found the sight of toddlers very amusing. And so, as I was walking along the street, crossing each bus, I could not help but peek into the window, and smile at teeny tiny faces - all engrossed in laughter, crying or fighting! As I walked a littler further, I saw this kid with swollen cheeks, staring at me. His tiny eyes were following me for a while; and when I came directly under him and gave him a sweet smile, all of a sudden, a burst of water fell on my face. And his cheeks became normal!

Yes, you guessed it right. The rascal had filled his mouth with water, and was waiting for an appropriate moment to shoot all the water on me. And yes, of course, after the successful guerilla attack, there was a lot of jubilation in the enemy camp. All (or most) of the toddler rascals started laughing at me. What we call insult to injury.

I was shocked, anguished, concerned and angry. Shock and anguish due to the act; concern on what is gonna happen to the next generation; and anger because well I had every right to be angry. I was smiling at that rascal so sweetly, and he returned the favour by spitting all over me. And to top that, they all started laughing. Why? What wrong had I done?

Friends, it was at that very moment, that I formed this belief - that the next generation is full of rascals!
And subconsciously, that bias remains! :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chumma Chumma De De...

This was narrated by a friend of mine, a North-Indian, who has recently spent quite some time in Chennai. He was walking with a couple of colleagues, both of whom happened to be girls (lucky rascal :P). Of course, he was enduring the torture that any two girls are capable of giving any guy who suddenly finds himself alone in the company of two women. I mean, first you bear those irritating giggles, then suddenly they will start whispering in ultra low voices, and the very next moment they will be shouting on the top of their voices and jumping up and down. And then they will turn to you, asking if you are getting bored. What a question! Anyways, so this friend of mine was ignoring whatever was spoken, when suddenly the following statement hit his ears:
"So I gave him chumma just like that!"

Unable to believe his ears, he asked the lady to repeat her statement.
The girl in question was chewing a bubble gum. She burst a bubble, took in the gum, then took out her tongue, wagging it to and fro over her lips. After this, she again shrugged her shoulders and repeated: "I gave him chumma(extra wriggle of shoulders) just like that!".

My friend was flabbergasted. From what he knew, chumma is a fairly commonly used Hindi word that means a "kiss"! This girl was wetting her lips with her tongue, and telling him that she gave a kiss just like that. Was she hinting that he could also be the next beneficiary?

Controlling the urge to give it a try, he asked her what her statement means (this was one of the best decisions of his life)? He was immediately disappointed when he came to know that....

CHUMMA is a Tamil(or South Indian?) word that means "just like that"!!!!

I had myself come across this word, during my stay in Mysore. I heard it for the first time, from the mouth of my project manager! The statement was something like "we will do it chumma just like that". I was shocked! I looked at my manager again, to confirm that he has not lost his mind. But there was no embarassment, no guilt on his face, as he continued speaking. How could a manager casually mention such a word, inserted inside a professional statement? It was later that I was to know the meaning of this word.

I can't find a one-word substitute for this word in Hindi or English. It is one of those 'untranslatable' words. :) Damn useful.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My new lid!

Okay, before I start this blog, let me inform you, that this post should have been written few months back. Better late than never. :)

As I sold my Pulsar 150 in Mysore, before moving to Pune, I gave out my Ninja helmet as a complimentary gift with my bike. Of course, when my dad came to know about this, he was red with anger. Why? Because that was HIS helmet! :) And it was around 10 years old!!! To be honest, even I thought it was a bad decision to give it away, cause I had grown fond of the lid. It was a STUDDS Ninja helmet. And it was a special model, which had a design pattern sticker at the back, which also glowed in the dark, thus increasing the safety factor. Its difficult to find these patterns nowadays, and all you get is a simple black Ninja STUDDs sans the sticker. If you have some idea about helmets, you would already have known that Ninja is a good helmet, which has survived in our market for a long time. It is a full-head helmet, and you can lift a part of the helmet, thereby converting it into a face-exposing stylish helmet. I have fond memories, of wearing glares, and lifting up half of the helmet, to get that cool dude look when riding my Pulsar. :P Of course, whenever I went out biking, I ensured that it covered the whole of my head, to play safe. Like that behemoth trip that I had made on my bike, from Mysore to Mangalore, alone!! Of course, there was one time, when I ignored my helmet, and then met with a serious accident on Chamundi Hills, which has left a permanent scar on my face (have blogged about this earlier). Anyways, this helmet has protected me for a looong time. But no use repenting, it is already gone!

Sorry for the diversion. This post is about my new lid, not the old one. Instead of buying the helmet in Pune, I thought I will buy it in Mumbai, on my weekend trip to home. Once, with dad, I went down to Byculla, and saw a couple of small shops, but could not find STUDDS Ninja with sticker. So, one evening, I went to Dadar west, looking for a helmet-shop. This was the first time I was buying a helmet, and had absolutely NO idea where to find it! It took me some time to realize that I will find it not in a sports shop, but in an auto hardware accessories shop! After roaming around for a couple of hours, I roamed more than half of Dadar, to realize that I should have already come to Lady Jamshedji road. Somewhere between Citylight and Sena Bhavan, I found a shop, where I finally found STUDDS NINJA. But, unfortunately, it did not have the sticker at the back which I had in my oops... my dad's helmet. So, I moved ahead. And luckily found another shop, this one bang opposite Sena Bhavan. However, they did not have Ninja. Instead, they had a Vega helmet. Which looked good enough. Which had desirable feauture(retractable full head lid), minus the sticker. After roaming around for 2 hours, I could have eloped with Mayawati. Not really, but I was damn tired, and thought I should just buy the damned thing, and get it over with.

And friends, that is how I bought my Vega Boolean helmet. And coming to think of it, I like it more than the earlier Studds Ninja one.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thoughts: Baap Badaa Na Bhaiyyaa..

I should be content. Cause I am comfortable. All my material needs are satisfied. I can eat whatever I feel like eating(as it is I am not much into junk food). I can go and occasionally buy clothes. Like anybody else, I eat out once in a while(don't drink). My salary is nothing great. Its simple. Perfectly fine for a middle class existence for the entirety of my life.

But the problem is that I am not content! My friends have left me far behind in the rat race of life. In fact, every other person I see around me is busy running. Just like a 100 metres sprint race. You keep running. Then you overtake the person just ahead of you. But there is no room for complacency. You are yet to overtake the guy still ahead. Also, you need to ensure a good speed, lest the one you left behind overtakes you! The only difference between 100 meter race and this race is, in life there is no finish line. There is no winner. And no loser! Yet, we keep running. Yes, we keep running like shit.

Coming back to the strange situation I find myself in. You see, I have an average middle class salary. And I have all the material comforts that I seek right now. I go inside this bubble, this comfort zone. Which says, All is Well! Then, one look at some of my friends, and this bubble of mine, bursts! They are getting paid around thrice my salary, or more! Climbing up the ranks. Rising, rising and rising. There seems to be no upper limit to their salaries. I am sometimes bewildered as to how can a company ever stay in profit after paying such obscene salaries! Anyways, so coming back to my feelings - I get motivated. Motivated to start running faster. Or at least prepare myself for another huge race. To get a better position. A better salary.

It is in such thoughts, that sometimes another kind of feeling strikes me. To demonstrate this feeling, let me narrate an incident. I was in my junior college (plus 2, as they call it), when I had to go to this cobbler, to get a sandal mended. Without any second thoughts, he took the dirty, filthy sandal (after all, it was my sandal :P), and immediately started working on it. I was standing there appreciating his skill, his dedication. To be honest, at such moments, a little bit of pity does crop up into my heart, although it shouldn't. As I was concentrating on observing his concentration, suddenly a school kid came running. One look at the cobbler's wide smile, and the twinkle in his eyes, and I realized that this was his son. The cute chhotu wanted some chocolates. The cobbler immediately took out a 10 rupee note and handed him. I loved that moment. The exact same moment, when after a bit of pestering my father used to give me money. The boy snatched the note, and ran away jumping up and down, the way kids usually run. After a few moments, it was time for me to leave. But not before paying the cobbler for his services. It was with a very odd expression, that I handed over his fee of rupees two!! And as I walked back, I could not help compare his 5 minutes of hard work for 2 rupees, and the instant in which he gave his son a 10 rupee note, just so his kid could enjoy!!!

It is not just this cobbler. Sometimes, I look at the local dhobi. There was this old man, in his sixties, who would keep ironing clothes. Always soaked in prespiration, dressed in a vest (baniyan), he would always look to me a picture of sympathy. I appreciate his hard work. His determination. His prespiration. There are so many like him. Look at the sweepers! The petty salesmen. The hawkers.Why go far? Look at your house maid, who wakes up daily at 5 am, works hard the whole day, only to spend the night getting abused by her drunk husband(a rare scenario, just an example). You look all around you, and you find hard working people. People whose each and every rupee earned is dipped in their sweat. You must have seen people working in lime factories, or in welding shops. I am talking about the blue collared workers here. What never ceases to amaze me is their hard work. Their struggle. But, it is their earnings that disappoint me. Sitting in an AC room, I have seen people idling away their time, and yet getting paid handsomely. And I am not even talking about our government servants here! I can give you hundreds of examples, of people doing nothing more than sitting on their arses, and getting paid filthily. On the other hand, one look at the street, and I see so many hard working guys, getting paid a pittance, at least comparatively.

As I am engrossed in these leftist-sounding thoughts, suddenly I get the news that a dear friend of mine, fresh out of B School, has started out with a package of 10.5 (lakh rupees). And I jump up. All the pity, all the scruples disappear. Greed takes over. Greed for money, greed for power. And I jump back into the cauldron of moh maaya and started running after Goddess Lakshmi.

Of course, even when blinded with the rat race, I make a silent promise to myself. I will do SOMETHING for these supposedly unfortunate many around me. I just hope that I keep my promise. :)

Get, Set, Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Essay: How I use Facebook

Let me very franky admit, I never gave a damn about Facebook. I was happy with my own Orkut profile; its a different matter that nobody used to scrap me anyways, not even guys! And then came the Facebook tsunami. Orkut became ICL, and Facebook became the new, glittering IPL!! People took to Facebook, as Indian housewives had taken to Balaji Telefilms. I refused to budge, though. I thought these guys are wannabes, who are aping the United States. And so, I did not join the Facebook bandwagon. However, there came a time, when I could no longer ignore Facebook. Most of my friends had defected, which also included guys who could not spell computer, but wielded Facebook as their potent weapon! What did not help matters, was the responses I got when asked about Facebook - "Its awesome!", "Its marvellous", "Its much better than Orkut". And when I would reply "I think Orkut is good enough", the response would always be laughter! It was at this juncture that I decided that I need to join the Facebook users club.

Understanding Facebook, was akin to rocket science for me. I was flabbergasted at the skills of my friends, who were using Facebook so effectively. But I did not give up hope. I started doing hard work. I went and researched on Facebook, signed up for tutorials. Around this juncture I came to know that Facebook tution classes were being held in my neighbourhood. It was being conducted by Mr. Ramesh Jindal, who has the distinction of being the youngest enterpreneur in our locality - he is 5 years old, and still attends kindergarten. So, I dutifully paid the tution fees, and attended the 3 weeks Facebook course. Mr Jindal was truly a master of Facebook. He had around 12,000 online girlfriends. At least 10 of these, had flown down to India to marry him! It was only when they arrived here, did they find out that Mr. Jindal actually uses his own portrait as his DP, and not one of those many child photographs available on the internet. Anyways, Mr. Jindal was a thorough professional, and always talked business. The classes would sometimes be briefly interrupted when Mrs. Jindal (don't misunderstand, I am talking about his mother) would spank him on his bare buttocks for not drinking milk. The course went wonderfully, and when I completed it, I was already feeling like a master.

Armed with this new degree, Facebook became a cake walk. And now I started using Facebook to paani mein aag lagaa. There was a method to the whole madness. The first step, according to Mr. Jindal, was to create a desirable profile. So, I hired Arundhati Roy to write the wordings. Being a bitch, she declined, so I had to run to Chetan Bhagat. I also hired Shekhar Suman to add a dash of humour. That was a mistake. Anyways, I covered it, by asking Siddhu paaji to provide the finishing (which when done, even he could not understand). The next step, was to add decent photographs. Unlike Mr. Jindal, I did not have chubby cheeks. In fact, on the contrary, my photographs can be used as stills for horror movies. So, the first step was to get a decent DP. I hired Raju, who is a professional model (actually he is an extra in movies, but likes to call himself model. to be fair to him, he does not look ugly at all), to get a few photographs clicked. These photos, I used as my DP. :D Next step was to post some khoon jalau photos. You see, my friends keep posting photos that keep sending me into fits of jealousy. So, I downloaded some scenic locales - Mauritius, Bali, Afghanistan(to show my bravery), Niagara Falls, Moon(to show off, and besides its been a dream to be an astronauts). Now I simply superimposed Raju's profile onto these photographs, thereby proving to the whole world that I have roamed around on this whole planet, and beyond! Once done, I provided the icing on the cake, by also adding some bikini clad sex sirens onto these pics. In order to make the whole set-up look realistic, I also morphed one of these babes, into Anjelina Jolie. This was enough to make all the girls jealous, thereby making me more desirable.

Despite all this, success eluded me! Not a single girl showed interest. Even guys avoided me! Again, I did not lose hope. I hired a team of 10 people, whose jobs was to create anonymous accounts of supposedly hot babes, who will actually follow my profile. I also told them to use these fictional babes to write comments like "Oh, you are so hot", "Baby, you are a sooo handsome. Will you be my husband", "Hi, I love you", "I can't sleep nowadays thinking about you", "Thief, you stole my heart" on my wall. Even this did not help!

At such times of distress, the human spirit rises above, and shows its character. I too, did not lose hope, but sought to tackle this issue with a different approach. I took the matter into my own hands. I started visiting girls' profiles, and dropping comments like "Hi, remember me? :) Howz life?", "Hi, can we be friends", "You are looking very beautiful in this profile", "I love you", "You turn me on", "You are a sex machine", "Ba...." wherever I went. When my brother would log into his Facebook account, and then went for a pee, I would quietly slip onto the PC, and start browsing through all the girls added as his friends. To be honest, once he caught me red-handed and gave me a nice mom-styled lecture. But I did not give up. I kept the tempo on. At least twenty guys emailed me to stop bothering their girlfriends or they will kill me. But I am a brave man. I was not scared when one of these guys actually got hold of me once. Its a different thing that I ran away for my life, but I was not scared. No, never. I am a brave man.

Love stories always have good endings. Finally my hard work has borne fruit. Sweet Tanisha, whom I had met on Facebook, has asked me out. We are going for dinner. At a hotel in Lonavala. ;) ;) I am so excited right now, my hands are shaking as I type this. After a few moments the whole body will be shaking. With excitement, you naughty boy, not what you think. I will update this blog with the details (that can be shared) of our beautiful meeting.

Update1: Shit, Sweet Tanisha is actually Jabbar Patel. She is actually a he!
Update2: Fuck. I am screwed. Literally. :'(

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Why am I stuck?
I wan't to move. But can't.
I want to do. But don't!
I hate it. But still continue!
Its like I am fighting against myself.
The fight is a guerilla war.
My enemy is not visible.
But it is crippling my defences.
It probably hates me.
And strikes with a vengeance.
Which should explain the crippling helplessness.
I wan't to fight out a winner.
But can anybody please explain how to fight against yourself???