Category Archives: Life

How Independent Are the Independent Women of Our Independent Country?

Debolena Bose speculates about the notion of independence conferred upon contemporary Indian women!

Independent woman

“Ma, I’m leaving”, shouts out Tarun to his mom.

“Okay but don’t be late”, replies his mom.

“Fine”, says Tarun and he leaves.

“Ma, I’m going out with friends”, says Tarun’s sister, Hrishita.

“Oh! You, too, are leaving…alright…but when will you be back”, asks Mrs. Bhatt.

“In about 3 hours”, answers Hrishita.

“THREE HOURS! What will you do for such a long time?”

“Going for a movie, Ma. Please understand! The movie will take at least 2.5 hours. It will take us 15 minutes to reach the theatre and the same time to come back. That makes it 3 hours!”

“Do you really need to go for the movie? Why can’t you simply invite your friends over? All of you can sit around and chit-chat! That’s also a fun thing to do. Don’t you think so?

“Ma, it’s Friday evening! I don’t wish to sit at home. We chit-chat every day. Any way, I will be out for just 3 hours!”

“Listen, you have to be home before dusk. Do you understand? I don’t want you to be out in the night. And what kind of clothes are you wearing? The neck is so deep! How many times have I told you that capris don’t really suit you! Put on your black jeans.”

“Ma, enough now! I’m going! You’ve already delayed me by 20 minutes. In case I am late, it will be all your doing; not mine!”

“Rishu, I’m not allowing you to step out of home in these clothes. Go and CHANGE. Right now!”

“FINE!”

(After a while) Hrishita comes back wearing jeans and a different top. “Does this make you happy?”

“Ya, this is alright! Now listen to me very carefully – don’t look at any boys in the neighbourhood. If anyone tries to speak to you, or even make an eye contact, don’t utter a word. Just move on. If you hear someone making catcalls, don’t retaliate. Also, if some passerby car stops by you to ask for an address, ignore that person and move along. Make sure the auto driver does not take you through those small alleys. Always take the road which remains crowded. Most importantly, how many of you are going? Are there any boys accompanying you?”

“No Ma! Sujata, Priya, Poonam and I – four of us are going for the movie.”

“Four girls ALL ALONE”!!!

“Ma, be reasonable. How can four girls be alone? We are four of us and we can take care of each other. Don’t worry!”

“Abhinav and Hritik could have accompanied you. Had you informed me about your plans earlier, I would have asked you brother to drop you off to the theatre! Any way, one more important thing – don’t befriend strangers in the movie hall. In case, someone offers you popcorn, politely refuse. And yes, COME HOME EARLY!”

“Yes Ma, thanks for the advice-cum-lecture. Now, if you are done, can I leave?”

So, how many of you have gone through this routine? Raise your hands! I’m sure all of you have! I guess this has now become a part of our cultural heritage. Just like we brag about our ancient monuments, art and culture, so can we boast about the number of Hrishitas and Mrs. Bhatts our country has created.

When I was 6 years old, my mom warned me about strangers for the first time. “Don’t talk to strangers”. “Don’t accept chocolates from them”. “Keep your eyes open, always”. By the time I turned 10, strange questions poured in – “Why do you have to smile at everyone beta? A familiar face does not mean that you have to smile brightly. You are inviting trouble. When you grow up, you need to have such a personality that people are afraid to approach you.”

Such questions and remarks are a part ‘n parcel of every girl’s life in India, starting from the prominent metro cities to the small towns. A girl has to be chaperoned wherever she goes, otherwise some invisible hands will grasp at her and tug at her virtue or pull it off completely. And, of course, since the family’s honor rests on their female’s virtue, it has to be guarded with utmost care!

India became independent 66 years ago. Yet, half the country is still under the throes of bondage! Yes, bondage it is! The captivity of half the population of the country is not represented by heavy iron chains or handcuffs, but something more subtle, therefore, more powerful and long-lasting – lustful eyes, a picture of unbridled animalistic instincts. In the largest democracy of the world, half the population of India can’t move about freely, whenever they want to, in whichever way they wish to, wearing whatever they feel like! If this is not a gross failure of democracy, human rights and civil liberties, then what is it!

girl childWhat I fail to understand is that in a country where female deities are more revered than their male counterparts, how can such brazen acts of irreverence happen towards women? What are we doing about these acts? Most importantly, can we really solve this problem? Or, may be, we can pray to God for our safety every time we step out of the lakshman rekha of our home. If we are able to come back home with only a few catcalls and some lewd gazes, we can consider ourselves lucky! If not, probably we are paying for the sins committed in our previous birth!

If I am able to reach the age of 70 unharmed, perhaps I will go on some grand pilgrimage to thank God for keeping me safe!

Oh shit! Recently, there was some news about a 70-year old woman being raped by a neighbor! Ok, maybe I will pay my regards to God only when I have a tete-a-tete with him after death!

Raja Bhoj And The Crow: The Story Of The First Whistleblower

raja bhoj

By DP Sakunia

Once Raja Bhoj was encircled by his nobles who were chanting eulogy as they always did. Suddenly a crow came from nowhere & scratched at a noble cum poet. Raja Bhoj became furious & directed to execute the crow. The crow prayed for a last hearing & took Raja Bhoj & his noblemen to a cave full of diamonds.

The crow told the entire kings caravan that the wealth dates back to Lord Ram’s time. She narrated the story that was as follows. A rich person of Oudh invited Sri Ram once for lunch at his place. After lunch the rich person presented Sri Ram with these precious stones. Lord Ram, the gracious self that he were, left the same at the verandah of his palace for someone in need. Time passed fast but no one came forward to take it and in course of time the wealth got hidden in the cave.

After narrating the story, the crow came to his point & prayed Raja Bhoj to search his so called noblemen who had already unscrupulously pocketed some of the valuables. These were the same folks who harped eulogy at Raja Bhoj and kept harassing and looting the subjects. The crow scratched at such a nobleman-cum-sycophant who was actually coaxing Raja Bhoj with self-ill motive.

Raja Bhoj immediately sent the noblemen to prison and asked him to be given the harshest punishment. He also called for a detailed investigation and personally went about asking his subjects who are the culprits and made sure all was happy once again.

Moral of the story: Alas there is no place for such whistle blower in todays time because Raja Bhoj and the noblemen have become equally corrupt towards the subject.

Goli – The Bitter Candy

candy

By Yogesh Om Potaliya

Someone somewhere at some point has been given this ‘Goli’ the Candy. A boss must have given you, your teacher when you were a kid; anyone trying to sell something to you, our government does that during pre-elections time; why even think so far as it could be a friend trying to convince you go shopping with them.

If still it isn’t clear to you what I am talking about then Giving ‘Goli’ is a slang phrase that has its origin in India referred to a situation when a person convinces someone to do something they didn’t want to do yet they do it for the false promise or hope “Given” to them which is referred as Giving ‘Goli’.

Why the word ‘Goli’? In India, ‘Goli’ is the local Hindi word for candy and just like you give a candy to a kid who isn’t rational enough and gets convinced on being offered a candy or agrees to do what you want in exchange of a candy, similarly you could give this candy of false words to any Tom, Dick, and Harry to get through him for your own benefits.

Just when Jim thought of quitting his miserable demanding job after not getting the much awaited appraisals, his boss gave him a ‘Goli’, that he is going to talk to HR head for getting Jim the prestigious employee of the month award; to which Jim agreed only to realise after a month that he wasn’t the chosen one at the end of that month. Upon enquiring into the matter with his boss, he gets another ‘Goli’, that this month’s employee of the month was already decided and that he would propose his name next month for sure. Annoying for Jim this still did not happen the next month as Jim fell marginally short of his targets due to extended week he took off for taking care of his mom who was due for a doctor visit for a long time.

Jim isn’t one guy who is getting tricked however we all have been Jim at some point. Today, everyone is Jim in a way and is trying to make a Jim out of the next person by giving the easy way out ‘Goli’.

Picture an advertising agency where there are senior client managers, creative team, production team, strategic team and a client. Agency people often go to meet client for pitching in a boasting unique out-of-the-box idea and sounds convincing that it’s going to do wonders for the client however largely that’s not how the marketers on the client side see the picture and hence a ‘Goli’comes in the chain of communications that happens from there on. Client initiates this Goli’ chain by giving those usual marketing agenda excuses to the client management team that the idea is great however with budget constraints and different campaign targets we would think about doing this mega campaign next year and that the agency needs to come up with a different and more subtle practical idea.

Now that big fat juicy ‘Goli’ which was given to the client management team from the client is then divided in to several small ‘Golis’(plural)  and are then distributed among the teams. First ‘Goli’ is given to the client management junior who is asked to come up with a different creative brief and is said that this particular client is highly exceptional and particular in his requirements. The next in line to receive ‘Goli’ are strategists who are now asked to work on different sets of campaign goals considering the competition which is doing something usual; next comes creative team who are given the ‘Goli’ of how important the timeline is for client and how he can’t afford to spend so much and do something unique. The sweetest portion of the ‘Goli’ then is given to production team who is asked to give the end result in over a Saturday night to save client some precious time and go live as soon as possible as client is already late with the campaign because of the agency.

‘Goli’ is awesome as it gets you going and keeps your work from getting stuck. Give your wife a ‘Goli’of a holiday in Shimla and she would stop bothering you from constantly GPSing you from time to time in your busy schedule throughout the day.

‘Goli’ can get you through but it won’t save you from a rubbish output if you use it often. Transparency might take time and is a lengthy process however in your career and personal life refrain from using ‘Goli’ in just about every situation you get stuck in.

In fact, not just to others but sometime we are giving ‘Goli’ to ourselves by not facing the reality of the moment and have a face-off with the truth.

If you have been doing it so far then may be about time you face the jingles. A ‘Goli’ is good only for tiny quick fixes but not for building strong bridges or a strong foundation.

Yes We Know Its Time For #Sachin, Yet We Want Some More

Sachin Tendulkar

By Ankush Kumar

A spider and its climb tirelessly inspired a king to fight again. Victory was still not guaranteed but the fear of failure did not act as a deterrent to the man’s attempts. Great warriors have died in the lamest fashion, but none are remembered for their end, history still talks about their life and their efforts to conquer the world.

Tomorrow modern age heroes will adorn pages in different textbooks, they will inspire generations, but for many they will just remain a reference point. Nothing more and nothing less.

Yet for some bizarre reason we still want to cling on to a few of them forever. Why are we not ready to come to terms with the fact that ‘All good things come to an end”. Is it our insecurities or is it the fear that we do not have too many people who will inspire us again?

I guess its a bit of both worlds. The few good men, who have entertained us, given us a ray of hope, have made us believe in ourselves, in the process have learnt nothing but that. Shahrukh Khan has said it umpteen numbers of times that his biggest fear is that ‘one day he will get up and the arc lights wont be around’. He still is in a profession where his fans can get entertained at 70. But what about heroes who play on the field? How can they entertain us till death separates the genius and its soul?

The bitter reality is that they cant. Beyond a point defying age is stupid. Yet the fans that want to see Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar bat again outnumbers the critics who don’t. So what does he do now?

Imagine how tough it must be for the man itself to think of hanging the boots if its so tough for the fans. There is a entire generation for whom cricket has started and ends with Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

Few good men like him can adorn roles of mentors or coaches or teachers, but the reality is great sport stars make very average coaches. So how will the man entertain us? The answer is he wont. Once he walks back to that dressing room one final time, an era will be over.
Maybe the time has come, yes the BCCI has possibly squeezed in one tour before the SA series, maybe money was their priority, but then for once fans like me are not complaining. Maybe it will be his last test, maybe in bradmanesque fashion he will end his career, but that one chant ‘Sachiiiiin Sachiiiiin’ will reverberate through the roof of Wankhede this November.

Bruce triumphed, his failures are stories of folklore, warriors won, their battles are part of history, sport stars have fallen, lost, yet the only stories that are remembered is the number of hearts they have won.

His recent failures, have given a chance to his cynics to prove that he is Human not God, his fans knew that long back, its just that GODS were made by action and deeds and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar falls in the same category. One part in me and possibly many others will go numb when he will be gone. But till then let’s savor each run the legend scores as possibly even we know that the time is up.

लिखते हुए कुछ ख़्वाब से – 3

love pictures

– अनघ शर्मा

अपने बचपन में किसी भूगोल की किताब में पढ़ा था कि दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा ज्वालामुखी विस्फोट इंडोनेशिया में हुआ था। इतना बड़ा की उसमें से निकले धुएं के कारण अगले पूरे वर्ष धरती के एक बहुत बड़े हिस्से का तापमान सामान्य से कई गुना नीचे दर्ज़ किया गया था। मैं जब तक उसके पास रहा ये जान ही नहीं पाया की कितना कुछ धधकता है उसके भीतर। अब सोचता हूँ कि अगर उसके भीतर का ज्वालामुखी फट गया होता तो कितने वर्षों के लिए हिम-युग आता। पर न ज्वालामुखी फटा, न ऐसा कुछ हुआ। आख़िरी बार भी बहन ही ने खबर दी थी उसके बारे में।
बड़ी बदल गयी है वो, अजब बुढ़ापा झांकता है उसके चेहरे से अब।
बूढी तो अपनी माँ भी लगने लगी हैं, याद है कितनी खूबसूरत थीं हमारे बचपन में , मैंने कहा।
ब्यूटी इज़ द कर्स। वो बोलीं।
फ़ोन रखने के बाद मैं देर तक उसी की याद में डूबा रहा, पर सिवाय एक धुंधले के कुछ नहीं दीखा। वैसे भी जब से बंगलौर शिफ्ट हुआ हूँ ,घर जाना ही नहीं हो पाया। पिछले दस सालों में तो एक बार भी नहीं जा पाया हूँ। रात की शांत फ़िज़ा बार-बार खुद में यही दोहरा रही थी कि हर इमारत को एक रोज़ खंडर में बदलना ही होता है।
” जानते नहीं ख़ूबसूरती की ज़िल्द पर सबसे पहले जंग लगती है। फिर टुकड़ा-टुकड़ा, पर्त-पर्त ये ज़िल्द खुद ही गल जाती है ……… वर्तमान की जो भी इमारत अपने अतीत में जितनी ज्यादा खूबसूरत रही होगी भविष्य में उसके खंडर बन्ने की आशंका उतनी ही प्रबल होगी। वैसे भी खूबसूरत चेहरों को बदलने में वक़्त ही कहा लगता है? बस एक वक्फ़ा …….

कहाँ तक पहुंचे छोटे लल्ला ?
अजब है तू भी, चित्त- पट्ट का मामला थोड़े है। सिक्का उछालूं, थामूं, देखूं और फ़ैसला हो गया।
तुम तो बहुत बखत बरत रहे हो।
तो क्या किस्सा-कोताही कर दूं ?
तुम से अच्छा तो छोटी जिजी कह-लिख देतीं।
तो फिर उसी के पास जा। हट! परे।
वो उदासी में डूबा हंसता चेहरा ले कर चली गयी। पर जाते-जाते एक भेद पकड़ा गयी कि सबसे पहले हंसते चेहरों की हंसी उतर कर देखनी चाहिए। आजकल उदासी बड़ी चालक हो गयी है। अगर खुश रहना है तो छुपी उदासी को निकाल फेंकना होगा। हाँ पता है उदासी और डर बड़े पक्के होते हैं ,एक बार पकड़ लें तो फिर छोड़ते नहीं। शांत बहते पानी में ज्यों अचानक पहाड़ियां निकल आयें, ऐसे मन पर कब्ज़ा कर लेते हैं ये। कई बार तो यह भय जीवन की जिजीविषा से भी बड़े हो जाते हैं। फिर भी जीवन जीना ही है आखिर तक। जीवन की चाह को लगातार ईधन देना पड़ता है, हर हाल में। जीवन की राहें आसन नहीं होतीं, किसी के लिए भी नहीं।
उसके जीवन की राह भी बड़ी कठिन थी,उसके नियंत्रण से परे। वो अगढ़-अनपढ़ भले ही थी पर बड़ी समझदार थी। वो जानती थी कि राह अगर टेढ़ी-मेढ़ी, पथरीली हो तो भी एक बार को कट ही जाएगी। पर वह सपाट राह जो काई से चिकनी हुई, शैवालों से पटी पड़ी हो, उसका क्या ?और अगर ऐसी फिसलन भरी डगर पर मूंह बके बल गिरना निश्चित हो तो क्या नंगे पांव खड़े हो संतुलन बनाये रखने की चेष्टा करना या चप्पल पहन तुरंत ही गिर पड़ना।

थोड़ी देर यूँ ही बेतरतीब ख्यालों में उलझे रहने के बाद मैंने बहुत दिन घर से बाहर रहने के कारण फ़ोन में जमा हुए वॉइस-मेसेज सुनना शुरू कर दिए। उनमें से एक बड़ी बहन का भी था तो कुछ वक़्त बाद उन्हें ही फ़ोन मिला दिया।
कैसी हो ?
ठीक हूँ। तू कैसा है ?
मैं भी ठीक हूँ।
तेरी आवाज़ थकी हुई सी कैसी लग रही है ?
बस ज़रा-बहुत थकावट है।
बड़ी रात गए फ़ोन किया तूने? सब खैरियत ?
हाँ, आज ही लौटा हूँ हैदराबाद से, तुम्हारा वॉइस-मेसेज था फ़ोन में तो सोचा तुम से ही बात कर लूं।
और क्या चल रहा है ?
कुछ नहीं, अच्छा तुमसे एक बात पूछनी थी।
क्या?
मुझे आजकल धीमरी बहुत दीखती है सपनों में। तुम जानती हो उसके नीम-पागल होने की क्या वजह थी।

सोशल-इंजस्टिस,सामाजिक अन्याय और हम सब में छुपा हुआ सबसे बड़ा भय। तब ज़माना आज के जैसे नहीं था कि एक कैंडल-मार्च निकालो लोग साथ जुड़ जायेंगे, भले ही धीरे-धीरे ही सही। दबंगों की दबंगई से तो आज भी मिडिल-क्लास और छोटा तबका डरता है, तब की तो बात ही छोडो। छोटे शहरों में तथाकथित बदलाव की गुंजाईश ही कहाँ होती थी तब ?
छोटे शहर चुस्त-ट्राउज़र्स की तरह होते हैं। धड से नीचे घुटनों तक इतने चुस्त की हवा भी इकहल्लर नहीं निकल सकती। घुटनों से नीचे जिस हिस्से को थोड़ी आज़ादी होती है वो हिस्सा मध्य-वर्ग का है ,जो चार पैसे जोड़ मौका लगते ही अपने बच्चों को बड़े शहरों की तरफ निकल देते हैं ताकि उनका भविष्य सुरक्षित रह पाए,पर सबसे ज्यादा मार खाता है हमारे यहाँ का निचला तबका। ढंकने को उसके पास कुछ होता नहीं नंगा वो चाह कर भी नहीं हो सकता। बंद पड़े-पड़े ख्यालों में बेड-सोर पैदा हो जाते हैं, कुंठाएं पनप जाती हैं, ज़हन कुंद पड़ जाते हैं।
लूट-डकैती दबंग डालते हैं और पुलिस पकड़ के ले जाती है गरीब घरों के बच्चों को। जिन्हें ये सिस्टम धीरे-धीरे पेशेवर मुजरिम में ढाल देता है। कुछ सालों में ये बच्चे हाव-भाव, चाल-ढाल,शक्ल-सूरत, रंग-रूप में एक जैसे हो जाते हैं। हाँ ये सच है अब समय बदला है और समाज के बड़े प्रोटेगोनिस्ट इन्हीं तबकों से निकलते हैं।
अरे !छोड़ो ये बातें , उसकी बताओ।

ऐन होली से एक रात पहले दबंगों के लड़के खींच कर ले गए थे इसको। रात भर बिना कपड़ों के नचाया इसे। कपड़ों के बदले सौदा तय हुआ मीना का। बाद में खाली पेटीकोट थमा के भेज दिया इसे।
और कोई बोल नहीं मुहल्ले भर से?
सब सोते रहते हैं ऐसे मौकों पर।
और मीना ?
मीना कब लौटी, किस हाल में लौटी ? किसी ने नहीं देखा। जब अम्मा ही महीनों बाद जान पाई तो कोई और क्या जानता?
मुझे क्यों नहीं बताया? मैं लगभग रुआंसा सा बोल।
तुम बंगलौर थे उस वक़्त कॉलेज में। हमें खुद ही बहुत देर से पता चला तो तुम्हें क्या बताते।बाद में सालों बीतने पर लगा की अब बताने का क्या औचित्य ? बाद में अम्मा ही राजघाट जा कर उसका सब सामान बहा आईं थीं। पर कुछ और भेद भी छुपा था उनके मन में जिसे कोई और नहीं जान पाया कभी भी, लोग अक्सर सच छुपा ही जाते हैं। एक बात पता है तुझे, लाल, नीली, पीली, चमकीली, काली, दुनिया में मौजूद और भी जितनी स्याहियां हैं उन सब का इस्तेमाल करके किस्से-कहानियां लिखने वाले जानते हैं कि वो पूरा सच नहीं लिख रहे हैं। चाहे कल्पना का ही नाम क्यों न दें उसे पर अधूरी ही है हर बात। भले ही कागज़ पर लिखी जाये, या रेशम पर, या फिर पत्थर पर ही उकेरी जाये , हर कहानी सच पर एक कलई चढ़ाये रखती है। चाहे मैं लिखूं या कोई और पर पूरा या पूरे जैसा कोई कभी कुछ लिख ही नहीं पाता। सच हमेशा कहानियों में नए-नए कपड़े पहने टुकड़े-टुकड़े में ही आ पाता है। पूरा सच तो अनगढ़, उलझा, लश्तम-पश्तम ताले लगे मन में कहीं पड़ा हुआ सांस लेता रहता है। मजाल है किसी की जो अपने ही मन का ताला खोल सच टटोल सके।

फ़ोन काटने के बाद मैं सन्न, अवाक बैठा रह गया। क्या था ये जो मुझे अभी पता चला ? कोई डरावना सच, या किसी फिक्शन का हिस्सा जो पढ़ा नहीं बस सुना भर हो। किस दर्ज़ा ट्रॉमा होगा। कैसी भयानक सौदेबाज़ी होगी वो? जिस्म के बदले जिस्म उफ़ !। मैं पक्षघात के मरीज सा थम के रह गया। कोई चिकोटी काटे तो भी महसूस न हो।

देखा छोटे लल्ला मैं कहती थी न छोटी जिजी तुम से अच्छा लिख लेती हैं। कैसी सुघराई से सब बता गईं तुम्हें। घबरा के इधर-उधर देखा मैंने, कमरे में कोई नहीं था। डर के मारे कहानी के अध्-लिखे पन्ने फाड़ कर फ्लश-आउट कर दिए मैंने। शांत रात में सिर्फ़ हवाएं बह रहीं थीं , मैंने गौर से कान लगा कर सुना। वो हवाएं एक दर्द-भरा गीत गा रहीं थीं।
“मोरी पतुरियाँ माई गंगे बहा देव
मैं तो चली परदेस मोरे लाल”

Ms. Rose Chasm: The Cross Who Double Crossed Us

the cross that double crossed us

Continuing her crusade in India’s defence, Shwetha Kalyanasundaram, brings to you more evidence of why she thinks this entire Ms. Chasm story is a campaign to malign India. A must read. 

A chance comment posted under my article on CNN iReport titled “My India: The Mistaken Story – An Indian Woman’s Perspective” (first published on Mission Sharing Knowledge) caught my attention.

Quoting the person under the pseudonym ‘moonboat’ – “Michela Cross posted a number of videos on YouTube during her trip, including one that gives quite a different account of the Ganesha festival incident she related. In the video, she gushes on about how she loved all the attention and photos being taken of her. In the current circumstances, where her story is being taken as gospel and this story has gone viral, I find the videos are appalling. She also shows herself to be ignorant and disrespectful of Indian culture.”

And this had a bunch of us looking at the videos posted by Ms. Cross on her channel in YouTube. Boy! Weren’t they interesting! And we realized that some of her statements were in total contradiction to her article “India: The Story You Never Wanted to Hear”.

Here’s how…

Her video published on September 29, 2012, where she talks about her experiences at the Ganesha festival

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPu2GmF4Y44

Quoting Ms. Cross from the video

  • “We were grabbed by a bunch of GIRLS who started dancing with us, flashing paint on our faces, which was COOL”
  • “Taking loads of photos of us, I felt like a CELEBRITY. If you wanna feel like a celebrity, be a WHITE person and GO TO INDIA”
  • “We danced for 12 more hours to Bollywood music and we were given lots of food. It was super cool. I felt like I was in a movie”
  • “Fun facts – The Ganesha festival which ended today is…ummm…Ganesha is the God who is prayed to for the start of journeys and travels. I consider it GOOD LUCK”

Wow Ms.Cross! This is so contradictory to what you had put up in your story about the Ganesha festival!!!

Quoting from her article “I was prepared to follow the University of Chicago’s advice to women, to dress conservatively, to not smile in the streets.” However, your video titled “Whipping Boy” published on October 2, 2012 has you saying that your roommate and her friend embarked on an adventure and smiled at the people on the streets!

Didn’t you just break the rules?!? And you say you weren’t prepared for all the stares/glares that sliced away bits of you piece by piece! You brought it on upon yourself – you purposefully drew the locals’ attention on you! And you blame us?!? Preposterous is the word (that would just be an understatement actually!).

There are 6 videos that have been put up by Ms. Cross on YouTube with reference to her India trip – especially her three months of stay in Pune. Surprisingly, none of her videos show signs of struggle or trauma. And you are struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) now?!? I’m no psychiatrist Ms. Cross – but all I can say is you are suffering from a serious bout of “Attention Deficit Disorder”.

Ms. Cross, now I’m really starting to wonder if your whole article “India:  The Story You Never Wanted to Hear” was a sham to tarnish the image of my beautiful country. You’ve taken the entire nation for a highly emotional ride. Your article drew in a lot of support from my fellow compatriots and this pretence of an article is like a slap on their faces. Deplorable act I must say!!

P.S: @Moonboat – whoever you are, thanks a lot for bringing this to our notice. We owe this article to you!

Whats Life: A Play

for malathy's life poem

By Malathy Madathilezham

Life is but a play!

The world’s an arena on display
Everyone’s for the limelight, the glitter
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks Masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere,
Different types of lies!!!
What is real, what is true… unknown
What is favourable, we deem it the truth
Everyone’s truth is different and flexible
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks Masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere
Different types of lies!!!
Painted faces, dazzling dresses,and oh what fashion!
Cover up, cover up the ugliness within,
And make us the envy of others!!
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere
Different types of lies!!!
One wrong act! One true step!
And off you go, the stage is no longer for you!
Only the careful and cunning succeed
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere
Different types of lies!!!
To survive, join the game quick,
Learn the tricks and the bricks of the trade
Learn to dodge and to play!!
We scheme, we cheat, we act!
Masks masks everywhere
Lies lies everywhere
Different types of lies!!!
  • Mask! (angelfacefoundation.wordpress.com)

लिखते हुए कुछ ख़्वाब से – 1

love pictures

– अनघ शर्मा

” जब मोरे राजा पिया गये हैं बगीचा
भौंरा भनर-भनर होये मेरी गुइंयाँ ”
लक-दक करके दामन से झाड़ो तो अनगिनत यादें झड जाती हैं। पर ये भी तो सच ही है कि इतनी आसानी से कभी कोई याद भी नहीं आता। दिली तौर पर याद करना और ज़हनी तौर पर याद करना दोनों अलग-अलग हैं, फिर भी कुछ यादें ज़हन और दिल के बीच कहीं अटकी रहती हैं। उसकी याद भी कुछ ऐसी ही थी, कहीं ज़हन और दिल के बीच सुस्त पड़ी। पर एक कोशिश तो करनी ही थी इसे निकालने की। सो ये तय हुआ कि यादों के तोशखाने में से एक रजाई निकाली जाये। फिर रात भर कोई याद ओढ़ो। पुरानी याद की धुंधली गंध रिसते-रिसते दिल के तहख़ाने में बैठ जायेगी। यूँ एक कहानी के जन्म की बात होगी …… शर्त ये कि पैदाइश तक रजाई तोशखाने में वापस न रखी जाए।

उसकी तो पूरी कहानी ही शर्तों पे टिकी हुई थी।
पहली शर्त ये की …
“उसे उसके असली नाम से बुलाया जाये न कि लोक-प्रचलित धीमरी से ”
दूसरी ये की …….
“वो कहाँ से है ये कोई न जान पाए ”
दूसरी शर्त तो जायज़ है। पर पहली,भला ये भी कोई बात हुई,असली नाम से पुकारें। उसके माँ-बाप या हमारी माँ को छोड़ इक्का-दुक्का ही कोई होगा जो उसका असली नाम जनता होगा। सभी तो उसे धीमरी कह कर बुलाते थे, अब इस नाम में क्या बुराई है भला ?
बुराई है,यह बड़ा व्यक्ति -वाचक है।एक बार लो तो तमाम दुनिया जान जाये। सो असली नाम छद्म पहचान का काम करेगा। न लिखने वाले के मन पे ही कोई बोझ और न उसके ही मन पर।
कई बार बड़ी बहन से कहा तुम ही लिख मारो उसकी कहानी। किस्से-कहानियों में तुम्हारा हाथ सधा हुआ है। पूरा न्याय कर पाओगी उस के साथ, जैसे अनुभवी शल्य चिकित्सक के हाथों त्वचा को सिलने में टांका इंच भर भी इधर-उधर नहीं होता, ठीक वैसे ही।
सो हर बार की तरह वही एक जवाब। अरे ! उस पर कहानी लिखना कोई डबल रोटी का टुकड़ा खाने जैसा है क्या ? कि जैम नहीं तो न सही मार्मलेड लगा कर खा लेंगे। ये तो याद है, ठीक नमक की तरह, अगर स्वाद लेना हो तो खुद ही चखना पड़ता है। बाकी मौका-बेमौका, वक़्त-बेवक्त तुम्हें ठोंक-पीट कर दुरुस्त करते रहेंगे। फिर तुम्हारी यारी-दोस्ती भी थी उसके साथ सो तुम्ही लिखो।
अजी क्या ख़ाक दोस्ती थी ? असल नाम तक तो याद नहीं हमें उसका। करो, अब करो दुरुस्त ??
अच्छा याद कर जब वो कोई काम बिगाड़ देती थी तो क्या कहती थीं अम्मा ?
“एक काम भी ठीक से नहीं होता तुझसे, वही हाल है तेरा आँख के अंधे नाम नयनसुख। आँखें है या बुझते दिये, देख के भी नहीं चलती। ”
ये अलग बात है कि नज़र उसकी पाक-साफ़ 6/6 थी।
तो पहली शर्त के लिहाज़ से उसका नाम नैनतारा था।
उसकी जो सबसे स्पष्ट याद है,वही बड़ी धुंधली है। चेहरा-मोहरा, कद-काठी तो अब याद नहीं ढंग से, मगर कुछ याद है तो उसके कॉलर-बोन के गड्ढे। वो इतने बड़े और इतने गहरे थे कि मुझे हमेशा लगता था जैसे दो सूखे हुए तालाब हों, और कभी इनमें बेतवा का साफ़-ठंडा पानी भरा रहता होगा। बेतवा इस लिए की दूसरी शर्त के लिहाज़ से वो ऐसे इलाके से भाग कर आई थी,जो कहीं बेतवा किनारे था।

My India: The Mistaken Story – An Indian Woman’s Perspective

India the story you never wanted

Shwetha Kalyanasundaram rebuts this story which lambasts India and makes you feel the country is made up of vultures only looking for prey landing in form of women tourists. A must read for all, no matter what nationality.  

Ms. Rose Chasm’s article “India: the Story You Never Wanted to Hear” has been trending for the last couple of days, with many of my friends sharing the story on various social networking sites. The headline of the article prompted me to read and I was shocked to read about Ms. Chasm’s traumatic experience in my country. As a woman, my heart went out to Ms. Chasm. When I read your article Ms. Chasm, I was ashamed of my country (for the first time!). But pondering over your article, I realized that I cannot sit in my comfortable space and watch people tear my country down (with reference to the 1000+ comments left behind by people to your story).

As a citizen of this wonderful nation (and not a nation of snake charmers and elephants), I am writing in to clear the air and do my bit to support my country. I love my country. And I am not blind to the flaws that exist today.

India has been my home for over two and a half decades. As a woman who bears resemblance to a South East Asian (rather than having the typical Indian features), I have always been looked upon as a foreigner in my own land. I can understand how it feels to have hundred pairs of eyes follow your every move. There have been many instances when the local people have tried to sell their wares to me; with a hope their goods reach foreign shores. I wouldn’t call them advances, rather we are just a group of people who take pride in what we do and feel the need to be appreciated by somebody from a foreign land.

We have always been dubbed as a nation of brown-skinned people and I don’t have any qualms in accepting that we have an obsession for the “white” skin. That could probably explain why people stopped and gaped at you in the bazaars. And I can bet they weren’t just men who stared at you – women and children would have looked at you as well. As a foreigner, you must have been prepared to stand out in the crowd. I am sure you would have been briefed about the cultural differences between the two nations. Yes! It can be uncomfortable to be stared at and photographed but lady, you know ignorance is bliss.

Almost every woman who grows up in India has been subjected to some kind of sexual innuendoes. For the millions of women who use public transportation in India, there have been numerous cases of “accidental” brushes and gropes. There have been numerous cases where women have been stalked and flashed – at. But for every man who cannot control his libido and gives in to his over-crazed sexual drive, I can assure you that there will be ten men who will fight for you and your dignity.

The recent spate of rape attacks and incest cases that we hear and read day in and day out have definitely tarnished my country’s image. And your story just adds more fuel to the fire. If there had been an attempt to rape against you or your friend, did you reach out to the local police to lodge a complaint or did you approach your consulate for help?!? I assume, as an exchange student, you would definitely have been briefed about all these formalities in the event of any untoward incident.

In Sanskrit, we say “Matha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam” (translated: Mother, Father, Teacher, God). The meaning of this adage is the greatest truth and is the order in which we offer reverence. This is the basic tenet in existence from time immemorial and every man has been taught to place the womankind even above God. The Indian men know to treat their women with respect. And I cannot tolerate your generalization that Indian men are bad. You cannot blame the entire male population for the actions of few.

I have seen the best and worst of both the worlds, having spent a considerable portion of my adult life in America and the Middle East. In all the countries I have been to, I have been subjected to roving eyes and sexual overtures from men. I have been leered and heckled by cab drivers and pedestrians alike. Even a middle aged woman is not spared!! Let’s not be too dramatic here and accept that sexual crimes against women are a problem world over.

Do you know that every 1 out of 5 women in America are raped every day (This is according to a UN report published in 2011 and the same figure has been quoted in a NY times article, published December 2011). Does this mean I can issue a travel warning and tell people how unsafe America is?!? Your country is a beautiful place Ms. Chasm and a few bad moments are not going to deter me from travelling again. I just hope your personal experiences don’t make you too judgmental about our great country.

Ms. Chasm, I sympathize with you completely. As a woman, I understand the trauma of your three months stay in my country. Your problem is with that category of homo-sapiens bearing the Y-chromosome and not with my country.

It tears me apart that men and women have apologized on behalf of the Indian population and have left comments to your article. I’m not going to offer apologies. I can only offer you an olive branch and hope you visit my country again, and view this nation from a different and an unbiased perspective. 

MS Technology Management : Decoded

By Ankit Chandra

Man and Blue Ones and Zeros

It might be a late night with no action in Las Vegas that has prompted me to write this, but, I wanted to put this up for many reasons..

1) Frustration
2) Information
3) Education
4) Entertainment

Like our Marketing professor taught us, I am trying to segment, and then target different audiences of this blog: prospective students for MS Tech Program, bored internet blog visitors, and fellow people looking for jobs 🙂

So first the history: I was working rather well at naukri.com (India’s biggest jobsite), when my boss kinda motivated me to quit my job. Alongside, I was very enamored by the product team at naukri, for it seemed they had the best of both the worlds. There was also a person called Sujith Nair. He was a dynamic project manager at naukri, who was someone I usually looked up to. But being the Taurean that I am, I didn’t wanna take that much time (which was anyhow short) to get to where Sujith Nair was. Simultaneously, there were these new chaps recruited from ISB into naukri at seemingly ridiculous salaries… (grrr) and above all, I wanted a change!!!

So came into picture Technology Management.  My research on the internet for Technology Management (on  edulix.com, etc ) showed me a bunch of options, including MBA in Technology Management at Berkeley, MIT, EPFL Lausanne, and MS – Technology Management at UIUC (with one year course duration). I liked MS Tech at UIUC because the College of Business was ranked at 38 in the world (financial times), the program was at UIUC (a campus which has GREAT reputation), and this was a quick one year program (so I could get to earning money sooner). At that time ISB wasn’t ranked in the global rankings (now in 2012 it’s somewhere around 11 in the world), and IIMs were somewhere in the 100s… (plus I flunked CAT more than once 🙂 )

I applied, kinda after the deadline, and made it in. I was very ecstatic about it!  And then the program started… The fact that MS Technology Management was a one year program made it a very intensive course work. And before we had even unpacked our bags, we ran into our first and most critical Fall career job fair. I did my part of selling, and got interviews from many great companies like Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook (which I couldn’t attend, and it turns out to be a VERY expensive mistake 🙂 ), Expedia, Cashnet USA, Capital IQ, ZS Associates etc, and got great feedback from all of them. It seemed they were very interested in the Technology Management program and what it had to offer…But there were 3 things which stood out after this:

1) They weren’t sure about what this Technology Management program was all about, and consequently there was a confusion about what profile they wanted me for.Some even asked me ‘So where do we place you’!. So some companies interviewed me for a software engineer position and some did for pure marketing… a major mismatch.

2) I wasn’t prepared enough with the MBA (which is what Technology Management is wrapped around) training to handle the interviews as yet. After all, it was just 4 weeks since we had come in, and were thrown in to compete with the one year MBAs… I was given a case interview when I didn’t even know what that was…

3) I wasn’t prepared even for the interviews where I thought I had a good chance. It takes at least 6 months ( in my opinion) to crack interviews at top companies, and I had only 1-2 months of clueless preparation effort. What I learned from this was that you MUST find out the ‘what to dos’, and ‘how to dos’ of interview preparation. Use career services, including engineering and business, your contacts and alumni to find that out.

As the program progressed into Spring semester, the whole course started to make sense. It is a great program in terms of what it teaches us… The bigger picture of technology and its management became clearer. I could now see the business value in the code I wrote, which till now I evaluated only on how smart it was and what cool things it could do… The holistic picture of Technology from Innovation, Supply chain, Process Management or financial perspective (like how should we value a dotcom) started appear clearly.

But sadly, there were more things happening in the ‘happening’ world, and the problem was multi-pronged:

1) some greedy people borrowed too much money and built houses with it, and caused the sub-prime crisis. (why does it always rain on me!!)
2) The fall semester job fair was gone and spring was mostly for internships (which we don’t have scope for, unless one goes out of the way and extends the program)
3) The career services department seemed as clueless about this program as the companies were :p

so ‘long story short’ as a speaker in marketing class said, we have to search for companies, educate the companies about the MS Technology management program, fight the recession (by praying to God) and keep looking for jobs everywhere… The final thing I realized was that this is NOT an easy job.

But with all that said, we went to HP Labs for a visit and made a presentation about commercializing a technology they had developed. They were really impressed with the multidimensional analysis of the technology we presented. So I think we are on the right track… what we need is a lil bit of hard (harder) work, and a lil bit of luck…

For all the people who want to come in to technology management stream, ( from anywhere in the world) please make sure that you have a good amount (around 5 years) of technical experience, so that u have the technology in ur head before coming here to see how to manage it. It also depends on what u wanna be after you graduate from the program (don’t join this program to ‘enter’ the management line). Also ensure that you understand what you want from the program, coz this is NOT a regular MBA and if you want to get into finance, accounting, marketing etc, this is NOT the program for you. this is simple and pure general management with a ‘technology’ focus (especially at MS Technology management- UIUC). So ur expertise will still be the technology u came from. Next, use UIUC’s brand image and network. Make sure u make great contacts in fall semester, coz I m not sure how many would land great jobs then. Use these contacts later when u r ready to take the technology management interviews. Job hunting is mostly going to be a year long exercise, and u must start as soon as u get here. You will get better with time, but start making those contacts as soon as possible.

Good luck. (pray the recession gets over soon)

PS: I did land a job by the end of the may 🙂 I joined this company after my OPT was processed, rather dramatically (But that needs a blog post of its own 🙂 )