Friday, August 29, 2008

Grown up?

Hey, today is my birthday. I turned 19. This is such a special day : this being the only day when everyone makes me feel special, everyone makes me feel important. It feels really nice, people talking nicely, people postponing their anger for the next day to make today a special day for me, many of my old lost friends calling me specially to wish me.

When I was a child, this day began with me getting up over-excitedly in the morning and straightaway jumping and touching the feet of my Papa, Mummy and Dadi and Dadaji. I used to assure my Papa - "When I'll grow up, no matter where I'll be, I will make sure that I begin the day of my birthday by touching your feet." After that Papa would give me my birthday present and Mummy would make delicious recipes for me. Dadaji and Dadi would give me 200 Rs cash which I would put in my wallet very cautiously and hide it from my Mom behind my book-shelf. As day proceeded, my relatives used to begin coming to our home one by one and would help us prepare for the grand party to be taking place at the night. Every relative came with gifts of all the possible kinds ranging from video games cassettes, clothes, games, books, stationers, sport-stuffs and CASH. It felt so great - one day dedicated especially to me. The party began with a bang of applause when I cut the cake and everybody singing Happy Birthday in their unique tunes, rejoice was clear on every face. Even the persons who I did not know, who were at the party especially greeted me making me feel so very important. Party over, my room-floor having no space to put my small foot with gift-wrappers all around the floor and my sleepy eyes having lost their sleep at the sudden excitement. After dismantling all the toys into their constituents would I be satiated and hiding all the CASH from my Mom, I went to sleep. Next day at school used to be revolving around my friends inquiring about what gifts I got.

And today, my day began late, as I was busy entertaining my friends on my phone the last night till 4 o clock. At 6 am early in the morning, my phone started ringing. After four continuous rings, I got annoyed. Having no faint idea who was at the phone and to add spice to the wound - today being my birthday was completely out of my mind, I picked up my cell.

Half asleep, I said, in my irritated voice without noticing who was at the phone, "Why the hell are you disturbing me so early? Call me later."

There came a reply in a voice quite familiar, "Happy Birthday Son. You really have grown up!".
And the phone got disconnected...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A word called India

At 11:30 am, I got up from my deep slumber fully rejuvenated, and thanked GOD for providing me this holiday. I loved being free for a day and that too a weekday. After doing my business of the morning(which was now tending to afternoon), I broke my long gap of 14 hours(for me its really really long!) by signing in my orkut account with my strange ID - quantum.harsh and an eleven-lettered password(which everyone pronounces incorrectly). Orkut homepage took 3 seconds to open, and what I observed was that there was a new scrap from a friend of mine, he scrapped me, “Happy Independence Day”. I realized, “Its Independence Day that bestowed me a 10 hours of sleep”. I wondered why the hell is this guy wishing ME? After all, it isn’t so special day of my life.

After 10 minutes of wandering in the profiles of the ‘few’ people in my friend-list, I saw about hundreds of profiles on orkut which had the Tricolor as their picture; which said “Happy Independence Day” with two smileys enclosing the caption in their profile. I was impressed by the patriotism of my friends, their love for the nation was extraordinary, for they got up this day quite early inspite of it being a national holiday and also they are utilising this leisure time by wishing their friends and bigwigs - Happy Independence Day. Strangely, where does this love for nation go in the remaining 363 days of the year? (one day subtracted considering Republic Day)

Sincerely asking, how many of us, in the remaining days of the year, have even thought about our nation? We just have one task to do in the remaining time of the year and that is to criticize the system, to disrespect the motherland by comparing it with other nations, to abuse our motherland for its prejudiced society, becoming more and more inclined towards western style of living but we have no time to contemplate on this freedom which was stamped on our personality right from the day we began to exist. India has become just a word for a vast majority of population living in this country, with the feeling of love for it being aroused only during national holidays.

Today is 15th Aug. If its not your birthday, then certainly you can think of something else for which this day holds some importance. It’s about it being the day of freedom. Freedom once it was achieved became a commonplace straightaway. We took it for granted. But the bitter truth is we still do not value this independence, we don’t still know the meaning of this word freedom.

The meaning of this word ‘freedom’ needs to be elaborated. The lexicons have found the meaning of freedom as the ability to pursue what we want without any second thought. But I personally think that is a very superficial definition. This word freedom has many hidden meanings which need to be stressed. If I ask a straight-forward short-answer question, “Is India free?” The one-word answer that will splatter out of the most mouths of Bhartiya Nagarik would be “YES”. But the question of the moment is - Are we really free? Still we are over-burdened by superstitions and prejudices, still there are stigmas like caste system and regional discriminations in various parts of the country, the political dominion is majorly motivated by personal goals and nepotism and yet we are rejoicing for the fact that we are free. Freedom means being free from all these biases and irrationality. Freedom means freedom to dream big and even bigger and our surroundings encouraging us to capture that dream. Freedom means freedom from hate, anger, violence and jealousy; freedom to do anything we like but taking the consideration of society also. Freedom does not imply having 10 kids and still be in the arena of ministry of the country and thinking for the progress of the nation. Freedom has an ingredient in itself of personal fulfilment as well as social responsibility.

It’s not about becoming respectful to the nation on a particular day but to change the course of our entire actions so that it affects our nation in a positive way. That action maybe as simple as throwing a chewing gum wrapper in a dustbin to returning a lost wallet to the person who lost it; it can be helping destitute with their medicines or stopping bribery wherever it occurs; from removing a brick lying in the middle of the road or preventing embezzlement of hostel funds; from having true insurance claims to speaking truth to your life-partner about your previous relations. The list goes on, these things are very simple and straightforward but it requires immense grit to be able to do them. The effect these actions have on this country may be very subtle to notice, but it will be quite visible in the long term. I am not an idealist who loves writing essays to provoke the mind of people, but I just want you to be aware of your nation and your responsibility to it. Just scrapping “Happy Independence Day” in my scrapbook and thereby incrementing my 5000 scraps by one, does not make me(and even others) feel happy, but your actions in some way or the other has the ability to make the entire nation happy. One day patriotism is like a new chewing gum which loses its taste as time progresses.

P.S. If you have read it, then I appreciate you a lot. Thanks for reading it. Please do comment to make me know who amongst my friends truly value their nation and did not get bored reading about it.
P.S. It was not meant to hurt some real nation lovers, it is just meant for fake people for who INDIA is just a word.
P.S. Country needs you. You just have to look up.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Today's Fortune

On my orkut homepage, a wonderful thought has been coined as my 'Today's Fortune'.

Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause

It's so profound and true.

The Art of Being Happy

There are several studs I have come across. People exceptionally talented in one field or another, they get appreciation wherever they go. They hoist their own flag at any competition whatsoever. That of course makes me envious. I start thinking - "Am I exceptionally talented in anything?" Though I was expecting a negative answer, but I become dumbstruck to find that there is something in which I am a stud and(to please my ego more) that is the most difficult work to do on this planet. You might be wondering what's that?

It's the art of being happy. When I wonder why I always remain happy : The reason comes out to be nothing special, it's simple and straight-forward - Happiness is my ground-level. Whenever I am having nothing to do, nothing to think of, nothing special to do : I spend that time in being happy. And the time when I am busy doing something, then I ensure that it is the task that brings me satisfaction, in a way making me happy. So, the net result is I am always happy.

This happiness many a times is disturbed by some external sources, but now I have become completely numb to these external sources. My goals, dreams and passions are very clearly defined and anything that doesn't make me at ease, I don't pay my attention to it. I am madly in love with myself and supremely happy. Life cannot be better than this.

Most of us are as happy as we make our minds to be.

P.S. Purely personal recount, yet maybe of some inspiration.
P.S. Touch Wood!
P.S. Happiness is such a wonderful thing that it does not require itself a reason. Though, for being unhappy, you need to have a reason.

P.S. I prefer solitude over the gathering of some people.
P.S. Many a times moments arrive, when everything is tuned to perfection yet our mind is wandering for something more satisfying. That is the time to redefine your goal.
P.S. If no obstacles come your way then certainly you are on the wrong track.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dreams Realized

Sometimes I think that I have wasted my schooldays, by being very shy, very nerdy and geeky. But, while thinking all this I realize, I am taking my alma mater for granted. If I had been anything I wasn't, then I am damn sure that I would not be residing in the finest institution of India.

Two years of arduous experiment with my left brain has paved my way for the future. The kind of outgoing and extrovert person I have now become is a welcome change, and was much needed. But, if I had become so masti-oriented guy while in school, surely my dream of IIT would have always been a dream. I think sometimes that what if I had not qualified in JEE, what would I have been doing? I realize that during the two years of preparation there was not a single moment when I thought this. "I was going to get through JEE", was a belief that was stamped on my self right from the class 9th. I always visualized myself in IIT.

Now I feel that because I had this burning desire to get into IIT many things happened strangely in my favour paving my way to where I am. The universe conspired to let me realize my dream. I got the best teachers at the time when I needed them most, India was kicked out of the World Cup 2007 thereby giving me more time to deal with my books, one guy came in my apartment from Bansal's and we had nice time discussing various concepts, I steered through the Boards with a great attitude and three days before JEE my grandma calling me and saying that she saw in her dreams that I have cleared the JEE. Interestingly enough, I became an orkut bug much after the JEE, otherwise I am sure would have lost my vigour for studies very early enough.

The kind of attitude I had while JEE was ensuring me from within that I was gonna clear. Some higher force was paving my way to help me fulfill my dreams. When you really want something, all the dormant forces become active to realize your dream.

P.S. Please don't misinterpret. I am just sharing my experience and thoughts. No egoism involved.
P.S. I was wondering what allows somebody to get something and any other person lose that. Its only desire to get that.
P.S. There is a book called 'The Secret'. Its marvelous, do read it.
P.S. If you have dream, you have to protect it. People who can't do something themselves force their opinions on you. You gotta go and get it. Become deaf to all the noise of the society and pursue your dreams with utmost passion. Universe will pave way.
P.S. Every failure offers more learnings than a success.
P.S. Follow your heart. It can never go wrong.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

There is no such thing as free lunch :

Amidst the sultry atmosphere of Delhi, what’s more chilling than the air-condition of a PVR. Not much, just 200 bucks were all it demanded to provide me a comfy seat in the second row. My neck tried to revolt a bit, but could not succeed in fighting my strict mind(and lusty eyes for Genelia). Having already filled the accounts of my stomach with an affordable McSwirl cone and an Alu Tikki Burger of McDonalds(Frankly speaking, I’m not lovin‘ it), it was only my thirst that kept haunting me intermittently.

After a two digit prime number of security checks, finally I got into the celebrated PVR plaza at the Connaught Place to watch one of the most celebrated movies of this season. As I was hopping around here and there to catch a glimpse of a really pretty blonde, my eyes found something that I had been desperately wanting. It was not a girl, nor any poster of Angelina Jolie, but it was HLMNO.(HLMNO = H2O = Water) Just outside the entry of the screening theatre, there was a big board proclaiming proudly - FREE DRINKING WATER”(the font for this slogan was Times but I am using Arial, hope you don't mind). Seeing that, my thirst could not wait for quenching itself. The word FREE in the last phrase was in bold fonts, to display the big-heart of the PVRs. I assured my mind saying, “Chalo, they have been a bit generous by not charging for water.” While I was gulping the chilled water, my mobile vibrated, it was a message from airtel. As I was putting back the mobile(that's the new Sony K530i) in my pocket, I found a paper in the pocket. I pulled out the paper and found that it was a PVR ticket. I carefully observed it. The miser part of my brain suddenly got up from its deep slumber, as what I observed startled me. It was a strange realization - 200 bucks for a movie, bloody heck, they charged for everything they had. The water with the slogan “FREE DRINKING WATER” was not actually free but was included in the ticket only.

The PVRs have been a status symbol for people, as only the elite class can afford them. But the fact is - this very elite class is the most foolish class. They are so extravagant that they buy popcorns whose original price could not exceed 10 rupees by any chance, in 120 rupees. After taking a sip from a 300 ml glass of coke worth Rs.60, guys think that they are too smart or too intelligent. This artificial society has done nothing wrong for deserving all this. Its actually the mastermind of sharp businessmen. Businessmen target the soft spots, they earn money from so subtle sources that ordinary people have no other choice other than envy them. Can you, by any chance, find it logical paying 120 bucks for a cup of coffee in Barista? (special cases involving couples or dates not included!)

The point here I am making is - Should there be any upper-limit to profit making? If there should be then it would paralyze the whole economy. Economy requires freedom to grow, people have the rights to sell their ideas at what price the consumer is willing to pay them, but certainly, the businessmen and corporate levels executive should have a social and moral responsibility to the society. Being a federal economy, Indians have right to sell their ideas making as much ‘greenery’ as possible, but what common people like us want is an honest dealing. What's going on here in PVRs and Malls is nothing less than a loot. The things which we are purchasing in a particular price should more or less be of equal value. The businessmen have implied a shrewd way to extract more money from the society by limiting the access to these 'so called' elite places to lower classes and the middle classes. Places like Barista or CafĂ© Coffee Day entertain high class customers with ample green notes to feed their next generations. But very strategically, they cut the access to the general people by their roaring coffee rates. Considering the business, this is a very smart strategy as
  • They are making as much profit as they would have by lowering the prices .
  • They have to entertain less and less people.
  • Their restaurants or coffeehouses are much less crowded and well-organized.
After seeing all this, I feel that India is certainly a growing economy. This price hike should be normalized and government should make some charges on the high prices. But if this monopoly of prices continues, then sooner or later, people would be buying breads crumbs and laces for shoes for more than hundred bucks!

P.S. The film was Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. Film was good, the heroine was better and certainly the music was the best. The movie did not have ‘Aamir Khan class’, though.
P.S. McDonalds should have more seats.
P.S. PVR stands for Priya Village Roadshow. Did you know that?
P.S. Finally heavy showers arrived in the Capital.
P.S. Zigzag spellings : Millionaire and questionnaire. Most people get the italicized portions wrong.
P.S. Today's Song : Yaadein by Amit Sana
P.S. The bottomline is A.R.Rahman rocks.