One Husband Several Wives and One Wife Several Husbands

“History repeats itself” is no vain statement and it surely does if what has been reported  in the newspapers the  other day is true. The repetition  here has  a small twist, that’s all.

Some years back, probably in Nineties, a man claiming to be an NRI married many young women, stayed with them for a day or two, looted their jewellery and vanished out of sight.

His modus operandi was like this.  He would advertise in  the newspapers that he was on a short leave from USA /UK,  and was looking for a working woman kind of  bride.  There was craze in that era to go abroad, especially USA and  settle down there for a long spell. Many young women like nurses, teachers, clerical staffs, secretaries and  even some junior executives  responded. Our hero chose one who had a good income, went for bride seeing along with a middle aged woman, who he claimed as his elder sister; taking a woman with  him, added  credibility to his game.

After some serious interrogation, he approved of the candidate and fixed the marriage date which was just 4  or 5 days away;  he must go  through the wedding ritual fast  before his leave expired. Oh, was the bride happy?  And the parents were thrilled too.  The man demanded no dowry but the bride may be sent with her personal jewellery and clothes. No parents could have asked for more.

The marriage ceremony was kept very simple.  The wedded couple had their first night in a hotel in the bridal attire. The bride couldn’t spend the night wearing her full   jewellery.  She took them out and kept them in the cupboard or dressing table.  During the night our hero collected them and vanished before it was  dawn. You can imagine the plight of the bride.

In another case, he rang up the bride-to-be and asked her to buy an air ticket, both ways, to  New Delhi.  He would be back on the following day, well in time for the wedding.  That was the last the parents heard of him.  He converted the ticket into cash and disappeared.

He succeeded in seven cases  using different duping methods and the eighth turned out  to be his Waterloo.

During a social party one young thing proudly announced that she was getting married to an NRI, who was on a short leave in India and showed his photograph to the hostess. “How is it?  He is marrying me five days from today….”  conveyed the hostess.  Becoming suspicious, the hostess laid a trap for him.  “Where are you living Mister Suresh?” she asked of him on his contact number.  He gave the address of a hotel.  On checking back, there was no one there by that name. On further probe, they discovered that he was a  part time clerk from a nearby city.

The police nabbed him and took him to court on a case of cheating.  He along  with his paramour got 8 years in jail.

And now comes a similar case but this time the villain is a  woman.

One Manimegala from Pollachi,South India, joined a computer centre, run by a differently abled man. Manimegala made him fall in love with her and  after a few weeks she indicated to him obliquely that she was interested in marrying a differently abled man and give him a comfortable home life.  Rathinakumar fell for her sweet talk and proposed to her.

Even before the marriage Manimegala had  tranferred  his 10 cents land in her two brother’s names.

After the marriage in November 2011, she continued to extract money and valuables  from Rathinakumar and left him one fine morning.

Perplexed at the turn of events, Rathinakumar begged her to come back to him. Strangely, the family members of the girl threatened to finish him off.

Following this development, Rathinakumar lodged a  police complaint.  Preliminary investigations revealed that   Manimegala had conned several men in  this manner.  Her first marriage was with one Sathish Kumar from Tirupur some years back.  He was dumped in due course after she had robbed him of valuables and money. It’s not known how many more men she married and threw out  before she set her eyes upon the poor  computer centre owner.

The police are now collecting more information to find out how many husbands she had  lured and deceived.

Arunima: A true Sports Star

In a time where the crux of the society is being convicted in a series of scams as in 2G, hawala, commonwealth – one lady exemplifies that all in not bad. Her generosity has stood above one and all giving us the much needed impetus to live life with the hope of better India.

Arunima, a 23 year old national level volley ball player, lost her leg to the heinous atrocity of the hoodlums in a local train in which she was travelling. She was pushed off a moving train by goons. Later, her leg had to be amputated further on to deter the developing multiple complications.

In the most bizarre political drama, where everyone passed the buck, Arunima stood tall in her dignity and poise. All are up to gaining the brownie points little realising the Arunima’s condition is deteriorating with lack of proper and timely quality medical help.

Verbal fund commitments from the state and various non-political bodies poured in. A few sports star even went on to donate fortune (read peanuts) and earned the much hyped publicity. The athlete, still fighting to preserve the rest of her leg, declared something that brought tears in my eyes. She consciously declared that she would like to donate all the monetary aid that she has received to a sports academy so that the poor athletes have a better infrastructure to cope with the world class expertise. Now, that is something I haven’t heard for a long time.

Arunima is a true sports star who would be remembered for her exemplary generosity.  She has stood above everyone by demonstrating a series of virtues. She is strong, courageous, honest, rational, emotional. She is not just a volley ball player, but she loves the game in all fairness. She is a young leader who taught all the Indians and all the tinged politicians out there that sometimes not being greedy is good and brings enormous peace.

Arunima – you are a true sports star. My prayers and kudos.

The British Council Library (1996 – 2011)

It was John Keats’ birthday when I became a member of British Council Library, Kolkata, in 1996. I had tried to become a member of the British Council Library earlier but the library officials stated that I had to be at least a graduate student to become a member. It was a haloed turf for me because the library had a great collection of English Literature books, which were of great interest to me. Located in Shakespeare Sarani (formerly Theatre Road), the library had an old world charm to it if a telescopic view into almost fifteen years past is taken from now. The wooden interiors, the manual catalogues, the lending of audio cassettes, the blue-covered notes on literature, all had become an integral part of my life.

As years passed by the interiors became plush, the audio cassettes gave way to CDs, computers took over cataloguing and issuing, the notes on literature got neglected, the cafe became in-house, a kids’ section was added, film DVDs were compiled, subscription of academic journals diminished, internet and photocopying facilities were introduced, and the library itself  shifted from its Shakespeare Sarani address to Larsen and Toubro Chambers in Camac Street. But my attachment remained undeterred.

It is so because when I didn’t have a college to go to, the British Council library became my college. When I didn’t have a university to go to, the British Council library became my university. When I didn’t have a professor to consult with, the British Council library became my professor. When I didn’t have a peer to lift my mood, the British Council library became my peer. I treasure the Pictorial Retrospective of V. S. Naipaul that I won at the V. S. Naipaul quiz organized by the British Council library. The six Best of Bookers shortlisted books, which I won in another British Council organized quiz, adorn my bookshelf. The library still provides me with books for sustenance and a space to cherish. It has been a constant in my life and will always remain so. I believe there are many people who have had intimate associations with this or other libraries in their lives.

We need an iron hand and a ruthless heart to eradicate corruption in India

Corruption  is the topic on every lip in India as of now.  Our veteran ANNA HAZARE has undertaken a fast unto death for introduction of the Lok Pal bill in the Parliament. There are many protests, street processions, demonstrations  and local meetings  clamouring that corruption should  be eradicated from our midst.

Corruption is not akin to a headache  which could be set right  by taking some pain killers. Nor would it vanish just  by wishing it.  It is so deep rooted in our life system  that only a major surgical operation could  eliminate it.

You would be equally aware that  “Passing a legislation” is no big achievement in our land.. It is the  implementation of that law that we need to concentrate upon.  Will the future Lok Pal act decisively? True, it depends who the incumbent is. If he is an useless fellow, like most of our Viglance officers are, the Lok Pal bill will remain a paper tiger.  Now coming to the  sincere implementation part, will our MPs and other Netas,  let the Lok Pal enforce the law and show  result?  Isn’t the reluctant  attitude of  a group of Ministers recently failing to evolve a method to arrest and curb corruption proof enough  of their mind set? Obviously they do not want any law against corruption.  Haven’t they indirectly admitted that they have skeletons in their cupboards?

Our politicians are double faced monsters. They will  vote in favour of any bill inside the Parliament  but act against it tooth and nail outside the Parliament building.   So many  legislations  have died a natural death over the time axis on account  of non action or lack of determination to act..

We don’t need a Lok Pal or new legislation to deal with corruption at all. The exiting laws are good enough. What we need is an iron hand and a ruthless heart to carry them through. The will to punish must be foremost in every mind.  Unfortunately our leaders do not want to punish anyone for any kind of offence for the fear of losing their votes. Amazing, isn’t it?  This is the price one has to pay for making  “Politics a profession”. We have digressed.  This is a big subject in it self.  Let us apply our mind on eliminating corruption.

We don’t need new laws.  The present ones are adequate. Since there would be mountains and mountains of charge sheets, we need to set up special courts for corruption.  We also need to lay down that the minimum punishment for any kind of corrupt practice,  is five years rigorous imprisonment and maximum life/death.  There is no requirement for the Defendant to employ a lawyer.  Lawyers in the past have never been helpful in the speedy disposal of cases.  However if fundamental rights or any constitutional provisions are involved, he/she may be permitted to employ a lawyer but  strictly under orders of the concerned Judge.

Once the  prosecution has submitted the evidence from its side, the defendant is required to prove his/her innocence through his own witnesses and documents.

A time limit is to be observed. All offences should be compartmentalised into  three categories – A, B, C.   C is the most serious types which should not take more than  six months for finalisation.

We need to have an exhaustive definition on what corruption  is.  It would constitute, violation of any existing  law/rule, cheating, dishonest dealings, inefficiency and overlooking any  malpractices in his jurisdiction and any conduct which is  against the  interests of the country and society.

The ugly side of Budget 2011: More taxes on Healthcare

The finance minister has announced a 5% hike on health care taxes in the recent budget 2011. This means that the patients have to pay Rs 5000 to 25,000, at least, on the heart surgeries, kidney transplants, knee replacement surgery, brain surgeries and all those expensive life saving treatments. Now, who on earth going to suffer?

Presenting the Budget for 2011-12, Mukherjee proposed  ‘a tax on all services provided by hospitals with 25 or more beds that have the facility of central air-conditioning.’ He further added: “Though the tax is on high-end treatment, I propose to sweeten the pill by an abatement of 50 per cent so that the actual burden is kept at 5 per cent of the value of service.”

According to the central government only the air-conditioned, privately run, hospitals are going to be taxed by the new tax hike. I think this is silly. The rich people have to pay the tax because they are the ones who go to the air conditioned 2,3, 5 star hospitals. I have no idea where the central ministry is coming from. Is there any decent hospital in the metro cities or even urban towns where the OT does not work without the air conditioning?

Instead of providing affordable and free health benefits, it has now hiked the healthcare taxes. Couldn’t they have spared the common people from the healthcare taxing? In a country where the bulk of the population cannot afford the minimum healthcare privileges, this is indeed a farce. With the new budget and the announcement of the new healthcare tax, they are intimidated beyond anything.

Getting treated in a medium-sized hospital will now cost us more. The expense going to go up all round. The doctor’s fees, the diagnostics, the hospitalization, the non-invasive treatments – will also have to pay the service tax. Earlier, only cashless payments were under the service tax axe, now even reimbursements will be taxed.

India spends less than 1% of the GDP on healthcare industry. So, where does the money to maintain the healthcare infrastructure come from? It comes from the common people. With the new announcement, the private hospitals will have more excuses to pass on the burden to the patients. And the patients who need optimum care and benefits will now going to be burdened with an additional physical and emotional burden. I think, India can do better than this, just as it can do in all other spheres. We need some responsible and empathetic government who understands and cares. I am waiting for that day.

Accident-27th Jan,2011

I woke up, as usual, at 9:00 a.m. after 6 alarms and lots of scolding from my mom. She was getting late and I had promised her to drop at bus stand at 9:15 a.m. I brushed my teeth and was looking for cricket news in net. It was 9:20 already.

“Sarthak, I have to buy sauce pouches for my lunch, so I am going to the grocer, you can pick me up from there”, mom said.

I was not even dressed up. So, didn’t bother to change my T-shirt. Just put on jeans and left home. I started bike and drove out of building’s gate. Just after crossing next 3 buildings, I came to a corner which connects this small road to main colony road. I blew horn twice; there was no response from either left or right. So, I again took a look for any vehicle, when there wasn’t any, I accelerated my bike. In the flash of second, I heard

“BANG…!!!”

A guy on a red pulsar came from the next corner with around 50-55 kmph (this speed is very fast for the small colony road, always packed with the cars parked on both sides) from wrong side of the road who was totally out of sight just a second before; He could not control his speed and dashed onto my front wheel. The rider went flying and bumped on the Honda City parked on left side. From the car he bounced and stuck his right side of body on the compound wall of the next bungalow.

Fortunately, my bike was slow and it absorbed all the impact of the rushing bike, but I suffered from few cuts, bruises and muscle strain in thighs as both bikes fell on me. But, the other guy was injured more seriously and was unconscious for next 5 minutes. People gathered at the site took him to the nearby hospital.

I called mom and asked her to go by auto. She asked the reason. I narrated her whole incident. She was so shocked that she came almost running and was on the verge of crying (But it’s her good luck that she was not with me on the bike otherwise she might be the most injured one in this case).

I took my bike and started looking for the damage (front disc brake wire and glass above the headlight is broken).

Mom took me home. She was tensed and frightened a lot and before going to job, she locked me inside home so that even if someone comes enquiring about the incident, he will find home locked.

Meanwhile, the owner of Honda City came looking for me, but, our watchman told him that I was taken to the hospital. So, he left. Later I came to know that he was my aunt’s brother-in-law.

My parents took leave from their respective jobs and came home. When I told them about Honda City, they went to his office and apologised. But, some people from his office had witnessed the accident and told my parents that it was not my fault at all. My aunt’s brother-in-law, too, consoled them and told them not to worry as his car was already sent to insurance office.

Overall, It was a day full of tension (to my parents) and a new experience (or say adventure) for me.

SECURITY OF INDIA

As per The New York Times article dated 26 August, written by Mr. Selig S. Harrison, The Director of Asia Program at the Center for International Policy, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Northern Pakistan by China where Islamabad is handing over defacto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the disputed Pakistan Occupied Kashmir ( POK ) to China. Referring to a variety of intelligence and other sources, he said an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 Chinese soldiers of ” People’s Liberation Army”, appeared  to be stationed there for more or less permanently. It is matter of great concern to India and all peace loving countries, as it may damage the peace in the whole region.

In this context, I would like to bring some facts about China joining hands with Pakistan against India.

As per the authentic intelligence report received by India, China has already started constructing more than 22 strong underground tunnels  in this strategic region with at most secret and a hectic military activity is in progress  behind its ‘iron curtain’ not allowing even a single person to enter in this area. Since it is very close to Aksai-Chin area, the area China occupied from India during 1962, Indo-China war, it is a most strategically important speed route to move its troops , weapons and heavy vehicles from Eastern China to Kashmir.

China has also very deep long term strategic interest in this region as the Karakoram speed high-way pass through it. China has plans to extend it and also lay a railway line between the new Gwadarport in Baluchistan, built by  China with its own money and Kashgar in Xingjiang province. Once this link is completed, it will take only less than 48 hours to reach Gulf, compared to 25 days they take now.

The important question now I ask you all, will China take over as Super-power, the security duties  as US did with Panama Canal ?

Already Myanmar is in Beijing’s pocket. So is Bangla Desh in Pakistan’s in the name of Islam. And in the Indian Ocean, in Sri Lanka, China is in good-books, has built  a deep sea port at Hambantola, as an expansion of its strategic foot print, very near to Indian mainland. All these are great concern to security of India and peace in Indian sub-continent.

Also, there is a great unease over China’s interference in Indo-Pakistan Kashmir issue. In a latest development, China now issues only stapled visa to Indian passport holding Kashmiries. No stamped visa for them. China has refused visa to a high ranking Indian Army Officer some time back as he happened to do his military duty in Kashmir. India protested in very strong terms in this incident to China. This for the first time in the history that China openly taking a partial stand on Kashmir favouring Pakistan.

Lastly now, China claim that Arunachal Pradesh, a Soverign State of India, also belong to them. As a proof, an Indian delegate when applied for visa to visit China , visa was refused, as he doesn’t need visa. All these are most deplorable on the part of China.

In conclusion, colluding with Pakistan, China arming Pakistan top to toe, there is a dark ‘ mushroom cloud’ of unrest dooming over Asian Region.

The Fuel Price Hike.

Indian economy is considered to be a developing economy. However the policy formulators are hell bent on making India a developed nation within a short span of time and that’s why they have decided to adopt all the policies and measures that are followed by the developed nations.The fuel price hike is just one of those measures.The Government of India decided to deregulate petrol completely and it also reduced the subsidy on diesel,cooking gas and kerosene. Now there is no harm in reducing the burden to the exchequer but what stuns us is the timing of the act. Presently we are witnessing inflation and the prices of the food basket has almost sky rocketed. Increasing the fuel cost will only aggravate the problem as the rise in fuel will have a rippling effect on the economy.Prices of all the commodities will rise by quite a few times in order to neutralize the fuel price hike and the customers will feel the pinch.The deregulation could have been done when the inflationary pressure was wiped out. Alas the policy makers decided not to wait any longer.The increase in the price of the so called food basket affects the middle class and the lower middle class as they spent a major part of their earning in food. The affluent people spend only a minimum percent of their income on food and so they will be least affected.The signal that is going out to the masses is that the rich will become richer and the poor poorer. In fact to remove subsidy when we haven’t achieved equality of income is a crime.It is the duty of the Government to assure that each and every individual can at least get the bare necessities of life like food, shelter and clothing and only then it can think of deregulation.We witnessed a transport strike in West Bengal as a protest against this price hike and there will be meetings and demonstrations but one feels that all these will be used to achieve political mileage whereas the suffering of the common man will continue. If we go by the international crude oil price then a liter of fuel costs roughly Rs.22. Add to it the cost of refining which is at the most Re.1 and so the cost comes to Rs.23. Add to this Rs.6 for maintenance of the refining plant. Now the total cost is Rs.29 at the most. The market price of a liter of petrol is Rs.56 nearly. So the remaining Rs. 27 is taxes that are levied by the government , the customs,excise and other duties and the profit of the dealer. If the Government had reduced this share then the prices wouldn’t have been affected and at the same time the oil PSUs’ would have reduced their losses. But the Government chose the “soft target” the consumers to pay for the losses which is totally irrational and illogical.

Breaking News!!!!!

Isn’t it such a commonplace terminology these days? Once upon a time, perhaps the term never even existed in the age old journalistic fundamentals, but today, it’s like an Encyclopedia!

What is this Breaking News all about? Well, to put it straight across, they’re hungry; always on a look out; always raring to go, with their eyes popping out for some sensational piece which would create headlines and a stir of sorts across the viewers. (When we say “they“, it doesn’t merely represent the news channel guys, it also implies their zooming cameras, with the paparazzi running helter- skelter to be there on the spot first).

So what happens in this process is that even a minuscule piece or some by and by news becomes suddenly the most sought after. The crux of the matter is that no matter what, they want to be there first, to capture the event LIVE and report on it as and when it’s happening real time.

Well, but then doesn’t that exactly indicate hard core journalism? Isn’t that exactly what it stands for? News, News and more News.

Needless to say then, that when I as a viewer switch on the button of my remote, I’m overdosed with the same piece of news on every single channel. Even if I try to fumble with those innumerable channels, it’s in vain; because all that I’m being supplied with is the same record everywhere (unless of course I choose to lay my hands on some latest blockbuster movie running on some channel; but that becomes a wrong choice, as I eventually realize that the breaks/ intervals in between the movie are hopeless and would unduly lengthen the duration of the movie. So I give up!)

A lot has been talked about media hype these days. If we scratch our brains a furthermore, it’ll dawn upon us that even this terminology wasn’t apparent till a few decades back. So from where has this term mushroomed? Has it emerged out of nowhere? Absolutely not.  It actually has a logical sequence to it. If there’s news, there’s going to be reporting. If there’s reporting, there’s going to be a bit of exaggeration factor attached to it. So from this very exaggeration springs up hype.

Hence, whether you like it or not, media to a certain extent is definitely responsible for bloating and far stretching certain occurrences, with their expert panelists going on and on analyzing, arguing, counter arguing the same issues at hand endlessly, till a time comes when you actually begin to ask yourself, “hasn’t there been any other happening that might have occurred in the remotest corners of this vast country, or the larger world, and that which could have also made news and be reported about?” And then like a worn out viewer, one generally tends to do either do two things—keep on passively listening to the same analysis going on amongst the conversationalists of the news channel, or just switch off that TV to assimilate the news and go on with your life. Wonder whether going on and on with the same arguments and discussions does to anybody any good? It’s like mincing things over and over. So in a way, being over informed does to us no good.

And regarding the news wallas, well, isn’t it a part of their job to report fair and full? So let them do their job. After all, they’ve all climbed up the bandwagon of providing the latest, most recent, “as it happens” Breaking News, and they’ve all made a vow to help these Breaking News reach our LCDs and Laptops and Life. So be it.

They’re doing their fair share. Let us either sit through the heated debates they telecast, or let us just switch ourselves off from all of it, with a click of a button. The choice is ours. (And no, we won’t be labeled “apathetic” if we do choose the latter. We still remain the well informed lot).  It’s just that on one hand, we are  totally updated about things around, and on the other, somewhere, we’re still cut off because we chose to remain so.

Will you be my Valentine?

Valentine’s Day. What images does the day conjure up in your mind? Love, red roses, stolen kisses red hearts, chocolates, a day out with your date or an attempt to woo someone? Newspapers, magazines and websites are promoting Valentine’s Day with a kind of hectic frenzy that does not even accompany our national festivals. Don’t worry. I am not here to take the fizz out of this ‘loving’ day. What started off as an act of kindness for forsaken lovers has over the years transformed into a large scale industry. Attractively packed chocolate boxes, some even laced with alcohol to give you that aphrodisiac on that special day. Then, there are the perfumes, lingerie, heart-shaped balloons, some lovely expensive cheese n’ wine, teddy bears and of course red roses vying for equal attention! Not to leave out the DVDs, skin lotions, funky jewelry and of course the parties that supposedly add to the charm of Valentine’s Day. Why! You can even get a wee bit adventurous and book yourself and your Valentine a day at the spa where you can enjoy relaxing and rejuvenating time together. Oh! Did I leave out the matching tattoos?

People in this land of Kamasutra believe that love can be expressed and enhanced only on Valentine’s Day! That’s the current trendy mantra for the mobile totting, SMS and MMS generation of today. Love and sex come in one package and it is certainly not limited to committed relationships. The definition of love has changed for many. Instead of being an undying emotion for one person of yesteryears, today, it is an urgent instinct to be satiated. In such a situation, Valentine’s Day comes as a blessing in disguise. No wonder Roman Emperor Claudius had to adopt an entirely different mantra when faced with the ‘basic instinct’ of humans. Helpless before the carnal desires of his soldiers, he banned weddings! So, during the period of Claudius, when the ban was imposed, a priest Saint Valentine helped the soldiers in the Roman Emperor’s army to get married so that they could enjoy the fruits of love before they embarked on their battle duties!

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the month of February because of the age-old belief that this particular month was a time of mating for all sorts of creatures in the universe. Carnivals and festivals were conducted during this period attracting both men and women from afar. Just like our weddings and festivals wherein boys and girls search for opportunities to get familiar with one another. ‘From Your Valentine’ were the last words that Saint Valentine had written in his cell to the jailor’s blind daughter after having been jailed by Emperor Claudius for getting his soldiers married on the sly in spite of the ban. These words became popular after his demise and are being used by lovers the world over.
Sometimes, days like Valentine’s Day come as a blessing as not all of us possess the gift of the gab. So many of us don’t even express our heartfelt emotions to our immediate family, leave alone friends. We don’t need a special day to show that we care. Do we?! Still, we could use this day to show our love and affection not just for our friends and lovers but also to people who form part of our families, our relatives, strangers irrespective of age, religion or sex. What do you say?

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO ALL OF YOU FRIENDS.

Remembering Heath Ledger

The first time I saw Ledger on screen, I was awe-struck. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN by Ang Lee is a complex movie about homosexual relationship. Ennis played by Ledger seemed all the more complicated. Why I noticed Ledger, for reasons beyond his acting is hard to put in words. Perhaps it  was for his ‘darkness’. There was something mysterious almost diabolic in his eyes and body language. He played out his role to the optimum and the screen got lightened up by love and its futility. Conveying love through a homosexual relationship was a challenge to which Ledger rose beautifully. He communicated well that for love and its darkness and happiness, gender has no say. He made emotions a part of the soul. He can make you cry over the tragedy of a queer relationship and  feel love & its loss beyond gender.

Then again I saw him playing the legendary CASANOVA, and I fell in love. It is no wonder, his darkness attracts hearts and his deep voice suggests more than what is being said. I began my hunt for other Ledger movies. THE BROTHER’S GRIM , 10THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, THE PATRIOT, all had Ledger playing out consistently his parts. His selection of movies itself speaks something of the person /artist that he is. Rejecting an offer like Peter Parker/SpiderMan in SPIDERMAN , he took up the role of the Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT. Unconventional to the core is what one would term him. It is said that he locked himself up in a London hotel room for a month to prepare  his part as the Joker. The efforts have well payed off on the screen, other characters including the BatMan, dulls in front of Ledger’s Joker. Joker bought colors mixed in the darkness of villainy beautifully. It is said that motiveless villainy is always the hardest part to play off and Ledger’s Joker goes full swing, burning right through your heart in anger and resentment.

A posthumous Academy Award does speak a lot about the actor. Ledger however seemed like in the hunt of something else and not awards. He seemed to have been possessed by a demon who can only find relief through roles that stay close to being demonic, like Ennis or Casanova or Joker. Even the way he prepared himself for the roles are kind of extreme and unheard of. The artist himself pushed him often outside the comfort terrains. Perhaps that might be the reason why he rejected conventional roles like Peter Parker. That rejection also suggests what he thought of financial success and art in general.

His death is a great loss to the world of cinema. His second death anniversary is on this Jan 22  and yet again my heart is heavy with remembrances of  his brilliant acting. Personally, I would call him a Heathcliff  born to act out his demons.

The Players and the play….

Indian Hockey Team

The team which has won six straight gold medals from 1928-1956 by winning 24 consecutive matches which has set a everlasting record in Olympics, which has been a declared national game of India, now stuck in the field of controversy. Yes I am talking about our Indian Hockey Team I have just pulled out its earlier records to show of its progress in the part of game and its managements. Besides this there is one more value addition to its record is the Indian Hockey players plunged into a fresh crisis on Friday deciding to boycott the world cup preparatory camp indefinitely. The protest is meant to be against their pending payment dues. Its really interesting right! The team which has two main challenges ahead, Delhi Commonwealth games and the 2010’s Hockey world Cup which has the fortune that Asia Cup winner gets straight entry into the World Cup competition and the country which is hosting the cup have the payment dues for their players it is really great shame to the authorities, if a steward is not paid in time it will reflects in his work if it is the case then how the International players will have a mindset to play when their payments are in due. Its really sickening the situation worse than ever. The team which has previously missed out the qualifying round in the World cup must be motivated to achieve its target now but it is running towards the other side. Hope the issues will be sorted out shortly and would lead the team to a compatible win over the challenges ahead.

God! Please let her die

Dear God!
We write this on behalf of Aruna Shanbagh. As we don’t know whether she is able to communicate with you are not, we the women on this earth write this on behalf of her. Pinki Virani has moved a petition for mercy killing. But since, you are supposed to be the ultimate authority on justice; we move this petition before you.
You already know what happened to Aruna. But in case you have forgotten, let us remind you about some basic facts about Aruna’s story.
Aruna was a staff nurse at KEM hospital Mumbai. During her work there she had came across a sweeper Sohanlal who worked in the animal laboratory. She had found him mistreating the animals and warned him against doing that. So this fellow out of vengeance strangled her with a dog chain and raped her brutally. The strangulation caused reduction in oxygen supply to her brain and caused what is called ‘hypoxic brain damage’. As a result Aruna is now in semi comatose state, unable to speak or move. She just responds to stimuli. Apparently she screams and laughs too sometimes.
At the time of this incident Aruna was engaged to be married to one doctor. Needless to say the doctor married some other lady later on. And apparently took no interest in caring for Aruna. The family has abandoned her, but the staff nurses at KEM take care of her….Upholding the oath they take in the name of Florence Nightingale.
Aruna still lives on…. She is cortically blind & without speech, she has lost the use of her limbs & the control of her muscles. Her brain is partially dead but a part of her brain as a sly survivor is alive, this part that also experiences pain…. she suffers from atrophying bones, the joints at her fingers, her wrists, knees, ankles are bent inwards & trying to straighten them causes her immense pain. She also suffers emotional trauma, so much that it results in inappropriate laughter & bouts of screaming. Her memory & most of her other mental faculties are gone. Aruna continues to live in this neither-alive-nor-dead existence, reacting to stimuli yet unable to otherwise communicate….. she has now been like this for the past 30 years. Don’t you think God that this is more than enough?
We are not asking you about whether what happened to Aruna was right or not. Because we know it can never be right. But at least now do something right with her and release her from her miserable condition.
All women on earth
P.S. : Sohanlal escaped with just 7 years imprisonment. He served the sentence for robbery and not for rape. Hope justice awaits him on this earth only.

Studying Abroad

Studying abroad has become a new fashion in the area of education. Particularly from India, the number of students going abroad for studies has increased notably. What could be the reason behind it?Are they traveling to acquire any special studies which are not available in Indian Universities? Do they have any merit scholarship to study there at meager amount? The questions will be endless. The fact behind that move could be inane but it has its reasons, comparing the same course in India can be studied at lower cost but the later salary will also be the same. But there are some universities abroad which are ready to help for the permanent residencies if they are placed in their nation. Similarly the typical western life style is enchanting and pulling out a new experience so the remaining factors like course and the universities get thrown at the back and let them to move towards their colourful dreams. This might be bitter fact but it is the reality. India’s external Affairs Minister has expressed his feelings that he was shocked to hear about the courses the students are studying abroad which can be at availed at cities in India..He added that the parents needed to guide in selecting the courses and if possible can avoid the fancy courses which requires the immigration. His comment is totally based on the recent attacks and murder of Indian Students in Australia. There are many things lies behind education abroad like heavy bank balance, Safety and security, International Job Opportunities, etc. If these things are met then the studies in abroad would not be an issue.

The role model – Collector Sahayam

The Role Model

We would have heard about many district collectors and also have experienced on their administration, the living style of the Government authorities that too a district collector definitely a luxurious one these will be a collective idea about them. But here I am going to introduce a role model of all collectors who has disclosed his total assets which is in total off Rs.9.07 Lakhs to National Informatics Centre website on 12 Nov 2009. (I am really sorry for the delay) he is none other than Mr. Sahayam, Collector of Namakkal District,Tamil Nadu. In his declaration, he has stated that he has a house and land worth Rs. 9 lakh in his name and that too of his wife Vimala. These landed assets are at Sree Devi Karumariamman Kovil Street at Pandian Nagar in Arampalayam Pancha¬yat at Madurai South Taluk,Tamil Nadu. He has taken loan against the above immovable properties. Besides the above, Sahayam has stated that his bank balance was Rs 7,172..It would be shocking news to us, being a collector for a district how it can be possible to have a mind set to disclose his assets at first? Bank balance of Rs.7,172 /-can’t imagine. Right!!! All the other higher officials need to think it of on his genuinity and the service mentality. He has told news persons that he made his asset details public to set an example to government servants to follow on. Normally he used to make surprise visits to the schools, ration shops, RTO functionaries, etc to check out the real happenings and also making promising efforts to improve the life style of the districtmates. A man of simplicity with a broader vision and innovative thinking why cant be role model to others????? Will you agree with me…..yes you will be…..

Broadband call center and techies

It could be a lifetime achievement for me to restore my disconnected BSNL broadband connections, I don’t know where it went wrong but my connectivity stands absurd for more than a week . It was my second time to contact the concerned call center earlier for the new connection but now as a complaint. The person who took the call spoke to me in a deadly voice and replied that the issue will be sorted out after that I went to office with a hope that tomorrow my day will be refreshed with the connectivity. But it isn’t, I enquired in my home, did they have received any calls from the BSNL office? But the answer is no, again I called up to the same extension now it was the new one who enquired about the complain and told me the same answer as I received earlier but no action has been taken up till the third day, I really got pissed off but without no choice I again called up to the same, now I have a shocking news that my complaint was not registered so we don’t have any past history on your complaints and offered me with a complaint ticket no. This time I myself have received a call from the tech support and they have provided some alternate IP’s to try but that doesn’t worked out for me. Now it has become one of my day to day activities to call up the techies to sort out my issues. One of my friends has suggested that my OS (Operating System) would have failed or corrupted so try installing a new one, I did the same on eighth day but my connectivity remain dud. Like Gajini, again I called up to the call center, this time the techie has suggested me some more alternate IP’s at last it has worked out to me and I asked the reason behind the issue he told me that it could be because of modem failures, if you face the same problem again please try to change your modem from the authorities. A simple issue which can be found out at first shot has took 10 days to find the reason is really a frantic one, there is nothing from my side to conclude the issue. You would have realized the pathetic services of call centers and their technical knowledges.But I can suggest one thing to you to select the best ISP provider for the broadband otherwise you have to suffer like me.

Choose Your Response

Three women met in a restaurant. Yeah u can guess???  Lots of discussions, exchange of news and views, loads of information.  One particular of their discussion caught my attention.  One of the ladies, with lot of interest was sharing some facts about cockroach. With a lot of amazement,  she was telling how a cockroach can run 3 miles in an hour and could live a long time, perhaps a week without its head. It can survive in any climate, in any house condition, inside any crack, etc.

Suddenly, a cockroach flew from nowhere and sat on her.  She started to scream out of fear.  With panic-stricken face and trembling voice,  she started doing stationary jumping with her hands trying to get rid of the cockroach.  The lady finally managed to push the cockroach to another lady in the group.  Now, it was the another lady to continue the drama. The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.  In the relay, the cockroach fell on the waiter.  The waiter stood firm observing its movement on his shirt.  When he has confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out.

As I was seeing those,  few thoughts started wondering, “Was the cockroach responsible for the histrionic behaviour?  If so, then why the waiter was not perturbed? He handled it to near perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach to them.”

I realized, “Even in my case then, it is not the shouting of my father that disturbs me, but it is my inability to handle the disturbance caused by his shouting that disturbs me. In all, it is not something that disturbs me, but it is my inability caused by that something that disturbs me. More than the problem, it is my reaction to the problem, which hurts me more.”

A natural question popped up in my mind, “Then, how do I outgrow this limitation?” I understood, “I should not react. I should always respond”. The women reacted, whereas waiter responded. Reactions are instinctive, whereas responses are intellectual. Between the stimuli (what happens to me) and the response (what happens through me) if there is no gap, it creates reaction. But, between the stimuli and response,  if I use the gap to think and contemplate, then I can respond thoughtfully. “An Intelligent person responds; a fool reacts”.

Life’s Laps

No one is born with an objective. It’s the one we create.

At times,  we wonder what life is,  what’s the purpose of living,  why are we here, what did we dream of,  what should we achieve in life,  why few people are successful and why some are not, why we are entitled to such a situation,  etc.  Human mindset is like that.  Most people are not with what they have. And some of them claim they are satisfied, but not.  Alas, only very few actually feel that sense of satiety in life.

When people go over different laps in their life,  they tend to think that the lap they are in is not so fine and could have been better.  Say, when you are at college, you feel your school life was the best,  and after college you think your college life was the best.  When you are in your own country,  you strive hard to go to some foreign destination and when you are finally in that foreign nation, you think that your country was the best and you should not have come here.

Human mind always aims for something or the other and have a sense of dissatisfaction when it fails. Why don’t we think, “Yahoo! I did it” when we win and “Hmm… well… It didn’t click for me but that’s fine” when we fail and go with the same feeling as we would have won???  New things always excite people. Be it a new job, new school, newly wed, new dress, but as time fades, fun degrades…  Those ‘once new’ things are not new anymore and not interesting anyhow…  Why is that?  Why can’t gift your spouse the same way you did for your first anniversary?

As we take new laps in life, we leave things behind which were new earlier and concentrate on the new ‘new’ thereby. No one is born with an objective. It’s the one that we create. It’s like when you were at school,  your objective is to get a good name in your school’s roll of honour.  When you were at college,  your objective was to enjoy the first few years and when you slid towards the end of your college life, your objective to get a lucrative job or go for higher studies.

When you’ve spent considerable amount of time at gaining work experience,  your objective was to build a house and get married.  When you hit your late twenties, your objective to bring children into your life.  When your children grew,  your objective was to shape them towards a goal for their better lives.  And these objectives metamorphose into new shapes when you drive into different laps. But, why do the objectives in each lap remain the same for almost everyone?  While these objectives are not the predefined rules in a dossier, why most of us take the same road? Well, I guess no one has an answer. But life goes on and on… And we run behind something as always.

Regret or Rejoice? It’s in our hands! When you rejoice, it’s bliss! So, why not?

Believing is Seeing

Live music concerts sometimes can be intimidating.  What if I don’t understand the music?  What if I don’t know how to listen correctly?  What if I don’t get it?  What if I do not nod my head at the right places?  These questions used to haunt me.

In spite of his feeling,  I landed up in concerts quite regularly because many in my close circle friends are ardent music lovers.  Sometimes I was in concerts because friends wanted to attend and I was pulled along;  sometimes friends were performing and I needed to be there to cheer them; Whatever be the reason I started enjoying listening to music.

Music is meant to invite reflection, awake feelings, activate memories, touch the heart. So these days I just let myself be affected. The music concert that I attended last week touched my heart.  I was affected not just by the flowing music, but the music conductor who happened to be blind also affected me. His hands on the keyboard were his eyes through which he created the beautiful musical notes. At the end of the program, he was asked to share his experience in the music world and the mike was handed over to him to speak.  He tilted the mike slightly away from himself, moved his head in the direction of the guitarist, and asked softly, “Is it morning or afternoon?” When he heard the reply ‘afternoon’, he placed the mike properly and cheerfully began his address by wishing the audience “Happy Afternoon”.

For that visually impaired music conductor “Believing is Seeing” and for the rest of us  “Seeing is Believing”.  While the rest of us needed to see to believe, he believed and hence saw what he believed.  He visualised that it was afternoon in his mind and saw the happy afternoon.

All of us are endowed with this power to believe and visualise what we want to happen to us in reality. This power to visualise can actually help us ti create a better life for ourselves. It is not without reason that mankind was endowed with the capacity to visualise, fantasize and imagine. Nothing in nature is created or done without a reason. Sometimes we understand it.

Everything that we want to happen has to be envisioned in the mind first. Our imagination is a specially designed tool, which provides us with the ability to actualize our goals. It is through creative mental meanderings that a child learns to develop her ability to realise the inner longings. Creative imagination is the first step in concrete realisation.  We have to dream, see it in our mind first for it to happen in reality.

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come on his way.”