Police and people

My daughter stays in Johannesburg, a beautiful city in this beautiful country of South Africa, but the first thing that people ask me on knowing this fact is, “ Is it a safe place?” And this question is not uniquely or exclusively applicable to Johannesburg or South Africa. There are many places world over, including in our country, which are either not considered safe ( for different reasons ) or become unsafe after the sunset.

Police is a force that’s raised to maintain the safety of citizens from all internal threats – thefts, robberies, mugging, Eve teasing, molestation etc – the way our army is supposed to protect us from external threats. If we are so proud of our armed forces, why police force does not inspire the same awe and trust?

We have seen individual officers helming a particular department for a period of time and making a discernible difference. Who can forget the valour and leaders of Julio Ribeiro and KPS Gill for their role in deliverance of Punjab from clutches of terrorism! Many officers such as Pradeep Sharma, Daya Nayak etc showed exemplary courage in ridding the city of Mumbai from the menace of underworld! But these are exceptions and in certain matters exceptions don’t work.

I am sure many of my readers have visited Dubai. I understand that more than 80% of population of Dubai is composed of immigrants and less than 20% are natives. But look at the mortal fear of law that the country evokes in all its residents? The cops are seldom seen patrolling on the roads, but you drive and walk on the streets and roads with such gay abundance as if no crime exists in this world! I understand that Emirates has only adopted Sharia law in part but it surely compares to the Ramrajya that we have read about in our scriptures.

Police can do it, if there’s political will and if citizens are ready to adopt community approach. Police is not for providing security to a handful of VIPs but to the citizenry at large and it can become a force to reckon with if large scale reforms are carried out – in their service conditions, salaries, non-interference in their work, equipping them with technology for surveillance and quick response et al!

If we want to live life king size and if we dream of Ramrajya all over, our Police has to reform itself and it’s thought and approach. I think the unforgettable lines of Gurudev Rabindrnath Tagore, “ Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…” should be adopted as motto by all police across the world!

Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depths of truth;
Where tireless striving
stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward
by thee into ever widening
thought and action-
into that heaven of freedom,
my father,
let my country awake.

The essence of Dussehra

A coin has two sides
Heads and tails
If one side wins
Other fails!

For every Dr Jekyll
There’s Mr Hyde
If one represents virtue
Other personifies vice

Ravana had ten heads
As he had mastered 6 shastras and 4 vedas
Other representation is the 10 emotions*
That made him demon killed by a Deva!

Aren’t we all too victims of these 10 emotions
But only Burning effigy of Ravana is deemed fit
Extermination of these emotions from our persona
Will be real Dussehra in its true spirit !

  • Ten emotions are:

Kaam (lust)
Krodha (anger)
Moha (delusion)
Lobha (greed)
Mada (pride)
Maatsarya (envy)
Manas (the mind)
Buddhi (intellect)
Chitta (will), and
Ahamkara (ego)

Nine days of festivity and celebrations- Navratri

In childhood in Delhi we loved Ramlila
Wrapped in a shawl to ward off cold
Hot and Roasted peanuts in hand
It was fun though same story got retold

Part of youth spent in Kolkata
Exposed us to pandal hopping
Ma Durga’s glory was fascinating
Life had a great fun as a topping

Mumbai’s Navratri had altogether different flavour
Colourfully dressed people dancing to the tune
The festivity oozed everywhere
And the life seemed to be one big boon!

Festivity is not exclusive to three metros
India is one big country
Other places across the length and breadth
Celebrate Navratri with same zeal & pageantry

And Covid is also not restricted to three metros
It has gripped the entire world and spared none
Festivals are in our spirit and God in our heart
Let’s stay alert till this Covid is undone

Happy Navratri

Mahalaya

Mahalaya marks the last day of Pitrupaksh and heralds the arrival of Ma Durga on earth as a creation by Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh after they prayed to Adi Shakti at the behest of Devtas who were being tormented by Mahishasur. This is also the start of Durga Puja and nine days of celebration of Navratri starting from tomorrow after the end of Pitrapaksh.

In view of the anticipated fear of Covid third wave, this year also the celebrations are likely to be subdued ( no pandal hopping or dandiya and garba), but whether we celebrate it in subdued manner or go whole hog, nothing can prevent this feeling of joy and hope that this festival brings to all of us. The modern Mahishasurs of today should get obliterated from our midst should be our prayer to goddess Durga, the feelings expressed in the following verse:

Ma Durga has arrived on earth
As a creation by Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh
To rid the mankind of Mahishasurs
That seemed to be giving us pain and controlling our fate!

A word of warning to the Mahishasurs of today
Covid, terrorists, arsonists and rapists on earth
Don’t invoke Mother’s wrath
She will obliterate you all and spread the mirth!

Happy Mahalaya!

Second innings or is it fourth ?

We are a cricket obsessed nation and we all know that a 5 days test match has four innings in all – two by each side. Like our scriptures and philosophy tell us about the four stages of life Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (forest walker/forest dweller), and Sannyasa (renunciate), we sometimes also draw inspiration from cricket. If you hear a farewell speech carefully, usually the people wish the retiring persons “ a very happy second innings,”

A very dear colleague of mine retired on the last day of September that’s day before yesterday and expectedly, everyone was wishing him a happy second inning. This made me to think that how come at such a late stage in life that’s upon attaining superannuation, one is to begin second innings? Was he playing so slowly that he ended up using the four days of the test match to complete the first innings?

This inspired me to write this blog to analyse the various stages of life in comparison with a cricket match. Actually, the childhood upto the school going age is the first innings that our parents and others close to us play. It’s mainly around receiving affection and adoration. It’s an inning in which we bowl and others bat.

Second innings is our student life during which we play the game for ourselves that is we bat – to acquire knowledge, skills, physique etc to make a standing for ourselves to secure a good comfortable future.

Third innings is our Grihasth ashram, when it’s all about family and meeting their requirements. Here again an individual is fielding running day and night to fulfil the material needs – a home, car, bank balance, kids etc.

Life post retirement from active job is in fact fourth innings, when one should play the match for himself. It’s the time to invest in one’s health and pursue the passions that got lost somewhere in our race for material excellence. As this person, whose retirement triggered this idea in my mind, said in his concluding remarks, “ I now want to pursue my passions. I want to learn about blackholes and am investing in buying an advanced telescope. There’s a Sitar lying at home that I bought for my son, but which never got played.” I think this is the essence of the fourth innings to pursue passions as diverse as sitar and astronomy. And if the fourth innings is played with so much joy and enthusiasm, the test match can never be lost irrespective of how well or badly the earlier innings unfolded for us!

Easy to remember

There’s a very famous nursery rhyme aimed at teaching counting to tiny tots. It recently got refreshed in my memory when my daughter was reciting it to her younger baby. The rhyme reads as under:

One, two, Buckle my shoe;
Three, four, Shut the door;
Five, six, Pick up sticks;
Seven, eight, Lay them straight:
Nine, ten, A big fat hen;
Eleven, twelve, Dig and delve;
Thirteen, fourteen, Maids a-courting;
Fifteen, sixteen, Maids in the kitchen;
Seventeen, eighteen, Maids in waiting
Nineteen, twenty, My plate’s empty

Actually, in our childhood, we leant it up to nine ten a big fat hen , but the Wikipedia tells me that it runs upto twenty, that means ten rhyming stanzas.

Have we ever thought about the simplicity and mellifluousness of these rhymes that make them so easy to sing and remember. And their rhyming nature makes it convenient for the singer to substitute a word in the event of the original being forgotten. For example, we read three, four shut the door while the Wikipedia says knock at the door!

The idea of this blog germinated from my regular source of information that’s the thought of the day outside the billboard of Mahim church. The latest thought there read as , “ Don’t despair, try prayer.”. Taking a cue from this, I extrapolated this into a complete rhyme on the lines of the above nursery rhyme. It reads:

Don’t despair, try prayer;
Think high, reach the sky;
Control greed, fulfil need;
Plant tree, be pollution free;
Eat healthy , remain wealthy;
Uproot malice, drink from chalice;
Love neighbours, for god’s favour;
Be fair, take care;
Good deeds, humanity needs;
Clean your mind, god is kind.

Happy world daughters’ day

I just infer from media that today, being the fourth Sunday of the month of September, it is being celebrated the world over as international daughters day.

I think given the most recent development of the return of Taliban in the neighbouring state of Afghanistan and their first action as the ruling bloc being confining the women of the country to within the four walls of their homes, the importance of this occasion cannot be over emphasised. And while the development in Afghanistan was a foregone conclusion upon the return of Taliban to power, the continuous oppression of women in the patriarchal societies shows that notwithstanding the tremendous advancement in different fields, certain mindsets have resisted all these advancements.

I think a daughter need not be seen as a daughter as that immediately invokes a feeling of burden, marriage, paraya dhan, weaker sex, limitations et al. Every woman – be it a mother, a sister, a wife, a niece, an aunt, a colleague, a friend – is someone’s daughter and if it think on these lines then suddenly it becomes a totally different perspective and feeling.

A happy international daughters day to not only my but all the daughters of world.

I was born the same way as was my brother

Why he got all the love and I became a bother?

Why he got the best – gifts, education and life?

The focus on me was to become somebody’s wife!

Why he enjoyed the best of childhood?

I was put under all the restrictions you could!

I heard you once saying if I could be your second son

Life for you would have been a perpetually shining sun!

But if no daughter like me gets to see this world

How the humans will survive is a million dollar question!

Love me,nurture me and make me independent

Earth for sure will become a better planet!

Bluest of the blue chip

We are all witnessing an unprecedented boom in stock market – response to IPOs, Sensex at all time high level and record number of SIPs every month. More importantly, a significant portion of this fresh investment is by retail investors.

However, given the risk and uncertainty associated with the capital market, a large section of population comprising middle and lower middle class, housewives, senior citizens and pensioners etc prefer other more dependable class of assets namely real estate, gold jewellery, but mainly bank deposits.

We have learnt in our economics classes that people prefer bank deposits to other class of assets for they are liquid being easily encashable in the hour of need and above all very safe! People prefer to sacrifice higher returns for liquidity and safety.

We know about DICGC and increase in the deposit insurance limit from Rs 1 lakh to Rs5 lakh. However, if the saving culture is to be promoted further, then the people, who settle for lower interest, TDS on interest but prefer safety of bank deposits should not be made to run from pillar to post when their bank fails or is placed under regulatory restrictions. If their lifetime savings kept in a bank are not safe, common people, not so investment savvy , shall continue to remain vulnerable to such unfortunate incidents and exposed to investment risk in spite of having zero risk appetite. Bank deposits can continue to have low rates and interest on them subjected to TDS, but they should be made secured like sovereign papers- foolproof against any default!

Sahirs are not born often


I have attended so many farewell parties and am now awaiting mine due shortly, but the song usually renders at such parties is that eternal romantic creation from film Hum Dono:

अभी ना जाओ
छोड़ कर कि
दिल अभी
भरा नहीं

It also proves the power of the writer’s pen as the romantic creation caters to the angst relating to parting irrespective of the nature of love – between lovers, friends or colleagues.

When we are in a reflective mood, thinking about the very philosophy of life, the chances are that more often than not the following song from the evergreen Yash Chopra film Kabhi Kabhie will come to haunt us:

मै
पल
दो पल का
शायर हूँ

And for conveying the feelings of the forlorn heart, which song other than the above movie’s title song be more relevant:

कभी कभी
मेरे दिल में
खयाल आता है

And when the love just starts to blossom and needs to be expressed, this evergreen hit from another Yash Chopra hit Daag is matchless:

मेरे दिल में
आज क्या है
तू कहें तों
मैं बता दूँ

And the contentment arising out of a consummated love is seldom conveyed more beautifully than this immortal number from Naya Daur:

मांग के
साथ
तुम्हारा

And the sensitivity of a failed love are to be expressed in this unique style as conveyed by lyricist in this superb piece of poetry from Gumraah, which is contrary to mindless revenge and violence ( blackmail, killing, throwing acid etc) that is being blatantly witnessed today:

चलो
इक बार
फिर से
अजनबी
बन जाए
हम दोनों

And this classic number from Pyaasa is the anthem for any unrequited love:

जाने वो
कैसे लोग थे
जिनके
प्यार को
प्यार मिला

One life that we have been blessed with is to be lived in a carefree and lively fashion, bereft of worrying about things not in our control and this emotion is beautifully expressed in this marvellous ditty again from Dev Anand starring Hum Dono:

मैं
जिंदगी का
साथ
निभाता चला

Another philosophical message in verse from Pyaasa summarises the futility of materialism:

ये दुनिया
अगर
मिल भी जाए
तो क्या है

🔸
And with Dilip Kumar dancing to the Punjabi beats of OP Nayyar in this patriotic song from Naya Daur, the entire body gets charged up:

ये
देश है
वीर
जवानों का

And the angst of the nation at unfulfilled objectives of freedom is best expressed in this pathos filled poem from the movie Pyaasa:

जिन्हें
नाज़ है
हिंद पर
वो
कहाँ है

The epitome of pessimism was actually used twice in two different films – Lighthouse and Pyaasa that read:

तंग
आ चुके है
कशमकश-ए-जिंदगी से
हम

🔹
The universal prayer that can be intoned by anyone irrespective of his or her faith is a lilting melody from Hum Dono:

अल्ला
तेरो नाम
ईश्वर
तेरो नाम

And upon partition of this country on religious lines, one poet had the foresight and courage to give the message of humanity in movie Dharamputra;

तू
हिंदू
बनेगा
ना
मुसलमान
बनेगा

🔹
The anthem of all senior citizens to dance to at their golden wedding anniversary is the only this evergreen song from Waqt:

ए मेरी
जोहराजबी
तुझे
मालूम नहीं

And whenever one recollects the first flame of romance burning in the heart, the song reminiscent is this love anthem from Barsat Ki Raat:

जिंदगी भर
ना
भूलेगी
ये
बरसात की
रात

This is an ode, a eulogy to a poet par excellence, who seemed to have his fingers on the nerve of the connoisseurs of Hindi/Urdu, more specifically, Hindustani poetry that’s slowly undergoing extinction. There are navarasas or nine moods ; but Sahir could use his pen to create hundreds of nuances by mixing the above nine moods, such was the power of his writing.

He would have completed a century, being born in 1921.

मुझसे पहले कितने शायर
आए और आकर चले गए
कुछ आहें भर कर लौट गए
कुछ नग़मे गाकर चले गए
वो भी एक पल का किस्सा था
मैं भी एक पल का किस्सा हूँ
कल तुमसे जुदा हो जाऊँगा
वो आज तुम्हारा हिस्सा हूँ
मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ

Sahir was not a momentary phenomenon- but who would live till eternity through his body of classic work.

Mumbai loses another jewel

Jet Airways is not quite a jewel. Once India’s largest airline with most modern fleet, best on time performance and unmatched in flight service, it slowly started losing ground to mainly Indigo and also to late entrants such as Vistara.

I think the fall of Jet should be made a case study as towards the end how it fell like nine pins should be a learning for other corporates who could be enjoying market leadership today but who could meet the same fate as Jet if the same mistakes are repeated. Kingfisher’s case by now we know as that company went overboard with luxury concept that was not compensated by matching revenues.

But the theme of this blog is not to analyse the reasons that led to failure of these rulers in the sky, but the manner in which Mumbai is fast losing its numero uno position as the airlines hub of the country to New Delhi. In another blog , I expressed my angst at Mumbai losing the spot of the second busiest airport to Bengaluru. It’s not about one India- in fact, Delhi is my place of birth and Bengaluru is pride of this country being the IT hub of the World with the giants like Infosys, Wipro etc headquartered here. It’s about the lost glory and more importantly- an economic issue rather than an emotional matter – the loss of opportunity for growth and development! First Air India shifted its hub from Mumbai to Delhi and we know how its properties, including the iconic Air India building at Nariman Point lost their importance. Kingfisher had hub at Bengaluru but had significant presence in Mumbai. Ditto Indigo. Vistara, a TATA venture, a group having nerve centre in Mumbai is based out of Gurgaon with hub at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.

While today’s newspaper broke the good news of Jet Airways under new ownership and management resuming its services from 2022, their decision to have hub in New Delhi was indeed disappointing.

It’s high time that government takes concrete steps to heighten its engagement with business houses and reassure them about business friendly atmosphere in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Other states are wooing Mumbai based industrial houses- special target of such friendly overtures is Bollywood. Mumbai bereft of Air India is fine – but Bollywood is the heart and soul of this city.