Good old times

“Good old times” is a refrain that all of us use quite commonly, especially as we grow in age. It’s said that after certain age, nostalgia is the most prominent feeling that far outweighs the dreams for future! You would have noticed certain posts doing rounds on social media that perfectly fuel this nostalgic feeling – signature opening tunes of All India Radio and Doordarshan, theme songs and music of the first of the popular Hindi serials on Doordarshan Hum Log, print and TV ads of brands like Erasmic ( remember the popular shaving blade and cream brand), Afghan Snow, Signal etc.

However, while seeing a stand up comedy show by an American performer, I got an entirely new perspective of this feeling. The performer, a black migrant to US from Malawi, doesn’t want the old times to come or remember about them. As he jokingly mentions, “there was no Wi fi in olden days and what’s life without Wi fi” but on a more serious note, in wry humour, he mentions about old days when he’d have been standing in auction to be bid by a rich white man for slavery! We lament about disintegration of joint families, loss of values, our preoccupation with gadgets instead of relationships, cut throat competition, inflation, pollution as some of the banes of the modern times that make us indulge in nostalgia about yore. But do we remember tradition of sati ( widow being burnt along side husband), child marriage, dowry, caste system, extreme poverty, no food security, no medical facilities, lack of communication, woes of partitions ( our elders who went through the trauma and travail of partition would never like to go back to the past) that are all only news for us!

Our scriptures also tell us that we should live in present. While the past is gone forever and never comes back, future remains a mystery and neither any one knows about it or can control it. We should live in present, now, living the moment! We can control our actions as also feelings and decide how we live our present rather than regretting ( not in the sense of having sinned but good times generating nostalgia ) the past or worrying about the future.

An occasional indulgence into nostalgia is alright, but not everything of the past was good and not everything going to happen in future will be bad! Instead of yearning for “good old days” or craving for “great bright future”, let’s enjoy the “best blessed present”.

I am, so I can

(1) I have a luxury apartment with all the amenities, including a bath tub and massage shower. However, I choose to bath using a bucket and a mug because Mumbai lakes hold water only up to 25% of their capacity and monsoons are still good 2 months away.

(2) I have a chauffeur driven car, but looking to the chaotic peak time evening traffic, I prefer to use train and metro in the evening and in the process beat the traffic and save precious fuel.

(3) I eat on the road, but do not litter the street. I keep on stuffing the rejects either in a bag or in my pockets and dispose off the stuff in a bin.

(4) I switch off lights and fan, when not required and use AC most sparingly.

(5) I do not waste food; take little less than my appetite. Unused food is distributed to those who require- our helpers.

(6) On a day when I drive myself, I do lane driving, avoid honking and switch off the engine if the traffic has come to a halt.

(7) I strictly avoid, spitting, blowing nose or littering in public places such as railway platforms and inside the city bus.

Earlier, I used to think that what an individual can do? By not throwing one discard on the road, not spitting on the wall or using the comfort of personal chauffeur driven transport irrespective of the time taken will not make any difference as thousands and millions others will be acting contrarily! But now I am convinced that if “I am” doing certain right things, “I can” make that small difference. The target audience of this blog are already fine citizens fully aligned to the thoughts expressed in this blog and practising all, but the need is for each one of us to initiate at least one person so that this becomes a movement and we have a Bharat that is Swachch and replete with all the resources required for life sustenance- water, trees, food, fuel, clean air and above all discipline.

No means No

Just ended up watching Pink, rather belatedly on TV and I now realise why the dialogue ” No means no”, which is a very simple statement , has acquired such a cult status. Of course coming from the mouth of a living cult, Big B, it assumes even greater gravity.

The spoilt brats of rich families nurturing the feudal mentality are not sensitised to the fact that a girl, in spite of her openness, her costume, her indulgence to have a few drinks and speaking a lingo that’s quite common these days, is still an individual having a distinct individuality. Her propensity to mix freely and have good time post her work/study hours should not be taken as her permission to go to any extent with her. In the matters of personal relationships, there are no licences and anything further than a casual acquaintance has to be with mutual consent.

What I particularly liked about the movie was its non-partisan approach to women across the spectrum. The movie pierced your heart when Mr Bachchan says that even if the no sayer is a professional sex worker, her no has to be respected! After all, even business also can only be done on mutually agreeable terms!

With our sisters, daughters and wives going out to have fun, the menfolk need to understand that their libertine attitude should not be construed as a licence for them to indulge in anything with these members of opposite sex! This has to be inculcated as an important element in a child’s character by families and educational institutions so that we have youth that acts and behaves respectfully and responsibly – and we shall have no incidents of molestation, road rage or public apathy!

Let this be adopted as a motto of Women’s liberation- No means no!

Day for Hugging?

Yesterday my friend sent me a message on today being World Friends Hug Day. I was totally zapped! Do you need a day to hug and that too a friend! I am rather astonished at this Western obsession for having a designated day for something as common as a hug. I couldn’t help but search net and found the existence of such a day indeed! In our culture, a hug is one of the most dignified expression of comfort and affection and we hug our parents, elders, children and especially friends all the time. We hug each other on happy occasions in greeting and on sad occasions to solace and all our festivals- Holi, Eid etc are what without a hug?

The above has amused me no end, inspiring me to compose a few lines that read:

The entire human race is influenced

By western culture that’s indeed unique;

It has the power of making our

Traditions, practices and medicines antique!

They have claimed patents on

Everything be it alum, turmeric or vanaspati;

Our ancestors have been using them for ages

In daily food as well as home remedy!

We have been spreading message of peace & love since time immemorial

But they have introduced us to the Valentines Day

We hug each other on Holi, Eid and other festivals

But I’ve just come to know about the World Hug Day!

Keep reading and keep hugging people you care for before West patents this and you have to pay royalty for this most indigenous gesturešŸ˜€

Pulwama, Balakot- The rage refuses to die down

It has been an uneasy quiet after India’s surgical strike at Balakot terrorist camps and release of Abhinandan by Pakistan. There have been almost daily border skirmishes with both sides losing precious lives. Pakistan fears that till such time India is undergoing elections, the threat of another Indian Misadventure can’t be ruled out as the ruling party may look for some political gains, though we know that we are a matured democracy with responsible armed forces and such cheap tactics for some unforeseen electoral gains are bit far fetched.

However, the rage has got revived with US claiming that the entire fleet of F-16s supplied by them to Pakistan is in tact that falsifies Indian claim of a victory in dog fight between Pakistani F-16s and Indian Mig -21s. We trust Indian Government and IAF, because we as a nation have always steered clear of fake claims of victories, for such claims are short lived and do not help the cause of the nation. We have had repeated military victories over Pakistan, though we indeed suffered Chinese onslaught during the war of 1962 and we openly admit this fact.

The shooting down of world’s best fighter aircraft F-16 by obsolete MIG-21 is probably a too bitter a truth to be swallowed by both – Pakistan and US. By supporting Pakistani stand, US plays a smart game of achieving two objectives – (1) it reaffirms the superiority of F-16 as the best fighter aircraft in the World that’s almost invincible and (2) it allows the superpower to wriggle out of Indian follow-up regarding action against Pakistan for breach of condition that Pakistan would not use F-16 against India, but only in its war against Taliban in Afghanistan.

Let Pakistan celebrate and rejoice the American clean chit and Indians feel sense of rage at this myopic stance of the superpower! Truth shall prevail as history cannot be changed or rewritten by using false propaganda. But IAF and Govt should review their preparedness, especially keeping in mind an obsolete MIG-21 taking the most modern F-16 heads on in a full fledged war! Above all, let’s hope and pray that there’s no war and good sense prevails over the people who matter.

Election Fever

As the D-day approaches fast, election campaigning is becoming noisier and more feverish. Expectedly, bitterness around each other is unprecedented and while certain acts are tolerable, a few absolutely not. We had Modi calling Mamta speed breaker and Mamta, in turn, calling him Expiry Babu (tenure of his Govt is over) could be treated as tolerable. However, the Prime Minister, who throughout his 5 years of premiership has shown remarkable restrain in use words, probably got carried away by election fever. In fact, he made two gaffes. First, addressing an election rally, he said that there were no Hindu terrorists and the term “Hindu Terrorism” was coined by Congress. Hinduism could be a peace loving religion ( so are others- in fact all religions preach peace and brotherhood), but associating religion with terrorism is not appropriate. In the same rally, he then went out saying that Rahul had run away to Waynad, where minority was in majority. This statement was also not in good taste as each constituency should be construed to be comprising only voters and not Hindu, Muslim or any other religion. In fact, I just saw a FB post as per which Hindus constitute 50% of Waynad’s population, with Muslims and Christians constituting the balance 29% and 21% respectively.

BJP may not be counting on the minority support but in the interest of longevity and universality, it should look for a more moderated approach that is all inclusive rather than an approach that alienates it further from minority and weaker sections of the Society. It should not worry about it’s committed voter base, which shall remain protected irrespective of its election pitch.

Elections are one time affairs coming every 5 years; governance is forever! A visionary should look at long term rather than immediate prospects. Hopefully, electioneering becomes reasonably decent during the remaining part of elections 2019 or we shall have more acrimony and bitterness that could be divisive!

April Fool Or Reality

An April Fools’ Day prank marking the construction of the Copenhagen Metro in 2001

Just heard on FM that Juhu’s old and iconic Chandan Cinema has shut down after Saturday night show of Kesari that proved to be the last show. Hearing it on the morning of 1st April and given the light banter of RJs, I thought it to be an April Fool’s Day prank, but as the things turned out to be, it was not.

I first visited Chandan in 2001, the year I shifted to Mumbai. We used to stay at Four Bungalows and from there to Chandan by Auto Rickshaw was minimum fare. It was clear that the theatre had seen better days, but I still got enamoured considering it was right in Juhu, home to the who’s who of Bollywood. I was also told that of late, several premiere shows were happening at Chandan in preference to other iconic cinemas Eros, Regal and Liberty that were in town. Seats and air conditioning at Chandan were comfortable, cafeteria served nice pop corns and samosas and gentry included families. All in all a fair cinematic experience. Then I actually shifted my residence to Juhu, a stone’s throw away from Chandan. Chandan in fact, repainted its facade and upgraded its acoustics by switching over to Dolby.

Thereafter, things started happening that were adverse to Chandan’s survival. A huge mall cum multiplex came over next to Chandan. PVR cum Shopper Stop and Cafe Coffee Day in the same premises proved too much for fast deteriorating Chandan. Slowly, old loyalists started giving short change to Chandan by patronising PVR. The last nail in the coffin of Chandan was probably concretisation and widening of the road. The authorities took possession of the sizeable chunk of Chandan’s large land parcel, literally bringing it right on the road! The end was imminent, but unless it happens, the hope for survival should not be given up- be it a person or an institution!

April Fool’s Day also heralds end of two old Banking brands – Dena and Vijaya- which from today onwards form part of Bank of Baroda. Who knows this feeling more than me for I myself went through the experience of demise of my alma mater ( I prefer this word because I learnt my Banking there) State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur that got assimilated into the behemoth, State Bank of India!

April Fool’s Day, origin of which is not very clearly established, has been popular for light hearted pranks. In one famous prank from 1957, the BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day. In our childhood, we would indulge in such harmless banter with our friends, but to encounter such brand killing news on this day is probably an indication of things changing, change being the only perpetual constant.