Monday, 13 September 2010

Even tiny things do matter..

When i was a child i loved to listen to the song of frogs and crickets after heavy rain. There is a big field in front of my house and river at the backyard. When it rains both sides will be full of water and at night i used to lie in bed listening to the music of rain, frogs and crickets. It is a magical experience. The jugalbandhi goes on all through the night and for days at a stretch. And it never used to tire me.
Now, here in Bangalore i miss the rain and the music of these small creatures. As i could not control myself i went to Kerala this time during the rain. Am so dismayed to find out that the green field in front of my house is not there and the river is in patches. Even though it rained heavily it is not like the old times, when it rained day in and day out. In the place of green fields now stands big houses, shops, roads and malls. There is no place for water to flow, no place for it to stay. These fields and vacant spaces were the home to many small insects which were the important pillars of biodiversity and eco- balance. With the death of these places not only our village looked crowded, it also damaged the very essence of our environment.
This visit made me think, what happened to those frogs and crickets? Where are they now? We have learnt in the smaller classes that frog plays an important role in the eco-balance. Then, how will the ecosystem react to this? I don't know. But, it will definitely have a huge impact on our ecosystem for sure.
We always scream loud about preserving tigers, elephants and other bigger animals, but nobody cares about these small creatures. Where are our sparrows, crows and many more birds and insects which used to throng our neighbourhood earlier. For my generation we never expected to see a place without crows, but now, there is no crow in our own yard.
Slowly we are killing our ecosystem. More than the extinction of big animals, it is the tiny creature that preserve the ecobalance. Development and industrialization gives employment and makes our life easy. On the other hand it kills the fields, vacant space, hedges and even our lives. The impact may not be sudden, it will kill slowly. By the time we realise this it will be too late. So, from this day onwards think of the small creatures in your courtyard and neighbourhood, give them their space, don't wipe out their environment altogether. DEVELOP, BUT GIVE SPACE TO ENVIRONMENT!!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Jai Jawan!!

I was reading India Today.It run a story on the corruption in the bulletproof jackets purchase for the Indian army. It's been haunting me for years... corruption in our military force!!!How can anybody do so??? I mean, how can anyone be such an esurient treasure chaser, eating up their own fence!
Unfortunately it's true...The first of such incident hit my eyes long back, when George Fernandez was the Defence Minister. I think it's about the coffins bought for the Karl martyrs. After that there was a series of such corruption cases and our armed force was in the news for all the wrong reasons.
One day i read in the newspaper about a Major  faking encounters to keep up the name of the regiment. I still can't digest the fact- faking encounters!!! where are we going, what's happening? why can't we just leave our armed forces alone, save them from these greedy thugs?
You may think why am i making such a fuss about corruption. It is  so common in India, widely spread, more than the roads. Yes, it is true and i know that in India there are a number of battens. But, i expected the military force to be beyond petty chicanery. I am scared, these kind of greedy acts may result in some imperceptible events. It has the power to shake the roots of the democratic set up in our country. Why risk such a strong impact for a little money. I know gold diggers eye only gold, nothing else matters to them. But think, you have all the money in the world, but no way to spend them or even worse some one else eats out all of that. See what is happening in our neighboring country.
The jawans in the Indian military force are the custodians of our democracy. They guard us throughout the year in hostile situations, risking their life,away from their family; so don't we have a right to provide them with everything to keep them safe, at least for our safety.
More than the coffins i was more concerned about  the bullet proof jacket thing. Its true we have to bury our brave jawans with all the honour..but it didn't happen and they won't come back and ask for it. But, here we are talking about the ones alive. They are going out on the field risking their lives to fight against some unknown enemies. Interestingly, their enemies are equipped with the best in the industry safety covers and equipments.. Our jawans! they go out there with nothing much to boast about.It is just their love for the country that is motivating them to go out and fight it out against all odds.Jai jawan!!!
The India Today story also tells us that the commander in charge of the unit which used the bullet proof jackets complained against it to the authorities, but no reply. After a long wait the jawans went ahead with the faulty jackets and paid with their life. Who is there to blame? The dumb and mute armed forces' authorities who are sitting somewhere in the military mess, enjoying the meal away from all the troubles, or the politicians who shamelessly sacrifice our armed force just to grab some of those crispy notes? or the media which takes up and publicises all the wrong news and keeps their hands off from the real issue?

After the bombing incident in Mumbai and the death of one of the bravest police officer Hemant kalkare there was huge uproar against the lack of safety equipments in the police force for a few days  As the days passed and Mumbai sprung back into action, all was forgotten. Now, there is nobody to take up the case and again the political parties started their drama baazi... Are we waiting for something of that sort to happen again so that these issues should be brought back into the headline? Why wait ? Why can't all of the media take up this issue and force the government and the concerned authorities to do something about it. When thousands of tongues shout, the message will definitely go in to the ears of those terribly mute.

These kind of events kill the morale of our armed forces. We have one of the best army in the world, let us keep it that way.  Let us fight for those who risk their life to secure our life. Jai Hind!! Jai jawan!!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Water woes

"Water water everywhere
but not a drop to drink"

Summer is set in, not even a month. But, Wordsworth's lines ring true for Bangaloreans. We, the Bangaloreans are thirsting away our days in the hot summer sun. It was not this bad these many years. Now it is like we are standing on a hot burner with parched lips and thirsty heart.

The Kaveri is flowing some kilometers from us... there are water bodies around us ( unfortunately we can't even think of going near it, forget drinking it).No, we can't blame the corporation, or the government for it. What they will do? Bangalore has no rivers to boast of. Our only water provider is Kaveri, that too after too much or sharing -waring. Kaveri too has nothing much to offer.
The next option is bore well.. every house in a locality has at least one bore well and that too they dig it deep as the year passes by. The result.. even if you go deep down to the earth's centre there is not even a drop of water. The erratic and unplanned digging of bore well has robbed us of the little pure water we can boast of.

Then where is the remedy?Where is our saviour? It is only us.We have already dirtied all our water bodies, encroached upon us, disturbed its feeders... We dug bore wells indiscreetly around us, emptied out even the stored ground water... where can we go now? whom can we ask? The only way out is replenish the ground water and our water bodies, bring them to life again.. But how?

If we are stubborn we can achieve it. But it needs a little bit of selflessness. Unclog the water channels that used to feed the water bodies in our area, stop throwing garbage in to the lake or the channels that feed it,  stop polluting water bodies and above all save each drops of rain water. Government has taken steps to ensure rain water harvesting. Let us join hands with them and build rain water harvesting system in our house. It is not very costly when you compare it with the benefit.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Why should we vote? When should we vote?

This note is just a thought over the voting process.
Election for the Bangalore mahanagara palike was over two days ago. The voting percentage was low 48%. Statistics through the years show that it never went above 50%. Now the Government is mulling over a law to make voting compulsory. Is it the need of the hour? Can a government do so in this democratic set up? If yes what will be the outcome?

Yes, i know the parties are going red over the low voter turnout because they won't get a clear majority to rule. One more thing nowadays the citizen group is gaining strength in this city of opportunities and their voice is hard to unheed. So, what the politicians and those in power say, when you talk about what politicians should do, you should do your duty first. It means when you talk about your right you should also do your duty. Fair enough! no doubt about it.. We, the citizens have to do our duty first - select the right candidate.  But how?

One question to those who say so... why people are not voting? Is it because they don't have time.. or is it because they lost faith.. If it is the latter who is to blame? They say one reason for the low voter turnout is that the younger generation are not voting, they give a damn for the politics of the State  or country. If it is true it is a sad proposition for our democratic process. India pride ourselves as the largest and oldest democratic country in the world. If our democratic set up tumbles down there is nothing else to replace it for sure.
Even then, i feel  voting is a personal choice, it should not be forced upon. We are a democratic society , if such a law comes up what will be the difference between us and an authoritarian society. instead we should make the system clear so that people regain the faith in it.once it is done am sure the voters will come back. Let us have a look at the existing system.

OK. let us first agree that the younger generation is moving away from politics? if we have a problem at hand we need a solution , right? so, where is the solution? For me the solution is very evident.. just look at the politicians we have at the higher pedestals of democracy and their age, and of course the kind of politics they play, the commotion they make? Are they doing it for the country, state, voters??? SADLY,  NO... THEY ARE NOT. THEY ARE DOING IT FOR THEIR BENEFIT.
Whatever politicians do they do it to be in power, nothing else matters to them. If they had concern for the people would there be the same old , corrupt and criminal candidates?If any honest person wants to stand for election he is cramped for money because the parties have enough financial backing, especially those in power. And sometimes people vote because they are scared of those contesting.. because even though a small fish these politicians can make their life hell. It is not straight from the movies, it is a reality.

Now those who side with the politicians can say that they fight for you in the assembly. Unfortunately, we believed them till recently. But when the electronic media started reporting live from the higher seat of democracy we realised what they are doing and  fighting for, right? and i don't have to tell you what is it? So, do you think after seeing all these do you expect the people to come out in huge numbers and vote? it is not the politics people hate it is this real politiks.

Do you think we are spoilt for choice when it comes to voting , unfortunately no.. the sad truth is that we don't have a choice. The colour of the flag, the symbols, they all may change, but the core is the same. Whichever party you go to the people you have to vote for are the same. At least there is a consensus among the political parties on this matter- fielding the wrong candidates. I read in the newspaper, there should be a provision to come to the booth and reject all the candidates present. That is a good idea. Can we try it once.. Like vote for A, B, C, or none of the above... good idea, especially for the computer savvy generation. I think if this option is there the voting percentage may go up drastically. Let us do it once- on a trial and error basis...Can we??

Now,  i would like all of you to think...We are a democracy for the past 60 + years. With that in mind just look around us impartially, critically... what have we achieved.. we still bask in the glory of our old culture when the new entrants to the block are moving ahead and progressing.Take the Latin American countries and Eastern European countries. They were unheard of in the last decade, but now they are competing with us- the oldest democracy and the next super power.. phew....

We have been fooled for long. You may fool one for sometime, not all at all times. This is a transition phase in our democracy. People have seen through the politicians, started reacting to them.. but still searching for a new order to counter it. They first step is taken... the next step will follow. Give a little time for that solution to emerge.. it is just round the corner... have faith..

In the meantime we can clean the system for a change.  Ponder over these points.
1. Let us have a project plan for our candidates
Let us ask our politicians what they want to do for the country, state, district, taluka etc. depending on which segment the election is for. make them write their plan and the time proposed for the completion of it.The same way we plan a project in the software firms. Then let us monitor the progress and rank them accordingly.Chuck those out who ranks below 5, those between 5 and 7 give them another chance and see how much they improve at the second chance,the same as in our offices. If corporates can work like this why can't the biggest corporate in our country the political offices can't.. what say?? We have some of the corporate heads in the political arena.. let them take care of it..of course with the help of citizen groups.
2. Field new candidates for those who contested for more than three times
I know this is a difficult proposition. Everyone wants a piece of power and the older you grow the hungrier you become.Let us give our seniors some rest, they have worked us for long!!! Now field new bloods, budding politicians. let us see what they are made of.Let us give it a start, once done, it will be easy the next time around.

3. Reject those with criminal and fraudulent backgrounds
I know there is such a rule, but you still find them in our candidate list don't we? Let us honestly implement it.

4.Let us make the voting process clutter free and fast
It is true that we have to vote even if it means one whole working day. It is easy to say, but when you have a lot of work in  hand and a sulking boss in office, it is not that easy. So, let us make the process clutter free and fast. With the help of the new technologies it is not too much to ask for.

4. Let us have one -to- one debates of the candidates instead of speeches and rallies
Instead of the noisy and traffic -blocking rallies and meetings, let us have debates conducted in each ward. let us hear from the candidates first hand and know their views and plans for our area. No speech, just a question answer section with local participation.For the Loksabha elections we can have district wise debates.. How's it?
And for us voters
1. Let us go beyond politics and vote for the candidate- let the best candidate win.

2. Let us reject those who failed us

3. Let us vote for change
4. Let the employees get an hour's time off to vote.. it is not everyday, only once in five years

Hope everyone is listening..
Jai Hind!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

How far we can go?

In today's paper there is a news.. hope you might have read it. It may not be of importance to anyone else, but it struck me. Two youths went for an interview in Hyderabad and were beaten black and blue by locals. Their fault? they are not from the state. Being a mother i can understand the kind of fear those young people's mothers felt after seeing their son come home terrified and injured. Just think, these people had not gone for a private company's interview- it is BHEL.

In this world of privatisation who wants government jobs?As far as i know it is the middle class, especially those with a  government employee at home. They may not be very rich. Like us they have a hand to mouth existence. They don't even see their full salary even for a day.. thanks to the price of necessary commodities it just evaporates at the touch of their hand- nothing is left, no saving...It is not that they don't want to save and lead a comfortable life after retirement like the guy in the multinational company's pension plan advertisement. Unfortunately for them everything depends on their pension after retirement . You have to build a house, teach and marry off your kids... everything from the meagre pension amount. That means even in your old age you have no peace of mind.

Their only hope of  a better future is their children. They do everything necessary to see to that their children are better educated and get a better job. But where is the job in villages or for that matter in every city? Thank God our development is not proportional.. some areas are highly developed and it brims with money and other places still the same - smelly gutters, roads where you can't even walk, no transportation facility... to say the least not even food, water and electricity. So, these less fortunates have to travel to the big cities for job. As they don't need a visa and passport to travel through India and work, and as it is less costly, they travel- even to far away places for jobs.
 But now there are a number of states in India which won't let Indian citizens from other states to their territory. They say whatever their state produces is theirs.They have a right over it. But, just think if all the  small cities and villages in India say the same. Who will suffer? Undoubtedly it is the big cities? They do have big big buildings, posh apartments and all the facilities for a better life... but where do they get their food from? who cultivates it/ where do they get their water from? who keeps the city and their house clean?

Don't you remember the pledge we used to take in school  everyday, " India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters..."So like you the rest of the people in India too have a right to your state. It doesn't mean you should give away everything to the others. You can also compete... but not the physical way, not through violence... educate yourself, better your abilities, apply for a job.. give your hundred percent.. and then let the better person win...

Those who settle in other states should also learn to respect their culture, move closely with the locals, try to be one among them. It is not good to flaunt your money, force your culture on them, look down upon the locals. poke fun at their customs, looks, language or culture....They are being good to you by letting you work there.. be good to them in return.. that is the least any human being can do for the other...

Monday, 8 February 2010

Love day and some wisdom

Like any other day today also we, a group of women in various age group, went for a walk. On the way we usually discuss everything - from our neighbour to the governmental policy.  Shanta aunty is the one who talks most of the time. She is a motherly figure like the one we see in the old bollywood movies. Concerned for everyone. But today, she was silent, deep in thought. Once we reached the park i went to her and asked," what happened aunty, why are you so silent? Is there anything at home?". " No beta, i was thinking..."." what aunty?" " Is this guy who talks about disturbing the lover's day celebration poor?". The rest of us said in one voice 'can't be, why?" "Then does he has a big family to feed?" That also got a negative answer. Now all of us were curious, why Shanta aunty was this much concerned about that person whom she had no connection we know of. Seeing our face she sensed our concern. She said smiling. I read in newspaper that he got more than 2 lakhs pink chaddi last year. Even after that he is still saying the same thing. So i thought he really wanted those chaddis". We all rolled on ground laughing.....
But this innocent concern gave us the topic for our discussion. Why that guy and his men started making such a ruckus again this year before Valentine's day? What purpose this threat was supposed to serve?
Rugmini aunty felt that the Sena is the marketing wing of some big greeting card and gift companies. Instead of stopping people from celebrating the festival he is spreading it across the country. She said," otherwise why did  he come up days before the celebration? He could have sat silent and stopped people on the day". Right Na? Even we saw logic in Rugmini aunty's words. If it's true, just think what fools are those who follow them and do whatever they tell them to do!!

For Yellamma aunty this is a new subject. She doesn't even know what is a Valentine's day. For her she has been living with a man for the past 35 years. Not even once they said 'I Love You' to each other. Does it mean they don't love each other?
Some days ago Yellamma aunty's granddaughter gave her and her husband a card and a rose. She said it is the Grandparents day.But  this gift didn't makeYellamma aunty  happy. She says anyone can give you a card and a rose, but to be there when the other person needs you and do things without asking to be done is what counts and that is love according to her. Other than giving the card and the rose Yellamma aunty's grand daughter never gave her even a glass of water when she was not well, or even noticed her on other days. Her words moved us. We all felt it to be true.
One thing is sure we are living in a world of hollow exhibitionism. We call up, send messages, say ' I Love You' a thousand time, buy diamond rings. But never shy away from breaking a relationship at the drop of a hat.  So, what is the purpose of Valentine's day or days like that if we don't feel for one another from heart.
Our serious conversation was ended with Janamma aunties funny quotes. She said, " these men are wasting their time and energy on something so stupid and trivial. The pair we saw last year and felt they were much in love can be seen with another partner today. They also will look like deep in love. So, after many years of such pairing they will exhaust with partners and the Valentine's day celebration will die its natural death". Oh, God! what an old wisdom.. Are you listening??

Monday, 1 February 2010

Solving the traffic problem

Do you know how tough it is to drive on a busy Bangalore road? especially for a learner. I experienced it lately. I am a four wheeler learner. The guy who teaches me says it is very easy.. just know your clutch, gear and brake and it is done.
After a week's toil i learnt my clutch, brake and gear... but still driving is a pain for me. In the traffic my coach tells me... "go forward.. cut the traffic and go.. the other guys will stop don't stop for them". but i think if the other person also thinks the same way, then?
My driving coach spent 15 days with me, still am at square one... bugged and irritated he is given up on me...' madam, there is nothing I can do, you have to practice.. drive your vehicle everyday". I agree... but is it a good option? am i adding chaos to the crisis?
undoubtedly yes, but i want to move around the city.. go to job, pick and drop my son at school, shop, meet frnds.... i need to learn driving... am confused!! how can i learn driving without disturbing the already disrupt Bangalore traffic..
Thought over it for days....finally came up with a plan.. will drive around my layout... with new vigour i started driving around my layout.. to your knowledge it is a properly laid layout... but when i drove along there were a lot of drawbacks.. first thing..people park their vehicle where ever they like.. sometimes at the turning, and at the middle of the road!! ( no, am not exaggerating, it's true). Then they come from anywhere.. and go anywhere No signal, no if they are driving on the moon!!

Now you know why the Bangalore traffic is in such a mess.  Preaching is easy, no one looks at their own courtyard and blames the neighbour for the stink.Let me make an appeal to those who are already driving please introspect and see how you are driving.. do you have traffic sense and citizen sense... Do it fast so that learners like me can come out on road and drive peacefully.. Let us all join together and make Bangalore the best city of the world.

Hope everyone listens,