2 Many Voices · Eclectic

NaMo for PM

(Originally written on 30th April 2014)

 

I am really excited today. It’s voting day here..

Here? Where?

Here. Right here. At the epicenter. Where it all began?

Began? What began where?

Well, not here exactly here, but that doesn’t matter any more does it? Here is where it has been brewed for the last 10 years.

I remember it vaguely.  The dark ages. Before his highness graced us with his presence. Things haven’t been the same since.

We’ve had so much development. So much of it that sometimes I don’t recognize it anymore.

We had roads. Good roads, but only a few of them. Now we have more. And yes sir, A1 quality ekdum.

We had buildings. Tall buildings, but only a few of them. Now we have more. And taller than before.

We had industries, factories, businesses. All good, but only a few of them. Now we have more. And yes sir, bigger than before also.

We? Who the fuck is this we?

Arey we bole toh Vibrant Gujarat.

Oh. Yes. Lots of development. I’ve heard a lot about it. Read in the papers also. And the TV also seems to talk a lot about it. Is it true?

What kind of a silly question is this? Of course it’s true. Don’t you trust the sources that you mentioned?

No. Forgive me. I didn’t mean that. Of course i do. How can I not? Anyways where was I? Oh yes. Development. So as we can see, there has been so much of development in the state of Gujarat. And as we all know that any development that takes place in a state is solely because of the chief minister of the state. So modiji is solely responsible for all the developments in Gujarat.

But wait. What does that have to do with you being excited?

Again a silly question. But listen. Modiji is trying to become prime minister of the state of India. And he has promised to do same development in the whole of India. And that is what I want. Development for all of India.

One last silly question, but tell me aren’t you also sad that might mean a little less focus on the development of Gujarat?

Okay. You got me this time. That’s exactly what I want. Because frankly speaking I don’t think I need so much of development. I don’t want so much development. I am tired of this development. And I am also tired of listening to debates on TV about this development. I am tired of Modi and I am tired of all his bhakts.

Hmmm…but that still doesn’t explain the excitement.

You see. I live in Gandhinagar. The capital city of this Vibrant Gujarat. So, you can imagine the amount of development in the capital. Roads, buildings etc. But I vaguely remember learning the word ‘development’ as a kid. May be times have changed but I am sure it didn’t just mean roads, buildings and industries. In fact there was no mention of these things. It sounded like a good word, a positive word. But, it seems they’ve developed the word itself to mean something entirely different.

Eclectic

Thank you Internet !!

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Twenty years ago no one could have imagined the effects the Internet would have: entire relationships flourish, friendships prosper…there’s a vast new intimacy and accidental poetry, not to mention the weirdest porn. The entire human experience seems to unveil itself like the surface of a new planet. – J. G. Ballard

I would like to dedicate this particular post to the medium that has made it possible for a needy person like me to blab about random stuff to get the attention of some jobless person  enlightened soul like you.

I think, if you want to become ‘famous on the internet’ nothing really helps more than a unfulfilled dream.

Wanted to become a writer but had to give up on your dream for something important, like earning a livelihood? Not to worry. Now we’ve got a number of websites like wordpress.com, blogger.com etc. which let you to set up your own domain where you can write about anything ranging from how you blame the government for your irregular bowel movement or a poem about the same, (basically stuff which no one probably cares about). If you use the right ‘tags’ and pimp your blog enough who knows you might find your own audience, a following of a sort who sometimes eagerly wait for your next blog-post.

Remember the earlier days when the only prerequisite to becoming a photographer was carrying around a SLR camera & clicking 1 or 2 mandatory pictures of the hills, the sky, a river or the sewage-line which opens into the river? And top it off with a little photo-shop? Well it’s become much more easier now. All you need is a smart phone, a dish of something which looks fancy & drum roll …… INSTAGRAM ! In some parts of the world it is now mandatory to post a picture of the meal on instagram before starting with the main course. Btw, if you’re on instagram do check out Photo of the Day. They have some of the best photographs on Instagram. A close second is this account owned by your’s truly.

9 years ago Facebook literally changed the way we use internet, or why we use the internet. I kid you not, but I remember going to certain places just so that I could get a profile picture for my Facebook account. I also recall one or two incidents when my friends came to my house, and after the customary pleasantries were exchanged I got a notification saying XYZ tagged you in a post & uploaded a status update saying ‘Bored at Pratik Doshi’s House’ & checked-in on Facebook. This one time, I swear I saw a status update reading ‘My dog died 😦  Please don’t like this status.’
And what’s with people tagging you in random photos just to get your attention? And while we’re talking about facebook, can I also get the conversion rate for likes on a post to food for African kids ?

But Facebook is also very helpful. I swear I would’ve never been able to wish “Happy Birthday Bro !!” to that guy who sat next to me in grade 4 & with whom I haven’t talked ever since.

A very helpful feature that I found was that you don’t need to sign-in or create a separate account for each website. Instead you can use your Facebook account to sign-in. Once I had logged in a ‘video-sharing’ website which had an option saying ‘Share the videos you view with your friends on Facebook’. ARE YOU KIDDING ME ?? Why would I want to do that ? I can’t think of anyone who would choose that option on this particular site I am talking about.

Facebook has also been a reason for a lot of stress for me recently. Have you ever been in a situation where some girl uploads a picture & it’s only after you’ve done naming your future kids in your head that you realize that this might be your one chance to hint at how you feel about her. This is exactly when your brain, which always had a penchant for getting you embarrassed in remarkable ways & scales; convinces you that the possibility of a scenario involving rejection on the internet, which you’ll never be able to erase & will be stored in some server till the end of time; is nothing to be worried about.

You convince yourself that if things go too bad there’s always the story ‘how your account got hacked & you’ve already launched a complaint with the cyber crime cell’.

So you take the leap. You click on that ‘like’ button. And you think of a ‘comment’ which you’ll recount when you tell your version of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ to your kids.

But it’s too late now. You realize that she has a little green dot in front of her name, meaning she’s online & has already noticed that you clicked like. Now you don’t want to come across as a creep who clicks ‘like’ on the photo & then stares at it for half an hour & then comments on it, though that is exactly who you’re deep down.

So you brain-storm.

But most of the lines which you can think of are already taken.

Some guy has already written “Hey looking hot. Howz U ? Long Tym. We shud meet.” What a looser! you think yourself.

Some other guy who has a photo of his bicep as his profile picture says “Looking hot as usual.” Is that his bicep in real? Who Cares? What if he’s her boyfriend? What if he hunts me down & beats me? So you open his profile, & after 10 minutes you find out that it is some guy who actually looks like a kid from those posters about Malnutrition.

You get back to the photo but you notice a recent comment with the exact lines from that Altaf Raja song that you were thinking of using.

It’s at that exact moment when you realize you’re running out of time. So you type :

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Scarlett Johansson is very hot,

And so are you.

And then, you wait. Some 15 minutes later she replies ‘LOL 😛 ‘

And you tell your imaginary kids in your head.  ‘And kids, that’s exactly when I realized she was not my type.’

But well, Facebook has also been very helpful for stalking checking for other prospective ‘mother of your-kids’. If you don’t agree with the last statement I am pretty sure you probably haven’t used Graph search yet.

And how can I forget twitter? A social network where you crack jokes to get Retweets from strangers. And once you gather a substantial number of ‘followers’ it becomes very easy to get some traffic for all the above-mentioned things. Do you remember how earlier you used to get Spam which would be titled ‘Congratulations, you’ve won $ 5 million’ or in some other cases promised photographs of certain ladies in certain degrees of undress. But few days back I got a mail saying ‘Get more followers on twitter.’ Clearly something has changed. Apparently people are so self-obsessed that twitter has also come out with an option where you can download the whole archive of your tweets till today & read them & wonder how did it benefit to think about stuff to tweet & then phrase the sentence such that it is under 140 characters.

I’ve always wondered why social media has been such a revolutionary idea. What’s the reason for it’s success?

I think I’ve found an answer finally.

Since time immemorial man has been fascinated by the idea of other people reading or looking at his thoughts, ideas, dreams or imagination. How else do you explain the cave paintings or writings dating back to some hundreds of thousands of years ago? Why did somebody sit in a cave, painting what the sky looked like, or tried to reinvent a hunting day on cave walls? Why did someone go through the pain of painting how their cities looked in excruciating detail ? Or why did someone paint & engrave detailed descriptions on rock, bark, leaves or animal skin of what they imagined their gods to be ? Why have wise men, across all eras all over the world burned the midnight oil to write to us ? The answer might be same as the answer to the question why Graffiti artists paint the walls, or why as kids one of our earliest instinct is to scribble on walls, or as adults we prefer writing on virtual walls. Or why we tweet the links to videos/articles we find interesting? Or why do we turn a critic on twitter every Friday even when you have only 40 followers out of which 12 look like twitter bots.

I wonder how would future generations react when they find out these virtual caves that we’ve built here, at least before we screw up the planet beyond repair & make it impossible for any kind of life to exist here.

Till then let’s keep engraving the virtual walls.

 

Eclectic

Proud to be an Indian??

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Every time I read an update “This time I will not celebrate Republic Day” it leaves me confused.

Apart from uploading an Indian flag as your Profile picture & posting a “Happy Republic Day” update how did you celebrate the last republic day? Won’t you do that this year? Will you stop sending me messages explaining why you are proud to be an Indian or how proud you are of the constitution of the world’s largest democracy?

The same constitution which has no laws against “Marital Rape”. But until a few years back considered homosexuality criminal. Are you proud of your lawmakers who were quick enough to question the abortion laws in Ireland because they were done perfecting the Indian laws? Or proud of the representatives who cried foul against the Norwegian child services because we all know how safe kids in India are. Or maybe who asked for an official apology from Jay Leno,a talk show host about a Golden temple joke but were okay with a representative,who also happens to be the president’s son calling women protesters at India Gate “Dented & painted-discotheque going women”. Are you proud of the medical infrastructure which has excellent facilities to take patients out of the countries, as soon as things get serious? Are you proud of your law enforcers who so efficiently used tear gas shells & water cannons against such dangerous elements out to disrupt the nap-time of the good old folks at Rajpath?

O Proud citizen, as I ask these questions one thing becomes clear, between you & I; one of us is STUPID.

“Sare Jahan se accha Hindustan humara” ??

Eclectic

TO VOTE, OR NOT TO VOTE; THAT IS THE QUESTION.

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It has begun. The Consiglieres have formed their strategies & discussed it with their respective Underbosses. The underbosses have woken the bosses and sought their blessings. The Capo régimes have been updated with their new areas; who in turn have issued their commands to the soldiers under them. Yes. It has begun.

But I am not talking about the Italian Mafia.

Let me rephrase that. Strategies have been formed. High commands have nodded its approval. State High Commands have been informed. Candidates have been decided. Constituencies have been allocated to them. Party workers have been briefed.
See the Italian connection?

A survey shows that over the last one month; 1 out of 3 news article/segment in both print & TV has been about the Gujarat Assembly election. Oh come on. It’s election time. Not a time to cross check the numbers.

Now, Elections are a time to ask questions. Many questions are being raised. Most commonly asked for this one are:

If BJP wins by a majority (as some polls have predicted) will this just be a prologue for Modi’s Delhi dreams? Will he stop tweeting those Vivekananda quotes? Seriously Man, can somebody please tell him to tweet the Wikiquote link once and relax. And how Can I forget will he build the Ayodhya Mandir in Maninagar?

Or if Congress comes into power (as some other polls have predicted) will all students really get free laptops? Or did they say Aakash Tablets? More importantly will the people of Gujarat really get Potato chips at 3 Rupees/kg? And most importantly what kind of subsidy is Rahul Baba getting on his potatoes that he’s paying only 3 rupees for a kilo? Rs 3/kg:Rahul Gandhi lands in a Potato Soup

Or if GPP; Guajarat Parivartan Party wins (as Keshubhai himself has predicted) will…oh wait. What is GPP promising? Is Keshubhai Patel the oldest man alive in India?

But in my view the important ones that we should be asking are:

  • Will Vitthal Radadia’s neo Election Campaigning actually work? Poll result to prove if gun toting will fetch votes: Vitthal Radadia
  • Who is Congress’s C.M. candidate?
  • Except for Narendra Modi, Who else is there in BJP?
  • Who is Shweta Bhatt?
  • Why is Gujarat a dry state?And the most important…
    Why should I vote?

    I see you are shocked. But India is a democracy. No seriously. And apparently one of the biggest advantages of a democracy is the power to choose your own representative. If experts are to be believed also the only one.

    Now I am familiar with the theory that my vote is precious & other such jargon.

    But, going to a polling booth is going to feel like going to a party uninvited. (Which contrary to rumors, I don’t do…regularly) Every candidate has promised something or other to the voters. Better roads, water supply, sanitation etc. for some constituencies. More reservations for some “economically & socially backward classes”. Houses in some cases. Laptops for students. But not even a single promise for me.

    Now just like you, I’ve heard fairy tales about how political parties try to bribe voters with food, clothes, cash, and alcohol. But unfortunately nobody has approached me with any such services.

    If you know any concerned parties/people please inform them:
    MY VOTE IS UP FOR SALE.

    Please share this post & I will give you 500 rupees.(It’s the season of promises Baby !)

Eclectic

FREEDOM OF SPEECH ?

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

“With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on. Just due to one politician died a natural death, everyone just goes bonkers. They should know, we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time did anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians. Respect is earned, given and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect.”

Remember that time you pressed the “Like” button on a Status Update just because you thought that is what it would take for that hot ex-classmate of yours to fall madly in love with you? On Monday the Maharashtra Police made it absolutely clear how seriously it takes the like button & the status update. Two girls were booked under section 295(a) of the IPC for hurting religious sentiments and section 66(a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 for posting & liking the above mentioned comment. First of all, I must say this. LOL. Are we not talking about the same Bal Thackeray who achieved great political power because of his anti-South Indians, anti-Gujarati, anti-Islamic, anti-UP/Bihar, anti-tolerant, anti-democratic, anti-intelligent political comments & practices? This the same guy who made & published comments such as “Lungi Hatao, Pungi Bajao” against the South-Indians “Ek Bihari,Sau Bimari” & “If a Shiv-Sainik has Done it,I am proud of it” after Babri Masjid demolition; the man who allegedly engineered the communal riots of 92-93. But apparently, a Facebook Status Update is a more serious matter.

A huge outrage followed this incident. Of course, on the Social networking sites. A section felt that the both the girls deserved it & were elated some 100 Shiv-Sainiks ransacked the clinic of one who is the Uncle of Shaheen Dhada, the girl who posted the Status Update. Now this is the same group of people who think burning BEST buses is the only acceptable form of protest in a democracy, & also feel that everyone living & working in Mumbai Bombay must have a permit from “the Godfather” himself.

While many also felt that the girls should have been more “Careful” & instead should have continued Copy-Pasting inspirational quotes. Because let’s face it, that is what social networking exists sites for. That & typing “Happy Birthday” on the Walls of people; who most of the time you’re not even sure whether are alive or dead. And don’t even care.

Some sane people called this anti-democratic, but only after they programmed their respective lawyer’s phone number on the speed-dial.

But coming back to the issue did someone say “religious sentiments”? What? How? Why?

Now any person with a double-digit IQ can understand that the allegations are just plain bullshit. More experienced ones might also throw some light on the brand & the exact number of quarters required in getting such an arrest warrant made, & make the Maharashtra police take action so quickly.

But what bothers me more is that such laws occur in our country; the world’s largest democracy. Now,most of the countries compromise somewhat on the freedom to speech. Almost every country penalizes hate speech. As far as I am aware, US is the only country which takes its freedom of speech bit seriously. In the United States, hate speech is protected as a civil right (aside from usual exceptions to free speech, such as defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words). Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.

But why do we really need these laws? I mean,religious people believe in the concept of God; the almighty, the omnipotent, the omnipresence. Do they think somebody who supposedly created them,the Himalayas, the oceans, the entire mankind, the Sun, the whole Universe cannot deal on his own with a blasphemer? But I think that’s not what they’re worried about at all. I think, most of the religious people think that religion has a referral scheme. The more people you can get to “respect” you God, the more bonus points you get from the big accountant up there.

Now I might seem like a morally bankrupt person, but I also believe in some values, some principles. But I don’t feel the need that those around me should also believe in the same values or even respect them. I still think my beliefs & values are mine. Alas, I am still plugged into the Matrix. I still haven’t woken up to the real world; the world of Men. I am sure; there is something wrong with me because over the years I’ve realized that even if a TV anchor calls a supposedly holy place someone’s summerhouse, a madhouse or even a whorehouse I won’t be much bothered about him apologizing to me & my brethren. I cannot think of any content in a book, movie, TV show, painting, song lyrics, music video, sculpture, CBSE text-book, graffiti or my neighbor’s 5 year Old’s sketchbook that is not related to me & would make me burn effigies of the artist in question (or the artist itself), announce a bounty on his/her head or even ask for a worldwide ban. I won’t buy the tickets for the next Sajid Khan film or the next Stephenie Meyer book, but that’s the extent to which I am capable of taking my “protest” against the content that hurts my “religious beliefs”. There are no upcoming sports events that would make me dig up the ground. And I cannot stress this enough; but there is nothing that you can post on the internet that would make me stone your uncle’s clinic. I might block you if you keep on posting “Like this post or you’ll die a violent death by next Tuesday” but that’s it. Hell, I won’t even block you if you have a pretty profile picture.

Am I still just a boy & not a man?  Are my glands not producing enough testosterone? Will I ever believe in something, be so protective about it that I will start rioting, destroy public & private property & beat up random people on the street for its sake?

But I live in hope.

P.S. : My Uncle doesn’t have a clinic. So don’t waste your time on Google Maps.

Eclectic

Dearest Bapu…

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Dearest Bapu,

Happy birthday!
Today on the occasion of your birth anniversary I would like to thank you for all your teachings which have helped me in facing this cruel life’s dilemmas.

“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
Then you will find your doubts and yourself melt away.”

Bapu, you truly were an enlightened soul. It is applaud-worthy how you gave a master solution to life’s biggest mysteries. Whenever I find myself on the crossroads & confused as to which path to select I always apply this test & ask myself if the poorest & weakest man I have known (me), will benefit anything from it. Usually though, I seem to be making stupid assumptions & continue to be unhappy & ‘spiritually starving’ but that’s another story.

Around my 18th birthday, just like every other teenager, I was extremely excited at the prospect of being a part of the real world, the world of grown-ups. I was elated about getting a driver’s license, voting ID etc. I knew they would serve the same purpose my goatee served, but were a little more official. A proof of my post-pubescent age. The day I received my voting ID I was very elated about being a part of the world’s largest democracy. But soon, I became a victim of the ailment that commonly affects the middle class-Dissatisfaction. Unsatisfied with the political & the judicial system. Unsatisfied with the existing infrastructure. Unsatisfied with the future I was being promised.(Also sexually, but I managed to convince myself that I was following the path of abstinence that you showed us)

Surely, this wasn’t the India that you had envisaged. So what went wrong? I mean, we had a plan. We had carefully calculated the reservation system. We had mixed religion & politics in the right proportions. We had censored everything which was Un-Indian or was hurting to our religious, patriotic or digestive sensitivities from our media. We had named at least 1 street in every city after your name. We had formed a systematic hierarchy for corruption. We criminalized the sale of sex-toys. We had a bullet-proof plan. We were so determined to create a utopian nation. So how did we reach on the verge of dystopia?

I once again turned to your teachings & decided to incorporate the ‘Non-cooperation movement’ & wash my hands of the whole fucked up system & join my peers in the ‘Quit India’ movement.

While my visa arrives, I make it a point to get into intellectually stimulating political discussions with my friends where we have long debates about the state of the nation. We discuss whether some other form of governance would have been more effective. You see, most of us are much more politically aware than the average citizen, because the ability to talk about such topics is very important to score well in Gd-Pi section of MBA entrance exams. You would be proud to know that I can talk about 5 minutes each on communism, socialism, capitalism, fascism, left wing, right wing types of government. 5 minutes each in support of & opposing it.

A few days ago I was trying to do a Google search for ‘sexy bikini babes’, but as soon as I typed “S” the auto-complete feature gave an option for ‘scams in India’. I was shocked. Scam before Sexy!! This challenged all my conceptions about the internet. But I decided to read on. I saved the web-page as memorizing the amounts could be helpful for some general awareness test in future. One of your most brilliant teachings helped me to be completely unsentimental about the whole discussion of the misuse of the tax-payers’ money.

I have learned to turn the other cheek.
We all have learned to turn the other cheek.

Sincerely,
Pratik.

P.S. Bapu, remember Dandi March ? Where you walked 400 kms for a pinch of salt. You would be happy to know that people from Gujarat travel approximately same distance to Rajasthan border (some prefer Diu & Daman though) for ‘Satyagrah’.
There is salt involved most of the times.