De-Spirit of Mumbai?

Bombay was bombed in 1993. I was three then. That set up the tone in which I would hear of the place for years to come. People talk of the so called Maximum City with a measured excitement and a palpable sense of fear.
Being a person on the otherside of the glass, I’ve always viewed Mumbai as a place of extreme possibilities and adventures, with constant fear for life thrown-in in good measure.
I’ve always wanted to go there, still do.
And nothing will change that.
Over the years, I have seen many a blasts, attacks on the city, and everytime, the politicos express their grief for families of the affected, and hail the Mumbai Spirit.
Mumbai Spirit….
I see the faces of people, children- crying, parents-shattered.
Is that what you call spirit?
I see people dragging themselves to work, affording a loose smile when they see the camera. It seems they come out in the open not because they want to, but because they have to.
I see people who seem to have realised that only they can help themselves and their families. I see people who have lost faith on people at helm.
Is this the spirit of Mumbai?
I dont think so. Perhaps it is the spirit of humanity slowly draining away from the hearts and faces of the people of the Maximum City….

Citizen Bane

These are times when everything happening in India is happening in Indian politics. A new wave of awakening has swept across the nation and the general public has decided to stand up against the slack and red tape that over the years have become the hallmark of Indian politics.
Come to think of it, the public outcry is to an extent justified. The government at every instance of the short history of free India, has tried to cut corners, muddled in vote-bank politics, and duly indulged itself in corrupt practices. So the angst had to spill over at some time or the other. Its UPA’s plain bad luck, that it has happened in their tenure.
The pubic outcry brings us to the protagonists, Anna Hazare- the ever-smiling, gentle, Nehru -topi clad leader, whose only weapon is non-violence; and Baba Ramdev- the jet-setting Baba, who showed his cards too early and went down as quickly as he had risen up, and that to at midnight.
While Baba Ramdev showed evident lack in leadership qualities, and a past that is riddled with questionable events, he was an easy prey for the government to shoot down.
But Anna Hazare is different, his life is as simple and as devoted to his motherland as his illustrious idol- M.K. Gandhi. As much as the UPA has tried to pin down Anna, he and his civil society brigade have risen from the ashes every single time. And the growing popularity and the authority he commands amongst the masses, make it even more difficult for the current government to resist change.
For its part, the goverment, unfortunately is trying its best to be the bad guy.
Beating up women and children in the middle of the night- this kind of stuff is hand to describe in the context of democracy. CDs claiming civil society members of the lokpal bill to be corrupt and so on…- UPA’s reactions appear to be of the knee-jerk kind. They fail to realize that its not a political party they are up against. It is the face of the aam aadmi, that has finally decided to stand up and be counted.
Now its like people look at every movement , listen to every word uttered by a politician with ample amount of suspicion and infinite amount of disgust.
Its seems that people are now determined to remind this government what democracy actually is-of the people, by the people, for the people.
Like I said, exciting times in Indian politics. What do you think?

Bridging The Deficit

India and Pakistan are bad neighbours is mild way of putting the tension between the countries since their birth. And the relationship has never looked to be heading for the good.
Well, people concerned do use the right words to describe it- “trust deficit”, but what they do to bridge this deficit doesn’t speak much for their vocabulary. Throwing dossiers and accusing each other for attacks in respective countries doesn’t exactly bridge a trust-deficit.
Day in and day out, you see news channels on both sides of the border spitting venom on the other side, accusing each other of things that could be.
Infact, today I saw this news channel, running a program about strengthening ties through cricket. The visuals showed either Pak bowlers getting a thorough bashing from Indian bastmen or Pakistan batsmen loosing their wickets.
Art and sports can only take us this far.Lazing around one fine evening and talking about the similarities in both countries will never help bring a change .The people at the helm have to understand that all they have to do is believe. Someone has to bend. It is painful to see a region that could be an economic and cultural powerhouse, torn apart due to vested interests.
Even if some people do agree to the above, they expect thier counterpart to bend first.
Both parties are at fault and nobody’s helping the cause, neither the government nor the people.
Lets not walk into the hole the bad dudes want us to fall into. Let us listen to each other for a change. Lets believe in each other for once.

A Comic Situation

I flip through the pages of my old Champaks and Chacha Chaudharys. The pages are still crisp and the yellow tinge adds a hint of value to them, as time does to wine. I can’t help but wonder, where those days of halcyon went?
Comics meant everything to me as a kid. And not the Marvels and DCs mind you. What fascinated me were the Billloo, Pinki, Raman, Sabu, the affable Chacha C and not to forget the Nagrajs and Dogas. Our very own Diamond and Raj comics were dearest to me.
But with each passing year, the quality of content deteriorated and so did my (and probably others’) interest. Diamond is as good as non-exist ant and Raj comics have lost the art of story-telling.
It puzzles me, when I get hold of one of these ‘modern’ Chacha Chaudharys- should I cry at the lame and stale one-liners or should I laugh at the alarming frequency at which the colour of Chachaji’s turban changes every 5 pages. Sometimes, I hardly ever get through 5 pages!
Comics in India is AILING. We need more Prans. We need sharper minds and willing people going into this floundering industry. Comics are a significant part of our history, and they ought be preserved.

Addicted to Blame

Lets not mince words here, cause this thing really pisses me off.
How many of you think that Twitter is an addiction?
I mean, gimme a break! When was the last time you (or anyone, for that matter) thought that sharing doodles with your friends was an addiction?
To those few who are giving a thought to the above question(if you are, c’mon get a life… or a Twitter account.) Socializing may have been harmful in caveman days when people used club each others’ heads in the name of inter-personal communication.
Mainstream media here in India is hell-bent on proving Twitter an addiction. The only (and perhaps the decisive) arguement against this conclusion is that socializing is a human need, it completes a person. It defines the human race and binds us togather. Existence is impossible without interaction. Even war and crisis need socialization.
And about the addiction thing, lets see an example-
“Oh my dad’s dead, (laconic smile) Why not tweet this…..”
To those few who do not think this scenario as naive and funny and think that there is a serious possibility that such a thing could happen, you might as well stop reading this post now.
And you know what’s really crappy about all this? To hear all that s**t about twitter-addiction and in the end- “What did you think about todays show? Tweet us at @hitmeIamanas**le”

India’s crystal ball

In the race of development, it is a well known fact that the U.S. is lapping quite a few countries.

India used to be one of them, but now, with global economical meltdown the American juggernaut has slowed down. India cannot catch up with the U.S., but the current scenario has thrown up some interesting possibilities.

India won it’s independence from the British rule about 200 years after the U.S. won theirs. This effectively puts Bharat 200 years behind America. Globalization, significant economic decisions and healthy development have helped us shorten the divide.

All these factors stack up and put an interesting picture, where the U.S. has become a model economy for India. Look carefully and you will find that India as a nation is going through a lot of things that the U.S. has already experienced. The Great Depression, the bouts of moral policing are some of the red-flags in the comparison.

Here, I would like to clarify that I am not indicating that India is an U.S. re-breed, but the point I want to drive home is we can use U.S. as a scale for our development and skillfully avoid the roadblocks that they have stumbled on.

Who knows, we may be setting the pace someday?