Thursday, July 3, 2014

The IAS - abode for the intelligent insecure Indian youth

It's been hard to open the newspapers during the months of May and June. That started when I was in high school. Tuition centers published the list of their 'çonquests'- toppers in various competitive exams. They printed it in the front page and will go on doing so for days together. Added to that the television will chase down the topers to get the 'secret' behind the success
The secret would invariably be the same- 12 hours of study, parents mothers, teachers, goal, doctor, engineer.
Then starts Dad's lecture on how I wasted my talents

The funny thing is I'm almost 30 and the cycle hasn't stopped' Now it's the three letter golden word in capital letters - IAS

IAS has become a rage these days down here in Kerala as well. A few years ago we let the Biharis fight out among themselves while Malayalis preferred software jobs with hefty pay and US visa or even better- the Gulf jobs. But soon the global melt down changed all that. Pay rise stagnated, Jobs were lost and Obama no longer let any Indians into his country. Thus came  ' job security' along with glamour, power and pay which are essential criteria for a 'good' job. IAS perfectly fit the bill

To tell ou the truth, years ago I did nurse the dreams of being a 'çollector'. Only the elite got into the fray then. They were the school leaders, or first prize winners in elocution. I never fell in any of those category, but still wanted to be the dark horse until a solemn looking guy said I won't be good at it.
Sad, unshaven and forlorn looking Raju Narayana Swamy was the epitome of honest officers when the rest were considered to be gluttonous and corrupt, glorified peons to Ministers.

Surprisingly today the media and cinema is filled with young, handsome and sauve officers raiding, storming and catching the bad guys. After they put them in jail our young IAS officer imparts wisdom to the poor villager. They fly around the world to learn stuff, travel in beacon vehicles  and stay in palatial bunglow.

Apart from all the rosy stories, the people I encountered were very far from the cliched images. I have seen men being forced to drive senseless government policies. There were officials who had to spend nights to correct the fault of their predecessors. Then there was this pure arrogance, thanks to loads of power.
During my active stalking days in twitter, I had come across this amazingly brilliant girl from Kerala. She got into some MBBS course in a prestigious institute. But she wants to quit medicine and get into IAS. I asked her why and the reply is - I can't stand people. And she got into IAS.
There was another classmate of mine who quit her medicine and has been trying for IAS for years
I don't understand how they substantiate their wasting of tax payers money by studying in government aided college and then get into another career which is supposed to serve the taxpayer
There was this another geek school friend of mine who declared proudly that he never even watch news channels. He too got into IAS
But a firebrand friend of mine lost it at the interviews because he spoke for 'student politics'
Another danger is even when our system reserves seats based on caste , the selection confines in upper middle class of the population who have seen the glorified poor only on TV. How can a self absorbed generation serve the poor

Overall I feel the selection is simply for geeks and insecure people who would serve the system well. Hope I am proved wrong

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The ruler is here

The day before the vote were counted, I was travelling through the city. The candidates who were made to look handsome and beautiful before the elections had started to fade and were peeling off the walls. We are having these exercise every 2-3 years at different levels and we have been spending a fortune everytime. What a paradox

In the evening I was out with my old buddy. We got into a hotel which seduced us with the 'Borotta and Beef fry' board. As we got in, he said we might never know if we will get to eat these from tomorrow.

The night when results were declared : Tonight I am not sure of what to feel. The vast millions have written their destiny for the next couple of decades.The mandate was so unanimous that it seemed that opponents were washed off in a tsunami
Personally I went through a roller coaster ride. On one hand I am happy that there was a regime change. On the other hand we are not very sure of what's coming up. But, without any doubt, we might have writen our destiny for the next two decades

At this juncture, the wisest thing is to have an emotionally detached viewpoint on the whole exercise- the trends and results

1. Social media impact
In this election, for the first time, social networks were used extensively. I woul say the trends are not very good . The reason being, negativity can be spread so easily and with such a vast and direct coverage, impact is the maximum

Added to that traditional news media also have started to adopt the maximum impactt journalism. To my surprise even the conservative media houses preferred the same

As a result we had terms like- weak ruler, terrorism, insurgency, threat, foreigner, Madam, minority appeasment dominating  the mindspace. I am positive there was no serious discussion on the real failure of the incumbent government.
Besides the opponents didn't commit anything other than 'good days', 'strong leader' , 'revenge ' and 'temple'.

2. The idea of corruption
I don't think ever before we had such a serious discussion on corruption. The figures grew obsinately high. There were allegations and counter allegations.. Rather than the idea of corruption, the feeling of a foreigner family taking off with our wealth must have hit the right chords in the electoral minds.
The high level of inequities would've positively started an anti incumbency feeling. But was there a discussion on the inequity ? I wouldn't think so

3. Religion and Nationalism
Is India a Hindu state? We may have to answer the question in near future. BJP , traditionally party for the upper caste , stood silent as the lower castes started identifying themseleves as 'Hindus'.
Not so long ago, the same population was thown off into the fringes. Now realizing the importance of numbers, they were lovingly brought into the wider 'Hindu family' .

The feeling of religion and nationalism has dangerously mingled with each other. There is a popular school of thought which says everything not-Hindu is not-Indian. There was a very visible religious polarization even among the educated Indian.
The country has been compared to a Hindu Goddess who should be worshipped. Why the need for this blatant and visible show of patriotism. To me the country is a collection of people and nothing more.

Even more disturbing is the fact that hate merchants were deployed to propagate the message. These people were officially detached from the mainstream party, but they brought in votes and the votes came in huge numbers. Over the national level Dr Samy, who has done extensive survey on 'Gandhi' family is one. Years ago when he started spewing venom, he attracted huge negativism. But down the years he has converted that negative energy into a considerable fan base.

4. Third alternative
India lost any chance for a third front. None of the leaders had a pan India image and everyone wanted to be the prime minister
One such party , SP, literally played into the BJP trap with a poorly mismanaged communal riot. This fetched BJP some 80 seats and more

The left has been completely decimated. In kerala, they failed to present a strong candidate for the race.

Like it or not, Kejriwal seems to be the only option for a third alternative. He is known over the country and his only weak point is the tendency to self destruct.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Exit Polls

If everything goes well tomorrow, that is if nothing goes bad we will know who our leader is by evening tomrrow
Nevertheless, the papers have given a verdict already. The surprise is already over and all we need to do is pack our bags tp Pakistan or stay on in India, whichever we choose

The election, will surely change the face of Indian political landscape. The whole process has showcased the inherent weakness of Indian electoral system as well.
Lack of choice is one. India had to choose bette among the worst. Years and years of misrle (or rather mismanagement), has driven the people to look out for choices. But devoid of any, people have to rely on their common sense to choice based on verbal jugglery and media noise.

The visual efect is number two. The candidates have realised the effect of snesory organ called eye in making choices. Hence chests have become broader, hair has grown thicker, teeth have grown whiter and crowds have eome bigger. Photoshop is the trendy tool for the election

Although a  section of the media tried to woo the electorate out of choice based on caste and reliion, this time doubtlessly religious and caste feeling have moved up into higher strata of society as well. The coming years will see more polarisation.

The concept of third front died down completely. Only the communists wit paltry handful of seats had any intention in designing a alternative. But they lacked the authenticity to build up, as they are no longer  a force exceept in Kerala

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book Review- Holy Hell (English)

Who is your idol? I sit there trying hard to fetch some answer for the innocent question. I might be the only one in the group who had to spend time for the question

Until recently Mata Amritanandamayi (henceforthe referred to as Mata) was a strong alternative force to reckon with , for the traditioal Christians. She preached about love, Hinduism. Big names flocked to the Ashram to get a free hug. She brought up empty churches and stood at the altar proclaiming Jesus and Krishna was one and the same
She built speciality hospitals for free, engineering colleges, performed miracles. Her bhajans were filled with white people spotting the white and ochre robes.
Back then we had some serious discussions in our church on the divinity of Mata and importance to vew things in a secular perspective. Many  a times the atmosphere got heated up as we realized we were not able to reproduce the 'love'. People who came back fromAIMS (her multi speciality hospital) sang praises of world class facility and care. Media never lost an opportunity to project the humanitarian work post-Tsunami period.
Amid, these bright lght, there were always a murmur of dissent and disagreement. Questions were asked on foreign fund, which was kept under tight wrap. Thanks to the empire's clout in political circle and media the dissent didn't get any traction.

Unknown to the empire a phase began of unruly growth of the Media powered by youthful restlessness of social network. The first shock came in the form of nurses trike in AIMS. Things got worse when goondas were sent to contain the situation. For the first time a  section of Media stood against the empire and first signs of crack started appearing. Soon after the incident a resident of the Ashram died under mysterious circumstances. The incident was contained by the police but the embers refused to die down.

'Holy Hell' shot  up into limelight when a prominent newspaper media used Facebook to publish parts of th content.
Soon it became a hot topic of discussion and debate . Coupled to that a few political entities dropped into give a religious tone to the whole çonspiracy'. The book had been infact on he stands two years ago. The fact that the book gained attention only recently, shows the anarchic power of social media.
I got hold of the book from a friend of mine. I finished the book in between a three hour train journey. The book is not a literary, philosophical or theological piece. It's a 220 page simple work designed for the layman. If the book hadn't raised a storm, the whole work would've disappeared into obscurity as soon as it were released.

Gail Tredwell was born into an Australian famiy. Well papmpered  by the western materialism, she did exibhit streaks of weakness and soft heartedness. Her family soon disintegrates, thanks to the typical 'western dysfonctional family model' She sets out o roam around Asia with her boyfriend.
Gail developes an attraction with Indian mysticism. The boyfriend leaves her back  in India as he could no longer stay there.  She stays in Arunachalam for a long time and then comes to know of Ámma. She moves in with her  and the story begins

The whole autobographical piece is based on the twenty years of her life with Mata. The book entertains with the fact that we didn't have much of an outsider's story on the orgin and growth of Amma. Most of the books were paid tributes or ínspired tributes'.

Before we start on what the book is about, it would be better to begin with what the book is not about.
The book is not a piece of literarure. It's very poorly edited and concieved
The book doesn't deal on the subject comprehensively, hence there are yawning gaps and at the end of 220 odd pages, we tend to think 'What the holy hell'

The book is more of a inter personal relationship between two ladies. One dominates over the other for some 20 years. The other lets herself to be dominated untl she call it quits . After another 15 years she comes out wit the book on her experience in hell.Sadly Gail chooses not to put herself at the guilty-box many a times. Hence she let go of the chance for a comprehensive study on influence of Indian spirituality among the masses. We can also sense a wee bit of sarcasm through out & there is absolutely nothing on what happened next (after the defection)
I had an argument with a friend on Mata's divinity. I signed off the argument by saying- It's easy to be divine. But too tough to be a human

It wouldn't be fair to opinionate on my part. But still two sentance for the wise

 It's divine to be justa human. If some woman says ' I don't menustruate', I would say 'See a doctor'

Friday, January 31, 2014

Movie Review- Ezhu Sundhara Raathrikal

Sometimes I wonder how easy it would be for a Friday paper 'reviewer' to write on films. You almost have the same stuff fried, deep-fried or dipped in sauce and shoved in to your throat week after week.

After a period of arguments on if the new generation wave will prevail on the traditional bastions, the old generation directors gave into the market force and has started coming up with new experiments bottled in old wineskin

One such guy is director Lal Jose who made his niche making beautiful movies on simple people captured in scenic frames. He has jumped into the new generation bandwagon and has done a shit piece named as 'Ezhu Sundhara Raathrikal'(seven beautiful nights'. If the name has no seduced you into watching it yet, I would deem you lucky

Now here is a list of features compiled together that would help you to classify a new gen movie even before you actually see it

1. The hero has moved from scenic and peaceful countryside to city and bachelor pads
2. He works in çool  jobs like 'journalism' Album, 'Business' or photography
3. The women will believe in social empowerment but ultinately will be cheated by the boyfriend and will roam around looking for revenge by screwing every sex crazed man. In the end she will sign off by a very short speech.
4. Beep words should be used liberally and even more better if women use it
4. The protagonists should be from Kochi since that's whereáll the new generation people resides.
5. The playback singer should do in husky voice with liberal use of noise any acooustic guitar can make.
6. It would be good if the hero roams around in his pad on his boxers7. Now you don't need much of characters- Guy, Gal two or three crazy friends

Now to wrap it all up there should be two r three stories which are made to  meet ogether in the end making everone look stupid

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Convenient revolution

News started seeping in by the afternoon. The court had rejected the only corruption case against the party supremo. This was a shocker nonetheless. The case was flimsy in itself but the government dragged on the case for years. The irony being, the judiciary which is said to be another tool in the hand of the executive atlast dismissed the whole case. Millions of public money flushed down the drain. There will be no one to keep the king maker himself from ascending the throne.  Then started the festivities , garlands, sweets, bouquets. There were victory marches, emotional speeches and everything needed to complete the picture.

Now the fate wasn’t  too willing to let the scene go picture perfect. That evening the father of a student was hacked to death , thanks to the student’s affiliation to the left wing politics. This was a totally unheard of incident and I was wondering how the party would react. One one hand you had the festivities ready for the leader liberated from corruption charges by a system you despised and on the other hand you had a martyr and martyrs are rare to come by.

I was around the place when the ‘historic’ secretariat siege took place. With the military flown there was an anticipation of historic revolution. Thousands of party workers was driven in to the capital. There seemed to be a certain probability of confrontation. The capital looked like a festive ground for me with people walking here and there, buying stuff chatting in groups. Suddenly there came a series of secret negotiations and the siege that was to be pulled out only with Chief Minister’s resignation was called off suddenly. The ‘revolutionary’ party workers, as soon as they heard the news, caught the first bus out of town. With in an hour there was no sign of revolution

Monday, October 7, 2013

Happy B'day to meee

You still have no apartment or vehicle to call your own. You still have no girlfriend and you been losing sleep searching for that species over net. You don’t know driving yet and the hairline has been residing daily. These might be the prominent signal for approaching milestone which reads….’30’

I had turned off the FB notification so I could live without posting ‘ Thank you all for your wishes’. No one would yet know that I am just 2 years away from 30. Some 15 years ago I woke up this day hoping some pretty girl would wish me Happy Birthday. Never happened.

Some how I felt the childhood memories rushing in again. Birthday was the only one day when we were allowed to wear some colorful outfit, giving a break to the usual blue-grey uniform. The night before you cajole , coax and create a tantrum to persuade your Dad to get you a box of chocolates. Then in the first hour you rise up give the chocolates to your classmates. Then you go around every classroom giving one each to the class. You are the star of the day with a few guys hanging on to you hoping to get an extra chocolate. The shine lasts for one more day and then it’s old life again.

13 and 18 were two ages I looked forward to. The former being the unofficial year when you enter the teens. By then it would be cool to fall in love. 18 being the official age of adulthood.

Today I don’t look forward to the birthdays. No one knows it except for some internet sites which sends you these digital birthday greetings. No one asks for a treat, you wake up go to the office, check around , come back home and go to sleep.

This birthday was  abit different- The first thing in the morning I got a chance to fly out to Hyderabad for a couple of days- Welcome Break. In the evening when I got out from the office an old lady stood my way asking for 10 bucks to go home. She had come to worship at the church and go back home by bus if someone lends her the money.

Not a bad birthday after all

About Me

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Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.