Democracy, politics and all that jazz

parliamThere has been recently a lot of debate, discussion, protests and also some incidents of violence in India. News channel are nowadays having a discussion every other hour. I believe India being a democracy can afford to have such discussions among its people provided they do not resort to violence and they do not violate the law of the land. India is lucky to have very little corruption and almost total independence in higher judiciary. The internet has almost made it impossible to silence the views of both the right and the left .

I feel that neither the right nor the left can be totally silenced and nobody should even try to do so. Much to the chagrin of both the ultra-right and the ultra-left India is a democracy. We can say we have a revolution every five years where a new elected government takes over the reigns from another elected government. The subsequent governments may be polar opposites when it comes to ideology but still the country lives on. The aspirations of the people may change with time and the huge electorate of this country may favor different ideologies at different periods of time.

These days strange binaries are being created by political organizations for their vested interests. Facts are being twisted and things are interpreted to suit the whims and fancies of certain political institutions.Everything is being assumed to be in either black or white. However very rarely is it ever black or white in the real world. Most of the time reality is composed of different shades of grey. Everything is relative more or less.

The entire right or the entire left is not bad. We must allow each of them space to have a say in our democracy provided one does not try to silence the other by using violence. Our constitution has allowed both of them to be part of the political process. Barring the extreme versions of the right and the left, I hope they will continue to represent the aspirations of the people they represent in our political process and will thus enrich our democracy in perpetuity.

Why I don’t like the idea of government jobs in India

government jobs in India

Most people in India, especially in smaller towns and cities, are crazy about “Government Jobs”. They say that it offers “Job Security”, “benefits”, etc. I particularly am not fond of such notions. Since I have graduated as an Engineer,(without getting placed in campus, poor me right?) my parents regularly pester me whenever they see an advertisement for Government jobs. I fail to understand their fascination and lust for government jobs.

Now my hatred for so-called “Government jobs” is not without reason. First of all the system of recruitment for government jobs leaves very little opportunity for a general, physically fit, male with very little ‘connections’ or well-enough economic means to get a government job legally. It’s not impossible but very hard. So since its very hard its better not to spend any energy pursuing it and rather using it for some other purposes.

Secondly most government servants that I have seen are either bored of their jobs because they have very little to do or they are tired of their jobs. In other words the clichéd work-life balance is not to be found. Now I would rather work in a challenging environment in a corporate firm and possibly getting more or less deserved compensation instead of working my ass off in a PSU or other government sectors where my work will most possibly go unnoticed. Also the work that people are doing in SpaceX, Tesla, Google, Amazon, Airbnb like companies and many upcoming Indian startups amazes me and I would very happily love to work in such environments.

Thirdly office politics is existent everywhere but more so in the government sector(i am telling from my father’s experience) . Also laws of this country makes it possible for somebody with lesser experience to be promoted before if he/she happens to belong to a certain section of the society(i will not comment on the fairness of it). I would appreciate a place where my merit is the first priority when it comes to promotion and salary raise which seems to be the case in the private sector.

Fourthly, the whole idea of job security in the government sector and no job security in the private or corporate sector is utter bullshit. If you really have skills you will never be laid off and even if you are you can always expand the plethora of skills and get a job anyway. During recession in America even public sector job cuts also happened. Such a thing have not happened in India (as far as I know) till now but we cannot negate the possibility of it happening in future. Therefore unless the situations in the government sector improves or I am overpowered by family pressure I am not joining any government sector jobs any time soon.

P.S.- when I say about Government jobs please exclude the Defense, Civil Services, Research and Higher education jobs, because I would love to work in only these sectors of government, if at all.

Your glasses

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I sometimes wonder why do you wear your glasses. Maybe you wear it because it protects your eyes from the radiations of the sun. You definitely like to care of your eyes. Or maybe because it’s in fashion and you want to be trendy and not mocked at by your peers for not wearing a pair.

They say you can catch a person telling lies by looking in her eyes. So maybe you are lying about something and want to hide your eyes so you are not caught. They also say that when a person smiles truly their eyes also do so. So your glasses may be a cover for all your fake smiles. Maybe you cry underneath those dark glasses and do not want the world to see your tears and you want to project a strong picture of yourself.

Your glasses may very well be an excuse for not looking into the eyes of every person you talk with and paying attention to them without them knowing. Or it may so be that you do not want anyone to look into those eyes of yours and fall for you. Maybe you want to show that you are cold and practical by obstructing the world a view of your eyes, although inside you still are the same.

The world might look different through those dark glasses of yours; you may see things, people and situations that are not clearly visible with our naked eyes. The world is a gray place for most of us seeing it with our naked eye. But maybe you can clearly distinguish the world as black and white with your glasses. Maybe you want to see a different version of reality, a different world which is a pleasure to your eyes.

Uncertainty, excitement, curiosity

I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way”- Carl Sagan

Life is full of surprises. You can’t really predict what is going to happen in the next moment. Who knows, you might end up becoming a millionaire in a second by winning a lottery or a pauper by losing all in a street mugging. It is this unpredictability that makes life exciting.

I don’t have it all figured out in life. In the final days of my engineering degree studies, many of my classmates have already landed jobs, while others got admits into various universities around the world for further studies and others are going for something or the other. I on the other hand do not have any concrete plans for the immediate future.

Maybe I would take a one year sabbatical from studies and go on a backpacking expedition across India or maybe I would land in some startup and learn a whole lot of stuff or some competitive exam or the other. The possibilities are endless and I wouldn’t commit to any one by dismissing the others.

Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting”- Haruki Murakami

People have been troubling me with questions of what would I do after graduation. I know they mean well but I have nothing in particular to say to them, so I have been giving them cooked up plans of my future course of action. It annoys me a lot when they pity on me because I haven’t yet got a job (because that’s what they feel studies are for). Well I would advise or rather request them to mind their own business and stop worrying for me like a teenager. They see my future as bleak.

I on the other hand would like to believe otherwise. I could end up doing many exciting things as I do not have any expectations as of now from my immediate future. I do not have any idea what is going to happen next in my life and that for me is okay. I would not worry much about it but pursue whatever life offers me next. I am curious about the future and the future seems a lot exciting to me nowadays.

Madness is the result not of uncertainty but of certainty”- Friedrich Nietzsche

2014 -lessons learnt

It’s that time of the year again. Christmas is over and new year is knocking on our doors, and yes time for resolutions. But no, I am done with resolutions instead I would focus on what the soon-to-be passed year has taught me. They say a man must learn from his mistakes and should not commit the same mistake twice, so here’s to the things I have learned this year.
1. Priorities- It doesn’t matter what I do as long as I have my priorities right. So all work and no play makes johnny a dull boy afterall. Maybe I must not feel guilty about indulging once in a while.
2. Be selfish in times of conflict- Helping others is all well and good and you must but not when helping others is in conflict with your own priorities. In such cases don’t help others. But do no evil.
3. Connections matter- It’s not an ideal world so no matter how much we complain connections matter in every sphere of life. Its good to be acquainted with as many persons as possible.
4. You can’t please everyone- someone is inevitably going to get hurt at times so no use feeling guilty
5. No use worrying over the past- The past is well, past you can only learn from your mistakes and move on.
6. No good can come by being judgemental- things are rarely as they seem they are, so are people.
7. Inspiration received, perspiration begin- Someone said, success is 99% perspiration 1% inspiration. All along I have been worrying about 1%, but now I have got that 1% its time to work on the 99%.

By the way Happy New Year.

Clean India

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On the ocassion of the birth anniversary of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today initiated the Swach Bharat campaign. While it is a welcome step, many questions and doubts remain about the campaign and its efficiency remains to be seen in the coming years. Mahatma Gandhi had understood the importance of cleanliness and sanitation during his time. Even now the importance of cleanliness and sanitation cannot be emphasized any further.

We Indians are almost always pleasantly surprised to see the extreme levels of cleanliness in foreign countries. This have been achieved in those countries mostly because of the awareness of people in keeping their surroundings neat and clean and in some cases due to punishment abetted to people who litter as in the case of Singapore. It is a shame that we cannot replicate the same in our country even after six decades of independence.

In such circumstances the step taken by the Prime Minister needs to be appreciated, whether it achieves its intended objective or not remains to be seen. The steps suggested by the PM if followed even with fifty percent efficacy can do wonders for the country. The involvement of celebrities in the movement will serve to inspire more people to join the campaign. However holding the broom should not become a photo opportunity for social media crazy people.

Many people litter all around, however the involvement of educated people in doing such things is a worry sign for the country. If the citizens themselves are not aware of the importance of cleanliness no campaign will succeed. We can all hope for the best for the PM’s Swach Bharat movement and should continue to maintain cleanliness as our civic responsibility and should all those who litter around. The enthusiasm of the movement should not decrease with time and the same enthusiasm should be maintained all through till the aim of a clean India is realized.

All that I want

I do not want
To read books for percentile and percentage
All that I want
Is to read solely for enjoying literature

I do not want
To look at skyscrapers and bridges
All that I want
Is to look at everyday’s sunsets and sunrises

I do not want
To have a busy job that gives big money
All that I want
Is to do work for making a difference to society

I do not want
To take part in this never-ending rat-race
All that I want
Is to have a life of tranquility and peace

State of the Indian Union

As the 29th state is formally inducted into the Indian union  today it raises many fundamental questions about the structure of the government and the distribution of powers in the Indian union. On the one hand India is not a purely federal state but on the other hand it isn’t completely unionist either. Ever since the formation of the Indian union after partition of the Indian subcontinent states of the Indian union have undergone changes. Many new states have been carved out and the boundaries between certain states have been reorganised.

The division of the states on linguistic lines was conceived to make the administration easier and to unite the people belonging to the linguistic groups so that their culture and heritage is preserved . But it has always been debatable. As there is no clear cut demarcation of area of people belonging to a certain linguistic group. It has lead to inter state conflicts and also the demand for newer states to be carved out of existing ones. While the aspirations of the people should always be honored but we can’t ignore the fact that it has raised many questions of whether the present method of demarcation of states is effective. Also we can’t help but wonder how many states do we actually need for administrative convenience.

Also due to the troubled histories of certain regions of the Indian union special legislatures are currently being enforced in those regions. Thus, it seems that all states are not the same in the eyes of the union for better or for worse. Besides autonomous councils within certain states have also been formed to protect the rights of the indigenous people and to let them handle their resources properly. But this again has not been totally effective as often the states and the councils have conflicting opinions on the allocation of funds and utilization of resources.

With the intent for decentralization of power the panchayats and town councils had been set up. Although many regions have benefitted from this structure many again have lots to be done for the proper decentralization of power to take place.

All these things have slowly lead to lesser people identifying themselves as Indians before bowing allegiance to the region to which they belong. With so many divisions of power in the Indian union it seems chaotic . But still the Indian union has stood the test of time, and although it may have been crippled with agitations and protests at times it is still united.

Priorities

I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything… at least not at the same time. – Dan Milman

Often in life we are faced with choices. Barring a few learned ones, almost all of us had experienced dilemma over our decisions. Time is not everlasting and hence precious. If we are to make optimum use of whatever time we have got left in our life we should inevitably prioritize our tasks and decisions. Certain things will therefore, have to take precedence over others which are relatively less important.

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least – Johann Wolfgang Goethe

However, it is commonly observed that our priorities change with time. What we perceive today to be important may not seem so some years later. Our lives are constantly changing and due to our environment or our own realization we tend to prioritize different things at different times.

Priorities should not be limited to decisions about things, we should also prioritize the people we want to keep company with. Its no use being with someone who cannot help in our betterment. A man is known by the conpany he keeps,  or so it is said. Although not entirely true but this saying has got some weight. It is better to be alone than in bad company.

Actions expresses priorities- Mahatma Gandhi

Nothing expresses our priorities more than our actions. What we do is a reflection of what we deem important in life.

An unusual ride

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I was on my way to Cotton College, panbazaar, to attend a quiz in a public bus from khanapara. It was stranded on the bhangagarh bus station for an awfully large amount of time as it was almost empty as the day being Sunday. I was suffering from a mild headache and since I didn’t want to be bothered by the cacophony of the environment I had my earplugs on with a song from arctic monkeys blaring at the maximum possible volume.

Having nothing to be preoccupied with, I started to look to the other side of the road. I found the roads to be having a lesser density of vehicles than usual, which was perhaps expected the day being a holiday. I suddenly saw a girl hurriedly and I must say quite dangerously trying to cross the road. She came from the other side of the busy G.S. road to the divider in between. While crossing the road she narrowly escaped a collision with a biker. She seemed to be in some sort of an emergency. She had adorned a funny looking woolen multicolored hat, a black jacket, blue jeans, and pumps and had a backpack on her back. She wore glasses and seemed to be in her late teens.

Suddenly I began to hear some commotion even with my earplugs still blaring loud music. I at once opened them to get a sense of the situation. All I could hear were some incomprehensible noises. Then I saw two shabbily dressed women enter the bus through the back door. They seemed to be in a rush. Strangely enough these two ladies were standing even with seats available. Amusingly one of them was acting as though she was scratching her body, although trying to conceal her act with her shawl. Also she was stomping her feet with her shoes seemingly trying to kick something.

Then I heard a female voice shouting to return her money. I turned around to notice the girl with the funny looking hat rushing into the bus. I then began to understand a little from the ramblings of the girl and the two shabbily dressed women. Allegedly according to the girl these two women had stolen her wallet and she wanted it back. The women retorted that the girl’s allegation was baseless and to mind her manners and to think twice before accusing an innocent person. The women also asked whether she had seen her stealing her wallet. The girl replied that other people had seen them doing so and were ready to testify against them.

My co passengers were worried of the whole situation. So they asked the ladies to settle their grievances outside the bus so that the bus ride goes on without any further hitch. And so the bus started. The commotion and the ensuing situation seemed to have benefitted the bus. Now there were now more passengers and the seats were almost filled up. I once again started to put on my earplugs, when something caught my attention. Lying on the floor of the bus was a wallet. I immediately called the conductor of the bus and pointed my finger in the direction to make him notice the wallet on the floor. He immediately picked it up and began to look through its contents. The bus had been barely gone twenty metres from the last bus stop.

The conductor was browsing the contents of the bag publicly. Everyone seemed to be having a good time in peeking through the belongings of a stranger. There in one of the compartments was a driving license and the picture on it was that of the girl with the hat. Suddenly I came to understand the whole situation that happened at the previous bus stop.  The two ladies may have stolen the wallet of the girl and when they realized she was after them they hopped onto a bus. But the girl still chased them to the bus. The other one was just merely trying to hide the wallet . But when she saw the girl in the bus she decided to get rid of the evidence. She stomped her feet merely to kick the wallet out of immediate sight of passengers and the girl.

Meanwhile the conductor asked the driver to stop the bus. One of the passengers who seemed to be in his thirties with a haircut similar to an army man volunteered to take the wallet and give it to the girl. The previous bus stop was hardly five minutes away on foot. He jumped off and began running back to the bus stop. The bus started and everyone was talking about how they knew the two women were thieves from the get go, how they pitied the condition of the girl, etc. some of them even started taking credit for having discovered the wallet. I meanwhile kept to myself and didn’t join the conversations starting around me. I put on my earplugs and switched on my mobile’s music player. Ironically enough the song playing on my player that time was “do I wanna know” by Arctic Monkeys. Almost all the passengers barring me were engaged in animated conversation. I meanwhile closed my eyes listening to the music in my ears, as the bus started inching closer to my destination.