Friday, December 25, 2009

A Mirage

It was an impossible dream
Like reaching for the stars in the sky
I chased it like that elusive butterfly
I prayed to get it
I hoped to catch it some time
So that it could be forever mine
I was always so near
Yet it was so far
But I pursued it endlessly
For it was just too dear
It sometimes faded
And disappeared in the sky
And when I held it at last
It was just a mirage

Monday, December 14, 2009

Life in a nutshell.

I loved coffee.

I asked for tea.

What I got is a soft drink.

Well, that precisely is the story of my life.

Friday, July 24, 2009

`Another Random Thought

"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Just wondering, what is the worst non-fatal, non-demeaning thing you can do to a person?

Surely, one of them is allowing him/ her to explore things so that forms his opinions and ideas about things, and then exercise control (& not just give opinions) on what he should think, what he should deem as right or wrong & what he should do .

Barbaric it may sound but probably allowing him to remain ignorant may be a better option.

What say?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Reality Shows?

Recently I managed to get a glimpse of 2 (reality) shows -

"Rakhi ka Swayamwar" and "Sach ka Saamna"

While the former is a manifestation of a publicity hungry clothes shedding "Sati Savitri", the latter is a virtual slaughter of private life in full public glare for few wads of money?

Or am I wrong ?

Maybe Rakhi Sawant has really changed, and hopes to find a soulmate and become one of those Tulsi-type bahu and people are facing the truth just to come 'clean', to make amends to demands of their conscience!

Meanwhile, I am reminded of Dhitrashtra's statement in jaane bhi do yaaron -

"ye sab kya ho raha hai"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Random Thought

Random thought -

"knowledge is a bane if u r supposed to follow a preordained line of thought"

What say ?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Countryside travel

Traveling around country side is so much -

exciting

tiring

interesting

frustrating

but above all ... enlightening (now, I still don't claim to be an enlightened soul though!)

It is just so awesome an experience. You get to know soooooooo many different shades of life - some good, some not so good, some un-good and some outrightly bad. But then, that's life!

I may be liking only parts of it right now, but I am sure that in times to come I'll cherish these 'traveler' moments of mine ... hopefully !!!!

Hoping to come with a longer, detailed post ... Hopefully I don't run out of motivation & energy by then!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Defiance

In the penultimate moment, he just waited. A guillotine will kiss his neck, and is speed would be enough to separate it from rest of the body. This process will be repeated eleven times, ten times after his head had already been chopped off. But then, that was the law ever since those bearded men who believed themselves to be messengers of god took over few years ago.

He was guilty on many counts, punishment for each ranging from few lashes to being executed few timed over. He was one of the few individuals who was given a chance to plead in public to escape this gruesome end. This was a special privilege given to him by the ruler, so that he begs for forgiveness for all his sins, be blessed with atonement and then back to life as normal ... normal as per as what they thought. That, the ruler thought would serve as a precedent and inspire people to follow their line of thought.

For the one last time he was asked, "You still have the time. Do you wish to come back to the life of a common person or go to hell".

Instead of hearing a positive response they heard a loud but calm voice, "Fuck you bastards", and that too in full public glare. This would have led to humiliation, but then it was against the law to hear anything against the rulers. Hence such statement would not even exist after this moment.

I won't be sorry for anything, for I know I never did anything wrong. I did nothing wrong by not sporting a beard. I did nothing wrong by sending my daughter to school and then college. I did nothing wrong by allowing my wife to go to work, to earn a rightful living for herself and a name for herself. You bastards might have got them killed by lashing them in public, but that doesn't change my thoughts on right and wrong.I did nothing wrong by not paying money for your so-called holy wars. I did nothing wrong by not believing in gods that you have ordained me to believe. I did nothing wrong by respecting those individuals, communities and nations who were unlike you. In fact I am proud of the fact that I am not as you are. Arrogant and vain it may seem, but I am much, much superior in thoughts and deeds than you are.

But it was all written. No amount of thinking about rights an wrong would do any good. After a moment the giant guillotine would behead him many times over. Then he would just be another culprit in the pages of history, the sinner who defied the divine rules and got the rightful treatment.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Web Page

Of late, I haven't been quite regular on this blog, except for few sporadic posts here and there. There have been many factors, chiefly laziness and utter lack of motivation to make a post. Meanwhile I have been working on (... rather, have worked on around a month and a half back!) on designing a web page. I wished to update it on a regular basis, but somehow the inertia of doing nothing in this direction is too much of a barrier.

www.rathinikesh.com

Hope to start updating this soon !!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The great unifier

Nothing unites us like a common enemy. Think about it, and a great deal of truth about human existence comes forward. Two individuals, who may hardly be in good terms often come together once they get a common enemy. Long ago it was the Britishers on our soil which united the much divided people of this country against them. Much before than, in times of monarchy it was the enemies of the kingdom which kept the flock together. Thousands of years ago, it was the nature and the wildlife which kept the humans together.

Why only humans? Take the case of animals like deer in the forest that often stay together for there is a fear of being hunted by some bigger enemy like a lion or a tiger. There might be some cohesiveness because of similarities among themselves but it becomes secondary given the fear of something bigger, something that threatens the basic existence.

This common enemy factor may be of different magnitudes, in different shapes and sizes. It might be a big movement or something or something small in day to day lives. It might just be about that annoying neighbor, the big boss in the office or that person in the society who is a big time hypocrite and even, some elements in the system or something much larger - of the likes that can trigger political movements! In social circles, in tea parties, over a coffee table, over a few drinks, in a chit chat over a phone call most of the casual conversation often veers towards one topic - it is about people, and often about the things they don't like about them. It is talk about people and bitching about them that gives immense satisfaction and at times purpose and direction to life. For many, purpose of life is to be happy, and it is cribbing and bitching that gives this supreme sense of satisfaction. Maybe, this sense of loving to be against something is one of the fundamental human emotion, without which they will cease to exist

Take the case of politics. An age old principle of Divide & Rule has always been exploited to maximum by the political parties. When there are not any issues, then they have been created. If the issues were not that big, they have been made big so that it becomes easy to pull people together against some issue. One of the recent incidents can be the case of Varun Gandhi attempting to create a common 'enemy' to unite people. 'Uniting' people is in this case a euphemism for garnering votes. Same has been used in 2002 (Gujarat), 1992(Barbri Masjid), 1984 (general Elections). Similar rhetoric (but in much larger magnitude is being used by likes of Osama Bin Laden against western world and western world against Osama.

And this continues, and we stay divided, yet united against a set of common enemies.

If this is the case, will we ever be able to stand up together? Will we ever imagine that the world will be as one, as John Lennon said? Maybe, we would need some extra terrestrial attack to unify us! Or maybe, it can be nature which has been so much used and abused! Who knows! Let us just wait and watch and till then ... fight among ourselves!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Election Time

With the clouds of elections and subsequently, polity in post-election times looming large it is again a time for all those false promises and assurances, of trying a million permutations and combinations to reach that coveted number, of mud slinging and infighting, of big ticket bargains and compromises ... and of course hope and dreams of a better future. In about ten weeks or so it will be clear who will rule the country for time to come (... if that time is 5 years remains to be seen!). Will the incumbents be back in power or the PM in waiting becomes the PM ... or we'll see emergences of the opportunistic alliance called "The Third Front".

Meanwhile the fight between the two largest parties reminds me of a cover page story in The Economist during the 2004 US Presidential elections - "Incompetent v/s Incoherent".

Personally, I think it is a contest between two alliances - one not having a great track record during its last five years in power against an alliance which seems to be having a dearth of leaders (barring a few!) and clear policies to take the country forward. One one side we have a bunch of sycophants while on other side we have a group of people some of whose actions can earn a label of "religious fanatics".

Whatever be my take on these two alliances, about my likes and dislikes ... I believe that these are still the best two options to lead the country. God knows, what will happen to the country if "The Third Front" wins and we have someone like Mayawati or Dewe Gowda or Prakash Karat as the PM !!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

DevD

One of the most intriguing characters of Indian literature and one of the famousest loser has now been reborn as Dev D. He is a modern day Punjabi and his focus area has shifted from east to north India - all thanks to Anurag Kashyap and Abhay Deol combo (Two guys who have made a reputation of being offbeat) This movie has generated lot of buzz thanks to its emossional atyaachar, references to MMS controversy among others. Also, this is one of the movies in recent past to have got probably the widest range of reviews - from 1 star to 5 star ratings, from awesome to shockingly bad with people debating endlessly about morality aspect of various things shown in it. Here is my take on the movie which I watched on 14th Feb in a 9 : 45 AM show in a nearby cinema!

I loved the movie while watching, and few weeks later I am finding it even better, although I haven't had a repeat viewing. Of course, one of the parameters for evaluation is comparison with earlier versions of Devdas, but it was meant to be that. The music gels wonderfully into the narration and is often used to take it forward. The characterizations were awesome (not being judgmental about how good or bad, or right or wrong they were but they were strongly written). The performanaces were superlative, but the movie belongs to Abhay Deol, methinks.

But, there are two things that worked for me nnd make me look at the movie differently -

- Dev D is mean. He is selfish. He is low on intelligence. He does not deserve any sympathy and this movie has shown that. The character is not a typical hero. He is NOT an anti-hero, but he is just another selfish individual whose life didn't go as per his whims and fancies.

(That was the real Devdas in Saratchandra Chattopadhyay's original novel as my friend, Dada also pointed out!)


- The ending where Dev D decides to give himself another chance- a ray of hope as Dev D gives himself an opportunity for redemption. Original Devdas was sad and sympathy provoking, but this is not.This is NOT a happy ending as such, but it ends on optimism. A bit open ended, but that works!

The movie is amazing. Love it or hate it. But you can't ignore it!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Soap and Economics

First few months in a FMCG industry is all about learning. This is true for almost every kind of industry. Or better still, you never cease to learn anywhere ... usually. But then, these learnings is not only about your work or general philosophical fundas pertaining to life, universe and everything.

Having been in FMCG industry for few months has thrown up a few learnings for me too. But weirdly, I think I think I have learned most about economics and few random bits about life in a rural-ish setting (bits of which I have been mentioned in few earlier posts few months ago.)

The economics I am mentioning is not all those complex equation, but few random common-sensical, observational stuff - a la The Under Cover Economist way.

- For example, so many different things are involved in making things work for a product (apart from people managing and researching on it), say a soap - host of vendors (for different species of raw materials, packaging materials), support materials like labels, stickers etc.,

- Different agencies involved - media planning agency, advertising agency, PR agency, design agency, printers etc.

- Businesses which survive on above like Media - TV, newspaper ... even internet.

- Different kinds of people involved in taking the products to the marketplace - transporter, guys at warehouse, distributor, salesman, retailer ... and all the company people employed to smoothen the process.

- Add few more things like consultants, accountants, auditors, market research agents, software developers which provide support organization in various forms

- And then support staff (as in canteen guy, janitor etc.) or the neighboring paan waalah, the puncture repair shop opposite to the office etc.

- Then there are guys like banks or various agencies who suck in the money of the ones above and pump it into the system.

- Then there are credit card guys who tell you to spend more and more, which is used to buy more and more and feed in other such companies (with different products and services) the above people put in their money to buy the same soap and similar stuff and so on ...

With so many different companies and businesses and so many interconnections ... imagine the scale ... and all the systems that keeps money flowing and the economy ticking ...

It might seem elementary, but it's amazing. But then, this is just an extremely small part of this whole complex system of economics!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Greed is good

"The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms - greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind, and greed - you mark my words - will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you"

- Gordon Gekko, Wall Street.

This is one of my favorite movie quotes, immortalized by Michael Douglas as the ruthless Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street.

We often attribute the current global crisis to greed, which is true to an extent. Often people are taught to be free of greed for they believe greed to be root cause of most of the evils plaguing this world (which is partly right!). But then, isn't it the same greed that has made us reach where we are right now, compared to where we were a century ago - for most of the development we have seen has been a result of this greed.

Maybe, Ayn Rand will agree!
___

For more quote from the movie - http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Wall_Street

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Downhill

That was the last of the drink left, and he gulped it down. They had finished it all. Had there been more booze, they would have gulped it too. It was around 3 in night, but then there was still a lot left in the night. The lights in the city below had faded along ago but it still looked beautiful. After all, the beauty of the city was not dependent on light. And from this place, located uphill somewhere amidst wilderness, human settlement was the last thing that could have come to their mind. But in the end, that was where they all had to go to. They walked back to their cars and planned to head back to their hotel, which was some 20 km away at Shimla.

They were a group of 7 people - all college friends out on a trip to Shimla to celebrate the last extended weekend before getting out of the B-School. One of the guys had a car and all crammed into it and headed for the vacation. The owner of the car, Chandru as the fondly called him was too drunk to drive. But he had often been too drunk to drive, but that was never a cause of concern. He was an experienced person in drunken driving. Rest assured he would ensure that they reached their hotel rooms safely.

The safe ride was suddenly halted by a sharp, loud voice which would probably have echoed even miles away in the wilderness.

"Stop"
They didn't.
"Stop. What are you doing?"

One of them barked and blocked the car.

Chandru stopped, despite receiving repeated warnings from Shreya that they were just local goons; goons who treated the local visitors at that time of the day as an ATM, as a means of generating fast cash. Shreya, one of the two females of the group had stayed in Shimla for major part of her life and knew that area very well. She knew that local goons often reached there and harassed those very few people traveling at night. They were 8 of them … probably 9 ... or 10. They had sticks with them. Any maybe inside their pockets was some gun or something.

“Damn!” Chandru thought. “We are screwed”.

Same thought was echoed by everyone, each unsure of what lay in store in the times ahead.

It was Shreya who suggested that place so that they could chill out there on that cliff and have a party amidst nature with full view of the towns they had left below. They had been there since last 4 hours and did not want to leave, but for the stock of booze getting over. They wished to stay in that moment forever but then, there are many moments one wishes that lasted forever. And time always disappoints on this front!

But it was not a time to think about all these when they had a larger problem on hand.

“We are forest officers. How dare you wander into this area at night? Do you have the necessary permit from the government or forest department?”

“No … We never knew …”

“Shut up you bugger … You have encroached into this wildlife area. You know the penalties? You know the seriousness of the crime and the resulting consequences? Let us go to the police station. There only it will be decided what to do with you guys. The inspector sahib will decide. Let them call your parents and then decide what to do”

They went aside to discuss the future course of action, which had already been decided long before they reached there. They were following the same tried and tested formula. But for the group inside the car, it was all completely new experience altogether.

That would have been quite scary – going to police station and all. But they knew it would not happen. They knew that it was the background building for a larger goal – The larger goal being to earn some quick bucks. Two of them came out to negotiate with them. But then, safety was a prime concern. These men could have done anything. Maybe, they all could not even see the next morning.

Damn! How they had landed into this deep shit!

“How much money you need?” Aditya asked as if he was ready to offer a blank cheque.

“See … You can be imprisoned for five years and charged with non- bailable offence."

After a pause he as if saying something prophetic, uttered -

"So it is given that you will have to shell out quite a good sum”

“I know it is going to be a good sum or whatever ... Just tell me how much … I don’t give a damn …”

“There are just the goons … Why are we paying them … Just go away …”

No one paid any heed. There were better things to do.

“Ten thousand”

“Sir, we don’t have that much money … We are students ... We don’t keep that much money”

This statement resulted in a slap, although that mustached goon was quite pleased to hear the word 'sir'. But then, he had to maintained the facade that he was an upright forest officer! Even he was too drunk to realize the details of whatever he said

“Sir, we will pool out whatever we have and give it”

His proposal was also shot down. Chandru and Rohan went aside to negotiate the ransom amount whatever they called it. Each demand was met with inability to pay that much. Finally, after a long round of negotiations they settled for five thousand bucks.

They pooled in the money and somehow managed to reach that figure.

They had some more, but did not want to reveal it, but were ready to shell that out had need been.After paying the money they demanded service charges @ 10%. Hey paid it willingly.

They were too scared to be even reluctant, let alone oppose it. They were amused and scared or whatever the right set of emotions were, as the goon mentioned the term “service charges”.

Finally they let them go after a parting good bye slap, though few of the gang members were protesting not to let these big fish off so easily. But then, group leader always prevails and all were let off.

What a relief!

In their way back, they were still a bit drunk after that hour and a half long break. In few minutes time the first signs of morning would arrive and all this would be just like any bad dream - a dream which they would like to follow; a dream which they would look back to an smile; dream which taught quite a few lessons.

But there were still few miles before reaching the town and catching on with some sleep. As of now they were quite scared and reaching back safely was the only priority. On the next right turn they could spot a few uniformed men. It was some routine check point. They had seen it while going uphill. They crossed it without looking much scared. The policemen smiled as they drove past.

The faces seemed vaguely familiar. But, were they the same people whom they met an hour earlier? Or was it the fear that made every such face appear similar?

Whatever! It was all scary, but they had crossed the final hurdle now. They had nothing to worry about now.



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Last few minutes …

He listened to the sounds with interest. A weird kind of interest with which one hears when one is unsure of whether he is going to live the next moment. A moment later he may just cease to exist and become just another number. He had just few more minutes to live. As he awaited his end in the small closet of his luxury suite, his life flashed before his eye as it always does in front of the eyes of a dying man.

Thirty two years was a long time. But it was not long enough to be length of one’s life. He had seen it all – from being a complete failure to being at the pinnacle of success. But then, it was all a passing phase in his life. These are, after all just passing phases in lives of people. They are at top at one moment in life, and then someone just shoves them off the pinnacle and the next moment they hit the nadir. More often than not, like in his case it was nobody who shoved him off, except himself and his arrogance.

That place was under siege since 12 hours now. He heard few gunshots, few explosions and got to know from a SMS on his cell phone that that place was under siege by some terrorists. That’s all he knew for any access to information was limited. He had hid himself in the closet of his room, so that his detection maybe delayed but he knew that once they were inside his room, they would find him within a minute or so. It had been in the news channels that few people in the restaurant below had been shot dead and now it was the turn of all those rich people staying in those sea facing luxury suites. But then, it was all speculative. No one knew what was happening there, except few people who were trapped inside. But why was he the chosen one, he wondered. Why his life was being ruined. But then, he had no right to question all this. After all, he was not a person who had never sinned in his life. He had been the perpetrator of many of them, and never gave a thought to what the ones at the other side thought about it. Probably, he was paying a price for all that...

His thoughts led him to worlds diverse. The world that had not been, the world that could have had been and the world that had already been. It was not the best of the worlds, nor was it the worst but it was just a mixed bag of variegated experiences. That first time he had a fight at home; that day when he was ordained to give all thoughts of being a sportsperson as there was no surety and confined to his study room; the subtle grudge, bordering into hatred that he was not allowed to pursue his dream; his life had been quite a mixed bag. And that day when he in fit of rage left his home to come to Mumbai to struggle and try his luck in movies; those days he spent on pavements before getting spotted in a small time TV show and his subsequent journey spanning into many blockbuster movies. And those many days when he seemed to have control over everything in the world; when the common man on street adulated him for his stardom while he was busy running after his co-stars and conspiring to win brownie points over his arch rivals and being consumed by the same flame when his personal and professional life had gone for a toss. And that public spat with his godfather in the industry that threatened to ruin his image and subsequently his fight with many people who were closest to him, all due to this airs he had about himself and ultimately leading to his downfall. Damn! How were those times for him, but then it had happened and there was no way he could deny or change that truth.

Ah, how he wished he could go back in time and change them! How he wished, he could go back and win his parents’ approval; how he could have being avoided being such a scheming villain, unlike the heroes he portrayed in the movies; how he could go back in time and say sorry to her. Maybe, just one chance…

Then without any prior notice, arrived a bullet which lodged close his heart. He was expecting it since long, but when it finally came it was nothing short of an unpleasant surprise. He could barely see the shooter except his intense bloodshot eyes and his face covered by a black cloth. But all that was immaterial. Of what help was it to him? What good would knowing who he was do to him?

So much for this short life of his! How he now wished to make amends to it all. Just one chance and he would make amends for everything; just one opportunity to go back in time and change the things as they were. But he knew that wasn’t to be, come what may. Not now, nor later, nor somewhere in distant future when he will cease to exist altogether…