Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Random thoughts 25072017

Mumbai previously known was Bombay under Portugese rule from 1534 to 1661 A.D. It was given away to the English under the Marriage treaty of 1661 when king Charles II of England married Catherine of Braganza, the daughter of king John IV of Portugal. To keep the historical context in mind , the first battle of Panipat which heralded the Mughal rule in India was fought in 1531 . Which means that Bombay was almost never a part of the Hindosthan as ruled by the Mughals . The British occupation of Mumbai also as contemporary as  Taj Mahal which was completed in 1654.

Aurangzeb was the only Mughal ruler who realised the threat of the English .After the death of Shivaji in 1680,  the Mughal rule spread to the Konkan area too. This brought them in conflict with the English and Portugese who tried to blockade the sea routes to Arabia and beyond.  Between 1686 and 1690  the British East India Company and the Mughal empire fought a war commonly known as Child's war . Emperor Aurangzeb issued orders for the extirpation of the English, and the confiscation of their property. The English possessions were reduced to the fortified towns of Madras and Bombay.

In 1689 the strong Mughal fleet from Janjira commanded by the Sidi Yaqub and manned by Mappila (Moplas , Muslims from Kerala) and Abyssinians (Habshis) firmly blockaded Bombay. After a year of resistance, the English surrendered, and in 1690 the company sent envoys to Aurangzeb's camp to plead for a pardon. The company's envoys had to prostrate themselves before the emperor, pay a large indemnity, and promise better behavior in the future. The emperor withdrew his troops and the company subsequently re-established itself in Bombay and set up a new base in Calcutta.

In 1686, the English East India Company, which had unsuccessfully tried to obtain a firman, an imperial directive that would grant England regular trading privileges throughout the Mughal empire, initiated the so-called Child's War. This hostility against the empire ended in disaster for the English, particularly when Aurangzeb dispatched a strong fleet from Janjira commanded by the Sidi Yaqub and manned by Mappila loyal to Ali Raja Ali II and Abyssinian sailors firmly blockaded Bombay in 1689.  In 1690, the company sent envoys to Aurangzeb's camp to plead for a pardon. The company's envoys had to prostrate themselves before the emperor, pay a large indemnity, and promise better behaviour in the future.

Siraj ud daullah , Nawab of Bengal who fought the East India company in the battle of Plassey was born after four decades of this English defeat and magnanimity of Aurangzeb . In fact his maternal grandfather Alivardi Khan , whom he succeeded was born in 1671 .

Friday, 21 July 2017

Only, you never knew.

Go, scour the distant shores ,
the myriad alleyways of the world
to seek the elusive nectar
they call as happiness.
When you come back ,
you'll find it , within you .
A pearl hidden inside the shell .
Only, you never knew.
Feel it, kneeling down all alone,
on a vast green meadow,
as the rains drench you.
Smell it , as you walk under a tree
laden with its fresh blossom.
Hear it, in the silence of the hills,
punctuated by the rustle
of the leaves, nodding gently
to the soft whistling breeze.
Taste it, in the clear water
of the spouting spring ,
cupped in your palms.
Watch it , on the canvas of the sky.
as the early morning unravels
the colours of the sun
You will understand , how
it was always there, within you.
Only, you never knew.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Vertigo

In this kingdom of
the sparkling sunlight,
a terrible fear of heights 
stopped me from climbing .
So I remained rooted
somewhere near the base camp ,
even as people crossed me
and went up high and higher ,
first, beyond the sights
and then beyond the vision.
Some how I never realised
how the ground beneath me ,
which I stand was getting dug up ,
inch by inch, deep and deeper
than ever before.
Earlier I could reach
across the other side ,
crossing the old bridge .
Now often the question
that haunts me -
What happens if the bridge
that connects us breach someday
and leaves me stranded
across this deep abyss of mistrust .
The sum of my all fears are back. 
Be it the heights of  fantasy
or the depths of desolation ,
the curse of vertigo stays with me.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

A whole night of love

A whole night of love
on a wet night
with the sound of rain
falling on the tin roof .
Forget everything ,
all those woes of life ,
this is the time to savour
the moments of madness.
Break free
into the prison of desire
that binds us together.
Walk on the sky
to reach the stars above.
As our world explodes,
in the ecstasy of two souls
the sudden fragrance of passion
spreads to make our tryst
a never ending journey
to its final consummation .

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Tiger and the Jackal

#Mythicaltales  The Tiger and the Jackal -  Many many years ago, there was a king named Pourik . He was a cruel and tyrant ruler and his subjects remained unhappy with him. As a retribution, he was reborn as a jackal after his death.

But he remembered everything about his past life and that made him grieve always for his wrongdoings as a tyrant. He always rued the fact that as a king, he was not worthy of good deeds that could be his salvation.

As a penance the Jackal gave up on eating flesh and started living on fruits and vegetables. He also started being truthful always in his action and speech and soon he become a very pious being.

The jackal lived in his lair near a cemetery. The other jackals who lived there were very surprised with him and they would always taunt him “Brother, you eat vegetables and fruits . That's idiotic to say , the least . With abundance of flesh here, why do you have to be a vegetarian?" , they would say.

The Jackal did not get vexed at their taunts. He replied them without rancour- “Friends, do I have to keep off the right path only because I am born a Jackal? If I can live by eating fruits and vegetables, then why do I have to eat flesh? "

A tiger was passing that way. He overheard this conversation and was pleased with the jackal. He thought- “Ah, this jackal seems to be a pious soul and a wise animal. Let me make him my Chief Minister. "

He called the Jackal” I am sure you are a very noble soul. Be my Chief Minister, O Jackal. "

The Jackal replied” O King, I am honoured by your offer. But I have a few conditions, which, you should agree before I accept the offer. You have to abide by whatever I decide for you. When I advise you, nobody else should be present there. And you can't punish me even if you are cross with me."

The Tiger said “I agree to your conditions. Now you come with me."

This way the jackal now became the Chief Minister of the tiger's kingdom. Within a very few days, the Tiger realised what a good choice of minister he has made. He too placed the Jackal at a high esteem and valued his advice with a lot of respect. The Jackal too enjoyed his new role and put in his full efforts to serve the king in a selfless manner.

But the coterie of the old courtiers who used to surround the Tiger became very insecure due to the Jackal. They were used to the good life of corruption and cheated the king. These rascals found that with the coming of the Jackal as the Chief minister, the various sources of their income was drying up . So they all joined hands and sought a way to get the Jackal banished from the court.

Everyday, the best cuts of meat were earmarked for the Tiger. Nobody else was allowed to eat those pieces. One day the mischievous servants of the Tiger stole them from the Tiger's cave and spread them near the Jackal's lair. Neither the Tiger nor the Jackal had any inkling of this because they were asleep. In due time the Tiger woke up and felt hungry; but there was no meat for him in the cave.

The Tiger roared in anger. He wanted to know who was responsible for this . His rage knew no bounds. The wicked courtiers were waiting for this chance to poison his mind. They said - “My Lord, it is the Chief Minister who has done this. You may think him to be a pious animal. But he is actually a very greedy and crafty fellow." Then they took the Tiger near the Jackal's lair where they had hid the pieces of flesh. The Tiger was out of his senses. He asked the servants to kill the Jackal.

The servants would have killed the Tiger, had it not been for the king's mother who was a very intelligent tigress. She understood the plan of the wicked courtiers and approached the Tiger saying- “My son, you know these people and how they were ruining you before the Chief Minister Jackal came here. Just recall, how many times you have wanted to gift him with valuables, but he has never had any use for them. Why should he steal your share of flesh? You inquire about this in detail. I sense some foul play. “

The tiger came to his senses, hearing the soothing words of advice from his mother. He realised his mistake and remembered the conditions he accepted before the Jackal took up his employment. Now he made a thorough enquiry and learned about the conspiracy by his servants. He punished them.

The Jackal was now held in very high esteem by his employer the king Tiger. But the intelligent Jackal could well understand that working for such a temperamental master was always risky. So he bid his time and after a few days very politely excused himself and left the service of the Tiger, wishing him all the best of luck.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Posto

#Posto not only touches but tugs at the heart too . Again a very good movie that I have watched after #Bishorjan. It proves that the creative Bengali film industry is alive and evolved with new identity of its own . Since this movie showed a sold out Sunday evening show in INOX Raghuleela Vashi, I had to drive about an hour up and down , pay toll tax of Rs 70 and forego the afternoon siesta to watch it in Bhandup , about 30 kms away from my home, on the insistence of my wife who never likes to miss a Bengali film or program in Mumbai. But it was really worth it.

The mindless copy of crass commercial copies of southern blockbusters full of colour, action , dances and unreal story-lines  may have helped the Bengali film industry in raking money but cinematically they have brought Bengali films at par with Bhojpuri films.  Away from all this flashy and garish over the top drama,  the realistic , soft , mature , emotional , focussed and issue based films that was the forte of Bengali films have come back to the mainstream due to the effort of some very competent contemporary filmmakers who have also brought in audiences to recoup the investment . That Posto has done well at the box-office is a redeeming feature.

The duo of Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee has given us some memorable movies over the last decade or so. They have consistently tried to make meaningful films with a central theme linked to our lives. The currently running movie #HindiMedium which has been hailed for its theme is said to be greatly inspired by the movie #Ramdhanu created by this duo. The recurring feature of their movies have been their soft and understated handling of emotions and a very mature sense of blending the story with the characters.

#Posto  brings forth the issue of parenting and upbringing of a child and explores the father son relationships between three generations. Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee is just awesome in his role as a grandfather to a small boy. The nuances, depth , facial expressions , dialogue delivery , physical movements  each one of them has been presented in such a masterly manner that the audience never feels that he is a character from the film. He seems to be one of our own , a father or an uncle. Speaking about or praising his acting skills will be  absurd and laughable as coming from a person like me. But let me point out that this gentleman , a great banyan tree of acting is 82 years old and reportedly suffering from some critical ailment. But would you believe that when he acts ?

Among other actors Jishu Sengupta  as the son of the old man and father of the child proves his talent and matches up to the challenge . Lily Chakraborty is a seasoned professional for her role. Paran Chatterjee delivers a fine serio comic performance . After a long time , saw a court room drama which is a substantial portion of the film. The directors have very cleverly used Sohini Sengupta, a veteran stage actress in the role of the defence lawyer against Paran Chatterjee to highlight the dramatic court room dialogues and keep the attention riveted with their stage acting skills. Argha , the young boy Posto is so lovable and inocent that he steals your heart .

But to me, the surprise package of the film is Mimi Chakraborty . She will be remembered for this role and establish her as a leading actress of the Bengali films . Perhaps when she  will look back on her career after a decade hence , this role will be a milestone and turning point for her. 

Personally I was not too much impressed with the music but one song by Nachiketa was superb and  though written and composed by Anupam, it was only Nachiketa who could have sung the song  - Keno Erokom kichhu Holo Na-  in that way. 

Cinematically,  #Posto has some flaws in its composition and presentation. Perhaps the story could have been  put in a tighter script and be made a bit more pacy. But the emotion, acting and dialogues take care of these blemishes. Without being boring or sermonising , it brings out the need of a family and family values in our lives. And like most of the movies by Shibu-Nandita , this too is also a feel good movie. With subtitles in English , this can be  a good watch for everybody who would like to have a relaxing , soft and uncomplicated movie experience.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Random thoughts 21052017

#Justsaying  While watching old Hindi (even Bengali) movies , you may notice that those Izzatdar and Rais aristocratic characters are shown to be wearing a thick loungecoat over their clothes at home. These lounge suits were called housecoats by us, lesser mortals.

Those days homes were not air-conditioned , even for rich people ; at least it doesn't seem so from the scenes. And they always smoked cigars and pipes. I wonder how they managed to wear those wraps in Indian summer. Or is it that they all lived in Shimla or Darjeeling ? The housecoats symbolised wealth and position of the person in the society. Many middle class gentlemen (I know a few) also followed this fashion at home , mostly limited to the first or second housecoat.

On the other hand , nowadays  even middle-class homes have air conditioning . But housecoats have gone flimsy and are invariably worn by lissom heroines  more as a prop to reveal their physical assets rather than their bank balance.

And aristocrats  ? That breed seems to have vanished even from silver screens. The rich and powerful are now shown wearing sportswear and shorts are the in thing as fashionable lounge dress. And we middle-class follow the fashion at home . Good for summer.

Well , the answer to these thoughts coming to my idle and blank mind would be , yes you have rightly guessed , when everything fails - blame it on global warming.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Random thoughts 20052017

#Randomthoughts I have a feeling that the next car that we will buy in our family will be an electric powered or at least hybrid. That it will be with auto transmission , I am sure.
The first to make entry will be electric bicycles or mopeds. Remember the late seventies and the early eighties . Yes that is the scene more likely to start for the next year. If you notice the adverts and sale of these two wheelers have started on a lowkey but steady pace.
The writing is on the wall . Solar powered electricity and electric powered vehicles will swamp the horizon soon . This will be the new technology that will change how we travel.
Let us be ready to embrace the change. The first thing we need to do is to plan about the charging point for the vehicle .

Friday, 19 May 2017

Random thoughts 20052017

#Justsaying Won't it be better to make Rajnikanth the President of India rather than make him the CM of Tamil nadu. That way his reputation will remain intact. Otherwise people may always point out his reluctance to join politics as long as Jayalalitha lived and infer that he was afraid of her.  Also if , as rumoured he joins or takes support from BJP and becomes the CM , it will relegate his status as the invincible.

Personally I have no problem with Rajnikanth as the President of India. He will probably be a better choice than many. And the circus that  democracy has become in India needs a brand ambassador to highlight the make believe show of it.  Rajanikanth will fit the bill perfectly.

Mind it Yenna Rascalaa .

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Random thoughts 17052017

#BitterPill  News reports speak of the plans by the Indian Railways to charge Rs 50-100 extra for allotment of lower berths and window seats. This will be hailed by a section of people as a masterstroke , true to form . But actually this is nothing but shameless baniazation , as different from commercialisation which offers a service worth its name against the charges paid for it.  The way this government is hiking the charges of all services in the name of rationalisation  you don't know where they will put their finger next to extricate their paise from .

So don't be surprised if you hear tomorrow  that they will charge the Mumbai local train users for availing the free full body massage during peak hours.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Random thoughts 14052017


#BitterPill ATM s are to ease the operations for the convenience of the people who keep deposits of their hard earned money with the bank's at rock bottom interest. They are categorized as public convenience and in the modern world they are required in a civilized society just as much as we need public toilets. The ATMs also help the public to plan their withdrawals and do away with the need to carry a large amount of cash in their pocket or hoard at their homes. Further the ATMs also manage to do away with long queues at the Bank branches for withdrawal ( and deposit) of cash and also informs the account holder a summary of the balance in the account. Therefore the ATM can not be treated any more as a value added service; rather it is now a part of the basic services provided by the banks.

So it is very surprising to find banks trying to regulate the usage of ATMs by levy of charges and deciding on ad hoc ceiling for its use by depositors. The recent developments in the banking sector gives a strong reason to believe that this is just another convenient ploy to shore up the bottom lines to hide the inefficiencies of the system and subsidise the bad management of assets and liabilities by the banks. And if this is not enough, banks have all of a sudden stepped up on their efforts to make a killing from all kinds of services they provide. The dichotomy of the situation is such that on one hand the banks are trying to take banking to the old elitist way of transacting business where all transactions have to be paid for not as a service received but as an obligation and on the other, the government is pushing hard for universal banking and digital economy. It is not clear what the actual aim of the whole exercise is , in totality.

Banks owned by the Government of India can not hide behind the brazen assertion of - all services need to be paid- like the private banks . Because they get a large amount of government funds as deposits without making any efforts for it . Further as they are owned by the GOI , their losses are accounted for by the government funds which is nothing but the tax payer's money. And the government ownership also means that it is people's ownership. So their contention about being a fully independent mercantile firm like entity is a false notion which is being used to hoodwink the public. The PSU banks are very much organs of the government and they cannot deny their commitment to the public at large. If their is any doubt about this then that should be cleared first.

And actually that is what is being attempted . There is a concerted move to bleed these banks , make them anemic and then make a great hue and cry before handing them over to private management at a throw away price. But before that it is also necessary to show people that as far as charges are concerned, there is not much difference between the public or private sector banks. It is a gradual step towards preparing the public , the corollary to which will be a massive privatization of banks. And mark my words, this has to happen before 2019. Like the ill executed demonetization, this move will also be clothed with some great objectives and named like - " New economy" , " Second Liberalization" , " Economic Freedom" etc. Of course there are plenty of spin doctors waiting in the wings along with the numerous media channels to hail such moves.

Presently our country is passing through a phase of reckless self gratification by the masses whose levels of aspiration is now sky high. The generations which have been raised post 1990 are the beneficiaries of the material gains from the liberalization of economy and digital age. They can not relate to age old theories, rhetoric, sacrifices, mindset, worldview and education of socialism and class conflict. Moreover the commercialism and commodification of everything including even ideas, values and icons have changed the way of the people's outlook and views. So the people at large may not realize, as they don't do about many other things , that the one sector that this government has screwed right and proper during its three years tenure till now is the Banking sector. And very soon we will witness many other developments. Just wait for the drama of absurd to unfold.

Random thoughts 15052017

#OBOR One Belt One Road is a grand and audacious plan of connectivity being given shape by China . This program is being personally pushed by the present President of the Chinese Republic, Xi Jinping who would like to go down the history with a stature equivalent , if not superior to Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaoping. On one hand the plan seeks to revitalize the traditional silk route , both on land and the seas. On the other, it wants to change the global power structure and integrate Europe and Asia as a large trading zone .

The participation of more than 65 countries in the project is proof enough that quite a number of the countries in Europe and Asia look towards the OBOR as something which could benefit them economically. Russia and Turkey are both backers of this program and countries like Bangladesh, Nepal , Myanmar and Srilanka are participating in it. Pakistan , of course is one of the primary, if not the first stakeholder of the program. But India has expressed its apprehensions about the project and have decided not to join it, as of now.

Indians have been always wary of China since 1962. And the Indian foreign policy have always been shaped by a British understanding , American guidance (except during Indira Gandhi) and Pakistan obsession. Beyond that the Indian foreign policy does not really exist, at least for the people of the country. Our troubles with China began only after the Tibet issue as before that there was no history of wars between the countries , nations and very old civilisations. In fact Tibet was the buffer which allowed the status quo of peace between the two countries. May be the Tibet issue is keeping the Kashmir issue alive . But as it seems now, as long as the present Dalai Lama remains ( May God bless him), there is very little chance of the Tibet issue and the India -China relations improving.

But we must not overlook the Chinese initiative as if implemented, it will change the whole geo political alignment . President Putin of Russia has stated his support for the initiative unequivocally as - “Everything that is being proposed fits the trend of modern development, is extremely necessary, and is in high demand. Therefore, Russia not only supports the One Belt One Road project, but will actively participate in its realization together with our Chinese partners and, of course, with all other interested countries.” He further said that the project takes into account modern trends in the global economy while also reflecting the general need for coordinating integration processes not only on the Eurasian continent, but around the world.

Before this China has demonstrated its capability to execute programs which their leaders wanted to be implemented in a planned and if required ruthless manner, be it the cultural revolution, one child norm, liberalization of economy, Olympic Games or other developmental initiatives. And they are famous for doing everything in a magnificent manner with a huge canvas. This time too , they seem to be on a solid ground to take over the leadership as the economic power from USA. What that will lead to is a matter of speculation at this moment. But India should be wary of clinging to the US apron strings. The USA has never stood behind its allies at crunch situations and always exported war overseas to benefit its own industry.

So treating OBOR with disdain, suspicion or nonchalance will be a folly for India. There is no benefit in creating enmity with a powerful country and getting encircled by its satellites. As we are still debating over the viability of Bullet train or its infrastructure , China has already launched a freight train from the city of Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province with London, all of 12000 kms covered in 18 days. That is their level of planning and execution. Not that they do everything correctly . But they get things done once they plan something.


The article attached here may not be liked by many Indians . But it is necessary to know about the Chinese viewpoint , too.
http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1046896.shtml

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Random thoughts 12052017

#Randomthoughts There is a lot of shock , consternation and discussion nowadays about the loss of jobs in the IT sector. But is it really surprising ? What we call Computer jobs are basically program code writing. Somewhat like a kind of glorified document copying before the photocopying came in. Now artificial intelligence has reached a stage when programs and robots will be able to generate programs. So this army of code writers will become obsolete , gradually. What happened to those document copiers and typists outside courts will happen to these code writers.
The analogy may not be exactly reflecting the present situation and there are other dimensions too , in the issue. But the basic theme underlying is that of disruption and obsolence in its wake. The quicker one realises this the better it will be. Because change will happen .





















Random thoughts 13052017

#TotalBakwaas My Saturday morning is spiced up with mirth after reading two news items :
1. Jackie Chan and Sylvester Stallone are coming together for a film tentatively named Ex-Baghdad where both play the role of former special services soldiers.
2. Mithun Chakraborty is back in action and he will play the role of a psychiatrist in Ram Gopal Verma's horror film. And he is also supposed to play the role of the National Security Advisor in another film.
Did anybody else too notice these monumentally important news items ? Or is it me that is attracted to them like a fly on a jackfruit. Come on, thank me for the smile after reading this post. FB has a new emoticon for that. Or did you not notice that too ?


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Random thoughts 09052017

"The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations. — How is this?"

The above quote is attributed to Rutherford B. Hayes , the nineteenth President of the USA who held office from Feb 1877 to March 1881.Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious and confused elections in the electoral history of the USA. He lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote giving him the presidency by the margin of one vote.
The result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to Hayes's election and Hayes ended all U.S. military involvement in Southern politics.

The telephone was installed in the White house for the first time during his incumbency.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Random thoughts 08052017

#Randomthoughts. It is a common practice of most people working in offices, particularly in big cities to stay up late. It is induced not so much by the volume of work but more by the need to suck up to the boss. There are some( actually many) bosses who equate work with late staying at office. And they get sadistic pleasure by keeping people glued to the desk upto late hours. The reason for this is because these middle-aged (mostly) do not have any attraction to go home. They neither look forward to a nice evening with family , nor do they have  good hobbies , friends or clubs to spend time. So they elongate their office hours. Therefore, until the Boss leaves , the whole chain downwards ( at least those who bother about promotions and incentives) slog along or fake it, like orgasms. Uhh uh uh , see Sir, I am working.

The younger subordinates quickly get the message. They fill up their time by Google search , job search, property search,online shopping, gossip, social media etc. and start working after lunch. This way a vicious cycle is perpetuated down the line.There are also some persons, particularly in Metro cities, who delay their return to avoid the office hour rush in public transport systems. The simple truth is that everybody whiles away their time. Anyone who leaves in time is seen as a job shirker and termed as self centered. And everyone starts believing that by overstaying they are working more. Some even feel proud to announce how late they sit in office to show the importance of their post and the job they do. Whenever I hear such morons, I laugh at them inwardly and kick their asses in my mind , while trying to keep a serious face hiding my utter revulsion.

And what great jobs do they do ? Mostly answering emails on MS Outlook, writing notes on MS Word, analysing data on MS Excel and preparing presentations on MS Powerpoint.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Random thoughts 01052017

#MayDay In spite of concerted attempts to wipe out the significance of May Day  from the mind space of the new generation , its relevance is even more today. We now live in the era of trans-national corporations and a globalized work force. Technology may have rendered many of the labour intensive jobs as obsolete but the plight of the unorganised labour and the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few have only increased.

Random thoights 02052017

#BitterPill On one hand, Sajjan Jindal meeting Nawaz Sharief at Murree is termed as back channel diplomacy. On the other side, the decapitation of two BSF jawans at the border is officially stated as Pak army action. Meanwhile, we have all relations with Pakistan as a state, except playing cricket.

The defence ministry is a part-time occupation, the foreign minister, God bless the lady, is recuperating from a serious health problem, the Nindaa ministry is working overtime. The NSA is incognito and not accountable to anybody. People are howling for a war, without worrying for the consequence. What a circus in action for the summer!

The security of the cowntry is as safe as a Gaushala. So let us sing

मेरे हाथों में नौ-नौ चूड़ियाँ है
थोड़ा ठहरो साजन मजबूरियाँ है
मेरे हाथों में नौ-नौ चूड़ियाँ है
थोड़ा ठहरो साजन मजबूरियाँ है

@chetan_bhagat Half Girl Friend  is a fiction . Half Defence Minister is a reality.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Random thoughts 28042017

As a responsible citizen ,it is now our duty to ensure that all the cows we interact with , have their unique identification tags. Please note.

XXXXXXXXXX

I must admit sheepishly that I have not seen Bahubali 1 except for some half an hour on TV. So I have missed out on the national obsession on - Kattappa Ne Bahubali ko kyun Maaraa ? Now Bahubali 2 will answer the question, I suppose. Best wishes to all viewers for a nice movie experience with the kids. I have already decided to give this too , a pass.

If that makes me like the guy - jisko PSPO nahi maloom hai - so be it.

XXXXXXXXXX

Need has a physical perspective but greed is purely psychological. But very often we can not differentiate between the two and end up equating our needs to the dictate of greed. Then blame the needs for the stress.

Both greed and need are natural and they can't be just wished away. Without them perhaps the material world we live in would not be what it is.The history of the evolution of human civilisation is linked to them. Need is behind all the innovations and inventions and greed has fuelled the wars and kingdoms.

Some amount of greed is good, perhaps. Otherwise we would all be ascetic monks. But it is the balance of the need and the greed in our personal lives which defines us.

Random thoughts 29042017

Korea is a country with a very old history and culture. And the people of Korea have always strived hard to keep their own identity without being swamped by the more dominant Chinese or Japanese. Being geographical neighbours to China, Japan and Russia, the Koreans have always been invaded and subjugated. But they are fiercely independent minded. Surprisingly, it is perhaps one of the very few countries never to be colonised by any European power.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Koreans have been subjected to tremendous atrocities and used as a pawn in the chessboard of global domination. It has been under a brutal occupation by the Japanese imperialists from 1910 to 1945. And then after the second World War, the USA and USSR decided to carve out the country into two parts along the 38th parallel (latitude). Just like that as the spoil of the war. Without even bothering or caring for the country. North Korea and South Korea, thus formed were instigated to be the enemy of each other and even fought wars. Gradually, the USSR backed socialist regime in North Korea veered away from the USSR and established its own brand of dynastical dictatorship clothed in the harshest forms of communist principles. It got the backing of China who still looks upon the country to be within their sphere of influence. Closing itself to the outer world in general, it has now earned the sobriquet of a rogue state.

South Korea went on to become a vassal state of the USA. The US maintains a big military presence in South Korea.  But neither the South Koreans love USA nor the North Koreans want to live by communist slogans. People in both the countries want to reunite. While South Korea have developed materially due to a free economy and US help, the North Koreans are militarily more developed because the military is the biggest and probably only thing in that country. In spite of so much of having negatives in their political atmosphere, the Koreans, both from North or South excel in technological and educational aptitudes.

But China, Japan, Russia and USA would never like a unified Korea which can become a regional power. So the situation there will always simmer. More like the Kashmir problem to tie down India. The situation is made worse by the closed dictatorship of North Korea headed by a ruthless person. His grandfather Kim Il Sung was the leader thrust by the Soviets who established the totalitarian regime in the Stalinist mould. But he was a global figure who ruled for five long decades till his death in 1994. Some of the readers will remember the full-page advertisements in Indian papers with the smiling face of the " Great Leader" during the seventies.  His son and successor Kim Jong Il had a comparatively shorter inning which was characterised by confrontation with the USA.

The present ruler Kim Jong Un is portrayed as a raving lunatic by the US propaganda. But he plays his cards quite well to needle the US. Whatever we know about him or North Korea is a highly biased propaganda from the west . After the experience of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan , Cuba and Venezuela, it is better to take such propaganda with a large dose of salt. The main game played is the clash of Chinese and US interests. Behind the scenes, it is the Chinese who are manipulating Kim 3 to give a  message to the US . After a bout of stage-managed crisis, the situation will resume to the previous status. But by then the stock markets will play their own game.

Random thoughts 30042017

#Randomthoughts The ghastly car accident that happened in the wee hours of 29th April at Kolkata , killing a young model and injuring a young upcoming actor  brings to fore a number of questions. Some of them related to indiscretions of youth, lifestyle, traffic rules, social mores etc would sound like clichés . So detailing or discussing them is not necessary here. I don't think that would serve any purpose other than creating that nebulous feeling of awareness which is just as ephemeral as the dewdrops on a desert.

However a small item from the news reports raises a valid technical question. It's about the airbags that didn't open. Now like parachutes, the efficacy of airbags are proved only by their opening, during the the impact of  the accident. Either they open or they don't . Car makers advertise airbags as a premium safety feature and charge extra amount for the same. But do they really help ? Can any of the readers of this post recall any instance when airbags have saved lives. It would be interesting to know.

Should the opening of airbags in cars during emergency be subject to a number of specified parameters ? Can the car companies evade liability and responsibilities for the non functioning of airbags during emergency ?  Because at every instance of airbags not opening, they come up with a lot of technical details that ought to have been followed. All this may save them from losses but does not help to answer the doubts. These are some questions that come to even a blank, vacant and idle mind like mine. More intelligent and experienced  persons may throw some light on this matter.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Random thoughts 27042017

#RIPVinodKhanna. Very early in life, I  learnt that the word beautiful can not be used to describe men. Women had the sole right to beautiful and men could only aspire to be handsome.  In  Bengali we also have a term called Sonar Patharbati (Golden stone bowl) to describe something incredible.

Vinod Khanna perhaps epitomised the concept of a beautiful man and his beauty perhaps the nearest to be the  Sonar Patharbati . To me he was the most handsome man I have ever seen. And the only male for whom I had a crush .Yes, I have no shame to admit that I liked him only for his looks.

I first saw a movie starring Vinod Khanna probably in 1975 . But I remember the movie - Mera Gaon Mera Desh . And he was the villain, a Daaku .The mesmerising twinkling black eyes, the perfect nose, the thick sideburns, the naturally well built physique and the mocking smile on his face made an impression.

He was a competent actor but  I don't think I will remember him for his acting. It was the sheer magnetism and virility that he exuded that will keep him in our hearts. He was a man of many dimensions apart from acting, spiritualism to politics . A man who could leave stardom and explore himself. Then come back again and   carry on from where he left. Joined active politics and won the mandate of people repeatedly.

But above all he came out as a gentleman in his  behaviour. And inspire of being blessed with such a celebrity status, he always maintained the persona of a kind neighbourly person. Never gave the impression of a busy , haughty star or politician.  Actually people like him are getting less and lesser in our midst.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

An assassin lives within me

An assassin lives within me

destroyer of faith

I kill in my cold blooded neutrality,

the reasons to love.

I kill the possibilities

that could have emerged

from the womb of eternal truth.

How easily I terminate

the promises that I made

to myself,

in selfish moments of lust.

I am cruel when I penetrate

my sharp sword into my victim.

Fully in my senses

and knowing very well

what will happen next

I throw away goodness

to embrace the evil.

Grappling with the questions

of right and wrong

I smother my morality.

I ravage the chastity of conscience

and bury it deep.

In such moments of frenzy,

I realise I am a killer

An assassin lives within me.

Random thoughts 25042017

#BitterPill  To all those who are fond of hailing all decisions and announcements of the Union government since May 2014 as " Out of the box " ideas, this AADHAR card like ID proof for Cows must be the crowning glory.
That the highest seat of justice in this country has to hear such submissions by the legal representative  of the Union government in all seriousness is by itself a telling comment on the priorities that the nation grapple with presently.
I can only wonder at the other contents which are to be unboxed in due course. But as long as the clapper boys are ready to cheer their hero , we have to put up with all sorts of lopsided priorities to cover the deficiencies in delivery of the promises. 

xxxxxxxxxx

Whenever a major terror attack takes place, killing a large number of security personnel, be it police, para-military or military, there occurs a justifiably shrill condemnation of such " Dastardly attack", sympathetic support for the security forces, a wave of patriotic fervour and precious little more in terms of action to ensure that such carnage do not happen again. Of course, we forget the roaring vows of " fitting reply" and varying degrees of Ninda, Kadhi Ninda, Ati Ninda, Maha Ninda and more from the ministers.
As concerned citizens of the country, we are expected to fall in line, follow the template and prove our patriotism. Any question on the reasons for such terrorism or any queries on the glaring security lapses is rebuffed with tags of "anti-national". Nobody is accountable, ministers and the government just brush off the incidents like specks of dust from their spotlessly clean jackets. So it's better to keep silent. Remember Pathankot and what happened then. Looks like Sukama will go the same way in some file.
But surely, a country where tagging cows with unique identity get priority deserves such rude awakenings from time to time. Then again go to sleep.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Random thoughts 21042017

#BitterPill A lot of hue and cry has been made over the recent statements made by singer Sonu Nigam on the subject of the sound of Azaan on loudspeaker , disturbing his sleep. People have very quickly divided themselves into for and against camps, and the issue has been portrayed variously as a religious matter, secular ethos and liberal views. Most of the people seem to have taken stands based on their emotions , prejudices and political views.
Any controversy with religious colour on this matter is needless because our allegiance as a citizen of the Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic  Republic of India should primarily be with the constitution which is supported by the legal system and laws enacted by the elected representatives.  Either we follow the constitution or  rewrite it to suit our needs. Either we change the laws or let us follow them. People giving statements right and left on the subject of use or misuse of loudspeakers may please note that there is indeed a law on this subject too.
 
The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 has been enacted by the Government of India in exercise of its powers conferred under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Under rule 5 of the law there are some restrictions imposed on the use of loud speakers/ public address system, which says-

(l)       A loudspeaker or a public address system shall not be used except after obtaining written permission from the authority. -

(2)       A loud speaker or a public address system shall not be used at night (between 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.) except in closed premises for communication within, e.g. auditoria, conference rooms, conference  rooms, community halls and banquet halls.
The law also has other aspects like noise pollution, silence zones, consequence of violation, responsibility, ambient air quality, power to prohibit , statutory provisions and many other things mentioned therein.
Why not let the law take its own course and if we have to take a stand then let us take it in favour of the law and the legal provisions . And let it be applicable to all instances i.e. for marriage parties, political meetings , religious congregations,  corporate activities , IPL matches  and even musical functions (in some of which perhaps Mr. Sonu Nigam performs himself) . And the responsibility of enforcing the law lies solely with the government machinery because noise pollution is a matter of Law and Order , not an issue to be identified with this religion or that religion.
But I wonder, if some people are so concerned about noise pollution or disturbance from it then why don't they file a FIR. Tweets and FB posts do not stop anything. But of course, it enhances the visibility of a profile. Only legal steps can stop something which is illegal. There are laws but we don't bother using them or feel afraid to use the provisions for lodging a complain. That should be a matter of introspection. If you can't fight injustice then no point in crying over it. Better keep quiet and enjoy life as others are doing.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Random thoughts 18042017


#Trivia Females in India who wear Saris generally wear an inner skirt called "Saya" over which the sari is draped around , except when wearing it in the old Maharashtrian style. Though the dress Sari is being used by Indians, perhaps from ancient times, the use of this petticoat called Saya is perhaps not very old. It seems to be influenced by Europeans. In fact the word Saya itself is Spanish meaning petticoat. Those who thought that it is a Indian dress and part of our often touted great and ancient Hindu culture may please note this fact.

So the valid question which comes next  to mind then is - Did the Indian women actually use any underdress in earlier times ? Perhaps not . So that means all those scenes in TV and films of Draupadi in her petticoats during the Vastra haran scene in Mahabharata are all wrong. Isn't it ?

Further another hypothetical question which pops up is - If India indeed becomes a Hindu Rashtra as envisaged or dreamt of by many , will there be a ban on wearing Sayas under the Saris ? I know by now many females are ready to hurl stones at me. So I stop here.

Sorry, but can't help such stray thoughts coming to mind. I am like that only.#RandomThoughts

Random thoughts 17042017


#RandomThoughts Was just wondering about Baluchistan, which will be soon the next hot spot, as things are moving. But then I suddenly realise that I have never met a  Baloch or even a person of Baloch ancestry.

Being born and brought up in a melting pot place like Jamshedpur and then having lived in places like Kolkata, Mumbai and North Bengal I have come across different persons with origins varying from Burma to Afghanistan, Nagas to Adiyars , Nepali to Tulu, Muslim Santhals to Roman Catholic Brahmins (Yes, yes this is a fact) but somehow never came across any Baloch.

There are a lot of Sindhis in Mumbai  and Delhi. The Sindhi is a scheduled language for India . There must be some Balochis too.  What type of language that they speak , any idea ? I mean is it more like Pashto,Punjabi or Sindhi ? Have you met one of them ? If anyone reading this post can share their personal experience about knowing or  interacting with Balochis, that will be welcome.


If Kulbhushan Jadhav is a private Indian citizen and not done anything to deserve death sentence, then we must try our best to save him from being hanged .

But if he is indeed a spy who has been sent there by the Indian establishment , no efforts should be spared to get him released. Because he is in this rut to serve the country and he should be brought back as a hero.

Random thoughts 18042017


#Trivia Females in India who wear Saris generally wear an inner skirt called "Saya" over which the sari is draped around , except when wearing it in the old Maharashtrian style. Though the dress Sari is being used by Indians, perhaps from ancient times, the use of this petticoat called Saya is perhaps not very old. It seems to be influenced by Europeans. In fact the word Saya itself is Spanish meaning petticoat. Those who thought that it is a Indian dress and part of our often touted great and ancient Hindu culture may please note this fact.

So the valid question which comes next  to mind then is - Did the Indian women actually use any underdress in earlier times ? Perhaps not . So that means all those scenes in TV and films of Draupadi in her petticoats during the Vastra haran scene in Mahabharata are all wrong. Isn't it ?

Further another hypothetical question which pops up is - If India indeed becomes a Hindu Rashtra as envisaged or dreamt of by many , will there be a ban on wearing Sayas under the Saris ? I know by now many females are ready to hurl stones at me. So I stop here.

Sorry, but can't help such stray thoughts coming to mind. I am like that only.#RandomThoughts

Random thoughts 19042017

#RandomThoughts The secular reforms of Turkey, which were initiated by the Republic's founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, appears to have failed. The political, economic, and cultural reforms which were initiated by Mustafa Kemal were revolutionary and served as a template for all secular states. Among the two most important reforms he brought in were making primary education free and compulsory and granting  Turkish women equal civil and political rights. These were done ahead of many Western countries. The constitutional referendum that was held throughout Turkey on 16 April 2017  to approve 18 proposed amendments to the Turkish constitution, perhaps changes all that.

The new administrative system will take effect after the elections in 2019 when Erdogan's current term ends, yet immediate changes are enabled for the president to head the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) while serving as president, and make high-level appointments, including members of Turkey's top judicial body without parliamentary approval.The new powers would allow Erdogan to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and state officials as well as dissolve  parliament. He could also potentially stay in power until 2029, while the prime minister's position would be abolished. No foreign or domestic political power can effectively challenge Erdogan's authority in Turkey now. As Erdogan grows more powerful, Turkey will become less and less Westernized and consequently, less secular too.

#BitterPill  All over the world maps keep on changing . Over the last 100 years itself so many countries have vanished and so many have come up . It should not surprise us if within the next 50 to 100 years, the map of India is also redrawn. What seems impossible now may always be treated as the logical solution after five decades.

If we apply ourselves honestly and objectively without letting nationalist sentiments or the synthetic patriotism cloud our mind and detach ourselves from the ensuing result, then it will be obvious to  all of us that given the situation prevailing there, Kashmir should not stay within India. Our presence there is like an occupation force.  It is a stark reality that is facing us and should be acknowledged. In the heart of our hearts, we do. The huge number of security forces that the Indian state have deployed there is perhaps a pointer to the efforts that is being exerted to keep the situation under control. There is no point in blaming the security forces. Because they are not there in their own volition. Successive democratically elected governments of the Republic of India have kept them posted there to ensure that Kashmir does not break away from the nation.

As of now the situation will continue to remain like this and perhaps alternate between bad and worse, depending upon the weather and support from Pakistan. Let us all accept this fact. Because as a large democratic country with a federal structure and regular elections , no government can even dream of  ethnic cleansing . Moreover, due to the disputed and special status accorded to the state, it is also difficult to migrate a large number of people to settle there as China has done in Tibet to dilute the mix of population. Because of land border and continuous border dispute with Pakistan, we also can not use force like the Sri Lankans  did to finish off the Tamil Eelam (for the time being).

Force and brutality is not the answer, it can at best be a reaction. The only way we can defuse the Kashmir problem is by scrapping the special status for the state and make peace with Pakistan .  Some may point out that another option would be dismember Pakistan itself. But perhaps they forget that Pakistan is a nuclear state and China will not be amused with the idea. Simply using force without making demographic alteration by mass migration will never help to integrate the state into the Indian union. Kashmir needs to be populated by Indians who own land there, otherwise it will never be a part of India.

As pointed out, this situation will prevail for some time to come and therefore naturally we will hear regular news of attacks , terrorism and human rights violation. Politicians will continue to use the strife to garner votes. On paper, it may appear that the best solution would be to let the state go free and fend for itself. That will save us a great waste of resources. And show those separatist hotheads how the shoe pinches.  But the cold fact is that the Republic of India can not let Kashmir slip away from itself. Because, the moment it goes away, there will be clamour from Nagaland  and other N.E. states which will trigger the waking up of the dormant sub-nationalism from other areas. The genie will escape from the bottle. Kashmir is the cork that has kept it in. So we have no other option but to occupy it physically. Looks like we have already lost the soul. That makes the job more difficult.

But who knows what will happen after 50 years.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Bishorjon বিসর্জন

#বিসর্জন After many days watched a movie that brought a lump to my throat and tears in my eyes. That too in a kissing scene. What a wonderful movie Kaushik Ganguly has made. Such a simple story; why it's not a story at all. Just a storyline of a few days. But what a treatment, hats off.
Bishorjon is a story of love and it's many facets. An Indian Muslim man meets with an accident on the river and gets carried away across the border in Bangladesh. He is rescued and sheltered Hindu widow there. A powerful man of the village loves the widow and waits patiently for her acceptance. This would seem a hackneyed story. But as I said the story is so sensitively handled that it grows upon the audience without getting into a cliche or boring the viewer.
The restraint that the director has shown in exploring the emotions of love, lust, friendship, gratefulness, despair etc deserves praise. Because any overdose would have made the movie a trite tear jerker. But instead, it has turned out to be a story of sacrifice that keeps the flame of love alive.
There are only three main characters in the movie which makes their task cut out to carry the film. Jaya Ahsan just mesmerizes with her portrayal of the Padma , a Hindu widow. I am now a fan of this beautiful Bangladeshi actress. Sans make up for the major part of the movie she radiates the sad elegance of a Bengali village woman. Next is the director Koushik Gangly himself. He overcomes the barrier of appearance and body with such an outstanding serious comic performance which makes you laugh and feel for the character at the same time. Comparatively, Abir Chatterjee, the main star is subdued. But his underacting goes well with the role he plays. In the climax leading to a very brief kissing scene, he cuts loose and only with his facial expressions, establishes his pedigree.
Background music by Indradeep Dasgupta is a highlight and the flavor of Bengali folk music in the songs set to tune by the late Kalikaprasad reminds of his talent. I am very very satisfied with #Bishorjon


#বিসর্জন নতুন বছরের প্রথম দিনে বাংলা cinema দেখলাম - বিসর্জন । মুম্বাইতে কেবল একটি মাত্র hall এ একটি মাত্র show দিয়েছে কৌশিক গাঙ্গুলির এই ছবিটি । বাড়ি থেকে প্রায় 25 km দূরে উজিয়ে গিয়ে এই cinema দেখার প্রধান কারণ আমার গিন্নির আবদার । আমি কি না বলিতে পারি তাও আবার পয়লা বৈশাখের দিনে ?
যাকগে, কাজের কথায় আসি । প্রথমেই বলতে হয় ছবিটি মনে দাগ কাটে । নিতান্তই সাধারণ একটি গল্প মন ছুঁয়ে যায় । cinema hall থেকে বেরিয়েও একটা feel good রেশ ছড়িয়ে থাকে মনে। কৌশিকের গল্প বলার style খুব ভালো । বেশি চরিত্রের ভিড় না করে গল্প কে এগিয়ে নিয়ে যাওয়া তার বৈশিষ্ট । এর আগে সিবেমাওয়ালা বা বাস্তু শাপ ছবিতেও এই ব্যাপারটা লক্ষ্য করেছি ।
অভিনয়ে জয়া আহসান অসাধারণ। কত দিন পরে এমন অভিনয় দেখলাম । বোধহয় শেষ দেখেছিলাম হিন্দি কাহানি তে বিদ্যা বালন। আর কৌশিক নিজে এত ভালো অভিনয় করেছেন । আবির নিজের চরিত্র অনুযায়ী underacting করে গেছেন তবে ক্লাইম্যাক্স দৃশ্যে নিজের প্রতিভা চিনিয়ে গেলেন ।
একজন ভারতীয় মুসলিম পুরুষ ও বাংলাদেশি হিন্দু বিধবা নারী এবং তার অকৃতদার গ্রাম্য বড়লোক প্রেমিক এই তিন চরিত্রের টানাপোড়েন । বাংলাদেশের পটভূমিকায় গড়ে ওঠা এই গল্প দর্শক কে ভাবতে বাধ্য করে । অথচ তেমন কিছু বিরাট ব্যাপার নয় । সাধারণ একটি ছোট্ট গল্প কিন্তু উপস্থাপনা অনবদ্য । নির্দেশকের পরিমিতি বোধ এই ছবিকে অন্য মাত্রা এনে দিয়েছে।
নদীর জল এর মতোই নারীর মন রহস্য ময় । নদী ও প্রকৃতি , গ্রাম বাংলার সজীব রূপ এত সুন্দর ফুটিয়ে তুলেছে camera এবং টান টান চিত্রনাট্য শেষ পর্যন্তই ধরে রাখে কাহিনীর বিন্যাস যদিও আমি ও আমার স্ত্রী দুজনেই গল্পের শেষটা আন্দাজ করতে পেরেছিলাম।
ইন্দ্রদীপ দাশগুপ্তের আবহ সংগীত এই ছবির সম্পদ । তবে বাংলা লোকগীতির রেশ নিয়ে এর গান গুলি দর্শকদের মনে করিয়ে দেবে কালিকা প্রসাদের কথা। নচিকেতার একটি গান অবাক করে দেবে । আমার খুব ভালো লেগেছে ও চোখ ভিজিয়ে মন ভরিয়ে দিয়েছে এই ছবিটি । মনে থাকবে ও আবার দেখবো ।