Saturday, June 17, 2017

Living under a rock

It is when you are involved in a task that usually your mind conjures up strange stuff, the shower thoughts being immensely popular already.

It was during one such moment that I thought of someone who might have been living under a rock for the last one year. If that person( here its myself ) comes out and gets back into civilized life,certain aspects would need a detailed explanation by those around.

I would definitely be surprised by the lowered rates at which I'd be getting mobile internet in India, thanks to Jio whose weird-one-year free packs would take me equally long to understand.

Thinking of getting cleaned up and buy a few groceries if I head to the nearest shopping mall, I would have the surprise of my life when they wouldn't accept the currency notes from my wallet. I would even have a terrible time if I were to be incarcerated for owning money!!

Supposing I didn't get arrested and managed to buy from my card ( whose pin I surprisingly remembered ) and head to the petrol pump with my vehicle, I'd be surprised to face the pink notes and the daily changing rates concept.

Faced with a currency shortage, I would walk to my bank's nearest ATM and find that all ATMs in the vicinity are either super crowded or out of cash. After half an hour of waiting in the queue for another bank's ATM when I manage to get in and swipe my card, I would be horrified to see it complaining that I need to visit my bank before I can do this.

Infuriated I walk into my bank's crowded branch, wait the queue out and finally talk to the personnel, who informs me that I can't get any cash out without my Aadhar card being linked. Drat!

I visit a friend, beg him to withdraw cash from his account and he informs me that the bank now charges withdrawals too. Having seen so much, I find it surprisingly easy to digest and get my purchases done and go into a deep sleep.

Within a week, I stumble upon these significant and complex changes:-
a) The cow has replaced the tiger as the national animal and it is easier to kill a tiger claiming that it is a threat to the cattle population.

b) Secularism has become sickularism and the thought of being equal is highly despicable in society
c) There is a clown leading America into disaster

d) Trolls are the best source of online humour
e) A monopolistic power rules over entire India, almost
f) All news is fake

g) The newborn state of Telangana has taken flight, and there are many more in gestation and conception stages
h) People are talking about metros, highspeed trains, hyperloop and what not..
i) There are more things being banned than being invented
j) Exchange deals seem to look like a thing of the past as GST( its the Indian Area-55) kicks in
k) America isn't everyone's blue-eyed boy anymore
l) Europe has turned into a refugee camp
m) Britain is no longer part of Europe!

n) Govt jobs are the fad now
o) We have more entrepreneurs and religious zealots per to compensate for the decline in large private enterprise

 p) Yo-yo Honey Singh isn't composing anymore, but his inspired versions do!

q) There are more really innovative new Indian startups and individuals making a difference out there
r) More people have become sensitive to balancing development with ecological health
s) The railways have become much neater but long long distances to go

What I am glad (or not so ) hasn't changed:-
a) Prices of things are still increasing

b) The crowd and heat of the cities keep increasing
c) More farmers keep sacrificing their lives and livelihood
d) Number of super rich Indians keep rising
e) Super rich and powerful criminals stay out of reach of law and stay in vogue


I think I should return to my rock and shut this mad world out before it floods me with the idiosyncrasies and paradoxes.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A letter from Finland

Today is August 5th 2015. I am writing this from my apartment room in Leppavaara, situated in Espoo, part of Greater Helsinki. This long stay of three months is coming to an end in a couple of days, and I can't wait to get back home.

This time around I came in the right season of spring. Surprised to see blooming flowers and lush greenery everywhere, this is a welcome sight compared to the end-of-winter visit last year. The sun was shining bright from the day we came, and all the folks here are in a jolly mood.

I am happy to note that people here just adore the sun, and I realize how lucky we are back in India to have sun all around the year. But the climate in most parts of our nation isn't comparable to the mild sun of the nordic region. The hottest it can ever get in a summer is 25 centigrade. To talk about of such things back home would be nothing but blasphemy.

Nevertheless, the folks were all jolly, more places were accessible by foot and by transport, and we had a hell lot of time at hand. In my normal form, I wouldn't know the limits of my excitement. But this time, I found myself struggling to focus on many things beyond the official business I came here to attend.

My expectations based on the last year's visits couldn't have been more wrong. The conditions in Finland, and my own personal conditions last year made the stay very memorable and excruciatingly adventurous. It was almost like a vacation, minus the official business which we never allowed to be tampered with.

With just four weeks, being my first overseas journey, and freshly out from depressing events back home, I had all the enthusiasm and energy to stretch my legs onto all major corners of the frigid country.

This time around, my journey was packed into an already time deprived schedule, and with a more difficult task to accomplish. I was equally sad and excited at the beginning of the journey. What I felt could be summarized in the quote from the movie "Motorcycle Diaries" of Che Guevara: "Melancholy for what was left behind and on the other hand all the enthusiasm for entering new lands".

As with all the journeys I have done so far, it takes a while of adjustment to get the enthusiasm kicked in. When I look back now, I realize that the first couple of months were mostly lacklustre, mostly owing to being completely absorbed in official business. We of course managed to cover our weekends with some exciting journeys, but most of the time otherwise was spent addressing our official problems.

This time around, the fun was all about getting to (or rather, having to) eat stuff I cook, finding cost effective ways to find nutritious food, fight boredom and travel to major destinations, while taking care of official business. With rudimentary knowledge of how things work in Finland, and a grasp of the tongue, it took me two months to start my adventurous explorations.

The season promised outdoor activities of all kinds, and the Finns just love their outdoors. I have high respect for the Finns in this regard, and enjoyed being there in that season to see them come out of their frigid homes and enjoy like normal human beings.

I haven't quite figured out how to put out the interesting experiences out here, but I guess I have to break em up to avoid very long blogs. I could add a few pictures to save a thousand words for me. Watch out those articles soon..


What went unsaid

Life, as I had only read before in places, never takes the turns we wish it to. It never follows the waypoints we lay in our dreams. Sitting atop a hill, I could very well look back now and reflect on these sparkling words, and relate well to it.

Completely aware that this realization, however solid and significant it is to me and my near ones, doesn't change the reality, I still wish to meditate upon the beauty of active living against wishful living on a different occasion.

As a matter of fact, today's reflections captured a lot of old memories and opened them up in present context. Exactly like dusting a old library and finding remnants whose superlative significance has been reduced to dust over time.

In this particular bit, I meditate on why particular commitments overshadow the larger scheme of life, and at times we tend to lose ourselves in them. I, being a peculiar kind of person, however fond of planning, also have a high tendency to take leaps of faith. Such leaps, bounds, patchy planning, inspired actions, compelled decisions, postponed decisions, shortcuts and so on is what I see when I look backwards to just the last two years of my life.

At a time when I was already at a conflict point with my hobbies, career and health, I found myself flowing into a larger conflict with career, passion and personal life. Conflicts followed, some won, some given up and a few still going on in various forms.

In between all these "life" stories, there were several amusing stories, incidents, ideas and experiences, which I forgot to pen down. I realize that was a big mistake, because I now know that I can't expect life to repeat the good parts or any parts for that matter.

With me joining the leagues of young people turning their lives into 'busy' schedules, assisted by gadgets, a part of keeps struggling to juggle the old way against it.

From today onwards, my effort is on to try to keep the conduit open and let those come straight out in various forms.

And a nice piece from Rumi to add some food for thought:-