So,how much land do you have ?

All men are born equal but they don’t stay as such . A very correct philosophical statement. I feel like using it with some modification for those in govt jobs. As a bunch of youngsters you along with batch mates go into the jobs at the same point of time. For some years you stay as a close knit group sharing your joys and sufferings. Joining marriage of colleagues and the celebrating birthdays of newborns remains a regular feature of your social life for some years . But with passage of time the sense of oneness is gradually diminished as different individuals chart out different paths for their journey of life , based on respective interpretation of human values. The equality as individuals is no longer there at one point of time. Those who moved form one plum assignment to another consider themselves as a cut above the rest. Those who have managed to cultivate a few political godfathers or have acquired halo of godmen due to their familiarization with art of palmistry or numerology have less enthusiasm for sharing company of those who are just plain humans. The level of economic prosperity within the supposedly same financial resources varies form one person to another. While some may still be struggling with repayment of first housing loans there would be others who are concerned about the value of commercial plot not having appreciated sufficiently ! Off course goddess of prosperity does not bless everyone with equal affection. For some the proverbial opportunity said to knock once only seems to have kept on hammering at their doors with regular frequency. And so after a decade or so the bunch of equals has nothing equal except the age group and the gap seems to go on widening.

While ruminating over the scenario another famous phrase flashes into mind. ‘How much land does a man require ? ”. The title of a famous short story beautifully sums up the essence of the story and the basic philosophy of life. The story describes the plight of a human being who while chasing more and more ambitions still ends up unsatisfied and is buried below two yards of land which is the size of land which he actually required for last rites. So how much of land have these extraordinary cohorts acquired and was it so essential? The acquisition of recognition and economic prosperity by reckless climbing and pushing must have not been without sacrificing a few moral values. The constant running after the so called prime posts could not have been possible without spending a few sleepless nights for tactical planning. And then the constant vigil against encroachers on your acquisitions must have given you so many anxious moments. The financial prosperity… has it not added to feeling of insecurity against the fear of losing it ? Have the shining assets not created a false sense of prosperity in your offspring making them extravagant and wasteful ? Will they be able to hold your creations after you are not there ? So many questions but do they have time to stop and think ?

Do you love your dog

Dog lovers are a different community . I realized this after we adopted a pet after a great deal of in house debate over merits and hazards of keeping a dog. For years we had considered the dog owners in the neighbor hood as queer people with an unwanted burden of looking after the pet all the time . We wondered as to how they cope up in times of crisis such as a family member falling ill when everyone is preoccupied with hospital responsibilities. I had apprehensions about us being able to tackle the dog training aspect.


However after initial teething troubles the things got settled. Our dog has now become an indispensable member of core family group, one who sometimes also influences decision making process. On my return from any trip outside the city or the children coming on vacation the emotional reception from our dog spices up the welcome home ceremonials. Thanks to internet we learnt so many things about breeding and training of dogs. There are newsletters and magazines pouring out so much wisdom on the topic that one feels a bit guilty for having remained unhooked with this emotional aspect of human existence. An hour long daily morning walk with the dog is now an indispensable part of my exercising schedule. Our shopping trips invariably include visit to pet shop. Whenever a new visitor opens up with topics of dog breeding our discussions go on and on. We are now a family of dog lovers in true sense of term.


But this new addition to my activity schedule has also opened up for my vision an aspect of Indian socials life which is rather disturbing. The pet keeping hobby seems to be gaining popularity by day. On an average during my morning rounds I see five to six dogs being taken out for walk by respective owners or servants. But most of the creatures seem to be not in adorable health conditions. It seems that a fifteen minute outing on footpath for easing themselves is the only exercising opportunity which their masters can provide to them. Some of them are always confined behind the respective gates and are perpetually howling in shrill tones whenever a healthy dog of respectable appearance passes by. In majority of cases the dogs are taken out by servants with a stick in hand. The language of stick is the only one which these poor creatures now seem to know. There is one lady politician who merely “releases” her rascal dog on the road every morning. Since these are only moments of freedom for the thoroughly untrained creature , he satisfies his animal instincts by growling at all and sundry, and chasing all morning walkers without any rhyme or reason.


Having experienced the affectionate and disciplined temperament of dog for more than a year now, I feel moved over the suffering of canines who have had misfortune of landing up with these pitiable masters who keep a pet for fun or as status symbol . A thoroughly organized and brave animal like dog definitely deserves only a master who can bring out his best qualities. For those who have no time to take the pet out for a walk or exercise a stuffed toy seems to be a better option.

Film Festival at Goa

Every year the arrival of the season for international film festival brings in it’s train a debate over the next venue for the festival. Goa or elsewhere is the present topic for debate. In a country with so many cultural streams merging in the film making arena, controversy on such issues is quite expected. Everyone has some pride for regional cultural heritage and would like to see it in the forefront at the national stage . There is a belief that a film festival provides the best opportunity for such showcasing of regional talent and highlighting the respective achievements. Some creative thinkers have expressed the feeling that by creating an all India format the opportunity for such exposure would be shared by film makers , artists , writers and all those connected with the film industry all over the country.


But is that a logic good enough for reducing this international event linked to creativity to the status of a sports competition or a traveling circus ? If we are keen to make this festival an icon of world ranking celebration, comparison with the formats for other comparable events is inevitable. Other famous international festivals are attached to permanent venues which is the identification mascot for the respective events. By changing the venue every year the festival would be having the status of an infant among a group of well established names. The new venue each year would fail to recall any memories of previous celebrations. The festival would be devoid of emotional contents which draw creative arstists from various nooks and corners of world to such events year after year. So let good sense prevail over personal prejudices to strengthen the international event , let it remain confined to one permanent venue.


Now the next issue would be why Goa instead of Delhi. For seeking an answer to this question it is necessary to see as to how IFFI or any other film festival stands apart from other mega events of international importance. A film festival is a celebration for creative instincts of mankind collectively brought from various civilizations under one roof. It is an occasion for sharing tears of joy and sorrow over suffering and enjoyments of mankind all over the world, mirrored in the films collected from the master craftsmen of the art. As denizens we know the international city into which Delhi is shaping up and the hectic life style of the city does not offer the ambiance for such emotional and sentimental activities now. The laid back life style which was the hallmark of Lutyen’s city at some stage of it’s growth is now only a part of our memories .


The city is fast moving towards virtualisation of all human activities where computers may sometimes take over our lives very much like the scenario visualized by the creator of masterpiece Matrix. In this fast paced journey we have no time to lament over the loss of film festival.City of Delhi served the interest of the festival in the evolutionary stage by providing the infrastructure and exposure.Now let it move to serene beaches of Goa which otherwise has the biggest exposure to international tourist in the tourism season and is the best known city for fun and frolick in the international stage.The poetic , emotional, creativity inspiring atmosphere missing from Delhi is however something with which Goa is blessed in abundance.


Having witnessed one of the film festivals leaves no doubt that the beautifully painted houses, smartly dressed locals in all nature of dresses, the lavish sprinkling of places of worship of each religion all over the city, the liberal spirits and free flowing wines of all descriptions leave Goa as the only natural choice for the International festival. All over the world people love Goa more than any place in India . It conjures up pleasant visions of celebration in minds of everyone who has visited or heard about the place. So let the film festival remain like that. Let it have the stamp of Goa.

Tsunami in Delhi

26th December 2004 was an unforgettable day for people living in many coastal cities in India . The powerful earthquake and the gigantic Tsunami waves which followed it shook several peaceful and sleepy towns out of their slumber, swept away several habitations from face of earth and in the process left painful memories of loss of near and dear ones for survivors. But human beings are just play things in the hands of nature so civilizations silently bear the sufferings arising out of such acts of devastation at the hands of the creator.


But how do we react to a Tsunami created in the national capital by politicians for the sake of publicity at the cost of public . Tsunami in a coastal city may be a something acceptable for natural compulsions but Tsunami in the land locked capital city of the country ? What does it mean ? Tsunami I am referring to here is a rally of human beings which is due to engulf the Capital city around the third anniversary of the original Tsunami .The occasion for rally is the celebrations for the empowerment of the Panchayati Raj institutions in the country . The proposed sweeping mega event which seems to owe its creation to brain waves originating in the ever creative mind of some ruling think tank is slated to hit the city on Christmas eve with a mega force . Train loads of members of panchayats and their families numbering more than 2.5 Lakhs are expected to descend on the city at the call of respected Prime Minister to participate in this celebration of transfer of democratic rights to grassroots level by virtue of a constitutional amendments several years back .


The persons in charge of the affairs started everything at a breakneck pace as if there was a fear that time was running out for the Govt. The first meeting was organized at a notice of barely 48 hours. Since it was impossible for senior officers of States (who have to send the participants) to attend the meeting at such short notice, so the Delhi based representatives of States were roped in along with Railways , Municipal Corporation and other agencies connected with logistic arrangements . Stunned by the sheer magnitude of the wasteful exercise Railways tried to plead for mercy citing the heavy cost of transportation (around 200 Crs.) , the heavy traffic movement due to vacations and paucity of resources and time. But the Juggernaut refused to stop it’s run. The pleadings of Health authorities about the possibility of causalities due to extreme weather conditions at the time of rally too could not impress the leader.


The citizens of Delhi have for years been at the receiving end, bearing brunt of the miseries and chaos in daily life which accompany such political gimmicks . Rallies organised in past have thrown life out of gear. People going to workplaces, children returning from schools , persons in need of medical treatment , women and disabled have repeatedly suffered in the past due to blockade of the traffic and hours and hours of traffic jams. Rallies have often created scenes of lawlessness and chaos. Public money worth Crores has gone down the drain, every time when such fancies have struck the minds of a political leader. However the anxiety to corner publicity at national stage always overcomes any sensitivity to sufferings of the public in the minds of politicians. Also, perhaps because most of the organizers have scant affection for the city and the city govt. burdened under it’s own contradictions, surviving at the mercy of central leadership is too meek to come to the rescue of the people.


Several years back the then political masters had decided that enough was enough. Henceforth Delhi would be a civilized place. So a rally ground was developed at the outskirts of the city in village of Burari. It was decided that all those coming for rally would disembark outside city limits at this rally ground, park the vehicles and do whatever they wanted in support of their cause at the vast open grounds there. This time too it was reminded by someone that Burai or even some neighboring town like Gurgaon would be a far better option for this kind of gathering. But politicians know their games well. A rally outside the city limits! Would that receive as good attention from media . Off course not. And a rally at Gurgaon ..would that not give far more mileage to the concerned State Govt. So heart of Delhi would remain the best choice and the human Tsunami would sweep us off our feet on the destined day. Get ready Delhiites.


Subsequently better sense seems to have prevailed. Rally is now Cancelled (14th Dec.2007 )

The Opening up

So many things happen around us all the time. So many small incidents have within them potential for creative thinking and passionate writings.Sometimes these small incidents pop up to jerk the mind. Keeping a written record was a practice in younger days. But then we got preoccupied with other pressing commitments . The writer within went into oblivion.Somehow the events are again pushing for giving outlet to emotions and reaching out to a bigger audience over issues and experiences which give some food to a thinking mind. Then I would not be alone . My thought process would get accelerated on hearing from others . I would know better whether I am wrong sometimes in being agitated over trivial issues or whether I am a truly sensitive person. My blog is a journey into discovery of self. An effort to occasionally try to light a candle.