Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shades of Life

With my hands firmly on the steering of the car, I was trying to reach a destination whose route I knew by heart. It was in the same town where I had spend most part of my life. I knew those roads so well that I could even reach there with my eyes closed. But, even with my concentration bang on the road and keeping my eyes right over the beam of headlights of the car, I felt like a person who was in dire need of navigation. I was taking wrong turns on the roads I had grown up with. The streetlights on the road were somehow failing to serve their purpose. I felt like I was driving alone through a pitch dark narrow tunnel. The loud noise of traffic from the outside felt like falling on deaf ears. It was totally silent in the car. I could not feel anything. I felt like someone on a decent dose of afeem (opium) whose senses were shut down and whose concentration was hanging on the tip of a needle.

All I was trying to do was to follow the Doli of my newly wed sister. 

As per the rituals, the brother is supposed to deliver the sister's belongings to her 'new' home and family. Such a trivial task of delivering some pieces of luggage had never been so hard for me before. 

I had never thought I would feel that way. I am known in my family as the 'cold' one. I am known to be too practical, blunt, hardhearted, expressionless, feeling-less with my-head-before-my-heart kind of guy. They say, this is the reason I live in a 'cold' country like Germany with such ease. To an extent, I would agree with my family. I do not blame them. I prefer to have such an image.

I have had many fights with my sister as kids. There had been times when I didn't talk to her for long periods. I remember as kids when we used to fight and when my parents took her side I used to say, "When she gets married, I would light up the house with desi-ghee diyas". The house was definitely lit for the wedding but with a completely different feeling than of those times. I understood and knew that nothing would change after her marriage. I have anyways lived away from my family for more than 10 years now. She anyways had lived in Bangalore for a couple of years away from home for work. I knew that we do not live in times or society where meeting or going to sister's family used to be formal and seldom. I knew nothing would change but still why did I started missing her that evening would still remain a mystery to me. After all, I am the 'cold' one ! 

I still do not understand what kind of feelings took over me that day in the car. I never ever cry but there I was sobbing inconsolably sitting in my seat with a flood of tears and emotions in my eyes. I was unable to find my way.

There are some things unexplained in life. That moment would go down in my life as one of them. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gluttony as charged !

Normally, I don't like taking pictures of food. I prefer to bring it to its right place asap i.e. stomach. But a few weeks back, me and biwi prepared manchurian with noodles and it came out pretty good. Biwi forced me to take pictures and they came out good as well. Thought of sharing on my blog for a change to the lighter but fulfilling side of life.

I love cooking and feel that it is the best stress buster in the whole world. No matter what mood I am in, whether it is anger, depression, tension or anything else, it tends to mellow it down to pure pleasure. If there is anything I would like to do in my life at some point of time is to open my own Restaurant.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My dose of 'hatke' Indian Media

I think I have mentioned it several times before on my blog that I am a news junkie. I do not know why but I always feel the urge to know as much as possible going around me from every perspective possible. It is tedious, time consuming and sometimes even frustrating. Even after all this, there are time when I feel, I still know nothing about this world and its working. The famous saying from the Vedas, "neti neti neti" (meaning: neither this nor that, nothing) starts resonating in my head.

Anyways, I thought of documenting some sources for a subset of news which I have been following regularly. Or in other words, how with changing times and priorities, I moved from one source to the other. So, before I lose track, it would be a good idea to document it somewhere. No better way than in a blog post. 

Living outside India and being fed up with the way, the mainstream media in India had been working in the last years made me look for something else, something "hatke". All the big Indian newspapers went online by 2006/2007. Like many Indians, I was a regular TOI & HT epaper reader living outside India. Slowly, I started feeling that these sources were limiting themselves in thoughts and news both. Half of the paper were advertisements. The main news was almost limited to the front pages with a continuation inside. Somewhere in the middle were opinion columns from regulars. The international news was almost limited to a single page. I got fed up with such short sightedness and limited information provided by MSM (Main Stream Media). So, I started exploring other venues on the internet.

Somewhere around 2007/08, I came across Mint. During that time, I has just started to explore the stock market and the business of shares. It had some really interesting and knowledgeable articles back then. It provided me a regular dose of the Indian markets. Another thing which I was hooked onto was its Lounge. It contained some selected articles from different facets of the ever evolving Indian culture. I was impressed by this new form & presentation of Indian media. With time I saw some great minds writing articles for Mint. A famous blogger I used to follow and now a writer, Sidin also wrote for Mint. I felt I was in the right direction. It was then owned by HT with some collaboration from the Wall Street Journal. Slowly, the articles became lame and I was losing interest in it. I felt that Mint had also fall prey to that limited form of media, restricting itself somehow. It made me move on to something else. (though I still sometimes visit it's Lounge) 
Then, in 2009/10 came the time for Open. It was more kind of a magazine but the articles were really thought provoking and their news appeared fresh. Or at least, it's presentation was new. I felt that it was the new and improved version of India Today and Outlook. It was as if Open had started from where India Today and Outlook stopped. It was my new dose. But again over time and due to some incidents at Open, I felt it was starting to go in a particular direction where I did not wanted it to go. Then in 2013, Hartosh Singh Bal, who I was fond of, left Open. I am still almost a regular at Open but now I read it with caution.
In 2010/11, I found my new joint or I can say was looking at something in parallel. It was Caravan. Based on a format which I found similar to Open, it came up with some flow or articles which I had never though or imagined or expected would come from India. Again, its presentation and feel was something I got attracted to as well. To some extent, I can say that Open and Caravan changed my perspective of news information and opinions on several current affair topics. In 2013, Hartosh joined Caravan after being let go from Open. I was happy. Though I might not agree with everything he writes or appear on Caravan, I am a regular there.

I found something different happening with news in 2012/13. A new website came up called Firstpost. It gained more attention during the Anna campaign. It started out with good intentions, it seemed. I was impressed with its format. It was different from Open/Caravan. It was more like MSM but filtered and refined. On and off, I was gradually becoming a regular there. Then came elections and its tone changed a bit. It again took another turn after elections. Now, I feel it is completely in  contrast to where it started. It has started to voice some strong opinions and mindless bashing giving its reader less to think and more to fulfill an agenda (at least what it seems). The website is cramped up with too much things which I would not like to see there. I hardly visit it now.

In 2014, I started following Scroll, Newslaundry, Hoot. Currently, I don't see these with a particular format or seriousness but maybe they evolve into something which can really has an effect. Good luck to them.

It is unbelievable how fast and how different media is evolving and in parallel how fast the taste of people is changing thus moving them to different sources. I hope that Indian MSM also return to sanity soon enough.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nothing is permanent except change

How would otherwise anyone explain, that of all the people it would be me who would start up with twitter? I was one of it's biggest critiques yet thought of giving it another shot. So, even added it as a widget to the blog. Unbelievable !!

I had already written a post once on this blog critically arguing against the use of twitter but somehow realized that there are many things worth sharing online and it is one of the good ways to do it. One might not have enough time and energy to reflect their thoughts on every topic so this makes it easier to share content with like minded people without writing a complete post on it.

This is just an experiment just like this blog. I would like to see if an anonymous, non-celebrity like me could use and maintain such a thing :)

P.S: I think I got bored with all the election posts particularly seeing the indifference people share with the new government.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - N,O,P

- Neiphiu Rio of NPF won his seat from the single constituency state. (CM Chang of the same party won the seat in 2009).

- Almost a clean sweep by the BJD in the state (14 in 2009). Only 1 out of 21 seats went to BJP. INC could not even manage a single seat (6 in 2009).
- JualJuel Oram of the BJP won his seat from Sundergarh.
- The big winners from BJD are Baijayant Panda, Tathagat Satpathy, Pinaki Mishra, Sidhant Mohapatra.
- The big losers from INC are Srikant Jena (former Union Minister), Giridhar Gamang (9 time MP), Hemanand Biswal (former Chief Minister).

R Radhakrishnan of AINRC won his seat from the single seat constituency. 

- BJP won 2 seats (1 in 2009) and its alliance SAD won 4 seats (4 in 2009).
- INC won 3 seats (8 in 2009) while the game changer AAP won 4 seats (non existing in 2009)
- Vinod Khanna of the BJP won his seat from Gurdaspur for the 5th time. I have hardly ever heard about him in national political news.
- Amrinder Singh of INC who is former Chief Minister of Punjab won his seat from Amritsar defeating BJP bigshot Arun Jaitely. Personally, I wanted badly for Jaitely to loose. Maybe because of his arrogance I had always seen on TV as well as in his writings. Ironically, even after losing, he is now the Finance Minister. This is democracy!
- Ambika Soni of INC who was introduced to politics by none other than Indira Gandhi and is a senior in INC lost her seat against Prem Singh Chandumajra of SAD.
- Ravneet Singh Bittu of INC won his seat from Ludhiana defeating noted lawyer Harvinder Singh Phoolka of AAP known for fighting for the cause of 1984 riots victims for free. Bittu is the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh assassinated in a bomb blast.
- Harsimrat Kaur Badal of SAD won her seat from Bathinda. She is the daughter-in-law and wife of Prakash Singh Badal (current Chief Minister of Punjab) and Sukhbir Singh Badal (former MP) respectively. Her educational qualifications are 10th pass.
- Harinder Singh Khalsa (former IPS officer) from Fatehgarh Sahib, Prof Sadhu Singh (former College Principal and known writer) from Faridkot, Bhagwant Mann (actor and comedian) from Sangroor and Dr. Dharamvira Gandhi (cardiologist) from Patiala won their seats for AAP.