Monday, December 31, 2012

Newage revolution wakes up Big Uncle Masa

[Resemblance to any institution, administration or person dead or alive is not a coincidence]

Big Uncle Masa stretched in his slumber. Opened one eye and disgustingly looked at the can of worms he had efficiently hidden before him.
The creatures were tapping at the lid from within. He dismissed the scene and turned to snore.

"How can such measly creatures garner courage to wake me up from my years of slumber. 65+ years! no one dared to come close to me. I will decide when I to wake up!"
A little alter, he felt a tickling sensation. Rubbed his fingertips under his armpit and turned over.

But the sensation only increased. He opened both his swollen eyelids and saw the creatures crawling out of the box. Two quick ones had managed to climb under his arms.
He called his cronies to tackle the worms before they set foot in his bed.

The cronies misunderstood their combined strength. In no time, they were buried under the swarth of worms.
Big UncleMasa sat up and scorned.

"This is called revolution Masaji," choroused his trampled cronies.
"Please wave at them from this corrupted balcony. Only then can we be saved," they cried.

"Ookaayy"! He strolled and said, "All will be well."
The two under his armpit clung on deeply and threatened, "we'll wait here until you let it be well."

But since then, Big Uncle Masa never slept in peace. Each time he hit the bed, they tickled him strong. While his heavy forearm would not fold to pluck the creatures off, his ego and modesty would not allow him to expose his sweaty and itchy pit to his cronies to take action.
Helplessly as he set about looking into the welfare of the worms, and all seemed to be going on toward being well, did the can open again.

This time it exploded with a thud. The worms crawled faster, quicker and with more vigour.
Big Uncle Masa walked to the balcony to wave his assurance, when his cronies cried, "No, Masaji. You need to go to the feminine balcony at the other end.'

"Don't wave please. Just cry 'shame, shame, rapists'!"
"What cheek. Now I dance to your tunes!"

"You've no choice Masaji," they choroused.
"I am the one taking decisions..."

"That is correct, Masaji. But this is not corruption issue. This is rape. It happened inside the can."
"So how the hell am I responsible. If they cannot behave themselves."

"Cool Masaji. They are our subjects. You placed the lid over the can because you wanted to sleep undisturbed. So you are res..., we mean to say, you are a respectful person. Show them how concerned we are about their wellbeing."
"Ookaayy. Ookaayy. Keep my ear plugs and eye pads ready."

"We are afraid, Masaji. These newage revolutions pierce through our ear plugs and eye pads. Our lab has begun experimenting new models of plugs and pads. We will keep you updated."

2012 – when India stood stripped

The Mayans cried wolf long before the world stepped into the 21st century.
Their wolf never whimpered, yet they survived with impunity, presumably even with their heads held high, because they did no harm to any living soul.
They only predicted doom, but the world's largest democracy was pushed into one by some ruthless beasts in the national capital.

They struck in the dark, assaulting her modesty.
India stands stripped. Exposed.
Yards of the tricolour will not drape the shame. Umpteen speeches, demonstrations, laws, punishments [in no particular order] will not cover the scars.

But there is hope. That is the beauty of human life. And so considering that our government comprises human beings, I will take the risk to say that they will rise up.
That is human nature. When you are thrown in the deepest and darkest pit, after the initial shock of discovering where you have landed, you strangely find the solitude in there to determine how you landed there. That's when the actual realisation dawns and you make efforts to climb up.

In this case, the entire nation seems to be waiting to offer their helping hand to the government to safeguard their collective modesty. To pull it out into the bright sunlight of the New Year.
However, are all the hands that are holding a candle lightening another.

We must. Should. Ought to.
Demonstrations, threats, statistics, emotions and viral content ever since that shameful act on December 16 have spruced up the administration.

Now give them the space to act. Let's not begin our pet peeve of six-decades-of-non-action-we-will-not-tolerate-anymore kind of stuff all over again.
I am not suggesting that the 23-year-old be forgotten. She should not. But let's not cry for the brave heart. She has started a revolution. One that independent India never fathomed in its wildest imagination.

But the crusade she set into motion can be achieved only if each one of us change. While the administration revises laws and spruces up bureaucracy,  each one of us must make a conscious effort to look within. Begin now. Let's not label it a New Year resolution! That egg never hatches.
Morality is the catch. It should be ingrained in our breath and flesh.

Morality is when you tell your child to handover that last crayon to the neighbour who comes requesting for one.

Morality is when teens are taught to lift up a fallen stranger on the road even if it means missing their class test.
Morality is when you stop resorting to the cheapest of ploys to gain that promotion at workplace.

Morality is when we are unstirred by another's pride, prejudice, achievement or betrayal.
Morality is when we live and learn to let live.

[Pic courtesy: NDTV]

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Karan Thapar helps calm my nerves

It amazes, at times even disturbs, me when I discover what struck me from a book. This time Karan Thapar's ‘More Salt than Pepper’ - a collection of his Sunday Sentiments columns - tugged at my career strings and regurgitated the nausea for numbers.

Figures that involved years, dates, age and mistakes – all came up vengefully!

My first job propelled my parents to the roof-top and above. They made no pretentions about being proud. What more! It was a campus selection. So who was I to rob them of their joy.

That was when I learnt to shelter my fallible confidence behind a measured smile.

I had no choice, whatsoever, because remedial time had long lapsed by then. I had erred two years prior to that D-Day, when I had opted to study Mass Communications. So in the final semester when the job offer came my way, I had the added task of playing a journalist!

Everyone around me believed I was blessed, while I doubted my providence. For the euphoria around dawned on me that it was not naivety but ignorance that made me choose a career in words.

Having little recourse, I chose to settle with the confusion and started my work life. The first hour at the editorial offices of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analyst of India (ICFAI) was enlightening.

When I thought I had finally taken stock of my inert resolve and decided to fake it until I made it, came the bolt I could not duck.

Journalism also involved numbers!

I was expected to write about shares, prices, Sensex and all other excesses of the financial world. If Sensex charts were akin to ECG reports, then company balance sheets like grocery shopping bills.

Math! the creeper I thought I had done, dusted and buried, vengefully resurrected to shadow me
After accompanying a senior to interview the CFO of a leading firm, I quit for the first time, telling myself I'm not an escapist.

After six months of waiting, I landed the second job. Comfortably I trained, learnt and bloomed on the news desk of a English daily. I had warmed up to journalism.

When I moved base to Dubai, little did I realise I had to land a job with 60 days to actually set my base. I grabbed the first offer that came my way - a role of as Customer Service Representative. So what, it's just a logistics firm, I thought.

But my nightmare had only begun. Processing shipping documents to countries across the world, numbers once again snarled at me. 

Opening the first file, I was advised by my team leader, "Multiply the value by 3.67 before printing the final invoice. That's all you need to be careful about. Otherwise the process of entering the transactions will be the same for all types of shipments and destinations."

I followed his instructions to the T.

Since that moment, I dutifully cross-checked every file thrice over [or was it five] to ensure if the decimal after a set of digits was correctly dotted.

I survived a year there, because I had joined them end-March.

At the end of the next financial year, I was summoned to explain why the the company had to pay mind-boggling sums as compensations to firms in France, Qatar, Saudi and Manchester. Twelve months into the job I learnt that the multiplication was a process of coverting dollar amounts into dirhams!

I do not imply the award-winning TV personality Karan Thapar was ignorant and foolish in his early professional life. The reason why he tucked at my heart is because he is unabashedly candid about his raw emotions. From how he hid his trembling nerves at his first job interview to his guilt at not acknowledging the right talent; his ignorance of protocol and the embarrassment thereof; his curiosity to dig into romanticism; his dilemma of defining his marital status; his pain after blowing a cheap kick at his dear friend...the list is long.

What's life without minor foibles!

PS: If you have missed his columns in HT, pick up this book. You can see the real man behind that crop of white hair and hear his real voice from beneath those witty, racy statements.

[Picture Courtesy: Goodreads.com]