Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Poem

I reproduce below another poem written by me and published in Asian Age about 14 years back.


Suddenly in the middle of
the night
I wake up
From my vicious dreams
Of the unfaithfulness of
my faithful wife
Multistoreyed buildings
Engulfed in darkness
People sleeping blissfully
unaware of
Yet another
Multi-crore scam
morning headline
I brood over
My own wasted years
Futility of penning these limes
Unfulfilled love
How shall I get back
sleep again?
At that hour
The Muezzin's call to
In the distance-
That symbol of undying
continuous faith
Acts as a lullaby on my
I become a child
once again.


I don't know why a very short poem written by me about quarter of a century ago is coming back to my mind.


A flat breast

Under padded brassiere

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fastest fingers first

Arrange the following pillars of democracy (in India) in decreasing order of corruption and depravity, starting with the most corrupt first:
a) Bureaucrats b) Politicians c) Media d) Judiciary.

Different people will have different answers as per their perceptions. My answer with my logic is as follows:
c) Media: Because media has the least, in fact nil, accountability out of the four. It is their absolute sweet will as to what they show or tell, in what way, and when. No one can question them. And as a keen reader and viewer I have seen time and again as to how they misuse this power in playing to the tunes of the powers. With a responsible media country could have not gone to the depths the media is today projecting it to have gone to. Whatever doubts I could have got on this account were alleviated a couple of days back through my personal experience with a leading Hindi news channel, when it started broadcasting an issue of national importance for which one of its smart reporters, one Mr. Mayank had got beautiful bytes from me in Mumbai, extempore, on the spur of the moment, but took it off the air even before the story was told even once, obviously and presumably under pressure from the implicated Ministry. They take no time in replacing issues with utter non-issues and change colours faster than chameleons.

d) Judiciary: It also has very less accountability, but more than media. And a leading advocate Mr. Prashant Bhushan very recently gave an affidavit that eight of the sixteen Supreme Court Justices he knew were definitely corrupt.

a) Bureaucrats: They are more accountable than the above two. But their accountability is to their bosses and political masters. Though known as public servants, they are not at all accountable to public. In fact, they do act as public masters.

b) Politicians: Contrary to popular belief, they are the most accountable of the lot. For all their actions, they are accountable to the masses and the people they represent. If people reelect them or elect them in the first place inspite of their being corrupt or incompetent or both, it is not their fault. They become the most depraved of the lot for the short or long period they have the absolute power.


So I have finally retired, I hope so. Though I have retired, the event has yet to get administrative or legal sanction, as the organisational victimization for daring the apex authorities continues. Almost everyone I know has asked or asks 'why voluntary retirement?' I might have been giving different answers at different times. But I feel I got the real and succinct answer today while listening to Shivani on Astha channel. Self-esteem.

Monday, November 15, 2010

'Be a Whistleblower'- - at your own peril

'Be a whistleblower', the pamphlets calling upon officials so adorned the government offices all over India during recently concluded Vigilance Week. But what was not said and must have been added in these pamphlets is ' Do so on your own peril.' This is now evident beyond any doubt from my example. Whatever laws may be made, 'Might is Right' will prevail and the all powerful administration will chew you up. So whatever you be, please don't be a whistleblower for sake of yourself and your family. Media will be interested in you as long as you are news. Don't be naive to think they are interested in any cause or that they will be interested in your well-being. Our judicial system may, if you are lucky, give some relief but it will be available, if it is, to your next generation.
So my dear countrymen and women, wherever you be, don't think once, or twice, but continue thinking till you stop thinking of becoming a whistleblower.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Voluntary Retirement

The D-day is nearing. I shall no more be in railway service from 15-11-2010, that is if I don't develop cold feet at the last moment. The authorities won't let me work- they will keep me waiting for orders for months, they will transfer me frequently and unceremoniously. Fine. I tender voluntary retirement from service. But they won't accept even that! Only if there were a psychological test for sadistic tendencies of those entrusted with authority! How could they allow me peace after I publicly called the bluff of their procurement-systems?

But where is the public, thousands of crores of whose money is going down the drain year after year and for whose cause I sacrificed my own well being? Today they are busy indulging in riots over one Sudershan's remarks about one Sonia Gandhi. They are not even aware that someone attempted to save crores and crores of their money. Where is the media that never took notice of the issue in first place, being too busy with things of more national importance like what Rabri said about Nitish or what Nitish said about Lalu, what is the ratio of dogs to bitches in the world, whether Kareena dated Saif when he was dating Katrina when she was dating Sallu when he was dating, who won in fight between cat and crocodile at a place in USA and so on......? And where is the media that took up the issue with interest but by now appears to have discovered that 50000 crores or 100000 crores of Rupees of public money was after all not a significant matter? I don't know where they are but here I am, a first-rated fool, who will soon be out of job and shall be using up his balance life trying to get retirement dues from the organisation he 'dis-served' for 30 years. Shame on me!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


This classical and historical work of fiction was written by Joseph Heller more than a half century ago and got published 50 years back. I was in existence then and might have just started learning A, B, C, D... It is only now, after more than 50 years of my existence, and 10 years after the author is no more that I had the good fortune of reading it, having been forced by my elder son. I completed first reading of the book only yesterday. Full of exceptional and outstanding humour and satire, it is a very serious work. It brings out the fallacies and depravity of the modern human civilisation in no uncertain manner. It clearly shows those who would care to see what a non-sense all our endeavours are. This novel was acclaimed as a great work and tens of millions have read it, yet we continue to be more depraved than ever. This only reconfirms what Heller had to say about the human world more than 50 years back.

Catch-22 ridicules wars, our bureaucratic systems, our trading systems, above all our hypocrisy that manifests itself in all our endeavours. It is a great caricature of modern society. We would acclaim the work but won't follow it or learn from it. Hypocrisy again. For a sane person it is always a catch-22 situation. About my recent and till date failed efforts to free IRSS (Indian Railways Stores Service) from the professional harakiri being committed by my colleagues happily just because it helps them satisfy their wives and bring up their children better, Heller had this to say 50 years back, ".... Someone had to do something sometime. Every victim was a culprit, every culprit a victim, and somebody had to stand up sometime to try to break the lousy chain of inherited habit that was imperiling them all...." These are excerpts from chapter 39 'The eternal city' of the book. But alas! my peers, seniors and juniors probably are not capable of even comprehending it.

No doubt, the book is quite repetitive and boring at times and it was a pain for a lazy person like me to go through 570 pages, but I salute Joseph Hellar for such a great satire and meaningful message about meaninglessness of what all goes around us and thank my son for having made me read this great work.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Democracy in India

Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Sounds good. People here must be meaning the people at large, the masses. In india, they all vote to form the government. It is an open fact that the majority, about eighty percent of these people, whose votes become the basis of formation of the governments are the Have-nots. It is also an open secret that the people who have ultimately been governing are the Haves and irrespective of the political party in power they have been governing to serve the interests of the Haves rather than the masses. While we have been continuing to deceive ourselves with the definition of democracy cherished by Abraham Lincoln, democracy in India remains " Government of the Haves, by the Have-nots, for the Haves." So what?

"Matter will be investigated and guilty will be punished"

For how many years have we been hearing this from the men/women in authority, those who matter? What was supposed to be the purpose of non-existent punishment of the guilty authoring one scam after another? How silly we have been in having made multi-crore scams surfacing on daily basis nothing more than a media and national pass time! While we show so much concern, use all words available in the vocabulary, we never bother to diagnose the root causes, let alone attempt to cure those. And if we are not interested in that, why do we make so much noise when scams surface? I am told by the wise people of the society appearing in panel discussions on electronic channels that there are sufficient laws to deal with corruption and the perpetrators. They must be right as they are the wisest of the wise. But as an ordinary or sub-ordinary citizen I do wonder of what use those laws are if scams and loot are increasing exponentially by the day. The scams one after another are clearly implicating the top of the political leadership, bureaucracy and now the defence forces. Concern should not be their involvement and punishing or not punishing them but 'how these people were allowed by the society to rise to the top, the same society that now 'pretends' to be shocked.'