Saturday, May 28, 2005


A very good friend of mine recently told me these four words. LET GO LET GOD. That friend of mine is extra ordinarily humane, angelic and charismatic. But all social beings-HUMANS-don’t possess these qualities. What do these words mean? LET GO- Letting go all the things as per destined or let go the people and memories that are painful or just keep on forgiving people or all of these. LET GOD- Letting destiny take control of your lives or assuming everything happening as God’s sweet will or if I go to further extremes let GOD take blame of all my failures-personal or professional. It’s very tough to say what my friend was trying to say in these four words. But I assume whatever these four words mean they were told to me for my good. I may be sounding too abstract, philosophical or whatever which is not my nature. I have always laughed away things in my life. But these four words made me think!! Am I still holding upon to something that I shouldn’t? Am I still waiting for someone who is not going to return? I am not sure!!! May be this is the first time in my life that I had nothing constructive to do for few months!!! I was too free to wander into an unknown territory. A territory in which my thoughts control me and over power me!! Anyways let me come back to those four words- LET GO LET GOD.

Last year a railway mishap took place in our country and our esteemed railway minister said that he has nothing to do with it. The safety of the passengers lies in the hands of the Lord Vishvkarma. LET GOD! After that so many big and small train accidents have occurred and they will not stop to happen if same sadistic approach continues. But who am I and who are you to care. LET GO!

Every time our contingent sent to Olympics returns empty handed and we have got used to hear the same musings and ramblings every time. “One billion people-not a single gold medal”, “Lack of funds”, “Corruption”, “Sports is being politicized”, “Nepotism”. Nobody will do anything about it for next 4 years. LET GO! And the moment the next Olympics come we all will pray for our ever-burgeoning contingent so that they win at least one medal. LET GOD!

There are two kinds of students, one those who put in their efforts all the year and work hard and others those who don’t. But at the end of the academic year both kinds of students become really religious. Doing daily prayers and going to places of worship is a must for them! Now it’s all right for the former kind but for the latter ones I doubt that GOD will help! Firstly the whole year they LET GO things and now they are following LET GOD. Why would GOD help those who haven’t worked instead of some atheists who have really burnt the midnight oil?

There are so many examples like these, which can highlight our CHALTA HAI attitude. LET GO and umpteen instances that prove that instead of believing in GOD we are over dependent on HIM. LET GOD! Potholes on the roads, power cuts in summers, stinking government offices, obnoxious politicians, unclean surroundings, our own failed performances, our own failed relations, failed governments…for everything and anything we blame GOD and we LET GOD!! And we LET GO the things as they are!! I am also one of the culprits. Somewhere down the line I also have LET GO things. I have also blamed my destiny or my luck or GOD for all my big and small failures, whether it was undesired results in my academics or lack of achievements in my job or plainly losing some one dear to me because of my shortcomings.

So I thank my friend who told me these words. I may not have got the intended meaning right but the message is written on the wall and is very clear. “PULL UP YOUR SOCKS BUDDY. ITS HIGH TIME YOU INTROSPECT AND TRY TO IMPROVE YOURSELF. REMOVE YOUR SHORTCOMINGS AND ITS YOU WHO CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. DON’T HOLD THE PAST TOO TIGHTLY. LOOK FORWARD TO A BRIGHT FUTURE. BELIEVE IN GOD IF YOU CAN BUT STOP DEPENDING ON HIM.” I don’t know whether it’s easy to follow this message or not. But I will give it a try and if I fail I won’t blame GOD for this. LET me GO now and LET GOD take care of all of us…

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Last month I called up my cousin to get some advice regarding which B-School to join. She herself has completed her MBA this year from a college in Mumbai. My father made it a point to talk to her before I talk to her, as he was adamant on one particular college and was not ready to consider anything else. So he just wanted to influence her advice. Anyways he couldn’t talk to her for long because she was conversing in English and my dad isn’t that comfortable with the Queen’s language. Then my mother talked to her about some mundane stuff like life in Mumbai, food etc. We all know how mothers are! While handing me over the phone mom said, “ She is speaking in English which I am not well versed with.” Now that was surprising because my mother converses in English very well if required. Anyways I started talking to my cousin and found out very soon why mom was feeling so deficient. Following are the few phrases that my cousin used during the conversation more than often…

“Chill Bro!”
“Chillax Dear!”
“Keep Rocking!”
“Cool it Yaar!”
“Rock it!”
“Keep your Fundas clear!”
“Just beat it!” and much more …

Was it Mumbai influence or SMS’ corruption of our language or plain Michael Jackson Effect? “Just beat it!!! Just beat it!!! Beat it!!!” I still haven’t figured it out. What kind of English was that? They never teach this in schools and people like my mother find it difficult to come in terms with this lingo. I think even The Queen herself will find it a hard nut to crack. Now this is just one facet of the conversation I had that day. Something else was also happening at the same time…

Now I am a proud PUNJABI, so I love to talk to people in my mother tongue. I don’t feel embarrassed about it. I find it really awkward to order for a cold coffee at the Local BARISTA in English. Because I know the person at the other side of the counter is a Punjabi himself. Is that what we call colonial hangover? I have nothing against English! But two Punjabis conversing in some other language when they have their own sweet Punjabi makes for a bizarre scene. I find it too strange a FAD. So when I was talking with my cousin and she was speaking in The English, I was replying in Punjabi. My mom was nudging me to speak in English. After the conversation got over I asked my mother about those unwanted nudges with a big why? A capital ‘Y’ of course!

She replied, “What your cousin will be thinking about you! You don’t know how to speak in English! She must be considering you an ignorant country bumpkin!” I retorted, “How can she think so mummy? She knows I have good communication skills! Otherwise how would you explain PI’s I cracked and me cracking all the GD’s? I just don’t like to speak in English with fellow Punjabis if not required! Its just that MOM!” But she was not ready to listen to me with her eyes piercing me. “You country bumpkin” “You DESI” I kept on thinking for a long while after that and tried to find out ways of justifying my actions.

Textbooks in Russia are in Russian. If one has to work in France one needs to learn French. It is true for many other European countries. Yes, English is the language that is important for an integrated global commerce as it is spoken in many countries so it’s a must to learn it. But how does that mean that speaking in one’s own national language or mother tongue makes you an ignorant fool? Why our educated elite thinks that conversing in Hindi or Punjabi is something only lower mortals do? As if conversing in English is a royal act! The God of Small Things is a good novel. But why is it everyone’s favourite? Just because its recognized world wide and may be its in English! How many of us have read the good Punjabi literature? Varis Shah’s HEER, Amrita Pritam’s poetry, Nanak Singh!!! Not many!!! Isn’t it? Well well these were all things I was telling to myself to justify my actions which my mom didn’t find COOL!!

Chillax folks! Don’t think too much into it! Because when once I asked my Ex that why does she like me so much she told me that she likes the way I converse in English. So take the chill pill MOM. Coz it’s BETTER ENGLISH THAN NEVER. Keep rocking guys and gals!!

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Guns, tractors and Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) are three things, which I never thought I would ever get associated in my entire life throughout the 22 years I spent in the comfortable confines of my ever so secure home. But things changed soon. They changed the moment I stepped out of the shadows of my loving parents. The moment I started working. The moment that actually provided me a path on which I would move for next few years. The moment, which would shape the contours of my life. The moment I joined a tractor company. What I am going to write is not at all a cohesive or a continuous story. It’s all about the things I saw and I wondered about while in job. These things happened in the most densely populated state of India. The state, which has given more number of Prime Ministers to our country than any other. The state that still snails along at its own lethargic pace. The state that will always remain an enigma to me because of too many contradictions it has to offer. Yes, I am talking about Uttar Pradesh, our own U.P. UP UP and AWAY was the line used by one of my favourite super heroes. He used it when he needed to fly away in the sky. It was so fascinating to watch him in action. But now the connotation of the very same line has changed for me that fascinates me equally but at the same time provides me with stark experiences of my life. U.P. is UP geographically and away from the INDIA I had seen before living in U.P. Here are few experiences that I went through while in U.P. These are seemingly very hilarious and border almost on insanity but are ironical as well.

Almost every 15 days I used to visit the dealership at Ambedkarnagar erstwhile Akbarpur. The name Ambedkarnagar was given because its the constituency of the ex CM of U.P. MAYAWATI. She had to cater to the needs of backward classes of her constituency. So she cut off Akbarpur block from Faizabad and made it a district and named it Ambedkarnagar, after the name of the father of our constitution B.R.Ambedkar. You people might be wondering what’s wrong with that. Nothing actually, if she had done something more than that. Instead she went on a spree constructing Ambedkar parks and maidans all over the state spending huge amounts of public money that could have been better utilized. A person like me who has a limited understanding of the needs of society also understood that the immediate requirement of Ambedkarnagar was Infrastructure-roads, bridges, hospitals, and hotels. All I could find there in name of development was more of official buildings teeming with all kinds of BABUS. Ha! Wish that lady in Lucknow could have done something more everlasting because as soon as new government came in power Ambedkarnagar lost its district status because of whims of some person called Mulayam Singh. The mundane issues like these plague the U.P. politics and politicians and voters are equally blind. I found it strange. Don’t you?

Once I was moving on a combing operation of an area to increase the enquiry base of one of my dealerships. I was with one of my dealers whom I used to refer as THAKUR JI. We happened to cross a police station or Thana Aehroli as Thakur ji mentioned it. It was written in bold letters in Hindi there “Yahan pair chhuna mana hai”. (Touching feet not allowed here). I wondered what are these words doing on a wall of a police station. I expressed my state of mind to Thakur ji and then the explanation he gave me was the weirdest thing I had heard in recent times. He told me that earlier police officer at the police station was a THAKUR so everybody who visited the police station and even the constables used to touch his feet as a mark of respect. Now a new officer has been posted here who is an AHIR (considered to be of lower caste) so nobody touches his feet. He considered it as his insult and so being proactive he put those instructions on the wall. Weird!!! Isn’t it? I laughed the matter off there and then as I was sitting with a Thakur himself who had a gun with him too. But on giving a deep thought one realizes how well entrenched this caste system is in U.P. The above incident was one of the harmless repercussions of the same. I can’t even describe the inhuman face of this system. Honour killings, cutting off private parts of people, rapes……………….

I was going late in night to Lucknow from a dealership at Haidergarh. On the way our taxi had a halt at a place called Ram Snehi Ghat. My colleague wanted to have a few cigarettes. So we went to a small shack to buy them. The shack owner was selling wallets also at Rs.100 each. I wondered why were they so costly, because they were made of some cheap material. On deep probing I found out that with each wallet there was a forged identity card of some government department or other like Food Corporation of India, Instruments and Measures department etc. Now these forged cards were not good enough to pass high security zones but good enough to pass through some local nakas, octroi posts, getting passes for movie shows and things like that so 100 bucks wasn’t that big an amount to shell out for so many facilities. Now one can find such luxuries in a state like U.P. only. What do you say folks?

Guns had always fascinated men, some say even more than women, and the testimony to that are people of U.P. A person with any kind of social standing and who had enough money to buy a gun would buy it before anything else they may require. These people can move without a car but a gun is a must. I think its better to have Scorpios and Taveras as status symbols. The people in eastern U.P. are perennially scared of something, a death that is not there, a threat, which is non-existent. One of the tractor dealers was having dinner with me when out of the blue he pulled out two guns from his pants. One manufactured by Indian Ordnance Factory that was cheaper one and not that cool and other one was a Japanese made. Sleeker than the other! Man! Was I impressed? Surely! Then he gave a demo on how to use it! “Sanjay Dutt-Vaastav”! What a feeling! Horrible! From then onwards I made it a point to be a little away from the gunman after dark.

Generally discussions of people used to veer around topics like Abu Salem from Aazamgarh and his underworld achievements, political links, university leaders and all those things which were least related to the common man who has so many other problems to think about and still nobody is interested. There are so many other incidents that I saw. One might say this kind of things happen in all states. Yes, they happen but are limited to certain areas of the state or a particular set of people but here in U.P. it was rampant and I hear Bihar is worse and guess what a major chunk of our population lives in these two states.

Many people would say illiteracy is the cause or poverty or high population for all these menaces but the conclusion I reached is that these causes exist in other states too. The real cause is CONNECTIVITY. There are people who haven’t visited cities in their entire lives. There is no exchange of ideas. No accessibility to bigger cities. No roads connecting villages to town. No communication in real sense. It seems that rural areas still exist in pre independence era. The solution I am giving here to all the problems is ROADS and more of ROADS. My solution may sound childish, cheeky and weird but I think the problems are equally weird too………..