End of an ‘Atal’ era

जूझने का मेरा इरादा न था,
मोड़ पर मिलेंगे इसका वादा न था,
रास्ता रोक कर वह खड़ी हो गई,
यूं लगा जिंदगी से बड़ी हो गई।
मौत से ठन गई!

On December 25, 1924, in the narrow by-lanes of Gwalior, a nation reeling under the Britishers, saw the birth of a boy from just another ordinary family. Who knew in decades to come, the boy would not only lead an Independent India, but will also take it by storm.

During the era when India was pregnant with problems, and when Congress was at its peak being the sole political superpower, a poet rose and changed the way the game was being played. He called himself a politician by accident, though many would believe he was anything but that.

From two Lok Sabha seats to becoming 3-time Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee proved that his polite political instincts were not a thing to be shrugged off. A man with many shades, his speeches had humor and wittiness, he had the capability of taking on his rivals by a sword wrapped up in a velvet cloth.

Starting a political career from the times of British Raj, he was an avid learner and a fervent observer. Vajpayee was a mass leader, respected across all the political corridors. He had a personality of a consensus builder who led a successful government, marching ahead with his allies. The path of running a coalition government in a democracy like India was never easy but the founder of coalition politics knew that he would do it and with consensus.

He was the one who never favored or spread hatred. While he was in the parliament, he made it look like garden with many different blooming flowers. His speeches were looked up to and everyone listened to it with compassion. He once said in Parliament that Nehru’s personality was a combination of Winston Churchill (British PM known for his indefatigable qualities and spirit) and Neville Chamberlain (British PM known for his policy of appeasement) but Nehru complimented him by saying, “Bada zabardast bhashan diye aaj”.

That was the is aura where his criticisms were taken in a good sense. He was a leader of acceptance, loved by all, had an amazing parliamentary skills and majestic command on Hindi language, no doubt he was a poet. Many times he expressed himself his poems, I still remember the time when he angrily targeted Pakistan through one of his poems. He was not only perceived as a polite human being but also a daring head of the state, he once visited the Kargil warzone in the middle of heavy shelling from across the border. He never missed a chance to give a stern reply to the rivals of the nation, be it our neighbor Pakistan or United States of America. He always ensured that India’s image of a strong nation with great values.

His smile was his weapon, no matter how difficult the situation would be, he always had a smile on his face. He greeted everyone with similar warmth, never discriminated anyone. Even after being a strong critic of Congress and its policies, he once compared Indira Gandhi with goddess Durga. Congress on other hand complimented him of being a right person in a wrong party.

His speeches were as good as him, composed but sharp. He expressed the harshest of words with ease. Even today politicians try to learn his style of speaking. He always tried to keep himself away with all the controversies and some of the terrible incidents such as Kargil, Godhra and internal divide shook him from within. He was never in favor of any kind acts which he thought could create instability in the nation.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a gem who treated the nation as mother and walked the path with responsibility. He was a man with many shades, a journalist, poet, politician, orator, statesman and a Bharat Ratna. Demise of Shri Vajpayee is a great loss to the nation. With him an era of dignified politics has come to an end, forever.
Undeterred forever, breathe easy sir!

 

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‘Un’cultured celebrations in India

AS the festive season of the year has started, the atmosphere is soaked in the spiritual flavour. In a country India, which has a thousand-year-old rich cultural history, the excitement among people for celebrating any occasion, specially the festivals, can be seen. The festivals are celebrated with fanfare and excitement is seen during the processions. There are many occasions when huge rallies, marchs or processions are taken out either to welcome the deity or to bid adieu, to celebrate the birth anniversary of a leader, to mark Independence Day, Republic Day, during Election campaigns etc. 

Tradition of taking out grand processions is very old. It all begins with huge crowd on the streets, devotees attired in traditional clothes and boisterous crowd of youngsters pumped up with energy dancing on the resounding beats of DJ, ‘dhol-tasha’ and ‘sandal’ to the pandals, homes or any respective destination. The mood in such processions is full of gaiety and devotion with chants of god reverberating across the streets. People, specially youth, express their joy and excitement by sprinkling ‘Abir’ and ‘Gulal’ in the air. The streets, through which these rallies are taken out, are decked up. The atmosphere turns electrifying amid chants of slogans from all corners. 

But, many times these processions take ugly turn as some people present in rallies create chaos while expressing their happiness and presenting the culture in an ‘uncultured’ manner. Traffic is disrupted, rules and regulations are taken for granted creating trouble for the commuters. Many times, these processions are taken out at the cost of culture and public comfort. 

Streets are left dirty, anti-social elements present in the processions consume alcohol and make the atmosphere unholy. Youngsters shout irrelevant, cheap slogans such as ‘pappi lelo pappi lelo Ganpati ki pappi lelo’, ‘Nagpur ki choriya, ganapati bappa morya’, ‘maine khaya chewing gum, mera Ganapati Singham’ leaving the listeners embarrassed and make mockery of their own customs. In the name of processions they indulge in violence, perform bike stunts on the road, tease women and also end up molesting them. 

Talking about the disorientation of youth, a well known consulting psychologist from Nagpur, Rita Aggarwal, said, “In India people don’t like quietness and solitude. People in India are more community oriented, social and extravagant in celebrating occasions. From the marriages to the cultural processions, and to the rallies there is a lot of pomp and show. Sometimes such celebrations create huge inconvenience for the people, student, and to the patients in the hospitals. The residents are disturbed by the glaring music.” 

Speaking on the issue of public conduct, Dr Arun Kumar Sinha, Rtd Professor and a ‘Citizenhood Educator’, termed it as a larger issue which relates it to display of religious and personal sentiments in public spaces. He said: “People should keep in mind that we are all citizens of this country and we are bound by the constitution of India and its directives. There should be a ‘Citizenhood Quotient’ in every person which will remind them to be a responsible citizen and improve their capabilities.” 

Not only it’s about the chaos created in the religious processions but on Independence Day and Republic Day, the youngsters go bizarre on the streets in the name of celebration. They take out uncontrollable bike rallies, honk, flash the National Flag in the air, shout, scream and dance behind huge DJ trucks playing shady songs. The youth indulging in such acts portray themselves as the most patriotic people but as soon as the Sun of August 15 and January 26 sets, their patriotism also sinks deep down. 

“As far Independence and Republic Day is concerned, there is no formal ritual involved and in that case the youth go directionless. These youth need to made aware, educated about the proper way of celebrating an occasion. The energy of these youngsters need to be channelized in a proper direction,” Rita Aggrawal added. 

The love, respect for nation and the martyrs of freedom struggle should come from within. Celebrating an occasion is the right of every citizen given by the Constitution of India under article 19 which guarantees the Freedom of speech and expression to the people. But, without understanding the meaning of it, the privilege of freedom is ruined. This form of celebration isn’t good for centuries-old culture and customs we have. 

The people watching these revellers feel ashamed and end up making an opinion about the culture through the form of celebration. An eminent personality from the city was compelled to express his opinion about the 10-day Ganesh Festival on one of the social platforms through his post. He termed the celebration as start of “utter mayhem, chaos, lawlessness” and further added that, “it is a blasphemous, relentless assault on our senses and sensibilities.” 

“There is no harm in taking out procession to celebrate and express happiness. But, this should be done in a proper manner, keeping the decency factor in mind. A procession is not only just a celebratory march but also a reflection of the culture and values,” expressed Dr Sinha. 

While talking about channelising the energy of youth, Rita Aggrawal said, “Youth need to be informed about the rules and conduct in the public. The authority needs to put strict restrictions or issue guidelines for taking out processions peacefully. The brazenness in youth will ultimately affect their own future and they need to understand that. Such stubbornness is due to the rural mentality which many urban people still have.” 

“This is a complex problem wherein we need to look at the cultural angle of celebrations, we need to bring in change in attitude, beliefs and values. The people should have respect for people, property and privacy. The town planners need to bring in a system and construct huge public spaces at various spot for such celebrations. The mindset needs to be changed. Youth should be informed to be disciplined and given better ideas to celebrate a particular occasion.” 

However, Sinha suggested that the society needs educational and resource centres for public. Every educational and community institutions where the youth, their behaviour and conduct are focused upon. They need to be taught that what is expected from them as a good citizen, how to respect other people’s rights, how to respect the environment. 

In a culturally diversified nation like India, the sentiments of public is at peak which reflects in their action during celebrations. No one has the authority to stop people from expressing happiness and joy, and if done it will be like restricting them from the rights given by the constitution. But, at the same time it is a responsibility of every citizen to not only preserve the values, traditions, and rituals of their own community but also of others. The problem is not the celebration but the way it is celebrated. It is not only important for the present generation but also for the generations to come. 

– Long Live the Indian culture 

Delightful Delhi! Really?

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” 

 Mark Twain, 

 

​Nothing extravagant about the night but excitement at a different level. Leaving on a short work trip and with friends has always been a story to tell. And especially, if it is about the experience of landing in National capital for the very first time.

After coming back from work a night before the flight and having a bad past record of ditching early morning plans, I avoided dozing off because I wasn’t sure that I’ll be up or not. To distract the mind from patching up with quilt, I stayed awake trying all the odds. However, packing the bag was only productive thing I did that night. Chatting, staying online does no good apart from giving you natural smoky eye.

Cab-Car-Cab and posting snap stories we arrived at the airport empty stomach and with swollen eyes. A short nap and some songs on the loop made the journey short and sweet. Grabbing the luggage, came out three confident but clueless faces. The biggest question however was haunting us, where to stay and which hotel to book. Done!

Waiting for the cabbie, the lesson we learnt soon after arriving was, booking a cab is much easier than finding the driver in New Delhi because he might be in a playful mode when you aren’t. After a brief session of Right, left, right, right!! We checked in a hotel at Karol Baugh. Dumping the luggage and trying to get familiar with all the strange things and mold ourselves to the laws and flaws of Delhi, we left for our task.  

The drive to the market was already scary as the driver was narrating bedtime stories about pickpocketers, thugs and DOs and DON’Ts when in crowded places. While on the way to Chandni chowk and Red fort, with eyes wide and alertness at peak, witnessing the crowded streets filled with hawkers, visitors, food vendors, we came to halt at our destination. 

The place seemed like stuffed with varied people. After having a brief look at different varieties of lights and walking in some shops, finally we arrived at a shop where we decided to end our search.

The narrowest lanes open for the biggest of business deals and shopping of electric stuffs, “Bhaiji, humara maal Nagpur mein bhi supply hota hai,” said the dealer with an aim of bridging the gap. Why not, we were his deal of the day. The time flew fast during the course of completing our first task.

The day flew in the market, wandering on the streets for selecting and sorting. First task done! Phew. Back to the hotel with hunger bugs, and a thought in mind that where will we grab our first beer in Delhi. 

Searching and scrolling the places to visit in Delhi, we decided to move towards Haus Khas. Our pit stop for the evening.

The buzzing atmosphere there, even on a normal weekday, was electrifying which in return gave sweet shocks to us. Irony of being stags! I hope you understand. Social, what an amazing example of architecture.  The clubs had multiple sections, the best being the roof top. A place perfect for ones seeking place for soulful music, with a beam lightning up the view of a majestic ancient fort situated beside a river, as it was looking. The club was categorized well to cater people of different genres but for personalities like us, Anti-Social was the place to be. Witnessing vague scenes at the club and tripping over large sips of beer, LIT and sangria our first day came to an end.

Coming back to the reality! Second day, and this time we had to raid the crockery market. The hot, dusty day started with the search of our ultimate destination. Unfazed by the scorch, we reached the crockery hub. After passing some 120 shops, as told by a small shop owner, we luckily landed at a place which seemed to have all the answer to our question.

As we climbed the first floor, we saw a man sitting with no aim in life, who knew he would turn into a savior. It took five long hours to finalize the crockery and still some were left. After a long discussion over a big glass of Punjabi lassi and brown bread sandwich offered by the ‘generous lad’, we sealed the deal. It was 6.15 pm and all three of us were impatient with vague thoughts, one ensuring that nothing is left, the other for beer and another lad waiting to go back to meet a person waiting at the hotel.

The most disappointing part of your trip was that we hardly raided the famous food paradises for which Delhi is famous for. Nevertheless, the evening again started with hopping some multiple clubs at Connaught Place, and we decided to stop at Lord of the Drinks. Not, much there to share about as everyone was in their own tired zone. The low level of energy could be sensed as it was a weekday. After a hectic and dusty day, sleeping was the only beautiful thing we did.

One new day after another, came Friday. Finalizing and checking the lights ready for dispatch and thinking about the evening destination for the night. Welcoming a friend, we went to the same Haus Khas for the evening. In the middle of one of the best crowds, the atmosphere was filled with party people, pretty faces, well dressed, having shots one after the other and dancing all heart out on some amazing tunes played by the jockey. The time passed and at 1am every one was requested carry their leftovers and leave. We also witnessed a small brawl between the tipsy toes outside the club, Dilli darbar hai bhai, thoda spice toh mangta hai.  

Meanwhile, the Friday raid ended with visiting the lanes of Jama Masjid. Being a mere spectator between the clan of non-veg eaters, we came to the food paradise. The very famous Karim’s. However, looking at the streets full of humans at 3am, dark, old road of Delhi was enlightened with the presence of Rozdaars, and footfall of the only other community called as hungry birds we sensed how much lip smacking food the small joints at Jama Masjid must have been serving for past many decades. The walk that night through the lanes of Jama Masjid gave a beautiful memory of how rich Mughal era would have been.

Then came the last evening in the city and it was no different, heading out as a stag for clubbing on Saturday is like being convicted for one of the heinous crime. At Odeon Social we spent late evening hours.

One thing I regret about the trip was not meeting extended family and some of my friends, reason being schedule and time constraints. Keeping it for the best, next time will definitely ensure the meet with the very sweet and gorgeous Vrinda Aunty, Disha, Niharika, Shanaya and Nitin Arora.

Finally, with having no such opinions about Delhi visit, the time came to leave the capital. However, one incident gave a slight bent to the perception. As we were going back home from a party, comment from a rowdy, desperate and uneducated hooligan compelled us to turn back and look at him. Commenting absurdly on a group of girls walking in front of us he said, “Bohot maal hai, zara acid phek ispe” and that was definitely not the experience we wished to have in Delhi. Many places were still left to visit as we were short of time and it was a work trip.

All gone down the line! We were happy to be back.

Blues!

Placeholder ImageThis is not a story of a girl but the emotions a guy has when he says ‘Yes’ for an illusionary ride.

He was not ready for the moment, but the time compelled him to. After making himself strong and taking all the beatings from the past, he was not sure for another fall.
Then came a time when he started reliving the moments of his life, after having experienced dance of destiny. He started enjoying the springs, summers and winters. He felt the rains by extending hands out of the window,and touching the rain drops coming straight from the sky. As if the rain drops came down to put off the fire of a freshly engulfed heart. He sensed the drops touching ground and releasing that soothing fragrance. The moment had its own romance, the crave of meeting your love after a long time. The shackles of time were broken and emotions were released. Giving him the feeling of completeness, and satisfaction.
The sky-bound started helping the guy to build the same castle again, at the time when he wasn’t prepared it. He resisted several times, didn’t answer to the questions asked to him again and again. He wasn’t sure of building the castle again and filling with memories. He was rather seeking a permanent asylum in a small hut of warmth and love. The sky-bound rays started attracting and pulling him towards itself. His dark past was illuminated. In joy he detached all the strings from past and lived in the present slowly taking the vibe towards his future.
The start of the illusion starts when the heart starts living in denial mode. Feeling of the loved one around even when she is not. Mentally they start living together where physical presence doesn’t hold much of a meaning.
But, things are not as easy as it seems. Now, talking about the reality, lets take it forward. After days, nights and months of talking he started feeling the closeness and the comfort level was established between him and her. He shared something but everything with her, she gave him the authority to lead and she also sometimes took the charge of the march towards a blurry future. It was a long-distance bond, needed commitment and efforts. She made all the efforts, letting her ego and personality aside just for him, and in return he behaved the way he was. He was caring, and loving but didn’t express as she was expecting. He started loving her in his own ways, which he thought was perfect. Being simple was always better than making promises and talking big. It wasn’t materialistic but pure, the care and love was unconditional, which brought both the souls, separated by distance, very closer.
They met, made and bonded over the time. Everything was perfect till the expectations started over powering love and understanding. She became his strength and he, as a man, became very sure about her. He was attached to her like a tight string, he was perfect with her. But, sometimes love turned into small fights. He was never ready for relationship because he knew that if he is attached to someone, it is hard for him to let off the person easily. He was strong and a fighter for his cause that was his skybound angel.
Indeed, as the time passed by they both got attached emotionally and physically, trying to understand every single minors of their personality. The destiny indicated him that it wont be so easy as thought.
The relationship only demanded time and attention, and for him she said, would fight and face anything. They pledged to sail all the tough times together.
But, then came a storm of misunderstanding which broke the threads of communication. It wasn’t even a fight, rather, lack of conversation was the reason. It was no ones fault, just the time was inappropriate. Long messages and call were made one after the another by him to reestablish the vibe but it failed. He tried to clear everything in all possible ways, keeping his cool and understanding every single point but was in vain. She didn’t acknowledge him, nor did she spoke properly but continuously broke him with her ignorance. Earlier, whenever fights took place he was the one who with his maturity resolved every issue and brought the closeness back. He was so strong and confident. This time he was helpless, he kept on trying without giving hope. He accepted all his mistakes and tried to convince her but she was too cold.
He waited for hours and days for her response but only  thing she gave was her rude and unacceptable conduct. When the testing time came, she showed her immaturity in dealing critical situations. She did many times, but this time it was really needed. He started having doubts about her initial big talks. She wasn’t even ready to talk about it.
He wasn’t prepared for another fall in a relationship which could rattle him, he gave everything he could in saving this bond. She had many complaints from him and when he expressed about his, she got annoyed. She was not even ready to clarify or listen to him. Was it so big? No, not at all.
When he needed her support and response she didn’t care to even bother about him, and she was talking about sailing the tough times together. Like this?

In a relationship its ‘give and take’, nothing should be taken for granted because both have importance. To make a relationship work requires efforts from both sides. In initial phase of a relationship fights do happen, misunderstandings do take place during the chapter of ‘knowing each other’. It is upto both of them to handle and walk through, not only happy times but also toughest of situation. Saving the flame of love is the responsibility of both.
Being in Love is not so easy as it sounds. It requires, understanding, compatibility, believing, trust, support and many more things than Love.
He knew since the beginning that this was coming. It wasn’t working! But, he was and is still hopeful. He thinks he can make it work.
He met her in a flight, she was operating and he was a passenger. The first meeting was such that they both started believing a lie.
–Blues forever 🙂