Mera Desh

Lately i have been thinking more about why some countries forge ahead economically and socially while others are left behind. Obviously there is the factor of time and the starting point, so to speak. You cant really compare America and India can you? Or India and Bangladesh for that matter. In the post-colonial world, each newly freed country was left with a separate set of resources, usable and not.
Some countries’ local industries were developed while under the British rule and thus were already years ahead of the ones which had suffered from complete industrial rape. I think India is one of the lesser fortunate ones. We have come a long way since ’47 and our industries have gained enough momentum to work towards international competence (some of them at least). We may have one of the biggest telephone networks in the world now thanks to the Ambanis and our I.T. industry and the service industries may be benefitting from the second highest english speaking population in the world, the basic sectors of this country are yet to be of international standards. Education, electricity and infrastructure ( I dont know if this is the right term for what i am talking about – roads etc) are the sectors which are still suffering and need a proper rehaul. Energy Information Administration (USA) – This site claims that India’s production will not be able to catch up to the consumption levels India has. I know I am jumping the gun here, but this is not even what I want to talk about.
That was kind of a primer – what we started out with and all of us know where we are today. What I want to say is that how come majority of the Indians who belong to the middle class and up dont realise the value of giving back to the country ? How is it that people are still buying three cars for a family of two ? Why is it that littering on the road is still accepted ? How come teens rather own clothes for every occassion imaginable and not give back to the community in any form ?
Are the words ‘Hum Hindustani’ and ‘Proud to be an Indian’ just a fad which we echo everytime a bollywood star is paid insane amounts of money to dance to on national television ? I can have conversations with my friends about corruption in the Bush administration and the Middle East, which would last for hours. But what about doing something it ? I am not claiming to be a social activist of any order, what I wonder is have we lost the nationalist feeling that our grandparents used to be proud of ?
Over the past 2 years or so I have come to know a number of families based in Canada and America who left India in the 60s and 70s. They do way more to better India’s future and improve the situation here than most of the resident Indian families I know. How did this come about? Do all of us take everything we see here for granted? Think about it, the current generation (mine) will never see Kashmir and its kalis nor can we hope to breathe fresh air in Bombay downtown in the near future. What the hell man? I dont really know how to solve any of these problems, I am only 20 and still thinking, so give me a break. But what I do know is that it wont happen overnight and it will not be cause the Lords wished so.
We have to make it happen. We have to give back and we have to see it grow. Almost all of you indians who are reading this are fortunate enough to spare the time and money to be online to actually read a blog. When was the last time you did anything, absolutely anything to better this country’s fate ? I cant remember anything besides what was forced upon us in school, that too for 1 hour a week. We all have cell phones and some of us change them like we change underwear (ok not so frequently, but you get what i mean), why is there no general feeling to spend 1/10 of your vacation time in the village helping even 1 kid read A,B,C or do some social work. Maybe i am stuck in some parallel dimension of worthlessness and the rest of you are doing your bit. That would suck, cause I want out!
I wish we had been taught in school more about our country’s plight than our glorious past. I dont mean to demean the value of history or anything like that, but we still need to be shown the clear picture. We should have had assignments in school which made us individually seek something socially responsible to do and show results over a period of one school year. Parents should be made to feel responsible as well, its them who instill the values in the children. Let’s not hold anybody responsible wholly, cause that’s finger pointing and we aren’t the government are we?
I would love to spend my summer here and implementing cheap wified computer groups in villages and districts. Shit, I can even think of a small solution in my head right now – buy those hindi voice activated pdas developed by IIT, contract Banyan Networks to build cheap scalable wifi routers, start a small charity where you come and throw in your old ‘unusable’ b/w computers from years ago, revamp these systems with whatever money is possible and setup a linux computing grid for districts with strategic information being broadcasted 24/7 to the pdas for the people to benefit from for a number of purposes. They could keep track of the weather pattern for more efficient farming, avail of the latest prices to not be made a fool of by the local ‘seth’, the kids could be part of a local VPN and get into group learning sessions, lesser educated kids could take time learning A,b, c and k, kh , gh with more interesting lessons (e-learning implemented locally) and a little bit of entertainment wouldnt hurt. Medical services could be bettered as well, in case theres only 1 doctor for 2 towns, while he is on his way to an emergency for one town, any educated person in that town could look up what to do or be told what to do by the doctor till he arrives.
Wow, got excited there. I think that’s so doable. There are people out there who are striving to get such projects off the ground and genuinely care for this country. Some get caught up in the red-tapism of this country’s government while some just die sad and poor deaths. I think its high time that the youth of this country start taking matters in their own hands. Donate money, work up projects, spend time in the villages and the towns to see the real problems. I think I was fortunate cause I did get to do something like that on our visits to my hometown, but otherwise even my exposure to rural India is limited.
I am pretty proud of this – I can name at least 5 people who went abroad with me for university education who want to come back and do something of their own in their motherland. That’s what we need. Minimize brain drain. Look at Singapore. Scholarships by the Singapore government and some singaporean companies require you to sign a 2-4 year contract with them stating that you will work in their country after your graduation. Can the Indian government not spend a few hundred crores less on the minister’s secretary’s secretary’s assistant’s nephew’s cars and increase such scholarships? Promote education and ensure that it benefits the country directly as well. We all need to get involved, get in there, think hard and fast. Cause time is running out, today we are ahead of a few and behind many. Let’s lead by example and let’s do something for our country, apna bharat.
That’s a dream and this is all talk. and cheap.

I am in Love

With this song from a not-so-old Indian movie – Refugee.
Mere Humsafar
Its one of the 1400 hindi songs on my playlist, most of which I havent even heard ever and randomly it came up and then it struck. The music, the lyrics, the voice. Man it’s amazing how an ever-fleeting emotion like love can be captured in poetry and make actors (wannabe) like Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor tolerable.
I dint think I would do this, but I am actually going to post the lyrics for this song in Hinglish and maybe someday will translate it into English for you as well. For the time being, this will suffice (for me to sing over and over again):

{Mere humsafar, mere humsafar
mere paas aa, mere paas aa
Mere humsafara, mere humsafar
mere paas aa, mere paas aa

Hame saath chalna hai umra bhar
mere paas aa, mere paas aa
Hame saath chalna hai umra bhar
mere paas aa, mere paas aa
mere paas aa} chorus 1

Hai safar hamara naya naya
Kisi pal andhera jo hogaya

Haisafara hamara naya naya
Kisi pal andhera jo hogaya

Kahin kho na jaye yeh rehguzar
mere paas aa, mere paas aa

chorus 1
Zara thehar ja mere humnawaba
yeha agli mor pe hoga kya
zara thehar ja mere humnawaba
yeha agli mor pe hoga kya

Kise hai pata, kise hai khabar
mere paas aa, mere paas aa

chorus 1
Jo Gharo ko chhor ke hai chale
Jo Gharo ko chhor ke hai chale
Unhe kya darayenge phaasle
Jo Gharo ko chhor ke hai chale
Unhe kya darayenge phaasle

hume jaana hai dil ke nagar
mere paas aa, mere paas aa

chorus 1

Long, I know. That’s how hindi songs are, kya kare ? Download it on Kazaa if you can, Refugee – Mere Humsafar.

Work, under pressure

Its true that some people perform better under pressure. Surprisingly, I think I belong to that clan. For the past two weeks I have been caught up with one thing or the other, but time and again I found myself thinking about something random to keep my mind calm or just take a break.
In the midst of all this confusion around me, I have come up with 3 wicked ideas. I am sure if I could write about them, you would think the same. Well, thats not to say I wont bring them up.
Numero Uno: Off late I have been realizing the vanity of designer wear (if this is the proper usage). I personally buy ‘designer’ wear, or at least what I can humbly afford, primarily cause they are comfortable and they last longer. Well, that’s my experience with them. But a good number of people I know buy them not cause they like the clothes but cause they like the flashy sign plastered all over the clothes. Now, thats nuts. It is by far the best system of marketing I have seen.
We pay them to display their wares. The subtle stuff most of us can let go, but some of these clothes are friggin ugly. So unlike one of those morons who just keep yakking, I have decided to do something about this.
I am going to take 5 of each – pants, tees, shirts, jeans, shorts, whatever and color in the visible label with whatever to hide it and cut off the hidden label as well. This is not to change the world or anything, but simply a test for myself – to measure how truthful I am to myself. If it works, then I can rest assure that I have not lost myself in this mayajal (superficial world).
I will be posting photos of these clothes real soon, so keep looking.
The other two ideas I cant post right away. There’s a lot of work involved, but once I have something substantial in hand, you guys will be the first to know.
Let me know what you think of this idea. I am not pretending on doing something universally applicable or anything, but I do know that I am moving one step towards saying NO to following the herd.

Paradise Lost

once there was a land
of dreams and wishes
with hopes and wants
desire and riches
many a day
have i played
in that hay
for life was beautiful
could it be any other way?
now the sand has slipped
through my fingers
and those thoughts transformed
into the needs of the day
must live this life at any cost
thats my paradise lost.

Vritti

‘The waves of thoughts and emotions that you experience in life’ is the literal translation of the word from Sanskrit. It is the information that you acquire daily before you assimilate it into knowledge or Jnana*.
I went through a number of thoughts and ideas myself, before I wrote this piece. How should I write my first article? Should it be funny or practical? Technical or straight-forward? Should it talk about how this site came about or what it aims for the future or both? Do people really need my introduction? Cause the last time I read a web-article I really didn’t care about the author. Is it even about me or about them?
About them being cooped up in the library for six hours wanting to scream out about the atrocities of the prejudiced professor. About being the daughter of a loving yet obsessive father who knows the lines ‘in my days, we never …’ only too well. About being denied entry to the land of your dreams because your mother brought you up to know the God you know. Or maybe about the fact that that they are so bored with porn, gossip and mail that they will do any .com?
What is it about? What is it all about? I know I speak for at least one of you when I ask that question. The all-important question to answer in our lives. Theories have been devised, science has been utilized and lives have been spent on these words. What the heck is it all about? Love or money, me or us, collecting or sharing? To begin or to end? I dont know. If you are on the internet browsing my site, odds are that you dont either.
For most of us that only fuels our drive to know, to find out, to be on top of things. And we arent alone. How many times have you asked a question, thinking you are the only idiot in class who doesnt know and as it turns out, you arent ?
Neither Vritti (.net) nor I pretend to answer those questions for you. What I want to achieve in the course of this site’s lifetime, is to be able to provide an environment without shackles which bind us to commercial reality, one which denounces the biases of east and west and the laws of corporate dictators. A multi-faceted medium to host honest opinions and showcase skills of no ‘commercial’ value.
Let’s see what is beyond the cameras, the make-up and the flashy lights. Let’s be more than we have been told we can be. Let’s know more about this gift called earth. Let’s take the red pill.
*Sanskrit for knowledge.