ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACKWARD

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When Narendra Modi was elected as the Prime Minister of India, I was overjoyed. After all, I had voted for the first time and it had been to bring this epitome of success to power. I wanted a relief from the scams that were continuously being unearthed from the deep, dark recesses of the parties in power. I wanted a relief from politicians running rampant and arresting any innocent citizen for stating their opinions on social networking sites. I wanted a country that would be brought back to its feet with revolutionary economic reforms and renewed vigor in development. I wanted a country free from unnecessary limitations that would curb the democratic authenticity of this country. Thus, I was very happy when the prime minister announced Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (Prime Minister’s People Money Scheme, a scheme for comprehensive financial inclusion), Swaccha Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean Indian Mission, a national level campaign by the Government of India, covering 4041 statutory towns to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country) and admonished ministers who behaved inappropriately.

Lately, the Hindutva leaders have reigned in the attention with the news of religious conversions that are happening all over the country. The Ghar Wapsi (return home) program, that plans to help Christians and Muslims that had earlier converted from Hinduism to reconvert to their original religion, has been set up in different regions. About sixty Dalit Christians reconverted to Hinduism in Kerala, and many other programmes have been setup by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (an Indian right-wing Hindu nationalist non-governmental organization) all over the country to lure in people to reconvert.  Even though it seems like all there is to it is the news of some people converting to a different religion, it fills me with apprehension. It feels as though we are back to rudimentary fundamentals that we were supposed to have left behind a long time ago. One would think that India has come far ahead and that now its priorities lie in developing the country, but what the people of India have to worry about instead is religion based reservations, caste based reservations, and now forcible conversions to Hinduism. Of course, the members of organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Organization or National Patriotic Organization is a right-wing charitable, educational, volunteer, Hindu nationalist, non-governmental organization) will claim that it is voluntary, and it is high time that we brought back and strengthened Hindu culture, and that muslims and Christians forcibly converted or lured in the poor and the mistreated.

I cannot help but feel cornered and frustrated with what the ruling governments do each time their pressure groups change. Is it not time for us to stop meddling with a person’s beliefs just because she/he doesn’t feel the same?

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Alone? Really?

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Nothing that exists is simple. Everything, as simple as the roti you eat is made up of complex substances. So it is very obvious that a human brain is made of more complex substances, and performs even more complex actions. I am not sure about how thoughts come in one’s mind, or how they hold the capacity to drive us to the extent of taking our own lives, and I am very unsure of how we think of doing something but end up doing something entirely different.

Loneliness is a luxury no one can afford. It is unattainable. If you live in a large joint family, you can do nothing, but crave for a minute of being alone with yourself. And you don’t ever get it, because just as you sit in your room, a cousin of yours barges into your room to ask for a pen or use your bathroom. Just as she goes away, a toddler runs along in your room and messes your bed. When you make your bed mentally fuming, your mother comes in asking an irrelevant question. When you finally get rid of the din that has been happening around you, you start wondering why nobody has disturbed you yet because you don’t expect such silence around. So you get tired of waiting for others to barge into your room, and you shrug that craving of being alone and stride in someone else’s room and bother them just like they bothered you. And all of this goes on and on.

If you live in a family where no one can resist taking turns jabbing at you, and you are the same, you end up fighting with your family every second day. And then you storm into your room, telling yourself to never go out of it because no one wants you and you can only rest your soul in this confinement. But three days later, you get restless and start eavesdropping at what the rest of your family is talking about. You get tired of being in the confinement you have created for yourself and you trample your ego and smuggle yourself in their conversations and then have a good time and promise to be good to everyone the next time.

But if none of the above applies to you and you cherish your loneliness and you think you two get along, you are wrong. Because like I said, brain is a complex thing. You might have the illusion of being alone, but do you ever stop answering messages on your phone, or your mails? Do you ever stop thinking of what happened to you the previous morning or someday the previous year?

You are fooled into thinking that you are the solitary person, but you are really with either real people, or your intangible thoughts. And although your thoughts might make you feel like you are at peace for a while, you will realize that it eats you on the inside to be with someone and share your thoughts, or just be among people so that you don’t feel restless.

WARNING!

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There was a boy. He felt worthless. And he wanted to become something big in his life. What is that he did first? He decided to use less cell phone, disconnect himself from this vast world through the internet to have some time for him. Did he really do it? Or did he just think of leaving it all but decided to use it nevertheless, gently trying to convince himself that it was just for a while? Nobody knows, because I tell my storyteller to shut up right here.

What my imaginary storyteller was aiming at was that no matter whom they are, the first thing we blame of our failures is a small object called mobile phone. When it was first introduced in India 2003, it was a bizarre object which magically connected two people just by dialing their phone number. At least that was what was told to the ignorant old people by their equally ignorant children. No one then might have thought of how dominant it would become in our lives, and so sneakily, that we never realized it. So much so, that our life without a mobile phone these days is simply unimaginable. Be it a small child of five years, who passes his time by playing games on his mother’s phone, a student, who thinks it is nothing but normal to change his display picture everyday on facebook or whatsapp, that pouting for photos is the most obvious thing to do. Or that he has to show his friends everywhere he has been by checking in, or be it the old people. For them, a mobile phone is an absolute necessity to keep a track on their children’s activities or reply to emails or keep in touch with their friends.

People are so engrossed in the phones, that they do not even realize when and how their time flies by. Every night I promise myself that I would not use my cell phone for more than five minutes, and just as I take my eyes off the screen to check the time, I realize that it has already been three hours of me using my phone.

A simple gadget which helps your call people is less time taking than the one with an internet facility. And some might put arguments against it, saying that it is the quick facility of internet on phones that has made us better equipped and more informed. But question yourself- how much time do you spend talking to your friends through internet than using it for banking, or searching information or just working? Yes, this facility, so easily available, has made us better equipped, but all it has provided us is, an easier way of throwing away our precious time. Had this precious time been used to think about where India has sunk or what kind of politicians are really are ruling us, India could be a better country already.

Where such mind numbing facilities have been made available to the most rural parts of India, be it the auto-wallah who is taking you somewhere, or the butcher nearby, or your housemaid, or the adivasi that lives in the jungles, or the banjara who lives in the desert- each one of them has it., whereas most of them are blissfully ignorant of who is ruling them, or what his/her ideas are to make their lives better. Is that the reason we are so easily led to believe anything anyone says?

Although a better phone is defined as the one with every facility – be it the whatsapp, or facebook, or snapchat or whatever, these really are the evils of the society, barring you from thinking of anything but about the little comfortable bubble that surrounds you. And it should never be like that.

Because that gives a wide, unquestioned opportunity to fools, corrupted minds and bodies, and utterly selfish people to rule over us, who think of nothing, but gaining their interests and miserably failing but still trying to rule the world, when their own country is staggering, wounded by the fatal attacks they have made on us, the common people as a whole, our country.

The whole generation, be it the fluently  English speaking elitist children, or the gali ke tharki (vulgar vagabonds who lurk around dirty streets, ogling at every girl that passes by), all mesmerized by a small palm sized entity, blissfully ignorant, working like mules, to pour their hard earned money to the big sharks, and what for? For a few days of pseudo-pleasure, which turns to restlessness if denied to you.

Feminism or sexism?

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Every person is beautiful in a way. It is not merely her physical appearance that makes her fit for someone’s desire. It is her attitude, her personality, her like and dislikes, her views on things. It is everything. After all, she is an equal, with a say in every aspect of life. But that is more of an imaginary situation.  Take going to a food store. There come millions of customers. Some would prefer cereals, some would prefer chocolates, and some would prefer candies. Some who cannot afford an expensive chocolate would settle for something that doesn’t hurt her pocket, while those who can buy a better one would buy what they want.

I believe the same thing goes for dating or marriage. A person who has better prospects; she looks good, is good to talk to, has an amazing body, earns well, or anything the other person is searching for, she will get whoever she wants. Whereas if a person is not so good-looking, or is fat or does not have enough a good earning, she will have to compromise and settle for what is available for her.

This is certainly a sexist point of view. Looking at a woman or a man as a product, as a consumable thing served to the other half with a specific outlook is certainly a sexist approach. But it is noticed, that all of this implies more to women. They are the ones who are conscious of what they look like, or are made conscious of the requirement to be a certain way. And yes, one can always blame this male dominant society to make it look like a woman is lovable only when someone is a certain type. It is pretty obvious that everything affects everybody. A sexist outlook is omnipresent. This is a male dominant society. I recognize about every person to be a victim of it. It could as well be an irremovable part of our selves. It is so deeply embedded in each one of us, that although some might take themselves to be die-hard feminists, they fail to realize that they are working towards the same view as everybody else, just with more words. Not just that, they succeed to make their friends lean towards the same thoughts as theirs. Everyone one loves playing with a Barbie doll. After all, she has been introduced to children as a play toy for all. But little do people realize that they are also introduced as a certain stereotype for prettiness. In vulnerable young minds that can be molded so easily, an ideal look of beauty is instilled. And that defines how they look at themselves and others.

This whole issue is so obviously present everywhere, and yet it goes unnoticed. One should take care of what they instill in their children. Because what they learn, and observe is what continues in the society. One needs to stop this male-dominant approach in every aspect of life, So that a person develops into a human being with sensitivity, with respect for everyone around (their own sex and others’) and not into an animal with no sense, but the basics.

A Happy You

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Youth is the future of the world. Everything depends on them. Economy, politics, environment as well! They are expected to set goals for themselves, and achieve them. That is certainly a very nice way of setting your child on a path of success. It helps one concentrate and streamlines the path of one’s thoughts. It makes them determined and inculcates in them, many admirable qualities and shape them into a better person.

There exists an enormous population of about 2 billion people in India. There is a dearth of human resource available here. So many multi-national companies have been set up here, luring young and able people to apply for their companies with great money packages. The number of people employed has steadily risen up and now there are loads of people flocking to them. But that is the good part. The major demand had been for engineers, and well, India has been one of the major suppliers of just that kind. With more job availability in this sector, there has been a considerable shift towards opting for subjects like science and maths rather than literature or art. Every second person I talk to, either opts for science or will do that in future. It is not just about the level of employ-ability, but it has become a type of status symbol.
I still remember my aunt asking me what i was going to opt for. Although I was mostly unaware of what I liked, I said nothing. But then she made this weird face and said, ”Do anything you want to, just do not opt for arts”. Well, that is mainly what made me opt for science. And to be honest, I failed miserably. Perhaps if I had worked harder and decided to stick to what I had opted for, I would have been someplace better. But looking at the whole thing with a different perspective, I come to the conclusion that it is mostly the social pressure that decides what we decide.

The sad part is the loss of people with real knowledge and neglect to other streams of study. India is a beautiful country with innumerable historical stories, awe-inspiring structures and landscapes, mouthwatering cuisines, interesting wears and many other things which I fail to acknowledge, mainly because of my ignorance. All of these, mere tourist attractions, have people ignorant of the intensive studies that can be undertaken here. There is so much potential undiscovered in India. The lack of initiatives undertaken towards promoting anything other than production of mindless workers is disappointing. Because of a low number of people doing what they want, they fail to venture into their subjects. There is ignorance, restlessness and frustration. Certain sectors pay you more. Sure. But that is not what keeps you happy. That is not what makes you feel satisfied. To be blissfully happy, one needs to do exactly what they want, no matter which stage of life it is.

So ask yourself. Realize what is right for you. And that nagging feeling that keeps you frustrated, agitated and restless will vanish like it was never there.