Thursday, December 21, 2017

Ironies In India

Most of these lines came from multiple whats up messages and from other sites. Along with bringing smile to our face, these lines have the incredible capasity to make us think as well.

1. Politicians divide us, terrorists unite us.
2. Everyone is in hurry, but no one reaches in time.

3. Priyanka Chopra earned more money playing Mary Kom (movie), than Mary Kom earned in her entire career.

4. Most people who fight over Gita And Quran, have probably never read any of them. True for those who pledge on Communist Manifesto and Das Capital as well.

5. We rather spend more on our daughter's wedding than on her education.

6. The shoes that we wear are sold in air conditioned show rooms; the vegitables that we eat are sold on footpaths.

7. We live in a country where seeing a policeman makes us nervous rather than feeling safe.

8. In IAS exam, a person writes a brilliant essay explaning how dowry is a social evil and cracks the exam by impressing everyone. One year later, same person demands dowry in crores, because he is an IAS officer.

9. Indians are obsessed with screen guards on their smartphones even though most come with scratch proof gorilla glass; but never bother wearing a helmet while riding bikes. (In Bangalore it is mandatory for pillion rider to wear a helmet. They often buy helment for 150 rupees which is more or less like a cap)

10. Try to understand people before trusting them because we are living in such a world, where artificial lemon flavor is used for welcome drink and real lemon is used in finger bowl.

11. Its ok to piss in public but not ok to kiss in public. In many places social brigades will jump in even if couples simply sit on part benches. 

12. Indian parents what their kids to stand out in crowd but dont want them to do something different from the crowd.

13. India ranks high in the list of billionaiers; at the same time India also ranks high in number of extreme poor.

14. Qualifications are required to get a government job, but no for running the country.

15. Toilets existed more than 4000 years back during Indus civilization but now people are defecting in the open. 

16. Spending money for building huge statues are ok, but funding for mission to Moon and Mars invites criticism.

17. People stop vehilce when black cat cross the road but not when the traffic light turns Red. Many simply accelerates when yellow lights turns red.

18. Men bow their heads before goddess Laxmi, Parvati etc, but many don't hesitate to molest or rape underage kids and old ladies.

19. Woman are criticised for delivering girl child but it is the male chromosome which determines the sex of a baby.

Julie & Julia (2009) Review

It’s after a long time I am watching a movie without reading reviews, checking ratings, actors and directors. It was almost 10 in the night; there was many other things to do but I was not in a mood to do anything else. Even for dinner I asked Akhil and Jithu to buy something for me.
It took a while to understand the story line. There were two stories going in parallel. One from past, in Paris and other in present US. Julia Child (Meryl Streep) is a tall housewife staying in Paris with her husband who is working in US embassy. She was fond of cooking and joined cooking class where tutor and rest of the students are males. She wanted to learn cooking and get a diploma to become a teacher.

Meanwhile in present New York, her hardcore fan Julie Powell (Amy Adams) stays with her husband. She also works as a back-office support personal. During Julie’s meetings with her friends she has hardly anything interesting to say. She wanted to do something in life, but afraid to start with anything. At the end of a rapid conversation with her husband, she realize that the one thing she is very good at and fond of is cooking. She along with her husband watches old shows of Julia. Finally Julie decides to start a project where she cooks all recipes (524) mentioned in Julias' cookbook in 365 days. With great anxiety and pressure, she starts the project and blog her experiences every day.

Meanwhile the movie take u back to Julia life on old Paris where she completes her cooking class and tries to publish a book about recipes. It’s very interesting to see the scenes where she interacts with street vendors, friends and her husband. After some initial rejections one publishing house finally agrees to publish Julia Child's book. Well, in NewYork, in present, Julie keep on completing the recipes one after the other and blog become a successful one.

I liked the movie; it's motivated me to write something today for my blog as well. This movie takes you through the anxieties of Julie, her break downs, her relationship with husband; Julia's witty and interesting conversations with vendors, her friends and intimate relation with her husband, a little of French culture and beautiful streets of old Paris. Even if you are not a foodie, this movie is a good one to watch.


Voyager - Messenger of Earth to Alien Species

At a time when we are bombarded with sad news like terror attacks, wild fires, cyclones, sexual harassments; this one came as ray of hope in otherwise black sky.

NASA's Voyager team successfully completed probe’s Trajectory Correction Maneuver(TCM) by firing back up thrusters. They are using these thrusters after a long 37 years; and yes, it worked. As per Voyager’s project manager, TCM will enable the probe to extend its life by two or three years.
Voyager 1 was launched 40 years back (Sep 5, 1977; after its twin Voyager 2). Voyager 2 explored Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Meanwhile Voyager 1 overtook all probes send before it (Voyager 2, Pioneer 11 and Pioneer 10) and entered interstellar space (by the way Voyager 2 is also heading towards interstellar space). Voyager 1 is expected to continue her communication with earth till 2025; till she run out of electric power to operate its instruments.

Voyager 1 is one of the finest accomplishments of humanity; born in the golden era of space exploration when the cold war rivalries of US and Soviets provided ample funding for space race and exploration of unknown. Even after 40 years, it is still able to communicate with earth and send data which enabled us to understand more about our outer and interstellar space.

By the way Voyager series contains the golden record - a gold plated audio-visual disc carrying photos of earth, our life forms, scientific information, greetings from top leaders, sounds of various life forms in earth, work of musicians like Mozart, Chuck Berry, Valya Balkanska, Johnson; eastern and western classics etc. In addition to this golden record also has greetings in 55 languages and some information on how to play it. If any intelligent life forms ever found these records, then they will get some comfort from the fact that there are friends in other side of universe.

It is sad to see that golden era of space is over. Now countries pump billions on new generation fighter planes, missile systems etc. New generation equipments are invented to kill more people faster; but hardly much investment is made to exploring the unknown. Hope that at some point of time, governments or private corporations, even if it is for their selfish interests, will pump more money to space exploration.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Forced to lick his own saliva, barber's nefarious condition possesses a question on India's social justice

During colonial era British used to consider Indians as low class people. It was visible in their value system and behavior. Indian judges were not allowed to decide on rape cases where victim is a British woman and accused is an Indian; during World War II life of Europeans become more import than that of Indians which resulted in the diversion of food Bengal to Europe). This of course resulted in tragic Bengal famine. What more, there were separate places for Europeans and Indians to watch movie in theatres.

Millions participated in independence movement, to escape from these inhuman conditions. They might have expected that independent India will be different. But no, see where we are now. When British left India's caste hierarchy just lost top layer; rest remained the same. New masters came and continued to treat those below as second class; those second-class people considered castes below them as third class... So, on and forth.

Consider these incidents,

a. Barber Forced To Lick His Saliva For Trying To Enter Sarpanch's House In Bihar. The barber's misery did not end there as he was then beaten by women with their slippers in full public view - NDTV

b. On 21 April 2010, 18 Dalit homes were torched and two Dalits—17-year old Suman and her 60-year old father Tara Chand—were burnt alive. The incident happened after a dog barked at Rajinder Pali, son of a Jat while he passing buy Balmiki colony at night on his bike - IndiaTimes

c. 11 July, 1996, 21 Dalits were slaughtered by Ranvir Sena militiamen in Bathani Tola, Bhojpur, Bihar. Among the dead were 1 man, 11 women, six children and three infants, who were deliberately singled out by the attackers. More than 60 members of Ranvir Sena, a private militia of Bhumihars in Bihar descended on the village and set 12 houses on fire.  The attack was reportedly in retaliation for the earlier killing of nine Bhumihars in Nandhi village, by the CPI(M-L) - IndiaTimes

d. In 1991, a young dalit graduate was beaten up  after his feet unintentionally touched a Reddy man in a Cinema hall. The dalits of Chundur village in Guntur district supported their youth. Irked by this, the dominant Reddys of the village massacred 13 dalits. - IndiaTimes

e. A dalit family was stripped naked on road including a woman by none other than police in Greater Noida near the Capital. - India Times

f. Hari Om Katheria, 35, his wife Meera and brother Shyam Sunder were thrashed by Chhotey Lal, an upper caste Thakur, for not greeting him with a ‘Ram Ram’ - HT

g. Group of youths belonging to the Dalit community who were skinning a dead cow were beaten up by cow vigilantes, alleging that they had killed the cow - The Hindu

h. EIGHTY DALIT families from Kadkol in Karnataka's Bijapur district, The Hindu reported last month, were "punished" by caste Hindus of the village with social and economic boycott for drawing drinking water from the village tank to which they had been denied access for decades - The Hindu

i. Since June 2013, Tamil Nadu has seen the murder of 80 young men and women who dared to marry or fall in love in violation of strict caste rules but not a single conviction - HT 

j. Bhanwari Devi is a dalit social-worker from Bhateri, Rajasthan, who was gang raped in 1992 by higher-caste men angered by her efforts to prevent an early marriage in their family. She was ill-treated by the police and the court acquitted the accused. A state MLA organised a victory rally in the state capital Jaipur for the five accused who were now declared not guilty, and the women’s wing of his political party attended the rally to call Bhanwari a liar. She was ostracised by members of her own caste and community and when her mother died, her brothers did not even allow her to participate in the funeral - FeminismInIndia

Problem with caste is, it's a birthmark, a kind of fingerprint. Being good or bad in life is not going to change that person's caste. It is to be remembered here that, victims of this caste hierarchy are also not above blame. Those in upper ladders of lower caste hierarchy treat those below in almost in the same way as upper caste treat them.

Unfortunately, this caste division is not going to end any time soon. Education can change it, but now-a-days education is a shortcut to become doctor or engineer; not for creating scientific temper or reasoning ability (other than the one required to pass exams).

What is required is a focused drive to empower the lowest layer in caste hierarchy by conducting workshops among them, reason with them, make them landowners, break the ghettos and give them a viable lasting job to meet day to day expenses. Conventional methods are not going to work with the speed we need. Those who want to see a model can study how Kerala - once notorious for caste divisions - broke the entire system by redistribution of land, universal education and mass social reforms organized and driven by passionate people. Let’s move away from conventional methods and do something different this time.