Wednesday, November 25, 2015

India isn't intolerant, it is too tolerant

Aamir Khan​'s situation reminds me of a scene from Sholay​ in which Kalia does something wrong and says, "Sardar, maine aapka namak khaaya hai", and Gabbar says, "Ab goli khaa..."
People have assumed that Aamir's statements were his opinion but it wasn't an opinion, it was a concern and it wasn't his, it was his wife's. It was like during my school days, everyone hated when teacher taught too much and for many days but no one spoke a word. One day a student is heard talking about it, merely expressing his concerns to someone, and that student is made an example of, bad mouthed, branded a "traitor" of sorts. At least despite realizing the consequences, Aamir still stands by his word. Satyameva Jayate indeed.
So what is it that's bothering us? That we, the Indian people made him The Aamir Khan? Is it about money and fame? We willingly adored him for his performance and he earned his wealth legally doing things we enjoyed. Compare his statements to the obscene remarks made by our politicians on the most horrendous crime, Rape. "Boys will be boys", "Chowmein should be banned because it propagates rape", "girls should not be allowed to wear jeans for their safety" etc. (paraphrased of course). I am sure most of you will remember these statements. Moreover, we laughed off the matter of politicians watching porn during an active parliamentary session. When our guardians who were elected to serve us take our safety so lightly, why don't we raise our voice against them? Because they have power. Celebrities don't have the kind of power to put you in prison. And let us not forget, most of these politicians do earn wealth through bribery and other illegitimate means (scams).
Are we trying to protect our national image? What national image? A nation where millions don't get to eat food twice a day and have to sleep hungry, and live in deplorable conditions, what image should it really have? How does intolerance even matter in the face of lack of basic amenities for majority of our population?
It is easy to boycott a certain brand and movies of a certain actor (i.e., easier to stop doing something) than to try and fix the real issues (not the ones fabricated by political entourage) faced by fellow Indians on a daily basis.
"All Indians are my brothers and sisters", remember? Perhaps with these sentiments he would have shared his personal conversation with the whole nation, like one shares with our siblings. And what do we do? We decide to dig out his past and boycott his movies and brands. (slow clap!)
Perhaps Aamir was wrong. We're not intolerant, we're too tolerant !! We tolerate all the crap and fabricated bullshit fed to us like whether to ban beef or not, when millions are shivering and starving, in our own country.
A country where we let politicians get away with anything but target powerless celebrities, where we get offended by what a person says rather than what a person does or doesn't do (fulfilling promises made during election campaign), where we're ready to attack someone's livelihood (be it Aamir or Beef sellers) just because they hurt our sentiments rather than using our time and effort towards helping other citizens live a better life, I can never be proud of such a country. Perhaps no country is perfect but I always thought India and Indians were better than this.

Friday, August 28, 2015

It happens only in India

People blowing horn incessantly really pisses me off !!
I mean, are the vehicles driving ahead, a group of oxes that you whip with your horns?
And then they are blown horn at by the ones behind them, and so on!
Its like they propagate their frustration ahead.
Sometimes I just feel like turning back and showing them the finger or shout at them, for real!
But then I am not the one who can stand a fight, so I prefer to beat it and keep myself safe!
Nonetheless I've seen this has been a growing trend on Indian roads, the trend of blowing horns, thinking that the traffic ahead will magically start moving faster, or even better, disappear! I mean, how primitive can we be to feel such nonsense!

While the blowing horn mania is quite a recent one, an age old habit that truly is unique to being an Indian, is spitting!
Indians are quite good at it, in fact it doesn't matter what they're doing, if they feel like spitting, they will spit. They turn their head to a side, collect all the material and with certain required amount of force, pull their head back a little and then thrust out the spit while their head also jerks ahead a little. Some who are more proficient don't have to move their head at all, to attain that thrust. Their mouth is powerful enough to produce that long trajectory of spit that's so clearly visible to the naked eye.
Given the insane amount of spitting that goes on, on Indian roads, I am surprised that I haven't witnessed any victim yet.
Indians can spit anytime, anywhere, but only when they're in India! They can spit while driving, or being driven, while walking, while talking, while sitting, while standing, while eating, while drinking... haven't seen them spit while dancing, but who knows, maybe someday!

Another thing Indians have mastered over the years is Moral Policing! And surprisingly, they feel quite righteous about it! But you know what they really are, a spoilsport! They're worse than the guy who asks questions in the class after the bell for recess has rung! They're worse than that monitor who complains to the teacher about those who talk and make a mess in class! They're worse than ... well lets say they're the worst. So what if two people want to be in love and make love, be it within the walls of a hotel or out in the open, perhaps in a park! But NO! They're the ones who decide what's right, because, obviously it seems they either never got any "action" or they suffered heartbreak or they've been brainwashed by those who suffered from the above two reasons... had it been two minors or a minor with an adult, one can understand the concern but two consenting adults, comfortably above the age of 20, have the right to make love any way they way wherever they want! Trust me, they won't go naked and fornicate in a public park, they won't. If they do, please arrest them. Until then, let people have fun! Let them enjoy the good fortune that they have someone to love who feels the same!

And the latest one... girls please don't falsely accuse guys that they've abused you. The situation is such that anything against a girl is now a crime and most guys have no interest in abusing or hurting a girl's feelings intentionally. They don't, nobody does. Please don't be the shepherd who shouted wolf when there was none because when one actually appears, nobody would be willing to believe you and we'd be back to the "dark ages" for females. Things are looking good for females, lets help this movement and usher an age where everybody enjoys all the privileges! I hope I live to see that day.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

customers and babies

There was a time when joint families were quite prevalent in India. And just like in a corporate job, in a joint family after marriage, results (babies) are expected!
With good results, i.e. loaded customer (only baby in the family), or great results, i.e., loyal customer (baby boy), that girl became the favorite daughter-in-law in the house. The jealous ones used other tactics like bribery (getting goodies for everyone from their parents' home), to earn that favorite category.
The tyranny of big corporations (joint families) led to startups/freelancing (nuclear families). Now they can work at their own pace (i.e. do the activity that produces babies), whenever they like, and produce results and get customers (babies) the way they like.
Because the investors/temporary (in-laws) boss can only suggest and they hold no real power over you.
That power has shifted to customers (babies) and their future with the partners in their new venture (family) is of utmost consideration now.
No wonder we've been pampering customers so much !! Now everything can be home delivered, I won't be surprised if they manage to do that for a new house also. Everything can be done online, all a customer has to do is click (all a baby has to do is cry). And customer's complaints are adhered to asap (same with when a baby cries, a different cry).
And how can we forget the rise of third parties (baby-sitters, maids, and baby products companies).
Respect for boss/investors (elders in the family) is important but that shouldn't make the customer's well being (baby's well being) suffer. Nor should the customer (baby) be pampered so much that it forgets the importance of your company (family).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The National Anthem

Every Indian stands up for National Anthem at least at two places in his life. Once, at school (academics/knowledge), other, at cinema hall (entertainment).
The influence of National Anthem during school days spurs such patriotism in kids that we hardly see anyone going abroad for higher studies after high school. But the absence of National Anthem in college days erodes the patriotism during those 3-5 years of college days and in search for a better future, kids leave their home and their home country for higher studies.
The influence of National Anthem is difficult to understand when shown just before a motion picture. Why spur such patriotism in a person who has come to the movies to enjoy and relax with his family/friends? Is it to help him forgive Bollywood, in case the movie turns out to be intolerable and tests his patience more than his boss/subordinates/spouse/sibling/parents do? But then even Hollywood movies' airing is preceded by the National Anthem. Why I wondered for a long time before I finally figured it out. Its simple. We're a secular country!
I still love and adore our National Anthem! It still gives me the goosebumps! But I'm not in school anymore, I have no plans for higher studies abroad and I am sure I can enjoy a movie on the big screen without feeling patriotic.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Honesty is tough but makes life easier

Its tough to be honest. To be able to say someone on their face that they're wrong. To be able to say someone on their face that you care about them, or you're sorry or you love them. To be able to pursue your dream against all odds. To be able to do the right thing, to do what you believe in, against all odds. Honesty is tough. I could never be honest. Where I couldn't lie, I remained silent or smiled. I never wanted to escalate the conflict and turn it really ugly so I submitted everytime. And because of that I've been reduced to a mediocre person in every aspect, professionally, socially, personally, emotionally. I just exist. I stopped living the day I stopped expressing myself honestly.
I've had some friends who've been completely honest with themselves and about themselves. I used to wonder how can they be so honest! But then their honesty guided them in their life and they may or may not have chosen the conventional path to success but now they're all doing very well in their respective lives. I could never be that honest with others or with myself. The day I'll achieve that I know I've succeeded in life.

Following are the things I'll say on a daily basis, to begin with, to help me stay honest:
1. "I love you", to my father, mother and sister.
2. "I really cherish and feel grateful for your presence in my life" to all my friends.
3. "I like you. Would you like to go out with me?" to the girls I've liked in schools, college and in office.
4. "I admit I was wrong. I made the same mistake, again! I'm sorry. I'll not repeat it." to my parents, sister, friends or anyone else should such a situation arise.
5. "May I help you?" to a stranger that could clearly use some help.
6. "I can do it." to myself, everytime I cower down and step back when the going gets tough.

Watching the stark contrast in my honest friends' lives and mine, I've understood that Honesty may be tough, but sooner or later it makes other things easier.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Toastmasters in Bollywood

Member 1: "Aaj mere paas speech draft hai, speech slot hai... tumhare paas kya hai?"
Member 2: "Mere paas, mere paas... Mentor hai...."

"Babu Mushoy, Toastmasters meeting bad honi chaahiye, lambi nahi" - TM Anand.

"Aaj tak tum bolte aaye aur main sunta aaya ... aaj main bolonga aur tum sunoge" - The Ice Breaker speaker.

"Table topics se darr nahi lagta sahab, evaluations se lagta hai." - Dabangg.

"Chief Judge, Contest Chair, main tera khoon pee jaoonga,"says a speech contestant who just lost the contest.

"Rishte mein to hum tumhare mentor lagte hain, naam hai Shahenshah." - Shahenshah Toastmaster.

"Mogambo khush hua," - Club President, after scoring the 10 DTP points.

"Khaamosh!" - The Shotgun SAA !!

"Ye speech mujhe de de Thakur!"

"Contest kab hai, kab hai contest?!" - TM Gabbar Singh!

Don ki speech ko evaluate karna mushkil hi nahi, naamumkin hai kyunki Don ki speech ko 12 mulko ke Toastmasters mentor karte hain.

"Chedi Singh, hum tumhe itni speeches sunaayenge ki confuse ho jaaoge applaud kispe kare aur evaluate kise kare !!" - Dabangg Toastmaster.

"Jo main speech mein likhta hoon wo main bolta hoon, jo main nahi likhta, wo main definitely bolta hoon!!" - Rowdy Toastmaster.

"Ek baar jo maine speech de di, uske baad toh main apne evaluator ki bhi nahi sunta!" - Wanted Toastmaster.

"Taarekh pe taarekh, taarekh pe taarekh milti rahi hai, lekin speech slot nahi mila. Milti hai toh sirf taarekh" - Angry Toastmaster.

"Main aaj bhi doosro ki likhi speeches nahi sunaata." - The Big B Toastmaster.

"Bade bade divisions mein aise chote chote contests hote rehte hain." - Raj, the Toastmaster.

"Toastmasters ka ek usool hai, madam: no Ahs, no Uhms, ... no long pause, no short pause, no filler words, no repetition" - Prem, the Ah Counter in Maine Speech Diya.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Toastmasters in Hollywood

GodToastmasters (Godfather) quotes:
"I will give them a speech they can't evaluate." - Vito Corleone.
"A Toastmaster who doesn't spend time doing club roles (like Grammarian, Ah Counter, Timer, Vote Counter etc.) is not a real Toastmaster." -  Vito Corleone.
"Never hate other contestants. It affects your speech delivery." - Michael Corleone.
"Keep your friends close, but your Toastmasters friends closer." - Michael Corleone.

"Show me the speech." - TM Jerry Maguire. (Jerry Maguire)

"You can't handle the evaluation." - A few good Toastmasters. (A few good men)

"Practice, get feedback." - Toastmasters Kid. (Karate Kid)

"I give the same project over and over again in every toastmasters meeting I attend !!" - Toastmasters Day. (Groundhog Day)

Stage fear makes you a prisoner, Toastmasters sets you free. - Toastmasters Redemption. (Shawshank Redemption).

"I could have given more speeches... " - Toastmaster's list. (Schindler's list)

"Don't let someone tell you that you can't deliver a good speech. Not even me. You got a speech, you gotta practice it. When people can't do something themselves, they're gonna tell you that you can't do it. You want to give a speech, go deliver it. Period." - The Pursuit of standing ovation. (The Pursuit of Happyness)

"My momma always says, 'Table topics session is like a box of topics. You never know what you're gonna get.'" - TM Forrest Gump.

"Master, Toastmaster." - TM James Bond.

"Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your speeches extraordinary." - TM John Keating, Dead Toastmasters' Society. (Dead Poets' Society)

"My precious (speech)." - TM Gollum, Lord of the Speeches. (Lord of the rings)

"Elementary, my dear Toastmaster." - TM Sherlock Holmes.

First rule of Toastmasters club, you talk about your club's upcoming meetings in other clubs. Second rule of Toastmasters club, you talk about your club's upcoming meetings to your friends. Third rule of Toastmasters club is that once the timer shows red flag, wrap up the speech as soon as possible. Fourth rule: only one speaker at a time. Fifth rule: no ahs, no uhms, no filler words, no short/long pauses. Sixth rule: Plan your speech according to the time allotted to that category of speech (prepared speeches, table topics, evaluations). Seventh and final rule: If this is your first time at a Toastmasters club, you have to speak. (inspired from Fight Club).