Friendship – What’s That?

Friendship Day

What does a friend mean to you?

 

  • Someone to hug and talk with when the world around you seems strange?

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  • Someone with whom you can share your true feelings

 

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  • Someone to go on adventures with?

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  • Someone who is always excited to meet you

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  • Someone who challenges you constantly?

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  • Someone who accepts you no matter who you are

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  • Someone who knows it’s never about gifts

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  • Someone who hasn’t lost his sense of wonder and curiosity

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  • Someone you can chill with

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Whatever be the case, treasure those true friends you have in your life.

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The train to the Past

The train to Nowhere

Indian Railways – the lifeline of India have often been criticized nowadays for being too crowded, dirty and generally for being 2 generations behind every other national railway system. But for me trains have always been a source of something important – memories. Memories that have been stored in the deep recesses of the mind to be explored and nitpicked at in times of need, when nothing else suffices. Well, today I felt the desire to share some of these memories with you. Maybe some of these will wake up the traveler in you and urge you to travel those distant lands.

 

Growing up as a Keralite living in Gujarat, Train journeys were an integral and much welcome part of my life during childhood. Going to Kerala each year during the summer vacations was a big deal because of the cousins and the place in general. And since we went by train, the train journey was an exciting part of this experience.

First 8 years of my life the annual trip was Rajkot to Kuttippuram and back. The trip used to take 2.5 – 3 days depending on the route you took. I remember

  • The excitement at Rajkot station as we got onto the train with all our luggage. I was usually handled the responsibility to carry the Milton water jug. Before this I also remember getting water in those rubber bottles which were then hung out from the train with hooks
  • The scramble towards the corner seats. These were not only best for the view but also to put your hand out and feel the wind against it.
  • Those ashtrays near each window. Never found any cigarette in them. It was just fun to turn them around. They went extinct after the public smoking ban
  • Waiting for the different vendors to come and ask Dad to buy something from them. Come rain or snow I always succeeded in getting the pazhampuri coz my Dad loved it too.
  • Getting on to the platform at each and every station with Dad, just to fill water from the nearest water fountain
  • The change in the sound of the train when it passed over a bridge, especially a long bridge like the Narmada one or the one near Vijaywada.
  • The millions of questions to Dad
    • Where does the TT sleep?
    • Why are the trees going back?
    • Signal Kyu nahi mil raha train ko
    • Can I sleep on the upper birth?
    • When does the comics vendor come?
  • Taking bath in the train, coz the train journey was fucking long – 3 days..
  • The one time when our bogie was left in Palakkad to be picked up by some other connecting train.
  • The utter darkness and the peculiar noise when the Train passed through long tunnels
  • Making new Friends on the train, and finding ways to play cricket inside the compartment.

 

As I grew up, the journeys shortened and the memories changed, but the excitement was always there. When Sleeper Class journey was upgraded to 3rd AC, some of the magic was lost. How can I put my hand out, I asked? I had to settle for some lesser sources of entertainment, like switching the overhead reading lights on and off repeatedly to see how long till they burnt out. Even the vendors were limited now. Instead of the Kadak Meethi chai that was peculiar to each station, we had to be satisfied with the monstrosity that was the train caterers “DIP Chai” – Itne Paise mai itna hi milenga.. Even the Bathrooms were cleaner. Where was the challenge to hold onto the bars whie taking a shit in an Indian Toilet in a moving train in a sleeper Class. 3rd AC had Western toilets that too clean ones. One couldn’t even have a view of the outside when the train was speeding. But What to do – Papa k LTA mai 3rd AC milta tha.  Well, necessity is the mother of invention. Like any evolutionary human being I adapted. I began to spend more time reading books/novels. Thus trains too played an important role in cultivating my reading habit.

Railway Stations were also a constant treasure trove of things to do. Waiting for a train was tiring, but a railway station can never be boring. There was always

  • An A H Wheeler Book Stall to be found. Browsing through the latest editions of comics and sportstar magazines and selecting the 2-3 books that were allowed to be bought for that trip
  • A Chai ki Dukaan
  • Himachal Apple Juice Stall
  • Hundreds of Waiting Passengers who could tell millions of stories if they were observed properly

 

I might be 3 decades old, but every new train journey still carries some of that wonder. I still got excited my first time in a double decker train. I almost always check the reservation chart outside the door for any F – (21-31) seated near me, before every journey. The one time when I slept on the floor on newspapers when I didn’t have a confirmed ticket.

 

What do trains remind you of? What are your dearest memories regarding them? Am I the only one to be saddled with such memories? Share Away…

 

 

P.S – My last train journey was also memorable in that I sent back an entire dinner in a Shatabdi. I swear it will be the first and only time such a thing happens. And while I am writing this, I remember that I had put the Soan Papdi from that meal in my bag to be consumed later. Well, Later is tonight and now.. Adios.

Redux SBU

 

 

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When you are too dumb to realize you are making a mistake, does the price that you pay reduce proportionately? Apparently not. In fact it catches you off guard and bites you in the butt like that rabid dog your society never could get rid off.

Evolution’s a fickle bitch..

 

Happy Diwali – here is your Soan Papdi..

India during Diwali is a sight to behold. All of a sudden, for these 5-7 pious days, the city is filled with well intentioned, god trusting and sensitive people. People start believing in being nice to people they know, start inviting them to their houses; hell even the maids start behaving nicely – you know that when they start sweeping the corners they had long ignored.

As a guy who is oblivious to the ways of the world, I was quite intrigued. Until I found out, according to some pre-written law, Diwali is the time of the year when all your asshollery of the year can be forgotten and you can be blessed with untold wealth only if you do the following:

  • Shower gifts of sweets, cutlery and dry fruits on your near and dear ones. Of course they are expected to revert with gifts of similar or more value
  • Pray to Laxmi devi and light some Divas in your shop/house – no matter how many unfortunate souls you squeezed off during the year
  • Observe a whole lot of social customs which don’t make an iota of sense only so that the uncle who only met you once your whole lifetime, doesn’t take offence
  • You fast for 2 days (not eat chicken) so that your soul is purified of the sins committed by you between Navratri and Diwali

Indians surely are a bunch of strange people. They have long started to subscribe to the belief that their sins can be washed off by just 2-3 days of good behaviour. As if fasting and not eating Non-veg on a Tuesday will absolve them of the sin of mistreating their fellow human beings on a daily basis. Just travelling 400 kms in an AC bus to visit a temple will make GOD forget the times when you lied to your family. Diwali is that time when these behaviours are legalized as customs.

 

So get our your Soan Papdis for your neighbours and those dry fruits for your unknown uncle. You only have 1 week to call back Goddess Laxmi to you house. What are you gonna do?

FACE VALUE

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To Take something at Face Value

The dictionary defines it as – to accept someone or something just as it appears. 

Well, we Indians have been guilty of doing this for quite some time now. You want examples, you say??? Well here you go

  1. Honey Singh music – Well, I dare you to ask some of this teens and Post Teens of today with FB statuses as – “Not Working, Still Studying ha ha ha”, 20 years from now about their favorite Honey Singh song. I guarantee most of them will draw a blank. In fact most of them will ask you to check their spotify profile to confirm. The guy is just that. Even I have some of his songs in my day to day playlist, but I still change it with an occasional Rahman song every now and then
  2. Politician Promises – whether it be your Aam Aadmi Kejriwaal or your devta PM Narendra Modi, the promises they made during the election would never be fulfilled immediately. You either have to see your expectations dwindle down during the first 6 months itself or wait the full 5 years for him to implement a part of the plan. You have got to be patient. Politics is like advertisement. You never get what you are promised fully.
  3. Indian Cricket Team Potential – They will always have that potential till Rohit Sharma is in the team. But you can never expect quick results from them with the way BCCI is built. If you are going to let an organization with no accountability manage the affairs of the favorite sport of the country, you have to wait it out to let natural selection form the best team once in every 5 years or so. Then maybe you can win the WORLD CUP.
  4. Social Media Shame Posts – After the example of the Rohtak sisters and the current jasleen kaur case, I have been wary of sharing any shaming posts on Social media without any adequate representation from both sides. Although Social Media has done a lot of good recently in raising concern for serious issues, we have got to limit the herd mentality when it comes to sharing sensitive issues. Do your own investigation and ensure that both sides are represented before shaming someone’s son or husband for some crime that you are not even sure he has committed.
  5. Life Partner decisions – Take it from an experienced hand, choosing a life Partner should never be taken at Face Value. She/He may be pretty/handsome, but if you don’t delve deeper and try to find out a real connection, you will be staring down the barrel of some unfortunate decisions 6-12 months after marriage
  6. Abhishek Bacchan Solo Movies – Sure they have good production values. They might even have top level co stars. His dad might even manage to score some decent director.But you have to look beyond all this. When you are buying the tickets to an Abhishek Bacchan solo movie, you are investing in something whose returns are lower than the lottery. So please do some research before encouraging that guy. Buy your kids some ice cream instead.. Really

Well, I can only come up with this much now. But you understand the gist of it. Keep your minds open. Don’t follow the herd. Make informed decisions and stop disturbing others with your impulsive social media sharing.

Seriously, they should start a new Social media platform wherein everybody can keep on sharing their unchecked, impulsive and not at all thought out political beliefs (maybe – POLITICOBOOK). Maybe then the rest of us can lead a peaceful, stress free Social media existence.

 

Sarath

 

P.S : – Will there be a time when we can be free of Social Media or is this only going to get worse? I miss those times, when people had to actually call or meet others to gossip about their fellow beings..

John Oliver – of FIFA, Jack Warner and some awesomeness

FIFA

I was first introduced to John Oliver when I saw the promos of his new show “Last Week Tonight”. I had been watching Jon Stewart videos on youtube and longed for something similar on Indian Television. But 2-3 episodes into John Oliver’s show, I was hooked. This guy was my new favorite journalist/comedian. His detailed breakdown and analysis of topics was something no one had ever seen before. His videos have created real impact. Even the Ecuadorian president was forced to respond to his portrayal in John’s show.

But nothing beats the latest war of the videos between John Oliver and Jack Warner – former FIFA Vice President who was allegedly involved in large scale corruption in FIFA.

During his latest takedown of FIFA corruption, John highlighted a video which Jack Warner had posted. The video showed Jack defending himself citing an article in the “ONION” without even realizing that it was satire.

 

Jack Warner trumped this up with another video. He bought airtime on Trinidad & Tobago’s national channel to air a video in which he threatens to expose major corruption in FIFA through some documents – the video was titled “JACK WARNER – The Gloves are Off”

Well, how could John Oliver leave this opportunity behind. He too bought some airtime on the same channel – right before a broadcast of “Mike & Molly” and through this hilarious video titled – “John Oliver – The Mittens of Disapproval are On” urged Jack Warner to release the said documents.

 

JACK Warner had to reply to make this interesting. He released a video again calling John Oliver a “Comedian Fool” and that he didn’t take orders from him. Note the epic background music..

 

John Oliver immediately replied with some added pyrotechnics.

Just hope that Jack Warner continues his stupidity.

We are witnessing some TV history being made. For people like me who cringe at the site of our dear Arnab Goswami speaking, TV news had lost its interest.

But it took a comedian like John Oliver to bring in some impact and purpose to the NEWS and keep us interested. Wish our Indian Media houses are taking notice.

 

 

 

Personal Diary – RaGa – Day 1034

RAGA Personal Diary

Learned a new word today – “Net Neutrality”. Mom let me use it in the parliament today along with some other words I learnt before – “cyberspace”, “trial balloon”. Felt nice and important, though I am sure i saw Modi smirk a little. That guy I tell you, is never satisfied.

Really Glad to be back after my 2 month long “SABBATICAL” from Thailand. A rejuvenated mind and Body esp. body, is very essential in a young politician’s career. Especially someone who has a family legacy to maintain.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal dost has again managed to deflect the press’s attention from my return through one of his stunts.. No more awkward questions for me anymore. I have to tell Ahmed Patel to remind me to write him a “Thank You” Note one of these days.

 

Got to go.. Tharoor bhai has given me some notes on land acquisition and Modi USA visit which I have to revise. Wish me Luck.

#RGtheGreat

P.S. – I am getting a hang of this hashtag thing now

P.P.S – Sachin’s birthday today. is he Older than me?

 

 

Sanu is the man

It’s valentine’s day and as usual I fall asleep listening to that voice that has defined the bollywood music play list of every 90s kid.
Yes, the name is Sanu, Kumar Sanu.
There may be innumerable critics, pointing towards his limited range. But damn those prudes.
Sanu is the universal choice in India
for the following situations
– Breakups
– Daaru parties / Mehfils

There’s something magical about that voice and the type of songs he sung. Although he was primarily a 90s singer, and I had heard his songs earlier, I really became a fan of his singing in the 2000s. When you are in an engineering college where the few girls are already taken, Sanu acted like a band-aid to those ghayal dils.
Whether it be the whole album of Aashiqui, every song of which could be the biography of an average Indian youth; or the immortal “Ae kash ke hum”- SRK owed it to him; Sanu was on top.
The only reason I could give a Padma Award to Anu Malik -” Churake Dil Mera ” was sung by the man Sanu himself.
The ultimate Daaru party song” Abhi Zinda hu toh jee lene do” was made evergreen by Sanu.

“Sarkaylo khatiya ” proved that the man could be mischievous too.
His partnerships with Anand Milind and Nadeem Shravan were the stuff of Legends.

In the present  world of musical extremities between Rahman and honey Singh, Sanu provides a sense of balance, a sort of nostalgia that is sorely lacking.
The people born in the cable and the digital age of late 90s and 2000s maybe outgrew Sanu. As his volume of work decreased there were no memories for these people to associate to. People found new ways to get over break ups or enjoy Daaru parties. The trademark “Hainnn Hainnn” got subdued somewhere. Sanu was gone, the age of innocence was gone, the age of poetry was gone…

Delhi elections 2015 – Sab Mile Hue hai..

Delhi Elections

Delhi Elections

The Delhi elections are on the 7th of Feb. As a resident of Delhi, I am not immune to the constant barrage of campaigning by the parties, both offline and online. Be it the “Selfie with Modi” or the “5 saal kejriwal” or the “Tooti vikas ki dor, chale congress ki aur”, campaigns, all of them make sure that unless you are living under a rock, you are aware that something important is happening in Delhi.

Although I am not registered to vote here, I got thinking as to who had a chance at winning. I started making my pros and cons for the parties. Politically I am aligned a little towards the left with a sprinkling of policies from the right. So here’s my list:

 BJP:

Pros:

  • Support of the Central Govt – A BJP govt in both centre and Delhi would result in a much better synergy between the governments regarding important policy matters as many functions of Delhi are still managed by the Central Government
  • The Modi Factor – even when he is only the PM, I believe most of the important decisions regarding Delhi would factor him. Leave aside all his other perceived negative qualities, he is one of the shrewdest administrators. He would not let a state situated so close to the central power seat suffer because of mismanagement
  • Experience – They have better experience at running State Governments

Cons:

  • The Religious and the ideological intolerance of the right wing
  • The infighting among their major leaders which has weakened the internal unity
  • Kiran Bedi – Selecting her as the CM candidate doesn’t appear as obvious as it did some time back. Her policies throughout her life never matched that of BJP, the core voter base of BJP doesn’t identify with her ideals, and she doesn’t appear to have the support of many insiders. On top of this, she appears to be a loose cannon who still hasn’t learnt how to give public interviews as a leader, bumbling many times and thus affecting her image
  • Corruption – no idea about the sources of its vast campaign funds, while it points fingers at AAP for a Rs. 2 crore misrepresentation.

AAP:

Pros:

  • Intent – Whatever may be there reasons or processes, I believe that most of AAP is formed of members who intend to do good and work for the society according to their beliefs
  • Support among Lower class – For people below poverty line and among the lower middle class, AAPs core campaign ideas of free goodies and corruption free government is a resonating factor
  • Kejriwal – you gotta give it to the impact of the man who is still leading in the opinion polls inspite of resigning after 49 days the last time around

Cons:

  • Methodologies – Even though the intent is right, their method of governance is never going to be sustainable. Freebies and subsidies are never the solution in the long run
  • Methodologies – this has to be mentioned 2 times. Their one track mind regarding corruption being the only hindrance to India’s progress has narrowed their solutions towards progress
  • Kejriwal – The guy’s both a boon and a bane. Seriously

Congress:

HAHAHA..

I tried scanning through the manifestos and the vision documents of the parties. While AAP focussed more towards Swaraj with Mohalla Sabhas and collective governing, they were not at all clear on how they would sponsor the innumerable freebies they were giving. BJP’s vision document appeared to have been written by an MBA student who was tasked with writing a vision mission statement: mostly FAFF.

 

Instead of insulting each other on petty points, it would have been much better if the candidates of the major parties had gone for a debate on the major issues concerning Delhi. Even “Congress” was ready for it this time – HAHAHAHA…

 

These elections have been one of the most interesting ones. I hope somebody is recording every tactical move by all the parties as the level of mudslinging here has not been seen anywhere else lately. It can be used as a chapter for political science students.

As for me, I hope that they don’t announce too many DRY DAYS…

 

 

#WhereismyPadmaAward

I have often wondered about my fascination with Bollywood music. In this modern age of Americanisation of India, where every other hit song is by some band called maroon 5, coldplay or some other rock band, my small playlist still consists of Hindi Movie hits. I have never known what “yellow” is or who my “wonderwall” is. The Tabla holds as much sway in my heart as the Guitaar.

But I want to expand my Music tastes outside India. I implore everyone

  • Help me find a song as melodious and yet so sad as “ Zindagi kaisi yeh Paheli”
  • Help me find an album with such a diverse range as “Dil Se”. Would you ever wish to listen to a song other than “Chaiyya Chaiyya” on a train
  • Help me find a moment as tender as Shahrukh stealing a kiss from preity during her Sangeet in the song “Kal Ho na Ho”.
  • Help me find a song as epic as “Bhari Barsaat mai Pee Lene de” for a drunkard party.
  • Help me find something as good as “Abhi na Jao chhod ke” to express your heart’s desires.

 

And they are thinking of giving the Padma Award to Anu Malik. I agree that he solved the age old problem of how young romeos could climb multi storey buildings to reach their beloved darlings, but that doesn’t warrant a Padma Shri Award. Even Shiv Khera has solved better problems..