Monday, September 29, 2008

Public Nuisance(s)!

At 19 I was practically used to the early morning chastisement of the scorching sun and stinking crowd that held the city of Madras intact with the frigid overcast of psychotic, malevolent and moonstruck horde of earthlings. But, relatively speaking, I led a sheltered life as far as encounters with eve teasing is concerned; as I spent my two prime years of schooling happily riding my bicycle covering lesser than 3 kms both ways to finish off my high-school and similarly happened to travel in my college bus for almost all of my 4 years of UG life with the exception of select few times that I had to take city buses; thanks to the unusually timed exams and other extra curricular activities that kept me away from taking the usual college bus that would drop me with-in 500ft distance from my home.

In spite of these facts, it was one of those rare times when I happened to travel alone in an awfully crowded city bus that I have had an incident involving a“dire and desperate groping” or “perverse probing” of some sort that got me piqued with spleen & spite that I lost my temper and actually hit back at the guy in question, factually!

It was an hour and a half’s journey with the traffic giving room to a speed limit of no more than 10kmph, to add more to the hiccupping and bumper(butt?!)-kissing vehicles that were piled up ahead covering the line of view that comfortably settled well with in the near vicinity.
Fifteen monotonous minutes pass by with haggling and dangling passengers desperate to get their space to stand comfortably without having to be sandwiched between people from both sides; in all this, the bus gets progressively packed. There is hardly enough room to breath, let alone move. This sets the stage for the drama to unfold. I feel a pair of feet stepping forward to lean on my back; I move what little I can to avoid what I think of as the person who is really in need of some space to stand. Few seconds later, I feel a strange sense of something scraping past my lower back. As a reflex action, I lunge forward to grab the D-shaped iron bar which was acting as a head-rest pole, to avoid further abrasion. Few more moments pass by and then I feel it again. This time, I recognize a definite and deliberate rubbing. I try to turn around to see who it is at which I cannot succeed much as I couldn’t get enough space to turn my torso to a comfortable angle which could get me a view behind. At this unexpected movement of my body the contact withdraws with a sudden jerk.

A bus-stop comes by and few more people get in, but no one gets down garroting the already overflowing bus. I utilize this opportunity to turn-around; only to see a bunch of innocent looking commuters huddled at the other side of the bus, dreary and depleted of all energy. Bus chokes back to life after 10mins of what they call “Staging” which allows the conductor to squirm through the crowd to ensure purchase of tickets by all the passengers. After another uneventful set of minutes pass by with the bus getting gradually heavier due to the increasing load leaving my wait unproductive. I wait with agony half expecting the episode to have over and the other half to ambush upon my assailant when he resurfaces.

As the contemplation engulfs another couple of minutes, Suddenly, but slowly I feel the same leaning over rubbing to begin, and in an effort to control my blazing anger I catch hold of the nearest pole and bend my head down without altering the position of the rest of my body, apparently not giving any clues to my attacker, to find his legs right behind mine desperate to proceed in a forward movement. The bus was speeding past there was a lot of time for the next bus stop Guindy to come by, I did a quick strategy planning in the meantime and was waiting for the turn near Alandur to come by, and then when it did, as expected, as the bus took a sharp turn, it made all of us who were standing to go back and forth and some of us to loose balance which included me, albeit my balance was lost intentionally and landed with my whole weight on the right big toe of my tormentor and ended-up kneeing him by landing the blow pretty hard on his lower abdomen and was contended with a muffled groan of “uggg………ahhhh” that I heard in return of my action and quickly gather myself to an up-right position in a manner of balancing myself from the steep turn that the bus took, mentally thanking the driver having provided such an opportunity for me to quickly act upon!

When I got down at Guindy, behind me after 2 women and a school kid, I saw a man in his late thirties covering his groin area with his left palm and limping on his right foot stumbling his way through the crowd moaning in pain, while I satisfactorily headed towards the crowded sub-way to get to the other side of the road.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Traffic Rules? - Not A Rule!

The morning hours of Hyderabad are maddening. Especially at the gateways of cyber hub, to me they sound like gateways of hell. For one thing; the rush hour traffic that starts from the Banjara hills Road No 37 junction stretching past the roads of Madhapur till the Cyberabad is always irksome.

More annoying are the cab drivers that keep honking all the way, behaving as if they are the only ones expected to reach their pick-up/drop-off points in the entire crazy city on a Monday morning. They don’t seem to stop, until you go deaf and your ears hear no more than a bee-hum, a probable lull after a storm effect.

IT hub - collates a bunch of do-alike & do-similar, competent & master-minded software engineering - products and projects based skyscrapers, getting commercialized and customized hour-by-hour; is definitely a welcoming arena for folks of the same professional kinship but different geographical locations to flock together to work, now that’s yet another reason to the already suffocating number of cars with inches as distances to separate them and in some cases you even witness the inseparable bumper-kissing-mania envisaging the sticky and breathless atmosphere created due to countless number of vehicles coughing and sneezing to exhale their hazardous and noxious vapors as a result of excessively combusted fuel that’s usually an outcome of the idle engines at the indefinitely long stoplights or at the lengthy hold-ups at turnings & crossings due to the overwhelmingly disproportionate mass of vehicle population! bah!

It’s not just Chennai but more so for Hyderabad which revealed the shocking notions of traffic cops. The word traffic police means the civil force representing our central at the first level, percolating further down to the state level to maintain law & order which involved instructing the movement of vehicles on road and ensuring safety of the travelers, passengers & pedestrians by setting-up regulatory norms for the vehicular traffic moving to/fro and up/down. I couldn’t unfortunately be lucky enough find that place of the world where in its ingested or inscribed in any lithographic form that the purpose of Police is defined as an alternative source of C-energy (C= Currency) that I could probably have missed; given that I am not much of a world-traveler as yet. Neither is the performance of police evaluated by the number of violation slips that he has to surrender at the end of every day at his office or by the revenue generated out of it in favor of the government. Rather the high accumulation of such infringement affidavits are in reality an ordeal that publicly exhibits the failure of traffic cops and their effectiveness in their work. On similar lines it would also strongly reflect our public's concern for traffic rules in general and also the awareness of the responsibilities to be executed by a traffic cop.

Sadly in India we have plenty of Traffic Rules that half of us are unaware of and hence are hovering over subzero lane discipline or traffic sense for that matter so to speak. Safe driving should not come because of fear of being ticketed or being summoned legally for violation and/or the traffic cop stopping you to empty your wallet to quench his thirst imagining a dream come true of his secret little fetish for that costly booze that he kept ogling at a near by Pub’s display.

What’s probably missing here is the intense exposure of general public to take to the advantage of safe driving. Going back to some of the private bus/van-drivers, some of whom I would like to refer as honking-hooligans are such that they do not care an ounce for other vehicles. They would blow horn until you turn deaf or a stand-in-help associate of such vehicles (whom I also would love to refer to as banging-beefheads) would keep banging the side of their vehicle demanding way for them to traverse through as if in dawdling around the horrid traffic remains our happiness & reason of existence...Psssst!

At some point of time even you would get a shock of your life when a call-center cabby guy cuts past your vehicle and that too from left, without any indication or a honk as a bare minimum expectation and zooms into oblivion within those fearful count of seconds when you are still reeling from the stunning incident. Wonder what the Cops do not questioning or catching hold of such reckless cab drivers who are even daring to drive shabbily with a poster of “How Am I Driving?” Call:XXXXX XXXXX behind their back. Once with fuming anger; I called up to that number to complain profusely about the kind of driving the driver had exhibited only to see call getting lost intermittently every time with a “hello...hello…hello” from a man at the other end when I was only as far as the second sentence with the complaint I wanted to lodge as per the expectation out of that advertisement.

While one drives at the night, yet another painful part is the blinding high beams. It was with a good amount of noble thought and civic sense that drivers at night should not blind the upcoming-driver on the opposite direction, that the Government insisted the use of half-blackened headlights and a restriction of use of high-beams during nights. The same social wisdom was put into application when the government banned usage of dark tinted sun-film coats for car windows & windshields that is commonly in use by people for maintaining privacy and a wrong notion to have a better air-conditioner performance which is in practice actually being used for a lot of illegitimate purposes. These kinds of sensible law-making are however, to our distress, soon become law-breaking and further on to law-cracking by the makers themselves with their kinship strongly anchored with corruption.

And then the roads, how the state conglomerate decides so precisely to dig-up a freshly laid roads is a puzzle that only the city roadways officials can probably try answering.
There will be package of surprises waiting for you on your daily travel to a known destination lets say office, for an instance, where by suddenly beaten out-of-shape roads turn their ugly face on you with innumerable potholes give you an effect of break-dance while you are still driving.

Share-Auto folks must definitely be remembered and honored for their magnanimous presence to cause increasing concerns over breaking traffic rules and for committing those unforeseen errors while driving leading to unexpected mishaps! Drivers of these Share-Auto’s come in various sizes & shapes some are less than 13 kids while some are nearing twenty teens, on the other hand we even get to witness above 65 drivers all of them working in unison to cause troubles to the other vehicles on the traffic by twisting and turning exercises that they employ for maneuvering their vehicle. I also pity the passengers of such 7 seaters, who on all occasions are forced to hold their heart in their mouth till they reach their destination with out being grated or shoved to a place that’s neither here nor there!

There can be only one solution to this blame-game of who’s responsible for this malignant bad-traffic syndrome, that is to bring about stringent traffic rules, I suspect if my voice would be audible enough to be heard by some responsible souls serving the Central or State Government Authorities. I hope and pray - May sanity prevail on the drivers of various automobiles and also on the traffic cops to be active in penalizing the defaulters!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Simple Little Words!

How do you feel when someone says the magical words ‘thank you’, for a very rudimentary deed that you performed? It definitely makes you feel good, in fact it adds a glow to your face and you continue your work a shade happier than you were earlier. You may just have been doing a job that you are being paid for e.g., Sending out a task update for the day. Still when someone says ‘thank you’ it makes you feel good. Why is this so? For one, those words acknowledge your presence and contribution to others’ needs. When one acknowledges your presence and feels grateful for your company and your actions in that particular moment, it is bound to make you feel good. There’s definitely no second ways to it. This is sure to give that most sought-after kick that would let you float a bunch of inches high from the ground level. P.E.R.I.O.D.

If you have a lot of friends and you are more of an extrovert then you definitely are bound to undergo another legendary ignominy of taking them all for granted.

So, the question here is: Have you ever taken someone for granted?

It’s a virtue, to incur the habit of reflecting upon your day and how you performed through-out your day.

“Everyday in life’s book is a page to be turned over with the gratitude for existence and appreciation for lessons learnt on that very day!”

As some one rightly put, the world’s best verdicts are always taken when you retire for the day and analyze the pros and con of the incidents, situations with the background props involved. Listen to yourself. Are you thankful enough towards all those people who contribute to your life in several ways? When ponder on those lines, you would with a little disappointment, realize that there were many instances that you just took for granted.

Mom: In the morning rush hour at home when all of us get ready to reach our respective organizations, it’s mom who helps us with breakfast and lunch (or any lady or maid servant in her place). It’s her; who toils in the kitchen to prepare the food for us everyday…

Do any of us care to express a word of thanks or give a quick hug and a smile for all that she does in the hurry to cope-up with the time and taste?

It is true that such services within the family are performed without expecting anything in return. Still your expressing thanks acknowledge their presence and make them feel needed. Is this not the least that you can do for your loved ones? The same goes for your father, siblings, grandparents and any extended family and friends you interact with on a daily basis. It helps you too!

When you express a feeling of thanks, a positive act is performed not just for others but for yourself too. It helps you keep things on a positive note and receive the blessings of the elders in the family which is a distinct strength and motivation for your day to go super-cool. In today’s stressful life people easily fall prey to negative moods like dissatisfaction, irritability and even worse bouts of depression. Such negative feelings can be kept at bay consciously when you interact with others and acknowledge the interaction.

As I already quoted sometime before in my previous post, babies are such blissful beings gifted by god to be nurtured by mother universe. If there’s anything that can drive depression away and out of someone it definitely is that beautiful angelic smile of an flawless infant, that innocent, harmless, heart-warming, sweet, welcoming, cute, inviting and pleasing smile is worth a zillion that the truck loads of costliest medicines fail to accomplish in a depressed soul.

Love the kids that are gifts of gods and the nature will automatically fall in love with you and your presence – I wish I could shout this loud and sound; to get the message across to everyone!

I sing to my plants. I talk to them when I water them, I don’t essentially water them; I make sure I cleanse them with good water and proper food for energy and nourishment; after all, they have a life too! Not being able to express feelings through an organ of communication such as “mouth” isn’t a crime for lack of reception of one’s emotions…. For I know plants do speak to the ones who speak to them!

If you entwine an attitude that reflects gratitude towards all positive things that you see around yourself, you will undoubtedly have a fulfilling and happy day. The focus will shift towards what you have and what you have received rather than towards what you do not have. And a happier state of mind makes a person perform better, as a result of which with better productivity - You will then have more things and instances to be thankful about. So dudes out there go ahead and spread the message of gratitude by virtue of small instances- express gratitude whenever possible; and never fail to add a smile to someone’s face and to yours too!!!

What's your take?

To get out of things that you were good at is much more difficult than trying to get good at something that’s completely new to you. A darkness more than a no-moon night settles over you during that bad, bad phase where in you got to embark on the fact that, “Hey dude, this is all you got for now, take it and be happy as long as it lasts!”

Well, that said, On a rationally different note, I would stomp my right foot forcefully and cry out loud -> “Anything is possible if you really T.R.Y & most of us give-up almost at the verge of getting it, making it all the more easier for our successors, who don’t really have to sweat too hard as they already are treading the beaten but unfinished path.”

I am not the one that quits quite soon. Give-up is something that I hate to do even for the verbal effect of it. But now, giving up differs a lot depending on the circumstances that you are part of or pushed into knowingly or unknowingly, wantonly or not!

There have been a lot of social anomalies identified in the society and system we’re living in; hues & cries about the same from all corners of the country from individuals, group of people, public-serving-organizations or communities creating one hell of a ruckus on and off, in a way dying for a tainted means of acquiring an undying spot on the magazines or newspapers on the current affairs section or on the hot-listed weeklies, trying to sound politically right all the time! (Of course, no more than a zilch logically; but who cares dude?)

Well, what’s all this about anyways… one might ask…with the multitude of problems in the society, community and country wide, I am kind of stuck in deciding on which one to pick first…

Men sneering and jeering at women folks in public places?
Men not giving opportunities to women folks at work places?
Men not treating women folks on par with their mental abilities?

While, these three points would fill one’s plate of argument to the brim, it just doesn’t stop there; there are also repercussions of giving-what-was-asked-for echoing from all corners of the country.

Women folks mocking men at public places?
Women folks going all out on a stampede-mode with men at workplaces?
Women folks not treating the men working with them in the right sense?

Why are people always ready to pounce and prey on each other?

I don’t think Adam & Eve would have liked that really, had they seen what was it to a civilized world giving two different genders, featuring specialized capabilities and characters to change the world into a more constructive place to flock to (even for other unknown alien forms of living beings from the other planets) rather than making it more destructive day by day.

I ain’t anyone to change this à la mode that’s laid deep into zillions of minds by now. What I could rather do is to prevent victimizing my future-gen from going through all of these…. But would it really happen?

It may or may not, I am no one to judge the future, but at least I would do my share of it, a very minuscule & molecular effort to clean up the vast ocean spread across the universe.

Did I really make any sense out here, while I was on this post, however sullen I may feel about being a feeble pencil notation on the vast margins of this book of SOCIETY?

I leave it to you dear reader and would safely assume you prevailing sanity after reading this post to be the proof of sense derived out of this one! :-)