All in a Day's Work

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 5; the fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

December 4, 2009

09:00 am

The alarm on my cell phone just rang. And my instincts pressed the snooze button. Ofcourse, I’ll press it another 5 times at the fixed intervals of 5 minutes till all of them get exhausted. This cap of 5 snoozes with just 5 minutes interval is surely one of the shortcoming of otherwise spectacular Nokia E71. Hey dumbo, stop advertising and sleep! Enjoy the last 25 minutes of the slumber heaven.

09:25 am

No, no, this cannot be happening. I am too sleepy. Please, let me sleep. What about another alarm for say 10:00 am. No, not that long. 09:45 will do. Here I go. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

09:45 am

This wretched ‘Wake up Sid’ Alarm tone. Just shut up. I am Vipul, not Sid. Go find him at his Sid CafĂ© or what is it, Sid-o-Scope. Man, he, his blog name, his blog content and his blog templates, ever changing stuff! Hey, just shut up and get up. Do not misuse the flexi-timings of your office. Late to Office, Late back home. You are the loser ultimately, dumbo.

09:50 am

Lets switch on the TV to find if Sehwag scored his third triple century. Oh! He’s out. Did, he score it. Click Click no news, shit! Chuck it, lets go to bathroom first. Plop plop shit (this time the real one, not colloquial), Flushhhhhhhhhhhhh, swoosh swoosh brush, splash splash bath. Done finally. Hey, clothes on, I am ready. Lets grab a quick breakfast and the match too. Hey, even Dravid is gone. Click click. Who is this ULFA commander, these guys are talking about. Man, show some news about Sehwag. Chuck it again, will catch it in the office. Kick kick and my old red Pulsar relents finally.

11:00 am

Ping. My finger print not accepted. Retry. Here I go again. Ping. Again rejected. Ping. Accepted this time. So finally my Day at work starts.

'Hello sir, how are you'. 'Kya haal hai'. 'Hello', 'Hello', 'Hi'. Finally sitting on my seat. Hey mam, just click on that score link on your browser. This wretched net speed. Oh, poor Sehwag, missed it by 7 runs. So, my first task completed. Now what to do?

Well, I completed my first assignment yesterday after a hard labour of 25 days. Was it hard! Whatever, it was, it was done perfectly. I had the option to just sit and idle around and not tell the boss that the work is done. But by the evening, the Vipul Grover in me pushed me to his room and I finally came out with a mega-assignment clinging to my neck this time. I hope it doesn’t choke me. So should I start it now?

No, what about Blog-a-Ton! I still have to write my post. What should I write about. How about a story of a police constable, spanning a whole day. How he gets up early in the morning in his dilapidated house, travels on the local train, gets to work, not even getting basic amenities while working. How about including some police encounter too and other stuff. At the end of the day, with just 8 hours left to return to job, he boards the train for his home. He is tired but happy as tomorrow he’ll get his salary, 5000 bucks for the month with which he has to sustain his 5 members' family. With that the story will end.

Just shut up man. All your stories are becoming too similar, just giving out social messages. Chuck this idea.

But yeah, dear blogger buddies, with the stories and social messages, I remember, where have you all been? I am really disappointed. Once, you finish reading this post, go and read my previous one, Jihad. According to Blogadda and most of my readers, it is my best post till date. So do not miss it.

12:00 pm

Ha ha ha ha ha. Time to give some exercise to the muscles of my mouth. Stop thinking dirty, guys. I am just talking about laughing. The other exercise is off limits these days; the GF is not around you see! Yeah, yeah I had a GF, or should I say, I still have one or should I really address her that way. Its complicated, you see. Leave it.

Throwing some jokes, listening to some and the faculty is busy laughing. That's the work, they know and do best.

'They'?

I should now say 'We'!

For the ignorants, while I wait for my civil sevices results, I have started working at a popular coaching institute in Chandigarh. It has been under a month here but I have gelled in pretty well.

12:30 pm

Lets work finally. Yawn!

01:30 pm

Someone finally gave the lunch cry. I am not too hungry right now but it is better to have some company at lunch than having it alone, the way I did it in my initial days at office. Tap, tap walking, munch munch eating, tap tap walking back and I am back on my seat. Now, what to do? Last time, I said 'work', I ended up doing something else. So should I work finally? Maybe yes. Yawn!



04:00 pm

Ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah, again a laughing break. I did work for some time but it was too boring. Then helped other's with their work for some time. Yeah, I am the Jack of All Trades (and even the Master of some). So, helped a colleague with the content of her GK presentation, the other with the very basics of making a powerpoint presentation and still another with making diagrams on MS Word. I wonder, how the work was being carried out here when I was not amongst them. Amidst all this, I did something else too, rather spent most of the time doing it.

Everyone is discussing the CAT blunder here, time to time. It is the talk of the town and when you are sitting in an institute dedicated to the MBA coaching, this is bound to be on the top of the agenda. It is funny, how the management of the most esteemed management institutes of India created this blunder. Terrified students and their frantic calls are coming in non-stop since the begining of the exams, 6 days back.

Ha ha ha ha ha. Amidst these discussions, laughing continues.

04:30 pm

Wow! Just checked India's final score. Didn't care to see the score through the day. India declared at mammoth 726. Another victory around the corner, it seems.

As the time proceeds most of the faculty around is getting restless. Someone finally started playing songs on her cellphone. Oh my God, its 'Wake up Sid'! What the hell; I told you, I am not damn Sid. Let me sleep, I mean work. Yawn!

05:30 pm

Finally, did some more work in between the ha ha ha ha ha sessions. Lets go downstairs for some time. Another colleague, sitting on the adjoining seat decides to play the songs this time. Suspense and nervousness is in the air as his cellphone mostly dishes out oldies, worth a billion yawns. Just as I get ready to leave, the SRK-Rani starrer 'Chalte Chalte' title song starts playing. What a timing.Tap tap walking.

05:50 pm

A stroll around the buildings, a patty to satisfy the ever-empty stomach and a lemon drink (to accompany it) later, here I am back on my seat. The songs are still playing, this time 'Pal pal' from 'Munnabhai'. The song speaks our dilemma -With each passing moment, we are wondering, how shall we pass the remaining moments in this office. Is it a coincidence or with nothing better to do, I am trying to find a meaning out of every song! Anyway, Thank God, today, his cellphone is in a better mood.

Boss is also in the faculty room and behind his back, I am working. Yeah, working but upon something, I shouldn't be doing during office hours. Who cares!

06:30 pm

Boss is still in the room with a colleague, working upon the soon-to-be launched revamped website. Faculty has left, completing their 7 hours daily quota. But I am still stuck here, for another hour. With Boss around and no mood to work, I decided to read The Hindu, my staple diet. Being the GK and GD/PI faculty, this is one thing, I can do without any apprehensions in front of the Boss too. While reading, I generated some ideas for my real work and the other work too. So that is the reason, I am sitting in front of the PC now.

07:20 pm

It is the time to wrap up and call it a day, having nearly completed my 81/hours quota. It was a hectic day. Just had too many ha ha ha ha ha sessions, CAT blunder discussions, Boss sitting just behind the back and finally, the deadline to complete the work. Yes, I finally completed my work. The day well spent writing my post for Blog-a-Ton. Now time to schedule it for the midnight and once again wear the Marshal's cap. And you thought, I was all the time busy working upon that mega-assignment aka real work. Ha ha ha ha ha; work full throttle from tomorrow for sure.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Image Courtesy:
Personal Collection (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Jihad

This post got selected as BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Picks. Click here to see the BlogAdda page.


Nov 26, 2009 – Early Hours

He had been trying to sleep unsuccessfully for many hours and just ended up turning from one side to another on his rotten charpai. It was not that he was accustomed to better comforts, having slept on this same bed since eternity. It was something else that was making him uncomfortable - those sounds that kept resonating in his head trying to tear it apart. One word that kept repeating itself in a constant loop behind this loud rattling of the local cleric, sent shivers down his spine – ‘Jihad’, he had said.

His eyes were wide open as he watched the old fan, hanging on the worn off ceiling, turn ceremoniously, pretending to send down cool gushes of air though the only thing it produced was a deafening clutter. But tonight that clutter failed to reach his ears, rather mind, as it was already preoccupied with the words he had heard last evening.

We have kept quiet for so long that they think we will take all their rubbish without uttering a word. When I see a young baby at the circumcision ceremony, I feel ashamed of myself. How is this personal hygiene of any use to him when the whole environment around him is so unclean? What future are we giving him? 

We, cowards who have born each insult and each wound inflicted upon us like good for nothing bastards. We have to give our children a future where they are not afraid of the tyrants. We have to make them proud of us. If in children we see the Almighty; then for these children, in His name, we need Jihad.

That last word that Maulvi Sahab had said so forcefully in that small dingy room kept echoing in his mind since then. Three men were assembled there as Maulvi gave them further instructions.

Just as his eyes closed and he felt his mind getting a bit lighter, the alarm rang. He got up in a flash. But realising that he is too tired because of a sleepless night, he reclined back against the wall which felt moist due to the constant seepage.

He was half awake and half asleep when he heard the cantor calling through the loudspeaker of the nearby mosque – “Allah hu Akbar.....

“Shit,” he said and sprung up instantaneously. There was no time to take a bath, so he quickly washed his hands, mouth, nose, arms, face, ears, forehead, hair and feet, thrice in the prescribed order and jumped onto the mat, facing west. While he performed the holy ritual, he remembered how his Abbu used to say that namaz should be rendered in a clean environment. Standing in this dilapidated room, he asked Allah for forgiveness.

*

We are still awaiting justice in Gujarat while their Chief Minister, the man behind all this, is winning elections and making merry. One year ago, our brothers from Pakistan took upon themselves to avenge the insult we have been facing all these years. We have to show that even we can stand up against the injustice and oppression inflicted upon us. 

We have planned this meticulously and finally it is the time to execute it. This will be our first anniversary gift for our enemies. Let them see that for each mujahedeen we lose in this war, ten more will take birth to avenge his death.

It had been one year since the dreaded terrorist attack in Mumbai. He remembered what hue and cry it had created. No one cared when countless Indians died here and there but this time those who died were either special Indians or firangis. Even the Union Home Minister who had successfully clung to his chair despite the number of bomb blasts that had occurred last year across the length and the breadth of the country, had to finally yield. Such was the power of these special Indians and their firangi guests.

Maulvi had chosen this day to execute a sinister plot. Now, even he had a role to play.

“Should I? Shouldn’t I?” the ambivalence was killing him.

As his table clock ticked its way towards the destined time, he remembered the words of his Abbu, ‘Jihad is a struggle to improve one's self and society. It is as much about fighting injustice and oppression as about spreading or defending Islam.

He knew he had to do it.

**

Nov 26, 2009 – 0700 hours

Time was running out, so he decided not to prepare the breakfast and instead, grab a vada pav on his way. As he moved down the rickety staircase of his chawl, he saw some children idling around. ‘They should be getting ready for their school at this hour,’ he thought. But then reminded himself sceptically, ‘What talim could those four walls of a sarkari school provide them, without any teacher!’

He continued moving along the dirty lanes, cautious not to step onto any heap of garbage. As he reached the barricades, he looked back at his abode; a ghetto was what people called it. Located on the suburbs of the city, this was one place where most of the people like him landed up after leaving their hometowns. He had come from the Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, made infamous in the recent past by the arrests, encounters and killings of many alleged mujahedeen who hailed from there.

Today the barricades were not blocking the way as was the usual case. In any other housing society of the city, a beautiful arch would have adorned the entrance but here the local police had been kind enough to save the money of the dwellers by putting up barricades and a police post instead. It wasn’t clear whether these protected the homogeneous insiders against any violent excursions of the outsiders or to keep a tap on the movement of the insiders themselves.

In financial terms, he could have managed a better accommodation at a better place but in this city, there were also some other unspoken yet clearly audible factors which decided who could live where.

We are made to live like dogs on our own land. The glorious days of Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire are gone. These infidels think that they can stomp us at their will. They have the support of our own disoriented brothers like the DGP of Maharashtra Police, who wag their tails in front of them. 

It’s the time to make them aware that the dogs also bite. With the blessings of the Almighty behind us, tomorrow is the day when we will finally initiate our jihad.

**

Nov 26, 2009 – 0900 hours

Immersed in his thoughts and the words of the cleric, he didn’t realise, when the local train reached  the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, one of the busiest station of Mumbai as well as India. He hardly had 30 seconds to unboard the train. Somehow, struggling his way through the microcosm of humanity, he just managed to jump off, as the train trudged further. ‘How can I behave so irresponsibly at such a time,’ he cursed himself.

As he stepped on to the platform, the images from the past year flashed in front his eyes. It had been one of the eight places that came under attack that night. Around 50 of the total 170 casualties or so were reported from here. But no one cared to give airtime to the Indians who died here except flashing the shots of Ajmal Kasab and his accomplice entering it.

They were busier reporting about Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House where the special Indians and firangis resided. He remembered the blood spilled floor of the passenger hall, images of which were made available by a local lensman who hid himself in a stationary train compartment.

‘Soon there will be similar blood and silence of death not far away from here if everything goes according to the plans of Maulvi Sahab,’ he thought.

*

He left the station hurriedly for his destination, about 2 kilometres away. He headed south, swiftly along the Dadabhai Naoroji Road and then got off it, moving along variously named streets and margs until he reached the Shahid Bhagat Singh Road. ‘Next, will you even start naming public toilets when nothing else is left to commemorate your leaders,’ he sighed.

He had just started tiring a bit due to the sleepless night, empty stomach and a brisk walk to top it all, when he saw a sprawling building on his left. It was one of the surviving remnants of the British Raj, like many other buildings and edifices around here including CST which he had left just twenty minutes ago. That station used to be Victoria Terminus until 1996 when some Hindu zealots forced a name change. ‘The bloody name game,’ he cursed.

Now he faced this heritage building, a beautiful specimen of the Indian Gothic style of Architecture, looking at the beautiful sculpture of Neptune that adorned the pediment at its top. The blue basalt used in the facing with differently coloured natural stones detailing it, imparted an incredible polychromatic effect.

This building, originally conceived to commemorate the visit of Duke of Edinburgh in 1870 was finally inaugurated six years hence as the residence for Royal Alfred Sailors. Later in 1928, it was acquired by the British Government and became the seat of the Bombay Legislative Council in late 1930’s. However, since quarter of a decade, it was housing something else after the Legislative Assembly moved to the new Council Hall in 1982.

He stood there acknowledging its beauty as he had done every time, he passed by. But today, he was not just going to pass by but enter this building. Finally, the time had come. So with thumping heart, he took some indecisive steps towards the entrance of Maharashtra State Police Headquarters.

**

Nov 26, 2009 – 1600 hours

There was hustle and bustle in the hall as the media persons tried to grab a strategic position. The conference table lying on the raised platform was being decorated with colourful mikes from all the possible English, Hindi and other regional news channels. Even some foreign correspondents were present. After all, this was the first media briefing since the major event that had happened earlier in the day.

As all seemed set, the Police Commissioner stepped in amongst flashing cameras and the buzzing noise of the media persons. It had been a busy day for him but he looked as fresh as ever. He was one man who never allowed the city and its (mis) happenings take a toll on him. As he sat on the central chair of the conference table with his subordinates flanking him on the sides, he motioned everyone to maintain silence.

“In the morning as I reached my office in Dadar West, I got a call from the Maharashtra State Police Headquarters. I urgently rushed there. A person had arrived, claiming to have information about a planned bomb blast to take place at Regal Cinema nearby, later in the day. Upon arriving, I took the charge. He claimed that he had heard a cleric having the final discussions with some men in one of the kholis of his chawl.

“We moved swiftly on the basis of the lead given by him and within a couple of hours had arrested all of them without spilling any blood in the process. Luckily for us, they were amateurish in their approach, not having any links with the organised terrorist groups as per our initial investigations. Nonetheless, if they had succeeded in their plans, it could have led to major loss of life and property.”

“Where is this informer?” demanded the reporters in a cacophonic chorus.

“He is with us right now.” and with that Police Commissioner gestured towards a subordinate standing at the back entrance of the hall. Soon a man with his face clad in a black mask entered the hall. He looked around and took some wavering steps towards the vacant seat of the conference table.

He had just moved some paces when the hall got filled with reverberations of hundreds of hands clapping together, hailing the hero who had just arrived. His remaining steps were beaming with confidence.

“What gave you the courage to do this?” asked the Reuters correspondent, as he took his chair.

He paused and looked around nervously through the small parting in his mask. He suddenly felt the comforting hand of the Police Commissioner on his left arm and then a pat on his back.

“Well, when the bullets flow out of a terrorist’s barrel or splinters blast off from the bomb, they don’t know whether they’ll be piercing a Hindu’s or a Muslim’s flesh. The blood that flows is that of a human being and with each such wound inflicted, my country cries further.

“My Abbu used to say that Jihad is a struggle to improve one’s self and society. Today, our society is rotting due to this unwanted hatred and we are losing our self to an unholy war. It’s time we wake up and realise that an eye for an eye is not the solution. We all are in this together and have to sit down to sort out any differences which exist. What I did today was what any responsible citizen would have done.”

As he stood up and got ready to leave securely as motioned by the Police Commissioner, he added calmly looking around at the gaping media persons, “For my Allah and for my Country, this is my Jihad.”

***

Note:
  • The definition of Jihad (as given by the protagonist's father) is a non-verbatim adaptation of the definition given by the scholar John Esposito.
  • Pro Deo et Patria is the Latin phrase translated to ‘For God and Country’ in English. It is the motto of my beloved school – St. John’s High, an Irish Christian Missionary school.

Disclaimer:
This work of fiction is not intended to malign any individual or community. The readers are requested to extract the positive message out of it rather than searching for any negativity within the words and expressions used.

Image Courtesy:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Coming Up Next!



"We have kept quiet for so long that they think we will take all their rubbish without uttering a word... One year ago, our brothers from Pakistan took upon themselves to avenge the insult we have been facing all these years. We have to show that even we can stand up against the injustice and oppression inflicted upon us... This will be our first anniversary gift to our enemies... With the blessings of the Almighty behind us, November 26 is the day when we will finally initiate our jihad."


Come this November 26, Will Mumbai bleed again?

Stay tuned to find it out as the mystery unfolds here!



Disclaimer:
I am an innocent blogger with no connection whatsoever with any terrorist organisation or fundamentalist group, other than the fact that I voted for a BJP candidate in the last General Elections. I sinned, I know!

The above passage is a part of an upcoming post. So in case you are from any Indian intelligence services who happened to hop onto my blog due to some freaky keyword matches (I doubt RAW, NIA or IB are that advanced), then please do not get alarmed and go back to your slumber.

And in case, you happen to be from the FBI (I don’t mind fantasising about my blog’s popularity across the Oceans), then say my hello to Mr. President and tell him not to worry and live in peace (pun intended).

And in case, you are from the ISI, then please don’t start salivating. I am a proud Indian and as I said, I am just a blogger whose latest obsession happens to be storytelling and hence I won’t become one of your stooges. (Just kidding fellas, if there’s any nice proposal for a prospective franchisee in and around the Chandigarh tricity area, contact me at ISI_is_behind_all_the_terrorist_attacks_in_India@TalliHoGaye.pk)


A Sensible Disclaimer:
Usage of certain potentially controversial words in this post are not intended to malign any individual or community. That is the last thing, you should expect on this blog.

By adding humour with the gory pictures of the Mumbai Siege, last year, I by no means intend to show disrespect to the departed souls and their grieving families. We all are grieving with them!

For my readers:
It was the Mumbai Siege that inspired me to return to blogging last year and since then I've become a regular. There were two immediate posts, I published then on this incident. I’ll appreciate if you can take out some time to read them.

Well friends, I know I am just over-hyping my upcoming post by this publicity stunt. But then, these days competition is so high that one has to use such strategic (read, stupid) ploys.
Ok, just cut the crap. I just intended to boost my ever falling posting rate. Period.

P.S.
Technically, after writing 'Period', I must bring this post to an end. But who cares! Well, there is a reason behind my dwindling posting rate, rather two. First, as you all know I had my exams which finally ended on Nov 3. Second, is my job. Yup, I joined the faculty of a MBA coaching institute and have to burn my arse, sitting there 8.5 hours daily. So please bear with me.
Yeah, yeah, I know you all are snickering right now as nothing's as relaxing as a blogger buddy on a break!

Errata
Please excuse the grammatical mistake in the picture caption. It should read 'A Year since Mumbai bled!' rather than 'An Year..'. I am too lazy to edit the image. Period!

Image Courtesy:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

If I were a baby again



This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 4; the fourth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Yesterday, we had a great time. Some students from a nearby college came to our place with lots of sweets and goodies. They played with us, sang with us, danced with us and for those few moments, lost in this invisible force of communion, we all forgot our realities and got lifted to some other world.

They also made us write an essay on a very peculiar topic – ‘If I were a baby again’. Well, we had half an hour at our disposal and I thought and thought while others scribbled through their sheet of paper. Then finally with time running out, I gave words to that one thought that has lingered in my mind since the time I’ve started realising my existence in this vast ocean of humanity.

Oh! In the zeal to draw the premises for telling you that I won the first prize in this competition, I just forgot to introduce myself.

Hi, I am Kabir. As the great saint from whom I borrow my name, I have no religion. Well, how can I have one when I don’t even know who my parents are. I live in an orphanage with dozens of children just like me. We are one large family having no consanguineal bond joining us. The only bond that joins us is of similar circumstances and fate.

I am 11 years old, sort of the mean age between the new borns who join us every six months or so and the 20 to 21 years old bhaiyas and didis who leave this sanctuary to perch into the real world. But teacher ma often says that I am too mature and my brain too sharp for my age. That’s how I got my name when I was 5.

Well, if God takes away something, he is kind enough to compensate it in one form or the other, I’ve heard. I am lame; I mean crippled. Oh sorry, I am being politically incorrect, right! Thank God I got a sanctuary in this orphanage or out in the streets, people would have indeed called me a lame in the best condescending manner possible. Well, with time my ailment has got transformed from being a physical handicap to a physical disability to a physical challenge and lately I have heard people like me being addressed as differently-abled.

Whatever you call me, my fate remains the same.

Just like the group of students who visited us yesterday to celebrate the upcoming Children’s Day, there are many people who drop by to spend time with us. At times, it feels nice but then it turns too monotonous, especially around the festive seasons when just every second person in the town wants to get rid of his or her sins by doing some community service. What better way than spending some time with the unfortunate kids living in the orphanage around the corner.

So in comes one group of visitors after the other. The ones we detest the most are the Mantriji kinds who visited us during Diwali. I don’t even remember if he held any toddler or talked to us unless there was a photographer from the local newspaper around.

Even when the students from nearby colleges come, there are always those aloof kinds within them who prefer to remain on the periphery. I recently learnt that these poor chaps have to visit us to get some extra-curricular certificates that act as brownie points for their further admissions. Well, it’s good if we can be of any help to such thankless lot.

Sometimes, it feels as if we are the exhibits at a museum or even worse, inmates of a zoo. While in a museum people gasp in wonder and appreciate the exhibits, the zoo inmates often get mocked at. We lie somewhere in between.

Well, there are also some very kind visitors like Toffee wale Babaji who always treats us with nice candies on weekends, Doctor Uncle who never misses his monthly visit for our free health checkup including medicines and treatments and then these college students who came yesterday and made us feel like their younger siblings.

World is full of such duality, the good and the bad but I feel the whole mankind lies somewhere in between.

We all share the similar joys and apprehensions here. We are a one big family as I said but sometimes we long for our own little family where we might be the focal point of everyone's attention. Some are lucky enough to realise this wish as there are many childless parents who are not averse to adopt a child of an unknown lineage.

However, I recently read about test tube babies on the internet. Well, a local socialite was kind enough to donate two computers with internet connection amidst flashing camera lights the other day. I realise biological science and its advancements are being unfair to us. Why play with God's power to create a new life when there are so many of us, living in these overcrowded sanctuaries longing for a new life ourselves.

Whenever, there’s some prospective adopter around, we try to behave our best, hoping to be the lucky one; though we won't ever admit it. Frankly, we all live in a dilemma.

Will we ever be happy after leaving all our brothers and sisters?

For that matter, are we really happy here?

There are some who just try too hard, transforming from their naughty self to diabetes-inducing sweet innocence. We call them seducers. I doubt if other than a handful of us, any kid knows its actual meaning. But none of us ever miss a chance to use it to abuse each other after yet another failed attempt at seduction. I believe some bhaiya invented this abuse long ago and it just kept passing on since then.

Well, even I used to try my luck earlier but soon realised, no one wants to adopt a liability.

Oh! See, how I started babbling once again. Enough about me and my life!

You must be wondering, what did I write in that essay that bagged me the first prize, right? Well, I am surprised I won it at the first place as I thought I stood no chance. While others wrote long fairy tale like passages, I just wrote a single line; as I told you earlier, giving words to the thought which has and will linger in my mind always.

If I were a baby again, I wish my parents won’t abandon me this time!

Image Courtesy:
http://www.thecolor.com (edited)


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Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

A New Life

You have heard of Guantanamo, you have heard of Abu Ghraib. I’ll share with you, my experience more sinister than these.
Incarcerated in a shaking dark chamber, where one could barely wriggle; I was made to survive for months on just fluids.
A tube was thrust inside my body and they gave me, what they wanted, just through it. I kicked, I punched and then I just waited helplessly.
Finally, today I got free; I got born.

Continuing with the set tradition on this blog, this is a 77-Fiction on the occasion of my 77th post. No prizes for guessing, what possibly it can be dedicated to!

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Presenting to you my lovely niece Nirbhita, who joined us today at 1538 hours.


I was the first amongst the impatiently waiting people to hear her first cries as she got free from her Guantanamo.
And the best part is that, today happens to be my sister aka her mother's birthday too.
So, Happy birthday Neha and Nirbhita :)

Click here to see her other pictures.


Image Courtesy:
Photographed by her proud Father about one hour after her birth (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

The Last Number Dialled

This post got selected as BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Picks. Click here to see the BlogAdda page.


This post remained as the all-time most popular blogpost on Indivine for the record time. Click here to see the Indivine page.



It was their first marriage anniversary and in the year gone by, they already had witnessed all the strengthenings and the weakenings of a lifelong nuptial bond. Life had not been all that rosy as they had imagined in those carefree days of their college life. Love was the only thing that mattered then. Once married, they realised that there are even other ingredients to make things work. Love can lubricate the friction to some extent but cannot be the substitute to every necessity of a married life.

Till yesterday, what he found cute about her now seemed irritating to him. Was that a reality or just her figment of imagination was difficult to tell. Self doubts started creeping in as both of them had a stark realisation - their immature decision to get married before giving shape to their professional life was now disfiguring their individual as well as married life. Their parents had warned them of such possible consequences but listening to them was the last thing on their priority list, once they had decided to step into their new world.

Other than the first month, the remaining eleven months had been tough in this world of theirs. Most of her time was spent waiting for him after returning from a neighbourhood school, which was the only source of their steady income. He had no such steady source. Since their marriage, he had changed four jobs. He was made for something big, he exclaimed. Had this marriage closed all doors for him was again a thought which lingered into his mind when there was nothing else to occupy it.

He had his reasons to be agitated. He had promised her the best life possible. Seeing himself helpless in fulfilling it, he could only curse. Earlier, he used to curse himself. She gave him an embrace and the warmth of their physical closeness used to soothe their mental agony. However, when he was done cursing himself, he moved to their marriage and this was the time when he ended up agitating her too.

Life was not easy for her after all. She was not used to all this, coming from a rich established family. She could not even complain. It was her own decision after all. She tried her best to keep her apprehensions from him. However, even she ended up cursing this situation at times.

This was not what they had imagined; a year full of curses. They wanted to pluck the roses together but ended up plucking the thorns. It’s not that they never tried, but somehow they were becoming distant. Some kind of inhibition had crept in. They wanted that to end but kept expecting the other to take an initiative. There used to be a time when they fought, they never waited for the other to reconcile but now such waits became too often and prolonged.

*

‘It’s enough of it,’ he said to himself and picked up his cell phone to call back home.

“Hi! Happy Marriage Anniversary!”

“So, you got the time to wish me?”

“I was really busy at work yesterday. Just dozed off on returning to my Hotel room. I saw your missed call in the morning but had to rush back to work.”

“It’s ok. Same to you. And how is your work going. Still a couple of days left to return right?”

“No. I’ll wrap up all the work soon to leave back for the city as soon as possible. We’ll spend the whole evening together.”

“Now that is your yet another promise. I don’t remember when you kept a promise last time.”

“No, I mean it this time. It is 1 o’ clock right now. I have the presentation in 15 minutes. I’ll take the bus around 3 and will be back home by 6 in the evening. Believe me.”

“Ok, let’s see. Take care of yourself. No need to rush. I hope you impress the clients. All the best for your presentation.”

“Thanks dear. See you soon.”

‘Dear?’ she said to herself and gave a smile. He had called her like that after such a long time, after ages it seemed.

*

It was 6 in the evening. She had baked the cake and his favourite cookies. However, she was expecting that call from him. She was prepared for it; yet another excuse for not making it on time or maybe staying over for another day. She thought, whatever happens, she won’t sound annoyed.

‘Why should I let him know about my weakness? If he doesn’t care, even I’ll act carefree,’ she told herself.

Suddenly, the bell rang. But it was not the phone; it was the door. Her heart started beating faster as she approached the door. She wanted him to be there. She could not take those unkept promises anymore. She wanted those promises to be fulfilled; she wanted him.

As she opened the door with the anxiety of a newly wedded bride, she saw him, standing there with some confused expressions on his face and the bouquet of her favourite flowers in his hands. Both stood there for a moment not knowing how to greet one another. Finally, she stepped forward, opened her arms and hugged him, getting that eternal warmth, she had waited for so long.

They looked at each other with moist eyes and then hugged again tightly, hoping to remain in this trance forever. With not a single word spoken, they both had conveyed to each other that it is the time to forget the past and make a new beginning.

The next two hours flew by quickly. They didn’t speak much, fearing that the words could break this dream. It was around 8 that the phone rang in the other room.

He was not ready to leave her hand as she pushed him gently giving her mesmerising smile.

“It must be mom; I’ll just be back baby.”

As she left the room, he gave her a smile and waved his hands gently.

*

“Hello, who’s there?”

“Mam, I am calling from the police station.”

“Police station? Why what happened?”

“See mam, we found your landline number as the last dialled one in the cell phone of an accident victim.”

“Oh, my God? Which cell number?”

“Mam, it’s 9876432211.”

“What nonsense! It is my husband’s number and he is with me right now.”

“Oh, are you sure?”

“What do you mean, sure!”

“Mam, you were called around 1 o’ clock. Later on, this person got crushed under a bus destined for your city, while trying to board it in a hurry around 3.”

“What? Just wait, I’ll get my husband on the phone.”

She hurriedly ran to his room. But he was not there. She called out but didn’t get a reply. She was confused. Her heart was beating fast.

‘He was just here. Everything seemed fine. We were making a new start. We had the two hours of our life.’

All kinds of thoughts started flooding her mind. She had no courage to return to the phone.

‘What will I say?’

‘What will I do?’

‘What is happening?’

She had no idea. She kept sitting there like that, the different stories flashing through her mind. She had heard those stories, seen those movies where the soul of the dead returned to complete the unfinished business.

It had happened to her. She had to understand that. All those myths were nothing but reality. With tears rolling down her eyes, she gave a faint smile, ‘He indeed, kept his promise at last.’
















Suddenly, she heard the sound of toilet flush in the adjoining bathroom and the door opened.

“Hey, I forgot to tell you dear, my cell got stolen at the bus stand,” he said, removing the ear plugs of her cell phone from his ears.

***


AUTHOR’S REFLECTION: Life might give you the second chance or it might not. But you definitely can give yourself that second chance. When it comes to relationships, don’t make hurried decisions and if you make them, make those decisions work. Dial that last number before it’s too late. And yeah, do not expect that paranormal crap on my blog!

P.S. This was my first attempt at pure fiction and hence, inadvertently has many flaws. Still, thanks to the love and support of readers, it was promoted as the most popular post on Indivine before dropping down to the second position. You may click here to promote it further and bring it back to the top if you liked it too.

Click here to view all my other attempts at fiction writing which have been applauded at other blogging communities like Blogadda and Blog-a-Ton too. If I have to suggest my favourites and the popular ones amongst these short stories, they would be Jihad, Wish and of course my three-part semi-autobiographical novelette Everyone Has A Cupid Tale To Tell.

Image Courtesy:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/coveringsmagazine (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

The Indian Dream

This is the Platinum Jubilee (75th) Post on this Blog. It is a tribute to our Father of the Nation, M.K. Gandhi whose 140th Birth Anniversary was celebrated yesterday.


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 3; the third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

You can be what you want on that land of paradise
So they said and left to chase the American Dream
Some fell on the way while others managed to rise
But they missed to realise a possible Indian Dream
Here can be no dream but nightmares they nagged
Hurriedly packing their bags for the foreign shore
What has India given to me they demandingly asked
Not bothering to mention what had they given to her

A possible Indian Dream?

Yes, to dream in India is possible and to realise it, staying here is also possible.

However, I am not an idealist. Hence, I am not against anyone leaving the country for the greener pastures. Moreover, in this global village where each economy is dependent upon each other, free flow of human resources is as important as goods and services. India is the largest receiver of remittances from its overseas citizens, something that fuels our forex reserves and makes us competitive on global front.

In short an Indian Dream can also be realised while staying away. However, for that to happen, you will have to see your dream and the Indian dream complementing each other. You may stay away physically but emotionally you will have to stay close enough.

What is the Indian dream?

It is the dream that all the people, irrespective of their socio-economic standing, will get the opportunities to realise their potential within the country.

In this sense my Indian dream and your Indian dream are the same, i.e. to succeed in life and definitely we will prefer to realise it staying closer to our roots. Ofcourse there are some exceptions who are just adamant to move away to foreign lands irrespective of the fact that back home, the opportunities exist or not. For them, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Not including such exceptions in this discussion; we must realise first of all that the onus lies upon us to make our country resilient enough. Before demanding anything, we have to be ever ready to supply her with the nourishment she requires.

For example, on short term basis, the money we receive from non-residents may boost our economy but for the long term development of the nation, we also need their true commitment. It’s something like taking care of the ailing parents who need personal attention rather than monetary help.

As for those who opt to stay back because of their dignity or the lack of opportunity, must learn to accept the fact that we have many problems on our way which must be dealt by us, ourselves.

Dream
Indian, Fancy
Rising, Shining, Roaring
Would leave everyone behind
Delusion
Vision
Many problems impeding speed
Trying, Solving, Succeeding
Pragmatic, Indian
Dream

Yes, we cannot live in any delusion and have to find our way through. We cannot put all the responsibility on the government but have to shoulder it too. Poverty, overpopulation, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption, environmental degradation, communalism, casteism, terrorism, regionalism and disparities are just some of the causes that are impeding our growth and not allowing us to have a promising Indian dream. And these problems cannot be solved by escaping from them but by facing them with courage and determination.

To make it possible, it is not necessary to be in any specific power position. We as the citizens have to perform our vocations, whatever they maybe, diligently. We have to act responsibly and empathically in our social interactions. We have to develop sensitivity towards the economic disparities that exist and help the government in plugging them. We have to perform our role as a good citizen before demanding good governance.

Our forefathers also had an Indian dream!

They saw an India where the people will be free from all the clutches and will rule themselves.

They gave us the freedom and gave us the vision but somehow we wavered off the path. However, the situation is not all that glum. Last decade or two have seen India taking the right trajectory once again and the conditions seem ripe to realise our Indian Dream. However, it should be ensured that the fruits of development are distributed among all the citizens and are not limited to any particular section.

What about our future generations' Indian Dream?

If everyone takes upon himself/herself to be a part of this Indian dream, and make our personal dreams a part of it too, then we can give a sweet Indian dream to our future generations.

Let us just not wait
For the Change to happen
but
Be the Change ourselves.


Moreover, this Indian Dream should not be seen in relative terms but in absolute terms. We have to compete with ourselves and not with anyone else. This is true for us individually and India as a whole. There is a thin line between optimism and wishful thinking. We must not transgress it.

Now, it is upto you to decide, this Indian dream of mine is a delusion or a vision.


Off-the-topic Relevant Reflections :

  • The first poem is a simple two-versed composition with the most common rhyming pattern of a-b-a-b.
  • The last two lines of this poem are inspired by the U.S. President J.F. Kennedy's famous quote, "Don't ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
  • The second poem is a Mirror Cinquain, an extended form of the cinquain, a form of poetry that I have introduced earlier on this blog. Moreover, this cinquain is much closer to the original form than my previous attempt. Here line 1 has 1 noun, line 2 has 2 adjectives explaining the noun, line 3 has 3 action verbs (-ing ending verbs), line 4 has a 4 words phrase and line 5 has 1 word explaining the noun in line 1. The Mirror cinquain is formed by a cinquain and a reverse cinquian. Original cinquains have a 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables pattern which got gradually transformed into a 1, 2, 3, 4, 1 words pattern.
  • The third poem is my crude first attempt at a Haiku. It is a very popular form of short poetry, an unrhyming verse genre, conveying an image or feeling in two parts spread over 3 lines with 5, 7, 5 syllables pattern. Traditional Japanese Haiku is written with a seasonal reference unlike this one.
  • This Haiku is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world." It is a tribute to the great man whose 140th Birth Anniversary was celebrated yesterday.
  • Talking of Indian Dream and poems, you might like to read my childhood poem on this subject. It is in Hindi and have been posted earlier. Click here to read it.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


Image Courtesy:

http://img.fropper.com (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Wither Hindi? Part-II

This series of posts got selected for BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Picks. Click here to read a mini-review of this series by the BlogAdda team.



This is the second part of a two part series. The first part was published on the occasion of the Hindi Diwas three days ago. Click here to read it before proceeding.

Before, I take up the main theme of this post, I must share an important piece of information that I inadvertently missed in the previous one. Talking of Constitutional or legal categories of Indian languages, beyond the Official and the Scheduled languages, The Government of India declared a new category - Classical Languages - in 2004. Since then, Tamil(2004), Sanskrit(2005), Telugu and Kannada(2008) have joined the elite group.

The eligibility criteria pertains to the antiquity and originality of the language and a rich body of ancient texts, amongst others. However, inclusion of Telugu and Kannada in 2008 started a new political row epicentred in Kerala, upon Malayalam's exclusion. In short, such irrational categorisation has done nothing good for the languages but only given a chance to political parties to rake up the sentiments of the general public, reminding us the Anti-Hindi agitations of the 1960's.

Such problems stem from the fact that despite initial rejection by the Dhar Commission (1948) and JVP Committee (Nehru, Patel and Sitaramayya, 1949); Government of India was forced to follow the linguistic reorganisation of states after the popular agitation and the death of Potti Sriramulu, for carving out Andhra Pradesh out of Tamil Nadu in 1953. Following this development, States Reorganisation Commission was appointed which upheld the language as the basis of reorganisation of states in 1955. Rest is history.

Hence, somehow other socio-economic or political grievances of the states also get mixed up with the language as well as ethnicity issues, creating an unhealthy concoction for the appetite of the Indian federal structure.

Recently, Union Human Resources and Development Minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal started a new debate by calling for compulsory teaching of Hindi in all the Indian schools and hence, create it as the link language between the different linguistic regions of the country.

As such there is nothing new about it as it is in consonance with the provisions under Article 351 of the Indian Constitution discussed in the previous post. You may recall that according to this article, it is the duty of the Union Government to develop Hindi as the medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India, i.e. develop it as a pan-Indian language or a link language in other words.

Moreover, Hindi has been an integral part of the Three language formula evolved by the Union Government in consultations with the states and enunciated in the National Policy Resolution of 1968 and National Policy on Education of 1986, though implemented variedly by the state governments.

According to Mr. Sibal,

Now the lingua franca is English for professionals. When we become producers of knowledge then we can set our language as the lingua franca.

Mr. Sibal is the alumni (infact, belonged to the very first batch) of my school, a prestigious Christian missionary school of this region. He studied in that school when my father used to attend a government school. So, in short, he is generationally one step ahead of my family. It is not difficult to guess what kind of education he must have provided to his children and how proficient they must be in the language that Mr. Sibal desires to make the link language. I might be totally wrong in my assertion about the proficiency of his children but the question I am asking here is, why such hypocrisy?

Secondly, why do we want Hindi to be the link language at the first place? Moreover, will it be fruitful to make such a try?

According to Mr. Sibal,

We should ensure greater emphasis on Hindi. All children are not fluent in Hindi as they are in their mother tongues. Hindi is necessary for students to integrate with the rest of the country. The same students integrate with the rest of world through English.

Well, today I find myself highly integrated with the people around the country. My blog survives thanks to the visitors from places like Madras, Calcutta, Bangalore and Bombay (sorry, Chennai, Kolkatta, Bengaluru and Mumbai, it should read!) and I am sure many of them do not understand Hindi properly. It is English that is binding us. So why should we reserve English for only global integration? Why cannot it be a source of national integration as well?

What is the point in denying our history? British ruled us and gave us English. We cannot deny that it is this English which has made us globally competitive.

English is accused of being elitist. Yes, it is. Who is stopping the Government to make it reach all the sections of Indian society. Mr. Sibal plans to teach Hindi in every school. Is it feasible? Efforts required for making a good Hindi teacher available in a primary school of rural Tamil Nadu or Kerala will be more tedious than making a good English teacher available there. Kindly correct me if I am wrong in this assertion.

Further, talking of the integration with the different regions of the country, the specific region which is having the maximum need for it is the North East. States like Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh have stuck to English as their only official language. So why not promote English as the medium for both official and cultural exchanges with such regions?

English education will have the added advantage of making the students more competitive in this era of globalisation. In this respect, idea of English as a pan-Indian language though revolutionary, holds more logic than Hindi.

But is this suggestion really revolutionary? On the ground level, it is English that is being used for communication between a Hindi and a non-Hindi speaking population during cultural exchanges. This is not just limited to the so-called educated elites like us but even to the non-English as well as lesser educated sections who use simple broken English when it comes to crossing the language barrier in a foreign state. Why not promote and improve the standards of English in the Indian schools of all hues and colours rather than aspiring to do the same with Hindi?

Moreover, constitutionally too, English is the official medium of communication between the Union (or Hindi speaking states) and the non-Hindi speaking states under the provisions of the Article 346. English is also the language used in the Supreme Courts, High Courts and for Acts and Bills under the provisions of the Article 348. So why should we emphasise on Hindi as the link language when it comes to the Article 351?

For that matter, coming back to a question raised earlier, that what is the logic behind developing Hindi as the pan-Indian language? As has been elaborated in the previous post, such an idea has failed miserably all these years thanks to the disinterest (rather protest) shown by the various linguistic regions and the importance of English as the global language.

Does Hindi qualify to be the link language because it is spoken by the majority of Indian population (41% according to the 2001 census)? As already elaborated, the actual pure form of Hindi is only spoken in certain areas of the Hindi belt. Infact, the official Hindi used by the Government and taught in the schools, better known as Khari boli (or Khari dialect) is limited to the Western Uttar Pradesh region, originally a rural language, developed only after 18th century.

Within UP itself, there are various dialects of Hindi other than Khariboli which include Brajbhasa, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bahgeli and Bundeli. Infact, a person like me cannot understand Bhojpuri or other dialects which are part of Hindi as per the 41% figure mentioned above.

When, there is so much variation within just one state, you may figure out the variations in the complete Hindi Belt including regions like Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh and New Delhi. This will also open the eyes of those non-Hindi speaking Indians who see the complete Hindi belt as a single unit bounded by a single language.

Moreover, asserting a majority language (Hindi) upon others is against the basic tenets of democracy. Some may call it as the false pride of the minorities but then that doesn't change the ground reality that there is resentment against it (valid in some cases, politically motivated in others) and hence, problems in its acceptance.

Such resentment is not just limited to the overt manifestations like the Anti-Hindi agitations in Tamil Nadu, back in 1950-60's which actually played an important role in bringing DMK to power; but also in the recent times can be seen in the form of Maharashtra Governments decision to extend Marathi as a compulsory subject in all the schools of the state, including the ones affiliated to ICSE and CBSE from 2007-08, basically expressing disapproval to the imposition of Hindi on its natives.

However, as shown above, the official Hindi (khariboli) is infact a minority language like all the other languages and dialects; so the resentment is bound to increase.

However, there is no denying the fact that we do need a pan-Indian language. As already elaborated above, English seems a better option for the same. There is no need for making any official pronouncement for the same as it is infact developing as a link language on its own. Yes, officially the stand on Hindi can be given up and in fact it should be allowed to get 'adulterated' in the different regions.

There is no point in making Mumbai out of Bombay or Kolkatta out of Calcutta as you may try to run away from the British legacy but it will keep haunting you. Its better to accept the truth and in this particular case of languages, the truth comes with the added advantage that
  • it will have higher acceptance by the various linguistic groups, and
  • it will make us globally more competitive.

Lastly, Mr. Kapil Sibal should concentrate on some concrete educational reforms at the basic primary level rather than taking the easier route of superficial reforms in the form of doing away with the Board exams (read Mou's brilliant post with regards to it) or proposing Hindi as the link language just like the Reservation policy (read my take on Reservations) of his predecessor.

The Right to Education though getting the status of a fundamental right under Aricle 21A, back in 2002 by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act and finally, after intense debate and opposition, its provisions (for free and compulsory education to all the children of the age of 6 to 14 years) being passed by the Parliament and getting the Presidential assent a couple of weeks back on Sep 3, 2009; will face a lot of hurdles when it comes to the implementation stage. The energies of Union HRD Ministry should be concentrated here. Moreover, talking of higher education, even the proposed Bill for the opening of our frontiers for the Foreign Universities, may look promising but has a lot of scope for going wrong. Let us keep all these issues for some other day.

P.S.
This is to clarify my stand on a particular aspect about which I have received a couple of comments - I have no where claimed that English should be our National Language. Infact, I have specifically mentioned - There is no need for making any official pronouncement. There is difference between pan-Indian language and National language; former is by the virtue of its feasibility and convenience while latter is by virtue of its declaration by the Government. India should have no National language.
Italic
This was the concluding part of the series 'Wither Hindi?'. I must thank Pra, Roshmi and others whose comments to my previous post helped me in developing this post further. Leave your honest opinions on the same in the comments section.

Off-the-topic Reflections
  • Do not miss my latest movie review and recommendation of Resurrecting the Champ on the adjoining side bar under The recent Movie I Liked upon Reflecting widget
  • Also, I must thank my blog buddies Shankar, Shruti, Vineeta and Bharathi for the recent Blogging awards. I have displayed them neatly on the adjoining sidebar under the Fellow Bloggers' Affection Reflected widget.
  • You can now star-rate my posts by the new rating widget that is visible at the end of each post.

Image Courtesy:
http://thumbs.dreamstime.com (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Wither Hindi? Part-I

This series of posts got selected for BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Picks. Click here to read a mini-review of this series by the BlogAdda team.


This is the first part of a two part series on the occasion of Hindi Diwas.

Today is Hindi Diwas (Hindi Day). 60 years ago on 14th September, 1949, Hindi was accepted and adopted as the official language of the Union. Recently, while filling an application form for an examination, I was required to mention my mother language. Ofcourse, I mentioned Hindi. However, just a couple of days before that, I had also appeared for a Hindi exam as a part of some other civil services exam. As expected, I was miserable in it.

That raises the question, is Hindi really my mother language?

First of all, I'll delineate my brand of Hindi. In everyday life, I use Hindi as the medium of verbal communication. However, is it really Hindi? The base might be that of Hindi but inadvertently so many words from English, Punjabi and Urdu creep in that if I sit down to decipher a sentence just spoken, I'll realise that it is no where close to the 'pure' Hindi. That raises the question that is the 'pure' Hindi really desirable?

Ofcourse it is, I realised while giving that exam. I found that my vocabulary in Hindi is so weak that I should be ashamed of myself. However, if I had given the same exam during my school days, I would have definitely done a lot better. Infact, my Hindi was so fluent back then that I was called Shastriji (Learned of Shastras) by my school friends. 8 years of just English education has indeed adulterated me.

But am I really adulterated? What is the desirability of the purity beyond that exam?

Recently, an Indiblogger started a discussion in the forums. He asserts that,

We are here to promote Hindi as language and want more use of it at Blogs. Some of the Hindi News Blogs and portals do not write Hindi but Hinglish which hurt us. It is our National Language and everyone must respect it.

If a person wants to promote any language, he has the fundamental right to do so under Article 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution meant for the linguistic (and other) minorities.

So what about Hindi as it is not a minority language? Well, there are special provisions for development of Hindi as an official language of the Union Government under Article 344 and as medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India, i.e. a pan-Indian language under Article 351.

In this context, first of all let me clarify that India has no National language (Rashtra Bhasha) as asserted above by the initiator of the debate on Indiblogger. Constitutionally there are two types of languages - Official languages and Scheduled languages. According to Article 343, India has two official languages (Rajya Bhasha) - Hindi (in Devanagari script) and English. The States can declare their own official languages apart from English.

Talking of Scheduled languages, we have 22 of them under the Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution. Originally there were 14 - Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malyalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Sindhi (21st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1967), Konkani, Manipuri, Nepali (71st, 1992), Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhili (91st, 2003) were added later. If you might have noticed, 15 0f them are visible on the Indian paper currency while others which were added later still do not find the place there. Entry into this scheduled list has become more of a political affair, a way of appeasing particular minority linguistic sections.

Hence, to claim Hindi as the national language is a big misconception of not only this gentleman but many Indians. Moreover, though it was envisaged as a pan-Indian language by the framers of constitution, Hindi could never rise to that level because,
  • It was not easy for states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh or Bengal having rich traditional linguistic culture to accept any such language forced from above, and
  • It was necessary for the Central Government to see beyond pan-Indian to global communication. In that respect Hindi could never surpass English.
Hence, Hindi has not been accepted as an official medium by the non-Hindi speaking states and English though actually envisaged to be an official language only till 1965 under the Article 343, still carries on with that status thanks to the Official Language Act of 1963 and hence will remain there till eternity.

In this context, in the above mentioned debate on Indiblogger, the initiator further asserts,

If you speak French or German mixing with English, I am sure its not going to be liked, then why make Hindi the scapegoat. Its not only my mother tongue, its a very developed language, why not use it properly.

Well, comparing Hindi with French or German is sort of a faulty analogy. For that matter, Hindi is also one of the least developed language of India if you compare it with the rich linguistic heritage of Tamil, Telugu or Bengali. As long as a person wants to use Hindi properly, he/she is most welcome to do so. Requesting (and not demanding) the others to do so is also his right. However, to give wrong assertions like Hindi is the National language or illogical assertions that Hindi is very developed language, so use it properly; totally fails his/her wider assertions.

Article 351, mentioned earlier with regards to development of Hindi as a pan-Indian language, also clarifies that it is the duty of the Union Government to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule.

In short, Hindi has been developed as a medium for pan-Indian communication. In that sense, it is very important that rather than claiming its purity, it intermixes with other languages. English has actually enriched itself by adopting vocabulary from other European languages like French and German and even Asian languages like Arabic and Hindi for that matter.

Hence rather than purifying Hindi, there should be an effort to make it easier to understand. In this context, Article 351 should move beyond just the Eighth Schedule and include English within its ambit too. Rather than creating new words for common English terms, those terms should be assimilated as has been done all these years.

Why should I call Hindi as my mother language if I am not able to understand the official Hindi documents which use the rarest possible vocabulary. In this context, the Committee of Parliament on Official Language, 1957; constituted under the Constitutional provision (Article 344) under the chairmanship of the then Union Home Minister Govind Vallabh Pant also recommended that proper encouragement should be given for usage of meaningful and simple Hindi words.

Hindi was developed as the language for the common man just as Pali (Buddhist literature) and Prakrit (Jain literature) were developed centuries ago when Sanskrit was regarded elitist and was confined to the Brahminical learning. So why should we emphasize on purifying or in other words complicating Hindi?

In the next part, I'll touch upon the need for a pan-Indian language and the language that should qualify for being the one. Click here to read it.

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http://thumbs.dreamstime.com (edited)

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