Parallel thoughts

She saw him first. At first it was just a glance. He was pulling his luggage that looked as if it was waiting to exploded. There was no strain though on his part. He pulled at it with great vigour. She wondered about who he was and what he did. She stirred her cup of coffee, to which she has previously added half a cube of sugar. She looked askance to find that he was approaching the cafe coffee shop she was in. Her heart seemed to skip a beat and then the pounding went up a notch. Subconsciously she pushed her hair behind the ears. Perhaps also straightened up a bit. Her demeanor changed and she was a tad bit annoyed to be behaving in such a nubile way. 

While was gathering her thoughts, he had the entered the cafe and sat with an audible thud at the counter. He did not say a word. She was sitting to his right, at table, for two, by the window. He was busy fumbling with something in his pocket when her phone rang.

She cursed the damn phone for ringing at the most inappropriate moment. He turned to look at where the sound was emanating from. He looked straight at her.

She said, “Hi”.

He turned on the counter stool to look at her. She was a vision. He was enthralled.

But then she proceeded to talk in to the phone. Her eyes moved away from him and looked out. It began to rain. The scene was set. Rain provided the background music. The pitter-patter of rain drops falling hard and fast outside permeated the cafe. It was an intrusion. That sound.

His coffee arrived. It was hot and the vapor flowed up and out from the cup. He fidgeted with the spoon before dropping two sugar cubes in to the cup. He wondered who she was and for whom she waiting. He felt an instant anger that someone would make her wait. Was it that guy she was waiting for calling to say that he was late? Or was it something else? He sipped at the coffee which was excellent. He proceeded to look at the clock when his phone trilled.

She finished her call only to find him answer the trilling of his phone. The ring tone was not musical. It sounded like something from the bakelite era of land line phones. She was intrigued. On second thought, she was downright interested to know who he was. Her mind wandered on about thoughts of him serving in the army.

And suddenly everything went quiet. The rain subsided as if somebody had turned off a gigantic tap. A dog ran past her window having taken shelter at the awning. A vehicle screeched to a stop to avoid running over the dog. Thus began a flurry of activity outside.

He finished his phone call. His coffee was still left. He glanced at his watch. Time was up. He had to catch the train. Leaving behind a large bill, enough to cover two coffees, he lugged out.

She was done with her coffee and proceeded to exit the cafe. Her train was about to depart. She was just behind him and they entered the station at the same time. Now, her heart beat was definitely up and not from the brisk walk.They were both heading to the same train. Her coach loomed up ahead and he was still headed to it.

He squeezed in his over sized bag and sat down. He let out an audible sigh. Her image was still imprinted in his mind.

She waited just outside the coach. All she had was her handbag. She bit her lip, looked at the watch. Three minutes to departure. Should she go now? An intuition said that he was very much going to be sitting next to her. A smile spread across her face. She waited a bit longer to board.

 

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End of the year.

Now that we are approaching the last few hours of 2008, it is time to contemplate and take stock. Introspection is really good. I am sure that unless one is critical on oneself it would utterly impossible to get ahead in life. So how we do correct the mistakes? Ego for a large part will prevent us from accepting the criticism that was bestowed on us fully. How much ever we keep asserting that yes-i-can-take-criticism, at some level, we still reject it and become defensive. At least in my case it is so. As usual I will be taking stock of the year and maybe even write a blog, not that anyone would be interested in it.

As a principle, I never make any New Year resolutions. If I need to do something, I go ahead and do it. What I would though write about and length would be about my smoking and how I kicked it. It is now one year and 55 days since I stopped smoking and have not lighted up even once. I stopped means I stopped. If it some way helps anyone, who is a aspiring to be a non-smoker, I would be glad. 

I am going to get my forty winks. Later.

p.s.: I am all out of cognac.

Is Arundhati Roy a traitor?

On 12th of this month, Arundhati Roy, wrote a piece which I read at Huffintong Post. It can still be read here.

Why would I want to spend my precious time, writing my views on this? Views expressed by Ms. Roy, put aspersions on many segments of the Indian society. In her view, the majority of us are bigots and are about to explode into a ethnic war.

Her dextrous word play and “analysis” of the situation and climate that fostered such bloody carnage in Mumbai is attributed to Hindu arrogance.

In the longish, winding way of telling a lot but in actuality not telling anything, she has touched many subjects. Media, right wing Hindutva, Kashmir, Dalits, Hunger,Gujarat riots of 2002, Parliament bombing attempt in 2001. The whole lot.

Media bashing seems to be the flavor of the season. I am here qouting her

“We’re told that one of these hotels is an icon of the city of Mumbai. That’s absolutely true. It’s an icon of the easy, obscene injustice that ordinary Indians endure every day”.

So, the hotel guests of the Taj Mahal Hotel and Towers, are in some way a cause and reason for the dismal record of India and its fight against hunger? They should feel guilty because of their wealth? The injustice of the ordinary citizens – I would like to know who qualifies as ordinary citizens. Anyone who cannot afford to sup and dine at this particular hotel? Anyone who does not have “connections” in the right place?

Why is it ironic that one of the restaurant was called “Kandahar”? Should that name evoke some sort of distress amongst its diners? I do not see any irony in it. It evokes a plethora of emotions. But not irony.

India, has made tremendous strides since 1991 when the shackled economy was opened up and more market driven policy was adopted. Till then, the governement was still held back by the mistaken ideologies of Jawaharlal Nehru. The marriage of democracy and socialism was a miserable failure. In the post freedom era, India was limping across to meet its food needs. The duties imposed were heavy. Everything was regulated. If you had a telephone connection, you were considered rich. Such was the life during the regulated times. Telecommunications was run by the state and controlled by the state. Telecom de-regulation would perhaps be the most significant step for the current growth levels.

Let us come to the article and its nuances. Gujarat riots were a huge mess. Immense, humongous. It was the worst sort of ethnic violence seen in this country after partition of India and Pakistan. The blame lies squarely on the Modi government for not swiftly moving in and stopping the blood bath.

To fully decipher and understand the geo politics of the region, one would have to read the history of India, its birth and its struggle during the British rule. RSS was a product of that time. It was clarion call to all Hindus to unite for freedom struggle. What the author refuses acknowledge is this. RSS rejected the caste system. You are free to research yourself and find out. Cherry picking words for maximum impact should be left to the MSM, which the author so eloquently critizes.

Most intelligence agencies across the globe are synonymous in attributing the Mumbai massacre to Lashkar-E-Taiba.

India did NOT support the LTTE. In fact, the government of India supported, funded and aided , Tamil Elam Liberation Organization. TELO wanted India to intervene and negotiate a settlement with the Sinhalese. LTTE denounced TELO stating that India was only acting in its interest. LTTE is that breakaway faction from the union of liberation fronts acting in Srilanka. The in fighting that ensued, LTTE massacered its own people, the TELO and others, which occured 22 years back.

In the midst, the former Prime Minister of India passed away. That crook by the name Visawanath Pratap Singh, commonly referred to as V.P.Singh. Let me write a little more about this scum, whom Arundhati waxes lyrical, as “the hero of Dalits and lower castes”. I, for one have been affected by his very action during his relatively small tenure as PM of India. This ectoplasm, tabled the Mandal Commission report much against the views of the administration. Students rose up against its implementation. It was a report that created havoc in the society and did nothing to elevate the lower castes, which it was supposed to lift out of poverty.I will give you a small example. A student, say Anna for arguments sake, belongs to the upper caste secures a overall score of A+ in her high school graduation exam, here called the 12th board exam, she would have to compete with the other kids, categorized as Forward Community. Now, say Suri, secures a C or about 60%, his admission to a premier institute would be assured based on the affirmative action called the quota system.

So, for having scored less, Suri is awared by the state, whereas Anna, for being a high achiever is punished for being born in to an Upper Caste. The Mandal commission findings are available on the internet for the curious. By the way, I lost out because I am from an Upper Caste. Being a straight A student did not matter. Merits be damned.

Ms. Roy, here is my answer. The politicians however narcissitic and greedy are not going to attack Pakistan. However factional a society, we are not about to murder each other. Maybe you forgot to notice, in your tinted glasses, we are not at a fork at all. The paths are quite clear. We tackle the internal issues first. We have come together as a society before and we have now. If you feel that you no longer want to be a part, you are free to renounce your citizenship and get out.

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Data on LTTE, LeT, Jammu and Kashmir, Mandal Commission, is available online. I urge all you to look it up and come to your own conclusion.