These are exciting times... In India.

There was a teacher in my primary school. She used to tell me something which makes me remember her everyday.

"Always remember that you are living in very exciting times."

I also remember her for her perfect beauty. Wanted to marry her when I grew up, but that's another story altogether.

Coming back to the exciting times, last few weeks have been quite "exciting". Sample a few of the exciting news of the recent times:

Pakistan was termed Pornistan: An ultimate triumph for the 170 million Pakistanis. They finally have something to boast about. Discounting the fact that they already had the proud distinction of being the beggar bowl of the world. And also the terror capital of the world. But being termed Pornistan is something no one can take away from them.

This one was a real killer for the dreams of all us Indians though. Damn!! all the hours spent in front of the PC uploading and downloading all the Riya Sen's and Soha Ali khan's MMSes gone in vain. Such is life. You have to take the titles as they come. We will have ours one day too.

Delhi Commonwealth Games: We Indians love pan masala. We love to spit guthka on the corners in staircases. We love to urinate in public. Going by our hygiene standards, stray dogs soiling our beds are no big deal. We live in buildings where basements are waterlogged and the walls have seepage. These are some points of enlightenment I got from the electronic media in the last few days. Now I feel like the Budhdha of Indian etiquette.

The media is having a field day last couple of weeks on the cost of a few thousand crores of rupees of the tax payers' hard earned money. The TRP is soaring as all we Indians (with our balls missing) are glued to the TV sets. Almost willing the Games to be a disaster. We Indians love melancholy. Another point in my kitty of knowledge about Indians.

Amidst all these shouts of down with the games and jail the jokers of the OC (Kalmadi, Bhanot, et all), however, none of them care about the fact they are the ones who will foot the multi-crore bill. But that's normal in a "Monsoon Wedding", isn't it?

Forth coming Ayodhya verdict : One news that has not got its due in all this fan fare about the Games is Ayodhya verdict. Something which was built 5 centuries ago over something which was supposedly built some 10 centuries ago has caused a loss of some 2000 people already. And now its threatening to take some more lives.

What baffles me is that even after some 5000 years of the so called civilization, we Indians still care so much more for bricks, mortar and pieces of land than human lives. And then we say that being territorial is a thing common to animals. Hypocrisy or should I say primal instincts.

Train Accidents in India : I always thought Bengalis were an intelligent race. If you witness the quantities of fish they consume, you would think the same. How come such a mobilized and intelligentsia populace can't see through Mamta Bannerjee is something I would never understand!

Maybe she is the Laloo of Bengal. We Biharis always have loved him. We acknowledge the fact that he had sucked the life out of Bihar. But he is still affable coz he wears a ganji-dhoti and gamcha. And he eats sattu. And he speaks like a buffoon, supposedly like the way we all Biharis do.

Anyways, both of them have something else in common apart from the uncalled for and undeserved adulation from the populace. Both have led the railways and both have some achievements there. Laloo, questionably, brought back life into railways and Mamta is taking lives with the Railways. Mamta is too busy trying to realize her dreams of becoming the Bengal CM. And with her rising popularity in Bengal the number of railway accidents are also going up. After every accident, there is a stock comment from Didi:

"We will pay 50K for all those who are maimed and rendered useless for their life. We will pay 1 L for the ones killed. BTW this was a conspiracy of the CPM to malign my image in Bengal and I will not let them break my dreams of becoming the CM. I have done so much for the Bengalis. I have fought for Nandigram. I have fought for the Kolkatans. I.... I... I..."

Nothing about the reforms in railways to stop such accidents. None. Zilch.

But we Indians, being ball-less that we are, have learned to live with such impotent politicians.

Anyways, there are so many other stories to share about the exciting times. Can't waste all my talent in describing an ugly woman in a dirty saree, can I? Will come back with some more news from the exciting times I live in next time.

Cats and Dogs

What do you do when the road you are driving on has got two feet of water on it? I drove through all of it. Ditch or no ditch. Road or no road. I drove through it all.

Last weekend was a test of my patience, driving skills and luck. Luck above all.

One of my friends, Abhinav, Biwi and I went on a joy ride to Mussorie. The ride up to Mussorie was an almost good one. I say almost because of various diversions on the road. We couldn't read the omens right and still pushed our luck. Reached Mussorie, on the map some 280 kilometers from Delhi, in 10 hours after clocking some 350 kilometers. This was the first time I drove on the Himalayas and I was thrilled. It was a nice ride with the driving duties shared between Abhinav and I.

The stay there was awesome, with the mercury down and rains all day long. We strolled down the Mall road in the evening and did some shopping. Came back, enjoyed a great dinner and went to bed.

Luckily Biwi decided to watch news before going to sleep. This was when the enormity of situation hit us. Whole of Uttarakhand was under onslaught of rains. Tehri dam was already surging upto the danger mark. Rivers had over flown and the highway and the Ganges was threatening to submerge the whole of western UP.

We were scared. We made a decision of leaving Mussoorie first thing in the morning. Good for us that we stuck with the decision.

Driving back is now a flurry of memories. Going down in ditches, crossing roads with people standing on both sides of the road to guide people from falling into the surging rivers, zooming past Har ki paudi inundated by the mighty Ganges and taking some roads we knew would never take again. This was not the first time we had driven in monsoons, having covered NH 17 in last year's monsoon, I was confident that we would make it. However, I was not prepared for the helplessness and despondency in the people affected by the floods.

Here I was inside a tin box, with the AC running, separated by the glass from them. The people of the land who were forced out of their houses by the furies of the rain God. I remember once reading in my childhood that Indians are totally dependent on the vagaries of monsoon. Never before had I understood the full implication of this phrase. Maybe I don't understand it even now. After all, I was inside a tin box, with the AC running, separated by the glass from them.

I truly feel lucky to have survived the journey and writing all these here.

All these and more forced me to reflect on a totally unrelated issue: Did India really need to spend some 80K Crore Rupees on some gaming event when this could have been used to alleviate much poverty in India? Do we really need to be so jingoistic?

Do we need "Human Flesh Search Engines" in India too?

Sample this:

A woman named Aditi Jagtap hits 6 people in Pune while she was over speeding and gets released on a bail of a meager Rs. 15000.

Balakrishna Masli, a child welfare officer in charge of rehabilitating destitute girls in Karnataka molests girls from the care center. An FIR is filed after 6 days of reporting the case. He would also no doubt get bail and the case would not come to a conclusion in the next decade in all probability.

These are two news bytes from just one day (15/09/2010). If we take into account the complex and corrupt structure of Indian media, judiciary and police system, these may only be 1% of total atrocities committed in India (most of whom go unpunished). These unpunished events also boost the self confidence of others contemplating such actions.

Now, I ask you a question : Wasn't law designed by the society to punish the culprits?

So if we ARE the society, can't we, the people, bring these culprits to the books and punish them ourselves?

Maybe we can't hang them or imprison them but we can humiliate them, socially outcast them, drop all social and business deals with them; in short, make it clear to them that unless they serve their time as per the law of the land, they won't be accepted as a part of the civilized society.

Think its undo able? Take some lessons from our chini bhais. They have started a new kind of social media phenomenon, where in the people as a collective punish who otherwise go scott free because they are influential.

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