Category Archives: Ramblings

A Little Xenophobia

The very first thing that Indian students are warned about when we come to India is, “Kallu log se bachke rehna”. It literally means be careful of black people. What is it about being “black” that makes people so afraid? I have had the opportunity to interact with lots of people from diverse backgrounds and I have found them all to be pleasant and welcoming.

Indians are inherently racist and xenophobic. We find ways to split ourselves into ever smaller pockets of people. Any dark man becomes “Kallu”. Anyone from south India becomes “Madraasi”. Anyone with oriental features is “Chinki”. These are our own countrymen but more importantly, they are fellow human beings. Everyone just wants to do things that make their life easier. Then why do we share these xenophobic thoughts?

When we have all descended from common ancestors, it’s about time we acknowledge that fact. Others who merely look different or come from different cultural backgrounds are not inferior or superior to us in any way. They are individuals just like us with their hopes, dreams, fears and desires. Let’s just leave the subtle xenophobia aside and try to get along with one another. In times like these, the world could use more of that.

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When You Get Lazy

This post is more of an attempt to keep the habit going rather than succumb to a lazy weekend. There are several words that begin with “L”. Life, love, luck, and so on but I choose “lazy” because that’s how I feel right now.

I don’t want to write which is why I have told myself that it’s just one of those days. Because of this, I have convinced myself that I cannot do justice to any topic that I can think of tonight.

And somehow, I just can’t. Maybe it is the effect of doing nothing significant during the day except some heavy furniture lifting. More likely it’s a classic case of writer’s block. You feel something that you write is terrible before you write it. All that is just in my mind of course. I am just feeling too lethargic to write something good.

As a result of all this musing, I have managed to write a post that exceeds 200 words and I have created a nice little paradox. I am feeling too lazy to write about anything, so I write about laziness. But by doing so, I have written about something. As a result, perhaps I am not that lazy after all and I just might be able to do justice to another topic. But I am too lazy to indulge in speculation at this point.

Good night.

 

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If Only…..

Life is strange. The most meticulous of plans sometimes come apart or a poorly thought out tactic sometimes works wonders. One has to account for the vagaries of random chance. And after a particularly disappointing outcome, we often think, “If only”…

“If only I had studied a little more”, thinks the boy who failed a test. “If only I had spoken more confidently”, feels the person who has been rejected after an interview. Life is filled with us asking such hypothetical questions. But the most important lesson to learn is, shit happens. Not everything you wanted comes to you. If it did, life would be so boring. To experience the joy of victory, it is critical that we first face the agony of defeat.

You will get hurt in life. You will be loved by some, more than you can ever imagine and some will hate you for what you did to them. There will be those who will never forget you and those who will never forgive you. Life is about learning how to be happy and make others happy as best as you can and somewhere, you will fall short. You will achieve many things which you thought impossible, yet you will utterly fail at some of the simplest tasks put to you.

Some things which were once unacceptable to you will become an essential part of your identity. And you will lose people. You will move on and forget some of your best friends. But you will make others. You will forget the passions you once had but you will find newer ones. You will learn to love and you will learn to hate. You will realize that you were not as great as you once thought you were and you will be reminded time and again that you are mortal. Your idols will fall from their lofty pedestals and you will look up to people you once held in contempt. Because you will change. You will change because you will keep saying “If only…..”. And it’s part of being human.

As Achilles says, “The Gods envy us. They envy us because we are mortal and every moment might be our last. Everything is more wonderful because we are doomed.” Learn from your regrets and live free of the guilt. Life is not about constantly asking yourself, “If only…”. It’s about the moments where you don’t have to ask that question.

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A Few Thoughts On Freedom

Like most abstract concepts, freedom is by nature very subjective. What do you mean when you say you are free? What does anybody mean when they say India gained freedom in 1947? Is freedom really absolute? Freedom is very relative. It implies that you have the opportunity to make a choice that you couldn’t earlier.

You are as free as you are willing to be. We are not really free, we are creatures of convenience. Do we have to courage to be completely independent? Would we want to? We curb our own freedoms in exchange of security. A fantastic example of this is airport security. We have exchanged travelling freely within the country for a false sense of safety.

India gained independence in the August of 1947. What did we do? We sent back the white sahibs but before long, we had replaced them with brown sahibs; and they still exist, controlling the nation at whim. You are free to eat, breathe and drink (non alcoholic beverages only), but are you really free to do what you would want to do inside the depths of your heart? Won’t you be judged by society which wishes to curb your freedom to maintain uniformity? And you allow it to do so.

And lastly, we always make the mistake of forgetting that freedom, is never free. You fight for it and you can never really stop. You never should. Your freedom is worth fighting for. It is even worth dying for.

 

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The Unending Debt

I have long held the view that when it comes to all matters ridiculous, the Shiv Sena and the MNS are usually at the head of the pack. For two parties that are constantly at loggerheads, they seem to be in agreement on one thing – Maria Susairaj should never act again.

While the representative from the MNS says, “Maria is convicted for a heinous crime and we will not allow her to work at any cost”, the Shiv Sena says, “People with a criminal background come out of the jail and become stars in television shows”. This of course coming from two parties which have never thought twice about fielding candidates who have criminal records and convictions. Apparently, you need an “untainted” record to work in television but can be a career criminal for the simple task of running a state.

And so the parties try to dictate terms to producers like Ram Gopal Varma about whom he chooses to cast in his movies. If every convicted criminal were to be prevented from working after serving a sentence, at least the Lok Sabha would have fewer scams to worry about.

The important issue that is raised here is, when does a criminal completely pay off his debt to society? Susairaj, was convicted not for murder but for destruction of evidence was sentenced to three years. She has already been jailed for that period of time and has been let go. In the eyes of the law, it is immaterial how grisly a crime and how much publicity it garners. The fact remains that an eminent member of the judiciary, which is one of the last respectable institutions in India, decided that her crime merited a certain sentence and delivered the said judgement.

But it is never that simple. As if one judgement is not enough, a convicted criminal is judged by every single person he comes in contact with. They find it difficult to get employment, to rejoin society as they left it and are subject to prejudice.

Some may say that they ought to have thought about it before they broke the law but the question is, is it really society to whom criminals owe a debt? To some extent, a punishment can be viewed as a surety that criminals offer in exchange for being reintegrated into society. But is it so simple?

Susairaj will soon pass out of public consciousness and so will the murder of Neeraj Grover but wherever she goes, the fact that Maria was part of something horrific might probably never let her be at peace with herself. The debt to yourself is surely one that can never be repaid in full.

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For those who came in late

The past few months I have seen a slew of bloggers from SPCE-SPIT. Many of them are still in college with some in their first year. Over the past four years, much has changed in college. Some places have changed their locations and some have ceased to exist altogether. This post is just a record of my recollections of SPCE and I hope whoever reads this looks at the campus in a different light.

Ten things you didn’t know about SP:
1) The year I was an FE i.e. 2005-06, was the year SPIT came into existence. Before that there was just the SPCE Aided wing with Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and SPCE unaided with Computers, IT, Electronics.

2) The 2005-09 batch of EXTC was the first EXTC batch to pass out of college. Hence placements for that batch were awful.

3) There used to be only one General Secretary, Cultural Secretary and Magazine Secretary for SPCE-SPIT combined even when we were in our Second Year. Rules used to change every year after that and we ended up screwing every college festival.

4) SPACE ’06 was the best SPACE to ever happen. No arguments about that. Jal had come to college. Bhavan’s ground was packed and all the events were amazing

5) We had two canteens when we were in FE. There was the normal canteen where we would get misal pav, poha, etc. and there was a sandwich, paratha, pizza, etc. counter near the stairs on the ground floor near the SPIT entrance i.e. opposite the elevator and adjacent to the SPIT office. The sandwich counter was shifted to the canteen in our SE.

6) The new SPIT wing did not exist in my FE. There was nothing there. Just the remnants of an old structure. Me and the rest of FE Trical spent many happy afternoons playing football there.

Notice the background?

7) There was no grille and no barriers separating the Quad from the college. The quad was all-access till my SE. And also the Quad height did not vary as much as it does now. There weren’t any fans or curtains.

8) In SPCE midterms were never taken seriously at all. Still aren’t I guess.

9) There was a reading room adjacent to the SPCE library. After our FE, they broke the wall and expanded the library.

10) This is just for the record really.

Rohit Ajitkumar, Chinmay Kamat and Siddharth Deekshit are the official founders of Sardar Patel Quiz Club, fondly known as SPQC. And BE Trical batch of 2009 will remain the undisputed SPQC Champions. Doubt it? We will take you on anytime, anywhere.

P.S. If anyone remembers anything else I missed out on, please let me know

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Essays

As good friend Divyanshu (always referred to here as Debu) was telling me the other day, it has been a long time since he last wrote an essay. I realized that I hadn’t either. I plan to remedy this in December though.

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