MBA with specialization in life


‘These are beautiful flowers didi, very fresh, offer to the devi-she will make you engineer didi. Please buy them didi ( “Sister” in Hindi). I may have very conveniently ignored her feeble voice at first go but the word engineer rang a bell in my mind. I looked at the tiny little girl standing in front of me with a basket bigger than her own size. There were beautiful garlands of marigold and few loose marigold and roses. I was waiting to get an autorickshaw at Laxminarayan road. She repeated the sentence like a pesky alarm clock which had made my life a turnaround hell. I looked at my watch and realized I was very late for my coaching class. ‘Didi please buy some flowers didi-devi will help you in your MBA didi’- she spoke again in her feeble voice-a voice so thin that it could even cut through my ear drums. I was about to tell her to go away when I realized the sound of MBA with a slight delay. I asked her how did she knew I was trying to do MBA. She smiled and I saw her teeth- two of them widely breached in between. She giggled and said -‘all the students who come to the temple either ask for success in Engineering exam or MBA exam, they pray a lot near the idols and I heard them saying it‘.

I was obviously very late for my coaching class so I thought of buying garland and offering to the idol. I asked her name. She giggled and said- ‘Dolly’. Her enthusiasm was reflecting brighter than the soil on her torn frock and larger than her small frame. She quickly took the five rupee coin and kept it safely inside her basket. She took a piece of newspaper and quickly rolled a garland with white twine. I secretly wished if I could solve the data interpretation questions with the speed with which she tied the twine around the paper. I went inside the temple and actually prayed for my success in the CAT examination.

She was talking to another young boy when I came out. She was saying with great prominence that her garlands were a proved key to success in the Devi maa temple. The boy nodded and immediately gave her a ten rupee note.

I went to her and asked her why is she not attending school. She looked at me and answered in her same feeble voice- ‘Baba got his leg amputated in the factory……how can I go to the school..who will feed my little brother?‘. I was about to ask her another question when she spotted another young girl and yelled- ‘Aye didi‘. She went to her and came back with ten rupees.

Before I could talk to her anymore I saw Dolly walking to an old man and saying -‘Baba buy garlands for devi - your children will take care of you’.

I wasn’t interested in her sad little story or her struggle for survival. I wasn’t feeling any pity also. I was sure of her because I knew she was an MBA with specialization in life. Her marketing concepts were far clearer than mine. She knew advertising and knew her target audience very well. Her positioning strategy was clear and she was already an expert in Consumer Behavior. And here I was standing wondering over fate of even getting an admission in a reputed institute. I looked at the remaining flower petals which Pujari ji had given me and thought- may be I still have a chance!

Frugal Justice


How often will we get to read ‘Justice delayed is justice denied‘ in several decade old judicial cases articles that appear in newspaper and magazines? How often a case like Aarushi Talwar, Jessica Lall, Nitish Katara, Ruchika Mehrotra,  Priyadarshini Mattoo and many other will grab limelight due to public outcry.

When ever I have read these cases one case has always come back to haunt me. I first read about this case probably in 1998 (I was in junior high) and it shocked me completely. Not because of its sheer brutality or the sadness that it endowed upon me but because of the fact that justice was given but it was frugal. She was clearly forgotten just because back then there were no candle march supports or innumerable 24×7 news channel to take up this case as a constant ticker on their prime timeline.

Nurse Aruna Shanbaug was raped on 01 November 1973 by ward boy Sohanlal Walmiki while she was changing clothes after finishing her shift. Sounds not so special yet but read more. He choked her with a dog collar that cut-off oxygen supply to her brain. Aruna has been a vegetable since then. She cannot speak, emote, use her limbs or control her muscles. For 33 years, she’s been living a vegetative existence on a bed in KEM hospital. (Source: TOI). The attacker was initially sentenced to seven years sentence which was later reduced to six as one year was served in the lock-up. The court did not even tried him for rape. I am not discussing the details of the gory act that he did as it makes my fingers shiver.

So you were moved by Hrithik’s performance in Guzaarish? Please note that Aruna’s plight will make us cringe in disbelief. She is blind, has to be fed, changed, cleaned and practically be taken care of for every single thing in life. Aruna is over 60 years now and has been a vegetable for almost 36 years now. Talking of the worst thing that could happen was her own family deserted her. Her fiancé however took care of her till he also got married.

Upon his release from jail, Walmiki shifted his base to Delhi and is leading a normal life. He must be a grand-dad by now. Yes, the animal who brought such calamity to Aruna’s life is living a peaceful life. Why wouldn’t this kind of information evoke a sentiment that made an NID student attack SPS Rathore just outside the court? it evokes similar emotions inside me as well.

Pinki Virani is currently writing a book on Aruna’s life and has moved to Supreme Court with a plea for mercy-killing. 

What is the future for Aruna? More so what is the future of such ailing vicitms? Will we ever really get to know who killed Aarushi? Will there be more over-dramatic bollywood portrayal of more Jessicas or  Priyadarshinis and over the top TV serials to depict cases like Ruchika.

You must be wondering why I am actually writing this post. Is it because I had to write something to show my aggression after the current media frenzy over Aarushi Talwar murder case or just because No One Killed Jessica has released?  I had to write it because in my heart I feel incapable of making any difference to Aruna’s life. I had to write it because somewhere we have forgotten her and few more.

How safe are we outside our homes and inside our homes? How safe are we at our schools, colleges, workplaces or public transport? If at all a crime is committed will justice be served? Will it be not delayed? Will it be not frugal?

Now that you’ve finished this post, all I can ask you is say a quick prayer for Aruna. She may not realize what all has transpired after that ill-fated night but somewhere she needs a prayer for taking new birth in an era where she will leave a normal life with a husband and some kids she planned in this life.

Amen.

=====================================================

UPDATE

Update on the euthanasia plea is available here (Source: TOI). A panel of doctors have observed her situation and has confirmed that she is in a permanent vegetative state. However, the nursing staff feels she is not leading a painful life and expresses by some sounds.

Kudos to the nurses and hospital staff of KEM Hospital. May god bestow his choicest blessings upon you.

I will continue to update this post.

Suggested Related Readings by the author:

Here’s to you girls – be alarmed.

Parents killed Daughter?

Marital Rape ~ Clock Strikes One (fictional story)

Pic couresy: Frontline

NRIs to build Taj Mahal replica in New Zealand


This headline caught my eye like many other fellow Indians in Auckland. I was not sure what to express-  be happy about having an Indian icon near my home or being sad about obnoxious flow of funds. After all $20mn NZD is not a small sum!!

The question that instantly striked my inquisitive mind was – Why exactly do we need a replica? Why exactly do we need to spend $20mn NZD on a replica? The Mahatma Gandhi Centre itself where this replica is going to be created is a hub of all Indian activities – festive celebrations, weddings, religious ceremonies and the amazingly crowded garba nights! It already is an Auckland attraction standing testimonial to Indian culture and community!

The funding committee is suggesting that this will promote the city as a tourist attraction! I wonder how? I mean if someone would like to see Taj Mahal why wouldn’t they prefer going to India (Kiwis are already crazy about India and the Taj and the bollywood//AR Rahman//butter chicken//saag aaloo//lamb saagwala and the Rajasthan stories!!) and see the original version (that’s another issue that India itself has failed to promote itself as a tourist destination courtesy the niceties served to the foreigners via rape, robbery, overcharging and cheating).

Also note that the funding committee is largely supported by the omnipresent Gujarati community. The community behind the sprawling and elderly-friendly Akshardham complex in Delhi – I don’t even wanna start on this right now!! I am too afraid of my mom who thinks its just too beautiful! Yeah right mom. I have promised you earlier not to talk against it. The community has done amazing work for charitable hospitals, schools and old age home and kudoz to them for that but I sincerely don’t understand why it is spending $20mn over a replica now?

Auckland itself is a beautiful city. The beautiful buildings and the lovely views and the lushious greenery – does it really need an ostentious Indian Taj Mahal replica to be promoted as a tourist attraction? The City of Sails has so many other points of attraction – why do we need an Indianized epitome complete with marble mausoleum, a pool and gold-plated ornaments?? Its pathetic when we are not even able to take good care of the original Taj. I still loathe my visit to city of Agra. Its ridiculously dirty! I can still smell it and this is making me highly nauseous right now wait lemme smell my cuppa coffee. Though I forgot all this while I stood and saw the majestic Taj – ‘the original TAJ’.

Its actually shameful and embarassing at the time when my colleagues at work are aksing me about the status or possibility of Commonwealth Games finally happening. Its highly insulting when the UN reports that the world hunger is on the rise for a decade specially in Asia. Its almost insane to know at this very time the Samoans are battling the aftermath of Tsunami and we are talking about creating a replica.

We Indians be it here or back home love to splurge – its just in our DNA that materialism is good. We love to build statues of politicians in Noida and Shivaji in middle of sea! We love statues and replicas and all things nice. We just don’t care about the harsh realities. The Noida entrance beautification project is a shame! The big statue of Buddha and overarching iron ornated curves which were not painted two years back as people objected to the flow of funds and politicians lost the elections.

Raj here has given his inputs too – Thanks Raj   //Don’t like the idea……so many issues…Its not good for social integration with the local population and as usual indians will form groups within the community and fight within themselves for control of the place. It will reduce the charm of the actual taj mahal for kiwis and tourist numbers may drop (Also because The replica will be a cheap imitation)//

This has driven me insane since the time I have read this…sheer wastage that’s all I can say and really cheap!

I have been told instead of criticizing it I should suggest solutions – I am not sure what solutions can I present apart from utilizing the $20mn in a productive manner! Also this post is not India bashing post. This is just about how obnoxious one can get in name of tourism. I hereby speak as a tourist and a common person not Indian not NRI or not any country’s citizen! I am writing as a tortured student who travelled via the Noida entrance route daily getting late for tuitions courtesy the riots or the protests over the beautification. I am writing as a tourist who was afraid of drinking water in Agra. I am not here for solutions – if we need one I might as well start writing another post which I highly don’t intend to do so. After all what power do I have to dare make any suggestions when the master plan for the replica is already on its way! I can just take out my frustration over someone’s obnoxiousness.

You have your rights of opinion – bouquets and brickbats are welcomes – to each his/her own. And this post and this blog is my own!

(Read NZ Herald’s NZ Leading Daily cover story here)

Smart Water use in the home


We were provided handouts on A quick and easy Smart water use check up to see how we can save water, power and money!

I am providing below a short synopsis of tips that I think are great and easy to measure.

Get a pen and paper and record the results as you work around your home.

1. TAPS

If any of the taps in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry are:

  • Individual hot and cold taps mounted on the counter top or
  • Single lever (mixer) faucet/tap or
  • Individual taps with a combined spout

To check the flow rate – do this:

a. Turn the water on and run it at your normal flow

b. Place a container under and tap and collect water for 10 seconds

c. Measure the volume of water collected (e.g. pour into a measuring cup)

d. Multiply the volume x 6 to determine flow rates in litres per minute (l/min)

If the flow rate is more than 12l/min on any tap, consider installing an aerator or flow restrictor to reduce to 9l/min ir less – a minimum 25% reduction.

2. TOILETS

Check toilet type. Is the toilet:

  • Single Flush orDual flush (can’t be imrpoved)

If the toilet is single flush model:

a. Take the top off the tank behind the toilet

b. Locate the centre post with washes that keeps the water in the tank

c.Flush the toilet and watch the action of the lever arms and centre post.

To reduce the volume of water used during each flush. you can:

a. Adjust the lever arm so that the float stops the tank refilling at a lower level – this gives a modest reduction in water us or

b. Install a cistern weight, hanging it over the centre post – this can reduce water use by as much as 60% every flush!!! To function properly, hold the flush lever down until the bowl is clear then release it. when you do this. the weight forces the washer to close and prevents any more water escaping.

3. SHOWER

If the shower is a :

  • Standard/wall mount shower or
  • Slide and hose type

Check the flow rate. To do this:

a. Turn the water on and run it at your normal flow.

b. Place a container (e.g. a pail) under the shower flow and collect water for 10 seconds.

c. Measure the colume of water collected (e.g. pour into a standard size container)

d. Multiply the volume x 6 to determine flow rate in litres per minute.

If the flow rate is more than 18l/min, you can install a low-flow showerhead or flow restrictor to reduce it to 9 or 12l/min – this provides a minimum 33% reduction in water use.

Start saving water, power and money!

Save even more money by reducing your shower time. Go for the famous ‘four-minute’ shower (I need to practice this when I am preaching this) :P


Baat Nikli hai to phir duur talak Jayegi


Baat Nikalegee To Phir Duur Talak Jaayegee
Log Bewajah Udaasee Kaa Sabab Poochhenge
Ye Bhee Poochhenge Ke Tum Itnee Pareshaan Kyoon Ho
Oongliyaan Uthengee Sookhe Huye Baalon Kee Taraf
Ek Nazar Dekhenge Guzre Huye Saalon Kee Taraf
Choodiyon Par Bhee Kai Tanz Kiye Jaayenge
Kaanpate Haathon Pe Bhee Fikre Kase Jaayenge

Log Zaalim Hain Har Ek Baat Kaa Taanaa Denge
Baaton Baaton Mein Meraa Zikr Bhee Le Aayenge
Unkee Baaton Kaa Zaraa Saa Bhee Asar Mat Lenaa
Warnaa Chehre Ke Taasur Se Samajh Jaayenge
Chaahe Kuchh Bhi Ho Sawaalaat Naa Karnaa Unse
Mere Baare Mein Koi Baat Na Karnaa Unse
Baat Nikalegii To Phir Door Talak Jaayegee 

 Click here for video.

This is one of my most favourite ghazals by Jagjit Singh Ji. It is beautifully rendered by him.
The beauty of the ghazal is one can draw several parallels with it.
Read – log zaalim hai har ek baat ka taana denge//Unkee Baaton Kaa Zaraa Saa Bhee Asar Mat Lenaa, Warnaa Chehre Ke Taasur Se Samajh Jaayenge.

Isn’t it true that sometimes people keep asking us why we are upset and we feel like not sharing. But we are forced to and when we have told our things, the strong grapevine circulates our tiny emotion of heart to the world and due to chinese whisper syndrome it turns out to be a totally different thought courtesy figment of imagination of someone else’s idle mind?

Other parallel drawn is like a story that I imagine in my mind whenver I hear it – like a music video.

A woman in her fifties, recently widowed is lonely and looking for someone. Her childhood friend is there in the same hall…..standing far from her. She is sitting and looking at him asking lots of questions with her dry eyes. He wants to go and comfort her but he is scared of all the people sitting there – of all the men who are busy talking about the weather, business, politics, budget and of all the women who have just taken the woman for her bath and removed all signs of her happy and colourful life – her sindoor been smudged badly, her bangles taken out, her toe rings taken out while she kept crying inconsolably but no one to console her.

Is it really necessary to do all this? Isn’t it true that the woman is having a colorful life full of memories of happier times, her children, her laughter, her proud achievement of being a great mother and wife and daughter in law.

Why is she an outcast? Why she has to be alone while others are celebrating Holi? Why she has to dress up in subdued colours and without bindi reminding her children that they have lost their father everytime they look at her face? Why?

Tomorrow or day after, these same women might be standing in the same bath and hall as her.
Reminds me of Dor and how widowed grandmother tells her married daughter -in law that she should not hurt  her recently widowed daughter in law (Ayesha Takia) as no one knows she might be standing in the same place as her.

See how I started and how I ended this post – ‘Baat Nikli hai to phir duur talak Jayegi’. Another parallel.

Mysterious Girl


Peter Andre’s song is uber cool but this post is not about him or the song.

I was thinking about few mystery girls who disappeared in thin air without a trace. They were having a good life, great financial status, friends still they went away just like that -like an unsolved mystery – an enigma that was plastered all over by media and now ill forgotten. I hereby pay my tribute in a small manner through this post.

1. Divya Bharti – A cute baby-faced actress who ruled the tinsel town for glitzy three years 1990-1993. An actress who gave a hit like Deewana and bid farewell to the world at a tender age of 19. She secretly married producer Sajid Nadiadwala who still pays tribute to her in his movies. Media reported she fell down from her balcony from a 5 storey apartment building. I wonder why would something like that happen? Was it a tragic accident or there was someone who pushed her? I was very little when the news of her death came on DD news. I was quite shocked as I liked her a lot specially her song - Saat Samundar Paar or Kahin Mujhe Pyaar Hua to nahi hai. If she would have been alive – she would have been a great actress with plethora of awards. Not that she isn’t remembered as great actress today..but still…

2. Parveen Babi – The name reminds me of a mermaid – her figure was perfect like a mermaid, the way she dressed up and carried herself was amazing.  Her eyes spoke thousand words. Jawaani Jaaneman song was a perfect example of her enchanting aura. She belonged to a royal family and was never married. She shared deep relationship with Mahesh Bhatt though who later on showcased her life although bit OTT in Woh Lamhe. She suffered from Schizophernia and lived alone in the last days of her life. She finally bid farewell to the world in 2005, police suspected no foul play. She was found with gangerine in her foot as a result of bad case if diabetes.

3. Nafisa Joseph – A super successful model with a tall slender frame. Miss India Universe. Successful and popular VJ and a girl with friends who’d die for her. A sour relationship and she took away her life. She hung herself in her house where she lived alone. I still miss her VJ-ing on MTV.

4. Kuljeet Randhawa – A super successful model and TV actress. My memories with her are of playing Prishita in Hip Hip Hurray. She was having a great career with a film in offing when her relationship with her Special Squad Co-actor Bhanu Uday tourned sour and she took away her life – hung herself in her house where she lived alone. Interestingly Nafeesa and Kulraj were great friends since their CATS (Indianized Charlie’s Angels). Kulraj was in depression since her friend’s sudden demise.

5. Madhubala – An eternal beauty – she according to me is the most beautiful woman in the history and will be in the future as well. A smile that can make you take your heart out. A girl child who suffered a heart congenital problem (hole in heart), a girl child who started supporting her family at a very young age. She suffered medical complications but continued to work without showing to the world her pain. She fell in love with the dashing Dilip Kumar but like a perfect daughter obeyed father who didn’t approved of the tragedy king. Lived her last few years in pain. Married co-acotr Kishore Kumar. When life was sharing marital bliss finally (amidst protests from both families), she bid farewell to the world with a hole in her heart leaving that smile that killing smile. I can’t forget her eternal beauty in Mughal -E- Azam or the naughty looks in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi or Half-Ticket.

6. Aarushi Talwar – Only child, affluent family of doctors, bright student, excited about birthday party – killed in night, and killed again and again after that courtesy cruel Noida Police and media. Tarnished character image, condemned soon after by her friends in a march. Still the case is not solved.

7. Princess Diana – A face so pure, a smile so elegant, a personality so soothing. A troubled marriage, a husband who was never her own and re-married to his first love of life. Massive public following, an iconic image. Dead suddenly after Mother Teresa’s demise after being chased by Paparazzi. Foul play is still a theory put forward by the skeptics.

8. South Indian Actress- I don’t know much about them, but I have generally seen South Indian actress being more prone to suicidal tendencies like Vaishnavi.

Why it happened? Why did they face a fate like this? Why god becomes so nasty at times? Why good people have young lives? Why – that is a question I need an answer for.

(Do read Wiki for their short biographies – my personal suggestion is Madhubala – I was drawn to tears after reading it)

 

PS- the author apologises for the harakiri commited with the name. Though I’d like to mention I did write this post in 10 minutes as I was too intrigued after reading about Madhubala…Sorry again. But the fact remains – I am deeply moved.

Sorry for not commenting on the post as I am still coping with exams – MBA is a tough job…phewwwww