Things I would like to see banned in India… a wishlist

  1. Pictures, busts, statues of political leaders in government offices. They belong in museums or memorials… may be separate rooms. This is a huge culture issue, I acknowledge that. Nevertheless… the point stays.
  2. Political party flags – Ban them without exception, especially those that get put on a flagpole or on the car bonnets or held in rallies (which come later in the list)
  3. Vehicle Horns – no further explanation required. May be once these sonic triggers are removed, people would be forced to drive more carefully (would be a disaster, you say? may be for a starting period)
  4. Wall posters – High time we rid this country of this disease… putting up wall posters for everything ranging from puberty functions (yes you read that right… or in a more subtle wording… “coming of age” functions), sexual disease cures, job offers to the ever present menace of political posters.
  5. Flex boards (at least those on the side of roads, low height) – some are ads, many are just mega sized wall posters.
  6. Rallies (religious, political, strikes, protests, support… anything) which disrupt public transport and general movement of vehicles and pedestrians.
  7. Paid queues in temples – especially, do away with VVIP/VIP darshan.
  8. Loudspeakers in any religious organization or institution that is used on a regular basis and in events- temples, mosques, churches, prayer gatherings… whatever. Ban them or at least let them spend on some acoustics and limit the sound within their premises. Festivals might be an exception, but again within volume limits.
  9. Subsidies for pilgrimages – again, without exception.
  10. Printing pictures or paintings of Deities (no matter what the religion is) on plastic covers, paper bags, cloth bags, invitation covers, shirts, shawls etc. No exceptions. (I would have added the whole gamut of plastic, or plaster cast fancy mini idols and the millions of photo frames too, but let’s go with baby steps here.)
  11. Open air, unlicensed slaughterhouses
  12. Big shopping establishments without sufficient car parks (or licenses in the first place!)
  13. Release of more than one love story based film in a year, per language – we have an overflow of idiots flooding the cinema halls with obscenity and low grade songs/ dialogues, all in the name of contributing to “art”.
  14. Plastic or foam plates or cups, plastic packaging for hot items in food outlets
  15. Roadside eateries without clean water storage tanks or proper sinks (Oh how many times have I seen the same water in a bucket be used to clean utensils over and over again… not to mention the mess our people leave by washing hands on the pavement sides?)
  16. Marriages which cost beyond Rs. 20 lakhs (hmm… now why did I mention that here?)
  17. Hotels with rooms having toilets without a health faucet… bidet shower… bum gun… whatever. (seriously!)

I do have one last point… which may not be possible to ban, but should be made illegal. You want to know what that is?

I would like to make it illegal for people to marry unless they have a proper job and a place to stay (owned, rented… whatever… but certainly not a fish cart for a home). It is almost everyday that I see small children living in horrible, decrepit conditions because their parents don’t have the intelligence nor the sense control to keep their pants and skirts up, in the absence of proper living quarters and sustenance. No fundamental right to breed if you cannot provide for your family! There. I said it.

I will keep adding more as and when.(yeah I am just bored out!)

What are your thoughts?

Chennai road rage – being almost stupid

I came pretty darn close to getting in to a street fight today.

I was returning from office and was almost near my home, which is in a street that is not too wide… when I saw that the road was half blocked by a construction lorry, with another car parked on the opposite side of the road.

There were a couple of vehicles which were working their way through the gap… so being the ‘courteous’ driver I was (my father loves to remind me I am not born and grown in USA), I sided up just a bit behind the lorry and made way for the vehicles in the opposite direction. Then I hear this (very irritating) blare of a car horn behind me… which even after being able to see what was going on, kept honking. I ignored it the first 2-3 times… but then it really got to me. Guess I was having a road rage moment. So, once the path cleared, I maneuvered my car through the gap, and parked it couple of houses down the street and when the honking man passed me, I looked to see who was in it… and found him glaring at me. Eyes met… he kept rolling, so then the connection broke, I decided to drop it there.

I got out, opened the gate, and then parked my car inside. When I went near the gate to close it, I noticed that this guy was parking his car right opposite to my gate. That moment, something snapped… my mistake #1. I should have just ignored and gone upstairs, but I walked over to the guy… with a small smile, asked him to roll down the window, and asked him “I would have given way if I had it in front of me in the first place, so you needn’t have honked…”. That’s it… he started foulmouthing me, got down from his car, making threatening advances… (and amusingly), even started looking for a stone to throw at me! He was a well-dressed man, an office goer, probably well educated… but the way he exploded was a bit shocking to me. Here is my mistake #2… I was being horribly and most insanely naïve… was I expecting this guy to just say “Oh so sorry”? A super dumb moment, for sure.

I had my hackles up now and got to a defensive posture (I am taller by half a finger and outweighed him as well), but he didn’t relent and still kept coming at me. Realizing that things might get out of hand, and now that he might know where I live, I started walking back with this moron taunting me. I shouted something back, don’t even remember what as I was in a haze of anger myself. I just got back in to my home, still with the haze, but the moment I looked at my little 1 yr old son who came running to me, babbling in his sweet infant language , I then realized I had actually done the best thing possible at that time… I walked away and defused a potentially dangerous situation. Should I have dug my heels in and thrown my fists, things might have gotten very ugly real fast but I am now thankful they didn’t… for the sake of my family and his too (he was picking up his kid from school I think), at the very least.

As for the other guy…I got reinforcement on the fact that looks are deceiving. Well dressed and educated guys driving fancy cars make bigger morons and a**holes than the poor taxi guys trying to make their ends meet. This jerk is bound to get in to trouble sometime or other. He will learn his lesson another day… with a bloody, broken mouth instead of just a foul one. (yes, I am being nasty now. Too bad!)

I learned my lesson… give up on trying to be reasonable with drivers on the road. May be it is all the stress from the driving that causes people to blow up… but I think I will just keep my expectation down and be more aware of situations on the road going forward.

Joke of the day

“As a Shaivite, I feel offended as Lord Krishna is considered one of the great exponents of Shaivism and godfather within Shaiva sect.”

This really made my laugh of the day. But….seriously… Can any true shaivite validate this statement? Godfather? Really?

P.S. I don’t some sentimental overload from people who are confused between Advaita and Shaivism.

What would you do?

I have recently become a fan of a TV series called “What would you do”… only, I didn’t watch it on TV but on Youtube! For those who are not aware of this program, google it up!

The reason I like it is because the scenarios of the “social experiments” (well, most of them, if that) are pretty close to what we might face in reality at any public place. And the reactions from people who unknowingly become part of the scenario are sometimes absolutely heart touching.

Some youngsters in India have also tried such “social experiments” in India and uploaded their recordings to Youtube. Although the videos lack the technology and finesse of the American show, the reactions (or lack of it) from our dear Indians are horrifying. After watching some of the videos, I am unable to decide whether I should be happy that there were a few Indians who had guts to do anything about a situation… or should I be really, really sad that most of our friends are absolutely apathetic to the problems of their fellow citizens in public.

So, here are some ‘common’ scenes that we might come across in our lives.

What would you do if you are taking a stroll on your neighborhood streets, park or a beach and you see a young girl crying and trying to evade an overzealous ‘boyfriend’? Would your reaction be different based on the dress the girl is wearing?

What if you see a woman being hit by her husband in the street in a slum like area? And what would be your reaction if the wife and husband look like well to do people and the hitting incident happens in a restaurant or in a park or at the beach?

What would you do if you small kids swarm you at a traffic signal trying to sell some cartoon or painting books claiming they were hungry? What if it was just a lone, shabby woman, with a kid asleep in her arms, asking for money?

What would you do if you overhear 2 foreigners bashing your religion on a flight?

What would you do if you see school kids no more than 10 years old swearing and cussing like fishermen?

What would you do if someone cuts the queue in front of you?

Moving lines…

கன்றின் குரலும் கன்னித் தமிழும் சொல்லும் வார்த்தை அம்மா அம்மா
கருணை தேடி அலையும் உயிர்கள் உருகும் வார்த்தை அம்மா அம்மா
எந்த மனதில் பாசம் உண்டோ அந்த மனமே அம்மா அம்மா

பூவும் பொன்னும் பொருந்தி வாழும் மழலை கேட்டேன் தந்தானவன்
நாளை உலகில் நீயும் நானும் வாழும் வழிகள் செய்வானவன்

Why doesn’t anyone write songs like these nowadays?

Almost (this being the key word) every damn movie nowadays is about some stupid love story, with some horrible, beaten path sequences, acrobatic fight sequences… can live with all that… but the songs…my god, the songs are murder! Most of them are absolutely crass, filthy and puke worthy.

Q? What Q?

How many of you actually ‘fall in line’ when you have to? No, really… do you actually make a conscious effort to get in a Q and also ensure that others do the same? This phenomenon has been written to death all over the net, even getting branded as an Indian attitude problem. What a shame!

I absolutely hate it when people jump the line… and more so when they display an attitude of “its beneath me to stand in line”. But the worst of the lot are those who react as if they have heard a ‘asariri’ (disembodied, ethereal) voice when I berate them politely. They look in all directions (as if I was speaking to someone else) and make one more push towards getting further up in the line.

It pains me to see even (modern!) mothers encouraging their kids to “not stand there simply looking and barge in front to get the bill done fast”. I have lost count on the number of occasions when I gently chided kids to get back in line at the local supermarket only to get glared at by the ‘protective’ parent! I have been yelled at by line jumpers who claim ‘I was already at the counter before you… had to go back and get some additional stuff”, and my response was “you might have stood here yesterday or day before… but the line is for today”.

If the people’s attitude (culture, bringing up, whatever) is to be blamed, it also has to be shared by the commercial establishments and the counter in-charges. Lack of common sense rules related to crowd control is the core issue. “Saar, oru item thaane, parava illai”… (Sir, only one item no… its ok)… this is a statement I keep hearing so many times. The number of occasions I have been ‘side stepped’ by a counter employee in favor of another person lunging in with a single item to bill are far too many and every single time I have made it a point to give them as much as an earful possible in 10 seconds.

You don’t have to be as ‘stuck up’ as me… but please… next time, make sure you fall in line and speak up when someone doesn’t do so.

(partially inspired by the video of Mr. Chiranjeevi scolded by a voter at the polling booth for cutting the line.)

Respectful slaughter

From an article on NDTV.com about some family raising piglets for food… am not linking here.

“They’re slaughtered locally, at a small abattoir that treats them with respect.”

“We do kill and eat them… but, oh we treated them with respect!”. Hopefully, the piglets thanked these folks for the respect given before joyfully allowing their heads to fall from their necks.

Makes no sense.

I think if someone wants to eat meat, they should do the killing themselves.

It is really hard…

… to not lose my temper while driving these days. Really, really hard. The roads seemed to be filled with arrogant, self important asses more and more as everyday goes by.