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Monday, 29 December 2008

Can College Students Work Without A Crown?

Doctors have advised me to take walks to stay healthy. The best place to have long walks is by the sea shore. I often go to Bandstand or Carter road for my evening walks. But there are times when I am too lazy to go to a sea shore, and the next best option is to go to a park on the linking road. That means walking on our Mumbai road. And it is a night mare walking on those Bandra streets. The uneven roads and open gutters are eye-sore. The road outside National College is in pitiful state. There is no proper footpath. Broken tiles and uneven roads make it too dangerous for walking. One false step and I could land in hospital with broken bones. Is our Bandra ward so poor that they cannot mend the roads? They use cheap materials that last only a week. Small pebbles and dust is scattered on the streets. This road is just outside National College but it does not affect even the young college students who use these roads everyday. Many years ago, during my short visit to Holland, I had seen young college students helping with the civil work of repairing and restoring the government buildings. It is the part of the curriculum in college to contribute to the community with their services and care. But would our college students in Mumbai do that? They would consider this too lowly a job to undertake. The college students in Mumbai take more active part in organizing noisy parties and having social entertainments. Are they capable to giving anything back to society? Everybody plays a blame game and pointer is always outward. After the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack, we saw many college students start a temporary uprising, shouting slogans, lighting candles and organizing loud street plays to divert the TV camera on their ego, but how many of them are really disturbed by the poor state of our Mumbai streets? Will somebody work without a proper crown to show off their credentials? Light off. Action Shoot.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

I don't go to any beach in Mumbai......

I cannot..... because they are so dirty..... Mumbai civic authorities want to spend Rupees six crore for cleaning the Versova, Madh, Marve, Manori and Gorai beaches Will our Mumbai beaches be as clean as this? No? Then why do they want to waste the tax payer’s money. Don’t they know that people in Mumbai are not used to cleanliness and it takes them only half a minute to mess things up. Don’t they learn from their earlier mistakes? Their earlier contract to clean the Girguam, Dadar and Juhu Chowpatty is in operation since 2005, but are they are clean?. During early morning, when we go for walk, we still see bare buttock doing their morning work, during evening hours there are people eating bhel puri and ground nuts and throwing the garbage on the beach. There are many plastic bags floating near the shores. There are no garbage cans on the beach. Before we can even think of cleaning the beaches, it is important to spread the message of cleanliness.(not that any attempts have not been made to educate the public, but some people don't register) And that is the difficult task. Nobody has succeeded in teaching civic sense to Mumbaites. I am guilty too. I, too, have no courage to confront a person who is messing up the streets. I see auto rickshaw drivers spitting on the road, children shitting on foot paths and commuters throwing bus ticket as soon as they alight from bus. But do I say anything? I can’t. Like the other day, I was traveling by bus and I saw a woman, sitting next to me, eating batatawada in the bus, after she finishes, she stretches her hand and throws the paper through the window, (her hand brushed against my nose, but still I did not say anything) I am afraid to stop her. I just plug my ears, close my eyes and listen to music. I am not ready to risk the embarrassment of a squabble. I am told that they will hire contractors and hold them responsible, Nah! it will still not work. They may have best of machinery and manpower, but they can not instill civic sense where there is nil. Will our beaches be ever clean? Forget it. We will enjoy clean beaches on our holidays in some distant land.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Sorry Ma'am, I am 'On Time'

It was on the dot of 3pm that I reached the venue at Nerul for a convention and nobody was there. I looked around and saw one girl working on her computer. “Excuse me? Is there some meeting here today or am I in the wrong place?” I asked the receptionist. “Yes, there is a meeting, please be seated.” And I waited for next twenty minutes before I saw the familiar face. Coming late for any gathering is the norm in India. Actually, punctuality is the art of guessing how late the other person is going to be. I am learning to be unpunctual, because coming on time gets very embarrassing for me. Few months ago, I was invited for wedding anniversary of the friend. I was given the invitation card which specified the time of the occasion as 7pm. When I arrived at 7pm I had to apologize for being on time, the venue was still getting its finishing touches, the host and the family members were busy giving orders to the volunteers, I wanted to move forward to congratulate my friend but I was asked to wait for their magnificent entry. I looked around to find some comfortable seat for me, but my movement was the distraction for the organizers. I hid behind the pillar, on a low seat and waited patiently for party to begin, maybe I needed to change my this bad habit of being ‘on time’ Late comers don’t care nor respect other people’s time. One of the parents of the autistic child was mentioning to me about the plight of her child outside the doctor’s clinic. The doctors give the appointment at certain hour, but they are still made to wait for more than two hours. During those two hours, the child gets restless and starts throwing temper tantrums which is quite frustrating for the parents. Over the years, our society seems to have lost its sense of urgency when it comes to being on time for anything. The most punctual people I have ever seen are in government offices. Sharp at one o’clock, during the lunch hour and at five o’clock, the closing hour, the office window will close, although at other hours of the day they might be punctuality challenged. I know it is going to be hard to change my habits. Poor time-keeping might make me sloppy, lazy, selfish and unorganized. But don’t blame me. I am forced to change to keep my nerves cool at all times of the day.

Are our airports safe?

After26/11, there is security concerns everywhere in Mumbai. They check your purse at the theatres and shopping malls. The lifts in the 5-star hotels cannot operate without your room key. The schools are installing cameras in their school premises. The building societies have hired two extra securities guards after the terror. Even the senior citizens are hiring a personal security guard. Every node of Mumbai may be safe now, except, our Airports, where we see thousands of people waiting and whiling away their time, out on the streets,

Thursday, 11 December 2008

It is Important To Instill Honesty in Kids

Two weeks since, I have been glued to TV, watching the big range of news channels and my fingers punching the remote control during the promos. While surfing, I came across a new channel called ‘Colors’ this channels seems to have some nice, sentimental stories and I particularly liked the one called ‘Utaran’, I have not watched it regularly, but the gist that I get from the few episodes that I have seen is that it is the story of a little girl who dreams big and her mother consoling her by telling her stories and lot of lies. The mother seems to be a compulsive liar. She gets a job as a maid but is not truthful to her employer; she lies to her daughter telling her that they are in a game of hide-n-seek and that the winner(is the one who is not revealed from their hiding place) will be rewarded of living into a big house. The deceit make her very uncomfortable and she is stressed all the time. Considering that, I feel it is better to tell the truth and face the challenge. It is not right to misguide the young children. Eventually, when the child learns the truth, what respect will she have for her mom? If the child is told the truth from the very beginning that she is the daughter of a maid and that she is not fortunate enough to enjoy all the luxuries of life, she will learn to live with it. The under-privileged child, who dreams big, can be encouraged to work hard to achieve that goal. It is possible for maid’s child to overcome the barriers of poverty by studying hard and growing up to be a proffessional career of a higher position. In India, education is encouraged by everybody. I have seen many women encourage their maid’s child to study. The books are provided free to them and it is easy to find a sponsor for the child who is sincere. But, infusing dishonesty into her daughter’s childhood is certainly not acceptable.

Monday, 1 December 2008

In India, It is like that only….

I am wearing white today to mourn for the people who lost their lives during terrorist attack. I lit a candle in my room to show my solidarity and then went to Carter road and lighted one more candle. All morning I am getting SMSes, telling me how angry everybody is. The TV and the Radio are continuously getting people to express their anger and everybody has suggestions to make. There are events lined up for next two weeks at different venues in Mumbai, On Wednesday, there is meeting at Gateway of India, and all are asked to come together and show their solidarity without the use of guns. They have one spirit, one Mumbai. The slogan is ‘Enough is Enough’.. Right now I get a message on my mobile. It says ‘What a shame and disgrace to every citizen of India that elite NSG Force was transported into ordinary BEST buses whereas our cricketers are transported into state of the art luxury buses. These jawans lay down their lives to protect every Indian and these cricketers get paid even if they lose a match. We worship these cricketers and forget the martyrdom of these brave jawans.’ Can we really fight the system?. A common man faces much more hardship in getting any work done. There are long queues, with lethargy shown by every government employees. For every task, we need influence. If you don’t show a five hundred rupee note, then you will have to visit the officer several times. Depending on the nature of task, the value of bribe increases and they have no shame in asking for a bribe. Their stomach is never full. They openly say that they are underpaid. Such is the system we have learnt to live with it. Whom do we complain to? We just accept this system and find the easy way out by parting with our hard earned money. It has always been ‘money talks, bullshit walks’ Talking about security, can we really trust anybody? Have you tried calling police station in the middle of the night? Don’t be surprised if they are caught napping. Why will they not nap? If they were paid well, they would show more responsibility. But our corrupt ministers only fill their own pockets and use the security guards to shop for vegetables and fruits from the corner store. This is India, and it is like that only……

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