Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Which side are we really on?

It was 12pm in the afternoon, I was driving to my father's place when I saw the campaign on the back of a rickshaw that said 'Vote for Aam Admi party'. I had always been a proud follower, though never participated, of anti-corruption campaigns and thought better of Arvind Kejriwal and the mission he was fighting for. One man, who, by what his supporters say, has sacrificed all he had to fight against the corrupt government, now trying to help the society by taking its place. His deeds are all over the media, but still there are many who consider him a fool. These are the people who have contacts in either of the two big parties, and know how they could leverage on these contacts to benefit themselves in times of need. I personally have never been too fond of using contacts for anything, so I always thought that the poor lad has been right in what he was doing. Soon enough the autorickshaw that I was following turned right, and so did my thoughts.

When I reached my father's office he gave me a small errand to do. It was the court's notice for my father to appear in person that evening apparently for having crossed the stopping line at a red light an year ago. He passed on the responsibility to me, and I gladly took it.

I wondered what had possibly taken so much time to make the notice to reach us an year after we committed the fault. In one year I couldn't even recall having gone to that particular road mentioned on the notice. Then I thought of the number of people who cross the stop line at a red light. Frankly, I couldn't even think of a single red light in the city where vehicles stayed behind the line at red lights. So I guessed our car must either have stood on the middle of the road for the traffic police to have noticed, or maybe, our vehicle number was just a lucky guess.

 I called up a friend of mine whose father was associated with the police to ask him how the procedure works. Whether I can serve the charges on behalf of my father or not? How much time would it take for the whole thing to get over and questions like that. He asked for five minutes and when he called back after that time, said that his father was a regular visitor to the supreme court and that two of his friends were advocates so in case anything goes wrong, he was there to help me out. I said no issues its just a five hundred rupee challan and that I only wanted to know how things would go. He said that if i were lucky then there would be so-called dalals  sitting outside the court who would do the setting for me. I, instead, thought of meeting the magistrate in person and thought of all the reasons that I would present for appearing in stead of my father as the notice clearly said -

From : The Judge (evening court)
'You are hereby requested to appear in person at 5 pm.........'

So these were direct orders from the judge and could not have been faltered. Once again I thought of my friend saying that judges, if left to themselves, do not even consider the president of the country anything in front of their power. When I reached the court a couple of well-dressed officials stopped me well before the reporting room and one of them took me to a side of the room and asked me to show the challan. I promptly did that. He then sounded all secretive and promised me he could waive off the fine if I pay him five hundred instead of the six hundred that was charged. I asked him who was he and why would he do that. He asked my if mine was a personal or a commercial car. I told him that mine was personal and though I still can't figure out how that answer was related to his next move, but he instantly reduced the amount to four hundred. I took out my wallet and found only two hundred and eight rupees in noted of ten, fifty and hundred. He took them without even counting and asked me to stand besides the door of the room where the magistrate was sitting. I glimpsed inside and saw a female judge, probably in her early thirties, handling the proceedings. At that time I made a mental note of what I would say to the lady in charge. I thought of telling her, in case anything goes wrong, that the person outside pretended to be the fine collector and not in my dreams I would imagine an imposer right outside the court room. Then I thought I would say that the reason why my father didn't come was that I instead was driving the car on that day and had crossed the line because an ambulance was on its way and I had to give it space.

After two minutes of standing there I got anxious and signalled at the person who assured me of handling everything. Once again he came all secretly to me and asked me to shut up. For once, I thought of taking that money back from him but stayed calm. But as he  had instructed, the judge called my father's name within two minutes and I went in revising all the answers I would present. To my utter surprise, the judge herself gave me the register where my father's name was written and asked my sign there. When I did I was told, by her again, that my fine was waived off and that I should leave. Startled as I was, I left that room and turned my head to see that dalal deep in conversation with another man. Apparently the reason why he had asked me if mine was a personal or a commercial challan was to gauge how to negotiate the bribe with me. I felt stupid for having given even two hundred and eighty rupees to him as officially, my fine was waived off and none of the amount I gave would be going to the government's treasury.

The first thing I did on getting out was call my friend and  say,

' Dude, even the judge was bikau (for sale), she waved off my fine without even listening to me.'

To this he replied,

'Be glad that you are in India my friend.'

Now I wonder why that dalal was so secretive about his identity when even the judge knew he was there doing all that. I was glad I saved some precious time and three hundred and twenty rupees. I thought I was just being paranoid about the whole thing when all it took was ten minutes for the whole thing to get over.

On my way back, I saw the same ad I had seen earlier, this time on a different autorickshaw. But this time my thoughts were different. I was asking to myself.

" Do we really want corruption to end? Which side are we really on?"

PS : I know this is an everyday phenomenon, and there was no need for me to exaggerate the whole story, but essentially I wanted to point out levels to which this corruption has been entangled in the system. What I ask of you is sit back and ask yourself how many of such incidents have you been a part of. Bribing the traffic police is just one of the many. Imagine if all the money in the country was actually reported then how much money the government would have. And if that be the case how drastically reduced the taxes would be, which means a common shop keeper would not have to go for falsely reporting the sales to save taxes, because he would essentially earn the same amount by reporting everything. But we all do that, because we don't have the power to think beyond the moment. This is a thick vicious circle, which has each and every citizen of the country inside it. No matter how much we sit back and criticize, we ourselves cannot live without the corrupt demon that resides in each one of us.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mind Over Matter

Well, Like always, I'm going to start off with a couple of different things, and I hope you feel them blending in the end. First of all, we all talk talk about technology all the time. We know its pervasive, there is no denying that fact. And social media has, of late, been under a lot of cynical sarcasm. Fear of missing out, or FOMO as they call it, has made many a victim. People just love to brag about what they are doing and where they are, so much so that everyone is desperately trying to make people understand how perfect their world is.  Every other photo on instagram is nearly as beautiful as the other one, and why it wouldn't it be? Plainly for the reason that no one would want to show their less impressive side to the world. Everything in one's life should be awe-inspiring. Every second status or post on facebook is intended to be liked at least by the whole of one's friend list. I would call it a bubble which is slowly getting bigger and bigger and its not long before it bursts, just like that of a gum, with tiny shreds falling off in every random direction so you wouldn't even get time to realize it just happened. But this is not what we are discussing here. What I mean is, with social media having entangled all of us so much, is it really that hard to make better use of it?

Having talked about social media, let me move on to social gatherings. If you are as sane as I am, you, like most others love hanging out with friends. Whether it's a party, a movie or a simple lunch at a restaurant. Have you ever realized that the same things if you do alone or probably with different company then the whole experience changes? A movie would seem boring if seen with family and it might be the best flick you ever watched if you are with friends. What makes having fun with friends fun? If we try to break that down, its the amalgamation of the experience and your personal interaction with the people around you. The combination of both these makes memorable moments, isn't it?

I am sure we all have laughed, cried, giggled on remembering the time we spent with people. These are moments that come back to us in the exact shape. But coming to think of it, actually what makes us react to these memories is that sub consciously something good or bad had happened at that time. We may not remember the exact dialogues instantly, but a certain feeling, happy or sad, is definitely attached to that outing. People like me who are so socially involved are often homesick whenever they are kept alone. Because we are so used to having company around us all the time that spending time alone becomes difficult. Imagine you are watching a movie alone at a theatre, or dining alone at a restaurant. What do you do while waiting for the order? What do you know while chewing every bite? What do you do when your jaw muscles are not accustomed to being relaxed?

I guess this is where we can get the first part of this post in to play. Now if we have agreed that all memories are related sub-consciously to the moments spent with people, it would mean that physical presence would not be as important if you have had the opportunity of having similar interaction. What I mean is that if you are dining alone in a restaurant and feel the need to be with a group of people who you prefer dining out with, you can simply take out your phone and create a whatsapp group and chat with those friends all while you are having that food, and trust me the experience would not be much different from the one you would have had while actually them sitting in front of you. Because after a couple of days, what remains is the memory, the physical presence is anyways washed away after the meal is over. And believe you me, you can easily convince your mind that those people were actually present and it will have to listen to you.

Isn't technology then absolutely wonderful?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Entangled - Thought Stuck

Why is it that every decision I make is only almost perfect, but never perfect. The feeling that I could have or deserved a bit better. But then, if that is the case, would there be any cut off for this feeling until you are on the very top? What would be better than to be at the top. But then, a question arises - how do you define the top? Is it about earning more than your friends or relatives? Is it about getting the hottest girl in town? Is it about working with the best company? Is it about having the best environment? Because believe me, no two of these things can be achieved at the same time. And even if you do manage to get to one of the peaks, your definition of fulfillment changes. By all this I intend to support the point that there are no good or bad decisions, it's a matter of what we stick to. Bu then, talking about decisions, everybody feels that they could have got a better school, a better college or a better work place. How would they have got it? They don't know. But the feeling of having slightly missed it always remains. One good way of correcting this is that we should stick to our decisions and believe in them? But what if it is actually true? What if we didn't try enough? What if we could have achieved that little bit as well? Relate it to that one decision is life, no matter however small it may have been, which you cherish even today. That one decision you feel was the best that could have happened to you in that situation (as little as choosing Economics over Biology in class 11). If such a thing happened then, why can't it happen again?

I feel the biggest problem one has is the 'What if ' syndrome. What if I would have done this or that? What if I would have been here or there? These are rhetoric questions which we will never have answers to ! Because admit it - you couldn't do that and you are definitely NOT there. So it's better to stick to what you have and think about what you can do with it. In my blog you will always find that I take both the stands - never stick to east or west. Well that's how it is. That's because I believe there is no right or wrong, or probably I just fail to comprehend it. Whatever it is, my aim is always only to deliver the package and not open it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A complex set of Balanced equations.

I have started to believe that the well known adages have a lot of truth in them. Let's try to put all them together. It is said, according to the yin yang philosophy, that the universe works in balance. Every action has an equal an opposite reaction. What goes around comes back around. If we take a cue from the movie matrix, the fact that Neo was to become so powerful was to control its negative counter part smith. If we look at the latest news, at one part of the work we have negative 40 degree temperature in Eastern Russia while bush fires in Australia. The heat waves in Australia brought a maximum temperature of as high as 42 degrees Celsius  The environmental explanation for this is termed as 'Global Warming' which also, essentially explains the same thing - extreme surge of temperatures in either side of the equilibrium. I believe everything in the world is driven by an algorithm ( which also proves the cause and effect relationship).

The ideas that I try to put forth here may be haphazard, but my job is done even if you get the feel of it. Jackie Chan in one of the movies quoted - "Too much of good thing is bad thing". This goes well with another popular saying - "Excess of everything is bad". We have all been advised not to be dependent on something, as dependence leads to helplessness  But then, at the same time, are we not growing more and more dependent on one thing - Technology? Can we, as prospering people of generation Y, imagine a world without technology? Have we ever wondered how complex data was calculated, for example, the GDP of an economy, when there were no computers? The world did go on before computers were invented. On the one hand, where we have had break through technologies such as the Internet and similar upcoming technologies such as Cloud Computing, which will/have completely revolutionize/d the way we behave, live and act. Bu then at the same time, technology has silently made us so dependent on itself that we cannot even dare to think otherwise. This may sound a bit related to all "Man vs Machines" movies, but it is actually not. And if you realize the difference, then you will clearly understand what I am trying to say here.

Why are the obesity percentages in the world rising? Because there was a time when people used to walk and cycle for miles whereas that has now been replaced by Automatic vehicles. The general argument in this case is that Time is more important than money. But then again, where is the balance? And how fast do we consider something really fast. If we were to say that we are fast as we can now save 40 min by travelling through car instead of walking, it is just another way of saying that you can now do more in your lifespan than generations earlier than yours did. But then, at the same time, there is a decrease in average lifespan across the globe over the years. I think if we were to calculate the net achievements of the world in totem while giving equal normalized weights to the essence of the innovations, I think we would arrive at a constant number. Scientifically, we can say that in a closed system, whatever happens inside is irrelevant to the overall entropy of the system as seen from outside. Consider someone who is large enough to see all the worlds at the same time and who is millions of centuries old, he would see no change in the million years in which we humans have existed. Religiously we term such a being as God ( And I purposely did not include the word 'Human' here).

Coming back to the topic we started with, I guess technology has played a major role in causing the major global issues we face today, and not only global warming. The environment has deteriorated ever since we have started exploiting it, and technology has only accelerated the rate. Species are getting extinct, water bodies are polluted, land areas are becoming intoxicated all this at the cost of the time that we save by choosing to drive over walking for 40 minutes.

Imagine the extent to which gmail controls our lives today. Imagine suddenly their database getting corrupted - all the emails and data evaporating in thin air. What chaos would it create world wide?

Talking about dependence, would there have been a World wide web had there been no personal computers? And would there be cloud computing today had there been no Internet? The idea here is to make you realize that technology is like an entanglement - no two things are mutually exclusive of each other. If the base bubble bursts, there would be global catastrophe. Quoting another famous dialogue from the movie Matrix - "Another organism follows a similar trend - A Virus".

We are a time when we face crises politically, economically, socially and technologically - Grouping together to what we can call the PEST crisis. The Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012, but I guess their only fallacy was not taking into account the effects of technology. I believe we are still on path of destruction and technology has only delayed it. But eventually fate will have the better of us.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Better Said than Done !

The most manipulated word in the history of mankind is "Self Respect". I believe it is just a face saving way of not accepting the fact that we have too big an ego to satisfy. Half of the battles that have been fought in the pretext of self respect were actually satisfying someone's ego, more often than not, directly.

Two people are great friends when they play together, live together, study together or hang out together. But why does it happen that for most of the people relationships, if not end, weaken over time? Why does the frequency of texting or calling diminish over time ? Why is that at one point of time we don't feel like calling someone just because they didn't? Isn't that the big fat ego coming into play.

Consider this - to people are driving on the same road and one of them overtakes - and in seconds there is a virtual race started on the road. Even without the first person's knowledge, he has been dragged into the race and what happens when the second person finally overtakes? His ego is satisfied.

In fact the same is the reason why some people tend to get hurt over petty reasons. Consider a hypothetical world, where there is no ego. To say imagine a world without self respect would instead be hurting self respect's self respect itself, so we leave it aside for the time being. Let's say there was no ego in the world; no one would ever get hurt, angry or even feel bad at what others say. There would be no broken relationships, and no bitter memories to nourish. In such a place there would be no hesitation in talking to a stranger, as the fear of being rejected would not exist, since that hesitation is a direct consequence of one's ego. Even the reciprocator (I made up that word) would not hesitate in replying back, as he too is a part of the ego free world. Wouldn't then there be a lot less burden on people as the barriers to friendship would reduce to zero ? Now if that is the hypothetically perfect world why can't every one follow it in reality. Why can't we just let go of our stupid egos and give weight to the more important things in the world?