The day God created Adam and Eve, a phenomenal divide sealed the fate of the two genders, male and female, of the same species, the homo sapiens.
Human beings, the most intelligent creature on planet Earth, aspiring and determined to conquer the Universe, fail most miserably when it comes to comprehending their own fellow mates – the other sex/gender. Indeed it’s a lifetime’s quest, and unavoidably so, as in every walk of life both the genders are thrown in together, or in contemporary milieu, would it not be more appropriate to say, pitted against each other, be it in the domestic or the work front.
Since coexistence is preordained, ideally it should be an easy-going, peaceful and harmonious bondage based on mutual understanding and empathy. However, experience speaks otherwise. The relationship on surface may be cloaked with cordiality. However, the layer is thin and a deeper probe reveals an antipathy which is symbiotic and almost epidemic. Without any bias towards either gender, we cannot help but wonder whether this antipathy is borne out of misconception or by default purely genetic. “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus”, as the famous caption goes, is accuracy in brevity.
No wonder Sociologists delight in finding a workable remedy to this malady. Alas! There is no sovereign elixir. Peaceful coexistence, evidently, seems next to impossible. Isolation is fatal. Conjugality is fraught with danger. From time immemorial the situation has furnished all the right ingredients for melodrama and high voltage histrionics (with major contribution from the femme fatale) leading nowhere! Then what of the solution?
Since, survival of both is inseparably interlinked, why not try understanding each other from the formative years itself? Of course, the familial backdrop is a great facilitator in this direction. But kinship has its own limitations and impartial understanding of the male/female counterpart may get tampered by blood ties and emotional prejudices. Besides the family, the Indian society, with its obsessive priority for social sanitization, presents very little opportunity for the two genders to come together and enjoy a conducive upbringing.
Hence, and most definitely co-education, although the plea to it may sound too simplistic, even flippant, to many. Dissecting the word co-education, we find that it is a combo pack of cooperation ‘in’ education. We are fated to coexist, so shall we not cooperate to educate each other and thereby get educated in the process? It is healthy as well - as members of various social strata come together to intermingle and forge bonds. In the process, values get exchanged and imbibed, horizons get broadened, interests get sharpened and extended to arenas hitherto unknown and unexplored for the girl as well as the boy child as both suffer from restricted periphery of knowledge and awareness if left to their own society. Needless to say the process increases understanding of each other as well.
However, no social situation is protected from the Marxian axiom of thesis and anti-theses. While closer proximity of the two genders run the significantly high risk of familiarity breeding contempt, at least, by far it would be a better option than an overpowering and tongue-tying reaction of utter puzzlement in accosting and dealing with one of its own kind who proves to be beyond the boundaries of ordinary comprehension in normal course of routine life.
The Sociologists may attach suitable nomenclature to this process of “breaking the ice between the two”, however, for us laymen, the funda at the grass roots is very simple - growing up together and thereby understanding each other, but of course, under familial/social parentage and guidance. The latter may be heavily underlined and perhaps a little “unduly” stressed, especially, in the Indian context, to avoid all those “catastrophes” which we are nowadays getting used to hearing and witnessing quite frequently.
However, having vociferously championed in favour of coeducation, it may be reiterated that coeducation in Indian scenario is a predominantly urban phenomenon and prerogative of the privileged class. The issue which requires imperative address is compulsory education, irrespective of gender, with a special emphasis on rural India where till date tutoring of girl child remains, more or less, restricted to household chores and grooming of boy child is through the hard routine of enforced labour.
Monday, December 07, 2009
The day God created Adam and Eve, a phenomenal divide sealed the fate of the two genders, male and female, of the same species, the homo sapiens.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Nowadays, I am generally in the “eerie” mode. What with the sanguine belief of SCOPE being haunted and the blood curdling evidences of the same being discussed quite often in the department (major contribution from my side), added to this genre of exchange are the supposedly “true” incidents recounted by my colleague with whom I have lunch everyday.
Some have this para-normal obsession with the make believe world of unearthly beings and spirits that are commonly referred as ghosts (a most underrated terminology!!) Strange things happen to them too which reinforce their belief in "The Others'. They may be gifted with what we are not but having said that I also feel that a susceptible mind and fertile imagination are sufficient fodder for optical delusions. Lonely unoccupied minds brooding over the unknown and the unnatural - undoubtedly, the turf is more than prepared for extra sensory perceptions accompanied by a staunch belief and deep satisfaction that a tangible proximity with the supernatural is being experienced on day to day basis - feeling their presence all around including the “frozen touch”.
A cynic’s definition of hallucination may be a very simplistic but pragmatic explanation diluting the “eeriness” of the impact of such experiments to the minimal. But dissection of facts may reveal a repetitive thought pattern attracting similar vibes which the mind craves for. Invites to these spirits hovering on the periphery of life and death may be a fanatic's delight but in this whole episode my position is the worst.
I being the sole audience of the almost daily narrations of white nebulous forms lurking around/ peeping through slightly ajar doors/glaring boldly from one of the poorly lit corners/ just swishing past at times/ breathing down the neck/keeping a watchful eye while she cooks etc. etc. which leaves my heart perpetually in the “sinking” state.
Since, these so called anecdotes are transmitted mostly during lunch time, I confess that I am a little wary about visiting the Ladies Room alone in the afternoons which is quite justified in my case as that should be the desired effect of such recounts on the listener.
But the less comprehensible part is the reaction of my colleague who after having delivered these goosebumpy narratives to perfection ( with vivid descriptions going down to the minutest & the scariest details) retreats into her shell and refuses to budge till the closing hours of the day!!!!!!!
How’s that for a gory story-teller?
Friday, November 06, 2009
Of course, conversation in its purest and most sublime form has been epitomized by Socrates in his quest for the ultimate truth. I feel it is possible to have a little more "meaningful" conversation without indulging in such higher forms of dialogues.
A one sided conversation is thoughtlessness in its extreme. The mainstay of a ”functional” conversation is conjugality of minds, if not perspectives. A conversation cannot meander beyond niceties if inititated with divergent intentions.
Conversation is a thirst to be quenched with the right measure of verbosity. The penultimate conversation is of course divine. but again the process is frought with experimentations. Seeking is an endless endeavour and you may knock hundreds of doors before finding the right one. Till then, you do not permit yourself to be let in. Wander till you have sought what you are looking for and sooner or later you shall be blessed with God’s receipt.
As you know, it's so difficult to get an auto from SCOPE without having a fierce debate with the driver regarding the legitimacy of fare being asked for, as few auto-driver in Delhi conscientiously follows rules and agrees to charge by the meter. One evening I was trying my luck in vain to get one to reach Patel Chowk Metro Station wherefrom I take the metro home. It so happened that my luck was out on that day and none of the auto drivers was ready to go in that direction. Therefore, I decided to change my route and take the metro from Rajiv Chowk, hoping that CP being a central location, auto-wallahs would perhaps be more amenable to go that way.
It was a decision taken in duress as I generally do not like the CP Station. If you have ever been to that location, you will appreciate that the station is too big with long, never ending corridors and the crowd too unruly and rowdy. However, my change of destination yielded result and soon I got an auto which took me to the station. But by that time, it was quite late and being autumn, it was darker than the usual dusk, when I alighted at Rajiv Chowk.
The station was crowded as usual with people thronging in from all directions of the city. Incidentally I find Patel Chowk Station more to my liking as it is quiet and peaceful and the crowd, generally the “sarkari babu” type, seemingly docile and belonging to known milieu, hence, homely.
In order to get inside the underground station, one has to ascend a few steps and take the escalator or the staircase down, as per individual choice. As I was climbing up the steps a man suddenly approached me and said in English “excuse me” in a very cultured voice. I looked up to find a bespectacled face smiling at me. The man was tall and lean in built. I think he wore a white lungi and a chaadar over a bottle-green and yellow striped shirt, which somehow reminded me of the mourning attire that the Bengalis usually wear in bereavement. He was carrying a few books which by a cursory glance looked like religious pamphlets. But what attracted my attention the most was the long sandalwood tilak drawn from his forehead till the end of his nose. He looked and sounded educated and spoke English in a well modulated voice. But looks could be deceptive. It took few seconds for me to notice all these things. While entering the station, I had casually glanced around and seen him standing on the right hand side corner of the entrance. He was standing alone and looking at nothing in particular. He had crossed across the throng of boarders to speak to me!!!
If I had to describe my feelings at that particular moment it would be sheer fear. Why I was terrified I would not be able to say. It was an instant reaction. On the face of it, the man looked sophisticated, well mannered, courteous and apparently above board. But at that very moment, when he stood there smiling, my nostrils were being assaulted by this overpowering fragrance of sandalwood, the source of which could not have been just the tilak on the man’s forehead. He continued in English, smiling, “May I please take a few minutes of your time?” It took me a flash of a second to react, “No, thank you.” I turned around and walked past. The man did not follow me. I did not look back to see whether he was still there. But the fragrance of sandalwood continued to haunt me till I reached the platform and boarded the train.
Somewhere I had read that strangers accosting people in the middle of such crowded places use strong fragrances to hypnotize or befuddle them and when they come back to their senses they cannot remember what happened after inhaling the strong aroma. Sooner or later, some valuables are found missing from their persons. I do not know whether this piece of information was at the back of my mind when I vehemently nodded my head and rushed off to the other direction to avoid the man. But the presence of the man could definitely not be considered benign if it was catalytic in evoking a premonition of danger. The conscious as well as the subconscious minds have many a tricks up their sleeves and sometimes it is really difficult to fathom what exactly triggers off reaction to strange stimulii in the instant case my reaction to the stranger.
But I still spend a considerable time in pondering over the fact that the man chose and approached me of all the people in that station with whatever noble or evil intention that he may have had in mind. I really wonder what sort of people they look for such misdeeds. The apparently gullible ones most probably. That makes me wonder whether I look that gullible for a hoodlum to target me as his chosen victim……….I have not found the answer as yet. As a matter of fact, I do not know whether the stranger could be branded as an out and out outlaw.
Incidentally, I have always preferred the fragrance of sandalwood to all other perfumes. I am generally allergic to most. But as I said earlier, the fragrance haunts me now and will always do so reminding me of a strange incident half understood and (God forbid!) half experienced.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
It is said that corruption treads stealthily in the corridors of power. Power is where money is. Here money signifies the much wider realm of public finance management e.g., public purchase & procurement through high stake tenders and contracts, international aids and loans, investments in and funding of developmental projects, capacity building of developing countries by developed nations etc.; the list is long and indicative of a macro sweep, at times, transcending political boundaries and mega investments where digits multiply into astronomical figures.
Corruption, as we all know, is born out of temptation. However, it operates under disguise, therefore, is difficult to detect. It intrudes and spreads surreptitiously corroding the fine fabric of society. If not confronted and sabotaged on time, it can take institutional proportions. It has existed and thrived in socio-economic inequalities, political instability and weak and permissive governance. Contemporary corruption, however, is more intricate in design and mechanism, as it misappropriates new age information and technology, for selfish calculations, at the cost of the State and Society.
However, these are facts, which are well known. But what surprised me the most was to find that there are various nomenclatures of corruption. There is a Situational Corruption which is unplanned and is provoked by a particular situation like when a person driving a car breaks traffic rule, is caught by the police and offers the policeman a bribe to escape punishment. Contrary to this is Structural Corruption which is pre-meditated and as the term indicates structured and is carried out in a systematic manner. For example, when two bidders pre-decide to collude to grab a tender. But the highest form of corruption, in my opinion, is State Capture when the politicians and political parties are “captured” to exert undue influence on government policies, laws or regulations for the benefit of the vested interests. The means of capture is easy guess……. huge contribution to party fund.
Then there are various types of bribery. When huge amount of money is passed on to the higher echelons of public officials to influence the decision making process, it is upfront bribery. When comparatively lesser sum is given to lower officials to accelerate/facilitate a process, it is known as facilitation payment. When the bribe is consumed by a single official without the knowledge of the organization, it is personal bribery. On the other hand, when the entire organization is involved in the process of bribery, it is institutional bribery.
The area worst hit by corruption is public procurement (common knowledge) as it constitutes 15% to 30% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and in some countries even more. Moreover, these procurement procedures are complex and involve significant mobilization of public resources. Though, accountability, in these processes, is supposedly high, unfortunately, procedural transparency is found seriously lacking and thus rendering the system extremely vulnerable to corruption. The next public domain in queue is defense and defense procurement. (Imagine the security hazard!!!!!!)
Corruption has all encompassing impact. Besides, financial, it burdens the government with operational, maintenance and debt servicing liability, adds to environmental and security risks, health hazards and is a serious bottleneck in the way of competition and innovation. But, above all, It immeasurably damages the value factor i.e. trust in the government, honesty in competition, human incentive etc. While corruption is known to add to the cost of procurement, it is difficult to quantify corruption as it may be in “cash or non cash advantage” form. Moreover, there is the problem of cultural relativism where the line of demarcation between bribery and socio-cultural norms gets imperceptibly blurred.
One of the Non-Governmental Organizations, fighting against corruption world wide is Transparency International (TI). TI firmly believes that arenas susceptible to corruption should be under constant public eye/scrutiny so that continuous public attention and debate can leave no scope for corruption to entrench its roots. With this motto, TI envisages a strong civil society monitoring mechanism or the “Third Eye” to uproot corruption. It is this underlying philosophy that manifests in the appointment of Independent Assessors, the representatives of Civil Society, to independently and objectively monitor the progress of the procurement procedure from inception to culmination. Needless to say, the External Monitors are required to be professionals of high repute and acumen having experience and expertise in their respective fields of proficiency.
However, having exhausted my corruption knowledge bank, I am still at a loss to figure out an appropriate terminology for the sort of “situation” where X through undue influence on Y gets away with most of the things without exerting much…..comes late, goes early, has lunch on time and innumerable cups of tea, day-dreams, prolongs and procrastinates and replies to queries (like phone call, e-mail etc.) after interminable interludes of deep silence and of course takes a beauty nap each afternoon (on a fixed sofa in a quiet corner specifically designated for this purpose). And all this in broad daylight, in full public view. Here, as you can very well guess, Y and X are in a “Boss-Subordinate” equation (no-gender-specifics attached). The moral denominator in the given situation is very high and the consequences far reaching almost open ended.
What nomenclature do we fix so that the enormity of the possibilities and probabilities of the situation becomes comprehensible by a single term……
“Boss Capture” perhaps?
Then there are various other forms of aberrations…………….
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Friday, May 08, 2009
Its been a long time since I have visited my own blog!!! Sad, isn't it? Sad, not to get enough "me-time" . Sad , not to do things which you love to do. Sad, not to have a proper leisure activity. Sad that I have spent my days in a whrlwind sort of spin, shuttling from one task to the other, getting stressed, feeling dejected, dabbling around and not able to do anything with proficiency and perfection and landing up being muddle-brained like the "muggle" that I am.
Life..............sometimes can be like the "death eater" sucking up all your energy and not giving you sufficient space and opportunity for creativity................mind boggling and unnerving!!!!!!!!
But now I am free of all baggages.
Now I can relax.
Now I can say "Hi" to myself.
Now, I can look back and count my mistakes and cudchew on possible remedies.
Now, I am "myself".
What should I call this journey .........this episode...................this coming back to my own self........coming back to life.........................to ordinary, mundane routine which is oh so dear to me...........visiting my blog.................doing up my house..............catching up on unfinished reading......................my riyaaz.............oh such a lot to do and such a lot remain undone..............God I need a reservoire of unlimited strength and energy to accomplish all that I crave for.....................................all that I aspire to do....................................
Oh a phrase crops up in my mind .................................a phrase so apt................... describing my journey from hell to heaven ...........Hell Se Hullo Tak?!!!!!.................Howzzzatttt???????????
Monday, April 13, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
A Diary also enjoys certain amount of secrecy i.e. you can keep it under lock and key, away from prying eyes, if you feel that the "exposed" you is cocooned in its folds.
But blog is not a diary. It can be invaded by anyone............. read by any one............. and most importantly it allows "perfect stangers" to record their opinions..... which may or may not always be very subtle...................may be completely uncalled for and hard to digest..................or perhaps on a more optimistic note, I may, at the same time, grudgingly acknowledge the remote possibility or chance of encountering a complete new vista of thoughts and perceptions, hitherto unenvisioned by me or having diametrically opposite shades to mine.
The ifs and buts in the situation being overwhelmingly predominant at the moment, the bugging byte continues to nag.................
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
And today, lo and behold, I am putting in my first enty in my OWN blog. Horrendous!!!!!!!!!! I who wouldn't even keep a diary lest anybody at home gets hold of it and comes to know of my intimate musings. I am blogging, JUST IMAGINE, with the full knowledge that anybody can enter into my space and "nose around".
But may be somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind I have this thirst for venting out.........pouring out my likes and dislikes, my thoughts and beliefs, have an intimate chat with my ownself and no offence if a third party ventures in and pokes around as long as I am just a blog, just a few typed words, formless, nameless(??), faceless........till then happy blogging!!!!!!!
"Jisse bhi dekhiye woh apne aap mein gum hain, zabaan millee hai magar humzabaan nahin milta". Most probably that is why............... blog my friend blog.........