Monday, January 31, 2011

Indecent diplomates

Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states. Thats roughly how wikipedia defines diplomacy and further labels diplomates as essential peace makers. The Union Publc Service Commision after a year long gruelling examination selects administrators and diplomates. The ones who reach to such a dignified position are the best educated, talented and intelligent lot of the country. But alas education , talent or intellect never guaranteed morality . Thats what reflected in the bit of news I read today . Two diplomates have been recalled from services due to their sexual misconduct. Thankfully the foreign secretary being a woman took  stringent action and called for zero tolerance on the issue. One officer serving in an Indian Mission in London was recalled because of assaulting his wife . The other was posted at a permanent mission of India in UN was recalled for allegedly misbehaving with a female copassenger on a New York bound Air India flight.
   The peace makers are beating up their wives and the negotiators are crossing the limit of decency. What is wrong with these men? Is it that these were isolated cases of perversion and violence ? or is it the tip of the iceberg? So much so for the grand selection procedure by the government . These men  who were supposed to be the epitome of etiquette  are shaming the country internationally. These incidences again bring out the fact that we live in times where morality has come to nadir. School boys are raping and murdering their classmates  and the people who one would expect to have  exemplary behaviour are in news for sexual misconduct. I recall a few lines of W.H. Auden's poem...
The shield of Achilles..

She looked over his shoulder
For athletes at their games,
Men and women in a dance
Moving their sweet limbs
Quick, quick, to music,
But there on the shining shield
His hands had set no dancing-floor
But a weed-choked field.

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

       Women are being harassed in schools , work places , while commuting and  are battered at homes. The two women victimized in the above incidences were definitely educated and empowered yet they had to go through the physical and mental trauma before any action was taken. Is the recall enough in the above cases? Why is that we have failed so bad in inculcating morality and good behaviour in the male population? Is it not time that the morality be included in true sense in our society and educational system and not as a mere tactic to restrict women?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SEN.. tenced...

The latest Frontline issue has an extensive coverage on the rigorous life imprisonment to Dr. Binayak Sen. I was deeply shocked at the verdict. He was in prison for about two years when he was given a bail in 2009. A doctor who left a bright future to work selflessly for tribals in Chattisgarh . A human right activist who is acclaimed the world over for his work and had a lot of international support during his imprisonment. A selfless person who has evidently not harmed anyone ends up a life term .
            The government and the medical fraternity has always been trying to find ways to motivate doctors to go to villages. But it's hard for anybody to have five to eight years of rigorous studies and then subject oneself to hardships in a no resource, no progress and no  gain scenario. In this context his efforts to save the tribal population from malnutrition and diseases like malaria made me deeply admire him. His crime  of being associated with maoist seems to me like  ploy to silence a voice for human rights. How many people have the courage to become barefoot doctors. I know I don't have that. I am well aware of the fact that the greatest internal threat to our country is naxalite extremism . It is however a complex problem and government insensitivity and judicial incompetence can lead to aggravating the situation and further deterorating people's faith in a government. The Frontline issue has questioned the severe punishment and clearly brought out the flawed judgment. I was thoroughly dissapointed by the statements of two politicians ( who in my eyes are credible and I have  respect for) in this regard. This verdict is in a sessions court and definitely this is going in the higher courts but one begins to lose faith in the system when rapists , murderers and  scamsters get away and the selfless and innocent bear the burden.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If you are lost you can look and you will find me... time after time...

I do a random surfing of T V channels and end up watching August Rush (movie)  midway. I have 'A Hundred Years of Solitude' in my hand as I cozy up under the quilt ( the book has finally started making sense to me as Ursula is blinded by her cataract and sees more then ever before.. sounds crazy .. I know). In the earlier surf I had seen five minutes of the movie before my mom switched to her channel and I sank into the page 259 of the book. Those five minutes of watching I could make out that the movie was about 'rich girl' meets 'cute boy', fall in love  and they are separated. Did not interest me much. But the second time when I surfed back to the channel I find the 'rich girl' sitting at her father's deathbed when he reveals her a secret. That her child is alive and he gave him away to an orphanage. Next scene I see a cute ten year old playing guitar in a park. A musical child prodigy who eloped from the orphanage to search his parents through his music. I stop reading and watch the rest of the drama . The age old lost and found emotional theme that bollywood thrived on. I was surprised at my anxiety to see the musician parents meet their offspring, who themselves have been separated by fate, knowing very well that it is going to be a happy end. The last scene did not leave me without relief and satisfaction as if I played a vital part in that reunion. The same thrill struck me while I was reading 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' last week . I was so happy when Tariq returns to Laila after ten years of suffering even though that shouldn't be too much of a surprise in this daily soap era. But it did. I think it was the whole emotion of losing somethimg precious, vital, important and when all hope was leaving getting it back again.
        The unexpected rise after the inevitable sinking was the thought that struck me . It made me want to write. The loss could be as trivial as losing your belongings on a metro rail just because you were in a hurry. Before you could realize and return, the doors shut and you are left with this sinking feeling of annoyance, regret, anxiety and most of all loss. But after that range of emotions pass  there is a frantic effort to get it back. There is a mixed feeling of never finding it , a hope that you might and spurts of annoyance and regret. The mind is tormented .But if after great effort you find the right person who  guides you to find that metro rail again and if you are fortunate enough that nobody displaced it. Then the feeling of finding the lost is exhilarating.This happened to a friend of mine on New Year's eve. She narrated the incident on phone and I could sense that the interim between losing and finding can flood one with emotions of all range. She ended up calling it a miracle. We all experience that in  great and small measures. Interestingly as these thoughts were incubating I came across another incident when a respected elder of mine narrated his 'lost and found' story. I was horrified to learn that he lost his educational certificates on his way to the interview venue for civil services. In a daze of reaching in time he left the file in the auto. Those were the days when cell phones and even pagers were non existent.Two hours to go for  the interview and he was standing in the middle of nowhere.Then he recalled that the driver was a sardar and he probably was needing some repair for his vehicle. His mind worked in the right direction found the auto at a mechanics shop. Luckily he found his file and cleared the interview too. He admits that between lost and found he could see the course of his life changing once and for all.
 As I watched August Rush direct the orchestra at the climax and his parents moving towards him in the crowd . The music in my ears made me recall all these incidences and they linked up together to tell me that even thoughts that are lost can come back and give a feeling of something being found !

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 .. the new year is finally here...

It's the first day of the brand new year. Like a fresh page to write on.

I hope i can take the roller coaster ride ahead with optimism.

Tread unknown terrain and tough paths with self belief and confidence.

Have true friends to rely on and confide in

  Have the time to share a joke and laugh                                                                                                                                        
                                                                              .and to dance 


      Have enough spirit to face critics and people who pull me down.

To read and write and learn more and more and work with sincerity.         

To learn how to deal with conflicting situations without losing my calm 

To be more expressive and refrain from bottling up.

So it's like a beginning of possibilities ....

                                                     LETS GO EXPLORING ...

         HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!