The Con goes on…..

An ordinary voter wants an uncomplicated way to earn his/ her livelihood, clean food, clean air, clean water, decent sanitation, decent waste disposal, safe un-encroached roads and pavements, safe localities for him / her and family, comfortable commutes, affordable housing, education, medical facilities, entertainment and overall peace and calm in the neighborhood. These translate into basic needs/ wishlist for every human being – in short overall happiness and the voter would love to vote on those lines. Unfortunately, no political party appears to be focused about these.

If the ordinary voter is more bothered about how other people dress, their skin colour, their eating habits, their caste, their sub sub sub sub caste, their religion, their gotra, the way they do their hair, the headgear they wear, how much financial incentive is there to vote, their leaders’ contribution imagined or otherwise to the freedom movement , national cause (whatever that means !) and other struggles; and votes on those lines, then, even double digits growth rates/ GDP increases (whichever formula you use to calculate !) are not going to achieve overall happiness. Unfortunately, all political parties seem to be focused only on these.

So, my theory (ha- ha !!) is that all these political posturing/ campaigns are designed only to divert voter attention from the real issues and get cattle for the slaughter (pun intended, no offence to animals intended). They don’t really care about us. They care only about their assets and their growth rate. Affidavits on their personal and other assets filed before the Election Commission are a significant pointer. Does any party even care what the voter wants ? Are elections just a glorified corporate ad campaign for the coronation of the greater con-man/ con-woman ? Is that what electoral democracy is ? A con ? In that case ——- The con goes on !!


The Communicators

We are living in an increasingly networked and inter-connected world, where the disconnect between human beings themselves, human beings and nature is increasing day by day.This is an interesting paradox. As we get better equipped to understand the cosmos, we are becoming more insular. More violent perhaps, more scrappy, more divisive.
In such a scenario, we need to celebrate and encourage the communicators who effectively contribute to channelizing our thoughts and actions towards integrating with nature, the universe in harmony with all living and non living things.
These communicators may not believe or practice in religion, philosophy,etc. or even be conventionally educated, the way we know it. These are people who could be highly unconventional in their outlook towards life, behaviour etc. but they may have hit upon solving many cosmic puzzles; which we may not even dream of.
These are rare entities…they may communicate through data, code, prose, poetry, puzzles, drama, theatre, films, social media, emojis, their eyes, their speech, their silence, their gaze – what have you ! Even animals (as we call them, communicate, we may not be equipped to understand their message).
We need to tune in to these communicators, to try and be ready to receive their messages….and act upon them. Else we run the risk of losing those messages, communication and life as it was intended to be – for ever. It’s our call !!

A bit about a bite

The humble mosquito is one that is constantly figuring out new ways to survive the human onslaught and in fact, thrive.

They breed everywhere, fresh water or sewage laden grime, it doesn’t matter. Name the water body, even a petri dish – they are there. Humans, in their endeavor to evade these guys, started raising their dwellings to greater heights. Doesn’t matter, they have surmounted the highest skyscrapers with consummate ease. Whatever the season, their bite is never far away.

They have honed their hunting skills to perfection with singular innovations. Few examples….Their ubiquitous and unique hum is down to barely a whisper. Landing and take off from preys’ bodies is barely perceptible. The location of their ‘sting’ operation is carefully chosen like the tip of your fingers or toes, or over the elbow, so that the slightest movement can trigger their safe flight. Their pincers create the minutest of incisions to draw copious amounts of blood at a rapid rate from victims’ bodies. You feel the sting only when they have had their fill and are about to take off. They seem to have sorted out their aerodynamic inefficiencies to the extent that intercepting them in flight mode is getting more and more difficult. Over the years, their size too seems to have reduced. Less size, less weight, lesser radar cross-section –  more stealth. Instead of the lone ranger baying for your blood, now they hunt in pairs and sometimes threes. So, even if you swat away one, the other/ two would have got what they came for !! Blood sucking has become a finely honed skill. These are the new age vampires. Even their choice of prey – humans, is well thought of. We are the only species that continues to decimate other species for our selfish ends. Preying on such a species would receive support in the animal and insect kingdom too.

Try any repellant, the mosquito is back with renewed vigour. It’s almost like the manufacturers and the mosquito high council have struck a mega bucks no-compete/ no-kill deal. New repellants are introduced every season with the same result. The repellants work (or seem to)  the mosquitoes work too;  only, they work and execute better. They also seem to have a truck with unscrupulous doctors, whose fees increase with the rashes or mosquito love bites, you sport!!

Did you ever hear of Chickengunya or Dengue in your childhood ? They are now a part of disease lexicon. In our young days, we only heard of malaria.  Quinine was bandied about as the answer to everything. If one was unlucky, then one could get cerebral malaria – a sure sign that a date with the maker was near.

And just when we thought that the spraying of DDT and other chemicals was going to have them extinct soon, the insect developed resistance and came back with renewed vigour.

The only effective deterrent presently, appears to be the humble mosquito net. Of course, the good old fashioned swat does the trick every time.

One can’t help but grudgingly respect this accomplished predator.

Aggression on the cricket field

Wonder why Kohli displays an all pervasive derisiveness for opponents on the field and gives them vocal send offs each time. Sometimes expletive laden facial contortions come off as more comic and grotesque than anything else. Exaggerated in-your-face aggro displays need to be backed up by efficient team performance too.
Perhaps, he needs to take a few lessons from a MSD or Dravid in on-field behaviour and professionalism.
Respect for opponents ought to be a part of a Captain’s DNA. Before aspiring to be counted as great players, become respectable human beings first.

An audit of electoral promises ?

It might be interesting to conduct an audit of the mainstream party manifestos of the previous elections to see balance creditor (fulfilled promise, actually – that’s what we voted them in for, to work ! )and balance debtor (unfulfilled promise). This could be one of the electoral reforms ? You attach the balance sheet of work done (with tangible proof) for repeat candidates in constituencies and parties ( at pan India level).
Then let the voter decide (provided one can make sense / decide on the offerings in the bare cabinet !) – at least it would give an opportunity to the voter to be better informed, rather than inputs from full page ads in newspapers or speeches laced with innuendos, divisiveness, smell of scams, more utopian promises and sarcasm belittling seemingly humble professions; to prove their apparently impeccable credentials.
After all, they are ever so more than willing (bending over backwards, really!) to serve US, the people of India !!

A clean sweep….

The rate at which citizens are clamouring for the Army to make bridges, maybe we can rechristen them as ‘Barmy’ aka Bridge banane waali Army.
Bridges are getting declared ‘dangerous’, by the day.That too foot over bridges !! Developing a dangerous mind set of their own, all of a sudden. It’s a bridge pandemic. Solution – barricade and forget !!
Whatever happened to civic agencies ? Are they in existence only to draw salaries ? Close down these agencies, which are a drain on the exchequer.
As for the drains, they anyway overflow every monsoon. That reminds me – the ‘clean drain’ season is here. Let’s dump the filth by the roadside and wait for it to flow back into the drains. Now with the new found bonhomie between allies, the slate will be wiped clean. A clean sweep – Swach Bharat – ‘Drain gain’ for everyone.

A pedestrian nightmare, but business as usual for the Municipal Corporation

Sometimes…one feels really funny…first they dig up a footpath…it remains like that for close to a year and a half. Then they resurface the footpath, replace the manhole covers with fibre glass covers, but don’t put paver blocks on the footpath…..all this takes about six months… pedestrians continue the hurdle race…
Promptly, next week….a public utility digs up part of the road next to the footpath and starts laying cables. Where do they dump the debris?…yes…on the new half complete footpath….they take a month to complete their work and relay the road with tar…and dump further debris….you guessed right on the footpath.
Last week someone removed part of the debris…and guess what …the manhole covers have been damaged…we may need new ones….
Today… paver blocks and mud have been dumped on the tar road… waiting to be placed on a footpath, which has been damaged again by the debris , excavated from the tar road….the hurdle race continues…
EXASPERATED ? Don’t be….it’s just a few days to the monsoon…when all this will be washed away in the deluge….and we’ll start all over again…It’s true ! Happened before, will happen again !
That’s road work by the richest Municipal Corporation in the country – the BMC !!
Kudos !!