Monday, April 23, 2012

It isn't a deadlock when you can come out of it

The other day I was travelling in bike towards Mount road. Due to the construction of Metro rail system there was a lot of traffic congestions & diversions. As a result we got delayed by 10 odd minutes. While I wasn’t complaining, my friend was angry for the delay allegedly caused by the inefficiency of the traffic police. It is not only my friend who feels that way, I see countless people complaining about the deadlock in roads. It is one thing to complain on the traffic jam when it is caused by Party meetings and accidents, but another to complain on something that which is bound to happen. In our busy lives we certainly don’t want to be bogged down by someone else, especially by unknown sources. But it is all the more wrong to distance oneself from the society and naming it as unknown source.

As our finances and personal requirements grow we make a lot of changes to the place we live in. It starts with relocating the furniture, to renovating the house, till adding a new floor to the building. We certainly aren’t bogged down by these changes because we know that they are for our betterment and hence take responsibility for that. Some may argue that these changes are done as per their requirements and at their convenience. To all of them, just think of your family members. There will certainly be someone who isn’t comfortable with the changes you are making in the house that they too live in. Yet they adjust and co-exist. To all of them who think these projects are improperly planned, sometimes your carefully planned schedule goes haywire due to some mistake on the constructor’s fault. So on the day you ought to attend an important meeting, you need to be at home monitoring the roof laying activity. You don’t cancel your meeting, at the same time you don’t postpone the roof laying activity as well. Somehow you meet ends and try to squeeze in both into your day.  Standing in the hot sun after rushing home from the meeting, as you look at the construction site, you get an unadulterated glee of seeing your dream come alive in front of you. The shouts of your boss, the unreasonable taxi guy who milked you understanding your emergency, nothing matters anymore. This amount of dedication and perseverance comes in, because you are so enamoured by the outcome of the project, that even at your wits’ end, you don’t give up.

When I see the earth movers digging the rubbish whilst the big cranes erecting ginormous beams, I don’t see disturbance in the form of road blockage. I see the city growing in front of me. Like a father who cherishes every moment of his daughter’s growth, I stand there to see the mammoth machines changing the face of the earth, the sky and in turn our lives. But are they for the betterment of the city? Like how a father gives a chance for the school that his daughter studies in to improve her, we would have to give a chance for the elected to make some changes to the city hoping for some betterment. For it is only by change, be it good or bad, can we get a chance for betterment.

To those who can’t see through my eyes, all I can ask is to try to be part of the system rather than complaining about it. When we got confused by the diversions that were placed, I noticed a policeman standing near the sign board ready to guide whoever was lost in the fuzzy layout. Not just there, there were policemen deployed at various locations to ease our troubles. Instead of complaining we should try to appreciate their efforts.

But for how long should we tolerate it, people ask to me. First there was the guindy flyover, and then came the Koyambedu junction, now the Metro rail system. Amidst these, there are the road repair and relaying activities as well. When will we get to bear the fruit? If the fruit is a city that will change into a dreamland in a jiffy like in Shankar movies, then you are better off in the dreamland. During the Guindy project, the whole of Tambaram and every other route connected to the major junction was caught in a deadlock for hours daily. So I needed to take the train instead. During the Koyambedu project, the traffic jam wasn’t that severe & yet I had the option to use the then finished guindy flyover or the Arcot road. Now with the Metro rail, I see even better strategic planning & organized approach to the whole project which has let me not to search for an alternative. This, my dear people is the fruit of patience.

To all those who want the world around them not to change, they should remember that the world doesn’t stop rotating, and the earth doesn’t stop changing. It is we who have to get along with the change.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Quarter for Free: Who is to pay?

Education, even though morally & legally ought to be treated as non-profitable venture, akin to social service, is unfortunately seen as a money bearing tree. Even the reputed schools, known for quality education, are increasingly favouring the riches to meet the acclimating expenditures and to pocket some profit for the imaginative lean period. On the occasion of tamizh New Year, came delightful news from the Supreme Court of the nation that 25% of school seats should be allotted for financially backward students aged till 14 years. When this act comes into practice next academic year, classrooms that once were filled with students from the affluent society, who were all cushioned from the trivial perils of day to day life, will hence be filled with representatives from a plethora of communities bringing with them their own baggage for the new community to observe, analyse and learn.

Going back in time, when this act was announced, a lot of angry voices raised against it from the private institutions’ side, which felt the act with eat away all its revenue. Like in any act, when such voices raises we are accustomed to hearing news that some amendment has been made to appease the concern parties: meaning the law makers were pleased by the offer the parties had made. But it was rather surprising that the highest court thwarted their effort. But sneaking in the clause that residential & non-aided minority institutions don’t come under this purview does raise eyebrows.

While people keep debating on the grey side of the deal, there are some gaping holes that aren’t touched upon by the all praising media. In a country where literacy rate is at an abysmal level due to financial constraints, 25% seats of the current schools will be handed over to the underprivileged, thereby hopefully reducing the illiteracy rate among the hapless. But without increasing the infrastructure or at least the strength of the school, what will happen of the very people the poor will replace? Will the institutions be generous enough to pump in more money to provide facilities for the increased head count? Or will the standards deteriorate due to increased strength in a class? Suppose we assume that the institution has come forward to provide the facilities for the increased strength, who will be donor? The onus will now rely on common man, who is already paying taxes for the underprivileged to get all the benefits that the government is offering only to them. I am all for sponsoring a child’s education, but I at least want to be respected for that, rather than be treated as some capitalist who drinks red wine by sucking the blood out of the labourers.

But these aren't the real problems that the system will face. The most imperative issue is the means by which poverty is classified. Certainly we won’t be taking the Ahluwaila route, but we can’t take the income tax as cogent evidence as well. During my school days, the richest man in Vadapalani was quoting his annual income as a quarter of what my father, a proper bourgeois, was earning.  Now why should we pay for people like them?  Will we then use the tired & continuously ridiculed formula of terming people poor since their forefathers belonged to SC,OBC & BC and thereby bring the caste system into schools as well?

Maybe the government plans to use the yet to be completed/released data of the 2011 census which promises to bring about a mammoth change in how we see our population. Till then let hope spring in the Brest. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To those liberators with Kolaveri

Not so long ago came a song that marched into the lives of every citizen of this virtual world, the minute it went online. Before people could fathom what the fuzz was all about, what the lyrics meant, what language it was based on, it jelled into our lives like the dress we wear every day. Be it sarcasm, anger or disappointment, the catch phrase of the song became the cue for all and sundry.  

When something out of the blue gets a standing ovation there is bound to be a group for stripping everything off from it. Little did it realise that the whole world was wearing the dress of rage.  Soon enough, the active world which fights over inconsequential issues, got neck deep in a debate to decide on the sanctity of everything it couldn’t preserve in reality. The saviours of tamil, music, culture and most importantly woman freedom couldn’t get enough of the controversy.  While I loved the quirky style of the song (yes I believe it is a song – after all we did accept even a tribal grumbling as a song) it was amusing to see how hatred was spreading around it. Was it because a lean chalk piece of a man with no great looks, but with all the luck by chance, got catapulted to superstardom by just rambling about for 3 ½ minutes? Or was it out of anger at the deteriorating taste of the masses which accepted the daft lyrics and the sloppy tune? I did stick with the latter reason because those who were behind the propaganda were the intelligent fools I respect. I even tried to reason out with them that it is not worth spending time debating on it, that the lyrics doesn’t have a meaning and is just there to produce a rhyming sound & it should only be valued as an immensely entertaining song. But the moment I termed it as an entertaining song, nothing else mattered & the debate continued as to how I can term it as entertaining when it was devaluing everything we should be known for.

To all those self-appointed liberators who are crying foul at how irresponsible the song is, I have only this to say - In a world filled with gold, diamond, Ferrari, people who can afford them still buy fake ornaments & nanos because of the simple fact that it’s convenient & hassle free. In the real world that my dear liberators live in, when their chips are down, the first word that comes out of their mouth (be it a guy or a girl) is ‘fuck’ & not ‘oh dear holy God’. Maybe they can’t understand what I mean, because they are busy ‘lamo’ over the indecent proposals & sexist remarks that are being passed on as jokes in BBT & HIMYM.

So why this Kolaveri on those people when the euphoria surrounding the song is dying down? It is because after a long time I switched on FM only to hear this song.

This song represents everything that was talked against Kolaveri & everything beyond that. So why haven’t the so called liberators come forward to protest against this uncomely song which vehemently proclaims to be the male chauvinist that Kolaveri didn’t plan to be?

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