Saturday, 16 April 2011

Promiscuous Patriotism

There are always a few people in the world who insist on being patriotic, to a fault. They are so patriotic, they feel it to be thier duty to remind their fellow compatriots of the exact lyrics of the National song, or National anthem. On days like the 15th of August, and 26th of January, this enthusiastic reprisal of our civic duties reaches a crescendo of patriotism. They blast the national anthem, and other patriotism laden songs from 5.1 dolby suround(and believe me that shit's LOUD) speakers just as soon as the clock ticks 00:00 on the 14th. They are the first ones to rise on the morning of the day, and the first ones to salute the flag.

They are usually the first ones also, to reprimand some unwary soul for causing disrespect to the Indian flag, or the Indian constitution, or the Indian freedom fighters of the last century, or one cnetury before that. They put up slogans like Jai Hind, on their face book accounts. And get their face painted, ride around on motorbikes and, in general, remind the whole world how good it feels to be an Indian. A true blue Indian, with cricket in his blue(ish) blood, and heart filled with generous respect for Bhagat Singh, Mangal Pandey, and an extra generous helping of antipathy for Gandhi.

These people spend the remaining 363 (or 364 if its a leap year) typing out emails which they then proceed to send to universities around the world. Universities like Sheffield, and Texas(which is pronounces opposed to Tex-us), yeah, those brilliant A grade top ranked universities. And such people proceed to bug their seniors for tips, and ask them about where to apply next, and whether the GMAT is really worth all that money. These people know more about the TOEFL than you might about tea. And speaking of tea, they usually consume between 4-5 cups of it a day. These people know that DAAD isn't some sort of ringworm that you can counter with some sort of skin ointment. These people consider Obama to be some sort of monkey, and MIT to be the best bloody University in the world, and NASA to be some sort of sidereal heaven.

What the Indian dream is, then, is to emigrate. Because for all intents and purposes, abroad is the best place to study, to live, and to grow rich. Because it makes sense to get your degree in higher education from a university abroad, and THEN come back to our country. And come on, TRUE patriots are even better abroad. THey are NRIs, which makes them more valuable than their weight in gold. India had the highest amount of remittances flowing into any country in the world. NRIs account for 2.5% of our GDP. And we are thankful, because those people are the true patriots. THe people who have the good sense to send back money to their own country in order to benefit the people in our poor India.

And like everything else, patriotism is now measured in INR, so Mukesh Ambani, probably, by that measure, is one of the most patriotic citizens of the country. WHich makes it easiest to define patriotism.

Patriotism isn't measured by your knowledge of the Sepoy Mutiny, or by the volume at which you can play Vande Mataram. Patriotism isn't measured, period. No one is more patriotic, or less patriotic than his neighbour. We all belong to the same country, and we all have the same duty towards it. And whehter we choose to fulfil it, is completely dependent on us.

Not on our patriotism.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Life is no Nintendo Game

As sophisticated as the axioms of life may turn out to cliched as the inane rhetoric you get to listen to on the Aastha channel may get on your nerves..there's one that never goes out of fashion. There are no second chances, no missed opportunities, no opportunity knocks twice on any door.

In short, you have to grab whatever you get hold of,any little chance that you get a whiff of, no matter how inchoate, or nascent. There are so many things left to do in life, that one short day seems incomplete.

So, as most of my branchmates, and very few of the people wasting time on this post might have realised by now, this post is all about Carpe Diem, or as most wannabe hip hoppers would like it, Carpe ma fucking Diem. So, what most of the godforsaken stupid people in my branch do, is to behave like complete and utter hyperions, no reference to the mythological titan, of course. They believe that most of the time, it is simply a lack of effort, that prevents them from being successful.

Now, one reference to a titan that may be slightly less incongruous is that mother of all futility, sisyphean. Which, oddly enough, crops up as a typo on blogger. And even stranger, it is not really a typo, it is a word for someone expending great effort on a task which is ultimately futile.

And, just like an album full of B sides, wasting your time and effort on something which is largely pointless is rather stupid. Carpe diem isn't really much use, until and unless you do something that can significantly impact lives.

Headless chickens don't really get far.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Opinionated...and why 1+1=2

It is not everyday that hunger strikes are announced to the world, or one man's status update on facebook reaches a hundred million people and sparks them into an instant frenzy of revolt,or people decide to spontaneously coordinate amongst themselves to create a national uprising...

The smiley :P, is ascribed to a very narrow range of emotions, however, as laconic as that particular emoticon may seem, it is in fact, very applicable to the above few sentences. For those of you who read in between the lines, and are now in the process of rolling your eyes at improbable angles, good for you.

But to get to the point, and it's not something I do very often, this is the age of connectivity. This is the age of instant messaging, of updating your status at the drop of a hat, and of mass communication. Which makes things very interesting.

You see, man has always had opinions. When the first man to strike two sticks together told his mates about fire, there must have been some to call him an idiot, and tell him to go hunt wild boar. Luckily for us, the other group of people were in majority, that group, who saw fire as something constructive, and wholly remarkable
The only difference now is that while these opinions were in general limited to 5 or 10 people, now it can reach the world. And cause major political upheavals.

We have now become a generation hell bent on documenting our every move, our every thought. And while most of humanity thinks about money and sex for every waking minute of the day, and while most of the coherent thoughts we can muster are a bunch of unbridled bullshits parading as intellectual parables, once in a while, one of us comes up with a gem.

Once in a while, someone comes up with a solution to the world, and all its problems.

And through the power of facebook, we can do, only on a much bigger scale, what we have always done to the brightest among us, to our leaders, to our idols.

We can support them. We can make up the numbers, we can be the number one, adding up to one million.