The R-word

Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 by Mural! in Labels: , , ,
6

I’ve been waiting the whole day to write this. Now that the International Women’s Day is done and over with, I have got something to say, heck I do!
Let me just put across that I am neither any male chauvanist pig or any other animal for that matter, nor a misogynist. I have just got some doubts which I consider valid, and the way I see is to justify just plainly troubles me to no end......






Reservations - Holy/Unholy?
In the beginning of time there was Vishnu, it is believed in the Hindu philosphy that the entire universe was created from a single “Anda” that came out of his navel. So everything in this universe, and so in our world, still extending, so in our country should be and is Holy! no?
(I wouldn’t dare to disagree to this if i were you)
But what about..........??!!
Khamosh! No buts! no butts!
Okay maybe it is Holy, but is it good for us, the mango people?
Well it all began with 15% and 7.5% reservations in government aided educational institutions and jobs in government/public sector for SC’s and ST’s for a period of 5 years after which it was to be reviewed. Now nearly 60 years later there are still reservations for SC’s and ST’s and army people, people with disabilities, and also for backward castes and wait for it other backward castes and then god created women.
So, didn’t they review it?
Ofcourse “they” did. They did review it and extended it for another 5 years, and then again and again. Did you know that the clause for reservation in India was meant to stay for only 10 years after which it was to be slowly rolled back.
What happened then?
Well we keep on hearing that Indians are very good at math. Unfortunately this was one time, when we bungled up big time. We didn’t seem to get gist of the 10 part in 10 years, and our understanding was exactly opposite to what was said and they kept on increasing the reservations.
Really!
Yes, really! Rajasthan has recently proposed a 68% reservation!
Is it bad?
This is difficult to say, the basic necessity for reservation is to uplift the sections of the society that have been oppressed for centuries together in the Indian society.
So that means it is good, infact brilliant!
In theory probably yes though I wouldn’t exactly say that. Large disparities still remain in India.
Maybe more reservations and for a longer duration can take care of this......
That will be naive to put it as simply as that. Wouldn't that lead to a fragmented country? This was one of the main contentions which led to the partition of India, separate political constituencies for muslims and hindus.
In reality India is a country laden with corruption (rank 64 as per worldaudit.org). Up from 88 two years, Yippee!
So wassup doc? whaddaya gotta say?
A couple of titbits:
1. The Marathas are agitated since they aren’t being given the Backward castes status.
2. After a National headline catching agitation on the roads leading to New Delhi, the Gujjars got the recognition of “speacial backward caste” and a 5% reservation.

Oh!!Hmmmmmm.......
Don’t you see a disturbing pattern emerging? Forget about the election sops that parties regularly dole in terms of providing to specific communities. Isn’t this dividing the country?
But what you are saying is already heard many times, why did you bring up the Women’s Reservation Bill?
It is disturbing to see that the whole media and the political fraternity is behind this bill providing voracious support to it.
I had been going through different news articles on the run up to this bill, some of the things that I read were very disturbing.
An enlightened journo from ToI stated that India stands somewhere around 130 in 144 countries ranked according to female representation in the parliament. Is this the reason, why the women’s bill is being introduced? To get a better rank in some of the surveyer’s next rankings?
Mulayam and Laloo were alleging that this was a conspiracy against the dalits, muslims and backward castes from entering the parliament and assemblies. It’ been 60 years, aren’t anybody yet thinking about rolling back reservations atleast in some sectors, ofcourse slowly. 
Really is reservation for women in the parliament and assemblies going to suddenly empower women who were being oppressed (yes, they are being oppressed)? Remember Rabri Devi, when Laloo got embroiled in cattle fodder scams, she was the dummy through which he ran his empire. Maybe I might not be entirely correct, but think about the stakes that are present with a seat in the parliament or for that matter, an assembly.......These are the domains where the politicos run their fiefdoms and ensure that they win again and again. Just because a women’s reservation bill is enforced, will they be put off? I personally think not, rather on the contrary they will field their wives, daughters, sisters and  again run their little kingdoms, as the bill specifies the reservation in a constituency is on a rolling basis, the ladies will literally be the seat warmers for the grand lords to return back.
Reservation is a very important tool in an administrator’s hand to wipe disparities across his land and to let equality prevail. But it is a double edged sword and when such a situation arises when it is considered blasphemous to even think about decreasing reservations, there is something wrong with the democracy. I am not opposing reservation, I understand the sad state of affairs in our country, but wouldn’t it have been better if the powers that are could be a little more imaginative and try to cover these glaring loopholes and ensure that it propers fulfills its utility and then weed it out when the time is right........


(All said and done, if they are still itching to increase reservations, why not provide reservations to women in IIT's? This is one cause I will support :). We can also help in the admissions process then by sifting through the pictures of the applicants, oh! didn't I tell you? Full facial photographs are a must! Now, there I am not a misogynist!)
I would love to see this post as a discussion, I am more interested in knowing your views and opinions on this topic. 


Time Travel

Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2010 by Mural! in Labels: , , , , ,
22




This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 8; the eighth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.




Time is like the serene waters in a still lake. There is no beginning and there is no end. People who keep saying that in the beginning there was a big bang 13-14 billion years ago and then our universe came into existence are like the croaking frogs in the deep dark well, for whom their ignorance sets the limits to the boundaries of their universe. There was time beyond that point, but it is very difficult for many of us to jump the huge energy barrier that the big bang has caused. There has only been one person Canaan who is said to have done it, but we have not seen him come back again. Time is like the water in the lake, it just spreads in all directions, it is all enveloping, its grandeur is inexplicable and one can move from one point to another just like the fish in the lake. Only, you have to know how to do that, for then you will be one of us. We humans have been gifted with one of the most wonderful gifts in evolution that of the logical brain, but we have  been very slow to unravel its mysteries and completely understand its capacity. 


As a group we the Time Hoppers aren’t accustomed to many additions to our numbers, infact no one remembers when was the last time we had a person who could break the shackles of his mind and to start traversing time like we do. I am among the youngest in the group, this seems like a sort of an in-house joke, because you see age is not a parameter for us, once when you learn how to traverse in time, you stop ageing, we ourselves haven’t understood it perfectly well as yet, but when one can develop the ability to travel in time like a fish in a pond, it is not that difficult to produce more and more stem cells which provide us with our unfading vitality. We believe so because we are also very quick healing and also possess superhuman strengths and sensory abilities. Thats what we think of ourselves, the Superhumans, the ones that bridge the gap between the normal people and the Gods.
We are a very secretive group and we believe in one supreme power that provides the fuel to run the universe, one which many cultures have agreed to call as soul or as something similar. We believe that we are the guardians of this planet, and of this bank of souls and we follow a certain set of rules. Now, we do need rules because even when a fish glides along the waters in a pond without ever disturbing the water you should understand that it requires but a small overlapse on its part to disturb the water and cause ripples all along the surface. This gains further weight when you can understand that emotions are one part of the brain that we have still been unable to reign in even with the larger capacity of the brain that is being used by us. The biggest rule of them all is to guard the lake (earth) and make sure that there are no anomalies that might develop due to various reasons. It once did happen when one of our kind was killed in Jerusalem, the whole lake was in turbulence then. Things were put back in order and the guy was saved and everyone believed that he returned back from the dead, but once ruffled, things hardly fall back into place as they were, we are no gods, we could only make them only as event free as possible though some of the ripples that we couldn’t control overflowed as religious aggressive terrorism during the 21st century and the world wars during the 20th century. But things could have been much worse. We couldn’t right them more without further plunging the world into chaos.
Though we could remember every thought that has ever passed through our mind, though we hardly ever need rest to recuperate the brain or the body, I have decided to maintain in writing the thoughts that are freely flowing through my mind right now because like I said earlier, we have still not mastered our emotions and the flood of feelings that I am going through now is very unique for me, I have never felt as such before. I am filled with thoughts about what has been, what is, and what might be, because this is one trap I am unable to come out of. I fear for the world, for power without responsibility in a malicious person’s hand never bodes well for the world or in fact the universe.
Of late things have started going slightly astray, I was in 8th century Spain when I began feeling these signals. Very faint signals of something that should not have been happening are happening. Just like ripples being felt by a fish, I got them and decided to investigate these and started following the signals. We cannot just time hop blindly, because it is highly taxing on our bodies and we need sufficient rest between two hops and also in such a big world and large timespace it is very hard to exactly predict the source correctly. Following a signal involves me going back in time very slowly towards the direction where we are perceiving that signal to come from. It was all very confusing, because we have never felt such a signal emanate earlier and also I haven’t come across others of my kind while I was coming in to check the source of the trouble.
One of the major rules for our kind is not to venture into some spots of lake, some regions and time periods. We weren’t given any explanation but promised with the ultimate punishment, to push us onto the time of the big-bang. Not that we needed such a nudge, we were told that these spots are never to be meddled with in order to maintain the world in order or else all hell will break loose and we will not be able to contain it again. Some believed that these were the spots where Canaan had operated before he willingly departed into the otherside. No one knew why he tried such a jump or why we shouldn’t be  entering into contact with Canaan. But our elders, the first time hoppers have put these rules for a reason and we are to uphold it.
Did I mention that I am the youngest of the time hoppers? I was also an anomaly because the elders had put constraints on newer entrants for entering into our fold and have managed to maintain as such by going into all the areas of turbulences and picking up the worthy hoppers while making sure that the ones who didn’t make the mark were unable to make the transition. I am told that I am the only one who was helped to make the transition though there was no apparent reason for it, Boraam was the one who stayed with me during my early transition and explained about the new world that I was to experience. He used to say that I am special, I am an anomaly and they hadn’t expected someone like me and I was a blessing for them.
The signal was getting stronger. It was coming from the middle east - mediterranean quadrant from about 500-600 BC. I am suddenly starting to feel week, unable to move faster though I have an idea where I need to go. I had never been to this quadrant as it was one of the forbidden areas. I stopped just outside the forbidden territory and started exploring the surroundings for any abnormalities. Everything seemed just fine, but something is wrong, suddenly I am becoming highly emotional, somehow feeling weaker and.....there was the involuntary jump. I was confused and unable to escape from the quadrant. Is this why people are warned from entering these quadrants?
I met him, I can feel that he is the hopper who was creating all those ripples. I needed to confront him. He was standing in the middle of the crowd, he was much larger than the other hoppers that I have ever come across. It looks like he was commandeering an army and calling onto the other army which was on my side. I was torn apart as to whether should I confront him and undo the damage he is doing or shall I just try to escape from this quadrant? I finally decided to bring this case to an end as I am anyway going to be punished for entering this quadrant, at the least let me stabilize it again for my brethren.
“Can anybody dare to face me?”
“Yes I can!”
Everybody turned to face me. They were astonished. The guy nearest to me admonished:
“You are so puny, how can you even think to stay alive in a fight with him! Are you out of your mind!”
I stayed calm and said, “My name is Nestor, son of Neleus and I plan to rid this region of his menace!” pointing my hand at the other hopper.
He watched me closely and then roared aloud with a haughty smirk, “Do you know who I am oh tiny one?”
“No, but tell me your name if it makes you any more secure”
“Hmmmph such big words for such a small being, prepare for your final moments. Blessed you are for your death is written in the hands of a thousand-bear slayer”
I lay there in a foot soldiers’ tent wearing my armor. I know that I don’t stand much of a chance with Ereuthalion, apart from his visible strength, I understood that he is a time hopper like me too, that means the fight is still tilted in his favor, but something bothered me very much, he didn’t talk or acted like a time hopper, also I don’t think he recognized me as a fellow hopper. Something is really really wrong. I started carrying my sword, a shield, a dagger and entered the ring of men, which was made into a sort of an arena for our fight.
Just as I entered the arena, the champion of my side of the army came near me and said, “I don’t know who you are but if you can win this fight, I know that our kingdom can be saved. Somehow I am feeling that you might win. May the gods bless you and be on your side.”
The fight began and my suspicions quickly were proven right, he was a hopper with much much more strength than me, and he fights with gay abandon without bothering to hide his abilities from normal people. He is someone who stopped following the rules of our people and apparently out to cause trouble. I lost my sword and shield and we were prancing around and fighting with our full strength which was terrorizing the soldiers of both the sides. The ring widened to nearly four times its size as people were afraid to stay near our fight. It was then that he struck me with such force that my armor broke and I fell down.
“Is this the best you puny Pylians can offer!”
He started barging onto me with his iron mace. It was then that I quickly took out the leather belt holding my armor and quickly inserted some huge boulder and threw it on his his head. This is the weakest part of the hopper which doesn’t heal very fast and strong blows can be as fatal as to any normal human.
It worked. He fell down bleeding profusely and I could feel my wobbliness feeling lifting away and my mind becoming much clearer again. I went to his side and asked,
“Why are you doing all this?”
“Whats your real name?”
“I can still help you if you want.”
He didn’t speak but kept on staring with wild eyes onto me and died in my arms. The Arcadians beat a hasty retreat and I proceeded back to my tent, when I saw Boraam in my tent and a deep dread started taking root in my insides and I can clearly hear my heart beating so quickly and loudly as if it will fall out of my mouth. But he gave me a warm smile and said, “I am happy to see you alive and that you have taken care of this turbulence. This story is going to become the fight between David and Goliath.”
I was confused, “But isn’t this quadrant a forbidden part?”
“Don’t worry that rule never applied to you. Don’t you remember that I always used to say that you are very special”
“I am totally confused, please tell me what are you hiding from me.”
“Do you remember Canaan?”
“Yes, is this him!”
“Yes. Did you know that Canaan was also an elder? Infact he was the first timehopper.”
“He was also the strongest of all of us. Unfortunately he didn’t like the concept of governing rules for our brethren and he decided to finish of his brothers one by one so that he will again be the only one who can freely manipulate the world as he sees fit.”
“Then why did  he form the brethren in the first case?”
“Forming a brethren and setting up a governing council and rules was never his idea, he was alway opposed to it as he believed that we are the Gods and that there should be no rules for the gods. The method to find other brothers and the tests for their inclusion into our brethren was actually devised by Artemis, he was the second hopper whom Canaan had helped to transcend into hopping from being a normal human. He was a steadfast man of principles. Upon repeated disgression which the council never took lightly even though he was an elder, Canaan grew tired of our brethren and took it upon himself to clean away all our brethren. It was then that with Artemis we all came together to oppose Canaan and then many battles followed which devastated this planet. We fought in Kurukshetra, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Egypt and Jerusalem and many other places, we could defeat him every time and finally pushed him over the big-bang. But not without considerable loss to our own brethren. We lost Artemis and more than 3/4ths of our elders. I was tasked to rid the world of all his traces which he had left aplenty. But he proved very strong here too and in the end it was only me of the elders who was left who can still fight Canaan. It was then that I stumbled upon you which no one of us foresaw and which has re established order amid the chaos that Canaan had left behind.”
“Me? Why did you always used to say that I am special? I understand that I wouldn’t have become an hopper without your help?”
“You see we could not fight Canaan head on head anymore for we had become weakened. So when we found you, with our remaining prowess we managed to put controls on the minds of the Canaan’s traces left behind and isolated this quadrant and charged some hoppers to maintain a high energy barrier which restricted other hoppers from entering these zones.”
“But that still doesn’t explain why am I special?”
“Canaan had successfully hid one thing from all of us which wouldn’t have come to our notice hadn’t he been overthrown. He had progeny. He bore a child with a woman in the 20th century, the child brain activity even before he converted was enormous.”
“And so you quickly helped him in transcending into the hoppers brethren. And then made sure that I killed my father today..........!!!”





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What if.

Posted: Saturday, February 6, 2010 by Mural! in Labels: , ,
35







This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 7; the seventh edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

He just sat there lifeless with unfocussed eyes and the look of someone filled with dread. Flashes were flickering from the cameras in the trembling hands of the reporters who knew that they have a story that they are never going to forget. Some of the police constables were wearing a look of impending doom, a few were even praying for they did not want Raj to be convicted. He shuddered with a tremor passing through and saw up slowly to catch the red and swollen eyes of his sister who was sitting among the huge crowd that has turned out to witness the trial. For this particular incident has jolted the peaceful town of Vizag and sent jitters down to its very core.
It seems like ages since he first met her. Some other time time, some other world, like it was in another life. For he has wasted away so quickly during the last few months, his sister could not stop weeping everytime she came to meet him.
He met her at a friends party.

Who is that angel? Is she for real? Oh God, I will do anything to spend the rest of my life with her. Is she looking at me?
His heart started to race and suddenly his palms and feet became cold and sweaty.
I cannot risk losing her. I don’t know what will I do without her!

Hi, I am Raj. Can I get you something to drink...........

Within a year they were married. Life looked rosy, his company has started to reward his hardwork and finally he started getting the recognition that can take him places in this dog-eat-dog world, he found the love of his life and he said one day to his close friends.
I am living out my dream, what else can a man want.

But then something somewhere went wrong. Horribly wrong. Things started to turn murky, he started to hate everything in his life, his job, his home. He knew that he still loved his wife, but somehow he always ended up snapping at her, which made his mood even darker. The company had sent him off for counseling.
You are suffering from Dysthymia which might in time lead to a Major Depressive Disorder. You see, it runs in your family, your aunt, grandmother also suffered from a similar diagnosis.

I suggest you start taking a medication course.

But the doctor did not mention to him that medication does not always make a patient better, he can only try.
His life then became more like a machine, monotonous with a job that has been reassigned by his company keeping his condition in mind.


Off late, fed up with this life, he secretly started decreasing the dosage of his antidepressants which always seemed to dull up his senses and thinking.
What is happening to me, this is not how I dreamed my life to be. I need to get myself out of this rut. They will not understand why am I doing this right now, but I know I can get better. I have to win her back.

and he threw out his medicines from the car window. He felt justified in doing so, because his marriage was failing. He started to fear if his wife will leave him someday. He had to re-ignite the romance of the old.
Honey, I have a surprise! I have bought a Tempo Traveller so that we can live up your dream of traveling through India and visiting places and still have our home with us.

He said winking.
She also noticed very gladly, the wonderful change that was coming upon her beloved husband.
Maybe the doctor’s fears were wrong, maybe I am witnessing a miracle and he is recovering.

Wow! Really! I love you Raj.
Life again started to look beautiful. Infact he started to feel very bright and chirpy again and he noticed that his wife was also very happy and that she also seemingly ignored visiting their family shrink or if he is still taking his daily dose.
He was bubbling around and was full of life and she started loving every bit of him again. He started loving every bit of himself again. For he is winning her back.
Honey, this is the wondefull city that I had promised to take you too.

This is where I was born.

This was my childhood school. I am taking you to a place that you might actually feel like heaven on earth.

They set up camp at Jungle Bells, a camping site on the eastern ghats near Vizag and started to recapture the love that seemed lost from their lives. When, a group of unruly teenagers came about their camping site. He had quarreled with them, but they never seemed to stop the jeering and name-calling. There wasn’t even any authority in sight.
Hello.
Hello is this the tourism office?
Yes.
We have a problem here at the camping site in Jungle Bells.
Please sir, do tell us.
There is a batch of hoodlums here who are disturbing our vacation.
Sir, we are already short staffed now, can you please try to hold on, we can send you someone within a couple off hours.
But this is not what I paid up for! Please connect me with your superior!
Please sir, don’t get angry, if it is alright for you, why don’t you shift your camp to No. 42 then. We promise that we will send up a team to check on this batch that you have told us about.
Alright, how can I reach there.
Please, take out your map sir...
Yes.
Can you see the...........

Though this was a small incident, on hindsight he was ready to give anything in exchange to have avoided one such as this.
Oh my God! Raj is really shook up by this. Why can’t he understand that I am still alright.

Raj, what you are doing for me is something very special. You took out your time from your job and you gave me by far the best time of my life dear. You do know that I love you more than anything else in this world. More than myself.

Night had fallen and he was sleeping. Then suddenly he heard some rustling sounds and then some low whispering like noises which seemed to come near. What he feared was coming true! Those demons were trying to get back at him! His heart again started to race, he waited for the right moment, so that they will not know that he is awake and waiting to get them.
The moment seemed fine, one had entered his trailer and within his arms reach. He reached out and then attacked with all his force suddenly which had seemed to take it by surprise. His ploy worked and though the rascal seemed to fight back and struggle out of his hold, he wrestled it and bought it into some kind of an improper headlock.
He doesn’t know that I was a karate champion in my college days.

and then he suddenly opened his eyes in the morning, the beautiful sun was streaming by though the window onto his bedside. The golden rays ended beside him on his wife dark and shiny mane.
Wake up Anita, we have got a lot to do today.

He dialed 100 and he was shaking violently while he spoke on.
What have I done? I’ve been trying to wake her. I think I killed her. I think I have killed my wife! Oh my God! I thought someone had broken in. I was fighting with one of those boys, but it was her. What have I done! I must have been dreaming or something. Oh Lord! What have I done? What have I done! Can you send someone.

He was sobbing by the time the call ended.
The police were aghast, they hardly saw much of crime here, a few accidents, yes, but murder by strangulation was too much to take for them. But then also was the behaviour of the repentant husband who did not speak anything except periodical mournful personal lashing that he had killed her, he had killed her.
They went through his belongings and registered a case of homicide against him and informed his sister about the incident. It was her who brought a lawyer and told them that her brother was under psychiatric care. They did not believe her, because this was one defense that every other criminal seemed to hide behind, though the Sub-Inspector who had arrested the man seemed to believe so. So, finally the police chief relented and had the man checked by a psychiatrist.
He suffers from a condition called automatism. It means that during his sleep, his mind is not in control of what the rest of his body is doing. Also this particular incident looks like a perfect example for pavor nocturnus also known as “night terrors”. The patient had stopped taking his antidepressants which had led him to develop a bipolar condition, where the patient experiences mood swings, which might have made his condition more acute.......

But all of this was not important for him. He wished he was punished with the strongest and harshest possible judgement, that of death, because he had lost the will to live. He was unable to pardon himself in his own personal court of justice, he was found guilty for stopping to have his medicines and then letting such a ghastly act happen.
Not Guilty.

The Judge also seemed to know the harshest punishment to Raj, that of life, that of a lifetime of repentance.....



Epilogue

I am not a doctor. I am not a medical student. I hated doing the background work for this story. Why can’t story writing be much easier!

Dysthymia is a chronic long lasting form of depression sharing many characteristic symptoms of major depressive disorder. However, these symptoms tend to be less severe but do fluctuate in intensity.


A person suffering from a unipolar disorder tends to have a consistently low mood whereas one with a bipolar disorder has extremely fluctuating moods.


A dialogue from Watchmen.
Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says "But, doctor...I am Pagliacci."
Happy Reading!!!

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