Sunday, October 30, 2011

Listless on a lazy Sunday afternoon

I am listless on a lazy Sunday afternoon; yet happy. Things are happening well for me. There is a lot of action in my life. 

I really do not have anything to complain, but I do feel the need to complain about life.

The other day, I went to Halloween party. It was good fun. Initially, I was a vampire, then graduated to some manifestation of Satan with red horns. A friend complimented that the look suits me. Another friend, who is more Indian than American, laughed at the idea of Halloween party in India.  

It was euphoric to be ghostly. Susanna painted my face. I was the scariest character around. I painted her face. It was a masterpiece. She looked like a worried vampiress, played her part well. 

October 28: Anshuman is father now. I am very happy for Riddhima and him. Santosh became third time dad on the same day.

The best part of Diwali was a very special gift from my flatmate Jan. I am a proud owner of Bushnell binoculars. I am now equipped to revive birding as a hobby. I am thrilled.
Work is good. The new work place has a great positive energy. Hartosh is a fabulous leader.

Kiran has been feeding me lately with the best food in the world.

Last not the least; Family is rock solid behind me. Confession: I am a little irresponsible towards them.

God has been kind to me. There were issues that I was not able to deal with. It was weighing me down. I am better equipped, now, to deal with my own self.

I told a dear friend that I have a got a real good push. It should propel me to break from the past. But the past is sticky and bonds are strong. I am not scared of my past. I should learn accept my past to start afresh.

It is time to go for a jog.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Where the corrupt operate without fear, let my nation awake to that de-light!

I am taking about India without taking names.
The economist prime minister and his government saturated with articulate, rich lawyers who have no understanding of the popular mood of the nation, have been suggesting very innovative (almost bordering to stupidity) ways of taking the country to a higher growth trajectory.
They argue for an extra leverage, almost immunity, for corrupt corporate to carry out scams with the partnership of government. That will allow them to pocket public money, the managers in the government--bureaucrats and politicians--will get the facilitation fee, this would also ensure a growth trajectory of 10 percent plus per annum.
If we punish the corrupt industrialists for committing frauds and scams, and dump them in jails, and not allow them special home cooked food, it will send, understandably so, a wrong message to the business community that the laws are meant to be followed. This would vitiate the economic environment and make India a not so preferred destination for future investments. That would be a suicide given the growing economic might of China next door.
One minister, again a lawyer, advised the Supreme Court of India--which is supervising various corruption cases, one of them a multi-billion dollar telecom scam where soon prime minister’s office along with home minister might come under scrutiny for their role as facilitators—to understand the larger picture: overlook scams involving industrialists in the larger interest of healthy economic growth of the country.
The other argument put forward by this government for their poor show is greater transparency that the working of the government is subjected to actually hampers its functioning and is therefore counterproductive. Earlier, the government functioned peacefully without the fear of favors extended to certain client corporate getting exposed. Their dealings in public money were shrouded in mystery. The opaqueness in the functioning of the government ensured a safe environment to carry out corrupt dealings. And whenever questioned about something that was prima-facie fishy, just these couple of words uttered in defense: official secret! 
Thanks to RTI or Right to Information Act (which is the gift of this very government to the nation in their previous avatar) can make their secret dealings, files noting and opinions public. The so-called public servants (are no more master custodian of information) do not feel secure enough to express their opinion simply because it is no more a secret. And, thus, in effect they can be held accountable. They are so shit scared to be held accountable that they prefer not to make any noting on a file at all, the functioning of the government is thus paralyzed.
The message is clear, options available are limited, the people of India have to choose between these two: no governance at all or corrupt governance. As clean governance is a notional concept, it does not exist in real life.
Corruption cannot be eliminated, we have heard a thousand times.  But, for sure, it can be made a less safe crime. RTI and judicial activism, with a lot of qualifications, have done well in this regard. Lokpal has the potential to do wonders by actually making corruption a risky preposition. But, according to government, Lokpal with both the teeth and ability to bite is unconstitutional. Is corruption a fundamental right?
The arguments and justifications of the government infested by lawyers who make enormous wealth doing corporate litigation, perhaps are paid to make this argument, try makes us believe that like inflation, bit of corruption is good for the economic growth. It lubricates the growth cycle by providing extra personal incentives. What if it is a crime?  These additional incentives to select corporate allow them to milk economy, make them rich beyond reason, and also ensure ten percent growth.
This government has no business to be in power. But alas! they still have the numbers in the Parliament. And that is what matters. But for how long?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Destroy the Marriage to Save It!

Yesterday, I met an old friend to discuss something professional.

But a cup of coffee on a lazy afternoon does wonders. He got talking about his next experiment with truth. To me it is revolutionary given the contours and context of the Indian society, that is in a transition, all right, more hastily in cities than in smaller towns and villages, where deviation is acceptable not just tolerable, but is still dominated by male chauvinist pigs.

He is trying something interesting to save his marriage. He is temporarily destroying it. The two are separating for sometime (he has no fixed time frame but six months is what he mentioned) where they have agreed to give each other some space. The space is not just an opportunity not to see each other's faces everyday as a fate accompli, but also freedom to have new partners. "We will now have open marriage" he told me. That is not an open marriage, in strict terms, because the couple stay together without the requirement to be monogamous (which those in marriage, who are not lucky enough to get this concession, that is why jealous, argue: why marry then?).

Basically, they are separating to give their marriage a chance, to explore life minus of each other to see where they stand as individuals. This also translates into exploring other options, and hope that it would resurrect their love for each other. It is true that sometimes you realise the value and role of your partner in your life in absentia. The presence can get nagging but absence might turn out to be unbearable. And they will be together again in flat few weeks.

On the other hand, this new found freedom can also reaffirm the feeling that good days between them is over, therfore the need is felt to take a break, the reason for this quasi-separation at the first place.

Some background is essential about the two. They are seeing each other since they barely hit 20s. At the age of 23-24 they moved in together in a hired flat. Family was not happy but they did not have an option. They got married two years ago and shifted to a nicer place with the promise of a great life together. They were madly in love with each other is a cliché I would use for them.

Their 'need for my space' is a recent development. So, now, they are quarrelling more often to prove 'my' point. Things that they loved about each other now irks them. The tolerance level to each others antics is far reduced. They both realise that they are not doing good to each other.

My friend asserts that they still love each other and that this experiment will do good to both of them. He is aware of the fact that this ‘good for both of them’ might not necessarily translate into they being together again. He is hopeful and mindful of the repecussions, too.

The family is aware of this decision and they are not very sure if this is the right way to deal with the situation. To be frank no one is sure, they themselves are a little shaky. They both are sure, though, to try it out. He is busy finding a house for her.

The logic is simple. They would have not gone too far the way they were behaving to each other. So might as well try this.

Who made this suggestion? “It was decided after many discussions,” he replies. I persist, who of the two suggested this as a possible option, or solution. “She,” he replies.

He is emotionally stressed. He puts up a brave face, denies unconvincingly.

They are true to their feelings and about their feelings for each other. If things are not working, they are upfront about it and are working hard to make it work.

Such disputes more often than not are ego driven. They know that. They are unhappy that the magic is gone. They want the magic back. They are willing to take great risk for it. It will be difficult to lose 'exclusive' rights within the superstructure of marriage.

So be it. Let it be.

Monday, October 3, 2011

BREAK [----------]UP

Durga Puja this year has come with a lot of changes. The most painful of them is the breakups. In the last couple of weeks, a dozen friends are confronted with emotionally degenerating phase of breakup.

Few of them called me up and informed about it. About others, I learned from reliable sources. I told them things that will comfort them.

Now that i think of it. There is a discernable trend. There is a common set of reasons for it.

It is somewhat strange. The two partners work overtime to invent reasons and narratives, basically, to put the blame for the breakup on the other. But face it: the reason is you and not the partner and this is applicable to both the partners.

A relationship is about sharing, it becomes a turf war, who gets to control what and how much. The relationships are very selfish in nature. It is all about 'what i get from it'? and not ‘what can i give to it?’ It thus, soon, on numerous occasions ‘stops making sense.’

The real pang is that, despite it being self-seeking, it remains very intense. 'I' remains paramount never lets 'we' have a say. One of the menifestaition of this is that both partners work hard to make each other suffer. And suffer themselves. Therefore, breakups comes as a ‘relief’ yet it f@*ks up all the happiness.

‘I' or the ego has the inherent need to control things, outcomes. Human beings are a complex animal, ego subsumes their instincts. They are affected (governed) by ‘n’number of factors where ‘n’ tends to infinity. Many of these factors are not even known to them. So it is fallacious to think that things can be controlled. It is delusional to think this way. It only causes a lot of complications. The great expectations are never met. Things happen in their own ways. Then comes dejection and rejection follows soon.

Rejection: ego loves this term. Ego feels elated to have rejected someone. You get to hear all this so very often, I called off the relationship as it was getting on my nerves. So i am the one who took the call, called it off. I will remain unrelenting. He is suffering. I am suffering too, perhaps more, but as long as he is suffering, my suffering is worth its pain. It is about who can take it more. Who is ready to give in? If none, then move on.

There is a prescribed drill to it, post breakup. Just vanish from the scene for sometime. Try do things that have the ability to occupy your mind, but nevertheless suffer, and cause enormous suffering to the other, and try come to terms with who rejected whom, and tell yourself that i would be careful next time in picking my partner, find a down-to-earth (malleable, less egoistical and pushy) person, and that he is nice and caring (will do as told) and so on. The whole idea is to find someone who is not like ‘I'.

Marilyn Monroe puts it well. “I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.” So deal with me as i am and not as you want me to be.

The end result is nagging. Both end up punishing someone they love the most and also suffer enormous pain. If only they could think from the 'we' perspective. Even better, if they could think from the perspective of 'you' and not 'I', and not deal in balance sheets—who needs one more than the other kind of equations.

This is hackneyed but needs to be said: Rise in love and not fall in love. Do well to each other.

So all those who have recently parted, stop for a moment and think of each other and not your ownself, there is no bravery in escaping, redeeming is an art, live life present moment, and not bother too much about the future, the long-term perspective sucks the present and fills regret in the future when it comes to relationships.

Please note this is a generalisation, exceptions are always there. But do not be tempted to believe that you are an exception.