War of words – allegations and counter-allegations, politics over even apolitical themes, claims and counter-claims – the free-floating, unrestricted flow of verbal juggernaut is frying up the atmosphere, is ratcheting up the theatrics.

In the series, on a day like this, in the run up to the polls, they both started speaking almost at the same time, but soon, it was Narendra Modi all over, on almost channels of the airwaves, and so in millions of the homes across the country, and so on the countless channels of the social media platforms – the story of two speeches – delivered same day, almost same time – one in Delhi, the other in Patna – on October 27.

For sometime now, Narendra Modi has been the hottest, the most covered, the most talked about, and the most written about one. Rahul Gandhi did receive attention whenever he spoke on public platforms, but he could never match the scale Modi would achieve, rally after rally.

And when it came to the parallels on a day of parallel presence, we found how skewed it had become.

Even if we do no go into the reasons, if we do not dissect the ‘what, why and how’ of Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi on campaigning parameters and communication management practices, we can see easily certain trends well evolved (and clearly visible) by now – of crowds in rallies and of media presence multiplying the presence of the crowds elsewhere – trends that would be giving nightmares to the Congress party strategists – trends that can also harm the Modi-party by injecting a sense of complacency much before it is the time to up the throttle for that final ‘finality’.

Though, in recent times, Rahul, too, has upped his pitch, putting his aggression more on display with each passing rally, he simply fails to match the Narendra Modi blitzkrieg.

Modi’s rallies are witnessing full houses with crowd spilling over in each rally while Rahul’s rallies fail to produce sense of massive (even sizeable) gatherings even if the camera tries to show us so.

What could be the better testimony to it than October 27? In spite of the serial blasts, Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna saw hundreds of thousands coming to listen to him while Rahul had to wait before he began to speak as there were not enough of people.

When it comes to media, it’s Narendra Modi is all over. Rahul does get wide coverage and attention but, on a day, when both were speaking together, it was only Narendra Modi – almost all the TV channels were showing Modi live while Rahul was not even in the side window.

And that tells us the base approach by the media outfits in this Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi duel. Modi has become the prized catch for them in race to earn more eyeballs while Rahul is the routine editorial stuff. For them, Modi is the ultimate ‘eyeball stuff’ of the moment.

Modi’s media appeal can also be gauged from the fact that, though the serial blasts in Patna killed 5 and live bombs were recovered from the venue of Modi’s rally, Gandhi Maidan in Patna, the main news discourse of the day was Modi, the major elements discussed on the day were ‘what Modi said’. Rahul’s speech did not get much attention apart from the routine editorial planning elements.

The Congress party strategists should be worried. (Yes, but, the Bhartiya Janta Party thinkers should not get complacent.)

Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi – it is going to be even more interesting to watch as the Lok Sabha polls near, as the resultant chaos spreads even more.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Now that is what we call sacrifice.

Now, that is what we call selfless love.

Now that is what we call an innocent, true devotion.

Now, that is what we call the politics of commitment.

Now, that is what some of us may call the political altruism.

Now, that is what we call the ultimate exemplary precedent.

India had not seen such a touchy, emotional, ideologically notable and inspiringly laudable act by a politician since it got its independence in 1947, since the days of Mahatma Gandhi, Saradar Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawahar Lal Nehru and other revolutionaries in the colonial India.

Until two days ago! Until October 26, 2013!

When, the ‘fine’ line separating the ‘tears from onions’ from ‘the tears from high onion prices’ got blurred!

When, our beloved Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister of Delhi, who is also lovingly called aunty, a familiar motherly figure like the aunt-next-door, revealed to us that she had had onions after weeks on October 26.

She could share with us the pain, her secret that she so carefully kept away from us, so as to not to get us troubled, the pain of having not been able to have onions on her kitchen menu, only after her government in Delhi could arrange for cheaper onions for Delhiites.

She so painfully observed abstinence on the skyrocketing onion prices. This exemplary act by her was a true tribute, an act of solidarity, to be there with the millions of Indians living in the National Capital of India, millions who could not afford onions, to be with them in their tougher times.

See the commitment, the devotion! Had it been with any other politician of the day, we could never have expected such a selfless act and such an innocent revelation of it.

A chief-minister of three terms, having a son who is Member of the Parliament, coming from a family having long political history of prominence – even if onions reach to the price-threshold of Rs. 200 a Kg, she and her family would have no problem affording the much hyped, most debated vegetable, without a trace of onion ‘tears’.

Even then, she chose to observe the ‘onion abstinence’, just because millions others (irrespective of who voted her in power) were not able to afford it.

And she ended it (the onion abstinence) only when she could provide the people of Delhi with onions at reduced price, wiping ‘some’ of the tears from their crumbled faces.

But, idiots will remain idiots! There are some idiots who are raising petty issues like questioning the quality of onions being sold by aunty’s government at subsidized rates.

They must see the quality of ‘these’ onions in context of the ‘quality’ of Sheila aunty’s emotive quotient, its ‘picture-perfect’ appearance, its ‘audience-connect’ brilliance.

We need to salute her and also the lady finger moment that introduced us to this inspiring side of her. We need to get ‘emotively attached’ to this “after weeks I ate onions today with ‘bhindi’ (lady finger)” – (NDTV) statement to pay back our gratitude to her when we go out to vote in the Delhi assembly polls next month.

After all, it was another pleasant shot by her when she put the meek, not-so-famous, very unkingly lady finger in the league of almighty onion, making it overnight famous!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Going through the sea-side
I had seen the winding light
I had seen the slipping delight
It had taken away some shades of twilight

Going through the road-side
I had heard the screaming night
I had felt the waning light
It had added some darkness to the might

Going through the open blue sky
I had seen the words go fly
I had heard the letters cry
It had made their destinies dry

Going through the circle of life
I find the unreason so wide
For oft,
I witness the wisdom lay astride
Unreason and wisdom often be at strife
Going through the circle of this life..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


“For I feel for I happened to be someone”
“For I felt I was not that one”
“For I felt I was not who I was”
“For I feel I am who I am”
“For I felt I needed to be someone”
“For I feel I will be someone”

“For I feel I have denied the moments their right to play with me”
“For I feel they still feel they can play with me but..”
“For I feel I feel their despair to loose the winning vein”

“For I feel for the rustles in the layers”
“For I feel for the layers to be living vague identities”
“For I feel for identities that struggle”
“For I feel for struggles more numerous than others..”
“For I feel for that anxious urge of identities to come alone, to go along”
“For I feel for this stasis and resurrection of layers to bind their identities”
“For I feel for this urge of layers to be one in harmony with all the parallelism”

“For I feel for what I felt for who I was,
“For I feel for that co-existence with that subtle parallelism”
“For I feel for that forgotten aspect added to my thoughts”
“For I feel for my Soul to be there for this”
“For I feel for my Soul to be with me”
“For I feel for the urge of rustling layers to be one with.. be one with the splutter of the raining beads of thoughts”
“For I feel for I need to feel what I felt”

July 23, 2009

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



The campaign heat is going up. It is throwing interesting developments and the frequency is getting more frequent every passing day, as the assembly poll dates in the five states approach closer, as the scramble to score points for the upcoming parliamentary polls get more intensive.

If we talks of campaigning and communication management, it has been a Narendra Modi show overall.

The way political developments are shaping up, it is supposed to be a full-scale Narendra Modi Vs Rahul Gandhi blitzkrieg as the campaigning for the General Elections 2014 enters its decisive, final leg in 2014. The process is already on the launch-pad with the assembly polls in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram scheduled to be held in November-December.

Today, we saw first glimpse of it.

Today, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi both had rallies almost at the same time. Narendra Modi’s Hunkaar Rally in Patna, that saw serial bombs blasts in the city, formally unveiled his Bihar leg of campaigning while Rahul’s Delhi rally was more focused at the Delhi assembly election next month.

The comparison was inevitable but soon, it became clear, there was nothing much to compare.

Modi delivered 90 minutes of customized, localized, nationalized and well-improvised show full of punches, that the massive crowd in Patna, the airwaves people and the people hooked to the airwaves, found much more newsworthy and watchable while Rahul’s show was a poor repetition of what he says in almost every election rally, the dull revisionism of attributing all that is good in India to the Congress party.

Eyeballs, insights, analyses – Narendra Modi cornered all, effectively pushing the Rahul Gandhi show to the programming junk of ‘fillers’.

Congress, its strategists, the Team Rahul Gandhi and the heavyweights entrusted to manage public opinion though media need to be wary of it.

They need to think why Narendra Modi’s aggressive style makes him more interesting (and relevant) to listen to while Rahul Gandhi’s aggression mostly draws flak?

The answer is before everyone to see. Much has been written over it. The question is why the Congress party strategists and why Rahul Gandhi himself are not reading the signs?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –






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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –




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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Okay, I need not be of some leftist ideology to write it. All, it needs, is the common sense of the common Indian, who knows India, who lives India, and who has to live India.

Hundreds of thousands of people commute between Delhi and Noida daily. Not even 1,00,000 commuters are expected to be the traffic flow specific to the Indian Grand Prix during three days of its grand display.

There are reports that say India has one of the highest figures of fatal road accidents.
There are reports that say ‘every 3.7 minute, an Indian dies in a road accident’ (Hindustan Times quoting the Road Transport Ministry).
There are reports that say India has 10 per cent of the global count of the fatal road accidents (World Health Organisation).
Delhi is the Indian city with the second largest count of road accidents.

So, though there may be other valid reasons to manage the road transport efficiently (including its commercial considerations), when it comes to the common men, the everyday commuters, their safety has to be the major driving concern while managing the traffic on the road, more so in metros, with very high count of vehicles on the road.

Now come to this.

There is this practice of removing bumpers, barriers and speed-breakers from the roads in the run-up to the Formula One Indian Grand Prix that takes place in the NCR (National Capital Region) town of Greater Noida, near Delhi. The exercise is done to ensure the smooth passage to the drivers, crew, visitors and viewers to the Buddha International Circuit (F1 track) situated at a distance of over 50 Kms from Delhi (over 70 Kms from the Indira Gandhi International Airport).

This year, the 3rd edition of the Indian Grand Prix, is scheduled to be held from October 25 to 27.

Yesterday, while taking the road to Delhi from Noida, the road that eventually is the main road connecting the National Capital to the Buddha International Circuit, I found the road free of speed-breakers and bumpers. And yesterday was October 23.

While it felt good to drive on a world-class highway that was also speed-breakers free even in the segments passing through the highly populated areas of Noida and Delhi, the anti- question naturally came to the mind – why this largesse, merely for a game, a game that very few in India follow, at the cost of extending threat to the human lives?

What is the purpose of the speed-breakers and norms for driving – to maintain the flow of the traffic, as well as to ensure the safety of the commuters, to save time, to save human lives?

Now, this F1 Race is till October 27. Think, it will take 2/3 days for the authorities to put in place the speed-breakers again.

So, what about the safety of the human lives for a week?

Can the glamour of F1, the Indian Grand Prix, subvert the significance of human life?

Can we risk human lives merely for a game, when the road accident data tell us to think otherwise?

It is not at all a point of debate if the Indian Grand Prix is going to attract only around a lakh heads during its three days of show. It has always been a TV show. It is, in fact, a good PR exercise in building the imagery of the country (an element of soft power projection).

But given the priorities of the Constitution led democracy, that India is, we need to be very clear of, that in principle and in action, we must now allow anything to happen, that subverts the spirit of the Indian Constitution, by compromising the lives of its ordinary citizens.

Okay, there were not any untoward incidents during the previous two years of the event, but that does not allow the authorities to go slack because it involves human lives.

The speed enthusiasts can do well with the speed-breakers in place. Their luxury cars would not let them feel the bump, though it may add few minutes to their ride-time, but doing so would certainly ensure the ordinary commuters do not violate the norms and continue to drive safely with the precautionary measures of road-safety in place.

Though, Mr. Robert Vadra may have the liberty to say India is a banana republic, I do believe it is a democracy, even if an experimental one, looking for the way-ahead, from a botched-up post-Independence history, from a story lost somewhere in transition.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Sounds of different frequencies, each of them loud, sound of a train running at around 100 Kmph, sound of pantry-car waiters and the train staff making in and out of the coaches, and sound of the passengers making informed queries and expressing strong displeasure!

It was not routine as usual for any train in India, a Rajdhani Express train in this case, after a recent price hike.

This time, it was in the name of improving catering standards. The Indian Railways had just revised the catering charges in premium trains (Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duranto) and the TTEs (ticket checkers) were a harassed lot. They had to issue receipt of the difference of the amount (after the fare revision) to every passenger who had got the ticket booked before October 16.

Given the rush for the Indian trains where every ticket of almost trains is booked within two days of the opening of the reservation window of two months for a train, almost every passenger in the train had his ticket booked before October 16.

Stung by the sudden pressure of increased work, of writing and issuing almost a thousand receipts, TTEs were not even asking for the mandatory IDs for the electronically booked tickets.

This increased fare was reason for the high-pitched sound coming from the heterogenous lot of passengers in every coach – varying frequencies, modulated tones, but each voicing out displeasure as loud as possible and this displeasure was forcing the catering staff of the train to make rounds to the pantry car, keeping them on toes.

And it was for a reason.

Apart from timeliness, a factor that is certainly uncertain with the Indian trains, one can also say so about the quality of the catering, that the food being served in Indian trains, even in premium trains like Rajdhani, is simply substandard.

It was the second day of the quality mission of the Indian Railways but the ‘quality’ was conspicuous by its absence. Those regularly travelling by such (premium) trains were flatly saying that whatever that was there in the name of ‘quality’ had certainly come down, in quantity, in quality. And to add to the misery, these passengers were made to shell out extra bucks to improve the quality.

Given the quality of food being served and the menu items in the platter, the fare revision, in fact, deserved a reduction in the ticket prices.

Passengers were feeling cheated.

That was hitting them more, being the immediate instigating factor raising the protesting voices.

And on that day, in the Rajdhani Express, by certain turn of events, I had the chance to sit for a while in the pantry-car of the train.

It was more maddening there than the situation in the coaches, something that is always the case. This time, it was heightened up. The increased tension in the atmosphere there had its origin in two reasons.

Incidentally, the food packets delivered by the base kitchen of the government run catering outfit were less than the passenger count and the pantry-car staff was in overdrive to meet the requirement. Okay, it was normal to happen so. But it was on a day when there was additional mounting pressure on the pantry-car staff.

It was happening along side the chaos of the anger of the passengers spilling over in the aisles of the coaches. On target were the pantry-car employees who were still supplying the substandard food products, even if the passengers were now paying a revised, increased fare in the name of an upgraded menu.

After putting curries in packets, weights of two packets were taken to confirm if they were according to the Indian Railways norms. The ‘observation’ based random sampling was applied for over 100 packets cooked on-board. And the sample size was just 2!

There was no dearth of raw material (of reputed brands). In fact, it was enough to be wasted and was being wasted. A clear factor that puts the quality of food in trains under scanner is hygiene and certainly, the way food was being cooked and packed there, it wasn’t hygienic.

The staff there, though extra cautious, was in avoidable rush to get things done to get free soon. Putting on gloves while using hands – I could not see it being practiced. The floor of the pantry-car was littered with spill-over from the cooking platform. Utensils and grills were kept below the platform, that was, again, unclean.

And above it, the supervisors, panicked, by the increasing count of complaints in the complaint book, were making regular visits to the pantry-car, shouting at waiters and cooks, making them even more irregular and harsh on the ‘quality’ of the job.

Wastage – good quality raw material for a food cooked and served with unhygienic practices – and don’t ask about taste. Food in trains – it is simply never expected to be tasty.

Then there was another serious issue, based on something that happened there, in fact a breach of trust, an illegal act, for which, even lawsuits are filed – maintaining sanctity of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, in cooking, in packaging, and in distribution.

Though, one can never say it is followed honestly at a place serving both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, it is expected from the outlets charging you premium to maintain this sanctity, and catering services in Rajdhani Express trains should, certainly, come under this category.

But, alas!

Vegetarian and non-vegetarian, the cooking was on. There I saw this silly act. One of the cooks preparing the non-vegetarian curry approached the cook preparing ‘chapatis’ (unleavened circular bread made from wheat flour) to use his cooking stove top to roast chicken. And on the same grill, being used to inflate chapatis, soon, the other cook was roasting chickens. Once he was finished with his roasting stuff, the ‘chapati’ cook was back to his work of inflating chapatis on the same grill.

For those who are strictly vegetarian, such practices are a massive breach of trust. Even for those, who are not strictly vegetarian (egg-eating people come in this category), they too, will not accept chapatis cooked like this if they come to know this. I come in this category.

I protested on this act. I said it was a serious issue. I told them to exclude ‘chapatis’ from my plate. I requested them to replace all the ‘chapatis’ cooked after the chicken was roasted on the grill in the vegetarians platters. Although they said they would do so, I knew they wouldn’t do so.

After it, I had to leave the pantry-car for my berth.

On a day, high on complaints, when passengers were dumping and deriding the food for its quality, they could not have afforded another setback point – delayed delivery, and cooking chapatis for almost 100 passengers would have taken enough time to delay it significantly.

Food quality in trains and planes, I have had bad experiences about it. Okay, trains certainly outdo the planes, even if you travel by a Rajdhani or a Shatabdi Express. I make it a point to ignore pantry-car or railway station food except in emergency situations. In flights, it is still manageable. Your options – it depends much on the carrier and the duration of your flight.

The Rajdhani Express journey on that day only reaffirmed my aversion to the food served in the Indian trains.

Go for it only when you are not left with any other option (including fasting on that overnight journey)!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Be wary of the masks people wear.

You cannot sift from the lot, you cannot segregate them, to have a secluded life to keep your soul away from these masks.

At the same time, you cannot allow them to exploit you, to humiliate your soul.

So, be cautious of people who wear masks.

It is true, sometimes, you know you are being exploited yet you continue to be honest, to be good to, to be in relation with the person exploiting you.

No harm in doing so as long as you see it supporting the cause of you being ‘you’, as long as you feel good about assimilating the pain it gives.

It is true you need to trust certain people as you move with time building your life, as you socialize. You need to remain honest while you build relations because that is a must, an imperative, for you to remain honest to ‘you’, to your soul, to your identity, to your existence.

But you must be vigilant enough, careful enough to realize where and when to draw the line, when to restrict the flow.

Yes, it is better to be an emotional fool than to be a practical opportunist.

But, be practical enough to realize the parasitic masks around you.

Socialize, build relations, but maintain a safe distance from the masks. Don’t act the way they act to get over them but don’t let them play with your emotive quotient either.

If you have been exploited by the mask(s) and they are still trying to play with you, it should be the warning message to read the writing on the wall.

Be sociable. Be amicable. But be heedful.

Yes, be an emotional fool when it comes to the purity of emotions, when it comes to the sanctity of you soul, when it comes to the authority of your thoughts, when it comes to honesty and commitment.

But don’t be a fool.

Yes, don’t be a practical opportunist but act practical when you see your ‘be good’ motivation is leading to excessive stress, is giving you pain beyond assimilation.

Be wary enough of the masks to be able to read when it is the time.

Act emotionally fool to give relations that extra mile to save them in turbulent times, but be practical enough to read it when your emotional attachment and your emotive quotient become tools for the masks to use you, to take you for granted.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –