THE COLLECTIBLES THEN – CASSETTE COVERS (II)

PHOTOGRAPHY

The Collectibles 5

The Collectibles 38

THE COLLECTIBLES THEN – CASSETTE COVERS

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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EITHER YOU TAKE ‘SIDE’ OR YOU TAKE ‘SIDES’!

REFLECTIONS

“Either you take ‘side’ – or – you take ‘sides’.”

 

Taking Sides

EITHER YOU TAKE ‘SIDE’ OR YOU TAKE ‘SIDES’!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE COLLECTIBLES THEN – CASSETTE COVERS (I)

PHOTOGRAPHY

The Collectibles 2

The Collectibles 33

THE COLLECTIBLES THEN – CASSETTE COVERS

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LOVE – SOUTH INDIAN FILMS STYLE!

Funny – at its most insane!
Boisterous – at its most verbose!
Pampered – at its most mollycoddled!
Rowdy – at its most gaudy!
Outrageous – at its most audacious!
Cosmetic – at its most superficial!
Melodrama – at its most dramatic!

The hero:

  • Drives auto-rickshaw, or,
  • Is a bicycle riding college student, or,
  • Is a street vendor of vada-pao, or,
  • A goonda living in a slum.

The heroine:

  • Is from heaven.
  • From a family of high and mighty politicians, or,
  • A larger than life businessman, or,
  • A mafia Don flying in chartered plane.

Rarely, the narrative is developed with role-reversals.

Either the hero approaches the heroine or the heroine has the ‘instantaneous’ love-at-first-sight, no time is wasted in coming to the point – its direct and precise – irrespective of the ‘class’ difference – without going into details – like smooth and efficient!

Love happens so readily – only after few sitcom scenes – and the glues is so strong – that you feel that these films are the true representatives of a ‘classless’ society.

Either love is so ripe or directors are so experienced in these movies that they don’t waste any moment in nuances of going ‘in between the lines’ – or they refuse to see the beauty there that others see!

True post-modernists! Iconoclasts in their own league – so much so – that they have started a league of their own, their ‘own Masala’ within the larger ‘Masala Films’ genre! Proponents and followers of Communism should take their worldview (social take) on society seriously!

(P.S. – While randomly picking up a Dhanush’s movie on TV!)

(P.S. – South Indian cinema produces some of the finest movies in India every year. This is just about the so-called mainstream gibberish that is so prevalent even in the Mumbai cinema or the Hindi film industry – though, even there loves doesn’t happen so readily – and is certainly not ‘class-less’!)

🙂 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE COLLECTIBLES – THAT PEN

This is my place to reminisce on memories of my life gone so far – picking up some thread, some element, some event, some experience from the days in my past – randomly – as they come – because we all are men of memories.

Here this is about this thing – a pen from my past – that came to my mind while discussing the proposition of ‘letting things go’ in life.

Like many, I, too, had this thing in my school days – collecting pens – and trying to get as soon as possible that new trendy introduction in the stationary shop that would be showcased – like a jewel of the category.

Obviously, there were cost constraints and I had to keep my pocket money into consideration while going for such ‘I must have’ decisions.

This pen – Add Diamond Roller – was recently launched in the market – when I saw it in the shop – in 1990s – when I was in 8th standard. I liked it at the first sight so much that I decided I would have it. But then there was this big problem. The pen was priced at Rs. 99, a considerably big sum for a schoolboy in those days, especially when it was the last week of the month. In fact, I had no money to purchase the pen if I had to manage the remaining days of the month with my pocket money.

But then the impulsive desire to have the pen was so intense that I found myself unable to wait for even a day more.

So, what could be done? So, what did I do?

Simple, and in fact, as I had a reputation of a good son, after a bit of convincing, I got some advance on my next month’s pocket money along with the money required to buy the pen.

The next day, the first thing I did was I rushed to the shop before going to the school to have the pen so that I could show it to others, could brag about it, as well as could feel good about it that I had such an expensive and latest addition to premium pens category in the market.

And for the whole day, I bathed in its glory.

And then it happened – the development that made it a memory worth reminiscing – because of its shock value.

I used to commute from auto-rickshaw in those days. I was very cautious about the pen and had it firmly slipped in my trouser’s pocket while boarding the one to my house. As usual, I was with my ‘feel good’ feelings, instilled with the pen’s possession now.

As soon I reached home, I rushed to show it to everyone there. I slipped my hand in my trouser’s pocket to have it and then I felt it – the shock of lifetime in those days. I had lost the pen somewhere – the pen that I had so cravingly purchased in the morning. It had slipped out of my pocket somewhere, probably in the auto-rickshaw.

At that instant I felt the whole world had come upside down. I felt both dumb and numb. While there were words of empathy, sympathy and even mockery on my loss, I suddenly felt detached from the world around me, and rushed to get some isolation.

Well, I didn’t know anything about ‘letting go’ or so in those days and how could we in that age, when we spend the whole life in convincing ourselves about the idea but it took me many days to get past the shock that I had so suddenly felt from the high pedestal of having the most expensive and elegant pen in the whole classroom. What would my friends and classmates say in the class next day? Certainly, you don’t like words of consolation in those moments.

The memory of this incident comes to revisit me again and again – in different hues – after different developments – but with similar core – even after so many years – because some of us build our life on memories – and I am certainly one of those fools. Yes, it makes me feel better that I have learnt to enjoy them or reconcile with them. That pen could not become part of my collection but its memory stayed – with different slants – in different circumstances.

When I thought to share this today, I was not sure if the pen was still available in the market but a Google search took me to its website that told me it was very much there.

Add Gel

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

A LOGICAL RAIL BUDGET BUT WHAT ABOUT DEFUNCT WORK ETHOS OF INDIAN RAILWAYS?

Some headlines from the past hour on the Rail Budget 2016 are:

Rail Budget growth-oriented, but revenue target will be a challenge, says industry – Times of India
Rail Budget gets a thumbs down on D-Street for fourth consecutive time – Economic Times
Rail Budget 2016: PwC says investment to be a challenge for Railway amid flat traffic, high costs – Economic Times
Rail Budget 2016: Railway-related stocks fall up to 10% on Dalal Street – Business Today
Big proposals, no fare hike: How Suresh Prabhu avoided the bitter pill in Rail Budget 2016 – Firstpost
On Rail Budget day, Indian rupee hits new 30-month low at 68.72 vs US dollar – Financial Express

These are just few from the lot of analytical pieces written – taking sides based on the parameters taken into consideration – but overall, it is a mixed bag with the obvious question – that asks – how – a how that can unravel every good intention behind a Railway Budget that is otherwise logical and future oriented.

The Rail Budget 2016 started on a logical note – with no-nonsense announcements and proposals. In its initial run, as Suresh Prabhu, the Rail Minister started presenting it, it sounded the most logical Rail Budget in the recent times.

The budget began with more emphasis on improving passenger services and amenities this year – something long overdue – than announcing mindlessly new trains to appease votebanks – but in the end, it came out to be pretty ambitious – and that is the whole point behind raising questions – shadowing the positive senses.

The Rail Budget 2016 is passenger centric, policy change centric and future centric that also intends to be ‘work culture change’ centric. It, in fact, talks vehemently about it.

But given the sorry state of the affairs at Indian Railways, we need to be sceptical. In fact, we need cynical questions here.

Indian Railways is a mammoth organization employing maximum number of people in the world’s largest democracy and claiming a robust outreach network in almost every part of country barring the North-East. It is good that this strategically important last mile connectivity is now a priority of the government. And so, Indian Railways is the lifeline of the nation as the majority here still cannot afford air-travel.

But Indian Railways is a corrupt and defunct organization. Corruption, in fact, has percolated in every wing of its functioning – from tickets checkers or TTEs travelling in trains to booking clerks duping innocent people on ticket booking windows to its officials (in every hue) sitting in its zonal offices to its headquarters in Delhi.

And this corruption is vivid and variegated – from petty offences like TTEs illicitly pocketing money in trains to senior level officers cornering big convenience money in freight handling to big commission in projects.

Unless that culture is not corrected, any attempt to take Indian Railways on a futuristic journey of course correction is impossible.

So, whatever Mr. Suresh Prabhu intends to do with his reformative tools, with newly proposed three freight corridors, with no hike in passenger and freight fare to build on volume, with more and more use of technology in enabling Railways to act more passenger customer friendly, with ways to increase revenue, with plans to build infrastructure including private collaboration, we need to keep in mind that it is about mindset change – a mindset that travels through the floodgates of bribes and other modes of illicit money.

The chronic corruption that has infested every part and every appendage of the huge machinery that Indian Railways is.

A mindset change is a long and tedious process with no timeframe and with no guarantee of outcome. It may happen. It may not happen. It becomes even more complicated when the ‘mindset’ is shaped by corruption as is the case with Indian Railways.

And Mr. Suresh Prabhu is one of its most prime examples. He is very active on Twitter. In fact, his alertness on Twitter is an example for all other ministers to follow – but only as long as it pleases him. He doesn’t like to act on or respond to negative tweets.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

’68’, AMMA AND TAMIL NADU: BAAHUBALI TO ‘AMMA’NADU

“68 is the natural number following 67 and preceding 69. It is an even number.” – that is what the Wikipedia page on the number 68 says. There is nothing much else on the page except some technical information that, for most, is like filling a page entry somehow.

And here comes this development in this time of need. The editors or writers of the page should take note of the dominance of the number ’68’ in Tamil Nadu now – to put some interesting stuff there (on the page) – as the number has become the most important symbol of a populous Indian state – with wide display today.

Today is the day when ’68’ has become synonymous with Tamil Nadu – a state of some ’68’ million people – a state, that in turn, gives feelers that it has become synonymous with J. Jayalalithaa, its chief minister since her sweeping re-election in 2011 and her comeback to the throne in May 2015 after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the disproportionate assets case.

Jayalalithaa had assumed the office for the third term in 2011 and since then her party AIADMK has swept every election in Tamil Nadu including the last Lok Sabha polls in 2014. And it is when her DA case is decades old and it was not the first time in 2014 when she was disqualified and barred from the political office. Something similar had happened in 2001 when she was barred from contesting the polls after she was found guilty in the TANSI land deal case which was overturned later.

When we see the political history of Tamil Nadu – it has been between these two parties – DMK and AIADMK – and time has been fair about listening to both of these parties.

But, it seems the Amma times are here to stay this time. It is being expected that AIADMK will be able to decimate every opposition in the upcoming assembly polls later this year.

And its echoes are already here – with the ascendance that the number ’68’ saw today.

Let’s see the colourful elements:

The first and the foremost things is the great coincident – Jayalalithaa at ’68’ has a Tamil Nadu of some ’68’ million people.

Tamil Nadu, (it seems the whole state), is celebrating Jayalalithaa’s birthday in a grand style – in an electoral year – (obviously we all can see through the acts and through the kaleidoscope) – but here we are talking about the colours.

AIADMK workers and supporters organized functions for ’68’ mass-wedding ceremonies across the state. The couples wore an interesting headgear with Amma’s photograph like a crown jewel.

At AIADMK office in Chennai, a ’68’ Kg cake was cut. Huge cakes were prepared in different parts of Chennai and in the state.

’68’ lakh trees were to be planted across the state. Reports further said that these saplings were to be planted in ‘6868’ temples across the 32 districts of Tamil Nadu.

’68’ medical camps were organized and blood donation drives were held across the state.

Special ‘poojas’ were performed in 122 temples across the state to pray for the long life of Amma. Special cow worship and cow donation drives were held. Women members of AIDMK performed a ‘pooja’ – carrying milk pots on head while visiting temples and praying.

All Amma canteens of Chennai served free meals today. Across the state, community lunches were organized.

Cleaning of water bodies across the state was carried out. South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce donated lamps.

It was announced that every girl child born today in every hospital run by the Chennai city corporation would be given a donation of Rs. 10,000.

An AIADMK lawmaker announced that he would ‘gift’ gold ring to every child born today in North Chennai.

Some AIADMK leaders presented before us adventurous shows of floating on water while praying for Amma’s long life.

AIADMK leaders and Jayalalithaa supporters made it a point to flaunt Jayalalithaa tattoos – with her face, name or taglines carved.

Distribution of Amma brand of products were done free of cost across the state – with Amma soaps, Amma shampoo and other products on display. Goodies like sewing machines, television sets, sarees, dhotis, school notebooks, etc., were donated liberally.

Rallies were held across the state with huge fireworks planned for the evening.

And this is when Jayalalithaa didn’t make any personal appearance today. She didn’t come out and say thanks to her followers and fans.

Amazing! Subtle! God like! The celebrations are expected to last till weekend. But expect the continued run in the context of the electoral symbolism of all these activities.

Jayalalithaa’s 68th birthday made Tamil Nadu – ‘Amma Nadu’. Jayalalithaa’s party has tried to scale ‘her cult’ from ‘momentous to monumental’ – from her ‘Baahubali’ incarnation during the Chennai floods of November-December last year – floods that had battered the whole state badly – killing over 500 people – rains and floods that are considered among the costliest natural disaster of 2015.

Welcome to the kaleidoscope the South Indian politics is – totally person centric – going to the extent even to erect temples and offer worship.

The number ’68’ had never things going so good – to offer so much – so much to brag about – so much to write about. The Wikipedia editors must take this into consideration and act immediately.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

GITMO IS GONE NOW – AND IT IS GOOD.

The eight years of Barack Obama are coming to an end. The new US President will be in the office in January 2017. The process has begun and the US Presidential election will reach to its crescendo July onwards.

At a personal level, these eight years should have been monumental, like they are supposed to be in any US President’s life in these times of global turmoil. The US has been and still is the pivot of the global order and we must honestly accept that.

And precisely for that reason, a US President’s term is not judged only by his domestic politics excellence but also by how he manages the world. And it is increasingly ‘how he manages’ from ‘how he controls’ – that was the perception (or the reality) in the Cold War era after the second World War. Much of that has changed and is still changing.

And that has made the job of the US President even more difficult.

Anyway, if it is about Barack Obama, the first black President in the US history, we can clearly say it is nowhere near to hopes raised by the Norwegian Nobel Committee when it decided to award the 2009 Peace Nobel – based on the aspirations he raised – during his campaign – by his words – and by becoming the first black President.

The 2009 press released had said: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

We can say nothing of that sort has happened. The world is even more dangerous a place now with Arab Spring’s failure in all countries where it took place except Tunisia. ISIS, an even bigger threat than Al Qaeda has ravaged Iraq and Syria and is threatening other countries in the area. There has been no qualitative change in crisis hotbeds in many African, Asian and South American nations. In fact, the nations where the US has been directly involved, Iraq and Afghanistan, are as much volatile as they were ten years back.

So, nothing much here for Barack Obama to take back his home when he leaves the White House in January 2017.

Well, I do not intend to write a critique of his terms here. This write-up had its genesis this evening when the news broke that Barack Obama was going to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. So, it is finally here and it took Barack Obama eight years to reach at this landmark decision – to come up with a concrete plan to close the detention camp. Obama had been championing the cause, had promised it in his 2009 Peace Nobel speech and the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize had an illuminating mention about it – “Torture is forbidden; the President is doing what he can to close Guantanamo.” – to – “That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed.”

If it has taken this much time, there would be reasons and pressures – but going by the man Barack Obama is – a man whom the world loves to tune into – not only for his oratory, but also for his sincerity and substance – there is no reason to question that why he couldn’t do it earlier.

Shutting down Gitmo (or Guantanamo Bay prison) was long overdue and it is good that Obama has finally done it. It was a living monument of torture and had no place in the societies the US so vehemently proposes to pursue.

And it is another history-making decision after Obama’s last year resolve to bury the hatchet with Cuba – a peace initiative that came after over half a century – a global event that is still in making – with the US and Cuba establishing diplomatic ties. Obama is set to visit Cuba and another positive development came recently when the US and Cuba signed agreement to begin commercial flights after 53 years.

And these developments will be seen with probably the most significant development in Obama’s Presidential career – making the world free of Osama bin Laden – the biggest terrorist of his time – the mastermind of 9/11 and many other global terror attacks.

Like it happens, Obama’s terms (his two terms) have had mixed outcomes with many policy failures (or frustrations) – but he has been able to overshadow them with his history-making decisions – most notably these three.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

JNU ROW: NOW THAT THEY ARE BACK

Now that the five accused including Umar Khalid are back on JNU campus, lets expect that everyone will act as per the experiences (and the learning) that JNU has thrown – since the row broke on February 9 when some students organized a protest event to commemorate Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, two terrorists convicted and hanged by India.

Umar Khalid and some other Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students surfaced (or resurface) late last night. Apart from its political facets – like making a flash appearance and speaking of surrendering in full media glare so as to keep the police and the opposing groups on a watch – the simple principle of continuity makes it a logical decision. Let law takes its course.

Yes, there is nothing called an ideal scenario in our country – or in fact anywhere in the world – just degrees of relative ease and complexity – amply highlighted by the double standards shown here by the Delhi Police – but as it is India’s national capital – and it is in full media glare – and as the issue has already generated reflections internationally with Noam Chomsky, Orhan Pamuk and others writing appeals (Noam Chomsky, in fact, shot an email yesterday to the JNU vice-chancellor (VC) questioning why did he allow the police inside the JNU campus) – and as it has divided the people in urban India in pro and anti camps – it is not easy for the Delhi Police and the establishment elsewhere to continue the way it has worked so far.

And they have a significant development to back them – the Jadavpur University VC, in Kolkata, didn’t allow the police inside the campus in spite of the pro JNU students protests and sloganeering.

Hope sense now prevails on the Delhi Police and those opposing groups.

Or is it so?

It doesn’t seem the Delhi Police has learnt any lesson. After committing a social hara-kiri by acting unnecessarily tough on JNU students and conveniently ignoring O P Sharma and the rioting lawyers at the Patiala House Courts Complex, they did another such mistake.

The Delhi Police failed us again the last night. It couldn’t dare to touch O P Sharma and the accused lawyers for full three days even if they were out there, brandishing their hooliganism on cameras. The Delhi Police didn’t try even once to reach them and apprehend them. Instead, it kept on sending summons and summarily released them on bail even if they responded to the summons after two-three days.

But it reached the JNU campus in the middle of night to arrest the accused students – when this whole sedition case and the ‘anti-national Vs national’ debate is based on some video clips the authenticity of which were never established. In fact, the clips are being said doctored now.

It is good and logical that the JNU VC didn’t allow the Delhi Police inside the campus this time.

Let law takes its course. Let fight be at the ideological level. Let JNU be JNU. Let’s realize the gap between students and terrorists. Let’s not overreact anymore. Let’s now say no to hashtags like #JNUCrackdown or #CleanUpJNU or #StopAntiIndiaCampaign.

Let’s hope no more firecrackers later in the day – with sense prevailing inside JNU and outside its environs.

The nation comes first – for the JNU students, for them, for us – for everyone taking sides. Healthy dissent, ideological differences and vertical divides in societies are must-haves for any country if we don’t violate the Constitutional norms.

Now, who will decide when ‘a Constitutional norm’ is violated? Well, we have courts for that and a robust judicial system and a vigilant Supreme Court. Let’s base our trust there.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian cricket team captain, made a ‘to the point’ remark yesterday when he said that we must keep in mind that our armed forced are making supreme sacrifices at borders so that ‘we can keep debating things like freedom of speech’. We must respect that. Nothing goes beyond that sacrifice – we all, politicians and society, must keep that in mind.

And this remark came in the context of the Pampore encounter with terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir that is in third day and is still ongoing with six lives already lost, including five security personnel. And one of them, Captain Pawan Kumar from Jind, Haryana, a 23-year old Jat, wrote a thoughtful note on another issue that people are wrongly trying to impose on India – the violent protests by Jats in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh – to forcefully usurp something that is supposedly not for them – the caste-based Reservation.

Captain Pawan Kumar wrote in his last Facebook post before being martyred in Pampore (from a Press Trust of India report) – “Kisiko reservation chahiye to kisiko azadi bhai. Humein kuchh nahin chahiye bhai. Bas apni razai. (Some want reservation and some independence, I don’t want anything, brother, I want only my quilt).”

It should haunt everyone – those in JNU – those outside it, maligning it – politicians, police and society – and the people demanding Reservation and trying to force their way in.

And as Pawan Kumar graduated from the National Defence Academy, he is also a JNU degree holder as NDA has collaboration with JNU for degrees.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DEMOCRACY IS NOT FOR THIS

The ugly face of social upheavals are on obscene display again. In the season of #JNURow (raging national Vs anti-national debate after a pro Afzal Guru event was held in Jawaharlal Nehru University on February 9).

Social upheavals are for good if they are society driven but not when they are managed (or rather mismanaged for the overall health of the society).

That is what is happening in Jat reservation case.

The trend of influential and prosperous communities like Jat, Patels in Gujarat, Kapus in Andhra Pradesh or Marathas in Maharashtra is ominous to undo the whatever little good that social affirmative action or caste-based Reservation has achieved in India.

Today again, after days of continued violence, the government had to bow down to ‘public pressure’ (or appeasement politics or votebank politics) and offer the ‘demand’ the Jat leaders had put forward. They stopped trains, burned vehicles, created chaos, engaged in arson and armed protests and what not.

Democracy gives us avenues to raise our voice for anything and everything but within constitutional framework only – the framework that says that Reservation cannot exceed the 50% cap.

And in spite of that, when we engage into violence to coerce state to act on our whims and fancies, based on our numerical strength and history of our influential place in the society, it sends out the clear message that democratic norms are being subverted.

The affirmative action that was rightly intended to the weaker sections of society – is being diverted to them who don’t need really it.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/