2016..A YEAR COMES..

COLORES INFINITUM

Why do we celebrate events like a ‘new year day’ – in every calendar – when it doesn’t bring any qualitative change in life in practical terms? After all, if we don’t count exceptions, nothing much changes on a ‘tomorrow’ than what it is on a ‘today’.

Well, it’s symbolic and therefore is important.

It is always between ‘what is going to change from one calendar day to the next’ and ‘every day is a new day, a reservoir of hopes, a new opportunity to do, undo or redo things’.

And it is always better to go with the later one – every day is a new day and every day is a new ‘you’.

Welcome 2016. Adieu 2015.

Reflect on. Retrospect. Introspect. And look ahead.

To reflect on the days ahead. To recharge yourself. With this symbolic milestone.

A symbolic milestone that comes every year.

It is for you to look at it – so why won’t we do it in a positive, uplifting mode?

Yes, life is very unpredictable – and so are its difficulties – with moments that let you down – with letdowns that lock you in an inertia.

But pragmatism tells to always look ahead – at the point beyond that letdown. It is only you who can break the run of inertia in your life – it is only you who can win over the psychological entrapments that you have built around yourself.

Life’s experiences should tell us that there is no substitute, no alternative, but to fight back – when life is dragging you down. Kill those jinxes that work to darken your path.

After all, apart from your family, who else stands with you emotionally? Everyone else either has a fleeting attention to the problems you are facing or a ‘knack’ to exploit you more in your hours of crisis.

The sum total is – there is no one else but you who’ll stand for you – and there is no one else but your family that will stand for you.

So, rules of the games point in just one direction – stay along and against the odds you face while trying to live life the way you seek.

Days like January 1 or December 31, now a universal phenomenon, are important milestones to take stock of how the time has gone by so far – and how you need to look ahead – to measure your life so far – with an element of periodicity.

And a touch of celebration is always welcome in this exercise.

Adieu 2015. Welcome 2016.

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

2015 GOES BY..REFLECTING ON..

It is always between ‘what changes from one calendar day to the next’ and ‘every day is a new day, a reservoir of hopes, a new opportunity to do, undo or redo things’.

And it is always better to go with the later one – every day is a new day and every day is a new ‘you’.

Welcome 2016. Adieu 2015.

Reflect on. Retrospect. Introspect.

To reflect on the days ahead. To recharge yourself. With this symbolic milestone.

A symbolic milestone that comes every year.

It is for you to look at it – so why won’t we do it in a positive, uplifting mode?

Yes, life is very unpredictable – and so are its difficulties – with moments that let you down – with letdowns that lock you in an inertia.

But pragmatism tells to always look ahead – at the point beyond that letdown. It is only you who can break the run of inertia in your life – it is only you who can win over the psychological entrapments that you have built around yourself.

Life’s experiences should tell us that there is no substitute, no alternative, but to fight back – when life is dragging you down. Kill those jinxes that work to darken your path.

After all, apart from your family, who else stands with you emotionally? Everyone else either has a fleeting attention to the problems your are facing or a ‘knack’ to exploit you more in your hours of crisis.

Anyway, that was about migrating from one year to the next – here in this case, from December 31, 2015 to January 1, 2016.

So..what has been my account of the year?

Diversified. Challenging. With my share of highs and lows. With my problems and with my triumphs. Like it happens in every life.

The many things that I had thought to do this year – some of them I could do – some of them are works in progress – and some of them are in advanced stages of ideation – and some of them are in still pipeline – something that always happens – in every life – and I have learnt to enjoy it this way.

I successfully developed my personal website this year – which I treat as my web journal – and so far, I have been engaged with it looks and progress. I had taken the domain name last year but the development with a professional touch came this year – and it was in sync with what I had thought when I was beginning 2015.

While reflecting back on 2014 on December 31 last year, I had decided that I would devote more time to my books and would limit my online publishing activity to once a day. Now, when I am reflecting back on 2015, on a December 31 exactly one year later, I am already more than a post a day – so far 431 posts this year in 364 days with this December 31 yet to go.

2015 was the fourth consecutive year on my writing and publishing pledge when I could maintain the discipline of writing or creating something daily – something that I had begun on October 15, 2011 – though with a random thought – with no long terms goals – but with ‘every day’ convictions.

I still have no goals. My driver is the sense of satisfaction that I draw after creating something from discipline of doing it daily.

Yes, I regret that I could not work that much on my books as I had thought, but what is relieving is that I know that why I could not do so and that I would do something concrete with them in the days to come.

Like I have been doing with my writing and with my creativity, I could do all that I needed to – with diversity as the leitmotif – in articles, in essays, in poetry, in images, in quotes, in fiction.

All that I have been through in 2015 I cannot write here and I should not write here, but while moving to the next year with the symbolic importance of January 1 – of ‘newness and hope’ – I have no bad feeling about how 2015 passed – but good reasons to look ahead and positive energy to work further.

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

JUVENILE JUSTICE BILL 2015 IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE..

We may endlessly debate on ‘lowering’ or ‘not lowering’ the age of juvenile accused in heinous crimes (here we define them as murder, rape and arson) but we all would concur to this point – that unless and until our policymakers are forced by intense public pressure, they don’t believe in doing something unorthodox – that they don’t want to disturb the status-quo.

And it takes a massive public expression of anger that ‘disturbs’ their ‘this’ attitude.

As it happened in the case of passing amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act in the Parliament to promulgate a stricter law.

Though we cannot say what the proposed amendments will achieve, something that is time (and tide) dependent, we can say it has been a logical step on a tedious journey that should have begun much earlier than December 16, 2012 when the Delhi gang rape took place. Rape and other criminal incidents against women had become social evils and horrible curses much before it in our patriarchal society.

Rape and other crimes against women are a mindset problem and we cannot expect to control them by merely passing a law.

It needs mindset change.

And that requires time and consistency in efforts.

Tougher laws like the one passed in the Rajya Sabha today or in the wake of the national outrage after the December 16 gang rape, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (or Nirbhaya Act), put into effect in April 2013, are vital reflections on how we are progressing.

Such steps, whenever they arrive, irrespective of what they can or cannot do, give a sense of satisfaction that the society has advanced one step ahead in this mindset change battle.

Because this is a tough battle to win – with loads of frustrating moments.

This very case is a burning example.

Somehow, our conscious was stirred to the level that the brutal gang rape of a paramedic student on December 16 in 2012 became precursor to a national outrage and global headlines. We can say the political attitude was not well received initially with brutal crackdown by the Delhi Police on protesters. But later on, intense public pressure and media scrutiny caused some sense to prevail and we saw the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act coming into force in just four months of the incident.

And though politicians had promised a very swift, ‘within months judgement’ (some say even two or three months), the nation accepted the judgement delivered by the lower court in September 2013 – in the 10th month after the incident.

A parallel track to this was the demand for comprehensive amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act because one of the accused, who was also the most brutal one, was a minor (17+ but not yet 18) and was sentenced to just three years in a correctional home. So while four others were sentenced to death (the main accused committed suicide in jail), the minor accused, who was most brutal in committing this crime, was just sentenced to three years and was to get his records expunged after his three years were over.

After December 16 incident in 2016, we saw spurt in rapes and other crimes against women but it was basically because the heightened sense of insecurity and the increased access to information sources led more cases to be reported. We also saw a spurt in reporting of such heinous crimes by juveniles, especially in 16-18 age-group.

So, this parallel track of demand for stricter laws for juveniles in 16-18 age-group was a legitimate one – apt for the senses prevailing in the society. And the demand never died down.

The ‘unnecessarily delayed’ Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 that was passed today showed us that again. Our political class took three years after the December 2012 incident to pass the Bill and that too came after a trigger that again generated intense sentiment mobilization and could well herald a new mass movement if the Bill was delayed further. The Nirbhaya Act was promulgated in April 2013 but then politicians failed to reach on any conclusion on the Juvenile Justice Act for the next 30 months.

The trigger this time obviously was the release of the minor rapist in the case who walked free on December 20 after completing his three years in a correctional home in Delhi. Public opinion had started galvanizing much before it with themed media campaigns.

And the political class when saw this, it had no other option but to bow to the incoming public outrage. Yes, the fear of another massive public outrage forced them to pass the Bill this time with the ‘juvenile convict release’ trigger. What else can we say about their sensitivities and priorities again given the fact the Lok Sabha had passed the Bill in May 2015 but it took another six months for the Rajya Sabha to act on it.

Passage of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 is important for this reason – that will of public prevailed over the policymaking class. What qualitative changes this amendment can bring is something that only future will tell.

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

JULY 1: WORLD IS SURE OF HONG KONG’S RESILIENCE TO WITHSTAND CHINESE PRESSURE

July 1, the day comes every year. But for Hong Kongers, the day has increasingly become an occasion to reflect on what their protests have been so far – to think what they should do ahead.

Hong Kong was ‘handed over’ to China on July 1, 1997 under a British-Chinese agreement that laid down certain conditions for the city-state and former British colony. For Hong Kong, a ‘one country two systems’ norm was set up and China promised to give the citizens universal suffrage in a phased manner.

But that was just the story as it was thought to be. The reality of the day is starkly different.

Since its takeover, Beijing has been trying to impose the culture and the system of the mainland on this global financial powerhouse. Chinese national anthem is being more and more used. Sometimes, Beijing tries to introduce elements like altering textbooks. One of the regular features is propping up and supporting pro-Beijing lobby of politicians and pro-Beijing group of local Hong Kongers. And the most prominent of Beijing’s efforts is a panel of pro-Beijing politicians and its chief executive officer that governs the administration in the city state.

Beijing has even tried to show Hong Kong that the mainland can do better on the parameter Hong Kong has been known globally for – the economic might with a global financial pull. Beijing tried to do that with Shanghai and its stock market last year but failed in its attempt.

Majority of the Hong Kongers, who make the city-state population it but who are in minority in the ruling elite, are worried of the designs Beijing is trying to impose.

Hong Kong always maintained a culture of free speech and expression in an otherwise oppressive dictatorship that China has been and is. Tiananmen massacre incident is a taboo subject in China and many in the generation now see it just a political incident from country’s past. But Hong Kong has always maintained the spirit of June 4 Vigil every year with remembrance march and associated events to commemorate the brutal crackdown by Chinese leadership on students and political activists on June 4, 1989. Hong Kong’s Victoria Park echoes the global sentiments on this day, be it the British rule or the Chinese autocracy.

Obviously, Beijing does not like it. But it cannot openly do anything about it. So, the other way is to try and prop up elements that support the Chinese viewpoint as is on the mainland. In spite of its sociological problems around income distribution, Hong Kong is still a financial powerhouse and an important global connect centre for the Chinese economy. Beijing realizes it and cannot, therefore, impose itself forcefully on Hong Kong.

So, even if it agreed to give universal suffrage to the residents of Hong Kong, it came with the rider that Beijing was going to be the ultimate holder of power. Hong Kongers are free to elect their next leader (chief executive) in 2017 but they are not free to elect ‘whom to elect’ – that is what Beijing had proposed in the name of ‘universal suffrage’ leading to ‘more democratic rights’. The Beijing proposal that was voted down on June 18 by pro-democracy legislators after an intense debate of two days required Hong Kongers to elect their next chief executive from a panel of three names ‘shortlisted by Beijing’.

Now that the proposal is struck down by the pro-democracy groups, the old mechanism of electing the next chief executive would be followed in 2017 – sans any pseudo-democratic assurance. A pro-Beijing electoral college of few will install someone who will be no more than a Beijing puppet, the case now. And that would be without any spectacle of ‘democracy’. And it is routine business for Beijing administrators in China. They have been far more ruthless in crushing dissent on the mainland.

When the pro-democracy protesters were gathering for their march on July 1 ‘handover’ day last year, they were talking about the way ahead on pressurizing Beijing for a ‘true democratic’ proposal. The mood on that day was optimistic and resilient about fighting ahead as the Beijing’s proposal was still not in.

Beijing did what it had to do. Hundreds of thousands took to the street to oppose the ‘autocratic proposal’ in the garb of democracy’. Protests, that were named Umbrella Revolution, raged for months. The civil disobedience nature had few incidents of minor violence. But, as expected, Beijing did not relent.

This year, on July 1, the mood is driven by the developments since then. With the so called ‘democracy proposal’ by Beijing struck down, the political deadlock is in the air. Protester are very clear now that Beijing will not relent, not in the near term and their ‘struggle for democracy’ needs to go back to the drawing board at the thought level to decide on what they have to do ahead. The multitude of such thoughts, reflecting on the developments so far, will come with a spontaneous response ahead. The world is sure of that.

The world is sure of Hong Kong’s resilience to withstand the Chinese pressure. The world is sure of the culture of free speech and expression that has made June 4 Vigil and July 1 Handover Day march regular features of Hong Kong’s social fabric. The world believes in them. The protesters should have confidence in themselves.

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

Here are some of the photographs from today’s march:

July 1-HK-Alex Ogle-The Telegraph

Image courtesy: Alex Ogle – The Telegraph

HONG KONG - JULY 01:  Protesters march on a street during a rally as they hold banners and shout slogans on July 1, 2015 in Hong Kong. July 1 is traditionally a day of protest in Hong Kong and also marks the anniversary of the handover from Britain to China in 1997, under a 'one country, two systems' agreement.  (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

 Image courtesy: Anthony Kwan – Getty Images

July 1-HK-AP

Image courtesy: AP

JULY 1-HK-ISAAC LAWRENCE-AFP-GETTY IMAGES

Image courtesy: Isaac Lawrence – AFP – Getty Images

Protesters carry Hong Kong colonial flags during a march in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2015, the day marking the 18th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to Chinese sovereignty. Thousands of Hong Kong protesters marched for full democracy on Wednesday and called on the Chinese-controlled city's leader to resign, just weeks after lawmakers voted down an electoral reform package backed by Communist Party leaders in Beijing. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

 Image courtesy: Bobby Yip – Reuters

Patrick Brousseau, 35, an English teacher from Canada, plays a bagpipe in support of a protest march in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2015, the day marking the 18th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to Chinese sovereignty. REUTERS/Liau Chung-ren

Image courtesy: Liau Chung Ren – Reuters

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters stage a march to demand universal suffrage in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2015.  REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Image courtesy: Tyrone Siu – Reuters

REFLECTING ON..AS A YEAR COMES..

For the love of writing
With the thrill of ride
For the joy of thinking
With a canvas so wide

To nature’s hallways
To its rhythmic slopes
To nature’s galleries
Through its sky ropes

For the love of writing
In the mood of romantics
For the pull of reflecting
In the league of semantics

My story in 365 days
My stories of 365 days
A life rejoiced every day
A though lived on its way

Writing it on my days
Riding it on my ways
Aiming high all it says
Thinking right all it prays

That is what is to be
It was what set me free
A life in own company
A thought in its harmony

Reflecting on as a year comes
Writing on as its day beckons
So far, the trip has been fine
And the pleasure is all mine..

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

A YEAR GOES BY..REFLECTING ON..

It was 365 days ago, the Tuesday on December 31, 2013, the day of symbolic transition of time, from one to the next milestone, from a year to the next, on the timescale, designed to keep track of times our lives pass through, that I was writing a poem, ‘A Year Goes By’, musing on the days the year had for me.

Doing so is always existentially individual. And here is the Wednesday of December 31, 2014, with an hour left.

Like any other event of life, it is for the perspectives that what we think on this day, how we reflect on the days gone by. Practically, it changes nothing much, apart from the psychological symbolism that gives us the frame to look back, to reflect on – on what was a year in life, a capsule of time, adding to the story of our existence, adding stories as the year proceeded, adding elements as the days changed the calendar entry.

And it is never a zero-sum game – positive or negative, you gain something, in terms of experiences – vital enough to guide you if you can hear the call.

I had not thought of any resolutions on December 31, 2014, like I always did. Yes, I had my reflections and accordingly had certain stopovers to head to, but there was nothing in the realm of ‘pinned’. Instead, it was living life fully, my way, every day.

How successful I have been? Now success is a relative term and should be left to personal, intimate considerations. Like every life, I had my share of good and bad and routine but I didn’t see any point, like always, to assess my life in ‘gain or loss’ terms. I could do what I had thought to do. I could not do certain things that were in my mind. But I could continue doing certain things that I needed to do.

I wrote freely, extending and building on my way of life, going deeper inside me, on the journey to reclaim me that had its origin on a day, exactly four years ago, December 31, 2010, a setback that first pushed me to question my identity vehemently, setting me thus on the path to find who I was before the reason of the setback had taken over my thinking, and later on, became the light to guide me to go even deeper inside, in my own company. Yes, the identity crisis was over a long ago but identity is a lifetime love.

2014 saw definitive development on my books, two of them I am working on. The flow was good initially and I had thought I would be able to finish the drafts by the year end. But, then the writer’s block crept in (if I can claim to have one ). So, while the thoughts kept on building and finding space in my notes, the drafts didn’t progress to completion. Anyway, the block is over now and I think I am going to take it with the same love I had.

Meanwhile, I could finally bring up my website – http://www.santoshchaubey.com – to extend my blogging experience to a formal and diversified content platform. Some of my content is already categorized there and as I am going to take it as extension of my notebooks, it will see constant experiments and updates.

Writing is relief and release and I explored the canvas for newer realms and blogging continued to have some of its share through my regular blogs – http://severallyalone.blogspot.in/ and https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/ – and my themed blogs – http://www.banarascalling.com/ and http://santoshchaubey.tumblr.com/ – with 550 posts including – articles, poems, photographs, experimented images and quotes. For my first blog, ‘Beyond This Life’ or ‘Severally Alone’ (http://severallyalone.blogspot.in/), it was also the third ‘no breaks’ calendar year in a row.

During the course of writing, I did something that I had not done in years. I don’t remember the last time when I had watched a full movie in theatre. I prefer the home video option, even if it means some wait. I am not a film buff but I admire and revisit the good cinema and home videos give me the liberty to do so at my own pace while at the same time help me in building my library. But 2014 had the final episode of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth story, as filmed by Peter Jackson, scheduled in December. It was capping the second Middle Earth trilogy of Jackson’s stint with Tolkien’s land of fantasy after 11 years when the best of the lot, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’, a landmark in narrating a book on screen, was released in 2003 and there was an urge to see the trilogies side-by-side, in their totalities, on how the craft of filmmaking had performed comparatively.

Now the home video would not come before April 2015. So, for my urge for the comparative study, I decided to take the route long forgotten when I picked up the movie in a theatre on Saturday, December 13.

Now, in few hours, the 4 of 2014 would transition to 5 of 2015. So, while the three digits would remain the same, the fourth different one would cause the next cycle on the timescale to begin, like the eternal message of living that says – ‘tomorrow is built on today with learning from yesterday’ – remember, life is never a zero-sum game.

It would be another calendar year with 365 new days to explore, to write, to read, to travel, to create new ideas, new stories, rewriting the oldies, clicking and capturing the known and unknown while continuing on the inward journey.

With the freedom of ‘no resolutions’ – with the freedom of my commitment to my conscience to live every day meaningfully liberated – with the freedom to make every day an opportunity!

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