VIPISM – FUNERAL PYRES!

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Sample this.

Funeral pyre is said to be the only decided event that comes inevitably to every life – irrespective of your caste, religion, community, sect or ethnicity.

And it is very rightly said that we all are equal in death – even if we spend our whole life with lofty ideals, with gaudy ostentations, with bawdy deliberations, with audacious aggrandizements, with synthetic ethos, with filthy exaggerations, and with everything else extravagant.

What happens to the body of a billionaire also happens with a beggar – either buried or burnt on a funeral pyre.

Yet, VIPism runs deep even here – and is spreading its tentacles fast.

If you chance visit any cemetery or cremation place on riverbanks, in most towns, cities and metro cities, you can see a separate section, with or without a raised platform – the so-called VIP section – that is available either to VVIPs or VIPs – or for a higher charge.

And mind you – people do lobbying – like getting some influential person to call – even while in the heaviness of death – if they don’t get the VIP option available. Likewise, the people manning the crematorium have their behaviours modified.

With increasing levels of income, sophistication (and obviously consumerism, that is otherwise a good trend for a growing economy), the VIPism to show your clout or to simply to quench your inner urge to feel above from others, is becoming a regular feature even at our final resting places.

When – the eternal and the only truth is – we all are same in death – even if we lived different lives.

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

VIPISM – FROM TEMPLES TO FUNERAL PYRES!

REFLECTIONS

“We are so sucked in this VIP culture –
– in life –
– and in death –
– from the VIP queues in temples –
– to the VIP arrangement for funeral pyres!!”

VIPISM

VIPISM – FROM TEMPLES TO FUNERAL PYRES!

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

VIPISM – TEMPLES

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Temples are probably the best examples to see how deeply ingrained is the VIP culture in our society in India, something that a rational and logical mind instantly disapproves.

But then what can you do?

Nothing!

But to keep you straight, up according to the norms – as humanity desires and as God decrees – and not as some of us, so called rulers or the ruling elite, lay out.

My first experience to this VIPism was some 10 years ago – back in Chennai – when I was in queue to the famous Ashtalakshmi Temple near some beach – when I saw this VIP line – for people who would pay some amount to bypass the longish queues of sinners like us to get nearer to God.

Now only they can tell or the priests can vouch for if getting in a VIP queue at all helps the purpose – in feeling God – in going near to Him.

What can you achieve by saving some moments by rushing to have your presence in that Sanctum Sanctorum when you cannot toil to see even God?

And this is when our scriptures say that it takes ages of Tapasya (austerity, penance, strict meditation, whatever you want to say) to meet the Almighty in any possible form.

Our scriptures say, our tradition says, the Hindu codes of worship say – that even Goddess Parvati had to do Tapasya for ages to marry Shiva.

But this VIPism has only got worse. From some temples, it is now becoming a regular feature of large temples across the country.

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

SYMBOLS WERE SELF ASSERTIVE..

he morning was still fresh
The evening was wildly free
The night was in a rush to go
The day was like a thrilling ride

The joy was there to do more
The sense was lost in saying so
The call was pure to go along
With no reasons to stop midway

Life was groovy, like always
But it had added spice that day
To croon the songs afresh
Feeling that impulse in veins

The lyrics was post-modern
Kafkaesque in after-effects
Existing somewhere deep inside
Where ends blurred and melted

But the individual was prevailing
Love with self was wildly tamed
The dark corners were lit purple
The symbols were self assertive

Yesterday and tomorrow mingled
To shape a today that had wings
On a journey beyond this life
To read the texts as they were

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

THEY EVEN COMPROMISE THEIR IMMEDIATE TOMORROW..

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This is being human, this is being natural.

Most of us all are like that.

And in any lifetime, there cannot be a uniform way to go along than this.

This is the most pragmatic way to look at human life in today’s context – the context that is not solely self-defined for most.

Yes, people define it so – in the name of living in present, not going too deep in the future – a future that cannot be assessed – and in order to do so, they even compromise their immediate tomorrow – that is eventually to become their next ‘today’.

And they are not wrong in the ‘worldly sense’. Yes, majority is thrown into the throes of a calculation of ‘then’ that they don’t have any mean to look at. And yes, majority tries to come out of it by correcting ‘today’.

And that is natural. And that is pragmatic.

What is not pragmatic is ‘not thinking about your immediate tomorrow’.

A ‘today’ draws its sanctity from your yesterdays (and past experience) and your immediate tomorrow. Your immediate tomorrow gives you the reason to make your today ‘as better as you can’. And your yesterday adds learned experiences to that.

We are what we feel about us today but the feeling has its construct drawn from yesterday and is reasoned on needs of your immediate tomorrow.

The past is always about learning and the immediate future is always about wisdom of that learning as interpreted in your today.

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

IS A LIFE I SEEK..

Sometimes, I feel suffocated
And want to run away
But I don’t know the end
Even if I ask
Horizon is a mirage
That calls me in such moments
I want to be there
Even if I know it is not there
Time plays with me, sometime
Aggravating with questions
I had left seeking answers for
Sometimes, I feel so numb
To response to the excesses
That I let them pass
Going deeper inside
Not seeking many ‘whys’
Sometimes, I feel lost
By the maze life comes with
And I desperately look for
The way out
To a path, to any path
Hoping it will take me
To the horizon
Yes, it’s been a mirage so far
But the journey to it
Has been the way ahead
Because I know
Going beyond the end
Is a life I seek..
Beyond this numbness
Beyond the questions behind it

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

MAGGI: NESTLE’S RESPONSE SHOULD BE DRIVEN BY THAT..

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It is a product that was there since I started understanding the worldly place around me – my parents, my kin and my family. It was always there on kitchen shelves as a staple food item along with the regular stock.

It was one of the favourites among all eatables and we loved to have it the way advertisements suggested – the taste that would last longer after eating this stuff that took two minutes to cook and 10 minutes to eat.

Maggi has been there in every stage of life. It was so inherent and essential that we never felt we needed to ask especially for it.

Yes, it was rationed like other food items – but rationing was done to inculcate discipline. Childhood days needed more of it as we were easily won by regular communication materials appearing in print and on television. After all, the childhood urge is almost universal in some cases, on some issues.

The response to have it was more disciplined during teen years. And when I say ‘it’, it means Maggi’s ‘instant noodles’. That also meant eating it became less frequent though it remained an essential part of the shelves. Milk was never my favourite and I tried to have it somehow whenever I was given a glass of it. Now it is natural that ‘whenever’ had to be a regular affair, like it happens.

In our school days, the emphasis was on giving us nutritious food for our growing years and as we were absorbed more by school, teachers and books, we had a sort of seriousness and growing indifference to what was being given to us to eat. As we grew up, there were many other food items that entered our food habit outside our home that we liked to have them regularly. Even Maggi looked and tasted different at eating joints with its different experimental preparations. But, then it was occasional only – eating it outside home – as it was available at home – and tasted perfect with its ‘2 minute recipe’.

In college days, though it continued to remain a household product, it got even reduced preference in my daily routine. Parents and elders had told us from the beginning that we should be disciplined with any food material made from fine flour and the sense had an enhance recall value when we were around 20 – some years before and some years after. Though, they had a soft approach for Maggi as it was from a credible multi-national company and was seen as okay replacement.

Later on, Maggi became for me what it is for many in grown-up, independent, professional years – yes, it became one of the regular replacement food items when time was less or when people didn’t feel like cooking anything else. There were many food items vying for it, but Maggi was the first preference in almost cases. The occasional eating-out experiences, like in my college days, though to lesser extent now due to availability of time, continued.

Maggi is under scanner now. It all began from Uttar Pradesh when an official collected Maggi samples in March 2014. A complaint was lodged after Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a food enhancer but with negative health effects, was found. Nestle claims and prints on Maggi packets that MSG is not added. A lab in Kolkata later found much higher level of lead than permitted in the same sample. Soon there were reports, sample collections and tests from all over the nation.

Delhi has banned it for 15 days. It biggest single purchaser, Indian Army, has banned it from its canteens. Negative test reports are coming from many states. Many retail chains have taken it off the shelves. Its consumption has plummeted. Even the street food vendors are not stocking it for the time-being. I didn’t find at any shop in my office area.

Maggi is a strong brand. In our lives, it has had a presence in varied ways. And it is not just limited to India. It is a strong brand globally, one of the most profitable for Nestle.

And yes, Maggi is a profitable brand that is associated with nostalgic moments and memories in many lives.

The next course of Nestle’s crisis response should be driven by that.

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

TODAY, I WAS NOT IN TWO MINDS..

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There are ways to fight the ways of life.

Every life has problems. No life is without its own set.

Yes, nature, degree and frequency of problems affecting lives vary from life to life.

The majority of humanity has more of them but even the privileged ones are not without issues in their lives.

Yes, the way to approach the problems, if differs for from life to life, is also dependent on the class and is affected by the concerned equations of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

One can face the problems of life by accepting their presence, reconciling with the situations of life while trying to find ways out or ways up.

Or one can refuse to reconcile the way life has become while trying to rebuild the life.

I met this rickshaw-puller again today. And while he was not in queue, with his rickshaw parked away, I preferred to go to him.

It was a similar ride to what I had on the other day – but on a positive, confident note. While walking to his rickshaw today, I was not in two minds, unlike the other day.

Collage-Rickshawpuller-May28, 2015

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

EVEN IF I WAS IN TWO MINDS..

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Like it happens every day with them, they were calling to pull attention as I got down the Delhi Metro station. It was the hottest day of May so far, over 45 degree Celsius.

It was routine, calling passengers like this, but the rickshaw-puller on that day pulled my attention. He was a lanky fellow, lean and thin, extremely skinny. His bones were visible on his long and thin body. And he was underage too, certainly below 18.

His rickshaw was nearest to me so it was natural I would go him but after seeing him, I was in two minds.

It was more due to his physical structure than his age. I was in two minds that how would he pull the rickshaw and how would he climb up the patch of the track with a passenger ?

I am anti to underage labour but not the way it is in rulebooks. In fact, underage workers are prevalent and it is a burning truth about India and many societies in other. And it is not wrong. The first preference always goes to the survival instinct. And the primal survival instinct is to survive each passing day by first having food and a place to sleep.

And it is true for societies across the world. We may debate the age of underage workers. In India, education of children up to the age of 14 years is state responsibility. Children up to 14 years of age cannot be employed, except in ‘family enterprise’ and ‘entertainment trade’. Children above 14 years can work based on socioeconomic profile and survival needs.

This rickshaw-puller was around 16-17. Yes, like it happens he was not sure of his exact age. And like everyone, he had all the rights to make ends meet of his life. The family support for education goes up to at least 20-22 years of age but it is empty sociological theory for many. Education is still a distant dream, an ignored entity in the list of priorities of millions.

They know only one thing – somehow to survive the day – while thinking for the next. And it is true in societies across the world.

The rickshaw-pullers, originally from the hinterland India but toiling in big and metro cities, are a prime example of this social order, an order that is complex and multi-layered.

And like everyone in the society, this rickshaw-puller, too, had every right to survive the life, to meet the basic needs of the day and to think of the day coming next. There are many including me who feel heat pangs even if the window is of 10 minutes while the people like this rickshaw-puller earn their livelihood under the open sky, be it in the scorching heat of May or June or in the rainy days of Monsoon.

I was in two minds that how would this extremely lanky fellow would pull his rickshaw along with me. I was also thinking that I had no right to deny him his livelihood because if it was not me, he would carry someone else to earn his living.

The two minutes of dilemma gave way to saying yes to the rickshaw-puller. I was thinking he would not be able to pull the rickshaw easily and I would get down wherever required, i.e., on the upslope of the track. Also, as is the case with me, I was thinking simultaneously about my write-ups while taking the rickshaw-ride to my workplace. Public transport is my favourite for the reason that it provides me with time and ideas to think further about my written work.

While lost in my thoughts and looking all around, I asked the rickshaw-puller if he could pull me and if he went to the school.

He confidently said yes but what he said on my second question I could not understand. His language was not totally comprehensible but I could grasp from his words that he was around 16-17 years old and driving rickshaw at this age was his compulsion.

Soon he proved his words – about pulling the rickshaw. His speed was even faster than many well able-bodied ones. He was pulling rickshaw efficiently and easily. And he carried me to my destination in less than usual time.

I felt relieved – on the fact that he pulled rickshaw like any other rickshaw-puller, like any other able-bodied person. He did not show the problems I was thinking about. I was thinking to offer him some extra money but why I didn’t offer him I could not say.

But after leaving his rickshaw, I was feeling good that, somehow, even if I was in two minds, I took the right decision and didn’t deny a person the chance to add to his share of daily earning.

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