Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pro Single Idea

Before you really start reading this blog, I request you to hear the sound clip from the movie Inception below. This will give you a good context.

I am single. The residual energy of the dialogue from the movie Inception is trapped inside my head for some time.  Being single is an idea that has got stuck in there somewhere and much to the dissapointment of all the people around me who want me married…the idea inside my head is a resilient parasite.
I am single. I am not lonely. I don't binge drink. I don't smoke. I am not promiscuous. Man is a social animal but being single doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. Inside us all we have the power to choose how we feel every moment. Single is a state of mind and it’s a pretty good state to be in. Trust me.
I am single. I enjoy company of well bred individuals. If it happens to be a girl - even better! I hope they enjoy my company too. None of my link ups were dramatic (at least I believe they weren’t dramatic) and none of my break ups have been messy. I sleep very well every night and I can certainly look at myself in the mirror every morning because I have treated every one of the girls I have been with plenty of respect. It is my interaction with cross section of them that has made my life very rich.
I am single. I have had a good career if not an extraordinary one. I am fortunate to be making way more money than what a single guy needs. I don’t have any big expenses to think about on a recurring basis. It just puts me in a position to help out those who need money more than I do. I doubt I would be able to donate generously if I had kids of my own. More importantly, I wonder if I would have been able develop this consciousness towards society at my age if I was married. India already has 1.25 billion people and I don’t see how me adding to that number is going to make me feel any better. I urge all of my married friends to adopt at least one underprivileged child and nurture that child in the way only they can. Change lives of those who are less fortunate….I guarantee you; your life will change for the better along the way.
I am single. I am trying my hand at minimalistic living. I don’t feel the need to buy a house, buy things and accumulate assets. At the same time, I don't have a problem with anyone who is buying it all. Either ways, life goes on just fine.
I am too single. I am too happy. I love too much. I am too content. I am too mobile. If life takes me on a good journey, I hope to give too much. Well, I don’t think there is anything called “giving too much” :). I am not going to go looking for marriage, if it happens, it happens. If I grow old with no wife and no kids – that is absolutely fine too. My life like everyone else’s is going to be a total of all the choices I make.
I am single. This blog is not written for self promotion. I believe society at large undervalues/berates single as a lifestyle choice. It is disappointing. Open up your mind a bit. Try objectivity. Please allow me to quote a line that I read somewhere “I am not anti marriage, I am just pro single"

Friday, April 26, 2013

Budhha Weeping

It was March 1998. I was in 11th standard. To be specific, I was half-in and half-out.  I was unsure whether I would get enough marks in my final exams to move to 12th standard. My class teacher was deeply concerned about how I was wasting away my "alleged" potential by playing cricket all the time. In the days that followed, she took it upon herself and (I believe) she gave me grace marks in some subjects. Surprise, surprise! I was promoted to the 12th standard gracefully.
At that time - my life was all about watching and playing cricket. Some people might say playing a sport is healthy distraction in teenage years when the hormones are raging. But only I knew the real problem. The problem was, all the guys I played cricket with were in no need for grace marks to go to 12th standard…but I needed them. I really did.
Now, the question is – why am I picking March 1998 to start this blog? It was the month when an astute administrator like AB Vajpayee was elected into Prime Minister’s office. He represented the political party (BJP) which some considered does not have secular credentials. Good or bad, he knew how to take decisions and stand by it. In short, he had political stamina – a non-negotiable trait for running a complex, diverse democracy like India. True to form, he weighed his options (political risks, international pressure and economic sanctions etc.) and threw his weight behind conducting nuclear tests. This team was led by a brilliant Muslim* scientist APJ Abdul Kalam.

May 13, 1998 – India - A third world country, dodged US satellites and has done the unthinkable. Buddha smiled. It was just a wonderful time to dream for me in my teenage years. As a 16 year old boy knowing your country is standing up to international pressure, economic sanctions (by USA and Japan) just stoked the dormant pride. Before that, all I used to read in the newspaper was India going around the world with a begging bowl for foreign aid. This time it was different.  India is now a responsible nuclear power and it is just a deterrent. Without actually saying it…India’s democratically elected political leadership was making a statement and that was “Listen up world, respect India”.  

Did AB Vajpayee (BJP led government) get everything right? No. Peace process with Pakistan was a failure resulting in Kargil war and hijack of IC-814 to Kandahar, Afghanisthan. From the outside, it certainly looked like AB Vajpayee committed a big mistake of trusting a war monger like Pervez Musharraf. Things went really bad with the communal riots in Gujarat. For these reasons, I suspect the voting public in India did not re-elect BJP into power in 2004. Somehow the electorate overlooked the fact that AB Vajapyee got a lot of things right too. Constructing roads, taking appropriate policy actions to withstand the impact of economic sanctions, projecting a responsible image of India in the eyes of world media etc. Sure enough, he built serious economic momentum which the world started to respect.

Point is – no one gets everything right. Not you, not me and definitely not Prime Minister of a country like ours.

The ruling Congress led coalition has been in power for nine years since 2004. I am struggling to find right things this government has done. Rampant corruption, fiscal deficit is ballooning up and getting to unsustainable levels, economic growth is sliding year after year, totally misdirected populist spending (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and the list goes on! Since India’s Independence in 1947 Congress party has been in power directly or indirectly except for the period 1998 – 2004. For the kind of resources India has, we should have climbed out of illiteracy and poverty long time ago. But hey, Congress will keep saying every five years that they are secular, they are the party for aam aadmi and keep getting voted back into the office.  

Let’s face it – Indian National Congress (INC) has kept India sick, illiterate, poor and pregnant. Someone has to take ownership and the buck stops with INC because they have been in power for most part of 66 years of Independent India. 

I am very clear in my mind. Congress led government at the centre has let India down and I am not stupid to overlook it and vote for them in 2014. The really sad part is, even if BJP gets voted into the office, for the first two years they will not be able to do much because Congress has drained the exchequer with poorly directed populist spending which have not delivered any real economic returns. 
*Religion of APJ Abdul Kalam is irrelevant in context of this blog. But I am mentioning it to let people know that the non-secular tirade pedalled around by Congress against BJP is at best a cover up on their own incompetence from 2004 - till now.

Added on April 28.

Plenty of well meaning middle class Indians voted for Congress (in 2004 & 2009) as they saw Manmohan Singh through the prism of his wonderful work as Finance Minister in 1991. He was able to do all of it in 1991 because back then P.V Narasimha Rao was willing to bear the political risk of his decisions even when leading a minority government. But now, with Sonia Gandhi holding the remote control for all decisions an able guy like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is rendered completely ineffective. He may have all the educational qualifications but I doubt he can ever be the administrator that Indians want him to be.