Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sky

Sky - Orient BlackSwan, Hyderabad, 28/06/2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

At Charminar...

View from Charminar

From top of Charminar

A little secret to share at the foot of Charminar!

Even Looks tasty!

These guard the walls of Charminar

Mango vendor on the street- adds colour and aroma to your Charminar visit

Masjid from Charminar

Heee, I see everything without paying ticket fare!

It's a cool day, therefore we are here at Charminar...

Graffiti at Charminar: Punishable, but who cares!

Leppy- the Selfish Elephant


Once, Leppy, the elephant was walking about in the forest searching for food. He was very hungry. It was summer and food was not plenty. While walking, he found a banana on the road side. As he was about to pick it up, he heard someone saying, ‘hey Leppy, I am already eating it. If you want, take half of it’. He looked around and saw no one.

Leppy wanted the whole banana!
But when he was about to pick the banana up, he heard the voice again. He looked closely and saw a little ant on the banana. He laughed and said to her, ‘haha, you tiny creature! What can you do to me? I will kill you in one stamp! The banana is mine. I will eat it.’

The little ant kept quiet. She decided to teach Leppy a lesson. When Leppy picked the banana, she began biting him in his trunk. Leppy jumped up in pain and began running around. He was mad in pain. He tried to throw the ant away, but couldn’t.

Finally he begged the ant to stop biting. Immediately she stopped. The little ant said to Leppy, ‘Leppy, it is not good to be proud.  The food is ours- not yours or mine. It is to be shared. I was ready to give you half of my food, but you wanted all of it. If you are selfish, you will not be happy.’

Leppy said, ‘sorry friend. I was wrong. I will never be selfish again.’ The little ant shared her food with Leppy. From that day, Leppy was not selfish.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

BTec Factories


(Sorry if I sound too negative. I couldn't help it!)

I work in an office sandwiched between two manufacturing units. One on the left, the other on the right. Both are multi-storey buildings in the heart of the city. The manufacturing process starts at 8.30 in the morning, and ends at 4 in the evening. Raw materials reach the unit from around 8 am. The one on the left has an evening shift as well. They go on till 11 in the night, sometimes later. The process looks- from my building, laborious and uniform on both sides. Are the products, of good quality?

But what do they produce? Now, that’s a good question. They don’t produce any material. Nothing that can be seen. But they manufacture youngsters with a degree after their names. Yes these are BTec Factories. IIT student factories. Coaching centres cum Intermediate Colleges. Buildings with huge posters of IIT entrance rank holders’ photos and their ‘marks’ obtained, hanging in front. BTec manufacturing units!

In this locality, there must be at least 10 of these institutions- Junior Colleges as they are called. I am proud of the fact that so many of our youngsters are interested in higher education and are actually into it. But I am sad that their interest is mostly in one particular field of study. I wonder what is so much alluring in being an engineer. And why and how does our country need so many engineers? Don’t we need English scholars, fashion designers, primary teachers, merchants? Or should they all be engineering failed candidates?

5 years ago when I was in Chennai, I had learned that there are around 130 engineering colleges in the city of Chennai itself. Each college will have at least 200 students in a batch. Which means, Chennai alone ‘manufactured’ 26,000 engineers 5 years ago! Look at Andhra’s condition. It has 847 (year 2012) engineering colleges with 3.39 lakh seats! Interestingly, no one talks about the pass percentage of these engineering colleges. It is unofficially heard that not more than 40% pass each year! Now, that is an interesting figure. Out of 100 engineering students, 90 buy their engineering seats paying lakhs. And after 3 or 4 years, they gloriously fail in their course. What a national waste!

Therefore, these manufacturing units do not manufacture engineers alone, but loafers and thieves and failures and dropouts and criminals and drug addicts and psychos as well. That’s a great social service they are doing. I appreciate the pain they take.

Coming back to the coaching centres, they do another wonderful service to the nation. That is, they inspire a sort of ‘spirit of competition’ in students, that pulls them down to the abyss of despair if they get one or two marks less than the expected 95+ in the top rated subjects.

Why does this happen? Because it is big business. Having a network of of such coaching centres in the heart of cities is no joke. Assets in terms of land and building are huge in magnitude. If 3 lakh students get into Engineering colleges, at least 10 lakhs do try writing exams. The fee is enormous! And name and fame in terms of IIT ranks they buy, is great. People say, there is a nexus between these ‘factories’ and those who set question papers for top competitive examinations. I don’t know how much of it is true. If it is, our society has a rotten sense of morality.

I am an ordinary man. I don’t understand the rules of this game. But I can say this much. If the cream of our youth goes away into these manufacturing units to become BTec bearers, and majority comes out as BTec failures, we will only have a lopsided society. One that is full of one kind of people. Uniform and boring. With crime levels going up. A society that doesn’t think creatively. One that doesn’t produce/create. A complete consumerist society (we shall fulfill the dream of capitalists).  It might take some time, but surely something of this sort is going to happen. Let us wait to see if parents wake up, to wake their children up from this illusion.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Bra Burners-2012 edition


Any reader of feminist history must have come across the term “bra burners” and the related assumptions and myths. All of us know that nothing was burnt, and the iconic title of the protest is a reference to the onset of feminist proclamation of freedom at the 1968 Miss America beauty pageant. Though mistaken and misinterpreted, the issue remained in the history of human memory as a strong demonstration of feminist assertion.

But the other day, I had to witness another kind of bra-burning here in the city of Hyderabad. The modern burners were not photographed and nobody talked about them. They burned bras behind the shadows of the night, so that no one could see them. Probably, even if it was done in bright daylight, they wouldn’t be seen or heard by us and those around- us!

You can have a look at what and how they burned.

Done by some miscreants at Himayatnagar, Hyderabad
I see these burnt advertisements on my morning walks to Husain Sagar, Hyderabad. I kept thinking of the degree of intolerance and perversion represented by these burned images. It was a week ago that I decided to click pictures of this burning and write something on it. I wanted to protest. I wanted to protest the attitude behind this burning. I didn’t feel it was funny. Neither did I feel any joy in looking at these burnt images.
 
There is something more grave than the obvious, that works behind this burning. It is not one person’s momentary craze that inspired this action. It is a reflection of age-old prejudices and contempt towards feminine body- a masculine attempt to de-divinize the physical form of the opposite sex. Therefore I wanted to register my protest. I don’t know if this would be interpreted in ways I haven’t imagined. It doesn’t matter.

My anger overtakes me, whenever I begin to write on this, and my wit goes for a toss! Ah! But I have to write. And thus writes Sajit. 

There was this jealous, incompetent, patriarchal notion that the feminine is the weaker of the two genders, from the beginning of times (I guess). And to compensate the obviously negative connotation, the ‘strong’ gender added that the weak gender was also ‘gentle and fairer’. Very funny. But jealousy did not stop there. It takes different forms. The ‘gentle ones’ are kept at home to be rotten, uneducated, and unequal. They were not given enough (and equal) opportunities to grow and were not treated well during the day, and ill-treated during the night. The last in the list is a difficult logic, but easy to understand. It is the way gender jealousy works.

Drunk or mad?
Women have stronger immunity systems, faster reflex and deeper intuitions. Very natural, eloquent, and graceful. Jealousy goes a step higher on the ladder. If both the genders were given equal opportunities in a neutral world, on a competitive basis, the results for sure would have been quite different. Therefore, the muscled gender found ways, concocted reasons, invented traditions, and established taboos to prove that the non-muscled and gentle gender ought to be kept under powerful masculine control! Not finished- these notions are institutionalized with the help religion, culture and politics. Wonderful, isn't it?

Now, to keep things under control, more customs, stranger traditions, etc. are bought in. But what if thing go out of control? Ah, there are ways to manage this. Modern bra burning is one such. Mock. Laugh at. Look down upon. Let contempt come from within the enemy. Let destruction be complete. If these measures do not work, there are more in the list. Insult, rape, torture, molestation, blackmail, murder, honour killing, public stripping and beatings, etc. are just a few.

Therefore WE continue to burn. And the rest of US continue to witness in silence. They say our traditions are god-given and therefore eternal, and therefore holy! If we don't change our mindset, we will be remembered as the land where cows roam legally protected while women are brutally objectified and eliminated. If we decide to turn away from such images, we will remain blinded. All of us will!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Sepia Vision of Life


A day goes by, unnoticed
Like the bloom of a fragrant bud
Sigh! Can I, now that its beyond?
-Oh how I wished for this day-

Faded colours and melting lines
Faces sweeter by forgotten years,
Moments cuter by forbidden errors of past.
A perfect sepia day- but went unnoticed.

A Sepia Vision of life

Want to be reborn- yearned a desire within,
Burned my will and memories.
Left nothing but grey ashes and dark soot-
Yet another image- this one for my tombstone.

Sure clouds'll gather, and rains pour.
For I can smell a storm in the dusk.
I'm used to seeing days pass, 
Making way for storms unawares.

Yet when a day goes by,
What can a man desire,
Whose life had nothing but love and its worries-
Come, night, embrace me in thy cold.

Here ends unnoticed days,
And unforeseen storms, to be sure.
I got my sight- in sepia though.
Of faded colours and melting lines...