Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cheap Life

Last Thursday, I was involved in an accident.

Now, before you start to type in your reaction, I didn't have a scratch on me.
However what I did witness shocked me.

On a way back home at half past 10 in the night, I witnessed a fatal accident.
A motorcyclist was sprawled right in the middle of a narrow road, with his head crushed beyond recognition. Face in a pool of blood with his knee and pelvis crushed. Hands outstretched as if he was blown away. No helmet. Minimal damage on the bike.
A solitary cop stood by the side of the road trying his best to redirect impatient drivers through a four feet gap in the road. The traffic lights were flooding the road with more traffic, as usual.
Many motorists filed past. Not one stopped to call the ambulance or offer help the lone cop with the unending traffic.
Not one stopped and I bet not one cared.
Not one would have thought more about this accident or lost their sleep over this.
He after all is just a statistic now.

Must have been a law abiding citizen.
Must have been a loving son, brother, husband or father.
Must have been a hardworking employee.
Must have been a tax paying citizen.
Must have been a deeply religious man.

But he certainly didn't deserve to lie in a pool of blood mixed with brain matter and bubble gum.
If he was a VIP or a Politician, the cops would've cordoned off the road. But 15 minutes into the accident, no one bothered. He is obviously dead since we can see his head is crushed beyond recognition. His tax rupees might have helped pave the very road that bore his shattered skull.

I was deeply shocked though.
Reasons that were guesses. I reasoned that he might have been hit by another vehicle while he was speeding down the road himself.
I prayed, that his family be consoled. That he find peace in the afterlife.

I searched for the news of the accident the next day. Found none. But remembered him in silent prayer every time we traveled on the bike.
Two days after the accident, I found a corner in the local newspaper, about the accident.
Sharmil, our unfortunate victim was a keralite. At 24, he left an indelible mark in our lives.
Little did his employer know that he was not coming to work that day. Little did his family know that they are not going to talk to him ever again.

Questions unanswered.
How will the truck driver ever rest in peace? Knowing that he snuffed out a life so young. That could have had a lot of hope, that certainly had a lot of dreams and shouldered a lot of responsibility. Like Lady Macbeth trying to wash off blood off her hands, would the truck driver be trying to wash off Sharmil's blood off his hands?
How was a truck able to speed on a road that is barely broad enough to have two cars? And where were the traffic cops who ambush hundreds of motorists?
How was the truck allowed to escape?

Shuddering even as I write this, this may go down as a mere number on the statistics in the traffic department, however this got us pondering.
Is life cheap? Do we deserve to live a death where we are just a passing attraction or an annoying traffic distraction?
Or is it just because we are Indians. One among a billion where our vacancy is quickly filled up by new births.

I guess it could be both.

By the time I've taken to write this, India added 50 newborns to her population. But Sharmil is not coming back anymore. His family will forever remember the 24th of March, 2011 as the darkest day in their lives. 

May his Soul rest in Peace and May the rest of us show some respect to the Living.

Resident: Evil

Part 4

Concluding part of the 4 part series about events that are changing our world

I love Hollywood (Who doesn't)

But three reasons why I stay away from horror/sci fi and action.

-Everyone, from the Arabs to the Russians, nastiest viruses and generally every convulted force in the universe is always trying to conquer, control or kill Americans.
-Of course they might be better produced and funded, but you almost always need to watch them with a huge pinch of salt.

Out of the hundreds of movies that are churned out in Hollywood and the millions off Bollywood, there will be one movie that'll make the cut.
The one movie that will make you sit up and ponder. 'Hmm, now that is possible.'

One of my favorite series of horror/sci fi/action movies are the Resident Evil Series. Not untypical of Hollywood and definitely not the last zombie to crawl out of the studios, I've watched the trilogy a dozen times on DVD and then whenever it comes on TV.

The movie is based on a virus that mutates the dead into the Living Dead.
Though this could be impossible to vision in real life, reel life is fantastic. (You can always get back to the good life after 3 hours)

In reel life, we've conquered the nastiest aliens and the most diabolic humans. We've battled nature in all her fury and survived. We've overcome global wars and destruction. All in America.
But in real life, we've been pinned down by nature's fury. We've struggled with recession and we're yet to win over terrorists.

We've failed to learn lessons from any of the million dollar sci fi movies that has come out.
With the meltdown in Tokyo, turmoil in Tunisia and a World that seems to be racing to The next Big War, it does look like we could do with some special effects and change in scripts right about now.

-The Third reason why I've stayed away from sci fi horror / action is because I've learned bigger lessons from movies like 'Just like Heaven' and 'Bruce Almighty'. You don't have to have a girl friend who forgets what she did yesterday and lives in the past to realize what a wonderful relationship you've got right now. You don't have to loose someone you've loved in the pursuit of wealth to realize that you've got all you need in your life right now. Life is not always about the money. It is about the people that makes living each hour of every day of every week of every month of every year worth living.

The fall of man wouldn't have happened if Adam had listened to God. The two World Wars wouldn't have happened if we would've been slow to anger and the Chernobyl wouldn't have happened if we'd have listened to instructions. So much tragedy and so much pain.

We all have stories to tell of circumstances that have shown us the need to listen before we speak. We've naturally tempted to come to quick judgments and react angrily. Be swift to hear, slow to speak and slower to wrath.

You and I are not mistakes and accidents that happened. You and I have a purpose.
Life is not a transit between Birth and Death. It is The Event.

'Love People and Use Things. Not the other way round'

Jump to the other parts here:
Apocalypse, Oil, Freedom

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Freedom and Equality. Touche'

Part 3

Third of a 4 part series about events that are changing our world

After seeing the sudden spread of discontent in the Arab world, I've come to realise that Men in Power and cockroaches are made of the same stuff. You think they'd evolve into something better or be good for the society but history and evolution has a strange way of disappointing you.

The Arab world is up in arms. Burning. What started off in Tunisia, changed Eygpt, shook up Libya and is shaping up revolutions of epic proportions in Bahrain, Yeman, Algeria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Most Arabs are normally perceived as wealthier than citizens of other countries. But the recent spate of uprisings are an overwhelming cry for help against corrupt and repressive dictators and politicians. A yawning gap between the have's and the have-not's, the disparaging spread of oil wealth and rising unemployment among the educated youth have ultimately become the death knell of those in power.  

Why does power entice a person and once achieved, why does it corrupt so absolutely?
What does our rulers want?
Democracy or otherwise, all men (and a few women) in power have always plundered and amassed wealth. On this tiny planet that we call home- Earth. Its not like we are going to plunder another planet or going to be able to upgrade to a large planet. We aren't even going to be able to take even one ounce of it back to Hell.

Just Do It, huh?

Looking back, I'd say the first decade of the 21st century will be the single most turning point in man's history. Starting with 9/11, we've seen unabashed greed, and the pursuit of ill gotten wealth. We've seen countries and people go at each other with a vengeance. 

Well down, Wikileaks! You've unleashed the truth. It hurts but it feels good to know that we've always been lied to. Where are the good ol days where politicians were noble and didn't philander? Well, actually there were any. All politicians (with the exceptions of a few) have always looted and destroyed us. And in most cases, we had voted for them! WOW! Talk about bad judgment and a nasty hangover, huh! 

As Indians, we enjoy a lot of freedom. Something that Arabs have almost never had in their own countries. A press that is freer (albeit kitschy at times) and people who are more aware of their rights now (all thanks to Cable TV and the Internet) than in the past 60 years. 

While we covet the wealth (and the lighter skin tones) of the Arabs and the West, I hope we'd understand that the grass is always greener on the other side. Would we be willing to live a wealthier life without any of the freedom?

Many can debate that freedom and equality can never co-exist but you'll never miss it until you lose it.

Jump to the other parts here:
Apocalypse, Oil, Evil

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oil: You gotta have it!

Part 2

Second of a 4 part series about events that are changing our world

While Japan struggles to grapple with Nature's arm, a couple of clicks away Libya is in a power struggle.

With US as the friendly neighborhood Super-Cop, you can be sure that help is only a revolution away. And it helps if you are in the Middle East, because that's where Uncle Sam refuels.

With half of the ME on the home team, is it any wonder why Bin Laden and his radical bunch of cronies flourish.
Why must the West intervene and almost always decide that War is the only way?

Lucrative weapons sales and Oil aside, the West must realise that they've done business with the very dictators that they are hunting down now. This brings to my mind a line in the George Clooney movie 'The Peacemaker' : 'Are you surprised that the worlds greatest terrorists - the US administration -educated half the world's terrorists ?'
The scriptwriters might have inadvertently stumbled on the single most honest truth in the history of mankind.

The West (read: US) first sell you the weapons, then the training. Then they sell it to the 'rebels' (read: 'New' Clients). They'll put in a fighter jet or two as a bonus Add-on.
The Middle East are a bunch of unruly brats. Correction: Rich unruly brats. However, left to their own short squabbles and longer bonhomie, I believe they can truly mind their own business. They have neither invaded (barring Iraq and Israel) another country or send their troops on guard duty to invade / help invade another country.

The West should leave the Middle east for good. Any intervention only muddles the next problem up so bad that they'd wish they had minded their own business.

Why can't they 'fix' China? Well, that because if China shuts down then Americans might as well fall dead.
Why can't they fix repressive regimes like Sri Lanka or the North Korea?
Apart from the fact that neither of these regimes are major producers of Oil, meddling in these countries would not always guarantee that you'd get the military contracts that keep the governments running. They are careful spenders and choose their 'Vendors' carefully.

They couldn't get to Iran. Well not yet. Hence US in a carefully choreographed move is making sure that all the other dysfunctional countries around is either on the home team or has been blown to smithereens before they arm twist Iran into submission.

The UN sanctions are but a joke. As a rubber stamp for the West, the line between the UN and the US is a blurry one at that.

The US must understand that all the war posturing isn't going to do them any good because someday, they have to get out of all that protective cover they are in. And that's when being an American will begin to suck. (Or has it already?!)

Power is a lousy seductress. She can get you anything at a price. Anything but peace.

The World has slowly but surely become a ticking time bomb. The US with its despotic yet selective urge to control Oil. Good Luck, Rest of the World!

I pray He comes soon.

Jump to the other parts here:
Apocalypse, Freedom, Evil

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Apocalypse: The Beginning of the End

Part 1
The first of a 4 part series about events that are changing our world

I've been following the recent spate of global unrest/tragedies that appear seemingly connected.
Now, I am sure a great many Christian and doomsday 'fans' would be feeling vindicated.

Common people are standing up for equality and freedom, does this mean we are approaching the end of the world?
When ruthless monarchies and despotic dictators are being overthrown, does this mean Jesus is coming?
When nature decides to wipe off parts of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, does this mean nature is revolting and God has decided our time's up now?
No, No and No.

I think our Creator is a very patient Entity. Patient unto the end. Omnipresent. All forgiving.
The End is not for us to ponder upon. Prepare. Not panic.

The Book of Revelations in the Holy Bible reveal a picture of fire and fury and evil of wonderful proportions that signal the End days.
He says that Satan will rule all over the world, every single person - believer and others will be tried and tested.
He says that we will turn against each other. And no, I am not talking about what happened in Egypt. I am talking about when a son turns against his dad and a daughter turns against her mom. The 'Good' (aka The truly Holy) will be tested and the Evil will prevail.
The End times will have global catastrophes that we will have no control over.

So what happened in Japan is truly tragic. TEPCO had a notorious record of falsifying records of previous inspections and accidents.
But as a person who has read about the Chernobyl tragedy, this is surreal and a bad case of deja vu. I now wonder why the 'brains' behind the Daiichi reactors didn't make sufficient contingency plans for something that could be so obvious. Or what in the world were they thinking when created a nuclear plant on one of the most seismically active zones in the world?
This is the Chernobyl of our making. And not the last one.

I shudder to think of the millions who will suffer for generations to come. The fallout of our vices. The sludge waste of our greed.

Could someone please help me understand why we need nuclear power so badly?
Why are we so resistant against energy that is safe, renewable yet won't radiate a dozen generations in a disaster?
Why must we let our children's children suffer for sins we've committed?

Japan. Our prayers are for you and we hope that the generations ahead will forgive all of us.

Jump to the subsequent parts here:
Oil, Freedom, Evil

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Bragging Rites

Don't you hate it when you hear your relatives/neighbors gloat and brag about things they have at home? Well, I do.

Absolutely hate it.

Hence I have a policy when it comes to socialising with the beggars of glory. My policy is 'Don't socialise'

And as if bragging to your neighbors were not enough, we now have jackasses doing it online too.
"Oh, I loooooooooooove my new bike". "Best thing I've ever done in my entire life".
Alright, we get it. 

We know that you've been wasting your two decades plus of wasteful living in doing things less than the 'best thing in your life'. But must we be the unfortunate recipients of all this BS?!
I mean, I don't have anything against social networking, but please do us all a favor and quit the self glorifying tirade.

Yes, we can choose to not read it. But having to read your hourly statuses of how wonderful those screws and nuts go together is not really my idea of a News Flash. No thank you.
I finally blocked a bunch of people and by the way things look, I might have to block a few more too.

So here goes...
My sincere apologies to all those who didn't make it on my wall.

Licence to Rape

A recent article I read shocked me. 
'Every third rape in India is in a moving car.'

But why was I not surprised?
A cursory glance in a national newspaper will have atleast one rape that happened in the past week where young (virile) lads decided to have some fun by kidnapping a girl as if they were plucking a flower from a plant, rape her while driving around and then drop her in some God forsaken part of town, letting her get on with whatever is left of her modesty, and life.
Official apathy does not help the cause of the victim either. Cops estimate that only 3 per cent of the perpetrators are strangers which means a staggering 97 per cent of them sons of bitches will probably be your cousin brother(s), uncle(s), neighbor(s), colleague(s) or friend(s).
This also means that the cops will not register your complaint as a rape, that is if you have the guts to actually report it. 

But why cars?
Research shows that most cities in India don't have any laws that prohibit cars from heavy tinted glasses and deafening loud music. 
Raping / assaulting in a moving car gives the perpetrator a huge sense of exhilaration.
That might explain why we still cannot stick to a lane. 
Cars give the rapists a sense of achievement and control. Control because the rapist(s) don't have to get a room, can finish their act in the comfort of their backseat and toss the carcass out in the typical Indian way.

Violence towards women is a very real threat. More so in India than other places that I've lived in.
I've always noticed Indian men in India, are more disrespectful towards women who are well dressed. Many could debate why a woman would need to dress herself up nicely if she didn't want attention from men. Personally, I feel this is a debate that smacks of sexism but what no one stops to ponder is that maybe, women have the same right (and need) to feel pretty as men have the same urge to look dashing.

Carry a pepper spray. Most men would not dare to taste a slap that will blind them.

In the meanwhile, I'm trying to wonder what our culprits and their parents would be thinking.
Assuming that they have any conscience, would they be regretting having bought their son, his first car? Or would they be trying to hush up the case, buy the girl's silence and possibly the rest of her body too?

Too late now, though.

Be safe.

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