Posts Categorized: Personal

Why would today's youth join the armed forces?

Last week an ex-serviceman committed suicide over the delay in implementation of OROP. It is saddening to know that a man who gave his life to the service of the nation had to kill himself because there was a delay in getting him what he deserves. I had been meaning to write this post for a very long time but this is what finally brought me to writing it.

I come from an urban middle-class family. No one in my family or the extended family or their friends has ever joined the armed forces. You could say that our previous generations used to only take after their fathers when it came to choosing an occupation and that is why it’s like that. But even now no one of my generation in my extended family and their friends and neighbors is part of the Indian Armed Forces. In the current times it is not uncommon for kids to venture into new fields. Men and women are now performing the roles which earlier used to be designated to opposite genders and many of us are doing jobs that did not even exist 1-2 generations back. Yet, the number of people who come from a non-defence background and join the armed forces is still way too small. Why is that? Risk. That seems to be the apparent reason but lets look at it this way. A quick google search shows that the odds of an individual dying in a vehicular accident are way higher than death on active military duty. This difference gets even bigger if there are long periods of (relative) peace. Yet everyday millions of Indians ride their two-wheelers to work. Mostly without a helmet. Could it be that they have to stay away from their families for long period of time? Most of the young Indians are already doing that for their jobs. Clearly, it could not be that the job is not prestigious. If there one thing that a military person will definitely get, that would be respect. Yet why is the youth not going in that direction?

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Our Ratings

Almost all of us at one time or another have been guilty of trying way too hard on social media to be funny, witty and smart to gain likes, hearts, retweets, followers and what not. Way too hard. The reason I am bringing this up is because I was deeply influenced by a single episode of a TV series. Now usually my social commentary about TV and movies is usually limited to discussion with friends and a mere single tweet at the max. But this time it was different. I watched the first episode of Season 3 of Black Mirror last night and honestly, it hit really close to heart. It was the story of a young woman who lived in a society where social media popularity or “rating” was something that had real world implications. Your interactions with the physical world affected your ratings and your ratings affected how the world interacted with you. I don’t think we are that far from this future. Today no matter what the event is, good or bad, the first thing that comes to mind is what witty post can be shared on social media to garner social clout. Minds start racing to think of that one witty tweet that will get all the RTs in the world. Taking selfies for Instagram and Facebook takes precedence over actually making that moment worth it. The amount of effort that goes in keeping up and maintaining this facade could easily be diverted into actually building character and hobbies. But who does not know all this? We are like any other kind of addicts. Smokers know that the cigarette is killing them, so do drug abusers. Yet somehow constantly looking into that 5” screen has become socially acceptable. I am in no authority to point fingers or preach any cure for I too am one of the addicts. A self-aware addict who knows that every single funny Reddit post is 2 minutes I will never get back and yet here I go swiping away to the next post. I know the solution. We all do. Yet. Maybe we love our ratings more than we know.

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How are you proud to be an Indian?

The concept of patriotism has never come naturally to me. Gender, race, nationality, religion etc are traits that I have but had nothing to do to get them. I was born a male brown Hindu Indian and that was the default setting and I never had a say in that. If I say I am proud of being a male I will be termed as a sexist, a white person is called a racist if they claim they are proud to be white, we all know how much issue secularity causes in our society but being proud of once nationality is not only socially acceptable but is rather expected. Even worse there could be sever consequences if someone is considered non-patriotic in India. I am not saying that I don’t feel good about being an Indian at times, many times, but pride does not come naturally. Hence I implore the people who think they are proud Indians, please help me reach the point where you are because I do want to be there. Thoughts?

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The thing about Udta Punjab

The thing about Udta Punjab is that the the track involving Alia Bhatt, who has performed the best of all, has nothing to do with drugs. The reason for the misfortune of that character was not drugs but greed and if you really want to stretch it, curiosity. It could very easily have been guns, gold or top secrets. So no matter how much you appreciate the antics of that bihari girl that is a story unrelated to the core story. I am pretty sure there was some back story to Kareena Kapoors character but for some reason it was not told to us. So it was really hard to understand where her “activism” was coming from. The speed with which Shahids character reforms is mind bending. I have no idea about drug addiction but I am certain it does not go away that fast. The only character that stayed true to the story and was actually the portrayal of everything drugs affect was Diljits character. He gets to display a range of human virtues from greed to despair to immense loss ending with redemption. I will not comment on the controversy because I didn’t actually find anything controversial but the movie was definitely worth one watch. The starting star wars sequence was a nice surprise.

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Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

This is probable the most popular quote of the great Muhammad Ali. And trust me it is not just a quote. If you go and watch any of his fights on Youtube you see all the floating and the stinging happening. Some people deserve to be called legends. Ali was one. And not because he was a great and successful boxer. But because he had the attitude of legends. There is almost no person on this earth who does not want to be great. Of all these people “wanting” to be great, a very small portion work towards being great. Of these people who are working towards greatness only a handful sustain the hardships of the world and not give up. And out of these few people only those people become great who believe, or even better - know, that they are meant to be great. Ali was one of them. So with a slightly heavy heart I share with you my favourite quote of Ali

I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was

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You are average. But its ok.

A bird can just be a bird. When the sun rises it isn’t accompanied by a feeling of dread. It’s daily tasks are solely comprised of being a bird and being a bird still.

Humans are a problem. There’s no place for us. I cant just go out into the woods and be a human. But then again, I have a taste of the finer things and I’m an enlightened person that doesn’t care to live in the woods anyway. So I have a job, I put in my 40+ hours a week, I pay someone for the privilege of having a roof, I drive 15 miles a day, and I take care of a dog.
This lifestyle has cost me friends. It has cost me relationships. I cannot visit my family without it being rubbed in my face that I merely live like a king. That’s right- a king.

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Basic Tips for Movember Bros

Happy Movember

November is here and someone has introduced you to the concept of Movember. Not the exact philanthropic cause observed by men throughout the word but the oversimplified version – don’t shave for a month. And now you are a Movember bro because its easy to do and now you have a valid excuse for looking scruffy. Anyways now since you have decided to do it, why not do it right. Here are a few tips for Movember Bros who are all new to this growing and keeping facial hair on how to get through the month without losing your mind and dignity.

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The 7 year wait

[caption id=”attachment_1348” align=”alignleft” width=”212”]Anusha and Akhil That’s us![/caption]

They say love begins to fade 7 years into a relationship. The ‘7 year itch’ they call it. The habits and actions you like in the beginning no longer seem cute. All you see are the dark parts of the relationship and hence the itchy irritation. I don’t believe that.

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All I want for Christmas

All I want for ChristmasI stopped looking up to god for specific things a long time back. For it is possible that what I think I need or is good for me might not be. And also it wouldn’t take god, if he exists, too long to realize that this kid only comes to me when he needs something. Since then my prayers have been super generic leaving all the burden on god himself to figure out what is good for me and then make that happen. Now it is hard to keep this resolution. Time to time I am in the mood to tell god that it is the right time for my Maserati and that a Gulf Stream makes sense now. Festive times are especially hard when you are constantly tempted to make a request or two. Today also I have a list ready of things that I want from god as my Christmas present. Again I will not ask for anything specific or materialistic but again it would not be as vague as world peace (dear god, if you could manage, world peace would be nice). I am a selfish being and most of my desires are local.

Smiles for the people I love and people who love me - all the wealth and all the tasty foods of the world combined cannot match the happiness that the smile of a loved one can get you. Please always give them the reason to smile. Make me the mean to it if you can.

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Beyond right and wrong - The lesson of Dussehra

RavanToday is Dussehra, or Vijayadashmi as many call it. For those who do not know, without getting into much detail (which you can get here) I can tell you that this Hindu festival is celebrated because supposedly on this day many many years ago (Lord) Ram finally killed Ravan for having kidnapped his wife Sita. The essence of the festival is much more than just revenge as it might seem from my over simplified definition. The festival is said to signify the victory of good over evil, light over dark and truth over deception. Ram is worshiped in our homes as god and is usually pointed at as the ultimate role model for mankind. Not that I disagree (completely) with this but at times I wonder whether todays parents really do wish for a child like Ram. Are we truly aspirational towards having a Ram-like attitude towards life? More importantly, would the story would have remained and ended the same way it did if it had happened in this age and would Ram have been still able to come out victorious. And if somehow we manage to answer all of these answers with a yes, then despite knowing the benefits of being Ram-like why do we, all of us, have more in common with Ravan than Ram.

‘Honesty is the best policy’, ‘Thou shalt not steal’, ‘Respect your parents’ and other such saying are not bound by religion, region, race or color. You do not have to be devout Hindu, or even religious or educated and not even just literate to have known these ‘virtues’. Everyone knows them and understands them. How hard is it to understand - “Don’t lie”. And yet we are dishonest in our behavior, we lie. It does not matter if it’s a small innocuous lie like “I am almost there”. A lie is a lie. And Ram supposedly never lied. We all steal. Maybe not directly like burglars, robbers and shoplifters but we do. Tax fraud is stealing. I really think Ram would approve of you manipulating your balance sheet to save tax (This by the way is a lying + stealing combo). I am sure we all love our parents a lot but are we as devoted towards them as Ram was? You can go deeper and deeper into all the aspects of your life and in the end you would only come back with a conclusion that we are much closer to Ravan than Ram. This confuses me. If we all know that being Ram-like is going to end in victory and is also the right way to go about things why are we all Ravans?

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