Tuesday, 2 August 2016

YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE


    As he entered the extremely small lane, he stumbled. A bit giddy from an overdose of the alcoholic beverage he had consumed, he placed a hand on the neighbouring wall for support. Inspector Raj Mehta walked further to the entrance of his ancient building. As he climbed the five floors of his building, he thought about the day's incidents. Thoughts rushed through his mind. Inspector Mehta, improve yourself... Inspector Mehta, stop drinking... Inspector Mehta... Inspector Mehta this and Inspector Mehta that, he savagely thought. That rascal can't handle his own finances, and he's the boss. Deep down, though, he knew that the Chief Inspector was right... Drinking had effects on him... And they were not positive ones. He looked at his large belly, which his buttons were straining to hold in place. It was humiliating as a policeman, and often he'd hear people whispering, "THAT'S a police officer? No wonder Mumbai isn't safe..."
    Discarding his thoughts, he proceeded to his apartment and slammed the door shut so hard that his parents' picture frame almost fell from the wall. He immediately straightened it and sat on the bed, gazing at himself in the mirror. I'm a loser, he thought. A hopeless wimp. He was due to be fired tomorrow for lack of conduct. He used to be the star of the Mumbai police... feared by all outlaws. But a failure in nabbing a corrupt pharmacist changed that. He immediately lost all hope and failed in the rest of his assignments. He saw his parents' picture's reflection. I'm sorry, baba...
    His moustache quivered slightly as he thought of the days when he was the pride of the police force. He saw his father's photograph reflected in the mirror. Mehta Senior's eyes seemed to bore into his drunken son's. He heard his father's trademark words: You are what you think you are... He pondered over them. He tried to use his father's method of boosting self confidence. He stood up, faced his shadow and thought of it as his enemy. Then he started shadow-boxing while muttering simultaneously, "I'm the best... I'm the best..." But the only thing that happened was that his beer-belly too bobbed up and down to signify its existence, thus dejecting him even more.
   Frustrated, he sat back on the bed, only to get up again for a stroll. Dressed plainly, he casually walked the lanes of Mumbai. Maybe I should become a tour operator after getting fired... Suddenly, he heard someone say his name.
    "What if Inspector Mehta uncovers our plan?"
    The voices were coming from a cafe which was undergoing renovation.
    "That drunkard? He can't even walk properly now-a-days..."
    His blood boiled. Me... a drunkard?
    "But still, I don't want to take any chances. I think we should get the drugs out of Raghu tonight itself."
    "Alright, we will, at one in the morning... now stop irritating me. I'll never understand how you always get your way..."
    Mehta had heard enough. He immediately turned about and went to the police station.
    Inspector Ramesh Khanna was busy with his paperwork when the door opened. Bewildered, he looked up. First a pot-belly came, followed by a six foot tall man. When he finally figured out that it was Mehta in plainclothes, he saluted him, and was replied by a salute.
    "Khanna, do we have a warrant for raiding Raghu Club?"
    "Yes, Mehta, but why?"
    "Report to the Chief Inspector- or no... I'll do it.Tell the others that we are raiding them today at-"
    "TODAY? I thought tom-"
    "Yes, today, at midnight. I want everyone ready by 11:45 pm. And make it quick."
    Without waiting for Khanna's reply, he picked up the phone and dialed CI Rahul Bhosale's number.  He picked it up at the first ring. "Sir, we are..." and he explained the situation to Bhosale, who rose up to the situation, reporting at the station with 15 other armed policemen. Together the 45 policemen raided the club they had been monitoring.
    The next day, Mehta saw an uncharacteristically grave expression. "Well, Raj, you helped us a lot yesterday." They had wrested large amounts of narcotics and cash from the smugglers.
    "Are you sure you want to resign since the decision to fire you has been withdrawn?"
    "Yes, sir... some other youngsters deserve a chance."
    "But what will you do now?"
    "Tour operator, sir."
    "Really?"
    "Yes, sir. My own company, sir."
    "Well, at least people will feel safe travelling through your company."
    "I doubt so, sir... I'm a known drunkard."
    They laughed loudly. Mehta submitted his resignation form and Bhosale accepted his resignstion. "Do keep in touch, though."
    "Of course, Rahul."
    The CI glared. "How dare you... oh, yeah, I'm no longer your boss."
    They laughed again.
    As he bade farewell and wished every police officer all the best, he spoke to his father. You know what, baba? You were right. You are what you think you are.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Books as friends


    What is a book? One might say it looks like a bunch of papers bound together with a cover displaying its name and author. Well, that's true. Then why the fuss regarding books? How is a book different from other inanimate objects? Well, firstly, books are written by people and can be read for various reasons. The important part of books is not the sheaf of papers under the cover, but the material inside, the messages hidden in each page, the words that transport you to the places where the story takes place. No book is complete without words or purpose.
   Books are like friends, some say. According to me, they are even better companions. There is never an awkward time to open a book. It may be considered rude to call a friend at two in the morning to have a chat, but not so as far as opening a book for comfort is concerned. Books can comfort us... They are, after all written by people.
The author of the book communicates with us in his or her own unique way through the words of his or her book. When we read a book, we are basically trying to understand the author's views. Our favorite books are those in which we basically agree with the author's thinking. In a way, books are a medium for authors to reach out to people.
   Books are like friends, and must be few and well chosen. I completely agree with Samuel Johnson's statement. Well written books have a certain power over the human mind, just like an impeccable speech delivered by an excellent orator. Books can influence a person's mindset regarding his experiences. They can also influence his or her decisions in the future. Books must therefore be well chosen... A wrong book can lead one off the path of a happy life.
   Books, in my opinion, must be treated as real friends and people. They, after all, influence and entertain us as much as real people do. We must treat them like friends, returning to them often and valuing their company. Books must also be respected... After all, they tolerate us anytime, anywhere. They always entertain us whenever we approach them, regardless of our mood. They can (and must) be valued as real friends, if not as even better companions.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Obstacles In Our Development

   Imagine a perfect world... A world where everyone tolerated everyone, ignoring the social barriers like caste, creed, religion, race and what not! Imagine a world where we could go around anywhere we liked without the fear of being robbed, murdered or molested. Imagine a world where peace and order existed without its existence being threatened by chaos. Imagine how happy everyone would be. Imagine the joy which people would get if everyone's needs were met with.
   Now imagine the opposite of this. A world which everyone hates. A world where no one tolerates others, where there is only hostility. Where tyranny reigns. Where chaos surrounds us.Where no ones necessities are met.
   Which world did you like the most? I doubt even one would say that he or she preferred the second world. Why? The answer is simple- We want to be happy. That too in the laziest possible way.
   However, neither of these worlds exist, nor I think they ever will. People are consumed by greed. Many feel it is 'every man for himself'. We humans love to believe that we are self-sufficient. We love to believe that we need the society only for entertainment. We love to believe that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want or however we want. At the same time we also believe that the other person must be helped. The way I see it, this is how the necessity of certain responsible people to represent Law, Order and Administration arose. If one turned out corrupt, the other would control them and vice versa.
   The human society is dynamic. It is constantly progressing. However this progress is not without its own faults. As we progress, we cease to care about others. The more we progress, the more we tend to look down upon others who are struggling to survive. We see this everywhere. Despite the fact that some people need assistance to survive in this world, we chose to ignore them thinking that if they work hard enough, they will survive.
   But that is the one thing we don't actually know. We don't know their problems or how serious they are. All we know is that some of these people need help to be fit enough to survive. This society works on the principle of 'survival of the fittest'. We, being humans, must help one another. If we don't, there is almost nothing that sets us apart from the other living beings.
   There are so many ways people suffer in this world. Discrimination is one of them. Discrimination is even classified into various categories. Discrimination is prevalent all over the globe. Racism, sexism as well as discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion, place of birth, etc. What does this discrimination amount to? Simply hindering the overall development of our species. Till date, I have not seen the point behind discrimination. All it amounts to is hurting the feelings of those whose freedom is limited due to such discrimination.
   As of now, I have expressed my feelings regarding two of the many obstacles which hamper our development and social interaction. The obstacles seem completely different from each other, but they have one common effect on us. They all cause disparity and hamper development. They all bind us with various restrictions and dont grant us freedom. They all boost inequality.
   Today is New Year's Eve. From tomorrow begins the new year of 2015. Why not make an extra resolution? Why not resolve to change ourselves and the world for the better? After all, only we can bring about change. This is our society. Therefore it is our responsibility to make a better future for us. Not only for us, but also for all the living things. After all, it is the new year!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Is space exploration a necessity?

   Outer space has puzzled man since ancient times. Many Greeks,  Babylonians, Indians, Mayans and other people from ancient civilizations were astronomers. Many worshipped, and still worship the celestial bodies. The ancient people also recognized patterns in the sky, now called constellations. They named these constellations. The Great Bear (Ursa Major), The Little Bear (Ursa Minor) Orion the Hunter are just some of them. The progress in technology just fueled man's desire to know more about outer space. Science fiction made man fantasize about living in outer space and meeting extraterrestrial creatures. The invention of the aeroplane
made people felt that their dream of exploring space will finally come true. And it did with the launching of Sputnik 1 and Yuri Gagarin's trip to space.
   Now space exploration is developing at a rapid pace. Many countries launch satellites, rockets, space shuttles, etc. for the sole purpose of discovering the unknown facts regarding space. Space is, as far as human curiosity is concerned, a place full of new discoveries and adventures. Movies about space travel, like Gravity and Interstellar, increase people's curiosity regarding what lies beyond the atmosphere. Almost every person has, at least once in his life, dreamt of becoming an astronaut. Why? The answer is simple. It is the same reason why people venture into the unknown or go on adventures. Curiosity and thrill.
   This brings us back to the topic of this writeup... Is space exploration necessary? Or rather, is it necessary to spend money on space exploration? This question is quite controversial with three answers- Yes,  No and I Don't Know.I shall encourage my readers to form their own answers.

   Many agree that space exploration is necessary. It is true to a certain extent regarding the progress in science and technology in space. The search for life away from  home arouses peoples' curiosity. Many scientific breakthroughs have taken place due to research in space. Space exploration helps us identify the places where life is possible, places where we can go to if any calamity threatens our existence. Such programs also help to unite countries. It promotes trade as far as satellite or rocket parts are concerned. All in all, it's really beneficial.
   However, many disagree with this fact. Their concerns are that we have enough problems on earth. Instead of spending money on space missions, we must address issues such as poverty, corruption, pending debts, maintaining law and order, etc. Some are of the opinion that while millions are starving to death, a lot of money is spent on sending machines or a handful of people to space. Others say that instead of searching for a habitable planet which will most probably be littered like earth, we must make our planet a better place to live in.
   There are innumerable arguments, all valid, for and against space exploration. I personally am of the opinion that it is necessary, but must not be overdone. The basic thing still remains that like every topic of discussions,  valid arguments exist for either side. If an opinion is to be made, it must be made considering all the aspect of this topic.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Change

 


   We say that change is for the better. Agreed. Change can create revolutions. It can inspire a story. It can create an organization working towards the development of the poor and needy. Change has shaped our past, it shapes our present and will always shape our future.
   But what exactly is change? The Oxford Dictionary defines change as 'to become or make different'. Very concise and clean. No terms or conditions. Just making things different.
   This, though, happens to be just the definition. Like almost everything else, there's more to it. Various things are concerned with the word change. Change is not simply making things different as far as humans are concerned. We, being intelligent creatures, tend to complicate things. Thus, we started making two types of changes- for the better and for the worse. And to top all of this, good and bad are just relative terms! What's good for one may be bad for the other.
   Change being good or bad is relative. So when we look at something being good or bad, our opinions usually match the opinions of the majority of the people for we tend to think that that opinion is more 'humane' . So let's talk about each of the changes as viewed by the majority.
   Change for the better basically is that chance which would result in the well-being of the needy, poor, etc. or that change which will result in the development or progress of the region or the individual. For example, constructing dams or windmills. Or introducing a new law to prevent the spread of certain diseases. A better budget or a more lucrative business plan. On the other hand, change for the worse usually consists of the changes which harm the peacefulness of the society. We can consider policies which essentially worsen the conditions of people or regions as changes for the worse.
   The world, as a whole, has innumerable problems. Famines, droughts, starvation, pollution,etc. are affecting the world on a large scale. Most of the problems are caused by the people's opinion regarding each other. Many of us pass beggars without paying them any attention, but go to our respective places of worship and pray for a better world. This takes place everywhere.
   The weirdest part of this is that people expect things to happen. They expect the world to change without changing themselves. They forget that they are also a part of this world. That if the world is to change then they should too. That they should take the initiative and change themselves to change the world. What is wrong with performing a small, random act of kindness? We shouldn't expect much in return, for the other person may not be resourceful enough to pay back the kind gesture. But by acting out of kindness, we show others that being kind doesn't cost much. We show ourselves that we can change ourselves as well as others. We show everyone that we can all pitch in to make the world a better place to live in.

I'm gonna make a change,
For once in my life.
Gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a difference,
Gonna make it right...


-Michael Jackson, The Man in the Mirror

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Human nature

   Let's jog up our imagination. Imagine that we are looking at the universe. As a whole. Just imagine. Thousands, maybe millions of galaxies everywhere. Somewhere, if we zoom in enough, we see the Milky Way. Also the Andromeda, approaching the Milky Way at the speed of 250,000 miles per hour. Let us forget about the Andromeda and concentrate on the Milky Way. If we concentrate on one of the spirals, we will find the Sun. Helios. Revolving about the center of the galaxy. About this star revolves few celestial bodies. Let's concentrate on the Earth... The third planet from the sun. Zooming in further, there will be continents, then countries, then states, then cities or towns or villages, then houses, and then humans.
   Humans. Bipedal, social and intelligent creatures. This is basically what defines us as humans. Humans first appeared some 1-2 million years ago. Compared to the universe, our size can hardly be defined. And here we are, on dear old earth, fighting for supremacy. Humans are hardly evmillions whoo satisfied. That is good, one may argue, seeing that the moment we are satisfied we would stop progressing. But we must progress smartly. The moment progress is mentioned, we immediately visualize
hi-tech cars, weirdly designed buildings, space missions every two weeks, etc. Accepted... That's what we all want. But to achieve that, what about the resources?
What about the oil reserves which are depleting rapidly? What about the millions who die of hunger while the rest of the world builds marvels for the sake of 'progress'? The answer received? 'We are working on it...'
   Humans are considered to be social. That is true. Humans thrive and live together better in a society. With friends and family. We, in general, don't like loneliness. But when two societies have different principles, then depending on the tolerance levels,  either they respect each other, or they unleash hell. That too, in innumerable ways, each more innovative than the previous. As far as humans are concerned, competition is a must. And many people feel that they must win by hook of by crook. In such competitions, enmity rises. And the most affected are the poor, who many times have nothing to do with these competitions. The easiest example is war. The most affected are the poor or the homeless.
   Speaking of war, there have been far too many battle amongst ourselves. We consider ourselves as humans, yet kill each other for proving ourselves correct. That too at the cost of lives. Lives that would have otherwise lived peacefully. Humans are often hypocritic. We say we don't want wars, yet we end up having them.
   Humans are weird. We often come across posts on Facebook like- 'Like this picture of a farmer carrying a heavy load. 1 like=1 respect...' How can we blindly like such posts to show off the fact that we respect such people when we hardly pay any attention to the needy around us? How come abandoned animals get so much attention on social networking sites when we hesitate to help them in real life? How can we call ourselves humans if we fail to look around us and care for others while donating money to charity organizations? How can we call ourselves humans if we fail to be human in the simplest of cases?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Is our life improving because of the internet?



   Technology has changed lives. For the better as well as for the worse. Frankly, I don't find this surprising. The thing that is really astounding is the way it changes lives. Imagination and technology combined can dramatically improve a person's life, or can create a weapon of mass destruction. Technology is basically science applied in real life. A tool we created for our own use. Nothing other than a tool.
   The internet, the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was born in CERN in the year 1989. For a 25 year old, the internet has reached great heights. Today, internet is a necessity, rather than a luxury. It connects people with others, no matter how far they are. The internet has encouraged the growth of cooperation, trade, globalisation, etc.
   Internet has improved many lives. People can be cured of a disease by interacting with doctors over the net. Charities can make their goals clear to a larger audience. Companies need to undertake less efforts to advertise. Security has improved. One can keep in touch with others around the globe. The applications of the internet seem limitless.
   As far as the negatives are concerned, there are too many. For starters, cyber bullying. This has a deep impact on people, especially young minds which are easier to mould. Insult someone over a social network and the victim's life is practically ruined. Leaving cyber bullying aside, another threat caused due to the internet is hacking. It technically means accessing personally sensitive data without permission. Hackers hack into systems for various reasons. Some for blackmail. Others for thrill. Some people just 'want to see the world burn.'
   Internet can be used to spread malware, to spread chaos. Career destroying
rumours get leaked over the internet, mainly for finishing off the competition, or to destroy the persons reputation. Internet  has made terrorism easy. One can trigger a bomb from anywhere. Detailed plans of a building can be viewed. Even pranking has its side effects. People become paranoid. They fail to trust others. Even the most idiotic claims can hold a persons mind and imagination hostage.
   The internet is a tool. An important one. A productive one. Only if used properly. If used with caution. Internet can change lives. For the good as well as the bad. Just like any other invention, it can be used to create or to destroy. That is all in our hands.