Sunday, November 25, 2007

My political awakening?

It's shameful if you ask me. Such a big sin. I had till the 25th year of my existence not attached too much importance to politics and it's influence in my life. Ever the utopian I have believed that any government for the people which does not endorse anarchy is ok with me. That me and you, in our overtly genteel society, can actually sit back and contemplate on the stark realities of somebody else's life is a real paradox.

Maybe my father's political experiences as a youth in the red state of Kerala coupled with my admiration for all that he has achieved as an individual and this throbbing need to uphold his beliefs (be a good at least in this way) has always led me to believe that even I was a communist. What does the word mean? Why should I bother, it runs in the blood bro.

What communism meant to me those days?

I have been brought up in a communist bastion (West Bengal) by parents who uphold the same beliefs. I have also seen the amount of strikes and agitations that used to be and still continue to be rampant. These agitations I have always believed were for the betterment of the working class. Not an extremely progressive tactic but certainly very appealing to any impressioable young mind. I hadnt done too much reading on communist ideologies (not that I am an authority on them now, neither have I read the Communist Manifesto but atleast I am better informed.) but I knew that the communists were a force who worked for the upliftment of the poor. People who sought equality.

What led me to revisit this?

Communists are people who support the poor working class and work towards bringing up their standard of living. True, you would say but then what happened at Nandigram. Weren't the poor and their rights suppressed there? This is what led me to actually look up what communism actually meant and what are the basic concepts and ideologies of communism.

Wikipedia (don't laugh at it, a man can only look in so many places) offers this defenition 'Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production.'

Also, bumped into a short write-up on the communist manifesto and it's ten planks which are as follows:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. (no rent :))

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax..... hmmmm

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance..... no more baap ka maal

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels..... no more NRI qouta???

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

Reading all this actually made me realise that communism apart from being revolutionary also put a large number of restrictions which sometimes could conflict with the fabric of being a middle-class Indian. We are so very used to passing down possesions from generation to generation as are most other cultures. Not really the proliterat, a member of the lower middle class starts breaking away from communism, when he/she desires to own a piece of land or to emigrate to another country.

Where do I find myself now?

A bit confused at first. Am i really a communist? Am I hard core right-wing? Am I a fascist? Do I hate and crush opposition?

Hmmm... I might be able to identify with some of the theories of communism but I dont think I am a hardcore communist. I think I am more of a liberal. Someone who believes that individual liberty and equality of opportunity are things that needs to be valued most over anything else. Sometimes at work though there have been cases when a little bit of iron handed rule had to be applied but all that is to combat incompetency in general.

Liberalism and it's various forms support a number of basic principles, including extensive freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market or mixed economy, and a transparent system of government. This looks like something which I can identify with more.

There, that is a beginning I guess. At least I am awake. But a lot more material to read and a lot more thoughts that need to run through my mind before I can finally RIP (politically speaking).

Adios ppl or should I say Salute commrade!!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Back with(out) a bang...

Bang... whoosh... kaboom... rat-a-tat-a-tat-tat…. No no no that's not me coming back with a bang. These are the sounds that are rocking the very insides of my mortal existence... Yes it’s that time of the year again… Happy Diwali!!!

These sounds, though they don’t mean much to me anymore (except of course for the rock concert of a racket they create ya that khalbali inside the brain), do sometimes transport me back to Kolkata and Kali Pujo. Oh ya the amount of chocolate bombs, dodomas (double dhamaka ones), rockets we used to launch. Those were the days. Well a lot of memories are associated with those festive evenings. A lot more sounds linger in my memory apart from those of the crackers. The popping up of a crush somewhere, the sound of a well rounded puchka (gol guppa) going squish inside the mouth, a heartbreak here, a window pane there. Well that’s a walk down memory lane for you. Now you know a bit about my childhood and also know that I can actually tell one sound apart from another.

Well, life has been quite fast over that last few months. Lots happening, no no not my love life… I am not telling you anything about that in this post. Ok let me list down a few events arranged, hmmm let me see, well in no particular order (just like my life no law and order):

1. People thought I was good enough to host a show. Don’t go “Egaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad how could they”. I was shocked my self. I was so shocked that I actually went ahead and accepted it. Well it was the annual day function at work and I was teamed up with this pretty young thing. A true case of beauty meets the beast if you ask me (of course me being the beauty there… just kidding). I also found a didi (there are you happy now) from Naktala (my locality in Kolkata) @ office. Guess who the chief guest was, yeah Sagarika Ghatge (a.k.a Preeti Sabharwal of Chak De fame). The audience was all going ga ga over her, but I maintained my grace and dignity and stayed aloof from her and her attempts to talk to me. Darn was the security tight or what. I did manage to get a snap clicked with her, and also had a little chit chat with her mom ;-)

2. I got my visa stamped and might be going onsite early next year according to some (un)reliable sources. The trip to Chennai was great as usual, the loving autowalas, the caring policemen, and the pleasant weather. I just can’t seem to get enough of the place. Well actually these are the only negatives of an otherwise great city. The hotel was overbooked so they gave us a suite, with an internet connection, mini bar and all the works. Talk about getting lucky.

3. Oh talking about lucky. Lucky was here in town for a couple of months, always a pleasure to have around. Thank you Lucky for all the coffee and wada treats. We also went and watched a movie in the Gold Class @ PVR. Pretty neat setup but a tad overpriced I feel. Also in town was Sameera a.k.a blogu, my friend from the blogsphere. We went saree shopping and I increased my G.K. about where to find great sarees in Blore. Hope my mom is not reading this. Hi mom!!! It’s a good shop but I kind of forgot the name. Also caught up with Vivek and Sarosh, my pals from school, at Barista the other day. They complimented me on my perfect figure.

4. AB and band have come up with a new track All The Girls Go. Make sure you listen to them @

5. I am buying a car. Yep finally fell for the black Swift. It will be delivered within a couple of weeks. There goes half my salary every month for the next five years. Well it’s technically not half my salary for the next five years because I am expecting a raise sometime in the next five years but yes let us not go into the details of my rather messy financial life. It will just suffice you to know that if anything is more messed up than my love life (or the lack of it), then it’s my financial life (or the lack of it).

6. I tried out Facebook. Pretty neat stuff. Loads of virtual goodies. Great place to kill some quality time. Oh yeah I tried out something pretty cool too. A friend of mine took me to a bartending session, conducted by Smirnoff where they taught us a lot about cocktails and home bars. They even gave us cool certificates and taught us cool bartender tricks. I actually spilled a lot of alcohol all over the place trying one of those tricks. Can't wait to start my own personal home bar, will have to find a way to fit it into a conservative Mallu home, but Sumod always finds a way out doesnt he.

7. Last but not the least, from the frivolous to the spiritual. I went on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. Yes people I actually climbed all the way up, one painful step at a time and oh if that was a piece of cake then they climb down was defenitely the icing on that cake. I couldn't feel my left thigh for two days after the trip. I am sure all my sins were washed away by that barefoot trek. Well atleast it washed away a few extra calories. The darshan was great and the prasadam was yummm. I was actually abstaining for a period of 41 days before the trip, no cursing, no non-veg, no alcohol, no wild parties (rather no making parties wild) and no err, ummm, well no "a lot of other things".

This is essentialy the gist of all that has been happening in my life over the last few months. The decibel level in the street has gone down and I think its safe to venture out now. So long people and I really hope that you found this peep into my life most insightful and informative. Please make sure your children read this. Who knows they might just get a question or two from "The life and times of Sumod Nair" in their tests.

Till we meet next time good night, namaskar and shabba khair (can someone tell me what it exactly means).