Monday, June 15, 2015

Social? Hardly!

We call it social media, but are we blanking out the very essence of social norms and etiquettes while using it? Our pervasive usage of social networking applications, be it whatsapp, facebook, twitter or foursquare has led to a situation wherein we are in ‘virtual’ touch with our friends, family, acquaintances and community. However, that touch is bereft of the human element. And sometimes, that touch is the most important.

Last week, my friend had a bad cold. She put it up on facebook proclaiming her illness. The post attracted fair amount of attention from the usual crowd of male admirers and words of advice. Later, she claimed that no one actually came to pay her a visit and the only person who helped her the most at that time was her maid!

IMHO social media biggest application is communication when distances are an issue. People are increasingly using it as a substitute for human emotions and memories. People click photographs at a party or an outing not for memories but to post them to facebook. People gauge their popularity by the number of likes they get for a facebook post or the number of retweets/ followers.

Is that wrong? Maybe not. People increasingly have two personalities – One is the virtual personality and the other is the real world personality. The problem will come when the two will clash. The most dramatic change is to circumvent difficult portions of real world interactions by simply retreating into the virtual world. This is seen often at social gatherings wherein people retreat into the virtual world if they are not interested in the ongoing conversations or activities.

As I said earlier, Social media is a great tool to ‘enhance’ old friendships. However, there is a new trend to ‘friend’ people whom we don’t know or know through somebody. This can be attributed to social protocol but there is still no accepted protocol on how to treat these new ‘friends’. An acquaintance of mine refers to them as her ‘fans’. These new found friends possibly offer an outlet to have offhand conversations without the demanding nature of friendship.

It is difficult to sustain this barrage of electronic media as a substitute for real world interactions. In fact, internet addiction is now treated as a clinical disorder (

What is needed is balance between the virtual and real world. As Lara Croft says in Tomb Raider – “Nature is about balance. All the world comes in pairs”.

This balance is precarious and needs constant leveraging to bring it to the moment of equilibrium. Virtual world may lead you to a delusional state of mind and behavior wherein you can find real world too ‘real’ to handle.

So go out there and smell the air. And when you come back, do post about this blog!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Music and Freedom

Music and freedom have always gone hand in hand. Freedom from persecution, freedom from annihilation, freedom from segregation all have had music as one of their ancillary weapons. Music has a unique quality of stirring the very basic and essential of human needs – Freedom. Most of the songs of the bygone era were more about freedom from oppression, a kind of a rebellious ode to the society that enslaved its citizens. Only recently, music has progressed to the mind’s trapping of the freedom. In this author’s humble opinion, the hippie era was instrumental in liberating the slavery of the mind by its conscious mind and enabling it to be free. Free as the mind can be.  Hippies lived music and in some places sought it as a replacement for drugs / alcohol.

An inspired quote says Mind can be free only as far as it can fly. This suggests that the mind is capable of flying and testing new boundaries to itself. Music is one of the wings on which it can undertake this journey. Some people undertake this journey farther than others. The only reward of going far is the reward for oneself. The mind rises up and there is an inherent self-satisfaction which is felt by the mind.

Most people ‘listen’ to music, but very recently do they FEEL it. This feel of music comes very rarely, and may I add, is slightly less rare when the recipient is under the influence of alcohol or other euphoria inducing substances.  But these substances are not a pre-requisite for feeling music. In fact, we routinely see women getting all psychotic and becoming ‘spirit’ driven souls when engrossed in a religion discourse which involves music. Case in point being the various musical discourses / festivals throughout India. You must have seen the various swaying women (and men) in their religious fervor and gaiety.

This relationship between music and the liberation of mind is a very poorly understood one. One can ask any number of respondents for the answer and scarcely he / she shall receive the same reply.  It is a good thing that its not understood, otherwise it would have been documented and processed. Then, the whole power of music would have been lost.

‘It has to set you free’ – Jim Morrison in the song ‘The End’. Thanks to all the musicians who have enabled the lesser souls to undertake the journey towards liberation.  Maybe that’s the theme to the song by Ac/ Dc – ‘For those about to rock, we salute you’

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Freedom - 1

The call which came to me one fine evening, when I was in one of my customary euphoric sessions,

The caller - ‘Are you free?’ – Is any one free? Anytime? Bulla ki jaana main kaun.’

The euphoria is a lingering feeling though it may be short lived. The external cacophony of sounds seem like a far off sound, the kind of hallucinations which come to the thirst wanderer in a lost desert. The euphoria is a mixed feeling of being in control but also being free. Paradoxically you are forced to still comply with the social norms. This is the very essence of being in euphoria. Self servitude is the highest form of deity.

How to forgo this societal binding? How do we encounter the truth? It’s an acerbic feeling to know, realise and understand the lack of truth in our life. Truth is omnipotent. The truth is evident, but cloaked. Cloaked under multitudes of rituals, false impressions, and a general idea of ‘How to live life’?
To truly discover your potential and raw power, then shed off these masks and disobey the existing norms. Be free from any binds. That is when A man is totally free!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who is the aam aadmi?

After seeing the drama unfolding around the rail budget, the query that is coming to my mind is the identity of the 'aam aadmi'? Who is this aam aadmi? How do we define him? Which section of the social strata does he belong to? Or is the aam aadmi a he or a she? How does he travel? What does he treat? (Aam aadmi = common man)

Is an aam aadmi in Kolkatta equal to the aam aadmi in Mumbai? Is an aam aadmi in a small town in Bihar the same as an aam aadmi in Manipur?
Is there aam aadmi in the naxal hit territories? Do they exist there?

The answer is - There is no aam aadmi in India, but we ourselves. Paradox? Let me explain. We see ourselves as the aam aadmi. Everyone you meet will pretend to be concerned about the aam aadmi, however deep down we feel we 'ARE' the aam aadmi.

You go to the vegetable market to buy vegetables, you see the prices have gone up. You say "How will the aam aadmi survive?" You go to shoppers stop and see a way too expensive watch, then you dont say the same thing. Therein lies the difference. We are all aam aadmi when it comes to necessities, not when it comes to luxuries.

There is no stereotypical aam aadmi. This concept of the common man has been fed to us by economists, political activists and administration. This concept leads to bracketing of the population, which essentially controls the popular mood by directing the ire from their decisions or opinions to the aam aadmi.

Sample, -'Oh you are not ok with the road block, but the considering the aam aadmi's interests we have dug up the road.".
'The rail way hike is rolled back due to the aam aadmi's interests'.

Crap, total crap I say. We should reject this notion of the aam aadmi and say that classify us according to the social / economic / political strata.

Ps - The only common man / aam aadmi I know is the central figure in the cartoon by RK Laxman.

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 idiots

Encountered this at bandra station. Though the photo does not do them justice, but they were oblivious to the hustle and bustle all around. The so called 'dogs life' is better than the rat race at least!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


All the encroachments near Kurla station remind me of parasites feeding on the host. Eventually, at the point of no return the host's body gives up and dies and the parasites die or migrate. The parasites at Kurla station will soon have to suffer the same consequence. With huge traffic jams and brimming crowds, administration has already started to look out for alternatives. The alternatives include the metro link, the santacruz- chembur link road. But when will these proposed alternatives become reality is anybody's guess.

The encroachments also remind me of the paradox – "To save 1000 lives, can you take one?" In this context, can the administration decide to relocate the inhabitants (who will not give up without a fight), to accommodate the comfort of the majority? Or will the administration have enough guts to take on the dissenting majority? Who is right in this?

Ok. The traffic jam in Kurla is almost over. And so is this blog!

Kitna hua, boss??

Monday, October 11, 2010

I still love Cartoons

While on a day out with Aayush and Isha, we started a trivia quiz on cartoons / shows. Though Aayush was the clear winner of that particular tournament, I started to think about cartoons and their impact on our childhood. No matter what your nationality may be, or the culture you belong to, comic strips and the cartoon characters in them are one of the most universal forms of humor. These little bits of visual humor are mirrors of our daily lives. They give us life's lessons, urging us to think about the foibles of humanity, to laugh at ourselves, and sometimes even to shed a tear or two. Not only do cartoons and the characters in them transcend nationality and cultural barriers, but they also cut across all age barriers, from the two year old toddler watching animated cartoons on the TV screen with rapt attention to the large numbers of adult viewers following the saga of The Simpsons in primetime shows.

Here are some of my favorite cartoon shows which I confess that I still see today:

Bugs Bunny: This slick, conniving, insulting, sarcastic, clever carrot-munching rabbit has to be one of the all-time favorite cartoon characters in the world. Who does not know that distinctive Bugs Bunny line: "What's up, Doc?"

Tweety & Sylvester: These are another inimitable pair of cartoon characters. This is another comical case of the villainous cat chasing the cute little canary, with Tweety always ending up safe at 'Home Tweet Home', escaping the wicked 'puddy tat's' claws. My favorite part - that adorable Tweety line: "I tawt I taw a puddy tat… I did! I did!"

Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble: This is another great cartoon duo. Remember this cartoon's signature song - "Flintstones... Meet the Flintstones, They're a modern stoneage family. From the town of Bedrock, They're a page right out of history..." and Fred's catchphrase - "Yabba-Dabba-Doo?" The cartoon is an account of the daily lives of the stoneage couple Fred and Wilma Flintstone, and Barney and Betty Rubble, their best friends. All of them live in Bedrock, a prehistoric city, but have to deal with the problems of the modern-day life of the working class. Instead of a cat or a dog, they have a saber tooth tiger and a baby dinosaur as family pets. In 1962, Pebbles appears in the series as the daughter of the Flintstones, and in 1963 Bamm Bamm makes his appearance as the adopted son of the Rubbles.

Daffy Duck: True to his name, this black little duck was daffy indeed, with his hair-trigger temper, enormous ego and blind covetousness. Although Daffy was popular indeed, with the introduction of Bugs Bunny a year later, he always played second fiddle. But that secondary status was in itself a great source of laughs.

Swat Kats - T-Bone and Razor in their mean aircraft, out to fight the villains of Katdom. I remember there were villains like Darkcat, Professor Viper. My fac line was the commissioner's line - "The enforcers will handle this".

Captain Planet - Who doesnt remember the cartoons opening song - "Captain Planet, he's a hero, gonna take pollution down to zero". I remember this show because it introduced me to the idea of recycling. The 'raddiwala' was the captain planet for me! So with our powers combined?

There really are so many lovable cartoon characters: Mickey with his girl friend, Minnie, and a bunch of friends like Goofy, a highly popular cartoon character by himself, and Horace Horse Collar, and Pluto, the dog. The space-age Jetsons and their electronic gadgets like Rosie, the robot housemaid. Donald Duck and his girlfriend, Daisy Duck, along with his three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. Plus Scrooge and the Beagle Boys. Then there are Popeye, Felix The Cat, Tom & Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, Yogi Bear & Boo Boo… the list can go on and on

Ps - Questions from last night (Dont use Google)-
1. What was Popeye's adopted Baby's name?
2. What is the Powerpuff girls' father name?
3. Which was the 1st cartoon to have a Indian character?
4. What was name of the air specialist in the centurions?
5. What is the name of Richie Rich's butler name?
6. The only show in which Baby's where the stars?