Monday, December 29, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

1) You know the words to ‘In-pin-safety-pin’ and ‘akkad-bakkad’ by heart
2) Cricket is almost a religion for you, and you idolize at least one of Kapil Dev/Rahul Dravid/Sachin Tendulkar/Saurav Ganguly
3) You have read at least some Chacha Chaudhary or Tinkle comics
4) You’ve watched Shaktimaan on TV at least once in your life. And you can immediately recognize the character when you see him.
5) You have some ‘NRI’ relatives.
6) You couldn’t wait for it to be December so you could have the Toblerone chocolates your NRI relatives brought you.
7) You watched Cartoon Network, and then the late night movies on TNT that came after Cartoon Network ended. *nudge-nudge-wink wink*
8) You watched corny dubbed versions of Small Wonder, Silver Spoons, Different Strokes, Street Hawk, Knight Rider and I Dream of Jeanie.
9) You were THRILLED when McDonald’s opened in your neighborhood (or even eight kilometers away). (Heck, I was happy the Mac had opened in my COUNTRY!)
10) Your first burgers were at Wimpy’s or Nirula’s.
11) A visit to Pizza Hut used to mean a special treat. (Still does. :) )
12) You have seen Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun at least 5 times each
13) You still remember the theme song to Hum Paanch.
14) You have played hours upon hour of Pukdam-pakdai, oonch-neech, kho-kho, ‘Doctor, doctor, help us!’, ‘Lock and key’,'Ghar-ghar'.
15) You have played ‘Crocodile Crocodile’ more times than you can remember.
16) Dog ‘in’ the bone was your favorite co-ed game.
17) Much of your free time in school was spent playing UNO.
18) You collected trump cards of wrestlers, cricketers, and airplanes, and did not quite understand why your younger siblings were obsessed with Pokemon and the other Japanese trends that followed.
19) Your summer vacations were often synonymous with visiting your grandparents
20) Your parents, at some point, told you ‘Dark Room’ was a bad game to play. But you still loved playing it.
21) Bole mere lips, I love uncle Chips!
22) You know the song ‘Made in India’ by Alisha Chinoi by heart.
23) You have seen many many many episodes of ‘Antakshari’ on Zee TV and know the only thing constant in the show is Anu Kapoor.
24) Many evenings have been spent watching little kids gyrate vulgarly on Boogie Woogie on Sony.
25) You were the coolest thing in class if you had a computer in your house while it was still the 90s.
26) You learnt LOGO in school!
27) You couldn’t wait to start 4th/6th standard so you could start writing with PENS instead of with pencils!
28) You often used terms and phrases like ‘kutti’, ‘abba’, ‘same to you, back to you, with no returns’, and ‘shame shame, puppy shame, all the donkeys know your name.’
29) You most probably saw Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge at the cinema at least once. You also fantasized singing songs in mustard fields like in the movie.
30) You have seen David Dhawan and Govinda movies and laughed at them.
31) You have said ‘haw’ or ‘haw ji ki pawji’ when you saw people kissing in English movies
31) You have seen Titanic at least 12 times.
32) You thought seeing English movies and speaking English made you the coolest thing ever.
33) You remember the Orissa cyclone, even though you didn’t know what a cyclone was.
34) You remember the Gujarat earthquake very clearly and could possibly tell everyone EXACTLY what you were ding when the earthquake occurred.
35) Barbies for girls, and GI Joes for boys were the ultimate status symbols. You just wanted more more more and more. And how can I forget Hot Wheels, for both boys and girls? I personally have a collection of over 30 little Hot Wheels cars.
36) You have worn Osh-Kosh B’gosh and United Colours of Benetton(Asli ho ya nakli!) clothes while growing up. And you thought ‘imported’ clothes were definitely way better than ‘made in India’ clothes (never mind that a lot of clothes brought from overseas by NRI relatives were actually made in India, before ‘Made in China’ started appearing on EVERY existing thing)
37) You know the words to ‘Posham Paa’, and like it better than ‘Oranges and Lemons’ even though you’d sing the latter to sound cool (see 32 above).
38) At some point or other, cool was your favourite, and therefore, most overused word.
39) Captain Planet was your first introduction to environmental awareness.
40) You have tried to convince people around you to not burst crackers on Diwali, and then gone straight back home and burst them yourself.
41) You have had endless packets of Parle G biscuits, and of Brittania Little Hearts biscuits.
42) You loved licking off the cream from the center of Bourbon biscuits.
43) There were no Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Puma- Bata and Liberty was the way to go for your sports shoes.
44) You have probably consumed more Frooti in your lifetime than there is oil in Iraq.
45) You watched Baywatch on Star World even though (or because) your parents said you shouldn’t watch it.
46) You bought packets of potato chips for the specific purpose of collecting Tazos. And you had Tazos depicting everyone from Confucius to Daffy Duck to Daffy Duck dressed as Confucius.
47) For the longest time, the Maruti 800, the Premier Padmini, The Fiat, and The Ambassador were the only cars you saw on the road, and the Contessa was cool because it was bigger.
48) You would literally jump up in excitement if you ever chanced upon an imported car (Oh my gosh, is that really a MERCEDES?)! (Now a Ferrari/Porsche drives by and you don't even turn your head.)
49) You spent a good part of 1998 drooling over the Hyundai Santro and the Daewoo Matiz , debating which one was better.
50) You used to Fuzen gum. You also chewed Big (big) Babol and/or Boom Boom Boomer chewing gum. They were bright pink and disgusting tasting, but you loved them for the temporary tattoos.
51) Talking of temporary tattoos, you sometimes had contests with your classmates about who had more tattoos on their arm, leg, knee, hand, forehead, wherever.
52) You thought Mario and Contra were the coolest things ever invented, especially if you were a boy.
53) You knew that having the latest Hero or Atlas bicycle would make you the coolest kid on the block.
54) You can imitate Sushmita Sen’s Ms Universe winning gasp to perfection.
55) You have, at some point of time, worn GAP clothes (real or fake) like SRK in KKHH.
56) Seemingly senseless acronyms like SRK, DDLJ, KKHH actually make sense to you.
57) You have at some point debated who was more beautiful- Aishwarya or Sushmita.
58) If you lived in Delhi, you went bowling at Essex Farms, or Go-Karting at 32nd Milestone and couldn't think how you could get any cooler than that.
59) Baskin Robbins ice-cream was THE thing to have!
60) You know what Campa Cola is. And you also knew that Coca Cola was THE drink.
61) When you would watch WWF keenly every evening/afternoon and really think that Undertaker had 7 lives and he made an "actual" appearance in the Akshay Kumar- starrer Khiladiyon ka Khiladi.
62) When all backpacks (or 'schoolbags') and water bottles and tiffin boxes had strange cartoon characters that were hybrid versions of seven or eight different characters, and you still bought them, because a green man wih a water pistol, boots, a jet-pack, Johnny bravo hair, a rajasthani mustache, gloves, and underwear (long johns) over his pants, called 'Mr. X' was OBVIOUSLY a status symbol.
63) You remember the washing powder Nirma jingle.
64) You remember the Nirma girl. (Twist-twist-freeze!)
65) You remember the 'doodh doodh' ad and also the 'roz khao andey' ads.
66) You grew up reading, if you read at all, some or all of Nancy Drews, Enid Blyton books, Hardy Boys, Alistair McLean, and Tintin, or Archie or Marvel comics. Because naturally, reading foreign authors made you much cooler than reading Tinkle/Champak/Amar Chitra Katha. (Re: Point 32)
67) Towards the late 90s (1998-99) at least some of us started our Harry Potter obsessions!
68) You absolutely HAD to go to Essel World if you went to Mumbai! "Essel World mein rahoonga main, ghar nahin nahin jaaonga main!"
69) You watched the Bournvita Quiz contest on TV pretty religiously. The smarter ones amongst you actually took part in it and had your entire school and your entire extended families watch you on it!
70) "Jungle jungle baat chali hai, pata chala hai. Tururururu, Arre Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai, phool khila hai!"
71) Maggi 2 Minute Noodles = ultimate snack (and tiffin, lunch, dinner)!
72) If you grew up in the early 90s, you recall the nation's obsession with Mahabharata on TV
73) In the later 90s, you religiously followed Hip Hip Hooray on Zee. Maybe Just Mohabbat on Sony too. (I was a huge fan of Just Mohabbat, n almost cried when they replaced Jai. :P )
74) You eagerly awaited Friendship Day, so you could give friendship bands to all your friends, and get bands from them in return. Then, of course, those with the most bands loved to show them off (and on Rakhi, boys with the most Rakhis loved showing those off too!)
75) This list made you smile.

Regarding point 75, This list actually brought tears to my eyes thinking how true most of it is, and how I actually have been thru most of the things mentioned! Yes, I am a proud 90s baby!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm sick and tired of companies who would rather spend millions lobbying and giving their senior management golden parachutes and golden handshakes even as the relevant industry goes belly up. Industry should be retooling with new cleaner technology that will save our fragile planet from the doom that is impending upon it, rather than looking for short term profits. Governments should be steeply subsidizing green technologies, and sharply cutting down Carbon production. Now, if the argument is made to the effect that the Petroleum and related industries are crucial to the economies of the Superpowers, well at this rate, we won't have to worry about Superpower status, we'll have to worry about the very existence of mankind.
Where are we going? What are we doing to our home? This is the only planet that we know is inhabitable. Although we look for other places in our solar system in inhabit, we're destroying out current habitat too quickly and too recklessly to go back. Already glaciers are melting at rates that were thought to have been possible twenty years in the future. Fairly soon, rivers will dry up as the snow capped mountains will have lost all their snow. Ocean levels would have risen and complete countries will be inundated. And then the real problem will rear its head. Globalization will take on a completely different meaning... For in a globalized world, everything is interconnected. Climate refugees will pile into their more fortunate neighbors' homes. With resources dangerously low at the moment on the planet, who are we kidding by thinking that the neighbors will actually open their doors to the refugees and welcome them with open arms to share the little of what they'd have?
If they were expected to do so, it wouldn't be fair, and there would be chaos. And as the Joker once said, "Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!"

The symptom, the disease, and the cure.

     So, I was having a late night chat with one of my friends. And he sure was in a mood today! He had been to a government office this morning to enquire about his Voter ID Card. Having been snubbed twice, once in September(when the card was supposed to have been ready) and again in November(until when the card delivery was postponed), and then again in December(this morning when he was told to check again next month) Mr Shivam Sarawagi lost his cool. Now let's get one thing straight here. Shivam isn't someone who is angered easily. I mean, had it been me in his place, I'd have done what he did on my second visit to the office itself! Oh yes, Shivam is the epitome of a gentleman. However, he lost his cool. And he gave it to the government employee (the class of whom are strangely referred to as Public Servants!). And Shivam, my man, used foul language. Oh yeah, he really had it in for the fella! And legend has it that the officer actually had to give in writing the exact day that he would deliver the Voter ID Card.
     However, I am not here to talk about inefficient and sub standard government employees/public servants, or gentlemen who lose their temper rarely and spectacularly. None of that. What I am here for, is to show to the best of my abilities, where India as a nation is failing. 
     As we all know the state of the nation is abominable at best. We are 1 billion strong. We have the world's largest supply of manpower. We have the brightest minds on the planet. We have the oldest culture. We have had a 10,000 year old library at Nalanda. We invented the Zero. Blah blah blah. Those are achievements that any country would be proud of. And now for the part that would make most readers squirm in their seats. We have had the most number of terror attacks in the past 35 years in any country in the world. We have had the most number of deaths resulting from religious riots than in any country in the world (There have been countless deaths during the Holocaust as well as the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and of the Tutsis in Zimbabwe so I guess we're better off than some other countries on this count at least!). We still have a large fraction of our population below the poverty line, illiterate, and helpless to the vagaries of nature. In spite of all this, we dare to say that India is shining?           

     Reality check, folks; India is not shining! India is far from shining, actually. We as a people are condition to love and/or to hate people of particular communities. Shivam said that those people hate India. And something inside of me made me ask him, "abe kisi ke liye bhi love ya hatred inborn hota hai kya?". The conversation that followed is pasted below. Straight off the chat window. Portions have been edited to maintain sanity, but the content is mostly intact.

Abhishek Joshi: "abe kisi ke liye bhi love ya hatred inborn hota hai kya?"
Abhishek Joshi: is anyone's genetic wiring such that they hate or love a specific country or person?
shivam sarawagi: inborn nhn hota
Abhishek Joshi: it is taught to them, isn't it?
Abhishek Joshi: taught by the illiterate society they live in..
Abhishek Joshi: taught by their selfish evil leaders
Abhishek Joshi: taught by their parents blinded by hatred...
Abhishek Joshi: is it not so?
Abhishek Joshi: we can't just think of destroying the symptom.
shivam sarawagi: haan
shivam sarawagi: we must kill the disease
Abhishek Joshi: as long as the disease remains, the symptom will keep on returning..
shivam sarawagi: hmm
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is not those ppl, but it is that those ppl are unaware and illiterate
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is the evil bastards who teach the poor folks hatred 
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is the vote bank politics that goes on in our country each and every year that continues to divide the country in the name of religion and caste.
shivam sarawagi: iska kya illaz hai??? (What is the cure???)
Abhishek Joshi: you understand what i'm sayin now?
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: so the cure for this disease is education and nothing else.
Abhishek Joshi: education is not just math physics and chemistry..
Abhishek Joshi: learning subjects is just literacy..
Abhishek Joshi: education is when ppl are taught facts
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: education is when ppl are taught neutral versions of history
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: it is when they are taught to NOT hate any person or religion or caste
Abhishek Joshi: it is when they see that hatred and destruction NEVER brings any result
Abhishek Joshi: that is the cure

     And that is all I said to him. I believe, or rather, I hope that he was converted by this tirade of mine! But I meant each and every word of what I said to him. I'm sick and tired of parties dividing the people into vote banks. I'm sick and tired of people looking at each other with doubt clouding their vision. I'm sick and tired of government after government serving term after term remaining unaccountable to the people who put them there in the first place. I am sick of people killing each other just because they aren't educated enough to not listen to what their religious leaders have to say. I'm sick of the governments not wanting to educate the people because they would then see through the facade that goes in the name of governance. I am sick of lame duck Prime Ministers and Presidents who "condemn these dastardly attacks on the strongest terms possible" and who say that "the terrorists have no religion nor any love for human life" and who sit twiddling their thumbs while the country burns bit by bit. I'm sick and tired of politicos who want Maharashtra for Marathis and who would rather spend precious public resources renaming a city from Bombay to Mumbai, from Madras to Chennai, from Calcutta to Kolkata, from Bangalore to Bengaluru rather than doing something productive for those cities. 
     I'm sick and tired of successive governments dragging their feet on issues like clean energy. I'm sick of governments who would rather have criminals occupying Parliamentary positions than have rivers cleaned up so that the people living on their banks would live in peace. I'm sick and tired of religious parties taking out dharnas and demonstrations on shitty issues rather than cleaning up our so-called "holy" rivers and "holy" cities. I'm sick and tired of people being fooled in the name of religion into doing stuff that they wouldn't dream of doing otherwise. It's time we got MAD. It's time we got MAD at those religious fanatics who are destroying our society in the name of Ram, Jesus, Allah (Any other name you want to fill in). And it's time that you got mad too.