Monday, 15 July 2013

As we rush through life!

In Washington, DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

About 3 minutes:
The violinist received his first dollar.  A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.  About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32. 

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over.  No one noticed and no one applauded.  There was no recognition at all.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.  Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story.  Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:
1.In a common-place environment, at an inconvenient or inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
2.If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
3.Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

Learning:  If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made... how many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A blank sheet of paper!

In busy office hours; amidst humming and buzzing noises; I got lost seeing an extra piece of white sheet in that sheaf of reports!   I was about to check; that was urgent.  My mind focused on memory; how long it was I wrote a letter or anything on paper! Could not recollect exactly. The last letter I must have written to my mother who departed in 2003. But obviously it was much earlier to her settling to ‘rest in peace’ forever. The white sheet tempted me to write anything that comes in my mind as I used to long ago; long after I wrote last!

Gone are the days of letters. Email and SMS replaced and outdated them almost totally; ever since computer permeated to our offices first and then our households. I am not sure how the word ‘love letter’ sounds to young generations! My heart still throbs faster when I remember writing or receiving my first one! I held the pen again though not sure enough what to write about!
Received a jolt finishing the very first sentence! The culprit is Microsoft. I realized that Microsoft’s word robed me of my minimum knowledge of spellings that I learnt more than half century ago! I was confused about the spellings of simple words. Neither had I had a dictionary handy for reference. The only recourse was computer again; I opened Microsoft’s words to check. But proceeding further became cumbersome; every time I had doubt on spelling; had to go for MS words again and again. Felt really it’s monotonous; so aborted my venture.

I felt; perhaps I have started realizing the philosophy of Karl Marx; capital replaces labors; further it robs even basic knowledge!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Cyber Story !!

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot.

And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg.

Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?" And Abraham did look at her - as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load - but simply said,
"How, dear?"

And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. The drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was called Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures: Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did make an entry himself inside Abraham's drum and began to siphon off some of Abraham's business. But he was soon discovered, arrested and prosecuted for insider trading.

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. And he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drum heads and drumsticks.

Lo, Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others!" And as Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or eBay as it came to be known, he said, "We need a name that reflects what we are." And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." “YAHOO!," said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).
And that is how it all began!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Irom Sharmila's fast to un-fasten noose of AFSPA ...Part - III

( contineued from part ............II)

Today, on news paper I find a news stating that renowned activist Medha Patkar is organizing rally from Jammu Kashmir to Manipur in support of Iriom Sharmila for her unending fight against AFSPA or Armed Forces Special Power Acts; now in force in all the North Eastern States and J&K. What surprises me; has Medha been sleeping for this long period of 11 years, ever since Irom Sharmila was on fast to repeal AFSPA? Or it was other lucrative issues like ‘Narmada Banchao”, oust Tata’s Nano plant from West Bengal and many more were more alluring to her to steal the lime light or strike the headlines! The incredible India and Indians!
So when rest of the country is rallying after Anna for his ‘Jan Lokpal Bill” and anti corruption move and Anna’s fast raising massive support amongst the sensitive, educated middle class; now Sharmila gets a chance. So, Medha is on the move; this time with a ‘Sharmila’ banner. We wait and see how long she lasts
AFSPA was brought into force to suspend and arrest secessionist movements in the states where the law is imposed. On the very first place, no much thought was given; why such movement should get the momentum at all! Where the seed of the problem lies; not that few people without gross public support started it anywhere. Initially, in all these states such movements lay undergrounds; later they surfaced when commoners supported their cause. Lest they could never sustain so long. As a matter of fact; many believe the seed of the problem lies in our constitution; in its very eccentric nature. The power distributed between center and state governments are not balanced. Our constitution is basically eccentric, conferring ultimate power in the hands of ruling central government in every matter of revenue sharing, developments or natural resources tapping. The states in questions were never under British rule during Raj as the rest of our country. In fact those hilly states were not so lucrative for colonizing them and they found it tough to go on war against them. They brought them under little or partial control with various treaties. At the time of independence; the commoners there went grossly unaware of ‘power hand-over’. Later at a slow but steady pace this secessionist movement gathered momentum under the various local tribal leaderships and our eccentric constitution kept on adding fuel in the fire. For Jammu and Kashmir , article 370 failed to meet Kashmiri’s expectations ; for North Eastern States there is simply nothing to protect local interest or sentiments. So; AFSPA was primarily imposed to suppress the voice and movements. As a result the unrest is undercurrent, sometime with tumultuous force and on the surface the killings by Arm Forces or the rebels exist for ever.

(To be continued………..)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Irom Sharmila's fast to un-fasten noose of AFSPA ...Part - II

(Continued from part ….........I)

To start with; let me correct some points in my first chapter,Irom Sharmila witnessed the killings that prompted her to fast unto death till the AFSPA repealed; the victims were not all ladies there were male members too. This has been corrected by one of my friends who has been closely watching the developments since long. Now let us see what AFSPA is all about. This law was passed by Indian Parliament on 11th September 1958 conferring the special powers on Armed Forces to act on Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Trupura as they all were declared disturbed areas. Later this law was extended to Jammu & Kashmir on July 1990.

Now what are the special powers! The Constitution of India empowers a state government to declare it disturbed or a state of emergency is called upon. The reasons could be failure of stated administration and police to tackle the situation as the scale of unrest is too large. As a consequence; the Central send the Armed Forces to control the situation under Armed Forces Special Power Act. This empowers the officers of Armed Forces “ to fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law'/ against 'assembly of five or more persons' or on anyone found in possession of deadly weapons. They can arrest with the use of 'necessary' force anyone who commits certain offense or is suspected to have committed without any warrant and can enter any premise to search and make such arrests.

Just imagine if such law is imposed in your surroundings; how the life would be! Further if it continues for decades; obviously the most peace loving amongst you would turn violent and condemn it. In a free country, as India is, other than those states, no where else human rights are so nakedly violated. Unfortunately the very reason of indifference attitude in the majority of states that they are neither affected nor can visualize an iota of torture and persecutions. Sitting in our drawing room; reading morning news papers; somewhere in 6th or 7th page's bottom some news of north-east's turmoils mostly escape our notice. Our evening telecast news rarely cast any light on the plight of our fellow country men in North-east! Even after six decades of independence; we remain mostly ignorant about them and their ravaged human rights. Our ignorance is bliss for us but for them it's curse!
(to be continued..................)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Irom Sharmila's fast to un-fasten noose of AFSPA

How do we start our days in any of our metropolis or smaller town; the busy morning schedules to catch up with our times. Even in villages where the roads and electricity have reached; the life has become more or less same; the only difference for those who are associated with farming may start the day quite early. The day may vary from one to another due to various professional and occupational differences but for all our days pose no fear.
Imagine a morning you are passing by a bus stand in the outskirts of your town; people there as usual gathered to catch buses. All of sudden 'tara .. tara. ta. ; you find security perosonals on patrol opening fire to those in the bus stand with out any provocation! Ten die there instantly, in that doldrums you manage to take a glimpse, all the ten bodies are of innocent village women lying in pool of blood! What will be you reaction? Just to hurry back your home and taking recourse to nudge the very thought of that heinous killings. That's usual. But there are exceptions ; though exceptions are not rule. That exception is Irom Sharmila . Way back in November 2nd in 2000 ; this happened in the outskirt of Imphal, Manipur. The Assam Rifle opened fire on innocent people under the command of Army. They were empowered with Draconian law; AFSPA or Armed Force's Special Power Act; so they went scot free! But from the next day that was 3rd November 2000; Irom Shamila went on hunger strike demanding the repeal of such archaic , colonial law. Though she was arrested next day and then on she has been force fed through nose and jailed in hospital bed. Once in a year she is released for day to be re-arrested in next day and kept on nasal diet. This cycle has been continuing for the past 11 years!!

It is surmising why there is no furore in our media or political circles for her lone-some fight! Recent movements of Anna Hazare and its result raised the question afresh. Though Anna and some of his followers indicated they are supporting Sharmila's cause and likely to join her in her fight. Only time will answer the reality. However we will see how this law came into force in 1958 under Nehruvian government and what's the consequences.
(To be continued...............)