Terrorism.

Jean has asked a very challenging question on Indian terrorism and I am sure that a lot of others may also want to know more about it.

Instead of pontificating about the matter, I have accepted the challenge and have started a post on the subject that will perhaps take a couple of posts to cover the entire gamut of 60 years of neglect that has brought about the present state of affairs.

This is to give advance notice – Watch this Space as they say!

Misery Never Comes Singly and Misfortune Loves Company

These two adages keep coming true in my life at regular intervals. When I share them with my friends, they too confirm that it holds true for them too. In my case some other adages also happen simultaneously.

Let me share two recent instances with you

Three weeks ago, I stubbed my toe. This happened because at home I normally wear flip-flop slippers on bare feet. Our weather permits this!!

There was a lot of bleeding and it took a while to stop. It was not very painful and I just applied some antiseptic cream on it and let it dry. Unfortunately, every now and then the bleeding would start again and I would have to wash it in antiseptic lotion and apply the cream again. Three days later, it was swollen a bit and I went to see my GP, who gave me a shot and prescribed some anti biotic pills.

Two days after the visit to the GP, I stubbed the same toe again and the nail almost came off. There was quite a bit of bleeding again, and off I went to the GP who repeated the dose and asked me to be careful for a couple of days. He asked me to come back after two days to see if I would need Out Patient visit to a surgery to remove the nail. This is when the third adage came true. My son coming to know the tale, very affectionately called me a Bull in a China Shop.

After two days, the GP decided that there would be no need for surgical intervention, and that I just had to be careful. He informed me that the old nail would fall off automatically and a new nail would take its place. I have gone through the entire time being extremely careful and so far nothing has happened and the old nail is about to fall off any time now. I eagerly look forward to that happening so that I can start wearing shoes to go out. I am now constrained to use sandals.

The other story is more to what has been going on in this blog the last few days, since I posted about my young Representative Friend. No, I am not yet ready to post the second and concluding part of that episode. This goes back to my post of June when I had talked about some friends of mine who were struggling to establish themselves between rural India and Urban India.

This time around, the wife rang me up on a long distance call lasting, hold your breath, a cool thirty minutes! Subject? Marital discord. Two households causing a drag on relationships. What should I have done? Why me? I think that I should go into business being a marriage counselor. At least, I will get paid for it.

I know that some of you will comment on my listening skills and how blessed I am to have it. It is just that I feel, after the event, like letting off some steam. Blogging makes it possible without causing offense to anyone. I would not stop being around for people who want a listening post.

Advantage Of Being In Debt.

Readers will remember my posts about my friend’s problems with his credit card. A reader impressed by the posts, sent me the following story by email.

Ramesh and Sumathi were on a cruise holliday to celebrate their ten years of wedded bliss.

In a sudden storm, their liner ran aground in the night and in the morning the Captain advised the passengers that, he was sorry to report that, although the ship had run aground on an island, the island was itself not on any map and it was unlikely that they will be found by anyone. He was unable to send any messages as the electrical and radio equipments were all damaged beyond repair in the wreck.

Ramesh turned to Sumathi and asked her “Did you send the check to XYZ Bank for the monthly credit card payments?” Sumathi – “Sorry, I forgot.” Ramesh, “And the check for the house loan monthly payment?” Sumathi, sorry, in the hurry to pack and leave, I forgot that too”. How about the car loan, he asked and got the same reply.

Ramesh heaved a sigh of relief and said, “Not to worry. They will find us.”

Bihar, My Bihar!

I am a Bihari by qualification. By that, what I mean as an unusual definition is that my educational qualification at graduate level is from Bihar. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts from the Bhagalpur University, Bihar, which then was one of the better universities offering distance education. Another one was the Utkal University in Orissa.

I chose Bhagalpur as for me it was more convenient to visit and write, selection and final examinations there. I passed out with a higher second division. A respectable if not very good passing grade. For all my American readers, Class and division are the equivalents of your grading system. First being equivalent to the As in your system and Fail being the equivalent of your D.

Be that as it may, the education and the degree were good enough to get me admission into India’s premier school of management and the rest, as they say is history.

I was proud to be an honorary Bihari and till to date, have very fond memories of my association with Bihar. I have traveled extensively in that state and have some wonderful friends there. Most of them however have immigrated to other states for a livelihood and that is another story altogether.

Bihar today, is a joke. Two jokes that are very popular are as follows:

1. To settle the dispute between Pakistan and India, we should tell Pakistan that they can have Kashmir if they will agree to take Bihar also.
2. A visiting Japanese mission exploring investment possibilities in Bihar, offered to help the then Chief Minister of Bihar that, if they were allowed to run Bihar’s affairs for three years, they would make Bihar into another Japan. The CM promptly retorted that if he were given three days to run Japan, he would make Japan into another Bihar.

Bihar today is a pathetic state though the present Chief Minister is trying just about everything to get it back to its original state of glory and prosperity. I doubt that the other politicians will let him do it. Today, thanks to mismanagement, the worst flooding in the history of India has taken place in Bihar and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and are home and food less. The Indian Army is the only organized body capable of providing help there and thankfully the local administration has agreed to it.

What prompts this rant is the story that appeared in the BBC today. It is about a speeding bus running over people on the roadside watching a film and killing 18 and injuring many others. The local police have seized the bus, but the driver is absconding. Please read this

Firstly, only in Bihar will it be possible to conduct a film show without any safety precautions on the road side, as part of a religious festival and secondly, only in Bihar will it be possible for a bus to go at a speed at which, it is unable to stop such an accident from taking place. It is also only in Bihar that the driver of the bus can be “absconding”, well after the accident took place.

What a sorry state of affairs. I as a taxpayer, object to our tax money going from the federal pool to subsidize this horrendous state of affairs in Bihar. This will be the only way that we can force them into some prudent governance. I hope that other Indians reading this will do something about it. I intend writing to my MP.

An exploited listener.

I flatter myself that I am a good listener and observer of human nature and behavior. By and large I listen attentively to whoever is addressing me and rarely if ever interrupt.

This does not however mean that I am incapable of holding my own in a conversation. Far from it. I can wax as eloquent as the next man and sometimes, perhaps more!

Today’s experience was trying to say the least.

My regular readers will no doubt recollect the Senior Citizen finding it difficult to live with his daughters in law. He has not been seen in the park for some time now, due to the heavy rains that we have been having recently. Today was a bright, sunny and clear evening and he put in an appearance and made a bee line to me, as soon as I finished my walk and sat down at my favorite bench.

After the initial greetings, I made a beginning by a polite enquiry about his health. I think that he has not had an opportunity to talk to anyone else about it and for the next 15 minutes, I heard all about his medical problems. I could not get a word in! I am not exaggerating. I just could not get a word in while he held forth for all of 15 minutes. At the end of it all, he finally asked me, my opinion on whether he should undergo surgery for a problem, fully expecting me to give an opinion on which he could pounce on and talk more. I simply told him that since I am not a doctor, I could not comment and that he should go by his doctor’s advise. He was most disapointed and asked me if I could recommend my doctor to him. I gave him directions to contact my doctor and gently broke off by saying that I had to go home as I was expecting guests.

This is the first time that I was trapped into a one way conversation like this and have made up my mind not ever to ask him about his health again if I see him around.

Some friends sitting close by, later on sympathized with me and expressed their admiration for my patience. I was not being patient. I was feeling cornered! I keep advising people to be assertive and not become doormats, but today I just did not have the heart to interrupt the old fellow and end the rant.

What would you have done?

Prayer.

The Ganesh festival is just over and people are getting back to their normal lives. Some peace and quiet till the Navarathri festivals begin and I understand that people have already started practicing dance steps for the rasya dandi dances. I am not however writing about either festival but about something totally different.

This post is about something that I observed that intrigues me and I wish to share with all of you. During the festival, in our colony, some youngsters always set up a temporary stall with the statue of the Diety. Regular poojas are performed and all residents of the colony make it a point to visit to see the decoration and the more devout, to pray. Those who intend praying, inevitably have to go in a queue before they can directly face the Deity. It takes time, and the crowds, the atmosphere and the children playing around can all be ordeals. But wait patiently, they do, till their turn comes, and stand before the Deity.

It is then that the peculiar thing happens. They stand before the Deity with folded hands and close their eyes! Puzzling is it not? Coming in front for the darshan, after all the trouble, and then closing the eyes!

Do you close your eyes standing before your favorite Deity when you pray?