R K Laxman needs no introduction. Nor his timely comments through his cartoons.
This morning’s cartoon, depicts the common man listening to a man reading the newspaper and exclaiming, "Things are getting better. In the whole paper today, there are reports of only two murders, one bank robbery…."
Today’s Headlines cover a famour case where two young students murdered a perceived threat to their romance by poisoning him. Both got life sentences.
The next prominent front page news was one major robbery in the local electricity distribution board’s collection center from which about a lac and a half of rupees were robbed at gun point.
Not many other criminal cases inside. Things are certainly improving!!
My friend from Tirupur shared a problem that he faces in the new factory that he has put up at Coimbatore. He is unable to get employable workers! He personally went to some villages around Coimbatore to recruit some apprentices but was unable to. He was amazed at the response from women of these villages who were willing to come to learn and work in his plant if some kind of hostel accommodation was provided but the men were simply not interested. The reason? The various schemes given out by the government for the unemployed gave them sufficient funds to enjoy themselves without working.
Normally, I would have written off such comments as prejudice from armchair pundits. This friend however is not prone to exaggeration nor is he capable of untruth. He sincerely wished to create wealth and provide employment to people from the underprivileged background but this is what he found.
He further went on to say, that his is not an isolated instance, and other small and medium scale entrepreneurs too were faced with this problem. Both at Coimbatore and Tirupur therefore, increasingly, women from Kerala and men from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, are being encouraged to come to work. I have first hand knowledge of the imported labour from Bihar and UP in the North Western states of India as well as in Gujarat and Maharashtra and its political dimensions.
Is this now Nature’s way of unifying India? Consider the additional fact of Haryana and Rajasthani men not finding brides locally due to female infanticide etc, going to Kerala, Orissa etc to bring back brides, this certainly seems to be so!
The minus side to this development however is the fact that the women involved in all this simply slog, and the men folk of their families enjoy themselves at their expense. About that development, more in a future blog.
I had given a brief note about Tirupur in my post yesterday and rather mysteriously advised that I shall continue on the subject of “Aspirations”. So, here I go.
My guests are son, daughter-in-law and grandson of a very dear friend of mine from Tirupur. My friend is a second-generation entrepreneur but has concentrated on being an agent for various manufacturers and a merchant rather than go into manufacturing. His father before him too was similarly a merchant.
My friend, let us call him SG, had a lot of hopes of his only son, my guest, let us call him SM, will join him in the business after his college education. SM did try that for a while but found that working for his father was too restraining and so went off on his own into business. He is a serial entrepreneur, and was one before that term became popular. He had a series of fiascos and finally came out a winner and has been with two businesses, which are successful since the last five years.
He, his wife and two sons however find that Tirupur is not exactly the kind of place that they would like to live. They have set up another home at Coimbatore, which is only fifty kilo meters away and is the largest city in that area.
Just about every family from Tirupur is going through this problem of the younger generation not prepared to live and work in Tirupur. They want to migrate to bigger cities and even abroad. Given the background that every singly business house in Tirupur is family owned and managed, there is a kind of crisis building up with younger generations not willing to stay there.
So, from agriculture to industry/commerce and to emigration, aspirations have made Tirupur an enigma! When I probe the causes for this phenomenon, I find that information regarding the life styles of people in cities, gleaned from the ubiquitous TV is responsible for this desire to get away from the stifling family, cast and social restraints that the rather orthodox community of Tirupur insists on.
So, a kind of revolution of sorts is taking place and quite how the next twenty or so years will be handled by this buoyant town is to be seen.
We have guests who have come to spend a few days with us to enjoy the monsoon. They come from the rain shadow area of Tamil Nadu where, they hardly ever see rain. Since agriculture was such a miserable way to live, almost the entire area converted into a hosiery manufacturing cluster- Tirupur.
I have been associated with Tirupur from 1969. My first visit is still vividly etched in my mind. There was literally nothing in that town except a big wholesale trade in cotton and a few ginning mills. There were a few banian makers like Spider, Bison etc and quite a few handloom enterprises. The modes of transport for visiting salesmen like me was to either hire a bicycle for a day or to use pony drawn jatkas.
There was only one place where one could stay for the night and that was a lodge with a hall containing a number of cots and just two toilets and bathrooms for the whole lot. Most sensible salesmen, stayed in Coimbatore and worked Tirupur and Avanashi by visiting from there. The bus service between the three towns was quite efficient though not frequent enough.
Today, Tirupur is a completely different place, almost a full-fledged city. It has some hotels and restaurants that can compete with the best in the world. It has a work culture that is unbelievable for its sheer exuberance. There are so many Rupee Zillionaires that they are no longer of any novelty value. Like all other cities, it also has its maddening traffic, pollution, crowds; lack of parking places, civic amenities etc, but survives successfully in that chaos it does.
I shall continue with this article tomorrow. The title “Aspirations” has to be elaborated and that will be done tomorrow, somewhat like the TV serials!
Since long, some of my well-wishers have been urging me to blog. I did blog on some social networks and even had my own blog on a free hosting service for a while. I just could not somehow enjoy doing that kind of blogging. I was finally persuaded, by some very persistent friends to blog seriously and this is the beginning of what I hope will be a long affair with blogging.
In my retirement, I have become quite a prolific writer in the sense that I correspond regularly on the email, offer comments on a number of blogs that I regularly visit and also indulge in a bit of professional writing. Having acquired that kind of experience over the last few years, I believe that the time has come to channel some of my free time into blogging.
George Bernard Shaw had this to say about why he wrote:
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
I can well believe that he was quite sincere in this conclusion. The satisfaction of creating something for the sheer joy of creating itself is worth the effort. If in the process, one is able to share one’s thoughts with others via a medium, get feed back and generate some discussions on it can only add to the joy. I hope that my belief will stand vindicated in the days to come.
My first blog was on the subject of “tension”. Why I chose to start with that theme was to let off some steam that had built up over the last few weeks in getting the blog ready and running.
To start with, I had to commit myself to blogging and I knew that the only way to do was to commit money to it. I therefore bought a dot com domain and paid for a hosting service. Having committed thus, the next step was to get the blog structured and this was when the tension started to build up.
I do not wish to go into all the steps that had to be taken before the blog could see the light of day. What made it finally happen is the wonderful world of bloggers. I simply contacted a blogger from Pune by searching for “bloggers from Pune” via google search. Despite living in Mumbai, one blogger Tarun, encouraged me and assured me that he will help me by guiding me step by step on the Instant Messenger or through emails. Luckily, he was able to invite me to a lunch meeting of the Pune bloggers held recently and I met some great people there. One happens to live quite close to where I live. This blogger, Amit gets my full gratitude and appreciation for holding my hands and easing the tension to see that the blog got off the ground.
This world of bloggers, so cheerful and helpful is a revelation to me. As readers will see from my profile, I am no spring chicken! Every single one of the bloggers that I met at the lunch was younger than my son, the eldest, possibly by at least seven years! That did not stop them from sharing their joy with me. What an amazing fraternity! I hope that there will be more opportunities to meet these wonderful young people and share my joy of blogging with them.
Now that I have started blogging, I hope to post at least one blog per day, every single day. I shall explain my motivation to blog in the next few posts.