Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Putting in other's shoes!

After a long time I was back in my Verandah with a cup of tea after the office. For last couple of months it has been somewhat tiresome. Going off on official tour on every week, being stuck in office for petty issues and blah blah ...
Well, actually all these are excuses. I was very much undecided on what to do next! I was all the time calculating and re-calculating my personal schedules and programmes for next few months. It seemed time was running out. So I was never free to relax at my verandah. But it doesn't mean that I am free of all the doubts and dilemmas right now, but still I can sense I'll be, very soon; because I have decided the final date - I'll be resigning by end June.
I am going for pursuing PhD at PSU. But now I have a different kind of dilemma. It is always difficult if you have choices, almost equivalent in various aspects. I have the same problem now. I rang up two of my close friends who have already tackled this choice problem in their PhD! I asked their opinions about the choices, asked what would be their choice if they were at my position. They answered honestly. I came at my verandah and suddenly I realized - there is no point asking their views.
I remembered a scene from Godard's 'Masculine - Feminine'. The protagonist and his friend were having coffee at a cafe. Suddenly a man came from outside hastily and asked the receptionist some direction and went out in same hurry. The protagonist suddenly stood up, went back to the door and enacted the same sequence as the man did and asked the same direction from the receptionist and went out hastily. Seconds later he came back and sat again with his friend. Then he said, 'Putting oneself in some other's shoes does not make him realize the situation at all.'
Am I trying to play the same thing?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fast Car

I was flying by Indian from Bangalore to Pune. I was tired. After boarding the aircraft, I was feeling sleepy. The aircraft was still awiting for clearances and a low tuned soothing instrumental was playing inside. I yawned few times and was almost dozing off, suddenly I heard a familiar tune. The tune just made me awake. It was an old song by Tracy Chapman, 'Fast Car' - A real neat story of a young girl bored of routine mediocre life. The song seemed to change the ambience of the aircraft for me. Unexpected familiarity - that's what makes you happy all of a sudden without any specific reason!

Tracy Chapman - Fast Car'

I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove
You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
We won't have to drive too far
Just 'cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living
You see me old man's got a problem
He live with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
I say his body's too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody's got to take care of him
So I quit school and that's what I did
You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way
I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had feeling I could be someone, be someone,
Be someone
You got a fast car
And we go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a big house and live in the suburbs
You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving
You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Yesterday was Dr. Ambedkar's birthday. The whole day local youths were busy in preparing for celebrations for that. Evening came. In the busiest part of Vishrantwadi (the place where I live) market the celebration started. Unfortunately I had to go to the market in the evening. As I came nearer and nearer to the market, I could feel my heart literally started pounding physically by the sound wave generated by a consortium of 24 sound boxes. They were playing tunes from popular Hindi remixes. Ten to tweleve boys were dancing in front of the dais with the tune of "Dhoom machale dhoom..." a crowd was just standing there and watching nothing. It seemed they got numbed by the sound and can't move! I don't know how they were standing there, because the sound level there must not be below 200 dB! Late in the evening, somebody informed me, there will be dance numbers from a local group of artists. This is the gala celebration! They wait for this celebration every year - the Ambedkar's birthday! How would Ambedkar feel had he been here?

And today, Poila Boishakh. I can't remember which year it is in Bengali!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Biggest Industry of India

I was just going through a week-old news paper when a piece of news caught my attention. It reported the lates findings of a nationwide survey on Worker Population Ratio (WPR) among the country's class I cities (i.e., cities with population more than one million, 27 cities in total). What I understood is that WPR is the ratio of employed persons over total adult population. So it might be an strong indicator of unemployment. The survey has been done on gender basis, and here comes the comparisons.In the male WPR, Mumbai, the so-believed promise land for the unemplyed youth ranks 11th with 78.6% score. Whereas Delhi is far below with 71.4% at 17th rank. The topper of the list is Surat with 88%. Clearly understandable. Surat is purely industrial town. In fact most of the cities appearing in the top ten are justified from a common sense. Say, Bangalore, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Indore, Agra, Meerut ... all are densley industrialized compared to its population.In female WPR comparisons, places like Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Mumbai, Ahmedabad appear in the top ten (29% - 20%), whereas Delhi (11.2%) stays way below. Somehow all these places are known for IT or some other soft industry sectors. Interestingly Bangalore doesn't appear in top ten. As for Delhi, it was never a good place for women!As for Patna, very expectedly it ranks last in both male and female WPR.So the comparative study indeed a representative of industry penetration into the grass-root level of population. And the myths get clarified through surprise statistics. The per capita income may be high on metroes but WPR is much higher in cities brought up industies.Now there comes two real surprises! First one is Jaipur's rank of the scond topper in female WPR. In fact Jaipur has showed a steep increase in female employemnt (27%) in last five years! Which parameter can be attributed to this unexpected phenomenon? Penetration of education? Or insufficient contribution of male income to the family hosehold? Jaipur is not that industry powered. Then what? This is something to be looked in to. And moreover, Jaipur (38%) supasses nearest contender (Pune, 29.3%) by a whopping 9%. It is surely not a joke!The second surprise, which as a matter of fact seemed very obvious to me after a second thought, is the city that ranks second in male WPR and first in female WPR. Before revealing the city, lets solve a puzzle.Which is the biggest industry in India?Garments? Steel? Automobile? IT?Allmost all the cities appearing in the top lists of both the WPR is backed by one or more industry sector; still none of them have been able to perform consistently in male and female WPRs. In fact, other than the city in question, only Indore (4th in male, 5th in female) and Ahmedabad (7th in male, 8th in female) have been able to manage a top ten spot in both the male and female lists. So the power of this industry, which is backing up our city in question is undoubted.The city is Varanasi. The industry backing it is Religion, the biggest industry in India.Varanasi records a 86% male WPR and 41% female WPR and has no other industry except religion. Isn't it very obvious in India?There are more puzzles to solve. We talk of women liberation. 'Modern and cultured cities', like Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, etc., where this 'woman liberation' is a burning issue, a regular topic of discussion and processions lag way way behind in female WPR old, tradional cities like Jaipur and Varanasi. How to explain this?