Thursday, April 30, 2009
Today morning, just as Bombay goes to vote on issues that confront us in this megapolis, I received this mail from a friend that made me feel petty.
Are the issues on quality of life we face larger than the nation? We think we are in the line of fire - recession, inflation, poor urban infrastructure. Perhaps we are actually not in the line of fire.
There are thousands of soldiers who, today are guarding our frontiers selflessly, without any recognition, without any honour, simply to guard the Indian way of life - so that we can live, live safely, prosper. And what do we and elected representatives do? We crib about issues, and our politicians make merry at our cost and at the cost of these brave men.
I am so moved by the mail that I am reproducing it here in its entirety - for the first time I am putting in third-party content . Read on, think for yourself who's in the Line of Fire...
A real story ...A gossip between a Soldier and Software Engineer in Shatabdhi Train .........An interesting and a must read!
Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdhi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought; he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do!! He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.
'Are you from the software industry sir,' the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car.
'You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today everything is getting computerized.
''Thanks,' smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stockpile built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass. 'You people always amaze me,' the man continued, 'you sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside.'
Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naiveness demanded reasoning not anger. 'It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it.' For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement. 'It is complex, very complex.' 'It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid,' came the reply.
This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone. ' Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing.' He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home the point. 'Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centres across the country. Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?'
The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was something big and beyond his imagination. 'You design and code such things.'
'I used to,' Vivek paused for effect, 'but now I am the Project Manager.''Oh!' sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, 'so your life is easy now.'
This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, 'Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work. Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality. To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday.'
Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realization. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth. 'My friend,' he concluded triumphantly, ‘you don’t know what it is to be in the Line of Fire’.
The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek. 'I know sir.... I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire.......' He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time. 'There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolor at the top only 4 of
us were alive.'
‘you are a...?'
'I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft assignment. But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier. On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain sahib refused me permission and went ahead himself.
He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded... ....his own personal safety came last, always and every time.' 'He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir....I know, what it is to be in the Line of Fire.'
Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he switched off the laptop. It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man for whom valor and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far attributed only to epical heroes. The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight. 'It was nice meeting you sir.'
Vivek fumbled with the handshake. This hand... had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the tricolour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute. It was the least he felt he could do for the country.
PS: The incident he narrated during the capture of Peak 4875 is a true-life incident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight. For this and various other acts of bravery, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the nation's highest military award. Live humbly, there are great people around us, let us learn!
With a face that beamed with a radiance brighter than that of the sun.
With a warmth, that made my heart glow as bright as the sun.
She touched my heart like no one had.
Her voice soothed my innerself.
Together we moved a little while....
With that extra spring in every step.
It all seemed so bright and sunny.
The day would never end, it seemed.
'Till eternity, we'll walk together, hand in hand!'
My face lit up at this thought.
A moment later,
Vanished she was without a trace.
My lonesome heart trembled.
A tear-drop from my eye
Fell to the parched earth below.
I walked on.....
For life had to be lived.
Little did I know....
Where my tear fell,
There grew a shrub of red roses.
Red Roses of the Love that Never Was.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
- The SP has a jazzy website, in English, yes that's right - they are using computers and the net, that too in English.
- Mulayam's supporter, Big B, a net freak who passionately blogs every day, would perhaps have to revert to his father's passion - Hindi poetry. Arrey baba, no English, vinglish!
- Aishwarya, another SP supporter, would have to stop all movies in English, stop her jaunts to Cannes and above all no western clothes - that's a logical consequence of SP's policies, right?
- Anil Ambani, another Mulayam supporter, runs a clutch of companies that invest in the markets. If the SP comes to power, would all these companies go bankrupt?
- The son of a prominent SP candidate from Mumbai would have to shut down his upmarket eatery in Bandra, because it serves Italian khaana peena, corrupting Indian minds. And his wife, a Bollywood starlet, would have to stop wearing western dresses, and no make-up, shake-up!
- Last but the least, the ever grinning Amar Singh, would have to stop all his Page 3 party hopping - that's simply not Indian culture.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I received an interesting text message this morning, which said something like this:
Some relations are like Raymond's,
- since 1925.
Some are like ICICI Bank
- from 8 AM to 8 PM.
But very few are like LIC
- Zindagi ke saath bhi, zindagi ke baad bhi!!!!
I realised that this is so true. These are the relations we all truly cherish, yet we barely realise all this in our daily routine.
Sometimes, we think we hurt ourselves by assuming some relationships are the timeless ones, whereas they turn out to be short lived ones. Once the context changes, the relationship whithers away. And it could pain quite a lot because one would have selflessly invested ones' emotions in it, yet one feels used like a tissue paper.
But some relationships withstand and transcend context and time. These are the relationships that are truly "relationships". If I look at these relationships, I find very few of these, where unconditional selflessness is there on both sides, the emotional bonding remains strong, despite physical distances. Doesn't one feel the emotional strings of these relationships tugging on you all the time?
It is these relationships one is scared to lose. Isn't that why we don't like seeing our parents age?
But then, little do we realise that these relationships leave a certain glow like a guiding light and warmth that keeps our hearts beating till day we are here..... that is why these relationships are timeless, zindagi ke saath bhi, zindagi ke baad bhi!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
How do we prepare ourselves to cope with all this?