Being Judgemental

Two colleagues and I were discussing whether it is good being a non-vegetarian eater or a vegetarian eater. I, because of my weakness of seeing red blood, was of the opinion that it is better to be a vegetarian. The two colleagues disagreed. Suddenly one person from another department, who sits a few seats from my workstation and goes by the name… (well, let me not name him) forced himself to be a part of our discussion and said, much to my surprise, that I must not decide (or impose my opinion on) what others should eat. Thereafter he surprised me a little more by saying: “If you are religious why do you drag others to your beliefs?” Then, looking at the other two colleagues in a manner that befits a person of wisdom, he said, “People with a religious or spiritual bent of mind do such things!” And, upon saying so, he gave me a look as a teacher gives to pupils to admonish them for their bad behavior.

Now, wherefrom could he come to such a conclusion without having asked me why I was against eating animals?

I am religiously irreligious! To me anything that is devoid of logic is as good as the trash in your dustbin. Also, I am absolutely ignorant as to what constitutes a religious or spiritual bent of mind in a person. I am a non-vegetarian myself, but upon much pondering over the lives of creatures that inhabit our planet (to which they have as much right as we do) and upon observation of the cruelty they are faced with, I have had a change of heart. Now when I eat chicken or mutton or any other creature whose organs are somewhat similar to the organ of a human body, I feel I am eating my own flesh, I am eating a part of my own organ. I feel very uncomfortable with such feelings and thoughts, and due to which I cannot have a stomach full meal.

Another day, upon being asked what community I belonged to, I stated that I was a Bengali, and the person who asked me the question said: “Ah, then you know black magic!” I wanted to say, “Yes, sir, I know a lot of black magic, and I can send you to hell with my black magic!” But, of course, I said nothing like that.

Society, the crazy breed, would label you with various names and every person would want you to be what they want you to be. If you do not know how to Speak English, some people would mock you and say you are not educated. If you speak English with an accent, some people would say you are pretending to be someone you are not (even when it comes naturally to you). If a girl wears ripped jeans or mini skirt, some find it outrageous. If a man wears a pink dress, some find him unmanly. If a person wears a simple attire, it would automatically mean the person has a poor status. If you decide to marry late, people would say you can’t find a life partner. They can only think of you in the limited spare of experience and knowledge they have attained, and if you don’t fit in to what they think is right, you have no place in this world.

People would provoke you for no reason, at such times one should maintain one’s cool. But it will surely help if when people state their opinion but stop being judgemental. What is not judgemental is when you state something and have valid reasons for saying so, on the other hand when you say something and you cannot support your claim, and your statements affect the other person in a negative way, you, my dear, are being judgemental.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Stop The Blame Game; Change Your Behavior

Day before yesterday, twenty-three people were crushed to death in Mumbai. Many others are in critical condition. It was not a terrorist attack, no bomb exploded, neither was it an earthquake, or a deluge, or any other natural calamities, that caused the deaths and injuries. It was the reckless behaviour of my fellow insane commuters that did it. Death due to stampede is common in my overwhelmingly populated country, but such occurrences are mostly witnessed when there is a mass movement of religious devotees journeying to one of the many sacred sites in India; such incidences are not so common in a railway station where people regularly move to and fro.

The moment I got the unfortunate news of the stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone Road Station and when I saw the pictures of men and women lying dead, I was extremely pained and I was furious. I poured my heart out by writing an expletive laden article. But I decided not to publish the article. I wanted to first calm down, and it took me two days to do so. Hence, I am now writing this article without the expletives. I am still sad and still angry at the way innocent people lost their lives for no fault of theirs.

Dear people of Mumbai, do not just move around blaming the government for what had happened day before yesterday. None but you, yes, you, my fellow commuters, are to blame for the loss of so many valuable lives. I have been in Mumbai long enough to know how you all behave. Your lack of consideration for others have cost people their lives. You are always in a hurry to reach your destination. The moment a train comes to a station you, who wait for the train in the railway station, spring in to the train even before the train halts, even before the passengers who are already in the train have a chance to come out of it (you want space but you don’t allow the others to come out and give you space, and you get in and create more problem and confusion). And, as you run forcing your way in the train, you don’t care whether you push people (women, elderly or little children) around, stamp on their feet, elbow them and injure them. Not a single day passes without someone getting injured, if not killed. Go to Kurla Station or Dadar Station and observe the commuters, you would see everyday someone or the other is fracturing his/her bones, getting a cut somewhere, or is falling down from the train. All this can be avoided only if you are considerate and disciplined.

Yes, the massive population in Mumbai (which is as much as the entire population of the whole of Australia, and which is rapidly rising day after day) is no doubt one of the factors that is creating the main problem. The local trains, being the lifeline of Mumbai, are always packed beyond their capacity. Raj Thackeray is right when he says that problems (like the stampede that happened day before yesterday) would continue to happen as long as the migrants keep coming to Mumbai. But what solution is he providing? Well, he would no doubt want no more migrants in Mumbai and he would also ask people to leave Mumbai. His concern is right, his approach in dealing with the concern is wrong. Migration is a reality and migration will always happen. Whether he likes it or not, he will have to live with it. The development of infrastructure in proportion to the size of the population is the answer to the problem, but development does not happen overnight, particularly in a country which is developing and which happens to be the second most populated country (where most people were corrupted for too long) in the world, and is a democracy.

No doubt, there was a need to have more Foot Over Bridges at Elphinstone Road Station which could have allowed people scatter to other places instead of everyone standing on the single bridge that connects Elphinstone Road Station to Parel. Day before yesterday, it was raining and people wanted to save themselves from the falling rain. It was not someone firing bullet or cannon balls. Rain would not have killed anyone. It had rained earlier also; exactly a month back one month’s rain had fallen in a day but no such stampede happened then. The people could see that the bridge was already full of people yet more and more people gathered in the bridge. No one wanted to let the other person go first, all they cared was for themselves. People are not stones to not feel any pain. The pain of one, which to the inconsiderate other meant nothing, resulted in 23 deaths so far.

Mumbai provides us opportunities to be someone, to earn our livings, to be better than we were. But in the pursuit of material well-being all our civic sense has gone for a toss. All we care about now is how to get more and more for yourselves even as we have thrown our ethical values out the window. We have become slaves to our daily chores, and from human beings we have now become machines, and like machine we have no feelings. Our commercial mindset has killed all the good that was within you, that all men is born with. Our interest comes first (What’s in it for me, eh?) and we have total disregard for the others. We don’t even realize when we are uncivil, which has become the way of life for many of us.

We will be happy if we have better infrastructure in place, but until then we have to make do with what we have. Meanwhile, we must be disciplined (even after being well-educated, peoples’ rowdiness, when they try to board a local train in Mumbai, astonishes me) to avoid casualties.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Rounding Up

I had a shared auto-rickshaw ride from point A to point B. The driver said the fare was seven rupees. I handed him a 10 rupee note and waited to be given three rupees back. He said he did not have change.

“So, what now?” I asked.

“No change,” he repeated, then added: “take three rupees back some other time.”

That ‘some other time’ is another way of saying ‘forget the three rupees.”

I had a coin of five rupees. I told the driver to take the five rupee coin and take two rupees later, but he refused this proposition. He said he did not know me; I said I did not know him either. He wanted to take three rupees more but he was not willing to take two rupees less. There was no point in arguing with the driver as he was absolutely determined to take three rupees more (and not two rupees less). Just for three rupees I was not ready to get embroiled in a fracas which would then, as it happens most of the times, turn into a fistfight.

Quite similarly, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MAHADISCOM) shows how much of a dictator it can be when it comes to rounding up or rounding down of prices.

My final electricity bill amount for the last month came to Rs. 346.37. MAHADISCOM rounded up the amount to Rs. 350.00. Though I paid the amount online, I still had to pay Rs. 350. I have heard of an amount being rounded up or rounded down only when the transaction happens in cash. I believe rounding up or down happens in cash transaction because of the problem people face in giving out the changes of smaller denomination. But in an electronic transaction no such problem occurs. Every time I do an electronic transaction, I pay the exact amount.

I would have still been okay had MAHADISCOM rounded up from Rs. 346.37 to Rs. 347 (though I know that it should actually be made to Rs. 346, since 37 paise is lower than 50 paise). The extra amount which MAHADISCOM charged me (without deserving) is Rs. 3.63.

There are more than 20 million people living in Mumbai (and there are more than 110 million people in Maharashtra, but let’s just consider the case of Mumbai for the present), if MAHADISCOM uses the same tactics with everyone (I know that MAHADISCOM is not the only electricity supplier in Maharashtra, so even if it has about 10 million customers), as it has used in my case, the amount (which can be called illegal amount since the money is taken away without people’s consent) runs to lakhs (if not crores) of rupees!

I am aware that MAHADISCOM rounds down the amount in some cases. My contention here, however, is to do away with rounding up or rounding down of an amount as long as the transaction happens online.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Sports In India

The only sport that most Indians keenly follow and watch is Cricket. This sport has become so popular that it overshadows other sports, often making the players of other sports discouraged, sad and financially weak.

While I have nothing against Cricket (and I do like watching Cricket from time to time) nor do I have any complaints with regard to the huge sum cricketers earn and the lavish lifestyle many of them live, but I don’t like the way Cricket is given so much attention, portrayed as if it is the only sport that matters, and people go so crazy about it – and proudly parrot and seem to believe what the promoters of Cricket say: Cricket is not just a sport but it’s a religion in India – while other sports (and the players) are totally disregarded. Cricket is a fine game to watch but there are also other games as fine as (if not finer than) Cricket. It will do us good if we can remember that Cricket is neither our national sport nor a game that had its origin in India. There is so much more than Cricket in India, which can be realised only if people start giving a little more attention to other sports also, only if the people in the media talked of other sports as enthusiastically as they do of Cricket.

It’s not Cricket’s fault that it is popular, and there is no harm in a sport being popular, but the public is at fault for their bias way of treating other sports, making the other sportsperson feel irrelevant.

The situation for other sports, however, is not as awful and lamentable today as it was a few years back. Other sports are slowly gaining popularity; other sportsperson now feel they are also important, however there is still a long way to go, there is so much more that needs to be done, and we the people of India must show our support for other sports (just as we do for Cricket) and for our players. Players need a cheering audience to boost their morale (not only during big events but also during the smaller ones), and cheering must be done not only for the known players but also for the ones who are not so popular but are trying their best to better themselves and excel in their field). Ministers so proudly offer fancy cars and some money to a few sportsperson only when they are able to bring some recognition to India. Players need finance and proper grooming to feel secure and confident, and that should be done from the beginning, from scratch (not just when they put India in the limelight). Players come not just from the known parts of the country but from remote areas, too, and if one were to gauge the talent of those unfamiliar sportsperson she would be surprised to find many hidden treasures.

Watch Cricket, people, no problem, but do pay some attention to others sports and cheer for all our sportsperson.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

The Days Are Cloudy and Dark

 

The days are cloudy and dark,

And the nights are always so.

No matter whichever way I go,

I find myself stuck in the devil’s park.

I’ve now got so used to the darkness

That I no longer miss the sun.

No longer from pillar to post do I run

To seek the tricky world’s solace.

 

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Lovebirds

Lovebirds often fight,
Make, and then break many a promises
Shed tears, wet their pillows and mattresses
But if one decides to go quiet,
The other seems unable to survive
They are, after all, each other’s delight.

Though their fights are never ending
But as a while goes
In their reasonable and unreasonable reasoning
In all gain and loss
They once again only find a new beginning
And thus their love keeps renewing

That’s how love birds are –
In love while being at war
Near, ever when afar.
Seem uncaring but they care.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

 

Cow, Dog, and Man

Dog: Hey, Cow, holy or unholy, I hate you!
Cow: Why do you hate me?
Dog: Because I am loyal, I am kind and cute, but you, oh dear god, why do you get all the attention, all the love! I hate you! Hate, hate, hate! Bow-bow, bow!
Cow: Ammbaaaaa!
Dog: Don’t call your man! All men discriminate! Their best friend – a dog! To hell with men!
Cow: Ammbaaaaa!
Man: What troubles you, darling cow!
Cow: The dog hates me!
Dog: Bow… Bow-bow!
Cow: Ammbaaaaa!
Man: We men love you, cow! Don’t cry, don’t cry!
Dog: Bow… Bow-bow… bow, bow!

The man and the cow ganged up against the dog. The man decided to ship the dog to China (to be consumed in their popular Yulin festival), but the cow had more more intelligence than the man and the cow made more sense. The cow suggested that instead of transporting the dog to China (a foreign country) which would incur heavy transportation cost, it would be better to send it to Nagaland (which, whether some of the Nagas like it or not, is within India) where dog meat is as much a delicacy as it is in China! The man agreed and the dog was never heard of again.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Be Careful of Cats, Particularly Black Cats

My grandmother had no affection for my lovely feline friends. She had a particular and a serious dislike for one such friend of mine that had a dark complexion. This jolly good friend had often found a way to enter my house in search of food and, if I may say so, love. I liked it immensely and named it Darkie. For giving such a name, I could have been accused of being a racist, I could have been tried in a court of law as well, but it was a cat and I knew cats could file no law suit; all they can do is say ‘meow!’ So every time I called Darkie by its name, it meowed!

The dark complexion of the cat, said my grandmother, was a sign of pure evil. To get some attention when Darkie came to me and purred and rubbed its body against my legs, my grandmother would say that the cat was cursing me in its language, that it was spreading its nefarious power over me, and that something bad would now befall me. She used to scold me whenever I had walked past a path that the cat had crossed before me. She used to say that I must call the names of all the gods and goddesses before I dare to take a step ahead. “But, granny,” I had objected, “the cat is going its way, and I, mine.”

She did not like the way I gave my time and attention to Darkie and she made faces and said that I had no respect for her, that I was arrogant for not heeding the words of a wise old woman. I knew, like any other cat, Darkie had a heart as well, and I could vouch for the fact that Darkie had a heart of gold. But my grandma said that if Darkie had a heart at all, it would be darker than its complexion!

My grandmother was unreformable. Her beliefs and opinions, though superstitious, were strongly held and she had lived with her opinions for over 80 years, so any newfangled idea hardly mattered to her. Before my grandmother bid adieu to the world, her last piece of advice for me was: “Be careful of cats, particularly black cats.”

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Upon Making a Mistake

Even a minor mistake rattles me
When made, shame engulfs, guilt overpowers
And a cloud of sadness around my head hovers
I would have been better off without being so silly!

The thought of having made a mistake,
Of having not been more careful,
And of having made myself a fool
Is, although I try, difficult to forsake.

Yes, I see the mistake and I know I made it
But, no, it’s not that I don’t know
The right way of doing it and saying it.
Only for a moment I let the rein of my sense go.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

A Long Paragraph From A Short Story

In the night we had the drinks in our room (Kranti’s and mine became the common room). Narayan was not feeling well and he said he would rest for a while in his room. Bosco had brought playing cards and he was ready to teach me and Kranti how to play (innocent as we were in the game of cards), provided we staked our money. Bosco has great love for America but this time it was Kranti who wanted to play in American Dollar, and we had to acquiesce to his demand. We played Teen Paati (the real game for the real gamblers, called Flush or Flash in English). It was my wish to play that game although I had scant knowledge of it. I wanted to know how this game is played, and perhaps be a master at it, because it is this game that robbed my father of all his fortune and made him a pauper, thereby degrading our family’s stature. Bosco taught us the rule of the game and we began playing. The game, it seemed, purely depended on luck, and my luck was no better than my father’s. I lost all my money but to keep the game going on (for I still hoped that I would make some money, or compensate for the losses at least) I resorted to borrowing. At first I borrowed from Bosco. “How much?” asked Bosco with a smile (he was only too happy to lend me, it seemed; but the real reason for his happiness was because I was going to repay the loan with hefty interest). I lost again, but I still had some guts and I borrowed again. I decided I would continue playing as long as Bosco was lending me his never-ending money. My luck favoured me once and I earned some, repaid a little to Bosco and I told him that I would pay the remaining very soon. But, again I lost and again I had to borrow. Now with the principle and the interest I owed a total of $1300 to Bosco. Now Bosco seemed uneasy about lending me anymore, he feared that his loan would turn out to be a bad loan. Now the only other alternative I had was to borrow from Kranti. Kranti did give me some bucks (but he was cautious and gave me only a few Dollars) and he charged a rate of interest almost double the rate Bosco charged me (cruel, no?). But, all the same, I needed money, and needed it desperately. Again I lost the money I borrowed from Kranti. All together now I owed $800 to Kranti. In short, I was broke and ruined! But, patient and gracious reader, shall I tell you a good news? I don’t owe any real money to anybody. We considered another card called UNO (heard of it?) as our American Dollar and that was what kept us going! So, after all, it was not a real game for the real gamblers (if it were, neither would Bosco nor would Kranti had given me a single cent) and I took no foolish step like my father did. Now, lovely reader, bemoan no more but make merry!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The story is rather a long one, not a lengthy one though (mind you) and I thought it was too long to be a blog post, hence only a paragraph (the longest one, and I know it seems daunting) is made available here. To read the full story, please click here

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

My Wish Remains a Wish

I wish only peace could prevail between the two of us
And all the trifling arguments could come to an end thus
But, as it happens, my wish once again only remains a wish
And, alas, instead of peace what prevails is the disease
And as the days further, the disease only spread and spread
Though I could’ve wished a little more, but from wising now I dread.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Big Brother Is Watching You!

Do you have an elder brother? What is he like? Conservative and dominating or friendly and humble? If you have an elder brother who is conservative and dominating, I feel pity for you as much as I feel pity for myself. If your brother, on the other hand, is friendly and humble, I will congratulate you, for you have a gem of a brother.

In India, as in the other parts of the world I assume, elder brothers are given great importance. Well, they may not be given as much importance as we give to our father and mother, however in the absence of our parents, the elder brothers (or sisters) play the role of one.

Now, from time to time – that is, on special occasions (which, I must submit, are rare in my case) – I like to indulge in a little drinking. Many people find it difficult to spend their time without imbibing a little on the night of 31st December (the night of the nights). A few days prior to 31st December, friends and neighbours start asking what your plans are for the 31st. When a neighbour asked me the same question, I replied to him saying that I was not doing anything much; I would just sit quietly in my room and have a glass or two of wine and have something to eat with it. My neighbour wanted to say something but he was holding back. At last, when he could hold back no longer, he wished his desire to have a drink with me in my room. That was the 31st of December and I wanted to say goodbye to the year in a high spirit and welcome the coming year with even more enthusiasm. I could have denied my neighbour to have a drink with me by giving some excuses, but then I thought what’s the harm in having a company who will only make the environment livelier while I drink? So, I said that he was welcome. He asked me whether I would mind if he brought in a friend of his. I said I would not. He seemed delighted to hear that. He informed me that he would join me in a few minutes.

After a while, he came to my room. Along with him came his friend and (well, yes, one more person) his brother. I looked at them, they looked at me. I was just about to say, “come, feel at home and make yourself comfortable,” but they did it voluntarily and I saved my words. The neighbour had something in his hand that was wrapped in plastic. When I asked him what it was, he placed it on the table and started unwrapping the plastic and said: “See for yourself, homie.” It was a bottle of Whiskey.

I sat on my chair. The neighbour and his friend sat on two chairs near me, while the neighbour’s brother lay down on the sofa (he didn’t join us). I had prepared salad and made omelette to eat while drinking. The neighbour suddenly had an idea and asked us to wait a few seconds till he returned. The sudden idea of the neighbour was a mystery to me. After about five minutes the neighbour returned and with him he brought a few pieces of fried chicken. “Excellent stuff!” he exclaimed. His friend gave a half smile and his brother seemed sad and occupied with some thoughts.

I had my wine with me. The neighbour and his friend drank Whisky (which I found too strong due to its high alcohol content) and chew on the chicken pieces. The neighbour’s brother looked at us all the while and I thought he wanted to join us. “Come, join us,” I said. But he did not come. I did not know what was stopping him from doing so.

I asked the neighbour: “Doesn’t your brother drink?”

“He does or he does not,” said the neighbour, “I can’t say for sure.”

“Oh,” I said, “he is a good guy unlike us.”

“He is or he is not,” said the neighbour, “I can’t say for sure.”

As we were drinking, suddenly, once again, the neighbour got an idea and he excused himself and said he will come back soon. Right after he moved out of my room, the neighbour’s friend locked the room in a hurry and then what had to happen, did happen. The neighbour’s brother jumped from the sofa and sat right in the chair where his brother was. He poured a glass full of Whiskey and offered his thanks to some god, dipped his little finger in the glass of Whiskey, sprinkled a few droplets and, without even mixing water, he emptied the glass at one gulp. “The chicken,” he said and he had one piece, thereafter he had many more. His elder brother never came back and, after a while, after thanking me a thousand times, the neighbour’s brother and his friend went tipsy topsy out of my room.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

A Short Conversation Between Two Men In a Washroom

One man: [Enters the washroom].

The other man: It’s been a long time since I saw you here. What happened, don’t you drink enough water? But, anyway, it’s good to see you.

One man: Good to see you, too. It’s winter time, and water is cold. Don’t feel like drinking much.

The other man: Do drink a lot of water no matter it is winter or summer. I am not saying that, like some nutritionists do, for your good health, but I am saying that because that way I will have the opportunity to see you here more often.

One man: I would rather contain the water in me as long as I can than visit the washroom, as often as you do, and waste my time.

The other man: Be careful of such thoughts. Have you not heard of people accumulating stones in their bellies? It is winter, and if you contain the water in you for too long, the water would freeze, and then you would find it difficult to carry yourself with all the weight, plus, of course, you would incur unnecessary cost to remove the stones.

One man: Well… [Makes a move out of the washroom].

The other man: See you again! The sooner the better.

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

Travel Made Difficult

If life is at stake, it is best to avoid risk. Therefore, when I got an SMS from IndiGo airlines (a private Indian airline) which informed me that my flight (6E – 3645) was delayed, I did not complain. But I would have been happy had they informed me the reason for the delay. Later, just out of curiosity, when I inquired about it, I got to know that fog was responsible for the delay. Fog affects the visibility of the pilot, so they would not fly in this condition. That was quite all right. It is better to save our lives than to put it at risk. No one wants to die. I was also told that as soon as the visibility was clear, the flight would depart. The otherwise sparsely crowded airport in Guwahati (namely Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport) was fully packed today, and people were still coming in. The flight was scheduled to depart from Guwahati at 3:10 PM and arrive in Delhi at 6:20 PM. The departure time was revised to 3:55 PM. Then it was further revised to 5:10 PM. Another revision: 5:55 PM. Yet another revision: 6:30 PM. The flight finally departed a few minutes after 6:30 PM.

While I was getting the SMSs of the revision of the departure time of my flight, there was another flight that was getting delayed. I was receiving SMSs for that as well. I had a connecting IndiGo flight from Delhi to Mumbai (6E 665). The actual departure time of my flight from Delhi was 9:30 PM and it was supposed to reach Mumbai at 11:35 PM. The revised departure time for the Mumbai bound flight was 11:30 PM. It was again revised to midnight. Further revision: 1 AM. One more revision: 1:30 AM. One final revision: 12:30 AM. But the flight actually departed at 2 AM and reached Mumbai at 4 AM.

I had booked my tickets two months back. It is with some considerations, some thoughts that I did so. I made some plans about the things I wanted to do. Now that I was not going to reach my place in time, all my plans were ruined. But, yet, I did not complain. I was only sad. However, other passengers in Delhi were furious. I saw a young girl, an old woman, a middle-aged man, complain about the inconvenience caused to them by the airline. Some wanted immediate compensation, refund, replacement, etc. Delhiites are vocal about their rights, it seemed. Some of the customers, to be properly heard and informed well, even entered the customer care representative’s cabin and shouted, which I thought was uncivil. No proper information was, however, given to the customers. I saw a customer service officer argue and disrespect few customers. I am not sure how true the logic that customers are always right is, but in the present situation the customers did have a right to protest and seek a reliable answer. I think the representative was new to work and needed more time to learn. There were other representatives who seemed to understand what the customers had to say and they tried their best to be good and be of service.

After reaching Mumbai, I was trying to get my bag at the baggage conveyor belt. My bag could not be seen. But still I hoped that my bag would come. Alas, it never did. I went to the Indigo baggage counter and told a lady there that my bag was missing. I was given a document to file my complaint. The document was called Property Irregularity Report. The lady asked me to provide the description of my bag. I told her it was a blue coloured duffle bag. “Which brand is it?” She asked. “Skybag,” I answered. The lady at the baggage counter kept the original copy of the report and handed me the xerox copy.

I was not the only person who had lost his bag, there were two others also. One was a girl and the other a man. The girl came from Delhi and had to write an exam in Mumbai. Her exam hall ticket and a few other important documents were in the bag she had lost. She said she had a medium size bag. The man, accompanied by his wife, on the other hand, had lost two bags (one large-sized and one small). The girl who was to write her exam a few hours from now was bewildered and angry. She kept asking the lady at the baggage counter to give her bag immediately. She was not easy to pacify, after all she had an important exam to write and only she could know what she was going through. The lady at the baggage counter said, “Give me some time, let me see if your bag is at the Delhi airport.” When the girl asked the lady how much time she needed. The lady answered that she needed two hours. “Two hours!” The girl said in disbelief. “You need two hours just to tell me if my bag is at the Delhi airport! I wonder how much time it will take for you to actually handover the bag to me.” The lady at the baggage counter ignored her and this infuriated the girl further. “Look,” the girl said, “I don’t have much time. I need my bag now!” This prompted the lady to immediately call the people at Delhi to find out the whereabouts of the girl’s and of mine and of the other person’s bags. The lady confirmed that my bag was still lying in foggy Delhi, but she could not say anything about the girl’s bag and that of the man’s (and this gave the girl more reason to foam at the mouth and wail, but the man still remained calm, perhaps he did not have an exam to write few hours from now).

I asked the lady at the baggage counter when could I get my bag back. The lady said that my bag would come in the next flight from Delhi which departs at 6:30 AM and reaches Mumbai by 8:30 AM. It was 4:30 AM at that time. If I had to wait for the arrival of the next flight, I had to wait for another four hours. Already the flight was delayed by so many hours and the wait for another four hours seemed only to add insult to injury. I was exhausted. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to go home. I asked the lady at the baggage counter if it was necessary for me to stay back or was it possible if I go home and come back to the airport after sometime. But, as it turned out, I would not be allowed to get in the airport once I got out of it, unless, of course, I was travelling by an airplane from Mumbai. But the lady offered me an alternative: she said that I could go home and someone from IndiGo would bring my bag at my residence. I asked her how long will that process take. She said that the bag would be brought to me soon. I said how soon. She said very soon. I said how very soon. She emphasised, “very, very soon, sir!” I was, however, not sure how long that would take, for “very, very soon” may have a different connotation for her and a different connotation for me. I had a few stuff in the bag that were of immediate need. I could not make up my mind whether to go home or to wait. Seeing my confusion, the other man who had also lost his bag suggested that I should go home and take rest. I called up my girlfriend and she was also of the same opinion. I, therefore, decided to go home. I told the lady that I was going home and I asked her to send the bag to my residence. She said she would do so and she had given me a note where she had mentioned a number which I could dial to know the status of my bag.

I came home. Set the alarm of my phone for 8:30 AM (for that was the arrival time of the next IndiGo flight from Delhi to Mumbai) and went to sleep. My phone rang at 8:30 AM and gave me a start. I was drowsy and wanted to sleep more, but it was important for me to get up and get active. I dialled the number that the lady at the baggage counter of IndiGo gave me. This was the number: 7045591805. It was busy on another call. I tried again but it was still busy on another call. I tried after half an hour but it was still busy. I tried after another half an hour. This time it rang and immediately a smile came to my face, but as soon as the smile came to my face it also faded. The person whom I called disconnected the line after two rings. I was absolutely disappointed. I dialled the number again but now the number was not reachable. I tried to find the customer service number of IndiGo from the internet. I came across many numbers, tried one. After listening to an automated machine for a few minutes, the line finally got connected to a human voice. The person speaking to me on the other end announced that his name was Mukesh. He tried to listen to me however, perhaps from habit, could not help but interrupt me every time. Suddenly, without even telling me anything, he put my call on hold and vanished. I held on the phone for 15 minutes and finally gave up. All this only increased the already heightened level of anxiety in me.

I once again tried calling on 7045591805 many more times but it was either busy or, when it rang, someone disconnected the line, or, now a new problem, it was switched off. I tried the customer service number once again. I had to wait for five minutes before finally getting connected to a customer service representative. A female spoke. I told her what had happened and she offered to help me. She gave me two contact numbers and said that my queries would be answered to my satisfaction if I called on those numbers, but, as it turned out, those did not concern the department I had to get in touch with. They catered only to international flights. I only wasted my money and time by trying to get my queries solved. Then I tried finding more numbers on the internet, and got connected to a few. One department after the other said that it was a different department that was answerable to me. Their peculiar way of evading their responsibility irked me. I expected them to provide me solutions instead of excuses, and they miserably failed. I would have been better off if I had traveled by a train instead of an aeroplane. That way I could have saved my money and energy and would not have gone through all this unwanted problems and frustrations. Though I have travelled by plane many times, but the experience I had this time was the worst so far. Now I would think twice, gauge all other good possibilities, before travelling by a plane. The whole day I was restless, but the day was over, and the next day followed.

The next day was a Sunday and I had to go to the University of Mumbai where I am doing a part time course on Human Rights, and the airport of Mumbai is not very far from the university, so I decided to drop by the airport after attending my lectures to know the status of my bag (though, of course, I had to incur the cost of going there). But, I was lucky, a man called me up and informed me that he was looking for my flat in order to deliver my bag to me. I was relieved and very happy when I heard that. I told him that I was away from my flat but he could hand my bag over to my neighbour next door. He said he would do that.

After reaching my building, the first thing I did was visit my neighbour’s flat, get hold of my bag and examine it thoroughly for any damage or for anything that went missing. The strap was torn, but other than that there were no damages, the bag was still locked (as I did after packing all the stuff), and the key of the lock was in the side packet of the bag (as I kept it, and only I knew it). Everything inside the bag was well intact. Happy though I am after getting my bag but my thoughts reach out to those who miss a great opportunity in their lives (like the girl I mentioned above who might have missed appearing at an important exam she had prepared for) and those whose valuable is damaged/pilfered due to the flippant attitude and irresponsibility of some authority (like that of IndiGo).

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

The Importance of Money

Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness (and that money is not everything) should have added, be that as it may, money can surely reduce sadness, money can help make friends, money can keep all kinds of relationships strong, can help buy you those delicious food that you desire, will make people look upon you with reverence, make you a role model (no matter you deserve to be one or not), can give you confidence, can make you feel secure, and money can do so much more. Now, then, would you say money is not important?

It is strange how people give lame excuses when they can’t directly deny you the moment you want to borrow some money. But the strangest of all is when your very near and dear ones (the ones you thought you could depend on), for whom you sacrifice everything, to whom you give your all, seem to maintain a distance from you when you are in need. On the one hand human kind is the embodiment of hope, love and care, but on the other hand we are selfish, ruthless, vainglorious.

To save embarrassments in life, to prevent depression from ruling your life (thereby ruining your life), you should – no, not just should, but you must – make yourself so strong, so capable that you need not ever depend on any one. But what happens when you have too much money? Should you cling on to your money for ever? It is indeed very difficult to part with one’s hard earned money. Not everyone would understand, but the earner of money knows that very well.

The main question that should concern you, however, is when someone’s whole world is crumbling down and they can’t do anything about it, will it be worthy of you to be like those heartless materialist who turn away from helping others? Would you also let others feel what you once felt the moment someone said no to you when you were in need? From your experience you know how much it breaks your heart to find none helping you, therefore, can the knowledge of that prompt you to help the needy as much as you can? You know you have two square meals a day, but there are people who can’t afford a single meal a day; they eat something light once in two days or maybe three days. You might ask ‘Why don’t they work?’ Well, you know, if a skilled person is out of job most of the times, how is an uneducated, unskilled (some disabled) person supposed to get a job.

So, here comes your money. Money can help you help others. Money can open new avenues and empower people to do their best, to see the brighter side of life. Money is, therefore, important. And whoever say money can’t give you happiness, that money is not important, ask them very gently to just go to hell!

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

Making Sense by Rambling

Does it ever happen to you that while writing one particular thing you start writing something that is altogether different from what you intended it to be, and that, surprisingly, makes all the more sense and seems interesting?

When I begin writing, I have one idea, but this one idea becomes useless compared to what, in the process of writing, I discover. Nevertheless the first idea is crucial for anything of value to emerge, for that is what urges us to write in the first place. If I don’t elaborate on the first idea, the idea stays in my mind for a few minutes and then it vanishes and I don’t get going with my writing.

When I have an empty page in front of me and a few words (the original ones), I start elaborating on the first idea, twisting and turning, writing and rewriting every words, sentences and paragraphs, and then, in this meaningless voyage that I undertake, finally I find meaning. The first idea loses its importance and ultimately I write something that even I could not think I could.

When a few people say “Wow, that’s a great stuff you have written” I smile and think, “Had I known I could write that, I would have written that a long time ago.”

Therefore, I suppose I won’t be wrong to believe that it is not in our thinking whether we can do a particular thing, but it is in our doing that we know what we are capable of.

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

I Won’t Back Down

When I have the blues, I often turn to songs or to Google (where I search and read poems or quotes). But not all songs/poems/quotes can help in dispelling the gloom. When you are sad and listen to sad songs, you will only be sadder. You would be positively pessimistic if, while trying to be positively positive, you come across a quote likes this: “Life will always go on as it has always gone one – that is, badly.” Just as not all situations are alike, so for different situations I turn to different songs/poems/quotes which reinstate my positivity, that makes me believe life is worth living (and to sing “and I think to myself what a wonderful world”).

Moliere said “It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I’m right” and I am of the same opinion now more than ever, such is my situation. During times like this the poem Invictus (an overused poem for such situations, I should say) comes to my mind. Though I often forgot most of the lines of the poem but I remember this: “My head is bloody, but unbowed”. This line does me good, bolsters my morale and gives me immense satisfaction.

From time to time I listen to a few songs on my cell phone and I feel good when I come across a song like I Won’t Back Down. I have heard the song many times and had always thought that it was Johnny Cash’s. But, only today, while I put the title of the song on Google so as to confirm the lyrics of the song (yes, for almost everything I consult Google, thanks Larry and Sergey) I came to know that this song actually belongs to someone called Tom Petty. I enjoy listening to this song, and I thought you might also do. So I have I Won’t Back Down for you!

 

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won’t back down
No, I won’t back down.

 

Hello Folks!

It’s been a while since I wrote something here (the longest gap so far). But writing something here has had always been at the back of my mind. For not writing a new blog post, for not reading something from the blogs I follow and like, I rebuffed myself every day. Alas, my excitement level of doing something new, something different, has subsided to a considerable extent.

With time I thought I would be a better writer. But then better writing demands constant writing. Again constant writing does not mean writing the same thing, or writing, time and again, what is incorrect without knowing that it is incorrect.

I write for my livelihood. So, to please the people I write for and to keep the auditors from marking me down, I end up writing what my fellow bloggers would call the mediocre kind of writing. That kind of writing does not come from my heart and I derive no joy by doing that. My organization and its small minded people have killed the creative spirit in me. I can’t give up my job either unless I get a better job at a better organization. However, times are hard. The market is down. Every organization is trying to cut down cost.

Now I am trying to recuperate my losses. From time to time I look back at what I had written earlier (two-three years ago), and I think to myself I was a better writer then than I am now. I once again want to be an active blogger and connect to my ole folks.

I earnestly hope that the next post I write does not say the same thing I said in this post.

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

A Letter To The Love Of My Life

My darling Mishti,

I thought of penning down – I mean, typing down – a poem for you but, though I am not underrating your ability to understand a poem, but, I, for my part, want to be absolutely plain and sincere in telling you what I am going to tell you now (and I am not saying that a poem cannot do that job, only that I am quite a lazy person, lazy to compose a poem, but lazy or not, I am yours and I know you will understand me as you always do).

You know how this is: I just can’t live without you. There is no denying the fact – yes, it is a fact – that you were born to be united with me. I came into the world before you did and had been waiting for you (however, I was not aware that I was waiting for you, yet there was a void in me and I knew someone must find me and quench my thirst for love) and, then, what was supposed to happen, in so unique a manner (oh, what a way of knowing each other it was!), had happened: I found you and we felt an equal throbbing in our hearts and minds!

There are times when we sail rough weather and how uneasy and bizarre everything seems, and during such times I marvel at the way you always find a way out. Many a times I resolve, when we have some arguments, to not talk to you for a few days, to give it a break as they say, but when an hour passes since our arguments, then another, and… and…“and, oh, the difference to me!” Right then I realize that there is no one, none at all, who is more important to me than you are.

I want to know what troubles you, I want to know what pleases you, I want to hear the movements you make; I want to understand all that and more. I sometimes wonder, in an unreasonable manner no doubt, if you are as fond of me as I am of you. Then I rebuke myself for having such thoughts.

I want to write so many things to you but now my thoughts fail me, nevertheless, what you must know is that I love you and, as long as I breathe, I will love you with every ounce of my being. I maintain what I once said: if you are with me, I will find hell heavenly.

An assurance of stupendous happiness is in store for me because you are mine, and I am

Ever Yours,

Puchu

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

Resolutions!

It is that time of the year,

In the name of god we swear,

And ourselves we bind

With promises in mind.

Last year, one resolution crumbled,

“Oh, no,” I said, then another.

I wanted to be stiff but I fumbled.

Slowly did I all resolutions mar.

Again, then, this time, my mind is brimming

With thoughts and plans for the future;

In public I shan’t commit so big a crime as lying.

So, listen, this is going to be a great year!

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

A Thinking Man

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