Archive | April, 2009

I promise to vote

21 Apr
Elections are here and drumbeats are ringing across the country this time from every nook and corner, and sounds emanating from every hole “lets vote. This time you must vote. Your vote counts, your vote will change this country, vote will remove this politician, your vote will change this state, your vote will change this system and your vote will take this country on path of progress, blah this and blah that…..”
Bilkul sahai bola bhaisaab/behenji, par mera ek sawaal tha, will this vote also change you; you, the Indian, you the individual. I agree to vote, if along with politicians you, you also promise to change.
So raise your hand and say- 
1.      I agree that everything is not controlled by politicians. I agree that we cannot blame politicians for all our ills. Ills damning this country are not their fault but my fault. I am the Indian, who is also a government employee and no one voted me in this position and I chose to be one. Despite that it is I who has been corrupt and lazy and uncommitted to this country and only by individual choice. I could have done my job well but my greed for money & power swayed me from this path. I do not blame the system, as I am the system and politicians have nothing to do with it. If you vote this time I promise to do my job with full sincerity and honesty.
2.      I agree that even after 60 years of independence and getting educated, I am till communal, caste driven and with a parochial mindset. I think my region/religion/caste is the best and every other region/religion/caste  inferior and my enemy. I do not see them as humans and definitely do not trust them. But if you vote I promise not to see them as Hindus or Muslims or Christians or Sikhs or scheduled caste or Brahmins or Bihares or Bengalis or Madrasis or Bhaiyas or anything other than Indians and fellow human beings. I would make opinions based on nothing else except their actions and my decisions would be based on merits and not dictated by any form of kinship.
3.      I, the businessman, who also is not a politician, would not be driven by my gluttony and greed. None of my decision would be based only on the logic of economics and I would look at greater benefits beyond just paper. I would consider society and large and also my environment, my air, my soil, my water…. If you vote this time, I promise I would be wealth creator, wealth distributor & wealth preserver and not a wealth hoarder or wealth destroyer, natural or created.
4.      It is my fault and not dictated by any politician that I as a male, have been a sexist all my life. It is I, who has believed that women are weaker sex, play objects, created for my pleasure, entertainment and service.  It is I, who as a father did not send my daughter to school. It is I, who as father married them off before they turned 18 and ignored their personal ambitions. It is I, who as father gave more importance to my sons and hated my daughters for being girls. It is I, who as husband beat my wife for not giving me a son and made her bear 8 kids to get my heir. It is I, the brother who fought with others for at staring at my sister but raised the skirt in public of someone else sister for fun. It is I, the same brother who refused to give my sister her paternity share of will. It is I, who as a man has made life hell for women by my predatory behavior. It is I, who as a man burned that woman who lost her husband. It is I who has been all this and more and worse. But I promise if you vote this time, I would consider women as equals, human beings and not objects. I would give them equal rights and equal opportunities, as a father, brother, colleague, friend or just as a man.    
5.      It is my fault, as a woman, that I have been treated ill because I let them. But the bigger sin that I have committed is that I let the same happen to my daughter which happened to me. It is I, who believed that I am weak, it is I, who did not fight and it is I who needs to change first before the society changes. If you vote this time, I promise to change myself and change the world with me.
I think this much of change in this election would be enough, must keep some wishes for next election.
So dear voter, if you have this on your personal manifesto and you promise me this, I promise to go through manifestos of all political parties and would try my best to find a right candidate for you with my vote.
Mera Bharat Mahaan.   

Novels vs Graphic Novels: End of debate. For me.

20 Apr
Some years back, maybe 4 or 5, I discovered Graphic novels. And I have  spent quite some time reading them and more money buying them since then.
A quick specimen on graphic novels or comics or sequential art that I read during this time ( and this is what is top of mind)…
Sandman (12 volumes followed by all books of Neil Gaiman in all forms), Maus (2 volumes), Persepolis (2 volumes), Lone Wolf & Cub (28 volumes), Samurai Executioner (10 volumes), From Hell, Watchmen, Promethea (5 volumes), League of Extra-ordinary gentlemen (3 volumes), Sin City (7 volumes), Ronin, Identity Crisis, Berlin (2 volumes), Buddha (8 volumes), Dark Knight Returns, Year One, Dark Knights Strikes Again, The Killing Joke, The Long Halloween, Arkham Asylum, Epileptic, Bone (9 volumes),Palestine, Fax from Sarajevo, Road to Gorazade, Escapist, David Boring, The Fountain, Midnight Nation and more,many more. Comics are excluded from this list or the fact that Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes are work of literature worthy of Nobel Prize is a separate topic of discussion
Some very famous movies I discovered have been made from Graphic novels like,  A History of Violence, Road to Perdition, Ghost World, American Splendour (though this is more of pictorial memoir rather than a GN). I fell so much in love with this form that I invested time understanding the form and its meaning and read non-fiction books that explain this form, like, Understanding Comics, Comics & Sequentia Art, Reading Comics, Comic Book Nation, Articles by Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Frank Miller and again many, many more.
I guess point I am trying to make, if you have not guessed, is I was a convert and obsessed with this form. Then yesterday finally realization dawned on me. I have believed and debated about superiority of  GN over traditional novels since I converted. But yesterday I discovered I was wrong but then I also found that I was absolutely right.
Let me start with how I was wrong, there is nothing new here, except the process of discovery. I discovered, which even a blind man could see, the concept of abstraction. Superiority of human mind lies in its capacity to understand and appreciate abstraction. between a picture of an eye and word eye, difference is level of abstraction, while one is an object, written word is a concept which needs maximum imagination of human mind both to write in a manner that a person reading is able to visualize, and the maximum abstraction is with reader who has not imagined that abstraction. And in this order of  abstraction lowest are movies, followed by Visual devices (GN included), then comes oral communication and at the top is the written word. So easy to see and understand yet I could not. So today I stand humbled and corrected about my false impressions and arguments.
But then never to give up, is there any area where GN scores over a novel. I have not developed this argument fully yet butfor sake of discussion, there are some things which human mind cannot imagine and this lack of imagination stems from lack or no expereince for that particular experience. Now question would be what kind of thing/concept/experience would that be, if it is pure imagination, I assume it can be captured in words, so obviously such a concept cannot just be a creation. I say, then it must be an actual experience. It must reality. I believe while where our mind can take the flights to fancy it struggles to grasp the simplest concepts of reality. It is easier for mind to think in abstract (all abstract then gets translated in frame of reference concrete for understanding) than see concrete. GNs score better in capturing reality and showcasing reality than novels can ever do. And obviously movies probably even better than GNs. GN can show a street in Berlin during World War 1 times, which I as Indian would never be able to imagine being never been to Germany or having never seen these pictures just from written descriptions. India on that day of 1947, i can smell in a written form but with a GN, I can touch it, taste it and live it. In my mind GN works best where it brings simplicity and concrete alive, and that does not include emotions. 
To end a post with no real closure, let me ask a question, when is understanding and appreciation of God  highest, when it is seen pictorially or heard or said or  read or written or thought?
Answers and arguments in every form would be appreciated.

Vote. Why?

8 Apr

What is a system? Nothing but a collection of individuals. The common identity it forms is a combination of varied personalities and thoughts. The end result that we see, breathe and live is formed by our actions.

And within many actions that we do, work, play, love, fight, cooperate, argue,discuss, think, learn, there is another we do or we don’t…vote. Some of us vote and lots of us don’t. Those who vote argue that only by making a choice we will be able to change the system. They believe it is a positive action that would lead to positive results. And those who don’t argue the futility of this effort and exercise; vote for this goon or that criminal, this idiot or that dufus is immaterial, when you make a blind person your driver, it doesn’t matter he kills you at this turn or that turn, ultimately you are dead.

Where do I stand?

I believe in our system. To say it again, system is many individuals moving in a single direction, by choice or by the force of crowd but moving in the same direction. To quote George Orwell from his seminal work “Animal Farm”, “All men are equal but some men are more equal than others“. This would not be more truer anywhere than in India. The direction we have taken has been decided by morally corrupt, intellectually hollow, degenerate individuals. We are dish whose goose has been cooked and the end result is a pungent, decaying , stinking, unpalatable society. Yet I believe our system is dying but not yet dead.

Our redemption lies in its death.

What we must do is either kill it or wait till it dies. Only once we fail completely,once we hit the nadir of human degradation that we can hope to rise. Our hope today lies in failure, our failure and failure of a concept called India and not in success.

When you do not vote, you are just a spectator waiting for the system to die its natural death but by exercising your choice to vote you can participate, you can be that killer, that redeemer who will hold that knife and shove it in its chest and twist it.

I say go out and vote for the worst, not the best of worst or best of the best but THE WORSE OF THE WORST.

Leave no space for yourself to run, push your back against the wall, let them come and rub your face in dirt. Let those fuckers come. Let those politicians,corrupt bureaucrats, those power hungry businessmen play the system, suck out the last atom of oxygen and choke you. Only then and only then you would react and the revolution you have been waiting for years for would rise from your pride, your heart, and your hands. Push that hand to vote to hold a sword of change tomorrow.