Skip to main content

Daddy got it wrong

My father passed away when I was nine. There were a few things which I learnt from him in that short time.

These included:
  • never hit/ hurt a woman
  • don't identify people by their religion (this when we were dropping a classmate home and i told my father that my friend was Muslim)
  • respect education and teachers (my mother was a teacher, plus Saraswati puja was the one puja which used to happen in my father's family in a big way. She is the Goddess of learning. And education is the sole force which enabled people like my parents and grandparents, non Brahmins, to move up in life)
  • not to taunt people basis their identity - I think I was once imitating my friends and calling some street kids Biharis or something like that when my Dad called me in and gave me an earful

These learning have remained in my sub conscious over the last 25 years or so even though he isn't around. I thought that this was part of our heritage, our culture.

Recent events suggest that I might have been wrong. We have 40 people beating up 5 women with the excuse of protecting our culture. When I last hear I though the Ramayan was the story of a man who went to protect and free his wife. Sriram Sena seems to be at the other end of the spectrum.

Respect for women zero. Indian Cultural dark knights 1

Then we have some other folks breaking and damaging a university the next day.

Respect for learning zero. Indian Cultural dark knights 2

A few days back another set of cultural protectors ransacked a hotel and beat up the hotel staff because the hotel had sacked people from their community.

Respect for other communities zero. Indian Cultural dark knights 3

And don't get me started on what goues under the guise of religion. The public posturing which goes under the name of religion has led to riots, deaths, terrorist attacks, traffic jams (In Mumbai - Wednesday Mass, Ganpathi visarjans and road blocks, the December fair). God knows what God would think of the pain caused in His name. The prevailing thinking seems to be "he who shouts louder gets His ear faster."

Respect for religion zero. Indian Cultural dark knights 4

I guess the score says it all.


Popular posts from this blog

Where will you be twenty years from now?

A taste of Mumbai
It struck me the other day that it has been about twenty years since the time I took my first steps, albeit unwittingly, towards moving into Mumbai.
I had been recruited by a market research agency in Kolkata from campus back then. I joined my new office once the MBA course was over. We were then sent to Mumbai for a training programme in August 1997. Once the course was over, my colleagues from Kolkata returned home. I was slated to stay back for a 2 month training programme in Mumbai which then stretched on for close to 6 months. I was put up at a PG in Bandra by my office then.
Such  a long journey
This was the first time that I was living away from home. All I wanted to do then was to get back to Kolkata as soon as I could. Go back and build a successful career in market research hopefully. Move to an apartment in a posher part of Kolkata than where we lived. At Ballygunge for example. 
I thought it would be cool one day have a club membership given to me by offic…

The importance of being 'Nyaka'

'Nyaka' is a Bengali term which beats translation. It could mean coy, coquettish, scheming, la di da. There is no one word which captures it. The term is used in a pejorative context and has a sarcastic tone to it. Used a bit more for women than for men. Has a feminine context when used for men.I posed the challenge of translating 'nyaka' into English to fellow Bengalis in Facebook. Here's a sample of the answers that I got.I have removed the names and kept the statuese as is, hope it's not too difficult to read

Bong man 1Coy.....but that does capture the essence
14 December at 14:37 ·

No ...not entirely. A colleague just suggested precocious. Maybe its too intrinsic a Bong trait to be translated :)
14 December at 14:50 ·

Bong woman 1kol-lan, difficult to get a english / hindi word for nyaka.
14 December at 15:11 ·

that's the point
14 December at 15:15 ·

Bong woman 2
oh, i think the essence of the word 'nyaka' will be lost in translation. just like gettin…

Queue-spreading because its spelling is the least of our problem with queues

Scene 1:

I had gone to pay local taxes at a government office in Bandra a few days back.

I was directed to a table where there was no-one else waiting. I went up to the officer at the desk and submitted our papers. He keyed in the details in to his computer. The results flashed immediately. I gave our cheque, so far so good.

Then the officer pointed out that the cheque was Rs 12 (twelve) more than what was due. We looked at each other and tried to figure out what has to be done. Suddenly an elderly corpulent gentleman came and sidled up and stood beside me. I waited a for a couple of seconds. I thought he might have a question for the officer. I looked at the encroacher. He smiled at me. There was no-one behind me and yet he stood beside me.

I looked at him and said, 'do you mind standing behind me? We are discussing something here.' He smiled at me and said, 'no problem, I will wait.'

I drew my breath and said, 'can you please stand in the queue while we finish.&…