Friday, May 04, 2012

The Affair

I distinctly remember, it was last Friday of Oct, 2003 when I first saw you. My heart skipped a beat, my jaw dropped to floor and my eyes did not blink for a whole minute. It was a very different feeling altogether. The feeling was something out of the world. Just 15 minutes back, I was sitting in Barista, sipping warm cappuccino on that cold evening, thinking of you. And just then as if you had read my mind, you appeared from nowhere.

Then it became a regular affair. We started meeting without any fail. No matter where I was or how busy I was with work or with friends, my attention was always diverted as soon as you turn up. The moment you arrived, I would leave everything and concentrate on you, as if nothing else mattered more. That single moment when I used to catch your first glimpse was everything for me.

When I told my friends about you, I could see how jealous they became of me. Some told me that I was ‘Lucky’ to have you, and some told me that I fully deserved you. The day I took you to my mom, for the first time, she literally cried of joy. She knew that her son had grown and matured into a man. My father felt proud of me.

I switched jobs and changed places, went abroad but never missed a date with you. Such strong has been the bond between us.

Dear SALARY, please continue your affair with me. As already done in the past, never ever miss our date i.e. last working day of every month.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Small Trick

Time- 9:30 AM Monday 26th July 2011
Place –Recon Service Ltd, Uday Park, New Delhi.
‘Chocolates from Singapore at my desk’ a new mail popped up in Urmila’s inbox. She took a deep breath and started zombie-walking towards Anita’s desk. For a moment she felt a sense of jealousy. Anita and Mukesh are married for 10 years now, have a kid and still they manage to take time for such holidays. Whereas Urmila and Ajay haven’t went out for holidays since their honeymoon 6 year back. The only place they go is either Ajay’s home town or Urmila’s home town. Urmila reaches Anita’s desk and says usual ‘Hi-Hello’ before diving into the pile of chocolates. Picks 2 dark chocolates, 2 milk chocolates; that are the ones she likes most. Then she sees butterscotch chocolates and thinks of picking them for Ajay but then drops the idea. Why should she care for him? He never brings anything for her.
Urmila turns towards Anita and casually asks to share the photographs, out of courtesy. Although she herself doesn’t want to see the photos because it will remind her that something is missing in her own life.
“Yes sure I will share once Mukesh transfers them to his laptop” says Anita. “Hey want to come for coffee”?
“Umm okay” says Urmila, still lost in the misery of her life.
They spent good 15 minutes while sipping coffee, discussing how amazing was Anita’s Singapore trip. The more Anita narrated about the trip, the more Urmila hated her own life. By the time they finished coffee, it was lunch time already. They decided to meet for lunch after checking their mails.
The topic during lunch wasn’t different either. Finally Urmila broke down. She started sobbing and then got conscious of the surroundings then she controlled herself. But her face said everything. Anita put her hand on Urmila’s shoulder and asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” “No thanks, I am fine” Urmila lied. After a minute of silence she got up saying, she is not in right mood and left the lunch table.
Anita asked Urmila to come over home for chat. Being old friend Anita knew that something is wrong with Urmila and she is not comfortable talking about it in workplace. Urmila accepted the offer. They left office early that day and reached Anita’s home by 5:30. Anita prepared tea and they started chatting. It didn’t take long for Urmila to reach at the point she wanted to talk.
“The problem is that he doesn’t listen, and because of that he doesn’t understand either. In fact he doesn’t care to sort out any mess that’s happening between us. For example last Friday we decided that we will go to Bank in the evening after office. There are things pending to be done for long time. We have to open FD’s so that we can save more and more for our future. It was all decided, but in the evening at 6, he calls me and says he has some work and can’t leave office without finishing it. Now tell me, will the bank wait for him to finish his work till midnight? If he could have just spared 15 minutes and visited the bank, this whole issue would not have arisen” said Urmila.
“And these days he pretends as if he is the busiest person in the world. Finally I end up doing all house chores. Don’t I get tired? I too want some rest when I come home in the evening. As soon as we reach home he straightaway starts working. When I finish cooking and everything, then he comes to the kitchen offering for help. That kills me. First he pretends he is busy, then he pretends that he want to help. If he doesn’t want to help, then why he does the drama of offering help?”
Anita knew that Urmila will go on and on if allowed to do. As clock ticked past 6:30, Anita tried to break the momentum.
Anita: I am not the right person to judge but if situation is that bad, I would really suggest you both to see a marriage counselor.
Urmila: Huh, as if it helps. Institution of Marriage is a business ecosystem in itself these days. First they make money while matchmaking, then one needs to spend fortune on marriage shopping, makeup etc; and then at marriage there are agencies ready to extract money in the name of event management. It doesn’t stop there. After marriage, couples are emotionally fooled to shell out bombs in the name of honeymoon. If you see, at every step they pretend to be helping you but actually they are making money from you. Now see the irony, if marriage doesn’t work, you go to marriage counselor (spend time and money on them). If that too doesn’t work then someone will surely recommend you a divorce lawyer. You see, from matchmaking to divorce you end up paying everybody thinking you are finally going to get happy, but neither you get happiness nor the money.
Anita didn’t know how to stop Urmila’s train of thoughts. Urmila was in full flow today. Anita gathered the courage again and said, “Urmila listen to me at least. Give it a thought. Think over it calmly. Talk to Ajay about it, see if he agrees.”
Urmila: “Are you kidding me? If I ask him to come, Ajay will never come.”
Before Urmila could start again, Anita pressed the point “Give it a try, it is worth. What’s the point of living under a roof like enemies? I can see that the confusion is grown so much that neither of you trust each other. You must listen to a third neutral person to sort things out. You guys can’t drag the situation for whole life. If you guys are not compatible then accept it and move on, but for god’s sake do something. Don’t just sit like that, hoping for some miracle that will suddenly make things good for you. It’s your life, take control of it.” Urmila was stunned after listening all this. It felt as if somebody had suddenly put a mirror in front of her. She became quite. She couldn’t think of any reply. Anita seized the opportunity and wrote the address and phone number of Dr. Mehta’s office and gave it to Urmila. Urmila put it in her purse and left for home.
After reaching home, Urmila threw herself on the bed and tried hard to hold down the tears. She failed. Anita was harsh on her but she was telling the truth. Sometimes truth can be too bitter to swallow. She composed herself and started preparing for dinner. When Ajay came home he immediately sensed the vibes. He calmly went near her and thought of starting a conversation. It felt very awkward to him as what to say. Ajay is not great with the words. So he took a safe approach. “So how was your day?” asked Ajay. No response. He knew that he had to break this silence. The quiet and calm home was a big sign that some disturbance is brewing. “Mom called today” he gave another try to start the dialogue. This time he was successful in getting a glare. The angry glare felt better than silence of ignorance. “So what should I do?” asked Urmila. “Nothing, just telling you” replied Ajay. “Did I ask?” asked Urmila. Silence followed. Ajay decided to open the laptop and check his mails. He thought that he had tried what he could to make things normal, and he could not help much until Urmila comes out of such hostile mood. On the other hand Urmila was thinking “He does everything for formality. Why he did not try to talk further. He did just enough to ensure that one can’t blame him for not doing anything. He never really intended to talk.”
Urmila came to the bedroom and got angry when she saw that Ajay was busy on Facebook. “So you don’t have time to talk to me but you have ample time to spend on Facebook.” Ajay was speechless for a moment then he tried to answer “What are you saying? I don’t have time? I asked you twice.” “You could have asked third time also” replied Urmila. Ajay always fail to comprehend this logic. What is the point in asking 3rd time if somebody doesn’t respond first 2 times? “This is going to be a long night” thought Ajay. When Urmila had come to home today, she thought she will talk to Ajay, but she didn’t realize when things got out of control and another long argument looked a certainty. They kept arguing over unimportant issues and made a mess of the evening.
Next morning both got up with the shrill sound of morning alarm. Their eyes were puffy. Both felt sorry for yesterday night’s behavior. Urmila asked, “Ajay, do you Love me”. Ajay was not sure what to respond. It’s been long since he hasn’t listened to his heart. He was too honest to lie and at the same time too nice to say the truth. He tried to divert the discussion. “Why are you asking this suddenly?” Urmila sensed the discomfort in Ajay’s voice. She got her answer. She then said, “I think we need to talk to somebody to get the things sorted out.” Ajay was releived to know that Urmila had not yet given up the hope about the relationship. Both of them wanted to give it another try. Ajay agreed happily. Urmila couldn’t believe this. Whole night she was thinking that Ajay’s ego will stop him from following her advice, especially if the matter is as sensitive as this one. She knew it’s very difficult to convince people that they need help. First step towards solving a problem is accepting that there is a problem. That’s where status quo remains maintained in marriages. People don’t accept that their relationship is having trouble. And if they accept it, they do not agree to take the blame or even share it with the partner. Now that Ajay has agreed to meet the marriage counselor, half of the problem is gone. She felt very relieved and told Ajay that she will take an appointment and tell him when and where to come.
Time- 6:30 PM Monday 02nd Aug 2011
Place – Dr. Mehta’s office, South Extn-II, New Delhi.
Ajay had picked Urmila from her office and they reached Dr. Mehta’s clinic in time. Assistant called them in when their turn arrived.
Dr Mehta: Welcome Mr and Mrs Ajay. I must appreciate both of you for mutually agreeing to seek out help. In most of the cases I have seen that if husband suggests the counseling, wife shots it down, and if wife initiates the talk, husband rejects the idea. Their ego supersedes their love, which is not the case here. It’s evident that things are not that bad between you. You two have some basic understanding, some desire to be with each other. And that is one thing that makes my job easy. Believe me I can see in your body languages that the fire is not lost yet. All you need is to understand each other more. If you really want to make it work, I would suggest few ground rules that both of you would follow in coming 1 month. So may I know if both of you are OK?
Ajay: Thanks Doctor. We really want it to work. We will follow your rules like Bible.
Urmila: Doctor, I can ensure honesty from my side. I hope Ajay also maintains his side of honesty.
Dr. Mehta: (Smiling at Urmila’s reply) ‘Trust each other’. That is the first rule I want both of you to follow. The other rule is ‘Never breach each other’s trust’. If second rule is religiously followed, rule#1 will be a cake walk.
This statement made a lot of sense to both of them. They thanked doctor and left for home. This appointment was followed by 15 more sessions over next 6 months and at the end of it Ajay and Urmila were on friendlier terms, a stark difference from the scenario 6 months back, when they could not even see eye to eye. The foundation of their marriage was re-laid and this time they both trusted each other to make it stronger.
Time- 6:30 PM Monday 8th July 2011
Place – Dr. Mehta’s office, South Extn-II, New Delhi.
Dr. Mehta is noted marriage counselor and psychotherapist in NCR region. In the age of fast paced life, where institution of marriage is losing its meaning, Dr. Mehta’s counseling sessions have helped hundreds of couples rebuild their relationship.
Ajay is waiting for his turn outside the office, while Dr. Mehta is busy with another client.
Mrs. Kulkarni, these days people are so impatient that they want the solution of all their problems in a minute. They don’t realize that some things take time. No matter what you do, a tree cannot grow in a month. It will take its own time. If you over feed it with water or fertilizer, it will only get worse.
Thanks Dr. Mehta. I hope your words come good; else I have lost all the hopes. I am running out of patience.
Take it easy Mrs. Kulkarni, give him some time. Things will be fine.
Assistant calls for Ajay’s name. Ajay takes a deep breath and enters the room. Dr. Mehta welcomes him with smile and asks him to sit. Ajay sits on the chair uncomfortably. He clearly is not mentally present here. His mind is still trying too hard to solve some personal problems that are chasing him since few days.
“Hello Mr. Ajay” said Dr. Mehta.
“Good evening sir”
“So… how are you doing? Would you like to have some tea/coffee or cold drink?”
“No Thanks, I am good”
“OK… I can see that you are everything except being good” smiles Dr. Mehta. “Anyway, tell me what is bugging you”
So Ajay starts telling him everything that happened between him and Urmila from the time they got married (6 years back). Dr. Mehta listened patiently occasionally complimenting the talk with usual ‘Hmm…’, ‘I See’, ‘Well’. He was careful not to put too many interruptions that could derail Ajay’s chain of thoughts. He also made sure to make enough sounds so that Ajay is assured that he is being listened. After about an hour Ajay raises his eyes and sees Dr. Mehta in deep thought. It was the ego clash that was killing this relationship. If one says the glass is half-full, the other would correct it by calling it half-empty, just for the sake of it.
“So what do you suggest Dr. Mehta? Would you help us as a psychotherapist or a marriage counselor?”
“That I would decide after I have meet both of you. If both of you are willing to make it work, then there is hardly any need for counseling. In that case I would wear the hat of psychotherapist to help both of you see each other’s perspective. But the first problem is to convince her to come here for counseling. It’s very difficult to convince people that they need help. First step towards solving a problem is accepting that there is a problem. That’s where status quo remains maintained in marriages. People don’t accept that their relationship is having trouble. And if they accept it, they do not agree to take the blame or even share it with the partner. If she agrees to meet the marriage counselor, half of the problem is solved”.
“So how should I ask her to see a marriage counselor?” asked Ajay.
“If she thinks that there is problem with you, will she accompany you to my office for your treatment?”
“Yes… I am sure she will. In fact she thinks that I have some psychological problem which is responsible for all hell that is taking place between us”.
“Great. Now surely you cannot be the one suggesting her to visit me. Is there a relative or friend of her that you can take help from?” asked Dr. Mehta.
“Umm… let me think.” said Ajay. Suddenly he thought about Anita, Ajay and Urmila’s batch mate from college days. She works in the same office as Urmila.
“Anita can help, she should be the one. Yeah she can help” said Ajay.
“Then I guess we can go ahead with this plan.” said Dr. Mehta
Ajay comes out of clinic and calls Anita. Ajay asks her to meet him over lunch sometime next week, only 2 of them, not even Urmila. Anita hesitated in accepting the offer. Ajay sensed it and told her that there is something only she can help with, and it’s the question of his marriage being saved. Anita understood the situation and then agreed to meet on Wednesday (9th). She told him that she is going for a 10 days trip to Singapore on 10th, so if they don’t meet on Wednesday, they have to postpone it for 15 days. Ajay couldn’t afford to lose any time. He gladly booked a table for 2 in Moti-Mahal Delux South-Ex for 9th.


In the end, it was the small trick by Dr. Mehta made the reunion possible. He made sure that Ajay was thinking, he is taking Urmila to the doctor. On the other hand Urmila thought she was the one who is taking Ajay to the doctor. As a result Dr. Mehta commanded full co-operation from both of them.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

CWG Delhi 2010, why should we support it?

After more than a month of CWG bashing few of us are realizing that bashing organizing committee of CWG is not going to change anything.
We get so critical of others who failed in their responsibility. What about us? As a citizen, few things are expected from us as well. Least we could do is to support our country and back our athletes. And if we don’t do that then aren’t we standing shoulder to shoulder with the Kalmadi’s?

People have raised the argument that:

Organizing committee’s corruption has siphoned taxpayer’s money. Hence there is no point in supporting the games.
Hello!!! Nobody is asking you to back OC. Do hell with OC. Let them go to hell after the games are finished. Nobody is going to remember them. But people are going to remember the games; the world is going to remember the games. If it doesn’t go well, it is going to be a blot on Brand India. It’s our games, not Mr. Kalmadi’s. We should pray to make it a success as it is for our own good. Nobody is asking us to go and work there. Just give your whole hearted support. Don’t entertain the negative discussions that are happening. Very recently I got a chance to see the pictures of venues of the various events. Those pics are breath taking. We missed them because we were focused on negatives only.

If everything goes fine and games are successful, people will forget that corruption of this magnitude has taken place. And the culprits will go scot free.
We are living in a country where a new scam surfaces almost every six month. And each and every scam unearthed is bigger in magnitude than the previous one. How many culprits you remember have been nailed and punished properly? Lalu in animal husbandry, Soren, Telgi, and many more. None of them are riding on success of any games or event. Still they are out of law’s stretched arm. I am not advocating the culprits here. My point is, success of the games is not linked to the prosecution of the scammer. Let the games be a huge success. This is going to benefit India as a whole. Be a bit selfish here. Having a good game will help you hold your head high.

Such a huge sum of money could have been used in better education and other things that Indian people need.
Do we have any idea what is the magnitude of the funds government allocated for education/ agriculture/poor cause in their latest five year plan? The corruption taken place in CWG is not even 100th fraction of it. If the huge sum of five year is not good enough then how come the corruption amount of CWG would help?

Media keeps harping on 70,000 crores being spent. Just to give you correct figures - only Rs 670 crore has been spent directly on the games -- on building stadia. The rest of the money has been spent on infrastructure development of the capital, which is not directly linked to the games e.g. Rs 3,000 crore for extension of Metro, Rs 18,000 crore for augmenting DTC bus services and Rs 3,700 crore on flyovers and bridges, Rs 2,000 crore on power plants.

Do we say the same for other sports which are well organized like cricket or tennis? These sporting events also cost a bomb. Let’s scrap everything then. Rather than advocating a better management of games, we are asking to scrap the games. We are solving the wrong problem here.

Organizing Games hasn’t helped India in any way.
Isn’t the tourism industry of India is hugely benefitted by the games? Wasn’t Delhi Metro was implemented in Delhi on priority for CWG? Wasn’t there immense emphasis on making Delhi green? Wasn’t CNG was brought in to Delhi?
CWG has transformed Delhi - Delhi Metro was fast tracked for the same - It now carries more than 20 million people every day. More than 50 new roads and flyovers were built. Delhi is much more greener now. CP has got a new look. There is a fleet of 5000 new buses instead of killer Blue line just because of CWG - which has benefited millions of people.
They all (and many more) were stepping stones towards making a strong case in favor of Delhi as a city eligible to host games.
Events of this magnitude are big money spinners. They help business and in turn the economy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Never say goodbye

When you say goodbye,
Dont look straight into my eye.
My eyes will never get closed after,
If closed, they will never open to see the sky.

Friday, October 09, 2009

No austerity please...

Yes you read it right. Its nice to know that our parliamentarians are willing (unwillingly pushed) to cut costs of their living. Madam Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi travelling in a economy class to set an example for their colleagues. Although the intention for this exercise is noble, i fear that it can affect 'aam aadmi' (common man) in a bad way.

Just imagine how it will affect the seat availability in a domestic flight. These days we can get the affordable air tickets (in low cost carriers between major cities of India) ranging between 3-5 thousand rupees. And we are happy with that. If politicians, VIP’s and officials start eating up that low fare seats, we will have to fall back on trains (which are already run at their overload capacity). We surely can’t afford a business class tickets.

A ripple effect would be on aviation sector. Earlier they were getting their economy seats filled through common man and business class via business people (CEO's of various companies) and government officials (Politicians, IAS officers etc) who get ticket reimbursed by govt. Now airlines will suffer a decline in business class bookings, however economy class will be full as earlier. Aviation sector is already facing heat of recession. A loss in business is the last thing they want at the moment.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Spirit of Cricket R.I.P.(ed) courtesy R.I.P. (Ricky Integrity Ponting)

Prospect of winning 16 test matches in a row is a lucrative one. But how far a person can go to achieve that? Answer lies with Mr Ricky Integrity Ponting. They got full support from field umpires. When two umpires were not enough, third umpire also chipped in with handy contributions. Add to those, Mr integrity started playing 4th umpire and helped field umpires by taking decisions on their behalf. Bad umpiring decisions are not new in cricket. And often they lead to dramatic turnarounds in balanced matches. Third umpire was introduced to reduce those human errors. But this time 3rd umpire also faltered. If that was not enough to win match, Mr integrity shamelessly started claiming false catches.

Aussies have been bullying their guest teams for years. As soon as a tour starts they start building psychological pressure on the touring captain. Sourav Ganguly lead a young team that was not afraid of giving tit for tat. And got good success. Since then people thought that there is only one way to deal with Aussies. Give them what they give you. When Anil kumble was named captain of the touring Indian team, Aussies might have taken a sigh of relief because the man in question was known for his good conduct and is regarded as a gentleman in the cricket world. Its easier to bully a polite person than a brat. And the way Aussies behave on the field, it was clear that they wanted to win at any cost. At any cost.....But at the end the cost they are asked to pay is simply too costly, probably they had not estimated that cost before.

India did not stoop to the level of cheating to counter Aussies ways. They kept playing their game with dignity and honesty. No shouting back no swearing at opposition. All Kumble did was to give one remark at the presentation ceremony..."Only one team was playing in right spirits" That's all. Check Mate Mr Ponting. That's modern Gandhigiri. All the antiques aussies performed during those 5 days suddenly started looking foolish and kiddish. Their own supporters and former players started questioning them. And Mr Ponting was questioned by media about the missing sportsman spirit in Aussie team. They have buried down their sportsman spirit under down the pile of 16 Test matches win. He will take some time to see when and where they lost touch with the spirit. All he could say,"Whoever has the doubt on my Integrity should not be in this room". Wow what a way to answer the serious questions that are directed towards your character.
Any one whose integrity is being questioned, should he be leading a Number 1 Team of the world?

Any answer to this Mr. R.I.P.?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What are the AIDS Activists doing?

Few days back there was a news on all the news channels. A pregnant AIDS patient checked in the Government Medical College in Meerut (India) for delivery. To the surprise of the lady and her husband, she was refused to get in the maternity ward. Doctors refused to get involved in delivery process and the poor couple somehow managed the delivery in a discarded ward of the hospital.

This disgusting incident happened just 70 Km from Delhi. As we know Delhi, the city of AIDS activists, a city where there are more AIDS activists than AIDS patient. Surprisingly no social butterfly came in front and said anything comforting for the poor couple. The same AIDS activist become proactive when any globally recognized AIDS activists comes to the country. They are first to line up for receiving huge donations. I really wonder what they do from the money the get. Going to social gatherings is all they do? Isn't it their responsibility to do the ground work at the grass root level? If at all we want to remove AIDS, we have to go in depths.

As per the Supreme Court Law, no hospital can refuse to admit an AIDS patient. News channels as they always do, carried the story whole day (And forgot about it from the next day). Everybody blamed the heartless doctors. Even a child knows that AIDS doesn’t spread by touching. How come the enlightened doctors (who are supposed to be the most informed) don’t know it?

The days passed but the feeling of disgust kept running at the back of my mind. Last week i talked to my brother who did his MBBS from the same medical college of Meerut and without any delay i opened this topic in front of him. Then came up the story of other side. The story no news channel tells (Because they wan to show something that raises questions, rather answer queries)

Being a government hospital, only poor people come there for treatment. Very often they don’t even have money to pay for the medicines and the operating cost of the treatment, leave alone the doctor's fee. Even if these doctors waiver off their fee, who will pay for the medication. Most of the medicines that are made available for free to the govt hospitals are already black-marketed by the hospital authorities. And the hospital can’t offer any thing to the poor people. Coming back to the point, in 1-2 cases if the patient is very serious, some doctor may come forward to bear the expenses, but he can’t do it
for the 100's of patients that visit the hospital daily. And if this trend is set, many people who can bear the expense would try to look like poor and get the benefit of free of cost treatment at the expense of kind hearted doctors.

Case of AIDS patient is very different from ordinary patients. Very few people know that there should be a separate ward for AIDS patients. And that ward has to be properly equipped to avoid any infection to hospital staff and other patients. The above mentioned hospital is not equipped with such a ward. So technically it cant handle AIDS patients. In addition to this, for the delivery of HIV infected lady there is a standard kit used. That kit costs Rs 500. Again needless to say poor people can’t afford that and individual doctors can’t make this available for each patient. In some case patients don’t reveal that they are HIV infected (Fearing that doctors will refuse the treatment, or from the fear of social stigma). And poor doctors have to do a lot of test and treatment that involves dealing with patient's blood/urine/semen/saliva hence they are at constant risk of getting HIV infected from such dishonest patients. Last statement shocked me to the core. Imagine what a price a doctor might have to pay for the kindheartedness he shows in his profession, "A Death Sentence".

I would like to ask those selectively active AIDS activist, what are they doing for such cases. I hope someone of them comes to this page and spreads the word. We desperately need some infrastructure to fight with this disease. Protection is better than cure. Agreed!! But in the present circumstances only awareness won’t do. What about those who are already infected. If a doctor is not properly equipped, why will he go close to the patients and treat them?