Monday, December 12, 2016

What wolf did you feed today ?

There is a Native Indian (American) legend that has become cornerstone of my thinking and my way of living past many a years. Others have often remarked and asked me - how can you remain happy, smiling and make fun of life when every thing around you is falling apart - falling apart is what happens every now and then and considering that I am an average man living his life then one can   presumedly inference that average person around the world also goes through same turmoil and emotion. Before I go any further let me first narrate the story.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Well as we go about living our lives we have to feed one of the two wolves - feed the good and we are more Angel than Devil and feed the Evil we are more Devil than the Angel. The point is many a times we do not feed any of them knowingly - but are fed. One of this important thing feeding us is our environment. Unfortunately we are being force fed the Devil at the moment. Please give me a moment to clarify myself. When I wake up in the morning I do not remember my creator - but check for WhatsApp, and if you are a generation older - your first instinct is to reach out for the Newspaper. 

I must admit that I am neither the WhatsApp kind nor the Newspaper Kind but then there are moments when the News/Newspaper tends to thrust itself like it did today morning. I am presently in a hotel and I heard the newspaper being slid beneath the door. I could not help but get up and reach for it. 

Well here is what I saw on the front page...

Newspaper dated 12 Dec 2016
If you notice the front page talks about 202 people dead on in the four news articles and that is me - without even opening the front page fully. With so much of negativity It will be a surprise that we can ever live our lives trying to feed the good wolf. It is not the question of me feeding the wolf but what someone else is feeding me and my wolf.

Talking about reaching out for the newspaper in the morning I would like to narrate an incident from my life that brought about this change. I was in Mumbai and early morning without giving a thought walked out of my room and reached out for the newspaper, there on the table was a foreign pilot who asked me. Col Cheema - tell me what do you see in this newspaper - still not out of my slumber I muttered - news. he walked across and opened the paper for me and showed me what I am trying to show you. The front page was nothing but a dose of negativity - Death, Rape, Murder, Accident and what not. He asked me - do you want to start the day of your life in this manner ? with all this ? I realised that day what he said and with every passing day I am convinced the words he told me. 

But in all this the moot point is - does good news not exist ? Does good news not sell ? The answer may well be a resounding no - I remember talking to a Newspaper editor in North India who said that they have declared two days in a week as no Negative News days. Indian culture teaches us to start the day with remembering God / the Almighty and what are we doing instead - starting the day with such negativity ? 

So at the end of it - it is not about the beginning of the day but the entire day itself - just ask yourself a question before going to bed - what wolf did you feed today ?? The choice is always in your hands - don't blame the world for it...

The sunset as I thanked the Almighty for another wonderful day of my life

Thursday, December 8, 2016

What's wrong with you Madam Mamta ?

I feel so very sad and sorry that my second blog post should be again talking about Mamta Banerjee and Bengal. I know I am about to draw a lot of flack by the righteous Bengalis - but I am just asking where are the hell are you heading to ?

Let me start by sharing my experience of Bengal and the Bengali Culture - it is the only state that has produced three of the five Indian Nobel Laureates. They are brainy for sure, it may come as a surprise that they are also the most widely travelled tourists. They have everything possible going for them other than that they are not progressive and have mindsets that will just not allow them to do so. They are by nature anti-establishment. As madam Mamta is proving herself - they were not happy with Mr Manmohan Singh, they are not happy with Mr Modi - and the entire state chanting to this - come off it - let's grow up a little - should we ?

Campaigning for a cause ? 
I will tell you a story of my and my wife's experience of Bengal more than one and a half decade back - and of course it is true. We were shopping and it was about mid day. The Bengalis were notoriously known for shutting down shops in the afternoon - we walked into a shop and my wife asked for something - the shopkeeper's reply was - I don't have it - with a straight face. As we were walking out of the shop my wife's sight went out to what she was asking for stacked on a shelf. She said - there it is - and the reply was again - it is not for sale - we found out later of-course - it was lunch time and this was the manner in which they do business. There is a tea time, a breakfast time, another tea time, a lunch time, evening tea time and of course shut business by evening. All these times are no no for working. Well this was not the end of our experience - she then asked where else can we get it ? The shopkeeper uttered something in Bengali and told us to go down the street. We continued and went around in circles - every one we asked would point further down the street or ask us to take some turn. Finally after one hour of roaming around we cam in front of the same shop - finally we asked one Sikh shopkeeper nearby and he told us forget what you have been  told - he said this is a sick joke played by the shopkeepers to keep you running around for something that is not there. Talking about a wild goose chase.

We went home but that evening and later in the train back home from Calcutta I got into a discussion with some Bengali person of good education and declared him absolutely without doubt that Bengal is a state of India its leaders are leading to self destruct. I have stood by this belief for more than the past one and a half decade and every new sunrise proves me right yet again.

I will again start - I am no Modi 'Bhakt' - I have some gripes against him too - but the point over which Mamta Banerjee is protesting against Modi is not the one would have bought her any political mileage in any another state - but the Bengalis just do not seem to question her. Her political gimmicking is just too much for me to digest and over and above dragging Army into it - God Bless Bengal.

The work culture at the moment is down the drain - well to be honest - it was never great. I remember the locals moving with red flag cloth in one pocket and black arm band in another. It is unfair that the state should not progress industrially. It has been proved that pure socialism is a failed concept worldwide - the birth place of this concept is split a million times over. I pray to the above average people of Bengal see this game as a Zero Sum game which will not benefit anyone. Every individual in the state and the people have to decide and show that there is no way out but to progress or get left behind in this golden period of India where inclusive growth is concept being propagated.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mamta Banerjee assassination plot - what the heck !!

Mr Modi, aka our prime minister has tickled an hornet’s nest by trying to check/curb corruption. I am sitting and being bombarded with hundreds of undeserving comments, thoughts and ideas from people of all walks of life. I realised that I too should be part of the discussion in a manner that I can contribute my thoughts, however irrelevant, to an audience - whether a couple of us or more. In doing so I would not like to cross that thin line of sanity that I see others crossing.

I will start this blog with a disclaimer. I am apolitical. I do not belong to any party - be it Congress, BJP or any other regional party. My interest had been and will remain to be the future of this wonderful country to which I belong and intend spending the rest of my life. Perhaps this also gives me privilege to stand back and comment reasonably having no political affiliations. This apolitical stand I have is not something that I have developed overnight but was drilled into my head over my 26 years of military career during training and discipline where the motto I lived by was ‘Service before Self’. I feel that I it has its merits that I reap dividends now listening to all people affiliated and sold out mouthpieces. When I joined army I was told four things that I carry till today - Gentlemen officers of the military do not discuss money, ladies, religion or politics. Today, after I have hung my uniform I feel it is my moral duty to participate in a democracy and a country that I claim my own and as I stand on this moral pedestal - a lot of things are visible clearly without being myself smudged by the slug being thrown about by biased and motivated thinking, speakers and writers.

That being said today the first  thing that comes to my mind is the shouting being done by one of our esteemed leader - Ms Mamta Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal. She was a passenger - presumably on one Indigo flight from Patna to Kolkatta and due to congestion at the airport the aircraft was told to stay in the hold pattern. Yesterday when I saw the TV her shouting on top of her voice that she was being targeted to be killed or assassinated… the plane was low on fuel and still permission was denied to land and the other blah blah… I was amazed. It is just the amount of hog wash only Politicians and illiterates can spit out. She has really no idea obviously what an airport hold pattern is, what an aircraft delay in a congested air environment means and still the ruckus she can create by shouting and speaking this to uneducated audiences of her is just amazing to me. The airline and the pilots have denied any such events that were so serious that would have led to her being assassinated along with an airplane full of passengers - but then this incident to her mind has afforded such wonderful spotlight to her that I can imagine the glow she would have felt that makes her go on and on without as much stopping to take a deep breath and hear what she is speaking. This is coming from a lady that was known to sit behind a motorcycle and travel to the places well known for maoist insurgency in her state when the state was in a turmoil. She did not fear for her life then but now - a turn of events like demonetisation and a delayed flight can do to her wellbeing. I wonder what hurt her more - demonetisation or the delayed flight.

I hope that she realises what a joke she is making herself especially to those who have an idea as to what aviation is all about and stops this drama. But then perhaps this is what I have missed for past so many years - pure and unadulterated political entertainment.