Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Independence Day, India.

January 7, 2009. India Gate, New Delhi.

Congratulations on 62 years of self-governance.

It's always better to be doing your own thing, than to have your fate decided by the whims of another. Particularly when the interests of "another" show mutual exclusion from your own. Even if the resultant mess may be somewhat harder to deal with, subterfuge is always to the rescue.

And because list-posts leave very little room for BS,

Things I love about India :

1. Diversity. A blinding, overwhelming extent of it. Geographical, cultural, linguistic, religious, communal, and economical.

2. The very prevalent amalgamation of the aforementioned diversity. It is, in effect, an explosion of colors far more than you would ever find on the world's most expansive palette.

3. Having the right to make your own choices and live by them.
India is a country that doesn't tell you to be something she wants you to be. There is no code to be followed, no stringent norms to adhere to. Society here, gives you a taste of everything you may want. From anarchy and chaos, to a communist sense of order. India, imposes no expectations.

4. One doesn't have to be filthy rich(by global standards) to have a taste of the good life. Through the practice of which, one quickly learns what it entails. Boredom.

5. The fact that when you're sitting in a cafe with a group of friends, odds are that each one of them speaks a different language at home. Yet, if you ever get them to bring it to the table, each one would be understood perfectly by all. (Try it. It happens.)

6. Opportunity. The nation makes no pretenses about the dog-eat-dog philosophy. Fight for your life, and get it. In a place where law is more about working your way around it, it's the only fair game to play. And growing up in such an environment, if you make the slightest of efforts, gives you a rock solid sense of judgment. Needless to mention, a certain degree of savoir-faire.

7. The people. Melodramatic and theatrical. Completely OTT, mostly harmless. Usually annoying, but ever-present. I doubt if the extent of inter-personal interaction we have here is paralleled anywhere else in the world. You learn to hate them with a vengeance, but once in an odd while, they surprise you. In a good way.

8. The tangible heritage. Epics, mythology, beautiful monuments (temples, dargahs, sarais, tombs, stupas, churches, etc), ancient crafts kept alive by modern artisans(regional paintings, sculptures, etc), various schools of music(Carnatic, Hindustani, Sufi, etc) , dances and martial arts. No point in extending the list. I might as well make an Indi-pedia out of it.

9. Spicy food. Praise the Lord for chillies and garlic!

Things that will eventually drive me out of here :

1. Decadence. It's like a disease. Or weeds. Penetrating every inch of existence, every aspect of being. Slowly corroding everything it touches. Till it all begins to resemble red, blood-stained scraps of metal.

2. Gender Oppression. No matter what fate you are born to, no matter what you do, it's there. Whether you choose to bend under it's weight, or fight against it, it is a crucial part of your existence. You live through life feeling either violated, or having to fight it every step along the way. But it never goes away. As a child, you're lucky to be loved and wanted. And are asked to be thankful for that fact. Thankful for what? For being loved despite being a girl? DESPITE? You grow up feeling intimidated. Scared. Inhibited. Locked up in a cage for your own safety. Because it's a big, bad world out there. As a woman, you are treated like a piece of meat dangling on a hook. With no respect, no honor, and no voice. You yell, you shout. But even a million voices shouting with you are drowned out by a roar. The deafening roar that bears down on you with the gravity that reality brings with itself.

3. The deplorable state of the education system.
With no credit given to actual learning, original thought is suppressed all over. Mug-and-regurgitate. No research involved.

4. Nepotism and the power of political influence.

5. The widespread resistance to learning. I know exactly what I mean by this, but don't want to put it in words.

6. Disregard for the value of human life and time.

7. The clearly laid out outlines of public morality, present only for the purpose of keeping up appearances.

8. An assent(and absurdly, a preference) for mediocrity.

9. An ineffectual government.

10. The need to get more out of life. Much more than what 3,287,590 km2 of land and 1/6th of the world's population has to offer.

To conclude, some things are and some things are not. That doesn't mean that they can't be better.
Thank you for your time.

Now go fly kites.


Srivatsan said...

The things that you said would drive you out of India do exists in all other developed and developing countries of the world and in some under-developed countries too.
As far as I have seen,mothers control their daughters and mother-in-law/sister-in-laws torture their daughter-in-laws.If our generation passes on to become parents,then this gender oppression will disappear.Other than that,men who oppress women should be shown how painful it is to be oppressed.

If we maintain the standard of living such that as it was ten years back,we can reduce poverty population and their fight for food.

Happy Independence !
Jai India!

Sherry Wasandi said...

Do they really exist in ALL other countries? Sure? The corruption, the oppression, the nepotism, the tragic education system? I don't think so.

The gender oppression prevails majorly beyond familial ground. I speak of the general one.

Isn't progress essential to development? Putting a tab on growth is no solution.

Srivatsan said...

well,what you say as progress isn't progress for everyone.If we take India,it is not the 1% engineers and doctors.
Shining roads and malls are not real development.
The only development we need to achieve is to bring down the prices such that poor people can work less than 24 hours a day to get three rations a day!

and corruption,oppression are far more prevalent in other India,it is increased in percentage by population(number of people doing such things/population of India)!

Srivatsan said...

regarding oppression,I can't argue because I interact only with my mom and no other woman have crossed my life until now,not even as a friend! :(
And my mom has never been scolded by my dad,infact everytime,it is the other way around! :D

Srivatsan said...

Tab on growth- i need to cite one example here:
there was this boy called motu,whose head was always fed.His brain is alone fed cos it earned revenue for others.Soon,he cannot rise up and walk because his other organs and body parts didn't got their food because they didn't earn revenue like brain did.And they have grown very weak and motu died one day because he cannot get blood to his brain from heart .
growth should not be should be multi-dimensional!
If reliance becomes no.1 company,it doesn't mean that india is growing.One Indian has grown,thats it.India's position in world no.1 cannot quench the thirst of farmer or common man!

Im sorry if my points tense you!if i start arguing,i type for pages!:D

Sherry Wasandi said...

I agree entirely with your concept of development, but I do not think that it is limited to a certain sect or economic class of the society. If we favor the lower-class, we are, in effect promoting homogeneity. The solution is equal opportunity, not equal profit. And the opportunity for growth in all classes, not just one.

And the corruption/oppression point sort of contradicts itself. If India has a high percentage of the same, and also being the one with such a huge population, the figures are even higher, not lower. Think about it.

If in doubt, look up the annual issue of the list by Transparency International.

In any case, you cannot contest the fact that considering the amount of resources it possesses, India is one of the most poorly managed and most corrupt nations in the world. For reference, there are about 192 nations and India ranks in at approximately 22. Those are some bad figures. Don't deny it.

Sherry Wasandi said...

And I always love a good debate!

Srivatsan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Srivatsan said...

Well,we can prosecute the people who receive or demand corruption.But what about those who give corruption?and those who force corruption?
I have heard many and seen some,who give corruption deliberately to end the problem(traffic or govt office related).Even if we arrest the corrupted ones,what action would be taken against the corrupters??
is there any law on this?? If so,enlighten me bcos I have not come across anything like that!

I think you would have read the story of the richest indian businessman who made corruption to flow among the government and media circles.

We cannot blame the government as a whole.Because we form India,not the government alone.

Do corruption really hinder a progress or unequal salary distribution does so??I think the latter have already overtaken the former in increasing poor people and chaos!

Srivatsan said...

i don't support corruption,but i stand on point that corruption alone doesn't hinder our country's progress.There are so many things that should be checked ,but we enjoy being with it.

Rene Lacoste said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rene Lacoste said...

Are the choices we make free choices? Or is it just something we're made to believe in?

Sherry Wasandi said...

@ Srivatsan : What you said in the first line is echoed in what I said about an assent for mediocrity. I believe that there is not much need for elaboration upon that.

And yes, there are laws against bribery. But they are so abstract in terms of their jurisdiction, that they are rarely followed. But that too is on a universal level. Why is it that India is the one in the rut when enforcement is just as rare all over?

I am not the one who gets to make the choices that govern the fate of the country. The government consists of people who's sole job in life is to do it, and do it well. They are getting paid for it. I'm not. That, in effect, gives me the right to blame them.

A citizen can only do his own duty well, and get on with it. That merely is nothing compared to what is to be expected of the government. The blame, is very valid.

You overlook the fact that unequal salary distribution stems from unequal skill and prowess. With that, I again draw notice to the "equal opportunity" point.

Sherry Wasandi said...

@Rene Lacoste : I would ignore the deletion and still comment on the 1984 reference. :)

In what way does India strike you as authoritarian? We happen to have more rights than some nations could dream of. Upon your suggestion, I ruminated upon the possibility of liberty being an illusion. And soon came to the definite conclusion that The Matrix doesn't really apply here. Our media, for one thing, is errant. And our government sucks at keeping secrets, along with most other things. It's the opposite of 1984. Instead of knowing too little, we often know too much of crap for it to be of any consequence.

As a study in contrast, take into account a place like China. Excessive government control over every freakin' thing! It's suffocating to me. I know, because I've been there. And yet, you would find a vast majority of people to believe that they are getting a fantastic deal out of life. They have little to be responsible for, and never having experienced "freedom of expression", don't see the relevance of it. That, is 1984 for you.

Rene Lacoste said...

Damn blogger! They shouldn't tell me they've deleted it if they haven't! Sorry for that :)

As for the 1984 reference, I agree with you on China-everyone except the Chinese Communists would. As for India, there's no other place I'd rather live in. Freedom is the ultimate idea.

And about the deleted comment, I honestly don't remember what exactly I'd written.

Sherry Wasandi said...

Ha! Blogger, on my request, happens to zip the comments off to my mailbox. Even if it deletes comments, it can't delete the mail. Hence.

You merely expressed surprise at my non-skepticism regarding "freedom" and suggested me to re-read 1984.

No apologies necessary.

mgeek said...

"Mostly harmless" - made me nostalgic - good old school days, spending entire summer reading and re-reading Douglas Adams... he was a genius :)

Sherry Wasandi said...

Yes, he was. :)

He was one of those few with a distinctive style. Like Joseph Heller.

His witticisms are majorly unparalleled!

mgeek said...

Catch-22 is awesome...

Srivatsan said...

do blogger delete comments without our request?? :-o

Sherry Wasandi said...

@mgeek: Absolutely!

@Srivatsan: Blogger does not. Not to my knowledge at least. As long as it isn't spam/what they fondly like to call "inappropriate material".

~MINDfreak~ said...

Love the post and the debate in the comments. Don't agree to a lot of it, and you already know that about me, but still have enough reasons love the post! :)

Sherry Wasandi said...

Yes, I know you don't agree.

But we've had this conversation before, through "the email". And like you used to say, if convenience be the root of all action, each one of us gets to choose our own.

And thanks!

Rene Lacoste said...

The root of all action-what is the root of all action? I've concluded after loads of deliiberation...that action and inaction are just two default starting positions-one exalted and the other reviled.

Sherry Wasandi said...

The cause-and-effect scenario-isn't action the effect?

Action is guided by some idea, some need, with the view of making something happen.

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