Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anna Hazare, Corruption and Us

The other day I was watching a debate on Anna Hazare’s fast on the popular talk show “We The People”.  One of the panelist, who called his fast a farce, asked, “How many of you have read the Jan Lokpal bill advocated by Team Anna?” Only a few raised their hand, to which the panelist gave a look which communicated something like, “See, you guys don’t even know what you are supporting”.

But then, that is not really the right question, is it?.  I think more than 90% of people who are supporting Anna don’t completely know what is a Jan Lokpal bill, what is the difference between the government’s draft and Team Anna’s draft, how is Anna’s draft better and so on. All of them ( including me) are supporting Anna Hazare because we are fed up with this government; a government which allowed so many multi-crore scams to happen right under its nose, a government which tries to undertake smear campaign against a gandhian just because he criticizes it,  a government which even though has a comfortable majority in the parliament has done nothing of note in last 2 years since it came to power for the second time (the last point was made by Narayana Murthy, one of the most respected thinkers and business leaders of India, in an interview) .
So the question is not really whether Anna’s bill is any better than the government’s. No one cares. Anything is better than this government (or the opposition, for that matter).  Supporting Anna is supporting a crusade against corruption, supporting a movement which can be a defining moment in the history of India or as Anna told in his speech – a second freedom struggle.

People are also criticizing Anna’s methods, saying he is blackmailing the government and that he has no authority, as parliament has the ultimate right to create a bill.  This is ridiculous. India has waited patiently for 43 years for the lokpal bill to pass in parliament (it was first introduced in 1968). What do you want? That we wait another 50 years for the bill to pass?  If no action is taken now, the government (this one and the one after this) will sleep on it forever.
Let us support Anna in these testing times. It is not a question of Lokpal bill; it is a question of fight against corruption. Anna Hazare is a ray of hope. Let’s not waste this opportunity and do every bit to support him.

Having said that, even if the bill is passed I doubt anything will change significantly for the common man. The bill passage, whenever it happens, will be great start for sure, but will be just that, a start. That is because we ourselves (including me), the common men, are one the most corrupt species in India. How many of us have not paid a bribe to get the driver’s license? How many of us have not paid a bribe to get the house registration done? While travelling in train when we find our name in the waiting list chart, how many of us have not tried to bribe the TC and get a seat? How many of us have not bribed the police constable who catches us without proper vehicle documents? I am sure most of us have, at least once. (I for one have definitely done that)
Unless and until each one of us decides that we will not bribe anyone to get the work done, that we will not take advantage of the system, Anna Hazare’s campaign will not be a success. If we are supporting him now, let us also make a commitment that we will neither give nor accept bribe. 

Let’s hope that Anna Hazare’s campaign is indeed a second freedom struggle - a freedom from corruption.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


This post is a 55 fiction  - 55 Fiction is a form of micro-fiction that refers to the works of fiction limited to a maximum of fifty-five words

Amit saw his name in the facebook "friend suggestions"
"Shall I call him?"
"What will he think?"
"Will he even talk to me?"
"Would I look smaller?"
"It wasn't entirely my fault"

"What the hell"

He picked up the phone and dialled
"Dude, I am sorry!"

And just like that, he was free.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Balakrishnan, Bala to his colleagues, walked past the crowded corridor on the way to his cubicle. The corridor was jam packed with job aspirants. Crater Inc, the company where Bala was a program manager, was hiring for the position of network assistant and Bala was supposed to interview the candidates.

"Yes, I have....yes, yes. I will get that. Hopefully I will get this job. This is my last hope", a tall, lanky middle-aged man was talking on his cell phone.

Bala stopped momentarily. "This voice is familiar", he thought.  He turned around and was surprised to find Vicky, his classmate from college. Bala entered the cubicle and threw his bag at the table;  a smug smile emerged on his face. "How times has changed", he thought.

"Hey Balu, come here", ordered Vicky as he sat with his friends, feet up on the table, in the center of college canteen. Bala did not look up and continued reading his book. His blood was boiling, especially since Simran was also sitting beside Vicky.
"Come on man, this is canteen, you should eat some food here, not the pages of your "Network System", shouted Vicky amidst a roar of laughter.
"Shut up guys, leave the poor fellow alone", pleaded Simran
This was adding insult to injury. Simran calling him a poor fellow? Bala couldn't take it anymore. He picked up his book and quietly left the canteen. As he was walking out he heard another round of laughter.

Bala was startled by the knock on the door.He felt a stinging pain in his palms; without his knowledge he had clenched his fist so hard that the nails had cast deep marks on his palm.
"Shall I send in the first candidate?", asked Sujata,Bala's secretary, slightly bemused by his abnormal reaction.
"Yes please", replied Bala drinking a glass of water.

One by one the candidates came and went, but none of them were a perfect fit for the job. If they knew about meshwork port cards, they did not know about multiparous gateways and if they knew how to utilize multiparous gateways they were ignorant of CIFS. And by any chance if they knew all of them, their communication was poor.

"Have you shortlisted any of them? Only one more candidate is remaining"
"None of them are upto the mark. Send in the last candidate"

"Hey Balakrishnan, how are you? Remember? I am Vicky. We studied together in college", said Vicky excitedly on seeing Bala
"Oh.. did we? Which department were you in?" Bala replied, almost nonchalantly.
"I was in Computer Networks. You, me , Simran..."
Bala became even more serious on the mention of Simran's name.
"Oh yes, I remember. Long time. Please sit, we will start the interview process"

"What role are you playing in your current company?"
"Actually... I parted away from my last company about six months ago", replied Vicky, a little embarrassed
"Parted away? Were you fired?", asked Bala, with an unnatural stress on the word fired.
"Yes.... kind of", said Vicky, sheepishly

Bala was enjoying every bit of this. He remembered all the times when he was humiliated by Vicky and his coterie. He asked extremely difficult questions to Vicky which were completely unrelated to the area of work and made it a point to rub it to him that he was hopeless. Slowly, the expression on Vicky's face changed.It became more and more gloomy. Finally, after about half an hour, Bala put Vicky out of his misery.

"Listen Vicky. As much as I want to hire you, you know, for old times sake, I cannot, as we have an extremely critical project and any incompetency will create a lot of problems. Why don't you give me a call, say, after 15-20 days? I will see if there are any other openings in less critical projects".

Vicky was lost in deep thoughts. He did not speak for couple of minutes. Bala did not mind it. In fact, he couldn't believe his luck. After all these years he had got a golden chance to hit back at his tormentor. After a long pause, Vicky responded.

"Thank you Bala. That won't be necessary". Vicky got up, shook hands and walked out of the room, without any hint of the deep discomfort he was in just a couple of minutes ago. It was as if suddenly he had found a solution to all his problems.

Bala was happy. He stood near the window sipping his evening tea with a satisfied smile looming large over his face. Just then he saw Vicky crossing the street next to the office compound. Vicky abruptly stopped and turned back to see something, unaware of the fact that a speeding bus was approaching him. Bala's eyes widened with fear as the bus came closer to Vicky and he was still standing on the middle of the road. Finally, the bus driver applied the break; the bus came to a screeching halt, but not before it had knocked off Vicky. To his horror, Bala saw Vicky lying amidst a pool of blood. He immediately called the watchman and asked,

"Watchman, what happened to the person? Is he alright?"
"No sir, looks like on-the-spot death. I have been telling everybody hundreds of times to be careful here, the sharp turn makes it difficult for the drivers to see the pedestrians, but who listens to me, they say I am old, but one day.......... ", the watchman went on and on, but Bala was not listening. He dropped his phone and thudded on to the chair. After couple of minutes of blackout, he started thinking.

Did he deliberately stop in the middle of the road? No, it is just a job. No one will commit suicide because of this.... But he was talking over phone that this is his last hope....... People talk like that all the time, they don't mean it literally.... 

But did he?

Bala stood motionless for couple of minutes.

But how is it my fault if he did not get the job? Clearly he was incompetent..... But I never asked him any relevant questions, he might have been a good fit..... No, he was fired from his last job...... There could be many reasons for it, not just incompetence, I never bothered to even ask.....Still, everyday there are thousands of people who don't clear interviews, they don't commit suicide.... I humiliated him over and over again, that might have pushed him over the edge........

Did it?

Bala closed his eyes. He wished all these thoughts would somehow go away. He wished he would fall asleep. He wished Vicky had not come for the interview.....

Bala did get his revenge, but at what cost?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

You came.....

I was angry
I was sad
I talked without reason
people called me mad

I was hopeless
I was depressed
I wandered aimlessly
even I thought I was possessed

I was down
I was out
I held my head
was about to shout

Then you came,
And then you came,
The world as I saw,
was a better place again.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Journey

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 19; the nineteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

I went for a jog in a park nearby
everyone seemed happy and I let out a cry

I started jogging,looking at things left and right
the set-up was eyecatching, resplendent and bright

Someone then told me, run as fast as you can
you will win a medal, so strategise and plan

I started running, putting down my head
knocked down a few on the way,my hands turned red

Some people wanted to join me, I took them along
but promptly warned them, its a journey very very long

I got tired, but I wasn't going to stop
there was a medal to win, a clock to watch

Finally I made it, had the medal in my hand
I looked for someone to hug, but couldn't find a man

I looked back for my companions, but they were left far behind
They could see me no more, or perhaps they just did not mind

I sat on the bench, unable to stand anymore
had a relook at the park,boy,did I see something more?

There was a fountain, with a stream of water so pure
I could have taken a bath, enjoying its magnificence

There was a field, full of exotic fruits
I could have tasted them all, relishing their sweetness

There were toddlers, playing in mud without care
I could have become a kid again, shedding my inhibitions

There were a thousand other things, that I could have done
but I left them all, for the most important one

Yes, I went for the medal and I successfully collected
looked at it one more time, but the feeling wasn't the one that I expected

As I walked out of the park, exasperated and drained
I tried to convince myself, the medal is the one that I cared

But then a thought striked me, it was never meant to be a race
All I wanted was,a pleasurable jog with a smiling face

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.