Let’s start with the meaning of the word “Independence”. What does it actually mean? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as, “the quality or state of being independent”. Or, it could also mean, freedom of a country from foreign controls. Yes, the British ruled India for more than 200 years. But since 1947, we are all on our own. The Constitution was framed. And then India became a nation. The sovereign, socialist secular democratic republic nation as we all know. Since our school days.

68 years of independence, and India has very well fared in science, technology, astronomy, and various other fields. But, has India been able to secure a lot of other achievements as well, along with the advancement in technology and other fields. Let’s start with the issue of poverty. 23.6% of Indian population, or about 276 million people are below the poverty level in India. Not only that, the most affected areas in India are Odisha, Chattisgarh and some North Eastern States. Poverty is an issue, which I personally feel, only education and driving the unemployed workforce into employed citizens. There could be various ways where the uneducated youth population can be taught and employed so that they could atleast use their skills to secure a job.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Then comes reservation. Reservation, I believe is a controversial issue. My humble opinion is, reservations should continue, probably. But according to some intelligent people on the internet sphere, there should be a provision where only one generation of reserved category people can use the caste certificate. Though I have a different perspective. I’d like to share my personal experience, where I have been to poverty stricken areas. And, there, trust me, people don’t even bother what certificate can they get. They just need a meal twice a day. Which is obviously a basic necessity for a human being to live. They do still exist. Not far from the Kolkata city, but such people do exist. I do not know, what others think about reservation though. Generalization is present in every strata of society.

Next I would like to address is, Corruption. Today in 2015, India was ranked 85th country in terms of corruption. For everything, you need to pay a bribe. And get the work done. Starting from, making a driver’s license to applying passport, corruption prevails everywhere. I’ve seen people who are senior citizens and just to get their pension from the government’s fund, they have to pay bribes. The amount may be small, but the mindset of the government officials are low enough to even compare. Corruption is found everywhere, on railway stations, traffic signals, government offices, colleges, and so on. The government has introduced some schemes namely “link Aadhar card to LPG”, etc to keep an eye on its citizens. But, I am still skeptic about the schemes. Where the corruption has grown into the Indian system ranging from clerks to “Babus” of our government, how can one be hopeful that India will be corruption free one fine day?

Now comes rape. The word itself is so dreadful that anyone would shudder even when he/she will see the word. And it is happening, even in our country, right now while you read my article.A woman is raped every 18 hrs in Delhi according to the IndiaToday Newspaper. This was in 2011 though, but statistics state that there were a total of 33,764 rape victims across the country. I still wonder, what goes on in the rapist’s mind. Was he never taught anywhere in his whole life, that women should be respected? Anyways, I believe a solution to this, would be super fast track courts, and then, if the person is found guilty, they should be simply hanged to death, without wasting any time. I have been reading in the newspapers that there are a lot of criminals who are yet to get hanged to death. For rapists, there should be another special super fast track court and a separate place for execution.

There are many more reasons, which are also grave, but I’m falling short of words to explain each one of them. I would like to celebrate the day, atleast when one of the issues mentioned above is uprooted.

And we “rejoice” the Independence of India. Irony much?

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Do some of us still want to live in the era of oldies? I don’t think so that some of us do want to accept changes anywhere. Everyone of us know, that how difficult it is to swallow the fact, that your offspring has found his or her soulmate of some other creed, race or whatsoever the differentiating factor is. The parents are always happy, when their little one, has found a wife purely from their own clan.

Let’s take a very simple example which forced me to write this small article. I’d explain it as well. On my birthday, I heard a song named Rangabati, on MTV Coke Studio, sung by Sona Mohapatra and Rituraj Mohanty. Composed by Ram Sampath. On hearing for the first time, I felt the song was absolutely beautiful. Not to mention, even my mom exclaimed that she had heard the song when she was a little kid, playing around with her Odia friends. But, when I actually searched about the song on the internet sphere, I found that it was actually disliked by some of the Odia people. I won’t say all, because, I never checked the statistics, how many people liked the newer version of the song Rangabati, or disliked it. Though I could clearly see on YouTube, approximately 21,000 people liked it, and around 1,000 disliked.

On top of the cherry, the original lyricist sued them. I agree, that was valid due to copyright infringements. But, that doesn’t mean you’ll put down the song itself. MTV Coke Studio is basically a show where fusions are created. I do not know the language, yet I have found interest in that song. Not only me, there are a lot more other people who might have loved this song. And I have been seeing questions online, Which language was “Rangabati” sung in?

Yes, I’ve seen posts, where Sona Mohapatra was kind of, accused that the lyrics she pronounced wasn’t right. There were some posts floating as well, where the user directly posted timings, and tried to correct the lyrics using Odia words. I’m glad that such talented people in India exist as well.

But there’s a very simple theory behind this, which people don’t understand actually. If you dislike a thing, unlike it, and move on. But, creating a ruckus is simply not needed.

Also, as far as I remember, when A R Rahman, sang Jagao Mere Des, or when Sundori Komola Naachey had some English Rap by Aditi Singh Sharma, not a single Bengali person stood up against and said that, it is not advisable to ruin the folk song. Not because we are tolerant. Because we are used to people who make various versions of the folklore songs. “Hrid Majhare” is such a song, you would simply find n number of versions on the internet. I do agree that “Rangabati” may be the state anthem for Odisha. But, everyone can make their own version, right?

Though, I agree Sona had her own flaws. Yet, at the end of the day, she took the anthem of Odisha to an international level. Shouldn’t my Odia friends be proud at the fact? I know I am no one to comment on their sentiments yet, somewhere I felt, I should write this because that song did touch me somewhere.

Maybe, in some European country, an Odia person may be listening to the very same “Rangabati” on YouTube, and he or she may have weeped, a little, remembering their own motherland, Odisha. Isn’t that feeling priceless, than finding out faults in the song? Who doesn’t love their motherland right? Because, folk songs are such an emotion which never fails to touch the heart.

Nonetheless, coming back to my main point. Do people dislike changes? Or do they accept changes? Probably, time will tell us. I do hope, some day would come when cultures would simply inter-mingle with each other and there shall be international harmony.

No, no. I’m lucky enough that I could see him within an interval of a few months. But, lack of his presence on my birthday seems not enough. It is like, he is indirectly present. Via text messages, calls, and Skype Chats. But, it never seems enough.

It’s true that, I have been to phases where I used to be grumpy because, at very rare occasions, dad used to refuse me things, which I wanted to buy. I also used to get angry because, at times he directly did not pay heed to my requests and drag me back home without buying the substance.

That phase has crossed though. I can buy whatever I want, but I miss my dad. Why? Because, after crossing the teen ages, the realization has seriously striked me,that things are merely commodities which can be replaced and changed, but not the people. People in your live, specially the ones who have brought you into the world, and showed you, how beautiful the world is, whilst hiding the evil and bad from their offspring as long as they live, is something which is absolutely irreplaceable.

I had done some blunder, for which my mom still taunts me. But at the end of the day, I still love her. Why? Because, she’s the one, with whom I can simply share my feelings and every other incident happened to me on a daily basis. And she would not even get bored, because she is always keen to understand, listen and reply accordingly.

I’d like to conclude, probably like one of those Facebook pictures, which namely says

At 6 yrs : Dad, I love you.
At 10 yrs : Dad whatever!
At 15 yrs : Dad you’re so annoying!
At 18 yrs : I’m leaving this house.
At 21 yrs : I would give up everything for my dad to be here with me, NOW!

(P.S if you search this, this realization comes at the age of 70. I’m glad I realized it, early.)

I miss you dad. I’m coming home soon.

Shuffle, changing lives!

Posted: June 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

We as individuals, are too busy in our lives. Running around to our respective schools, offices, colleges and what not! But, have we ever thought, is it the only life we are leading? No responsibilities for the society? Doesn’t it affect you whenever you see a homeless person, or a dog who is shelterless?

If it affects you, then this is the first step towards your change. You have already found yourself apart from the millions of people who simply have known to ignore. You have finally found the ones, who actually think that even, at the individual level, they can change the world. And when many individuals come together for a common cause, it becomes a crowd. Which has the ability, to change the society.

Now the first question coming to your mind is, what should I do to help the needy ones? How can I try to change the society, at the individual, or at the social, or at the global level? True, you would start as an individual, but if your motives are simply positive, then similar thinking individuals together will come together and unite for your cause.

So, if you are actually planning to help in any way. Be it volunteering, helping someone, or simply thinking to help whichever way possible, you could join us. The organisation is called “Shuffle”. You could find more information in the link below. The organisation is a non profit organisation, and the organisation aims at helping people whichever way possible. The members of the organisation aims at helping every kind of people in the society. From spending Diwali at the orphanage to hosting a party at the old age home to cleaning up the streets early in the morning. We are ready to help, in whichever way possible.

e.g Shuffle has organised an event on the 28th of June, 2015 in Kolkata. The volunteers will be serving water to the needy ones at Park Street. Everyone, ranging from pedestrians to motorists, and passers-by will be provided water.

So, if you can think, you can change, join us so that we could help you to change.

For more info :- Shuffle

I was all set to leave for the boring college trip to Pune. I knew I was bored, but I didn’t have anything to do. My laptop had less charge, and there wasn’t any best friend nearby in my AC cabin with whom I could share my thoughts and discuss college life with him. Now, I was all alone, because incidentally in my cabin there weren’t any co passenger as well. I was already pissed off, but I had no option, but to sit, and watch videos on my phone. Luckily there was a charging point so I plugged in my laptop so that it could charge it’s batteries. And meanwhile I started watching a South Indian movie.

Incidentally, the movie I started playing was Allu Arjun’s “Arya 2”. Though I wasn’t much fond of South Indian movies, but I liked Allu Arjun’s style of acting very much. And, slowly the movie came to the point where the song “Ringa Ringa” was about to play. Suddenly, I could see that, instead of the item girl Erina Andriana performing on the song, I could see a familiar face of Bollywood who was dancing with Allu Arjun. On seeing keenly, I realized it was none other than the famous Anushka Manchanda performing with him. And I was glad to see her, performing and rocking the atmosphere of the song with Allu Arjun. The synchronization seemed to be perfect. And, on top of that her voice, was simply food for the ears. I could simply do nothing, but see the whole video, awestruck, and also, thinking, how did the item girl change because, I had seen the song “Ringa Ringa” earlier and I knew it wasn’t Anushka in the song. But, it was a wonderful experience.

Suddenly, a lady woke me up and said, “Is it Seat no 23?”. I realized that I fell asleep watching Arya 2. I woke up, rubbed my eyes and saw the screen, where the Ringa Ringa song had just ended, and Allu Arjun went away with a girl, wearing the same outfit as Anushka was wearing in my dream. After that I replied the lady, that I had accidentally slept on her seat because she hadn’t arrived then. Then we exchanged talks and as usual, the journey continued.

I’m still wondering. Was it a dream? Was it reality? Did Anushka actually perform on Ringa Ringa? Was Allu Arjun actually with Anushka dancing on Ringa Ringa? What was it?

I doubt, these questions won’t be answered as long as I see them both, performing on the very same song I dreamt of!

I am blogging for #MaxFreshMove activity at BlogAdda.com. Are you?

India, my love.

Posted: June 10, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

This is, a very short anecdote about a person, whom I have been stalking a lot. I do not know the person, personally. But I simply love his posts and instagram profile.

I have been seeing a person’s instagram profile. The profile is @ganex1961 .The name of the person is Paolo Zini. He probably belongs to Italy. And, from the day I started stalking him, I couldn’t think that it would go upto the level that I would go back in his timeline and check his first photo.

The thing which actually interested me was, his posts. Most of his posts, if you see, you will find a common tagline in his posts. “India my life”, “India my love”. I wonder, if a foreigner can fall in love with the country so much, that he would mostly write a same caption for all his 1000+ uploads. I do not know what are the quality of his pictures because I am not a photographer. But it made me so think about it, that I was forced to write an article on the person.

He supposedly belongs to Italy, and spends most of his time, in India with his wife. Because, there are a lot of pictures clicked by him in 2011,2012,2013 and 2014 as well. He is probably back or maybe not. But it seems that he has actually fallen in love with the country. I have only one question here. If Paolo, being an Italian, can love India so much, why can’t we, as Indians love our country like him?

I like to observe a lot of people. And the ones mentioned below are just simply the result of my observations.I would simply like to mention, that being an Indian, even I have this trait of finding an object which would actually give me “Bang for the buck” or as we call it in Hindi “Paisa Vasooli”.

Everyone in India, ranging from a pauper to a princess, is used to this habit. Bang for the buck. Yes obviously, there are times when it does not work. But Indians would obviously find a way, by hook or crook, to find “paisa vasooli” for the money they’ll pay for the object.

I myself have seen this in shopping malls, vegetable shops, clothing stores and many more places. Not to mention,even online retailers give so much freebies. Why? So that we could think, “Oh they’re giving freebies, i.e paisa vasool man!” But, there are some instances where we don’t even need to ask freebies. We ask for the extra amount of stuff we buy.

For example, My grandmother. When she was able to walk, she used to take me to the grocery store and vegetable markets so that I could learn the trait of bargaining. I was a child during that time. Probably about 6-7 years of age. I used to follow her and keenly listen to her conversations.

“How much is the potato?”, “Dadiji, it’s 25rs a kilo.” “What? Aisa daam bataiye jisse ki main le sakoon(Tell me a price so that I could buy)”. So the shopkeeper agrees to give 1kg and 250grams instead of the 1kg Potato for Rs 25. So, we can call the extra 250gms as a freebie maybe! But this was not only restricted to vegetables. This even included while buying rice, and other necessities as well.

Oh yes, fish. I’d like to raise a point here as well. Fishes are like, have to be complementary. Like when my grandma bought a big fish, she used to ask either the fish eggs, or a small fish of the same kind as a complementary.

I highly doubt whether today, it does work or not. But I have learnt the way how to bargain across the street and buy a commodity for atleast half the price the seller quotes.

This also reminds me of an incident for which I was totally embarrassed but, it was fine when the seller agreed. It goes as follows,

I and my elder cousin sister had gone for shopping. She had 1000 rupees with her, and I had 550 rupees. Now, she was an expert in bargaining, thanks to my grandma’s teachings. Now, as we were strolling around the shops, she found a beautiful anarkali dress. The quoted price was 2100Rs. Now, didi realized that the shop wasn’t a bargain free shop. She took advantage of the situation and simply went ahead to buy the Anarkali. And the bargain game started. 2100 to 1100. Then 1700 to 1300. I was worried and, I knew that she would be able to outwit the seller. She finally managed to make it upto Rs 1500, and she bought it. (That’s another thing that we both had to walk half the way and then catch a bus to home because 50 rs wasn’t enough to reach home.)

This is not only the case of my own family. This is the situation of every family in India. Yes, we do find bang for the buck, anytime, anywhere.

Even a person who is probably rich, will still find a bang for his buck. Why? Because it’s a quality. It is something which unites us. All Indians, have this trait of bargaining and finding “paisa vasool” in their commodities.

It’s as simple as follows, A girl would buy a dress with a high price, only if there are some freebies i.e ornaments, and other similiar things thrown into it. Because freebies.

And why not? All of us know, that we have this inborn quality to find paisa vasool. Even I, myself when buying a phone, ask the salesperson for freebies i.e extra offers,etc. Recently I bought a new phone. When I asked for the offers, they said that for 100 rupees extra I was getting a 8GB memory card and 4GB of downloads for free. So I gave the extra buck, and got the freebies at a very nominal price.

I could see, Lufthansa taking us Indians way too seriously. Hence, maybe, the new Economy class was launched by the Lufthansa Airways. So many features, at an economy price. Let me list down some of the features then!

As I’m a tech savvy student, I would always want my favourite gadgets to be connected all the time. And hey! Who wouldn’t want to web-checkin “Guys, I’m off to Frankfurt!”. Now, for all these things, Lufthansa has been kind enough to supply two sockets and USB ports for ease of use and ease of access as well. This is a boon for us students, that too, who would be travelling at economy prices!

Suppose you ain’t a tech savvy person. Okay everyone isn’t into gadgets. But still you are getting bored, Lufthansa has made special arrangements as well. They have offered a big screen where you could watch Hollywood movies. Now, if you dislike Hollywood movies, then you could play games as well on the large screen. They have also provided magazines as well. Imagine, if these could be the freebies provided at an economy price, what all things can they offer you, at the premium classes!

For now, I can think of only these features. There are more features, but for them you have to check out the link, and the video below.

Also,a person can be of any religion, race, or creed. But if he/she is an Indian, he/she has to know the art of haggling, and bargaining in markets and bazaars. This is where, we are united. We are one. We are Indians.

And, “Paisa Vasooli” is in our blood. Embedded deep into our ancestral roots!

This post is a part of the Premium Economy – Lufthansa contest. #LufthansaPremiumEconomy