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Monday, August 13, 2018

The Breakfast Show!

Normally a breakfast show would refer to those morning shows telecast regularly on your channels. However, the point sought to be stressed upon here is that every single home of the millions around the globe does have its own breakfast show. And, that breakfast show is very important for various reasons.

It is the first ‘break’ for you to have without ‘breaks’. A time when you wouldn’t like to switch on the television set unless compelled by profession or addiction. When you wouldn’t want to remain glued to your digital devices, because like you those would also need to be charged. When you wouldn’t expect the door bell to ring much. When you wouldn’t expect unwelcome or surprise guests to land up. When, you would be far removed from the fear of being disturbed by the stakeholders seeking payments.

A real good time to unwind and freshen up; to have your belly filled with the food you would want; to relish a rare moment of togetherness with your entire family; to rejoice with the feeling of being a king or queen if you are home alone and a crucial time to start your day.

So, enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Highs and Lows of Cricket and a Commercial Break!

After some terrific cricket and some horrific related incidents during the first three months of 2018 it’s time now for a commercial break. Well, not exactly though for millions of avid fans! They have been patiently waiting for this most commercially viable form of cricket since the last season. Come April-May for over a decade now,  and nobody can stop these fans for going gaga over this movie-styled entertainers of the sport.

Right, we are talking about the 11th Season of the Indian Premiere League-2018 T20 Cricket tournament starting from 7th April till the end of next month. Many fans would be excited this time for the return of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) with the former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni back as captain of CSK and Ajinkya Rahane replacing the tainted Steve Smith as captain of RR while New Zealand captain Kane Williamson replaced the tainted David Warner as captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Shikhar Dhawan was earlier tipped for the position. Pune Rising Supergiants and Gujarat Lions that played for last two years after the two-year suspension of CSK and RR over a cricketing scandal could not qualify this time.

The buying of selling of internationally famed cricketers, euphemistically called auction, saw most of the regular players retained adding some exciting new ones. England cricketer Ben Stokes became the costliest overseas player while Indian pacer Jaydev Unadkat the costliest domestic one—both these players are bought by RR. Some known faces remained unsold including Lasith Malinga, Martin Guptil, Hashim Amla, Ishant Sharma and many others. Destroyer Chris Gayle somehow found a place in Kings XI Punjab in the third and last round of auction. Old warhorse Yuvraj Singh also found a place in this team which is being led this time by a new captain Ravichandran Ashwin. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) discarded Gautam Gambhir who is being lapped up by Delhi Daredevils (DD) as captain. The sensation of the T20 Tri-Series Final against Bangladesh in Colombo on 18th March, 2018, Dinesh Karthik whose 8-ball 29 won India the Nidahas Trophy, becomes the captain of KKR which would definitely cheer a lot of Kolkata fans.  India captain Virat Kohli continues to lead Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) while Rohit Sharma is also retained as captain of Mumbai Indians (MI). The inaugural match between MI and CSK will be played in Mumbai on 7th April and Kolkata will see its first match on 8th April between KKR and RCB. The other venues will be Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Mohali assigned as hometowns to the different teams.  The Schedule:

This commercial break in terms of the IPL-2018 can be viewed as a much needed relief after the scandalous developments in international cricket recently. While the India Vs South Africa cricket series in South Africa was a high point in competitive spirited cricket the Test duel between the hosts and Australia cricket reached the lowest.

Although India under Virat Kohli lost the 3-Test series against South Africa 2-1 during January, 2018 the cricket was highly competitive with constant ups and downs. India nearly won the series with some superlative bowling performances, and many Indian fans believed that with some more batting application India would have seen the final result in its favour. South Africa won the closely fought first and second Tests while India won the final Test convincingly. And then, the Indians were unstoppable annihilating South Africa both in the one-day and the T20 series. Australia played the Test Series against South Africa during March, 2018 winning the first one and losing the second one. The series was looking up at that point of time despite the ugly off-field confrontation of David Warner with South African keeper Quinton de Kock during the first Test in Durban.

The ball-tampering incident happened on March 24, 2018 on the third day of the third Test being played in Cape Town involving Cameron Bancroft, and then skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner—both being in the know as well as in the leadership. The deliberate and cold blooded tactic shocked the whole world, both cricketing and non-cricketing, with absolute words of condemnation coming from one and all irrespective of the highest or the lowest positions of authority. Cricket Australia was swift in its action, and the implicated players accepted the punishment with lots of public tears, but with no appealing intentions. As per the latest information Cricket Australia wants to put all the lids on this most scandalous happening which is possible because as mentioned the players are not going to appeal against the punishment handed out. Of course, a lot of questions involving this shameful episode would remain unanswered forever.

Meanwhile Afghanistan cricket team qualified for the ICC World Cup-2019 against all odds and beating Ireland in its final outing. The other qualifier is the West Indies, surprisingly.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Discerning Commuter!

He was not sure. He could never deny that he never wanted it. He needed it, particularly at times when he was stressed and tired. However, he was not at all sure what way he should act in general.

Yes, Amlan considered himself as a deserving candidate since he was fast approaching the life landmark. He was not there now, but it was not that far off either. And, most of the other candidates often showed a bullish attitude which always made his will stronger.

The evening that day was very warm and humid. And to add to it the rush hour lingered on somewhat late into the night. Amlan couldn’t get a seat and had to retreat to the farthest corner of the metro train coach near the coupling. There he found some standing space with his briefcase tucked in between his legs. As he leaned against the side panel near the coupling opening he watched quietly the movement around those seats that meant so much or so little for him. He was not sure, he made sure.

The occupier at the other end of the four-seat bench got up and that seat fell vacant. The commuter nearest to the seat was a little balding but a young man in his prime. The young man looked greedily at the inviting seat, but decided to check if genuine contenders were there or not. His looks finally settled on Amlan, and it became lingering and also furtive as if he was trying to find out the credentials and at the same time not wanting to let go. Amlan didn’t make any move because he was not sure. Apart from the fact his destination was just two stations away and that he was relatively comfortable in his present position his continuing dilemma of so-near-yet-quite-far-off prevented him from going for the grab. He began to study the young man with interest now.

From his uncertain looks Amlan thought with certainty that the young man in fact found him genuinely deserving, but not wanting to give up. Amlan’s indecisiveness also emboldened him to go for it. Now Amlan felt offended, because he thought the commuter was very close to being a bully. And, finally he almost made for it. But it was too late. Maybe sensing the probability of the near-senior citizen of asserting his right the young man occupied the seat in an instant dash, now not bothering to look up at Amlan.

As always, Amlan couldn’t suppress the grin trying to crack open his lips. The senior citizen seats were on both sides of every coach of the metro railway rakes that also include the differently able, and it was always interesting to observe the mental wars between contenders. In India, one becomes a senior citizen after the age of sixty. However, from sixty to eighty plus years of age one is still a senior citizen only, and so the deserving stamp of the contenders is always relative. Nobody could possibly tell or ask about the age and there was no way to prove anybody’s case, because there is no system of checking identity cards. Therefore, the relative intensity of the grey hair or the frail body or the emaciated features are the only guidelines.

However, Amlan could not prevent himself from giving a rueful look at the young man, still seated securely, as he alighted at his station. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

“You Are Invited...!”

We could see the activities down in the longish courtyard of our colony. The courtyard was surrounded by buildings divided into blocks on three sides with the front side having the main entrance gate. Comfortably seated in the portico of our third floor quarter we often took a window view of the goings-on in the courtyard around the garden located in the center. This time it looked like preparations for some social ceremony. Soon we knew.

It was going to be the marriage ceremony of the colony secretary’s only son. We heard it not from the horse’s mouth as yet, but from other neighbours. We knew the secretary’s family housed in the ground floor of the same block quite well; I was often talking to the secretary on various issues including domestic ones while my wife was friendly with both him and his wife. So we expected to be invited for sure. And, so it came.

One morning about three days before the marriage I was as usual going through the daily newspapers and my wife busy in the kitchen making breakfast. The door bell rang out. Before I could free myself from my reading my wife promptly trudged up from the kitchen and opened the door. The secretary was standing on the doorway. I looked closely as I stood up to welcome him and saw that he was carrying an envelope.

My wife cordially ushered him in, and we all sat down. He placed the envelope on the centre table delicately, and started the usual discourse on the background of the coming event. My wife was mostly talking and making sweet queries about the bride, her bio, family details and other bits of information. The neighbour was friendly enough, answering her while casting frequent looks at me. Was he a little fidgety, I wondered? Why should he be? It was all about a very happy and momentous occasion.

A little too suddenly, so I thought, the secretary stood up and gestured to me picking up the cover from the table. I stood up too expecting to be invited formally. Looking, rather staring, at me fixedly he opened the envelope taking out the invitation card. He handed it over to me in a grand formal style speaking slowly, “You please come. The reception starts in the evening. Please” There was something odd about the ‘you’ he uttered. Very soon I found out why.

He left hurriedly afterwards without even looking at the third person present there. My wife was sitting there all the time watching the invitation drama unfolding before her unbelieving eyes. Our secretary neighbour was apparently oblivious of her presence during this time. Closing the door behind him I looked at my wife giving her a mischievous grin, “See, I’m privileged, the chosen one!”

She sank deeper into the cushiony comfort of the armchair putting her hands behind her head and laughed out loud. She kept on laughing for quite some time. I too heartily joined in the eerie merriment and said, “Do you happen to know of any constraint on our friend’s budgetary allocations? ...Well, I’m wondering why this economy class sentiments! ...On second thoughts, I’d rather not attend the wedding...I’d rather help him out on his austerity drive!”

As luck would have it I could not attend the ceremony due to a work emergency on that day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

How To Protect Yourself From Online Fraud in 2018!

Credit Card Frauds: A Real Close Shave! 

(I had this experience 3 years back. However, this problem is raging all over including India. To create awareness I'm reproducing this article along with the link. Plus, a comprehensive article on  "Protect Yourself From Fraud in 2018" has been published below with the link. We thank Anna Kucirkova, ex-DCCU, for her kind permission to utilize the article for our readers. The 9-step guide is very useful for all with other relevant information for US and other countries.)

Only the other day we were discussing with a few bankers about the fact that online frauds or crimes are still very low in India compared to advanced countries. We justified this with another fact that millions of Indians are still ignorant or have no online presence. And just the next day I had a close shave from a potentially serious credit card fraud. We have heard a lot about card protection in terms of safeguarding against phishing or seemingly genuine emails asking for personal information, dubious text messages, stolen or lost cards, taking care while shopping or at the ATM machine, skimming and so on. But to find out what exactly defines my experience I had to surf the net for a while finally resting on a term ‘Tele Phishing’. ..


Protect Yourself From Fraud In 2018

Unfortunately, we live in a time when identity theft and fraud are running rampant. Almost every month we hear of major security breaches, with companies like Yahoo, Uber, Equifax, and Dropbox all compromised. When these types of breaches occur, millions of usernames and passwords are hacked, often resulting in identity theft and fraud.

So what can you do to protect yourself in 2018? What steps can you take to ensure that you don’t get hacked?

We’re going to break down the how, what, and why of protecting yourself, touching on everything from your digital accounts to your bank account.

9 Steps To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft..


What can you do to protect yourself from identity theft?

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Bloated Musician!

He had just two lousy obsessions in his artistic existential being. First, he believed firmly in what he said, ‘East or the West, I am the best!’ Second, he always wanted others to talk him, hype him, move around him and worship him like an artist…nope…like the Hero!

He learned the classical method of playing his Indian instrument through a plethora of gurus so that he could finally perform on stage. With only a few stage performances he ballooned into an ill-gotten pomposity thus creating a chain of ill-fated disciples and making quite a few ill-humoured connections. Like you build your down lines!

He managed to capture several concerts outside India too through his connections that were desperate enough to help him have those in order to get rid of him permanently. Now, with his foreign trump cards he started manufacturing more hype for himself.

When performing on stage he was totally focused on the audience rather than on his music. Of course, he wanted his audience to applaud him to hail him and never get the opportunity to look askance at him all through a musical act. When he observed that his accompanying artist had earned a few claps the noble artiste never failed to give him/her a penetrating look saying, ‘Hey you! It’s my solo, right? Better mind you own business!’ 

True and sincere to his nature he was always chivalry incarnated when seeing ladies or more specifically foreign ladies around. His benevolent self never stopped him from announcing how great he was to the fairer beholders.

Once in an Indian small town concert he spotted an American lady in the auditorium lobby. Instantly in action he went up and accosted her warmly.

‘Hello, Milady! Welcome to India and to my music!’

‘Oh hi! You are performing tonight, right?’

‘Yea, yea! Thanks a lot for coming! You see, only last month I performed in your great city!’

‘Really? Was that good?’

‘The response was damn good! But there was small mishap!’ He looked listlessly around.

‘Oh? What happened?’

‘Well, I lost my brand new Mercedes Benz!’ He announced with pride leaking all through his existential being.

‘Good heavens! How was that possible?’

‘I don’t know even now! That beautiful thing just vanished from the parking lot!’

‘But you chauffeur should have been in the car, no?’ The American lady looked puzzled.

He hardly knew what a ‘chauffeur’ meant. But he stuck on to his publicity stunts.

‘You see, I just bought the car and wanted to drive it around myself considering the fact that I am damn good at that. I parked it and devoted myself to my music. After music it was gone!’

‘But of course, you claimed for insurance, right? But you come to our country only for shows, how come you buy a car there? Astounding, lost cars are always traced back quickly in the US. Very sorry to hear that.’

The great musician was getting a little worried anxious and irritated now. How he was supposed to know the car purchase procedures in the US! Expecting more salvos he frantically started looking for his next musical victim and luckily he found one. 

‘Thanks for your concern, Milady! But you must excuse me now! …See you there!’ He nearly leapt away.

The American lady shrugged off into an amused resignation, and headed towards the auditorium entrance.

Meantime, the great musician was already half way into narrating another exotically concocted anecdote of his pristine existence. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Milord O' Landlord--The Spit-Fire!

Even the closed bedroom door could not shield the shrill of the door bell. I woke up and switched on my mobile to check the time. It was very early. We had been new to the place and the visits of the usual newspaper vendor or milkman or maid or the laundry guy had not yet been formalized. Who could it be? I got up and trudged lazily to the door. Felt happy that my wife was still sleeping peacefully. I closed the bedroom door behind me, and as I did so the shrill of the door bell caught me squarely. That someone outside had to be an impatient customer.

I opened the main door and was surprised to find our landlord right in front. His short and thin figure was upright; his longish face with a hairline mustache showed unmistakable signs of agitation and his eyes, still puffy from sleep, were blazing.

“Good morning! ...” I began in the customary way.
He ignored it completely, “This has never ever happened in my house! How is this possible?”
“What happened...?”
“Just cannot imagine! Preposterous...crazy...!” He paused for effect shaking his head in all possible directions.
“Hello mister, would you please tell me whatever may have happened and, which concerns us!” I could not hide my irritation at this unexpected disturbance at the dawn of the day.
“Okay, see for yourself! Please follow me...”

I did so moving with him to the concrete passage outside running along the front side of the building. Out through the grilled entrance he stopped at the centre of passage, looked down at the ground on both sides angrily. He motioned me to do the same.

Then only I realised the cause of his agitation. There were two big sprawling red spots both sides of the concrete floor just behind the main gate. Instantly I identified these as paan spit—a rush of reddish saliva caused by chewing a heady mix of betel nut, betel leaf, lime and with or without tobacco. But why was he telling me all this? How on earth could I be held responsible?
“Oh! Someone has dirtied your compound with paan spit. Such sort of people always does it on the corridors, on the lifts...”
He cut me short, “As I told you this has never happened at my house in my memory! You came in few days back, and since then a lot of people visited this house for the odd jobs and re-dos as you ordered. You see...!”

Yes, I saw it clearly now. As he claimed this had never happened earlier and so it had to be one of those plumbers, electricians and other vendors we called in. He continued, “...Please ask them, quiz them...who must have done this obnoxious thing! Don’t spare them! I’m certain that one of your people did this!” And now, I found this term of ‘your people’ really obnoxious! Temper was slowly rising within me which I controlled...rather I had to, because we were new and this should never turn into a confrontation. As I was searching for the ideal thing to say the caretaker joined us with a bucket of water and a broom, to my escape. He looked up ruefully at me, “Finally I have to do the cleaning up...!” The landlord decided to stay on to supervise.

My wife was up and about when I entered and narrated the episode. She had a hearty laugh and welcomed the landlord’s zeal for cleanliness. I agreed. It had been a national campaign to make your surroundings spick and span. However, I couldn’t agree to the accusing tone in the landlord’s otherwise righteous agitation.

Over the next few days we did ask our normal visitors with the expectation that nobody would confess doing it even if s/he did. We also warned newcomers never to do this type of misdeeds. During this period we also noticed a significant decline in our visitors. Quite a few of them in fact didn’t turn up at all for some much needed touch-ups in the jobs they had done earlier. I was getting concerned knowing well that the family of the landlord must have been on the job too. One day our temporary maid confirmed my fears. She confided to my wife that she was quizzed by the landlord’s wife if she or any of we two had the chewing habit. I decided to have a talk with the landlord.

The agitation was longer in him that day and I was happy to see that. I came to the point straightaway.
“Look mister. It’s a very good thing that you are so concerned about cleanliness and we wholeheartedly support this. But we’re pained that you’re pointing the finger at us. Even if any of us has this habit why should you be suspicious about us? We’re responsible citizens and we’ll never litter our own surroundings. You see, the lane outside your gate is a public place and any of the passers-by could be doing this, out of habit or for mischief. And, it is not possible for you or us to monitor them throughout the day. So please don’t scare off our visitors. Few of the jobs are still half-done. You see, harassment should never be a part of any good thing you must be doing. Hope you understand!”

If he understood he didn’t show any sign. He only nodded his head several times uttering some monosyllables. I let it rest at that. If you rented a place then the landlord was your true boss, and as the saying goes the boss is always right. And, it was hardly the time to look for a new house. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Zombie Progression!

It’s no longer implausible now. It’s happening everywhere, it’s rampant everywhere and it’s not imperceptible. We need to retain some of the humanly senses to understand it and to think about why it’s being so.

They prominently exhibit brutality, but emotionless. They are like programmed entities guided by machines, gadgets and devices. They act on instant impulses taking those to the final realization. Like the professional executioners. Totally devoid of feelings, they demonstrate their skill everywhere, on the streets, in the highways, in the hotels and within four walls of the homes. They seem to indulge in human activities only, but not as humans. The emerging species of the zombies, if you take it as natural you do indeed belong to them.

The programmed beings react immediately to impulses provided in-built by a wide variety of sources. Some of them quarrel in public places; someone, still not programmed and a rarity, comes up and tries to mediate to bring peace. They disperse, but the ire of an unfulfilled impulse remains. So they waylay that unsuspecting person much later and usher in an orgy of violence and killing. All other bystanders in both instances fail to emit any kind of emotion and just watch on. A few bystanders switch on their mobile cameras and take pictures of the bloodied person lying writhing on the ground. Yes, they need those pictures for others of their ilk in all the social spaces available. Who cares a thought for saving the victim!

They drive vehicles guided by the maniacal impulse. At the slightest provocation both parties involved get ready to kill each other. Sometimes they hit someone down and run away guided by the avoid-trouble impulse. The bleeding being sees some hope as pedestrians gather around. However, they get busy with their gadgets and get busier still as the one on the ground slowly bleeds to death. No one thinks about saving a life. The thought process is irrevocably blocked for the impulse-driven entities.

Beggars and the deprived normally act as humans, because most of them do not enjoy access to those impulse providers. One of them one day loses the last ounce of her energy and falls flat on the hard concrete pavement of the busy street resigned to the inevitable end. Beings will be rushing past all around her hardly taking notice, because they are mostly guided by the work and related impulses. Even if somebody notices s/he will shrug it off with ‘what can I possibly do’ kind of programmed thought. Some award-winning photographer in search of impulsive ‘death’ takes this opportunity for a few ‘precious’ photographs. This process may very well be spread over two or three days. Finally the municipal machinery will clear away the human garbage. It does not matter at all if the municipal machinery is being operated by humans only, programmed as they are too.

Sometimes both the predator and bystander types of beings get guided by diverse impulses, the former by perpetrating-excitement impulse and the latter by watching-excitement impulse. In various cases of violent encounters and abductions mostly in public places they get abundant loads of fulfilled impulses. Who cares for the victims, right? The victims always get thrown out in death throes, pushed into the drains or hillsides or land up purely dead with their throats slit. If someone, still left with some human values, takes up the case of a victim like a brave Good Samaritan he or she would most probably end up with the same fate.

Not many of the impulse-driven activities within four walls of the homes come into the public domain. However, the media whose duty it is to report puts out the details in gory glory how the impulsive robbers not only looted the house, but killed all those of the family exhibiting extreme brutality. Who cares for the victims again! The media having done its public duty the impulsive readers get their money’s worth too.

Experts say that the brutality demonstrated in all crimes has been increasing alarmingly in India over the last few years. Their studies also reveal the utter lack of human emotions in the criminals.

So far in the endless expanse of space planet earth happens to be the only place where human beings live. The rate at which humans are losing their values and humanity the zombie progression is most likely to engulf mother earth very soon making her unable to bear the burden any longer. The Endgame, indeed? Would anybody ‘human’ be able to prevent it and make way for better times on our Planet Earth? Hope, undoubtedly, is the most positive human emotion. And the clock ticks on. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Who Goes There—Friend Or Foe?

No doubt, we’ve entered into a highly digital, automated and a rather virtual world where the inhabitants are increasingly interacting with each other without actually knowing each other in the physical sense. Transparency, the avowed goal of digitization, will indeed be achieved in a whole lot of interactions though the electronic slips generated thereof.  However, the desired transparency in terms of human relations is getting more and more shrouded in ambiguity, suspicion and blatant paranoia.

Basic definitions of a ‘friend’ are available on various dictionaries online. One says, ‘a friend is a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations’. Another says, ‘a friend is a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard’. The common factors among various definitions are ‘affection’, ‘attachment’, ‘lack of hostility’, ‘esteem or regard’, ‘patron or promoter’ and ‘belonging to a group or nation’. Even virtual friends are also mentioned as ‘a person associated with another as a contact on social media or website’.

Likewise, basic definitions of an ‘enemy’ are also available. ‘A person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something’; ‘one that is antagonistic to another, especially, one seeking to injure, overthrow or confound an opponent’; ‘something harmful or deadly’ or ‘a military adversary’ or ‘a hostile unit or force’. So basically friend implies lack of hostility while enemy implies its overpowering presence.

The apparent clarity in the definitions is only an illusion in the modern world we live in where relationships have ceased to be unconditional or without ulterior motives. ‘Mutual affection or regard or esteem’ could now actually mean ‘mutual interest or business or greed’. With invisible or virtual friends you know only of the ‘interest’ to evolve out a friendship. However, even with visible or physical friends you know only that much revealed by them to you, the hidden or dormant feelings or stirrings or sentiments are totally lost on you. You are no longer sure if friendship really implies a lack of hostility.

Enemies are not so hard to determine as per the actions, reactions, diatribes, invective and even fisticuffs visible on both sides. However, the problem becomes really complicated when it comes to differentiate a friend from an enemy. The ‘interest’ syndrome here too goes undecipherable thanks to the various ‘conflicts’ involved in various ‘interests’. Mutual interest could soon degenerate into mutual distrust as one’s apparent interest is hereby manipulated to result into a drastic loss to the other. Hidden agenda, lobbying, selfish motives, manipulations, plain corruption and so on are factors now common to both friendship and enmity making your task all the more uphill to stick or not to stick to a ‘friend’.

Let us take few examples to explore the dilemma a bit further.
·      You start a venture with one you consider your best friend. Once the venture is successful and it pays up dividends your ‘friend’ is discovered trying to throw you out.
·      The craze for credit-grabbing for a task completed often makes enemies of friends, be it on the home front or in offices.
·      You are in a serious personal crisis. Friends abound around you giving you advice round the clock. And you understand only later that one or more of them wanted your crisis to continue or they conspired against you solving the problem.
·      Your boss seems to be a benevolent one to you by all indicators, however, the moment you walk out of his/her room something gets written on file against you, and you come to know of it when it’s already too late.
·      A friend of yours remains your ‘friend’ as long as s/he continues with his/her rants against your designated ‘enemy’; the moment the rants become praises your friend suddenly becomes your enemy.
·      Sometimes you don’t get the expected responses from friends for a good job done and you get frustrated. Let it be the virtual or the real world, here you can never be sure of anything. Maybe, your friends are acting out of plain envy and they are trying not to give you the deserving publicity or maybe their apathy is due to some other conflicting interests.
·      Although blood or family relations are excluded from the ‘friend’ list by some definitions the ambiguity of ‘friend or foe’ applies equally powerfully within modern families too.

As a way out of this dilemma you must always trust your gut feelings, and always analyze actions, reactions, comments or the lack of it or any other indicator concerning your friends and enemies together. Sometimes a veritable enemy could turn out to be your biggest benefactor. All is well as long as you are positive and hopeful. As experts advise you, give a second chance always, friend of foe. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Eternal Stalker Named Death

Late Ramen Sarma
Death strikes its victims in varying forms. Sometimes it takes one unawares. Sometimes it makes one embrace death second by second. It's not known why a particular kind of person deserves a certain kind of death. It stalks, always; be it in terms of diseases, accidents or any natural or unnatural causes.
When I lost the youngest of my beloved maternal uncles that was a kind of an experience I was desperate to share with all.
He had only minor ailments like pain in the legs, of course, apart from well-controlled diabetes and moderate blood pressure. Ramen Sarma worked as public prosecutor in the district court. He was always a cheerful person and cracked jokes or mimicked funny lines at every encounter we had. He had been my all time favorite since childhood days. He was a happy-go-lucky one. He never bothered about what to eat or what not to eat and spent more than his salary-always. He was a renowned stage actor and also acted in a few Assamese feature films. It was only much later I found out that he never had even a bank account. But Ramen mama (maternal uncle) was lovable and had a lovable family of wife, daughter and a son.
Over the years pain in his legs started causing worry—not to him, but to his family. When it became continuous and ringing and pinching he was advised to go for treatment. Under family pressure he got admitted in a reputed hospital away from his home. It was immediately found that all the arteries and blood vessels of his body from waste downwards were completely blocked. Only way was surgery. But then, they found blockage in the heart too and could not operate. Luckily, the heart blockages eased up after angioplasty and he was taken to the operating table for the second time. They cut open the less affected right leg, but even in that the doctors finally failed to operate due to the advanced state. After two months of mental torture my uncle returned home with his family, suddenly feeling lost and resigned to fate. The doctors gave some hope, maybe the treatment and the new medicines could work and he might get better.
It was only the third day after his return home. Since the previous day he was feeling a little more energetic. He was moving around, doing his errands and making tea himself. On the fateful day too he got up early, shaved and had a hearty breakfast. Then he felt stiffness in his right leg.
As the stiffness was creeping upwards he decided to inform the doctors of the hospital and called his doctor brother-in-law home. Slowly whole of his right leg became stiff and lifeless. The stalker crept on up relentlessly and his right hand too became lifeless. Whole of his right side was now paralyzed. To relieve his anxiety the relatives made him some tea and he sipped it managing with his left hand. But he knew what was happening to him and so called his elder brother who was also a doctor, "I'm paralyzed on my right side. I just wanted to inform you." Then he broke down and cried helplessly. The march of death went on. He could no longer sit properly. He had a blood vomiting and then crashed. The stalker made sure that he was still conscious and responding by opening of eyes and feeble movement of his left hand. The doctors advised a CT scan and finally he was taken to a hospital in the nearest city. Nothing could stop the stalker. He died later of a massive brain haemorrhage.

Let him be Ramen Sarma of a remote town called Nazira in Assam, a state of North Eastern India or let him be someone in the most advanced medical home of the most progressive United States; man is finally rendered helpless before this stalker. The only question is why the stalker discriminates and dishes out either painless or instant or fully conscious or cruel or horrible or protracted treatment to its never ending victims. What are the yardsticks of this discrimination, if any?
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