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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. 
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