10 on TEN

Writing was never new to me. I have been ranting since I was 15. But I started blogging and putting my thoughts online only about 2 years ago. So when the ‘maxmayur’ blog came into existence in last May (inspired from the one and only Big K), I had silently wowed to inspire, provoke, coerce at least 10 of my readers or friends to express their views through blogs.

Today, that dream came true. I found my 10th reader who has started writing a blog and thanked me for inspiring him. I was actually over whelmed and flattered.

I know there are at least 100 others who I know can write. At least 10 others who are exceptional thinkers and good orators. Never the less, 10 is good and I’m looking forward to the next batch of 10.

Thank you guys!

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Jet Set Stop!!!

Jet AirwaysPiece of news: 432 pilots from Jet Airways have gone on strike. This has forced Jet to cancel 174 domestic and 32 international flights. Jet has already sacked 5 pilots (2 last month and 3 yesterday). Now Naresh Goyal is threatening to hire foreign pilots.

Piece of Analysis: Whom should we blame for the discomfort of the passengers? Jet Airways? Pilot’s Guild? Bad working conditions? I say we should blame Mahatma Gandhi. Who else? During India’s freedom struggle, he taught us the mantra of non cooperation, strike and protests. Although he did it for a noble cause and gave it a name of Satyagraha. But now a days, whoever knows some thing about non cooperation goes on strike as per his whims and fancies. Look at Jet pilots. Is any body thinking about the thousands of troubled passengers? No one, I say.

One, Jet Airways is at fault for sacking two pilots for forming a union (National Aviators Guild). They shouldn’t have done that. Forming a union is legal in India, as long as it works for the benefit of the members and the employees.

Two, the Jet pilots are at a bigger fault for this shameless act of going on a mass sick leave. I know Jet management was wrong. But why do pilots need to form a union in the first place? Were they troubled or exploited? I heard pilots are paid heavily and very well taken care off. Was there a genuine problem? At least I have not come across in the news articles I read. Please, if some one can enlighten me.

Guys! Cut the crap and restore normalcy. The passengers are suffering.

29 1:40 2.2

Weird title?

  • 29- The distance in kilometers I travel to office one way every morning (after dropping Rats to Vikhroli. Return journey is 24.5)
  • 1:40- Time taken on an average to bad day.
  • 2.2- Liters of fuel consumed in a one way journey

Infinite is the level of frustration tackling the traffic.

The Enemy Within

Movies continue to inspire me to write some thing. I watched the movie ‘Shaurya‘ over the weekend. Although I knew the movie was inspired from ‘A few good men‘ , it is a good watch none the less. It is a story of an Army lawyer (Siddharth Choudhary played by Rahul Bose) defending a soldier (Captain Javed Khan played by Deepak Dobriyal) against a charge for culpable homicide. Javed has killed his senior officer and is charged with a murder and links to terrorist organisations. Javed actually is a victim of racism and hatred. He is targeted because he is a Muslim.

Kay Kay Menon, who plays Brig. Pratap, has very efficiently echoed the hatred most of us have against the people who are always credited for spreading terrorism. He (as in his character in the movie) has lost his family to a conspiracy by his house help, who happened to be a Muslim. This is very identical to some one who has lost a member in the innumerable terrorist attacks in India and abroad. We dislike an Ahmed or a Khan because some other Ahmed was one of the accused in a bomb blast case. There are many other names. So we end up hating every one who is a Muslim. Dont we ignore that the ‘good Muslims’ are equally troubled? More blasts and attacks occur in Pakistan these days.

It is not about one particular caste. I think we are pretty damn selfish when it comes to hating or demeaning a race, caste or a religion. As a Marathi, I have seen fellow Maharashtrians making fun of Gujrathis, Sindhis, Punjabis, Biharis… and I have seen the others making fun of each other just as we do. It is nice as long as done in good faith. But you never know when the fun gets transformed into hatred.

Now coming back to the point of selfishness in hating some one. Consider this, a Marathi will hate a Bihari for spoiling Mumbai, but will cheer loud when Dhoni and Tendulkar are playing together for India. They wouldn’t mind a Dhoni or a Sehwag leading a Dravid or a Agarkar. We fight amongst us as states, but come together for a national cause. So a Marathi or a Gujju will become a Hindu and will despise a Muslim because a Muslim terrorist was caught blasting bombs. So all the Marathis and Gujjus and Punjabis will stick together and you will have a 1993 Mumbai riot or 2002 Godhra riots. Despite this, Hindus and Muslims will come together to fight for India. This has happened in the past during the freedom struggle. Hindus and Muslims wanted to drive the Britishers out of the country together. So both hated the British. But they still helped them in World War II against Germany and Japan. Why? Known enemy was better than an unknown friend. India also has had political conflicts with fellow Asian countries such as China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia… However when you look at the immigrants in Australia, UK and US, the Asian populations sticks together for their rights (Although we Indians are still known as ‘Indians’.) So they try to ward off the racist attacks in Australia together. And I’m sure we all will stick with each other if an alien planet declares a war on earth   🙂

So if we indeed have a ‘Earth Army’ to fight, say Mars, who amongst these soldiers will be a Marathi? A Punjabi? A Muslim? A British? An Australian? I think it is stupid to hate people. It is you yourself who have proved time and again that you can compromise your dislike for the ‘other caste’ on more than one occasions. So why still detest it? Your enemy is not on the roads… the enemy is within you. Why live on premonitions? Forgive and forget. Live and let live. Kill the hatred and half your problems are already solved.

“Courage is not in killing 100 enemies and standing like a brave soldier. Courage is in recognising the truth, adhering it and standing by the last word of it.”

For Frodo and Sam, Merry, Pippin and the Shire

lord-of-the-ringsLord of the Rings is my favorite movie… one of the favorites you can say. Its a story of a powerful ring wielded by Lord Sauron, the ultimate evil lord, and the ring bearer Frodo who is set on a mission to destroy it once and for all. It is Frodo and his friends quest against all odds that are destroying the world of men and the very factors that contribute their growth and existence… thats the environment.

I dont know if Prof JRR Tolkein thought of writing an epic story to teach us all a lesson to protect ourselves from the evil in and around us. But I can surely take a cue from the movie. Look at what Sauron and Saruman’s on today’s world are doing. There is enough evil around us. That includes the elements contributing to the pollution. The movie shows the evil lords cutting trees, destroying human life, blocking rivers, killing animals, eliminating races and warming every thing. Aren’t we, the evil ones today doing the same? Global warming is at its alarming rise. The silicon is polluting our office spaces. The air conditioners are destroying our resistance and the air outside our office or home is destroying our respiratory systems.

green_treesWe know the environment protects us, breeds us and feeds us. But minds of men are so easily corrupted. There is evil that wants us to resort to unfair means, to corrupt and be corrupt. We know what is good and whats is not. But we are lured by the riches of the unfair and we forget what is rightful. All that is here and foul can still be undone. Before that it is important to destroy the evil within.

Be very environmental friendly. Try staying out of corruption. Make a conscious effort to reduce all kinds of pollution. Plant at least one tree a month. Save trees… Save the middle earth.

L21: The Way you love me Part II

Please read the part I here –> The way you love me

A 21 year old Laxmi was drying her long hair in the second floor balcony of the Palatial bungalow of the Naik family in Nigdi, on the outskirts Pune. Her fair skin was glowing in the soothing sunrays coming from behind a rain cloud. It had just rained a few hours back and Laxmi pulverised the dullness in the clouds with her charm. So busy was the beautiful maiden in killing the approaches from the nature that she didn’t realise her cell phone was ringing continuously. When the sunrays were sufficiently charged with her radiance, she came back to her room.

As a kid, Keshav used to stand in front of Laxmi after she  came out of the shower. He would love to have the water droplets of, what he called mini shower, sprayed all over him. Every family was jealous of the lovely relationship this brother and sister shared. And all of them despised the animosity their parents had between them. As a child Laxmi had no one but Keshav to look upto. He was her elder brother and the only one she could share her life and stay happy. Her fatehr hardly had time to spend with them and her mother hardly came out of her social circle. Both the Naik siblings always hated being born in a high profile family.

Laxmi casually checked her mobile phone. 14 missed calls 1 sms, it read. Must be Ankit, she thought. Besides being a beautiful girl, Laxmi was also a very good badminton player. She had picked this legacy from her father, Sudarshan Naik. So naturally she endured a fan following, especially amongst guys. Ankit was one such stalker. He was a niceguy, rich and qualified. But Laxmi wasn’t interested. She hated being associated with a guy. She had seen the love marriage of her parents fall apart like a pack or cards. She had seen her mother remarry to a guy who hated a person she loved so much, Keshav. She had seen her father succumb to alchohol. She hated marriage!

It took her only a split second to register that the calls were actually from Southern Command. Oh so Keshav was already here? She thought. May be Keshav was already in town and was coming to meet her. May be not. “This is Maj. Veerwani from Southern Command. Please call immediately. Regarding Keshav.” Read the message. Laxmi’s heart began to pound heavily.

“Hello… Major Veerwani? … Yes this is Laxmi… Yes… Sorry? Come again?……” … and Laxmi almost fainted.

The next thing she remembered was being on a flight to Delhi. Keshav was her only support and to say, only family member here and she was not prepared to let him slip away. Laxmi was still very young when the fights between her parent started to grow wilder. She remembered Keshav holding her tightly and sitting under the table while their parents fought on a trivial issue. She remembered the long fought battle over the custody of her and Keshav during her parent’s divorce. She was just 10 and Keshav was 14 and a half. The judge calledit split. Laxmi had to be hospitalised for dehydration, for she had cried so much. She remembered how Keshav would sneak in to meet her at her house or her school… and how some guys had roughed him up during her college days thinking he was her boy friend.

Keshav had lost lot of blood due to explosion. Moreover his right fibula and the joint with the knee were badly damaged. The Army medical facilities at Srinagar were not sufficient to deal with it. And Keshav had to be saved. They shifted him to AIIMS in Delhi. The department of Orthopaedics had taken 11 hours flat to bring the bone back in shape. When Laxmi landed in the ward 121 reserved fro Army Jawans, she was greeted with a stinking smell of spirit and blood. Orthopaedics ward is not meant for weak hearted patients. Laxmi was no exception. But all the fear vanished when she looked at Keshav, speeping in a two bed room. His leg was all plastered and his face looked considerably withered.

“Dada!”

Keshav pulled all his energies to raise a hand, as if he was saluting her. Laxmi’s emotions knew no bounds that day. She wept inconsolably that night.

The doctors had given up hope on Keshav. He was too weak and had lost to much of blood. But what happened in the next few weeks was more than a miracle. Laxmi worked relentlessly to get her pillar back in shape, so that she could again rest on him. Keshav had fully recovred in 3 months flat. Although he was now unfit to join the active posts in the Army any longer. He was offered a post to be an instructor in Khadakvasla in the National Defense Academy. He is still there and is considered the toughest guy in the regiment.

Laxmi mean while, gave away to Ankit’s advances and married him. But the way she loved her brother has now become a story to tell in the entire Army circles and others.

L20: The Way you love me

At 11,000 feet above the sea level, manning a bridge to prevent terrorist attacks is certainly not a good job to do. But Keshav was upto the task and doing it diligently. It had been more than a year that he was in Dras, a small section in Kargil district of Kashmir and probably the coldest place inhibited in India. Month of July was approaching its end. It was one of the warmer periods in Dras with temperatures going as high at 20 degrees on some days. So Keshav wasn’t complaining. There were other times when he had fought for snatching the Tiger hill back from the infiltrators in sub zero temperatures. But the war was over now… at least for some time and Keshav was happy about it. Finally he had a chance to go home. He was going to meet Laxmi.

Laxmi and Keshav had spent all their childhood together before a tragedy struck and they were separated. But they still managed to sneak time to meet each other. It was difficult, especially considering the trouble between their parents. Never the less it couldn’t stop them. Sitting on the watch tower with a Tavor TAR21 in his hand, he remembered how difficult it was to control Laxmi when he broke the news of joining Indian Army. Keshav always had this attraction of guns and ammunitions. Though as a child he never knew what are they really used for and what catastrophe they create. But he liked them anyway and always dreamt of getting into the Army ranks. Laxmi on the other hand was a very sweet little girl. She liked poetry more than bombs. She cherished chasing the butterflies in the garden whereas Keshav enjoying hunting them down so that Laxmi could preserve them in her note books. They were opposite ends and they attracted each other like any thing.

Keshav alerted the security when he saw a tourist jeep approach the bridge. From distance it looked like a white colored Gypsy. Although the vehicle was at least a kilometer away, dwindling down the road, with the help of his Fujinon AR-SX 6×30 binoculors, he was pretty sure it was a Gypsy. As he downed the cross hair, he remembered how he and Laxmi used to watch stars in the night through the astronomical binoculor his father owned. Laxmi would get facinated by the stars and would want them all in her lap. Keshav would often get upset for he couldn’t shoot them down the way he shot the butterflies. One day, he thought, he would take Laxmi to the sky and show her how beautiful it is from the top.

The vehicle was now clearly visible. Keshav was wrong, it was not a Gypsy but a Toyota. This brand was not sold in India. Some thing was really fishy and Keshav’s heart was now pounding. He immediately shouted on the microphone and alerted the command post. They men on ground immediately pulled extra barricades and waved the vehicle to slow down. The Toyota instead increased the speed and was now cruising towards the bridge. Keshav’s mind began to race. What was that? A suicide attack on the bridge? Yes… probably yes! He had to act and act very quickly. He immediately threw his bino off and pulled the Tavor in position. Another few seconds passed. There were no signs of the vehicle slowing down. He aimed the cross hair on the front tyre and fired. Missed… shit! He fired again. This time it was on target and the vehicle began to swivel. But the vehicle was still on course. He now aimed at the wind screen and fired multiple shots. The screen crashed and he could see two bearded guys inside. He had to avoid the vehicle to come any closer. By the time even the ground platoon was ready and firing. Both men couldn’t take the barrage of bullets and the vehicle lost control. It swiveled some more and to Keshav’s horror, banged right on his watch tower. Keshav didn’t remember many things after that, except that he fell to the ground with a thud. A large iron block followed and fell on his right leg. Looking at the sky with a diminishing vision, he prayed god. He wanted to be home for Raksha Bandhan.

Looking at the sky, remembering Laxmi, he closed his eyes.

To be continued…