Wednesday 25 September 2013

Humanity Still Alive In Delhi

I was walking down the sidewalk near Patel Nagar metro station today. It was dinner time and I was getting my aloo paranthas parcelled from the roadside dhaba-like shop. I do despise having mundane paranthas for dinner but sometimes, I impose them on myself as they are the cheaper option. Anyway, as I was saying- I was waiting for my dinner outside the shop when I saw a neatly dressed, otherwise nice looking guy sitting on the roadside holding his head in his hands, sweating profusely and grimacing in pain. I wondered whether he had come running from somewhere and was just sitting down to catch his breath. I was analysing the situation in my head from a distance, staring at him with slight amount of pity.

Then I saw this passer-by who stopped and asked the guy who was sitting down whether he was okay. The guy said he'll be ok and he was just feeling a bit unwell. I was still unsure of the level of compassion this passer-by had in himself and it'd be an understatement if I say I must have underestimated him. He insisted the guy to stand up and come show to a doctor. The sick guy, in turn, refused the offer politely- perhaps trying to be modest and self-sufficient.

Then, I saw a crowd forming around the guy. It was a strange phenomenon. Till now, no one was stopping to see the guy sweating and reeling in discomfort but as soon as someone else took an initiative, people started hoarding to view the tamasha. All this while, I was a part of the onlooker crowd which makes me really disappointed with myself being a healthcare professional myself. This thought should have come to me. Suddenly, I realized there was so much to learn from this world for me. I think for every one bad deed that deters you from being good, there are a thousand good examples that you can take inspiration from.
Eventually, the helpful dude grabbed the sick one by his wrist and insisted on taking him to a doctor and getting him medicines. I also saw him getting some juice from the nearby fruit juice shop for him. Once the sick dude had his juice, the stranger clasped his hand tightly and led him to a doctor.
As others looked on.

I heard the crowd mumble- "He shouldn't have left home if he knew he was gonna fall sick." and "What a pity!" etc etc. 

Muzaffarnagar Riots: A Timeline view

Here is the link to The Forthright article with which I collaborated to create this piece.The Forthright- Muzaffarnagar Riots- Why? All thanks to +Monica Verma for her patronage and encouragement. Do check out the site for more.

Here are a few glimpses from the cartoons I drew there. Check out the link for all of them.


Comedy Nights With Diggy

Thursday 19 September 2013

Groundwater levels fall in Hyderabad

So easy, right?

Perhaps it's just me or maybe things aren't as easy as they seem. I can talk of Indian scenario as a context as I don't know whether other countries too are this difficult to live.

Often I ask myself why don't I vote? Being 25 years of age and a socially aware citizen of my country, there is no reason I shouldn't be voting in all elections local or national, voicing my opinion and being a part of the change. Well, the answer is- I am yet to settle down. The conditions that allow an individual to vote in a particular constituency require a minimum amount of domicile period. Also, I was in Karnataka during most of my growing years and I don't think I'd have succeeded in getting a voter ID issued there, being a non-native. Also, I am a student and somehow was restricted from the political scenario as these were supposed to be my formative years. Now, BAM! I am 25 and voter-ID-less. Voting? Not so easy.

Being a regular commuter in Delhi these days, I wished I has a bus pass so that I could navigate my way across the city without any hassles. Turns out, the pass would cost me more than what I'd pay for if I bought ticket daily. I don't think that is how it is supposed to work. A pass is govt's way of showing thankfulness to the commuter's loyalty, not looting him! Also, even if I wanted a pass, it's not available at the nearby bus stops. Any of the metro stations can have a small window near the gate that can issue passes with photo IDs. Strangely, no one has thought of this, and I'd have to specially go to the bus depots which lie at the end of the routes to get my pass. Not so easy.

Being a cartoonist, people often ask me- why didn't you go for cartooning as a career? Why don't you send your cartoons to newspapers? How am I to explain to them that I have been sending all my cartoons, even my resume to all the newspapers in every corner of India. There have been only two type of responses- either no reply or Mail Delivery Failed as we were unable to reach the server. Yes, once, I got the response from Deccan Chronicle where they invited me to draw for them. But, with a few changes- instead of commenting of social issues, I should draw popular jokes, also- I should dumb down my humour as they were unable to get it. A dozen tries and a "mere three cartoons going to print" later, I had to quit. And now I see others draw cartoons in newspapers with jokes that those Deccan people would outrightly scoff on, and helplessly stare in the zeroness. Being a professional cartoonist? Not so easy.

Every estimation regarding the time to be taken to reach a particular destination in India has to be multiplied by two. If you make such an estimate beforehand and start out early, you'll reach too early. Being somewhere in time? Not so easy.

I see beggars on the streets and asking for some money. I feel like helping them, not because I pity them but because I can. I put my hand in my pocket and suddenly realize that I am still living off my Dad's earnings. Same happens when I feel like gifting something momentous to someone special or having a pompous meal. I settle with dal-roti and let the beggar children cry with hunger. Being kind, even to yourself? Not so easy.

And lastly, during my BDS, I was told that dentists earn big money. I completed my degree, looked around and there were vacant seats in govt hospitals yet no openings. The private practioners offer Rs 5000 to freshers and sometimes nothing. It is a shameless lie that the education system plays on millions of gullible life sciences students. Changing the system? Not so easy.

Saturday 7 September 2013

Book Review- A Maverick Heart By Ravindra Shukla

Title- A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life

Author- Ravindra Shukla

Publication- Frog Books

ISBN- 978-93-82473-00-8

Price (Printed)- Rs 195


The book I have in my hands, authored by Ravindra Shukla is unique for a few reasons. First, it is a sincere attmpt with no airs of creating a ho-hum of a literary masterpiece. The best part about such novels is that you feel like you're reading a personal diary as you flip the pages. The back cover introduction is an obvious indication toward the academic background of the author as he uses the concept of 'resonance' to describe personal camaraderie. The simplicity of language imply the honesty of his attempt. Now let's see how much he succeeds in it-
The story has a humble beginning with one of the protagonists 'Rahul' and it seems like one of those run-of-the-mill college romances with drama forced into the plot just for the heck of it. If those are your first thoughts, prepare to be amazed as the story takes turns along with its other protagonists Ruchita, Neerav and myriad other characters who take turns to assume importance at various stages of the plot which wraps around the social and political phenomena taking place at those times. The novel has a saga-like appeal to it and begs to be adopted in the form of a blockbuster movie. The promise of simplicity still holds yet the story draws you in to its minute complexities and you are amazed at the author's awareness of the erstwhile political and economic scenarios. The plot intertwines with relief operations, role of NGOs, social activism, the Right To Information Act and many such issues. It however is essentially a love story which tugs at your heart with the ease with which it is told.

The cover design by Mistha Roy could have been better as it is just a photograph of three shadows representing the three friends in a dark night against the light of what seems to be the headlights of a car on a dark road. It gives a somewhat eerie feel to the book. The concept of crossroads and unknown paths is not very well eluidated by the design. The pages are crisp with a textbook-like feel to them. There is an obvious difference, a stark contrast between this book and other books of this genre.

The language is lucid and somewhat colorless with hints of forced figures of speech; also the titles of the chapters are sometimes unintentionally funny but it does not deter the reader from turning the page as the plot is thick and the basic premise of the novel is very interesting. Also, with every word, you do realize the earnestness in the approach and tend to overlook the shortcomings. Also, the double line spacing between paragraphs is a bit tough on the eye but then, I think I am being too harsh. All in all, I'd recommend this book for readers who have just begun reading Indian fiction. Read it not for the language but for the organization of thoughts and execution. A good book for aspiring Chetan Bhagats.

My rating out of 5- *** (3 Stars)

Bt- Brinjal