Being Judgemental

Two colleagues and I were discussing whether it is good being a non-vegetarian eater or a vegetarian eater. I, because of my weakness of seeing red blood, was of the opinion that it is better to be a vegetarian. The two colleagues disagreed. Suddenly one person from another department, who sits a few seats from my workstation and goes by the name… (well, let me not name him) forced himself to be a part of our discussion and said, much to my surprise, that I must not decide (or impose my opinion on) what others should eat. Thereafter he surprised me a little more by saying: “If you are religious why do you drag others to your beliefs?” Then, looking at the other two colleagues in a manner that befits a person of wisdom, he said, “People with a religious or spiritual bent of mind do such things!” And, upon saying so, he gave me a look as a teacher gives to pupils to admonish them for their bad behavior.

Now, wherefrom could he come to such a conclusion without having asked me why I was against eating animals?

I am religiously irreligious! To me anything that is devoid of logic is as good as the trash in your dustbin. Also, I am absolutely ignorant as to what constitutes a religious or spiritual bent of mind in a person. I am a non-vegetarian myself, but upon much pondering over the lives of creatures that inhabit our planet (to which they have as much right as we do) and upon observation of the cruelty they are faced with, I have had a change of heart. Now when I eat chicken or mutton or any other creature whose organs are somewhat similar to the organ of a human body, I feel I am eating my own flesh, I am eating a part of my own organ. I feel very uncomfortable with such feelings and thoughts, and due to which I cannot have a stomach full meal.

Another day, upon being asked what community I belonged to, I stated that I was a Bengali, and the person who asked me the question said: “Ah, then you know black magic!” I wanted to say, “Yes, sir, I know a lot of black magic, and I can send you to hell with my black magic!” But, of course, I said nothing like that.

Society, the crazy breed, would label you with various names and every person would want you to be what they want you to be. If you do not know how to Speak English, some people would mock you and say you are not educated. If you speak English with an accent, some people would say you are pretending to be someone you are not (even when it comes naturally to you). If a girl wears ripped jeans or mini skirt, some find it outrageous. If a man wears a pink dress, some find him unmanly. If a person wears a simple attire, it would automatically mean the person has a poor status. If you decide to marry late, people would say you can’t find a life partner. They can only think of you in the limited spare of experience and knowledge they have attained, and if you don’t fit in to what they think is right, you have no place in this world.

People would provoke you for no reason, at such times one should maintain one’s cool. But it will surely help if when people state their opinion but stop being judgemental. What is not judgemental is when you state something and have valid reasons for saying so, on the other hand when you say something and you cannot support your claim, and your statements affect the other person in a negative way, you, my dear, are being judgemental.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

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Stop The Blame Game; Change Your Behavior

Day before yesterday, twenty-three people were crushed to death in Mumbai. Many others are in critical condition. It was not a terrorist attack, no bomb exploded, neither was it an earthquake, or a deluge, or any other natural calamities, that caused the deaths and injuries. It was the reckless behaviour of my fellow insane commuters that did it. Death due to stampede is common in my overwhelmingly populated country, but such occurrences are mostly witnessed when there is a mass movement of religious devotees journeying to one of the many sacred sites in India; such incidences are not so common in a railway station where people regularly move to and fro.

The moment I got the unfortunate news of the stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone Road Station and when I saw the pictures of men and women lying dead, I was extremely pained and I was furious. I poured my heart out by writing an expletive laden article. But I decided not to publish the article. I wanted to first calm down, and it took me two days to do so. Hence, I am now writing this article without the expletives. I am still sad and still angry at the way innocent people lost their lives for no fault of theirs.

Dear people of Mumbai, do not just move around blaming the government for what had happened day before yesterday. None but you, yes, you, my fellow commuters, are to blame for the loss of so many valuable lives. I have been in Mumbai long enough to know how you all behave. Your lack of consideration for others have cost people their lives. You are always in a hurry to reach your destination. The moment a train comes to a station you, who wait for the train in the railway station, spring in to the train even before the train halts, even before the passengers who are already in the train have a chance to come out of it (you want space but you don’t allow the others to come out and give you space, and you get in and create more problem and confusion). And, as you run forcing your way in the train, you don’t care whether you push people (women, elderly or little children) around, stamp on their feet, elbow them and injure them. Not a single day passes without someone getting injured, if not killed. Go to Kurla Station or Dadar Station and observe the commuters, you would see everyday someone or the other is fracturing his/her bones, getting a cut somewhere, or is falling down from the train. All this can be avoided only if you are considerate and disciplined.

Yes, the massive population in Mumbai (which is as much as the entire population of the whole of Australia, and which is rapidly rising day after day) is no doubt one of the factors that is creating the main problem. The local trains, being the lifeline of Mumbai, are always packed beyond their capacity. Raj Thackeray is right when he says that problems (like the stampede that happened day before yesterday) would continue to happen as long as the migrants keep coming to Mumbai. But what solution is he providing? Well, he would no doubt want no more migrants in Mumbai and he would also ask people to leave Mumbai. His concern is right, his approach in dealing with the concern is wrong. Migration is a reality and migration will always happen. Whether he likes it or not, he will have to live with it. The development of infrastructure in proportion to the size of the population is the answer to the problem, but development does not happen overnight, particularly in a country which is developing and which happens to be the second most populated country (where most people were corrupted for too long) in the world, and is a democracy.

No doubt, there was a need to have more Foot Over Bridges at Elphinstone Road Station which could have allowed people scatter to other places instead of everyone standing on the single bridge that connects Elphinstone Road Station to Parel. Day before yesterday, it was raining and people wanted to save themselves from the falling rain. It was not someone firing bullet or cannon balls. Rain would not have killed anyone. It had rained earlier also; exactly a month back one month’s rain had fallen in a day but no such stampede happened then. The people could see that the bridge was already full of people yet more and more people gathered in the bridge. No one wanted to let the other person go first, all they cared was for themselves. People are not stones to not feel any pain. The pain of one, which to the inconsiderate other meant nothing, resulted in 23 deaths so far.

Mumbai provides us opportunities to be someone, to earn our livings, to be better than we were. But in the pursuit of material well-being all our civic sense has gone for a toss. All we care about now is how to get more and more for yourselves even as we have thrown our ethical values out the window. We have become slaves to our daily chores, and from human beings we have now become machines, and like machine we have no feelings. Our commercial mindset has killed all the good that was within you, that all men is born with. Our interest comes first (What’s in it for me, eh?) and we have total disregard for the others. We don’t even realize when we are uncivil, which has become the way of life for many of us.

We will be happy if we have better infrastructure in place, but until then we have to make do with what we have. Meanwhile, we must be disciplined (even after being well-educated, peoples’ rowdiness, when they try to board a local train in Mumbai, astonishes me) to avoid casualties.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Rounding Up

I had a shared auto-rickshaw ride from point A to point B. The driver said the fare was seven rupees. I handed him a 10 rupee note and waited to be given three rupees back. He said he did not have change.

“So, what now?” I asked.

“No change,” he repeated, then added: “take three rupees back some other time.”

That ‘some other time’ is another way of saying ‘forget the three rupees.”

I had a coin of five rupees. I told the driver to take the five rupee coin and take two rupees later, but he refused this proposition. He said he did not know me; I said I did not know him either. He wanted to take three rupees more but he was not willing to take two rupees less. There was no point in arguing with the driver as he was absolutely determined to take three rupees more (and not two rupees less). Just for three rupees I was not ready to get embroiled in a fracas which would then, as it happens most of the times, turn into a fistfight.

Quite similarly, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MAHADISCOM) shows how much of a dictator it can be when it comes to rounding up or rounding down of prices.

My final electricity bill amount for the last month came to Rs. 346.37. MAHADISCOM rounded up the amount to Rs. 350.00. Though I paid the amount online, I still had to pay Rs. 350. I have heard of an amount being rounded up or rounded down only when the transaction happens in cash. I believe rounding up or down happens in cash transaction because of the problem people face in giving out the changes of smaller denomination. But in an electronic transaction no such problem occurs. Every time I do an electronic transaction, I pay the exact amount.

I would have still been okay had MAHADISCOM rounded up from Rs. 346.37 to Rs. 347 (though I know that it should actually be made to Rs. 346, since 37 paise is lower than 50 paise). The extra amount which MAHADISCOM charged me (without deserving) is Rs. 3.63.

There are more than 20 million people living in Mumbai (and there are more than 110 million people in Maharashtra, but let’s just consider the case of Mumbai for the present), if MAHADISCOM uses the same tactics with everyone (I know that MAHADISCOM is not the only electricity supplier in Maharashtra, so even if it has about 10 million customers), as it has used in my case, the amount (which can be called illegal amount since the money is taken away without people’s consent) runs to lakhs (if not crores) of rupees!

I am aware that MAHADISCOM rounds down the amount in some cases. My contention here, however, is to do away with rounding up or rounding down of an amount as long as the transaction happens online.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Sports In India

The only sport that most Indians keenly follow and watch is Cricket. This sport has become so popular that it overshadows other sports, often making the players of other sports discouraged, sad and financially weak.

While I have nothing against Cricket (and I do like watching Cricket from time to time) nor do I have any complaints with regard to the huge sum cricketers earn and the lavish lifestyle many of them live, but I don’t like the way Cricket is given so much attention, portrayed as if it is the only sport that matters, and people go so crazy about it – and proudly parrot and seem to believe what the promoters of Cricket say: Cricket is not just a sport but it’s a religion in India – while other sports (and the players) are totally disregarded. Cricket is a fine game to watch but there are also other games as fine as (if not finer than) Cricket. It will do us good if we can remember that Cricket is neither our national sport nor a game that had its origin in India. There is so much more than Cricket in India, which can be realised only if people start giving a little more attention to other sports also, only if the people in the media talked of other sports as enthusiastically as they do of Cricket.

It’s not Cricket’s fault that it is popular, and there is no harm in a sport being popular, but the public is at fault for their bias way of treating other sports, making the other sportsperson feel irrelevant.

The situation for other sports, however, is not as awful and lamentable today as it was a few years back. Other sports are slowly gaining popularity; other sportsperson now feel they are also important, however there is still a long way to go, there is so much more that needs to be done, and we the people of India must show our support for other sports (just as we do for Cricket) and for our players. Players need a cheering audience to boost their morale (not only during big events but also during the smaller ones), and cheering must be done not only for the known players but also for the ones who are not so popular but are trying their best to better themselves and excel in their field). Ministers so proudly offer fancy cars and some money to a few sportsperson only when they are able to bring some recognition to India. Players need finance and proper grooming to feel secure and confident, and that should be done from the beginning, from scratch (not just when they put India in the limelight). Players come not just from the known parts of the country but from remote areas, too, and if one were to gauge the talent of those unfamiliar sportsperson she would be surprised to find many hidden treasures.

Watch Cricket, people, no problem, but do pay some attention to others sports and cheer for all our sportsperson.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

The Days Are Cloudy and Dark

 

The days are cloudy and dark,

And the nights are always so.

No matter whichever way I go,

I find myself stuck in the devil’s park.

I’ve now got so used to the darkness

That I no longer miss the sun.

No longer from pillar to post do I run

To seek the tricky world’s solace.

 

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Oh Lonesome Me

Here is a song by Don Gibson, and my situation is no better than what the lyrics of the song say.

 

Everybody’s going out and having fun
I’m just a fool for staying home and having none
I can’t get over how she set me free
Oh lonesome me

A bad mistake I’m making by just hanging round
I know that I should have some fun and paint the town
A lovesick fool is blind and just can’t see
Oh lonesome me

I’ll bet she’s not like me
she’s out and fancy free
She’s flirtin’ with the boys with all her charms
But I still love her so
And brother don’t you know
I’d welcome her right back here in my arms

Well, there must be some way
I can lose these lonesome blues
Forget about the past and find somebody new
I’ve thought of everything from A to Z
Oh lonesome me

I’ll bet she’s not like me
She’s out and fancy free
She’s flirtin’ with the boys with all her charms
But I still love her so
and brother don’t you know
I’d welcome her right back here in my arms

There must be some way
I can lose these lonesome blues
Forget about the past and find somebody new
I’ve thought of everything from A to Z
Oh lonesome me
Oh lonesome me
Ohhhhh.

 

Lovebirds

Lovebirds often fight,
Make, and then break many a promises
Shed tears, wet their pillows and mattresses
But if one decides to go quiet,
The other seems unable to survive
They are, after all, each other’s delight.

Though their fights are never ending
But as a while goes
In their reasonable and unreasonable reasoning
In all gain and loss
They once again only find a new beginning
And thus their love keeps renewing

That’s how love birds are –
In love while being at war
Near, ever when afar.
Seem uncaring but they care.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS