The Lady By The Roadside Counter

Deep down the slender lane, standing behind a food counter is a beautiful young lady selling happYness. “HappYness”, shes says, “take it from me, for I’m selling it for free. Once and for all, here it is, for free! Come see the world, come see the light, for happYness it is that will make you feel bright. HappYness for free!”

Looking at her serene face and the joy of her smile, I just couldn’t realize if its for happYness or her eyes that I stood in the middle of the street – mesmerized. HappYness, is it a foreign dish or a desi-mix, the foodie in me started to think.

Her stall was small, it stood firmly near the big giant mall. The crowd started to gather. None in the mortals had known what happYness tastes like, for so busy they had been in the mighty struggles of life, that they forgot to rejoice the small moments of delight.

“What is this dish?”, murmured a voice from behind, “never have I heard of it in my lifetime”.

“Its something delightful, something unique, the taste of which is an evergreen bliss. Try it for once sir, eat it for free, and I assure you, your life will be on a joy spree”, said the melodious voice from behind the counter, “Come see the world, come see the light, for happYness it is that will make you feel bright. HappYness for free!”

“Two takeaways for me.”
“Pack one for me.”

“Parcel? Sorry sir, we don’t parcel happYness. Its available only on have-it basis.”

“Too busy I am to stop by your shop, even if its for free, I can’t waste the time on my clock. Engaged I’m in the meetings so exhausting, there is no time for me to keep waiting.”

“Busy you’re in the doldrums of your life, you don’t even have time for some respite?”, she smiled, “Who are you kidding, who are you fooling, is this what you call living?”

“I don’t have any free time, Oh lady by the roadside. I will have happYness some other day, when I am in a better mood, and willing to stay”

“Who are you mocking, Oh dear mortal, for that day might just not come. Old you have gown, lost you have, all your shine. Don’t rust this soul of yours, at-least  let it rejoice in the bright sunshine.”

Adamant he was, as adamant he had been, so couldn’t resist but to “move-on” with life. He left his cup of happYness and the jar of joy on the roadside stall of the deep slender road, which he pledged never again to tread.

Misery struck. Agony struck. And struck the big boost of Ego. The man who once passed by the roadside stall, lost his way to the stall by the big giant mall.

Sadness came. Loneliness came. And with them came the mighty Death. They chained him, tortured him, and took him by his throat. He laid there, suffered there, and cried in despair.

“HappYness”, he cried, “where art thou? Help me, for I’ve become a slave of misery”

HappYness lay in front of him. He tried grasping it. He tried chasing it. He tried to come near, but something inside him shook him in fear. It was the fear of being happY and the fear of feeling good. Crushed he was by their burden, but he decided not to give up.

“Fight! Fight!” He fought with himself. He fought hard. Fought hard for the freedom from misery and worry.

And finally won!

HappYness was his for the taking.

[ This post is dedicated to the lady who sells Chinese dishes on a small roadside counter at Ramphal Chownk, Dwarka, New Delhi. Everyday when I pass by her stall, I see a glow of happiness on her face. It radiates joy. Every time it makes me smile, makes me feel happy. To her, I would like to say, “Thank You for making me happy”]

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Its Pay-Back Time!

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“Why do you want me to get rich?” asked a student at the end of a brain draining session on entrepreneurship.

“Well, it’s simple. If you get rich, I get rich” replied the venture capitalist in a bemused voice, taken aback by the question.

A member of the “eminent panel” of speakers had been hit by a question which he couldn’t answer convincingly. Surprising right?

The student replied,”I’m sorry to say sir, but that’s complete bullshit!”

The host took over the situation, afraid that the student may hurt the “sentiments” of the “most honorable man” of the evening.

The Q & A session came to an end. But I, like some of the other aspiring entrepreneurs was left pondering over certain questions. Why should I become rich?

Why should I aspire to be among the top most people of the century? Why?

I don’t doubt my potential, not even yours. I know you have what it takes to make an impact in this world. But why? Why do you need so much money?

You can make an impact without the money too. You can get fame with a decent earning too.

To state a fact, most of the people who made a dent in this universe were not the wealthiest ones. What “commodities” did Mother Teresa own?

How much “equity” did Mahatma Gandhi have?

How many “companies” did Martin Luther own?

How much “returns” did Issac Newton and Albert Einstein get on their investment in Physics?

None!

So rethink! Why do you want to become rich?

“Because I want to ride a Ducati. I want to have the most beautiful home in the world. I want to marry the most beautiful lady on Earth. I want to feel the joy of being rich” Do you?

Well sir, in that case, you are on a completely wrong track.

If you want all this “crap” (or so called desires of yours), you can’t earn it by aspiring to become rich. For that, you need to be a spoiled brat. (You need to be son of a wealthy guy, who for sure, didn’t follow your path to become rich.)

No one gets rich because they want to get rich. No one becomes happy, because they want to become happy.

Desire, my friend is the root of all illness.

You want to get rich, follow your passion. You want to get rich, do something for the society. You want to get rich, look inside you and introspect. You want to get rich, find someone who loves you.

You want to be happy, help someone. You want to feel content, donate. You want marry a beautiful woman, have a beautiful soul.

Never forget to give the society, what you want for yourself!

Its pay-back time!

Return to the society what you expect of it.

Serve. Be a better human.

Cater to the needs of people. Spread joy.

And then you’ll be rich.

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister

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The Honorable Prime Minister,
152, South Block,
New Delhi – 110 011

Dearest Sir,

During your recent address to the nation, you acknowledged that “it is the responsibility of the government to defend the national interest, and protect the long term future of the people.” I appreciate this acknowledgement. I am also pleased to learn that the government plans to consolidate on the recently introduced FDI reforms. Congratulations!

But sir, apart from the economic crisis, the bigger problem that is infesting the citizens of this great country is “behavioral management”. Everyday I wake up to read a sad story on the Parliament – “Minister throws mike at the speaker”, “Lok Sabha adjourned after ministers tear down the bill”, “Lok Sabha suspended over mutual disagreement”, “Minister found guilty in religious riots”. It fills me with great sorrow to see the leaders of this nation – the successors of Mahatma Gandhi and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru – the caretakers of world’s largest democracy, living in self-centered domain, imbibing greed and following unethical principles (convictions in CWG and 2G  scams); not all of them, but yes most of them!

I’m not judging the political class here, but trying to bring forth the mentality of our people by instancing the higher citizens of the country. If the lawful representatives of the constitution are going to behave in this manner, how do we expect the country to grow, and so is what we are witnessing – honor killings,  molestation, rapes, kidnappings, robberies and murders.

We must educate the minister, not intellectually, but morally. Moral values are a must if we want to overcome corruption.

Therefore, I suggest that we bring in a constitutional amendment that restricts any citizen from standing in elections if he is not adequately educated (at-least a high school graduate). Other than that, moral and ethical education sessions should be introduced for government employees.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Arjun Tuli

The Great Indian Tamasha

Boom! Boom! Pow!

With Diwali celebrations still at bay (and Black Eyed Peas having no intentions to Phunk with Indian hearts), I wondered what it might be?

The slender street in front my courtyard was clogged with gala-heads, running wild.

The procession was led by a group of very “talented” dancers, tapping their feet to the tunes of “Tunak Tunak Tun Da Da Da” (Never heard of it? Congratulations! You saved your ears a soulful bashing), with bhangra moves perfected to the last drop of Patiala peg.

A faithful start to a lazy Sunday!

The Khan movies may flop at the Box Office, but the “Great Indian Tamasha” never fails to enthrall crowds. (And you wondered why Big Boss had the highest TRP ratings? Jaago Grahak Jaago!)

Gripped by what might be called as “Shor in the Street”, I hurried out to the front balcony of my house, desiring to capture the perfect view of the silver-screen.

The dance honchos, doped as they were, in the rhythmic beats of the dhol, raised their hands to shed out some moolah. Meandering around them were the slumdogs, dipping their hands in the cash rich concrete lakes of the street, aspiring to be the next millionaires; shouting “Jai Ho!” (You listening, Danny Boyle?)

But wait! There’s something more to this Choupati. There’s a Pirate in the Arabian Sea.

The Bharitya Janta Party MP from the state could be seen kicking around the cattle-class, trying to lay his feet on the red carpet.

He proclaimed of being victorious in the Legislative Assembly polls; “treasuring” yet another term of VVIP treatment. Following the minister was the lok sabha of his chelas, glorifying their guru as the best in the Ayodhya.

The “Badmaash Company” could be seen shouting slogans and raising banners. “Plop, plop, fizz, fiz, Oh what a relief it is!” read one.

“When you have got it, you flaunt it”, shouted the minister, “Victory!”, as his caravan passed by my house, gushing into the neighborhood tributaries.

***

Stand. Rise. Oscar! The Jack Sparrow of our story makes his entry.

Just as the caravan was about to reach its first milestone, it hit the “Growler” (For those of you like me, its name of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic).

Aivyn Kejribal of India Against Politicians (a well “proclaimed” common man) sat in the middle of the street, meditating. Supporting him in his “agitation for meditation” was a group of Topi Masters (renowned fashion gurus, as was captioned on their caps – Mai Trend Setter Hun).

“Plop, plop, fizz, fiz, Oh What the F**k this is!” said the pirate.  (If you don’t read “WTF” thing, it’s because  editor is too decent to allow it. Social etiquette gentlemen!)

Tu to Aivyn Aivyn Aivyn lut gaya..“, mocked Captain Jack Sparrow, as he flew high to deck onto the minister’s caravan, shitting all around the ship.

The Bharitya Janta Party MP, expecting to taste the “Barfi!” on this “auspicious day”, found himself hemmed in the sweet smell of the cattle-class junk.

Holy mother of God! Are we witnessing “The Dirty Picture” here?

“Wait! Wait! Mom! Mom! I qualify the PG 18 restriction. Let me watch the complete movie…Please!”

Phew! Moms.

***

Just as we reach the climax of the movie, what do I see?

Kejribal and the minister enacting the ‘I’m King of the World’ scene from “Titanic” while clicking photos of themselves (“Oh My God!” These celebrities! I wonder how many mood swings they get in a month).

Mr. Karan Johar, you watching sir? We have a Dostana 2 in the making.

The combined caravan of the minister and Aivyn Kejriwal now headed to other streets.

(And they lived happily ever after…)

(Kidding!)

All Hail the Minister!

The national ruling party, a prideful bunch of “honorable” men has been enjoying the spoils at the center for the second consecutive time. They have been doing, what they profoundly acclaim as “Bharat Nirman“. 

To these good-men of India – the lot of most “honorable” people in the country, the ones who roam around with red beacons and lead the en masse,  I question.

I question not their authority, not their attitude, but their motif. I question. I question, not as a voter, not as a citizen, but as a human. I question.

Most high! Most mighty! O Dear Minister of mine! Why doth thou lie so low?

I voted for thou, and I am no more a happy man. I showed trust in thou, and I am no more a happy man. I hath faith in thy governance, and I am no more a happy man. But of course, I shall vote for thou again, for thou is an honorable man.

Thou proclaimed, “Give me a second chance, and I’ll do wonders. Show me the crown again, and I’ll not be greedy.”

And so doth thou proclaim again.

And so will my fellow citizens show thou the chair again, for thou ain’t a bandit, but a man of honor.

The poor hath cried, but not a single tear shed from thy eyes. The Commonwealth molested, raped and savaged, but not a single tear shed from thy eyes. But I shall vote for thou, for thou is an honorable man.

Thou hath always been ambitious. Ambitious to bring thy family members into the ruling coalition, ambitious to overlook thy own mistakes. Ambitious!

Ambitious to show arrogance to thy member parties. Ambitious to overlook the national good over thy petty profits. But, don’t thou worry, for thou is a man of honor.

And I’ll vote for thou. For I fear, if I wrong the honorable man, the heavens will blaze forth this incredible country of mine.

Dear Mr. Minister, Country Matters!

Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and there “he” is, taking a long peaceful nap on his comfy million dollar couch; unfazed.

Riots, violence, terrorism, and there “he” is, eating voluptuously; relishing the freshly prepared salmon served by his lavishly paid chefs; unperturbed.

Rape, child labor, human trafficking, and there “he” is, enjoying a family vacation at an overseas resort; feeling blissful.

The nerve..!

Dear Mr. Minister, for once realize your duty; realize that you are a servant and not the master. Wake Up! Your slumber has been too long. Serve the country; rise to the expectations of a growing economy. Feel Shameful!! Stop treating the citizens of this country as your mistresses.

For humanity sake, as an experiment, treat a single day at your office as an election day and see the miracles happening. For once, shed off the egoistic apathy of yours and see the country progressing. For once, give up your mean psychology and experience the power of truth – the joy and exuberance of being fair and just, and see the happiness spreading to the slender roads of the forgotten.

For Once, Sir, For Once, give in to the demands of the country. Be a human. Realize. Country Matters!

With malice towards fellow citizens

They say we are rising and shining, ready to dominate the world in years to come.
But, are we? Well, here I don’t question the sinking GDP or tainted politicians. I question the esteemed citizens of my country. Are we ready to take on the global powers?
No, perhaps not; not even with all the intellect we have. Why? Because we live in a society blotted by social stigmas.
We wear trendy clothes; walk away in flashy shoes; and say we are aping the west. My dear countrymen, becoming fashionable doesn’t make us American, but stepping out of the cocoon of our narrow minded thoughts indeed makes us a gentleman. Our society today is marred by acts of domestic violence; caste based discrimination, religion based discrimination, honour killings, child abuse and female foeticide.
A four year old girl is raped by her father and police SHO questions the morals of her traumatized mother. A 10 year old kid is asked to drink her own urine as a punishment of bed-wetting. A young couple is awarded capital punishment by the ‘all supreme’ khap panchayat in honour of their love. These aren’t rare happenings limited to the underdeveloped regions of our country, they happen all over ‘the incredible’ India; even in the hi-fi posh societies. That aunty that lives next door might just be another woman scarred by acts of domestic violence. That kid who wears a sad look over his face, might just be another minor humiliated by sexual violence. Going by the statistics published by Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007, 53.22% of children reported being sexually abused, among them 52.94% being boys.
Shocking, isn’t it??
Well, we need to take firm actions against such barbaric acts; we need to do more than mere candle light marches, more than those debates on news channels, more than just writing such blogs, more than just raising an eyebrow.
We got to rise in unison and change our attitude; change the way khap panchayats dictate the lives of people. We need to ape the real west.
But How?
Stringent Laws?? It’s not the only answer. Along with stern laws, we need to change the general mind-set of the people – change our patriarchal society; encourage people to speak out, to come out of social restrictions. It really doesn’t matter what your neighbours think. What does matter is will you be able to live a life jeopardized by the assaults of your husband?
Stand up against the injustice. Speak out. Raise your voice.

Let’s end this ‘chalta hai’ attitude.

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