50 Shades of AIB to be a ‘Progressive’ Indian

Some 5 years from today … Year 2020

100 Shades of Grey is released worldwide and though India has not banned it, yet, few explicit scenes have been deleted by the censor board. Needless to say, the youth brigade which comprises of the teens and people in their twenties are up in arms against the Government, the censor board and the regressive system. Pari, an active youth has just turned thirteen and is getting ready for a night out at friend’s place. Loosely fitted top and cool shorts and night-dress is all required for the night stay wherein they plan to watch the uncensored version through the latest version of ‘Hyper Torrent’.
‘So, what time do you plan to be back Pari?’ asks Pari’s mom. And in her own inimitable style and with the expression of (Why do you ask the same question again), Pari replies, ’Mom, obviously I would come by morning. It’s a night out’.

‘I hope there are no guys’, which evokes an even critical expression from Pari ,’Come on Mom, don’t be such a f***ing hypocrite. Be progressive. The country is changing, so are we. We are not there for sex. So chill. But it would be fun to see the impact of this movie on the guys, let’s see who manages the balls well.’
Pari’s mom is aghast at the reply and before she could even blurt out ‘What are you saying?’ Pari with an air of confidence just tells her mom, ‘Come on, I know you are not so regressive. You were with AIB and 50 shades when it was released. Your digital footprint is not yet erased and I am actually happy that you were so progressive at that time judging by your comments on FB and other social sites. By the way, the new group AI MC BC is way too funny and their latest Fried and Roast edition literally screws the celebrities on stage and I mean it is physical. That’s reality. That’s what we like.’
5 years before 2020 … Year 2015

And I am still thinking do we need to spend time, effort, countless debates to prove that we need AIB and 50 Shades so that India can be called a “progressive” country. How stupid I am. Of course we need them. Else what kind of society will our kids grow up? They have to be broad-minded citizens of this country. We, have to set the base so that our kids and the next generation are not confined within hypocritical and archaic middle class values.

And if there is any opposition to it, then I should necessarily first talk about social injustice, rapes, criminal activities, inept governance, corruption and scams plaguing our country. Only in India these issues are rampant and going unchecked. Yes, it is a democratic country and so I have the right to speak about anything and express my freedom of speech. We are nearing 70 years post Independence and still I can’t see the movie of my choice – What a shame! All countries allow that, don’t they? Islamic militia, Christian militia and unrests and uprisings in Middle East are just a notion, a media created wave so that they can commercialise and rake in the moolah. And look at us. India, the second most populous country in the world, still does not have civil wars or continuous bloodshed which lot of smaller countries suffers from. We still allow each one of us to talk what we want to without worrying about losing our life the next day.

Today, I read in the newspaper that some guy in London raped students in sound proof rooms in 70s and 80s. In London? A rapist? It is definitely an anomaly, only Indian males are wretched enough to commit such dastardly acts. And there is news of a South African committing this heinous crime. Seriously, did it take London police authorities decades to figure it out? The government is wasting thousands of crores of rupees in building statues in the midst of seas and rivers. Maybe it will become a tourist spot, maybe years down the line our kids will see the statues from a plane and say ‘Wow, India has become a happening place’ and of course people will click selfies with the statues as the background and share. Possible? Yes. Will it lead to thousands of employment opportunities? Possible? Yes. Will it make India progressive? No way.

We first need to discuss all about corruption and scams. And how could we exercise our right in fair elections and have the audacity to send a national level party into oblivion, which is perceived to be the one responsible for all the scams. How could we vote for change? And then we decide that the change itself is sounding like empty vessel, so we embolden a guy with no political background to rule the Capital state of the country? How could we? And yet, we are not that progressive enough to allow AIB to be the toast of the media, the country for their super cool jokes and rich content which would be remembered for ages. God, I don’t even remember the names of the guys. Why do I remember Johnny Lever, Raju Srivastav, Krushna and so many of them who come on TV. And now Kapil Sharma. Even he roasts the audience and celebs but then he adheres to the moral fabric of middle class values. What a shame! So regressive.

So I question myself. What does it mean to be progressive? Meaning of Progressive – Adjective – ‘Happening or developing gradually or in stages’. Noun – ‘An advocate of social reform’.
And then I realize, I am not seeing in the right direction. Yes, with so many religions, dialects, regions and cultures, there are issues and there are multitude problems in this country but the ‘hope’ of an average Indian is much stronger than the ‘hope’ of any other countryman in the world. The hope to do better in life, the hope to be happy today and be prepared for the happiness that tomorrow shall bring. The ‘progressive’ nature of an average Indian to provide for his family while at the same time being socially responsible is something which is unparalleled in the world.

And somewhere the ‘Eureka’ moment happened. The problem is that we focus too much on the ‘negatives’ of our country and ‘positives’ of developed countries. And I decided to remove this lens from my eyes and not give too much footage to a nautanki group. The screening of a movie does not hold that importance as the works of distinguished Indians do. Indian scientist, artist, economist, doctors, engineers are appreciated and hold important posts in Government and in the social stream. As per some PPTs floating on FB and other social media, some x% employees at NASA are Indians, some y% are eminent doctors …. And so on. And before, my cynical mind starts pointing out that these are well settled guys in developed countries, let me share the story of a desi progressive Indian – Dr. Rajagopal.

Dr Rajagopal and the Pallium India team go on home visits to some of the remotest areas outside Thiruvananthapuram; places where no vehicle could go. They climb hills and walk through rubber plantations to visit terminally ill cancer patients. Pallium India wants to take care of those in terrible pain and isolation due to cancer, AIDS, paralysis, or other prolonged, debilitating, diseases. ‘No one,’ the organisation believes, ‘should be left to face all of this without support and proper medical care.’

Then there is a lady who started BPO facility with differently abled employees only, two guys who quit US based jobs to setup garbage management system, a village kid who became a renowned heart surgeon and many more…
There are many such progressive people out there who are gradually ushering in social reforms and mind it, their ‘Actions speak louder than words’. And the right kind of actions for that matter. Maybe you can laugh over them or applaud them. Maybe in your mind you are thinking that Rishi has got it all wrong. Maybe I was thinking on similar lines when many were laughing their guts out over genital jokes and raking up lot of issues which weren’t allowing us to “Be Progressive”.

Rishi Arya

Patient ko Dawa ke saath, Dua ki bhi zaroorat hai (The crazy patient needs Wishes as well as Medicines)

Lately I had been to a hospital with a close friend of mine. He is going through a difficult medical phase of his life and obviously had to support him in this crucial phase. I have a special attachment with hospitals as I always aspired to be a doctor during my junior college days; however; zoology put me off. In fact, my good friend Aneez even shared the probable list of questions for 12th examination, yet I dint score much. Now, don’t even ask me whether the paper got leaked? I can only say that nearly 90% of the questions that he shared with me were part of the 12th standard examination. Yet, I could do nothing about it.:( So I guess it is my destiny to write this blog and yours to read.

For somebody in thirties and not employed in hospital management, you might say that hospital is not the right place to be. And then some guys would complain and start cribbing – Tell me about it, so many visits for the various tests during pregnancy or when the oldies need to be taken care of. And then I have a very simple answer for this bunch of guys – What about the countless gifts you get from the output of those visits viz. your little ones (smiles, touch, glow in the eyes, stress busters) and what about your childhood days when the so-called oldies were around.

So, for me hospital is actually a place which teaches you everything.

Blood transfusion or Dawa + Dua?
Blood transfusion or Dawa + Dua?

It teaches you discipline – Even an army outfit may not be as disciplined as a hospital. When was the last time a heavily pregnant woman checked in the army camp when the OT (operation theatre) were already blocked by somebody who maybe had a penile fracture and somebody whose kidney just refused to function. And yet, the baby is delivered. On a daily basis, a hospital does the work of a firefighter (Read: Casualty) + endures the issues and complaints of errant relatives like a customer service operator (Read: My beloved son who is admitted will eat only home food; your food, your nurse, your so-called dietician is bakwaas) + at the same time does specialist surgery/operations to save the lives of kith and kin. So, if the hospital can’t teach you to have discipline in life amidst all the chaos then nobody can. And of course they have an army of recruits called resident doctors who serve while they learn and gain experience. No mean task! And though I’m not a doctor, I’ve stayed overnight in their quarters on many an occasion. (Thanks Aneez again). And just like Munnabhai MBBS, they have their own quota of stories which I heard during these stays – like the village guy who was admitted for some gastro issues and the lady resident doctor started feeling him (stomach, obviously) and it went up (not the stomach obviously).:)

It is a great leveler – The poor, the rich, the young, the old .. everybody is there in a hospital. At one end there is happiness due to the birth of a child in somebody’s family and at the other end there is crying and wailing for the guy whose penile fracture operation got botched up and lost his penis forever. Yesterday while waiting in the lobby with my friend, an extremely poor family entered. The two little girls sat next to me on the same bench while the parents went inside the doctor’s cabin. And the difference between haves and have not was never so evident. Comfortably ensconced in our air-conditioned offices, we ignore or forget this strata of society who travel hundreds of kilometers to reach the hospital because their local hospital dint have adequate facilities, we turn a blind eye to their attire as they don’t wear slippers or good-looking dress but merely a shabby frock as the two girls wore. The parents looked forlorn (maybe it was the imminent hospital expense that was playing on their minds) and the two kids who should have been playing, quietly sat in one corner (maybe absorbing the experience of a pucca and huge hospital).

And then I remembered my hospital visits for my kids’ vaccination and other purposes, the kids had a mini playground to play yet they were not satisfied; the doctors and nurses always did their best yet the mommas were never completely happy and there were always minor issues to talk about. It is then that I realised that our issues are so trivial to the issues of ‘basics’ faced by this segment of population.

We are so engrossed in our daily lives and related stress and pressures that we forget other aspects of life and society. In our 30s, we have adopted the dawa (medicines) for Vitamin D, Multi vitamins and other medicines for back aches, other ailments but in reality we need dua (wish) so that we can start acknowledging the fact that there are others with at least 100 times bigger issues than us. Those others don’t need dua, however they do need dawa (especially the expensive ones). And us – we definitely need dua as we are the patients who on Valentine’s Day should get a bouquet of red roses with a note saying ‘Get well soon’.

And for those friends of mine, who are still thinking ‘What is a penile fracture’ or ‘Is it really possible’… :)consult your doctor today! Tumhe dawa and dua ke alava aur bhi kisi cheez ki zaroorat hain.

Final Volume – Shakespeare babu keh gaye “To thine ownself be true”.

Of late, Disney Junior channel has improved. If you have 2 young kids, then watching Gladiator on HBO or EPL on Sports is not much of an option, so you end up becoming a regular of kids channels. So, the point is that when Disney junior channel is ON, my two juniors play their own channel at home while having their dinner. Either they are Tom and Jerry or Octonauts or some other character. Whatever happened to the good old days when we used to watch Spiderman or Giant Robot or He Man and that too on limited days? Anyway, with their mother around, the kids while watching TV take the liberties of eating food at their pace which can easily stretch into an hour. To speed up the process, she uses the Chanakya neeti of comparing rate of eating between the two on the elder one, Ishaan, who actually takes it seriously.

I don’t really approve of this tactic as my latest enabler says ‘Stop comparison’. Hmm .. before I forget, let me take you through the enablers which act as stepping-stones to achieve the goal of your life. Firstly, have the courage and wisdom to go against the wave or accepted norms which you actually don’t believe in which in my world is labeled as ‘Challenge the Proverbs’. To be able to do the same, it is but obvious that you first need to ‘Know yourself’ else you would sound like a hollow vessel making a lot of noise. ‘Listening’ is the 3rd enabler that prompts you to listen to the surrounding, environment and most importantly yourself and thus allows you to know yourself better- your likes, dislikes, strengths, weakness et al. The biggest barrier to listening is ‘Comparison’ with others as this particular big C brings along its 3 babies namely – Cribbing, Complaining and Criticizing which occupy so much of your mental bandwidth that there is no time left for anything else.

So how do we not compare? How does my younger one, Meher, who is averse to comparison, still manages to play around while having food and not get scolded to that extent? In fact in our daily lives we do come across balanced individuals who do not enter the zone of pampering the big C or any of the small C. These individuals are calm, composed and seem out of world while dealing with difficult situations. Are they superman with their black flashy underwear in the inside? Are they ET or PK or G1 (aha, you dint get this one, right!! It’s the Ra.One movie hero. Now don’t ask me what is Ra.One) without emotions? Are they actually Sunil Shetty and Katrina Kaif from their earlier movies who did not understand the meaning of word reacting to situations and cribbing, crying over it.

Re-learning old lessons from MBA college times.
Re-learning old lessons from MBA college times.

Well, let’s ask Meher. And she replies as she always does – with a Smile. Aaah, we’ve forgotten how to do that often. Like Preity Zinta in Kal Ho na Ho who is taught how to smile; it’s time we learn the same. Smile at people, smile at situations, smile at yourself. God has created smile knowing fully well that while we smile, we can’t talk and if we can’t do that, then where is the possibility of comparing?

Few questions –When was the last time you smiled at yourself for making a mistake? When was the last time you smiled when you did not get irritated by an argument or discussion? When was the last time you looked at the Sun or the Moon or the birds or even while listening to music … you smiled! Start now – Smile. It relaxes you and do forward this Flog to others for making me smile:)