Sunday, 15 August 2010

An eventful Independence Day!

Ojas Mehta
First of all, I’d like to wish Happy Independence Day to all my readers. Today was a day of a national reconciliation for me (like many other of my compatriots). Yet, the national experience of today has been different than previous ones, towards the worse. Although I am more aware about my country today than I was yesterday, I feel no prouder of my country. The feeling I have today is of disappointment (and not disillusionment, mind you). I still believe in my country and its potential to be the world’s finest, but today, I must criticize it for the state of affairs that pervade it.

Incidentally, I watched the movie Peepli Live today, and it left me disappointed and depressed. I already know the current state of India, how it is soiled in corruption, red tape and dirty politics – what I didn’t learn is how can I make a difference… what I, the Common Man of India can do today to ensure a more prosperous tomorrow. The movie had plenty of Masala, its fair share of Profanities (were they trying to say its commonplace in India? – I know that too), lots of humour, pathetic and sorry humour that should make every Indian cry in shame about his country and vow to make a difference. But no, the effect it had on my fellow countrymen was… frantic laughter. Ironic is an understatement for the movie; Tragic is a more apt word. Tragic not because the “big-shot” director Aamir Khan decided to make a film exposing the true face of “Real India, Poor India” (yet again). No, tragic because he made no attempt at encouraging his countrymen to take some action in fixing it. He did a better job encouraging (urging) the youth to take up violent measures, through another of his blockbusters, Rang De Basanti. This movie then must be condemned by fervent nationals the same way Slumdog Millionare was… only worse… because Slumdog was a Hollywood film, made by a foreigner, who didn’t care about his country anyway. No far worse, because Aamir Khan is this self proclaimed activist and catalyst of change, who allegedly vowed to give part of his Taare Zameen Par earnings out as development fund to schools. Not a penny has been received by any school yet, says my friend, a student of politics, Devendra Pai.

It’s as simple as this – movies are made to entertain, with a side motive being educating and uplifting the masses. But movies like Peepli Live, that take India’s case apart, and that too in a cheeky mockery, must be banned from public broadcast, unless they feature some relief, some take-home for the audience, that they might use as a starting point in overcoming the same painful issues that they have now made a laughing stock of. Undoubtedly, movies direct wandering minds (youths, our country’s future), inspire and induce action – and certainly any efforts to exacerbate our country’s predicament, through the media or otherwise, must be curbed.

I also attended the #IndiBlogger Mumbai event, which saw enthusiastic participation from bloggers spanning different niches and styles, bound together by their nationality. It was a congregation of some wonderfully talented people, mostly social and tech savvy individuals, and people, who are positively devoted and driven for the development of themselves, their country and the global blogosphere. By profession, they (we) are engineers, managers, journalists, photographers and models; blogging being either their hobby, passion or profession. The level of involvement was amazing, the youthful exuberance oozing, as they (we) spoke and mingled confidently and decisively. Gul Panag graced the occasion, quite literally, with quite an engaging debate on the role of Bloggers in the Country with respect to dissemination of knowledge, information and ideas in the education sector. More importantly, we argued and consented on the effectiveness of blogging as a source of news, opinions and trends, as against conventional journalism, along with steps on how we could take it further and help affect a Blogging Revolution! It was a thoroughly satisfying evening; I met plenty of interesting people, and made some great friends and prospective blogging partners!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Talk About Feeling (Part 1)

Ojas Mehta
Today is my day of feeling, or in the words of Edward deBono, a day for red hat thinking. Who cares if you’re a guy or a girl, you’re still way different from a monkey or a dolphin, in the sense that you can feel. So might as well make good this liberty, than feel obliged to follow gender rules set about by society, and indeed, self

Sometimes I write well, most of the times, it’s not when I want to do so. Occasionally, it’s when people want me to, but it usually is a function of the environment and my mental state (which might be the same thing). Sometimes, I surprise myself with the words that exit my mouth, or manifest through a systematic movement of my fingers. Sometimes, I pride myself at conducting my own symphony, with my mind being the baton, and my fingers the orchestra.

Without getting too technical now, I’d like to reveal in this moment of partial liberty, that it is indeed a great feeling to release your feelings, and “be true to self”. Whether it’s the correct thing to do is of academic interest, at least for these few brief moments. It’s a liberty I don't often allow myself, often equating it to sinful indulgence. Isn't it remarkable how people ordinarily are looking at opportunities to bury their true, feeling selves in the hope of achieving equanimity, hopefully for greater success ahead? But history shows us, and so does the news, that the ones who go the furthest ahead, are the ones who think from their heart. Who go with their hunches and live their dreams, instead of looking for opportunities in where people would enable them to live their own dreams. It’s hilarious and ironic at the same time, how people look for opportunities to execute their dreams in particular, and happiness in general from their external world, when, in the process, they’re only, if successful, unleashing the power of dreaming and feeling happy in their own selves. Take a person's looks for example, or the notion of love, both of which are deeply rooted in the social revolution that has been carried out chronologically by night clubs, cafes, the telephone and now Facebook.

(At this point, I lost interest writing and  started chatting instead, hence confirming and conforming to the social revolution, which might have taken away people's ability to think with their hearts and write with their minds, for purposes other than seeking approval from arbitrarily determined human references.)