Saturday, August 20, 2005

06 - India oh India!...

15th August 2005, Mayank Pande

India oh India!...

Where the British are still a source of inspiration,
Where Gandhiji means freedom,
Where Shivaji still rules in identity, 300 years later,
Where Mangal Pandey is regarded as the true first warrior.

Where corruption is a part of life,
Where cops don’t mean security,
Where politics deface the fabric of society,
Where the failure of the civic administration is a part of life,
Where 100 lives lost every day is not a big deal,
Where relationships mean something,
Where the relationship between man and wife is still sacrosanct
Where neighbours are an important part of your life,
Where children are viewed as a sense of responsibility,
Where aged parents don’t belong in old age homes,
Where the father is revered and never questioned,
Where the sister is another form of the ‘bestest friend”,
Where a girl child can both be a boon and a curse,
Where money is not the ‘be-all’ and ‘end-all’ of life.

Where temples are the weekend get-aways,
Where green fields of paddy are a source of livelihood,
Where women carry multiple clay pots on their heads to ferry water,
Where birth control is an unheard of concept,
Where bullock carts are still the primary means of transport,
Where respecting the fury of the sea is revered,
Where grazing cattle can be one form of every day responsibilities,
Where traversing places where electricity hasn’t arrived yet is normal,
Where village fairs are still the greatest forms of entertainment,
Where enjoying twenty kilometres of uninterrupted sea line is a regular bit,
Where watching young boy’s play marbles on the road is nothing new,
Where spending time outside kirana shops discussing the future of India is the norm,
Where sitting on cliffs and watching the rain approach the coast is a regular past time,
Where men’s source of livelihood is still derived from cutting wood,
Where walking 15 kilometres everyday is no big deal
Where watching the rain come over from the sea is a great deal for us city folks,

Where getting “drunk – silly”, is the latest past time and the only release from stress,
Where commuting means bad roads and lengthy traffic jams
Where the judiciary means delayed justice
Where a daughter means never ending fear

Where we discover the ease of life,
Where we discover ourselves,
Where we want to come again and again,
Where us and them, have something in common,
That is my country,
That’s my pride, that’s my belonging, and that’s my India.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

05 - my monsters in my head

This is the place were I share the deepest darkest secrests of my life.. I plan to also use this space for rambling my thoughts without the convenience of "edits"... So this really should be interesting..This bit is tough...

I was someone who never planned life till I was 22 years old. Suddenly I met my wife Swaty, courted her for 4 years and then got married when I was 26. Suddenly at 28 I became a father for the first time (Iteeva) and then Antara came two years later. Through these years, I was trying to settle into the rigours of married life, learning to adjust to a child in the family and concentrating on my professional career. I was busy chasing my personal and professional dreams.

Some where in between I learnt to be an unhappy man.
  • At 31, I want to be fit and healthy for the rest of my life
  • At 31, I love my children mre than anything in life and want to see them grow old
  • At 31, I want to be there for my children every single time they need me
  • At 31, I want to ensure a future for my family.
  • At 31, I want to have an identity for my self that I believe in
  • At 31, I want to have true friends for life
  • At 31, I am afraid of growing old
  • At 31, I am afraid that I have to grow up finally
  • At 31, I am trying to rediscover happiness
  • At 31, I want to be a true son to my parents
  • At 31, I want to be a brother to my sisters
  • At 31, I am trying to be happy with what I have
  • At 31, I want to be at peace with myself
  • At 31, I want to know who I am and what I stand for
  • At 31, I want to smile all the time and not worry about the crap that life deals me. (And believe me, I have a lot lot less than most other people)
  • At 31, I want to be Mayank again

As the Stone Temple Pilots said in their song - "Creep" (album - Core)

I'm half the man I used to be, This I feel at the break of dawn

Feelin' uninspired, Think I'll start a fire
Everybody run, Bobby's got a gun
Think you're kinda neat, then she tells me I'm a creep
Friends don't mean a thing,
Guess I'll leave it up to me......

Saturday, August 06, 2005

03 - my work and the serious stuff

Of my 8.5 years of total work experience, I have spent more than 7 years with my current employer, Hewitt Associates. Over this time, I have gathered some deep insights around the working of successful and not so successful organzations in India, some anecdotes and some of my thoughts about where organizations falter.

Lets see if you people agree with my thoughts.

04 - my holidays

We are scheduled to go for a holiday from the 13th to the 20th of August 2005. We are currently exploring options for the same. Have heard about a place called Tarkali (near Goa) or Kashid (near Mumbai). Lets see where we land up. The entire family is very excited.

I will write and share my experiences with you all.

02 - my weekends

I love my weekends. I understand this as my personal time that needs to be spent with my family, with myself and with my friends doings the things I love doing.

Amongst the many things that keep me busy and happyily engagement during the weekends, is entertaining people at home, and going out to party across Mumbai. During these social interactions, I get to meet various interesting people. This bit of my blog is to share these interesting charaters with you. And believe me I get to meet quite a few. So here goes my first post on this matter..

Last night, I did the usual round of having some friends home, moving to Zenzi in Bandra, then heading to Squeeze, onwards to some place in Andheri, finding the place shut, having andaa bhurjee in some shady roadside joint that I had heard so much about and then going home by 4:00AM thoroughly disgusted with myself and the evening.

I have to confess, all was not lost through the evening. I had a great time actually till I left Zenzi. Me and my wife were out with a friend last night. We for the first time, in our social interactions out with a friend, landed up having a decent and intelligent conversation. We talked about issues that are relevant to our city... During the evening, we also met an old friend of my wife from Pune who joined us and tried to participate in the conversation but was looking so bored when we discussed a professional model for governance for Mumbai that I was surprised. Was he surprised that friends on a weekend wanted to discuss serious issues, or did he never think about these issues that plague our city or he just didn't care about the seriousness of the conversation... I dont know... I am not sure if its important to most people. I personally am unsure of the value of these social interactions myself.

What do I go out for... Is it purely to see some nice chickies, is it to meet friends that you call 'friends', is it to listen to music thats available at home, is it to ensure a change of place, is it to run away from the monotony that surrounds our personal lives or MOST IMPORTANTLY, is it to run away from ourselves..Help me find the answer.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

01 - my mumbai - a city ignored

Its really surprising how a city like Mumbai can continue to exist over the years with the same set of socio-economic issues year on year. Whats even more interesting is that no one that has the ability to impact the standard of life in this city - be it administerators, politicians and bureaucrats is ever held accountable for the pathetic state of this city.
And therefore year on year, we hear about the same problems plaguing the city - inability of the meteorological department to give us a correct weather forecast (and therefore 80 plus people die), inability of the town planning department to provide enough motorable roads (and therefore never ending traffic jams in every part of the city) and enough housing facilities to the poor (and therefore 54% of the population of Mumbai continues to live in slums) and the ineffectiveness of the law and order machinery to provide us basic safety ( and therefore young innocent girls get raped repeatedly) . I can go on and on highlighting the basic issues facing the people of Mumbai but it is of little use. And then one reads about certain politicians dreaming of making Mumbai the next Shanghai... what a joke.

Instead of focusing on any of the above issues, our city administrators obviously have more important issues to focus on. These would include shutting down girlie/ dance bars (and thereby deny employment to thousands of women and men) and selling of indistrial mill land. (and thereby making crores of rupees for a select few)

What this city needs is a local governance model. An independant executive body needs to be created that is directly made responsible for all city services such as law enforcement, works hand in hand with the local state government on issues such as infrastructure development and manages the city administeration right from protecting the cultural heritage of the city to managing transportation facilities to looking after the economic development of Mumbai. (One possible model for governance and some initial thoughts on the same are depicted in the diagram above)

However, this does not seem to be the common consensus of the general public at large. I read about Raell Padamsee's JAAG India campaign. I heard people talk about AGNI (Action for Good Governance and Net Working in India and all the promises that holds..) I also saw newspapers and people on television talking glowingly about the spirt of the Mumbaikers. Please people... these are two separate issues that need to be acknowledged and digested separately.

Not for a moment do I absolve the people of Mumbai for the state of their city. In our kind of societies, does the general public have no role to play in the governance of their cities or choosing the people who govern them. Since enough has been written and talked about this matter, lets leave it at that....

For the moment, we the people, should just support serious PILs like the JAAG India campaign and the AGNI movement, to do our bit for the future of Mumbai. The country is a different conversation all thats later