.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

PeAcE WiTh GuNs

Monday, January 09, 2006

Swades - We The People

Its been a while since I've written anything at all. I was therefore wondering what to write. I've made this list of things that I need to do everyday. I got a printout of it today in the form of a checklist. The check list has 10 tasks and I've only completed 3 today [:-(]. I expect to consistently hit 8-10 in the coming weeks.
Getting back on track, since I havent written for a long time, kindly forgive me if I am rusty. I was looking for a topic and I happened to remember commenting on Shradz' blog today about Swades. So I thought I should write on that.
I remember we saw Swades first day, last show. I knew it was going to be a house full show. Most tickets would be prebooked. So I had asked my friends if they would be coming so that we could book advance tickets in the morning itself. Sadly, everyone was non committal and by evening, I had shelved plans totally. It sucked coz I really wanted to watch that film. The promos had been so rivetting !!
In the evening, one of the guys whom I had asked for the movie called up. He said lets go. I was a bit snappy and I said "yeah right...like we own the theatre or something !! I am sure we wont get tickets for the whole week !". I dont know why but he had confidence that we would get the tickets. I thought he had lost it. SWADES, the most awaited film of the year, first day, current tickets?????? NAAH !!
We gave it a shot anyhow. We went down at 9:00 p.m for the 9:30 show. I dont know how but we managed to get tickets to the lower stall in row "L". I didnt know where the heck row "L" would be. Turned out to be the third row from the screen !!
We lowered ourself (literally) into the seat at the prospect of watching the movie like we would be watching a tennis match.
The accordion piece that plays in the background for the credits started playing. The setup was huge, the cinematography excellent. The music had some haunting feeling to it. I had a hunch I was going to like this movie....REALLY like it.
We were unfortunately in a pretty low-end rundown sort of a theatre. We had one joker in the stands who stood up every few minutes to shout out his expert commentary on everything from the boat to Shahrukh's shirt to Gayatri Joshi. Surprisingly, all 3 of us we so engrossed in the movie that we didnt notice him too much.
As the film rolled on, we came to the point of the song "Yunhi Chala Chal" and everyone was screaming at the top of their voices on seeing Makarand Deshpande. Thats when I realized that I wasnt the only one who liked that song [:-D] !! I'd watch the entire film once again just to hear the 3 songs in the theatre with that amazing bass and surround !!
1 and a half hours and we came out into the corridor in the interval. In the cigarette smog (not ours, none of us smoke), we discussed how strongly the movie had been done till that point. Shahrukh is still in his NRI mould at this point.
Post intermission, the scene changes drastically. I dont remember when this particular scene was, before or after the interval but it is a most moving scene. Shahrukh's visit to the poor villager is amazingly done. The journey amongst the commonfolk, the story of the humble and hard working villager's downfall, his humility, his helplessness....I will tell you all frankly, I was totally moved. I consider myself to be rarely prone to extreme feelings and theres been hardly a movie that has made me think twice. You will find all such movies in my favourites list in m profile here.
While coming back from the villager's home, Shahrukh drinks his first sip of water from his motherland. Sorry for putting that in dramatic words but thats how I saw it. Again, the scene is brilliantly shot. The little boy selling water seems to be a representative of a lot of the working lower class that does all these all jobs 12 to 15 to 18 hours a day just to earn a piece of bread. Again, it makes me feel like such a loser beacause I can do nothing about it. NOTHING.
We hear the "Yeh Tara Woh Tara" song beautifully done by A R Rehman and we concentrate on the lyrics which are for a change (from movie song lyrics these days) meaningful.
When Shahrukh says "India is not the greatest country in the world.....but we have the capabilty to make it great". It made me feel like standing up and shouting (like that drunk moron across the hall), shouting "Yes yes, its true...I;ve said that all the time". I dont know how but Ashutosh Gowariker seems to have got the EXACT pulse of the typical urban educated Indian's mindset. I feel if everyone in our country just concentrated on doing their jobs to the best of their ability, we would no longer be a third world country. It seems everyone here just seems to try and find ways to shirk their responsibilities and that makes me furious sometimes.
I see this to be related to the "brain drain" issue. All the students in the high profile universities like IIT and IIM get highly subsidized education. Where is the money for this subsidy coming from? From your pocket, from mine, from our pockets...the tax payers' pocket. Now, when these people are studying with MY money or lets say, the nation's money, we all expect something back from them. Most of the people go out to the west never to come back. Of course, they send in measly amount of foreign currency but what good is that? If we lose all the good talent, who is going to set up industries here? We desperately need these people to be here and start a revolution. Sadly, a lot of these people are selfish and just look at their own gain.
In my opinion, everyone getting higher education should be bound by contract to work for a minimum of 2 years in their own country and people in the high-profile institutions like the IIT and IIM should be bound for 5 years. Everyone argues that these people dont get enough money here. Thats a load of crap. Who pays an IIM graduate less than a 6 figure salary? There is a lot of money here too. We just need the will to do something for the country. One more restriction that we can have is restricting people who've lived out of India for more than 20 years or so from owning any property in India. You might think this is too harsh, even Talibanistic. Realistically, many countries all over the world have a compulsory military service period for their citizens. In India, where everyone breaks signals unless theres a traffic cop to enforce the law, we need everything to be done by force. People never follow rules when they are laid down. We still cross the tracks and avoid the overbridge. My maths teacher who was a really inspirational guy called all this "Slavery Mentalilty". Hes said we as Indians always seem to shirk responsibilities and take the easy way out which is more often than not, following orders.
This might be a really controversial topic and I might have stirred the hornet's nest in this post but really...this is just my opinion and I always practice what I talk. I NEVER throw chocolate wrappers, bus tickets etc. on the street. Every day, my pockets (or in my college days, the topmost comparment of my scatchel) are full of small pieces of debris that I tend to generate. Its not a big deal but if everyone did the same, there would be no clutter lying on the streets. APJ Abdul Kalam says the same about our mentality. When we go to Japan, we dont spit on the streets, we dont throw waste around the corner in singapore, we dont dump garbage outside the garbage bin....we all behave like perfect gentlemen. But suddenly when we are in India, we start to do all these things. Is there any justification to this? No justifications but the only explanation which I can imagine is that if we did all those things in all those places, we would really get our you-know-what whipped by the authorities. So this takes us back to what I just said....slavery mentality, the need for enforcing everything. Why cant we just follow the rules? Why cant we wait until the signal timer shows 0 seconds to green before we hit the gas? Why do we always have to wait for others to take the lead? Why are we scared to accept the responsibility of leadership and face the music? This might seem out of place but I really admire Saurav Ganguly for doing EXACTLY this !!
Enough preaching !! Getting back to Swades.
Swades finishd in 3 and a half hours at 1:45 in the night. The song "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera" was still playing in my mind as I came out of the theatre, rode my bike home, prepared my bed and went to sleep. Next day two of us decided to give the UPSC and give IAS a shot (sadly, I missed the forms this year and I feel like kicking myself for it. My friend submitted the form though).
Life got back to usual in a week but a few things still stick in my mind. I still look at all the 5-6 year old kids on the street and think I am loser coz I cant do anything for them. I thought up another resolution. I will skip all our now-regular trips to multinational-junk-food-joints and save up the money that I would have otherwise spent. I could then give this in bulk to someone. Maybe I could give 300-400 bucks to a little beggar boy and maybe he could buy a kit and polish shoes. Not a big deal again but yes, something is better than nothing. I still havent got down to doing it but I hope to start soon.
I now realize after writing a MARATHON post that this wasnt about Swades at all, its about what I really feel. Maybe I am a patriotic guy. ARE YOU ??


  • Ah, Nice to see that u r blogging serioulsly, hope u keep it up.

    I am a patriotic person but I am not very comfortable with excessive display of the same. I pay my taxes, I dont break the law, I vote and I keep my city clean ( Even I dont throw bus tickets on the road). But if in some movie they play the national anthem, I wont stand up in the theatre. I just wont. And people who think I am showing disrespect are plain wrong. I think what they call patriotism is just a lot of jingoism.

    About brain drain and people working in the US, I wont comment. Simply because its their life, they have every right to do what they want to. I dont preach. I dont believe in force either.

    By Blogger Shradha, at 9:47 am  

  • Hey Shradz

    Nice to know your opinion and thanks for commenting.

    As you know, I always like to dictate. LOL, so I do it here too !!

    No seriously, that brain drain thing is a big problem and its on the economics. As you say, "its their life"....if it is so, why dont they just go and live it with their OWN money? Why should I pay my hard-earned money to make his life more luxurious?? If what you say is correct, all premier institutions should have non-subsidied education. And if that happens....NO ONE will be able to (afford to) study there. So its simple....they need my help to study there, I need their help to make my country better. Its even Stevens.

    I stand up when I hear the national anthem. Its a sign (I believe) of the fact that I respect the people who've give up their lives to ensure that you and I are not polishing the boots of some western imperialist. Protest should only be directed in the right places. I think not standing up rather is just a part of the anti-pseudo-patriotic jingoism and not the other way round. Maybe some people think that its no big deal to live in a free country. I believe, it is. Maybe if your grandfather was a freedom fighter, you would have thought so too.

    Just my views !! You can trash them if you like (as you always do...lol)!


    By Blogger GuNs, at 2:33 pm  

  • Thanks for the invite. For a modest guy (havent achieved anything etc.) you write well. Jagdish Bhagwati a noted Indian economist has actually suggested a nominal tax for NRIs. I am sure most would agree to the idea (hopefully) BUT would the money be utilized for the country?
    NRIs work overseas not only for the salaries but also the standard of living. How much progress has Mumbai made in the last 10 years? Have the roads been fixed? Have the slum dwellers been rehabilitated? Has the massive filth been cleaned? I agree we need force. So if you have a cleanliness inspector to levy penalties what will actually happen is that he will pocket a fraction of it and let the offender go. SO change has to come from within and at all levels. Control population, Develop rural industry, Improve cities and so on. Also dont you think it would be better to ensure the child is educated than that he moves from one manual labor to another? There thats my two bits worth!!!

    By Blogger Ashwini, at 3:17 pm  

  • You didnt get my point. When the national anthem is played in an approprate place or an event such as a sporting event, I stand up. I respect the national anthem. A movie shouldnt use the anthem first of all, and if they do like I think they did in K3G, I wont stand up. Its not my way of showing disrespect to the anthem, its just that while watching a trashy movie like K3G or any movie for that matter I dont feel any national pride.

    I feel proud when Indians do well, I feel proud when the nation is doing well, I feel proud when I know I am being a responsible citizen. That is what people forget, being responsible. My neighbour puts up a national flag in his house on Independence day. I dont. So is he more patriotic than I am? No. He is irresponsible and is nothing but a pain to the society. (If u knew him, u'll know I am not exaggerating). That is what I maent, when people fail to be a resposible citizen, no amount of screaming "Jai Hind" will do any one any good.

    My grandfather was not a freedom fighter that doesnt mean I undermine what freedom fighters have got for us. I admire them. I look up to them.

    I hope U understood what I am trying to say.

    Ur turn now. :)

    By Blogger Shradha, at 3:58 pm  

  • Ashwini : Thanks a ton for the comment. I agree with what you say. Corruption is there. As I said in that post, its all in the mind, in our mentality. Change that and we have a great country. I recently gave away a bunch of old clothes well washed and well ironed to our painter's young son. I give away my books to these kids very often. It impresses me that this guy works so hard and makes his kid go to school. Most other slum dwellers do not educate their children and then "poverty is a vicious cycle" theorem continues.

    I will try and make a difference sometime in my life. Thats my committment to myself. I cant urge anyone else to do it but if everyone does commit a small thing each, we will have a lot of force.

    Thanks for the comment again !! I appreciate everyone's views.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 5:59 pm  

  • Shradz...
    Good to see that viewpoint. I miunderstood you completely.

    Not standing up during K3G is totally excusable but in all other places, its not...atleast in my opinion. I mean, when all the great people who fought for our country were not ashamed of standing up to out national anthem, we dont have any right to think differently. We must remember their contribution and respect their beliefs, amongst which was paying respect to the national flag and the national anthem.

    We have people in the other colony who start at 6:00 in the morning on I-day and R-day with loudspeakers churning out patriotic music. Next day, they are back to spitting on the road, vandalizing property, ogling at girls and the works. Such people are a shame to our country and a shame to the very word patriotism.

    We are on the same track Shradz, just that I believe more educated people should display their patriotism not by shouting "Jai Hind" but by working for the betterment of our country. Of course, its their own life...but they owe the ease, the luxury, the facilities, the opportunities in that life to someone else. Unless you pay back your debts, you are a cheat...just a filthy cheat, nothing else.

    Over to you, ma'am !!


    By Blogger GuNs, at 6:08 pm  

  • OMG! You completely echoed my feelings... agree with you completely. About Swades, brain drain and APJ.
    As a kid, I always dreamt of going to The U.S and settling there, leading an independent and a luxurious life. Reading APJ's speech awakened me (watched RDB twice, have become quite fond of the word :P)...I was belittled and felt ashamed for ever dreaming to leave my country and serve some other country. Watching Swades helped me a lot too and somehow reinforced my will to serve India.
    Almost every scholar from India has gone to foreign countries in search of a better life. They say that India is not going to suffer just because of absence of some few hundred people. But they fail to realise that they would have been the cream of India. Why should we be left with the second bests?
    For how long will our lay backed attitudes help us to avoid the fact that it is OUR duty to change India. Everyone one of us can't join army/politics... but what you said is true "I feel if everyone in our country just concentrated on doing their jobs to the best of their ability,we would no longer be a third world country."

    I remember having a big debate on Brain drain in our class and surprisingly only another boy apart from me was against brain drain. My classmates gave lame excuses like "Ooh, if all the scholars remain in India, they'll soon have to book a room in Kanke"... @#$%^.

    anyways, enough of my bickering. I just pray to God that after saying so much against brain drain I don't get tempted to settle there [Yikes!!].

    Take care, Urmi

    By Anonymous Urmi, at 11:15 am  

  • Urmi,

    Thanks a lot for the nice & long comment. Good to see you back in action again.

    I was talking on that topic with a friend yesterday and he asked me why should these people stay in India, there is nothing India is doing to support them. I said the fact that India raised them and educated them is more than enough to pledge loyalty for an entire lifetime. He wouldn't agree and sadly thats the case with a lot of other people. They just fail to accept that these highly educated people OWE IT to the country and thats the only reason why I feel they should be obligated to stay here.

    But then, when people are bent on leaving the country, it takes a lot to convince them to stop. I make a committment on my part that I am never going to settle in a foreign country. I will do what I can to help my country.

    Thats what I read as a pledge everyday in school. I wasn't a filthy liar when I read that pledge. It was a committment I made then and will keep up.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 12:48 pm  

  • True, settling on foreign land is just out of question for me. Studying there, is possible but marrying and having a kid there is impossible for me (Just read The Namesake ;) ). Its just that it is always the women who have to compromise... leave their family, job and settle in a foreign land (foreign to them, even if in India)

    Before I get too preachy,Take care, Urmi

    By Anonymous Urmi, at 3:01 pm  

  • Nice post man...didn't quite like Swades as much as you did probably, but that point you make about not throwing chocolate wrappers out on the streets, and taking them home instead to dispose of, is eerily similar to what I do. I ALWAYS do that, and it's nice to know that I'm not alone. :)

    It irritates the hell out of me when educated people don't think twice about tossing out rubbish out of the window, or sliding them slyly under the local train seats, thinking that no one's watching, but I am. And I really feel like slapping them so hard that their eardrums rupture.

    By Blogger Tapan, at 3:54 pm  

  • Tapan : Hey, thanks for the comment.

    I remember listening to some software engineer cribbing to his aunt/mom etc. about not getting a chance to go onsite. He was dressed/talked/behaved like a highly educated guy and next thing I know, he buy wada-pav and chucks the paper out of the window. Whats worse, that was in Lonavla or Khandala - some of the most naturally beautiful places in India. Throwing rubbish in natural beauty is even worse than throwing rubbish on the street because in those remote places, no can even pick up that crap and dispose of it.

    If you ever notice Switzerland and Scotland in our Hindi films, you will see that the scapes are very similar to our hill stations. The difference is that you'll never find a spot of plastic/paper etc. lying around. In India, you find that (alongwith gutkha packets) EVERYWHERE. Sometimes it makes me feel like there really are NO educated people in India at all !!

    Also good to have company coz a lot of people think its weird that I carry crap home. Once this lady forcibly took the waste that I had kept under the seat (neatly packed, to be disposed at the next station) and threw it out of the window. She said we'd have ants otherwise. I told her there are no ants in the train !! WTF, some people are just inexplicable.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 4:54 am  

  • Its great to be patriotic. I'm patriotic as well and not ashamed of it. I can see exactly where you are coming from. I have gone through those emotions too. I'm doing my bit in all possible ways physically as well as financially. Its not even a drop in the ocean but if all of us helped in whatever little way we could things would be different.

    As far as Swadesh is concerned, I think it was a much better film than it got credit for. It was lovely and thought-provoking I felt. For once SRK looked bearable too which was an acheivement in itself!

    Nice post. It will all change. I think it will.

    Jai Hind!

    By Anonymous jEDI, at 1:20 pm  

  • Jedi :Thanks for the comment, man. I am really glad you agree with me. I am hoping it will change too. I really am. I guess, its upto us, the new educated generation that has a lot more opportunities than the last, to make a difference.

    Paheli was sent to the Oscars ahead of Swades and Saif Ali Khan won the national award for best actor in Hum Tum ahead of SRK in Swades!! What can be more atrocious?


    By Blogger GuNs, at 3:27 pm  

  • ok - this was one post which I have to admit I must have read few times :-)...yeah I am like that if I like something I need to read atleast few times to get different meaning...( its with movies as well...i don't want much , but if I like some movie...( very rare) then everytime it plays... i watch..)
    watched this movie in Ahemdabad on a vacation trip and after that couple of times at home...!" that scene" where that young boy gives out water... it was so heart breakingly true - we have to admit this is India and not the urban cities is true picture of India... thats more like a plating on top of core India...!
    Will not comment on brain drain...as I am not averse to working abroad at this point of time...however I have done my bit ( I think so) all these years and I think if you want to contribute to your country you can do in many ways...wherever you are...its upto you in the end !
    Now living in the end is another thing...for me that is simple - where the Himalayas are I will live in that country....lol...simple nah...!
    - bendtherulz

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:09 pm  

  • Bentherulz :I am so glad to know you liked to read the article. This post was really stratight from the heart. I wrote most of my posts this way. Im-promptu. I start with a thought and then I dont stop until I finish the entire post. I almost never go back to proofread. That way, I get a number of typos here and there but then it means that the post is a raw representation of my thoughts which is precisely what I want to write on this blog.

    Plating on the core India. Thats so rightly put. The urban centres are full of globalized population like you and me. We can look at anyone in the world with an even eye. Majority of our pooulation though still looks at Westerners as "Saahibs".

    Brain Drain : I have no problem with people studying/working abroad. I know there are people who go abroad and help the country. I appreciate and admire such people. I only hate those who go to other countries and totally forget about their motherland. They then sit down with their NRI friends and discuss how dirty, filthy and mismanaged India is. The least they could do is to repay all the money that they "looted" from taxpayers to get subsidised education.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 8:20 pm  

  • hey- i think that the only way to write - I mean staright from the heart. Infact I am quite inspired by your frank writing so much so that I might share my blog eventually- whenever I will do you will be the first person to see...though I might not allow to comment ...lol.... my thoughts are still my own and I am too prickly to let anyone comment...!
    Brain Drain...hmmmm- I get your point however sometime I feel that we do not see the otherside of coin.. after all these years - people those who have adopted the countries other then own land are still called as 3rd Gen...Indian Americans... and not americans...at least we are Indians thru and thru...( be it 3rd/ 4th or even 10th...lol)
    Anyways your thoughts are your thoughts...!
    Will dig more into your post and send my 2 bit of comment...lol...Byeee and happy Blogging -

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:36 am  

  • I also enjoyed Swades. A bit surprised to see there are no comments here about the Caste System issues raised in Swades.

    This issue is rarely brought up, though it is the one issue that really sets us apart from other 'nations'. How many of us are prepared to change this system, which is at the root of many problems as shown in Swades.

    By the way, I profited from the brain drain. I dont live in India anymore, but try to do my bit for it.

    By Anonymous Swadesi, at 8:32 pm  

  • Bendtherulz : 3rd Gen immigrants or bloody immigrants. Some people will put up with anything just any name to earn money. Anyhow, I dont have anything against people who leave India and live somewhere else as long as they contribute back to India. Its not something they have to do voluntarily. Its something which they OWE to the country. Yeah, just MY thoughts !

    Swadesi :Thanks for the comment. You didnt leave a link back to your blog though. I am proud of people like you who go out to other countries but still remain Indians at heart and they are concerned about the genuine problems back here rather than just saying "Oh forget it. India kaa kuch nahi hone waala, jaane do". Do keep reading my blog. I love to hear comments from people so feel free to pen down your opinion even if it is critical.


    By Blogger GuNs, at 10:38 am  

  • 4 thingies -

    1-Ok.. got it why your name is " Peace with Guns" :-)
    2-Read all your fav post...itching to send comments... I hope you don't mind.
    3- And... when do we get new stuff from your end...lol....!
    4- last if u get time check out the following link...actually you can view the photos - title is buttercup...http://360.yahoo.com/bendtherulz - let me know if u like the pics.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:38 pm  

  • Hi -
    Need your advise...!
    If a person comes to Pune....for a weekend..( hmmm long weekend- 3-4 days) is it possible to do some day trek...nearby.
    whats the weather like in October...warm....or is it cooler..!
    whats the least frequented trek - even if it involves staying overnight near to trek point...!
    if you can give few suggestions - I can send some more query...I am checking out on internet as well!
    Lets see -!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:51 pm  

  • Bendtherulz :
    Two usefule links :
    1) http://deepabhi.tripod.com/
    2) http://www.trekthesahyadris.com/
    3) The book "Trek The Sahyadris" by Harish Kapadia.

    As for your questions :

    1) Yes you can very easily do treks. You will find hundreds of places around Pune where you could trek. Sinhagad, Lohegad, Matheran, Duke's nose at Lonavla etc. are hardly 50KM from Pune. If you go a little farther, Rajgad, Shivneri, Harishchandragad etc. are really good treks. Check out the site/book that I mentioned for actual details about distance from Pune, transport available, time needed for trek, description of the place etc.

    2) Right now, its raining. Retreating monsoons, I guess. October would be a GREAT time to come here because everything would still be green after the monsoons and it wouldnt be full-fledged winter which is around December. Mind you though, we spent the night at the top at Harishchandragad in March i.e. peak summer and we almost froze to death due to the icy winds from the valley. Moral of the story - always carry an extra jacket/sweater.

    3) There are tons of smaller forts in Maharashtra which almost nobody visits. Amonst the popular ones though, the least frequented might be Torna. Even Harishchandragad is attemped only by serious trekkers as it is very draining and at times challenging.

    By Blogger GuNs, at 6:16 pm  

  • Many apologies :-(

    Thx a ton for the info...still looking for the book....so this weekend goes in hunting for same ! Will send query later.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:50 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home