The Great Indian Revolution 2014
Even before the great Social Media revolution swept across India, our country was awakened to a new wave in the world of cinema in the year 2006. It was on the eve of India’s 56th Republic Day, that a film, predominantly made purely for ‘Entertainment’, with the plethora of stars it had, had managed to bring a change in the mindset of the youth. There are no brownie points for guessing. The film was ‘Rang De Basanti’. Right from the promos, the trailers and extensive marketing, a changing trend in its own right, innovative and impressive, the film had only one message to give – ‘A New Generation Awakens.’
Everything about the film was so compelling that it certainly made one think at some point of time: about our country – INDIA, our contribution to the society as a civilized citizen. To me, personally, the best scene in the film was (SEE VIDEO) when the young boys, too carefree about their lives and extremely cool and insensitive, have an encounter with a flight lieutenant from the Indian Army (played by R Madhavan), who suggests them to be a part of the system to change it. And by the end of the film, what we saw was a glimpse of reality that exists in society today.
I give the example of ‘Rang De Basanti’, for the only reason that, it was the first film to probably mobilise the youth towards CHANGE. Political or otherwise. Since then, several campaigns over the internet and social media have been conducted, calling citizens to like Facebook Pages, Join in a signature campaign (Change.org), Tweet in order to highlight various social issues and voluntarily or involuntarily ‘BECOME A PART OF IT’! Be it the Meter Jam campaign started in Bengaluru against the horrifying atrocities of the auto-rickshaw fellows, The Times of India ‘Lead India’, ‘Teach India’ campaigns or ‘India Against Corruption’, which remains as the biggest movement in the history of Indian Democracy, that probably mobilised the young, old and everyone active on Social Media to rise for change.
And most of these campaigns also meant one thing. You don’t need to be physically present to be a part of the change. Campaigning online or showing support was the key. And it has managed to work wonders already. The recent developments emerging out of the elections concluded in Delhi are all in the eyes of the public to see. Even after elections, we see people praising the Mango Man (as he is fondly called), now chief minister of Delhi, and even bashing him, all thanks to Social Media. Another example that I came across was a friend of mine working for a leading political consultancy and asking me to like the page for NaMo. The page had all details of the ‘promises’ of the party, the election manifesto and a link to a video, which has become viral on the internet. All for support!
So while campaigns have now become online, the only challenge remains is getting the YOUTH to vote. The regular oldies, and our parents will surely vote (being optimistic about the turnouts). But the concern is still about getting the majority population to vote. So when social media is playing its game, it’s just fair that Social Media comes to rescue to get votes as well, especially from the youth.
I remember a leading Tea brand, starting off with a voter campaign and calling people to register for voting. The ‘Jaago Re’ campaign again is a strong example to empower youth towards ‘Change.’
Most of us today want to be at the comfort zone of our homes and do not want to take efforts of stepping out. Be it ordering Pizza, food or home-shopping. When there is such lethargic attitude, calling youth to a voting booth to vote can be a challenging task. But what if the voting booth comes to their homes?
The idea is simple. First get the voter list ready of a particular area. Second, using Aadhar Card and Voter registration details, contact by SMS, Whatsapp, FB, the concerned citizen and remind him about Election information, candidature and every information, which the citizen can use to decide on the candidate to vote for. Instead of carrying out door-to-door campaigns, using the power of social media, Skype, Hangouts to interact with the youth about party programmes, just like a celebrity speaks to his fans before a movie release.
While this is during the campaigning stage, the voting stage can be involved by partnering with FREE application download sites, mobile based apps, and social media apps and designing a standard voting application, which sends reminders about candidates, voter information and if possible, even an OPTION to ‘VOTE FROM HOME’. Just like one votes for our favourite celebrity couple on a reality show, to save a team-member in the ‘BIGG BOSS’ House, the VOTE FROM HOME option can work as a comfort tool to mobilise voting. Yes, and one must not forget to say “Standard SMS Rates DO NOT Apply!”
Today, most places across the country are accessible with the penetration of mobile phones and internet, and the youth of Tier 2 and Tier 3 Cities is also aware of Social Media in its basic form. When they can vote for a upcoming reality singer from their small town, voting for their leader using technology shouldn’t be a challenge. But it has to be FREE!
In earlier days, several politicians used to woo the people by offering them FREE Food, Liquor and showering them with gifts. Our generation is well equipped to get the luxuries and even the basic meal, but what we aren’t comfortable is getting the lazy butts of the cushion to go and vote! The VOTE FROM HOME campaign, through social media apps may just be a small step to make them a bit ‘RESPONSIBLE’ While many may prefer ‘Being Lazy’, campaigning can also call for people to get awareness and seek the change. In many cases we are not aware of the leaders and their background, so social media apps can help provide the best details about candidates.
All said, if only the change needs to happen, now is the time. Now is the time for all to #VoteForIndia. If 140 Characters can stir controversies in the Internet Crazy World, if one message all it takes to VOTE, if one LIKE is all it takes for the change, I LIKE THIS (Thumbs UP!)
So if in 2006, it was the film, let 2014 be the year of change! Change through the power of youth and social media. Change to be a part of the system and a part of ‘The Great Indian Revolution of 2014.’
– Jai Hind.
The sharp rays of the morning sun hit hard on Sam’s face as he woke up, baffled, finding himself at an under construction site. His head was aching terribly as he rubbed his palms trying to ease the pain a bit. He glanced at his broken watch, which showed the time. 9:00 AM. He stared at his torn shirt laden with blood stains and a half gulped bottle of country liquor.
‘Where am I?’ he wondered. ‘How did I land here?’ Sam didn’t remember a thing that morning as he seemed to be completely lost in thought. The continuous honking of vehicles and sound of the latest Tamil songs made him realise that he was probably near the central bus stand and taken refuge at the under construction site soon to be developed into a palatial shopping mall.
He couldn’t bear the pain in his head any longer and decided to get himself a tea. He picked up his broken pair of Paragon chappals, lifted his lungi and wrapped it at knee length giving a glimpse of his striped shorts and walked down the stairs. He put his hand into his short pocket and came out with a stinking 10 rupee note. That is all he had.
‘It will help me buy a tea, a plate of bhajji and a smoke’, he said to himself. He walked to the nearest shop at the bus stand, which was filled to the brim with customers. And there were conductors too discussing how a fellow member of theirs eloped with a wife of one of their best friends.
‘Anna orru tea, orru plate bhajji’ (Brother, one tea and one plate of bhajji), he ordered to an elderly man, sitting at the galla, counting the morning cash. As Sam munched on the bhajjis and sipped his tea, his eyes caught the sight of a few policemen walking towards this very shop.
Sam began to munch faster and gulped the piping hot tea as if it was cold water. The man at the galla and others watched blankly as Sam rushed through his act. One of the policeman saw Sam and pointed towards him. He left the plate of bhajji unfinished, quickly gave the money, took his slippers in his hand and began running as if he was running a marathon.
The policemen also began to chase him with full might and force trying to catch him by the collar, sometimes coming close to catching him and on most occasions Sam escaping the clutches of the policemen.
Finally, hours later, after running through slums, shanty localities, crowded streets, the policemen had succeeded in their efforts to catch hold of Sam, who was completely at loss of breath. Panting heavily he was brought to the police station and put behind bars.
A hefty hawaldar took the lathi and entered his cell and trashed him black and blue on his back and legs. He came out with a broken stick but said to his senior officer that Sam didn’t speak anything. All he did was screamed and screech with pain. He also showed the senior officer something, the sight of which startled the officer.
The officer straight away headed to the cell and caught hold of Sam by his hair. He yelled out in pain as the officer, with his sharp nails pressed one of Sam’s bruises.
‘Common, speak up. Speak up or else, you know our tactics of getting things out’, he said pressing the wound harder.
‘I don’t know what you are talking about’, Sam said whining in pain.
‘Don’t try to act smart. We know everything. We want to know from your mouth. Common speak up you bastard. Why did you kill the minister’s son?’
‘I don’t know, which minister’s son, what you are talking about? Please…for god’s sake let me go. Please, I haven’t killed anyone’, pleaded Sam.
‘Then why did you run when you saw us at the tea-stall? Why did you get scared on seeing us approach Annachi’s stall? Why? Answer me now?’ the officer spoke with a sense of authority. He realised that he has got his man and it was a matter of time until everything, every detail was revealed.
Just as he was continuing with his interrogation, his junior subordinate came and said that Sam wasn’t the man they were looking for and that another team from the police station has managed to get hold of the real murderer, who murdered the minister’s son.
The officer couldn’t believe what he heard but nodded his head in agreement. Yet, there were thoughts crawling in his head thinking why Sam ran as fast as he could, on seeing them, giving the cops the intuition that he was the murderer. Or maybe it was his blood-stained shirt. Something was truly fishy here, he wondered and at that moment his eyes went into the thing that his subordinate had showed him, which had left him surprised. It was a small surgical knife and a wedding photo of Sam and his wife.
He straight away walked back into the cell and caught hold of Sam by the collar. ‘Okay, so now that you haven’t murdered the minister’s son, you have murdered someone else. Who’s it?’
‘I am telling you, I didn’t murder anyone, please let me go’, Sam was trying to defend himself as much as he could. But not until, the officer showed him the surgical knife and the photo.
The sight of the photo angered Sam and he screamed on top of his voice, ‘Yes! I killed Rachel, I killed her.’
Sam couldn’t hold back his tears and began weeping, while the officer wondered what could have been the motive.
‘I loved Rachel from the bottom of my heart. Even she loved me and it had been three years since we were married. We desperately wanted a child. But then, it just couldn’t happen,’ said a teary-eyed Sam.
‘Is that the reason you killed her, because she couldn’t bear you a child?’
‘No’, Sam said wiping his tears off and sounding stern.
‘Then why? And why did you run when you saw us?’ asked the officer, sounding confused at the turn of events.
‘She slept with someone and I couldn’t bear that sight of her being with someone else. So I killed her with the surgical knife. I ran on seeing you because I feared my life. I did not want to kill Rachel, but that horrifying sight was just not bearable,” said Sam.
‘She had an extra-marital affair, you mean? But you said she loved you equally?”
‘No, she slept with another woman!’
A trip down memory lane…
The streets were crowded. There seemed to be a rush of madness all around. All, I could hear were continuous honking of vehicles trying to get a little parking space. And yes. There were kids too! In coloured costumes, some tiny tots and some in their early teens, stepping out of the auto with their parents to catch the best seat and head backstage for their performances.
As I walked through the stretch between Balaji Temple and Sai Mandir, which on most days was silent, without any bustling traffic or the honking, it didn’t seem to be the same today. And then I my eyes immediately caught the attention of a few students dressed in a brown coloured uniform, which seemed quite familiar. It was the same uniform from the school (Fr.Agnel Vashi) where I spent my growing years as a child, a teenager learning the values of life. Spending thirteen years in an institution out of the twenty-five, which makes it almost fifty percent, I remember not really being a bright student but fairly good as a student when it came to academics. Sports, well I wasn’t really good at that too! So in a school, strictly governed by a strict disciplinarian principal, where both sports as well as academics formed a part of the growing years, I just considered myself to be average unlike the many geniuses the institution over the years managed to churn out.
But the most important thing I would look forward to was our Annual Day, Sports Day, mostly held alternatively in an academic year. That was when we as students would get a chance to unleash the little bundle of talent within us, be it in the form of song or dance. We did have a cultural programme but all I have is a faint memory of being placed in one corner of a stage dressed as a flower or a bird! So in that respect, annual day was much bigger and grander, when it came to performing on stage. And yes, I can’t forget those little snacks we as participants used to get. Maybe, that was the reason we as little kids would wait to participate for and eagerly wait for the Annual day each year.
And today, many years later, it was exactly the same situation, which re-created in front of my eyes. The only thing was, I wasn’t a part of it anymore and it wasn’t the same as before too! The venue had changed and so the stage and sound system. I remember my Annual Day being held at a small garden behind the old school building. A few years later it was shifted to the basketball court. And today, it was being held at a large astro-turf ground with a huge stage, adjacent to the swimming pool and sports complex building, built largely for the benefit of upcoming sports players not just from my own school.
I remember the sound and light being fairly simple consisting of halogen lights and a few coloured lights with gelatine papers stuck to it to give the pub feel, as I call it! The stage today, resembled nothing less than set for a concert of international repute.
Watching students do the backstage rehearsals, the musicians doing the sound-check, and a glimpse of a few teachers, who taught me when I was at Agnels, was enough to trigger the wonderful memories spent at the institution as a growing child.
Things have changed a lot over the years but the memory of the brown uniform still remains. And the best part is, even when several schools within the vicinity have changed colours, I am proud that the brown uniform has managed to raise its bar each time!
The last memory of going back to school was in 2009, when we had a 20 year celebration dinner. It was a time, when a few of my friends were still a part of the institution completing their engineering, while some like me going ahead with their career. It was then we met our teachers, who recollected the kind of students we were in school. And it goes without saying that a few teachers remembered me well for all the pranks and otherwise. I met my principal Fr. Almeida as well, who even now, at his old age, is as fit as a fiddle. I remember him calling me as a naughty student, patting and encouraging me with his words of wisdom.
My encounters with father continue even now, when I occasionally see him during my evening walks at Mini Sea-shore. And he never fails to recognise his students!
This evening truly will be remembered as I walked through the street, watching another bunch of smart students in the brown uniform, celebrating their Annual day with great fervour. With times things have changed, but memories remain. This perhaps is a realisation that (maybe) we are getting old! But watching the kids, their spirit soaring high and ofcourse the glimpse of the teachers, who once were a part of your growing years, this truly was a trip down memory lane!
I desperately tried to search for that one last re-union picture taken during the 20th year celebration, searched my Facebook friends and their profiles, but couldn’t find it. Maybe that one picture will be enough to get the bags packing and go “Back To School”!
30th January 2014:
So finally after much searching for the reunion picture, I managed to find it on our school’s website. Here it is….
To The Memories…
To Those Days….
To The Class of 2004!
Of Appams, Adais and Brotherly bonding!
Yesterday was ‘Karthigai’, the Tam-Brahm version of the Bhaidooj of the North and Bhaubeej in Maharashtra. But not really going into the depth of details, for me this festival, as a child only meant devouring on the sweets and savouries prepared by my mother. As a child I remember, my amma making appams (fried, jaggery-filled cupcakes to say!) and pori (puffed rice mixed with jaggery syrup) and my appa paying visit a visit to his sisters.
Each year, he used to take out time from his busy schedule (while he was working) and on a Sunday, whether a week before or after Karthigai, we used to have outings to my atthai’s place. As a child, I never really understood the significance of meeting relatives, talking and re-living your childhood. I could see my dad being pampered by his sisters, laughter and jokes being cracked about their days spent in extreme conditions at Nagpur.
But as I grew up, I realised that Kartighai was much more than devouring on the appams and adais (pan-cakes made out of multi-grain batter) and it meant some emotional bonding with your sister. The last two years, I was in Pune, I couldn’t go and meet my sister and even now with my busy schedule, we end up interacting on phone, SMS and ofcourse WhatsApp!
But trust me the emotion of meeting up with your elder/younger sibling on an occasion as auspicious like Karthigai, getting pampered and chatting away for hours is truly priceless. It’s more heavenly than losing the count of nei appams and adais, while immersing into memories of childhood, re-living them in the present.
Our generation has somehow been detached of such emotional values. I was ready and all set to leave for my sister’s place yesterday with the snacks and savouries prepared by mom, but she also told me to buy flowers, plantain and betel leaf and nut. I was surprised but realised that it’s also important for us to value the traditions and rituals the way it is. Glad, I did manage to buy the best malli poo (mogra) and other stuff for my sister. I believe that our parents have valued rituals and traditions and continue to do so with much fanfare for each festival. And as young adults, this is the best way to rejoice, celebrate and learn.
And while I did meet my sister, devoured enough appams and adais, I was all smiles to make it (after two years) to celebrate Karthigai with her.
The times have changed and the world is moving at a fast pace. We, in our busy lives are losing a track of time. But moments like these, special days, make our lives more happy and memorable. My dad might have shifted gears from personally visiting his sisters, to sending them their Karthigai money through money-order and courier, but he has and continues to keep the tradition alive!
This and my experience has prompted me to post this special piece on the festival! To all my loving sisters, to the countless appams and adais and to sweet brotherly bonding!