BLOGGING CONTEST

AN UNCLEAN THOUGHT

Posted on September 17, 2016. Filed under: OFF -BEAT, PERSONAL, BLOGGING CONTEST | Tags: , , |

As a student of Statistics, I have gone through the concept of ‘Nonsense or Spurious’ Correlation. To the challenged, it denotes a mathematical relationship between two or more variables, when there is in fact, none. I can give an example to explain this. Sometime this year, government employees are going to receive higher salaries as part of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. This also includes teachers at different levels. It so happens that more students are successful in the examinations of 2017. The teachers will argue that the improvement in the performance is due to their efforts while the students and their parents have a different take.The government can argue that everything is because of the timely implementation of the Pay Commission report. Economists can make a better analysis. But the fact is that nothing concrete or mathematical can ever be brought out in support of the different reasons. This is the spurious correlation. 

There is another example that combines the population of pigs and the production of pig iron in the country into a single equation. However hard we try, there is no way of establishing any possible cause and effect relationship between the two.

My post is also something along the lines of establishing a spurious correlation between the slogan of the day ‘Swach Bharat’ and the huge spurt in the case of vector borne diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya. Add to it the case of Malaria and the picture is complete. Don’t open your mouths in surprise for there may be mosquitoes flying around you!

It is not that there was no death before the coning of the term  Swach Bharat from the likes of dengue. What is surprising is the rise, almost in an exponential rate, the number of people affected by the mosquitoes almost coinciding with the increase in the time, money and people involved in making India a cleaner country.

In the days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi first talked about Swach Bharat, everyone hitched on to the bandwagon. My principal of that time who is not in the habit of waking up early, posed for photos with a new broom in his hand, cleaning a tiny part of the college ground. Every alternate day there would be a procession aimed at creating greater awareness on the need to have a cleaner India. Even the municipality got involved. Slowly , everyone started to talk about the need for the people to develop an attitude that would clear the garbage, paving the way for a cleaner country.

As time has passed, things have taken a turn for the worse. There are now garbage mountains almost at every street.  Everything is blamed on the people and their lack of a desire to have a cleaner street and country. It is true that I want my house to be clean and so I dump the waste in front of the house of my neighbour and this process continues. But I do not have the resources to take all the garbage of the street or the town and dispose it off, safely. That is where the authorities have to step in. In the name of Swach Bharat and the poor participation of the common man, they have neglected their duties.

It is this negligence that has resulted in the rise of the number of people suffering from the likes of Dengue.

An idea which was to make the country cleaner has ended up making the worse even worse than before.

It is for the readers to determine the cause and the effect, if any.

This post is an attempt to post for Tangy Tuesday Picks by blogadda.com as part of the #CelebrateBlogging campaign. I also intend to lay my hands on the sunglasses from #MiamiBlues

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COLOURFUL MEMORIES

Posted on March 22, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized, BLOGGING CONTEST | Tags: , |

Holi was one of those days which meant a lot when I was young. It was really difficult to wait for a year to take part in the festival of colours. There were other festive occasions but Holi was the best. On Diwali the celebrations were and are restricted to the confines of the home but Holi was something to be enjoyed outside on the roads in the company of friends. That was the greatest thing about Holi. It was also made special since according to the Hindu calendar, my youngest brother was born the day before Holi, Dolo purnima.

My parents took the responsibility in deciding about the kind of colours that me and my siblings could get access to. We were forbidden from using or rather throwing balloons filled with coloured water on buildings as well as on other revellers. But there was no restriction on the variety of items-sweet and savouries that could be consumed at home. Some were bought and my mother had her specials to mark the occasion.

For a while, I was given the responsibility of captaining the team that included my two younger brothers on the day of Holi. A large group of friends would almost cover the entire town on foot at a time when the town was very small and a lot more friendly. It was past the afternoon that we would return home feeling the after effects of the walking, the hot sun and the hunger. But we had to wait till mother would apply oil-mostly coconut oil to remove the colours before giving us the bath. The wait for lunch was excruciating to say the least and it was difficult to consume the food with sleep affecting our reflexes.

There was the sight of a group of elders of the town moving around the town with coloured powder and sweets accompanied by traditional music. The group was led by a gentleman who was the chairperson of the municipality many times. The sight of pot bellies swaying to the music was a sight to behold.

Once me and my brothers got more friends, we went separate ways in celebrating Holi. There were certain people who did not play fair. My younger brother was on the way back alone and a bully smeared his face with black paint. My brother came running to the home and mother took over with her cleaning methods to remove the paint. My brother was warned not to go out for the day. But within a few minutes after the cleaning he went out and his face was painted black once again by the same person. Meanwhile, I returned home and my parents let loose their verbals volleys on me for being irresponsible. I found my brother sitting with a glum face with the black paint on his face. My youngest brother and sister were trying to console him. Upon enquiry, I discovered that mother was angry for my brother crossed the Lakshman rekha. To this day, we all have a hearty chuckle recounting this and many other episodes related to Holi. Sadly, there were no cameras or smartphones to capture selfies and photos in those days.

Holi was truly an occasion where we could celebrate without any care in the world and being young with no responsibility and chips on shoulders, it was one that has given memories for a lifetime. Of course, with age and the changed priorities of the society, Holi has become less colourful and less enjoyable. The passing away of my youngest brother has had its effect on the celebration of Holi.

But then in the recent years, my five year old son who pushes Dennis the Menace into a distant second place, Holi has become enjoyable once again although I dearly miss the past and the company of friends and siblings who made Holi special. No display technology can really supplant the colourful memories of Holi.

“I’m pledging to #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed.”

The video offers a small insight into the joy that comes with Holi.No

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SHARE THE LOAD TO BE A MAN

Posted on March 11, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized, BLOGGING CONTEST | Tags: , |

We live in a society where people are judged on the basis of variables like caste, religion,family name and even gender and sadly not on the basis of qualification, ability etc. This what development economists call as one indicator of underdevelopment. Of course, when it comes to the opportunities for women, things are not pretty much different even in the most developed of the societies.

Women are stereotyped when it comes to their choice of occupation. They are considered unsuitable for certain occupations that are regarded as manly. Even when women decide to stay as housewives, things are not better. There are certain tasks which are supposed to be taken care by the mother or the wife. At the same time, women are not even taken into consideration when it comes to some important issues.

It is considered unmanly when some man decides to do something as trivial as making tea or coffee for himself. I often have come across friends and colleagues who boast about their lack of any talent in the above mentioned area. If someone opens up, he is laughed at and in the worst case, he is ridiculed. There are also instances where the wife does not allow her husband to stay in the kitchen for any length of time, for she does not want to break the tradition.

In this context, I recall my personal experience. My father from the southern part of India is an expert in the art of making filter coffee. He would start the process before going to bed for the filter to do the magic so that the morning would witness the strong aroma of coffee. My wife from a different part of the country only knew about one variety of coffee-the instant one. She was not happy with my father being the master coffee brewer of the family for that would bring shame to the daughter-n-law and she decided to set things right. But for a considerable length of time, my father would beat her to the first cup.

So think of one task that is the exclusive domain of the women-washing of clothes. Many of the menfolk boast loudly that their clothes are cleaned and also pressed by the ladies at home. Before marriage, the mother and post marriage, it the turn of the wife to wash the dirty linen, albeit, not in the glare of the public eye. For the poor, the women wash the clothes of their families at public taps.

My mother was a teacher in a high school who always had her hands full with the task of managing the house as well as her occupation. With four kids who often were like Dennis the Menace, things were difficult for us. Come Sunday she would spend a lot of time taking care of the dirty clothes, when washing machines were not accessible for ordinary folks like us.

As me and my siblings came across some friends who washed their clothes, a tiny bit of load was taken off the shoulder of my mother. Later, all the four of us spent varying amounts of time in hostels for our post graduation studies, washing of clothes became a necessity and to this day the trend continues, much to the chagrin of my wife. It is not that I am here to give any sermon to anyone, but I honestly believe in the sharing the load. I cannot take the load related to cooking and taking care of my son, and I can lend her a hand when it comes to the washing of clothes. I must confess that I only wash my clothes since my wife does not allow me to take care of her clothes as well as those of our son.

Just as charity should begin at home, so should the so-called empowerment of women. The sharing of the load as far as washing clothes is concerned, is just a small token of our gratitude to mothers and wives. It is manly to care and protect our women. This should not be very difficult in a society where even the top job could be handled by a woman. Of course, there is the most developed country in the world which is yet to witness a contest involving a woman for the top job.

With apologies to Bob Dylan, I am paraphrasing the lyrics of the great song “Blowin’ In The Wind”

“How many tons of clothes should a lady wash to be called a woman.The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind”.

I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation

There is the following video to help #ShareTheLoad

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A GREAT PARTNERSHIP

Posted on February 21, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized, BLOGGING CONTEST | Tags: , , , , , , |

The relationship between #MUSIC and films in India is something of a symbiosis. They are complementary and either on its own can carry the other to a long distance as far as the memories of the connoisseurs are concerned.It is only in the recent decade that good music is also created outside of the realm of the movies.

There have been films which have remained in our memories not so much for the acting or the storyline but more so because of the #PEPPY music. Good music has the power of #NAVIGATION that makes the stay at the theatre a pleasant experience. The #IMPACT of good music is felt when we listen to the music even after the curtain falls at the theatre. This leads to results in the word #FANTASTICO coming out of the mouth.

My father listens to a lot of music and songs from movies form an integral part of his collection. He regales with stories and legends behind the music and its makers. There is nothing short of bliss when he listens to his favourite song.                    

In recent times the lyrics and the music accompanying it are largely disconnected from the storyline of the movie. The music in such cases largely plays the part of the useless fifth wheel.The pleasure of watching the movie gets lost.

My younger brother talked a lot about the music given by Amit Trivedi for the film DevD directed by Anurag Kashyap. The music was fresh and it still sounds good. The music featured many genres. It was after a number of hours of listening to the music that I felt the urge to watch the movie and I was not at all disappointed. At no place did the songs felt out of place or out of context. The songs in a way helped in the flow of the movie.Both the versions of the song ‘Emotional Atyachar’ sound delightful.

Speaking of Amit Trivedi, there are a couple of other movies that are worth mentioning. One is ‘Udaan’ and the other is ‘Kai Poche’. The songs were extremely important in the narrative behind the movies. In Udaan, the songs helped the movie become a success. In times of today when one has to be very careful about writing or saying something, the words of the song ‘Azaadiyan’ are extremely motivating, to say the least. Kai Poche has few songs, but thoroughly enjoyable.

The title song from the movie ’Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’-both versions sound like anthems, thanks to the lyrics, singer and the music.The talent  of A R Rahman has contributed tremendously to the box office success of many movies. The music from the movies like ‘Roja’ and ‘Bombay’ still hold a place of importance as far as the very large catalogue of Rahman.

There have been many films whose music is not remembered once the public steps out of the theatre. In some cases, things become so bad that people go for a break while some song is being played out !

I have never driven a car but hope to drive one someday. Zica from the house of TataMotors is one car that has received positive reviews right from the day it was launched. Zica has a good engine to make driving fun and #PEPPY. The infotainment system from  Harman can make the ride enjoyable by making #MUSIC sound as it is meant to be  The smartphone enabled Turn-by-Turn #NAVIGATION app makes driving easy. With many features Zica has the potential to make a great #IMPACT on the Indian roads.

It would be #FANTASTICO to get the Zica in my frontyard.

This post is my entry into the blogging contest  #TataZicaMarathon                                    organised by indiblogger and TATA ZICA.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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MOMENTS OF LOVE TO LAUGH

Posted on February 11, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized, BLOGGING CONTEST | Tags: , , |

In the journey called life, marriage is an important station in the process. The station can make us better persons by revealing new facets about you and your partner, in my case the missus. There are misunderstandings and things lost in translation that can make everyone less confident at the prospect of going forward in the journey.

Even as mine was an arranged marriage, I decided to marry outside of the comfort zone of the same language. The language difference was not an issue as everyone in my home are quite familiar with it. There were some differences when it came to customs and traditions. The learning curve was not too steep.

After a few months of marriage, I took my wife out on a long drive-of more than fifty kilometres to a small town where the wife of a friend was recuperating after a major surgery. While returning home along the road covered on both sides by greenery, my wife was pleasantly surprised as she came from a city where the trees were made of concrete.

WIth wind, small mangoes fell from the trees on to the road and my wife picked some. She wanted to make a tasty dish and prove her culinary skills when she did not have any ! The following day I was greeted by a strange looking dish and it was the mango one. Before I could have a go at it, my wife took it away and ran to the kitchen. After a few minutes she emerged with tears in her eyes. I got worried and after cajoling that went for a few hours, the secret was out. She tasted the chutney and found it extremely unpalatable. She took the blame on herself for not keeping upto the standards. It did not help that I tried to dissuade her the previous day about the poor quality of the mangoes. Now after all these years, my wife has become a good cook and now whenever we sight raw mangoes, the above mentioned incident comes to mind and we laugh uncontrollably. It was love on her part that she tried too hard and failed for no fault of hers and it was the same love that is making us both laugh wholeheartedly.

My wife was very much of the opinion that I was not prudent when it came to the spending of my rather small salary. She took it upon herself to set the matters right with regard to the fiscal position of the household. She brought home a diary to list all the details of the income and expenditure in a manner that would be a lesson to any budding accountant. To her horror she noticed how it was difficult to manage the finances, leave alone save something substantial. The ball or rather the keys of the treasury were handed over to me ungrudgingly. I do not make any budgets, for they cause more unhappiness with things like inflation going to dominate our discussions, even in the bedroom ! We both laugh at her inability to manage the finances and my inability to earn a bit more.

Where there is love, there is laughter. The laughter can only make the love for each other stronger even as sometimes, the laughter is due to pure helplessness.

One of my favourite cricket player while growing up was Desmond Haynes of the West Indies who still wears the golden chain that has the words ‘Live,Love & Laugh’ I believe that to live one has to love and be loved and laugh with the partner to make life appear less troublesome than it actually is.

This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.

There is the video from Caratlane

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MUSICAL MUSINGS

Posted on January 24, 2016. Filed under: BLOGGING CONTEST | Tags: , , , |

What is music?

#Music is at times described as ‘an agreeable sound’ and that is what makes things difficult as there is no sound, other than that associated with the currency notes and coins that is to the liking of everyone.

Just as one man’s honey is poison for someone, sound becomes music for me and it becomes a noise for others.

Music has been an integral part of all cultures and traditions since ancient times and it is something that is akin to language as a tool of expression. Each occasion has some specific song or a musical instrument that is considered traditional and necessary.

The march of technology in the form of affordable smartphones, memory cards and MP3 has created a level playing field as far as music listening is concerned. Gone are the days when only the fortunate(read rich) did have to access to music in the form of Vinyl records, record players, sound systems and the like.Now, everyone is busy doing something with ears filled with some headphones or earphones. It is not the type of music or the quality of the music that matters; it is the act of listening to music.

Those who have access to the internet over the smartphone can listen to music provided by streaming services, most of the time at no cost. Listening to the FM Radio on the phone has become outdated. Thousands of songs can be stored on small memory cards.

The proliferation of music and devices like the smartphones have also led to certain unwelcome situations. There have been many times when I was unable to respond to my wife even when she shouted at full volume, thanks to the headphones that covered my ears. In the early months of our marriage she felt that the headphones and the music were only an excuse to ignore her ! After all these years, she understands, but I have become more circumspect.

In the college there are students who do not go to the classes but only listen to music using their phones. The free wi-fi has only added to the problem. Of course, with the music on the minds, the students have less time for mischief. That is certainly music to the ears of the teachers, including yours truly.

One incident has made me and many of my colleagues look foolish. I found one student having earphones plugged into his ears in the examination hall. When I went to the student, I was sorry for the student was using the hearing aid. A similar experience was shared by other colleagues.

I make it a point to have music in my ears when going out for a walk or going out for a ride on the cycle. The music keeps me going in the quest to achieve physical fitness.

Indiblogger had teamed up with TATA Motors to provide a great platform to win some fantastic prizes, including the ZICA. This should sound musical to any blogger.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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