The quota games

coffee_compAs soon as the polls approach, the political parties start making promises on increased quotas. It’s a shame that we claim India to be a secular nation in the legislation. Quotas are blind, even the kith and kin of the ministers can enjoy it. These promises show that the political parties merely treat the vote banks as ghetto masses with zero self-esteem. They ignore the fact that quotas are a way of dividing the people and increasing hatred, as good as the religious card. But who cares about the integrity of the nation? Votes and power are all that they care about!  Do quotas or prerogatives increase the standard of livelihood or the culture of people? Definitely no. Otherwise we wouldn’t have so many hooch deaths or honour killings in India. There are alternatives to quotas: ensuring food, free and mandatory minimum education, ensuring one job per family. But that would require the black money dumped in Swiss banks for a country deep under World Bank debts. So why play it the hard way? When something positive like the Lokepal bill comes to the Parliament all the parties make a mess of it. Considering Class C employees out of the Lokepal? Good lord! Visit a local BSNL or SBI branch and get disillusioned. The treatment and service are inferior to street corner pan shops. None of these political parties have a vision where the country will stand five years down the line. That can’t be expected when 58% of the candidates in a state election are crorepatis who have the money and muscle to let fly in an election and 38% are criminals. Why can’t we mandate a minimum education and clean background for the candidates, how can we risk people for charged candidates? Maybe benefits of doubt. But this is not a game of cricket; the nation suffers. When school children visit slums and clean them or distribute books there it becomes news in our country because it’s rare, countable and insufficient. I have never seen a political party do the same. For a country this large, trying to develop the minority classes by quotas is futile, it needs developing their social condition, giving them a will and confidence to come out of their small world.

The Art of forgetting

coffee_comp“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”
– Sherlock Holmes (A Study in Scarlet)

It is an Art to forget things deliberately. And the secret is not registering each and every piece of information in the brain. This is entirely different from not noticing – for example, the opening credits in a movie. We watch them roll past us but we don’t notice. Deliberate forgetting is the case where we actually respond to something for a while and then wipe it the moment we get past it. Personally I have practised this for years and have come to a point where I forget most of the “unimportant” things instantly. I could turn many of my actions and responses into regular habits so that I don’t need to think actively when doing those. But the trick that needs most practicing is recognising and filtering out the data which is “unimportant”. For example, I will forget the following as soon as they are over: the critical bug I am working on, my lunch/dinner food items, the big gossip going on in office, the name/rules of the home loan policy I discussed with the bank minutes back and the list goes on… For these cases I apply a simple rule – I can get these information back if required. Just knowing where I can get them is enough, like bookmarks! In some cases I have found that abstaining/showing lack of interest is another way to stay away from unwanted information, for example: share trading (personally I believe hard work is a better way to earn money than calculating the unpredictable whole day long).

To leave enough space for imagination and to think with a clear mind it is required to have control on the information we let enter our brains. In addition, keeping most relationship/acquaintance mumbo-jumbo, management politics at bay helps me live a happier life. Just at the cost of a little deception required to show the other end that I am paying attention.

Social networking and India

coffee_compProsecution of social networking sites by the Indian government came as a surprise to me. If an idiot is given an axe and he chops off a limb with it, is the axe to blame? But this course of action unveiled a greater truth – Indians are irresponsible when it comes to freedom of speech. There is nothing great in social networking sites: a virtual grid which keeps people thinking they are doing something highly important. But Indians do have a taste for big fat illusions and promises! They get addicted soon enough and they misuse.

Instead of trying to erase the evidences of the nation’s e-social OOPS!es, the government should emphasize on building up a matured nation. We are far from model citizens.

I wonder, had Independence made us a better nation or reduced us to a huge, unruly, selfish and opportunist crowd? What’s the big deal in freedom when we neither know how to respect it nor to use it honestly?