Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oxygen Trading....

May o5, 2047

Dear Mother Nature,

I won't ask you how you are for I know that you have run out of patience and are now adamant on unleashing your 'wrath' on mankind. You have already swallowed Mumbai and New York and now I am beginning to test my knowledge of probability and statistics betting on which city is next. Its most unfortunate that two of the greatest cities on Earth are now no more even as I am trying to celebrate my 60th birthday and my country mourning the loss of Mumbai in the centennial anniversary of its freedom. I admire the sense of timing with which you struck fear in us, and can't stop remembering the time when a certain Al Gore was scorned and laughed at while he was trying to educate us about the perils of Greenhouse Effect.

My kids don't know how a Tiger looks like because for them it is what Dodo was for us. When they see movies where the female lead actor dances around trees in the bright sunshine, they often ask me whether the Sun was really as bright as it is displayed or is it the 'magic' created by VFX. I have to spend half of my savings now on buying Oxygen because it is a scarce commodity in the commodity exchange where it is being traded at obscenely high prices. I haven't seen a bright Sun since days thanks to the Holocaust. After living all these years in sweltering heats when temperatures were usually 50-60 degrees, its been very difficult adapting to sub 20 temperatures.

Why am I describing all this to you when you know what's been happening with me and my family? Let me be frank. My intention is to convince you that there are other ways of punishing me and mankind for all the wounds that we have inflicted on you. Why are you being so cruel and inhumane? I assure you that people are already suffering from pangs of guilt and have been never so remorseful for the unimaginable ways in which they all tortured you. I plead you to stop this mayhem for if this continues to happen, the Earth will cease to exist. Don't you think mankind deserves another chance to undo what it did and once again reconstruct Earth to what it was 100 years back. I am sure you will oblige us and help restore the lost glory and prosperity of Earth.

Yours truly,

Mother Nature's Reply

Dear Taureansandy (I hate your name!!),

I have never been cruel and inhumane as you have described me to be in your letter nor do I have a sense of timing for time is nobody's servant. I would have stopped time the very moment you humans started inflicting wounds on me. When my dear friend whom you all refer to as 'God' said to me once that mankind is ungrateful, I laughed at him and defended you all. But now I regret those moments for you don't seem to empathise with me even when you were writing that letter pleading me to be kind and considerate.

You sure know about a gentleman called Isaac Newton who once said that 'Every action has an equal and opposite reaction'. That is the fundamental law of nature. So to now expect that I be kind and considerate is foolhardy because I am simply doing my job abiding by what you all call as the fundamental law. My dear friend has empowered you with 'Brains' which you have all used to lead a comfortable life so far. I expect you to use that again and escape my 'wrath'. However cruel and inhumane I may sound now, but there is something known as 'repercussions' which you all have to face. But I will consider your plea under one condition. If you can completely stop the trading of Oxygen in the commodity exchanges, then I will help mankind in reconstructing Earth back to its old glorious days.
Mother Nature

P.S: After reading Mother Nature's reply, he simply tore it for he knew that the task assigned to him can't be accomplished.

The usual disclaimer applies...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Delhi - Dilwalon ki Dilli

Hii folks,

I recently went on a trip to Delhi for about four days and returned back with mixed feelings. Delhi has just transformed totally, from a city which was reeling with floods and frequent traffic jams just before CWG to a city brightly lit with road signs promptly put in place and the Metro looking just awesome. Why does it take a CWG to transform a city from shambles to a world class city is a question only the policymakers can answer.

But the welcome I got was never friendly and pleasant, to say the least. First of all I arrive at Ajmeri Gate at precisely 8am. That is the time when almost all the metro stations in Delhi are crowded and bustling with activity. After taking the token, I have to walk in a queue which is almost 200 metres long and on top of that you get to see scenes like the kid in front of you giving you a long stare, as if he knew that I wasn't a Delhite. Then suddenly the security personnel out there ask you to put your luggage through the X-Ray scanner. He was pointing his machine gun straight to my head. I was already scared enough and on top of this, a student busy with his girlfriend (she was definitely not his sister!!) hits me with his bag trying to overtake me even when I was pondering on how to walk past the narrow queue which was moving at a painfully slow pace.

The crowd there was so scary that for once I thought I would never be able to reach the hotel. I was already calculating how much would I have to spend for the auto, when suddenly I was simply pushed into the metro. Fortunately, the doors opened that very moment or otherwise I would have crashed into the closed door. The huge backpack that I carried didn't help either. People were staring at me and just when I thought that I would survive this ordeal without being a part of any verbal duel, I was rudely proved wrong by a gentleman who generously mouthed some of the choicest expletives to me. I was chewing a spearmint Orbit gum and so probably couldn't indulge in a duel (was so dumb there!!). Or was I so shocked at the welcome I just received that I went numb? Only the almighty knows!! Nevertheless, I ignored that guy and that's the best thing you can ever do when faced with such situations in Delhi.

How can I forget the autowallahs of Delhi? Despite acting like a Delhite, showing off my Hindi speaking abilities which is decent enough for a Hyderabadi like me, the autowallahs somehow sniffed the real 'me' out and charged accordingly. I was in no mood to argue with them over the prices they were charging but nevertheless attempted a bargain sometimes. Some of them were again rude to me, but I remember my dad saying that its always wise to ignore rather than pay them back in the same coin. I might be sounding very critical of Delhi's autowallahs but my experiences weren't nice at all. So pardon me for being so judgmental!!

But when you ask me to rate Delhi as a city to live in, I would rate it as one of the best cities to live in India alongside other good cities like Jamshedpur and Ahmedabad. Roads in Delhi were always world class, but this time New Delhi was looking looking spick and span. The air quality has improved with Metro and CNG coming in. Delhites are some of the most helpful people I have ever seen. I was craving for genuine Andhra meals and I knew that Andhra Bhawan was the place to be for having it, but I was looking out for it in a wrong locality. Desperate to reach the restaurant, I casually asked a traffic constable about the same. I wasn't expecting any help from him either, but just took a chance. Just as I had thought, he didn't have any clue about the restaurant. I was just about walking back in disgust, when he asked me to wait for a moment. He went to his colleague, mumbled something over the walkie talkie, came back and gave me the instructions. I was pleasantly surprised. No wonder I dedicated the wholesome dinner I had that night to the nameless traffic constable and to the spirit of Delhi and its people.

On the last day, I visited the Akshardham Temple which is unlike all other temples I have been to. It looked more like a stellar display of the wealth that the Swaminarayan community members have earned over the years. The temple is a treat to your eyes with greenery all around and the moment you enter the 'Sanctum Sanctorum', the only thing that you notice is Gold and nothing else. Here all that glitters is indeed Gold!! But I couldn't help wondering about the absence of beggars, something which is always associated with Hindu temples in India. An interesting incident happened when I alighted at the Akshardham metro station. I just came out of the terminus and was as usual looking for an auto when to my pleasant surprise I saw a fleet of cycle rickshaws out there waiting for patrons. Two men approached me suddenly and one of them was pushing me to board his auto, whereas the other just said. "Dus rupaiye sahab". I stared at him in surprise and that is when he said, "Auto nahi sahab, rickshaw hai". I heard myself saying, "So what, its been almost 15 years since I travelled in a cycle rickshaw way back in my home town." I wanted to relive those memories and moreover a cycle rickshaw gives you the time to observe whatever is all around whereas you can't do that sitting in an auto. So, I followed that guy and in the process seemed to have pissed the autowallah who started staring at me. By that time I had had enough of this staring **it and so promptly stared back at him. "Sahab, achcha kiya aap auto nahi liye. Aajkal hamara dhandhe ka koi mol nahi, sab jaldi jaana chahte hain" His words were profound because we have indeed become so fast paced that we have even forgotten how to relax. Do we now have the time to spend on ourselves? He charged me 10 bucks which I was more than happy to spend.

I am not wrong when I say that Delhi is one of the best places to live in India. You will find the best food to eat in places like Chandni Chowk, best bargains at Palika bazar and the best roads to travel on. Delhi is one of those cities where the entire country resides. So even if you are alone, you are not because you will always meet someone from your community, just as I experienced when I went to Andhra Bhawan. For a fleeting moment, I felt as if I was back in Hyderabad and it felt good. And on top of it, Delhites are always there to help and take care of you.

Delhi - Dilwalon ki Dilli