Plastic isn’t The Problem, People Are!

Garbage

Since this is my first post on The Opinion, I decided to give the half a dozen people who accidentally clicked this, an idea about how I and my article operate, before saying something morally, socially, and/or politically incorrect in your humble opinion. What I write isn’t meant to just appear on the internet and disappear after a few people say something along the lines of “Good one! Keep it coming!”. It’s meant to incite people and make them angry. It’s meant to slap people across their minds and evoke responses shoved down my throat. It’s meant to bring out comments that strangulate me or at the least, make me uncomfortable. Now that I’ve gotten that off my mind, I shall proceed to write.

A particular incident happened today, and it is that which acts as stimulus for this article. I dropped a plastic wrapper on the road today, while driving around. A few minutes later when I was waiting for a traffic signal to turn green, a man came up to me, asked me to lower the windows, and gave me a plastic bag, saying “Keep this for the next time you decide to litter” before turning around and driving away.

Now, ideally, if this had had any impact on me, I’d have wallowed in shame and embarrassment and eventually cried myself to sleep. Instead, I’m here writing an article with the only emotion on my mind being fear. Fear of being featured on some click-bait article that goes “This Man Threw Plastic on the Road. What Happened Next Will Shock You!

On a more serious note, though, this piece of writing stems as a response to such self proclaimed, pseudo-environmentalists so hell bent on garnering attention and validation for being some sort of a social superhero. Because let’s look at things practically,

First of all, I cannot bring myself to believe that a person, who drove on a petrol fuelled vehicle for about 6 kilometers just to dump plastic into my car, is conscious about polluting. The level of hypocrisy on that is beyond me. Secondly, the plastic bag he gave me did not contain my wrapper. So the world just stays as it is, except that I somehow have an extra plastic bag? Basically you thought that I was littering this town, so you littered my car? How does that work? Wouldn’t picking up and disposing of the plastic I discarded make more sense? Also, I wondered what the response would have been if I had just thrown the plastic bag out of my window and into the street as well. What, give me another plastic bag?

I am not saying it is wrong to be concerned. It is only wrong to be pseudo-concerned. It is wrong to bring the social media’s “like” thirsty mentality into any issue. This incident merely hits home the point that “Thoughts and Prayers” are useless in terms of crisis. Action is needed, but not one that is mindless. Go, invest in trash cans, start an NGO, ask people to actively stop littering, instead of driving to a conference about air pollution and stopping on the way back for a couple of smokes before going home, and posting a status message about it in your air conditioned room.

Happy Dependance Day

Indian-Flag

It know this post is a bit late. But still an Opinion is an Opinion whatsoever.

70 years. In these 70 years, India has seen rise and fall, war and peace, victory and failure, humiliation and honour, equality and suppression. The country has grown with it’s citizens and is still growing, making considerable progress. We have always been a happy lot: singing in our miseries, smiling our way from failure to success… we have reached the 70th year of independence… or a guise of what we fool ourselves to be independence.

A country comprises a society which is a group of homes and families containing individuals. Now, are these individuals truly independent? Do you wake up to go to a college to study a course which you never wanted to choose? You turn in your sleep to see your snoring husband whom you’ve never loved but was forced to marry and wanna turn away and continue the rest of what would be another sleepless night? Ever seen a rock-band playing amazing tunes or a cricketer hitting your favourite shot and wondered if my dad had signed me into that course in that training academy a few years back? The list goes on, doesn’t it.

Independence in it’s truest sense is never having to be a solicitor to make your own decisions. The first half of our life is already scripted by what Gopal uncles and Pinky aunties have envisioned for their children. By the time we realise that we are living someone else’s life, it becomes too late and we are sitting in a Digital Signal Processing lecture, not understanding a word that is being spoken and praying that we clear the paper.

Again, we as a society have grown together. We have learned the ways of life. Be it to pray, to eat or to impose, we have learnt it together. But, in any point in time, we can unlearn what we have learnt and start anew. All it takes is the will to turn back and walk in the opposite direction. no doubt this would lead to chaos. But even chaos would form a pattern, eventually unfolding to provide us with solutions. If this could be done, maybe instead of more than a lakh unemployed engineers, we could have more of Na.Muthukumars, Deepa Karmakars, Kalki Koechlins, Dhonis why even another Gandhi.

Lost dreams are one thing, lost lives are another. Let us practice an independence, allowing us to venture out and choose our own colours to paint unique lives. Just because your children have small fingers, don’t drag them holding their arms. Allow them to walk their own paths… that is how people reach a destiny that is rightfully theirs.

Understanding our existence

Meteor

NASA had predicted the Perseid Meteor showers on Aug 11th and 12th. The annual event in August is due to a comet “Swift Tuttle” which flew around the Sun in 1992. Although the next trip around the Sun is only in 2126, the remnants of the comet is what causes the meteor shower. Earth passes every year through the trail of debris left behind by the comet. Scientists from NASA had predicted at least 60-200 shooting stars per hour in the northern part of the sky

The predictions in the southern hemisphere of our planet was not quite promising. But, being an ardent space enthusiast since childhood days, I wasn’t the one to give up on even the slightest opportunity. I spent quite a bit of time on the roof of the house hoping to catch some live action of this interstellar event (and also come up with wish or two).

Of course living in the heart of Chennai city has its perks; but not tonight. The darker the sky, the better are your chances of spotting them. The light pollution and dust from the surroundings caused a dip in my enthusiasm, as all I could see was a bright moon and a smog filled sky. After an hour of patience filled wait, the metropolitan glow really had me annoyed. Slowly as I began to accept the fate, I plunge into my mind. As I probe into my thoughts, questions about our life and existence pour out like a water from a broken dam.

All the activities, struggles, joy, hatred and war exist only on an insignificant small scale when compared to the whole expanding universe. I wonder why we get stuck in the cycle of life and death. Sometimes, all it takes is looking up at the vast sky and understanding how our living is just a tiny tiny fraction of a much larger creation. Some say that we are all as old as the universe itself because matter in its form can neither be created nor destroyed.

“Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravity of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future.”

— H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895

With a broken heart I crawl into my bed giving up my hunt for meteors this year. With unanswered questions pricking my mind, I close my eyes. Then it all starts. As I try to sleep, I get lost in galaxies that are yet to be found.

My fascination for space keeps on increasing as I try to contemplate the answers behind our evolution and purpose of life.

People’s Opinion on Terrorism

Merin is a school teacher who worked in a school for disadvantaged in a state in southern India. A soft-hearted woman of not so bold characteristics. One of her close associates happens to be a potential recruiter for terrorist outfits particularly the ISIS. Radicalization happens. Merin along with the other radicalized mates vanish, travel to Colombo from where they fly to Iran where ISIS operates in camps. They would join the ISIS forces at Syria. Now the world has one more extremist to bother about.

Boko Haram of Nigeria, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al-Qaeda and more and more. Human life to these terrorist outfits is a torn chocolate wrapper. They can’t go about their life without tearing it and they do it without a second thought. In 1945, post the end of second world war, about 50 nations united to establish United Nations Organization. Since then world wars are forgotten reminders of uncontrollable extremism. Just when world nations thought they are free of civil wars, extremist outfits like these have risen to authority.

Beyond the control of world nations, world leaders, defence forces, these organizations operate with sufficient funding, radicalizing people. Since 2013 more than half a million people have been killed and 2.1 million people have fled Syria. European countries are facing severe refugee crisis. People who once were of dignified cadre in Syria now wash dishes in Belgium. The crisis is looming too large to be controlled. News that the Iraqi army busted ISIS from the province of Fallujah was a relief medicine. Retrieval of just that one province has been a tough task. Such is the enormity of ISIS.

While so much atrocity is being committed by these outfits, majority of the world nations are joining hands to tackle terrorist and extremist groups and some day there is going to be an end.

We at The Opinion spoke to a few wonderful opinionators asking their thoughts on Terrorism. Read what others like you had to say.

Ganesh R

GANESH R

I would like to start with a small snippet of how an infamous terrorist organization got into existence.

“In 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to fight against a rebel group who called themselves as Mujahideens. These insurgent groups inturn gets funded by United States and few Arab monarchies. Few started to see this war as a religious struggle. Many young men both the educated and the uneducated flock towards Afghanistan to join this holy struggle. This sows the seeds of extremism in them. Among them two notable persons were a well educated rich man named Osama Bin Laden and a petty criminal named Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. After 10 years Soviet troops withdrew. Now Bin Laden grew his troops successfully called as Al Qaeda, unlike Zarqawi. Now both return to Afghanistan, Al Qaeda lauches the most gruesome attack on September 2001. This sparks the US to invade Afghanistan. Bin Laden flees to Pakistan and Zarqawi flees to Iraq. In 2003 US invades Iraq putting an end to Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.Many unemployed Iraqi soldiers join the Insurgency. Many Jihadists across the middle east join this insurgency thinking that yet another Holy war has begun. Zarqawi deliberately attacks Shia sparking a Civil War between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Now in 2004 a weakend AL Qaeda forms an alliance Zarqawi which led to the formation of a militant group called Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Soon US executes Zarqawi in an air strike and withdrew its troops.

Now when all looks safe and stable in Iraq, an Arab Spring spreads across the Middle East. The dictator of Syria Bashar Al-Assad releases Jihadists from prison to tackle both the rebels and the foreign governments that will supposedly fund them. Now the remains of AQI in Iraq reforms themselves into a more severe militant group called Islamic State in Iraq. They start a new Al Qaeda branch in Syria to support rebels and meanwhile recruits other Jihadists from Iraq prisons and also new ones. ISI gets bigger and bigger and spreading into Syria eventually becoming ISIS. Their goals and gruesome activities are needles to say.”

Thanks for reading the most cloddish story ever told. Well that’s what terrorism is. Well I do not mean to say ISIS is the only terrorist group in the whole world. There are many other insurgent groups voicing their claims in the most extremist ways. Terrorsim wouldn’t stop unless you stop participating in it. The snippet elucidated it to finest of perfection, and I leave it utterly to the reader’s perception on who should be held responsible for the rise of this most infamous Terrorist group. According to me, Terrorism is a highly cumbersome method of meeting the needs of one part of a community at the cost of the rest.

Going back to the Organic way of lifestyle is good, giving back to the society is welcoming, but rolling back to the barbaric way of making a living is completely unaccecptable.
And never dare to take a life for granted.

Bhargavi Ramesh

BHARGAVI RAMESH

Terrorism has been the one phenomenon that has held this world in a tight grip time and again. Right from the occasional shoot outs that appear on the news to the well planned terror attacks on cities, everything has instilled a fear in us. Countless super powers, with the notion to conquer and to grow in power, have bombed and invaded several cities and countries that they feel would help them strategically. Many of the countries in the world, especially the developing and the under-developed countries are still under serious threat.

Everything said and done, one question has arisen at this moment. Why the sudden increase in these types of incidences? Why is the media filled with so many of these incidences than it was there before? Is it because the number of attacks have increased over the years or is it because the media has finally got the “freedom of speech and expression”, like it is put? So many questions have been left unanswered and the search for the reason still continues.

Nations have become vigilant about the rising situation and are trying ways by which they can curb this at the roots. Few of these incidences seem to have a political vendetta behind it and few seem to rise out of personal interests of an individual. The sudden burst in the number of news articles that have been doing the rounds about terrorism and shoot outs are, just an opinion from my side, a result of the cry for people from people who are weak to take the actions on their own. In the end, all the efforts to build a better world by those who consider themselves to be higher in power would be to no use, if they cannot tackle the unrest that is stirring up. It is high time that the “super powers” wake up and attend to the calls of those who need help or sadly watch as the world goes to the dumps.

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PREET

When I was asked to write this piece on the surge in terrorism, the first thought I had was “Is there even a surge in terrorism or just in the conversation about it?”
And so I checked. Statistics, and charts, and graphs. And I found the strangest thing. We are actually at the lowest point in the graph of terror attacks since the ’40s, them having peaked in the late ’70s and the early ’90s. The graph reads the same way the world over.

The reason, I believe, we feel terrorism has risen is plainly because terror is peaking. While there are fewer attacks, they often catch us underprepared at best and the death toll rockets. The sophistication of terror attacks is worrisome but what is scarier is that today, an average terrorist could have had an ivy league education.

When the world’s image or who is attacking them goes from being that of a cattle herder with strong religious beliefs and a gun in his hand with little or no education, to a regular corporate slave riding the bus alongside them and bitching about the government, living a life seeming just as mundane as theirs, it scares the living daylights out of them.

The deaths have rocketed and the attacks have surpassed in more ways than one whatever strategies the governments had once devised to deal with terrorists but never evolved. Terrorism is growing into an industry of the elite, albeit without a trace of morality and the people in charge of the world must take stock of where we stand and evolve. Fast.

Anirudh

ANIRUDH M

Terrorism must be uprooted at all costs, has been the motto of the world from the beginning of this millennium. Hunting down and killing prominent heads of terrorist organisations has been nothing but miniscule victories in our “war on terror”. I consider these moves, as acts of revenge and not an inch in the direction to eradicate terrorism. ‘Elimination by destruction’ may be found true in the case of weeds and not people. As long as their ideology lives, there is always a cause for people to take up arms and fight for it. Though not always, but more often isolation, boredom, loneliness, absence of healthy social interaction and the urge to do something useful and ‘heroic’ in their life has pushed teens and pre-teens to join these organisations, by accepting the cause they represent. A sample of interviews of ISIS extremists by Quantum Communication says there were ‘thrill and status seekers’ among others fighting the Assad regime.

So what could possibly help us keep a tab on their growth? I think any sort of offensive attempt would only wash off the surface and does not aim to resolve their cause. And asking the countries to stop using ‘gun for a gun’ would be superficial.

In my opinion, lack of awareness of their history is the primary cause. When we get to read history which is not politically polarized, which is rare to find, we know what gave rise to terrorist organisations.

Anyone whose reasoning ability is clouded becomes an easy victim.So, as long as stories from each side arise to justify their causes, the fight will continue.

May the true story win!

MONICA MADAN PAUL

“One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” That is only a subtle way of putting it. “Terrorism.” What we commoners visualize as brutality is the survival ethics for terrorists. There comes the rift between us. I just mentioned it again, them and us. We have been stuck this way for more than ‘a while,’ if we could call it that. It’s the fury of ‘them’ unleashed upon ‘us’. It’s not about pointing the accused or the victim because it differs from eye to eye. ‘Them’ trying to bring in a change by wrecking colossal havoc on ‘us’ is exactly the opposite of their cause.

How do you aim to voice out your cries by evoking more cries from the other side?

The balance is crippled here, so is their cause. Centuries may pass but the balance wouldn’t be achieved if this persists. It’s a pity that ‘their’ belief will be their doom.

What do you think of terrorism? Comment below to get the world into opinionated discussion.

The Current State of Being

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I was reading Siddhartha Mukherjee’s “The Gene-An intimate History”, when I decided to take a break and sit outside my hostel. An old couple live nearby guarding the hostels and herding their sheep. When I sat down on the stairs, I looked at a boy lying down outside the hut, while the old woman was sound asleep. The boy was waving something in his hand, that seemed like a pen to me, as I thought why would a woman be sound asleep at 6:30 in the evening, when I was paranoid about wasting my time and doing something productive. My thoughts took me to Jared Diamond’s “Guns Germs and Steel”, where he explains why countries and people have turned out the way they are today. I thought about this big imbalance in shift of living conditions between me and the old couple, which enabled me to get an education, and let me ponder on atoms, genes, bytes and my own existence. Contrastingly, their conditions have made them anchored to the most primitive needs as food for dinner, and eventual thoughts of earning money to get them their next day’s meal.

I am in a midst of this point in my life where, most of them around me are concerned about job placements and salary packages, and me, being a passionate filmmaker wanting to take the course of hard way, projecting myself to nearby future of taking odd menial jobs to support myself as I gain contacts to make a feature film. At that point, I think of myself waiting to meet a friend who has not been in touch for a while, with this inherent taken-for-granted idea that he would buy me lunch which would save me some money.

At each point in life, it has taken me a few seconds to jump into thoughts about my future self of me having a passionate encounter with a sexy lady, which are more recurrent these days. In both my instant projections, and in the woman’s sleep, I see a form of escapism. Of losing touch with reality where instead of me projecting myself into fantasies, I could ground myself back to reality by writing, or drawing a comic, or reading, or taking a photograph or at least making up mental footnotes of the philosophies of patterns observed in a crowded place with a lot of different dynamics. My assumption about the woman in a nap being an escapist could be wrong, and she could have been sleeping of sheer exhaustion. Yet, I can project herself worrying about money for next day’s meal, which would again make her escape into some sort of a medium, again getting hit by the ground hard reality and this vicious cycle continuing. But, the state she is in is an exact reflection of the state I am in, except I am more intellectually mature compared to her when it comes to dealing with my problems. She seems to be this walking pond with clear water, reflecting my own pattern of existence, not trying to interfere, just like we infer ponds to be. Rivers change courses, shapes stones and pathways, but to us ponds are docile just like lonely ants. Then, as I walk on the road, I see many ponds walking opposite, along, sideways, discussing grade sheets, movie production issues, thesis papers, stock markets, hike in salaries, looking at each other, but never interested in observing their reflection in others, as I recall my childhood walking along roads observing people, wondering the vastness and uniqueness of everything around me, conscious of the passing second grazing my hand, as I call it “the current state of being”.

Selfless Souls

Plato and Aristotle

Over the years, we have had one or many favorite teachers at a point of time. Even if we get stuck in an asylum-like college, there will always be one life-saving, cool teacher who instantly becomes our favorite. If you haven’t had one yet, wait-for-it.

But in all honesty, how much do we know about these people? To be honest, not much. Of course we get to know about some of their family issues now and then via some of the honest, rambling teachers. But do we really understand their feelings?

We pass out of our respective schools or colleges, partying with our friends, celebrating with our beloved parents, make the customary phone calls to relatives we meet only during family functions or reunions, but we don’t bother to even make an effort to go see the teachers who played a big part in what we are today.

We may make fun of them, criticize them and even go to an extent where we swear at them. But like it or not, we are indebted to them in some way or other. I consider imbibing knowledge in others as a godly deed. They may fail to impress you at times, but be reminded that at some point of time they taught us something. It may have been somethingwe should follow or an example of what we shouldn’t become.

I remember when I was a little boy, one of my school teachers once saying these exact words when I refused to listen to him, “You will become a teacher, this is my curse!” in a funny way of course. Although it tickled my funny bone back then, but now I understand the depth of what he said. We will never know what they go through unless we are in their position.

Why am I writing this all of a sudden you ask?

This was called for again by one of my teachers. First day of a new semester in college and I sat as usual waiting for the new teacher to arrive. He did eventually and asked us about our performance in the finals. The mundane “Not bad sir” echoed across the classroom. He then asked us if any one of us went to the respective teachers to tell them how he/she had done or informed about the results. As expected the answer was a big fat zero.

He sighed deeply and said the words which prompted this outburst of mine, “We don’t expect you to come meet us with large sweet boxes or ask for parties. All we expect is a small conversation telling us about how you fared, be it good or bad. We don’t expect a thank you. We just hope you remember us after we part ways, academically.”

Although he said all this with a small smile on his face, there was genuine pain in his words. So next time you finish an exam, go meet those selfless souls, it will definitely make their day.

I would like to quote Alexander the great here,

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”

And do you know who his teacher was? The great philosopher, Aristotle.

How Oil and Nuclear Energy are Dictating the World?

Nuclear Power Plant

“Oil Politics is World Politics”, said someone near me while I was on a bus, travelling. The return journey had to be by train and obvious choice was to buy a newspaper to pass time. I did. Being much involved into economics and business after skimming through the headlines I turned back to the Business page. It read,”Crude oil prices hit all time high, Indian economy set to suffer a big blow”. Everything suddenly struck chord.

As a Chemical Engineering graduate I knew a bit of economics behind crude oil dictating the world economics. Let me try to explain it in layman terms.

The picture below is the ever humble demand-supply curve. The blue curve tells you that when the demand for quantity for a product decreases, the price of the product increases. The green curve tells you that when the quantity of supply of the product increases, the price of the product increases.

Demand-Supply

How are these curves related to crude oil price?

After an oil rig(Oil rigs drill into earth and extract crude oil) is build, the cost of production of crude remains the same whether the rig is operated at 100% of its capacity or 60% of that. When the demand for quantity of crude oil is low the producers of crude oil are forced to operate the rigs at a lower capacity but since the operating costs remain the same they are required to increase the price of crude oil produce to cover up the costs. Also when prices shoot up due to low demand for quantity, the producers are forced to supply(or produce) more oil to cover up the costs. Thus increasing the oil price. Demand and Supply dictate crude oil prices

What does increase in oil price do?

It does a lot. A rise in oil price means that the nations spending money into importing oil are forced to spend more money increasing the price of the end products such as petrol and diesel. What happens when the cost of petrol and diesel increase? the cost of any form of transportation increases. Logistics sector gets hit. Cost of bringing that 1 kg of tomato to a market near you increases thus the cost of tomato increases (However oil prices are not the only factor with which tomato prices are fixed). You know what happens when the cost of a kg of tomato shoots up. Bonkers! Bonkers! everywhere. Tomato is just one such example.

Crude oil is set to rule everything around you for many more years to come. Something that is similar to crude oil and currently one of the kingpins is Nuclear Energy. Dividing Nuclear Energy into two, Weapons and Electricity. Electricity from Nuclear Energy has been one of the most efficient ones to have been discovered. A major quantity of energy that India produces is from Nuclear plants. And almost similar to it is Nuclear weapons. Nuclear Weaponry has been a back bone of National Supremacy. World nations conduct nuclear tests and show the world their supremacy. Indigenous nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon launchers are built and tested to alert the other nations. These tests protect a nation from being attacked by another with the fear of being counter-attacked. Thus dictating the world.

While Crude oil economically dictates, nuclear energy strategically dictates the world. Both of them combined are current rulers of the world.

 

Nothing is Breaching The Constitutional Code of Conduct

right to free speech

A major chunk of Indian citizens are unaware of the Fundamental Rights that they are entitled to. Most don’t even know the existence of Fundamental Rights. I doubt even if 999 people of 1000 have gone through The Preamble to the Constitution, let alone The Constitution of India. What’s ironical is that an extensive collection of only those of 999 go on protests and least foolishly put up Facebook statuses that are never going to be heard. And ironically only those 999 people talk about politics being “dirty-man’s-den”. There is so much cliche about politics in India. Some day I would like to talk about the common notion about Indian politics. This introductory passage is nothing much in sync with what this article is about, however it is healthy rant against those 999. The little sync is in my reference to The Constitution of India.

It takes much pain, pressure, support, diplomatic power and unending support from people to change the law. It takes more of the above said to amend a constitutional right. The Jan Lokpal Bill’s failure to be passed in parliament is a perfect example of it. We believe we have a strong Constitution framed. I don’t doubt it.

“Udta Punjab” and Anurag Kashyap have been under scanner for a while now, so is “Iraivi” and Karthik Subburaj. The Mumbai High Court cleared the former with just 1 cut and “A” certificate. When I tried to research if what Anurag is undergoing is constitutionally fair, I extensively had to scratch my hair to baldness to completely understand the ever charming, ever controversial and never ending idea of “Right to Freedom of Speech & Expression”. I am no voice of people. Any thing I say can spark controversies. I am now not going to conclude anything about this fundamental right. But I still hold the “Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression”. So let me continue.

“Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression” has been the most intricate of Fundamental Rights that an Indian can hold according to the Constitution of India. You seem to understand it for a minute but it ditches you the next minute and takes a different stand. It is distinctly exercised among the world nations. A glance through the “Article 19” of the Constitution of India would tell you this. ↓

Article 19

All Indians are free to express anything of their interest unless it doesn’t affect an existing or to be made law, unless it is a threat to the state in some form of the other, public order or unless it is against decency and morality and of course the most important of it unless it doesn’t defame someone. Udta Punjab probably does nothing. Iraivi is out of question.

While we talk of cinema it pains to talk about people like M.M.Kalburgi and Govind Pansare who were brutally murdered while they were only exercising their fundamental constitutional right. They did not affect law, did not agitate public order, did not defame anyone nor did they go against morality. “Right to Freedom of Expression” also gives “Right to Protest”, which is indeed right to talk, write and go against something. All of this is Fundamental Constitutional Right.

But take the case of Aseem Trivedi, he was arrested for drawing a cartoon that depicts the parliament building as a western style washroom closet and a toilet paper rolling besides it. What does it do? It defames the parliament. At least that was what the reason he was arrested. On one side it is of course an act of sedition. Parliament is a common entity. Common to any Indian, so are the national emblem, national flag and entities of that sort. Poking fun of this common entity that is supposed to be the pride of India can of course be charged with sedition. A lot of people argue that it quashes the “Freedom of Speech and Expression”. We cannot deny. However going by Constitution of India, it is an offence.

If you can’t talk what is supposed to be right, then talk what is written as right. If you can’t talk what is written as right, try to make it right. When you can’t make it right, live by what is written as right.

Eventually what is common matters. The law is common. The Constitution is common. It matters. Change it or live by it.

 

The Invisible Anchor

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Have you even been in a relationship where you were so much in love with him that your world seemed to literally revolve around him? Where he consumed every ounce of you? Where even after all the mess that he has put you through, you find comfort in his deep brown eyes?

Yes, I have been there. Love is one of the best emotions that one could ever experience. Well, at first it is all smiles and butterflies. Then there is this crazy adrenaline rush that you get when you receive a text message. You spend most of your time daydreaming, uncontrollably grinning and fantasizing about every possible minute you get to spend with him.

It was a time when I felt life was very transparent, simple, and uncomplicated. What could possibly go wrong when you are full of love? Well, nothing. Our love grew every day. He was the man who knew me inside out. He knew exactly what I like and how I would react. He simply loved me too much. And, I loved him a little much more.

He was my wonderwall. I was very vulnerable when it came to him. He had the power to crash my universe and stake my soul. A power he cherished with my will. But it doesn’t last that way forever, does it ?

Life taught me that not everything is supposed to become beautiful and long lasting. People walk into your life only to walk out. They come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong.

Like Kiersten White said, I would have chosen him in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality. I would have chosen him if he wanted to be chosen. If he had not looked into my eyes and said that he had decided to choose her over me. If he had not been two-timing for 2 years. If he had told me about his un-defying love for her. I would have walked away and let him have what he wanted. But he didn’t, she did.

A call on a forlorn night, only to realize, how much another girl can love the love of my life. I spent almost two weeks in denial, only to hear the same story from him. A relationship that lasted 3 years meant nothing to him. I fell apart. And, just like that, my stardust burst into agony.

I spent almost another year trying to find out where everything went wrong. He fell in love with someone else while he was still in love with me. That moment it struck me , my heart clasped into two , one side was filled with memories and the other was just void.

It was not just about love, it was about my career and my plans for future. I turned back and tried to alter things but then I realized that he had changed every single decision I took. I was somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

I was in the middle of a two-way street. I could either move on and live my life or continue being a mere existence. My dreams were big and it is my calling today, whatever I am, I am proud of it .

What’s cooking?

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You know what’s the hardest job on the planet?

No, not a banker.

Teacher? It’s easier.

The hardest job on the planet is to be a food critic, with a capital F and a capital C. But it’s always easy to assist one. That is what I do. Ojas, Assistant Food Reviewer, HotMeals Magazine. What do I do? The easy job. I write down whatever Riya says, or, whatever she doesn’t say. Riya is the Senior Food Reviewer I’m working under. She has this unique thing in her when it comes to tasting food. Before she could tell me about the taste, her face tells me a million things. For instance, when a perfect coffee makes its way down her throat, her eyebrow muscles would shrink a millimeter, just a millimeter. A sweet is tasty only if her lips make a pout for a brief second, after swallowing it.

Oh, and Riya is very beautiful. We just have a professional relationship though, but then who wouldn’t want to love such a girl! She is the most expressive person I’ve ever seen. Her face would tell me what her words wouldn’t.

We were having this usual conversation about the tastes of the foods that’s been served to us at this hotel, when she said, “You know what! Why don’t you come to my place tonight? I’ll cook. You be the judge!” She had that flawless smile all over her face. ‘A Date?’ I thought. Oh, why not! I shook my head like a child waiting for the cotton candy.

So, there I was, at Riya’s, waiting for her to sit across me and eagerly look at me as I taste her food. On the dining table was a photo of Riya with a tall guy (probably her brother, I thought). There was food all over the table. There was Mutton Liver with Fava Beans, Fish Sashimi, Beef stew and Tika kebab. Wow. Fish, sheep, cow and chicken. How diverse and unbiased!

She finally came out of the kitchen and sat down across me. Just when I was about to start eating, she said, “We’ll do it the usual way, shall we? I’ll eat them first and we’ll discuss on the recipes and then you shall eat it. This helps me serve you the best dinner!”

Thank God! I shook my head in approval.

She tasted the sashimi first. Her face relaxed a bit. Sweeter than usual, I wrote down and looked at her, waiting for her to give her comments. Instead, she looked at the picture on the table and said, “This is Karan, my ex. He was such a sweet guy. At least at the beginning.”

Why is she talking about that guy now?

She then tasted the liver. No big reaction. Probably less salty, I wrote down.

“You know, everything was fine between us until he became more submissive. Not just to me, but to everyone around him. He was this laughing stock people always enjoyed making fun of. And the worst part was that he didn’t even realize it.”

I shook my head as if being attentive but I was clueless why she was talking about that guy and not about the recipes. And why was she telling all this to me?

Beef stew followed. Her face shrunk and her hands stiffened. Too much Spice.

Her face reddened. “When I told him this, he started yelling at me! How dare he shout at me?” She hit the table hard, and spoke at a very high tone, “THOSE WORDS! Swearing a girl? He was a cheap shit! I didn’t know why I loved such a guy. I was so angry that I….” she stopped midway realizing she was out of control. She came back to her cool and looked at me and said, “I wanted to eat him alive!” and laughed as if she had cracked a funny joke.

I relaxed a bit and smiled at her joke, still wondering why she was talking about that guy. I gestured if I could eat and she nodded. Just when I was about to eat the first piece of the mutton, something struck me. I looked at the photo again and then the recipes.

I dropped my spoon down and looked at her. She had her usual broad smile.

Only this time, it wasn’t welcoming.

It was psychotic.