Thursday 26 June 2014

Is No Corruption Possible?

There is one group in Indian politics that has taken a stance of offering corruption-free country, if they were to come to power. This is a new entrant in Indian political arena and whether they will come to power at all, anytime in future or at-least at state level (definitely not at the centre) - can't be commented on right now. What they do, when they do come to power, will be seen. However, I am putting forth a concern with their basic offering: "corruption-free country". It is a good notion, highly saleable as well - it is scalability of this idea that is my worry.

As written in one of my earlier posts, I am a cynic and can't see an improvement coming (particularly w.r.t. India, especially Indians). In this case, I am not looking at the concept of corruption-free country as a cynic would. For a change, I am being hopeful that this will bring some freshness to our systems and ruffle some feathers. 

Unfortunately, corruption is not a plague just for the government managed offices, rather in almost all offices. Degree, volume & value differs from office to office - but there is hardly any corruption free office. To be fair to 'office' going crowd, they are not the sole custodians of corruption...

In sports, corruption is unapologetically practiced by many sportsmen & sportswomen. In some cases, outcome of the competition is compromised or influenced and in some cases - part of the performance is. This is not restricted to individual sport - but is fast making in-roads into team sports.

Our religion / spiritual managers, a.k.a. - the Godmen, out-perform everyone in this field. They not only manage to be corrupt, but also portray being spiritual leaders who neither want much, nor need much for themselves. At least there is some shame passed on to other corrupt offices and sports-person - but the beauty of religion / spiritual managers ' corruption is that they get only blind following.

To be cruelly honest, I believe corruption is present in families as well. In personal dealings and is inside almost every individual. Kids learn the advantages of dishonesty to their gain just as quickly as they learn to understand language, parents try hard - can't help but offer bribes (as gifts / promise of future leniency) to get kids to do the things they want done. These things-to-do could be as simple as finishing a meal and the gifts could be anything from allowing additional time with iPad / TV to taking kids to a special outing.

I can't see any possible way for the toddler political party to achieve much success in their endeavour to remove corruption from our system. My worry isn't about a small group bringing in big changes - rather, it is that corruption seems to have gone to our roots and without it, we might not function at all!

Having said this - I still support their ideals, out of hope...more to prove the cynic in me wrong and simply because without the will to change, nothing would anyway!

Wednesday 18 June 2014

My Skydive Video...Old now, but still :)

My first big adventure, my first big leap
Standing on the edge, looking down 13000ft. - my reaction was "oh! *beep*"

Joe (parachute guy) instructed me to do little on my own and follow the rules
Harnessed me tight enough to worry about my 'crown jewels'

The aircraft ascended and so did my nerves, but Joe was busy cracking jokes about my weight
Just before the jump, I felt better with his simple words "don't worry mate"

Strong winds hit me and my mind went blank,
This is when I realised we had jumped off the plank

With speed more than 200kmph, free fall got my heart racing
Once the chute opened up, view of Dubai was breath-taking

Joe pointed out all key attractions on the land
I was awe-struck with the beauty of sea and desert sand

Max, the photographer, should be thanked here because his work is great
It is because of him, in future, I will have memories to view and celebrate

Landing was smooth, hit the ground on my bums
Adrenaline was high, heart was still beating like a thousand drums

I was back to earth but I didn't want the experience to end
I can only say that "try this NOW, my friend

Adventure, thrill and fun - all come together here
There is no hiding, no turning back - go ahead and conquer your fear"

Saturday 14 June 2014

Last 10 years: best for men's tennis?

I have no doubt in my mind that last 10 years have been the best for men's tennis - the complete domination of few, the fierce-yet-egg-me-to-perform-better-competition between these few, the single mindedness in these few to perform their best, the very best they are capable 28 years that I have been following tennis, I can't think of any other era where the world of men's tennis had such greatness!

With Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic - men's tennis has become age-proof...they have the class to give glimpses of tennis that used to be, for today's oldies and they have the aggression & style to be attractive to watch for today's generation. I would like to repeat: in my opinion...the last 10 years have been the best for men's tennis.

The fact that 2 of these 3 have already completed their career slams and the third is short of just one to complete his - shows just how this era has been (only 4 have achieved this in the open era - first managed in 1969, the second managed in 1999).

To put things in perspective, 36 off last 42 grand slams were won by one of these three players and the remaining 6 slams were shared between 5 players. That's just how strong these three have been. Compare this to the previous 42 grand slams, men's tennis had 19 champions...

I don't want to come across as saying that any of the previous grand slam winners - whether single grand slam or multiple slam winner, were not good enough...all that I want to say is that these three players have given a completely different meaning to the term - 'champion'. They are not just championship winners...they are champions in the true and complete sense. A champion isn't just a winner...a champion dominates, is revered and feared by other players, rarely gets bogged down, fights his way back even from a losing position...and does all this over and over and over and over again!

Having said that, I know one of these three is nearing retirement, the second will lose steam sooner than later and the third will carry on for some more time. The good news is - there are others in the queue to take over from these greats and make the sport better and richer in their own way. These three have renewed my love for tennis and I, with hope, look forward to the up-coming players to fill in really big shoes!

Sunday 8 June 2014

The Issue of Life: Past, Present & Future

There is one soul that travels from one body to another...death as we know it, isn't actually end of the soul...there is a concept of 'moksha' - knowing our past life could explain our present and hopefully, shed some light on our probable future (a.k.a. after-life).

Is this all true, thus a mystery; or is it a sham, thus kept as a mystery! I can't say...

I know people who believe in one side in its entirety, making the issue a non-argument. Then there are some who want to believe in one side more than the other, but just can't seem to make up their minds. I also know few who simply don't give a damn!

The concept of after-life is in fact thousands of years old...not new. Proof of this is clearly seen in the tombs of Egyptian kings & queens. Almost everything (inanimate) that the king / queen thought could be needed in their after life, was kept inside their tomb.

It is clear then that this concept of one soul, after life / past life, moksha aren't the creations of any particular religion, or any particular class / race of people. It isn't creation of an opportunist who saw money in this field (there is a LOT of money in this field, if you hadn't noticed yet). No one owns it, no own truly knows its details and it is in this mystery that lies its biggest strength.

Those who claim to know something (anything about it) proclaim their superiority - as awakened souls. Then there are those who are blessed souls - who can pass on God's word to 'mere mortals' and answer one of the next big question - "what is the meaning of life?".

I think one must be truly troubled in present life that seeking such answers becomes a necessity. I say this because answers sought are not about the present life, about how to improve what is done in present. Efforts are directed at trying to find answers, which would try to explain (hopefully) the reasons for why the present is the way it is.

For the troubled soul - since answers available in present are not helping, it seems logical for this soul to look for answers elsewhere. In this case...elsewhere is the search of soul's foot prints, diving deep in past life...all with the hope that something concrete will be discovered that will solve every puzzle of life and give solutions to every problem faced.

This process is neither easy nor quick. Sacrifices need to be made, faith in the process is often shaken - but it needs to be realigned...looking at all the troubles that one needs to go through to get answers - seriously, why would a happy & content person seek such answers and in the process part with things that bring happiness and contentment to begin with?

The beauty of this lies in the fact that even if this concept of one soul, past life, after life is true - knowing about this in current life (as human-form) makes no difference what-so-ever to our life form of future. If we have not brought consciousness, memories, learning of past life into this life - that seems to be the way of nature. Thus - we won't carry forward anything we manage to learn & understand in this life form in to our next...rendering the entire exercise quite futile, in my opinion!

Personally, I am thankful for this life - want to make it better, in this life term and couldn't care less happens there-after.

This is a matter of illusion - the feeling of knowing more, thus doing better. People don't realise that whether we know anything about our past life, quality of soul (or anything else that this sort of search can bring), or don't - we all will still end up the same. 

Friday 6 June 2014

Crime & Its Suitable Punishment

Not all humans are equal! That's a fact of life and that's the way our society has lived, will continue to live. It is not just a matter of equality in terms of caste, money, status - but also in terms of equality in the eyes of law. Unlike all other inequalities, we are most blind towards inequality in the eyes of law. Fact that there is preferential treatment by law, for some over the others, is neither a surprise nor is it all that hidden.

Our prisons are over-crowded as it is, our judiciary is way over loaded with clearing doesn't make sense to continue with the same system as we have been working with for all these years. I would like to propose two additions to our current system:

1. We make this so-called-under-the-wrap-special-treatment more legalised and profitable for the society at large. I honestly do not believe that same punishment means the same to everybody.

2. As a society, we start a public shaming campaign - no amount of money can easily rub off the embarrassment of being publicly shamed for our wrong doings

My suggestions are obviously referring to the class of people who have the means to outweigh law and outlast their opponents' purse / age / motivation.

It may not be appreciated by all - but I think coming from money isn't such a bad thing. Instead of putting the rich-brat-who-committed-a-crime behind bars - where a lot of money was spent in the trials anyway - a lot of time was wasted in reaching a verdict - wouldn't it be better for the society to have the rich give something to the society? My view is simple, a rich person behind bars does no good to the society.

Consider the alternative - a percentage of wealth of the rich-brat-who-committed-a-crime can be distributed between the government, the plaintiff and the society. This percentage can be decided considering the degree of crime committed.

The government earns money - bulks up its treasury on challan money...the plaintiff is suitably reimbursed for his / her troubles and lastly, the society gets something in return. Let's say - for society, father of the rich-brat-who-committed-a-crime has to donate to education / medical / other R&D projects. For relatively lesser degree crimes - plant a 1000 trees!

Needless to say - percentage of wealth taken away will increase with every count of crime, with degree of crime and mostly on showing a nature to repeat or generally commit a crime. Since parting with money may not be enough of a lesson and / or hindrance for repeating the offences - I suggest the public shaming process.

Part of public shaming is making the offenders suffer by taking away some basic free person comforts - their passports, driving licenses, credit cards etc. - either temporarily or permanently. Once again - depending on the degree of crime(s) committed.

I understand none of this is feasible - even if I assume some of it is probable. Our governments, our administrators, our police, our judiciary, our NGOs...the people, the society - EVERYTHING would need to change, would need to become better than they are at present - more honest at the very least.

Until then - I think, this is food for thought - is there a better way to punish, than saying law is blind and treats everyone as equal!