I made the annual acquaintance with my birthday last week, and a lot of my well-wishers wanted me to write a blog in celebration. My answer to all of them was that I would convert my divagating thoughts to meaningful words once I sober down after the partying. In between the revelries some random observations (all my own, with malice towards no one) did traipse into my mind, which I have collated below.
Family and friends mean a lot: Going by the blessings and good wishes I received for my birthday, I can easily live up to the ripe age of one million! A big thank you to all for taking time out for wishing me through your messages and phone calls. As I like to say, if I were to count these blessings in terms of coinage, then I am the richest man in the world. And no amount of thanks would be enough for the efforts made by my wife and daughter in ensuring that every birthday of mine is an unforgettable commemoration. I am not very overtly communicative when it comes to expressing love, but they are indisputably the world around which my life revolves.
Gray hair and maturity: The experiences we gain while moseying through life is undoubtedly the world’s best teacher, but a teacher we refuse to learn from. Occasionally I behave indecorously with my wife and daughter (which I regret later), knowing fully well that I am at fault, but it is something that I have been trying to remedy. I persist doing some things which I should avoid (gorging on cholesterol-rich food), while avoiding doing things I should (driving sagaciously on open roads). I still try to out-shout my adolescent daughter in an argument, knowing fully well that she is just a growing girl who likes to express herself candidly. So gray hair is definitely changing me for the better, but has not yet brought the desired level of maturity.
Daughters better in all aspects: In a country where the game of cricket is a religion, the Indian men’s cricket team is unarguably the most overrated commodity. At the same time, the financially restricted women’s team is the most under-rated. I have always believed that daughters are definitely stronger than sons – the past few days have proven that given the same facilities and money, the women in blue can turn our men green with envy. But unfortunately we still pay superfluous obeisance to “boys”, while ignoring the more talented “girls”.
The transmuting social fabric of India: An alarming trend developing in India, where selective protests are being held in the name of one unlawful and deplorable lynching of a young boy, but not others. How can the equally shocking murders of a Kashmiri policeman or the Pune resident (who was only protecting her cat) be any less important? Have we debased ourselves to such a level that we are now playing politics with cold-blooded murders? Similarly, terming anyone with views opposed to your own as “bhakts” or “anti-nationals”, is equally appalling. Our armed forces may not paint themselves in glory for the civil society, but they are the ones who are valiantly trying to keep our borders safe, and for that alone deserve all the kudos they can get.
The disintegrating fourth estate: The media, which should ideally be presenting balanced, analytical and unbiased views seem busy polarizing the country using stories “allegedly” served to them by “vested” interests. A recent example being the confusion and misinformation being spread about the new tax regime. Having studied GST from close quarters, I can confidently say that it is definitely not as complicated as it is being made out to be. If monitored and implemented strictly, it can usher in a new era of tax reforms in India. Similarly, Indira Gandhi is suddenly being hailed as the best Prime Minister our country ever had, and Modi (who has a similar exacting leadership style) becomes a tyrant! Equally laughable are the attempts made to portray the Congress as the one who floated the ideas being now “copied” by Modi. If so, why could they not implement it? After all they were in power for more than 10 years (of course, they were busy looting the country)! The idea of a maturing democracy cannot be based on individuals or dynasties, but on our collective responsibilities. Governing a country as diverse, populous and divisive as ours is not a cake-walk, and anyone attempting to do so does not deserve such venomous vilification.
As I mentioned above, these are my personal observations and not many may agree with me. But unlike some of our celebrity rabble-rousers, I am open to critique. We pretentiously advise our children to clear the clutter in their room, but do we personally clear the clutter that we carry inside our heads? Over the years I have grown wiser (not older) and learned that life does not allow anyone to play catch with it, so don’t waste time fretting, fuming and holding on to your obstinate egos. Let go… move on… smile and spread a lot of smiles around.