Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Indian Re'pub'lic - where the pub meets the relic!


Indian Republic is 65 years old.   Young nation, governed by one of the best constitutions written in the shortest possible time - 2+ years.  Most nations were born during this time but took years to find their feet.   And it is also a less known fact that India is one of the few countries with two national days.

Colors that flutter,
represent glory and clutter...
So much for facts.   Our growth over these years has been chequered.   A country which was envisaged as a 'self sufficient' or a 'swadeshi' nation by the Father of the nation, and given a socialist skew for an economy by the first prime minister, had a taste of autocracy from his daughter and almost sunk and sold against gold in the late nineties.   Then the nation opened up, assured in capitalists and then hit upon a growth path - driven by the services sector predominantly.  Then this seemed to peak in the 'India shining' story of the BJP, but somewhere paled out by the non-inclusion of the masses.

The GOP was back again in power - sounded an all-inclusive growth story line.   Then finally a series of scams - not sure that it was really the 'inclusive' growth everybody meant - from the CWG, 2G and more recent Coalgate, being unearthed, stunting the India story further.   Then, out of the blue, it seemed the silent and sleeping head of the country woke up and shook the foundations of the country, already reeling under inflation with a slew of proposals that invited foreign investments once again.

And all along the way, the Indian polity has used religion, caste, monies, reservation and all and sundry to seize power.   Regional, caste based formations have become increasingly powerful - having a say in both national, foreign and economic policies of the country, fragmenting the decision making power at the Center.

The GOP seems to best option, just because it is better shepherded and has a strong head - almost dictatorial;  but the party has been mostly left, trying to please vote banks, with occasional spasms of bold decision making.   The other alternative, BJP,  had the best chance to be a strong alternative at the turn of this century, led by possibly the best prime minister in many decades, but after that internal chaos, and loss of identity has made it a chaotic cripple.   The left that is nearest to a national alternate, has been left - out in the cold, losing its relevance - left in the annals of history.
The Parliament represents the character of the nation!

The regional parties, with whimsical and mercurial satraps, give no hope to raise to the level of  national statesmanship.   And increasingly, unfortunately, this would be an increasing irritant in India's political journey.   Multi-party democracy is the single biggest retarding factor of growth for this country.

But the positive aspect of this is that while everybody bends the rules, the boundary is not crossed - we are a corrupt nation, but not a condemned nation.   Some level of civility is still left.   There are still the checks and balances.   But the dismay here is that there is clear dichotomy - a nation that gave its most wanted terrorist a fair trial, even when some bayed for blood, at the same time, has to wait endlessly to conclude on the death sentence of the attackers of Parliament.   A satirical cartoonist is arrested on sedition, but a sycophant group of the GOP celebrates its leaders the same way.

Such is this nation of myriad colors, opinions, flags and flavors.    Ours is a culture of measured liberalism.   A nation of confused capitalists, selfish socialists.   A nation of rituals and liberals - where the pub meets the Relic!

-Ashok Speaks


Friday, September 21, 2012

Finally the flower blossoms...

Life is what you see of it.  Make of it.  Feel of it.  And once you experience it first hand, things are so different.   Different - that is the operating adjective.  Because it has its good, bad and ugly.  But it is different.

All your five senses are immersed in it.   Touch.  See.  Smell.  Hear.   Taste - help us feel Life in its fullest.  The climate.  The people.   The words.  The actions.   The texture.   The taste.   The colors.  From these are born the adjectives.   And with that stories.   
The 5 senses immerse one in the
journey  of life.

And expression of those stories - pictures, videos, words, deeds, music, dance and drama.   The power of this expression gives birth to expressive art forms.  And define the animates and in-animates of time and space ( geography).   A full and firm imprint on the sands of history.   

From a personal experience to a historical footprint,  the myriad vistas of the landscape called life,  the course for this journey can be a roller coaster.  This journey of thousand stones, started with a first step.   The first step being writing about the step itself - about running.   

My origins as a writer was about my experience on running way back in 2008, when I started.   A run was an experience, such as life itself, and the compelling story and the compulsion inside to share it, gave birth the the blog - Musings of a Road runner.

And the expression blossoms ...
The second stage of evolution came through those painful experiences towards the end of the last Mumbai monsoon.   With red sleepless eyes, in those black silent nights, the heart was brimming like a cup of woes, and finally overflowed.   Overflowed in the form of blogs, then short stories and then the mystic of fiction.   The seed had grown into a cute little buds.  

And as we look at the bright skies of this unusually failed monsoons, the clear skies tell the new story - from a blogger to a fiction-novel writer on the doorsteps of being published.   The flower finally blossoms...

-Ashok Speaks...

Friday, September 7, 2012

The writer's mind is a devil's wordshop

The ship has sailed out of the harbor.  The anchor has been released.  By the time the ship meanders its way out of the harbor channel, it would be Gandhi Jayanthi.   And around that day, the ship is going to hit the deep ocean.  In October, the eastern seas would be tempestuous.  But the western waters would be calmer - but there would be undercurrents and the usual tides.  The storm is almost over.

In this calm sea of life, the mind takes over.   There are hundred things I want to do.  But the primary focus now is to write - the first book which is now almost 7 months old.  There are characters waiting in the deep recesses of my mind to play their part;  there are events that are waiting to connect these characters and take the emotional journey of my story with me.    These characters talk to me, one or more at a time - and as the flow comes on, the long brown fingers dance on those black keys of my laptop.   The cursor moves relentlessly from left to right, and again to right occasionally to correct the typos.  Every now and then, hit the save button below.
Outside - the clouds move and sun comes
out - The act of Nature
Now, each word is a record of these interaction between me and the characters, as they jump in and out of my mind to take their turn.  They talk, they cry, they emote, they jump in joy.   The words build into sentences capturing these acts.   These sentences then become chapters and the book.   The stage for this drama does not physically exist.   It is my mind - itself a character, but has the super-ability to build a platform where the characters can jump on and act as it says - the mind is the director, the platform.
Inside:  The wordsmith- the devil's stage:
The laptop!!!

Then, there is a pause.   The mind assimilates the progress so far.  From nowhere, from a distance, as the eyes wander into oblivion, detached-yet staring at the rain drops falling outside or the leaves dancing, all wet and in the wind,  the next word comes out - from where, I don't know.   And another. And another.  The characters and the stage are back to life.

Outside, the leaves continue their wet dance in the wind.   The cloud curtains part, and the rain drops cease. Act 1 over. The sun illuminates the earth-stage with light.  The birds fly out to pick an insect - actors on the stage, directed by Nature.  Act 2, Scene 1 is on.  Inside, the wordsmith  - the devil is in action again in the word-shop, directing the action on the laptop.   Another chapter over  -Act 2, Scene 1.

- Ashok Speaks!!!