Thursday, May 8, 2014

Have You Lost Your Way? Welcome to Nagaland!!


Some of the few milestones along roads in Nagaland should surely carry "Where Roads end Nagaland begins" OR " If you think you are lost, you have reached Nagaland"...

Well the roads in nagaland , if they can be called so, leave a bad taste in the mouth whenever one traverses through them. And the comfort that one receives when one pulls over these rr...roads is one to cherish!!

Hang on...before you put on that moral robe and start a blasphemy criticizing all and sundry, it may be politely declared that everyone has a share of blame for this sorry state of affairs. The powers of the day alone are not a party to this melee, though of course the largest share of blame may be conveniently heaved upon them; there is no less contribution from all sections of the society to this inflated problem.

The Civic classes in the schools have not proved handy in this department for the nagas. Everyone is gleefully unloading and dumping all sorts of wastes on the roadsides and into the drainages. Wherever human settlements exist, the roads are worse. This is an interesting but terrible observation I have been masticating with great difficulty to digest.

The poor quality of workmanship is one thing and we do not have room to condone wretches behind such works. Nonetheless, it will be gracious enough to admit the dynamics of the society and the system at play. The push of the holy land-owners for an 'adjustment' here and the pulls of the 'national' cuts rounding up to incredible percentages there; the humble but deceptive local leader slicing for some crumbs and the routine visit of the community' s young peoples' representatives to the contractor's...the list is rather endless!

Eventually, the man behind the show lands up precariously unstable both financially and mentally and the whole project becomes a non-starter. This completes the cycle and brings us back to where we all started... taking us to the Road to Perdition!!   

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

(Un) Christian Model of Nagaland

I was in my Sunday best. Life was seeming colourfully pleasant and meticulously designed. Then I tripped!!

Thank God it was a notional fall...

Nagas have placed themselves on a very high moral pedestal - namely ' Nagaland A Christian State' or something, I cannot exactly remember the unforgettable slogan!!

Anyway it is about time, way high time, we stepped down from this towering title we have embossed upon ourselves and start to learn the basics. In other words, let us stop being hypocrites and fraudsters who fool no one else but ourselves.

I am rationally amazed at the way we project ourselves as the last community of hallowed, sanctified and pious beings around. The theatrical mannerisms and the way we conduct ourselves as respectable Christians is a unique skill limitedly endowed upon a few sections of people called the Nagas I could safely conclude.

The proverbial story of a Zebra hopping around disguised in the stripes of aTiger comes to mind immediately at this stage. No prizes for guessing who the Zebra here is.

Well for a start, let us delink ourselves from the age old motto 'Nagaland...something' which to me is a remarkable phenomenon of double standard characteristics. If we wish to claim ourselves as good Christians, let us live as one.

The insatiable love for wealth; the stone-dry sympathy for neighbours; the immovable laziness to work and earn and the parasitic approach to life are unmistakably not the virtues of a Christian model.

Let us wake...let us go.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

MAMMOTH MAMMONISM!

Mammonism has become an extremely prominent, and worse, is increasingly becoming a revered philosophy for many today. Indeed, there’s no debate about the fact that every individual has needs in life. However, the issue becomes problematic when needs become larger than life; when the line between needs and wants blur and wants become the sole goal in life. And the end of wants, as we all know, is like an enormous bottle with a tiny perforation at the bottom. It just doesn’t hold water!
Well some may contend that the philosophy of each individual need not be made a subject of public discourse and left to each to cling to his own. Admittedly, that is a valid proposition. Yet, the intention here is not about taking a high moral-ground and dictate classes of virtuosity to the ‘messy’ world. It is about a larger challenge we face in our lives day in and day out; an invasion that seems to be threatening to take over the very systemic values upon which our humaneness prevail. And when any philosophy becomes conveniently well established disturbing the standing values and meaning of equality and fairness, then doesn’t it become a grave social issue and does not remain a ‘personal thing’ anymore?
Why the madness? Why the craze? Why the insatiability at the skinning cost of fellow beings? Pausing for a moment and asking oneself where one is rushing appears to be a highly-timely mission at this point in time!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

FLOODS IN THE DRY STATE!


The veriest travesty of being a ‘dry State’ is displayed in prolific extravaganza in no other place on earth than in this remote north-eastern Indian State of Nagaland. The flow of Indian Made Foreign Liquor into this part of the world is a matter of routine drill despite the statutory blanket ban since a little over two decades ago. Huge volumes of “alcoholic beverages” make their way into the State with effortless ease. At least a dozen times every twelve months you hear of seizure of huge consignments of such beverages en-route the State from the neighboring State of A***M! And we are not even talking about the un-intercepted passage of consignments that make it through, in smaller quantities ofcourse, in no less frequency nonetheless.
The issue is not about the moral outlook anymore, as it was when it initially came to head in the late 80s. The matter has become a grave social issue today. This has become, perhaps, one of the biggest challenges impinging upon the people of the State at large and several families in particular.
Coming as it does, the illicit nature of this sector has made it a huge business for black-marketing. The price of quality ‘products’, to begin with, multiplies many-fold by the time the consignment reaches the target group! Hence, the economic dent it has wheedled out of the innumerable family pockets in general cannot be conveniently ignored. In fact, this has made it imaginably unaffordable for the common people.
However, the bigger concern is different and very very serious too. The business has taken an immeasurable damage-profile in the sense that owing to the constraints of availability and the sky-rocketing cost, peoples’ frustration has reached summit levels where they have taken to any kind and quality of drinks so long as they are cheap and available. This has induced menacing trends where cheap and spurious liquor are being ‘tailor-manufactured’ solely for the people of the State entailing disastrous socio-health implications and irreparable consequences.
At this rate, the cycle is taking a hazardous trajectory threatening to spin out of control unless tackled fast and quick. The stakes are too high involving the fate of entire generations to come. There is an urgent need to seriously debate this growing issue of social concern and arrive to some kind of understanding or better evolve and quickly put in place a workable arrangement.
Rigidity is not the solution. Finding ways and means to a solution is the key. All stakeholders need to dialogue to hammer out this daunting challenge that is threatening to jeopardize the very progress and prospect of our entire society!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

DRAINAGE - The Way Forward, Not Roads.


The focus on good roads has always been a concern for the public who travel on them on a daily basis. The urgency can not be overemphasized here.
Crores and crores of rupees have been spent on construction of roads in the State till date. While this is an assumptuous figure, there is no dispute about the fact that we have invested a huge amount of money in the road sector but without much result. Well one may partly blame it on the terrain not to mention the quality of workmanship. Be that as it may, our State is not the only State with the topography that it has. The world over, there are regions with far more difficult terrains and yet they make lasting and world-class quality roads that are pliable throughout the year.
Well it is about time we realized the core issues in this sector. The issue is not so much about the quality, though of course I am not completely ignoring that factor by any stretch of imagination. The point is, even poor quality roads can last for a long time when we have in place sound and well planned drainage systems. The early civilizations, the Indus valley for instance, had had well designed drainage systems which speak volumes of their ingenuity and deep perception of planning.
Unfortunately today, situations become pretty messy in our State owing to heavy downpour and rains during the monsoons. Our roads turn into nullahs and some of them effectively transform into rivers jeopardizing the passage of even the most adventurous characters of our society.
The issue I opine is basically about setting our priorities wrong. The problem is really about focusing on the wrong areas of investment. What we need to do is to reprioritize our investment sectors. Years of management have failed to produce satisfactory results. We need to drastically re-orient our policy towards constructing sound and well designed drainage systems when we lay our roads.
Our terrains do not suit four-laners or five-laners. What matters is not quite the size, it is the quality of road that we seek! And good quality roads do not appear without fine drainage.
What we need to understand and understand fast is that unless we start to invest in road drainage, all our investments and efforts in laying roads is going to go down the drain! The day we begin to invest crores of rupees not on roads but on road-drainage, only then can we expect to see some change.
Poor road is perhaps the biggest challenge confronting us today and big challenges demand drastic measures too. Instead of constructing more roads and cutting new ones, we really need to be investing on the drainage systems of the roads and highways that are lying abandoned for years together.
The day we realize this vague but potentially critical factor, the quintessential road condition in our State will see a revolutionary episode. So long as we continue with the present set of rules and standards, any prospect of improving our road conditions will never ever come to pass.
As I travel across the State, I come across highway-stones reading ‘Roads are the symbol of progress and development’. Indeed, roads are the symbol of progress...
... and sound drainage that of vision and wisdom! The moot question is, are we wise enough?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Story in Every Storey!!

The car pulled over at the basement and a tall gentleman steps out donning a white moustache. He lives alone now, his mother had just passed away I’m told. Some guests are seen dancing away to glory in his apartment though at weekends. He looks composed at all times, every time I see him, except when he prepares to leave for work and finds bird-droppings on the windshield of his long and hunching car. His face turns morning-sun red as if someone has just poured two liters of crushed chilly-powder solution into his mouth! Otherwise he is a cool gentleman. By the way he lives in the third storey of this five-storeyed building.

The ‘lady in red’ as they call her, lives in the fifth storey. She is about fifty years of age I’d imagine. And I bet she must have been a hard-core beauty pageant contestant during her heydays. And as her title suggest she is, except on Sundays heaven knows why, perpetually in her red outfit which has an xtra large color tinged with light blue stripes on the border. I cannot be sure, no one can, whether she wears the same clothing everyday or wears the spare. Ofcourse I have overheard her neighbour, who lives in the fourth storey, tittle-tattling her friends that this is the same and the only red covering the ‘lady in red’ owns! And the quality and hygiene of the LiR in short has often been a point of discussion within the apartment during the regular klatches.

And of course the William’s family. The happiest family perhaps in this whole world I’d reckon! They are 9ine in the family, excluding the parents that is. Eight boys and one and the only daughter, if my math is correct. The desire to have a baby-girl has been the scientific explanation for the biggish family, they reason. They own a little moped, which is normally displayed right infront of the building gate; the fifth son and Mr. Williams alone ride this machine. The other children never got an opportunity to lay a hand on this machine because Mr.Williams’s great grandfather had gifted to his son and then passed on. The fifth son got the privilege to ride this prized engine because he had passed the 8th standard 15 years ago and the rest have failed their parents by dropping out at standard II, all with meticulous uniformity. They have a Zoroastrian descent I gather from the chai-wallah by the road-side. All of them have always come second in their lives and incidentally they also occupy the second storey. Yet they are always happy and smiling, and normally laughing ridiculously.

The lady in the fourth storey of whom I’ve made a mention earlier is a journo by training. She is normally well-kept and trimmed from top to toe. Her apartment is always closed and she never makes an appearance to the neighborhood. Her job schedule she claims. Her door is always closed which she makes up by her chops. She’s known to have a big mouth, both literally and symbolically!

The old couple in the first storey, well they have a long history behind them. But may be we shall dwell on that some other day. Its way past noon and I’m already hungry for my wife’s hand-made food, ordered conveniently from the dhaba next door! I normally pack up by 5 pm and head home, which I shall do right away. By the way, I am a cobbler and have moved in the vicinity precisely twenty months two weeks three days ago looking for greener pastures. The ‘paragon sandals shop’ which had set up base had ruined my game in the old neighbourhood.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Religious Verbosity!


The implausible consistency of some peoples' pleasure for wordiness and their loquacious behaviour is indeed note-worthy. The love of being chatty is definitely not a rare phenomenon though as is evidently exhibited at almost all times, irrespective of social and cultural variations! In short, this is a behaviour transcending cultural and political demarcations making the ‘virtue’ of verbosity a pan-global phenomenon! Well virtue or nuisance is a different debate requiring a different platform for deliberation.
For now, I shall simply pull my attention towards the nature of effusive characters found in no less numbers all around us. The ability of certain people to go on and on without much difficulty has always fascinated my person. Fascinated because of their aptitude to say things (talk) without giving much attention as to whether the audience is least attentive or worse interested at all. The revolutionary leader of the Carribean’s Cuba, Fidel Castro comes to mind in this category of chatty personalities! Ofcourse, the ideology of the same does not constitute our course of discussion presently. And it may also be clarified that there is ground for a distinction between world leaders and the laymen. And ofcourse here we are largely interested in the people who form part and parcel of our daily lives. People who just love talking without much restraint and inhibition. There is no attempt to smear such characters with any prejudice; this initiative is simply a general observation and ofcourse my fascination with their voluble abilities that I lack indeed!!
It does require a serious knack and habit to go on and on talking (yapping, some extremists would vehemently claim!). Such habits are preferably infused in the formative years of an individual when he/she is least prepared to take it. The young mind (orifice) then takes it upon itself as a moral obligation to function relentlessly without respite. These early lessons then gradually take shape and become established habits that come very naturally at later stages of a person’s life without much effort! The flow just comes whenever an opportunity is offered or when it doesn’t is seized, whichever is applicable! They can really talk and talk and talk an audience to death. And whoever survives is perpetually plagued or worse psychologically handicapped by the verbal onslaught of the esteemed speaker!! Well verbosity has always been and will always be an asset for some, a habit for others, and a perpetual threat to few others!
Dedicated to one and all for whom the audience is God and chattering is a religion…!!!