I Love My india

"I WANT TO GO ABROAD" This statement was put to me by some friends who are fed up with the current state of affairs in our country today. So fed up in fact that that they are waiting for an opportunity to get away from it all and settle in a nice foreign land. Sadly, I feel pity for them.

It really set me thinking! I haven't traveled to Europe, the US or even to Africa. I admit that my knowledge about them is limited. From what I have read and seen on T.V., I learned much about different cultures and marveled at the extent of development and social security which exists in the advanced world. However,I am sure that within a couple of weeks of leaving my motherland, pangs of homesickness would begin for me and there never would be a greater feeling than the joy of returning home. I must be seeing something that some others don’t so I must share my optimism!

First, let me try to understand the frustration of my friends who perhaps have tasted the joy of living abroad and find it difficult to readjust on their return. Wherever one goes, in our big cities, one sees similar sights. Less privileged people going about their morning rituals on railway tracks, open spaces and even in secluded subways. Then again, there are those who are better off, but think nothing about stopping their cars on the roadside to relieve the pressure on their bladder. As we look further, the filth and squalor of our slums is appalling. In major cities, poor people are used to live under the local train platform of station. I would see people squatting on the tracks until the train was almost upon them and then disappear. My stomach would churn and then as the train sped away they would re-emerge from below the platform! That I later understood was their home. Dharavi in Mumbai’s monsoon, the open air camps in the peak of the Delhi summer and winter, all tell the same story. The infrastructure industry, people say is booming. We are building more roads, more flyovers, more offices and more housing. Migrant labour flows in from everywhere. What arrangements do we make for them? No toilet facilities, inhuman living conditions and half the prescribed daily wage which is abysmally low anyway. If that will not encourage filth and squalor what else do we expect? The myth of India Shining and an 8% growth rate seems to explode in our face.

There are many sides to the marvellous Kaleidioscope that is India. I have found it in some of the journeys I was privileged to make and some that i want to make through our vast and beautiful land. Few sights I have seen in this lifetime can match the tranquil peace of Old Manali. The surreal beauty of the Alps is matched if not bettered by the majesty of the Himalayas which I have seen on my trips to Chardham in the Garhwal Himalaya. The beauty of the coffee and pepper plantations in the Mercara area of Coorg and the tea gardens in Assam soothes the senses and inspires the soul. The charming innocence of the hill children of Darjeeling has to be seen to be believed, as has the hope in the eyes of the many Tibetans who have made Darjeeling their home. The Darjeeling tea and the awesome view of the Kanchenzonga come a distant second. The sonorous chants of the Buddhist Monks in the Dalai Lama’s abode in Dharmashala are a far better stress reliever than any new fangled management exercise. The savage beauty of the Brahmaputra valley, the silvery glow of the upper Ganga and the Alaknanda and the emerald green of the Mandakini rivers are a sight to behold as they make descent to the plains from the snow clad Himalayas.

In addition to natural beauty, the magnificent grandeur and architectural brilliance of our historical monuments would give Rome and Florence a run for their money. I could go on and on but I think I have said enough..

Moreover, while extolling the virtues of India, how can I not mention our cuisine. That however is on another blog of mine! There are of course many wonderful cuisines round the world but in my book, there is no match for a homely Indian vegetarian and Non Vegetarian meal.

If you are looking inspirational stories in business and industry our India abounds in them. Success stories like Dr. Kurien and Amul are now part of the management curriculum in B-Schools. The Dabbawalas of Mumbai have attained 6-Sigma levels and are the subject of research for PhD scholars.

In 1959, seven women started making papads for supplementing the family income, with a loan of Rs.80/-. Lijjat papad is a 300 crore industry today and a truly enduring sign of self enabled women empowerment.

In 1958, a young lad of 16 with no education worth the name left his village in Gujarat to seek his fortune in the Middle East. He worked as a petrol pump attendant, a clerk and various other odd jobs. He made some money in arbitraging currency and silver. With the capital, he returned to India and started a trading house which gradually grew into a huge textile company. The man of course was Dhirubhai Ambani the scion of the Reliance Group.

In 1977, a bright young man returned leaving two semesters of his course in Stanford University unfinished, on hearing of the death of his father. He never returned to Stanford and stayed to run the family business “Western Indian Vegetable Products”. The name of the young man was Aziz Premji the family business grew into Wipro and Premji made it to the Forbes' list of billionaires. Narayan Murthy and 6 of his friends decided to float a company which wrote code in a Bangalore apartment with a seed capital of $250 and the good wishes of their spouses, in 1981. The company was Infosys and the rest as they say is history.

Finally, there is the story of the son of a boat builder in Rameswaram, who grew up watching the seagulls fly and dreamed of making planes. His father rented out boats to pay for his education. After much heart burn, frustration and hard work the boy got a degree in aeronautical engineering. From then on, he went from strength to strength and is regarded as the Father of the Indian Missile program. Yes, he is none other than our President, Dr. Abdul Kalaam.

Do you still see no hope for this country! Our country is what we make of it. If we choose to only retain the images of traffic jams, slums and corruption, we are doing ourselves and our great nation injustice. For this is a nation built on sacrifice, valor and culture that no other country can match. So then why do people go abroad?! For money?! for Better sights? For better living conditions? I guess if a person is not comfortable in his own skin, then he won't be in someone else's as well.

Jai Hind.

Being Single

"I'm Single". The two most interesting words I've ever come across. Interesting cause they make one either look at you with contempt thinking there must be something terribly wrong with you OR with a lot of respect thinking you are a guy who doesn't sell cheap to anyone.

I have been judged in both respects by almost everyone I know for sometime (almost a year) now. Everyone in my friend circle is either coupled or married. Being the only single guy among a group of friends can be interesting yet difficult sometimes.

The first thing everyone is curious to know is - WHY are you still SINGLE? There is a conundrum involved in the answer.
Thats cause there are only honest two possible answers to this - 1) Lack of options or 2) Still waiting for that special someone.

Whichever I choose as my answer doesn't matter. That's cause everyone's interpretation of the answer is different.

Lemme explain it a bit. Lets start with 1) Lack of options : There are some usual reasons for having lack of options. Either one is a ghastly looking pot bellied hairy beast whose breath smells of rats excreta with no money and future prospects.

Well that could be one of the reasons for me being single in an alternate reality, cause in this one to say the least I got no such problems. Being tolerably handsome and a little above a personal poverty line, to being educated enough to not require a BPO or KPO as paymasters in this lifetime, I got it covered. Then why still lack of options You may ask. Well let me dwell a little deeper into this mystery.

I haven't been always single you see. I have had my fair share of romantic escapades for many years now. The trouble is none of it lasted. Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was her and sometimes it was the fear of unknown (love, marriage, career all inclusive). My friends always wonder why out of everyone they know is a guy like Gaurav still single. Want me to be brutally honest? Lack of options. What exactly are these options that I've been cribbing about for so long now? Well let's start with "single" women. Where are they?! I mean like they are almost extinct in my dictionary. Where are the 24-25 old single women
who are interesting, educated and pretty? Nowhere to be found if you ask me. Either they are all spoken for, coupling or married. And even if they are there, I am really zapped about where to find them. Hmm.. Hotspots to hangout for single pretty ladies? LoL.. DOESN'T EXIST. I mean it's not that I haven't tried. I have tried the places where I'm likely to meet interesting single women. Clubs, lounges, Internet, book cafe's etc to be some of them. Heck i have even stooped to the level of asking my friends and their wives or gf's to hook me up with some of their single women friends but without much success.

There was a time when women were a dime a dozen. I had enough dates to fill up a whole calender. The trouble is that.. I used to think this can and will continue forever. Damn! Was I wrong. I really don't know what happens to women who are over 22/23 in Indian context. They get this sudden rush for finding a committed guy. Now this guy might not be good looking, he might not
have a 5 year plan either. Just as long he is committed, he will do. Too bad I wasn't this guy when I was 22/23.. i was just having a lot of fun n fooling around. That's cause I thought I can pull off this phase for a next few years to say atleast. I was wrong. I was so so wrong. Not only did the options started becoming scarce, there came a point that I became kind of desperate and was accepting anyone coming my way just as long as she had the female anatomy. Then one day, I just gave up on all this and put all my focus and energy on my work. It payed off quite well too!!

Well and that's what I have been doing for the past 1 whole year! "Being Single" and actually enjoying it! After all What's wrong with being single? A whole lot if you go by what you see around you. Whether you visit a bookstore or a library, watch television, go to the movies, listen to friends and family, adopt the values of society, or read the newspaper, messages about couplehood prevail. Little is spoken about being single, except as a condition to avoid like the plague. In the dawn of a new millennium, it's time to say what being single is really all about.

1) Being Single I don't have to tolerate moodiness & nagging.
2) I can appreciate my independence
3) I can control my finances
4) I have more time for activities
5) I don't have to focus on other persons annoying personal habits
6) I can be spontaneous
7) I can focus much better on my work n career
8) I can be my own boss
9) I can date and flirt as I please without having any guilt or fear
10) I can get an early good nights sleep without having to be on the phone till 2:00 a.m.

Coming down to my second answer - "I haven't met someone special.." Well that's a lie. I believe all the women I have been with have been special to me in their own unique way. They taught me so much about all that I knew so less. Even though it didn't work out between me n them, it doesn't matter cause I don't blame them. It was me.. I just wasn't ready to commit.

There I said it.. I had commitment issues. The reasons were simple.. business was good and I was in demand. Why is commitment such a big problem for a man? I think that for some reason when a man is driving down that freeway of love, the woman he's with is like an exit, but he doesn't want to get off there. He wants to keep driving. And the woman is like, "Look, feul, food, lodging, that's our exit, that's everything we need to be happy...Get off here, now!" But the man is focusing on sign underneath that says, "Next exit 27 kms," and he thinks, "I can make it." Sometimes he can, sometimes he can't. Sometimes, the car ends up on the side of the road, hood up and smoke pouring out of the engine. He's sitting on the curb all alone, "I guess I didn't realize how many miles I was racking up".

Now when i'm almost 26 and all the good single women are almost out of sight, I realize the mistakes I have done. If there is one important lesson that I have learnt over the years, is that life is not static. Things change, people change and life moves on. But there are always a few special people "unique" in their ways who you just do not let go thinking that I can get someone better. Cause quite honestly.. there isn't such a thing as a perfect girl or guy. It's just about trying to make stuff work even if things are not going smooth. It's more about giving than taking. It's about being comfortable as who you are at that very moment and not caring about what future holds in stored. I realize all this now after being single for a whole year.

But things are looking optimistic to me. I think all hope is not lost. I am still not giving up on me. I know that there is a girl out there for me. She just doesn't know it yet. It doesn't matter how much time it might take me to find her. cause
till then, I am going to make the most of my singledom, as this time when I do find her, I am not letting go.

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