Jai Shree Ram

Although I was not old enough to understand what was happening back in late 1992 and why, I was old enough to remember the general mood of those days. Near my place, there’s a railway station and whichever train to Ayodhya used to pass at that time, people used to shower the people (Karsevaks) with flower petals and provide them with food for the journey ahead. Some nearby temples had been provided some sort of a Brass lamp (or only in some temples it was taken one by one by the rath yatra?). There were saffron flags and stickers from VHP all around and graffiti with phrases like ‘Mandir wahin banayenge‘ and ‘6 Dec Ayodhya Chalo‘ are still etched onto the memory as they were then. Many other scary things happened soon but I was too young to grasp them fully at that time.

Then I grew up and realized that this religion thing, if not an unnecessary hassle, isn’t that impressive after all. People did too much hullabaloo for something that will eventually get stuck in the never-ending judicial battles, as that is the only peaceful way. By that, it essentially meant that it wouldn’t be resolved in our lifetime. As I grew up further, studying history in school and otherwise pushed me farther and farther from rituals and practices. History education drilled in us that as a Civilization, we haven’t had a win for millennia. What we got in 1947 was the only exception but it came with an even bigger Conditions Apply* caveat. Religion was one of the core reasons why we have ended up in such a place and haven’t recovered properly, yet. In my 20s, I had made up my mind. Fighting for/against religion is a lost cause. I should mind my own business in a way that keeps everyone around me happy by doing the bare minimum, and everyone away from me who believes in strict ideologies, away. I think I went on declaring that for a country that has usually seen so much bloodbath due to religion, shouldn’t the place be used for a Hospital or a School? A temple or Mosque would keep us divided further. I am pretty sure, people who had similar experiences would’ve felt the same.

Then I grew up further and realized the word religion itself doesn’t necessarily represent what we have in this country. For example, the 26 alphabets and their combinations in Roman cannot truly convey how we Indians use a plethora of more alphabets in our languages. I don’t know how to comprehend ‘zh’ but I know how to pronounce ‘ळ’. Similarly, our beliefs and traditions don’t need any validation from others who see us from a different lens. I read further, broadened my horizons, and grew older. With age and experience, it has finally dawned on me that by not indulging in certain traditions with full fervor I could be seen as an atheist to devout Hindus but for non-Hindus, I am going to remain a Hindu. This means 2 things. One, it is perfectly alright to not go deep with rituals and traditions but remain a Hindu like the Charvakas. One can live happily as long as I am not being intrusive in other’s beliefs. There’s no need to be apologetic for following something or not following something. This calls for a detailed post in itself but in Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism, the usual definition of religion doesn’t fit. Two, for anyone whom I interact with, my identity would be assumed as a Hindu. So, in essence, being an Indian, I am going to be perceived as a Hindu by default.

So, I changed my beliefs. I think as a Civilization, we should see our past objectively. We certainly have had problems but we also had many things good. The last millennium didn’t treat us positively. We lost many things and thanks to how our education system remained post-independence, we remained a low confidence nation for decades. Some confidence is returning now. It is important to rebuild the lost causes to increase confidence further. We do have the right to reclaim certain places, objects, or symbols if they were taken away from us unceremoniously. However, the means need to be thought out and utmost care should be taken to not create an upheaval and disturb the growth trajectory our Country is on right now. It would take longer but that would be the right thing to do. That is the true meaning of following the dharma.

We know what happened in 1992 and have no qualms in saying that it could’ve been handled differently. But post that, the law was indeed followed and the matter was resolved in 2019. I don’t know if I have any desire to visit Ayodhya (too much crowd anyway) but the event suggested that we are now looking back at our past without shame and moving forward with heads held high. One would be naive and partially blind to not see what the current mood is. If there’s saffron everywhere around, it certainly shows that’s the desire of the population. I would like to also say one important thing here. While I am alright with public displays of faiths and beliefs at certain places, I understand where such beliefs should see themselves out and rationality comes into play. Having said that, it is not just to ask people to calm down when an event, as big as this one, took almost 5 centuries to come to fruition. Our mentality of appeasing should stop now. Why should one faith be asked to tone down when nobody else tones down when it comes to their ways? If others have the right to enjoy the freedom to pursue their religion, everyone else has that right equally. That’s the definition of secularism. Obviously, in an Indian context, the government isn’t secular and has never been secular. If anyone goes overboard, it is the responsibility of the law to check that. One cannot be asked to not feel happy if they feel elated. One’s snobbery cannot be forced upon others.

One individual’s individual belief is too insignificant compared to this civilization and the unwavering faith people have. Religion isn’t going anywhere but religion and dharma are 2 different things. The civilization in this country has seen various churns and revolutions. It is now time to learn about it objectively. Fix the cracks and strengthen the foundations. We have to look forward while not forgetting the past. I welcome the direction in which we as a country are moving towards. There will be course corrections and sails would be adjusted if need be but the momentum should be preserved.

Needless to say, the header pic is from the original fundamental rights page of our Constitution. Ram has been part of this civilization and if we aim to be a Ram Rajya, we have to be ready to face dire challenges but keep unwavering faith that this Civilization is here to stay and become better.

Jai Hind!

Jai Shree Ram!

Books I read in 2023

Sorry to disappoint everyone who expected me to read a lot but I was able to read only 5 books this year. (All links are Amazon Affiliate Links). Adding my one-line review in CAPS for help.

Same as EverEVERYONE SHOULD READ IT

FaithfulnessEVERYONE SHOULD READ IT

How to Fail at Almost Everything & Still Win BigGOOD LIFE LESSONS, EASILY ONE OF THE MOST FRIENDLY SELF-HELP BOOKS.

Ram – Scion Of Ikshvaku – PHILOSOPHICAL AND WELL WRITTEN

The Gita – CLASSIC INDEED

Namaskaara 2024

ಇಂದು ವರ್ಷದ ಮೊದಲ ದಿನವಾಗಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ನಿಮ್ಮೆಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಹೊಸ ವರ್ಷದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳನ್ನು ಕೋರುತ್ತೇನೆ.

We are well aware that nowadays nobody can read past 1-2 lines because of our declining attention span. Therefore, by writing the 1st paragraph 100% in Kannada and not a mere 60% like a hypocrite, I think my job is done. Continuing further in the language we all love to hate but cannot live without at this point in time, i.e. English.

This blog is about Time.

I recently picked up a book called:

Affiliates Link https://amzn.to/3U1I0YX

And if you are expecting a joke, here it is: I gave it up after a few pages of reading. I will probably go back to this later but too many things are happening way too fast in the world and one cannot catch up with them all. And still, it feels like nothing is happening. If you go by the trends and fads these days, it would appropriately be called: Millenials are getting old.

2024 is here. When you last blinked it was 2019. Since I have been just repeating this line every year for the last few years, I am going to stop doing it from now on. I was recently sternly reminded by someone that I am still stuck in the lockdown (mentally) and it’s time to move on and smell the coffee. Fair enough, it is indeed time to move on and accept the reality. Even though some new variants are still lurking around, mostly everyone else has moved on and started doing normal things like living their lives, buying new things, expanding their families, traveling, and creating jams on the highways.

2023 was a year that also finished pretty quickly, in my opinion. I have been complaining about how time is zooming away for the last few years. The theory of time flying is easily understood by this wonderful graphic by Tim Urban.

It also boils down to the same old adage. Without new experiences, every day looks the same. Unless one tries to do things differently or try new stuff deliberately, even this year would be over in a jiffy. Hopefully, this year things will be interesting if not dramatically better. After all, our country would go through General Elections (which is also a good hint to stop watching the news and leave Social Media). AI would become more and more popular even if it is still not really AI, but it’s fine, why be a snob? Let’s call it AI. And so on.

The responsibility lies on us, we have to be the change we want to see in the world. Like many past years, I don’t have any New Year resolutions. I am just going to try to read more books and control bhook (hunger) in general.

But I am going to sincerely try to be more creative and less of a consumer. I don’t know how long I can do that but I have given up my Netflix subscription already. Prime Video already has everything on Rent or in other words it is useless. Nothing is there to watch on Disney Hotstar and after the debacle on November 19, 2024, opening the app itself gives me shivers. I still have a YouTube Premier subscription but it is mostly used to have an uninterrupted viewing of important channels like Pink Fong and Cocomelon. So, to change a few things, I have started to read more and ordered a few graphic novels (review soon).

That’s the mantra for 2024 then: Create More, Consume Less.

Happy New Year to anyone who landed on this page and continued to read till here!

Header Photo by Ananthan Loggi on Unsplash

100 Days

Of return to Bengaluru

Ulsoor Lake

Ulsoor Lake

It’s been 100 days since I returned back to Bengaluru and have started to travel to work. Few observations, in no particular order:

  1. I wanted to avoid Traffic and Weather in this post but all in vain. No matter what, these 2 topics always come up in every other conversation. This city needs to rise up above this.
  2. Roads and Traffic are slightly better. At least on the ways I travel.
  3. So heartening to see Metro work nearing completion at some places.
  4. Rain now ruins both the road and the traffic like never before.
  5. New Eateries have opened up. They are now bigger, crowdier, and more Instagram-worthy! Many old places are now gone too. May be every 10 years things have a churn. This time may be due to Pandemic, changes are more intensive. Few comments:
    • The Rameshwaram Cafe: so much crowd that you want to avoid. But so much hype that you want to visit. Repeat.
    • The Filter Coffee, Indiranagar: becoming new Favorite. USP: Sambhar is not sweet here.
    • Iron Hill, ORR: Loved it.
    • Long Boat, ORR: Okayish.
  6. Working from Home, 3 days a week. Same feeling as earlier.
  7. Working from Office, 2 days a week. Welcome change. New faces. New seat. New view. But, it is not the same as earlier because it is still not feeling organic.
  8. Cycling is bliss. I bought a new one and am now very tempted to go everywhere on that. But, the mindset to give up generating pollution takes some time. Hopefully, the frequency of cycling increases.
  9. All the past relationships are almost vanished. Several people have moved out, or are yet to come back. Faces are becoming hard to remember.
  10. I am not regretting the return as much as I thought I would. It is like I just went away for a small break and life has become back to the way it was.

All in all, the return to Bengaluru is old news now. Things are returning to old times. Old is the new normal, I think.

Moved

So move is now complete. But the unpacking might take 200 more years. The money I saved by not renting a place last year has all been spent in moving and settling down. Fortunately new place is 90% same as my old place. So it’s all nostalgia and Deja Vu but hey paint is new!

Talking of nostalgia and Deja Vu, I went back to office today after exactly 3 years having been there last on March 11, 2020. Not sure why but I couldn’t stop smiling all the way from the parking lot to the desks. The feeling of sitting and working from office is a thing I craved for so long. I am not a proponent of working from office full-time anymore but with office, there’s so purpose in life and it feels like moving forward. Though the lights in office were too bright and the mood was as usual lull.

The sounds of mouse clicks, keyboard typing and occasional telephone was a welcome change. Seeing people waiting in cafeteria in a queue to get food was joyful for some reason.

Moving is a task and it takes a lot of money, let alone effort. It would be lot more fun if the move is intentional and working from home or office is voluntary.

Moving

12000 years ago, when Homo Sapiens had had enough of it, they decided to settle down. Their main motivation was to grow food themselves instead of running behind it. After finding a decent place by the river, where breeze was nice, neighbour sapiens were not too nosy, wild animals were distant, noise was minimum and view was decent they all decided to stay there. After spending 5 minutes or so, someone said, wait there’s a better place elsewhere. After giving a collective sigh of frustration, they all picked up their domesticated animals, bags full of produce, and a quintal or so of stuff they had gathered around on the way and bartered from nearby, moved to a new place. Again, after 5 mins, someone said, wait there’s a new place where even the weather is awesome, let’s move there. They again got up, and left for the new place. And, the cycle continues.

People move all the time. Some moves are intentional, some are forced, some are coincidental. Packing your stuff and then finding that most of the stuff wasn’t even supposed to be bought, let alone be packed, is a tiring job. And an expensive one too when you lack the enthusiasm to pack anything yourself and rely heavily on Packers/Movers folks.

I am going to go back to Bangalore after about 20 months. Although I have only worked during all these months so it feels like only 20 days. The stay in Jaipur has been a bliss but I hardly enjoyed as much as I should have. Nevertheless that’s to be discussed in a different post.

No place is perfect, (except Jaipur of course), but Bangalore has got really bad rap in last 2 years. Flooding, excessive increase in traffic, rent brouhaha, construction mishaps, recession impacts and general saturation induced by techbrospeak have just added to more confusion about whether moving back is the right decision or working from home forever and getting old sitting in same place is.

But as we know, negative news gets more votes than good news, so it’s time to take up the challenge and delve into the struggle again. Let’s see how much things have changed and what life brings. With some added responsibility, I would be back in Bengaluru tomorrow. This might also energize this blog too.

See you from the other side.

Hello 2023

I can’t be the only one who still thinks March 2020 was just a few days ago. Many things have changed since then but some part of the mind hasn’t moved on. Maybe it would move on once someone officially says that “Pandemic is over now. Go and enjoy life like there’s no fear!”. I know, I know that 90% of the world has already assumed this and that’s great! Hopefully, 2023 would be the year when we actually move past this and start afresh.

Also, I didn’t do a roundup of the whole of last year this time. In fact, I did only 1 blog post in the whole of 2022. I usually write when I want to write as a habit. Or when I feel something strongly about something (even if that strong feeling is temporary). But in 2022, I didn’t feel strongly about anything and I didn’t want to delve into a habit that cannot be sustained.

While sounding bold, here are my predictions for the year 2023, for the world and myself. Humor me:

World

Work from Home / Hybrid Work / Regular Office fans would try to stick to what they like and if someone tries to force them to do the other, it would lead to friction and that would generate heat. This might lead to further division in society and an increase in global warming. Blame Modi for this, of course. Meanwhile, choose your favorite while adjusting to what your manager wants.

Ukraine Russia War will reach its conclusion this year.

India-China Competition will intensify. India will try to manufacture like China and ‘Made in India’ will become synonymous with ‘Made in China’.

AI-generated content may seem novel and exciting at first, but it will eventually become just as mundane and predictable as human-generated content. This is because both AI and humans are limited by their programming and experiences, leading to a limited range of ideas and expressions.

Obviously, the above paragraph is from ChatGPT.

https://chat.openai.com/chat

MCU vs DC rivalry (which isn’t a rivalry as MCU has already won) will diffuse and a new superhero movie or series would change everything. It won’t be The Boys even if that seems anti to everything.

Reels and Social Media – Social media is dead. How long ago did you spend a whole day on Facebook now when you can waste it watching Reels/Tictoc/Shorts. The shortest video snippet-type content would stay and would become the biggest waster of time on the planet.

Electric Vehicles will become normal. Their charging stations should start appearing everywhere. Outside actual petrol pumps as well as near your favorite paan shops.

Elon Musk would get tired of his own tweets and start to concentrate on making some things that are actually useful for humanity.

Personal

I have to move back to Bengaluru and find a new place to stay. Whatever savings I have done in the past 1 year would be evaporated for the new accommodation. I haven’t watched KGF yet so not sure if Karnataka is open to accepting me again.

I will definitely visit the office this year while inhaling the freshly stale air of office air conditioning, regret coming back.