Does This Make Me Any Less Patriotic?

In a recent post; I had posed a question (that I had been asked by a British couple): “Are you happy with your country?”

I got quite a few responses. Among these, the very first one (by Mihir Modi) is very close to what I had in mind when I responded. I just could not express myself as well. And well, most of the responses were along similar lines – that there are problems; but every country has them; and that people are happy with India.

However, I was not convinced with that answer. Somehow, for some reason, I could not convince myself that I am indeed happy with my country. And that is when two other comments came in (by Deepak and IndianHomeMaker). I agree with their comments. Now, its all very clear to me.

I love my country and am strongly patriotic. I know we have lot of potential to make it big in any field. BUT, I am not happy with the current state of affairs in my country. Not even close to. There are too many things that are wrong. Forget about politicians or the other “hated” breed of people. I am not happy with even the common man. The way we common people vote, drive, conduct ourselves, practice the highest degree of hypocrisy - we just may deserve the detestable politicians that we get.

This does not mean that I should sit and crib. No. I want to do my bit in improving things around. I want to play my role in a slow revolution. I want to show the world what We, as Indians, are capable of. But the answer to the original question is: "No- I am not happy with my country."

I leave you with this video of actor Rahul Bose giving a speech (at OASIS 2k9, BITS Pilani) on what his Dream for India is. Do watch it if you have not already.

Original Youtube link here.

Looking forward to the day when the answer to this question will be a resounding YES. JAI BHARATH.

Sena interview on Sachin Controversy: Behind-The-Scenes

CNN-IBN ran an interview on their talk show “Talking Point”; and the topic was “Sachin versus Sena” (transcript here). You've got to read it. Do you notice how the Shiv Sena's supposed “spokesperson” Rahul Narvekar seems to have taken a course on “how-to-appear-as-unconvincing-as-possible” before attending this show? He almost appears to be a pet animal of Balasaheb Thackeray and not the spokesperson!

And that thought conjures up interesting behind-the-scene visualizations. I can imagine the scene at Thackeray's house just before Rahul Narvekar was dispatched to attend the interview:

Bal Thackeray (BT): Kuthlya tari channel ni aaplyaala interview saathi bolaavla aahe. Kon zaanaar? (Some channel has invited us for an interview. Who wants to go?)

Rahul Narvekar (RN): Bow-wow

BT: Rahul, tu zaanaar? Nakki? (Rahul, you'l go? Are you sure?)

RN: Woof-woof

BT (in Marathi of course – I do not have the patience to translate and type all of it in Marathi): Ok. Go ahead. But do remember that whatever I have stated on the issue is the final word. Do not contradict anything that I said.

RN: Bow-wow. Ooooooo, Woof-woof,, bowowowoowow woof?

BT: Yes, they are sure to ask that question. Make sure don't paint a negative picture of Sachin. I have already dug my own grave by making that totally uncalled-for statement.

RN (Tail between his hind-legs): Waaiill, howwwlll, barkbark wowbowwoof?

BT: Rahul, you are the spokesperson. Do I have to tell you everything? Anyways, if they ask you “Sachin just said he's an Indian first; what's wrong with that?”, just change the topic, stall, or deflect it, or say our Supremo has spoken and that is final.

RN: woooooooof waaiiiiilll?

BT: Well, if they ask you “What is the Shiv Sena trying to prove by this outburst against the national icon?” - just say something unintelligible like “A clear reading of the article in Saamna will resolve the issue”. Don't forget to end the statement with something like “Our Supremo has spoken and there is no question of anyone speaking after that”.

RN (tail wagging, ears cocked up): Bow-wow.


And that, dear friends, is how we got to witness this most enlightening interview in recent history.

Are You Happy With Your Country?

I just returned from a trip to Europe (snaps here; and travelogues to follow shortly). Met lots of interesting people and had nice little experiences and anecdotes. I'd like to share one here.

I was in a villa in Spain run by a retired British couple, Liz and John. One fine evening they were entertaining me with stories from their travails all over the world (they've travelled far and wide); and I was giving them snapshots into Indian life. Suddenly, Liz asks me:

So, Kiran, are you happy with your country?”

Now I know this is not a question that can be answered in a yes/no manner. But I'd still like to know how you'd respond to that. Are you happy with your country of origin? Your country of residence?

As for me, I stuttered and stammered and changed my answer between “yes” and “no” several times before throwing up my hands and saying that it is a really tough question to answer – especially when asked out-of-the-blue.

Its amazing how people you barely know and whom you meet far away from home can inject such stimulus into your thought process!

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