Archive for November, 2009

Metro- the engine that empowers

As you enter the aisle, the flashy fluorescent signboards are only a prelude to the dazzle that you are just about to experience. The digital camera scans your electronic ticket and permits your entry inside and you step into the escalator and glide down to the underground platform in the cool air-conditioned comforts. A cursory glance around suggests that this could well be an international mall; shops selling trendy accessories, pizza joints, internet cafe’ and an array of refreshment kiosks offering anything from coke to cappuccino. And as you stand mesmerized by the ambiance, a rolling beauty in sparkling silver almost quitely slips amongst you and slides open its doors. A soft voice announces  its arrival and the destination that it would take you to. You seamlessly drift into cabin and find yourself in a decor of exquisite craftsmanship and speckless cleanness. The station moves backwards and then you realise that it’s the cabin that your are in that’s moving forward, almost without a whisper.

This could as well be the description of a sub-urban station somewhere in downtown Manhattan or in Frankfurt city centre. But when you realise it’s the Kashmere Gate metro station in the old walled city of Delhi, you cannot but feel proud of our progress. Metro is just one more symbol that proclaims that India has arrived.  And in style!

Delhi Metro is very much a work in progress. But it’s already criss-crossing a substantial part of the national capital transporting thousands of commuters daily, much to the relief of the over-stretched road system.  With fully air-conditioned coaches and a network of  other feeder services, public travel has never been so comfortable, indeed enjoyable, in the city. As Delhi quickly adopts to this changing landscape of public transport, the drudgery of daily travel is finally behind many of the capital’s denizens.

But there are other spin-offs that the Metro has conferred to the city that has almost gone unnoticed by the media. It is now emerging as a vehicle of integrating people who hitherto has lived in separate communities unconnected to each other. Veiled Musilm women, for instance, many of whom have never ventured outside the confines of the walled city, are today seen in large numbers, shopping or just strolling in Connaught Place & in Karol Bagh, thanks to the Metro that gives instant access to these places. And people from Vikas Puri and Rohini just hop into the Metro and travel to Chandi Chowk to enjoy the delicacies that the Parathe Wale Gali has to offer.  This has opened up the floodgate to explore, understand  and appreciate each other better and thereby make priceless contribution in strengthening and cementing inter-community relationships. And with the Metro now crossing over to the nearby Noida, this intregration of the hearts and minds would only become more pronounced in the days and months to come.

Hail the Metro!



November 13, 2009 at 12:52 am Leave a comment

Maa Tuje Salaam!

 “Vande Mataram”  is again reverbarating, not as an inspiring national melody but as a controversy borne out of a view point of the most bigoted nature. The Islamic scholars of the country opined that the national song is unfit for rendering by a true Muslim and issued a fatwa that refrains the faithful from singing it. It is only Allah, the scholars concluded, who is to be venerated and no one else, much less the motherland.

A.R. Rahman’s iconic rendering of the song held the nation spellbound and instantaneously catapulted it as an all-time  favourite among the youth of our country. The  practicing Muslim in Rahaman didn’t find anything blasphemous when he thundered “Vande Mataram” to scintillating music. Nor did the people of India, muslims included,  ever shy away from humming the song. 

Allah is all-pervasive and there is no place where he is not. And by extension of this logic he cannot but be in the motherland too. And when you bow down to your motherland, you are in fact paying obeisance to that one supreme. No “Namaz”  is complete without  prostrating on the earth you stand. Is it not an act of reverence to the land that sustains you?

It’s one’s motherland that is more desirable than even the heavens and the doors of “Jannat” are forever closed to the one who disrespects his motherland. 

 Maa, Tuje Salaam!



November 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm 2 comments

The tale of two, nay three, Gujaratis

Pranava implies the primordial sound that transcends the trilogy of time, space and causation and a sincere practitioner of this sacred chant is assured of an eternal permanence, freed from the limiting and inhibiting nature of the worldly existence.

And when Pranav Mistry unveiled his “Sixth Sense” technology which literally brings the virtual world to your finger tips, what he actually did was to free the knowledge world from the shackles of patent-royalty-licence syndrome. Pranav would soon open-source this technology and with that happening, “Sixth Sense” would gain an omnipresence akin to that of the primordial sound that his name signifies.

With a few random and rhythmic moments of his hands and a pendent fitted to his finger, Pranav resembled more like a master conductor crafting the most rapturous music than like a techie hardwared to bytes and thereby to billions. And when this lad from Gujarat announced that it all for free and that money matters little for him,  he exemplified  the highest traditions of selflessness that has few parallels in today’s much maligned corporate world. 

Juxtapose this gesture with that of the other Gujarati,  the Ambani brothers, and you couldn’t have asked for a more contrasting personalities. The twosome brothers are now fighting each other in the Indian Supreme Court to decide who should get the best spoils of the gas reserves that they supposed to have discovered in the Krishna basins. One of them sees it as his fiefdom to amass unrestrained wealth by selling this national resource to the highest bidder and the other trying to grab a share of the cake. It just doesn’t matter to either of the Ambani brothers that the gas reserves has been there over a few millions of years, much before mankind appeared on the face of this earth. For this Gujarati brothers it’s money alone that matters!

Of these contrasts, one shall be consigned to the dustbin of history and no prizes for guessing the correct answer. And the other, glorified forever for going beyond the self.



November 8, 2009 at 7:17 pm 4 comments

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