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the quest e-mag


Inside

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The Age Of ‘'Can - Do' Karma Have You Heard Of Me? I am change The Show Behind The Show Kahaani Youth - Youth - Kii With Best Regards (Hiralal & Co.) Paradigm Shift The Idiot Box Prostitution Amongst The Youth Petsvilla Kasab : The Martyr? Vision Without Sight The Traffic Of Your Thoughts The Secret Finish Strong Terror In My Backyard Poll Stop Domestic Violence, Now. Mahabharata - Indo-Pak Context You Dare Not! The Youth And The Spiritual Who Killed Leonardo - Da - Vinci? Et Cetera

Disclaimer the quest is a sarcastic critique. It is a positive vision for the society. It does not intend to target or hurt any specifications an case of gender, caste, religion etc.

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Editorial

Aah ! Yhellow Readers. . . Hope you are tuned inn to Pink Floyd ( pink health) :P ! Hmmm... Kalmadi woes, Swine flu banging in again, reality bites and some untold stories. Let us lead with a fast forward generation. Filhaal, we have some exquisite real-time kahaaniis to share in the first ! After 60+ years of Independence, Hindustaan is heading to an all new direction, altogether ! Well, there's lot more than what you can ever imagine !! Welcome us with a cheerful heart. Happy Reading ; Healthy Interacting !

*the quest doest not endorse the views of its contributors or guarantee originality. The contributions are carried in good faith.


the age of ‘can - do’ karma Idealism is dead. Long live idealism. In the age of MMS, the Indian youth displays an astounding agility in sides stepping political and moral minefields. The can – do generation is intrinsically blesses with the ability to shift body beautiful from coyness to correctness with the aplomb of an athlete and the coolness of a rap artist. For sheet pragmatism this generation would outscore every ge neration living and dead. In fact those born before 1970 may almost find this generation cynically pragmatic. Those born in a bipolar, cold war – congested didactics and monarchical democrats when per capita political freedom had a greater baring than per capita income and gross national contentment reigned over gross national product. However, those born after 1970 have witnessed the fall of the Berlin wall. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of per capita income as the ruling mantra. Because the battle for a liberal democracy had already been won. Because by the 80's Indian had overcome the phantom of famines. Because by the 90's the archaic licence raj had been lifted and entrepreneurial sprits had been unleashed. By the mid – 90's satellite TV brought what – can – be to the living rooms of the how – will – we section. They know that the difference between success and failure rests in bridging the gap between ability and potential. Of course, in the absence of precedents it is difficult to chart the evolution of the kinetics of correctness. It could be argued that this trend of stated political pragmatism can be read in the Mahabharata. But this generation exhibits a remarkable ability to articulate obligatory correctness even as it cohabits with contradicting reality. For those who were in college or even at work in the 70's the most significant event would be the fight for fundamental rights during the emergency. The most tragic events were the secessionist upsurge in Punjab and Kashmir that almost ripped apart the idea of India. But for the nearly 300 million youngsters across the country it is India's victory for the battle of heights in Cargill that in the most significant event. For it is the first and the only tie that India

- Pravin Nikam

was at war or almost at war since they were born close or its heels comes the Gujarat riots which tore apart the theology of a secular India, leaving the youth questioning the very “ism”. In a sense, both struck at the idea of nationalism. Also causing concern were the fall of the Babri Masjid, elections in Kashmir and the pouring up of the country's economy. As with the previous generations this one too is concerned with a burgeoning billion – plus population. While economists the world over may be thrilled over the demographic opportunity for growth, the youth are concerned about the bulge. You could say they are concerned about the density of population and corruption or about the increasing competitiveness for every toehold. Both the previous and Gen Next are concerned with the idea of India and views its vulnerabilities with seriousness. Contradictions though are more glaring, even intriguing. Nearly two of the three young Indians believe that dynastic politics is not acceptable. You could almost visualise a rebellion against family affairs in politics brewing here. Yet they didn't quite vote with their opinion. The 2004 elections saw over 240 political families in the fray and in some families more than one member who stood and got elected. Another instance of contradictory cohabitation s their stand on those with criminal records fighting the polls. Where the youth do think people with criminal records should not be allowed to contest elections. Another area of delicate ambivalence is corruption. Indeed, this generation has seen more corruption that the previous ones. Since 1987, when the Bofors scandal rocked the country, India has seen over a dozen major scandals involving over Rs.11,000 core with only one conviction by the courts. But there is a delicate dithering on the root cause as some feel it is the individual Perhaps this is a signal for more reforms, for a more effective judicial system or a reflection on the resource scare country. Normally, exercising the franchise is a thrilling event when one comes of political age. Perhaps it is this inability to make the change,

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correct the course of events that has led to a large section of the youth abstaining from voting in the general elections. One of four in the 25-35age group didn't cost the ballot. There is a fabric of thought uniting the past with the present. When it comes to loving the nation and the tricolour, today's youth is as passionate as any other generation. More than any other since the Maurya period, this generation has a long going for it. India is billed to be second biggest economy by 2035. This generation is living the dreams of previous generation so what is the young people practise practical, not political correctness and so what if they are agile in their ideas of morality. They share the pride, the identity of being a denizen of an emerging superpower.

pragmatic. It is the onset of a new morality, and it comes from the traditional source of change the youth Youth are against the religious political parties trying to divide the nation on the basis of Ram and Rahim. In spite of the Gandhi mystique as played out by mother, son and daughter, the dynasty has ceased to dazzle the youth, crown prince and new daughter of the east don't happen to be the role models for the politically mature Indian youth. In national security too, the Indian youth are for India first, even after 57 years of independence, the post 1965 generation is not afraid of going to war with Pakistan again if the unpredictable neighbour ignores or sabotages India's peace initiatives. Both the intent and identity of the Indian youth have undergone tremendous changes in the past 30 years. Mall crawling may be the urban youths new pastime but they are idealists when it comes to national well – being. The pleasant surprise is : In a biologically young India, the nation is no longer a bad word. The tradition defying radicalism of the 1960's vintage is passé. The revolution is long dead. It is cool to be conformist. The Indian youth are growing up to the cultural as well as political delight of India.

The at – home nationalist Do they lie for lust and idolise for the sake of idealism? Oscar Wilde once said, “I am not young enough to know everything” but today's youth has a say something like: “We are old enough to know everything”. They have definite views on love and sex politics and potato, war and work ship business and Bollywood. And the young are nor going gaga over the Gandhis. The Indian youth are politically incorrect but know how to protect their interest in politics as well as business. They are at a crossroad. The young think global but remain quintessentially Indian – and culturally conservative. Premarital sex, no kissing in public places, no in spite of Mallika Sherawat and Kareena Kapoor, and they would rather ban sexually explicit videos. Steel king Laxmi Mittal may spend a few billion dollars on his daughter's wedding, but today the youth are like against extravagant marriages. They would like to be entrepreneurs, but they are sceptical about the stock market. Today's youth list winning the Cargill was as the defining moment of recent Indian History. A profile in contradictions? Rather, what's on display is a pronounced sense of Indianness. The old stereotype is dead. The objective “ Indian ” is no longer an embarrassment. It defines the nation that you have to repudiate certain national traits to be modern. The sense of the nation has staged a remarkable comeback. The young have an emotional convenant with the nation. And emotion doesn't make them less

The bold and the dutiful Young India has given sex the meanings it never had the tools, accessories and vocabulary to design a sexual fantasy are all there in flamboyant excess. Good now means sexy, whether it is ideas, people, car, houses, deals or meals. Everyone is a babe if not a sweetheart. Being sexy or feeling so seems to have become effortless. Particularly for the young, because they are the victims of sex brought or sold. The rising sales of sexuality are reflected in the responses of the youth. There is a slight departure from the conservative reluctance. Sex is becoming hotter but romance is getting cold feet. The effortlessness behind sex appeal has made it so pointless. The youth agree that there may be a lot os sex in their lives but the longing is missing. Growing impermanence in relation is about making love in a vibrant mustard field is as confining a dogma as saying that commitment should be the precondition to good sex.

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You could shrug it off by saying that youngsters want to have paid sex. But behind this socially liberal thought could be the horror tales of red light districts of Kamathipura and the Sonagacchi respectively in metro cities. Legalising prostitution will check exploitation of sex workers, get them condoms and curb the transmission of HIV – AIDS that threatens to strangulate India. Curiously, despite the redone rules of marriage, divorce, live – in relationship, old age homes and nuclear families, the great Indian joint families still holds sway. In value and grit, it has no replica in any culture across the world. It is like the Indian people tree around which the women tie threads of faith, as the trunk increases in grit and the bark becomes wrinkled, its root go deeper unaffected by heat, dust or autumn. A son grows up, brings home the bride, they have children and move away into their own set ups. Later as the cycle turns, parents come back to the basic family and the family reintegrates. Young people are dutiful as children and liberal as parents. They want to extend to their children, the freedom they think was denied to them. Like everything else. The pan Indian mass culture has no singles identity. Every year, thousands of women die for dowry while the youth who sings panes of equality look on. At the end, liberalism is as liberalism does, even that is a conservative footnote.

terrorists hold a country to ransom for three days live on television. It was a national shame. Over the decade de, terrorism has claimed 42000 lives in India which is second only to Iraq. We have bled so much that too without much resistance, with the legendary India sense of stoicism. It was as if the soft state had made a national virtue out of suffering. Efforts were made to revamp our security apparatus. However, in the last 10 years India did indeed undergo redeeming makeover in its global outlook. If we are a bit more optimistic, the colour of the decade was not red but green. In spite of the initial euphoria about “Hoperhagen”, the summit at Copenhagen failed to form an international solidarity on protecting an endangered planet. Rural growth is the first step towards becoming a superpower. The farmers should continue to get necessary inputs at affordable prices so that they will be able to produce high – quality food not only for the country but also for the world, for which there is a need to launch a second Green Revolution to boost farmers' access to market. There is a need to bridge the rural – urban divide. This is possible if urban amenities are provided in the rural areas. Greater emphasis has to be laid on implementing the programmes meant to strengthen the economy of the rural people. The best way to clear the rot in the system is to Step in and Make a difference. A nation cannot rise to its full stature if does not have a sense of mission. The world is rushing ahead. It is time for us leave our petty dispute and differences behind. Our mission should be the development of the nation as a whole. Be it a political party or any social organisation – the mission should be clearly reflected in them, only then will India emerge as a Super Power.

Step forward, get involved Youth have always been associated with the idea of the future because youthfulness is used to symbolise change and renewal and is associated with feelings of hope. For the youth, need and necessity are above idealism and morality. They dislike dynasty politics, want to get rid of corruption and favour strict measures to check population growth. They are more pragmatic than ever what binds them with the rest is the sense of being an Indian. Mobile phones ownership crossed the 500 million mark, 18 motorbikes are sold a minute and now Indian companies continue to forage the international market for buyouts. All these positive developments, however could not drive away Indian's status of a frontline victim state of Jihad, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Hyderabad and of course, 26/11 or 9/11. It was the day where we helplessly watched 10

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Have you heard of me? I am sitting across; eating the delicious Guajarati meal and I lay my eyes on a 14-year-old teenager. Clad in a pair of jeans, a stripped tee and branded floaters- he seemed to be from a well-to-do family. Accompanied by his American-accented mother and a finicky aunt, he surely looked lost to me in the crowd. While they walk inthe mother asks for a bottle of mineral water, then in the same breathe she commands her son to go wash his hands. Poor boy,

- Suchitra Venkat

in looking at his defenseless soldier and says it can't be done and will ask for an exchange drink for them. In all this, the teenager is not even looking up, uninterested in what was going on- probably lost in his own thoughts. All through the mother and the aunt decided what he was going to eat. ”Don't put pudina chutney in his plate”;” Put three spoons of khichdi and no ghee”; “Don't put the salad”. Wow! It was amazing how they were constantly interfering and making sure the boy doesn't enjoy his lunch. I felt so bad for him, so helpless on the fact that someone was controlling his every breath. I understand the love parents have for their kids, but this was no love- it was a control game. Isn't it true that when you are young your life is controlled by your parents at home and teachers at school, then when you start working it's controlled by your boss, you get married the control goes into your spouse's hands, and when you grow old your life is controlled by your children and your doctors. When are we ever free? Have you thought of freedom- what does it mean to you? Every human being is a social animal; he cannot step away from the society and say he is happy and free. It cannot happen. The 14year-old boy has a chance to someday break free because he is being empowered by education to be an individual. What about those who aren't? Of the 2.2 billion children in world, it is estimated that 130 million are illiterate. That means about 6 percent of the world's population of children are uneducated. A lot of times we would have the intellectuals talking about possibilities of having 'One' world to live in. How do we achieve this realistically? One probable far fetched but real solution is equal opportunity. If everyone has equal opportunities then every one has the equal chance of contributing to the change we expect. But isn't that the challenge- equality. Forget about the inequality that is already

I am CH AN GE

who was about to sit on the chair, immediately gets up and goes searching for the wash. Then the waiter brings in three glasses of jal-jeera (a popular summer drink in India) and guess what the aunt asks- “ Is this boiled water?'. The shock on the waiter's face was priceless. The manager steps 04


acknowledged and 'supposedly' worked on by the global organizations and the government. What about the one that is prevalent in each house? ” Mom, I am going to Prasad's house to teach a group of slum kids”. Tell me how many of your parents will invite such an idea? For those who have supporting parents, I am sure you are already working on helping the underprivileged, but for those who still are guessing whether it is a good idea or not, here is a suggestion- why don't you try it. Why waste time guessing, try telling your parents, just do it. Either your parents will turn around and slap you or they will talk you out of it. Both will show how strong you are as a person. Not because you could take one slap but will you have the courage to ask again. It is not very difficult to see and understand the situations of the people suffering around you. These may be children who don't have food to eat or even teenagers who are being commanded by someone on what to eat. What is extremely difficult is to acknowledge our own helpless state. We have all the knowledge and power to make the change, but we are helpless to take a decision. And isn't this how the youth are recognized-by our indecisiveness.“ Let's see how long he will stick to it. Very soon he will know it was all a waste of time. He will come back.” is a typical conversation between two fathers. That doesn't mean we become rebellious. Study those great leaders who spoke about freedom and equality. Learn how they did it and apply it. That is being realistic. Most of the people I have met in my life have the intention and the skills to do good for the society, but they do nothing about this intention. They take no action. A lifetime goes by planning to do good and a lifetime goes by doing nothing. The unfortunate thing is no one gets another life to do it. There is only one chance, grab it, do something nice about it, don't waste it, don't just think about- be the change you want to see. It all starts with 'I'. 'If I take a decision to help a child in my lifetime, then I will not die

until I do it'- that is you making the change, making somebody equal to you, bringing the world one step closer to being 'One'. I don't have to reiterate that every small step will take us closer to our dream. We all know it. But I would like to invoke the thought about taking those steps. Go start a movement – a knowledge movement. Tell the people in your colony how to manage waste or even sponsor a child's health check up or education. Needless to say the world will be unfair and will throw your ideas out of the window. Your acceptance to that failure will only make you a loser.- thinking you will succeed in the very first shot. A great man once said that a winner's mind is ready for failures as well. Only if you fail nine times will you succeed the tenth time. When Edison invented the light bulb after 9999 trials, he surely knew 9999 ways how not to invent a light bulb. Change in life is constant but it is also the one thing we humans resist the most, unaware it occurs every second. Whether or not we want to be a part of this change is our decision-isn't it?

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The Show Behind Behind Show The Show thethe Show

- Shruthi Venukumar

Another page of your life has been turned in the form of a new day. As if to celebrate it, you turn the first page of your daily, looking past the political chaos at the forefront, to the tabloid page 3. You begin it on a sweet note, of course with your morning cuppa glamorous coffee over vintage tea. Reading the lines and between them, you cannot quite place if the new energy gushing through your blood is coffee-induced or fuelled by the glossy, up-market life splashed across the glitterati pages. The world, no, the parallel universe of glamour where everyone seems to love everyone else and bonhomie bounces from the monsoon spring of air-kisses! A famous industry insider's blog takes a dig at Page 3 parties, “I have a feeling that the media has some kind of covert colloboration with hotels and others to write about such parties. They make stars out of moneyed nobodies for other innocents to be pathetic copycats. It does look like a collaborative venture between media, hotels, celebrities and other interested associates.” It is all charade? We see one-film-olds gushing on camera about having been spotted by that dream-making director at such a glittering do and landing the first break. And this, when entering the glamour industry was the last thing on the person's mind. Caught unawares eh?

industry echo that their mantra is eponymous with the popular T.V reality show Entertainment Ke liye Kuch Bhi Karega. Newspapers and tabloids work to sell. All laws of demand and supply ring true with them too like is the case with a serious economic matter. The fact that juicy grapewine glitterati gossip pages never got phased out despite seemingly everyone having a harsh word for them makes clear as to which quadrant the demand curve tilts to. Dissenters abound. A sneak peek into the lives of celebs and emulating pop culture in everyday mundane life must have been the moving spirit of the prevalence of the page 3 culture and its corroboration in the media. But to a generation born staring into heavily dosed glamour dope straight out of homemaker mummy's magazines, the cause and effect may have be reserved. Flagrant displays of Page 3 culture and the advertised need to be known as a celebrity (the claim to fame notwithstanding) in the glossies etches a false perception of fame on clean slates that are young minds. Advertisements like that of a famous designer that screams “Everybody who is somebody in India owns a creation by …… ” only adds plumage to the trend. Youngsters eat into the ruse, not realizing how the mocking tone is actually a façade for promoting extravagant fashion-lines by distorting the market mechanism requisites of utility into crazy fad. And they decide to take a leaf out of that glossy … oops…that lifestyle. Getting past that seemingly unbridgeable chasm between ordinary and celebrity becomes a necessity. So having a friend with a few strings inside the golden globe gathers grain. That friend, who could be your passport to a Page 3 party! All in the hope of being “spotted” or just to grab a photon of eternal moonshine that stars seem to be bathed in, right?

“The glamour industry is tough business. For a newcomer, work is synonymous with struggle. Being “spotted” as a newbie with little links is more often than not, a misnomer. I have a friend who went to the extent of paying lakhs to clinch a debut film role but the attempt floundered,” says Sushrii Shreya Mishraa, winner of the Miss Catwalk and Miss Calender titles, Pantaloons Femina Miss India 2010 which saw her finish in the final 5 and one of the Top 20 finalists of Miss Universe India Pageant 2010. It is not hard to concur with the upcoming model if one winds one's memory to the past when newspapers went flashy with a famous director and comedy actor announcing his decision to cast a college girl who he had spotted in a college news piece about in his film. Years on, one finds no mention of the girl or her muchtouted release. Make-believe anyone?

An irregular tone raises itself if the form of Sushrii as she says, “This has been a conflict point in my psyche. I have often debated between being seen at Page 3 parties and not. On one hand, making appearances is a good way to make contacts and let known your body of work. But frequent appearances cast a shadow of desperation around one. Being seen at every do is a sure way to portray

Those in the thick of things in the broadcasting

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one's lack of plum projects. Moreover, one becomes a stale face. The aura of mystery around one lapses and that is anathema to anyone who's interested in serious work in the industry.”

late, later than even her twilight years but when it came, it came with the glow of permanence! A life well-lived; a success made sweeter with the taste of hard-laboured sweat in it. Samuel L Jackson is also one such stellar example of a late-bloomer. It is a resounding reiteration of that voice in the minds of young ambition-driven mean yet sweet machines like Sushrii that says that staying put on the course of one's calling will, in time, deliver! Umpteen number of interactions with celebrities with golden images on the silver screen later, this nineteen-year old confides that not every personality in the industry is sunshiny. Not even an ex-beauty queen-turned-actress that she had the fortune of working with on a project (also her idol). So it's true then? The world of make-believe does not end with the snapping out of the live camera plug? Sushrii swears by diplomacy. “One might not be an extrovert in real life. But it is in one's interest to mingle with people and make friends. That's how fame is garnered.” So that explains the recent slew of celebrities hitting the blogosphere and cyberspace with blogs and being open to “friend” common people on social networking sites! Sushrii adds, “Plain-speaking might cause more harm than gain. Having to drop half-hearted kudos in the circles might be more of a necessity than a choice.”

But being invisible is not an option either isn't it? Says Sushrii, “Being seen is definitely important to harness work. A better way of building contacts is to get a high-end agent with experience and the right kind of links.” She owes her own work to the doing of her agent who contacted her after viewing her profile on a social networking site. “Spotted” eh? She laughs. “I'd call myself lucky in that respect. The point is that parties are not the only way to advance one's career.” Point taken and noted! This brings to the spotlight another fact. In this age of social media and technology, “being seen” by the right people might just be a click of the mouse away! But what about coming under the gaze of the wrong ones? Does one succumb to the easier route? “It is totally an individual choice as to how one wants to climb the ladder up. Some might like the short cut and might even be successful. What is to take note of here is that the note on which you start your career sets the story of your future professionalism. As a woman, one is blessed with intuition and it is the greatest tool to tell a dignified man with honest professional interests apart from the letches.”

  “One's talent and hard work pays off for sure. Having a supportive family and true friends makes the journey a lot easier. Maintaining a relationship with a person outside the industry who does not understand the working of the industry can be tedious. Striking a balance is key. Real relationships need to be nurtured. Especially since even true friends made inside the industry are often competitors, putting a limit to the depth of it,” says the girl with an Army background who fears that her years as a model might have caused her loved ones to put up with long absences from.

Has she ever been passed over for someone who was ready to compromise on conventions of morality? After all we hear of entire beauty pageants being fixed with the crown going to the most “open” “Yes. It happens often to everyone involved in the pursuit of this career. But the thing to remember here is that if one is persistent and believes in one's dreams and potential, one does “arrive” some time! Might not be an early hit, but persistence sure delivers!” But don't people in the glamour industry come with a shelf life? Is an arrival possible after crossing a certain milestone age-wise? Sushrii stays persistent on the issue of persistence, “If one is endowed with talent and keeps going without giving in, success comes calling finally. Think Amitabh Bachchan.” But don't the shelf lives of men stretch on much longer than that of a woman? She quotes the example of a nonagenarian Hollywood actress whose life-will was to become a performer. Success came to her

Distancing herself from decelerating influences, keeping her true allies close, fishing for the right contacts for the right kind of work, trying to make good on unconventional assignments that come her way and most importantly, working wholesomely without suffering a burn-out, sums up the manual of success of this blooming flower! Beware! All that glitters is not glamour!

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thoughts. Day and night, trying to understand the thermodynamic laws, struggling to find the unknown 'X', stressing her neurons, she finally had a happy realization that... this is not what she wanted to be! So, she again switched to pursuing journalism as her carrier.

Farrago of thoughts Now, that's how i got to know her. A farrago of thoughts she possesses, but happens to be one of the finest writers i have come across and yes of course, one of the best(est) buddies! She will ruminate for the silliest of things, but at the end of it all will give you the best of the results.

Passing out her 12th, with a distinction, but unfortunately little below the line, required to get into the college of her choice and once again an obstacle in her flow of dreams. Yet, she kept dreaming. This time, bigger and better.

Born in Bihar, migrated to Kolkata (for time pass) and finally residing in Pune, this south Indian girl is a 'love satiater'.

With her future and life jeopardized, when her friends and fellow mates all set to migrate to different colleges, she at last took a decision of doing BA in English literature. With the last dates of admission procedures nearing, she thankfully grabbed the last form of a college she never thought she would get into.

Her journey of life up till now interests me to cover her story. If i m not mistaken the first words she might have said would have been media, journalism!! (her Maa and Paa must have been flabbergasted, I'm sure!) Definitely not the typical South Indian expected to turn out into an IITian or an engineer or a doctor or an et cetera like that ! But yes, she phrases journalism as “ journey of a listenable media -walla. “

She frames her future beautifully now and has learnt to fight it out.

While all of us were struggling with our lives after selecting science for our higher secondary, she decided to join the rat race. She can be such a fantast at times! I still remember her telling me, “science got me closer to my people. I don't regret it. Also, I can call myself a savant now, Thanks to science.”

If you are ambitious, but your dreams are scattered, join the dots of thoughts; you will find a way out to live your dream some day! - Maruee Pahuja

Yet, struggling her ass out with biology, physics, chemistry and math (her favourite subject, satirically) she gave birth to a new thought of becoming an engineer. I told you she has a farrago of 08


stick with each other like glue, anyway. Neither did their teachers. They both did very well in their academics, and owned the extracurriculars in their school so there wasn't much to complain about…but they were just at each other's throats so often!

Growing Up Graded It always started with one thing. They were eight, and on a beach. The sunlight threw scintillating patterns on the azure sea as Aarzoo and Ayesha worked painstakingly at making their respective sandcastles. One moment, tranquility prevailed and the next, the peace of the atmosphere shattered by an outraged scream.

One of their concerned professors from school had once asked them about the strange love/hate relationship they shared. “Well,” Aarzoo said. “It's like this: because we feel the need to be better than each other, we just end up performing better than we normally would.”

Ayesha had put her foot straight into Aarzoo's sandcastle. Aarzoo was livid. “Just because mine was bigger than yours!” she fumed. “Was not!” Ayesha denied vehemently.

“Yeah, I guess that's it,” Ayesha concurred. “It's the competition that feeds our drive to do well. Its like motivation, it keeps us going.”

Neither of them was going to give in; obstinacy was their ultimate tie-breaker in their perpetual competition.

“I wonder why people say then, that 'The competition is and has always been against yourself.'” quoted Aarzoo with a slight smirk.

This carried right on through all the races, plays, extempore competitions, quizzes and all the other activities which they both made it a point to compete in throughout their adolescence.

“Hey, I used that quote in my last essay, skank!” Ayesha turned to Aarzoo defensively. “Well you just lifted it, its not like you thought up of it or anything!” ”Plagiarist!”

When they were 13, Aarzoo pointed out Ayesha's acne on the school PA system. Ayesha got back at her the next semester by tripping her during the Annual Fashion Show.

“Credit-hog!” The professor turned away, with a sigh of exasperation. She'd seen these two grow up acting exactly like this. Sometimes she thought the children these days took everything too far in the name of competition.

A couple of years down the line, they laughed about it and talked about it with nostalgic fondness. A couple of days after that, they had a screaming fit and Aarzoo threw her box file at Ayesha's head. Then she rushed her in horrified panic to the hospital. A couple of hours after that, they sat laughing at the ridiculousness of it all in a hospital ward with a bandage on Ayesha's head.

But as she watched the two bickering girls with a wry smile, she guessed that there are some things which just don't change. - Aditi Dharmadhikari

Their humour flew straight over their parents' head. They'd never really understood how two girls could hate each other (did they really hate each other?) and 09


with an MNC, then get some venture capital and do my own thing. Sounds good, right ??

What’s up,... Dad! Today, it has been 17 years of my pathetically ruined beautiful life!! (Burrping) !!! Yeah, part of it in a baal sansthaa, later part and whole with my practically pathetic generous Guardian (Dad, as I call him). See, that's how it starts generally!!!

Father: Oh Beta ! You know, when I was your age, I was doing my own thing already. I used to go to Goa every summer. We used to lie on the beach, stoned out of our minds and there were these firang chicks.

Father: Hi Beta !!, how's college ?

Son: No time for all that, Dad.

Simply when my Dad has nothing to ask, he falls into this kind of senseless discussions.

Father: Oh yeah ?? Next you will tell me, you don't get drunk. Son: I don't drink either. Dad, all this drinking and smoking is so uncool. How do you stay fit if you smoke, anyway?

I proudly answered, “ I'm doing Superb Dad. I bagged a 98 per cent in Maths. The Physics paper didn't go only 90 this time. But no worries, I will make it up by covering rest of my marks in Bio.”

Father: Aha, so that's what you're up to, is it? Impressing the girls with your muscles, heh?

Father: Who's worrying? Thank God, I didn't have Maths in college. I am sure I would have flunked, heh, heh.

Son: Not at all, Dad. How can you work if you aren't fit? I work out at the gym every day, I'm into organic food and I've also joined yoga classes.

Son: Don't be silly, dad. Father: No beta, I'm serious — you are fresh out of school, you got to enjoy college, you know what I mean. Go out with the girls, read some interesting stuff, party, get sloshed. Celebrate your freedom, man. Life is a celebration, after all !

Father: Yoga sounds promising !!! You s h o u l d g e t i n t o t ra n s c e n d e n ta l meditation, you know, and from there get into maybe, some Tantric stuff. It is damn good. How sarcastic !!!

Son: But dad, I am having a great time. There are some really cool dudes out here…

Believe me, the insights you get are great. But, Here's what you should do — smoke some good grass and read couple of books while listening to Pink Floyd.

Father: Ah, ONLY Dudes ! May be now you're talking…

Son: Dad, I am doing yoga just to stay fit. Smoking is bad for one's health.

Son: Paaa!!!! they are really good at solving these IT entrance exam problems. I'll get into IIT, later work for a few years 10


Father: Maybe so, son, maybe so. But it's good for the soul.

I am happily married... My first achievement was when I passed the CET, and also surprisingly SNAP, and horribly shocking CAT. It was as though God himself corrected my papers or may be I was on my way towards the happiness of life.

Son: Well, right now I'm focused on my studies. Father: You sure you like this science stuff? What matters is how to live.

My second honour was an admission in IIM Kolkata. I being, an average student, a dull looking boy, a luck-by-chance entrance exam pass out, a middleclass status persona, unnoticed not only y girls but also, ladies, last among seven brothers of the Mehta clan, totally disinterested in life, and forcibly thrown out of the family to get educated; was shocked to see a massive college and its maha - massive books. There was a bundle of disappointments for all my teachers. They with their own fingers had once dialled to my mother asking if I had honestly cleared the requisite entrance test or they had got me a fake mark-sheet. What could I do, when I didn't understand the enigma of MBA ! My teachers after all possible attempts and scolding rated me brilliant and innocent on a condition that I will never torture any exam after the ultimate MBA degree test. My teachers were like Goddess Saraswati to me who made me achieve an MBA degree but also, like Goddess Kali who warned me for the forth coming personal interview series.

Son: I know how to live, thank you. We go out regularly to Pizza Hut. And I have bought a new iPod and some GAP T-shirts. Father: What are you reading these days? Son: At present I'm reading a book on C++. It's really fascinating. Father: Son, you know what they say about all work and no play? Son: But I am part of the organising committee for the college fest, I am involved in a corporate social responsibility project and I am also playing some hockey for the college.

The interviews kick started with all the girls and guys who unlike me were not helped by the teachers and were honestly intelligent. To add fume to the fire, I was the last candidate in the round of personal interviews to meet the very brilliant brains who were struggling to find a suitable employee since morning. A tsunami of frustrated questions were released on me. Now, after 10 years, I don't remember all the questions except that How I saw my work ? To which, I replied my work will be my wife and I will be happily married ever after.

Father : Arrey Beta !! The sports committee is not providing a vada pav to the hockey players. What are you looking at boy ? Son : Paa, I never said playing hockey is my janamsiddha haqq. All this will look good on my CV and I can also do some networking. But Dad, What are you doing these days?

Here I am!! I clever manager, a decent looking gentleman, an effort by chance interview pass-out, a high class paragon, noticed not only by ladies but also, girls. Last but, not the least ; among the seven brothers of the Mehta clan, totally for life and willingly accepted by everyone around. Meet my first wife : my work and I am happily married !!

Father: I've been doing some desultory reading and generally fooling around. But seriously I think you should get a life. Son: Your sort of life, Paa? No thanks, I am better off without it.

- Disha Mewani

Father: Bhen****!! - Maniesh Menghani 11


Big dreams; Small beliefs

26th December - 23 : 42 hrs

“I am really not sure about it Abba," claimed Karan. "I believe you but not myself!”

Today, after a considerable time, I thought of xpressing life. I didn't find any special or specific reason but still I wanted to pen down the weekend and the year end.

Karan was somewhere in midst of his seventeenth year. A small town boy, he wanted to accomplish his goals but somehow the circumstances didn't seem quite viable. Deep inside he was not sure whether he would ever be a cricketer, a cricketer who would truly play for the country. The best part was he had full support of his family, friends and surprisingly even the gawnallas.

I welcomed the day by humming 'Aal izz well' to Lord Krishna ! My phone played the instrumental Aarti and I was missing my home theatre. Remixing the latest Aamir mantra with the Aarti, I was expecting a positive day ahead. The aroma of incense sticks filled the room. I felt positive and happy. After a nice fruit breakfast I quickly scrolled through the check-list and things-todo. I know, you must be thinking what was so special about the day ? If no, then I must tell you 'Yes, It was !'

Big dreams; small beliefs, that was his problem. This young mind was very skeptical about his dreams. “Hey Karan, do you know we have a cricket tournament our village?” asked Mohan.

I crushed the check-lists and threw it in the bin. I had no idea what was next to be done. I was just moving from - my room another room - terrace – kitchen - office and washroom.

Karan could not express how happy he was! He prepared day in and day out for the cricket tournament with his team. He leaded the team. After getting prepared for the match, it was finally the big day!

The maid must be in a hurry or must be in an intuition that we have the automatic shutter taps ; she left the washroom tap open and rushed. I washed my face and thousands of thoughts popped up in my mind (needless to say that I closed the tap). I started thinking about the past and worrying about the future. I forgot that the time I was actually living was the present.

The team performed exceptionally well in the first inning. Karan was thrilled that his team was doing well so far, but was unsure of his team who had played only gully-cricket till date. He had completely lost faith by the time he stepped on the pitch for the second innings due to his poor and shaky beliefs. His performance suffered and the team thereby faced the consequences. The team lost the match and Karan lost the path of his dreams.

Only if you don't know me, I am a complete day dreamer. The dream constructing system in me produces a new dream every minute. I always give my best shot looking forward to my achievement. However, today my thoughts became weak. The T. V. in another room was in high spirits ! I'm sure the sound reached even to vicinity homes. A glance and the audio made

- B. Nithya

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me realize that it was some music talent show. The judge, who was a maestro of music said, “every day in slumber we dream, we dream what we want to be, but the dawn wakes us up for a cut-throat reality !” “Oh ! What an icing on the cake, what a discouragement on a happy positive day” I said to myself. I started feeling hungry, thirsty and just wanted to do something sensible. “I wish I would have worked with my schedule” I thought.

log in ! With empty-heavy mind I glanced the office. I saw innumerable number of files, papers and stationary stuff. For a moment I felt that I'm in a stationary store or something ! Don't misunderstand me. It was the same office, it looked the same as it was before. My happy realization, I noticed it now. Each and every thing around us creates a thought in us. Like the environment around me sent me its signals through those thoughts, it happens with all ( all includes you too ) But the point here is what thoughts to accept and how. We cant give commands to our thoughts and have a control over them. We don't have the power to judge or decide what thoughts our mind should produce. The thoughts were always around me, and I accepted it by thinking over it. Confused ? Chill, you all have a thought in and around you, may be your room - another room terrace – kitchen - office - washroom. Past thoughts will imprison you in past, future thoughts will imprison you in future and in this chaos of thoughts of past and future, you lose your present. Present, the most happening, the truth. Don't stop to dream, to carve your life your way. Behold that strength in you to achieve your ambitions.

The terrace opened my eyes wide to have a close look to the reality. I could see the roof tops of my neighbours covered with plastic and bricks to hold it. My condition wasn't very better then theirs. The slab at the other room leaked like a municipality tap ! “Oye, first have your lunch and then continue your bird watch” dad called. I sat for lunch in bewilderment. Thank-God the food was from the list of my favourites. Scrolling the T.V. channels and eating kept me busy and away from those thoughts. Dad then asked for the remote controller and the channel scroll stopped at a Hindi movie channel. The same sepia stories where the lead strives hard for food, clothing and shelter. “Seekh kuch, learn from them. You say that you are inspired by these actors, let me see what inspirations did you seek !” Dad said. “Dad, avoid ya'ar !, its cinema. . .” I said and turned a deaf ear. I could still hear his struggle for life and my future responsibilities and couldn't ignore it. I went to the kitchen to have some more water and heard Mom talking to herself “Mehengai maar degi. Bhaaji wala seems to be a share market person !” My worries took a toll. What am I doing ? Am I actually interested in the stuff that I am forced to do ? Is there any future to my interest? Etc. were the questions my brain / heart / whatever asked me as if we are playing a Kaun Banega Crorepati ? However, I definitely was on the hot seat !

The purpose of this text was to share a non special day in a noticeable special way ! Cheers to life, Kya pata, KAL HO NAA HO . . . - Rohit Valecha

...har youth kii kahaani hai. what’s yours? share with us; get published >> www.qpune.org to download ‘YUVA.mp3’ log on

I went to Dad's office to print out some stuff for the college project. The lazy bone computer took seventeen minutes to 13


social net, works!

Hiralal & Co.

Namasteji ! Ji Haan aapko hi address kar raha hoon main ! Few days back I met aballoon seller at a birthday party, I found his decoration to be great and above the mark,when I made a try to establish contact with him, he said, “ Log on to Facebook ! â€?.At first, I was at my wits end and I know you would be wondering about the same.He told me to log on the site and have a glance over his details, while he also clearedthat he is not facebooking but, his it is his son whom we can contact further. Being into the world of events and media, I was fascinated by this sight of theballoon seller, developing his relations in public through a social networking site. A stepahead in improving the prospects of any business, not only business but also, friends,relationships and betrayals some times ! Well, it is just like a woodpecker pecks the barkof wood, it is the youth of today who is updating the daily scoop of the society, the greatimpact of these sites has added up in the field of media and gup - shupp where peoplehave no time to pee and potty and if they do, then they do not lose a chance to updatethat. The recent gig creating an outrageous social message is regarding Breast cancerwherein female users have blogged in the color of their bra creating a strong awarenesscampaign on the internet. Promotion ka naya hai tareeka, because Bollywood has found a good way topublicise and share their thoughts which is adding to the surplus of communication andhas depreciated the limits. Paa ! Ha Ha‌ the extra sensitive bolly - flick entertainingno doubt, built up a good level of communication when Big - B updated his blog aboutthe movie. It is good phenomenon that helps us to share your ideas and creations !Remember, the pink chaddi campaign... Definitely, it had a good and sustainable resultto cover the story. It is a new medium where in just a few clicks, we have the power toinvite people. Oh ! You know it, No I'm not talking about inviting your friends.I'm talking about party invitations, these days people are in high spirits and want tomake the best out of it, for instance there is a Wedding or a Birthday Bash, peoplemake attractive invitations and stick it on the account of the receiver and suppose theguest could not make up to the party, not a bed deal ! One can easily send in gifts andgreetings at a click. Great ! At least people are not misleading their selves and havetheir etiquettes alive. That's not all, go ahead and create your own communities, makethe most interesting & amazing thing on earth like Dandruff or Anti-ageing creams andenjoy the response of the people which in turn is a good way to market your concept. It is the best way to express yourself is Introduce, Interact, Innovate ! So,follow these 3 Is and Give me a buzz ! I'm on Twitter, Facebook and Orkut !

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Paradigm Shift - Aditi Dharmadhikari

Nothing happens until something moves. -Albert Einstein

all-encompassing. But let's start with something close to home – with our very own lifestyles. For the urban middle-class right here in Pune, almost every family has taken it upon themselves to have at least one car for everyday transport and of course, every college-going student is gifted their own two-wheelers once they hit 16 or 17. Some get shiny new bikes which they instantaneously fall in love with (well, for the first few weeks anyway). Some are happy with their trusty, old Kinetics(at least for a year or two). Then there are others, who are lucky enough to get brand-new geared bikes. These dudes then waste no time in pulling out a couple of screws here and there and screwing up their engines to a suitable extent that when they rev that baby up, people can hear them at a one kilometer radius.

Human beings have always been complete strangers to the static life. In fact, they've created a unanimous opinion as being one of the most versatile and rapidly evolving species on earth. When it comes to the kind of breakthroughs we've achieved scientifically, industrially and technologically, our progress is of course, mindboggling. But let's cut through this glorified progress report perpetually suspended in the public eye and zoom into our own lives for a bit. The first thing that struck me at the mention of “Paradigm Shift” was, for some reason, a vague memory of carefully putting one foot through one of the rusty iron-gate grills that led to my Papaji's house and using the other for leverage to push myself off the ground - and then, for a full five seconds I was suspended off the ground with the wind blowing the glorious pollution from the road into my eyes with the sound of the gate swinging wide open. Such a lovely, temporary high on my very own roller-coaster. I couldn't have been more than five.

It's a little hard to get your head around the fact then, that just over 20 years ago, our cute little now-khatara scooters were the most normal sights on the roads and a Kawasaki was the hottest bike to own. Most people traveled by cycles and counted themselves lucky that they weren't being subjected to the sweaty, overcrowded ordeal of public transport (Well, at least that's something that hasn't changed) Besides, in the early 90s, mobile phones were a luxury. A half a foot long phone (that looked identical to the landline, in my honest opinion) that weighed what seemed like a ton was an accessory to flaunt.

I usually had to stop after three or four go's though because my panicking Aaji would appear at the balcony and beg me to stop before I got crashed into by a passing car. But that didn't really matter. Cheap thrills made my day, after all; sometimes, they still do, even now. Fast forward and zoom in to my current everyday morning-frenzy as I bolt down a cup of coffee while putting on my chappals simultaneously and just barely feel the caffeine hitting my system as I run to get onto my bike – which is always low on fuel, of course. This, in turn, leads to more panic and more often than not ends with me giving up on my first lecture in college. Some morning glory, it is.

'A wireless phone, you know. The things people are coming up with these days, na!' Today, anyone can walk into the increasinglygeneric Café Coffee Day or Barista and for an hourly cost of less than 30 rupees get wireless internet on their laptops. Something to think about every time our parents yell at us not to get the screen of the laptop dirty or jiggle it around too much in our bags. They've after all, seen computers through the age when they used to be bulky and desktops that couldn't be moved more than 5 inches without disconnecting a wire somewhere.

Such an incredibly stark contrast over the course of just over a decade. Imagine then, the magnitude of the kind of paradigm shift that our whole society has undergone through the course of the centuries, the ramifications of which are

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When family members start their “Hamare zamane mein..” stories, the easiest and least painful way to deal with it is to tune out and nod smilingly in time to the song that you've been listening to all day. But when I actually gave it a thought, I realized that their zamana was actually quite radically different from our own.

woman has numerous rights to her names – like those of equality, representation and education. The reservation of 33 percent seats in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies – a much debated and criticized Bill – has been a breakthrough in the vocalization of women's opinions. I daresay we've come far from the times when women were encouraged to jump into their deceased husband's pyre to be cremated along with him. Free Education for Girls (FEG) is something that every girl in India has a right to, up to the age of 18; and it's one of the initiatives that are a tangible step in making at least basic education accessible to every girl child.

With the newspapers and tabloids ablaze with stories of rave parties that have been raided, suspicious packages lying around at random corners every few months and community-based violence taking its toll, it's actually of very little surprise how anxious parents are about letting their children into the world or how blood pressures rise every time we declare “I'm going to be late tonight okay!”

Another significant step for women all over the country was seeing the first woman President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil, assume office in 2007. As she was sworn in, she vowed to eliminate the practice of aborting female fetuses and to empower women, who are often treated as second-class citizens. But – as is with the case with most things – there's a long way for us to go yet.

But they're coping pretty well, considering the kind of disparity that exists between their youth and ours. After all, zamane ke saath toh badalna padta hain, na? Aping the West has become a kind of skill that this side of the world has honed over the years. This has had a profound impact on everything - right from our clothes, to how much value we place on brands, to some of us who like to put on accents just for kicks and to our attitude towards a lot of things in our lives.

For instance, when it comes to human rights, India grabs every opportunity it can get its hands on to broadcast its democracy and highlight all the freedom that is bestowed upon every individual in our country. But there is still a gross breach of these so-called rights in glaring examples, like with the M.F.Hussein controversy. Frankly speaking, I don't really know much about art. I've never studied it and I've never had the time, the resources or the initiative to do much research about it either. But I do understand that art is meant to incite, to provoke debate, to express views which might sometimes be too strong for the public to swallow. Art is empowered to shock its audience; some will only love it that much more for the scandal. No publicity is negative publicity.

Some of the consequences of aping the West have had a positive influence on our society (like the widespread teaching of the English language, our foray into IT, an expansion of the middle class resulting in a decrease in illiteracy and superstitious practices along with the opening up of mindsets) while others have negative connotations (like the possibility of us losing pride or identification with our own cultural identity). However, we have to admit: the western ideals have made their own place in our system so thoroughly – and in some cases, in such an indelible manner – that you can support it, you can oppose it but you sure as hell can't be oblivious to it.

And scandalize the audience, M.F.Hussein's work did. People are free to condemn it, and to voice their disapproval about the obscenity of some of his paintings. But persecuting a man of 95 by banishing him from the country of his birth is nothing short of stripping him of his fundamental rights, and a poor reflection of the democracy that we are otherwise so proud to flaunt. This also happens to be the same man who is known as the “Picasso of India” and has unarguably been the

This deep-rooted belief of the Western supremacy of course, leads us way back to the colonization of India under the British Raj. The angrez revolutionized India in numerous ways but what really struck me is the way they helped with the upliftment of women's status. Today, every

16


one to put Indian art on the map. He has been living outside India in self-imposed exile due to countless legal issues since 2006 and he has now accepted the citizenship of Qatar. Whether or not this is a loss to our country is still a bone of contention amongst the various communities. Another arena which has seen radical difference over the decades is music. The Jazz and swing era of the 1920s and '30s turned into disco, psychedelic and rock n' roll of the 1950s and '60s. From here on, there was no turning back for rock music and there were several sub-genres that came up during the period that followed. The '70s saw the advent of glam rock, classic rock, punk rock, hard rock, progressive rock which were opening up to influences from other genres like soul, funk and Latin music which really mixed things up. The '80s brought with them the new wave, hardcore punk and the ever-popular alternative rock followed by indie rock, grunge and nu metal. Other genres like reggae, pop, hip hop and R&B are other genres which have been growing in popularity over the last half of the century.

Paradigm is a very interesting name for a band, and when asked why the band members chose that name, Kaushal says “Paradigm means a confluence of ideas. All our band members are from very different musical backgrounds ranging from jazz, blues and funk to hard rock and classical. We like to keep an open mind and incorporate all the musical influences in a way that our music does justice to the various genres.” Paradigm is a phenomenon which was also illustrated in this experiment conducted in the UK called the 'Monkey Paradigm Experiment'. Four monkeys were put in a cage, and a banana was then hung at the top of the cage. When one monkey tried to climb the cage to get up to the banana, the rest of the monkeys, at the bottom of the cage, were electrocuted and they all scrambled up and pulled the banana-monkey down, even when the current was off. Eventually, none of the four monkeys wanted to be bananamonkey anymore. One of the original monkeys was then replaced. The new monkey did the obvious, just to be pulled back by the other 'original' monkeys. He tried again, but the rest of the monkeys then beat him silly. It was later seen, that with the next new addition, this very monkey joined in the attack against the newcomer who tried to be banana-monkey, without any idea why he was doing so.

I'm guess house, trip hop, psychedelic trance, dance and electronica are the genres of this decade. However, metal has become religion for a whole lot of people all over the country, and I believe most of the metalheads simultaneously moshed their way to Banglore for Lamb of God. We've also seen a lot of other international bands and artists coming in to perform in India over the past few years including Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Ensiferum, Akcent and Bob Sinclar. The music scene in Pune has undergone a staggering change over the past five years, with every other college-going student being a part of a band. We're lucky enough to have a lot of places around the city welcoming these bands and giving them a platform to perform their music.

Mob mentality. It's funny that this paradigm or pattern, when applied to the human population at large, has the very same results. If everyone who tries to be the banana-monkey is pulled down by the rest for reasons beyond their comprehension, there will be very little progress that will be made. There is a need for unanimity of opinion, at least when it comes to the most universal things of urgent importance(like the environment, or disarmament). The best we can do now, is to hope that with all this experimentation that we're doing we don't lose sight of who we are, and what we aspire to be.

Gautam Kaushal, vocalist of a local band called Paradigm, says “It's nice to see that Pune is opening up to the new wave. We're slowly seeing a shift from just the metal scene, with more people being receptive to something more laidback and meaningful. The music is becoming as much for the artist, as it is for the audience and the crux of the matter is what your music really says about you.”

“All I can do, is be me, whoever that is.” – Bob Dylan

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The Idiot Box ‘TV.. something that seems to have become as important to us as- food, water, air, shelter. When I was a child, TV had not assumed as much importance as it has now; though the craze and excitement was higher, due to its limited accessibility! I remember, in the late 1980's and early 1990's.. my father would watch News on Doordarshan, and my mother would try to catch up with the occasionally featured films and the humble serials! The News, u n l i ke t o d ay, w a s u n g l a m o ro u s a n d u n sensationalizing in those days, but it certainly made more sense!!

- Anandricha

Chashma , Maniben, Bhootwala Serial etc.. Most of the comedy characters are over- flowing with 'over'acting! The Great Indian Laughter ChallengeI was a refreshing change to the melodramatic era and then came flooding, a large number of Stand- up Comedy Shows, eventually resulting in poor jokes, over acting, absurdity and monotony. Some of the jokes cracked on the comedy shows today are too vulgar. Comedy programs were in fact, meant to be watched with the entire family, but it now appears that neither the participants, nor the judges, seem to be concerned about drawing the line between light comedy, and vulgarity! Sharad Joshi's 'Laptaganj' still seems promising and contains the rustic flavour inherent in the earlier day's comedy programs!

Programs like Buniyad, Humlog, Mungerilal ke Haseen Sapney, Waghle ki duniya, Malgudi Days, Chitrahaar, Surabhi, Bharat ek Khoj, Ek se Badhkar Ek, Ye Jo Hai Zindagi, Mr. Yogi, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Shrimaan Shrimati had a lasting impact on our minds by sheer virtue of their simplicity and clarity of content.

The flooding of Reality shows too has desensitized us. There is no novelty in them. Shows which were earlier meant to hunt talent in the country are now encashing participant's emotions, problems and weaknesses through sms voting. Surprisingly, something as sacred as 'Marriage' in our society, has become a TRP pulling, and wealth- generating business for TV channels, and publicity- yielding source for idle celebrities! The Say's Law of Market seems to be most appropriate for this present situation- 'Supply of endless number of poor quality programs is creating its own demand among the viewers'!

I don't wish to sound like a puritan, but, when I try to contrast those times with today's- the melodrama enriched 'saas- bahu' serials, the 'not- so- real' reality shows, the TRP- hungry; celebrity-defaming; stingoperating news channels, I feel today's child is much vulnerable to violence, artificiality, pretence etc.. Surprisingly, the children programs and channels today too, don't educate the child much, and are only a source of reducing the child into a couch potato! I remember the craze and excitement- how I would wait for a children program called 'Tarang'- on Doordarshan. Today, there are too many cartoon channels on TV, but none matches the charm of Tarang, Tom and Jerry, Ducktails, Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Dada Dadi ki Kahaniyan, Vikram aur Betal- the characters in these programs were cheerful and harmless! Today, even though some of those cartoons are shown again, they are dubbed in Hindi and in a tone we would not like our children to learn. The heroes of some of the most famous cartoons today, behave in an offensive way with their parents and teachers, or, they beat up everyone else in the cartoon! The characters of Chhota Bheem and Hanuman are attributed with fictional powers and the child takes them to be real. As a result, an atmosphere is being created where the child is learning to misbehave and subtly, become more violent as he wants to imitate the Hero in a certain cartoon. Many of the cartoons today are repulsive, full of violence, have wrong style of language, and don't teach ethics, morals or values that we would want our children to learn.

I am not criticizing today's Television programs totally. TV today, has certainly come of age. It has made us a part of the 'Global Village', and information regarding travel, food, lifestyle, varied cultures is very easily available. Media is a powerful tool if it makes appropriate use of its power. Several social issues like child marriage, women abuse and violence etc. are being highlighted by some channels and programs but unfortunately, they too, in the long run, become influxed with melodrama. The 'minuses' of TV today, negate its 'pluses'. Television undoubtedly makes us very 'knowledgeable'; but, it certainly doesn't make us 'wise' and 'intelligent'! I wish we do not contribute in the degeneration of the quality of television program. We vote for an able contestant in a reality or talent show, but someone or something else determines who will win! How 'real' are the 'reality shows' is something all of us should know. News channels defame an individual's public image in a few seconds, and we enjoy watching the masala! I hope we will follow 'Selective watching'choose to watch sensible content and encourage our children to do the same, and thus, prevent infiltration of violence and insensitivity at our home. Happy 'sensible watching’!

Comedy programs too, have come a long way from Dekh Bhai Dekh, Ye jo Hai Zindagi, Shriman Shrimati, Tu Tu Main Main. to Yes Boss, FIR, Tarak Mehta ka Ulta

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Prostitution amongst the youth

- Dr. Meenacshi Martins

The subject of prostitution amongst today's youth is a tricky one. I, with all my experience with youth pushed in to the oldest known profession or having willingly ventured out into it, find it difficult to put down my thoughts. Somehow the written word gives it the authenticity one does not wish upon the youth, the so called nation's treasure and an investment in to our Country's secure and prosperous future.

nude by an owner of a makeup store in a small city. The girls were blackmailed into submission and then supplied to major players in the business of prostitution. Names of several top social personnel were revealed during in camera interrogation. There were doctors, lawyers and judges having clandestine sex with minors some as old as 11 years of age. Frankly, where there is a demand, there will be supply. What ever the cost. Unfortunately the law further punishes the victims, rather than look into stricter punitive measures for those propagating the trade.

Prostitutions or as the elite term used for it, commercial sex, is spoken of with disdain. For, probably it denotes the degradation of values of the most complicated kinds. Apart from the loosely coined term 'selling of one's body', it involves moral, ethical and financial issues that seriously need a closer look at.

The most important reasons for getting into the trade is money. The reason why one remains in it depends on the circumstances. Blackmail being the biggest reason, after again, money. At times it is self validation, especially when lonely, self conscious persons are targeted.

What is prostitution? Having sexual contact, or a relationship in exchange of materialist stuff, money included.

Loneliness, neglect and depression in such youth could be other factors influencing the decision making process. If one considers the choice that is made, and if one considers that choice as aberrant, than psychological consideration of the person concerned is of paramount importance.

Albeit, the easiest way to make fast money, prostitution goes by various names, depending on the social circle it caters to. Whores, keeps, gigolos, mistresses, call girls and escorts are just a few terms loosely used to refer to people who indulge in commercial sex.

How the young are initiated into the business makes an interesting study. Beauty parlours, make up and clothes boutiques, photography studios, massage parlours, college canteens and bus stops railway stations, marriage parties are all potential recruitment venues. The list simply does not require any imagination. The girls are almost always coming from just about all socio economic strata. Poor, middleclass and well to do. The common denominator is nothing. Low self esteem may be considered to be a major factor but I think the money involved is a major player in the field of prostitution. The old rule of live within your means does not apply to the new upcoming breed. Where there is this lure of brighter and better, prostitution is the easiest to fall back on profession.

What lures the young into prostitution? This is the most difficult question that begs an in depth study. The youngest girl child arrested in a raid on a hotel was 12 years old. She was lured by her mother's employer, offering her, her mother's entire month's salary for an afternoon out. All of eleven, she concluded that it was a deal to save her ailing mother from chores of a dishwasher. Her alcoholic father would not care less that their daughter came home late from school on several days. Her mother was only too happy to ask her where she got so much money from. The clientele on the other hand included a list of powerful people who tried to hush up the story when the arrest occurred. Of The other two twelve year olds, one was much interested in the recent models of cell phones and thought her poor classmate could do with some extra bucks, so she drugged her drink one day with a sleeping pills and got her raped by a pimp. The pictures taken on her slick cell phone were enough to keep her friend in the trade for a long time, till both were arrested for soliciting under the trafficking act. Several girls were drugged and photographed in the

I have been narrated a story by a young victim who got initiated in to the job by the friendly canteenwali aunty in her college. Innocently invited to an evening party, she was introduced to a few men who coaxed her to watch a film. That a few days later turned to a pornographic film, hand holding, caressing all the while being told that it was OK to do that with the men who now claimed to be her 'friends'. Loads of gifts followed and thereafter,

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there was sex and more gifts. Cell phones are the most enticing gifts for the young kids who get tempted and lured into flesh trade at the behest of the greedy and the unscrupulous. One child 14 year old minor girl informed me that it was Ok to have sex with many boys. “What's wrong with that?” she asked innocently. “Was it written somewhere, that it was not permissible? Was there a law? Is there a law?”

nonchalant topic now. With unabashed and open solicitation happening on social networking sites, it's even comical. I was told by a senior artist that it's a new way of finding a Godmother. Someone who will meet all their needs and lifestyle expenses. Is it true that loosening concept of moral values is lending itself to increased incidences of prostitution amongst the young? Or is it the imbalance of cultural influences that have an undue influence? Has the power of materialistic goods overpowered docile innocence of Indian youth? Or is it the wave of globalization that has swept over the ideology of wholesome Indian goodness. But then again, prostitution was there, always, in every society, tucked nicely within its dark folds and visited only in the shadows of moral consciousness. Today it's naked and open for scrutiny. It's out there and begging for consideration.

There of course is another whole section of youth who think this is the fast track to fame and name and money. Weekends with sons of powerful men and women with loads of money to spend translates in to a solid wad of cash in the pocket. Saturday evening out shopping on someone else's credit card could translate into the rest of the week end of sex with no choice or no power to say 'no'. It also opens the youth to vulnerable situation and exposes them to abuse and violence. Many times drugs and alcohol rule the behaviour of the devious and the wily.

Some of the onus sits squarely on the heads of the parents. Supervision and regular scrutiny could prove fruitful. That thing called 'quality time' spent with children does help nurture and foster a bond in the family. Inculcating values is a tricky thing. It is not something that can suddenly be holstered onto the young. It is something that children learn by watching and imbibing from the time they are little. So what they watch is of great importance. I am told that extramarital affairs are now passé due to the several Hindi serials depicting them as common occurrences in the society. No one flinches on the mention of a mistress or a keep as one would some years ago. Is it passé? Will prostitution amongst the youth be tolerated and ignored as well?

I do not know if I can state that economic conditions can help condone the easy virtue of those that sell their bodies. But, as a Member of the State commission for Women, having walked the tiny lanes of Baina red light area for months, I sort of tend to do that. I got used to the uneven cobbled pathway lined by gutters, I even got used to the wretched smell, but the thick air of despondency crept under my skin and makes my shiver with unease every time my mind wanders to the memory of those days. 16 year old Shanta, a class 11th, student begged us not to demolish the prostitution area for she was just short of Rs 4000/- having earned Rs 16 thousand in one week ..She needed just two more days of work to make enough money to pay off her father's loan in order to stop the loan shark from taking over her father's kiosk back in the village. There after she had to attend school and pretend that this summer vacation was just like any other.

What price do we put on values? And how do we inculcate these values in to our young? Self respect and self esteem versus the easy money and alleged good life? How to choose and what to do in the face of imminent decision making? Education on sexuality in schools and colleges could also include psychological impact of free sex, multiple partners, unwanted pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted diseases. It has to emphasis up on the coping methods for abuse; the basics of identifying abuse and whom to call in case of trouble is important information that the you need to know. For it is such trauma that hounds the victims silently and hampers their ability to function at their very best for years. Are we going to have self imposed policing? Or just hope that the tide will pass away and that universal consciousness will somehow open the gates of good choices, reasonable thinking and rightful judgments.

Another 13 year old girl was initiated into prostitution by the conductor of her school bus. Supplied to several young men of her won locality she was showered with gifts that included clothes and mobile shoes and trinkets. Nothing expensive but she got hooked onto the sex part. After months in a rehabilitation center, she was found to be calling the men at the first chance she got. “Why can't I,” she asked? “They take care of me.” Students, young aspiring actors and artists told me that five star hotel lobbies or a particular area in a city is a pick up point for ladies looking for gigolos. Male prostitution has been there, it is sort of a

Sketch : Heena Virwani

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Petsvilla - Ambika Shukla

Some folks I know called in to report a pet shop that was keeping pups terribly. Of course that hadn't bothered them at the time they were buying one there but only after they'd discovered their purchase was sickly, and then faced a fuss whilst trying to return him. There are many ways to acquire a dog but buying one has to be the worst. Puppy mills, pet stores, and dog breeders are part of a truly vicious, exploitative chain. Don't let your money keep them in business.

only been cosmetically cleaned upshampooed and shining for sale. In actual fact they're treated as poorly as in the pet mill whence they came small and sickly. I was yanked into one such shop in Khan Market by my daughter who regularly harangues pet traders , to find a single puppy tied up inside a cage with neither food nor water. When we asked for the mandatory licence to sell, of course the guy claimed the puppy as his own, not for sale. Worse, he insisted that the absence of a water bowl was on the vet's advice which was disproven upon calling the vet. But it is this kind of deceit and disregard for life, both human and animal, that marks any kind of animal trade.

Dread Mill: A "puppy mill" refers to any place that produces dogs for profit. No attention is paid to the animals, their food , living conditions or medical care. They are simply treated as products to be multiplied and marketed. Puppy mills are not large facilities. In India , they operate out of slums and are run by criminals who regularly steal pets for their 'dhandha'. The dogs are crammed into stacked up cages, hardly fed and never exercised. Heat cycle after heat cycle, they are bred, allowing the female little or no time to recover before being impregnated again. In-breeding is rampant: fathers with daughters, brothers with sisters, and the resultant offspring suffer from severe behavioural and genetic medical problems. Those that are 'unsalable', are simply thrown in the trash. In Delhi, there used to be people hanging around hotels that shoved puppies at you as casually as pens and hankies. You still find them beneath Shahadara Bridge selling puppies out of a sack. The down price on one of these may not seem much but in the long run you'll be paying heavily in terms of healthcare and heartache.

B e a s t l y B r e e d e rs : M a ny s o - c a l l e d 'respectable' people breed dogs for sale. The former CM of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje, runs a Rottweiler business in Dehradun. These "backyard breeders" are no better than any puppy mill. Many of them supply pet shops and none of them follow any of the practices of responsible breeding where the emphasis is not on profit, but on where the puppies end up. Responsible breeders would closely question and often refuse if prospective buyers cannot provide suitable conditions for the animal. If approved , buyers would be required to sign a contract where they agree to: immediately sterilise a dog bought for companion purposes only; notify the breeder of any medical conditions that the dog develops; notify the breeder if they have to get rid of the dog so that a new home can be found and so on. The attempt would be to ensure the safety and well-being of the animal just as you would for a child. Unfortunately , this doesn't happen and least of all, in India.

Gore Store: The pet store is a natural, noxious extension of the puppy mill. They're mushrooming in all our markets boasting fish in ghastly glass prisons; hamsters that will live and die as novelty items, and little, lonely puppies. Sooo cute! No, sooo cruel! The pups in a pet store might look okay, but they've

Instead this is what you find: Pik a Pup: The breeder is willing to sell you any puppy you want, no questions asked. You pays your money and you takes your puppy 21


and your chances. The breeder neither asks questions , nor answers any. He neither knows the puppy's lineage, nor has any health records. There is no documentation, not even payment receipts with most transactions being in cash or black money. Prices are negotiable and haggled over as keenly as if trading in vegetables and fruit.

shelter, simply help yourself off the street. Roadies scrub up real pretty and make the best friends of all. PETA's Be Indian Bark Indian campaign encourages Indians to become the proud owners of 100% asli Indian dogs. The best people have desi dogs. Maneka Gandhi has 17 rescued dogs in her home , Navtej Johar has 6, Pritish Nandy has 2. Om Puri had an Indian dog that lived for 14 years, Shatrughan Sinha's family has only Indian dogs. Aamir Khan has adopted one from a village near where he was shooting while nephew Imran has taken in an abandoned pet. Having an Indian dog is perhaps the best social statement you can make as it proclaims you to be bright, generous and self confident. In fact, almost as purty as your pooch!

Rescued Dogs and Roadies: If what you want is a companion, not a pricey showpiece, head straight to an animal shelter where dogs of all ages and sizes are just longing for a home and family. Many shelters allow you to play with a dog and spend some time with it before you make the final decision as to whether or not you want to adopt it - they want to make sure the fit is just right! If your city doesn't have a

Petsvilla 22


Kasab : The Martyr? Have been going in out studios since the past few days regarding the Kasab verdict. The soulless sole survivor captured. I had a stimulating radio interview with BBC. I was pushed into a spiced up discussion about terrorists' hero Kasab. The anchor was very spirited and well informed, and more importantly – not opinionated. I loved the format of the show- with callers patched in the discussion… making it truly real-time.

- Harish Iyer

securing a terrorist. And when I say this I echo the sentiments of the many in my hugely and variedly populous country. Thought: "Everything is mediated from the Pakistan Soil. Let's wage a war against Pakistan" Reaction: Yes, the nation should take steps. But sometimes we need to look beyond empathetically. Pakistan is a nation still reeling from terror. Whilst we demand real answers from Pakistan, we should not forget that there are some lovely human beings in Pakistan too. We can condemn policies, we can persistently insist on answers and action against terrorists. But it isn't civilized that we think of waging a war against Pakistan. War is no solution. No matter who is right, war will ensure that nothing is left… in humanity.

The main viewpoint of discussion was "Execution or Life Sentence". In my response I said – "I personally am not for death penalty unless it is the only option. If there was even an iota of hope that such hardened criminals could be "reformed". I would stand for their rehab. But in this case, given the alarming Thoughts of people world over asking for nothing less than the harshest penalty, I am sure no one has the patience or the intent to show any leniency towards him. And also, Kasab has shown signs of remorse and regret. What he regrets is that he was a wee bit late at CST, he was really upset that because of his late coming he lost the opportunity to gun a few more. So now the question is… could we explore a Gandhian stance and be patient with him, despite his wild nature" .

Thought: "For Kasab this is jihad" Reaction: It is very easy to take religion and validate your viewpoint no matter what it is. There are always two ways of looking at things, and one would look at it only the way he is comfortable the most. Not only jihad, people could sit here and argue and counter the argument about issues like any issue by quoting religious texts and proving it is right to be wrong… and inversely. According to me "Religion is not prescribed; it is open for interpretation and is interpreted in a way that suits us best".

This foreword by me kick started a spirited debate and discussion. There were many views; here are some of the thoughts that I found worth mentioning, within and beyond this radio chat.

Thought: "India is a very humane nation. They wouldn't execute people" Reaction: "Rubbish." We might have a culture of being compassionate but that doesn't deter us from taking a tough stand if need be. Yes we wouldn't execute people like we chop onions and tomatoes or lash up criminals… inhumanely, but our judicial system does give every criminal a fair trial. And post the trial if the accused is found guilty, and if the law of the land says "execution" so will it be. Irrespective of what

Thought: "if Kasab would be hanged he would be seen as a martyr by his tribe. So let him live for life". Reaction: Yes. He would be seen as a martyr by his tribe. Now, do their thoughts matter to us so much. That just to prove that he is not a martyr we spend a colossal amount in keeping him alive. Anyways, tax payers wouldn't want their money to be used for 23


we think. Thought: "For his handlers Kasab was just a pawn, a small solider" Reaction: "of course". Kasab is a pawn, so do we let him spawn terror or set him loose, or have an sympathetic Thought to him as he is just a small fish in a big pond?.

Thought: The victims will find reprieve and a sense of closure if Kasab is hanged. Reaction: Well, may be! But temporary.

And to sum it all… this quirky reaction …

Thought: "Killing is never the answer" Reaction: Yes, it is never justified to kill somebody in an ideal world. How I wish we lived in an Ideal world though. And yes, just in case of a war, no matter who wins, humanity loses.

Q) Let's say "execution" is not an option. Your punishment to Kasab then will be…? Reaction: He should be given the job of an underpaid motorman in a Mumbai local. And should be asked to say "STRIKE" at peak hour openly that all commuters can hear.

Thought: "Life imprisonment for Kasab because killing is uncivilized. We should let him live the rest of his life in a jail for that's the only "punishment" " Reaction: Define Punishment to hardened cold-blooded criminals like Kasab? Would "punishment" to him be civilized in any way? In fact, it would be humane to not have him.

UPDATE On May 06 : Kasab gets death sentence. I dont feel happy that a 20 something guy is dying, dont mistake it for sympathy. Just that it is not a nice feeling. Though it is not safe to keep him living. And it is cruel and inhumane to him too.

Thought: "We should hang Kasab in public view or stone him to death" Reaction: Viewing and participating gory acts of killing, be it killing a goat or a chicken or a human leaves a dent in our memories. It shakes the conscience, and makes us numb. I am not saying this, human psychology says. Read up before suggesting such stupid recommendations. Kill the "Kasab like thought” that dwells in your mind first. Thought: "we are a gandhian nation" Reaction: Wow! So all Indians are vegetarian? Wear just khadi? Well… I don't know about Kasab… but Brand Gandhi is a pawn. Definitely. 24


Vision Without Sight Come May and the anticipation ends. The Board exam results stand declared. Newspaper reams cascade with stories of success and survival against all odds. News channels focus on stories of success made from scratch to zenith, reminding the cribbing average bestowed-with-the-necessary middle class person that success is not necessarily a function of the best of resources or sources but the best of recourses. So we marvel away watching a 'handi'capped 16 year old writing volumes of papers, not even scribbling, with her right leg. “My hands lost their functionality at the age of 12 after I fell off the terrace while playing hide and seek. We are poor. Not having an education was not an option,” said the girl on T.V whose name has faded in my mind. But the courage and determination gives me gooseflesh every time I reminisce. And the very next instance, my skin crawls at the numerous instances of wasted chances I have had channeled by a sense of disadvantage.

- Shruthi Venukumar

Many are from villages and considered a curse and so not treated properly even if there is a possibility of effective cure. Some families overprotect and some think they are useless. If they join school they can be checked for sight. Children are tested on their reading, writing and arithmetic skills using large print texts and Braille etc and divided into the categories of the Blind, ones with Very Limited Vision and those with Low Vision. Even kids with very little sight are encouraged to use examination kits. Many have been operated on. Many work in banks or as teachers. One is a nurse. One applied to the Air Force.” Rehabilitation is the keyword. In a country where 80% of donated eyes are wasted due to improper management and callous storage and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is accused of undermining the cause of education of blind kids with the means provided (Braille script and slate, Taylor frames, abacuses, number of folded and long canes) falling far short of the requirement, the students of Blind People's Association come out with mark sheets splashed with flying colours, enough to drain the colour off the faces of the best and the brightest of us emerging with straight A's straight out of grueling coaching schedules! And these masters could very well be Jacks of all trades. Rajat Patel from Gujarat, a member of BPA who clinched a neat 71.80% in the SSC exams this year is all geared to learn music and add another feather in his cap availing the arts and culture facilities at the association.

Awestruck, the lollipop popped out of my gaping mouth when pictures of a quadriplegic girl made it to the newspapers, with her holding the pen between her teeth, making fine points on the paper. Her exercise might have had teething troubles but it sure makes our distorted disadvantages a toothless point. Much before dyslexia became fashionable in the film fraternity, children with flipped perception were fighting against it to nail perfect scores. There was no reading backwards to their 90 percents. They say winners do not do different things; they do things differently. The differently-abled prove more than this point. A friend once said, “Any form of disability can be tackled with dollops of confidence and courage. But the blind have it tough.” Another friend's version proved that the previous quote was a look at blindness from the blind side. Says Sherin Varghese, BBA student and NGO volunteer, “I have an association with a blind school. I've seen and worked with blind kids. Some of them have a chance at rehabilitation and living a normal life.

Multiple disabilities do not translate into multiple blues in multiple hues for those with nerves of steel. Aarthy Sriram, an engineer who has worked in New Zealand, Singapore and India conveys in sign language, “I am what I am because of my parents. With me born deaf and verbally-challenged, they ran from pillar to post to get a miracle cure for my condition. When it was clear that such a cure was not to be, their thoughts did not cloud. Instead, they brought the best for me in terms of education. I sat for my entrances and cleared engineering -

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Electronics and instrumentation engineering. It took me 5 years to complete a 4 year course but the efforts paid off. Job hunting was no mean task. In a society where communication is the keyword in every field, it took me quite a while to find a job that was well suited to my condition.� And rich dividends they were! To d a y s h e m a n a g e s h e r f a t h e r ' s instrumentation company while doing other assignments on the sidelines. Communication is not a stunted point at all with her body language and eyes speaking volumes of the person she is! Family life has been fulfilling and flourishing! Blessed with a wonderful husband and a bonny child, some would say she is the stuff real luck is made of. I reckon lady luck loves her abode in the company of hard work!

on every other distraction in the garb of machination? Time flew taking giant strides and leaps and 9 years on, I found myself sitting across a family lunch table facing him at a hotel. He was fresh out of an entrance test hall. An exam he clinched being inducted into the Delhi College of Engineering Hall of Fame (this was much before the college assumed Controversy's Child status with allegations of dilution of quality). Four years later I was taking his expert advice on an academic trip to New York with him placed as a laurel-laden University of Florida scholar. His Facebook page is abuzz with bonhomie messages; a clear giveaway of his personality and chumminess. Cheenu Madan, a scholarship student throughout with no chinks in his confidence. The wholesomeness came from holistic (and realistic) upbringing. Hailing from a well-to-do business family, his parents could have showered conscious affectation with affection on him which in later life could have taken the form of prim denial and pseudo-sensitivity. Having the child mix about in the peer crowd is the only way to make the differently-abled receptive to reality and impermeable to offensive banter. Like in everything, catching them young is the key to this lock clutching in its hold a window offering a leap into the sunshiny pastures of a bright future. After all, childhood is the conduit to a nourished youth.

Do confidence issues stifle budding personalities cramped for normalcy? In an age when the lack of a BlackBerry may very often result in the deepest of assurance issues in the most intellectually endowed people, how far off is the concept of confidence in the differently-abled? My mind veers away to an evening family and friends get-together years ago when my age had not outrun the singledigit stage. A boy not more than four summers older than me spent the lazy interludes between greeting his parents friends and g e tt i n g h i s c h e e k s p u l l e d b y t h e m affectionately by drumming on the satintopped table and shooting the most quirky questions to just about everyone who cared to listen. By the time the evening came to a close, the chubster had seen and understood the working of hotel personnel organisation from close quarters. As a kid with qualities vested in me by virtue of my age, I could not but keep staring at how different from me he seemed. Not old enough to appreciate his striking inquisitiveness (which was indeed a fresh of breath air and a class apart from other peers), my curiosity centred around the strange devide he had plugged into his left ear. A generation just on the verge of the hands-free device and such digital indulgences, my wildest guess was it being a wired walkman headset. The music must be really bad or really low sounding I thought. Otherwise how was he concentrating

Different they are, and how! For ages now, and I say this with gratitude, Helen Keller has borne the burden of serving as role model and idol to us for her tremendous potential and work in the field of education despite being in a black world devoid of the sound of music. Someone tearing down the drab walls of one's existence to interact with vigour in a world ostensibly best comprehended by sensual tools is the highest watermark that one can live up to. The differently-abled have been shifting this burden off her immortal shoulders and making themselves outstanding blazing hotspots of inspiration to us, the lesser mortals despite being so whole. Disability would indeed prevail upon us, if our senses fail to receive and perceive it in its entirety.

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The Traffic of your Thoughts

- Anish Joel

One of the greatest distractions on path of inner journey is “the traffic of your thoughts in the mind”. Imagine, if there is lot of traffic on the road, all kinds of vehicles moving here and there, some slow, some fast, and all that honking, it makes your journey such a horrible experience, you are all the time frustrated, you don't even look around to appreciate the beauty of the rising sun, you can't even feel the wind coz its so polluted outside, you are forced to roll your windows up, the whole experience becomes a nightmare. Similarly, in your inner journey the traffic of your thoughts make it almost impossible to venture in. You try to close your eyes and do meditation and immediately you start encountering all kind of rubbish thoughts. And the traffic of thoughts becomes so heavy that in frustration you just open your eyes and give up the whole idea of inner journey. This traffic of your thoughts makes your inner journey almost impossible, even walking few steps becomes a very uphill task, an overall demotivating, dejecting experience, so you just drop this whole effort. This thought traffic just sucks all your energy.

parallely the traffic of your thoughts starts growing. You start thinking how to teach the rival a lesson and so on. The same happens if somebody praises you, again it bloats your EGO and in the same proportion your thought traffic starts expanding, you start getting the thoughts like how good you are, how the whole world is praising about you, what a great thing you did and so on. Now if you look from the other side, let's say you love dancing or swimming or any such activity. As you start dancing, slowly you will come in your flow and in few moments you will just be dancing without even being aware of who is noticing, how are your steps working, are you doing it right or no… you will just become the dance. And at that moment if you notice, your thought traffic is completely gone. You are just dancing. You are not even aware of your surrounding and their various reactions, coz now you are in your real self. Your EGO has ceased to exist for those few moments and hence no thoughts at all. In both the above situations you will notice that size of your EGO (the non-existent illusionary self) and quantum of your thoughts are absolutely proportional.

If you have a real urge to tread the path of inner journey, you must see the origin of your thoughts and you must learn how to really maneuver through them. Have you ever observed that your thought traffic is directly related and proportional to the quantum of your EGO (the non-existent illusionary self). Just observe, if somebody argues with you and insults you real badly, it really hurts your EGO. Basically it's your illusionary, non existent self which is feeling the hurt and pain. Your whole attention and focus goes in the hurt. And as a law of nature, wherever you put your attention/focus, your energy will start flowing towards that and the object of your focus will grow bigger and bigger. Since, now your focus becomes on hurt and on those insulting words, your ego starts expanding. As your ego starts expanding,

There are many techniques to control your thought traffic and manage your EGO, I'm going to discuss just one of them. Most of the eastern religion and sages believe in the concept of non-duality, that everything is one, that it is our false EGO which creates individuality, which divides I from you and which creates all the phenomenon of duality. So, basically speaking, duality is false, it creates the big illusion. In this world every negative thing can be used positively, like the nuclear energy can be used for generating electricity rather then killing people, similarly the notion of duality can be positively used to control your thoughts and manager your Ego. And you can approach this practice from two 27


sides. From one side you work on your thoughts and from other side you work on your EGO using the concept of duality in a positive way.

chain reaction. But you just cut it at its very root. Tell your false EGO that “you are false, you don't exist, I'm separate from you, at this moment, I don't want to feel the hurt, go away”… and slowly you will realize that you have started taking the control of the false EGO, it will start getting smaller and smaller and finally gone. The process here is also the same, you are just not getting identified with you false EGO, you are not giving it any energy, you are not starting any reaction. Rather, you are creating a duality, a BIG duality between your real self and your false illusionary self (EGO).

So, if you are working from the side of your thoughts, whenever overpowering thoughts arises due to any external situation, you just try to create a duality with the thoughts. Just witness your thoughts and feel that you are completely separate from them. Don't give them any energy. Normally what happens, if a thought comes we acknowledge it and make a reaction, the moment we make a reaction the chain starts. And we make the reaction because we get identified with the thought, we get involved with it. For example, you get a thought that your colleague in office is s p re a d i n g b a d r u m o rs a b o u t yo u , immediately you become identified with this thought and you respond. The moment you respond to your thoughts, you are basically fuelling them, giving them more energy and as you fuel them they start growing. You immediately start thinking how to avoid your colleague's rumor, or how to teach him a lesson or how to create your clean image etc. By reacting to one thought, you started a chain reaction. So, use the sword of Duality in a positive way. Whenever a thought comes, feel as if you are different from the thought. Just witness the thought as an external phenomenon, don't get identified with it, don't react to it, and don't get engaged with it. Just be aware that you are separate from the thought. This is really using the concept of duality in a positive way for your betterment. This is like using the poison as a medicine.

Using the technique of duality to feel separated from your false EGO and your thoughts is a real meditative practice, it is your moment to moment sadhana. Because to practice this, you have to be awake every moment. Initially you will encounter many problems. Your false EGO and thoughts are very strong right now, coz you have given them a lot of your energy. You have been feeding them, they have grown stronger and bigger, so the process is going to be a tapasya, you have to be very attentive and dedicated. From now on stop giving the food to your false EGO and your thoughts, rather save your energy to discard them, to create a duality with them. Use all your gained energy in the process to fuel your real SELF, to make it much more stronger. End of the day, it's all about channelizing your energy and practicing awakefullness. If you are watchful, you can channelise your energy as per your choice and wish, and if you are asleep, it will get channelised to some undesired areas. It is the same energy, its quality is to flow all the time and you have the capacity to control and channelise this great flow of energy and ride on it for your inner journey. Have an exciting and pleasurable journey. Remember “The Journey is the Goal”…

Now, you can approach it form the false EGO side as well. Whenever any incidence happens (and they keep happening all the time) big or small, like if someone insults you and now your EGO is about to feel the pain, immediately, use the medicine/poison of duality. Feel as if you are different from your false EGO. Your false self will try to react, will try to feel the pain and thereby initiating a

Love to the god sitting inside you

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As the creator, author and producer of The Secret in both the book and feature-length film versions, Rhonda Byrne's intention is to empower all others to live a life of joy.

throughout history. Almost immediately her life was transformed, as she began to put into practice all she had learned. And in that moment her greatest wish, and new life mission, was to share this knowledge with the world.

In late September 2004, Rhonda discovered an unfailing and unerring principle that permeates and underlies every single aspect of our lives. She was astonished that this life - transforming information was not widely known and practiced. In that moment she made it her life's focus to share this knowledge with all people around the world, so that billions could powerfully transform and improve their lives. Rhonda immediately began applying and studying this all powerful knowledge, which was to become The Secret. She studied the work of the world's finest minds - great thinkers, artists, scientists, inventors, discoverers and philosophers - drawing from fields as divergent as quantum physics, metaphysics, psychology, and religion. She found again and again that the knowledge of this one principle had run like a golden thread through the lives and the teachings of all the prophets, seers, sages and saviours in the world's history, and through the lives of all truly great men and women. Without exception she saw that all they had accomplished or attained had been done in full accordance with this one most powerful principle. She began practicing what she learned, using the Secret to make the film The Secret - attracting the resources she needed to have the production be an effortless and joyful odyssey. And just over one year later, The Secret was released to the world. The Secret reveals the most powerful law of the universe and explains how anyone can use this law to create unlimited happiness, love, health, and prosperity in their lives. Towards the end of 2004, and following a string of traumatic events in her personal and professional life, Rhonda Byrne discovered a great secret - the secret laws and principles of the universe. Rhonda's daughter had given her a copy of The Science of Getting Rich, a book written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles. Of that moment, Rhonda says, "Something inside of me had me turn the pages one by one, and I can still remember my tears hitting the pages as I was reading it. It gave me a glimpse of the Secret and it was like a flame ignited inside of my heart." What followed was a two-month odyssey of research and investigation as Rhonda traced The Secret back through thousands of years, incorporating almost every religion and field of human endeavor

Overview The Secret reveals the most powerful law in the universe. The knowledge of this law has run like a golden thread through the lives and the teachings of all the prophets, seers, sages and saviours in the world's history, and through the lives of all truly great men and women. All that they have ever accomplished or attained has been done in full accordance with this most powerful law. Without exception, every human being has the ability to transform any weakness or suffering into strength, power, perfect peace, health, and abundance. The Secret explains with simplicity the law that is governing all lives, and offers the knowledge of how to create, intentionally and effortlessly a joyful life. This is The Secret to everything — the Secret to unlimited happiness, love, health and prosperity. This is The Secret to life. The Secret lists three required steps: "ask, believe, receive" — as the essence of the Law of Attraction Ask Know what you want and ask the universe for it. This is where you need to get clear on what it is you want to create and visualise what you want as being as 'real1 as possible. Believe Feel and behave as if the object of your desire is on its way. Focus your thoughts and your language on what it is you want to attract. You want to feel the feeling of really 'knowing' that what you desire is on its way to you, even if you have to trick yourself into believing it do it. Receive Be open to receiving it. Pay attention to your intuitive messages, synchronicities, signs from the Universe to help you along the way as assurance you are on the 'right' path. As you align yourself with the Universe and open yourself up to receiving, the very thing you are wanting to manifest will show up. THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS

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Finish Strong - Mona Chadda

More than statement is an atitude, Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it. So, How to take it? How will you choose to respond to the challenge before you ? The choice in yours!! Always choose to. . . finish strong! Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed. Intention At the age of 13, she was attacked by a shark while surfing. Within 6 Months, she was surfing again competitively and winning with one arm. - Bethany Hamilton, 2004 ESPN comeback, Athlete of the year. When he started the company, he was 52 years old. He had diabetes, had lost his gall bladder and most of his thyroid glands. But he was committed that the best was ahead of him. - Ray Kroc, Founder – Mc Donald's.

wanted to. The first was to walk without braces. - Wilna Rudolph – The first American woman to win 3 gold medals in single Olympics.

Belief To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only dream but also believe. Her mother taught her to believe that she could achieve any accomplishment she

Nearly killed in an auto accident that crushed his legs, he would struggle to walk for the rest of his life. But then... 16 months later he would win the US open and ultimately 5 more major championships. - Ben Hogan Attitude: “How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game; whatever you are, a winner or a loser” In 2004 Olympics, after falling he seemed to be out of medal contention then.. In his last event he delivers a perfect routine winning the Men's all round Gold medal by 0.12 points. - Paul Hamm “It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters” So, Purpose is – Nothing changes until something moves. How will you choose to respond – The choice is yours ! Finish Strong. . . 30


Terror in my backyard - Shehzad Poonawalla

As I sit down to write this article, I vividly remember the visuals of a typical Saturday evening in Koregaon Park and German bakery in Pune- the latest targets of a terrorist attack that breached the uneasy sense of security that prevailed in India, thanks to a fourteen month terror-free run after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Known mainly for the Osho commune located here, Koregaon Park originally housed a hundred odd bungalows, belonging to the rich and famous of Pune and other parts of India including a property owned by Maharaja Hari Singh from Jammu and Kashmir, which are scattered between two parallel roads, namely North Main Road and South Main Road connected to each other by internal lanes. Thanks to rising incomes, growing number of foreign tourists visiting the Osho commune and students studying coming to study in Pune from all over the country and abroad, particularly the Middle East, the area was further extended to include residential and commercial complexes and is dotted by exotic restaurants and cozy cafés. German Bakery is one such café, frequented by foreigners and Indians alike- a laidback eatery, where you can grab your sandwiches, salads or fresh fruit juices and “chill”. And while you were enjoying your delicious meal you would find people of every skin colour donning those maroon “Osho robes” walking about or cycling while young Indian women would be busy bargaining for the best deals on those legendary “Osho slippers” sold right opposite German Bakery. Young and old, Indians and foreigners, people belonging to all faiths congregating at this one place, bustling with energy and adding to the cosmopolitan flavor that can never be missed. Undeniably this is the “cosmopolitan heartland” of my wonderful city Pune and it was perhaps this very reason that made it vulnerable to being attacked by terrorists. The fact that a Jewish Centre (Chabad House) is also located right here made it a(n) even more attractive target for the likes of David Headley, who stayed here and visited the Osho commune twice.

charity screening of the film MNIK. Initially we were given the impression that it was a gas cylinder explosion but the policemen on duty, who were known to us, confirmed that it was a bomb blast. Since there was too much traffic, we left our car and went walking to Koregaon Park, making a brief halt at home which is a few hundred metres away from the German Bakery. There was a sense of panic all around us. Ambulances were blaring their sirens and the army jawans and policemen were trying hard to clear the area. We, along with a few youngsters helped the injured persons get into the ambulances. It was an ugly sight. Blood, flesh and organs splattered all over. SMSes were sent out to friends to report to hospitals for donating blood. Thereafter, the policemen barricaded the area of the blast to ensure that forensic and investigative agencies could come in and gather vital evidence. From the extensive damage done to German Bakery and the distance to which the roof had been blown off, one could judge that it was a high intensity blast carried out by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). We waited with the policemen till 3 am in the morning. Imagine the plight of the cops, many of whom were posted outside cinema halls for the entire day (to ensure that the Shiv Sena does not create a ruckus during the screening of the SRK starrer) and were rushed into the blast zone. They were on continuous duty for hours now. So we immediately organized bottles of water from nearby hotels and brought biscuit packets for them. It's been almost six months since February 13th 2010, the day Pune witnessed this cowardly act of violence and each time my mind goes back to think that it so easily could have been me there, grabbing my tofu burger or masala tea at German Bakery, when this explosion took place. How easy is it to snuff out a life? And then I realize that this wasn't about killing people. It was about terrorizing us, about assaulting the symbols of our freedom, cosmopolitanism and economy. But try as they might, the perpetrators of this act can never dent the spirit of my city Pune.. they can never dent the spirit of my country India… they can NEVER.. they will NEVER…

When the blasts rocked Pune on Saturday evening, my brother Tehseen and I were at the Inox multiplex, which is roughly about 12 minutes away from the bakery, where we had organized a

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- Tehseen Poonawalla Last week in Delhi I attended a talk on INDIA –PAKISTAN relations and the way forward. Prominent speakers from both sides of the border, historians, thinkers and political personalities were invited to express their opinion. One of the guests was a gentleman who often commented from the religious scriptures. He spoke with passion how India was a victim of Pakistan's aggression and how the Indian government and the Prime Minister in particular must not try and reach out anymore to the Pakistanis. War he said was another way forward – after all whenever ADHARAM is established, war is justified. Once and for all this menace should be put to an end! We are the land of the great Mahabharta, where the Lord himself coaxed Arjun to lift his weapons and fight for what is right! Hearing him talk and simplify the great epic made me think. After all if the MAHABHARAT, was as simple as my friend made it to be- it would not be the great EPIC that it is!

lands, and despite Krishna arguing otherwise, and asking them to return the land they were simply stubborn.“Not a needlepoint of territory shall we part with” her kids declared and that is when she knew that victory would not be theirs as Dharma was not with them. But it was a mother's heart, a mother's pain- don't mothers of wrong doers also have a right to grieve?Gandhari, asked why her children refused to share their kingdom with their cousins? Why did Karna not teach them the value of charity? They had so much wealth; surely they could have accommodated five more. Her children's refusal was only because of greed. Yet she could not help but weep for them ! She continued to yell and question why her children became greedy – maybe the fault lay with her. “Their father was blind and could never see them; I, their mother, refused to see them. Trying to be a noble wife, I blindfolded myself from their childhood.” Or “Maybe my children would have been generous if my husband was allowed to be a king. He was the elder son. However blind men are not allowed to be kings. Perhaps that law that denied my husband kingship is the cause of my children's greed. Why do Ancestors make such laws? Maybe it is them who are responsible for my children's greed!”

One of the stories that Vyasa has not included in this great epic because it is too cruel to put down in writing honestly -goes like this : After 18 days when the battle was over, Gandhari walked onto the battle field. Around her lay the bodies of her hundred sons: some with broken necks, smashed skulls, open chests, and one even with a broken thigh. She could visualize how each one of them –princes must have looked when they left the for the battle. With their armories, their jewelry each of her 100 sons holding their weapons must have been a magnificent sight. And now in front of her lay the dead bodies of all her children. The howling of her daughters-in-law filled her ears. They cried for her sons and her grandsons, all of whom were killed by the Pandava army. As tears rushed out of her eyes, she thought they would make her blindfold so wet that she that she would be able to see her sons through the cloth. She squeezed her eyes shut and continued to cry.

She continued to cry and scream “Every day from here on Bhima will remind me and my husband how he killed all our sons. When we sit down to eat,he will crack his knuckles so that we hear the sound that came when he broke their bones or ripped open their chest. Draupadi will try to stop him, but he will justify his actions”, “They must never forget their children's act. They did not help when you screamed in the gambling hall. It is their silence that led to the death your sons and my son as well. Why should I forgive them? Let me remind them every day how I killed each and every of their hundred sons. How they begged me to stop and how I drank their blood.”

She knew her sons were villains. They had to be killed for dharma to be established. They had not washed away the sin of publicly disrobing a helpless woman. They had argued that the thirteen years of exile was not yet over and therefore would not return the Pandava their

Gandhari refused to leave the battleground spread with bodies of her children even as the sun set. She told her husband and her daughters-inlaw to go home as she wanted to be left alone with her children. Old and weak, she waved her stick to keep the wolves from getting to the bodies of her

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sons. Krishna came and asked her to leave “They are gone,” he said, “Why do you cling to them.” And she replied, “You will never know a mother's pain.” And Krishna said, “A pain remains until another pain comes along.” And she replied, “This pain is permanent. It is a mother's pain. It cannot ever pass.” Krishna left. Night fell and the moon rose. Hungry wolves were waiting for the old lady to tire. She waved her stick, her sons were under her care no animal could get to them. Suddenly, Gandhari felt a pang of hunger. A hunger like she had never felt before. It was as if she had not eaten for years. She could not think anything all she wanted was food. Just then a smell of a mango entered her nose. It was the sweet smell and it came from above her. She tried to pluck to it but it was out of reach. So she found a stone and climbed on it to get to it. Still the mango was out of reach. Then she put another stone above the first one, but the mango was still out of reach. Then other stone and another, she kept putting one stone on top of the other till finally, she got hold of the mango. She plucked it and sucked on it: .She ate it very quick, even ate the skin, licked her fingers and felt her hunger pass away. As the hunger disappeared, the pain returned – the horror of her children's death. How could she be eating a mango when her children were dead? She felt the stones on which she was sitting – they felt soft and wet, like flesh! She was disgusted. They were not stones; they were the bodies of her children. She sat on them and ate mangoes, and then she remembered Krishna's words, “A pain remains until another pain comes along.” This was his way of teaching that her pain, though very deep and very valid, was like all pains not permanent. This was a ruthless lesson by a ruthless God. Gandhari howled and screamed a curse, “May you Krishna witness the death of your children and your children's children. And may you die alone in the forest, hunted down like a beast.”

Draupadi's hair was dyed with the blood of Gandhari's children. But in getting that blood, so much rage was generated that it cost her lives of her own five sons and all the other children of the Pandav clan as well. Was it worth it? Could she have forgiven? Or was vengeance the only way out? Is revenge ever the answer? The song that Krishna sang before the war – we know now as the the Bhagavad Gita.- was not an excuse to go to war. It was an understanding of where from comes war. Dharma is not about who is the hero and who is the villain it is something else. He who attacks another always believes he is right in doing so – in their eyes and the eyes of their people they are heroes and martyrs. Those who are struck down – they call the same hero brave hero- a villain, they will call the same martyr, a terrorist. Gandhari cried for her children – who were her heroes, and our villains. But at the same time there was another lady crying there as well, Draupadi- for her children –at the end of the Great War everyone lost all their children? one of the questions raised by those who have studied this great epic is - was it worth it? To take the India Pakistan reference in context of this great war, surely we can go to war with our neighbors. Surely we will win the war and as some say wipe them out. But there is a price we also will have to pay. Today India is amongst the few economies worldwide posting superb growth. Yet today about 400 million of our fellow citizens do not get even a single meal, and about 600 million do not have access to sanitation. What is important to us? A piece of land or the development of our fellow citizens? The cost of war with either Pakistan or China is going to be phenomenal. It will take India -to years of slow growth and maybe even no growth. The momentum of this great Indian Dream will be broken. But what is worse is millions of our fellow citizens will not be able to elevate themselves to a quality life. To end the suffering of the nearly 800 million below the poverty line by making peace with those who 60 odd years ago were our fellow citizens, or go to war and deny the chance for a majority of our country men to rise- what should be our aim! Today I make no judgments- I leave it to you…is the Prime Minister doing the right thing reaching out, or should we go to war?

Krishna came and hugged her. She wept. And she felt Draupadi weeping next to her. Both were being hugged by Krishna, the mother of our villains and the mother of our heroes, both being comforted by who they say is God. He said nothing. He allowed Gandhari to vent out her anger and accepted her curse. His children would die as Gandhari had said and so would he. But he let it be. No retaliatory curse. The chain reaction of this revenge had to end sometime. And if this demanded he sacrifice himself and his clan, then be it so.

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You Dare Not! - Maruee Pahuja

Tigers are at the top of the food chain and have no natural predator. Only man threatens their survival as species. But, why do we still feel so helpless when it comes to saving them? Just by blogging a site if a Dhoni asks you to on a facebook or whatever won't help them survive. Initiate yourselves! The root cause of their survival getting threatened happens to be poaching, a well fledged money making business where poachers hunt for animals and mercilessly kill them for their body parts and organs. Poaching a single tiger fetches them earnings for 6 years. A dead tiger parts are worth as much as $200,000 on the black market. The trade continues today in china, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore, although tiger medicines are a hoax and has been shown to have no curative powers. And whoa!! I stand so weak, so helpless and I still don't understand are these people not humans or aren't the buyers shame full enough to even think of buying these products. Is royalty expressed this way!? I would say these people happen to be the poorest and the cheapest of all! It is sad to know that out of 8 sub species of tigers, 3 have already become extinct and the others are endangered. The tiger population dropped over the past hundred years from an estimated 100,000 in the 1900 to only 4000 in the 1970's. Their inexistence brings in a huge imbalance in the ecosystem and hence threatens our environment. The basic measures to save tigers would be, make yourself aware and create awareness especially in the rural areas, so that there is no more poaching. By the government, severely punishing the poachers for their unforgivable crime. Simply, by not buying such products and hence not encouraging them to poach and sell. Deforestation is one major reason for their number getting dropped down. Let's save their habitat. Donate to organisations and foundations that help in saving the majesty of the ecosystem for real! It will take more than words to halt this tragedy. Yet i would say, YOU DARE NOT enter their territory. Let's live and let live!! Let the roaring cats roar away to happiness!

Were the goose bumps out of chills that passed my body or its majestic panache! It definitely kept me petrified. For a moment, I couldn't believe its existence. Lollapalooza! ! ! Read about it in books, seen so many of its pictures. The paparazzi also must be in search of this cold creature. Highly magnificent, found rarely (now) in reality on earth, estimated to have roamed the earth over 6 million years, but its existence doubted in the near future. This brings in a pause in my thoughts and i get lost in the world of virtuality where panthera tigris i.e the scientific name of tiger is born free to live free. But why is this thought so virtual, so fictional, why is it so hard to believe that tigers have lost out on their wilderness or has the wilderness lost out on the tigers. Is man more wild not to let it live freely!

“Just by blogging a site if a Dhoni asks you to on a face-book or whatever won't help them survive. Initiate yourselves!�

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The Youth and the Spiritual

- Kavita Chandrashekhar

Since times immemorial , Man has been called a social animal, one whose needs begin with the society and also end there.. seldom wondering that if this is to be so, then is it the basis of a happy society or a happy man for that matter who inhabits this society? What is it that causes happiness? Desires, when fulfilled gives one delight, ambitions achieved given one joy and a sense of accomplishment‌ Happiness on the other hand is a state of mind! Happiness comes from a state of satisfaction ..that you have all it takes to accomplish or overcome.. and so you needn't lose this state to achieve the next. And this is possible!

,rather than successful but sad, depressed people ! The youth have such potent energy ,when channelised into meditation can work wonders into their state of mind ,causing total relaxation ,peace and balance in body and brain activities. One becomes calmer and his approach towards life is joyful and energetic.

What happens in meditation? When one sits for a meditation, the usually chattering mind is quietened, this is excellent to focus your senses at one point. When the mind becomes still , all the energy in the universe which is freely available around you begins to gather and flow through your breath in the body ,relaxing and making the body and mind peaceful .The flow of energy continues to make one aware and relaxed at the same time giving great feeling of stillness, something that the mind cannot be in the awake senses. Meditation also helps boost immunity, improve blood circulation and gives a major increase in memory power.As pure energy begins to flow in the body in meditation, the body and mind are unusually fit and always relaxed!

How would you feel if every morning you woke up and you walk on the street and all people greet you with a smile on their face? Would n't you feel like smiling too? Well Happiness is infectious and the first person to begin with is yourself! Youth are considered to be very powerful for the high level of energy and enthusiasm in their course of action. If this energy be channelised the right way, it can help create magic in the lives of so many..and this can be done so by meditation! Meditation is awarness in the body ,mind and spirit. Your every action is in total awareness, that is the basis of a happy and successful life. And to begin it young is half the journey won!

Now, knowing this, who wouldn't want to meditate? Now is the time! Learn it and get going guys! There are many a mountains waiting to be scaled by you!And all the energy around you is waiting to be channelised by you to reach your highest state of happiness and the greatest success ever!

Meditation: A lot of people around the globe and the youth too in particular has been hearing about meditation .What is it?And why does one need it? The aforesaid state of happiness can be achieved by meditation and people of all ages can do it. The society needs Happy people 37


Who Killed Leonardo - Da - Vinci? - Nikita Wadhwani

Who killed Leonardo-Da-Vinci ? Mona Lisa's smile has provoked curiosity and fuelled imagination for centuries. She smiles at me, and at you, and at us. She smiles, a smile of mocking triumph – she knows the secret we don't. But, I think I finally figured out the secret behind a hypnotic smile. I too, know what she does. I know the secret she hides. . . The secret of Leonardo-Da-Vinci. The secret behind the renaissance painter who was a mathematician, a scientist, a philosopher and excelled at all these. The secret of the man who wishes to return, but dies a gruesome death every time he tries. What is this Secret ? Will anyone believe me when I say that the secret is simply this - freedom ? Free what, whom, why ? That is the secret. I ask you to free yourselves, I tell you to free your times, Let your imagination take control. Let no limits fetter you. Within every man lies a Vinci ; Within every man lies the capacity to excel at everything. When you do that, you hold the secret hidden behind that enigmatic smile. You contain the secret of Da-Vinci. You are the secret. If Vinci could do all this and more, what then is limiting is the birth of such men! The answer lies in the mirror. He answer is 'US'. We killed Leonardo-Da-Vinci. We are the guilty ones. We are the criminals who continue this homicide every day of our existence.

Why can't commerce students be study Physics ? Why must a student of arts be stopped from pursuing Biology ? Why must every mind in the country be classified into three broad categories ? Is a journalist incapable of understanding the workings of his own body ? Is an engineer barred from studying the history of the language he converses in ? These are the questions to which the youth of today demanding to answer. These are the questions which pint the way to our generation that can hum to the doors while simultaneously achieving scientific breakthroughs. There are those of us who might ace a physics test but, want to spend an evening painting the sunset. There are some who like to decorate their mathematics notebooks with notations of a self-composed tune. Grouping subjects under three categories, suppresses the vast potential that lies entrapped within the walls of our education system. A physics student may want to study history and an economics student wishes to pursue biotechnology. It is high-time that we realise that the code of success is programmed into the hard drive of our mind. The makers of our education policy must provide us with a blank canvas on which we ma paint the landscapes of our life with the colors of our imagination. Leonado-Da-Vinci beats against the doors of our minds, shouting to be freed. His blows weaken with each passing hour, let us redeem our past killings and give a new life to the spirit that tries to rise from the dead.

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the quest' - Issue 1