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Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to project yourself as a 'liberal intellectual' in ten easy steps!

Note : I came across this BRILLIANT article on FB and just loved it! I am reproducing as it is. You can find this on FB @ 
https://www.facebook.com/notes/shefali-vaidya/how-to-project-yourself-as-a-liberal-intellectual-in-ten-easy-steps/10152273124496655

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This article is dedicated to the average self-styled ' Indian Liberal Intellectual', who is, unfortunately, neither liberal, nor intellectual, nor Indian! 

This election campaign would not have been successful without your especially virulent outpourings! 

How to project yourself as a 'liberal intellectual' in ten easy steps!

1) Every time you come across a post that has the words 'Hindu' or ‘Hindutva' in it, describe the post as 'vile and disgusting’, regardless of the actual context. Express your hatred for Hinduism constantly and diligently, in ways that can be subtle or obvious depending upon the context. However, do not forget to mention in the same breath that you 'respect' Hindus.

2) Always mention 'Gujarat 2002' in any discussion. Even if the topic of discussion is about the reproductive habits of the primates of upper Congo! Remember the golden rule. All communal riots are equal, but Gujarat riots are more equal than others! 

3) Write about Modi in any medium you can find. Make liberal use of words like 'vile monster', 'butcher', 'autocrat' 'kristalnacht' and '1933'. Attend anti-Modi seminars at the India International Centre and talk passionately about ‘malnutrition in Gujarat's children as you stuff yourself with a laden plate of canapés and a glass of free champagne. 

4) Occasionally, throw a scrap of carefully constructed praise at the 'secular Hindus' and pander to their egos. This is very essential if you want to present yourself as a 'liberal humanist'. Say things like ' India is secular because of the secular Hindus'. 

5) Learn to do nimble spiritual somersaults depending upon the subject being discussed. Sometimes, you might refer to yourself as an atheist, sometimes as an agnostic, but always mention that you are 'spiritual, not religious' - whatever that means! And when you are speaking in Hindi, always refer to God as 'Khuda', never as 'Bhagwan' or 'Ishwar'. 

6) Always shout from the rooftops that you are free from all caste prejudices, but never omit to mention the C word when needed. Carefully used, it can be an invaluable tool in a debate. It is a wonderful divisive technique that can be used again and again to drive a wedge among the Hindus.

7) Make selective, controversial postings about army atrocities in Kashmir and weep buckets over the ‘oppressed Kashmiri youth’. But remember, make NO mention of of the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. Ever!

8) When all else fails, throw the term ' fascist RSS supporter' at your opponent's face. You need not worry about the veracity of the charge, if you throw the term enough times at someone, chances are, it will stick. It is the Kejriwal principle. If even that fails, call them 'Ambani, Adani, Tata, Birla, Bajaj agents'. 

9) Invest in a suitable wardrobe. If you are a man, fashoinably crumpled fabindia Kurtas are a must. A french beard is very helpful. It establishes your 'intellectual' credentials automatically, even if your IQ can barely crawl to double digits.

If you are a woman, you need to wear cotton handloom saris in earthy tones with mismatched ugly granny blouses. Also, wear a bindi the size of a soup bowl and drown your eyes in copious amount of kohl. The aim is to look like a slightly demented raccoon. It helps if your hair is liberally streaked with grey. 

10) When you find yourself unable to argue logically, and eventually, you WILL come to that point in almost every argument, announce loftily that you cannot talk with 'rabid Internet Hindus' because your fragile liberal humanist soul is unable to deal with the pain of their 'communal comments'.

- Shefali Vaidya

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A New Dawn - Hopes, aspirations and expectations

Today was a very special morning. After all, so much have happened and changed in last 24 hours.

Yes – election results are out. India has spoken – loud and clear.

After yesterday's dream election results, sleep was sweeter and morning was calmer. Though there is a sudden loss of anxiety and curiosity, which has been replaced with a sense of fulfillment. This is the exact vacuum you would have felt after finishing your last exam of engineering.

Life has a strange and at times, surprising way to payback. Exactly 5 years ago, on 17th May 2009, I was writing my thoughts with a heavy heart and disappointed mind after election results were out. Today, 5 years down the line, exactly on the same date (17th May), I am writing this post with a sense of fulfillment and joy. In fact, I am not able to stop smiling since over 45 hours, when initial trends started pointing towards a historical win for the BJP and NaMo.

Last 45 hours were filled with tremendous joy, a sense of disbelief, uninterrupted FB updates, phone calls to friends and families, screaming, punching in air, talking endlessly with like minded people and just enjoying each and every moment!

Without any doubt, we must applaud India’s voters, who raised about cast and creed and overwhelmingly poured their love and trust on NaMo. What we must appreciated is voters sense of judgement to mark a clear difference between local elections Vs national elections and voted accordingly. Hats off! Take a bow!

Last evening, I loved NaMo's speech at Ahmedabad – especially his reference to not limiting himself to just one term but ensuring repeated terms. That is exactly what he did in Gujarat and that is exactly what we need for this nation.

Now a mixed bag – On one hand, as a Gujarati, we are losing the most phenomenal Chief Minister we ever had and we always loved but on the other hand, there is a pride in offering our Chief Minister to the nation as a Prime Minister to solve impending problems. A sense of loss and pride you see :-)

While NaMo can bring life to a dead body with his inspirational words and actions, our current (or previous, whatever) Prime Minister Dr. Singh had an ability to turn a living being in almost as useless as a dead body with his utterly uninspiring speech, body language and leadership style.

We surely need a leader who can inspire. Who can lead. Who can involve people in nation building and who can bring a sense of pride in each and every citizen. We need to build a nation which is confident, capable and can look at the word – eye to eye. That starts with the leadership and for a change, we have got it.

The biggest democracy in the world has arrived. 

P. S. : 
रावण वध के लिए राम सेतु बनाने में अपना सहयोग देके छोटी छोटी गिलहरीओ (squirrels) को जो संतोष मिला होगा वही संतोष आज हम सब को मोदी जी की जीत से मिल रहा है

भले ही छोटा हो पर हम सब ने अपना अपना कर्त्तव्य निभाया है.. online word spread करके, आसपास के लोगो को मोदीजी के लिए वोट करने के लिए प्रोत्साहित करके, अपना खुद का वोट डाल के और भगवान से ढेर सारी प्रार्थना करके

Parting Shot


©Except cartoon, all rights reserved with Mihir Rawal. To re-print or re-use, prior permission is required from the author. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Finally! Long wait of 10 years is about to get over!

And the D Day has arrived! Here we are, just 20 minutes away before counting starts!

I slept late last night– around 1am as the rush of adrenalin was just refusing to die down. I surely had more energy than Hulk :-) And I got up at 5.30am. I prayed God the first thing in morning, as soon as I was awake.

Now here I am, hoping and waiting with a baited breath – cannot afford any surprise this time!

I skipped my morning walk – ah the attraction to switch on TV and watch debates was too much to resist even at 6.30am!

Apart from overall seat tally, it will be interesting to see who all bites the dust – I have my own wish list based on last 10 years of disastrous misgovernment. Oh I must add, even my mother has her own wish list and Kapil Sibbal tops that list followed by Rita Bahuguna Joshi :-)

Oh yes, everyone follows politics at my home. My mother is right beside me watching election results starting 7am. The scene will be similar at my hometown, where my father and sisters will be glued to television set. Just like me, my sister has also skipped her office today :-)

Let the best thing happen for this nation.

A simple majority will do. However what we really want is 300 and above!!

Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... For tonight, we shall party :-) :-)


©All rights reserved with Mihir Rawal. To re-print or re-use, prior permission is required from the author. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

अच्छे दिन आने वाले है :-)

I am in this happy state since last evening. Yeah I understand it is quite premature to celebrate but voila, I am already feeling excited after watching yesterday’s exit polls!

Well the toughest part of watching any such poll is to decide which channel to follow for at least 5 minutes continuously considering there are some zillions of channels showing different exit polls. My preference for watching a channel is based on who has better panelist and (wink wink) who is showing favorable numbers :-)

Come 16th May and I am all prepared. My plan for this Friday is pretty simple – Get up at 5.45am, finish morning walk by 7.30am and then glue in front of TV from 8am till results are fully declared. And yeah these few hours will have usual juggling of channels, some excitement and screaming (oh yeah I do scream even if I am watching TV all alone!), phone calls to friends and families, constant updates on FB and Twitters and then last, celebrating with some sweets :-)

I so wish this misrule of 10 years blessed by Italian influence and marred by incompetent puppet PM to end.  In one aspect, this election was relatively simple though - It does not require Einstein’s brain to choose between an incompetent dynast and a ray of hope.

Talking about dynast, I really wish if someone had made “Taare Zameen Par” type of movie way back when Rahul Gandhi was a kid. I am pretty sure Rajiv and Sonia would have realized how misfit their offspring is for politics just like an Eskimo in Sahara desert.

Coming back to elections : What future holds is a mystery. How this nation will shape in next 5 years, nobody knows. However one thing is sure that circumstances can only improve from here and can’t go any worse. Only thing we will need as a nation is a bit of patience considering sky high expectations that has been built up over the last few months.

16th May – I can’t wait for you! PLEASE COME SOON!

ॐ सर्वेशां स्वस्तिर्भवतु । सर्वेशां शान्तिर्भवतु ।
सर्वेशां पुर्णंभवतु । सर्वेशां मङ्गलंभवतु ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Sarveshaam Svastir-Bhavatu | Sarveshaam Shaantir-Bhavatu |
Sarveshaam Purnnam-Bhavatu | Sarveshaam Manggalam-Bhavatu |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

May there be well-being of all, may everyone have peace,
May there be fulfilment in all, may there be auspiciousness in all.
Peace Peace Peace.

©All rights reserved with Mihir Rawal. To re-print or re-use, prior permission is required from the author. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

हर लम्बी काली रात के बाद सुबह होती है...

16th May 2014 
Aha! Just less than a week to go! After all, this is the day I was waiting for ever since 2009 general election results were declared. I checked my blog and here is what I had written way back in 2009 : http://www.mihironline.com/2009/05/enigma-called-indian-democracy.htmlIncidentally, 2009 results also came on 16th May.

Flashback.

2004
Election results came as a cropper and beyond expectations of all political pundits as well as most of common men. The scariest part after the result was the prospect of an Italian origin lady ruling over a billion people. It almost became a reality but thanks to Dr. Kalam and Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, it didn’t materialize (There is no direct proof but most of the stories revolving around “sacrifice” of SG leads to Swamy and Kalam).

Thankfully, at least and last, an Indian became the PM – though more or less handicap and as Sanjaya Baru’s latest book “The Accidental Prime Minister” reveals, working under Italian influence.

Results were disappointing. Waiting game started for next 5 years.

2009
It was an even bigger surprise defying logic! I mean no common sense could justify Congress (I) getting over 200 seats! Beyond all sane logic! I was sheer disappointed but alas, there is no other option when over a billion people decide to vote based on either freebies or gimmicks or Gandhi surname.

Life goes on. Wait goes on.

Flashback over. Back to present.

2014
This is the year that has an opportunity to correct a lot of mistakes of last 10 years. First time, someone has openly challenged the dynasty, someone has openly expressed his desire to become the PM and someone is talking about issues and solutions, that vibes with the common men.

Being a Gujarati, I have known (though not personally) NaMo since 1980s, when he brought BJP in power in Ahmedabad municipal corporation. He was the master organizer behind Ram Rath Yatra in 1989. He played an instrumental part in Ekta Yatra which concluded by waving the Tricolor at the Lal chowk of Srinagar, at the height of insurgency in 1992.

Again, he was the mastermind to bring BJP in power in Gujarat in 1995. He had to leave Gujarat due to internal differences among BJP leaders but then he moved to Himachal Pradesh and brought BJP in power there as well.

For Gujaratis, there is a special bonding with NaMo. Most of us do not see him as the CM but as someone who is part of the family. Who is our own man. Over the years, he has earned it.

For this election, there has been a tremendous enthusiasm all around nation – which is quite surprising and a welcome move. Exceeding high voting percentage, berserk TV channels (some might be flooding paid news), a very active social media, very active and animated discussions even inside office space, whatsapp messages.. it looks like life has been engulfed by politics since last couple of months. I like it. Because unless a common man talks and discusses about politics, unless (s)he takes an active interest in current affairs, we will continue to live the way we have been since decades.

In my own experience, I went to vote at 6.55am and I found around 150 people were already standing in a queue! Aha! Though I had to wait for an hour to vote, I loved it!

The only pitfall of this election is exceedingly high expectations, even higher than the Mount Everest. Well, past 10 years of misrule has brought such a high level of frustration that whoever next comes to power, will have a mountain to climb – that too in a very short time. This country has umpteen complex problems and a lot of them are related with selfish motives of individuals or groups or parties. On the other hand, public perception in India is very short lived. Patience has died down. Everyone wants a quick fix.

Hope NaMo can set and manage right expectations. If he fails this time for any reason, it will have a long lasting impact on Indian politics. After all, hope comes in form of a ray and if that ray fails, it may be difficult for the nation to hope and trust any individual once again. Nobody knows better than people of Delhi - After their failed experiment with AAP.

Let us pray god let the best thing happen to this great nation.

Ending with this universal Shanti Mantra.

ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिन। सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु। मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

(Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu, Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||)

Meaning:
Om, May all become Happy, May all be free from illness.
May all see what is auspicious, May no one suffers in their life.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

©All rights reserved with Mihir Rawal. To re-print or re-use, prior permission is required from the author.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Magical Rainwalk

Just like any other day, I got up at 6am and was ready to go out for morning walk at 6.30am. However as it had rained last night and it was a cloudy morning, I hesitated for a minute to decide – to go or not to go. The decision was a go. Then I opted to take a car to drive down to Botanical Garden rather than usual bike ride.

Botanical garden has this beautiful 3km trail. It has an entry and exit but no other exit route in between 3km long trail. I usually take two rounds, which is a good 6km walk.


This walk is beautiful as it has rare chirping sound of birds, especially peacocks. In fact spotting a peacock is quite normal and sometimes, you see them crossing the trail, just few feet away from you.



Today, crowd was sporadic – considering it was cloudy and potential to rain.

Now I cherish this one hour the most out of 24 hours that god has provided. I usually listen to classical music from Pandit Bhimsen Joshi or Pandit Jasraj. Sometimes I hook up to ancient Sanskrit Mantras and off late, I have downloaded wonderful commentary on Shrimad Bhagwatgita (There shall be a separate post on that).

Today, while I was on my way to complete first 3km, it started drizzling. Very mild though. I continued my walk in company of Shrimad Bhagwatgita.

While I was about to reach towards the end of 3km trail, again I had a decision to make – to walk for another 3km (considering it might rain) or to halt and come back home. Again, the decision was a go. I turned back and started my next 3km walk.

I walked about 1km and then it started to rain. Or say drizzle turned from mild to heavy and then heavier. Body started getting wet and within no time, it was completely drenched. Though I saw few other walkers started running, I didn't run. I just decided to continue walking at my usual speed. Well I was just hoping Bluetooth headset will not get damaged in rain but who cares, I just continued listening to Gita and walking in rain.

Slowly the entire experience turned from just getting wet in rain to something special. A wonderful trail, peacocks sounding all around and their intensity only increasing with increasing intensity of rain, soulful commentary about life and a wet body receiving nectar from above.

It felt as if it is god’s way of cleansing. Not just the body but mind and soul. I just kept on walking feeling each drop of water falling on my body like a blessing from god. My shoes were dirty, body was wet but mind was at peace and soul felt happiness. It was such an amazing experience which is difficult to describe just through words.

I so wanted this walk to continue forever, eternally.

Alas, came the end. I headed back to my car. However I just didn’t want to get in the car. I stood there outside the car for a few more minutes. Completely in silence. Looking up in the sky.

Truly a magical experience.

P.S. : My car too got a free wash :-)

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pressing the "Restart" button

Apart from increasing gray hair and higher policy premium, there are a lot of benefits of ageing. With growing age, experience also grows. So is our perspective towards life. 

Then there are moments which forces us to look at our inner self. The way we have lived, believed, acted or reacted, which has only strengthened with the passage of time.

After spending few months in hibernation, I am going through this churn. It is like samudra manthan. Tough but much needed. You need to fight all inner demons till you find amrit at last. 

While I work on finding amrit, I realized there have been activities, which made me felt complete and content. They were very much part of my existence. However I had stopped it completely - not sure it was a conscious call or purely unconscious.

Morning Pooja
There is an instant connect when you sit in front of god, like a child. You may pray in any language, you may even talk to him like having a conversation or you may not even talk at all. The experience itself brings peace and calm. I love to treat god like a friend or a father. I never worship or believe in him out of fear. I believe in him because I believe he exist. Because he guides us, helps us, inspires us and well, even teaches a lesson or two at times.

I love to recite Sanskrit Shloka and do a mala of "Ohm Naham Shivay". This had stopped for a while. Now time to restart.


Restart Traveling and Exploring
I never knew how much I enjoy this until I took my first solo trip to Hampi. I felt a part of my life, which was incomplete and thirsty, got completed. I feel a tremendous sense of connect when I travel to places which I had heard of and always wanted to visit. And then there are places which I had never thought of and just bumped into.

No I do not want any exotic overseas vacations. I do not want luxury holidays. All I need is places within India which satisfies my soul. Provides me solitude. History, mythology, nature - everything works. Now there won't be any better place than Hampi to start with.


Restart Reading
I started reading when I was still holding my father's hand to cross a busy street. Though my father always insisted that I should try to do it on my own - crossing the road. I am blessed with a family where reading is cherished. All types. From classic novels to current affairs to decoit tales from Chambal valley to spirituality. I still spend my vacations at Rajkot reading all those books which my father has collected over the years.

Now off late, I have also collected all types of books right from mythology to history to politics to motivational to autobiographies to the latest one "The Accidental Prime Minister". 
It is the time I start reading.

Restart Writing
My first tryst with writing occurred after visiting Hampi in 2009. Writing is an amazing experience. To share, to express. You do not need someone in front to express what you think, believe, feel. All you need is a desire to share and words which are ready to come out. Finger starts moving and sentences are formed. Inner thoughts are expressed. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Complete Reading Bhagwatgita
I have read till chapter 8. Though I carry it with me every single day in my backpack, I had lost contact with it. However, whenever I read it, I have always found peace and answers in it. I will start reading again.

And for some of you who missed my food updates, hmmmm... may be few good pics will do the trick :-)

I am sure I will be the same person once again. Of course with few flaws corrected. Well then I should say, I will be an improved person. Not because anyone is forcing me to be but because I want to be. As I said earlier, ageing is a wonderful phenomenon as it allows you to look at life, self and surroundings in a different perspective.

The beauty about life is - there is always an opportunity to introspect and improve. Thankfully, no age bar defined by god.

©All rights reserved with Mihir Rawal. To re-print or re-use, prior permission is required from the author.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Once again...

4th April 2011 - That was the last time I wrote a post for my blog. Today it is 3rd May 2014.

1125 days passed by in between.

I never told my father about my blog. There was a reason. One fine day, one of my friends, with all his enthusiasm, showed this blog to my father. That was practically end of my writing.

My father was worried about me writing my opinions, especially about politics. He believes that the type of society that we are living in, it is better to keep opinions to self and not to express in public. He suggested not to write such things.

So I locked my blog for a few months or say, years. Only now I opened it recently.

Today I was going through my blog and it felt like a father looking at a child. I wondered where and how I stopped writing. May be I had lost my appetite due to frustration with the political situation in the country.

Then circumstances changes. Existence craves for those activities that makes one feel happy, content and complete.

I am inspired to write. Again.

©All rights reserved with Mihir Rawal. To re-print or re-use, prior permission is required from the author.

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