Monday, April 29, 2013

7 things wrong with our country

Note 1: If you are looking for a government/politician-bashing rant, or a discussion about corruption consuming our nation, or a list which enumerates education, poverty, development et al, this post is not going to touch any of those things.

Note 2: This list is relative to things often found in other countries on most accounts.

#7 Pull-to-open bags

This is a bag of delectable chips.

This is how it should be open-able... we can enjoy our chips like this...

...NOT ruined by this.

If other countries in the world can have this, why can't we?! I mean, how difficult is it?!

#6 Coca-cola


Just look at this. How can you not want to have this refreshing drink with lunch and dinner, and to go alongside the chips in #7. (I skipped mentioning breakfast for the risk of it being an overkill.) For most countries, bottomless coke, or for that matter, any drink other than water is offered alongwith meals by default. Water is the last thing you should be drinking, with the evolution of man.

#5 Airports

They suck. And before you go all "T3" on me, again, they suck. Travelling, especially air-travel, should be an experience, not a punishment. Travelling by air is the pinnacle of human achievement. Think about it, you are flying at 30,000 ft, half-way across the world in less than 24 hours, at more than 900 kms per hour, while dining and watching movies along the way, even watching cat videos on youtube, and liking others' updates about their amazing lives. Not to mention the spectacular views and the perspective you get on our planet.

Airports should present it as such. It should be huge, unlike anything you might have seen before. While you wait for your flight, you should have a magnificent view of the craft from the gate, through big glass panels, so you can marvel at its sheer size, filled with a childlike wonder. Not shoved into buses which take you on a tumbling ride towards your craft. There should be enough seating, clear signs and directions. The immigration should be polite, welcoming to its own citizens, a small "Welcome home." with a smile. The security should not feel derogatory. The experience should be welcoming. It's the pinnacle of human achievement, afterall.

#4 Public Signs/Addresses

A metro station should say "metro station", an airport or a railway station should be navigable from anywhere in the city, with signs that say "Airport -> 15 kms", and a bus-stop should say "Bus Stop". It made me think when a Chinese guy visiting India asked me at a bus stop, "How do you know that the bus will stop here?", and the only response I could give was, "Ummm, because this is where everyone else is standing.". It shouldn't be this way. 

And the addresses should make sense, with numbered streets and crossings. Do away with the MG roads! Use more numbers, PLEASE! This should not be how my address looks/sounds:

Opp. XYZ Hospital,
Near ABC Hotel,
Quite close to Forum mall,
Come straight from PQR Flyover, and take 2nd right, then left.


My address should look like this:
42, Lush Meadows Residence
7, Riverview Road, Bangalore.

That's IT.

#3 Utility stores / Vending Machines

Fewer malls, please? And more utility stores. Where I can go, pick things, pay money, and get out with minimal turnaround time. Maybe 7/11's at petrol pumps? And every other 100 meters too? And vending machines! Aaaargh. Quick turnaround time!

#2 Breakfast

There are CRORES of people who go to work every day. And they want breakfast. The corn-flakes, and the dosas and the idlys, and the paratha-sabzi are okay. People need to be able to grab a bite in the mornings, and quickly. Croissants, muffins, selection of juices and sandwiches, salads, fruits, as pre-packaged take-away, available close to any means of public transport. Also, coffee. How can so many other countries get this right, except us?! I will not even touch the despicable state of our lunches and dinners, but we can always work around that. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, remember?

#1 Respect for workers

Cheap labour, right? Be kind to the people working at your house. Give the auto-waalas 20 extra bucks. Talk to them, chat with them. Listen to their stories, they have several. Make a joke or two, and see them smile. Trust them. Offer them a glass of water, tea, or food after a few hours of hard manual work by default, which shouldn't be seen as an act of generosity, but of responsibility and of respect from a person, to another. Give them gifts on festivals, give them leaves. Give them a raise when you get one. Share your happiness with them, and be a part of theirs.

So many poor Indians go abroad to work as sweepers, cleaners, carpenters, construction workers, and they do that with their heads held high, with pride. They don't want to come back. Give them that opportunity here. Make them feel that they belong, and that we are fellow-countrymen.

7 things wrong with our country...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stranger than fiction

Before sunset.

Good morning. It's a wonderful life, jackass. High and low since you went away. Gone with the wind, the lady vanishes. Dazed and confused. That was then... this is now. Devil wears prada, following breakfast at Tiffany's. I'm not there. Wish you were here, the best years of our lives. Stand by me, life is beautiful.

My life as a dog. Coffee and cigarettes. Thank you for smoking up in the air. Kiss kiss bang bang. What's up, Tiger Lily? 'I know where I'm going!'. Whatever works.  Man on wire, walk on the wild side. Small time crooks take the money and run! Breathless chase. Speed. Snatch. Catch me if you can. Dirty rotten scoundrels. There will be blood. Kill! Carnage, pulp fiction. Extremely loud & incredibly close. Anatomy of a murder, blood simple. The act of seeing with one's own eyes, eyes wide shut. Shame, the killing. Anything else? Apocalypse now.

Before midnight.

Hunger. The unbearable lightness of being.

It happened one night, October sky, the Milky Way, city lights. Through a glass darkly, I saw the odd couple. The boy in blue, that girl in yellow boots. A beautiful mind, little miss sunshine - the dreamers. He said, she said - "I love you to death", "I love you too, like crazy." Stolen kisses. Night on Earth, stranger than paradise, bigger than life. Spellbound. And the ship sails on. Play it again, Sam.

Before sunrise.

A walk with Love and Death. The green mile. The long walk home. A night to remember.

Once. 2 or 3 things I know about her. Great expectations. Letter never sent, somewhere lost in translation. The silence, the prestige, unforgiven. Bad timing. Do the right thing. Make it right being there. Requiem for a dream. The pursuit of happyness, love, and other impossible pursuits. Finding Neverland. Inherit the wind, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind singin' in the rain. Dil chahta hai the road to El Dorado, days of Heaven, city of God. Good morning. It's a wonderful life.

Hollywood ending.