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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Get the picture without the photo

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries. ~Aldous Huxley.

The reality of India depends on where you stand, what you seek and how you choose to live. I went to Kolkata for two days with Gaurish in Durga Puja festival. This travel tour was a way forward to learn about diverse cultures as I know very little about my own country. And, yes this was welcome break from avalanche of bullshit mountain of patriotism on the virtual word of facebook. This travel tour was a chance to enjoy a festive season with Bengali people.

With arrival in Kolkata, I was caught in the race of hundred of people looking for exit at railway station. Watching the city for the first time was like reading through the pages of history with one's own eyes. The city was dipped in colors of Puja festival and I was trying to figure out the spirit of the Kolkata as few call this as city of joy. And yes, everything was either appearing either holy or historical.

While traveling around Kolkatta I saw many people of the different strata in the crowd. There was an urge to take blessings from deity but a sense of joy was on their face. For one night, it was not important whether they earn little or more, have a stomach full of food or not, it takes just plain devotion and faith to smile despite severe odds....

I am a non believer in a true sense. FYI, being an atheist is not an issue in India. An infidel like me can flourish in the social space only if I don't raise voices against caste discrimination and sexual inequality. In my many years of existence, I had learnt not to take anything from anybody and criticize unless one can give something better in its place.

I was amazed by creativity of the artisans who have designed Pooja Pandals. Innovators and Designers are not celebrated in India. There is no lack of quality and competition but general Indian psyche respect power more than creativity. May be its the prejudice of the mediocre nation who could neither understand nor respect the great flights of innovative individuals and intelligence of few. What I like was that celebration were not loud as few have consciously chosen substance over style and it was also reflected in the absence of any over-the-top band baja music.

Roaming around city in the night on foot shows different face of Kolkata. It was quiet but not peaceful. There were so many poor, cripples, migrant labours and destitute on the road that it shatters the myth of incredible/ rising/ shining India. These people might will disappear as will I, it all matters nothing, life goes on meaninglessly. Pity is what you feel for those for whom there is no hope. What pity leads to is becoming insulated from poor, even closing the eyes, and trying to make the end as easy and comfortable as possible. In the face of extreme poverty only, a person choose the path of crime in India. Otherwise, I believe India to be a very silent and non violent country amid such repressive social and economic order.

There is too much pressure on us of hoarding degrees, internships and job experiences in the early stages of career. With gathering experiences by travels and meeting different people, one gain insights of numerous aspects of life. Eventually through these type of travelogues, I want to see through unintelligible chaos of life and refine them in a simpler manner to the next generations as legacy. I traveled without camera to get the picture without the photo. The overall effect without any camera is a montage of memories that sparks flashes of warmth and subtle smiles. These tours are only prelude for setting out for a long nomadic existence called life.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rule of the Road - Break out Nations

1)Watch the changes in the list of top billionaires, learn how they made their billions, and note how many billions they made. This information provides a quick bellwether for balance of growth, across income class and industries. A country that produces too many billionaires, relative to its size, is in all likelihood off-balance.

2) Strong companies and stock markets should - but should not necessarily - make for strong economies, so don't confuse the two. The clearest examples are countries dominated by oligopolies, like Mexico, SA and to some extent Philippines.

3) Watch for steady momentum behind economic and political reform, particularly in good times. Nations typically implement reforms when their backs are against the wall.

4) Check the size and growth of the second city, compared to the first city. In any big country the second largest city usually has a population that is to 1/3rd to 1/2 of the biggest city.

5) Watch the locals , they are always first to know; they will be bringing money to a breakout nation and fleeing one in trouble.

6) The sight of local companies going global is often celebrated in headlines as a national success, but more accurate interpretation depends on the circumstances. Going global can be sign of corporate strength or of national weakness.

7) Don't get hung up on the rules.

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