Thy Name Is TROLL!!

The UPA tenure was marred with scams and a series of corruption charges where most news debates revolved around one scam or the other or about 2002 riots, however the 2.5years of Modi government though debated largely, most debates are often not on its deliverance or performance but on issues of seeming intolerance largely orchestrated by using University campuses as political battlegrounds by the opposition! One can ponder if this is an indication of dearth of development issues to debate about or is it a hangover of pre-Modi era to continue with the venomous vilification of Modi or perhaps both!

The time tested tools of communal polarization and customized news is fast eroding away with the rage of social media that leaves no stone unturned in calling out the white lies of the left liberals. The strategy of scoring single runs by projecting individual student victims across university campuses has perhaps misfired by stoking sixes of nationalistic fervor amongst common citizens who are only getting more intrigued and informed about the political scenario in contemporary India by each passing day. The nationalism word seems to have scared many in the cozy elite circles, hence there are rigorous campaigns propagating that “nationalism is not so cool after all’ on one hand while making pawns out of that very nationalism on the other hand!

Social media is a great platform to share views, news and ideas and if one decides to go vocal about their opinions it is only imperative that it is out of their own free volition they chose to be there _ to be heard! And people knowingly share information on platforms like Twitter or Facebook so that people read, like, share or comment on them, that being the normal, now one cannot expect everybody to agree and hail them as there is always bound to be an adverse viewpoint whether in the online world or outside.

And when people choose to talk about the country and take social or political stands they should have the courage and conviction to counter contrary views with facts and reasoning lest they can simply ignore the comment or even block people but to challenge someone openly and then resorting to ostrich syndromes playing victim/women card when met with hard facts is not done! Unbiased debates are an essential part of a democratic society where views are exchanged in a civil way and any disagreement or a counter argument, be it a satire version or humorous take, as long as it is not disrespectful or threatening, it is still a viewpoint. But unfortunately a lot of twiterratis and facebookers today seem to lose it when they find themselves incapable of countering with facts or when they are unable to reason out or articulate enough and when their bluff is called out., they either resort to name calling or play the victim card. So powerful is the ecosystem of the Left-Congress and their newer prodigies like AAP, that any dissenting voice which even remotely appears to be vehemently saner is today branded as Sanghi or right leaning troll and their Twitter and Facebook handles get suspended! But paradoxically it is the Congress and AAP that cry foul about getting trolled when the very jargon social media troll came into being along with the birth of AAP!

Yes the newest and trendiest word in town is TROLLING! And the ugly duckling is always a Troll!

The recent overt coverage of the Gurmehar issue by the media and the full on rebuttal in the social media exposing the orchestrators behind the whole victimhood soap has exposed the osteoporotic ribs of double standards of the left, the whole plot was out in the open when Gurmehar tweeted that she was withdrawing from the campaign and that people could contact @voice_of_ram which happens to be the official twitter handle of Ram Subramanian, the media advisor of AAP! Her older tweets reveal that she has constantly been in touch with senior journalists like Burkha Dutt whom she has declared in her tweets as her inspiration!

To cut the story short it was a well-coordinated drama along with the Main stream media, AAP and the leftist universities to garner media time for yet another intolerance drama. it is a shameful irony that the opposition whose MPs resort to sexist slandering of women cadre of BJP in the parliament house and in the social media with unthinkable filth( like Tehseen Poonawala’s tweet for Smrithi Irani) are today talking about women getting trolled in the online world! And a chief minister of a state Arvind Kejriwal, who starts and ends his day with abusive tweets/rants against Modi by employing the most acrimonious and derogatory epithets certifying others as trolls is when irony just died a disgusting death!

Rape threats are highly condemnable and certainly a grave threat which needs to be reported first and foremost to the law keeping forces, the fact that Gurmehar chose to contact the NCW and the media instead of the police is intriguing.  As always the media was zealously quick with outrage to cry foul that Freedom of expression was attacked and that women were bullied on social media, calling many sane voices as Trolls!

The media might not have taken the issue of trolling earlier but this is not the first time that a rape threat was given to a woman, there have been many cases where right wing women cadre were met with the filthiest abuses and threats thrown at them in the online world, yet ironically there was never a debate on TROLLING on any of our news channels until a left leaning Gurmehar emerged the torchbearer for Freedom Of Expression!

The problem of the left is essentially this _ “My dissent is dignified as long as I get your dignity denigrated but your dissent is simply a dud remark”! And this is what makes even a Virendra Sewag an illiterate or a Sanghi as labelling or name calling is the sharpest retort when unable to retaliate logically in a civil way.

“My dissent is dignified as long as I get your dignity denigrated but your dissent is simply a dud remark”!

Although people are getting labelled as TROLLS only from recent times, the art of trolling itself is not something new as it is not limited to just the online world nor is it gender based. It has always existed in a subterfuge manner but revealed only recently due to a change of guard who are changing the very discourse of debates.

One of the leading national dailies derogatorily referred to Smrithi Irani in a headline as ‘Aunty National’, in the aftermath of the Ramjas college protests many national dailies carried out a picture of the SFI head thrashing another student but labelled him as a ABVP goon, was it a printing mistake? Were they not trying to vilify the ABVP? Does it not amount to trolling?

Trolling is all about vilifying someone or an organization, how is it that when common individuals express opinions it becomes trolling and when established newsrooms and newspaper brands do the same it is categorized and passed off as news?!

It has been a left landscape all along ever since the last several decades and the sudden takeover of the political narrative by the right wing and the total hijack of the very idea of journalism by the social media common folks has skewered and skinned their propaganda that has perhaps shaken their grounds beneath. With a lackluster leadership and lack of credibility and a total lacunae in understanding the mood of the nation, the opposition in spite of fumbling under its own shadow of the past and present, continue with their never say die spirits, as their hunt for innovative disruptions continue unhindered with yet another Dadri, yet another Vemula, yet another Gurmehar but the larger question is whether the BJP will continue with its lame pellet policy or rebut with the grenades once for all by reforming and restoring the constitution to its true secular sense is something to be seen and until then the victimization card is here to stay as we the commoners are left wondering whose troll is it anyway?

 

 

Traffic Woes of Bengaluru, Can We Counter It?

maxw640imageversiondefaultar-306289963Ideally a tar road laid should endure for good 10+years but the current apathy of roads speaks volumes about the sorry state of administration where corruption has grown multifold. Today the perpetrators no more hesitate to wear venality on their sleeves, as being corrupt is the new normal and the more the vice the more powerful the person is perceived to be!

For far too long we have discussed and debated about the pot holed roads, foam filled lakes and its menacing traffic but the influx of more traffic by each passing day seem to be unnerving Bengalureans and it is going to be worse with the current system in place! There are several reasons responsible for the asphyxiation of Bengaluru but the most atrocious one being the mismanagement by the authorities that has led us to witness this unavoidable evil, day in and day out. If the trajectory of traffic woes stem from too many vehicles, bad infrastructure, bad city planning and a dysfunctional municipal body on one hand, on the other hand we have erratic fellow drivers, rashly driven abhorrent BMTC buses that care a damn for anybody or any law, those imbecile unpredictable spooky two wheelers who could creep in or drift from nowhere and keep racing up to the signals to claim their medals until they have completely blocked the opposite side, and not to forget the admonishing attitudes of traffic mates which makes our daily lives nightmarish inch by inch, bumper to bumper.

This kind of menacing traffic woes is reducing our lifespans and productivity. It is also cutting down on the quality time spent with family which might lead to depression and frustration.

The foremost problem leading to traffic snarls today is the sanction of building approvals for big commercial malls right in the middle of already throttled traffic necks, If you take for example the Banaswadi-Whitefield ring road, no matter at whatever time of the day or night one attempts to glide through the stretch, one will invariably end up getting struck in the terribly slow moving traffic there. The major reason being the presence of Phoenix mall whose car happy customers occupy one half of the road as they line up to enter the mall while occupying half of the road, eating into the space of the otherwise broad roads leading all other commuters into desperation. In actuality the Government should impose traffic causing cess on such constructions and the concerned Government officers who sanctioned these types of nuisance projects should be penalized and transferred to the remotest village or should be made to chauffer drive citizens for 5years continuously from one end of the city to other on a daily basis for 8hours.

Another abhorrent aspect is of the never ending surge of apartment complexes where all and sundry are in the spree of developing apartment complexes. And most unfortunate is the springing of clusters of apartment and commercial complexes on narrow roads where hundreds of cars would trickle down from these complexes onto the same narrow lanes choking the traffic. Apparently Bengaluru should stop construction of any new apartment complexes or malls in the interest of reviving the green gardenia that it once was! Or at least the Government for a change should be prudent enough to allow Malls only on the outskirts of the city and put a limit on the upcoming number of apartment complexes and allow it only if the roads connecting them are broad enough to accommodate them all. A huge green lung space was gladed away to make space for Forum Mall on Kanakapura road which is also a highway and apparently many apartment gates open out to this road throwing traffic out of gear.

Who would want to drive amidst the chaotic lanes if ample public transport were available with smooth connectivity? In my opinion the grand metro rail projects are just an eye wash where hundreds of crores of rupees are siphoned off without seeing the light of its meaningful purpose, because all that the citizens needed was a decent connectivity with ample number of buses plying continuously across the length and breadth of the city ensuring that people don’t have to stuff up like cattle to meet their schedules. But the fact is that even after so many years there are not enough buses to meet the growing needs as newer hitech buses are futilely allocated in non-demand areas and to add to it the steep prices of the Volvo/ Vajra buses are anything but at par with Auto fares hence most Vajra buses ply empty as common people would rather opt for hiring a private vehicle from their door step rather than go in public transports when they have to pay the same price. So the very purpose of having additional buses is lost when at the end of the day it does not benefit the common man, which also includes the most harassed IT professional, owing to whose presence, Bengaluru is on the global maps today!

Also till date there is no bus route app or a streamlined chart or digital bus route information board put up at the local bus stops to assist the passenger to ascertain which bus goes where and which are the areas connected from a particular stop and at what time it would arrive, which would help people plan their day’s commute. Maybe it’s time to have an app dedicated to planning local bus commutes.

If the Government is unable to handle the public transport system it should at least aid and facilitate private players to pitch in to compete fairly along with Government transport services but unfortunately any private player who dares to make the price absolutely competitive is unduly harassed at the hands of red-tape and hegemonic government policies with deliberately tedious procedures making it an unfriendly affair altogether for anybody to even venture out there. I use the term deliberate because if consecutive governments ever intended to ease out the operations and encourage efficiency most obsolete policies could have been done with long ago but the fact that such policies prevail reveals the much prevalent intentions of the policy makers and keepers who refuse to make anything worth benefiting the common man.

The recent case of Zipgo, a private startup that took on the challenge of curbing the menace of traffic woes in Bengaluru city was shown the door demanding elaborate documental approvals which is not rocket science to decipher what it meant, the latest addition being curbing the cab pool services of Uber and Ola which effectively are signs that there is no body out there in the ruling state government who cares about the lifestyle disorder called traffic abuse which is costing the common man his time, money and health! If not the Cab pool, the Government could at least make it mandatory for all big private companies to provide compulsory shuttle services to their employees, which is the only way the Government could choose to positively harass the private sector while also benefitting the common man and thereby reducing traffic woes.

As if it were not enough there are those blood sucking banks that loans out lavishly and today Bengaluru is in such a state that even if the Karnataka Government comes up with some unrealistic proposals like odd-even formula, most houses already have two cars _ one with odd number and one perhaps with even! And it is not about elitism or prestige of owning 2cars but it is just that people have given up on getting any kind of bargain from a feeble public transport system endured by a lethargic government and there is little hope from the alternative transports like rikshaws or Taxis who are unresponsive or mostly seen as unreliable and unsafe.

If the idea of public transport were to be revamped in a big way in Bengaluru, then like exams even commuting will be a festivity where the Government could put a cap on the number of new rikshaws, two wheelers and cars hitting the streets. Cars and fuel should be made more expensive so that people compulsorily take public transport and two wheelers should become an absolute luxury like in foreign countries but all this only after a grand revamp with a thoughtfully well-knit network of connectivity and ample number of buses in sight, if at all it ever happens!

And to top the list of woes it is not at all unusual to come across fellow drivers engaging in a brawl right in the middle of the road, over a rear-end hit or crashing of the side mirror. But what is appalling these days is that if you are hit by the Cab driver class types then they will neither stop nor own up or bear the damage costs, instead they may pick up an assaulting tone of fight and flee, even if you report to the police, it is not of much help as such cases are neither filed nor followed up seriously.

Now if you reverse the situation and it is you _the salaried slightly educated idiot who has been taught to be nice and law abiding who cannot think of getting into a physical fight nor know the tactics to get the cop on your side, who bumps or even touches caressingly, the rear end of a cab or their likes, then chances are that you will be surrounded by a big group as it doesn’t take them much time to gather fellow folks around to aggravate things to the extent of using slang epithets or engulfing blows or threaten and make sure that they relieve you off from all cash. To counter such hooliganism you will get no recourse from the cop as he is mostly cognizant of such loots and knows for sure that he will get his fair share. The cops usually side with them and worse you may end up being harassed by the cop for questioning. If the intruder has given a phone number and left, chances are that he will never attend your call! The concept of amicably settling and agreeing to seek third party insurance claims is still a rarity. Setting up complain help desks or call centres for the same will be practically of no use, installation of more CCTVs and an additional deployment of a patrolling cop with more decision making powers across every street would perhaps help ease ugly tiffs but with current police forces facing shortage of staff maybe the states could consider recruiting eunuchs as traffic woes’ attendants or traffic managers and make their lives more meaningful relieving them of their horrendous routines of begging and harassing citizens in signals and shops.

Essentially our traffic woes are a culmination of lack of good public transport system, lack of good connectivity, lack of urban city planning, inept government bodies filled with crimson red-tape, an ineffective and ill-defined law which is not fool proof when it comes to traffic related woes, rampant corruption, lack of genuine concern among leaders and cops for the welfare of the common man, apathetic citizens and ever growing urbane challenges of fitting the classes of law abiding and the impatiently lawless, together!

Is the Bengaluru urban development department listening!!

 

 

Life is a quest!

There are no boundaries that the mind cannot cross

And no quandaries that the heart does not toss,

Each day is a struggle to decipher the dogging mind

Each experience an enlightening strife

To seek and understand the purpose of life,

To set the paths simple and straight

You never knew was such a tightrope walk of fright,

Until awakened from your disillusioned best

Calming tumultuous thoughts is no tryst,

Life’s sessions of learning and unlearning

Are indeed tough lessons from unforeseen churning!

 

Lights Camera Action!

Celebrations and ceremonies are an integral part of our lives that form the dynamics of socializing, shaping minds and memories that we take home and cherish.

With the advent of science and technology and of course the social media, today, memories are no more, that merely something to be carried in our hearts or treasured in our secret troves but something to be worn on our sleeves and flaunted on our social media walls! Not that we at any point of time would be very comfortable putting up our personal pictures on concrete compound walls but somehow our perception of a memory or a memorable event has certainly evolved over times.

Capturing candid moments of our life in a camera has certainly charmed us by making memories more memorable. It has converted every small occasion into a grandiose affair, but perhaps the evolution of the ways of capturing a memory has definitely altered the perspective of living the moment itself! And in many ways has diminished the very idea of a ritual or celebration today, as it has become more about coverage by the cameraman than the connection with the moment!

From the black and white wedding pictures or gothic frames of graduation galleries hung like winning trophies in yester years, that were captured in weaponry like traditional roll cameras, where the camera man literally struck his head beneath a black sheet of cloth, we have come a long way in today’s digital world. It is just that today, the cameraman sticks his butt out on all auspicious occasions for all stage performances that too right in the center of the stage like a constant creative backdrop raging and kindling everyone’s imaginative fervors high as they struggle to get a sneak peek of what really is going on the stage!

People have always endured with enthusiasm and believed in reliving those assurances of cherished clicks of print and digital memories that one may mostly never look up a second time! Nevertheless a few shots or even some extra indulgence doesn’t really hurt but I cannot fathom the idea of buttcentering in this age of drone cameras and candid photography! And I can only hope there will be some buttless cameramen just like wireless, cordless or perhaps a Buttfree recording just like hands free gadgets!

photographer

Anything but no center stage butt ery blocking please!

I very enthusiastically attended an annual day fest recently, in spite of the elaborate stage arrangements, I was struggling to get a glimpse of the performers all along as the performers were mostly drowned and camouflaged in colors by the glaring LED screens and covered behind the omnipresent cameraman whose debatable butt catapulted many thoughts in me finally prompting a post on the futility of his butt and our bizarre obsession for the same from decades together!

But it is time, that truth be told!

photographer1People have silently borne the brutality of these butts for far too long ever since the onset of video cameras and camcorders.  People have been forced to witness more pairs of butts than the actual married pair sipping Coca Cola from the same bottle.

These obnoxious camera butts have been the melting pot of makeup where people have often paid with their sweat and synthetic smiles and have even postured like plastic bunnies as per his schizophrenic whims and fancies.

Perhaps the silhouette of these opaque butts are the very inspiration that keeps  overly dressed and decked up people motivated enough in marriage halls to stand endlessly and pointlessly in long queues to pass the parcel(gift) that they received in their previously punished posturing affairs!

Even those long rails and tails of shouldered camera equipment do not help much as they are again assembled on top of a towering grid where the indispensable butts block the audience view yet again!

The last time I saw some meaningful gathering was at a cousin’s wedding reception where she personally greeted every guest and mingled freely with the crowds, the couple strolled away from the dais, taking blessings from the aged and elderly who sat gleefully in their respective places enjoying their soups as the candid photographers clicked without interrupting those real moments she could cherish for a life. That was the best wedding I witnessed where she had taken the wedding oaths at home in a traditional way with just the close circles that mattered most and with just those members who were interested in the rituals and threw a five star party for the rest of us.

I do not know if I am growing old or is it increasingly becoming an obnoxiously synthetic society with each passing day where social events, celebrations or ceremonies are fast losing its intended aspects of living and celebrating the moment but then as the cameraman walks in gloriously like a gladiator with all his celebrated paraphernalia, we cannot help but adjust our sarees and hairstyles, waiting for him to proclaim his takes and retakes with some Lights, Camera and Lots of Fake Action!