Friday, April 30, 2010

Irradiating life...

Life saver has turned into lethal killer. And what's responsible for this undesirable morphing?...Negligence. Delhi University (DU) has admitted just one of them.

Cobalt 60, the radioactive isotope of cobalt, has been mishandled due to sheer negligence of DU authorities. DU bought a "Gamma Irradiator" containing Cobalt 60 pencils in 1968 from Canada. The Gamma Irradiator which was not in use since 1985, landed in the country's biggest scrap market, Mayapuri, through an auction in February this year. The Mayapuri scrap dealers dismantled the equipment and in the process, the lead covering on it was peeled off leading to radiation exposure. With the Irradiator is still radiating carcinogenic and toxic rays from the unsealed radioactive Cobalt 60 pencils. Until it killed a person and hospitalized eleven others, the mass destructor lay there unnoticed, poisoning everyone's life to slow death.

Cobalt 60, if used with proper safety measures and caution could relieve the torturous pain suffered by a cancer patient.  Measured doses of cobalt 60 are used for sterilizing medical equipments and source of the radiotherapy for cancer patients. If used with negligence can induce the excruciating pain of cancer. Gamma radiation emitted by Cobalt 60 may have irreparable impact on the genes and lead to genetic disorders in the present and further generations.

Scientists investigating the issue have confirmed that the level of contamination is such that even the land where the machine was dumped need to be excavated to stop further spread of the radiation. They suspect that much more Cobalt 60 pencils are missing than those found. Laborers, dealers and general public of Mayapuri, who have been handling or been exposed to the deadly machine without proper safety measures now live the danger of unknown health disorders. Threat sword has also been hanging on the lives of DU students and researchers.

So, what does DU have to say about this whole calamity? The Vice Chancellor of DU, Deepak Paintal, said he was "extremely sorry for the damage caused". He also said that university officials believed that the machine's radioactive life had expired since it was nearly 40 years old.

With so much knowledge about handling and disposing nuclear wastes and the havoc that may be caused if mishandled, is this what we expect from a premiere educational institute of the country? The life of uncountable number of innocent people has been risked and perhaps endangered. Is taking mere verbal responsibility revert back the far reaching consequences of nuclear radiation exposure? Who owns the responsibility of the safe disposal of nuclear wastes? Who owns the responsibility of educating the public about the hazards of nuclear exposure? Should educational institutions be barred from conducting researches involving nuclear resources? Should the government set up dedicated laboratories and research centers for performing nuclear and atomic researches in India?

And after all the whole commotion about this issue, the machine still lay there in Mayapuri, dismantled. Irradiating life....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

IPL chit chats

 Aisi kya baat hai ismein??

Shaadi kab kar rahi ho Preity?

Iss baar running between the wickets achha tha na mera??

Kyun aaya haam idhaar??? Kolkata jeet ta hi neyhi

Performance, match nahi toh yahan sahi

Washing powder Nirma, doodh si safedi, nirma se aayi...

Anne French ka ad toh main bhi kar sakti hoon, Kareena kyun??

IPL ke bahane kuch lok seva. Some kapda for the bhukha nanga spectators 

Max New York Life, Karo zyaada ka iraada 
Har kar jeetne wale ko Baazigar kehte hai

Kismat se tum humko mile ho, kaise chhodenge...

No comments....

[Picture soure here]

Friday, April 16, 2010

Great Indian Television - Shaadi aur Barbaadi...

Bahu shedding tears while Saas lashing verbal whips. "Arre o kalmuhi...baap ka ghar samajh rakha hai kya? yahan muft ki roti todne aayi hai?" . Wife questioning her husband with a drop of tear at the corner of her right eye, "Batao, kal raat tum kahan thhe...arre tum kya bataoge!!! (pointing her palm straight at her husbands face)...tumhari khamoshi, tumhari yeh jhhuki hui nazar sab bayan kar rahi hai... aisa kaise kar sakte ho tum Mihir...aisa kaise kar sakte ho?" (four drops of tear from right eye and some from left eye, carefully preventing the fifth drop from trickling down in case it smudges off the eyeliner or the muscara). Smile showing only seven teeth that too of the upper jaw. Eyeshadow and foundation even when coming out after bath. Straight silky black hair with relatively less makeup indicates that the character is a protagonist. Stringed blouse, bright  and matching coloured bindi and sindoor depicts the wicked vamp. Skewed eyes and often monologues ensures that this has to be the vamp, no other thoughts.

The  most common phenomenon in almost every house in the country which can afford television. Television soap operas have successfully hooked up the Indian wives (and therby their husbands). They come every evening, five days a week (wives won't mind even if it's seven, husband would also agree for they won't have to take their wives shopping). Almost all the houses in the country which can afford a television, spend their evening with the ever weeping bahus, torturous saas, dhokebaaz (or too loving and caring) pati, conspiring sautan, illegitimate children.

No matter which channel you put, it's all the same.As my father puts it, all of them has the same core, "Shaadi and barbaadi".  It used to be a big chandelier hanging living room with most things in different shades of red. The typical of the Ekta Kapoor serials. A husband married to the protagonist and antagonist at the same time. Children popping out  now and then entangling the already over entangled relationships. Characters never grow old. Only a streak of white hair (specifically trailing from the forehead to middle of the skull) and spectacle, a mustache at max, distinguishes one generation from another generation. Immortal Baa, ever (over) prayed Thakurji gives some religious touch to the story to keeps the aged wives, reason to forget their gout  pains.

Things have changed after the Ekta empire collpased. Now, the main  mantra is a village. Peril of simple village girls and ladies have worked wonders for the TRP seeking television producers.  Village girls no matter what, wear designer cloths from West Side or Shopper Stop. Hungry family with smoking tava on the chulha (earthen oven) but with lands grazing till the horizon. Men showcasing their mardaangi in dhoti and kurta rather than safari suits. But one thing is for sure. Their would definitely be a Zamindar and all the shoots would soon shift from the chulha blowing huts to the luxurious villa. No matter how poor the protagonist be, she'll land up in the Zamindar's house within twenty episodes.

And if you are bored of watching the same old serials, there are reality shows at your rescue. Challenging the celebrities (those who manage a role in the serials for a year or two, self proclaimed audience heart throbs) to perform tasks. However, these are no less than the soap operas. They have emotions, drama, fights, romance and what not....The once saree and jewelry clad bahu betiyaan get the golden opportunity of showing off their well maintained (sometimes flabby due to prolonged break from work) body contours. Reality shows recently have taken up the job of Rab for finding and uniting  jodis. Celebrity bachelors and spinsters approach the reality shows in search of their soul mates. The country exercises its voting rights (democracy you see...yes the same that the country uses for electing our most eligible ministers and MLAs) to choose the bride or groom for them.

Channel producers have always figured out plots to keep the common Indian wives of all ages forget the rest of the world. Forget about the quarrel she had with "baaju wali Mrs Sharma", or son's poor marks in SUPW classes or gossip about "Mrs Gupta ki beti Mrs Shukla ke bete ke saath bhaag gayi" or complain about the maid coming late or even the burning roti on the gas stove. Forget the world to engulf the emotional melodrama. Sympathize with the tortured bahu, hate the wicked sautan, die for the handsome dewar, idolize the ma , envy the caring husband. 

No matter whether the Women Reservation Bill is passed in the parliament or not, one thing is reserved for the Indian women. The Television, every evening from 8pm to 11pm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Letter to KKR Owners from a KKR Supporter

Respected KKR Owners,

Dear Sir/Madam,

First of all congratulation for the consistent performance of your (also morally our) team.

I fail to understand why I’m writing this letter because I know it won’t make any difference. I’m doubtful of this letter being read in the first place. But I can’t stop myself from penning down my agony and anger.

I know it’s a game. One team loses while the other team wins. But why is it that we have taken the responsibility of making the other team win every time? Waiting patiently for a good descent game if not a win. Hoping against hope for KKR to win atleast “this” match. But every time, every year it remains unperturbed. While other teams climb up the points table, KKR slides down. KKR has taken up the noble gesture of serving as the foothold for other teams to ascend.
I don’t know whether you can understand the piteous condition of this KKR fan. Bengalis around the world are pre-assumed to be KKR fans by birth and hence tormented after every KKR loss. Being a Bengali and thus a KKR supporter, it’s afflicting to see KKR at the foot of the points table each year. Our logics prompt that KKR won’t win, but our heart defies it every time. We start the game listening to our heart but end the game seeking solace from our mind. “Never mind… After all we knew this would happen”…With hope, trust and moral rampaged in every match, it’s becoming an agonizing thorn in our throat. A thorn that causes only pain. One that can neither be thrown out nor swallowed. KKR has caused more pain than happiness. Also, supporting KKR keeps us away from supporting good cricket, teams and players who play cricket well.

“Ohh… another KKR match today…it’ll lose again”…”Hey your team has a match tonight… hehehehe… it’s definitely going to loose”….. “KKR…hehehehehehhe (sarcastic laughter)”

Why is it KKR every time? Why can’t I say with pride “KKR will win today, you just wait and watch”? Why can’t my team give me some victory to hold my head high and make all those who laugh at KKR, swallow their words? Why can’t KKR give the Maoist stricken Bengal a cause to celebrate this Poila Boishakh (Bengali New Year)?

People say that the KKR team is not good. They lack coordination. Team management isn’t that diligent. It’s a spineless team which lacks spark. But, I won’t point out fault with the team or the management. Because I don’t know what’s wrong and needs to be mended. I only know KKR has disappointed its supporters and taking verbal responsibility of this menace would do nothing.

Standing in the IPL graveyard with KKR coffin in front of me with only two nails to be struck, I really hope KKR wouldn’t have existed. That’s what my heart and mind whimper in unanimity. I hope not to see this KKR in the next season.  

Agonized, but still a KKR Supporter

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Letter from a country servant

Respected  Uparwala Sir,

Sir, I am a country servant, Sir. My Commander tell me that my work is to serve the country. He say every one is not packed in national flag when they die. Every one do not get "topo ki salaami". I will get if I die.

But I don't want to die , Sir. I am a constable at the Dantewada. My house is in a village at Kakdeep, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal. Last year, I got this work after my father died. My father was also a country servant. He died in the forest of Lalgarh in landmine blast two years back. His body was packed in the national flag and dumped in a wooden box. I am the only son, Sir. My house has old half blind mother, wife three children, two cows and one goat. I had sold my land to repair my house after the flood. The only earning member is I. I send them four thousand rupees every month. Four thousand rupees is less to send my children to school, treat my mother.

Sir, I am afraid of the work. I am afraid of the jungle. I am afraid of the Maoist. They hide in the jungles and the hills. They has many many guns and bombs. They attack us and kill us. We are helpless. We don't know the forest. We don't know the forest roads and the soil goodly. We get lost in the forests. We can't sleep because if they attack we will all die. We cannot see them. They start firing bullets like monsoon shower. They put landmines also.Blasts our men and vehicles. There is blood and pieces of flesh smeared everywhere. Smoke of dust and "barood" everywhere. Cries and deaths everywhere. I saw my friends die. Their burnt and tattered bodies. Cry of pain with bullet in their stomach, legs, chest. Uniforms red of blood.  I am very afraid, Sir. I don't want to die. I don't want my bursted body to be packed in national flag and send to my house.

If I die before you read this letter, then please keep some of the request from my friends. My friends say that it is difficult to work in this place. Apart from the Maoist, there are much more enemies to fight. There is not food and water. Very little food, that too eaten away by big big rats and cockroaches. There is not doctor or medicine. If we fall sick we fall sick. No one to give medicine and take care. There is many many mosquitoes. My friends has malaria, fever, liquid stool. It is difficult to fight the Maoist in empty stomach and sickness.

I follow your orders, Sir. I do all my duty, Sir. Please have pity, Sir. I don't want to die.

Your obediently,
Country servant SatyaHari  Mondol

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Royal Safari

"Aaaawwwwhhhhhhhoooooommmmmm" yawned the lion stretching its forelegs. Then stretched its back and hind legs and turned around to its fellow lion sitting next to him under shade of the bamboo bush. "What's the day today, Dirtymane?", he asked the other lion. "Don't know Yawny, the weekend's over I guess...Old Mr. Groaw would know. He has been here for years" replied the other lion shaking its dirty disoriented mane. Old Mr. Groaw was having a sun bath near by lying flat on the ground.

"What is the day today, Sir?" asked the Yawny. "Today is working day... the weekend is over... the sun has also come up high... time to get ready boys...they'll be here in some time"... grawled Mr. Groaw.

"Ohhhhh.... Ahhhh.... Those humans." sighed the lion. "Dude, shine your teeth and lick clean your skin, look fresh and agile, the human's like it"... replied Dirtymane. "Yaaaaaaaaa......" yawned Yawny. As they walked towards the small pool near by to have a look at how they looked in the reflection of the placid water, Yawny said casually, "Why do the humans come here? Poor fellas, they are isn't it? Stuffed in the small moving boxes clinching to the windows" ..."Aahhhuumm, really poor fellas...Have you seen them? How excited they are to see us breathing free air. Pathetic. I really feel petty for them" agreed Dirtymane. "Imagine if one of them lets free. I would go and say how sorry we are for him and invite him to join our life of freedom". "Aaahhhumm"..noddded Yawny. They dipped their paws in the water of the pool to check the temperature. Licked the water once or twice and then headed back. They laid down and posed a perfect posture just beside the stony road.

"Are you ready boys? I can hear them come. Smile or at least look at them once. Are the tigers and the herbivours of our next door ready yet? Dirtymane, send them the message, that the humans are coming".

In the tiger camp, things were different. The number of tigers were more than the lions. There was silence. The white tigers and the yellow bengal tigers are not in talking terms due to the verbal fight they had the other day over who looked better. The white tigers team headed by Mr. Milk and the yellow tigers team led by Mr. RoyalBong. The whites argued that they looked elegant and unique to which the yellows teased them of looking like zebras than like tigers. "Zebras" sounded like an abuse to the whites who took it as an attack on their carnivorous origins. The ceasefire atmosphere is just not to let outsiders(humans) know that there tension between the teams. The two teams sat hurdled in groups with the stony road serving as the line of control.

Herbivours looked disturbed. The scorching heat and lack of rains has dried the fodder. Grasses and herbs have lost greenery. Trees are reduced to skeletonic horror. As young deers jumped all around their mothers found it difficult to manage them. "Don't pester near the road"..."Come and sit here for some time, you are sweating"..."The humans are coming" screamed the concerned mother deers to their calves. "Where do the humans go from this direction to the other?" asked Mrignayani, the elegant looking deer wagging her little tail. "There may be green pastuers where they'r taken to. Suffering and ailing animals first. God help them, poor creatures" replied the handsome deer standing next to her.

Bears looked the most annoyed this summer. Their black furry jacket which proved comfortable in the chilling winter, is making them perspire under their skin. "It's so warm, I don't feel like doing anything" complained the fat bear, Beershove. "How lucky the human are? They don't have thick hair like us", said one of the bears. "I'm just gonna relax, can't walk around. Poor humans, they can't even sit and relax. Being dragged in those small boxes"...said another.


In came the bus packed with humans. Chirruping and enjoying the wild animals through the iron netted windows. Flashing cameras with excitement at the sight of yawning lions, sitted tigers, jumping deers and lazy bears.

The Royal Safari....

[Photos courtsey Subhasri. Taken at Banarghetta National Park, Bangalore, March 2010]