Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Traffic Tragedy

 “Better a thousand times careful than dead once”, is a famous proverb and it is so true. The Chennai traffic police wing was formed way back in 1929. It has been ages since it was formed and at present they do have their hands full. What with the metro work going on and every one on the road deciding that he has to go fast as he has urgent work to attend to. I have been living in Chennai for the past 9 years and only recently have I noticed that the traffic police are being strict about rules in order to regulate traffic and enforce rules and not for other reasons.
They seem equipped with some nice gadgets, cars and bikes and can actually be spotted at almost every traffic signal irrespective of whether it is month beginning or month end. I really do appreciate their efforts but they have to be more organised and learn to enforce the rules with equality. It is a must to wear helmets but half the population are left scot free. The vehicles are being towed and the owners are unaware of it being towed as they are not intimated and they are towed even from places which they are unaware that parking is prohibited as there is no sign board. The scene just gets worse as you do not know where to find your towed vehicle and are made to run around for an hour or two and finally you get to spot the treasure, your vehicle after quite an exhausting hunt.
All said and done the efforts taken by the men in white uniforms is laudable. Some are still corrupt and they try to skip the electronic bill procedure and try to strike a deal where they can earn some money. It is going to be quite a task to clean up the system which has existed for decades and the mentality of the cops who think that they have to earn while they are at service and in more ways than the government offers. I wonder if we can make the traffic more regulated with this mind set but we have to start somewhere.
It is also not right to always blame the cops. We as citizens should also take it upon us as a personal responsibilty to follow the rules and safety measures. It is not going to benefit anybody else but us. It is better to be precautious than sorry. We just have one life and it is going to be sinfully sad if we are going to throw it away for some adrenaline rush.
We just witnessed Azharuddin’s son’s superrr bike cause a tragedy. It is the responsibilty of the parents to show the right way. If Azhar had not gifted the bike to his son who did not have a licence he would still have his son with him.
Take a moment to think if what we are going to do on the road is more important than our life and act according to the answer you have got. This and the effort by the cops should be enough to make our city a great place to drive around without so many curses being hurled at each other. Let us drive in peace and safety….

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Are we true to ourselves?

India is so diverse in language and culture that each state can almost be considered as a separate country. The language spoken in Punjab and the food they eat is closer to that of Pakistan, than Tamil Nadu. But barring all this divide, the divide based on skin colour seems to be more. The country is obsessed with fair skin. We say Australians are being racist, but have we realised what is happening in our own backyard. The moment one person feels superior to the other racism seeps in.
A dark skinned girl can be brilliant, talented, a good orator and an all rounder but still talks about her skin colour will have precedence over her talent. Television channels are filled with advertisements which give out promises to lighten your skin in forms of lotions and oils.
Even the ads portray that it is the fair skinned who succeed and who are confident but the dark skinned lack confidence and cannot reach the pinnacle of success. Doesn’t this show double standards in a land where majority of the people are dark skinned.
The advertisements portray actresses who are already fair using the fairness creams and this sends a wrong message to the mass who try to ape their screen icons. All you have to do to understand the obsession of Indian people with light skin is to open a matrimony site and all you can read is “fair, good looking girl wanted”. Isn’t there any scope for the dark skinned? Bipasha Basu, who was voted as the sexiest person in Asia in 2005 and 2007 says that it is all in the mind. The way the society looks at you should not matter as confidence comes from within. It is also important for family members to support their kith and kin and not serve as confidence breakers.
Media can portray that white is beautiful and drive the point home but it is for us to realize that everyone should be recognized for who they are and not for how they look. We still live in a very stereotyped society and it is difficult to break the norms set by the society but small steps taken will help us realize the larger dream of abolishing the double standards. Let us work towards removing the spec from our eye before pointing a finger at another country for Racism….

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Big Bad Hurdle

India is being called a progressive nation but do we act accordingly is a million dollar question that will linger in the minds of the youth all over the country. With half of the country’s political parties taking the burden of acting as moral police it is quite a task to sneak around and fall in love as even if you manage to escape your parent’s eyes there is some stranger who is ready to shoot you down as he feels that you are spoiling the culture of India and he is trying his best to safeguard it. If you are lucky to find the right guy, fall in love, escape everyone's prying eyes and when you are ready to take your relationship to the next level and enter the sacred institution called marriage, it is time you will have to open the topic to your parents and then they pose the biggest hurdle even if both of you belong to the same religion, it is the big bad “C” called Caste.
We say that the west discriminates but are we not more into it than the west. We discriminate our own people based on so many categories and reasons. There are children being killed by parents as they marry someone of a different caste. Where are we as a nation heading to? We should be “United in Diversity” as that is what we proudly portray our country to the rest of the world but only when we live within the boundaries of India do we realize that we are far away from being united.
I hail from Tamil Nadu, though I have never lived in Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and down South I have relatives from there. The caste system is in their blood it is mandatory for them to enquire about the other person’s caste even when they get acquainted and they feel that it is derogatory to have an inter caste marriage in the family. This trait is slightly lesser in metropolitan cities like Coimbatore and Chennai but people who are first generation migrants to these cities still believe strongly in this caste system that they are not able to fly out of the cage which they have locked themselves in. I am not stating that only South Tamil Nadu is filled with such ideas. It is there in all the states and all the non metro towns and cities. I have referred to South Tamil Nadu as I have seen bloodshed and broken hearts first hand in these places in the name of Caste.
Will we as a country ever have a broad mind set? Will daughters-in laws ever be treated as daughters? Will the caste category ever be removed from forms and minds? Will we ever stop being bias towards fair skinned people? Will the criteria for most marriages change from money, and status? Will “Love” replace all of the above and will we ever be a nation that is truly united inspite of the diversities? We as the youth of the nation should work towards it and make the people who find it hard to accept the changes that we are changing for the good. It is in the hands of the youth, it is time we take a stand and be the change that we want to see and stop pointing fingers at others in order to avoid taking responsibility. Let us take the bold step and make our country a happier, better and truly free country to live in.