Clipping Our VIPs’ Wings
Fad of the Day
Good Old B/W
Is First the Fourite?
Let Them Sleep
Think it Through
Clipping Our VIPs’ Wings
The Second World War was on. The situation was critical. The British survival was solely dependent on US military aid. American military delegations were treated as heaven-sent groups of angels, treated most reverentially. And everything then was excusable in the name of defense effort, including murder of language.
It was then that the god-damned species called VIP’s and their deluxe version called VVIPs came into being. Interestingly, the horrible contraction wasn’t created not by an American but by a supposedly educated British officer in charge of organizing flights for important military leaders, more specially the Americans. It was done with a view to both concealing their names from enemy spies and ensuring very special treatment for them.
|The Supreme Court can only issue orders. It is for the Government agencies to implement them. And if all the laws that are already on the statute books were to be enforced you needn’t wish to visit the Garden of Eden.
The conclusion of war didn’t see the end of this discrimination between VIP’s and VOP’s – Very Ordinary People – mortals like you and me. And most irritatingly, the VIPs in India – and who in this land isn’t a VIP? – wanted at the drop of hat to let everyone around know that they belong to a special breed. One of the devices was to display a lal bati on the car they were travelling in. You and I – unusually tolerant as we are – acquiesced into accepting this display, howsoever ugly. But then things went too far. Even when the memsahib – official or unofficial – of the VIP’s used that vehicle, the lal bati was on to tell us someone important was inside.
Thank heavens for small mercies. The Supreme Court, which seems to be running this county with a comatose Government, restricted by a recent judgment the rampant use of red beacons as a symbol of our desi VIP culture. The court ruled that only constitutional authorities and limited sections of high functionaries will be permitted to have vehicles fitted with red beacons.
The bench passing the orders asked the Government to decide on definite lists of officers under the category “high functionary” who alone can have red beacons to facilitate their functioning. That means henceforth every Tom, Dick and Harry cannot flaunt a red beacon.
The use of blue lights will be confined to emergency situations and can henceforth be fitted on ambulances, police and army vehicles and fire extinguisher vehicles among others. The court also ordered the Central government to make appropriate amendments in the motor vehicles law and corresponding rules to make the fine amounts a deterrent.
The Court also banned pressure horns, multiple sound emitting horns and musical horns in vehicles which are at present merrily adding to noise pollution. A month’s time has been given to all authorities to implement these directions.
The Supreme Court can only issue orders. It is for the Government agencies to implement them. And if all the laws that are already on the statute books were to be enforced you needn’t wish to visit the Garden of Eden. And there lies the rub. In the soft state that Nehru bequeathed and his successors perpetuated there is no dearth of laws. What is woefully lacking is the will to implement them. Very unfortunately, the Hon’ble Supreme Court cannot enforce them. It can at the most haul up the Government, and that too only if someone takes the matter to the Court and follows it up for years and years. And then the most the Court can do is to pass strictures.
In the dreary world we live in there’s – thank God for it – an occasional good news. I must therefore hasten to share it with you. I read in the international press that people who drink regularly live longer than those who completely abstain from drinking. As per this spirit-uplifting study people who drank had a lower mortality rate than those who did not drink any alcohol at all.
You may ask me where the study emanated from. Of all the places in the world: Texas. A team led by Charles Holahan, a psychologist at the University of Texas studied meticulously the lives of 1,824 participants for over two decades. They conceded the gender ratio of participants was disproportionate as sixty-three per cent of participants were male. All of the individuals were aged between 55 and 65.
The lowest mortality rate was of those who had a couple of sun-downers every evening. This confirmed my belief in the story I long heard about a small town celebrity in his late 90’s all determined to complete his century. The local press-walas thronged his house. He extolled the virtues of abstinence to which he owed his long life. Shortly, there was shouting and howling. The representatives of the fourth estate were keen to know what was happening. They turned to the old man to know what it was all about.
“Oh nothing it is old man. Last year he turned 125. Every now and then he exceeds his daily quota of two/three drinks in the evening and makes a scene.”
One of the most intriguing facts of our time are the inroads that internet is making in our lives. And in every possible sphere of life! In some fields it has rendered utterly of date and redundant the old sources of referencing. The most obvious is the good old dictionary. I’ve at least a dozen of them lying untouched for years in my bookshelves. My grandchildren tell me they are occupying precious space. Look at their callousness. I spent money buying them and for years they were my constant companions.
Another area where the net is encroaching very fast is the culture of self-cure in the field of medicine Recent surveys show nearly half the American public are currently living with one or more chronic medical conditions. A study involving some 3,000 people, found that 45 per cent of respondents were stricken with such conditions including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Many of them said they diagnosed themselves after doing research on the net. An overwhelming majority of them said they routinely used the Internet as a medical information tool.
I’ve been doing the same. The results, however, are not terribly exciting.
Fad of the Day
How solicitous of the top Congress leadership that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi expressed their profound concern against the Supreme Court's verdict that termed gay sex as illegal. According to them, homosexuality is matter of personal freedom. I don’t remember their expressing the same or similar view when the Delhi High Court de-criminalized gay sex.
I’m, personally, an unwavering momin and think homosexuality as haram.No wonder Darul Uloom Deoband has welcomed the Supreme Court judgment. How gratifying to see BJP also joining hands with their Muslim brethren in condemning homosexuality.
Homosexuality is, in any case, not normal as it is contrary to the two very fundamental attributes of human nature, as the very basics of biology which are self-preservation and self-procreation.
Good Old B/W
If you have, like me, prints of old black and white movies, hold on to them as family heirlooms. The silent-movie classics of yesteryear will soon be but a faint memory.
As per a recent study, a mere 14 per cent of U.S. feature films made between 1912 and 1929 still exist in their original 35-millimetre format. That works out to some 1,500 odd films produced during that time period. I don’t have statistics for B/W movies produced in India before Technicolor took over.
Old film buffs like me will recall classics like Chitralekha and Devdas which are gems of cinematography. Several later remakes in color cannot match their irresistible appeal.
Would you like to see a color version of Casablanca? Certainly not me!
Is First the Fourite?
Before the one-child norm took over most middle class families used to rear three or four children. It has often been debated who among them was mama’s or daddy’s favorite. As per a Canadian study, first-born children always have a special place in the hearts of their parents. The study revealed that first-born kids were more likely to be taken to hospital when they had bad reactions to childhood vaccinations.
I don’t think this generalization holds good for India. To begin with, in our society sons invariably have a preferred status over daughters, particularly if the son arrives after his sisters. He is the darling of the family while his sisters tend to be neglected.
Even if there is more than one boy, mama’s darling may be the youngest. I was the eldest but nobody’s favorite.
Let Them Sleep
There’s a new reason why our kids need to get a good night’s sleep. USNews.com reports on a study revealing that while young children sleep, the connections between the right and left sides of their brains are getting stronger. Researchers found that the strength of the connections between the two sides of their brains increased as much as 20 per cent over a single night’s sleep. The steady maturation of nerve fibers is believed to improve children’s skills in such areas as language, attention and impulse control. And if the little ones aren’t getting a good night’s rest, those areas won’t grow to their full potential.
Think it Trough
Knowledge is fostered by curiosity; wisdom is fostered by awe, said Abraham Joshua Heschel, rabbi and theologian.
Think it over what has, in your life, been more predominant – pursuit of knowledge or a sense of curiosity?