Friday, 30 May 2014

A run around my campus.

On a calm sunday evening with nothing in plan for the day I reluctantly put on my nike running shoes for their actual purpose. Tired of my daily gym routine I wanted to try something new. So, I went on for a run around my college campus. Just to encourage myself I started off from the main building side which faces the LBS (Lal Bahadur Shastri) ground where the Inter IIT athletes practice. I was just aiming to complete one full round of the 450 acre campus and be back to my hostel. I kept a steady pace and ran across Cautley Bhawan (my old hostel), then climbed the slope towards the main building maintaining my breath. Running through the dramatics and music section I kept going on towards the downhill route to Sarojini Bhawan (girls hostel) hoping to see some pretty faces in the male dominated estrogen starved campus. And I was bewildered to see a couple kissing right infront of the watchman near the hostel gate !! Trying to erase that sight from my head I started running faster towards the backside of sports complex. Passing by the new Kasturba Bhawan I saw some fellow students running with the motive to catch a glimpse of the beautiful weather. Crossing by the Saraswati temple I closed my eyes for a bit and paced up to steer past the crowd there. Again climbing the uphill part, I realized I had run 2 kms with total ease.

Donning a smug face I went for another round. This time I felt really free with all the muscles loosened up from the gym routine. Talking to myself throughout the run I enjoyed each and every view of the clean and green campus. With little stamina left to climb the slope again, I decided to take a longer but straighter route. Crossing the convocation hall I patted myself for surviving half a decade in such a small town away from home. Passing by Azad, Ravindra and Govind Bhawan I kept going at a slow pace until I started sweating thoroughly.

Ultimately my under-trained abs gave up and I walked my way to the LBS ground for some cooling down exercises. It was dark now but still many students were training under the flood lights owing to the upcoming athletic meet. In order to relax I took off my shoes only to see a blister on my left foot. I suddenly felt the pain and all the sense of accomplishment vanished right away. Paradise lost. Having no clue how to deal with it I stepped barefoot into the lush green ground. Paradise regained. The dew of the dusk took away all the discomfort instantly.

I sat in the field after some stretching. Observing the local athletes running barefoot I got up to join them for a 400 meter dash. Sprinting the inner circle of the ground barefooted with them gave me a sudden adrenaline rush. With every step on the wet grass my soul was meditating. Running was never so liberating. The Herculean feeling was back but this time I chose to lie down and not push myself anymore. The night sky never seemed so brilliant. With hardly a dozen of stars visible I gazed upon each of them like a toddler. I think I ran more than I ever did in my entire life, not to escape anything but to find myself.

Staring at the brightest star among the lot I vowed to kill the lackadaisical self and start afresh. The tiny twinkling dots from the infinitude of space instilled a new energy in me. I was once again ALIVE.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Arvind Kejriwal: The pr-oxyMORON

On 8th December 2013, an antiquated muffler-topi wearing, spectacle bearing gentleman, who referred to himself as the ‘Mango Man’ (Aam Aadmi), also sporting a persistent bronchitis became the Chief Minister of the capital of the world’s largest democracy. The stronghold and arrogance of Congress was decimated with the shocking loss of then CM Sheila Dikshit. Winning an unpredictable 28/70 seats in its debut election the Aam Aadmi Party took the world’s largest democracy by a surprise. Mr. Kejriwal rocketed to fame overnight with all the print and social media abuzz with the turnaround of the Delhi State Assembly elections. On December 28, the ‘Mango Man’ took over as the CM of a minority government with the unexpected ‘unconditional support’ of the Congress.

Taking the oath of working against corruption during his swearing-in ceremony he mentioned, “Aaj main nahi, Dilli ki janta CM bani hai”. The main agenda was to clear the Jan Lokpal Bill that included setting up of an independent organisation to probe into the working of politicians and even the top office of Govt. of India. He clearly failed to practise what he preached when he defended Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti by staging a dharna against the central govt. in order to prohibit an independent probe into his minister’s dogmatic moral policing of the Ugandan women.

AAP tried to bulldoze the Jan Lokpal Bill through the assembly with both BJP and Congress in strong opposition over the question of due process and constitutional decorum. The bill was manoeuvred in such a way as to invite opposition for the already minority govt. and not in view of getting it passed in the assembly. With such unexpected success in the state polls Kejriwal had already set his eye on the Raisina Hills. Delhi assembly was a mere stage of theatrics and histrionics. He must have seen dismissal of the Jan Lokpal Bill an ideal circumstantial exit window from the imbroglio he put himself into. He must have thought of gaining public sympathy by quitting as the leader of a minority govt. which was thwarted by political rivals rather than being criticised as a CM who was unable to deliver on his promises. On the contrary, the decision invited a colossal public dissent.

The Aam Aadmi party took this uproar on the offensive and fielded its candidates in 434 constituencies for the Lok Sabha elections, the highest by any party on the national level. Kejriwal in his daft over-ambitious attempt took on the deft and humongously popular PM candidate of the NDA, Mr. Narendra Modi in the city of Varanasi. As anticipated by the exit polls and being totally obvious, the masses refused to ride along with the whims of the broom bearer, whose govt. lasted just 49 days, ironically akin to the lifespan of a Jhaadu and Kejriwal suffered a brutal defeat and was swept clear by the Modi wave. AAP managed to carve out a meagre 4 seats, that too in Punjab only where anti-Congress voters considered AAP to be a better alternative to the BJP. The record-breaking public mandate of the BJP is hugely attributable to the political and administrative blunders that intensified the prevalent Modi wave into a Tsunami.

The matters worsened for the AAP with HC ordering to put him behind bars for the defamation case filed by former BJP president Nitin Gadkari. Mr. Kejriwal refused to furnish the bail bond of Rs 10,000 taking this as a matter of prestige with hopes of getting political gains. The spotlight hungry iconoclast further embarrassed himself with a failed attempt to reform the govt. with Congress sternly refusing to support him after the debacle. This also contradicted the party’s claims of seeking a fresh polls because minus Congress, a fresh referendum was out of the question. The very next day Mr. Kejriwal announced that fresh polls were an only option and apologized to the people of Delhi for quitting without a proper explanation. Eventually after spending a week breathing the air of Tihar Jail he had to give in to the judicial system after being reprimanded by the court for creating a mountain of a molehill. Aptly, the word U-turn is now slanged as ‘Kejri-turn’ after his humdrum dramatics.

Unfolding of such political upheavals clearly demonstrates that the main agenda of the AAP rather Mr. Kejriwal lies only in criticizing exposing inadequacies of the govt. Instead of functioning in-situ and providing a viable alternative to the BJP and Congress as predicted earlier, the party is limited to creating insurgency and anarchy. The mockery of the Delhi assembly polls that was made evidently exposes Mr. Kejriwal as a libel and an inefficient leader relentlessly seeking public spotlight to gain public sympathy and political marginalization. The ingenious opportunist soon turned out to be a desperate escapist.

Nevertheless, political pundits and press intelligentsia would argue that he is not power hungry and is playing a bigger game that India has not foreseen. Hitherto, my opinion would stand on the fact that he clearly failed to apprehend the sentiments of the common voter and exigently needs to reinvent his game-plan to emerge out of this predicament, essentially for the existence of his fledgling party. The Aam Aadmi Party, jocularly known as the most successful start-up in this recession by an IITian now shoulders a past imperfect with the future tense.