Friday, December 29, 2006

Telltales of a fundamentalist:
1. He is really a Chauvinist who strongly holds that his culture, society, country, religion or his people are greatest.
2. He continually tries to absorb ‘only what is good in other cultures and countries’. Thus he puts lots of focus on demarcating the ‘good’ from the ‘bad’.
3. He is poor in his communication skills in any language, and may even admit that though he cannot put his thoughts in right words but his thoughts are still ‘right.’
4. He is superficially a very ‘secular’ person who ‘respects other religions also’.
5. He also continues to assert that is being humane in his ways
6. He assures that ‘excessive’ freedom is bad. And so the freedom of Press should is most essential to be put in control. The Sting Operations are the obvious proof of it where personal areas have been intruded.
7. He instantly feels offended whenever anything critical of his goodies emerges. He tries to suppress it there and then. Thus he practices Obscurism in some way or the other.
8. In the present scenario, he holds that Judicial Courts are going out of their limits. He would not be disagreeing that the politicians are also bad, either.
9. Regular performer of rituals and other religious activities.
10. His frequent defense is Counter-allegation. ‘You didn’t do good either’.
11. He never understands poor quality from another variety. ‘A rural life is different from urban life’ is a classic case. Urban life is not perceived as evolution of rural life.
12. Also he, thus, holds past to be superior to either present or future.
13. Believes that theory is different from practicality. Debate of Idealism versus Realism goes on for ever with him. ‘Practicality or reality is away from what you learn in books.’ (Maybe he is the best teacher of it!)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Negatives of Lucknow’s ‘Aap’-culture.

Pehale aap.” “Nehin, pehale aap.” And the train sets away rolling.

This is the most vivid picture that comes to our mind, the moment we talk about the Awadh’s (formerly, for Lucknow) ‘Aap-aap’. And even when the train is missed out in surmounting one’s ‘pehale aap’ (‘you first, please’) on the other, Lucknowites are still proud of it. For, now this is seen as the symbol of the city’s greatest patronage to two popular language of the country at their distinction, the Urdu and the Hindustani. Javed Akhtar, Naushad, K.P. Saxena, -- don’t know how many noted literati have taken routes to fame through the streets of Lucknow.
But, like we keep one-track thinking for most of our subjects, so do we do here. Because we consider only ‘aap’ to be pure and the best, and the rest to be sub-standard-- ‘Tum’ is more of plebeians. The two are never evaluated against their merits and demerits— formal or informal, stressful or comfortable. All ruled out—it has got to be ‘Aap’, always.
Due to my regular intercourses with many other dialects, of late I have stumbled upon some disadvantages also of the ‘Aap’ word. For once, people see it as mark of submission to their ideas. The resistance or protest laced in ‘aap’ is perceived to be weaker than other second-person pronouns.
Secondly, the communication is obstructed as the users of the word continue to remain more formal with each other. This makes them to put more focus on avoiding getting hurtful than speaking out one’s mind. The father-son relationship, friends relationship, it all remains un-warm, un-sharing, and taut, till ‘aap’ acts as the binder.
Also, the patrons of ‘aap’ often feel offended at the slightest piercing by ‘tu’ or ‘tum’. This is because there is a natural expectation of reciprocating Respect while giving it to the other. One does not realize that he may, infact, be compelling the other, against his will, to do that.
The ‘aap’ culture is also repressive on the use of swear-words. Now however illicit it may sound, but the fact remains that abuses too are used to depict some of our basic feelings, like anger or extreme love, in their varied degrees. There is an un-obstructed pouring of feeling by their use. ‘Aap’ keeps us shackled us to certain fixated ideas beyond which it becomes Intrusion.
I think the word itself sees it origin from other native dialects, ‘Bhojpuri’ and ‘Awadhi’— variants of Hindi, which lent it to Arab soldiers during Mogul rule in India. Urdu, meaning the Camp Language, was evolved as the fusion of Hindi and Persian happened. Speakers of both these languages would use this word to keep off any confrontation among them, while fighting for the same ruler. They surely must have been under stress while keeping company of the other ‘strangers’. The stress of those times, to date, gets carried down by excessive use of ‘aap’. Later, even Mogul rulers adopted it, and thus it became the king’s language.
Today, since it’s so many centuries now, Lateral thinking is required to re-explore the pros and cons of ‘Aap’.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Our misplaced obsession about Bhagwad Geeta

Thousands of years, and this scripture is still so current. This has been the guide of the Hindu lifestyle, and may I propose- the Indian lifestyle, since time immemorial. And amazingly enough the ancient philosophy finds its relevance in our lifestyle even on this day, despite so many social and technology-driven changes. I was mesmerized to see the rock sculpture of Shree Krisna and Arjun on their chariot, on the battlefield, with Krisna’s forefinger stretched outwards (to the enemies) at the entrance of IIM-Lucknow. Perhaps this is the first and most classic case of war-management, wherein the Advisor—or the manager, in the seat of the chariot pilot, changes the ordained outcome of a war, the Mahabharata.
The holy Shlok(the Verse) associated with this famous scene read:
Yadaa yadaa hee adhramasya, glaanir bhavati bharatah,
abhyuthanam dharmaya, tadaatmaanam shrijaamayham’

Whenever shall the Adharm (the evil) humiliate this land,
I shall be reborn to establish the Dharm (the righteousness).

But soon, I begin to wonder that the entire philosophy of Geeta is deemed to have been contracted in this Shlok along with another famous one, mentioned below; and this is what looms over the masses, no matter how they are acting:
Karma kiyae jaa fal ki ichcha na kar tu insaan
Jaisa karm karega tu, waisa fal degaa bhagwan.
Keep going with thy work, without bothering for the fate,
For how thou shall work, thou shall be rewarded
I must mention that this one a vox populi interpretation of the scripture, coined as recently as 16th or 17th century.
The theory contained in these verses is so ambiguous that the entire demarcation of the good and the evil is comfortably fuzzed up. Every person can find its relevance in his deeds; so much so that the superego to judge the good and the evil is sent to summer sleep as the meaning of Dharm itself becomes so hazy.
Take a few examples- anytime a murder is to be carried out, the whole trauma of conducting the heinous act can be overcome by recalling Krisna’s Shlok.
Every time a burglary is done, Krisna’s picture is conjured up in mind to hold the belief that the booty rightfully belongs to us! And if it is not delivered back, then we have the Dharm to snatch it away. On occasions, a girl can also be eloped with, for Krisna is famous for one such act also.
More than anything, it is the commoners’ self-styled interpretations of the entire book which lends such dubious place to it. The interpretations are stuffed with logical inconsistencies which are overcome by mere stifling of doubts.
Back in early nineties the teleserial, Mahabharat, had presented some of the more consistent explanations of the scripture for the commoners. The teleserial was a phenomenal success, may be, in the history of entire world. Some of the more tenable arguments now pervaded through the commoners. Like, they could now argue with increased confidence the prevailing inconsistencies in the society in regard to place of women. The womanizing behaviour and the Butter-pilferage deeds of Krisna were understood in more Dharm-compliant manner. In short, the morality and the act were construed against each other.
However, what this teleserial couldn’t have done for obvious reason was to call off so much of obsessive belief in the doctrine of Karma. I have often noted people clinging to it in many of their arguments when they find themselves defeated by other theories. It is well known fact that matters of life and death are still un-deciphered by present advances in Sciences. Since the Geeta mostly lies down the facts pertaining to these matters, an ultimate and insurmountable resort to Bhagwad Geeta saves them complete humiliation. The result is that they become deaf to many other doctrines which have relevance for moments other than birth and death. They even become rejecting to the idea of finding more current and deeper theories of these mystic matters also.
IIM-L may be having the rock sculpture to inspire its students to deliberate how motivation through speeches, careful planning, and out-of-norms tactics by Krisna won the war to the Pandavs from the mighty Kauravs. Who knows how many of us Indians see this as another proclamation of the Bhagwad Geeta theories over the rest!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My take on Rang de basanti…

Truly a generation-awakening film. Apart from ‘people liked it so much…’; ‘ it became a movement..’; ‘candle light vigils became an in thing..’, etc, what I liked most about this movie was its take on handling the enemy within— the last scene in which actor Siddharth is shown killing his own father Rajpath Singhania, the corrupt Defense middleman, played by ever-supreme, Aunpam Kher.
For the whole lot of Indian, the fight was simply about taking the enemy as close as inside the territory; but for Siddharth! Because for him, he was very much inside the house, may be inside his blood also. This aloof character is shown fighting the hardest battle. Mustn’t have been easy, I am sure. And I suspect it is here that the entire real life patrons are going to put the high ideals of this movie in the cold bag. For not all of us can fight this enemy, the self. We cannot choose to part ways with our luxuries; the bare facts of a provincial life begin to loom large before our eyes. The emotions will begin to pour in. The enemy holds the stronger position, masquerades in different family relations, not easy to identify. This time he is not a neighbour, not a bearded Muslim, not just the rich man, not the father of one’s beloved, not the uncaring ill-treating father; he is somebody in one’s own veins. He has begot him. He has given him life, education, luxury, freedom, love, everything that one needs. And yet he stands in the wrongs’ dominion. For all that he has given were never rightfully his and therefore not yours. It will never be an easy confession. And more acute is the fact that in real life, this is most commonplace. One can blame it on politicians; still harder, on the people who re-elect them to power. But how about our parents! Siddharth has to do that highest terrain of fight.
On a different note, I got thinking on what other de jure remedies could be there to save the agony of the Siddharth Act. If we really have to succeed in making the RDB movement a success, then, finding the softer constitutional ways would be a must. And at the same, it will have to be set out against the Doctrine of Karma, wherein the fruits of one’s actions are reaped in this very world. Balance may not be easy.
The Income Tax Act only deals with the monetary misappropriations aspect. The actual acts that facilitate amassment are dealt as per other applicable procedures. On occasions, the IT department also comes out with schemes for declaration of one’s black money avoiding the penalties. As a matter of fact flagrant government officials would not avail of it. Law definitely bestows mercy on those who confess. But then, people expect a true, sincere confessionary to be prepared to meet any fate. So why a wrongdoer would feel encouraged to confessing?!My recourse would be to forgive the lighter wrongdoers who confess, ensuring non- repetition of such acts. This is also because a big section of Indians would come in this category. For big-time dealers, mercy may be thought only in the end by alleviating the punishment accorded. The real forgivers are always the people against whom crime is committed. I don’t think, ‘Siddharth’ can be fully avoided if we desire a successful transformation.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Be right, not dead right.

Try not to prove yourself to be right; try to prove what u did was what you felt to be right.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Character sketch of Captain Vaz

Character sketch of Captain Vaz

Captain Derrick Fernandes Vaz. This is his full name. Supposedly the most awesome and formidable of all the nautical surveyors in MMD, Mumbai. He is also seen as one of the most knowledgeable persons around. Very much up-to-date and thorough with the procedures, legislations and ship knowledge. His name has often given scares and sweat to candidates. He is known for asking highly ultra-syllabus questions which are instantly perceived as never-answerable.
Though I myself never had any opportunity of facing him for my oral exams, I have always got intrigued by his charisma after hearing people’s reports of experiences with him. Hence my psycho profiling is based on the same along with just one write-up I have read, written by him, and a couple of encounters I had for other works.
Most of time he puts up those subject questions only for which the candidate appears to be least prepared. For those who emanate a feel of thorough preparations, there are always his ‘bouncers’. Quite a many times he throws his questions as open challenges to the candidate. The candidate is given his self-chosen time to discover the answer of it. The terrified examinee reads this as a display of the examiner’s ‘ego’ but I interpret it as his novae method of teaching the candidate to learn to refer and research.
His sphere of knowledge is seen to enclose almost all categories of vessels, his experiences as vast as his glory. The Ro-ro’s, Gear-less Bulkies, chemicals, Gas carriers, passengers, he is presumed to have worked on all. Thus, the candidates start to get nervous just on being told of seeing him for the orals. He can be expected to question a person regarding anything and everything. The duration of exam has been reported of spreading over several weeks. Candidates are given ‘recalls’ one after another till he delivers his verdict. And even after all his merciless examining, the candidate should not expect any leniency in his fate. Very often they are still failed. Thus they get a reason to call him ‘cruel’ or ‘harassing’ also. I guess Capt Vaz’s effort to generate quality in the candidate is completely overlooked.
However there are contradictions to the aforementioned. I have personal acquaintance with a candidate who was passed after he ‘fought up’ his fifth consecutive failures, all at Capt Vaz’s hand. In his final fight he was passed without any question. Possibly the Capt is not as cruel as he is thought of.
Sometimes he is known to have passed the candidate on showing an attitude. They say it’s because once you give him back, the Captain gives up. But I think this interpretation does not concur a dime with other facts about him, like his vast knowledge. I wonder if can’t be like— the attitude shows up the guy’s communication skills, ability to meet the odds, etc. My close friend Rahul, during his second mate orals, fought with him regarding the obvious and logically acceptable lack of knowledge regarding certain hi-technical matter. Actually it was about the meaning of the chromaticity graph discussed in the Colregs. Rahul, who till this time was decreed to be failing in all three functions, was suddenly awarded them all! In my view, it was clearly because Rahul was able to present his case in a strong manner.
Other person, Mani, was awarded two functions because he made an ‘ego boosting’ statement that ‘Capt Vaz’s questions are not to be answered; they are to be referred’. Capt Vaz’s is said to be flattered with the correctness of it. But where is the question of reading this as an acceptance of the Referral-lessons in a jovial mood? Mani, an IIT-JEE qualifier, in his previous attempts, was asked to derive mathematical proof of certain statement in the Colreg. He sat down to work over it for over an hour and then failed. He called this as his ‘failing question’. I wondered at the purposefulness of the question and thought if the correct answer could be like— put up a brave front that it was out of syllabus as also the professional need. The IITian seems to have taken the question as challenge to his knowledge and skills. In this attempt he was completely failed.
And had he succeeded in deriving the proof, he would have deserved to pass understanding the difficulty level of the question and Mani’s magic in solving it.
The only article that I have read mentioning Capt Vaz was about his preliminary investigation report on Delhi’s Capt Rajan Agarwal’s killing. In his investigations, Capt Vaz has not hesitated in mentioning the shortcomings of the deceased master which led to this act. The report mentions the accused cadets’ intelligence superiority over the deceased master. Master’s improper handling of small disputes with the cadets and invalid cunning measures to discipline the depraved apprentices haven’t escaped unnoticed by Capt Vaz. While Capt Vaz does not dismiss the charge of murder on the cadets, he strives to advise the rest to stay just and better informed with the newer generation of mariners coming up, through his report.
This whole incident throws some more light on the Captain’s fair and impartial observations. Among other things, he is also known to be one of the richest and senior most surveyors around in Mumbai district. Hence, in my opinion, we should least expect him to be bent or biased in his judgments.
New age management thoughts for future policy makers in India:-

1) Over ninety percent of Indians are congenitally dishonest and corrupt. Every policy must incorporate provisions to keep strict checks on people in its own circuit also.
2) There is no such thing as good-faith and altruism known to over ninety percent of us. Having born and brought up in a jungle-like living condition where we have to fight for everything from food to naukri to chokri, we always look at each other with suspicion. We are eternally cynical.
3) We are still very much an uncivilized society who do not know the concept of nation, society and governments. Our nationalism comes into play only when Pakistan is in opposition. Otherwise we like to have a jungle-like living.
4) Quite many of us do not believe in power of pen or the magic of good education for we have never seen it happening.
5) We span between to very extremes—super rich and super poor. Proportion of super rich in our population is very small. The New Economic Policy,1992 is however adding more in their club.
6) Similarly there are 2 kinds of thinker— highly intellectual and poverty-stricken, ill-educated. IIT’s and IIM’s make high class cream who normally ooze to the west whereas the poverty stricken stay behind. The latter blame an individual called ‘Government’ for everything that they feel is happening wrong.
7) Most Indians think that ‘secularism’ means you live by your religion and I by mine and let there be mutual respect. A thought of freeing themselves from the clutches of religion rarely strikes our mind.

Additional thoughts:
8) However self-depreciating it is, we must begin to appreciate the White Man’s supremacy in almost all jobs of higher intellect.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

30 October, 2006
I am losing my favourite game…
India loses out to Australia again. And what’s more, it was a predictable defeat. We knew, at least I did, that, we are born to be losers on most of the days. We win only on odd days. Defeat is ours, triumph theirs.
In 2004, while serving on ship ‘Pataliputra’, we would go to Australia quite regularly. The coastal passage along the Great Barrier Reef from Cape York in the Torres Strait to Cairns is a pilotage waters. Hence in this June’04 trip there was this pilot, Mike, on board. An oversized, pot-bellied, couch potato who perhaps did nothing but piloting and watching sports on TV. Pilotage is a 3 days affair during which pilot stays on board night and day. I was serving as second mate at that time.
On the second day of the inward passage, Mike and us, my two cadets and myself, got into some discussions on performance of Indian versus Australians in various fields. Funny man Mike counted to us how the Aussies have been excelling in task they have undertaken ranging from swimming, athletics, rugby, to scientific advancements and then to ‘piloting’ (in humour, he was patting his own back).
Angshuman and Charu, the cadets, were cool enough Indians to be able to hear some other nation’s praises. I myself kept concentrating on the task of navigation at hand. Normally I don’t see too many Indian seafarers such ‘tolerant’. Later, I counted back to Mike the hallmarks of Indians in Chess, Vishwanathan Anand; in Snooker, Geeth Sethi; and then a lesser known game to him, Kho-Kho. I also told him our cine-zeal where we produced over 500 movies in a year, the largest by any nation. Mike already had some vague ideas about “Bollywoo”(sic) as also about ‘Ash’warya and Amitabh.
I retained the Cricket’s mention for the last as I felt only thing worth counting to the world champs was the Border-Gavasker trophy which, till then, had not reached the Aussies’ bag.
Mike promptly struck back saying that the Aussies were sure to get it the same year. I felt I had no replies further, having a full understanding of my team’s performance against his.
Kiran Desai’s prize-winning novel’s name give a clue of my plight on such conversations; - ‘the Inheritance of Loss’.
During the Aug’04 trip, when the Olympic Games were played in Athens, the Aussie nation was again at the peak of their testosterones. And why should they not?! They have been in the top 5 slots of final medal tally for long time. When the Indian contingent was marching from the front of the audience during this Olympics, the TV commentator expressed his bafflement at such small- 60 persons- team from such an overpopulated nation. The Australians and the US had over 300 participants.
Coming back to the discussions with Mike, the cadets further argued on, to show the Indians’ dominance in software making. But I was wondering if the highly sophisticated systems like the GPS and ECDIS (used on ships) and the Gyro Compass ever had any Indian’s hand in its making. The big jigsaw puzzle of India’s achievement and failures again unwrapped itself before me and screamed out at all-wrong collation—of how we arranged facts to suit our convenience; to erect our false pride.
… It’s time to think again…

Friday, October 20, 2006

Street smartness is an outcome of underdeveloped, uncivilized society. It should never be promoted. It may be kept as reflector shield only.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Orals

The Orals

That’s how we popularly know them. The popular name gives an innuendo of that pleasure act equally popular in our MMS-crazed generation but, here, is actually a short form for Oral Examinations conducted by the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) of Ministry of Shipping, India, for certification of merchant naval officers. The final steps towards acquiring any grade of licenses involves a face-to-face interview with examiners of MMD, known as Surveyors as per the provisions of the MS Act, 1958, and entails examination of our technical and managerial knowledge.
The results of all MMD exams are best described by a well-known maritime adage –‘Sea yields out whatever goes in it; it does not eat away anything.’ Yes, that’s right, one day or the other we all pass. But then like all humans have a need for some challenge to give them reasons to live, we have devised the challenge in passing the exams in ‘first shot’.
Over these years of revamped examination processes for seafarers in India the orals have become an integral phase of all officers. In fact, we have developed a gene of taking liking for them howsoever we may spite at them. The events of Orals, without discrimination, go down as legends in the seafaring communities’ treatises.
Currently Captain Das, Capt Mondal and Capt Vaz form the protagonist of most of our orals legends. They are the surveyors in any of the two MMDs’ of India, Mumbai and Kolkata, at any time. Our evening-tea talks centre around them—how foolish; smart; mindless; intelligent; out of syllabus; relevant—questions they asked on that day. Each of us has our individual perception of these surveyors.
Although the toughness of syllabus cannot be undermined anytime because only simple question to fail a candidate could be like waving a hand out towards the cloud forming the scenery of Surveyor’s window and asking the description of it, but the surveyors themselves being has-been candidates, do all-out to remain considerate. But there is an irony again-- the aforesaid is my perception of them! Quite a many of us continue to charge them of being regionalist, casteist, communalist, favoritism to Indian companies, et al. Like always, such prejudicial opinions are founded on factors like narrations by seniors and personal set-back experiences, particularly failure. The poorly educated Biharis and their likes see them as malicious anti-bihari people, Goanese as fiefdom of north Indians, Capt Vaz as saviour of Catholics, Capt Das as nemesis of ‘over smart’ Delhi and Mumbai-ites. Thus the understanding of the legends should be formed based on factors like region, community etc of the subjected candidate no matter how these ‘-ist’ you yourself may not be.
Capt Das has the glory of asking questions like loading a Circus, elephants, camel and snakes as cargoes on merchant vessels and besieging candidates with sharp and harsh cross-questions like what if a fight erupts between animals midway through the sea-passage or what if a snake emerges from the teak-wood cargo (it may be treated as damage to cargo, if killed!). So much has been his ‘tyranny/harassment’ that many candidates have turned away just on hearing his name for their orals. Being a Bengali-accented speaker of English, he had once surprised a candidate right at the entry into the Exam room itself by speaking out ‘U Fail’ to him. The poor chap cried out enquiring the cause of it even without getting questioned. The chap was mortified in reply, by being asked to explain U-F-L (a very basic question, Upper flammable limit). The other time, a candidate was ‘taunted’ away from the room for coming in inappropriate dress. His stylish belt-buckle appeared like some emblem of his princedom to Capt Das.
Other senior surveyors, in my opinion, wear such baffling behaviours, perhaps, to inspire some thinking the candidates. Whereas the Indian shipping fleet, also overseen by the MMD, has a very ragged reputation in the world market, the Indian officers remain quite in demand world over, and more specifically for their good English communication skills in relation to the Chinese, Pilipinos and the Croatians. The MMD, therefore, may be designing its methods to build some culture in its graduates, commonly unknown to latter, which may improve the ships also.
Among many things, there are certain things I can say for sure about these exams. One can distinctly say what they stand for and what don’t attempt to achieve. For example, they can not be aimed at-- a) making us fail-proof b) making us Mr Know-all. The exam result does not declare us excellent in job- it only declares us to be ‘competent’, meaning ‘capable of doing the job’. But candidates still have lots of misgivings about the orals and the surveyors. A host of them can always be seen mugging the whole syllabus in preparation and still failing. Not surprising that they come out with one single unanswered question as their ‘failing question’. A few of the indications can be safely and boldly taken from the kind of questions asked. Like, the surveyors—
a) Want us to keep abreast of technology and changes therein
b) Want us to be familiar with various regulations so that we may, in the least, know what all exist. A deeper enquiry can be held later but only if we know that there exist some proposition.
c) Want us to keep our mind active in thinking process and elevate from one level to another.
d) Want to remind us that there cannot be end of learning and that not all can be known by any person.
e) A fine blend of technical knowledge and management thinking is needed in day-to-day life.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

25th aug,2006
" Education is what remains when you have fogotton all that you had learnt"

the past few days have seen me at the peak of my anguish against certain issues,things and people. shouting ,protesting,howling-i did this all to prove my point. i wantes to make a statement but ended up making arguments. or was made to sound like that. actauly i wanted , first, to be heard, then, thought , and then, be argued. but simply got argued on. and by another rudimenart underexposed vestige of indian mind, less desirous of accepting change and staunch in his inherited value system-- that obedient son of his father! he clearly seemed to have mugged up al his knowledge to reach his stations-- hardly showed any understanding of the great altruist conceptswe got from our books of international maritime legislation composed mostly by the westeners. the indians, esp this pal of mine,my namesake, believs that those laws are impractical in reality! and why not must he think so!?where have we seen such greatness of philosophy, the altruism, in action in our real life.
actually, the laws we read SOLAS, STCW, ISM, Code of Safe Working practices for Merchant Seamen, and many more, in general are based on principles of humanity. Basic laws like proper rest hours, healt working condition also had to written down to avoid controversies regarding them. in India, unlike the UK, they couldn't have been taken as the unwritten-- the Common Law.
i guess it was known to the west that people can be inhuman as well and particularly those from the other hemisphere. what other classic explanation can we have to understand indians 'impracticable' viewpoint for the period of rest hour! My other pal from the SCI who has now migrated to Shell (the oil giant),top-managed mostly by the British, tells me of the easy life he lives over there--relaxed and comfortable. tasks,to us, appear to be exacting at first thought itself and create huge revulsions.drydocking in my comapny is a severe ailment to me.
then why at all do we say 'yes' to such 'impractical' legislation at international forums??the top managers of ours, the govt surveyors and the DG shipping, and the shipowners admit their implementation while the lower rung, the ship masters and other staff, in the closet, express doubt in them!?why this collective hypocritcal behaviour of us?! the STCW, infact, at one point makes it binding upon world governments to make college cirriculum for mariners as close to what we get in real. then why do we fail to do so. why can't we just dispel such legislation in the making itself rather than in a closed room.
Think correcting of magnetic compass for deviational errors binding upon we sailors. although we are taught the theory of this, but are we really given any hands-on training on them then does ISM code make provision for its continuous traning, considering our human factor of forgetfullness. do we carry any instruments required for the task on board as mandatory?No; none. Then why were we taught all this??
i think thats where our confusion arises. the unawakened pal, in his quest to find meaning of his subjects ends up surmising that all things are meant to be executed!, for management and decision-making as a subject appears to be unknown to him. the purpose of learing this in theory, to me, appears tobe purely for reasons of critical decision-making.however the argument fron the line of thinking of STCW legislation of making subject close to practicability raises many debates in our unaware, under-developed-now-but-developing-always minds. we first first needto be told that not all material is suppose to be executed as it is,but for the purpose of knowing only;for the incidence of critical decision-making.
When are we going to incorporate thinking also in our gand process of learning.when are we designate 'memorising' to its proper place and when are we going to 'think' 'observing' in our 'learning' ?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

On exodus from the SCI

On Exodus from The SCI
To start with, I feel deeply dejected at the way people have expressed the propriety of their exodus from SCI. most of the people have been negligent of their moral obligation towards a company which has given launch pads to their careers. The fleeing was something like kicking away your mother or your nation by putting the blame on numerous faults in them. We know there exist many, both in our nation and in our parent generation, but does that justify our fleeing as proprietary? And like the parents take satisfaction in their children’s worldly ventures so does the SCI not shackle or chase anyone for leaving it. In fact it takes pride in seeing ‘ex-SCI’ people heading or commanding other big companies or their ships.
Like ever dutiful son, every such enterpriser has the moral responsibility to explain the causes of leaving the parent company with all sincerity. Reasons could be any, from poor money to unacceptable treatment to bad work environment, but it should be honestly and warmly expressed.
Callous attitude, poor communication skills, poor vocabulary, PR skills( like raraghvan’s case) have rather spread a hatred feeling for the company than evoking a sympathetic emotion towards such quitters of challenging conditions.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Depraved land
It is not mere coincidence that one of the most fertile soils on the planet, the Indo-Gangetic Plains, has become abode of the most atrocious criminals; the fertile soil does not yield as much crop to feed its own inhabitants; religion’s predominance has pushed science-driven development and modernization centuries behind; education not fir enough to get good employment to its enormous population even while the rest of India starves for quality manpower; and then , of course, the over-population, driving all its natural resources from fertile soil to clean rivers to the verge of destruction. The fertility of soil becoming the cause of its own destruction—so I would call it Self-destruction.
Among all causes of its depredation, I maintain, that religion’s predominance is the biggest. This soil hold foundations of many a religious structures of world fame from Ram Janambhumi to Kashi Vishwanath temple to Gaya , Sarnath and many more. That is where people’s mindset becomes to staunch in archaic practices to adopt or accept modernity. Astonishingly they rather attempt to justify archaic views through modern vision almost saying ‘see our ancestors already knew it’. The education system is also of the similar nature as to thrust traditionalism into younger minds. I have personal experiences of growing in such an atmosphere until I broke the shackles to have an un-skewed view of the big world. Earlier we would maintain that the western culture is polluting ours. Today I stand in open support of living-in relationships and see that whole lot of Indians –other than those from my native soil, humorously called ‘the fartherest east’—do it.
The mobile, phones, the computers, the cars, the cable television, everything has changed my perceptions of the west. ‘Changed’ because the previous thoughts, those imbibed from my parents in particular, and then also from my friends and neighbourhood also depicted it as a licentious, free-sex culture. During our adolescent years, we would covertly cry for having born in the west—because, otherwise, we would have ‘made-out’ by then. We were filled with thoughts of self-importance, self proclamation and saw the world’s scientific development as gift of unknown Indians. This was because so many Indians had migrated to the west and were holding strong positions in their development infrastructure.
The recent view I have on this has shed those misconceptions with an opinion that Indians are simply the cheap manpower providers to the world. What Bihar is to India, India is to the World. Cheap quality, extremely under qualified labour fit enough only to dig trenches on the road- or make software for their Banks and navigate their big ships. The rules and regulation, the management is still controlled by them. How wrong was my environment is giving me those false pictures, wonder I. Do my siblings and my cousins know this bitter truth even now. My closest relatives, who are deep into the politics, make this unaware world of ours more chaotic by their anti-west rhetorics. Not surprising that I note that the political juggernaut having allegiance of my people stands alongside the Left’s on most issues. It’s a universal fact that my people abound my land. So that’s how the evil starts—there puritanical behaviour makes them a natural rival of the western culture. How on earth, then, can we expect them to accept modern education which is entirely based on western philosophy—it explains our huge population and its massive unemployment; explains the seeds of terrorism germinating deep in my soil; explains criminality finding its roots in there, for our laws and democratic principles also have their origin largely from the west.
In short, to me it seems to be a war of civilizations the east versus the west. And Islam being the most staunch and provincial in its thinking leads the legion. ‘Other backwards’ concur with their beliefs—it explains ‘UP CM’s clean chit to SIMI’; and then probable undercover explanation of opposition of Indo-US Nuclear deal. UK PM Tony Blair has recently said it all in his recent comments on Islamic Terrorism.
Lest the forward class of Indians may think themselves standing apart from this, I must mention that this is our general psychology, plainly discussed in current literatures as Being Indian, the Great Indian Middle Class, etc. Theirs varies only in staunchness from the hardliners. We all are birds of same feather- some more dark than others.

Friday, August 11, 2006

the dizzy reporting system...Entry for August 09, 2006

This one is about highly unorganized vsl reporting systems we have in place which suffices probably no purpose. All vessels transiting Indian EEZ and Indian SRR are urged to send an INDSAR and INSPIRES report. Additionally all Indian flag vessels have to compulsorily send INSPIRES. In first place its amazing to find that the to different systems have not been integrated into one despite all advancements in the IT technology and computeronics and when India boasts of itself as an IT giant in world software developer’s market.
Then, even with sending of the two reports the tracking of vessels through our region seems to be poor as we frequently some across Indian Naval ships completely unaware of our position and intentions.
Further, as is ‘natural’ with Indian culture, we are brought up with a highly boastful, jingoistic attitude in which we even give up basic courtesy of talking to any foreigner whosoever, often naval officer with such a behavior do not even hesitate in sending calls to master of merchant vessels in the midst of night to obtain vessel info from them.
In the month of February this year I heard one such naval ship calling another ship, the latter equipped with an AIS and all other modern communication equipment clearly legible on my equipment, being raised as “unknown vessel in position….”. I was shocked to hear suchan address in the era of compulsory AIS onboard all merchant ships. Then, it was about 12 o’ clock midnight, the caller (Indian naval ship) sounded angry and discourteous for not getting a reply. When the reply was finally made, the respondent sounded more annoyed for- first, not being called out by proper noun; then, getting disturbed in his peaceful watch even after sending all the sea passages reports and still being inquired for the all over again on VHF (he may have been unwilling to share such info on an open platform in this intense security regime); and lastly, for not being given his due—the respect.
It was a Japanese merchant vessel with a Japanese OOW, who are definitely as courteous and committed sailors as any other. Hence I found such a behaviour towards him as highly deplorable

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lt Sushmita Chakravarty commits suicide. That was the news yesterday. Hulla over it all over in the news. Wondering, I m. Case reports- she had given resignation but was denied. I m sure she must have felt like a shackled captive. And no other way to get her freedom than this inhuman way! Whose fault..her or the system.?? I m myself undergoing one such similar case in my professional life…that of abandoning my ship. Was I wanting to do it..or was I forced. What emotional turmoil did I undergo before I committed it. I know it for sure. Sitting alone in a chair looking into nowhere, thinking contemplating the available options, the consequences, the numerous explanations to be given to authorities to justify my move and to convince my own self. Wasn’t easy at all. Loosing away all my senses, my thirst my hunger my thoughts my dreams my smile.
Alongside there was a news that UP chief minister gives away rs 500 unemployment allowance to some 52000 strong graduates of UP. And then that arsehole utilizing it to meet his political ambition by promising rs 1000 on being re-elected! Wat son of a bitch! Unaware of such suicides, such abandonments and such acute shortfall of skilled people in thousands and thousands of job in our country which require just a little over normal level of competence..or better say the actual normal because what we have prepared are sub-normal workforce good for nothing. SCI says they lack some 10000 people for ship manning. Defense says 11000 people and I m sure similar is the case in all other departments also because what we have is a daunting array of engineers and doctors looking or hunting around for jobs. There is under-employment and disguised employment….say an electrical engineer working in a BPO!! Then why did he study electrical engg when he had to work in BPO. And then where are the geologist to study India’s earth structure, geophysicist to study and predict a tsunami, and archeologist to discover our history, an anthropologist to study our social origin. How many times in our lives do we come across such people. How many such worker do we know in our environment. I don’t know a single..history only by my school teacher, anthro only by those civil services aspirants. All vying for docs and engg job we poor hungry Indian. Mohd Kaif or Tendulkar could make it to great spot so life has got cool for them otherwise they may better state the heat or burns of their formulation years. Macaualy taught us English so that we could help then, the goras , in their administration. And we continue the same tradition..creating a senseless un-required engg and docs.
Oflate some prodigious changes have been seen..starting of vocational course by delhi university and delimiting the number of attempts of IIT entrance. Let’s hope some better days arrive for the future generation.
Coming to that sushmita suicide case..that bloody damn cute chick…really sad to see it. Armies have their own Acts to govern them. But can’t they delve a bit into some labour laws and social agendas to guide them in their decision making. She wanted to quit. Couldn’t they just relive her and called out ‘Next’ we have so many people around. Why this ego of asserting themselves to get their discipline extracted from their people. It’s a voluntary submission in the service of our nation or a forced regimentation to prove the strength of our Defense? And to whom and why in the existing circumstances! We are not at war with anybody at present...she could have been given leave. She was visiting a psychiatrist for her agony. I don’t know what happened there but I think the visit itself was a good indicator to say the things were not all alright. Action was needed. How freely and fairly was the psychiatrist working on her to give her her desired solution and not to impose the army ego on her. To force her into submission of an army regimentation and that shit self-praising “ we are the best ,India is the best” stuff. Were these considered in her case?
I just met my neighbour pal just now commissioned into army after passing out from IMA. He says that it’s because girls dot get adequate training. Just nine months for an SSC candidate which sushmita was. Wondering a more prolonged or intense training would help anyway. He is himself through that NDA scheme so believes that his stuff may be more toughened than other people because they undergo the most rigorous schedule. He may be right. How much does our lifestyle and peer pressure contribute then? Sushmita, we both noted was a bright candidate with an MSc degree. So she might be having greater expectations in life? But then what? Our army couldn’t provide her one? Ain’t the armies required to have brighter people. Can’t they deliver to expectations of such people. Have we achieved everything that we don’t need such people. So how do we handle such case. Stiff induction procedures not giving many chances to follow your call later on in life? That’s what our Indian system is all about. Choose medicine or engg not even knowing what all these courses encompass. Just go by social pressure..see who is faring batter than whom; who can earn how much. And that’s how you decide. Commerce and arts is a failure’s stream who cannot take up maths and biology. That is India’s thinking. Later in life when you discover your true vocation you are late sir. No rooms. You have passed your age. I remember the case of my classmate Om Prakash who was an excellent student in maths but chose biology on the reasoning that engg require somebody to employ them while a doc can do a private practice also! So study Bio, be a doctor, no job hunting later in life. Immaterial for now that he ended up doing nothing of these later in his graduation. He did Arts instead, may be to join Civils!! Wondering I m myself as to how I myself landed up in merchant navy!? I remember my causes of decision pretty well but still trying to weigh out what contributed how much. Social pressure and domestic pressure the max I think. I just wanted to run away from my home. No not definitely from studies. I had just found a new love with them. Rajat my subordinate cadet wanted to flee from studies. He was tired topping both UP Board exams and passing the IIT entrance. But only momentarily I guess. He is back in the books now. Are we not pressed to achieve everything too early in life..the sooner the better! We all think so. So what better lifestyles do we expect? Rush rush everywhere. By the age of 60 we are worn out while for the whites life is still at its bloom. A slave remains a slave no matter what you do. I remember that story ‘gulaam’ by rajendra yadav in hindi book. Truly said. A painted jackal cannot rule unless he gets to lick his master, Lion’s feet everyday. We can’t improve our life unless the british or the whites teach us how. Our Colonized mind. Govt has come a long way, done so much but people don’t accept it. Traffic signal light is a big problem for untrained lucknowites. Give reservations and unemployment allowance-- but not primary education that some optimal quality may arrive to save such suicides.