Teri har tasveer kuch kehti hai

 

Adayaon mei teri ek nayi umang hai,
Zulfo ko sawaarne ki bhi tere hazaro dhang hai,
Kahin hai shararat to kahin hayya rehti hai,
Kahin kahin ek ajab si masumiyat behti hai,
Agar gaur kare, to teri har tasveer kuch kehti hai …

Kahin hai nakhre, to kahin hai style,
Aur kahin pe rehti hai cute si smile,
Bahie faila kar tu aasman mei udanna chahti hai,
Kahin jhoom ke, kissi dhun mei kho jaana chahti hai,
Haan sun lia maine, jo tu kehna chahti hai,
Kyunki teri har tasveer kuch kehti hai…

Honth utha ke kahin tedhi si muskurahat hai,
To kahin gum ki zara si aahat hai,
Har mushkil ko tu hass ke sehti hai,
Ankhon ki nami teri, wo sab bhi kehti hai,
Par shayad tasveer teri un lahmon mei chup rehti hai…

Na jaane kitni khwaishyen hai inn naino mei teri,
Ye khuda wo sab mukammal karne mei na kare deri,
Kahin lagta hai tu khud se hi anjaani si hai,
Kahin teri ek jhalak deewani si hai,
Ye baarish bhi tere saath khelna chahti hai,
Ilm hua aaj mujhe, teri ye tasveerein toh bahut kuch kehti hai !!

Amit Chaudhary

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About Last Night

 

It was a stroll in a silly street of dreams,
In the musical magic, and the lights so ecstatic, how you shined,
In that limelight, not only in hindsight, you were divine!

On this long road to Neverland,
There was a whisper, of melody, of glee,
But you were far, far away from the horizon!

And it was a scary night,
In a wrapped space of hazy emotion,
you were like a firefly, a butterfly, elusive from all the fuzzy commotion!

But I still followed you, to the point of a free fall,
In an attempt to touch your voice, every sound, it’s every beat,
I am not sure, what to forget and what to keep!

But it’s okay,
This life is random, as random as we can conceive,
Let’s not wait, and dive in, to the fathomless deep!

The Modern tale of Ant & Grasshopper: Global Inequality -Lessons for India

When I was in the engineering college I came across with a modern version of the ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’ from the Aesop fables. In short the story goes like this:

The Old Version: The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and Laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or Shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Indian Version: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and Laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the Ant’s a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed. While others are cold and starving. NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper Next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arvind Kejriwal stages a demonstration in front of the Ant’s house. Anna Hazzare goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter. Amnesty International and UN criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt Support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance). Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for ‘Bengal Bandh’ in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry. CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

The Ant is unable to cope its retroactive taxes, its home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV. Arvind Kejriwal calls it ‘ A Triumph of Justice’. CPM calls it the ‘Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden’. UN invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly. The PM takes the credit for always caring about the ‘aam’ Grasshopper.

Many years later, The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar Company in Silicon Valley, hundreds of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere In India, and as a result of losing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the Grasshoppers, India is still a developing country.’

At that time it made so much sense to me as why there is inequality in the world. I wondered why just people can’t be just like ants, work hard for themselves, save, invest and be wealthy. I didn’t realize the story of the world isn’t as simple as the above story. But now, after acquiring some basic knowledge of the world, I think there are few assumptions in the story which doesn’t hold true in the real world. First, Ants and grasshoppers don’t have the equal access to the resources in the real world. Secondly, they are not equally equipped to use those resources. Third the world doesn’t work in isolation. The ants are dependent on grasshoppers and vice versa. There is a certain kind of hierarchy in place which make this relation and the whole context a bit complex. Over that there are so many sociopolitical realities which can’t be ignored. Keeping all these flawed assumptions in mind, this story doesn’t capture the core problem of chronic inequality of India and the world. As Thomas Piketty said, “Intellectual and political debate about the distribution of wealth has long been based on an abundance of prejudice and a paucity of fact.” Thus, this phenomenon should be analyzed by more than mere stories, opinions and fantasies.

Thomas Piketty’s recent book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ tries to that. His approach was simple. He collected the data on income and wealth and then defined the two basic categories, wealth and income, broadly and assertively but in a way nobody had really bothered to before. The book’s terms and explanations are utterly simple; with a myriad of historical data, Piketty reduces the story of capitalism to a clear narrative. Piketty’s argument is that, in an economy where the rate of return on capital (r) outstrips the rate of growth (g), inherited wealth will always grow faster than earned wealth (r>g). (Thomas Piketty, 2014)

Now, this huge wealth inequality where world top ten percentile controls the 90 percent of the world wealth, shows that there is something wrong with the way current world is operating. If we see most of today’s global system of production are capitalistic. And in Capitalism, there are two major players firms and the workers. Now the firms represent the demand and the workers as supply data. By way of combining different variables, which broadly cover the household, personal, labor market characteristics, the results of our paper tend to suggest that wage function in India is bound up with conventional variables predicted by human capital theory, personal and social dualistic identities, and human development. (Bino Paul, D & Krishna, 2012). But there is one important distinction here i.e. firms have capital with them and capital itself can earn generate income which cause the wage gap to grow exponentially. Whereas the workers’ only source of income is through jobs which are again dictated by the firms most of the time, and amidst the risk of the markets and without the proper social security nets, things become even worse for workers.

In India the inequality gap is as stark as US and the reasons are not that different. There is a huge disparity among the wages of the workers, supervisors, managers and top executives. And not only that the real wages of the workers didn’t increase much with respect to the inflation whereas the supervisors, managers and top executives earned huge premiums in formal manufacturing sector in India (Krishna et al., 2017). The wages of the workers has been defined as functions of different variables, which broadly cover the household, personal, labor market characteristics. The study conducted by Bino Paul and Krishna concluded that the wage function in India is bound up with conventional variables predicted by human capital theory, personal and social dualistic identities, and human development (Muralidharan, D, & Murti, 2014)

The lessons which can be drawn from Piketty’s book can be used be India. According to Piketty, there are forces of convergence and there are forces of divergence which acts on the inequality gap. Now India has a huge labour supply and as per Piketty there are two major forces of convergence for the huge inequality gap: The law of supply and demand and the diffusion of knowledge and skill. As the supply is already in abundance, it will be prudent to focus on diffusion of knowledge and skill. The education system from the grassroots level needs to be inclusive of people from the all different strata of the society. Education and opportunity to education is the biggest equalizer of all. Scandinavian countries have understood it well and we can see the difference not only in their wealth equality but also Human development index and other indicators. Thus, focus on inclusive public education system which helps in diffusing the knowledge and skills is one of the most essential step towards reducing the harrowing wealth gap.

Acting against the forces of convergence are the forces of divergence which are the inequality r > g, combined with the inequality of returns on capital as a function of initial wealth, and these can lead to excessive and lasting concentration of capital: no matter how justified inequalities of wealth may be initially, fortunes can grow and perpetuate themselves beyond all reasonable limits and beyond any possible rational justification in terms of social utility (Thomas Piketty, 2014).

To curb these forces of divergence, Piketty recommends progressive tax and as much as 80% to the top and present it as a utopian idea. He says,

“If democracy is to regain control over the globalized financial capitalism of this century, it must also invent new tools, adapted to today’s challenges. The ideal tool would be a progressive global tax on capital, coupled with a very high level of international financial transparency.”

IMG_3504Thomas Piketty is right about Progressive tax: It will be able to take away the undue advantage of the rich people compounding their wealth. Now progressive tax is a regulatory mechanism that can in some way reduce the gap but it comes with its own set of caution. It certainly allows to put a check on wealth accumulation but on the other hand, it start punishing some people for their work ethics and risk taking abilities. It takes away the motivation to work hard, to go that extra mile to acquire the skills which takes months or years. Thus, there has to be a fine balance in using progressive taxes because regulations curb freedom and as Milton Friedman has rightly said,

 

“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”

To conclude, ants and grasshoppers of today need freedom and equality of opportunities. Then the story of ant and the grasshopper will hold somewhat true in actual world. Because in the world there will always be some ants and there always be some grasshoppers and there should be something for everyone. Let us not punish ants for working hard and let’s not condone the laziness of the grasshoppers but before that we have a long way to go. First we need to achieve the equality of opportunity for all.

References:

Piketty, T., & Goldhammer, A. (2014). Capital in the twenty-first century.

D, B. P. G., & Krishna, M. (2012). Labour Market in Urban Agglomerations : A Case from an Indian Global City, 3, 453–478. https://doi.org/10.1177/097172181201700306

https://www.ft.com/content/202ed286-6832-11df-a52f-00144feab49a

Krishna, A. M., Bino, P. G. D., Indian, S., Relations, I., Issue, S., Krishna, M., & D, B. P. G. (2017). What Explains Wage in India ? Published by : Shri Ram Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources Stable URL : http://www.jstor.org/stable/23510794 What Explains Wage in India ?, 48(3), 487–499.

Muralidharan, T., D, B. P. G., & Murti, A. B. (2014). Should Real Wages of Workers Go Up in Indian Manufacturing ?, xlix(30), 153–162.

To wear or not to wear !

About three years back, When I was just into my first project in TCS,
I made one big blunder. In that youthful indiscretion, I did something that was so wrong!

I had asked myself so many times… To wear or not to wear … but I did eventually… I wore a round neck T-shirt to office…..
Trust me I didn’t know how big a mistake this was, until I was told that I had to go back and come in collared T-shirt. I mean really … Ask me to jump from this building I would do it …but trekking through traffic is worst in Bangalore ! This is even worst than listening to Tahir Shah’s Angel song.
All I wanted to do was to impress the female colleague in my team with my funky T-shirt. That T-shirt has all the words written on it which I wouldn’t have dared to say otherwise. And here, I wasn’t even allowed inside. Who the hell made that rule ?

Thanks to the Bangalore traffic … It was already the time for the lunch when I got back, and that pretty girl has already left for the lunch… with someone else. That day, She didn’t get impressed but I really got depressed. That day I really felt reverse gender discrimination and since then I have been meaning to vent out my frustration and I guess today is the right day… Why ?
You will get to know in a while.

First let’s talk about clothes !
I think there are two parameters in which women’s clothing range beats men’s clothing range hands down
Variety and Range of Colors ! Lets talk about variety …
I mean girls can wear any type, in many colors and whatever they want, be it salwar kurta, chudidaar-kurta, sleevless, leggings, jeggings, tops, skirts, saree, lehnga and trust five minutes will fall short for it. And the amazing part is they can label it so well, These are formals, these are party wears, these are for marriages, these for birthdays, these for anniversaries , these for toastmasters and what not !!
For us men it is pretty much one pair of dual purpose formals … Yeah ! We don’t mind wearing the same set of dresses to the parties even. (As if we have a choice)

Next is Range of colors – We men anyway know pretty less colors. Over that, bright colors are taken away leaving blue, black, white and their shades. How couldn’t we look monotonous. For Girls, life is so colorful. They carry rainbow colors to the office on their whims and fancies. I don’t think there is a color or shade which girls can’t wear to the office. The other day I saw a teammate wearing a multi-colored dress which we men can only wear in Goa and look cool but If we wear it to our workplace we would certainly be considered as fools.

As a matter of fact … Even in the most fashionable and expensive shirt, we would look as if we haven’t taken bath since the last winters.
Of course there are some exceptions such as Salman Khan .. but wait coz usually he doesn’t wear one.

And I don’t even want to start with accessories …
Women know how much is there to choose from and how different they can look by wearing all these clothes and accessories.
May be that’s why shopping is a therapy for women and a tragedy for men. Men are not even allowed to keep long hair or funky hair styles or not even experiment with their beards. All these differences and discrimination become even more stark at the workplace. What is the reason for such idiotic segregation? There should be some explanation for that. I am still waiting for those ‘Pajama Leaks‘ which will lift the viel from this mystery. I hope soon we will have our ‘Azaadi‘ … Azaadi of wearing whatever we want… Azaadi of keeping whatever hair style or beard style we want.
But at the same time let the differences be, coz Isn’t men are from Mars and women are from Venus !

Oh ! By the way …
Just few days back, after so many years !
I am asking myself that question again …To wear or not to wear my fav. round neck Tshirt which can say things which I can’t from my voice box.
And yes you are right. A new girl has joined my team !!

PS : Never let the truth come in between a good story :p

She dances in my mind

She dances in my mind,

Damn it,

It has kept her on rewind !

The poor fellow is smitten,

The moment it saw,

her cute movements like a kitten !

She dances over meadows,

In the lights,

She danced with the shadows !

Without wings, she flies,

To the blue sky,

She rise and rise and rise !

One day she will meet me,

Not only in dreams,

An eternity of wait, but let it be !!

~ Ace