Saturday, June 7, 2014

Understanding Anirudh-2

Dear Arjun and Anirudh,

I know understanding a person isn't an easy task. Every one is different, their interests are different, behaviour is different, so is their thinking. But it is certainly an exciting task trying to get a better understanding of some ones thought process. Sometimes I feel it is just like any other job. The more you get involved in it, the more precise your predictions will be. When it comes to you, I felt it might be even more easier. There isn't any deviation from what you think and what you do. Yet, I have been trying since several months to understand you better. I will certainly have to continue my experiment for several years to really understand you better.

Some time back I read an article which explained how identical twins sharing the same genes, having the same upbringing, will end up with totally different personalities. Essentially, there is a mechanism by which environmental changes alter the behaviour of our genes. It involves a process called methylation, which occurs when methyl, which floats around the inside of our cells, attaches itself to our DNA. When it does so, it can inhibit or turn down the activity of a gene and block it from making a particular version of a protein in our bodies. All sorts of life events can affect DNA methylation levels in our bodies: diet, illnesses, ageing, chemicals in the environment, smoking, drugs and medicines. Except for dresses, we have never treated you differently! So the methylation in your case must have been different when you were still in the womb!

I have told you how different you both were an year back. This is the second annual review! In last two years, I think I have got a reasonably good understanding of your behaviour. In short, Anirudh is an active outgoing person interested more in practical things whereas Arjun is more of an intelligent introvert, just like me :) Well, I am certainly wrong in many counts, but I still like to believe I have really understood you very well!

I was quite amazed at Arjun's interest in books from the beginning. Don't get too excited, as my comparison is only with Anirudh. I haven't done anything special to induce any interest in books. After your birth, I don't even remember reading any books myself! Arjun started coming to me voluntarily with a book in his hand asking me to show things. When I started showing him different types of animals, he was all ears to know them more. Within a span of one week, he could identify most of the animals in that book. I was really surprised at his interest and ability. On the other hand, Anirudh showed no interest at all. He would only come to me when he was too jealous of Arjun. But when I started showing him things, it was very evident that he wasn't keen on learning. He just wanted to grab my attention from Arjun. He was more interested in playing with the book and tearing it apart.

The same goes true for rhymes and other things as well. Arjun shows more interest in listening to rhymes and trying to enact. But not Anirudh. A lot of time I get confused as whether Arjun is really an obedient student or just wants to show off! Though Anirudh doesn't respond to our requests, I have found it really hard to understand his inclination towards learning. Once in a while he comes and surprises me by telling things which he might have overheard from Arjun. I think he also has the same level of ability as Arjun, but he wants to do things with his complete control rather than being told by others.

Anirudh is way ahead of Arjun when it comes to trying new things. He is more keen on repairing things than playing with it. He could learn how to switch on the mobile phone and unlock it without any help. He was also the first one to learn how to open the washing machine door, switch on/off television etc. His interest in playing with blocks to build structures is also far exceeding than that of Arjun. Certainly Arjun isn't as good as him when it comes to creativity.

But Arjun is cunningly smart in other things. I can see some of my genes being shared only with Arjun! He doesn't generally disturb Anirudh. He is more or less satisfied with the toys given to him. However Anirudh is only interested in what is there in Arjun's hands, even though it is the same as the one given to him. Whenever we are watching, Arjun is always the one getting bullied. But when we are not watching, he is good at protecting himself! Anirudh doesn't get that art of deceiving.

However the more I observe your behaviour closely, the more I find about new things. Most of the time contradicting my earlier conclusions! You often seem to swap your behaviour. When I almost come to a conclusion that Anirudh is the one who likes people more, you change! Anirudh starts crying at strangers and Arjun starts mingling with them far more quickly. When I almost decide that Arjun is the one getting bullied always, he learns to become more aggressive, attacking Anirudh at every possible opportunity. You just don't let me make up my mind clearly on anything.

I also can't really make out what you really think about each other. I haven't seen you playing happily with each other for more than 5 minutes. One of you will get bored within 5 minutes and start a fight! You certainly fight more often than you play with each other. No matter how much you fight with each other, I have lately observed the strong bond between you. Whether it is just for the pleasure of fight or something else, you don't like to be away from each other for a long time. The fights are always within our home. I haven't seen you fighting with each other outside the house. Your child minder says you defend each other in cases of conflicts with other kids.

Despite your changing behaviour, I think few things don't change much. Arjun remains to be an introvert, sensitive, matured person whereas Anirudh continues to be an explorer, naughty, childish. Though you both look the same, I don't see much in common when it comes to your behaviour.

Update:
I think I started writing this almost 6 months back before the elections and office work swallowed me completely. Many things have changed in last 6 months. The developments that you are showing are amazing. You started speaking many words. You can understand us fairly well. You can also interact with us fairly well. Some of your behaviour has also changed in those 6 months. Anirudh does show interest in books now. He is more interested in listening to stories than Arjun. However majority of the things remain the same. Arjun is still the same matured intelligent person and Anirudh is still the same naughty boy.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A ray of hope

I told myself very clearly that I am not going to write any more blogs on politics. But I am slowly realizing how uncertain the promises could be when it comes to anything related to politics. So I will confidently assure myself again that this will be my last post on politics.

I had been a fervent admirer of Modi for a long time, just like millions of other Indians. I am still not sure what made me such a big supporter of Modi. I think it is more to do with the negative publicity of congress rather than Modi's efforts to showcase himself as an agent of growth. I never spent much time verifying the facts about the 'developed Gujarat'. I just knew by heart that he has changed the image of Gujarat. I just knew that he is the one India has been looking for a long time. There was no need for me to double check that when my heart was very clear about it. However the emergence of AAP had put me in a big dilemma. I know about AAP and its leaders much more than I know about any other politicians. I have been following each and every move of their journey. Their ideology was something totally unheard in the history of Indian politics. It is absolutely impossible for some one like me to resist from morally getting involved with their mission. However I had to make a decision sooner or later regarding whom I want to support for the big fight.

Since AAP and Modi were travelling in different paths, I was forced to think from my brain rather than heart. That certainly revealed some of the black marks in the pristine photo of Modi I had been seeing so far. I did talk about some of that in one of my earlier posts. However, deep down I didn't want to see anyone other than Modi at the top post. Even when I was convinced about myself that not all things I have heard about the bravery of Modi wasn't true, I still had a soft corner for him. However as I got myself involved more and more with the online news (including comments), I started to see the real face of Modi fan-boys. A vast majority of the Modi supporters that I had seen online aren't any better than street rowdies. They had no respect to others, they had no ideology and they never bothered about truth. They only knew how to attack others in a pack with their filthy language. They were strengthening my belief that all those great things I heard about Modi could be just a paid PR propaganda. Unfortunately the esteemed BJP leaders were also in competition with each another in spreading the lies about AAP. Whether it be about fake sting operation or whether it be the issue of foreign funding, they weren't ashamed of going to any extent to defame AAP. All these turned me against their party so much as to erase all the respect I had for them. It also forced me to rethink my support for 'Modi for PM' more objectively. If you aren't yet washed away with the modi-wave, I am sure you will also sit back and ask that question to yourself.

When AAP was making its preparations for the Delhi battle, I had several reasons to support 'Modi for PM'
  • There is no other credible alternative other than BJP
  • Modi is the agent of change and growth
  • He is completely against the appeasement politics
  • He is more decisive than divisive
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In simple terms, what attracted me towards Modi is his ability to maintain a fine balance between his image of 'development' and the image of 'hindutwa'. I was certainly moved by his slogans like 'justice to all and appeasement to none' and 'toilets first, temple later'.

With the emergence of AAP and their decision to contest as many LS seats as possible, I had to re-evaluate my earlier stand. There are far few reasons now to support 'Modi for PM' campaign as I really had to search hard for credible reasons to prefer Modi over AAP. Modi fan-boys might provide thousands of other reasons, possibly with links to huge statistics selling 'Gujarat development' model with different flavors. I find it hard to make my decision based on those statistics, especially when a modiphobic can provide a counter argument for each one of them with equal amount of statistics. What can I make out with those conflicting statistics. Some one has rightly said 'there are lies, damn lies and then statistics'.

Some people say Modi has extensive experience of  administration whereas AAP has just entered the playground. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that logic. Many giant companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft are all started by young entrepreneurs who had absolutely no experience of running the company. Still they succeeded as they understood their clients, they had put their heart and soul to the product they have created. Balu, the new joiner of AAP is right in saying 'AAP is the best start-up ever created by an IITian'. If you have the will and intent, experience doesn't count much in politics. We have thousands of experienced, well qualified bureaucrats, economists there to assist you in every step. Modi didn't fail in his office during his first term without any experience. MMS didn't succeed in his second term after having a great five years of experience. Experience of running a state is not the same as running the country. Experience is certainly good, but it is not essential and there are other things more important than that.

Some people say Modi means business. He knows how to encourage corporates and create more and more jobs, whereas AAP is a socialistic party that will take the country back to the history. I find it strange when these arguments are coming from most educated as well. No party can be completely socialist or capitalist, especially in a country like India where the inequality is at its high. AAP is neither socialist nor capitalist. They are 'opportunist' or 'solutionist' when it comes to economic policies. They are ready to give subsidy in certain sectors and open for free market in others. The only thing that they are against is the crony capitalism. Unfortunately that is exactly what Modi is accused of. Though they weren't investigated, it isn't hard to buy that based on several things like a absence of lokayukta for years, weak lokayukta bill in his state, attacks on RTI activists etc.

I don't think anyone rejects that the next elections are going to be between Modi and others. For congress it is Modi vs Rahul and for AAPians it is Modi vs AAP. It is never BJP vs Congress or BJP vs AAP. In the eyes of everyone, Modi has raised beyond the party that has brought him to the light. With such tremendous control over the party, why is he still silent on a strong anti-corruption law? why is he not taking actions against corrupt ministers in his own cabinet? Why is he silent on bringing the party and its funds under the scanner of RTI? Why is he mum on so many criminals representing his party? Is it really difficult for him to clean his own party? If that is the case, how can one expect him to clean the entire nation? In that respect, Rahul Gandhi seems certainly better. He atleast has the courage to talk about reforms within his party.

The idea of one man changing the nation troubles me more than anything else. Is it fair to support a corrupt, criminal as people's representative just because he belongs to Modi's party? What if (believe me, I don't wish that) something happens to Modi tomorrow? Will Modi fan-boys switch their sides suddenly or will they still stick to BJP? If the answer is no, it is better to think about your support again. Any solution dependent on one person is not going to scale. The problems of this country is certainly not that simple as to be solved by one person. It needs systemic changes. It needs the change in our political culture. Unfortunately Modi doesn't stand for a change in the system. He is projecting himself as an alternate system!

The reasons to support AAP over Modi are very clear. Though Kejriwal is the visible face of the party, it isn't dependent upon a single face. It is a transparent system of alternate politics. It is the system where you will be able to clearly see where and how your tax money is being utilized, starting from their party finance itself. It is a system which will encourage good and honest people to enter politics, not the one with money and muscle power. It is the party that has shown their clear intent in passing a strong anti corruption law, knowing that it can be used to bring them down when they change in future. How hard it could be to place our trust on such a party over others who aren't ready to make their operations transparent? Of-course we can throw them out of power when they also turn like other parties. They are in fact vouching for 'Right to Recall' so that our job will be even more easier to bring them down. But there is very good chance that they won't as it didn't start like a normal political party. They are still working as a movement rather than a political party. They have the intent to provide alternate politics whereas Modi can only provide a replacement.

All these things tells me that there are only two reasons to support 'Modi for PM' campaign.
  • AAP will only play the spoil sport resulting in a hung parliament, leading to more economic problems
  • They won't be as tough as Modi when it comes to appeasement(read muslim) politics
It is certainly impossible for AAP to have the majority to form the government on their own. They couldn't do that even in Delhi. They can't give their support to anyone else either. So more support to AAP means more certain of an unstable government. However I don't agree that they will help congress to come back to the power. It was very clear from the Delhi elections that majority of the vote share they had grabbed is from Congress. So if anybody is going to be helped by AAP, surely it must be BJP. No one can predict the results of elections clearly, especially in the present conditions. That was evident in the Delhi elections as well. So casting your vote based on some one else's prediction is nothing more than gambling. A better approach would be to vote for an honest, able candidate as we live in a representative democracy. AAP might still be able to form a minority government just like they did in Delhi. Certainly that would be much more effective than a Modi lead government. Even if they fail to form the government, your vote won't get wasted. The vote share will clearly send a clear message to the political class. By not voting for AAP, you are saying that a change in the political system is not something you are interested in. Anyone who is confused about AAP and Modi have a clear choice to make. A choice between a clean political system with both long term and short term benefits over short term gains of a hope of development.

The only remaining reason to support Modi is his Hindutwa identity. However I might try to suppress, deep down there is certainly a hidden desire of seeing a hindu-icon like Modi at the top position. That sentiment is perhaps taking over all other rational reasons and forcing us to look hard for justifications to support him. Perhaps that is why millions of others crave to see Modi as PM though there isn't any other substantial reason to support him over a clean alternative like AAP. The Delhi elections certainly tell that to some extent in my opinion. There was no promise of a better growth from BJP in that state. There was no hope of reduced corruption as BJP ruled MCD itself was immersed deep in the corruption allegations. Still they were able to retain their vote share whereas congress lost heavily to AAP. It is very likely that a majority of them voted for BJP mainly because of their hindutwa ideology. I am not saying whether hindutwa is good or bad especially when everybody has their own definition of hindutwa. But it is certainly bad to bring that ahead of an attempt to bring a transparent, corrupt free administration. Hindutwa will certainly remain as a prominent vote bank for several years. We can certainly bring back Modi or any other pro-hindu leader later after cleaning the current system. The need of the hour is certainly to chose a better system over a better leader.