Sunday, September 23, 2012

Panaji - As I See It..!!

I consider myself lucky that I got to spend a lot of years while I was growing up in arguably the best city on this planet – Panaji. Yes, for numerous years, Panaji has been my home. And I already feel as if I have lived here all along. Though I don’t wish to discount the uniqueness of other cities, Panaji is truly special. Without getting political, I am sure, Panajimites agree that they have been fortunate enough to get a strong leadership that has ensured it’s all round development.

In terms of natural beauty, Panaji has some of the finest landscapes. A drive from Panaji Bus Stand to NIO Circle at Dona Paula is good enough to gauge the natural beauty of this city. A free flowing Mandovi, amazing stretch near Kala Academy covered with trees, the play ground with panoramic view and of course, the Miramar beach. A few meters from the roundabout at NIO circle, the area outside Raj Bhavan  offers the perfect setting to spend some time talking to your friends and loved ones. The food stalls at Miramar beach are equipped to give you the best options any beach front will offer – the shev puri, paani puri, noodles, chicken shawarmas and a lot more. Delicious food makes Miramar a must visit, not only for the tourist, but also the localites.

Barring this, Panaji houses some of the finest coffee shops and restaurants. Whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, food is never an issue in this lovely city. Considering four 5-star hotels in and around the city, it has the necessary facilities to emerge as a top destination. And not to forget, it isn’t a city only for the riches. Right from a Wada pav and rass- omelets to finest international cousines, Panaji has it all.

As far as the recreational activities are concerned, joggers park, childrens park, sports facilities especially at the SAG, some of the finest gymnasiums and so on ensure that Panaji doesn’t loose out. Most of the parks not only give you facilities to walk or run around, but also provide breathtaking view of the river Mandovi. You hardly find a city which is self sufficient and yet, has the most breathtaking locations. A trip to Dona Puala or a few points at Altinho will be a refreshing experience. And if you are a movie buff, an international standard multiplex will not let you down.  There are many who still love the charm of single screen theatres and they wont feel let down either.

I can’t call myself a globe trotter, but yes, have travelled quite a bit to a lot of Asian countries. May it be Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, Panaji has a charm of it’s own. It may not have those monster like flyovers or flywheels or huge shopping malls, Panaji has a class of it’s own. You may have noticed that I have missed the most important part about Panaji . Yes, I am talking about the soul of the city -it’s people. Their  friendly nature creates a bond with people in and outside the city. The liveliness of the city is a true reflection of it’s people. Moreover, the people here are content and take a sense of pride in being a Panjekar.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Goa Needs Us - More Than Ever Before..

Imagine a scenario. A close relative, may be, somebody in the family, has been diagnosed of Cancer and doctor says it is all over and its a matter of time before he/she leaves for d heavenly abode. "Let him die, I did my best" is what we will never say. Our question will rather be "Doctor, can we save d patient in some way? May be some chemotherapy, some transplant, etc. There must be some way out." And often, we end up trying till the person breathes his last. We cannot fight d inevitable, but at the end of it, we at least have d satisfaction of doing whatever 'Best' we could. But I wonder, will we show the same urgency / care / concern for our motherland as well? Or are we going to leave her at d mercy of some fools, who are not bothered about anything but looting it?

My mind drags me to those favorite lines that have always inspired me:

"I die in the battle zone,

Box me up and send me home,

Take my medals, pin them on my chest,

And tell my mother, I tried by best."

I have no intentions to be a martyr. I neither have the guts to give up my life for a cause nor do I harbour any ambitions of becoming a well known personality someday. I am just a normal guy next door. Want to do all those little things, people may not expect me to do, but which I feel, I should be doing as a duty to my motherland. Cynicism will not help us in any way. It will only worsen the state of affairs we are currently in.

In 2009, I travelled Goan cities requesting people to vote for a change. The only change they brought was to give a stronger mandate to one of the most corrupt and arrogant Government India has ever seen. In 2011, for Panaji corporation elections, I was part of a movement, that only asked people to vote for Good over Evil and yet, the monster returned, though, just by a whisker. But can that mean an end to my activism? Is that all I have to offer my motherland?

I request each Goan to think. Goa is suffering from Cancer, thanks to the crooks who are ruling us. Illegal mining, drugs, land sharks and so on are slowly eating a piece of our beautiful state. In all probability, the current dispensation may ride back to power using the Money they have made. But is that a reason for me to sit back and watch Goa getting looted? If we don't throw these Cancer cells out, Goa will die its own death. We will neither have a beautiful state to boast of nor will we have the law and order situation, which makes Goa any safer when compared to crime inflicted cities.

What is the way out? Just one. Let us unite. Let us unite to bring about a change. Forget political parties, let us at least resolve to Vote. And irrespective of the results, continue to fight. Because, Goa needs us. More than ever before..!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why we are bombed..!!

It was evening. A pleasant one. It was raining heavily and I had just returned from a nice drive. Going through the news feeds on Facebook, I was in for a pleasant surprise – serial bomb blasts in Mumbai. I shut the Facebook application on my Blackberry and called up friends in Mumbai. Once assured of their safety, I thought of having a mini celebration. And why shouldn’t I? None of my loved ones was hurt after all.

You may wonder why I wanted to celebrate. The fact is only the order of events is right, but not the emotions. I went through the updates, and realised that terror had struck Mumbai, yet again. Maybe, terror is here to stay, in this city that never sleeps. But then, with so much of fear, who would want to sleep anyway. If God were selfish, he would be happy though. With each passing second, an individual in Mumbai thanks Him for keeping him/her alive. For whatever reasons, God is being remembered more frequently now.

Discussing the Mumbai blasts, a few friends asked – Why are we being bombed? My immediate response was- Give me one good reason why we should not be bombed. Not that this is the first time we have seen what terror is. Mumbai, in fact, will have the distinction of facing terror attacks on most occasions. And how have we, as Indians, reacted to all this? We’ve cheered for the FIGHTING SPIRIT of Mumbaikars and moved on. Oh sorry, how forgetful of me… I forgot to mention all the candles we lit and the sympathies we expressed. For the families of the deceased and affected, it was a herculean challenge to cope with the loss. What would they do without those prayers? And if socialites didn’t exist, they would never know how much India cares for them and how it is joining them in their moment of sadness.

Coming to the terrorists, I think they have a reason to like India. They may be at home in Pakistan, but are treated no less than state guests in India. Though they come on a suicide mission, I wouldn’t be surprised if they wish to be caught alive. India is a country where peaceful protestors (read ‘Indian citizens’) are mercilessly beaten, without any provocation, in the middle of the night with not even a remote thought to human rights. But the likes of Kasab, Afzal Guru, etc. live a well-protected life. Crores of rupees are spent on their security, they are served food of their choice with the assurance that the Government of India wants them alive and in good health to elicit ‘vital’ clues from them. Once life and fair treatment is assured, I see no reason why terrorists should open their mouth. All this in a country where millions live below the poverty line, starve for food and have nobody but themselves to protect them and their families.

My blood boils. Everytime I hear the question ‘Why us?’, I ask - why not us? When was the last time we saw a movement where Indians fought as one? Even during the freedom struggle, Indians were divided between those who took up weapons and those who chose non-violence as their toll. Despite all this, a burning desire to see a free India and fierce Nationalism helped the country get freedom. However, after that, no single movement has united people. Centre right, Left, Right, Left of Centre and many other ideologies were born and India stands divided even today.

I don’t support the call to citizens to take up to arms. Else, we will have to support the Naxal movement as well. Terror has no religion, and thus, we should neither give it a religious colour nor a political one. Whether the terrorist is a Hindu, Muslim or Catholic, there should be no leniency. In a country, where an innocent PM supported a crackdown on peaceful Indian citizens, is it worth living at the mercy of such politicians? Alert citizens can be lethal for anti-nationals and a pressure group for those who rule us. The time has come to unite and join a movement. The time is long gone where symbolic gestures like a protest march or lighting candles to express solidarity were enough. In today’s date, it helps to be anti-national than a Nationalist. If this continues, we are surely heading towards becoming a country, whose existence will be in danger.

After every bomb blast we have felt agitated, irritated and frustrated. But none of us has noticed that we are back to our routine in no time. Those who suffer in the blasts are left to fend for themselves. The terrorists caught alive are taken care of. We often speak about doing something for the country. Contrary to the belief that only politicians and people in defence services can do that, we must take it upon ourselves to improve this country. Each one of us must be that robust soldier, fighting relentlessly day and night, till we take our country to the pinnacle. We can, we must. Arise Indian!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Caught on the Right foot..!!

We have often heard about being caught on the wrong foot, caught on the back foot, and so on. But due to my association with the so called ‘Right Wing Organisations’, I have always been caught on the right foot! My comments on any issue of national importance are seen from the prism of a Right Wing Thinker. A Congressmen is considered an independent thinker, is secular and is a responsible citizen of this country. But a Swayamsevak or BJP Karyakarta is considered to be communal, biased and unaware of‘Youth Psychology’. I have no particular provocation to write this piece. However, from whatever I have seen during my over a decade long association with the RSS, I could not resist but write this.

Recently, the Allahabad High Court Verdict took the country by storm. All the pseudo seculars were hoping that a pro-mosque verdict will be given. And thus, they kept telling people like us that the verdict will have to be accepted and that peace be maintained. Respect for the Judiciary was at its peak. Some people did ask for a hospital or peace centre at the disputed site, but I am sure, they neither have any basis nor any idea about what the issue stands for. However, when the verdict was pronounced, the seculars were left with no words. Suddenly, the judiciary was slammed for allowing faith to influence the ruling. As if that was not enough, court ruled that ‘The disputed building was constructed by Babar, the year is not certain but it was built against the tenets of Islam. Thus, it cannot have the character of a mosque.’ Though the 1992 demolition has no links with the verdict, seculars were left red faced since the demolition of a redundant structure does not amount to such a big crime as bringing down a religious structure.

In all, the judgment might have been seen as an attempt to arrive at a Win-Win solution. And it has done just that. But the secularists have lost. Their argument was based on everything that the court has turned down. The stand of the Sangh Parivar stood vindicated and that was the most painful part of the verdict for Sangh bashers. Some people in the media did try to link the demolition with the verdict, but there were hardly any takers. All this while our arguments were treated as emotional and political rather than with any backing of facts. However, at this point of time, we have the logic and facts on our side.

People committed to the Sangh ideology have never had a problem in reaching out to people. But this verdict will get the more moderate ones amongst us to stand by their dream of a Grand Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, the birth place of Shri Ram. Now, their feelings have the backing of not just historians and history, but the High Court as well.

Not that I have not enjoyed it before, but the recent verdict has surely given us an opportunity to hold our head high and be self-assertive. We are soldiers fighting for a cause, for restoring our self-esteem and glory. It is a fight for the country’s pride. The battle has been won. The war, hopefully, will be won before it starts. As the lyrics of a popular song go, ‘only when we remove the Ravan from our heart, will we find Ram in there’.

I pray for Ram Rajya to take over soon.

Jai Hind! Jai Shri Ram!

Friday, October 16, 2009

DIWALI – The global festival of lights…..

I have never been so happy on a Thursday. A lot of you may think it’s because of Diwali; but my reason was different. After the end of the day, I had a four days long holiday on account of Diwali and Bhaubij.

However, when I left office on Thursday, I wasn’t even thinking about the festival. I was flying high thinking about the looooooooong weekend that had started. But, just as when I parked my bike at home, I looked around. The car showrooms, the service centers, the hospital and all other building had lights all over. Suddenly, a deep sense of excitement prevailed within me. I realized how amazing the festival of lights can be.

Diwali has a special and yet, different meaning to various people. The reason why it is celebrated differs from place to place. Towards the North, Diwali is celebrated as the return of Rama, King of Ayodhya, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya after a 14 year exile, and a war in which he killed Ravana. In Goa and other areas, it commemorates Narkasur’s killing by Lord Krishna.

During my Singapore and Malaysia visit last month, I had seen quite a few areas being decorated on account of Diwali. It is a national festival in these countries and not restricted to the Indian community alone. In Malaysia, Diwali is known as "Hari Deepavali," and is celebrated during the seventh month of the Hindu solar calendar. It is a federal public holiday throughout Malaysia. In Singapore, the festival is called "Deepavali", and is a gazetted public holiday. Thus, Diwali in true sense is a Global Festival.

The reasons may be many. But the purpose is more or all the sense. It celebrates the victory of good/god over the evil. I hope, this Diwali bring a lot of happiness and prosperity to India and Indians.

Today, India faces threats from both Internal as well as External agencies. The growth of Naxals is a worrying factor. Someday or the other, the fight will have to begin. Such anti-India movements will have to meet the same fate as Ravana and Narkasur. And only then, the country can be lit again. To celebrate, yet another victory.

Happy Diwali..

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Country - Is it moving the right way?

No matter how many times I watch the movie "Rang De Basanti", I want to watch it one more time. The Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility refuses to apply to my penchant for good dialogues coupled with great songs especially when they are so well written.

You may think I am writing a Review on the movie and might end up giving it 4 or 5 stars. But my purpose is different. I don’t wish to talk about the movie or its story. However, its imperative to note, that the movie has a lot to offer; especially, to our younger generation. The movie might have been brushed aside by a lot of us by calling it unrealistic or whatever. But if we failed to get the message, then I feel, India should consider itself unfortunate.

“No country is perfect. We need to make it perfect”. I believe, this is the essence each one of us should draw from the movie. We can join the armed forces, or enter politics, etc. to govern this country in the right way. Sitting back and criticizing will neither solve the problems nor do us any good. Its high time, we become proactive and take initiatives which will push the country to the next level

Our freedom fighters laid their life only to give us “Free India”. People like Bhagat Singh knew they would die. But they fought; for a cause. I don’t expect each one of us to sacrifice our life for the country. And that’s not necessary as well. We can actually do a lot of good for the country only through our actions.

We have various burning issues which could be taken up by us converting them into mass movements. Some of them are:

1. Early resolution to the Kashmir issue can be pushed through. Defense remains to be the biggest revenue getter for our politicians. And having tension serves their purpose very well.
2. Anti-Reservation movement has to get a bigger share in the media and in people’s mind.
3. Eradication of poverty should be initiated by giving education to the poor and rural people. Unless people are made aware about their rights, they will refuse to stand up and be counted.
4. Improvement in the situation of women in the rural areas. Crime rate against women are increasing with each day. Our politicians in response only hand over the matters to CBI or CID. What happens after that remains a well kept secret.
5. We keep cribbing about corrupt politicians. How can we keep a check until they are made accountable due to strong pressure groups? And why not infuse fresh blood? Nobody likes to be called a politician. But if we want the change to happen, this perception will need to be changed. More and more talented people will have to come forward and run this country.

I can go on. But this has to stop here. It’s a blog after all. But before I sign off, my request to all my friends – Do think over this. Let us do something for our country, in whatever way possible. Let us join politics, IAS, IPS, Armed Forces, etc. A better future awaits us. Let us leave a much better India for the generations to follow.

Jai Hind !!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Crazy - 4 on a Crazy Sunday.....

It was 12:30 P.M. on a Sunday. I was still changing sides on the bed when I decided to switch my cell on. Now, when I look back, I thank god for having done that. Within 10 seconds, I had about 20 missed call alerts. Before I could figure out who had called, there was a call. Raj had not given up despite my phone being switched off.

I was told that plans are being made to go “somewhere” and that they were scheduled to leave at 1:30 p.m. The place was neither known to Raj, Prasad or Aditya. Now, when the planners were clueless, there is no way I might have known. Also, I was too sleepy to even suggest. But from the fact that Mardol Temple was one of the stops, I was sure we would end up at Mollem Retreat or Bondla Zoo.

I promised to be ready by 2. However, by the time Adi could gather all the punters, it was 2:30 and we started from my house at around 3. When we halted at Mardol, we took a tea break at Mahalasa Café after the Darshan. A stop which has become customary for me and Raj. We had 2 Bhaji Pavs, 2 Kokums, 3 teas and 1 Cofee. The Snacks that Raj purchased cost our coffers Rs. 30 over and above Rs. 60 which we had already spent on the drinks and stuff. Pretty Expensive. From there, we headed straight to a Sweet Mart. Packed as much stuff as we could (which included Nevryo, Churmo, Khajiche Ladu, Chips, etc.) and we had embarked on a journey, which even till then, was not known to us.

Reaching Mollem, we were neither hungry nor thirsty. So we decided we would go upto Anmod. Here, the whole game changed. Prasad suddenly thought about a very good restaurant in Belgaum which he thought could be visited since we had reached so close to the city (only 80kms away). After a lot of convincing, Das agreed to cancel his friend’s birthday and we were off. To Belgaum.

We reached Belgaum, we reached at 7. First, visited the Nucleus Mall and then shopped till about 8:30. Had a peaceful and yet, tasty dinner at Hotel Eefa, a new business class hotel in Belgaum. The dinner will be remembered for the lovely Sizzeler. But more than that, we got to see people going crazy after celebrities as Ms. Sayali Bhagat was dining on the adjoining table. The traveling was certainly worth the effort we had put it. After all, we had to travel for 6 hours for our 3 hours stay in Belgaum.

Our dinner ended at around 10.00 when we finished our Triple Sundae. By 1 a.m., we were at home. Extremely tired, but very happy to have done something, which we could have never thought about. Driving over 300 kms only for dinner is something crazy. At least, by our standards. But now that we have done it, we are PROUD about the feat and also, have resolved to do it far more frequently. If anybody wants to join, do let us know.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The last exam of my life....

This always happens to me. Every time an exam approaches, I start blaming myself for not having started earlier. I am frankly tired of doing this. If my memory supports me right, I have been doing this since my 1st Standard exam (I have come to this conclusion with some valuable inputs from my parents). And now, I am on the verge of answering virtually the last exam of my life. At least, academically. I say that because, Life, in itself, is an exam forever. But for the time being, let us only focus on the simple Black and White Question paper and the Black and white answer sheet which we are supposed to paint BLUE.

Till my last exam which I answered, which now looks like was my second last one, I had decided to devote clear 3 to 4 months for the Final Semester. Now, when exams are about to start from the 8th of May and I am yet to start (almost), I have no other option but to blame myself all over again. Forget 3 to 4 months, I don't even have four full days per subject. The task is uphill. And confidence level, as always, is on a shaky wicket. But I can't remember a single exam where I have been more confident.

A lot of you must be feeling as to why I am wasting my time on writing all this. Instead, I would have been better off studying. But I had to give a vent to the frustration which is building up with each passing day. Oh hold on.. Each passing Hour.

I am feeling like an employee on the verge of retirement. With my last exam just around the corner, I am mulling over all the missed opportunities. All the days wasted which could have given me those extra marks needed for a distinction. Just like an outgoing employee will think about the opportunities he missed whilst in service which could have given him his promotion. And then, they do something which is quite a common sight. Give advice to others. On the similar lines, my advice to all of you who are going to answer some exam in future; Do study well in advance!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I, Me and Myself......

Been thinking about this for a long long time. Been wondering where to start from. Days went by but I could not figure out. So today, I decided that Enough was Enough. I would pen down anything and everything that comes to my mind. No censorship. No reviews. It will be so extempore that I won’t even bother to read it twice. Not even for spelling mistakes.

Lets not waste time on that. Let me introduce myself. The very fact that you are on this page means you know me. But for those, who have accidentally bumped into my blog, here is my brief intro.

I am Giriraj. An Indian by birth. An Indian at heart. And an Indian by religion. Though I was born and brought up in the scenic and picturesque state of Goa, I would still like to identify myself with my country. For I believe, that all Indians are one. That anything which can divide us should be avoided.

Its been tough for me to live with such views. People believe I take too much of importance for myself. People feel I talk about issues which I am not even qualified to talk about. But that’s their view. For me, patriotism means a lot. Not just by saying that I want to help the country but by actually contributing in whatever way I can. You may feel, I have severe political inclinations. But let me tell you. There is loads you can do for your country without joining politics. Best example I can think is of Shri Narayan Murthy. He is politically so aloof but someone, who will make all Indians proud worldwide.

A lot of you may be unsure as to why I am writing all this. But if I don’t express here then where else can it be? As I said earlier, my blog is my punching bag. The more you read, the more you will be convinced as to what I am.

I have lived with many tags in life. Been known as a typical village boy. That’s when I spent whooping 17 years of my life in my native village, a place, which is still very dear to me. Even then, I was known to be arrogant, brash, etc. The reasons for the same are not known to me till date. But those who know me well, will surely disagree. Or at least, I hope they will.

In Mumbai or Pune or Delhi, I was just another Goan with a high flying lifestyle. I was used on so many ocassions as an example of a brat, guy with arrogance, politician and what not. It had to do with my strong views. It had to do with my anti-reservation arguments. It had more to do with my penchant for good food and craze for good restaurants. For me, money is a medium which can allow you to enjoy. But for eternal peace, you need something else. You need a family. You need a sound mind.

I always wanted to and will continue to serve the country in whatever way I can. I am not an atheist but I am not religious either. I am not someone who will leave things to God and expect miracles. I believe that even one person can change a lot of people around him. Initially, they may laugh. And they will. However, if you are focussed, such petty things will hardly bother you.

You can do a lot of things to change the way country functions today. You can join active politics, join an NGO, contribute in newspapers helping in opinion formation, can encourage people to exercise their franchise to ensure the right candidate wins, etc. etc. If I keep writing, I am sure, I will be killed. So believe, for the time being, I better take your leave.

To some, what I am saying may not make any real sense. But as I said, who cares? Now if this is the arrogance that people talk about, then so be it !!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Vote - For a better tomorrow.....

Politics.. One topic I breath, eat, sleep and so on. While I was a kid, my excuse not to study was "I will become a minister. And none of them are educated." At a tender age of 6 too, I dint have a very favourable opinion about the people who are so called the policy makers and the leaders of the country. But I wanted to emulate them only because, for me, that was an exit option from studies. Over the years, as I grew older, I wanted to enter politics only to change the system. I believed, one person could change the system to a large extent. Even till recently, I harnessed a dream to join active politics.
But today, I feel politics is a dirty game. The reasons are many, but the 2 of the most prominent ones are:
  • There are no permanent friends and enemies in politics. Though it is good to be flexible, its a sin to compromise on your ideologies. A communal party suddenly dons secular colours during the elections. Its nothing but cheap vote bank politics.
  • Those who are really sincere and efficient, don’t find their way automatically. Unless you manipulate and play a dirty game, its tough for a politician to grab power. And its virtually impossible to bring development unless you are in power. (People of Gujarat are the only exception in the recent past)

This brings me to an important question. Is it really easy to be sincere and yet, survive in politics? The possible answer could be a NO. Then, What is the solution?

I think, the best solution to the problem is VOTING. If every individual exercises his or her vote, we can see a better country. Rather than voting for the person we know, we should vote for somebody who is Efficient. Its of paramount importance for the voters not to fall prey to the various Poll Time goodies like money, bikes, gifts, etc.

My advice for you is:

  • When you expect an explanation from your elected representative as a matter of right, remember, rights comes with responsibility. If you don’t Vote, you should have no right to criticise or question the system.
  • If you feel your 1 vote is insignificant, work towards creating a group of voters. With this, you can form public opinion and also, work towards the desired results. Even otherwise, fall of Vajapayee Govt. by 1 Vote must act as an fine example about the importance of each and every Vote.
  • If you don’t want a particular person as your MP/MLA, go and vote against him/her. Abstaining from voting is not the solution.
  • If people start voting in large numbers, there are more chances that the right candidate will be elected. This will encourage more deserving candidates to come forward and stand for elections.
  • Last, but not the least. Relate to your country. All your actions affect the country. And thus, it is of strategic importance to take the right actions.

Just as we are nearing the Lok Sabha elections, I earnestly hope that people will vote in large numbers and help themselves by electing the right candidates.

Stand Up NOW for a better TOMORROW