20 April 2014

The perversity of routine

I wake each morning, open the front door, and collect the milk and newspaper. With coffee on the side, I crackle open the newspaper and spread it wide on the table. Then I scan it page by page. If I am ever late for work and eat breakfast at the canteen, I carry the newspaper with me. Yes, I am old or at least, have a habit mostly associated with the older generation.

So, imagine my shock, when I don't get the newspaper. On Day 1, I assumed the chap was on holiday. On Day 2, I get the TOI, which is only fit in my opinion, to line my kitchen shelves. I didn't even open the rag. On Day 3, no newspaper. I call the agent.

"What flat number?"
"I thought you had moved out."
"Huh? Who told you that? Did you not see a milk packet out each day, then, how did you assume I moved out?"
"Ah, what flat number madam?"
"Oh, you have a different subscription for The Hindu, for which we haven't been getting the copies."
"Umm.. so why can't you just deliver a copy from your usual supply? I'll pay extra."
"Ok, Madam."

Day 4. No newspaper.

"Hello, no newspaper today."
"I told the boy Madam. I'll send it in two minutes. No, wait, in five minutes"
I stood on the balcony, scanning the entrance of the apartment. Nothing happened for ten minutes. I went in to shower.
Ting Tong.
Dress and emerge at front door. Find newspaper rolled and inserted into door handle. Smile, open newspaper. 

Dammit, TOI again!

Long tirade to N follows. Some loony came to our door when I was traveling out of town. This loony convinced N to take a subscription to the newspaper, for which we already had a subscription (!!!), only at a cheaper rate. N, applying his massive intellect, decided to take him up on it. This is what happens when a spouse takes a decision on your behalf. N doesn't need or read the newspaper to the same extent as me, so why did he even bother? Probably thought he was saving us a lot of dough. But at what cost to my peace of mind? Hrrumph. Sore Topic.

Phone call to Newspaper man, and assurances follow.

Day 5. The Hindu delivered. Shanti is restored to marital relations. Mornings are now, once again, hostage to routine.

2 April 2014

An open letter to candidates standing for the Lok Sabha elections

Dear Politician,

I am an urban, working woman. I don't fall in any reservation category. You may think that people like me don't like to vote. Probably that's why no one comes around to pander to my interests.

Here's another perspective: I believe strongly in using my mandate wisely. I try to make sure I know all the candidates in my constituency before I go to vote, if you have won before I find out what you did in your constituency, I read your party's manifesto online (if you have one) and even look up the application you submitted to the EC, who so kindly upload scanned copies of your particulars. So, I am informed. Based on the general situation in the country and my own personal interests, here are my thoughts on candidates:
  1. If you won previously and held an attendance record lower than 80% at parliament, you are out.
  2. If you have been even implicated in a scam, you are tainted. I am not waiting for a court to exonerate you.
  3. If you are or you support a misogynist, you are out.
  4. If your party's idea of political strategy is to invite anyone with the right caste credentials, never mind the mile long corruption charges, you are out.
  5. If your economic vision is simply to state that what the governing party (note the choice of word; I hate it when you say you will 'rule' a state) did was wrong, then I understand that you have no vision.
  6. Please go ahead, promise that Rs 2/ kilo rice and other freebies for BPL families. Show me the data that this has really helped them. Explain to me why they can't be given other nutritious food that is indigenous to our country, like ragi, bajra at subsidized prices in addition to the worm-infested rice and wheat. I fully support MNREGA, RTE, Food Security Act, but show me that it is working and if it is not, have the balls to come up with a plan that might. Basically, show me that you aren't flushing my tax money down your toilet, or worse, stuffing it under your mattress.
  7. I would care more for you if you are self-made, rather than the son, wife, nephew etc of another politician. Get an identity that is your own, like the majority of us.  
I don't want live in a country where every adjective appears to have been crafted out of the advertiser's manual. I want to live in a country, where there is a rule of law that applies to every individual equally, where freedom of speech and freedom of religion is guaranteed, and where tackling economic inequality is a greater priority than addressing pre-colonial notions of social inequality.

Good luck with your campaign. I hope the best person wins.