8

Do the Wardrobe | #ShareTheLoad

Do The Wardrobe | #ShareTheLoad #Blogadda

“Papa who will prepare the breakfast for us”, I asked hungrily.

“I will beta I will”, he replied. “Don’t worry! What will you have for breakfast? What did mummy generally cook?” he questioned.

I answered, “We would usually have a dry vegetable to go along with Paratha.”

He said, “OK don’t worry.”

What he didn’t say was he had never cooked before in his lifetime.

The year was 1997 and mummy was admitted in a hospital for an ear operation. It required two surgeries to be performed and it would have required her to be in the hospital for a whole long week. She had never left us alone for so long without guidance. 10 min into the ordeal he was yet to light the stove.

My sister and I knew that there was no way we were getting any breakfast before school time to forget about getting paratha and bhindi.

After a few minutes, he gave up and handed us both 20 rupees each and asked to eat something from the school canteen.

A week later mom returned and we told her the complete episode. Since then she made it point to teach me all the things necessary related to running a household and the so-called things that are supposedly done by females of a house. Today I can proudly say that there are days when I cook better than my sister.

She taught me everything from cooking to washing clothes from cleaning and mopping to arranging wardrobes. I guess that is the biggest reason I don’t have problems staying alone. Btw everybody claims that my partner would be forever happy (Anybody listening!).

Mom and Me

I make it a point to help mom every now and then with all the things. In fact, whenever I am visiting her I try to spend most of the time with her and help her out with her chores. With age catching up fast on her, it is my prime priority to spend as much time with her as possible and what better way than performing her tasks along with her.

Another comical thing that happens every time my sister pays a visit – The mom-daughter duo gets into a war mode to clean up and dust the house. They are so good with it that most times there are many things that will be forever lost in the black hole of cleaning.

For this, I have taken upon myself to make and arrange my wardrobe. To reduce the load on mom and to prevent further things to get forever lost, I do it on a weekly basis usually on Sundays. After every wash, mom hands over my clothes to me and they are neatly ironed and then folded into the wardrobe. I being me never lose an opportunity to tease them how nicely I have done it.

Every time someone chases me with the question of getting married I either show them my wardrobe or cook a wonderful dish for them and most times they get the answer. There was an era when a washing machine was a privilege and status symbol – Mom even taught me to wash clothes with bare hands.

Even if you cannot wash clothes or put a load in the washing machine, at least, try to keep things in your wardrobe by yourself. This way it will save a lot of time for you every morning when you shout at the top of your voice for your handkerchiefs and socks. It is just like if you can’t cook at least cut a vegetable or do the dishes (I know I know a lot of wives and moms would be rooting for me).

Many guys, especially bachelors, would still find it daunting. Well, you can always start with baby steps – forget about folding clothes and ironing them. Start with creating separate sections for shirts, trousers, socks, undergarments and so on. Once you will get into this habit then all that would be left for you to do is to fold them neatly and arrange them. After washing, always tie up a pair of socks together – it will prevent them from getting misplaced.

I am not complaining, I guess the culture or the society was weaved that way but I often thought that if my father didn’t learn to light up a stove then half of it was his fault but half of it was my grandmothers’. If she would have been strict with him or even encouraged him to try his hand at all this, we would not have gone to the school hungry that day.

Somehow the society is like that. When a guy doesn’t learn all this then a certain section of society blames him to be patriarchal but it becomes even difficult when a male learns all this and simply tries to help their mother, sister, wife and daughter, then he is blessed with so many negative names. Anyway, it’s their mindset and you cannot help it. I am happy till my mom is happy and every time I do these things I feel, even in a smaller way, I have honoured her teachings.

All the mothers with young kids please teach your sons right from an early age that there is no shame in doing household chores and I am sure they will grow up as better understanding and empathetic adults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all those who males help their mothers,

For all those males who can cook,

For all those who can wash clothes with bare hands,

And

For all those who can arrange their wardrobes…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Let’s convert our Sundays into SON-days.

Don’t just be a Mamma’s boy, be Mamma’s real SON. Let’s start with #ShareTheLoad every Sunday.

‘I pledge to #ShareTheLoad in household chores in association with Ariel and BlogAdda

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2

Z – Zero Benefit Schemes | #AtoZChallenge

Z – Zero Benefit Schemes | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Through the journey of 26 posts over the past month, I have tried to bring out some key issues related to the General Elections of 2019. The government should have campaigned and fought this election on the performance of their ministries and schemes but instead, they chose to do otherwise. I personally was disappointed how the institutions have become spineless and opaque and how the government got away without holding a single press conference – a first in Independent India’s history.

The government’s decision to change the narrative to nationalism and taking us back to the era of the early 90s of the Hindu-Muslim divide speaks for itself about the government’s confidence in its performance. In the first few months, a new scheme along with a new slogan was launched. Today they are nowhere discussing any forget all of them.

Ujjwala Yojna

Visit any petrol pump in the country and you are bound to find a hoarding with PM’s face on it and claiming what a big success this yojna has been. If you closely look at the stats, you will realize its fallacies. To begin with, it turned out to be a myth that the poor will get free cylinders. They have to pay Rs 1600 for the stove and cylinder. Many poor families aren’t able to pay this upfront. Secondly, the subsidy that the government pays from their pocket is also taken back from these poor families in the form of installments.

Till January this year, consumers had paid Rs. 9,968 crores for the so-called free gas cylinder. Out of all the families that have been a beneficiary of the scheme only 10-20% of them have applied for the refilling of the cylinders. This speaks for itself. The doubling of the cost of cylinders with a negligible increase in the income of these families forces them to adopt the traditional methods of fuel. A family that earns around 2000-2500 per month, do you believe they have the capacity to buy a cylinder worth Rs 900 (500 for subsidized cylinder and 400 for installment).

Fasal Bima Yojna (Crop Insurance Scheme)

There is a reason why people have started realizing that this government is truly corporate-friendly in nature. ‘Fasal Bima Yojna’ is a prime example of it. The exponential rise in farmer suicides definitely tells one side of the story as to whether these insurances are helping them or not.

Let me highlight the other side of the story. From the start of July 2016 (Kharif season), in two years, insurance companies amassed a total premium of Rs.50,036 crore, paid out a total compensation worth Rs.35,949 crore — saving Rs.14,088 crore as profit! Out of this premium, the farmers paid around Rs 8719 crore and the rest was spared from the taxpayer’s money. Ideally, if the government really wanted to help then they should have transferred this money to the farmers or at least should have waved loans.

Make in India

A promising scheme that turned out to nothing and it felt as if it was launched just to put the mechanical lion logo in foreign airports. Ideally, it should have given a major boost to the manufacturing sector. The contribution of the manufacturing sector has been stagnant for the last five years and it still hovering around 16-18% of the GDP, which it already was before 2014.

Since the sector remained stagnant and with no data to suggest a direct correlation of any job creation with Make in India, we can safely say how this scheme actually fared. As Raghuram Rajan rightly pointed out, it should have been ‘Made in India’ rather than ‘Make it India’ for it to really give a boost to the sector.

PM Aawas Yojna

Another scheme that was started with a lot of fanfare and was a renaming of the previous government’s ‘Indira Aawas Yojna’ was PM Aawas Yojna with an aim of providing low-cost houses to rural and urban poor. Barring the initial year, the target for the houses to be constructed has come down to the 12-13 & 13-14 levels. In fact, as per the data from the ministry of rural development, the number of houses completed is way less than 12-13 levels.

Smart Cities

One scheme that created a lot of buzz long before the government even took the oath was the creation of ‘Smart Cities’. The government aimed at creating 100 smart cities in India but it is yet to come out and openly declare any one of those cities being converted to their benchmark of a smart city. I thought it was illogical to put metro cities under the scheme as they already have most of those facilities, which the mission aims to provide.

The analysis of the Smart Cities Mission, by Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network, concluded that there is the glaring absence of emphasis on inclusion and social justice.

Startup India

Along with Mudra loans, another scheme that attracted a lot of youth was ‘Startup India Standup India’. Again the government has no data i.e. they haven’t shared publically what happened to the loans disbursed and how many startups are up and running under the scheme. Two years since the launch of the scheme a bleak 10% of the funds were only released.

As per an economic times report from 2017, 5,350 startups that were officially recognized under the scheme, only 74 have got tax benefits.

Already discussed the Jan Dhan Yojna at length in the ‘Banking’ post. Details about the Mudra loan scheme have been discussed in the ‘unemployment‘ post. Similarly, I highlighted the failures of Skill development scheme in the ‘Youth’ post.

A stat from the PM’s last 35 rallies throws up some disturbingly narcissistic facts. He has mentioned his own ‘surname’ more than 130 times while ‘development’ being mentioned a dismal seven times. India, slowly but surely, has moved towards a presidential-format of elections where it is only about a couple of individuals. Well, democracy is not about that! One should learn the art of referring to one’s own self in the third person from the PM. His self-love is supreme and blinding.

I would like to thank each and everyone who was along with me on this journey especially on this theme. Many close friends said that they resisted from commenting just because of the supercharged and trolling atmosphere, which is why I chose this theme as this kind of atmosphere is driving more and more people away from key issues. A lot of hard work and research has gone in these posts to state only facts and keep away fakery. No words can express my gratitude towards those who took out time to read, comment and share these posts.

Please please please make sure your vote counts and just think about your kids what world we are going to leave for them.

With this, I can officially say that I have completed and survived the challenge. Cheers to all those who did and to those as well who tried but couldn’t. Don’t get disheartened – you are going to come back stronger.

For all those who loved these political posts,

For all those who resisted from commenting,

For all those who encouraged all throughout the journey,

And

For all those who believe most of these schemes were about Jumlas…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 26th and last post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

14

Z – ZAYED | #AtoZChallenge

Z – Zayed | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Wherever you are in Dubai or in fact, the whole of UAE you are bound to come across one name – Zayed or Sheikh Zayed. Everything, from roads to hospitals, from malls to mosques, from universities to airports and from monuments to museums has been named after him and you can see his portraits proudly displayed. He is popularly known as ‘Father of their nation’ and last year Dubai, along with UAE, celebrated the ‘Year of Zayed’.

The year 2018 marked 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, who passed away in 2004. His son and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had declared that 2018 will officially be known in the UAE as the Year of Zayed – to commemorate this historic national occasion.

Sheikh Zayed always promoted and encouraged multicultural diversity and is evident from the ‘open-door-open-culture’ policy at various monuments including the Grand Mosque and Jumeirah Mosque. Consistent with his values the Year of Zayed involved people of all ages, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds in the UAE and internationally. During his reign, he was considered one of the most liberal rulers and leaders among leaders of all the Gulf countries.

The Year of Zayed had the following vision and mission:

Vision: A year-long, international commemoration in celebration of the life, legacy and values of an inspirational world leader, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the United Arab Emirates.

Mission: Commemorate the life, values and achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as an inspirational world leader, encouraging future generations to honor his legacy and fulfill his vision of prosperity, tolerance and peace.

It theme of the “Year of Zayed’ revolved around the values of wisdom, respect, sustainability and human development.

The ‘Year of Zayed’ did not only have domestic reach but it was very well recognized worldwide. British Museum named a gallery after Sheikh Zayed to acknowledge the UAE leader’s lifelong commitment to heritage and culture. The main street in Beirut, capital of Lebanon, was named after the late leader. Stockholm Mosque, in Stockholm, Sweden is also known as Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s Mosque.

There are many things named after him in UAE to commemorate his legacy. The Sheikh Zayed road is the most important road in Dubai as it serves as a lifeline to the whole of Dubai and further connects Sharjah-Dubai-Abu Dhabi. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a modern wonder of the world. Zayed University, a government-sponsored higher education institution with campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

He is often referred to as ‘the man who turned the desert green’. I have a twist to this, for me, he is the man ‘who turned the sand of the desert into gold’.

What you see of Dubai and UAE today and their importance whether it is in tourism or export-import or oil exports, it can all be attributed to their wonderful leadership. I believe no place on Earth has seen so much transformation in the last century where a generation in their life went from being poor nomads to creating the world’s tallest structures.

I would like to end this post and this challenge based on my theme – ‘Dubai – City of Gold’ by quoting some of my favorite quotes from Sheikh Zayed.

The real asset of any advanced nation is its people, especially the educated ones, and the prosperity and success of the people are measured by the standard of their education.

Wealth is not money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to building the individual, and to using the wealth, which God has provided us in the service of the nation.

Islam affords women their rightful status and encourages them to work in all sectors, as long as they are afforded appropriate respect.

No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone who has been a part of this journey. This was the first time I was attempting this challenge and that too with two themes. I am elated and relieved both at the same time that I could reach the finish line. To all those who became friends on this journey called life – Welcome aboard! To others my heartfelt wishes for your future endeavors and a biiigggg hug.

I will forever cherish this experience of pursuing my passion with patience and persistence.

For all those who were part of this wonderful journey,

For all those who believe in women equality,

For all those who live in the city of Dubai,

And

For all those who believe in the vision of Sheikh Zayed…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 26th and last post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

7

Y – YOUTH | #AtoZChallenge

Y – Youth | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The fourth phase of voting has just concluded and the numbers coming in from metropolitan places like Mumbai aren’t much to cheers. Like previous years it is a pretty dismal turnout given the constant push by celebrities to go out there and vote.

India is a young country and by 2020, youth will make up 34% of the country’s population. Since the general elections of 2014, about 45 million Indians have become eligible to vote which forms about 5% of the total voters that would be going to vote in 2019.

Going by the analysis of the last election, youth played a significant part in the current ruling party coming to power. With their social media engineering, the urban and the youth take the center stage for their promotional strategies.

With so many new voters in the fray, issues of unemployment, education and skill development should have been the main topics of discussions. The top five states that have added the maximum number of young voters are Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and UP. Going by how the states voted in 2014 and then in their respective assembly elections – these states may hold the key to the throne with youth playing a crucial role.

To give you a perspective how their vote is important, out of the total seats about 211 seats i.e. 37% of the seats come from the top ten states that have the maximum number of new voters. You can also understand their criticality by the pitches of the PM for them to go out and vote and regularly dropping hints to vote for him.

The irony is that with the unemployment at its highest in the last 45 years and the education budget being regularly cut for the past five years, the real talking point still remains the Hindu-Muslim divide and Ram Mandir even among the youth.

I am yet to see a single debate on the skill development program initiated by the government. A data suggests not even 3% of all the people trained got a credible source of income. This surely is going to increase restless and hence frustration among the youth. The constant roughing up of students and messing up issues related to prominent universities isn’t helping either.

The issue of Kashmir is always kept on the boil using the youth machinery. Whether they pelt stones or pick up arms, there are underlying strategies definitely going wrong at some level otherwise why would so many young people choose this path.

In the cases of lynching, if you closely observe, it is usually the misguided uneducated youth that commits such heinous acts of violence. Even in the lynching of Akhlaq, the prime accused was the son of a BJP leader, who is just 20 years old. All this is propagated on the pretense of hate.

The youth comes with a lot of political uncertainty. It can swing either way or might do a completely different thing like in Kerala where more than one lakh students didn’t fill the religion and caste column in admission forms.

They are often better informed, more educated and tech-savvy than the rest of their family, and they can take a stand that goes against the family’s established political leanings.

The young voters are the most vulnerable too. They can easily be misguided by the populist sentiment and might not have the right rationale behind their thinking. With so much of information bombardment from so many touch points that it is practically impossible for the young tech-savvy voter to be away from the noise.

One thing I find in the youth of today that most of them are ill-informed and not well read and the government isn’t helping either when they are hell-bent on changing historical facts and not releasing current tenures’ performance data.

There are days when I think that this atrocious amount of free data at such cheap prices would turn out to be exactly like what drugs did to an entire generation of Punjab and Haryana. It is the latest addiction and the empty playing grounds and each neck submerged in smartphones are a prime example of it.

Everybody says that ‘Youth is the future’ but I am afraid if things continue like this, then the same youthful energy will take a perilous route that will take the country in a completely negative direction.

To all the first time voters this time, make sure when you vote, keep in mind your future and the future of this country.

For all those who feel data is the new drugs,

For all those who know that there is massive unemployment,

For all those who feel youth is being used for political gains

And

For all those who still feel that youth is the future…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 25th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the final post with letter ‘Z’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

16

Y – Yas Island | #AtoZChallenge

Y – Yas Island | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

The previous post discussed the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and I highlighted that try to club your trip with other attractions across the city. Well, let me today take you to one such place where you will get multiple options across all interest levels. I am talking about the best place in Abu Dhabi – Yas Island.

Yas Island is an island in Abu Dhabi – multipurpose leisure, entertainment and shopping center. It was started in 2006 by Abu Dhabi based Aldar properties and is spread across a staggering 25 sq km. It is one of the most astounding manmade wonders and on days it feels as if both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are in a race to outwit each other that which one will come up with a more opulent island.

If you truly want to experience the best of Abu Dhabi, then head to Yas Island. It is about a 40-min drive away from the city center. I already gave you a glimpse of the adventurous side of Yas Island through the Ferrari World. Read the full post here.

Top attractions and places to visit on Yas Island.

Warner Bros. Abu Dhabi

As the name suggests, it is a Warner Bros. characters based adventure theme park. Everyone wanted to get an insider look on what it is like to live like a superhero – this park lets you do exactly that. You can unleash the superhero in you and get to relive those childhood fantasies through its six different zones – Warner Bros. Plaza, Metropolis, Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock and Dynamite Gulch.

Yas Marina Circuit

Yas Waterworld

In continuation with adventurous theme parks, let me take you to something totally unique – Yas Waterworld. It is the best waterpark in UAE along with Aquaventure in Dubai. The most impressive feature of the park is its theme – ‘The Legend of the Lost Pearl’ that pays tribute to the Emirati heritage of Pearl Diving, usually water parks aren’t theme based.

Thanks to its 45 exhilarating slides, attractions, and rides out of which 5 of them are the world’s firsts, the Los Angeles Times named it the ‘second best waterpark in the world.’

Yas Marina Circuit

If you aren’t satisfied with the gravity-defying rollercoasters at Ferrari World and the adrenaline-charged slides of the Yas Waterworld and you really want to try your hand at one of the F1 cars then Yas Marina Circuit is the place to be.

Dive in the driving seat of an Aston Martin GT4 to a single-seater Formula 3000 Yas racing car show your mettle and driving skills on the 5.5 km track. It got global fame once it got on the F1 Calendar and is open all throughout the year for speed enthusiasts. Treat it as a warning the adventure can cause a severe hole in your pockets.

Seawings at Yas Marina

If you still have budget left after the ride around the marina circuit, try another unique experience – Seawings at Yas Marina. One has to skydive to enjoy the magnanimous beauty of Palm Jumeirah, here it is a lot convenient and less scary. Get on to a state-of-the-art Cessna seaplane at Seawings and fly over the Yas Island along with aerial views of Emirates Palace, Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the Abu Dhabi mangroves during the 25-minute flight.

Yas Mall

Yas Mall is to Abu Dhabi, what Dubai Mall is to Dubai. It is the main hot spot for people living in Abu Dhabi and the traveler visiting the city. It offers you an ultimate shopping experience through its 370 retail outlets. Watch out for the growing plant wall and the two 12m-high tree-themed sculptures by acclaimed South African artist Marco Cianfanelli, with leaves inspired by Arabic calligraphy.

Yas Marina

Yas Marine is promoted as a dock-dine-discover destination. Like the Dubai Marina, it is a scintillating place with 227-berth marina featuring 9 licensed restaurants and lounges, which cater to all taste buds and budgets. Sitting alongside the water promenade enjoy a drink with snacks with the views of the Yas Viceroy hotel and F1 circuit in the backdrop.

Yas Links

Yas Links is a golf course designed by Kyle Philips and is the best golf course in UAE. It is ranked 24th World’s best Golf courses outside the USA (Golf Digest USA, 2012). After a perfect day of golf make sure to head to their impeccable club for food and drinks.

Yas Viceroy

Yas Beach

An island is incomplete without a beach for the whole family – Yas beach is the perfect getaway from the adventure and thrill of the island. Located in a quiet corner spend a relaxing day with children activity, dining and water sports options.

Yas Viceroy

Yas Viceroy is a unique five-star property on Yas Island. It is the first hotel in the world to be built over an F1 race circuit. You will be simply blown away with its futuristic design and dazzling architecture. On the weekend of F1 race, there is no better place in the world to stay and I am sure you will still not find any of its 499 extravagant rooms vacant.

Where to Eat

Nolu’s Café – it is a place where Afghanistan meets California – the menu-spin comes from the secret recipes of the owner’s Afghan mother.

Felini Garden – It is an open terrace restaurant-bar renowned for its epic all-Italian Friday brunch.

Meylas – It is an amazing place to explore the Emirati flavors.

Stars ‘N’ Bars – it is located in Yas Marina and is voted Abu Dhabi’s best sports bar.

Cipriani – The fusion of Emirati design and Italian food with a terrace that looks out over the grandstands of the Yas Marina Circuit.

Café Bateel – Bateel is famous for its Arabian dates, try out the café version of Bateel where the Mediterranean meets the Middle East.

Tawa Bakery – Gluten free contemporary bakery in the Al Muneer Beach development area.

Getting There

Yas Island has very good public transport connectivity. Yas Express is their complimentary free bus shuttle service that will take you around all the attractions across the Island. Taxis are frequently available round the clock. One can also explore Yas by bike via ADCB Bikeshare, a bicycle sharing system powered by Cyacle that operates 24/7.

There are a plethora of options for everyone whether you are an adventure junkie, a shopaholic, a nature lover, a foodie or a traveler. Just say Yes to Yas Island.

For all the foodies out there,

For all the adventure freaks,

For all the explorers,

And

For all who say Yes to Yas…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 25th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.

Read the Previous post here: Dubai – City of Gold

Please do visit tomorrow for the final post with the letter ‘Z’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.

Image ref:

Post banner: https://visitabudhabi.ae/en/explore/islands/yas.island.aspx

#YasIsland: https://www.traveldailymedia.com/yas-island-eid-al-adha-events/

Yas Viceroy: Image by Beatrice Schmuki from Pixabay

Marina Circuit: Image by wendy1704 from Pixabay

 

2

Silver Hair Sins | Book Review

Silver Hair Sins – Book Review

Book: Silver Hair Sins

Author: Saumick Pal

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: The Write Place (26 March 2019)

Price: 249 INR

Pages: 158 (Paperback)

Language: English

My rating: 3.5/5

Religious fundamentalism is on the rise and the world is experiencing more and more barbaric acts in the name of God and religion. It has reached a fanatic level. Witnessing all this I, earlier, wrote a piece – What if there was no religion. Well, today I would be reviewing a book that suggests another alternative – merge all the religions into one and with the use of artificial intelligence create a more futuristic utopian society.

Silver Hair Sins by Saumick Pal gives a peek into a similar world. It is his first novel. I would like to express my gratitude towards Blogchatter’s Book Review Program for considering me this book review and towards Saumick for the wonderful personalized message. If you have been following my reviews, then by now, you would know how much I love thrillers. A thriller with religion and AI as its background suits perfectly down my alley.

About the Author

The author, Saumick Pal, is an engineer and has been working for 13 years in myriad fields. Also, he is a mentor to the youth of the country. He has worked as a scriptwriter too. His writing style is crisp, compact and will leave you wanting for more even after you read the whole book.

My Review

The cover of the book, along with its title doesn’t give much away but once you start reading, it will slowly begin to make more sense and now I can say that the cover is equally thought-provoking as the pictures inside the book.

The back cover blurb highlights Silver Hair Sins as one of India’s first visual-fiction novel, with more than half of the book narrated by cinematized photographs.

They say that the picture is worth a thousand words. It surely is true in the case of Silver Hair Sins, which has only 158 pages out of which about 60 pages are full-page photographs/pictures. These pictures are strategically placed in continuation of the chapters that streamlines the flow and pace of the book.

The message from the author.

The story is set up in a futuristic world some 200 years later and mainly revolves around three characters – Mary, Azad and Aasma. You will also read about two more characters that form the background story – Meera and Akbar. The story takes you to a time when the religio-politico divide reaches a tipping point and technology steps in to save humanity – AI merges all religions to create One God AI.

The algorithm picks up populist virtues of all the religions and not necessarily the best ones. This leads to a terrible dystopian environment of murder, manipulation and love where a father is justifying the rape of his daughter as a sacrifice.

The book also makes you think what if AI actually becomes so powerful that it begins to dictate the lives of each and every individual. What will be the outcome of that? Read the book to find out whether the AI remains powerful or the humans rise above technology and win over it with their instincts.

I am sure the writer takes a clue from the all-time classic 1984 by George Orwell where he spoke about the atrocities of a dystopian world disguised as a utopian society set in a time in future.

Pros

It is a very fast read and even if you are not a big fan of thrillers you are bound to finish it in one sitting. The vocabulary is simple and you don’t have to go looking for meanings of every alternate word. The pictures are very figurative yet abstract and each reader will have a different understanding of them.

‘Not everything is black and white’ – I will like to compliment Saumick on how he has used the colors like black, white and silver to showcase the criminality of a person. The colors, the day – Sunday and the dressing have a lot of significance in the narrative. The naming of the characters also has been done keeping the backdrop in mind and by the end, you will realize their importance for their characters.

Cons

The book doesn’t have many flaws apart from the fact that some incidents feel a bit rushed up. Given its size, it would more fit in the category of a novella. I personally didn’t like Kabir’s Dohas being quoted every now and then. For a book that is futuristically set it was a bit awkward for me to visualize the AI enabled beings speaking Kabir’s Dohas. I felt a little disappointed as there isn’t much description about the futuristic setup and many-a-time it feels as if the discussions are in context to present times and not two centuries later.

When I first received the mail to review this book, it reminded me of an important incident that occurred with my friend and me, just when I started writing about a decade ago. He came up with a photo-book, exactly like what this is, but after going door-to-door of various publishing houses all we received were rejections. ‘A book or novel full of pictures will never sell and it will totally add to the cost’, was all we got constantly. I am glad the Indian publishing world is changing for good.

This positively has the potential of being a game changer as far as the layout of a book is concerned in the Indian context. I have seen Dan Brown books having pictures for better illustration and explanation of certain facts.

Verdict

I would end it with a quote from Walt Disney – “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” This book serves well as a commentary on the current religions and the perils existing in them.

Silver Hair Sins is a good debut effort by Saumick Pal, which stirs up a lot of questions about the existing religions and the extremism attached to them and how in the future technology can be used for mankind in the religious spectrum as well. I am going with three and a half stars for this visual-science-fiction thriller that will definitely make you think.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This review was done as part of the Blogchatter Book Review Program. Please sign up if you are a bibliophile.

My side of the bargain – an honest review – Find the Book here on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the author reference: https://www.marketingmind.in/saumick-pals-silver-hair-sins-is-a-must-have-if-you-love-thrillers/

 

4

X – Xenophobia | #AtoZChallenge

X – Xenophobia | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Something very interesting happened yesterday. A well-known CA who does commentary on issues related to politics and economics and is currently a part-time director of RBI tweeted or I should say re-tweeted a post, which had two pictures. In one there was a crowd gathering holding saffron flags and in the other, the crowd was with green colored flags. The text on the tweet was ‘choose wisely which India you want’. It also suggested that the pic with saffron flags was from PM’s rally in Varanasi and the other one is from RG’s rally in Wayanad.

Now there are a couple of things which are really disturbing here; one that the pic which is being suggested is from Wayanad, is actually from a different rally held long back that was conducted by Indian Union Muslim League and the second is that a person of this stature and repute is sharing such fake and false propaganda news.

The tweet

There is a pattern to this where more and more people with influential power with inclination to different political parties doing it. The sad part is there is no check to it and even educated people are falling prey to it. Followers (read worshipers) of this person will automatically believe whatever is being shared. Nobody takes the pain to verify what is true or not especially when you are being bombarded with so much data every minute.

I am not saying that only the ruling party is doing that, even the opposition is a culprit of propagating false stuff but if you remember these things became a part of regular discourse during 2014 campaigning. The much-hyped Gujarat development model and the pictures related to it were circulating everywhere. Later it was found that most of them were either from Singapore or China.

Xenophobia is defined as, ‘Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.’

The major issue with this post is the usage of a color to fuel your propaganda. There is a constant attempt to malign one color and its association with a certain neighboring country. I know, India and Pakistan are not friends but then the government in power needs to behave like that. The official documents don’t say that it is an enemy state – I guess we should start from there. Five years was a long enough time with the kind of majority that they could have brought in such ordinances.

We need to categorically understand that we are enemies with that country and not that color. Every time there is a green flag being waved with a moon and a star in between, their supporters go overboard and start shouting Pakistan Pakistan.

A banner from J&K

For the past five years during each election whether assembly, panchayat or general, Pakistan has been a major issue. When they feel that the questions are becoming too troublesome for them and the real issues are facing really hard in their faces they start looking towards Pakistan. Nobody is in love with Pakistan, but when you keep sending wishes on their national day after the Pulwama attack then you are putting your intentions under the scanner. I know the loyal followers will start crying that it was a strategy. If it was strategy then stop making a fool out of common masses and stop spreading this hatred and fear against one color.

I am not a supporter of RG but to be frank let’s assume; even if it was a green flag and it was being waved in India and till the time it is not a Pakistan flag – I don’t see anything wrong in it. It is the flag of a recognized party that has, with proper documentation, submitted its symbol and flag to the election commission and got it approved.

You want to know what ironical and hypocritical – go and check the flags and campaign banners that the ruling party is floating in Jammu & Kashmir. Do you see a prominent color in that and did you notice how conveniently they have done away with the saffron? That is politics for you, my friend. When the PM goes and addresses a rally in J&K he proudly thumps his chest for arresting army soldiers who fired bullets against the stone-pelters – because that will promise him votes with that population. When he flies back to Delhi he abuses the stone-pelters for the same reason.

The PM, during the last assembly elections of Gujarat, kept invoking nationalism by bringing Pakistan into every speech. He even went on to say that the previous PM was in a meeting with Pakistani delegates and was involved in anti-national conspiracies. Well, for one moment if all this is true, then isn’t this failure of intelligence agencies in the first place? Secondly, why are these people roaming free – or was it just to make a mockery of people’s sentiments during the election?

The xenophobic propagation that Muslims are foreigners and they invaded us is to constantly deny that Aryans weren’t foreigners. If you have done a thorough study of ancient history, then you will realize that Aryans are as much foreigners as Muslims are. By their logic shouldn’t we hate British too – since they also ruled us for two centuries and nobody exploited us like they did – What color should we give to them and then start boycotting that too?

But to say that Aryans were foreigner would imply that Hinduism is foreign too. In fact, the current form of Hinduism being practiced is way different from what is there in Vedas. This Brahmanism of the religion and the appearance of Gods like Vishnu and Shiva take place 1000 years after the Vedas. The highlighting of the fact that Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu is to subdue the conflicts of Hinduism and Buddhism. Going by the history of Buddhism, it left the country for about two thousand years following the conflicts.

While visiting the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sri Lanka, I came across some amazing facts. Hindu kings tried everything possible and fought wars to destroy the relics of Buddha, so much so that they had to finally take it to places like Sri Lanka and Thailand to keep them safe.

Quoting Meghnad Desai from his essay, ‘it is not the idea of Hindu nationalism that is worrying. It is that the government will be the propagator of this particular view.’

I am sure Pakistan will soon die its own death if they continue on the same path and the government will then find a new color to hate.

You need to think hard where you want this discourse to go ahead. I am putting this humorously but if this continues that time is not far away that we would be only left with carrots to eat and will have to boycott every green vegetable.

Just make sure when you vote this time it is not for green or saffron but for your present, future and most importantly your kids future and whether you want hate to propagate or otherwise.

For all those who like the green,

For all those who are hate fake news,

For all those who like the saffron,

And

For all those who are xenophobic…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 24th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘Y’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.