Sunday, May 20, 2007

Eagles Vs Plaza

I took a diversion from the already diverted route from Old Mahabalipuram Road to go to my home. While passing through the backyard of perungudi, the normally darkness covered government compound was buzzing with high voltage flood lights. More out of curiosity than interest, I went in. A cricket tournament in full flood lights was going on. It was a match between "Plaza" and the "Eagles" team. I got these names from a local commentator struggling to give a pure tamil commentary. Each team had their own t-shirts, one team in red and the other in blue.

Six separate teakwood flood light stands with about 15 flood light in each surrounded the ground. A stage, a stage audience (!!!) a generator to feed the lights, a commentator to feed the 99% youth audience with the details of the match. It was a tennis ball match. I was expecting to see more fireworks from the batsmen. But, apart from the fireworks from the commentator's mouth, the game was pretty decent. Batsmen were placing the ball better than some of our international stars. Local ballooning did happen from time to time with two of them ending up in fielders' hands. At the time of my leaving, the batting team had scored around 20 runs in 4 overs for the loss of 3 wickets.

The crowd mostly consisted of guys supporting their team. Some even had the team's shirt on. While crossing some of the guys, the smell of liquor flavoured the place. In all, the whole place was lit like one giant fair. I was able to see the lights in the sky from my home.

World cup winners or not, cricket fever hasn't yet slowed down in our country.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Has modernization spoilt Indian culture

This was an article I wrote for an article competition in our office.

I once heard a definition of Change. It went thus: "A change is something which we hoped not to happen." And when it eventually happens, it can have one of the two effects. It can either be accepted by the majority and renamed as "Growth" or opposed by the majority and termed ... well, some people are good at feeding the hungry negatives like "social evil", "anti-human","anti-social", etc. English language dwells on such creativity.

Modernization is one such "change" happening right now in our country. Its not that "modernization" hasn't been happening, its just that its happening at a faster rate now. This "Change" has been termed as "growth" by some, "westernization" by some, "anti-Indian" by some, and what not. This "change" has impregnated our day to day life. But, how do we view it? How do we feel it? How do we accept it?

If modernization includes changes in the way the younger generation approaches the educational learning cycle, it is "Growth". We see kids nowadays with a higher IQ than the current generation of youth during their time. It is "Growth".

If modernization includes changes in the way people communicate, it is "Growth". Wherever your dad is in the world, he has become reachable right inside your mobile. The other end of the sword here is the loss of one's privacy. Mobiles and telephones are for the phone user's convenience, and not for the caller's convenience. But, this concept doesn't seem to have reached the Indian people. Whatever the situation you are, be it at the temple offering prayers or at office attending a meeting, when a phone rings, people go for it. The people who have graced the "modernized" mobile phones did not grace the concept of proper "phone sense". Is this OK?

If modernization includes changes in the way people see marriage, it is "anti-Indian". Indian style of life has seen marriage as the single binding force to close-knit families. With the "modernization" seeping in (rather pouring in), we see more divorces and more "live-in" relationships. Is this good? From the context of Indian culture - A big NO. Families have moved apart from each other. A feel of "togetherness" normally seen in our families is becoming more of a movie scene. But, this sword of "change" has its other end too. It has shown independence to people, the power of choosing the person to live and love. The power to "Choose". Is this good?

IF modernization includes the spread of the "web", it is "modernization" literally. Any information you need is in front of you within a few clicks. The spread of knowledge and information has reached speeds synonymous to the speed of sound. A gun shot in Iowa is heard by an Indian in Andaman in a matter of few minutes. Sports actions reach people in seconds. Businesses are being handled entirely through the "web". The world has shrunk into a 17 inch monitor. But, what does the "web"-coin's other face look like? Human interaction has come down. Students were so drugged with the web that the management of a particular institution had to restrict use of Internet inside their campus because of poor inter-personal communication. People have more friends "online" than in the real world. The world of "friendships" is seen more through e-cards and forwards than in face-to-face chats and sharing. Is this "acceptable"?

If modernization includes the financial state of people, it is "social change". More and more people are able to buy their own house, have their own cars, go more "site-seeing" trips, take the airlines more. With the growth in the power to spend, the variety in the ways to spend has also increased. People have more choices. The idlis and dosais are now competing with food ranges from the dish of the "Continental" to the "Kentucky friend specials", from "Szechwan" style to the "pasta" dishes. The once monopoly of "Maruti" has given way to the Fords, Hondas, Fiats and Opels. The other side of this sword is the increase in the amount of health issues. More and more people have diseases not known a few decades ago. Diseases occurring only to old age people have shifted ages to more younger age groups. Air pollution has increased to alarming proportions. With lackadaisical government policies in respect to the environment, this is already having its effect on the country and its people. How "good" is this?

I leave the decision to the reader.