Indian. Enough. For You?

Over the last 70 years, the definition of being Indian has changed many times over. From being the  land of snake charmers and rope tricks, we have evolved to being a superpower to reckon with in pretty much every sphere of life. We have dealt with ills like caste, sati, religious persecution with a flamboyance only Indians can carry off. We have done away with poverty, disease, and corruption with solutions that leave the academic world baffled. The contemporary Indian is a truly wondrous thing, a thing more Indian than you think.

We have become contributors to the global economy instead of carrying the thick end of the stick. We get hitched across linguistic and cultural borders and create new identities transcending differences and definition. We think in Bengali and blog in English and usually have a third language up our sleeve when we don't want Junior to understand what we are speaking of. We use phrases like "why because" and "that is what" just for timepass. We prefer Indian Chinese and Continental Tarka and create dishes like Gobi Manchurian and Paneer Pizza.

Traditionalists view this modern Indian with reservation; in their opinion, they are a travesty of what being Indian is about. But the modern Indian couldn't really care. He bares his soul (no typo, that) with the brazenness of a Ravindra Gaikwad and the finesse of a Singer Abhijeet. He has solved the problem of caste by having reservations where everyone, especially the cream of the traditional Indian society, now wants to be declared a scheduled caste, or an other backward class, and then some. We have wiped out sati, and now insist brides burn with an even blue flame while their husbands are alive and watching, holding their mummyjis and naanijis hands. We have strict laws to book those who indulge in domestic violence or dowry harassment. However, the modern Indian, gender no bar, has found ways to buy justice or to use this law for personal profit, so it is really not a problem. Or a solution for that matter.

We have eliminated poverty by lowering the poverty line to where noone below it could possibly exist. Many people well above it also no longer exist. To be declared poor in India, you have to become a starving ascetic, since a family income of 1000 rupees per month pushes you into what is presumably the middle class. The middle class itself now starts somewhere around the middle floors of the Ambani residence. We have eliminated disease by creating a healthcare system so efficient that it does away with anyone who has any disease. A few decades back, fiery young politicians identified overpopulation as a solution for all our troubles and worked on eliminating all future families. That sterile strategy backfired twice over; not only did it lead to "the end" of the fiery politician and his ilk, our overpopulation now makes us among the most desirable markets for everyone, Fiery and nonfiery politicians included. No allusions needed to anybody here.

The A to Z of Challenges - A Writer's Primer

Blogging lets you define your readership, or as in my case, the lack of it. Not having a readership to cater to frees you from expectation, and I clearly sense that in the little work I have published over the last one-and-a-quarter year.  The last year has been a time of change and consolidation for my family and me. I was nudged into taking off my cape and rolling up my sleeves. As a family, we were challenged with new demands, impossible schedules, and paradoxical finances. The net outcome was a period of above average growth. You can see from my unconscious choice of words what lies uppermost in my mind.

April is the cruelest month for most bloggers, as everyone gets into the tizzy of one post a day for the A-to-Z challenge. For many years, I thought it was a marketing campaign by Amazon. I tried my hand at it a couple of times after I got the general drift. The first time I went up to three or four days, the second time up to nine. The joy of not having a readership is that failures do not need to masquerade as pillars of success. My utmost respect for all who take on such challenges, regardless of whether they succeed or not, and regardless of the stuff it brings up. Feeds choked with one letter of the alphabet a day help brush the plaque off my demented vocabulary. This year, I am using it to teach Junior a few new tricks.

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