Thursday, March 19, 2009

No News edition 13 - a few Barbaric Thoughts

Dear Friends,

Welcome to read the 13th issue of No News. It has taken a longer time this time to come out with this issue. The title tries to convey the reason. The thoughts are all there, but it is all mixed up, like the meat coming out of a mincing machine. Activities happening around too does not differ. Day by day, the life and people around getting different. Are we also affected by the global recession? Some months ago, it was the turn of the environmentalists to cry about the global warming. But, the heat is on now with a much higher degree and severity that makes those environmental voices become no cries in the current context.

The week starts and ends at a much higher pace these days and I look forward to the Friday’s as it gives some time to catch up with the leftovers from print media collected over the week. Luckily, these days, the bulk has been reduced and what is available comes out with quality. For some time now, it has been a routine to visit my barber on this free day. The visit has multiple objectives. Muhammad bhai as I call him affectionately is a long timer in Abu Dhabi. With two wives and about 6 children living at his village home in Karachi, he has always some or other story to convey about what has happened during the week in the surrounding locality here and also in his home town. It is a one man show now, as he is waiting for his brother as his reliever to come back from Pakistan and take turn for him to start for his long holiday. However, it seems he has decided not to and Muhammad Bhai is helpless as he finds it difficult for a trustworthy handover. His small saloon is a union for some of his friends, who are now familiar to me and other regulars. One among them is Aslam, who is from Bangladesh. Aslam bhai comes to the shop to watch TV which is situated at one corner of the shop. The moment he enters the shop, Aslam bhai consider it as his own empire and takes possession of his weapon of mass alteration, i.e. the remote control of the TV. From then on, any customer within, will have to watch, one minute Pakistani news, the other minute a Bengali channel and then all the different channels of Zee and in between various Arabic channels. Probably, a problem with his hearing or deliberately not wanting to hear Muhammad bhai’s or others please to stop or reduce the volume, he will continue fiddling on the remote and then finally stops when he gets Sahara channel and the Ramayana or Mahabharata serial playing in it. It doesn’t matter what the previous days episode was, he finds some unknown pleasure in the conversation happening and then we could see him laughing his heart out. In between or at the end, if someone asks him, Aslam bhai, tell us what happened, where are we and what next? He will smile showing all his 20 odd teeth with a gentle answer, If I know, what will happen next, do you think, I will watch it this long? True to him, otherwise, he would have definitely changed the channel.

Many times, the same situation repeated, and I find certain realistic and sincere conversation happening in that Muhammad bhai’s small saloon touching my inner thoughts. While he continues solely with his job, his mobile phone rings repeatedly and looking at the number, he will tell us, this is my first wife and I will call her after I finish your job. He cuts the phone with a short answer in his local dialect. In few minutes again the phone rings and he answer in short sentences, in an altogether different tone for a little longer time with a brighter smile and glowing eyes. Brief but short and he keeps the phone and revert to us saying that it was his younger wife. On one occasion, a channel was showing how various states where getting ready for the forthcoming elections. In some context, they showed the martyrs of the Mumbai attack and among them the neatly cut NSG Commando Sandeep. Seeing him, and with a sigh, he tells me, Ramesh bhai, after certain age, it is only we, barbers, who get to touch the head of a person and pamper him the way ones parents does to a child in his childhood? Probably, he was missing his own children whom he has not seen for a longer time. Definitely, in many ways, Muhammad bhai helped me to open my eyes into un-explored directions each time I visited him.
Life goes on and it’s another bright and sunny morning and it is time to go to school. It is board exam time for my son and to revisit the thoughts of my schooling days and exam times and compare what is happening around now, I didn’t miss this opportunity of dropping my son to his exam centre. Children are the same everywhere, and many of them were seen tensed on the first day and teachers assisting them with last minute doubts and preparations. It was interesting to see many of them seeking blessings from their teachers and parents. With most of the subjects covered, it was the English Exams yesterday, and I found literally all of them very relaxed. What made more interesting thoughts was the conversational style happening around. It seems like most of them are talking in terms of Short Term Memory Loss happening to them, following the recent Hindi movie Gajini.
Wheels of my clock moves faster these days and evening we all gather to watch one particular show these days. It is currently on in the Amrita TV channel and is called Super Talent. Into it’s 3rd round, the show has gained considerable ground in terms of quality approach in presentation by the contestants and the subsequent reviews by elite panel of judges. It is giving it’s worth on time spent before going to bed.

Wining is not always possible. However, if we do not attempt, the probability of a win will be nowhere. In the recent times, I happened to come across two winners in lucky draws. One was a regular e-mail friend, a famous RJ, who won a lucky raffle in the recently concluded DSF draws. Another, happened to be a known person, who won an equally or more amount from a Duty Free Raffle. It is good to see both continuing their life and efforts promoting Positive vibes around. May god bless them to motivate many through their own simple ways.

I am excited to include and inform that quality initiatives are taking a high rate of acceptance from the authorities as well as the news media these days. Government authorities and suggestions sites like, Dubai Municipality Have Your Say programmes, Dubai RTA, Road Transport Authority of Abu Dhabi, and the news media like THE National and GULF NEWS are coming out with many new initiatives to promote participation of general public and to get their views and suggestions for overall improvement in the society around. Why not spare a few minutes and visit these portals and be a part of the society and it’s progress.

My thoughts are getting complex each time I take my car out on the street. Even with all the campaigns happening, stricter fines and points, some are continuing to seek wild pleasure in showing their might on the street. With cigarette on one hand and phone on the other and legs up or even a child on the lap safety doesn’t seem to be nearer. I feel, they will learn only by getting a chance to visit for themselves the casualty departments of hospitals. Spread the word around, follow the speeding rules do not use mobiles while driving and reach home safe be the mantra to follow.
God Bless and have a great week-end.

Ramesh Menon

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