Jan
18
Posted on 18-01-2015
Filed Under (CRIME) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

“If the world had no weapons, what would have been positive and negative today?” I asked a few of my close friends. A Swiss friend, Herve Luquiens, replied, “Hello Sen, your question reminds me of my youth! My grandfather was a socialist leader in Switzerland, Mayor of Lausanne. He insisted I never play with military dinky toys. I was unhappy, but that was his political belief! Seriously, I’m not comfortable with your idea. Talking about the real world, I’m scared about bad guys holding weapons and good guys not. In France, many military weapons were left after World War II. At some stage it was asked to declare them, a few years later, to give them to the police. You did that or you could go to prison. But today whoever wants to rob a bank or kill innocent people can get a Kalashnikov on the Internet for as little as 1500 Euros. Also, Nazis had weapons when the Jews were unarmed… So I love your dream, but I don’t believe it works in real life. Too bad!” Just imagine, 70 million Kalashnikovs sold to date, plus millions of other weapons to destroy people. To what purpose?

A Parisian friend responded: “It’s a trap question! But yes, a great wish.” Clearly a Utopian dream, yet for a few hours last Sunday, 11 January 2015, it became reality in Paris. Amazingly, State leaders from 44 countries were queuing to catch the bus from French President’s Elysee Palace to Place de la Republique to attend an International Unity Rally for freedom of expression.  This republican call by French President made people forget their political or religious divisions. An ocean of humanity, over 1.5 million, inched silently through Paris streets. Simultaneously, another 2.5 million marched in different parts of France, and across Europe, the Americas and Australia people paid street rally tributes to the 17 victims of 1-789-15 terrorist attacks. Such solidarity to condemn senseless killings has no parallel.

I’ll never forget the incredible weaponless union between 2 arch enemies, Palestinian Authority President and Israeli Prime Minister. Leaving aside religious and political problems, they marched together to endorse “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” human rights the French had installed since 1789. Leading the rally, all arm-in-arm, were the King and Queen of Jordon, German Chancellor, British and Italian Prime Ministers, President of Mali, among other leaders. Their peaceful protest was against terrorism killing innocent people, 10 French artists of Charlie Hebdo, a publication illustrating satirical opinion irrespective of religion and politics that French liberty allows, 3 security personnel and 4 Jewish shoppers. These statespersons made no speech, but showed terrorists that their vile acts instead brought people of all religions together. Paris Grand Mosque Imam Boubakeur attended mourning prayers at the Jewish synagogue with Catholic President Hollande and Jewish Israeli PM Netanyahu. This strong symbolic expression of peace showed the power to win without weapons. Can the world become weaponless? I’m not enamored of non-violence where the opposition is armed; it’s unnatural, inhuman, exposing weakness. My dream is a non-violent, weaponless world where both sides have no weapons.

Hate, jealousy and power exist in our DNA, characteristics that cannot be erased. Weapons feed and empower hate, jealousy and power to become explosive, to endlessly kill people. When somebody commits an unsocial violent act, society sends a force to kill the killer. Doing so, have we stopped violence? Revenge will come from numerous quarters starting a domino effect of violence, and making us live in perpetual terror, insecurity and violence everywhere in the world. If we actually had no weapons, social beings would challenge one another through intellectual weapons expressed in various media. We’d experience creativity wars that kill nobody. Styles of expression in different societies would be extraordinary, replacing the physical punishing world we know now. A 6-year-old boy at the French rally was asking, “Why will I be killed for making a funny drawing?”

Unfortunately, all of France is in limbo now in spite of the rally’s success in symbolizing unity. French Muslims are wary of Catholics and Jews, and vice versa. Ironically, all 3 religions are often referred to as Abrahamic, tracing their history to Abraham in the Hebrew Bible. Judaism and Christianity were founded in Palestine, Islam in nearby Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  Since prehistoric times, Palestine has been ruled by Hebrews, Egyptians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks and now warred over by Israel and Arab Palestine. Jews believe it’s their Promised Holy Land, it’s significant for Christians as Jesus spent time there, and as per Muslim tradition, the Prophet’s ascent to heaven was from Jerusalem. I don’t know if this close connection is what makes the 3 religions passionately love and hate one another. Liberal French democracy has welcomed the largest Muslim (8 million) and Jewish populations (half a million) in Europe to France (total population 63 million), but this does not mean that France has to change its high secular value system and freedom of expression.

“We are French first” is the feeling the Unity March hoped to ignite amongst French minorities, just as US values are successfully implemented on immigrants who say, “I’m American before anything else.” French Jews migrating to Israel for fear is a new phenomenon that’s shocked me: 12,000 since 2012 anti-Semitic terrorism struck France, and 15,000 estimated in 2015. I’d never before heard my French Jewish friends, clients and artists express alienation. Personally, I’ve always received great affection in my adopted homeland so never understood what racism is.

That last Sunday’s Unity March displayed no turbulence means we want to live under a beautiful sky with strong fraternity, mixing with different people, different religions, different world cultures. Switzerland with 35% population with migration background and high priority on education, has never faced trouble. Shouldn’t we invest in education instead of weapons to protect ourselves? My question to you, my valuable reader, is: “What if the world had no weapons?”

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

 

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Jan
11
Posted on 11-01-2015
Filed Under (CRIME) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

“Papa, do you remember when I was a kid I used to watch Dorothee’s programme? There used to be an artist-painter called Cabu. They killed him.” I got this text message from my son, born and raised in France. I called him, he could barely talk in his grief. You can watch Channel 2’s animated children’s programme clip by Dorothee called Vive les vacances (Long live the holidays) of 30 years ago here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJhetHo_zfo. Cabu’s live drawings had kept a whole generation spellbound. It’s incredible how my generation, my son’s generation, younger French generations I’ve seen in solidarity gatherings condemning the horrible shootout at Charlie Hebdo premises were all so heavily influenced by intellectual satirical poetic cartoonists.

Gerrard, Jose and I were colleagues working in a design firm at Nation, Paris East, in the late 1970s. We would lunch at La Grignoterie on Boulevard De Picpus, good meat with salad or French fries cooked by the husband of the woman who ran the small restaurant. The dessert was always delicious caramel custard or profiteroles. Particularly on Wednesdays, we would delay the owner because that’s the day Charlie Hebdo was published, and we would get engrossed arguing over its contents.

This satirical paper challenged us with intellectual entertainment. What auto-censored traditional media could not say, Charlie Hebdo ripped apart without any frontier. Their lampooning spared no one, from politics and presidents to religious symbols like popes and prophets, to high-profile celebrities and extreme right culture. They rebelliously took on subjects they disapproved of. Without sugarcoating, they often appeared crude, but with simple pencil strokes, they aroused both great laughter and intense anger. The three of us could never agree on any Wednesday topic. We would always have triangular fights or two-against-one fight. Lunchtime was just an hour, but hot Wednesday debates made us rush through the last 10 minutes. The best part after a big fight was that Jose and I would face each other across a worktable, where immediately we would become friendly colleagues again. Gerrard sat separately in the architectural design department. Often on Wednesdays, he would arrive at 4 o’clock at the coffee shop behind our office to restart our Charlie Hebdo subject fight for 5 minutes, then return to work.

On 8 January, 2015, Jose and I nostalgically spoke on Skype, watching TV in shock, he in France, I in India. We mused over how Charlie Hebdo’s non-conformist illustrators had engaged us on terrific debates every Wednesday. Provocative cartoons of Jean Cabu, Georges Wolinski and Philippe Honore could express satire with a few lines within a few seconds, something that would take a thousand words to write or half an hour to film. Having seen their live graphical palette as they drew cartoons in reply to different questions on television programmes was unforgettable. I was asking Jose why we are feeling we’ve lost our friends because we had never met them. Jose figured it was the power of their pencils, their humour and extreme modesty that endeared them so. As fellow artists, we connected easily to their simplicity and artistic, expressive minds that showed a tangential perspective. They were not known outside France, as they communicated in French, but just look at how the whole world is mourning their deaths. This shows how creative ideology and liberty of expression can never die.

The power of crayons led people of all ages to 26 Rue Serpollet, Paris 75020. They put boxes of colourful pencils as memorial remembrances for those the terrorists gunned down at the Charlie Hebdo office on 7 January, four of whom were considered among France’s most ingenious cartoonists of all time. “I would rather die standing than live on my knees,” is what editor Stephane Charbonnier had earlier said. Watching a TV interview of his companion, Jeannette Bougrab, really moved me. She served as French secretary for youth and community life in Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP Government. Remembering Charbonnier with tears, but elegantly, she said she’s from the Right wing, while he was totally Leftist, but their love was above politics. She was dreading the next few days because two tough jobs awaited her; she had to see her companion’s bullet-ridden body after the autopsy and see him get into the grave. I will never forget her expression of the pain she is going through.

Satirical caricature has been a revered tradition in French journalism since before the 1789 revolution. In this world’s first revolution, where the French motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” emerged, radical and liberal publications played a decisive role in replacing France’s absolute monarchy. Subsequently, there arose modern political ideologies globally and democratic republics. Satire’s core aim is to make people laugh. The printed press spread cartoons and liberty of artists across Europe. But censorship was not unknown to France in recent times. When satirical magazine Hara-kiri published some mockery after president Charles de Gaulle’s death in 1970, it was banned. Most of Hara-kiri’s illustrators then started an alternative, irreverently calling it Charlie Hebdo. Aside from barbing de Gaulle, Charlie also references Charlie Brown who is lovable, but a never-give-up loser created by American Charles Shultz in comic strip Peanuts. Hebdo is abbreviated hebdomadaire, meaning ‘weekly’.

Charlie Hebdo was the heart of French culture, admired for super-stroke creativity in spite of the contradictions they provoked. Other French publications are contributing to keep Charlie Hebdo alive, a million copies will be printed of its next Wednesday’s edition. Although barely known outside France, young cartoonists worldwide want to join it today. France is hosting an international rally against terrorism on January 11, 2015. All this demonstrates that artist-intellectuals have the power to break all political divisions to unite for a cause. Voltaire, an 18th century French satirical polemicist and philosopher, had criticised intolerance, religious dogma and French institutions during his time. What he said sums up the solidarity people feel today: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

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Jan
04
Posted on 04-01-2015
Filed Under (TRENDS) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

Our Prime Minister’s call to focus on zero defect manufacturing quality is certainly the correct direction for India’s future. Referring to the IT sector as showing innovation and research prowess 25 years ago, he bemoaned that India is yet to create something path breaking like Google, while talent has left the country. Undoubtedly IT/ITES grew to $86 billion annual exports, but how much adaptable innovation has happened in this business size is debatable, while research investment has been miniscule.

Innovation is a big word, we use it all the time in India, but without capability to produce digital technology basics like hard discs. Thailand is dominating this market. Even the Japanese, Koreans, and now Chinese are incredible adaptable innovators in multiple domains, not fundamental inventors. Where are India’s engineers making wafers and semiconductors in India?

I’m sure our Government is better facilitating technical paperwork to ease business nowadays. The real problem is elsewhere though. It’s in capability building that requires extreme behavioural change to match global standards and an entrepreneurial bent of mind. For manufacturing to acquire an edge, we need engineers dedicated to hardcore engineering, and well-trained, disciplined, capability-driven workforce. But look at the cream of our engineers jumping to MBA Finance, Marketing or HR without even trying out R&D or manufacturing in India. I asked some brilliant 24-year-old IIT-plus-MBA working people, why don’t we hear of 18-year-old Indians having an innovative or entrepreneurial bent of mind?

Several angles emerged in answering this question. Parents in India, they said, want the son to score high marks in school and college, get a high salaried job; the vision for the daughter is wealthy husband and reputable family. Making it to IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) is really tough, they explained. During their last 2 years in school, they enrolled for special and expensive coaching classes to learn engineering fundamentals to prepare for IIT entrance exams. Children continuously feel, often unstated, pressure from parents when choosing the education stream in high school. Science, required for engineering and medical studies, is always first priority. You need high overall marks to take science. So by default, arts or commerce students are considered less intelligent, subconsciously giving them an inferiority complex. Even when good in science, these young professionals said avoiding coaching class was unthinkable because basics are not properly emphasized at school. What’s worse, even with rigorous external coaching they may not make it to IIT.

Why go for competitive IIT, when so many engineering colleges exist? “The job market recognizes IIT as top of the pile.” Having become an IIT engineer, why go for MBA? They answered, enterprises value MBA graduates over engineers, it’s obvious from starting salaries where MBAs get double the remuneration. Engineers wanting to pursue an engineering profession find Indian research institutes, R&D labs or corporate engineering positions do not offer the right scope of scientific or engineering work, the payscale is dismal, nor do such jobs enjoy mainstream status. For higher education, IIT graduates try going abroad as MTech or Doctoral studies, even in IITs, do not match the high standard of Western universities. But an IIT-plus-MBA, especially IIT-plus-IIM (Indian Institute of Management) is every parent’s dream come true. This upwardly-mobile education gets the best job offers, highest societal recognition, uppermost starting salary, all without having any work experience. “There’s further hierarchy: IIT-IIM with Finance specialization tops all! Such a student was even offered Rs 1 crore annually.” What’s the real difference between IIM and IIT-IIM? “The IIT-IIM definitely has better analytical ability and structured discipline at the start, but after sometime, there’s no difference.” It’s disgraceful how we misuse pure engineering professionals. Empowering engineers is certainly a prerogative to fructify India’s ambition to become a global manufacturing hub with knowledge competency.

Crunching marks to family pressure somewhat explains how societal systems paralyze self expression, denying our young generation the scope of an inventive bent or entrepreneurial mindset. Here’s where the Prime Minister should start his real brainwashing to displace this culture. When children are dependent and protected like treasures by rich parents, their inventive or entrepreneurial inclination go out the window. When parents don’t have money, children become street urchins. On the other hand, I’ve professionally experienced that less educated people in the practical field like plumbers, electricians, auto or electronic mechanics, now the mobile phone repairers, have a huge bent for entrepreneurship. Such working class individuals are vast in number, but not valued in society. Here again the Prime Minister needs to strongly support their intellectual development. They can translate their working knowledge into adaptable innovation, but they need the right skill guidance, not through pedagogy but with practical training.

I’m very encouraged by a start-up by one of my client friends. The last 12 years I’ve known Vibhu Hajela he’d often ask about entrepreneurship as I’ve written about it several times, and I’ve always encouraged him. This 52-year-old mechanical engineer MBA with 27 years of rich work experience, earning annually half a crore of Rupees suddenly called last year to say he’s left his job to start a plastic injection moulding factory. He knows he has to generate working capital to continue, and will miss the luxury of good salary at month’s end. I’m sure “Make in India” will succeed with this kind of SME initiative, and the Government will support such start-ups. I must add that Vibhu’s wife was extremely supportive of his entrepreneurial drive.

There are several young Americans, school/college dropouts like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates among others who invented in a garage or cellar, then successfully marketed their inventions. Thomas Alva Edison left school from age 7 because his teacher said he was confused. His mother educated him at home, encouraging him to follow his scientific bent of mind. Edison spent all his pocket money buying chemicals for experiments. He invented the microphone, telephone receiver, stock-ticker, phonograph, movies, office copiers, incandescent electric lights, and owns 1093 patents. When Edison died in 1931, his assistant, Russian-born, Paris-trained chemist Martin Rosanoff said, “Had Edison been formally schooled, he might not have had the audacity to create such impossible things.”

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

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Dec
28
Posted on 28-12-2014
Filed Under (ART) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

When we are born we unconsciously make gestures, our whole life goes with gestures at every moment. One day when gestures get frozen, we are off from society. How can we use these gestures that vibrate with the living sensation of human breath? Let’s find new solutions to new initiatives like “Make in India” that I wrote about the last two weeks, that there’s indispensible need to challenge mediocrity, obsolescence and the subservient mindset.

Human gestures have evolved incredibly through the centuries as we learnt to take on challenge after challenge. People’s living styles have radically changed human gestures. These gestures have been changing at every epoch from pre-historic to civilisation,agrarian to monarchical, religious, industrial revolution to mass production to electronics, digi-tech andthe breakthrough scientific world we live in today. From those times when we lit a fire with the friction of two stones, we’ve conquered nature in many ways through inspired gestures that have multiplied, bringing in newer solutions.

Agrarian societies lived in bounded communities with limited number and style of gestures. Monarchies and feudalism created gestures that subjects had to follow. Discovering the compass, the start of oceanic travel, reaching new countries, communicating with gestures established that gesture is another silent universal language. Take the worship of God where every religion created its identity and practice through unique gestures. All believe in God, but each prayer is identified by its own gestures. During the inventive period around 17th century when the Church and Western European Renaissance liberalised the arts, literature, philosophy and science from religious dogma, it created phenomenal challenge. When science challenged nature it was totally translated through revolutionary gestures. Travelling on donkey carts to horseback, boat to train, car to aircraft all made us learn different gestures.

The huge gesture of societal challenge led to the world’s first revolution in France in 1789. A dimension of “liberte” showcased the entirely new gesture of breaking the monarchy. The 20th century’s new ideology of Communism also created revolutionary discipline with new limited gestures, but the power to challenge in capitalistic, democratic society added unlimited gestures. World War I, the first technology war was followed by World War II that brought atomic destruction, both radically moved human gestures. There is tremendous challenge in finding a new solution to old problems that set off conflicts like wars. Conflicts have to be resolved with sensitised gestures of peace that attack the problem both on the surface and at the root.

Western Europe saw the departure of modern art since 1870.  Human gesture is among the great arts in our societies. Breaking the old classic mould, many new art movements have enormously contributed to change the world through paintings, photography, cinema and industrial design. Modern art started with Impressionism where Vincent van Gogh’s bold brush strokes portrayed an oversized Starry Night; through Cubism Pablo Picasso besmirched Nazi bombing in his powerful political statement painting La Guernica; later Expressionism was discovered to have come before Impressionism.  Surrealism challenged human perspective when Salvador Dali depicted melting watches in Persistence of Memory, then there was Abstract art, Dada, Graphic art, Andy Warhol’s repetitive Pop art and Vanishing art where Christo wraps buildings and parks for a short period. These artistic gestures are themselves weapons of challenge. They have impacted and changed society. In my observation, gesture is among the great human expressions of ideation, it can be mild gesture, medium gesture or strong gestures.

Birth of Gesturism: So can’t the varied gestures that challenge mediocrity, obsolescence and subservience to bring in vibrant new solutions to also shock be made into a new movement and ideology? An ideology that challenges to find superior answers to harried problems can take society forward. That ideology can be named Gesturism movement. As it originates in human society, Gesturism has unique gestures full of challenge, possesses spontaneous essence and expresses the vivacity in human behaviour. Gesturism considers both human involvement and human frailty in the face of living in a complex, global environment where speed and information overflow meet us every day. When it’s an art movement, Gesturism art is dynamic and creative, awash with pulsating movement, new and unique, always living, breathing and unprompted.

Just to illustrate, as soon as the sun goes down every day, or in a dark room, different gestures were involved in ancient times or even in villages today that use candlelight or mashal lights. You had to be careful not to burn yourself with fire, and worry about how long the fire will last. Electric light brings in a totally different set of gestures. To use a gramophone you had to change the needle, pump the turntable, put the record on it, control the speed, open the locking system to move the record, put the sound box on the record, turn the horn’s direction to where you want the sound. From there to the electrophone, record changer, tape recorder, CD player and now MP3, just imagine the revolution of gestures brought about in a century. Even in the last two decades, the mobile phone gesture has become a trend. The stationary phone was a live messaging instrument, isn’t the mobile phone now a theatrical human expression? At every moment individuals across the world are creating their own gestures with the phone.  From birth to death, uncountable gestures grow regularly, and accompany us all the way.

The spontaneity and momentum of Gesturism establish that challenge is our most important missile to bring the new into the world. As Gesturism cannot be static, its ideology can become a new movement deployed in art, product design, photography, cinema and architecture. Gesturism provokes you to take on challenges, find new solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems, and implement the shock of new ideas to make an impact which can sustain.Emanating from the symbols and psychedelic waves that gesticulate our passion to take on life’s challenges, let’s ring in New Year 2015 and “Make in India” by experiencing Gesturism, the always alive, pure and endless movement.

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

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Dec
21
Posted on 21-12-2014
Filed Under (BUSINESS) by Shombit

That scientific, logical and creative challenge is essential for “Make in India” to take wing is what many of you, my valued readers, have written to agree with me on (http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/from-the-discomfort-zone-challenge-to-exit-mediocrity/99/#comments). What’s hindering us to confidently take on challenges is subservience to the “guru” in every field who always takes on a superior, higher order space. It’s unthinkable in our society to challenge the guru’s training.  Disciples have to respect and obey the ideas or orders of the guru who generally never likes to be challenged.

I remember our art college professors in Kolkata were extremely strict. Students had to learn painting or drawing technicalities exactly in the teacher’s artistic style. There were 2 kinds of professors, those who only taught, others who had created a big reputation in the art market. The latter became gurus whose hardcore disciples considered themselves a cut above us because their guru professor is a famous artist. From their paintings in later life, you can easily identify which guru professor such painters were disciples of. This guru-disciple trend was suffocating me. Hailing from an inferior refugee colony, I was a low profile student who didn’t have the swagger of my slick city-bred colleagues to become a guru professor’s disciple. More stifling and disheartening was seeing my senior colleagues take up clerical jobs, giving up hope of an artistic future. Suddenly after my 3rd year, I had to break this path. I eloped to France. I don’t know if I subconsciously challenged myself or took a risk.

After a tough entrance test, I enrolled in Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-arts in Paris, the prestigious 1648 art academy that trained painters like Degas, Delacroix, Monet, Renoir among others. From my livelihood savings I also studied graphic design in Academie Julian founded in 1868. Initially I felt extremely dispirited, no professor would come to my drawing board to take my pencil or brush to teach me. Was I again sans a guru?  Then I noticed that whoever wanted the professor’s help would either take the drawing to the professor or call the professor to see the work. That’s when I understood these professors were masters, not gurus. To coach students, they gave references of other painters, photographers, cinematographers, or controversial figures in domains outside art.  They never displayed their own artistic competence, nor obliged students to follow them.

My typography professor in Academie Julian was Paul Gabor of Hungarian origin. From him I learnt and have mastered the typography foundation of 4 schools, Gothic, Roman, Antique and Elzevir. He trained us with such passion that typography felt like an art form. Much later when I entered the branding profession, what I discovered about him took my breath away. My professor is the world-renowned creator of a different typography font named Gabor after him. Training from such masters made me shed my guru culture baggage. Masters don’t impose their personal style, instead listen to individualistic ideas of students, discuss different angles to help them develop. One of my Ecole des Beaux-arts professors often commented on my drawings saying there’s gesture in them, that I should never lose this gesture style in my art. Consciously or unconsciously, the way forward in my artistic domain was a challenging mindset. I’ve later created a movement called Gesturism art .

To illustrate the prescriptive process of the oral transfer of craftsmanship from a guru, let’s look at the traditional guru-shishya parampara in Indian music. There is an element of worship of the specific knowledge that a disciple gains from a learned guru who personally teaches Indian music. This worship often gets exemplified into unfettered guru devotion irrespective of other non-becoming characteristics the guru may have. Today, young people across the country mostly want to play the guitar, piano, drums or keyboard. Rarely do they express interest in the sitar, sarangi, tabla or shehnai unless parents or grandparents urge them. Urban areas have more stores that sell Western rather than Indian musical instruments. Perhaps that’s because you cannot excel in oral musical traditions without gurus and there are not enough interested disciples. After all such music was an elitist art form and gurus never always impart all their secrets. This prevents disciples to easily blossom into new gurus. So when most gurus pass on, so do their art and the techniques they excelled in.

On the other hand, Western musical system documents everything, allowing students to learn from bygone masters. It even encourages them to challenge masters to become better than masters in future. Take the works of 18th century Baroque composer George Frideric Handel. His 42 operas, 29 oratorios, 16 organ concerti and over 120 musical compositions are performed exactly the same way even today. Another prolific 18th century Classical era composer was Wolfgang Mozart in whose honour an annual music festival is held in his birthplace Salzburg, Austria. That he was a great master is evident as he inspired many composers to become masters too. The most famous among them are Ludwig van Beethovan, Fernando Sor, Mikhail Glinka, Frederic Chopin, Max Roger and Tchaikovsky who wrote memorable musical tributes to Mozart that are played and available to everyone today. There are many interpretations and reinterpretations of how people have played any master’s original compositions, but every later version is documented so nobodt becomes dependent on a guru.

I’m making this guru vs. master point to demonstrate the importance of a mindset of challenge when our country invites global capitalistic competitive manufacturers to come “Make in India.” The guru-shishya system may have success in certain domains, but it prevents you from becoming a challenger. Here you require the master to make the learner better than the master. In business, people with the guru mentality look up to their bosses, giving them guru status. This practically kills all initiative, making them mentally and physically dependent at work. Unless we break this guru kowtowing attitude, great ideas like “Make in India” will remain a dream waiting for the guru’s wand to materialize it.

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

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Dec
14
Posted on 14-12-2014
Filed Under (BUSINESS) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

Taking scientific, logical challenge with passion at the individual, collective and country levels makes a country innovative. Many Western business associates ask me whether “Make in India” is a marketing gimmick or a real drive from India’s Government. Their doubt seems to stem from past slogans like “Incredible India.” My response is always positive because in this column earlier, as well as in my books, I have advocated that India should have a strong, high skill driven manufacturing base, that our millions be trained to develop skills in different areas to both advance their livelihood and better our economy in the global field.

“Make in India” is the start of solving our country’s major problems. It will drastically shorten the poverty line, increase lower income people’s wages, equip them for better jobs through skill development, open entrepreneurial export opportunities making the country self-dependant and invite the world to make India their high value manufacturing hub. To overcome our biggest lacuna of not having the challenge-taking mindset, let’s look at those who have taken scientific, logical challenges.

Cisco CEO John Chambers started his address in Jacksonville, USA by inviting the thousand-strong crowd to challenge him. At this global digital technology conference I participated in, Chambers said he won’t be an isolated spectacle on stage. Unless challenged, he said, it would mean his subject or delivery was so banal it impacted nobody, and nobody would register his words. The audience felt really easy throwing bold questions at this multi-billion dollar Cisco founder who responded with scientific and logical aplomb, opening a healthy debate in the memorably vibrant session.

Challenge by inventors: People with self-initiative challenge the world in new dimensions. Did you know Thomas Edison with over 1000 patents is a school dropout? Just his voice recorder changed the world, subsequently creating a huge entertainment industry and several adaptable innovations.  Neither did “flying machine” inventors, Wilber and Orville Wright, who flew the first airplane, pass school. The American attitude of going to the garage with the mentality to invent is a total challenge to society. Although the US has large, sophisticated, scientific laboratory establishments, many important American inventions after 1880 came from the unconventional garage “self-laboratory.” The top 6 famous garage start-ups are Amazon.com by Jeff Bezos, Apple by college-dropout Steve Jobs, Disney by Walt and Roy Disney, Google by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Harley Davidson by William Harley and Arthur Davidson, HP by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. With scarce means, minimalistic way of living, little physical comfort, these garage inventors spectacularly challenged the world to exit mediocrity while inventing something out-of-the-box. Their individual power, motivation and passion were so strong that without taking any establishment support, their challenge resulted in greenfield inventions.

Challenge from devastated countries: I can never support Germany or Japan’s Axis military force of World War II, but hugely admire their challenge to rise above defeat. The Allied Army devastated Germany, of course to wipe out their devilish Nazi regime. Trounced Germany bounced back bravely to take on entrepreneurial challenges, and continues to be best in high quality precision manufacturing and innovation. Engineering workmanship accuracy and invincible quality of German SMEs have made the country robust enough to overcome global recessionary periods to become Europe’s most stable economy. Japan’s rebound from atomic bomb devastation was to challenge sophisticated Western developed countries by producing the world’s best quality in every domain. Upto 1970s, Japan suffered the poor quality reputation. Even I remember small, cute bad quality Japanese products in my childhood. We’d always heard that German pianos are the best due to superior acoustic engineering. Taking the piano platform as a global challenge, Japan is mesmerizing the world today by perfecting their skill-set for the delicate exactitude that piano-making requires.  You see more Yamaha pianos in classical music or rock concerts than any other country’s piano.  Destruction from war made them challenge their victimization to win in diverse industrial spheres.

Creative industry challenge: Conquering the Wild West is pride and nostalgia for all Americans. Macho actors like John Wayne, who shot into fame in John Ford’s 1939 directed “Stagecoach,” symbolized the American cowboy. Several gun-happy Westerns were made in the US which distinguished them as typically American cowboy films.

Italy, another War ravaged Axis power, had started Neo-Realism films to forget being devastated. When such films started declining in 1950s, Director Sergio Leone cheekily challenged big-time Hollywood studios. Just imagine, from traditional European culture, he dared to portray American cowboys in A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) that became global box office hits. These lower-budget films were shot in Italy and Spain, hence nicknamed Spaghetti Westerns. In this creative challenge, Spaghetti Westerns have overtaken American-made Westerns in popularity. Americans sitting in the US prefer imported Westerns, while globally, Sergio Leone, rather than John Ford, is recalled as the symbol of cowboy movies. Don’t forget, Sergio Leone’s challenge was so gigantic that even Bollywood’s highest grossing $50 million blockbuster Sholay was inspired to imitate his most famous Once upon a time in the West 1968 film.

Among many scientific, logical and creative challenges that changed mediocrity, can “Make in India” be one? The Government says many administrative areas will be facilitated, which must be happening. But how will Government help to raise people’s skill-set? Overall, several skill-set gaps need plugging in manufacturing, such as lack of hygienic and civic sense, lack of entrepreneurial challenge and innovative mindset, poor learning curve, non-conducive value of time, low capability. Only private industry, from MSMEs to middle and big enterprises and the self-employed can bring the change if they imbibe logical, scientific and passionate challenge to kill mediocrity in their work culture like Germany, Japan and now Korea have done. I can only refer you to the terrific words of American President John Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

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Dec
07
Posted on 07-12-2014
Filed Under (WOMAN) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

When I was working with a European company that made different types of home cleaning products like sponge, cleaning duster, mop with stick and the like, I remember an accusation the brand got of being disrespectful to women. With the client we had devised a special mopping innovation where the handle’s manoeuvrability enabled easy cleaning and washing of the mop to reduce effort while increasing the comfort of home cleaning. It provided great consumer advantage. The advertising storyline used the tango dance. The stick represented the man, the mop the woman. The product achieved huge sales success within six months. Then one day, the client got a notice from the court that women were being abused as servants thereby degrading them. The ad had to be stopped within 48 hours. Even the product concept was questioned because in the tango dance, the woman, the mop here, does all the dirty work as a slave through complex dance steps, while the man, the stick, largely only provides the balance. However, the client could save the concept and the product while kicking out the advertisement. The big lesson we learnt was to be super-sensitive to not tamper on people’s sentiments and women’s dignity. The attack of women being insulted was not from activists, but the consumer forum. Just imagine the superior power consumers have in developed countries that the industry cannot do things any way they want.

Zapping the TV remote yesterday, I stumbled upon an edible oil advertisement on a regional Indian channel. The prospective bridegroom’s family was choosing the bride based on her cooking ability. Doubtful, scrutinising faces were shown to light up brightly when one by one they tasted her cooking. Great cooking quality was only happening due to the oil brand. The prospective bride’s family was shown surreptitiously paying thankful reverence to the oil brand for achieving this success. Isn’t it shocking how we socially ill treat our women to sell branded products? That the girl’s performance is judged as though a cook is being hired is bad enough. Add to this our unjust social system that debases the honour of women by accepting such a bride selection-elimination process. To top it all, here was this TV commercial blatantly demeaning the woman’s cooking competence while showing a heroic brand overcoming her shortcoming to make her a winner. The ad’s tone and manner may purport to be fun, but isn’t it a below-the-belt punch on women’s dignity? How can arranged marriages use women as merchandise to be selected on abilities that will provide comfort to the family choosing her?

I remember when I was about 10 years old, I was among my maternal uncle’s family who had gone to select a bride for him. The girl was very beautiful. I was the only child there, she was very attentive to me in another room. I quickly became fond of her and felt happy she would be my aunt. She was called to walk around and serve us all delicious food and sweets. I was looking forward to the marriage date, but after sometime I heard the marriage was not to be. I was very disappointed, but could not understand why. Much later, after I’d gone to France and was on a holiday trip home, while having some nostalgic conversation, I was shocked to discover the reason why she was rejected. When they had asked her to walk, it seems she took big bold steps which displayed her character to be very independent-minded. So it was assumed that she would not be a subservient daughter-in-law. You can’t imagine how ashamed I felt that my family could inflict such insult on women.

People in our country lack the courage to challenge scientific logic. They either fight, not debate or keep quiet. I squirm to see fairness cream advertising in India that disgracefully slurs women’s honour. Being the world’s most heterogeneous society with strong geographical change across the south, east, north and west, every Indian’s morphology and pigmentation obviously cannot be the same. Yet culturally, in every region, fairness is coveted. The ads emphasise how fair skin increases a girl’s confidence, lands her plum jobs and raises her marital fortunes. Skin lightening cosmetics have, year after year, played on the insecurities of people about their skin colour and created a R3,000-crore industry by 2014. As film stars are used to advertise these products, the film industry is largely responsible for propagating such social non-acceptance fears because of dark skin. How many heroines have you seen who are dark? Does it mean the role model for women in our country is fair heroines?

The earliest commercial fairness cream in India was made in 1919. In 1975, came an MNC whitening product that’s ruled monopolistically for several years to become a R1,000-crore brand. It seems 30% of fairness creams are secretly used by men, so from 2005, a special whitening product for self-doubting men promising them better prospects with lighter skin was successfully launched. Today many international cosmetics companies have joined the fray to entice women to become white. Millions of our people are below the poverty line or don’t have the money to take care of their skin through nutrition. Instead, they fall victim to such products for their skin troubles. Don’t whiteness promising companies realise how insulting their proposition is to women’s natural beauty? The Centre for Science and Environment says health is at stake, too, because about 44% of fairness creams marketed in India contain high toxic mercury levels that can eventually affect the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. By quoting this NGO, I am, of course, not raising any issue of creams protecting skin from the sun’s ultra-violet rays.

Frankly, we don’t require activists to rebel against such disgraceful money-making activities. The consumer forum can stop such products that feed on people’s unsure sense of worth and horribly humiliate women. There are so many different angles that women in our country have to face disgraceful insults from. It’s a shame.

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

 

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Nov
30
Posted on 30-11-2014
Filed Under (YOUTH) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

Our society’s most killing missile that prevents us from taking ownership of our lives is to wonder at every step what others will say.

Nandita, a highly educated, 24-year-old working woman, was telling me that her parents will not object to her possible love marriage. Yet they and close family members have overdosed her to be very conscious about whom to choose otherwise “What will people say?” Her core investigation of boys and the big dilemma that comes to her mind when she feels romantically inclined is, “What will others say?” She was expressing that by nature she will not go against her parents in choosing a boyfriend, which amounts to following a pre-determined pattern of who should be her ideal husband. In India’s contemporary situation, she explained in a matter-of-fact way, having an affair need not translate to marriage, an area that’s not under her control. Somehow she was realizing her inner emotional content is getting disturbed. She said she has time upto age 27, but her conversation became indifferent, “With all my restrictions, I may fail in a love marriage, so I have to depend on my parents to find me a bridegroom.”

While doing some research in an Indian village, a farmer’s son was saying their 2-acre land gives them Rs 50,000, while Rs 20,000 is spent on input costs. So with Rs 30,000 for the year it’s impossible to run their 7-member family. Taking his own initiative, he bought a small motorbike and became a mobile barber going to people’s houses to earn money. This brings him nearly Rs 15,000 per month. But his relatives want to disassociate with him. Why? Because they are Brahmins and he’s defiling the family’s image by pursuing a lower caste job.  I really appreciate this courageous spirit of today’s young generation not caring about what people say. After the research I went to his house and found the family living condition was quite comfortable with the money he brings in. He showed me his barber kit. His parents were despondent, wondering how they will marry him off to a Brahmin girl because his entrepreneurship is not acceptable in their community.

My own barrier was not so different. When Mr Jacques Gourdon, owner of the lithography printshop near Paris, very kindly offered me a sweeping job in 1974, I was totally shocked. It was unimaginable. I was from a Bengali bodhiya family. We were extremely poor in India, lived in a refugee colony. But how could I be a sweeper? I’d just arrived in France, knew no French, was penniless and without any job prospect. My growling stomach quickly won over my cultural blocks. I de-conditioned my Indian caste conscious baggage, and graciously accepted the job.

But more mental torture awaited me. My job entailed taking six big dustbins full of used ink cleaning cloth and papers out from my printshop to the road at the end of each working day. That immediately traumatized me. “What if someone saw me?” That this instant fear was ridiculous did not occur to me then. Just imagine the kind of complex I was carrying in my head. Nobody knew me in France then, which Indian would see me or even wonder who I was? How can any acquaintance or neighbor from my Indian village ever know I was here that I had to be careful of, “What will they say?” But psychologically I was very disturbed. Lots of cars and buses ply on the main road, so every time I went outside the door with my dustbins, I used to hide my face to not be recognized as a sweeper in society

After some time, I discovered this anguish to be totally absurd when I found Mr Gourdon was respectfully presenting me to other artists who came to the printshop as a painter from Calcutta. He’d even promote my paintings so I could make some extra money. The artists who’d come to the printshop to make their lithographs never looked down at my sweeping work like we tend to do in India. That broke my whole misconception of what other people will think. I started to boldly say then that my occupation was a sweeper while I was a painter. My morale was boosted when fellow students at my Parisian art college appreciated that I worked hard to support my education and livelihood while undermining themselves that they were studying with their father’s money. So I learnt that worrying about what others will say is the most indecent social education system in our country because it puts you in a cage you cannot break free from.

Just imagine, a cobbler in our country is considered the lowest caste “mochi.” I remember even in my poverty-stricken childhood, my grandmother never allowed me to touch the cobbler when he came to repair a broken sandal. After he left, the place he occupied was cleaned with water. Does it mean our cobbler has no chance of becoming a Christian Louboutin or Jimmy Choo, the celebrated shoe designers whose hand everyone wants to shake?

“Hats off to you! You don’t care what others will say,” is what people in India often tell me about the bright, holiday colours I wear to work to meet top global corporate managers. Actually I started wearing such colours in France to differentiate myself from the high-flying CEOs I had to mingle with, and didn’t really pay heed to this habit. Until I recently met Nandita and discovered the gravity of the words, “What will people say?”

The enveloping torment that society puts on people of a different caste and creed does not allow us to blossom to our full potential. I hope India’s young generation will ignore such persecution of “What will others say?” and make their careers without boundary, achieve their love life without other’s interference and create their livelihood in every domain with dignity.

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

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Nov
23
Posted on 23-11-2014
Filed Under (YOUTH) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

Born with innocence, strong socialization moulds human beings to certain cultures. The need to not deviate from societal norms can ruin many a cross-cultural love relationship.

The amazing number of sincere responses to my column on digital technology adding salt to love wounds tells me the problem is dire.  Firstly, thank you my readers for connecting to my writing and permitting me to use your personal experiences. You are proving that it’s not just traditional caste, different states, languages, food habits or innocent Facebook appearances that put spokes into intimate marriage bonding. Look at the numerous weird reasons you have revealed to me of how love marriages can be blocked, snuffing happiness out.

Tech-savvy astrologer: A civil servant’s son and daughter of a family of engineers have been unable to marry for 3 years because of an astrologer’s negativity. These erudite families are evading decision-making responsibility by consulting an astrologer to determine marriage compatibility. It seems disbelieving or contradicting the astrologer is not an option because he uses the latest gadgets and apps to predict situations. Nor is it possible to bribe him, as is a common occurrence in such circumstances, because he’s a family member. The point I’m making here considers far-reaching consequences. Entrepreneurship is already lacking amongst our educated classes, by believing in such filters for children’s happiness we immobilize everyone. Instead of taking confident steps in life we make ourselves dependent on soothsayers, others who flex power muscles, or untoward beliefs in planetary movements we cannot control.

Antibiotic for digital woes: Having astronomical problems for marriage doesn’t mean there’s no solution if you visit the right godman. Watch out digital technology! Meet your match in a Baba who claims to remove “the negative impact that Internet has on young boys and girls.” In Mumbai’s suburban railway service which 7.5 million commuters use to come to work every day, this Baba advertises a cure for any digital technology problem people have. I’m sure many get convinced with such an antibiotic because a Baba plays a magical role in India.

Religious ricochet: An MNC executive said she’s had two different affairs at different times with non-Muslims who later confided they did not propose to her because their families were opposed to inter-religion unions. In her Muslim family, marrying outside the sect is considered a crime where all ties between the family and couple are severed. Her uncle arranged his daughter’s marriage to a Bora Muslim, so his extended family of Sunni Muslims ostracised them. When his other daughter fell in love with a Christian, her uncle insisted he convert to Islam. Even then his extended family boycotted him, stopped him from coming for prayers and will possibly disallow his burial in the community burial ground later. When another niece of this executive confided she had a Punjabi Hindu boyfriend, she excitedly offered to help them marry, but the niece declared, “I don’t plan to marry him. I will just go around with him until I can, and then get married to the guy my mother finds.”

Clan clash: That two 24-year-olds chose to marry is a big ego-punch for the girl’s parents and brother who consider it their birthright to choose her life-partner. Belonging to the same 96 Kuli Maratha clans with different surnames, they’ve known each other since childhood and are waiting 8 years for permission to marry.  He’s a responsible multinational company manager. Her parents threatened to make his life hell unless she stopped talking to him. He’s desperately looking for advice for his next move. Forget everything to get peace or defy her parents with a registered marriage?

Bold steps win: The powerful testimony of another reader who wrote about his 46 years of happy inter-caste, interstate love marriage is a great lesson for our horrible, human-made rituals. “Dear Shombit, It was a great pleasure reading your column in Indian Express. You took me personally back to late sixties. I’m Maharashtrian CKP; my wife a Gujarati Baniya, a shade lower in Hindu caste system. We met at GS Medical College, Mumbai. Fell in love. Decided to marry and then faced more or less the same obstacles as your friend’s brother… except for FaceBook. We are in active medical practice, I’m a very senior (78 years) Gynaecologist and my wife, younger by nearly 5 years, a well-known ENT surgeon. We went to UK to get our Fellowships from respective Royal Colleges of Surgeons. Our marriage has wonderfully lasted for such a happy and prosperous long time only because we had to fight extremely hard against the firmly entrenched social norms like caste, community and silly inhibitions of the feelings of near relatives in match-making. Please tell your friend’s brother to go ahead with his plan to marry his beloved and face the world boldly for what they are doing should be strictly their own business. We both wholeheartedly wish them the best, Dr. Arvind Pradhan, Dombivali.”

Hijacked! A reader from UP who’s had a love marriage with a Bengali, narrated how parents try to own proprietorship over their treasured boys. She said when her 80-year-old father-in-law meets his brothers, they invariably talk of how their sons were “hijacked” into love marriages. After 15 years of marriage into this joint family where she affectionately nurtures her in-laws, her only choice is to express amusement at the hijacking metaphor.

Meddling with human emotion, our most valuable intangible asset, can be quite disconcerting. To not hurt parents, young adults illogically conform: “If I fall in love, I will fall in love with a person of my religion, caste and creed.” Virtual matrimony sites help find dates and spouses, but opposition to love marriages continues in many families. Astrologers provide scientific backup to stop the happiness of people in love, anti-Internet Babas veer us away from opening the windows of the mind, the evils of child marriage or forced social marriage continue. Do nosey relatives and co-conspirators create stodgy social dogma for couples to lead a life without emotion?

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

 

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Nov
16
Posted on 16-11-2014
Filed Under (YOUTH) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

Stressful is his joint family life due to his brother’s love affair. My soft-hearted friend was trying his best to iron out the social wrinkles leading to his brother’s marriage, but impediments are many.

The deep-in-love protagonist couple both work in a foreign company in the IT services industry. The barriers to tying the knot? They are from two different Indian states so speak different languages; he is an upper caste Brahmin, she of a lower caste whereas both follow Hindu traditions. Even being of Indian origin, I have never understood this man-made caste hierarchy. The Hindu way of life is so humane, without any dogma or any system to convert people like other religions have, yet caste puts a disgraceful black spot on it. To me it seems a critical, chronic problem in today’s day and age. When the country is growing and trying to dominate the world stage, internally we are continuing to trample on one another for social supremacy without any basis.

My friend is the elder brother; he had himself followed the arranged marriage system. His parents first found compatibility with his in-laws’ family. That means they were all Brahmins, of similar social status and Indian state so speaking the same language and eating the same kind of food. His parents chose the girl to be his bride; he met her, there was instant good chemistry between them, she is an executive in a company and they are very happily married. The arranged marriage has a few changed rules now. Before the economic reforms, a housewife was preferred, but today a working woman has a better position in a joint family. In another instance, the parents of another friend of mine from Jodhpur met 43 families during 18 months to select his bride. He married with 44th one.

Now the brother’s inter-caste, inter-state love marriage was looking catastrophic, but my friend has stepped in to make his brother happy. When he discussed with me I appreciated his elder brotherly support to enable this marriage. His wife too is wholeheartedly taking the young couple’s side to make this marriage happen. This is the new, open-minded generation. My friend and his wife met his brother and girlfriend to assure them they have support. He is trying hard to convince all extended family members to accept this marriage. Their mother is the most difficult cookie, being highly influenced by her own brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. This kind of social misbehaviour puts my friend off. His brother is frustrated because he does not want to hurt anyone or break away from his joint family to start a nuclear home. Finally, my friend and his wife managed to convince the mother; things settled down with the mother preparing for her younger son’s marriage.

Isn’t it ironic that we proudly say India is a secular democracy, we are Indians first, there’s unity in our diversity. But in practical life our true colours show. Two young working adults in love from adjacent states can face such distress and indecent, socially created rules inspite of being Hindus with no religious dogma. Both are working in responsible jobs dealing with global clients and both have similar working environment, personal friends and social circles.

For a few months I heard nothing and have been waiting for an invitation card, when suddenly a big problem erupted because of FaceBook.

His mother’s family opposed to this marriage now got evidence that the girl “drinks alcohol” which is among the worst “crimes” imaginable in traditional Brahmin families. They saw a picture of hers in FaceBook visiting UB City. The bride-to-be’s friend had posted their group picture in her Facebook page having dinner with her colleagues. Bangalore’s UB City is among India’s most sophisticated shopping malls housing luxury products retails like Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Armani, Rolex, Paul Smith among others, and a posh terrace of world cuisine restaurants. This opulent mall belongs to United Breweries, the beer and liquor company, and hence the conjecture that the girl was partying here with liquor. The problem is that traditional family folk associate such a premium place first with drinking alcohol. In actual fact, she’s a teetotaller!

My friend’s mother is very emotional, gullible and traditional. She was shown this picture of the innocent girl celebrating a colleague’s promotion.  The family of my friend’s mother who’d become unhappy since this girl was about to be accepted into the family, obviously kept tabs on her activities. This Facebook picture eating in a restaurant was the perfect ammunition to discredit the girl and say to the mother-in-law to be, “I told you so!” The mother was so disturbed she would just cry continuously.

Each time my friend repairs the situation with his mother, somebody or the other tries to break the marriage: lower caste, speaking a different language, belonging to a different state, then FaceBook added salt to that by raising the googly of alcohol. I’ve never understood what they can gain from bringing unhappiness. The young couple aged 29 and 28 years is getting frustrated. He is considering accepting a foreign assignment to get away from it all, she is under pressure from her family because according to Indian family tradition she has crossed the marriageable age.

If you look at today’s armchair virtual screen revolution, it is without a clear purpose and objective. Boasting of thousands of friends on a social networking site like FaceBook amounts to useless virtual masturbation where even physical pleasure is missing. Uploading personal pictures on FaceBook of enjoying yourself with friends or on holiday serves to upload human privacy. In India Facebook seems to have become an instrument of espionage for the older generation, particularly in marriage areas. When somebody says “I have 10,000 Facebook friends,” I’ve never understood what it means. It this the fiber of social distress? I have suggested a creative idea to my friend which I cannot disclose now. I promise you my readers, once marriage happens I’ll let you know.

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Source : The Indian Express / The Financial Express

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