It was the pre final year in college when the Men in White (Indian Navy) descended on the campus. A fire to do something different was stoked somewhere within! The interviews and Services Selection Board followed and I was among the first lucky ones placed in a job!
The opportunities for employment when we graduated were confined to a few private sector companies like Philips, IBM, Escorts, DCM etc and mostly PSUs/ Railways/Defense and Government jobs. A few bright ones joined management schools and some moved to greener pastures abroad as they earned scholarships.
I saw the shimmering lights of the ships anchored in
Kochi (then Cochin)
harbor as the train crossed the Thevra bridge, my first encounter with the sea!
The destiny took me to don a white uniform and sail the blue seas. The
transition was not easy as I did not know swimming and how I learnt to swim
will require a separate post. The life took a complete U turn in terms of
cultural shock, new way of life and physical rigor which I had not imagined.
Every joint in the body ached at night for the first few days before waking at
day break on the next day!
During 1970s and early 80s we witnessed the unfolding of bloody events related to creation of Khalistan (a secessionist movement). There were widespread killings and thousands of innocent lost lives, till flushing out of the terrorists from The Golden Temple in Jun 1984. Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh guards in retaliation on 31 Oct 1984. There was widespread mayhem and killings in the aftermath in streets of
Delhi. Her son Rajiv Gandhi, a reluctant
politician, took over the reins. He ushered in major reforms, the most notable
being heralding a ‘computer age’. He too died a violent death at the hands of a
suicide bomber like his mother for the peace initiatives in Sri Lanka.
There was a short lived honeymoon with Janta Party ruling the country. VP Singh
the then PM, let the ‘Reservation Genie’ out by implementing the Mandal
Commission report and ensuring the mediocre rule the roost for all time in
future! The intentions were noble but implementation left a lot to desire.
A brief rule of BJP in the post Babri Masjid demolition took the country back by a few decades. With squandering of opportunity the regional parties started playing a bigger role in future politics and subsequent coalition governments of the country. Horse trading and clinging to power at any cost became the accepted norm in the years that followed. The harsh economic realities came back to haunt PV Narshima Rao the then PM and became dominant factors to choose the path of reforms by doing away with the stranglehold of License Raj. Many MNCs set up shop in
in its wake. They saw an opportunity to address the market comprising of 350
million strong middle class, the biggest market after USA, in the world.
I too decided to switch my career and joined the bandwagon of telecom and software boom and traveled across the globe. The new opportunity gelled perfectly with my wanderlust. A bevy of sun tanned beauties in Gold Coast (Australia), and Sardinia ( Italy) beaches, exotic shows of Phuket Fantasy (Thailand), Moulin Rouge and Lido in Paris, Submarine ride in Eilat ( Israel), Snorkeling in Krabi( Thailand), Scuba diving in Seychelles, treks on Swiss Alps, Pyramids at Egypt, were a few rewards to travel. I realized how much there is to see and learn and one life time is not sufficient!
With rising number of opportunities and successive crowning of the fairer sex as Miss Universe (Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta) and Miss World( Aishwarya Rai, Diana Hayden, Yukta Mookhey and Priyanka Chopra), a flood gate opened. Indian women now moved onto the centre stage. More women are now working as the economic independence has made them more empowered. The task of raising children in families is now being done both by husband and wife in the nuclear families. The husband has got more domesticated and assists the better halves in managing the kitchen and laundry. This is a feat in itself as never before the men, did such chores which were shunned before. The women on the other hand rub shoulders in offices, universities and in every known profession.
Liberal sexuality has increased the incidence of rape and sex related problems in a society where even a discussion on sex was taboo about two decades back. What was in the closets came out in the full view thus leaving many unable to cope. According to the latest finding in a report in Reader’s Digest ( March12) issue, Out of ten cities in the world that searched for word ’Sex’ on Google seven of them are in India ! The result is all too evident!
Increasing prosperity has brought in problems of increase in incidence of drunken driving, influx of cars on the roads, increasing pollution, environmental degradation and general social upheaval. Moral values have taken a serious knock and corruption has spread its tentacles in every conceivable domain.
India has now become multi faced with one end
rubbing shoulders with best in the world and at the other end multitude of poor
and illiterate, as in Africa! The economic
prosperity has got limited in few hands. The greed and scams have now become so
common that they have lost their news value. The life of an average man who
wants to lead a decent life is challenged by the insatiable greed of few and
reflects in poor quality of life of the masses. The rise of dowry related
deaths and abortion of female foetus, and honor killings are still the bane of
this nation even among the so called educated class.
The biggest scourge of present times is terrorism which has created untold fear in the life of a common man. There have been multiple attacks in different cities and very little could be done to handle this modern day evil. Enormous effort is still ongoing to curb this menace for which a huge price is being paid by a common man!
It is laudable is that education is still the priority for most of the middle class. This is the single greatest equalizer. Most of the school and college mates who hailed from very ordinary backgrounds now drive flashy cars, live in penthouses or big flats, and enjoy their holidays in foreign destinations which were unthinkable by their parents who struggled hard to give them better education. The Gen Y and Gen Z are better connected and derive the benefits of the strides made in the technology and benefits of the ‘Internet ‘age.
We are now living in times where the human life span has increased with better doctors, medical facilities, and faster means of communication, more availability of food options despite population explosion, more means of entertainment, and more options for study. All we need to do is strike a right balance and curb the greed to see the benefits reaching the poorest man in
to make it a nation which can shine!
PS: 1. Image kind courtesy Google
2. I thank all my readers for reading these posts patiently and to see the great changes we have witnessed in our life time.