Those smiling faces on the top

One of my friends never got to know what it’s like to have a father. He spent all his childhood at his mother’s place as his father left his wife when my friend was only six-months-old. He grew up at his maternal uncle’s place. As he passed his higher secondary examination, and his maternal uncle’s children grew up, the family expenses increased and in the end, my friend has to move out of his house to get a job. But he was just a 12th pass teenager yet to learn some basic lessons of life. How would he get a job and continue his studies further? He came to Ahmedabad and applied in a BPO centre for a job. He got a job after a number of attempts and used to attend college in the daytime. After a couple of years, he brought his mother to Ahmedabad and today he is living in Ahmedabad’s Khokhra area with his mother and a younger brother. He has all the responsibilities of his family. Why am I telling you all this on a networking platform?

Recently, during a business conclave in Bangalore, vice president of a reputed IT company was sharing some observations on automation. He said, “There are many rumours in the market that we are going to lose jobs because of automation. Let me tell you, it’s nothing but a joke. Automation, on the contrary, would create a lot of jobs and people will learn new skills. We should welcome the automation.” He said all this in such a positive tone as if the message was, “And they lived happily ever after.”

I, sitting on the front chair was wondering how could they lie on people’s face? Admit it! Automation will and, for sure, it will affect the job market. Especially, the low wage employees will suffer the most. If there is any sector which is going to get the most affected because of automation – it is BPO- the heartline of India. But, those smiling faces on the top won’t admit it as they are on the other end – beneficiary’s end.

According to a report by US-based research firm, “India’s going to lose 7 lakh low skilled workers in IT and BPO by 2022.” How does it sound like for a country with 1.2 billion population that creates roughly 4 lakh jobs per year? What would have happened to my friend if BPO was not there and if they told him to get advanced skills first? And this is not a story of my friend alone, there are lakhs of such families living and rather surviving because of BPO. If they, on the top, are not in a position to stop the inevitable, at least do not lie on people’s face. It hurts seeing that the things which look fascinating and exciting from far to the youth of India are going to snatch their bread and butter tomorrow.

And the companies which are involved in various kind of CSR activities, be it to change their brand image, to get indirect benefits or for the betterment of society; why don’t they just step in and start teaching the low wage workers those advanced skills which will prove to be a saviour for them tomorrow?

~ Rakesh Kumar


Do you have one more earth with you?

Firing crackers is not a part of your culture or Deepawali; It’s the distortion of your cultural identity. It’s ironical how people of the religion, that is by far the most environment-friendly, are taking pride in firing crackers and poisoning the atmosphere.
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If there is any religion that talks the most of the environmental conservation – it’s Hinduism. Such a religion would never make a thing a part of their tradition or festival celebration that costs dearly to the environment.
And today, I see some people fighting to save their tradition and calling fireworks an integral part of their culture. I doubt if they are cognizant of it that when the Lord Shri Rama came from Lanka to Ayodhya after defeating Raavana, Diyas were lightened to symbolise the victory of light over darkness. Diyas, that use a renewable source of energy as ghee and plant oil, do clean the environment rather than harming it alike our modern generation’s tool of celebration. 
On the other hand, Fireworks were first invented during the 7th century in China by Tang dynasty rulers. As the western world is known for adopting all the wrong things; it made out a way of celebration out of firecrackers. Mughals used firecrackers to impress the royal kings, and later on, after the Britishers’ invasion, firecrackers became a part of any auspicious event in India as well. As we are, by default, highly prone to adopt any western thing and appreciate the same, as we do their blond colour, showing middle finger maybe as a symbol of salutation, and you see – these days some of us from the highly intellectual young generation chanting ‘fuck-fuck’ whole day, analogously, we, the Indians seized firecrackers as a part of Diwali celebration. Now, how would you justify this pollution by saying it’s a part of your festival or culture?
Now, there’s another type of tribe, that confronts everyone who is a backer of not firing crackers by giving, ‘why don’t you ask Muslims to stop slaughtering animals on Eid’ as an excuse. These days, it has become a trend to bring religion into any controversial thing unnecessarily, and start justifying it. How can you justify one wrong with another? Why at all would you bring Bakareid to justify this nonsense act of firing crackers?
No, Deepawali alone is not responsible for global warming or warning signs we are witnessing in the climate. But somehow, the way, we, the world as a whole, celebrate Deepawali, Christmas, New year, and any other important festival has played a requisite role in this. Undoubtedly, the primary role was played by industrialisation. 
In the end, it’s not about firing crackers; it’s about our insouciance attitude towards the environment. Do you have one more earth saved in your pocket? Going by our attitude, the chances of your answer being a no are scarcer, however, by chance, if the answer is NO, then plant trees, and save water&electricity. Because merely not firing crackers won’t be even a drop in the ocean. Make it a lakelet at least.
~ Swastik Saraswat


The Modern Age Feminism

Lift: She entered in the lift pushing other boys and no one dared to stop her because she was a girl. And answer me – Is it right to stop a girl from doing something/anything? Oh god, pardon me, the sinner, for asking such a lame question. No one has the right to ask her. Not at all! After all, she is a girl. “Women are the incarnation of Goddess, you stupid moron.” I murmured to myself.

Later on, a boy was staring at her because a small piece of paper was hanging in her hair. She asked raising her eyebrows in high volume, “Why are you looking at me like this?”

Because a boy shouldn’t look at any girl. Hence, the boy deported the idea of telling her why he was looking at her. She is a feminist and she can’t bear up with someone looking at her. It doesn’t matter whatever be the boy’s intention or reason. In case, if she likes someone, she has all the rights to look at him, to give a smile and even touch sometimes. But boys? Oh, you stupid creatures should bang your head into the wall first, and if you still like the girl – You should close your eyes and then approach the girl. Because looking at a girl is not allowed unless she gives it in written with a hundred rupee stamp allowing you to look at her for a particular period of time. Hey, don’t open your eyes while talking to her. A feminist she is, remember this! But how’re you going to look at her without opening your eyes? Perhaps, you’ll need to wake up your sixth sense.

In the mess:
She may not be standing in the queue for last ten to fifteen minutes but she will get Dosa first. Because…gender preference! The girls will go away from there with happy and smiley faces saying thank you to the giver. And that thank you brings in a cloudy smile to the giver. Hey, before you forget your existence between their exchange of smiles I must remind you that you are still waiting there for your chance.

Auto stand:
Just beside her, a boy was waiting for an auto and he was there before she came. The boy waved his hand as he saw an auto coming. The auto stopped in front of them and the driver looked towards the girl. She hurriedly stepped ahead and took the auto. “Bus stand le lo bhaiya,” she ordered the auto driver.

The stupid fellow who stopped the auto looked with amazement. He didn’t know anything about our legal system. There was nothing unusual as it comes within “All men are dogs act. 2016-2017.”

As the bus tyres came in contact with road speed breakers, inside the bus, a boy’s hand slips and unintentionally he touched a girl’s hand. Guess what? She was a feminist. Her highness, she gave him a bad eye only.
“Agh, I’m sorry.” said the stupid creature.
“Bindiya chamkegi, ki chudiya khankegi” song was playing in the bus, and the driver was mumbling song lyrics that suddenly a biker came in front of the bus. The driver applied brakes very smoothly keeping in mind a feminist’s presence on the bus, but still, the effort was not good enough to save passengers from a sudden push. And the boy’s hand again touched the girl’s bag. She was standing still because she was standing by a poll. Before the stupid creature could say sorry again and stand by any other seat to avoid further events – the girl spoke the universal truth, “Main tum jaise ladkon ko achhe se janti hun”.

What a bus driver must keep in mind always is that when feminist is on the bus – He is not allowed to apply brakes suddenly and should drive the bus with extra care. In case, if a biker or anyone else suddenly comes on the way, the driver is not supposed to apply brakes because feminist is on the bus. So blessed the driver and other passengers are to have feminist around them. And the one who ‘ll die is surely going to heaven because giving life for a feminist’s comfort is a holy deed.

Swastik Saraswat | Originally Published in Dimensions Magazine

What leads common people to be criminals?

What leads people to be criminal?

”Father has already gone to work, and you are still sleeping. Wake up son!” pulling off a torn blanket over me my mother shouted at me. When my mother says ‘at work’ she means begging on the streets, not any official work like you people do. Last three generation of my family did the same; begging on the streets. But I’ve different opinions, I don’t beg from the people. Because it doesn’t give me satisfaction. I don’t want to lose my self-respect. I asked my father to do the same; sell balloons rather than spreading hands in front of people.

“Their families were rich, not like us wandering city to city. Their children study in big schools, they’ve brains and knowledge. Do we? Are we equal to them? And still, if you think we can live and earn enough by working. Try it.” replied my father angrily.

“No issue, I’ll earn. And one day I’ll show you that we too can earn instead of begging on the streets.” I replied.

I started selling balloons. Fortunately, It was a festival season and there used to be enough crowd in the market, so, I didn’t find it difficult to sell balloons. It was all good. On the very first day, I sold out 35 balloons. When children of even rich families used to come to me I became the reason for their happiness.

While going to back to the house I bought an ice-cream for my 5 years old sister. She too helps my mother when she goes to her work; the same work which my father does. Alike me, she has also been taught how to beg, how to make face expressions, what type of clothes to wear and all that a beggar needs to make an impression; an impression to get some sympathy, to get some money. The only difference is that I didn’t choose to be a beggar.

When I entered the house holding an Ice cream in one hand. She ran towards me and asked piteously, “Stupid people. Who did put this fresh Ice cream in the dustbin?”

“I bought this and paid the price. I didn’t take it out from any dustbin dear.”, I said poignantly in high pitch.

She smiled, happiness on her face was of millions. When my father learned that I bought an ice cream after paying a right price, he was not happy. His opinion was that the money should have been used for the right purpose, to get something which is needed.

We set for the dinner on the floor. Dinner….which was yesterday’s lunch of any other family. Father brought a plate of rice; mother a plate of Daal, and sister managed to get some sweets. And it was our dinner. It was our life.

Then came the summer, leaving my father sick. My mother couldn’t manage it alone to get food for us. Gradually, the sale of balloons also came down, because it wasn’t a festival season. People don’t bother to come out in June-July months.

I used to step out with 50 balloons in morning and come back with 30-35 balloons in the evening. Finally, a day arrived when we all had to sleep without food. Father asked me to start doing what he did from the next day. It wasn’t an easy choice for me. I denied.

The next day I didn’t carry new balloons and went out with 35 balloons of yesterday. I’d not eat anything last night, my stomach muscles were cramping and then those summer days!

That day till the evening, I still had 30 balloons in my hand. I managed to sell only 5 balloons. I wandered next to the city malls but no one bought balloons from me. Security guards of the malls showed me baton when I tried to stand next to the mall for a minute because people get irritated seeing such faces. I broke down. There was a tree next to a tea stall. I sat under the tree, put my head between my knees and reluctantly started crying. Before I could wipe my tears, someone came to me and asked to go from there because there was no one to buy balloons. I don’t know whether he noticed me crying or not. I stood up. I saw some students there. I put aside my self-respect and asked them to buy some balloons. I almost begged. They denied saying they don’t have children in their home. I said I’m hungry since the morning yesterday. But they didn’t consider even listening to me, they were busy in their gossips. Someone among them cracked a joke about something and when they clapped their hands to each other it felt like those clapping hands lashed up on my hungry muscles. I was angry now and I left my balloons over there.

I didn’t have money but still, I boarded a bus to travel to my house. There was an empty seat, I sat over there. The guy beside me on the seat was snapping. The conductor was collecting fare from other passengers. I chanced upon the wallet of the person sitting beside me, the wallet was looking out from his baggy paint’s pocket. I took that out. For a while, I thought of being morally correct and give the wallet back to him but I didn’t. Perhaps, my honesty and morals squeezed between my painful muscles.

The conductor came to us and I thought it’s over, public is going to beat me up once the guy sitting beside me found out that his wallet is lost. The conductor asked for the fare to him. I pretended to look out of the window. The conductor again said “Hello, listen. Where do you want to go ?” As he was saying these words, my heart started beating fast. Before the person would wake up I looked towards the conductor. Actually, he was asking me. I took 20 rupees note out from the wallet I stole and put it into my pocket. The conductor gave me four rupees change.

Then he asked the person sitting beside me. “I’m gone.” I thought. I was perspiring in fear. He scrubbed his eyes as he woke up, gave a cold look to the conductor with his half opened eyes and said, “Am I supposed to pay the fare twice?” The conductor stepped ahead. I thanked god for he didn’t check for his wallet.

I got off the bus at the next station and bought some medicines for my father, food and sweets for all of us, five Ice-cream and stepped ahead towards my house. Everyone was happy seeing me with food, ice cream, and tablets. When we sat for the dinner, mom asked me dubiously, ”This much money?”

“Yes, today I charged 16 rupees for each balloon,” I said smilingly but I was feeling betrayed by the destiny inside. Father smiled looking at me.

The next day again I did the same. I became a pickpocket. I used to travel in buses and trains just to pick purses, wallets, chains and such costly things. I smiled, pondering, when I was honest I cried almost every day when I chose the path of larceny I became happy. Almost everyone in my family was happy. I bought some new clothes for everyone in my family. And one night I heard my mother asking my father to sell balloons like me.

The next day in the morning he asked me about this. “Not today papa, I’m busy. I’ll let you know in a few days. Till then you should rest.” I said turning my face from him because I knew what I was doing. And on the very same day, I was caught by police in the evening while coming back to the house. I didn’t go back to my home that day. I don’t know what were my family’s reactions. I thought it’s the end. But actually, it was just the start.

I met some good people in the jail. I told them my story. One of them offered me a job. I was freed in 21 days. And then I went to the address the man I met inside the jail gave me. It was a big gang of someone named Aslam Bhai. He had around 50 members, including children in his gang. Some of them were involved in serious crimes like murder too. I became one of them, to be true, better than them because I was angry with this world. We started robbing people and locked houses at nights. My mentality was changed or should I say society changed it? Shrug it off, I don’t know.

Society got a new criminal, the people around me got a role model to follow, criminals got a new brother and in between, I lost myself and you people lost an honest person who wanted to make a little space in the circle of you people.

Can you hear honesty’s screams? Morality’s cry? Only if you were concerned about people like me.

Swastik Saraswat

Let the dark pass

Let the dark pass

When things don’t seem to be in your favor
You struggle hard and agonize to protest
But it only weakens you more
Leaving yourself injured and your confidence annihilated
Don’t strive, leave the rein for sometime
Let it go in the direction it wants to go
For how long? For how long shall the dark persist?
Let the dark pass.
With the first ray of the sun.
Show them, who you are.
Swastik Saraswat

Why’re you here?

I want an answer to this question; why are you here? why are we here?

Behind every one reason to prove god’s existence there are ten of them to prove his absence.

Ask any son of a noblewoman, religious scholar, priest, or Mullah, he won’t be able to answer you why god created us?

The almighty god is the ruler of this world.” they say.

Enough of this adulation! You say god created us. God created this universe. But the question is why? what was the reason behind creating us?
An Islamic scholar wrote in his book that, “God created us because he wanted someone to communicate with him. Someone to love him. ”

If so, who is the selfish here?

In Christianity and Hinduism “Offer whatever you do in your life to me.”

Is it why you created us?

In the process of adulation, they say god loves peace. He forgives us for our sins, and he is kind. So is it why every day thousands of people are getting killed in the name of the same god who loves peace and kindness? And the almighty can’t even come once to make his own children understand that he loves peace?

Some, not all, Pundits are looting the devotees and yet god didn’t appear to stop those thugs despite knowing it all. Why?

However, in Hinduism, the concept of ‘Devta’ seems to be plausible to some extent. Because Devta gives birth to neither the universe nor the man. Devta’s existence is only after the birth of this universe.

Why do we exist? Why is the earth not as other planets like Saturn, Mars etc.? Why the bloody thing called ‘life’ existed here only? The earth would have been even healthier if we were not present here; then why? There is no ultimate purpose of our life which includes the whole of humanity.

They say everyone exists because he/she has some goals. But I’m asking what if we all were not present here? For example, doctor’s profession exists to cure patients. What if there were no patients?

So one who believes in god will never have an answer to these questions. Because he strongly believes that god created us, but there is no answer to ‘why?’

What’s your take on this?

~ Swastik Saraswat

What she wanted to tell me before I became an orphan?

It’s hard to be liberal when you see your dying mother asking you to leave her immediately, and the same way it’s easy to be liberal running your fingers on keyboard buttons and periodically grabbing the coffee cup to take a sip…..[read more..-

[read full story, …… : What she wanted to tell me before I became an orphan? ]