Karnataka Elections – The Drama That It Was

The Karnataka elections only recently came to an end and I followed it with much fervour. What an action-packed high-octane drama! Adapted as a TV series, it sure would give Game of Thrones and House of Cards run for their money. I mean where else would you get such an ensemble featuring industry’s biggest actors or country’s biggest politicians (if you may) coming at one stage to deliver a mega-blockbuster.

The election campaign featured prominent and burning issues. Pressing issues like who is the real Hindu, who is more Hindu, should one stop eating beef to prove Hindu credentials were discussed. What? Where is the discussion on unemployment and development you ask? You’re silly to even think that, aren’t you? In the greater scheme of things, such trivial issues do not matter. Period.

However, it is not the election campaign but the events that unfolded once results started trickling in appal me. (Well, to be honest, the Hon’ble PM dishing out some misplaced facts during the campaign had a similar effect.)

On May 16, when results started coming in, it seemed pretty evident that the BJP was inching towards the majority. It was only inevitable that it would form the next Government. Of course, keeping the trend of changing the ruling party every election. The jubilation was visible on the party spokespersons across TV channels. But by evening, tides had turned.

The Karnataka verdict, as some exit polls predicted was a hung assembly. Painting a confident picture of getting a second term and one-upping BJP in the social media game, yet INC settled with a meagre tally of 78 compared to BJP’s 104, eight seats short from the halfway mark. JD(S) was a distant third with 38 seats.

Immediately after the final tally, memes and news started doing rounds on social media that it is only Mr Amit Shah’s acumen that can now clinch a majority for and bring BJP to power. A feat that he had earlier pulled off successfully in Goa and Manipur legislative elections. But giving the BJP a dose of its own medicine, Congress without wasting any time immediately extended support to JD(S) and went as far as offering the CM position to attain majority.

More drama ensued as all eyes now turned towards Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala. And this is when the climax of the saga kicks in. Since there’s no established policy, in case of a fractured mandate, it is the prerogative of the Governor to either invite the single largest party or a post-poll alliance to form the government. The rationale – invitation goes out to whoever seems to be in a position to provide a stable government. Now how a party with 104 seats seemed to do that over a post-poll alliance with a definite majority is open for debates.

Nonetheless, amidst midnight dramas, BS Yeddyurappa swore in as Chief Minister only to resign from his post minutes before the floor test (more like surprise test) ordered by Supreme Court. This has paved the way for the Congress-JD(S) alliance to stake a claim to the Government.

Now here’s the crazy thing. Two parties nowhere close to the public mandate will govern Karnataka for the next 5 years. And on top of it, the chief minister will belong to a party placed third in the state. Surely the people of Karnataka did not vote for this.

High time the constitution and judiciary look into this: a post-poll alliance is nothing but ‘jugaad’. And this applies to not only Karnataka but other states too. Inviting the BJP and allowing it 15 days’ time to prove its majority is clearly a go-ahead for horse trading. Similarly, parties finishing second and third coming together to rule should not how democracy be defined. If you couldn’t form an alliance and get the voters to validate it, you should not be entitled to forge a post-poll alliance. Because this, in the true sense, is the murder of democracy.

Cover image source: India TV
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RGRT -No Offense

Sorry, No Offence

Social media is a crazy, fun place to be in. There’s real-time action, news, thoughts, opinions, and almost everything. Millions of souls, millions of thoughts! And when there are various opinions, there are almost equal differences of opinion.

While it’s perfectly healthy & rational for a sane minded person to have a viewpoint different from the rest, what is not is the rate at which people get offended. I mean whatever happened to tolerance?
Oh, sorry! Let me not use the ‘T’ word, lest I offend a bunch of people and trigger yet another controversy.

No, this ain’t what yours truly aims to do with this article. What I want to say is why get offended in the first place in a world where democracy and freedom of expression exists? And even if we want to, let’s get offended at bigger things. [scams, unemployment, poverty, GDP, so many things] and not at which person took what stand or spoke whatever for or against a politician.

The point being, offence – is a dangerous, yet relative term. What may be offensive to you, maybe the best joke I heard in the whole day. There may often be a very thin line of difference between offensive content and content, but a difference nonetheless.

So, while it is important to respect the line and not cross it, it is equally important to not play too much by it and quash everything. But then a very pertinent question arises. Who is it that defines ‘the line’? Certainly, not me. Definitely not you.

So can we all not just take a chill pill, sit back, and relax?

And definitely not judge each other by a tweet or whatever. Because in the world of social media “what I say” and “what I am” may not always be the same thing. For instance, I love my country, but with so much crazy stuff going around, I can definitely take a joke or two on it. One may be a staunch supporter of feminism, yet, find humour in a joke on women. (If all of us start living by so much logic, there won’t be any humour)

So while we’re at it, let’s just keep the social media experience peaceful.

Troll less, talk more.

Argue less, discuss more.

Create more content and less controversy.

That’s all folks!

*************************************************************************************

This article was originally published in Desimusings. 

An uncertain step

An uncertain step

Hi, I am Rehan, and this is my story. I’ve been working as a Marketing Manager with an e-commerce startup. Got placed right here after my MBA. Fell in love with a girl during MBA, proposed her, got our parents together and all set to get hitched. Everything as was supposed to.

During the two years of this job, I gave it all. Being a part of the founding team, I practically built the company from scratch. I wasn’t the founder of the company, but I worked just as hard.

It was all good but I couldn’t find my satisfaction. I somehow never felt right about the job. From the beginning, I had strategic differences with the founder. While he chased sales and profitability, I emphasized brand visibility and customer acquisition. I believed being backed by a giant conglomerate, we could afford short-term losses to drive long-term gains.

Probably this difference undid me as during a review meeting on Aug. 10th, 2017; I was asked to drop all my current assignments and take over a new project. Strategic restructuring of the role they said. Screwed up career progression I understood.

My job sucked. Yet I didn’t want to quit. Especially with an impending marriage, risk bearing abilities are at the lowest. But at that moment, I realized that this is a sinking ship and I do not want to go down with it. I took a decision. To Quit.

After the meeting, I went out and texted Anahita, my fiancée that I wanted to quit. She understood that this decision is only because I feel pushed to a point of no return.

She simply asked, “What do you want to do?”

I had no answer. I told her the same, “Anahita, neither do I have a plan nor do I know what I am going to do next. But I am scared, I do not want this to jeopardize our relationship.”

Anahita, being herself replied, “It won’t. Don’t worry. We’ll figure something out. Just don’t tell this to anyone on my side of the family. We can deal with this.”

Comforted, I called up dad to seek his opinion. Now, Dad has been there done that. He understood and said, “If this is what you want, go ahead. Just ensure that this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction.”

I assured him that it wasn’t.

I walked back into the office, composed my thoughts, and drafted my resignation letter. I never thought I would do this without securing another job. I mean how could you let go of something that ensured a fixed monthly sum without having a backup. Well, I realized not all decisions are cold and calculated.
Satisfied with the letter, I walked towards the director’s cabin. It seemed like a long walk. True, I wasn’t happy with the job & didn’t see a future here. Yet this is where I got my first break & an opportunity to carve my identity. The feeling was akin to that of a breakup.

Composing myself, I knocked and walked in.

“I think we need to talk,” I said.

“Sure, tell me.” He replied.

“I want to leave.”

“But why”

“Because I don’t think this is working anymore,” I said with a firm resolve.

“We can at least talk about it.” He said, opening a window for negotiations.

“It’s futile, Sir. This isn’t going anywhere”.

Saying so I formally submitted my resignation letter.

With a hint of guilt (perhaps) and regret, “Fair enough,” he said, “if this is your final decision, I accept it. You can leave whenever you feel like.”

Soon, I completed all the formalities and bid goodbye to my job.

Since then, I am at home. I don’t have a solid plan. I haven’t yet figured out what I am going to do next. But I am enjoying this phase. I am giving my body the sleep and relaxation it deserved. It’s funny waking up on a weekday and not looking at a fixed schedule.

These days, I am freelancing, helping bootstrapped startups with their marketing and communication activities. Trust me, this is giving me a much higher sense of satisfaction than my previous job did.

I’ve always wanted to write, start a blog, do something about it. Now I got all the time in the world to do that. Letting my creative juices flow, I ensure that I write at least 3 articles per week. And boy, it’s an exhilarating fun being a writer! I’m the hero of my story and I can write my own destiny.

I do not know what lies ahead for me professionally. There’s no more fixed source of income. But I do not think that’s really a problem. Guess, I’ll figure out something good to do with my life.

By the way, once the wedding dates are out, I will let you know. You’re invited. Do come.

The Vengeance

She stood staring at the wall bereft of any emotions. The wall was plastered with newspaper clippings, photographs, and notes that she collected over the last six months.

Behind her, a dilapidated TV ran a news show with a ticker – Fourth high-profile murder in six months shocks the city.

A VP of an MNC, celebrity fashion model, son of a local politician, and a famous restaurateur. All male. Same modus operandi. Tied to a chair, throat slit cutting the trachea, and beating heart ripped out with surgical precision. No evidence left.

While baffled investigators looked for a clue, Dr. Kanika Sethi smiled at her dexterity.

It has been 7 years, 3 months, 13 days since she was assaulted, raped and left to rot. But she survived and chose to fight.

The judiciary failed at delivering justice.

So she avenged herself.

And then, a lone tear trickled down her cheeks.

*****

Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Names used and incidents portrayed are entirely fictitious and bear no resemblance to any real person living or dead. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

*****

Note: This short story is inspired by the photo prompt shared for #FridayFotoFiction and hosted by @twinklingtina & @Mayuri6.

Tina Basu

Book Review: “Ashvamedha” by Aparna Sinha

Like the recent times, Twitter again helped me discover a new Indian author – Aparna Sinha. Ashvamedha is her debut novel and it didn’t take me long to order it.

First up, I am guilty of judging this book by its cover; actually, the blurb is more like it. It hints at a plot that perhaps revolves around a kingmaker and the game spread out to make the king. I almost bracketed it as another Chanakya based story, but I was wrong. Terribly wrong.

And I’m glad for that because grabbing this book is one of the better investments I’ve made in recent times. This book is 214 pages of sheer fervor and adrenaline rush.

The storyline revolves around Ashwin Jamwal, a young IAS officer who wants to change the system, but when he fights and fails, he joins politics and goes on to eventually become the most successful prime minister the nation ever had. However, he owes a great deal of his success to one master puppeteer, Hades, who is running the show and calling all the shots. Ashwin, obviously, does not know this.

It’s entirely intriguing that despite being the most powerful character in the story, Hades is mentioned only once as a passing reference in the first half of the book – that’s a masterstroke by the author! Now what is the kind of game that Hades has laid, what is his grand plan, who all are a part of his scheme of things, what is the sheer scale of his plan, the dauntlessness with which he executes his moves and where & how does Ashwin fit into all this, in a nutshell, is the summary of this fascinating and convoluted story. Any extra bit of information that I give you might ruin your experience so I would rather abstain.

It is an extremely brilliant plot, pretty much like a magician’s trick – the buildup, the actual act, and the grand reveal. To some, the initial part might appear a bit stretched, but given how the story advances and what it eventually culminates into, the length is legitimized.

Overall, this is a quick paced, enrapturing political thriller. The language is simple, the narrative is lucid, and almost every character is a shade of gray. This book has more twists and turns than an Abbas Mastaan movie and I mean this in a very positive way.

The book deals with issues ranging from friendship, comradery, unrequited love, politics, corruption, global powerhouses, and terrorism. Prima facie, too much to be dealt with in a single book. By the time you’ve finished it, you realize they were all pieces of one mega plot ultimately fitting in, to finish the perplex.

Conclusion:

This definitely is one of the better stories I’ve come across in recent times. DO NOT give this a miss. Place this on your bookshelf and make room for more because Aparna Sinha is here to stay. Looking ahead to more stories from her.

Click here to buy: http://amzn.to/2hhPAyd

 

 

The Beginning

“Hey!” Ronald’s eyes twinkled when he saw Steve, “How was it?” he enquired.

“Not easy,” Steve replied, “I’ve been with Samantha for years. She has been a lovely companion. Asking her to sign the divorce papers wasn’t easy.” A hint of guilt evident in his voice.

“I am sure she understands”, Ronald consoled, “She knows you did the right thing.”

“I think so, How did Susan & James react?” He asked.

“They were very supportive. In fact, they made me embrace the real me. I am proud of my kids”.

Steve smiled as he saw things falling in place, yet asked with a sense of trepidation,” are we ready for this Ronnie?”

“Yes we are Steve,” Ronald answered, “we’ve waited a while for this. But now we got each other. No matter what, we’ll make it happen.”

And a new leaf turned, a new love story began!

*****

Note: This short story is inspired by the photo prompt shared for #FridayFotoFiction and hosted by @twinklingtina & @Mayuri6.

Tina Basu

 

Book Review: “Everyone Has A Story” by Savi Sharma

While exploring new Indian authors, I came across Savi Sharma’s debut novel ‘Everyone Has A Story’ [Published by Westland] at a book store in Matunga, Mumbai. To be honest, it didn’t really make a great first impression. My initial thoughts were that this is yet another self-help book, still, there was something intriguing about the book. Maybe the (randomly?) scattered words on the front jacket.

But what really clicked was the back jacket synopsis. 4 people, 4 stories, and then they get woven together. Deal done. Book purchased. Reading specs on.

Meera is a frequent visitor to a café managed by Kabir. The café often hosts authors for reading sessions and it is during one such session, she finds her ‘story’ – Vivaan. Encouraged by Kabir, and fueled by her own desire to pen down a story that can touch millions of lives, Meera starts to give shape to her thoughts and paint her picture of Vivaan.

In the process of getting to know each other, Meera and Vivaan start getting close. However, Vivaan urges Meera to turn her attention towards Kabir who perhaps has a much more compelling story to share. Now Kabir happens to be in love with Nisha who has had her share of trauma and Kabir helps her recuperate. He wants to marry Nisha, but before that, he wants to ensure that he’s financially stable to start a family. Enter Kabir who punches in a partnership deal and Kafe Kabir comes into being.

While everything is hunky dory – Kabir & Nisha due to get married, Vivaan & Meera getting closer – Vivaan suddenly disappears one day. No message. No call. No words. No goodbye. It is only after Meera & Kabir check with Citibank that they come to know that Vivaan has resigned and left.

Now, what happens after Vivaan leaves. Does Meera break down in Vivaan’s absence? Does she complete her book? Does Vivaan ever come back? Where is Vivaan and what is his side of the story? All this and more such questions constitute the latter half of the book.

To all those who intend to pick this up, please don’t if pragmatism is all you live by; because this book often delves into situations which might not seem real to you. But then what is a reality unless it happens to someone, right?  The book is decently paced and for a major part adopts a linear narrative. To some, it may sound borderline preachy, but you can give it a pass since the book is classified as ‘an inspirational romance’. The story has its moments and all the characters possess a certain degree of innocence which most of us have lost.

Though I feel Kabir & Nisha’s characters lack depth, Meera & Vivaan are very well sculpted. In fact, in the initial few chapters I almost thought there was an uncanny resemblance between him & Bunny (from YJHD), but as the story progresses, you realize there’s much more to him than meets the eye. At some levels, I could relate to his character.

Conclusion:

While “Everyone Has A Story” may or may not make a permanent place on your bookshelf, it sure makes for a lovely companion on a coffee table or a journey. Special mention for the author Savi Sharma who is India’s first successful female self-published author.  While people twice her age are aspiring to be authors, she is already one – a best-selling one at that. I look ahead to more from her.

Cover image source: http://bit.ly/2eXI6vK

Click here to buy: http://amzn.to/2xBs4TC