Tuesday, 27 September 2011

नदी


ऊपर से दिखती तू इठलाती बलखाती,
भीतर है अपने क्या राज़ समाती?

देखूँ जो तुझको ख़ुदका अक्स ही पाता,
क्यों न कभी तेरा असली रूप उभर आता?

तेरी महिमा के गाते सभी गुण-गान,
क्यों न कभी दीखता तुझ संग आया तूफ़ान?

देखते तेरी सुन्दरता को सभी आकर,
फिर क्यों न देखता कोई तेरा कहर? 

सुधा समान जीवनदानी जल है देती,
क्यों फिर बाढ़ बनकर वही जानें है लेती?

अपने अमृत से खेतों को जीवित लहलहाते करती,
क्यों फिर डुबा देती खेत, घर, मंदिर, धरती?

तेरी पूजा करता इंसान दिन-रैन,
क्यों फिर तू छीनती उसका सुख-चैन,

भाग्य की कृपा से मेरे परिवार का न टूटा जीवन धागा,
पर किसकी शरण में जाएगा वह जिसका कुल था अभागा?

आँखों से ओझल बैठा है वह एकाकी चुप-चाप,
 अब किसके कांधे पर करेगा वह विलाप?

तेरा विनाश रहेगा मेरे मानस मैं सदैव याद,
पर किसके पास ले चलूँ तेरी फ़रियाद?

चाहे तू सबकी हो न्यारी और लाडली,
क्यों फिर मुझे सदैव लगती तू भय और संदेह वाली?

[विनाशकारी नदी |]






(अंततः मेरी प्यारी हिंदी में भी एक पोस्ट!) 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Who Shall Coach the Coach?

The young Mr. Gavriel Rothschild entered the room and with bewilderment beheld the sea of masses; heads popping up and down and chatter resounding across the room; its din louder than a factory. He looked for an empty spot and after a minute-long search, his eyes finally rested on a lone spot. It was at the corner of the second-from-last row of wooden benches, as wide as the balancing beam on which a gymnast delicately balances herself, but not as long, longer; in fact, so long that an entire football team, the playing eleven, would comfortably fit on it. However, here, there were fifteen people sitting on it. He requested the person sitting closest to the aisle to scoot in, but he refused to budge, saying they had all come early for a reason and asked him in a brusque manner to just jump over their backs to the empty spot, but being mindful of their bags. So much for the gymnast analogy! That was highly implausible and seeing his plight, the person in another row moved in and asked Gavriel to occupy his seat.

Soon enough it was time for the day's proceedings to begin and in walked a stern looking man, who, one could swear had never smiled in his entire adult life, let alone laugh. He reeked of cigarettes, probably had a smoke right before entering. One could with great ease discern the pack in his shirt pocket, thanks to the thin material and white colour of the shirt. His blackened lips gave him away.

Let not the Jewish name mislead you. I here, am not talking about a Nazi Concentration Camp, but a very popular Coaching Class for aspiring Chartered Accountants. These are the everyday scenes in a classroom that is packed undoubtedly beyond its capacity, to the extent that students are actually sitting on the edge of their seats, not because they find the topic of discussion or discourse interesting, but because if they don't, they might just fall off their benches. The seats are so narrow, that one could scarcely fit one's derrière, no matter how small, on it, without having shooting pain every few minutes. You can't stretch your legs or move them back without being cursed at and stamped on, though not necessarily in that order. Desks are made to fit only the tiny notebooks provided by the Classes, and if for any reason you run out of them, which you will, given the number you're provided with, the one that you buy won't fit on it. Your stationery, if unfortunate enough to slip from your hand, will find itself lying on the floor for the remaining duration of the class, for it is nigh impossible to retrieve it. And toilets, even the Dharavi slums might be having a better toilet to people ratio. At least they have some! Umpteen pen marks on your shirt, hair flying around, alien sweat on your books and self, and unbearable stink are some of the other physical discomforts, not to mention the very same feeling that one of the many hens and chicken, cramped in a tiny cell get before being executed by the butcher, except here the butcher is a qualified professional. Over-crowded trains seem better in comparison.

[Coaching Classes the right way to C. A.?]
But these shrink in significance when compared to the chief reason for joining these Classes - quality of education. You often hear people say they would compromise on anything but quality, but after coming to these Classes, the first sentence that would escape your lips would be "What hypocrites!"

The Classes themselves stress on quality, but what they're not telling you is how low it is. Students are taught by rote. The professor utters a definition and asks each and every soul in the room to repeat it after him a certain number of times, until he's satisfied that it's imbibed by the students, even after being well aware of the fact that their mental slates are wiped clean the moment they step out of the class; but what does he care as long as he gets paid his dues? He solves questions and accounting and mathematical problems on the vast expense of the board and scribbles something, which is visible from the tenth row onwards only if you're a predatory bird or equipped with binoculars; so you have students forming a chain whereby they copy the solution from the one in front of them. Now, we've all played Chinese Whispers and know fully well how a simple message gets horribly distorted. Some classes have come up with a solution to this problem by providing electronic screens throughout the classroom, and thus also increasing the number of students significantly. I wonder what happens if one of the students has a doubt. Does the professor walk the entire mile or are there buzzers and microphones fitted throughout? Or are the students so thickened in their skulls over time, that they have lost the power of reason? Then  where lies the difference between such classes and YouTube? And we wonder why kids these days have weak eyesight and almost everyone has spectacles. What else do you expect after eight hours of straining your eyes at a distant board or staring at a screen? Oh that's right, the classes go on for anything from three to twelve hours, with a couple of five minute breaks sandwiched in between. So before you stretch a leg or come up from your snack at a nondescript roadside stall, it's already resumed.

The professor himself stands on a platform which is right in front of the first row, thereby blocking their sight and not to mention that his crotch and behind are at eye level of the students seated in the front row, making it awkward for both parties involved and if you so much as look higher up, you find yourself doing the job of an ENT. An angry fat face and flared nostrils make it even worse.

Doubts and questions are hardly ever welcome. They are brushed aside as insignificant and in most cases, never answered. Very many professors feel offended that they are asked questions, seeing it as a shortcoming in their ability to teach or worse, perceiving them as means employed by the students to test their knowledge. And then for the rest of your life at those Classes, they'll hold a grudge against you and you'll be at the butt of all his jokes. No matter their level of lameness, for they're seldom witty, the students laugh; they can't risk offending his mighty ego and joining the august club.

There was one loony professor who would talk incessantly and monotonously without a change of expression or tone for hours on end. He would suddenly jump between sentences and thoughts, leaving them unfinished and would often hurl abuses on the microphone at miscreants, the kind that even slumdogs and street urchins would think twice before uttering. He was the perfect example of a crazy frustrated forgetful-professor-gone-bad. I remember this one particular instance when the milk or chaash or whatever the white liquid was that he had ordered, was not to his liking and in his sagacity, he poured every drop of it out of the window. Our classroom was on the fifth floor and the festival of Holi wasn't round the corner.

But the question that's even more important is after hearing and seeing all this, why are these Classes always bursting at the seams? The fault lies not only with them, but more so with us. It is we who flock these and book spots, lest we are not excluded, just because we were a day late; which would never happen, for they always seem to open new batches to accommodate the heavy inflow. The reason they cite for joining these Classes is "because my friend is joining them". And I've never figured out that first guy behind whom everyone's joining. It is an eternal mystery! Also, so many students are forced by their parents, without understanding their child's psychology, to join these Classes, thinking that their kids will get quality education and more importantly, they will be free and relieved for the better part of the day. I absolutely detest parents who send toddlers and kids, just fresh into school, to Coaching Classes and tuitions. Whatever happened to 'Parents are a child's first teachers'? No wonder their kids are alienated from them, inculcate horrible morals and values, and have shaky foundations on which no skyscraper of education can be built.

We need to question ourselves whether we really need Classes. Help for theory subjects like Law, Information Technology, Strategic Management and even Taxation for that matter, is hardly required. What is needed is a reading and understanding by the student himself. I agree, that help may be needed for subjects like Costing and Accounting, but if you're just going to be asked to fill your notebooks without asking questions or without you understanding the logic or reasoning behind each aspect, then what is the use? You might as well photocopy someone else's book. There are plenty of good books, self-help material and guides available in the market, which can guide you on these subjects, and the internet is always there. These Classes have realised that and thus slyly never provide coaching for just one subject; it is always a packaged deal. The few training sessions and classes held by the ICAI (Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants) at various places across all cities are also excellent opportunities, for these are often conducted only on those topics that need thorough explanation and are conducted by experienced Chartered Accountants without any fee, vis-à-vis the exorbitant fees charged by Coaching Classes. People these days, are governed by two aspects, which are exceptions to the Law of Demand - Price Illusion and the Bandwagon Effect. They perceive a higher price to imply better quality and always want to move with the herd, never away from it. That's the reason why college classrooms of one hundred and twenty students actually have only about forty to sfifty at a given point of time, unless of course it is examination time or project submission. Many colleges have no lectures being conducted because the professor can't impart knowledge to empty desks and benches. And with colleges charging negligible fees, their quality is perceived to be low. I remember my fees in F.Y.J.C (First Year of Junior College) in 2006-07 were a lowly Rupees 325 and for girls just Rupees 25! I was standing in the queue and when the parents up ahead heard that, they asked whether the fees were for a day! And I wasn't surprised, for our college had good infrastructure and was probably the first and for a long time the only college in Bombay to have air-conditioned classrooms. I was fortunate enough to have great professors who knew how to teach and found myself bunking Classes and attending college, though the rest would do the exact opposite, and would often ridicule my folly. The money paid to the Classes was an absolute waste, even though I made great friends along the way, but it taught me a valuable lesson - Never enrol for Coaching Classes, for you're going to end up studying everything on your own, from scratch. You'd rather not attend them and get your free-thinking encroached upon and concepts muddled.

I request my fellow students to not join Classes without at least giving self-studying a try. If they still feel they need help, they can always ask their seniors or go to special libraries which are exclusively for C.A. students, where they'd find dozens of people ready to help them out with their questions or you could together work towards finding the solution; and working hard to get an answer ensures that you will never forget the logic behind it, as compared to when you're fed information, where you are bound to forget it. It is these Coaching Classes that need to be coached, not us. Approach these Classes only as a last resort, and not before doing a background check. Don't enrol for them in a hurry, thinking you might miss the train; remember, there's always another one coming every minute. It is better to wait for the right one, than board a wrong train and derail your life.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

We have the Edge, a Sharp Edge... Cut your Way through - Part 2

As I was saying in my previous post, we Asians do have the edge considering our sharper brains and hard-work.

We beat them hands down at even pure and simple mathematics. They literally can't add two and two. Whenever you go abroad, you are just appalled by their poor Math skills. In the West, nearly every time we didn't have the exact change, which was quite a number for we were no Change Dispensing Machine, and we paid them some different amount, they would brandish a chic fancy branded calculator. I remember on my second visit to Europe (I could have fit in a tiny dog basket the first time I went there, and so remember not much), one of the first things I bought was a portion of French fries at McDonald's (being a vegetarian at least one meal each day consisted of French fries, Cola and ice-cream), and it totalled to something like € 6 and I, not having the requisite change, handed the lady € 11 and she was dumbfounded! Not that she didn't look dumb and ghostly fair with no features whatsoever, but now she looked even dumber, as if I was speaking French; but wait, that was Belgium, so it couldn't have confounded her. But she glared at me. She enquired as to why I was paying extra. So instead of giving me a fiver, she returned my 1 € coin, and handed me four others!! Just on my recent trip to the USA, in one of the cities, we were asking around different bus companies, trying to make out mind on whether to take the City Sightseeing or the Gray Line, when the guy from the City Sightseeing company came over and told us that the cost would be $ 200 per person. Being the Indians that we were, trying to squeeze money out of even rocks, we asked what would be the rate for four of us and whether he could reduce the rate. He said the rates we non-negotiable and took out the dreaded calculator again and multiplied 200 by 4 and took two full minutes to check whether the amount was correct or not! Man, are they smart! While on trips to the Far East and South East Asia, calculators are only used to haggle and as a medium of communication, to bridge the language gap. Where the Chinese, or whatever country they are from all looking alike, would flash a figure on the calculator and if you don't agree, which is nearly every time, for you know are well aware that everyone reduces their prices massively, you punch in your own quotation, thereby starting a chain of offers and counteroffers.

[Here we come...]
We're also willing to do any sort of work at throwaway prices. It's a sad thing you can't 'throw away' people, for we wouldn't mind even that, as long as something goes into out pockets. And usually it's the either the extremely poor or extremely rich blokes who go abroad. The rich couldn't care less, and the poor don't mind taking risks. If they're gonna be cleaning toilets or waiting tables in their own lands for just a meal a day, they might as well do the same job abroad, with better work environment and low wages, but ten times more than what they're getting home anyway, and not to mention the cleaner toilets and plates. And of course, we also take away the plushy and swanky lucrative jobs whether it's at Wall Street or Silicon Valley or the City of London or Canary Wharf. We try and get to the land of dreams one way or another, whether as refugees or on student visas or crossing borders or jumping from boats and swimming (the Cuban boats are renowned for these special services). Heavens may separate us, but we always do seem to get there. Our population may seem like a curse, but it is also out biggest strength, what with the youngest population in the world, while the West ages and struggles to continue their existence, with lesser and lesser progeny.

Asians are also great savers. They save up to 35 to 50% of their incomes. That is a whopper, especially compared to the Western nations, where savings are a lowly single digit and quite often in the negative, with people borrowing more and more so that they can buy one more gadget that they don't really need. Man might learn from his mistakes, but guys qualifying as robots and machines don't; the subprime crisis erased from their temporary memories. Maybe they hadn't taken a back up on the latest gizmo.

[You can see foreigners (countrymen to me) even in their Independence Day celebrations!]
I always used to wonder why is it that we can speak their language with great ease, while all they manage is a crappy version of ours. The answer was clear and simple. Our language - Hindustani, the Hindi of today that is the composite of pure Hindi (derived from Sanskrit) and pure Urdu (derived from Arabic and Hindi again). It has such a varied range of sounds. It's like a comprehensive dictionary of every sound that your mouth can utter and brain can think of. It encompasses most sounds from all languages and some others that are alien to a majority of languages in the world. I can think of 15 different sounds that are absent from English. Someone really did think when framing the Hindustani. And over time it evolved to include sounds from Marathi, Urdu and Arabic and English. The only sound that I know of, which is absent from Hindustani is the 'je' of French. And probably the 'th' of English, which is more like a hissing lisping 's' is different from the two different types of 'th's  present in Hindustani. This puts the ball in our court, for we can learn any language. No sound surprises us nor do we find anything seemingly unpronounceable. And that does give us an edge, not only over other foreigners, but the locals themselves. We now beat them not only in brain-power, in their own land, but at their language too! Way to go!

Friday, 9 September 2011

We have the Edge, a Sharp Edge... Cut your Way through - Part 1

[This Chinese has Balls, Big Bronze Bull's Balls.]
I am always alert with a wandering eye, but I was more so as the open-roofed double-decker tour bus made its way for Wall Street, at the southern end of the tiny isle of Manhattan. I had always heard and read about it and just doing so was enough to get myself to decide that one day I'd love to work there. And then finally being there, even as a tourist, is an amazing feeling. It shrinks in significance to everything else. My brother also had similar aspirations and dreams and we had decided we would at least stroll up and down the street. We took a quick shot with the famous Charging Bull (a.k.a. Wall Street Bull, a.k.a. Bowling Green Bull); as Indians and even Asians for that matter, we managed to do it pretty quickly, while disciplined white people waited for EVERYONE to finish (they probably had too much time on their hands or too much discipline and no brains) and watched a certain East Asian group take turns taking shots with the bull's behind (too many people at the front) and not to mention, each one licking the bull's gonads. thank God we weren't in Spain!

[Good ol' Wall Street.]
Then we left the tourists, deranged and crazy just like myself, and moved around a bit. We felt so happy to be surrounded by suited executives (some on skateboards, which completely amazed me) even in the scorching afternoon heat. It was a great feeling. I was shocked to notice, that most of those executives were Asian, predominantly Indians and Chinese. Was it just my own Asian heritage that made me spot them, like a magnet does the needle in a haystack or a mad man his peer, I do not know? But they were there in huge numbers. In fact, it was difficult to discern a white man in his own territory/country/domain/land. I felt as if I was casually strolling down a Bombay busy street, just with better taller glassier buildings, but not cleaner, for New York City is just as dirty as Bombay. It just struck me that we really are dominating the world!

And it is because of several reasons. We're genetically supposed to. The West was gifted with tall and bulky frames and strength, Africa with athleticism and speed, Aborigines, Natives and Indigenous people with colonialism, but DNA or Darwin Nature and Anonymous (God to the theists) gifted us with intelligence. So what, we're working according to nature and evolution's plan, right, nothing unusual? But what we put in extra is our hard-work. It is something that is unique to Asians. They're extremely hard-working. Thank the abject poverty in these areas for that. It may have come down drastically, but is high nevertheless. Most of the people have come up from scratch and scripted their own rags to riches stories. We struggle everyday, work long hours, spend even longer hours commuting. Students study multiple courses at one time and try to nab top jobs by a very tender age. Housewives and mothers juggle between house-work and work-work, while fathers try to squeeze money out of multiple avenues. Even old people don't sit idle and indulge in religious or social activities. And then we beat them, plain and simple.

[The Bullring Mall in Birmingham and that unattainable jersey.]
I remember this one particular instance while we were in Birmingham. We had gone to the Bullring Mall and were casually strolling and shopping, more like shop-hopping. As we were walked past a shop selling football merchandise, a particular Liverpool t-shirt, or is it called jersey, caught my brother's eye, a big fan of Liverpool, even though they'd not won a Premiership Title since 1989-90. Their motto "You'll never walk alone" best exemplifies that, for there can only be one winner and the rest walk together. Anyway, we were about to enter the shop when the owner stepped out and said, "Sorry, but the shop's closed" and put up a sign saying "CLOSED". We told him that we wanted to have a look and buy that t-shirt, or wait was it a football, I was least bothered, and something more from the shop and requested him to keep it open a little while longer, but he wouldn't budge. We guessed he perceived us as Indians, prospective customers, and prospective for eternity (even though it is Indian tourists who shop the most), and pulled out the necessary amount of cash. But the stupid shopkeeper in all his infinite wisdom, refused! We were mighty surprised, for here we were offering him money to buy something, when all he had to do was take it off the rack and hand it over to us, also probably turn the "CLOSED" sign around (since they like to follow rules every frickin' time) and he had not even locked the shop as yet. Hell, he hadn't even switched off the lights! Had that been an Asian, he would have kept the shop open an hour more, even if you just wanted to have a look around, for God knows, you might come back or toss around a nice word about them. And then they feel we steal business by unfair means. Since when does working hard tantamount to resorting to unfair means?


Stay tuned for Part 2.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Elephant in the Room Marches onto the Road

I have always loved Hindu mythology with its varied exuberant gods and goddesses, winsome demi-gods and demi-goddesses and malevolent yet colourful demons; where every aspect of nature and every species in the animal kingdom is worshipped, even snakes and tigers! But the most revered amongst them is the elephant-headed god, the one worshipped before the start of all ceremonies and rituals or any event for that matter, the purveyor of all good, the remover of obstacles, the god of wisdom, a patron of arts and sciences, and the god of what not, the one who is worshipped by not only Hindus, but Jains and Buddhists alike, the one and only Ganesh or Ganpati. The masses' adoration for him is unparalleled and probably causes the other gods in the Hindu pantheon to go green with envy.

[The Lalbaugcha Raja (meaning King of Lalbaug) - The most visited Ganesh Pandal in Bombay.]
He is worshipped round the year, but for ten to twelve days during the festival of Ganeshotsav, he is welcomed in the homes of people and showered with love and affection, not to mention mouth-watering sweeets, especially his favourite Modaks and Laddus. The festival starts on Ganesh Chaturthi, the fourth day of the Shukl Paksh of Bhaadrapad (that is the fourth day of the waxing moon period) and ends on Anant Chaturdashi, the fourteenth day of the Shukl Paksh of Bhaadrapad (that is the fourteenth day of the waxing moon period); though the actual number of days may vary from ten to twelve as the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar and may have additional days. Ganeshotsav is a period for gaiety and celebration throughout India and even abroad and across all races and  cultures.

Why is it with most festivals in India that they are cause for celebration for a few and cause a lot of trouble and annoyance to a larger class of poeple, whether it's Navratri, Diwali, Holi or Ganeshotsav. And the noise-levels during these, arghh!! A deaf person would go deaf again, if there's such a thing. And it just seems to get worse with each passing year. Sound levels average around 80 decibels, ranging from 60 decibels to as high as 120 decibels, as against the recommendatory limit of 40 set by the World Health Organisation. Rules are flouted even in the designated Silence Zones. And the flabby lazy cops, more like bystanders, but watch on, as crazy mad-men like drummers drum ferociously, not relenting a bit. And Ganeshotsav celebrations are the craziest in Maharashtra, particularly Bombay. I guess it's my misfortune that I live here, and more so because one of the immersion spots is Powai Lake, right next to where I live.

Traffic snarls go for miles. It seems as if the cars form a long unbroken chain from the outskirts of Bombay, right up to Fort, even on highways, which even on normal days never do look like highways, for they're often more crowded than other roads. Just the other day, on the 1st of September, the first day of Ganeshotsav, we took two and a half hours to go 4 kilometres and had to eventually turn back; waiting for a legal U-turn took forever! And again on the 2nd, when many households immerse their idols, it took me hours to get home, not to forget that I had to walk half the way home in formal attire on dirty wet roads, riddled with potholes and puddles.

[Huge crowds gathered for immersion of idols.]
Ganesh Pandals (sort of like tents) are constructed on the roads, many of them digging holes in the roads so that the bamboos supporting the pandals can be stuck in and then we question as to why there are so many potholes! And what kind of a government allows roads meant for all people to be occupied by a select few, just in the name of religion! There have been numerous cases of people breathing their last in ambulances or women birthing in cabs because they could not reach the hospital (and of course many other instances of babies being conceived in cars, just out of boredom.). We are anyway running short of road space and for that very reason never have demarcated or dedicated lanes, and to allow half of the road to be occupied, just doesn't make sense.

[A Ganesh idol rotting atop a pile of dirt at Powai Lake, nine months after its immersion. Nine months, hmmm... maybe it was just born.]
And the biggest loss caused by festivities - the immersion of thousands of idols, most of them made of Plaster of Paris with toxic paint and hundreds or adornments, into seas, rivers, lakes, ponds or any water body that one can find. The idols are literally dumped into these water bodies; That's what He gets for being the most loved god? You should go to the beach just a day after the immersions and you'll see dismembered bodies, hands shortened, trunks truncated, stomachs strewn about and feet somewhere else, and of course people walking all over them, trying to avoid it, but failing miserably owing to the bulk of mess lying and also dogs trampling them and doing their daily business on them. Just last year at Girgaum Chowpaatty, one of the chief immersion sites, the MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) sweeped up 50 truckloads of just flowers and fruits and other decomposable materials each hour! These idols and their toxic materials pollute the sea unlike anything else, worse than oil spills, and result in schools of fish dead. And the remainder, not having been to school, are not just uneducated but deformed and deadly, and often take the lives of those who dare to consume them. I have never seen clear waters at any Bombay beach, let alone blue waters and for that matter even my father has never, although the MCGM's efforts at sprucing up the beaches has lead to some positive change and is pretty evident. With immersions happening every alternate day, traffic jams are becoming unavoidable, for you can't sit at home all through that period.

[A Ganesh idol a day after immersion, lying among rubbish and refuse.]
Why can't people use clay idols or idols made of other environmentally friendly materials like jute or bagasse or better still have idols made of metal and have mock-immersions and use the idol year after year? There can be common idols between many households. It is becoming increasingly trendy to get home idols, but people do not lend a thought to the fact that every additional idol adds to the municipality's woes. We really need to protect our environment and not compromise our future and that of the coming generations.

[The clean up process after the Ganeshotsav immersions.]
Also, managing these immersion spots is a big hassle. Imagine the police forces deployed to ensure that the whole process goes about smoothly and no fights break out, as a large number of people tend to consume desi-daaru or country liquor in unrestrained quantities. Each year about ten million people are out on the streets in Bombay alone, making Ganeshotsav a very likely terrorist target.

[Green Ganesh.]
However, there have been some positive changes since the past couple of years. The One Village One Idol programme was started to reduce the number of idols per household, with an entire village having just one idol. Pandals have been alloted specific times for immersions to ease over-crowding at one point of time and ease traffic woes. The administration has created temporary ponds, specifically for immersion, and the idols from these are taken out every hour and crushed to be later used in landfills. I am an atheist, but were I not, I would be hurt that my beloved god is being crushed to pieces. But then, it is a Frankenstein's monster in the disguise of a god. We ourselves created it and when it goes out of control, we ourselves need to destroy it. However, not many like to talk about it. The elephant-headed clearly is the elephant in the room, but when it marches onto the road and blocks them, we have a serious problem. Even the Supreme Court quashed a Public Interest Litigation, which was filed to question the immersion of idols in water bodies as it caused environment degradation, on the grounds that the Indian Constitution guarantees each person the Right to Freedom of Religion under Articles 25 to 28. Anything goes in India in the name of religion. Hope people understand the environmental impact of their activities before blindly following something. Religion does not prescribe making idols of such materials that did not exist when such practices were started nor does it prescribe destruction of nature to please a god, which is embodied through nature. Oh sweet irony!