The Mid-Course Correction

::Who decides our fate::
I know fate is defined as predetermined course of events which according to our science and literature is independent of our actions. Yet, when things don’t go as per planned or when one gets cornered in life, one can’t help but ponder about it and the above mentioned definition of fate tends to look a little farce. One starts questioning the path chosen and often asks oneself, “Who  decides my fate, If not me?”. I too belong to such a band of abashed souls, hopefully trying to seek an answer.

::God n Fate::
I have always wondered about the existence of a supernatural entity governing the cosmos. The one, which would hold us accountable for our deeds irrespective of our cast and creed.
I am not at all an atheist and hence don’t deny gods existence. Rather, i do believe in him but prefer being called an agnostic-theist as i personally can not prove his existence. Since we do not decide our fate, i am guessing it should be this supernatural entity or the so called “God” governing our life.
This random belief makes me all the more anxious to know various parameters on which our deeds are adjudged..and..the various factors which aid god in deciding our future or our so called fate.

::The Unexplained part::
Fate is something which doesn’t have a specific timeline and is dynamic in nature. Hence, It is right to say that a mans fate changes every second or that a mans fate is revealed to him second by second.

I have asked a lot of random people to throw some light on my queries and i have come across various views and explanations.
Some of them were really enlightening, but i guess adhering to them or believing in them is more of a personal choice. Few of my favorites explanations and approach are:

  • Men’s fate and nature are governed by their stars. It is the pattern and layout of the heavenly stars that play an important role on deciding the course of events in ones life. There is a pseudo branch of science (Astrology) which studies the effects of planets and other celestial bodies on human beings.

Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.           ~E.M. Forester

  • Fate is a resultant of Karma. Karma means action. It is also the reaction that follows on an action. The process of compensation for any given feeling, thought or deed is completely automatic. Karma, however, is ones unrestricted power of choice, and it makes sure that for every choice one makes there will be a just consequence. Hence, the law of karma is often expressed with the quote: “As you sow so shall you reap”.

Men are not punished for their sins, but by them.
~Elbert Hubbard

  • There is nothing as such as fate. Life is nothing but an autobiography and hence every person has his/her own version citing different experiences. Everything that happens in ones life is purely an aftermath of series of actions. These actions could be direct or indirect. It could be expressed as “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

There’s much to be said for challenging fate instead of ducking behind it.
~Diana Trilling

  • Fate is nothing but a path chosen for us by the almighty. It is his own mysterious way of making one wiser. It is this reverend almighty who holds us accountable of our deeds and hence makes us tread the necessary path in life called ‘fate’. Hence, every second of our life that we have lived is fate accompli.

You know that saying, that when God closes a door he opens a window, well, sometimes out of nowhere he’ll do you one better and he’ll kick a whole wall down.
~Ryan Murphy

::My take on it :: The Mid-Course Correction::
All of the above mentioned points are nothing but point of view of random people. Hence, everyone of them holds true for its own believer. It is not justified to outcast a particular person just because he has a different bent of mind or just because his views seem blasphemous to someone. With all respect to everybody i am not trying to be judgmental about the right approach. I respect and honour every one of them.

As nothing is proven, i intend to incline myself towards the most optimistic approach. Which happens to be the last of the above mentioned explanations.
I too have now started to believe that we are treading a path chosen by the almighty and every obstacle that we face only makes us wiser and hence, gives us a chance to correct our measures for a better future.

For e.g:  A ship is flagged off from a port with the required set of directions regarding its course. Say, after covering 100 miles they unexpectedly come across a big wave which is heading towards them. It is then entirely the Ship-Captain’s decision to either take a detour or to make a correction in its course to avoid the impact. This is what is called as “The Mid-Course correction”.
Similarly, in our lives god seldom give us chances to make such mid-course corrections. In order to steer our life in a positive direction we need to make the most of it. God has his own mysterious ways of imparting wisdom.
Like the smart people say, “There is always a catch”. We just need to decipher them.

In the bout of life:
fate is like a tough opponent who at times strikes real hard,
face him and learn from him so that next time you give him a good fight anyhow.
~ Me



Shortcut to Corruption::Ambitious Middle Class::

July 1999 – Victorious Operation Vijay and a Proud Nation:

Mr George Fernandes the then Defence Minister of India, was questioned whether the battle had inspired a feeling of patriotism, nationalism, faithfulness, and national integrity amongst fellow countrymen. Without batting an eyelid and resisting the temptation of bragging about his achievement as a defence minister, he replied,

“War is not the only time to be patriotic and feel unified as a nation. Any person who gives or takes a bribe, any government or semi-government(PSU) employee who doesnt report to work on time, anyone who violates or ridicules law with impunity displays lack of pride in the nation.”

Today’s Scenario!

In these heady days of street protests by the ‘common-man’ :: majority of the middle class India, what George Fernandes once said a decade earlier, clearly rings aloud in one’s head.

What today is touted as the great middle class awakening, courtesy Anna Hazare’s rather petulant crusade against corruption, is both shallow and hollow from within. For, corruption for the middle class is a matter of convenience. So rampantly are we corrupt that we seem to ignore our own corruption and are ready to point fingers at the politicians and bureaucrats.

Yes, the law is an ass, most of the times the law itself is an encouragement to break the law rather than bringing about justice. Best example is that every city or state has ‘DEVELOPMENT CONTROL RULES’ and not ‘DEVELOPMENT FACILITING RULES’. It is important for our babus and netajis to retain control over some things in order to keep their freedoms intact.

Our :: the great Indian middle class’ :: contribution  –  to the corruption that we so simply think is exclusively the domain of the politician, bureaucrats, police etc.

  • We still insist on buying goods in cash and do not demand a receipt but make do with a cash memo- no sales tax, VAT paid on the transaction.
  • We often break traffic rules while driving like nobody’s business and feel updated about currant bribe rates of the neighbourhood traffic cops, at desperate times we don’t hesitate to haggle our way through the underpaid civil servants…all of this to spare ourselves a trip to the local police station.
  • As much as we criticize the builders to be corrupt, we have no hesitation in enclosing balconies, flower beds, dry area and at times even take a lil privilege of having civil works within the enclosement of govt. planned buildings. These are not supposed to be enclosed as no one counts this as FSI(Floor space Index) and hence revenue loss to the government.
  • Rampant tax evasion by not filling tax returns or wrong evaluation of income.
  • At a hint of some action by a government official to impose fine or penalty for any wrong doing, we prefer ‘out of court’ settlement to paying of legitimate fine.
  • Taking help from ‘agents’ to get various things done like passport, property registrations, permissions etc-yes there is a cartel involved but equally for everyone. Hence, yes one can get ones work done without middlemen; it only costs us a little extra time and effort.
  • These may sound like little things but they do add up. Economic reforms have reduced the avenues of corruption like paying a telephone lineman to keep our phone working, but has created new opportunities. And since, sky is the limit of our dreams and our desires to join the new rich we prefer taking short cuts. These very short cuts that we resort to are feeding the corrupt systems
  • On a different scale, we throng the pandals and maidans during Dasera, Janmasthami or Durga Pooja celebrations, which are controlled and conducted by politicians of all hues. Two days from today hundreds of young men and women will vie for ever increasing prize money for breaking Dahi handi, or for getting the prize for best pandal. Any guesses where this money comes from???

These are but few examples of our complicity to the corrupt system. The system doesn’t force us to be corrupt. It is still possible to get work done without paying any bribe. It is still possible to fight a case against the civic authorities in court without being harassed. But do u know anyone who considered that option???

A relative of mine was asked to cough up a fine of 70 lakhs for illegal construction within his premises.(which he intended to sell to a MNC) He was neither served a notice nor an explanation was sought for it  in any written correspondence. He accepted his guilt and asked the officer concerned in whose name he should issue a cheque in order to pay his fine.

The officer tried to put forward his case about how such an unpleasant transaction be avoided if the client only pays half the amount in cash, under the table. But my uncle insisted on paying in cheque and receiving a receipt for the same. He did not ask for any reduction in the fine or any adjustment etc. He even asked the officer to demolish parts of the building which the officer thought had any illegal construction.

Three years to this incident, the officer hasn’t returned to take his bribe nor has he served the client with any notice of demolition and the building is now replaced by massive residential towers. It’s just an example of how bribe giving can be avoided by simply following the lay in its letter.

How many of us would take such a stand? How many of us will refuse to throng at Navratri and Dasera pandals where a photograph of the neighbourhood politician often lords over the lord himself?? How many of our schools would avoid inviting high government officials for their annual day celebrations?? How many of us won’t mind spending an extra day or extra hour to stand in a queue instead of going to agents?? How many of us will demand more transparency and less cronyism in governance? To achieve this how many of us will vote on the election day? Urban Delhi voted 48% in the last general elections (the reason is facelifting of slums and sub-urbs to urban territory – which again was done by our “chor” govt.)… much for middle class awakening.

Merely saying ‘Sab chor hai’ or ‘mera neta chor hai’ or Candle light marches and sloganeering in Anna Hazare caps is so much easier. It’s another shortcut to feel conscientious and holier than thou and sweep our sins under the carpet. The shortcuts are unfortunately getting shorter and the shadows of the corrupt are getting longer.

We need not jump into active politics, need not fight elections, we should just respect the law as it is meant to be. Anna Hazare has done the same, many millions in our country do the same. That may well be a good first step to eliminate corruption from the system.

A Lokpal or a Super Cop is so much of a Utopia!!!