ArpitGarg's Weblog

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Posts Tagged ‘days

Some Vintage Days

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Some vintage days, gone are they
Some vintage memories, left
Ups and Downs, gave they to us,
Heavy and Light talks abuzz
Those lengthy evenings, graphs and charts
Those bickering, arguments tarts
Whatever you told, I often repulsed
But the words come back to me
You said it from your experience
I could not grasp much then
They hit me now, like wine of old
All said and done, memories built,
Will meet, paths will cross again,
Some vintage days, gone are they
Some vintage memories, left.

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Written by arpitgarg

September 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Posted in Literary

Tagged with , , , , ,

Why do we Celebrate Birthdays?

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Like always, I threw a party for my friends this birthday. We celebrated, ate, I got gifts et al. This year was different though. I turned 25; a quarter of my life gone. According to a legend, man lives total of four lives. First 25 years “life of a human” when he enjoys, next 25 years “life of a bull”, when he works like hell, next 25 years “life of a dog”, when he barks and no one listens to him. And the last 25 years “life of an owl” when he is awake at night and listens to everyone without his own existence.

Accordingly I am done living the enjoyment part of my life. During early years of my life I used to wait eagerly for this day. New clothes, gifts, money. As fate should have it, I started falling ill on my birthdays regularly. At the age of 8 my Grandma decided enough is enough, no more celebrations. “Logaun ki nazar lag jaati hai chore ko”.

From that day, I avoided opulent celebrations, a tradition which I have carried on since. It has been just a few close friends, raising a toast and a small cake cutting; personal and close. Inadvertently I have moved on from opulence to sobriety.

I often wonder why we celebrate birthdays at all. When and how the tradition started? It could not have started before the advent of calendars, right? We just celebrated birth and death prior to that. At birth God gifts life, at death God takes it away. Both events take us closer to God. Hence the celebrations.

During winters, days get smaller, and as summer approaches they start getting bigger. Early people thus considered advent of summers as rebirth of Sun. This was among the first annual birthday celebrations by man. When calendars came into existence the same was applied to birth of the son (sun, Jesus) and effectively to every human being.

So what does birthday celebrations signify during our modern times? Are we celebrating the coming year, are we celebrating the accomplishments of the past year, are we celebrating surviving yet another year?

If we are celebrating the future life, than with each passing year, we have less and less reasons to celebrate. So should a septuagenarian celebrate any less than a guy in his twenties? If the answer is no, then one thing is quite clear that we are not celebrating the future life.

Are we celebrating the past year? But why? The past is past. It is gone. It is a like the sand which has dropped out of the hand. It is like the wind that has passed. We could have admired it as it was happening but why should we celebrate the past. Though we often raise a toast to the past years accomplishments during the party, it’s just a filler.

Since we move one year closer to death, we are for sure not celebrating the gift of life. Coz we are one step closer to that gift being taken away. It will be a delusional stunt of defying death if that is what we are celebrating.

What I feel is that birthdays are just a timely reminder of our existence in this vulnerable world. It’s a way by which we feel ourselves. We realize our existence. “Look, I am still here, despite what life has thrown at me. It’s just another way to celebrate who we are and where we have come from. It’s just another way to announce ourselves.

Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)?

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We have been exposed to a new phenomenon during the recent times. I am talking about the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). Opposition wants to have a JPC, Ruling party does not want to give a JPC and Common man is left wondering what the JPC is?

By JPC, I understand a committee jointly constituted by parliamentarians across the party lines. How is it any different from any other gazillion committees that are formed to probe matters? Why the obsession? Will it prove to be of any help?

JPC is constituted mainly in the cases where people don’t have faith that the Govt. will allow an impartial probe or the Govt. wants to impress that it has nothing to hide. There are no specific rules to it and very few references to generalize from.  JPC does not have any punitive powers. It can only pass resolution and give recommendations.  Let’s delve in a bit of history. In all there have been four investigative JPC’s till now as below:

JPC 1

  • Cause: Bofors scam in ‘87.
  • Days Parliament was stalled before it was constituted: 45.
  • Effect: Recommendations were rejected by the opposition party.
  • Timeline: Aug ‘87- April ‘88.

JPC2

  • Cause: Harshad Mehta scandal in ‘92.
  • Days Parliament was stalled before it was constituted: 17.
  • Effect: Recommendations partially accepted but never implemented.
  • Ministers summoned: Dr Manmohan Singh (then Finance Minister).

JPC3

  • Cause: Ketan Parekh securities scam in ‘01.
  • Days Parliament was stalled before it was constituted: 15.
  • Effect: Recommended a lot of stringent changes to stock market regulations but were diluted later on.
  • Timeline: April ‘01-Dec ‘02.
  • Ministers summoned: Mr Yashwant Sinha (then Finance Minister).

JPC4

  • Cause: Pesticide in Soft dirnks in’ 03.
  • Effect: Recommended guidelines for water usage by Soft drink companies.
  • Timeline: Aug ‘03-Feb ‘04.

So what will the JPC achieve in this case and why is Govt. not allowing it? One thing for sure, it’s going to achieve nothing more than a set of recommendations that too in a year’s time. As to why the Govt. is not allowing it, is a bit tricky.

UPA has 259/545 in Lok Shabha and 91/243 in Rajya Sabha. Given these funny numbers from the coalition era and SP/BSP giving outside support, UPA will be in minority with strength of around 7 in a 15 member JPC. UPA might not be able to dictate terms in the JPC.

In the past the ministers summoned were Finance Ministers but this time the focus is on PM himself. Congress is worried that JPC might summon Dr. Manmohan Singh for questioning. Thus it is ready to sacrifice entire Winter session. If PM is summoned it would be highly embarrassing to the Govt.

Also the opposition will get a potent tool against the Govt. with leaks from investigation sprayed across the media. Govt. can ill afford it.

Verdict: Govt. might not allow a JPC in this matter. Winter session will be sacrificed.

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