ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘social

Lies Within

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Lie is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “to say something that you know is not true”. Going by this simple definition, it should not be very difficult to adhere to the childhood sermons of “not to lie”, should it? Your first guess might be a No, of course. But that’s not how the material world works. In fact let me be crude enough to say that we lie all our lives.

I was taught during the childhood that if you lie, you will go to hell. This in itself seems to be a lie. Have you ever been to a retail shop? “Are bhaisaab khareed kee rate de raha hoon. Do paise ka profit nahin hai isme. Isse kam doonga toh ghaate mein jaayega” (I am giving you at the purchase cost. Anything less and I will have to bear the loss). Do you really believe that the shopkeeper is telling the truth? “Khareed ki rate” (at purchase cost) Huh! He is lying all right. Given this assumption and the process of induction, hell should be one hell of a crowded place.

“A lie which does not hurt anyone, is not considered a lie” Now who the hell said that. Why did he say it? Why do we believe it? Mere rumors.

My problem is that I feel uneasy when lying. It doesn’t matter how innocent the lie is. There is this inner feeling that no one would believe me. It crept up from childhood when my parents used to take my elder sister’s word over me, always. That I used to lie most of the times, is a different matter altogether. But still they never believed my lie. Once my sister and I were playing and I broke the table lamp. When parents got home, we blamed one another. I was the one who was grounded. Tell me one thing; how the hell they knew who did really break the lamp. It was as if they disowned me. That was the feeling then. Now I know that they being parents know how to look beyond the words and through the eyes of their child. They know when the child is lying. Then again, it might be a pure guess work. Who knows?

Once you decide that you will never lie, it is bound to create social problems. Coz believe me, we live in The Matrix. People are so seasoned to hear lies all the time that the sound of truth is poison to their ears. Try telling your wife how fat she is. Just try. When parents ask their teenage child, Do you drink? Deep down they know that like all teenagers you would be trying stuff too. But it feels nice to hear. “No Pa”. They are not asking you to admit the truth. They just want you to lie. I try to avoid such questions with potential social disaster. I try and change the topic.

The most charismatic of all is the concept of witness stand in the court. They ask the witness to be sworn by Geeta to speak the truth and only the truth. All of us including Geeta herself know very well that this concept no longer holds a sacred place in our lives. Still we consider whatever a person is saying under oath, to be truth. This, when we don’t permit polygraph as evidence. Say the tests are correct 70% of the times. It would still be better than 0%. Try to understand the complexity here. By admitting whatever a person says under oath to be true and knowing that whatever he is saying is a lie, we are doing nothing but lying to ourselves.

The biggest form of a lie I believe is the one which we tell ourselves. “I will pay off the debt next month” You assure yourself by lying within. When you know there wouldn’t be any next month. It’s either today or no-day. “I can have one more drink. What’s the harm”? Deep down you know what the harm would be, but decide to convince yourself of a different truth.

Lying to others may affect your social standing and outlook of other towards you. But lying within distorts your own psyche. Sort of creates conflicting personalities. You can easily change your friends and the place you live in and do away with external sigma. However it’s not the same within. Lie to others as much as you want but try and sort out the inner truths.

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Written by arpitgarg

June 29, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Battered mAnimals

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There is a saying “Man by nature is a social animal”. I agree with the animal part at least, can’t say much about being social. Then again, I might be wrong. Recently I read in a newspaper that now women can also be booked under domestic violence charge. How liberating! One field which we men considered our monopoly has been taken away. What are we without the rage, the anger, the violence? Anyways, I don’t think any of the men will come forward with such a complain Coz in our society what place is there for a man who has been domesticated violently by a woman and needed law to save him.

To be true Men have been subjected to domestic violence for long. Despite this and the fact that most of the lawmakers have been men, why was such an initiative never taken earlier? The answer is the male ego. It’s very hard for us to concede that we could be subjected to violence, that too by a woman. After all We are the boss, aren’ we?.

This leads me a critical question. Who really is the boss of the family? Most of us would answer, The Male. Well you wouldn’t be far from truth. Man is looked upon as the provider and the face of the family, The Head. The child is known by his father’s name. It’s always been Mr. X and his family. Mr. X comes first and the family tags behind.

Has it been so from the inception? Well this took me to some digging. And the answer lies from where I started. Man being an animal. In earlier times, humans used to live in “groups” for fear of being attacked by animals, we being lot weaker than others. Just like animals today, there was no bondage of a male and a female for life. Everyone slept with everyone. So you see, it was never quite clear who the father of the child was? So child was known by the name of the mother and was fathered by most of the group males. The female was the lead and the most powerful. She was looked upon as one who took the group forward by providing offspring, The Provider. Gathering food, taking care of protection of the group were mere laborious.

With time humans prospered. They stopped being gregarious and Man being stronger felt to show supremacy. One man-One Woman concept became vogue. Child now had a uniquely identifiable father, could be named after him. Man became the lead, the head.

So evidently it’s the offspring who decides who the boss is. Earlier offspring could be identified by the mother, so female was the head, now it could be identified by the father, so male is the boss. So in effect the saying that, “Child is the father of Man” takes precedence here too.

P.S: To all those fellow men who have been victims of domestic violence, do visit, Battered Men.

Written by arpitgarg

June 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Netizens and Fake Identity

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One of my old colleagues initiated a Facebook discussion. Somewhere along the discussion he took the liberty of deleting one of my comments. His justification was that he intended to maintain his profile, posts and comments in a particular manner to which my comment did not adhere to. Consider here that my comment was neither obscene, provocative or political. I contested that he was trying to create a fake online impression by censoring views of his friends on his profile. All I could do was to prohibit myself from any further comments on his posts.

Enough of the petty personal low down. The issue I want to raise here is related to the realism of online profiles and social networking sites. Internet is looked upon as a replica of the real world. An extension perhaps. We have created online profiles, shopping malls, entertainment media, social networks etc for us. Netizens have always maintained that online profile is nothing but an impression of the reality. However there has been a surge in the number of fake profiles recently. Authorities across the world are trying to find a way to handle it in the best possible way.

Consider a real life scenario. You are having a discussion with someone and he starts uttering indemnities. What do you do? You stop the discussion then and there and decide not to be friends with him/her anymore. You start a fist fight. You report him to the authorities. But can you erase/delete what has been said? Can you un-say it? In the online world it becomes possible. Exactly the point I want to make. Netizens are deviating from the rules, regulations for the citizens. The fact that facebook allows a person to delete a comment by someone on his/her profile makes it a fakebook. True that it is necessary sometimes to delete an obscene or filthy remark but who is to decide what is to be deleted?

One might contest, “Why is there a need for a Netizen to bide by the regulations for a Citizen?” He might be right today. But given that we are taking more and more of our lives online, it might not be the case in near future. Effective laws and stringent checks will guard the online world not very far from now. E-self would be forced to stay in line with real-self. It would be a matter of choice nomore. Infact, strict online laws are being debated at eminent forums. Maybe in the future, online profiles would require you to enter SSN (Social Secuirty Number), thereby eliminating the existence of fake profiles altogether.

Consider another scenario.  A travel agency creates a Facebook profile which brags about the services they provide. Someone who has employed their services in the past knows it to be a lie. He writes a comment on their page, stating the truth. The agency deletes the comment then and there. The page remains clean, thereby misguiding the junta. On the flip side, if they are not allowed to delete the comment then a rival company might post a fake derogatory comment. A Catch-22 situation.

What could the solution be? Nothing simple, I guess.

  1. One solution could be to delete from friend-list, who we feel is writing false or maligning comments. It would closely replicate real life scenario. We just end the friendship.
  2. We can avoid adding all and sundry to our friend-list. The lesser the better.
  3. Instead of delete comment, there could be a report abuse button for every post/comment. Though it would require more personnel to be employed by the networking site who would check whether it is really an abuse or not. This might again be contested.

If this too fails then there is always Mafia Wars to settle the scores.

Redemption

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I shook hands with and hugged a number of people today. I was in my hometown for holidays and fortunately it coincided with one of my schoolmates wedding. We being family friends were invited to the marriage.

Just a bit of background. I wasn’t all too social guy at school. Didn’t even know the names of many from my class. I can laugh at it today but I was a suck-up to the teachers and evidently not very popular among fellow students. It has been 7 long years since I passed out of school and haven’t had time to catch up with any of my mates barring a few close ones.

Normally I hesitate going up to someone, shaking hands and initiating a talk. The same reason why I don’t consider myself an MBA material. Anyways, today was a day to set things right. I entered the arena just as the Baraat was entering. A bunch of people were dancing. I recognized one of them to be an old pal. I shook hands and hugged. It was not exactly nostalgic but discovering. More so for a person like me, who never took a chance to socialize with people when had time.

Anyways, I met not less than two dozen old mates. Some married, some bachelors and others somewhere in between. I took the lead in going up to people with, “Saath mein padte the yaar, naam yaad nahin aa raha”. Not remembering was a lame excuse; I never really knew the names of many people in the first place. They were mere faces for me. But I was happy and guilt ridden at the same time when most of them replied, “Don’t worry we remember your name, Arpit”.

I stayed till late, chatting, relishing old times. Wish I could have chatted with you guys more. But it was a nice little start. Thank you all for remembering my name when I was so pathetic as to not remember your’s. And above all thanks to my friend whose marriage gave me a chance to meet old pals. Best wishes to him.

Smell of blood

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Chukk…Chukk…Chukk…Chukk…Thud!…Silence…Realization…Rush…Bachao…Bachao…Wait…Relief… Compensation…Chukk…Chukk…Chukk…Chukk

If one asks you, how many train mishaps took place in the country last month? You wouldn’t be able to answer, leave aside naming the trains involved. Like most other Indians, I am a regular train traveler and a keen one too. Even amidst the stats of two accidents taking place daily, neither do I change my travel plans, quiet frankly, nor can I afford to.

Only when it hits you close enough that you come to feel it. A train rammed into another during the heavy fog. I read the news and turned the page over as routine. It’s only when I found out that a dear friend of mine was on the same train that I became anxious. Now he is a guy who is least bit affected by such things. “These things happen”, is his attitude. But something he experienced that day forced him to change his outlook. A newfound respect for life, perhaps. He wouldn’t admit this, so no point drooling over.

According to him a real accident site is nothing that we witness in movies and quite far from the well shot clips that run through news channels. The sense of shock can’t be explained. It’s the state of cluelessness. It takes time to gather the composure. You fear to get down at first, not knowing if it’s a terrorist attack, an accident or some alien invasion. Such is the mental state. People start reciting Holy Scriptures.

If you are the one who would get down to take stock of the situation, you might see some smoke and dust at the rear of the train. The closer you get to the injured bogies, the more anxious you become. The smell of dust and sand gets strong and so does the crowd. You come near the huddle where people are trying to help the injured. You sense a smell which is intoxicatingly nauseating. What is this smell? You wonder. It strikes you just as you near an overturned and smashed bogey. It’s the smell of fresh human blood and raw human meat.

You see a wailing mother whose child is stuck inside. You can’t help her. You are struck by a feeling of sheer helplessness. There are scenes you would have never wished to see. Somewhat similar to the ones you might have heard from doctors working in emergency ward. The ripped open stomach, cracked bone, crushed skull and hanging leg (only leg and nothing else). All this and the intoxicating smell. The head feels dizzy.

You witness a whole new world. Everyone becomes a family; tries to save as many lives as possible. Consolations…Water…Medicines are collected from everybody aboard. Anyone who had had a doctor in the family becomes one today.  And Ah! no help from the authorities still. You see a bogey which is crushed to half with no way to pull the people out. Near it, you see a person, who in lieu of helping, try to pickpocket the unconscious and you feel no strength to confront him.

When the help arrives, you find the authorities helping the AC coaches first followed by reserved ones followed by general ones. The worst part of it is that nobody cares. Such deeply engraved is the class system into our psyches that we don’t see any wrong in what is being done. Neither do AC coach people feel embarrassed, nor do general coach people complain. Within few hours the train departs.

Witnessing death from that close tends to turn you towards faith. You vow to enjoy each and every second of your life from then on. After sometime you forget and it becomes a part of your documented memory.

Written by arpitgarg

January 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Cyber Culture: The new social order

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This is the summary of a term paper submitted by me and Lalit in the humanities course during our final semester at college.

Throughout the human history, there has been a gradual technological growth. Man has always strived to find ways to make his life easy and enjoyable. Starting from the earliest technology, “the wheel”, man has gone round the circle innumerable times. Technological advances have been followed by a huge rise in the standard of living, as a general trend. Be it renaissance, industrial revolution or whatever. Last half a century or so has seen advancement in technology like never before. Arrival of computers and digitization of datum has had its effects on the human sphere of life. The arrival of internet has given a further shot in the arm to the ever increasing sphere of expanding world.

Modern means of communication were said to have the capability to shrink the world. World became smaller and smaller. But as the regenerativity theory suggests, after shrinking to a tiny dot, this world has exploded again, this time to the infinitum. Internet has led to the creation of new worlds, termed as virtual worlds. All the notions of parallel world and teleporting has been a given a new dimension through this technology. It said that success comes at a cost. So at what cost is this new human success achieved? What sacrifice will the humans make to keep this success sustainable? Perhaps we are still to witness.

According to an article, “netizen is miles away from the nature and its laws. He constructs a fort separating him from the real world. This keeps him away from the realities of life” . Man has always tried to run away from challenges of the real life towards an artificial world. What else does the Arabian nights to the current day Harry Potter stand for, if not for the realization of the human fantasy? The author goes on to say, all’s well till we are inside this virtual world, the problem surfaces when we try to realize the fantasy in our real life and fail unsurprisingly.

As a result of the fast spread of internet and its unchecked expansion, a different society has come up in thousands of Internet cafes and in our own personal computers, says a report. This society has huge shopping malls like Ebay.com, meeting places like Orkut, Facebook and what not. According to a net survey, the number of users as well as the number of minutes spent by each user on Facebook has increased considerably over the period of June’06 to June’07. Most concerning fact is that around 31% of social network users enter false information. Does this suggest a new era where deception might be the reality?

Another area of concern is the reversal of roles on the net. Most of our elders don’t even have an idea about the borders of the cyber society. This is a world where the elders have become newbies. Will this hamper the human growth in the long term?

There is no doubt that internet has the potential to become one of the major tools for the global development. We can’t avoid it. The only option is to acclimatize with it. One can begin by not entering false information, using internet for useful purposes and setting time limits for internet usage.

Tring…Tring…are you an idiot?

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I received this call last week.

Caller: Hello, is this Hardhik Garg? not clear whether it was Hardhik or Karthik.
Me: May, I know who this is?
Caller: Hi, I am Shyamsundar. I am a pass out of IIT Guwahati. You are also from Guwahati naa Hardhik. I got your name and number from Satish Mittal. You might know him. He was from your batch.
Me: Arre, my name is Arpit. Yes, I know Satish.
Caller: Sorry Arpit. Actually I just talked to Satish over the phone. He was busy with a presentation. So couldn’t hear him clearly. By the way I am from ‘99 ECE batch.
Me: ’99 passout batch?
Caller: No ’99 joining batch. I passed out in ’03.
Me: Oh!
Caller: Yes, you and Satish would have joined a year later.
Me: Yes, exactly.
Caller: You might know Bora Sir, Gogoi Sir.
Me: Yes, I knew Bora Sir. Not remember about Gogoi Sir.
Caller: Well, I am in Mumbai right now. I came here with regard to my visa for Australia. I was travelling in local train when my wallet got lost.
Me: Oh God!
Caller: Yes and with it went all my cash, credit card, debit card.
Me: So you are out of cash right now. Guessing that’s why he had called.
Caller: Yes. That pretty much the case. I called Satish for help. He was busy in office. I know how it is. I myself was at Microsoft for over a year. So didn’t disturb him much. He gave me your number and asked me to contact you for help.
Me: Oh Ok
Caller: So where exactly are you in Mumbai?
Me: I am at my office in Powai area.
Caller: Oh! Near IITB. I have been there once during college.
Me: Ok. So where are you? How do you need help?
Caller: Sorry yaar. I guess I am not disturbing you.
Me: No problem at all.
Caller: I have just one debit card left with me. Fortunately, it was in the bag and not the wallet. It’s an old HDFC account. I haven’t used it recently, so it doesn’t have any balance right now.
Me: Yes listening.
Caller: Can you please deposit some money into this account. Would it be a problem?
Me: No. not at all. What’s your full name? Shaymsundar…
Caller: It’s S. Shaymsundar. I am from south.
Me: Oh. Ok. Yes go on.
Caller: My account number is XXXX. I will return your money as soon as I reach home.
Me: Oh. Ok. I haven’t received such calls before. Was not sure whether it was a crank call. How to be sure? Just then it struck to me. So which hostel were you in?
Caller: Oh! I didn’t live in hostel. My dad was … he told some Govt job, that I forgot in Guwahati. I used to live with my family in the city.
Me: Ok. You might know Ravi then. He was from your batch only. (Just made some name up to check).
Caller: No I don’t remember any Ravi. Which stream was he in?
Me: I don’t know exactly. Thought you might know. Well so bhaiyya (trying not to sound too questioning), who was the director at your time.
Caller: Oh! He was someone called Mohanty. You might not know him. (Caught you!!!)
Me: Yes, yes. So what is the sum you need?
Caller: Let’s see. I have to take a flight from here to Banglore. I would need 2-2.5K.
sounding hesitant and feeling sorry to disturb me I hope I am not troubling you any bit?
Me: Arre naa.
Caller: Is there any HDFC branch near you? You may check online for that.
Me: I think there is one branch nearby.
Caller: Oh. Thank God! So how long would it take?
Me: It should take me around 20 min to reach there.
Caller: So are you leaving right now?
Me: Don’t worry. I will leave immediately.
Caller: Thanks yaar. I would repay it on reaching Bangalore. I would like to meet you and Satish both when I return from Sydney. You guys are really helpful.
Me: Oh! No problem at all. After all you are our senior. This is the least we could do.
Caller: So. I’ll call you in half an hour.
Me: Yes, sure.

I called Satish. He whispered over the phone. He was in a presentation. I asked him does he know any Shyamsundar and had he given him my number. According to him, this guy called him some 15-20 minutes ago. Was not sure where he got his cell number. From orkut, perhaps. Forwarded the call to me, as he himself is busy. “Plz verify before doing anything”, were his words.

Well. I did leave immediately not for the Bank but for lunch. I went over the chinks in the story with my friends, to weigh the odds.

Chink 1: He was not able to tell the name of the hostel and made up some excuse. Plausible though, I must say.

Chink 2: There was no director by the name of Mohanty. GB Sir were there in our time and if he had passed in 2003, as he said he did, he should have known his name.

Chink 3: I would have understood if he needed some cash. But he needed money transferred into his account. Given internet (core) banking these days, he could as well have called his friends and family. They would have deposited money anywhere in India into his account.

Chink 4: Similar argument goes for the flight ticket to Bangalore. Any of his known one could have booked the ticket online. He just needed the PNR. Instead he went all pains to ask someone he didn’t knew even remotely.

Chink 5: The best part of it. The call was from a local landline number. I tried to call back but it was engaged. Probably a STD booth. So the guy didn’t have a cell number.

He called back and I told him that there is no HDFC bank in my vicinity. Better he call his friends and family to get a ticked booked online. Sorry that I could not help him. Looking forward to meeting him when he is back from Sydney.

Well, I still have his account number. (Based on real events)

Written by arpitgarg

September 9, 2008 at 1:23 pm

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