Jose Padua: The Night We Tried to Get a Poet Arrested

Vox Populi

I remember the night my friend and I tried to get a poet arrested
for his crimes against literature, his hiding
of horribly sentimental lines by speaking like a seller
of cheap real estate, those broken down houses
where everything and everyone leaks, in neighborhoods
divided by the tornado roar of long, slow trains, night and day.
It was just poetry, I know, words arranged like a landscape
of dark trees against the, whatever, azure sky,
but why should he escape punishment like the stealers
of poor people’s minority fortunes, the rule makers
who make us break our backs at hard labor
while they sit up high in penthouse suites
eating their feasts, drinking the best wine,
as they sneer at the riff-raff drawing heavy strings
and pushing square wheels along concrete floors
in the moldy basement, thump thump?
We called the police. “There he is,” I said,
“at the…

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Is it better to be tied to a tree than squashed on the freeway? Caregiver angst

mom and dad move in

boytree

Baby Walter — that’s what everyone called him since his dad was also named Walter and no one much liked the sound of “junior” — spent most of his single-digit years tethered to one heavy object or another.

His older sister Tina was one of my closest friends. We grew up in the 1970s and 1980s at different ends of the same rural road in Ohio, an unlined swath of blacktop connecting old farmhouses to the fields of green soybeans and sweet corn planted in between.

Baby Walter and Tina lived in the last house on the right before our road crossed over Interstate 71, the busy freeway connecting Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati.

And Tina’s mom — not overly protective of Tina or her older brother — worried constantly that Baby Walter would run down the slope of their side yard and onto I-71 where he would almost certainly…

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Reality behind land acquisition ordinance of Modi’s government: Changes made in previous ordinance.

       The government of India under PM Narendra Modi has decided to introduce an ordinance to make major changes in the existing Land Acquisition Act of 2013 passed by Congress government. It has increased apprehension that the poor, who often cultivate lands but are not the owner, may be left high and dry with no compensation. It has attracted criticism from opposition and Anna Hazare is currently holding a protest in Jantar Mantar against it. 

Here’s a quick look what has changed and what has been kept unchanged: 

The government has amended Section 10(A) of the Act to expand sectors where assessment and consent will not be required. For five sectors, the consent clause has been removed. So the government or private individuals/companies will no longer need mandatory 80% consent for land acquisition in those five sectors. According to Arun Jaitley, the mandatory “consent” clause and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) will not be applicable if the land is acquired for national security, defence, rural infrastructure including electrification, industrial corridors and housing for the poor including PPP where ownership of land continues to be vested with the government.

Whether the land is fertile or not will also not be taken into consideration while acquiring it for these five specific sectors. Thus even if the land is extremely fertile like it was the case in Singur, it can be acquired if it fits the criterion of these five sectors, no question asked. 

#1 Compensation remains the same

The compensation package remains the same. It is four times the market price for rural and and two times for urban land. The government despite pressure from various groups has decided to keep the package intact.

#2 Why did the government passed the ordinance now?

The official reason given by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is that under Section 105 of the Land Acquisition Act, a clarity was needed on what provisions apply to the aforesaid 13 legislations and it had to be done before January 1, 2015.

The political reason is that the government is looking to give a message to investors that they’re trying their best to free up procedural bottlenecks which are almost a hallmark of any infrastructure investment in India. The government is looking to boost up manufacturing to make Modi’s ambitious Make in India project a reality and this is a big bold step towards it but not to mention is harsh for landlords and people depending on the land.

#3 Congress’s opposition

Congress has strongly opposed the ordinance saying anybody who is pro-farmer should raise their voice against it. But according to an Indian Express report, Haryana and Kerala wanted to remove the consent clause for PPP or bring it upto 50%. States like Assam, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh felt that the definition of affected family is too broad. 

On social impact assessment, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Manipur all demanded that the process be restricted to only large projects. 

Other opposition parties like JD(U), Left and AAP have strongly expressed their reservation about the ordinance. So it will be an uphill task for government to pass it in Rajya Sabha where the government is in hopeless minority without Congress’s help at least. 

#4 Possibilities for amendment of ordinance?

Thus, in a way, the government went through a broad consensus by making the changes. Now it is to be seen if they can get it passed in the parliament eventually and if the revised ordinance will indeed serve the purpose of bringing fresh investment and boost the manufacturing sector without trampling on the rights of the poor. 

Learning the fundamental of getting placements! (Motivational)

Yesterday, my Friend has called me and said, “everyone is getting placed. I am feeling tensed and not able to concentrate. Worried…”.

This is how I replied:
“See bhai, assume our Mega Mess as Training & Placement Department and people coming out after dining and walking towards the hostel as Placed. Now, you are walking towards the Mess by facing them. You are just late to the mess. Many a time, we get better quality and quantity food at the mess closing time. So, you will get better food than those dined earlier. Meaning: a better placement, right?
If you are very late and all the food in the mess gets over, then you will go to outside dhabaha and eat, meaning a better placement because food there is tastier than mess. No, sadly (luckily) even if the dhabhas are also closed, now you will go outside to some good restuarant and get the best food which means the best placement, right? So, lets’ wait. Life is all about waiting. The more hungry you become, the more joy you find. It’s better late than never. Don’t worry and waste time. You will do better. All the Best! Everything happens for a reason”  🙂

Inspirational supercars!

Once, there lived a boy in Italy named Ferrucio. Born to grape farmers in the Emilia-Romagna region, he was always more interested in the machines involved in farming rather than the activity itself. The family wasn’t exactly well off, but owing to his tremendous mechanical knowhow, he started manufacturing tractors; the business took off and made him a wealthy person indeed.

He was the owner of a Ferrari (amongst other cars) but noticed that Ferrari’s cars had inferior clutches, and he was also not too happy with their after sales service.

So one day, he went to Enzo Ferrari himself with the hope of bringing these flaws to the great man’s attention. However, Ferrari was too arrogant and said that he didn’t need “a tractor maker’s advice”, and turned him away.

This provided the motivation for Mr. Ferrucio to go one up on Ferrari, and to start his own automobile company, which exists even today; and if I may say so, is doing rather well too.

Oh, and before I forget, Ferrucio’s last name was Lamborghini.

Last stage of learning new

“Tomorrow is the last date. You listen to me? Tomorrow is the last freaking date ”
My friend who owns a French coaching institute told me.
This last date he was referring was the date of last batch starting of the season. I had a long desire to learn French. In fact all of the languages possible, but the things didn’t work well for me. Studying a new language after tiresome daily office work haunted me. But the other side of me wanted to learn all of it.

“Not this time Sudeep, I got no time” I replied slowly.
I knew he would be furious. This was the third time now that I have asked him to book a seat for me in the batch and then leaving it at the last moment.

“You’re just impossible man. “ He seemed to show no concern this time. Maybe he was accustomed with that.

“Any way I’m leaving now. Can you pick up my daughter from Sheetal aunty’s home?” he asked.

“Sure. But what she’s got to do with Sheetal Aunty. Didn’t she use to work as a maid at your home? And she lives all alone past the town”. I triggered a rapid fire round with him.

He didn’t answer me properly and left to work.
I went to pick up Sneha. She’s a very sweet girl.

“Why do daddy always drop you here with aunty? ” I asked her while driving back home. She didn’t reply. I asked her again.

“ Because I want to meet her. Promise me that you won’t tell dad. ” That interested me. I mean what would a tiny 3rd grade girl would have to keep secrets from her dad.
“I promise. Tell me why Sneha” I asked.
“ 10 more chocolates please” she said, “ a fair deal, no?”
I chuckled. “I’ll get you 20.”
“ Dad thinks I come here after school every Friday and Saturday.” She looked up into my eyes and said.
I raised my eyebrows demanding further explanation.
“ But I bunk school every Friday and Saturday and come here, to spend more time with her.” She said hesitantly.

I wasn’t shocked at this. Kids normally do stuff and hide from parents. I acted like it wasn’t a big deal to bunk school to make her comfortable and not to frighten her.

“Oh that’s fine sweetheart. I used to bunk school as well. I didn’t like school as well like you.” I said.
“ But I like school. I like books, I like maths, I like science. I love being there.”
“Then why do you bunk the school? “ I asked.
“ I come here to teach aunty. She is my student and she calls me little teacher ” she smiled proudly.
I smiled back and said, “ So little teacher, what do you teach her?”
“ Every thing they teach me in class. Aunty is so poor that she can’t go to school and she has to work as well, so I teach her everything. I bunk school and she bunks her work. She is learning English so fast. She wrote one letter for her son as well.”

“Where does her son live?” I asked.

“I don’t know. She says he lives with god. Do you know where does god live?”

“ No, I don’t know.” I said.

“What has she written in it ?” I couldn’t hold my curiosity and asked after a while of silent drive.
“She thanks him in the letter. I am going to deliver it for her when I meet him.” she said.

We didn’t talk about her after that. I dropped her home and came back to work. But I couldn’t get this conversation out of my mind.
How selfless a little girl can be?
And we, we are all obsessed with ourselves.
Her only student was five times her age, but still it didn’t matter at all when sharing knowledge. You could be a teacher, teach someone who needs it, teach someone something valuable, not just studies, but a way to live a better life.
And when you have to learn, you learn even without resources. Will Power is enough.