India: Unauthorised (Part 1)

Unauthorised here, means India as it has been interpreted through my eyes. No doubt some drug addict will see India differently. I'm not going to be giving you statistics about India, but what you'll get is a very real picture. I have been having a lot of second thoughts about starting this, not because I don't want to tell you about where I come from, but because talking about a country means that you leave the relatively safe realm of your head and move out into the open where other people can relate to what you are saying. And criticism is what we're all scared of isn't it?

Criticism, however can be dealt with and learned from, therefore criticism will most definitely be tolerated here. Profanity will not. Get comfy... This is going to get long.


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India, as most of you may know, is a peninsular country in south Asia. I will not waste time analyzing the shape of India and comparing it to objects, because quite honestly, although it doesn't look like anything in particular, I have always thought it looks very clear cut and well defined. Beautiful really. I guess you'll have had to grow up looking at it over and over again in a geography book to appreciate it.


India is the 7th largest country in the world, and some parts of India are not exactly attached to it. These parts include the Andaman and Nicobar islands (South east), and the Maldives islands (not shown), but we'll come back to geography later.

I remember my 6th grade civic sciences book defining India as a secular, sovereign, democratic republic. It then went on to explain each of these terms to me, which I doubt i need to do now, but I will tell you how each of those terms apply.

India is secular, i.e. tolerant towards many religions. Indeed, in no other place in the world will you find so many different religions woven into the thread of the fabric that makes India. No religion in India is seen as an "outside" religion, and no person can be discriminated against based on his/her religion. Hinduism emerged in India, and is the most dominant religion in the country, but some of the other popular religions include Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. This said, there has been a lot of controversy and violence based on religious grounds lately, but we'll discuss that as soon as you fully understand why this happens. The presence of so many religions means we probably get the most number of holidays in the world.

India is sovereign, and it gained this sovereignty (independence) on the 15th of August, 1947, when the British Rule over India finally came to an end after nearly 200 years. This day is a public holiday and is celebrated in India as Independence Day. Any British national who is reading this is probably wondering what an Independence Day must feel like, since they have to settle for the Queen's Birthday Parade. But honestly, it feels wonderful, since I'm celebrating something that makes me swell up in pride at the bravery of my ancestors in fighting the war of independence. But don't let that conjure up images of a bloody war, large parts of this war was simple non-violent resistance, taught and demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi.

India is a democratic republic. The people of India elect their country's leaders through a secret ballot. India became a republic on the 26th of January, 1950 with the signing of the constitution by some of our most prominent freedom fighters. This day is also a public holiday, celebrated as Republic Day. Both these holidays are very important in the Indian calendar and are marked by huge festivities, parades and a variety of other activities including song, dance, plays, skits, debates etc.

Cultural events encourage the old and the young alike to take part across the country everywhere from the schools and town centers of villages to the heart of the capital city of India (New Delhi). And they are truly wonderful to watch, since culture is where all of India unites as one. The picture above shows a number of schoolchildren in the Indian state of New Delhi, gathered for an independence day display.

The national capital of India is New Delhi, and the national language is Hindi. The hindi script is derived from sanskrit and an example is shown alongside. National language it may be, but Hindi is not spoken by the majority of the country, and is used more often in the North than in the South. This is probably because of the size of India and the influences of various surrounding regions, colonies and empires on each separate state. Incidentally, one of our prime ministers had never even learned to speak Hindi, and in his address to the nation, he had someone write each word phonetically in his own language so that he could talk to the people. "India", in hindi is known as "Bharat" (yes, I know that's my name), or sometimes "Hindustan" (Land of the Hindus).


I must now come to an end of the first part of this tour, and although this part has contained mainly background information, the next one will delve deeper into India today, and give you a more present sort of picture. For what will you understand of the present and future, when you do not know of the past?

And help me out here, if you've gotten bored with this post, it's because I don't know what you want to hear. So ask me a few question (questions damnit!), and I'll integrate them into the next part. That way, you get to learn what you want, and the extra bits :).


Our Flag (The Indian Tricolour) - Part 2

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Ignorance

The world is chock full of ignorance.

Ignorance in that everybody has a lot of assumptions about a lot of things, but never really bother to check their facts. Ignorance is also contagious, and here, you can read ignorance as gullibility. There's no word such as "gullible" in the dictionary, believe me.

To make sense of this, let me tell you a little bit about who I am. First off, my name is Bharat, I'm an Indian, and I currently reside in London, United Kingdom. I say currently because I never stay in the same place for more than three years, and this is because my father works in the Indian Air Force, and has been posted to London for (you guessed it) 3 years as a diplomat.

Being a diplomat, it has to be second nature for us to interact with people from different backgrounds, ethnic origins, languages, parts of the world etc. This is all well, since most of the people I meet from other countries are extremely interested in my country and its customs, and I am quite interested in a lot of things about their respective countries. We're destroying ignorance, and learning some very useful things about each other. For most part it's very enjoyable.

Now let's get to the point. I study in sixth form at a college here, and take a Mathematics GCSE with my regular studies. There's this guy in my math class who, well, gets on everybody's nerves, and about a week ago, he asked me if it was true that there were chickens in Indian airports. That's right, he said "chickens". Now I don't know how everybody else in the world looks at India, but chickens in any airport is just taking it too goddamn far. I explained to him that there were no chickens in the airports, and in fact, the chickens were all in the rural areas, thank you very much, but he just wouldn't listen. It just gets to me how mule-headed people can be about countries and sentiments of people in those countries. (If you're thinking that he was just taking the mickey out of me, then that's not true either, he was honestly that stupid.)

This got me thinking about how many other people he'd probably convinced that there were chickens in Indian airports, well, no not exactly that, but how many other people had completely idiotic beliefs about what my country is really like. So, I've decided to try and make a difference with my blog, and I'm going to put up a series of blogs that let you know all about India.

Well, I'd be happy to receive any questions from you about India that you would like answered, and I'll do my best to give you the whole, unpolished-by-tourism-agency truth about India. Fire away people :) and be enlightened. You can either put the questions in comments, or just mail them to me (my email address is in my profile).

There are really no chickens in the airports...

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Super Blog!!!

Well, this is just an update sort of thing, so if you're in the mood for something that has substance, then keep scrolling or click here... but do answer the question at the end... and the poll... if there is one... :)

Well, first off, Say hello to my new "Things I Will Never Understand" list on the right. This contains links to... well, you guessed it... things that don't really make sense... or should not even exist.. Most of it is probably going to be just judgment... but what the hell...

Also say hello to the literary addictions section... that's stuff i read :) and that collections contains some of the best bloggers here (I don't get the point of "Blogs Of Note", since half of them are aloe vera commercials...). Getting back to the point... If you're on that list, then congratulations... If you're not, and would like to get onto the list... then please make a cheque payable to Bharat Reddy... wha? okay okay... but seriously... If you see someone who's on there and you don't know about them... give em a shot... I find they are very good reads...

Also welcome the new RSS button :) which i happen to have made myself... except for the logo... which i guess is the main part of it... but anyway... my creative ability has increased tenfold lately...

It's funny i feel this way but i feel I've joined a literary youtube vlog... but i guess the YouTube idea came from blogs anyway... well, thank you all for making my stay enjoyable and full of sane stuff that I can read :)

Well, the point of this post was... is "Housekeeping" a good idea?... by housekeeping, i mean blogs that I write that tell you a little about me once in a while... basically blogs that have no point... like what I'm doing, what I plan on doing... Where I'm coming from, and where I'm going... stuff like that... lemme know!!

And yes, the blog below this is a new one.. so tell me I'm out of my mind...

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Perfection

Well... This blog has been on my mind for quite some time now... But i haven't quite gotten down to putting it just the right way... that's a problem with me... I can't quite say things the way I want to say them the first time around, and when I do, I usually end up making a huge mess of things... more on that later... when I'm a little more open...

So getting down to the gist of this post... Before i give you my views on this... think for a moment and define perfection... Elusive, unattainable perfection...

Thought about it?? Good... Now here's what I've got to say... Perfection is nothing more than a state of mind. No, listen... How many things do you think you've called perfect in your life?? A thousand?? The perfect movie... the perfect kiss (how many?)... The perfect night... Now multiply that by, oh... i dunno... 19 million... and you've got a pretty big number...

At this point, i remember a line from "The Incredibles" (which is an awesome movie!!)... Evil guy - "Everyone can be special... and when everyone is special... no one will be" (evil grin)... Ahem... Well, I think the reverse can be applied to perfection.... notice how people say "Nobody's perfect"?? Well, maybe everybody is... in their own ways, in views that come from different people...

But I'm losing the point here... the point was... is... that no matter what you think is perfect... the person next to you will not think quite the same thing... Perfection is an inebriated state of the mind, where the mind happens to be befuddled by some strange chemical reaction... and you can tell I'm thinking about my girlfriend right now :) she's perfect... really :)

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder... perfection is held by a person when something is unimaginably special to him/her... Find something that's perfect and universally accepted as perfect will you?? This is probably starting to sound very disorganized, so I'm going to quit now...

Anyone strongly disagree?? Gimme some ideas :)

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Flight

I'm back!!

Well, before I get on with my actual rambling (and this is something that i just have to ramble about... it dragged be kicking and screaming to the keyboard at 2 in the morning), I need to update my ever growing fan base... err...

Welcome back to my old hands... Thanks so much for all your previous support... and don't bother looking for my old blog... It's gone... I'm quite sick of MSN or Live or whatever it's called these days... To the ones who're here for the first time... do stay... and hopefully I'll make it worth your while... Comments and suggestions are always welcome...

And here's the rambling bit...

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Flight....

No, don't think of an airline...

Think of a bird... soaring above great trees and rivers... perching on mountain tops... Free to fly the way it wishes, free to explore endlessly... a sense of never ending adventure... I'm sure what goes on in the average bird's head is not quite the same... But don't you just sometimes wish you could just lift up into the sky effortlessly and cruise far above the affairs of mortal men... not a care in the world... and the vast blue peaceful sky...

Think humans... lifting into the air... and now you're thinking airplanes... and anyone who's known me long enough is probably going "Oh, not again..."

Think airplanes... essentially a collection of nuts and bolts that just happens to cost you a hell of a lot of money... But that's before its spirit comes alive at the touch of a pilot's hand... Oh, sure... flight has it's advantages.. It gets you places real quick... practically ever industry in the world depends on flight... It brings far places near and is a great business tool... If this is what you're thinking... then you're not thinking of an airplane... you're thinking of a machine.... An airplane, although the most cold-hearted people on earth may address it as a machine, is quite different...

I'm sorry i'm spending so much time trying to make you understand what an airplane is... but there's just no way to say this better... An airplane is... well... phenomenal... Consider the ideas behind the creation of the airplane... The world looks down on you with cold eyes, and neither forgives nor forgets.. The magic of the airplane lies in it's promise... Its promise that it will break free of the ground that it sits on, lift up, and take you up there.. places where you can soar across the bright blue sky with not a care in the world... everything that's been troubling you left behind on the tarmac... your soul taking wings and flying into a picture perfect sunset.

An airplane... is a creature of light... shining it into our hearts and minds... An airplane.. can be likened to a woman whose beauty lies within her soul... untouched by time or tide... untouched by the world... the airplane holds a special charm about it... one that can never fade away... It may look a little ungainly on the ground... but just watch it soar... and you'll know what I mean... Not many people can walk away from an airplane without thinking that there is a certain magic going on around it... and those who can... well, I'd be happy to believe that they happen to be responsible for some form of serial killing...

I must stop now, or I will drop down to the absolutely fascinating mechanics of flight and bernoulli's theorem and what-not... But that's the thing... even the technical stuff fascinates me... it must be something to conquer the spirit of an airplane... come to know it... but once you're pulled in... rest assured that you'll never be able to leave...

Most of you will not have understood this or the point to this.. but if I've shown just one of you the beauty of flight... I will have done my duty... I hope you understand why I'm so obsessed with planes now... It's not about going fast or showing off... it's about living... :) and this is when i'm as alive as can be...

Flight??



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