Monday, April 18, 2011

Cycle rally & Great June Uprising

I'm sorry the pic above is not related to me. I was Googling for a suitable image and this came up from e-pao, an online news portal from Manipur. But 'the pic' is of a Manipuri actress Bala who's on a cycle rally to save Loktak lake.

Now, getting back to where I was supposed to start... I don't remember the exact date, but I know that my whole body cramped and I suffered the worst sun burns of my life on this day.

I remember it was a cycle-rally within Imphal. Actually, it was covering a bit more than that. Me and some of my friends from Lamphel joined the Cycle-rally that was organized to safeguard the territorial integrity of Manipur. A show of support and reaffirmation that we were opposed to the state of Manipur being broken up and... being part of different geographic colors on the map.

In 2001, Imphal valley was burning, the issue at that time was the territorial integrity of Manipur. NSCN-IM, the mother of all insurgency operations in the North-East of India had an ongoing cease-fire agreement with the Government of India and they had recently extended the cease-fire to outside of Nagaland, including Manipur.

Geographically Manipur is a valley surrounded by hills on all sides. The Valley which comprises 1/10th the total size is the most populous and is home mostly to the Meiteis who are the majority community. The hills are majorly inhabited by different tribes of which Tankhul-Naga happen to be a sizable chunk.

Extending the cease-fire to Manipur was seen by many as essentially a step towards integrating the Naga dominated areas in Manipur with the Greater-Nagaland agenda. And this move was opposed tooth-and-nail by all.

So, as advised by our local YPA (Young Paite Association) me and my friends took out our cycles wearing our traditional scarfs and rode for practically the whole day, not knowing when the stop will come. Leikai(Village) after Leikai, we were met with people who provided us drinking water and shouts of support. In fact I stopped over a pharmacy and asked for Glucon-D and the shopkeeper was happy to give it for free. I even met an old school mate Mahesh who was a bit shocked to see me on the cycle, but happily supporting the movement. Eventually, towards evening, we reached the Polo Ground right in the heart of Imphal where there was some formal program organized. We were completely drained and after deliberating for sometime, we decided to go back home. It was time for rest, bath and relating our experiences to others.

The other events that came out of the unrest in Manipur is too well documented in media. But it was one scary time to be in Imphal. I remember the war like situation with smoke bellowing and buildings burning all around Imphal city. The local cable TV was streaming live the whole turmoil as it unfolds. Protestors fighting with police, tear gas and lathi charge, government establishments being burnt - including the MLA building, ministers quarters attacked, roads blocked, vehicles damaged, curfew all over.... It ended with 13 young lives killed in police shooting as they were trying to scale the main gate of the Chief Minister's Quarter.

These events happened on 18th June 2001. And post that there were continued disturbances and curfews in and around Imphal. End result - the territorial integrity of Manipur continues to stand to this day. The day is now know as the Great June Uprising and every year it would be a day of remembering those who died and the sacrifices they made.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

One lazy sunday afternoon

I know, posting pictures helps fill up your blog... but like they say, a picture speaks a thousand words... so, there are like 13,000 words below :) anyway had captured these at home one Sunday afternoon in march 2011...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Se7en & Sins of Advertising

The movie Se7en is one of my all time favorites. Rated 8.7/10 on imdb,which means its one of the movies you cannot afford to miss. Its about two detectives (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) hunting down a serial killer (Kevin Spacey). The psychotic killer believes that he is ridding the world of bad people, by killing those who have committed the Seven Sins (Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, etc).

I enjoyed this movie not only because of the gripping storyline, great acting and the suspense that holds you till the last minute, but also because I find some relationship to modern day advertising and human nature. Let me try to explain.

Back in 2007, my hostel buddy Akhil and I had a discussion on how advertising/marketing tried to actually exploit human nature. You see, many of these products sold in the market cater to one or the other of human wants and desires, not necessary human needs.

You will understand what I mean if you recall the "Neighbors envy, owners pride" ads by Onida some years back. The Devil himself was selling you the TV/VCR, saying that it will bring you pride(satisfaction) and to your neighbor, envy(jealousy). Nothing can be so much more tempting to buy. Don't you think?

Sex sells. From chewing-gum to cement to cars, you will find that a barely clad woman/ man is posing next to or promoting the product. Its flabbergasting sometimes to see what was the connection between pencils and a lady in hot-pants? Lust in all its deceptive charms.

Food, glorious food is being paraded in front of our eyes in all its mouthwatering form. If you actually go to buy them then you will be sorely dissapointed. Because the food they have shown you on TV/Print-ads looks way much better than the real one which is served to you. Also, when you eat it, it does not feel as yummy as it is claimed to be. Every bite stimulating the instinct of Gluttony.

Based on these ads I have seen, and its effects, it seems to me that advertisers will find more innovative ways of appealing to our wants and desires. They have the primitive instincts of lust, gluttony, envy, pride, etc to play around with. And it seems that they never fails, at least most of the time.

So, here I am planning to include a study on how advertising can exploit the Seven Sins. Maybe put it up as a course in Consumer Behavior. And if you happen to do that, don't forget to acknowledge the source of the idea - yours truly ;)

Enjoy watching Se7en.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

All good things must come to an end

Feeling nostalgic while driving back home last Sunday evening... It was just after the ZCF B office bearers portfolio allocation... After two consecutive years of being the Chairman, i have now moved to a less prominent role as a member and frankly, I'm relieved :)

For those who do not know, ZCF stands for Zomi Christian Fellowship. All major cities in India and some cities in US and other parts of the world, have their own ZCF. The Bangalore Zomi Christian Fellowship was started in 1993 and has been catering to the religious and social needs of Zomis' in Bangalore. It is an excellent platform where different communities come together and share...

The past 2 years ZCF experiences has been "bittersweet" and the memories will stick with me for the rest of my days... Organizing freshers day, Christmas, sports-meet, raising funds, meeting new people, taking care of the sick and condoling the dead, dealing with various organizations, being a mediator in disputes, standing in front of a crowd and delivering speeches, meetings on weekends - just a few of the diverse hats I had an opportunity to wear...

Sometimes have been tough and some have been happier times... but all of them have taught me new things about life and I'm grateful for the learnings... it feels good to be able to participate and contribute something for your community... Though it was tiring and involved making efforts and sacrifices, I do not regret it... In fact while trying to write down the negative points, I could not proceed beyond a couple of them... However, the positive points kept on increasing and it made me realize that I had a very good time...

One of my former boss in office told us that leaders, when they survive tough times, gain valuable experiences... and they end up writing books about it and sharing them... Neither do I have that much of experiences to share nor do I write too well...

But, I have seen that learning by doing is the most effective and also that one should never let go of an opportunity to do the right thing, even if its not the easiest, you will not regret in the long run...

So much for my thoughts now... till then, take care

12th April 2011