Monday, 20 June 2011


Yesterday it stared me in the face again. The vast divides in our society, chasms which one cannot cross easily. However much one may try to fill those gaps the bitter truth is that there will be always be the haves and the have nots. An ideal world cannot ever exist, it is foolish to even dream of such. Perhaps the very reason for the human endeavor is the imbalance around but then we also talk about the harmony of nature and how much we can learn just by observing it. We observe, we don't learn. Continue in our own disparate ways, each with his personal goal and agenda of life.
Yesterday I was at a radio station and met a larger than life personality, who is the epitome of humility. But this is not what I wanted to say. The  radio station radio station was was collecting notebooks for distributing to children who cannot keep up their education because they can't afford to buy books. Mission Shiksha....... I too donated my drop in the ocean worth of books.

I have always been concerned about the education levels in our country, they have undoubtedly risen considerably in the last few decades but what one sees around is the alarming number of those who do not have the means and at times the inclination to continue with their studies. (There are many success stories about people coming out tops despite the odds which continue to inspire).The dropout level in government run schools is high, many children do not go beyond the 4th or 5TH  class, some manage to stay on until a they complete the eighth or ninth year of school. These schools,funded by the government, for educating the economically weaker sections of society are more than less a laughing matter, there are so many instances of  teachers not coming to school at all but getting their salary at the end of the month, some which I have witnessed personally,others which are reported in the newspapers.And this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many other irregularities which result in the high dropout rate. And if teachers behave in that way the example they set for the students is disastrous.

We HAVE TO HAVE dedicated individuals, perhaps foolish idealists,  to  change the existing situation. Why do we not question ourselves when we see children begging on the streets, why do we shrug it off as an the effect of Karma, or whatever excuse we have for our good fortune. Have we become so self centred that we cannot see outside the  well of our own little lives. We give towards charities but are we genuinely concerned or is it just for placating  our egos and dealing with the guilt of poverty around us.

We talk about a strong vibrant India, a nation on the go, where the young population outnumbers the greys. Accepted. The work force which is on the move and the youth who are with it and all there. Are we only looking at cities, what of rural India are they there if so where? Are they not left behind in the scheme of things? How many ideal villages do we have like the one painstakingly built over the years by Anna Hazare?

To come back to the main point only and only when we have 100 % literacy that we can hope for the next level, an educated and enlightened India.

We hear that the world is looking at us,  are we looking at ourselves or are we looking at ourselves with of our perceived view of the world's view.

I think I am ending a bit abruptly here. I don't know why despite all this I am so proud  of this ,my land. My one fervent wish is that it wakes up and becomes the country which Tagore dreamed of   .................


PS  There is some error in the format of the text hence the different sized fonts,please excuse. I have to go back to school.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


I thought I would go down memory lane today, there are many lanes which we traverse each with its own hues.
Memories of childhood, school days, which may or may not be interlinked, memories of college days, your first job, and then others in the course of ones  life. All forming a collage in before your eyes, some fading with time, a mere blur, others refreshed by looking at old photographs. Strange that a memory of a shared event  may be entirely different from that of your sibling or friend. Is that because of a difference in outlook, just mere forgetfulness, or else do we remember only what we want to?

Sorting out papers a few years ago, I came across some letters which I had not seen before, memories of people before my time, their feelings hopes expectations frustrations, sadness,a whole gamut of emotions in those lines before me,a small window opening into a world gone by,overtaken by the today's rapid constructions. Some moved me to tears, others to laughter and still others to a jaw dropping surprise. It shall begin again...... the re-sorting.................. and memories will rebound , more fresh more poignant.Distances of decades within the grasp of a hand.

I thought that I would be walking down my own lanes today. Some sunlit some in the shade the springs of youth flowing into adulthood surging into what? The sea is not visible as yet, the meandering may be slower,  the goal is certain the path unsure and once reached will be a memory once more.
Oft I remember those I have known
In other days, to whom my heart was lead
As by a magnet, and who are not dead,
But absent, and their memories overgrown
With other thoughts and troubles of my own,
As graves with grasses are, and at their head
The stone with moss and lichens so o'er spread,
Nothing is legible but the name alone.
And is it so with them? After long years.
Do they remember me in the same way,
And is the memory pleasant as to me?
I fear to ask; yet wherefore are my fears?
Pleasures, like flowers, may wither and decay,
And yet the root perennial may be. 
H.D. Longfellow


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Having missed out on two days of posting, here I am back again to offer my trivia. It has been a washed down weekend, no....I have not been washing it down anything or washing the car for that purpose. The rains have hit with a fervor,the heavens having let loose as it were. Now that we are well in the middle of the monsoon season,the thunder and lightening have stopped and it is as steady downpour. The overcast sky, the naturally air conditioned house, the snuggling cats and the monsoon snacks are the order of the day. The felines get completely confused by the change in weather, they sit and watch the rains with bemused expression,run helter- skelter at the sound of  thunder and disappear forthwith. Oh ! the little stray who I feed every night found his way up last night ate the leftovers and ran down again, before I could blink.AND he was as dry as dust!

Reading a good book with some pakodas and a hot cup of tea with a cat curled up on either side is pulling me away from this machine. Will be back later with the weather update however boring.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

At a Loss

Can't think of anything to say today, its one of those days when there is a lessening in the brain activity. But come to think of it does the activity ever stop ( unless you are brain dead of course). I  would like to think that there are those moments of complete silence when one is at peace with oneself and the world in general. There are less of these than we would want. Human needs, our expectations wants more often than not take over and restlessness prevails. The driving force behind any activity, the desire for excellence, to ahead of ourselves, is all a part of the trail left by early man and the discovery of fire and from there never looking back until the present and the future which lies before us. We do what we do because we have to for want of anything better to do. We have to keep busy,we would probably drive each other up the wall if we didn't....countless examples of that malady.

Come to think of it , (seems like the thought process has been activated) our brain is active at all  times, even at the moments when one feels that there are no thoughts , they continue to be there sometimes buzzing in and out of the brain at such speed that they are difficult to comprehend let alone ponder about. Ponder about thoughts you say, how can you think about thoughts ? The process of thinking specially when it leads nowhere is futile, but is it? When one thought leads to another ,when we go over what has happened in the course the day, it does help us to come to terms with what has occurred whether good bad or indifferent. Most of the time though, the activity ends only at the resting time and the thoughts translate into dreams.

The slowdown of the activity in my brain has led to this pea brained post. Apologies for putting you through the ordeal.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Tell Tales

I had  promised to continue with the escapades of the our group, however I found that instead of musing I was becoming more anecdotal. So I will do a complete flip and take some inspiration from the felines who are sprawled lazily around me and giving me the once over with a half open eye, this being a favorite way of being there and not being there all at once. Let me explain.Cats have this habit of sleeping a lot. When they are fast asleep and dreaming it is another matter altogether, the paws move , the moustache twitches and the tail flicks at the tip depending on how juicy the mouse is or which stage of bird chasing they are in .

Having  mothered these creatures for over fifteen years now, I could call myself some sort of expert in deciphering their communication codes, but whenever I think I have cracked the code, another decoding has to be dealt with.

That said, the kitties in my like have been a wonder to watch and  very relaxing to be around with. Cats,as any lover of feline knows are very independent minded, unlike their canine compatriots.They absolutely WILL NOT beg to be loved or show the least bit of interest in your comings and goings, they continue to sleep or at best acknowledge you with one eye. However when one is a feeling somewhat low spirited they do rally around show uninhibited empathy.

To understand a cats language code one has to look at the rear appendage, YES the tail. They have so much to say, are not vociferous as dogs, preferring the quiet genteel method.

I had a favorite one "Tidda" by name, his love used to drip from his beautiful eyes,an expression which I have not seen since.

Getting down to the tail or getting behind it, the understanding of the instrument gives a fair insight to the mood of ones feline companion. Most house cats are well cared for, I mean why would anybody keep a cat? A dog is better for ones ego.So if you have one or more then it is because you have chosen to have it or then it may be the other way round,you may have been chosen.Probably the latter is more true.

So we find our feline curled up with his/her tail wrapped around itself completely relaxed and content, I- am-happy-well- fed- thank you very much, positioning.
Then there are the moments of irritation ,the upper tip of the tail has quick movement, its you're getting on my nerves time.
Have you seen a cat trying to catch a bird or a rat/mouse rabbit? Complete and undivided attention and utter concentration, the crouching cat's tail moves back and forth almost 180 degrees, what most people would want in their children, the concentration, not the tail.
This concentrated effort could well lead to an attack which is denoted by a quickly flicking tail from the center up, it is getting ready to jump-charge the object of its dislike. 
Lets get to the positive movements and there are many of those, the side to side slow happy movement, then we have the straight up,slightly bent at the tip telling you in fact that you are the favorite person to figure in his life. A kitten approaches the mother cat in much the same manner with it's tail held high.

Tidda had a way of coming to me with an upright tail quivering at the base,it ended with a considerable shaking of the entire appendage. I understood much later that it meant excitement, and when I would scratch him on one side ( near the tail on the upper thigh ) his tail would bend to one side,perfect arousal that. A male cat approaching an intersting female will have his tail angled to either side.
If you are giving it a toy or playing with a ball then there is the slow and gentle movement , I-am- feeling-happy-and- playful.
My little Dhanno Rani does this all the time, approaches shows her bottom with her tail raised and moves on quickly.She has just told me that she has acknowledged my presence but there are other interesting things to do.Okay got it Dhanno, as long as you're happy, thanks for looking at me,though.
I have been accosted a few time with the tail in my nose , phew that was quite a surprise, later it dawned on me that Patchu was just greeting me and saying in a catappropriate way that I was his, smell -me- we-are-buddies.



Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Colors Inc.

Oh ! I did not give too many details about my friend who arrived from Delhi laden with gifts for all of us, not that the ladies from America were wanting in that department. In fact this is one of the occasions I was inundated with gifts and it was not as if I was celebrating a birthday. Saris, all kinds of delectable nuts, a little painting, perfume and what have you, it was very overwhelming . So Vi arrives with her handsome son in tow and there are bear hugs all around and incessant chatter.

A small digression here, the others had an occasion to go to the local market, while I was at home. I heard about the 'charansparsh' incident much later, the search was on for 'chawanprash' due to the combination of jet lag and ingestion of 'paan'. Pronounced "charansparsh" by the person searching for it, there was unabated laughter all around.( "Charansparsh" means literally bowing low to touch some one's feet ).

We had an occasion to shop for saris, an event no girl in her right mind will miss. Managed to get the right colors and blouses made in record time too!

And then the party for about 20 people give or take two or three . All the arrangements had been made , do note here that all the invitees were meeting each other for the very first time.Our other friend from Bangalore (the sixth color of the canvas) was to arrive that evening and come straight to the venue.Which he did and I must say he is a gentleman of the highest order. The seventh person of our group was to arrive from Dubai the next day due to work commitments. So the party begins, laughter and non-stop talking, food and drinks poetry and a bit of yelling,bonhomie all around, some with families and others just by themselves,all in all a heady mix of wonderful people having a good time and enjoying every moment of it. AND then right in the middle of the merry proceedings in walks our friend from Dubai. Quite unexpected in a bright yellow shirt and more than welcome, we sure were glad he arrived early to give the final touches to the rainbow.
At some point of time I withdrew myself from the fun and watched as if from a distance and the view was spectacular. Amazing how so many people practically unknown to each other came together that night creating a lasting bond.

The people who came in from abroad wanted to travel by a local train, the hero from Bangalore rose to the occasion and they had ride in a 'stuffed to the gills' compartment of a Mumbai local. I did not accompany them there either due to other considerations, but when they returned I heard that apart from the train ride there was also an auto rickshaw ride , well not exactly a ride but a drive.Yeah my friends actually drove an auto rickshaw with hero having made some sort of pact with the driver of the said automobile. I haven't had the opportunity and I have lived here for forty years, well better luck next time I hope.

We had an occasion to see a village, a television shoot and had an unforgettable drive in the middle of the night to the Gateway Of  India via the sea link. That shall require another post. I wanted to write about this experience in two posts, but will continue tomorrow.

Yes, there were some differences of opinion, but on the whole it was an occasion which brought us close together, and have made us lifelong friends. It gave me an opportunity to meet  people  from different cultures, and strenghtened my belief that everywhere people are essentially the same, emotions,thoughts may differ but we come from the same source and can live very easily with amity and love , just a small effort can go a long way.

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Merry Rainbow

As I sit with my cup of tea and think about what to write about today I get inspiration from a friend's mail and some comments on another blog.

This was one of the most unforgettable times in my life, the time when so many of us came together under one roof. The planning began well in advance, about five or six months before we actually met. All secret and not a word out anywhere,quite the cloak and dagger stuff. We were all  getting together to meet a BIG PERSONALITY. I will not go into the preparations which went into this but get down to the main menu, that of all of us staying together in my little apartment.

First to arrive was my friend from Florida. Immediate recognition was possible only because of the Texan hat she had on her head. It was a rollicking time from the start. This unput-downable imp did not know what a jet lag was and was ready to see the sights come morning. Which we did and HOW! Straight to another friend for breakfast number two and then to see some of the sights around that area, mainly the Gateway Of India and the Taj Mahal hotel.
Needless to say the next day wooziness set in and sleep was in order. Later on was the big test, the trial or the travail of eating a 'Paan' . Despite my admonition she went ahead and tried it and the result was hilarious. First of all she put it in her mouth , leaf cover and all , I had mistakenly not told her to remove it. After that came the actual eating, now to give me credit, I had asked the man to make it as sweet as possible.I managed to get some phtographs of the actual eating and the the disgusted reaction after.While the spitting out began in a piece of tissue my shouts of laughter could be heard at least a block away. Needless to say V was not amused.

Next to arrive was another friend from California, unexpectedly wearing a sari! I has to rub my eyes and blink with Billy Bunterish disbelief. We arrived home and chatted the night away like long lost friends, you would'nt think we had met for the first time.

Then came the hero from Bangalore and after that it was one merry party. One night of absynthe drinking , before that there was a meal in a restaurant which ended (despite friendly warnings) with the dreaded 'paan' and the consequences thereof. But to get back to the absynthe, it was a night to remember, we talked and laughed until the early hours.Yours truly was up again in the morning to churn up breakfast in the already churning stomachs. Be that as it may.

Two days later the welcome arrival of the gentle and kind lady from Delhi, after that the house looked like a mini 'shadikhana' which translated literally means the house where a wedding ( Indian ) happens. No one getting ready on time ....... are you done, we are leaving, hey what happened to the hot water, get me some tea, ohhh can YOU make breakfast today ,GET READY. My cook stepped in valiantly and no one( I hope ) went hungry.

I bought 'kulfi' for dessert which was a total hit but I had to suffer the consequences when it was offered to me with a generous serving of brandy, much to the delight of the gangsters. Now I have no dislike for 'Kulfi ' or brandy, the combination , when offered without knowledge of the offee is lethal. Merriment ensued .

Only four colors of this exceptional rainbow have been painted, the rest will follow tomorrow with more details of our escapades!

They did compliment me later ( much to my embarrasment ) for my hosting skills but probably kept the tipple going so that I could cater well enough, 'kulfi'  laced with brandy being a case in point.

The painting is not complete without the other two colors who splashed a day later on the canvas. Our escapades will continue tomorrow.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Yogis, Sadhus and the general junta

Baba Ramdev has been in the news for some time now with reference starting his own political  party and wanting to fast unto death on the issue of corruption (which by itself is becoming some sort of fad and not seeming to lead anywhere).

The baba, a yogi and an iconic figure as far as yoga is concerned has gained popularity in India and abroad for spreading the practice of yoga far and wide. There is a lot going for him he has thousands of followers, has conducted many yoga camps, just one clarion call and people will rise before the break of day to be present and practise yoga. Many have benefited from practising his yoga techniques, and have recovered from their maladies. One television channel is dedicated to him, the practice of and the benefits of his techniques at yoga (we have a few channels here which are devoted only to spirituality).

 With due respect to him as to others who follow practice and spread something which benefits the general public, my objection is : when one is a yogi or a saffron clad sadhu how does one explain an empire which adds upto a few millions or the jet setting and hobnobbing with the elite mostly politicians and gliterrati, or even traveling by private jets, possibly enjoying the comforts which fame brings.

Sadhak  literally means a seeker of spirituality and from it is derived sadhana or the practice of seeking and so sadhu , a holy person who aims to seek for the truth, through strict spiritual practice.In ancient India such people went to the forests to practice this, and were revered. In the modern day one cannot expect as much. However there are those that go to the Himalayas for sadhana and are unknown. Then there are those who while living in cities practice and spread the same but are lesser known. The trend these days is to get fame as soon as possible, the  (so called) “Godmen” seem to have hit the go(l)dmine. The many channels on TV are proof of that, and  some of them allegedly own big businesses.

The question is does such a person claiming spirituality get involved in the materialistic and then claim to be what he/she say they are. I have used one example with due respect and recognition of the immense work. But to call oneself a sadhu/yogi/ ascetic, one should be away from involvement else we all could claim to be the same


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Magical Manic Monsoons

Since this are my early attempts at public writing, I will leave serious topics for a later date and then we can really get going with discussions. I have been reading several blogs, although I follow only one. Some of them are so well written that I feel my effort may be a complete waste.But I will carry on, if not for anything else then to better my skills,if any.

The MONSOONS HAVE ARRIVED! And what an entry, unexpected,sudden ,stealthy but surefooted. An event all Indians look forward to, the manager of this one being in complete control of all that is associated with handling major events. The audience is left dumbfounded, gasping sometimes at the twists and turns but enjoys all there is to get from this natural marvel.

The best feature is the first shower and the aroma of the parched earth drinking thirstily what the clouds have to offer. This aroma can never be found anywhere else, only here in our dear country can one get that heavenly smell. The sudden change of temperature from hot-humid / hot-dry to uber cool is enough to bring the children out to play in the rain,( the sniffles following closely behind but that is for mothers to deal with ) their shouts and splashing about in the puddles and the rain water would lift any drooping spirit.

For those that stay in the cities specially Delhi  Mumbai and Kolkata there will always be the traffic snarls to deal with. As I write I can hear the persistent honking and the sound of heavy traffic on the road outside. What would be a ten minute journey could take upto thirty minutes or even an hour, and this is not an exaggeration. Last year I went to see a play with a friend in  a theater close to where I stay. The other person, living quite far away left well in time. It usually takes me ten minutes or less to reach there so I left comfortably in advance that is twenty five minutes before the start of the play , well needless to say, the friend reached well in time and I could only see the second half. Stuck in a traffic jam for fortyfive minutes!

People love the monsoon for it brings in the freshness,the trees look greener,flowers start blossoming ,the grey skies a welcome relief, the turbulent sea , an awe inspiring sight as much as it is when calm.The vagaries of the weather ( it does'nt rain all the time), the sudden unexpected bouts of unending rain, not passing showers, visible sheets of rain is what the romance of nature is all about.

There is a downside too with the flooding and the accidents the shanties getting waterlogged, flights getting disrupted, suburban trains coming to a standstill , buses not moving at all, and at times the city coming to a virtual standstill. People have often talked about the indominatable spirit of the people of Mumbai, it is a time tested truth , we overcome all obstacles, the rains do NOT  deter us from going to work even though we know that we may not reach home on time, will have to spend the night in the office or at some co-workers home.

Now as I prepare to get my first dunking in today's shower ( cannot resist getting drenched at least once) all I can say is VIVA LA MONSOON! VIVA LA THE MUMBAIKAR!

Sending the freshness of the first showers,

With love,


Friday, 3 June 2011

(2) A Few examples

Sano = snow
Hole = hall
Snakes= snacks, there is an intersting story there,  but that shall come later.
Pogram= program
Fota= photo
Lipsti= lipstick
Phast= fast
Phlowur = flower
Gilas = glass
Palty =party
Gorement =government
Peeja = pizza
Punch =sponge
Dievos =divorce
Newbrand = brandnew
Istill = steel
Bowel =bowl
Juniversity = university
Istawberry =strawberry
Kale = tomorrow
Vija = visa

Communication at crossroads

It has been a hectic day, chasing all manner of cats and failing miserably to outsmart the devious feline, actually only one but the others get alerted and then bedlam ensues.

But this was not what I intended to say when I sat down to write. One of my dear friends commented on my "Hinglish" in another forum which got me thinking about the various kinds of speak we indulge in here. Hinglish for those that may not know is a combination of Hindi and English widely and immediately understood in this sub-continent called India.There is also "Binglish" which is more relevant to Mumbai or the erstwhile Bombay.
The thing is that when one speaks or tries to , at least, perfect Engligh one finds that many do not understand or misunderstand the context or what is spoken and then give it a meaning quite different from what was meant. I found this happening to me very often,and wondered why people were putting words in my mouth, this I saw as a logical expanation, others defy logic but that shall be the topic for another day.

Some examples of Hinglish are funny or phunny as the case may be, some take a while to decipher.
Many years ago we had staff who were transferred to (the then) Bombay, gentlemen to the core I must declare, but when it came to speaking it was quite the opposite. To tell a colleague that someone had called for her, one of them left a note saying that there was a 'telephun massage' for her. After recovering from the initial shock we asked how on earth would she manage a massage over the telephone.
There was this person who unfortunately only knew the word "yes" which was pronounced Jaas. So in comes a passenger and " Do you have a flight going to so and so" ,  "Jaas" . " Are tickets available", 'Jaas". "What is the cost if the ticket" , "Jaas". Exasperation from the other side but the reply is a polite and patient  "Jaas".
Needless to say the poor man was sent right back to the station he came from. I am not trying to have a laugh at his expense or make fun of the way he spoke or the other wrote, all I have to say is that if the poor man had spoken in the national language perhaps it would have been better for all concerned.

" What men?" another typical hinglish phrase, which could range from meaning to --- what do you think you are doing? Oh Gosh , this is the real pits. Hey there whats up? , the meaning changes with the intonation and stress on the key words.

What you are doing? is of course a  self explanatory question meaning what are you doing? , pronounced whatrudoing?

Then there is the "Hello" which ranges from "hellloji" or "haloji" or " halllo" " aaalo", the variations are regional and not in the least bit jarring.

" Then what happened?" typical of a direct translation from Hindi to English.

" Over finished" does not mean that a maiden over has been bowled, but that the deed is over and done with.

There are umpteen examples of the phunny way we speak an alien language and get by. I may say here that  when I interact with people from phoren countries, I find them straining to understand my accent the way I  have to sometimes. I am now acclimatised to understanding various phoren accents, the others however have a tough time understanding us.

Okay then tata byby, tomorrow will see,




Thursday, 2 June 2011

Just some random thoughts

I have been thinking of penning down my thoughts, writing a blog for two years now, if there was a medal or prize for procrastination I would walk away with the trophy. Leaving my competition far behind.
Speaking of which I am not really in the habit of the delaying process, but there are certain activities which are interesting, the point is the beginning , then of course the middle, the end seems like a distant beam of light. This my first effort in the direction of writing publicly may well be short-lived, history and finger fatigue will live to tell the tale.

Of late I have been looking and observing tails , my cats being the source of my inspiration. Not that I can claim to understand each and every swish of the feline appendage but there is undoubtedly a meaning in the movement. Cat lovers would understand it and those who are not wouldn't give a dime.So it is better to refrain from the explanation of feline communication skills.

Which reminds me that my own are not very highly rated , my tail ( if I had one would move much).
I do however love writing and have been writing since the age of eleven, juvenile poetry,essays all lost with the passage of time. I do remember that my first poem was written after a school picnic to Elephanta islands, and the one that stays in my memory is one written a  bit later after seeing kites flying and comparing it to the vagaries of life. There were some Haiku which were my only claim to fame ( published in the college magazine). But lets not get boring here.

I wonder if  anyone will read this , my first effort, if at all then I may feel encouraged to write more and better my effort. Anyone reading this is welcome to give their honest opinion.

With love to all my friends and those that will become,