The Same Wall in K World !

Post – 1 of a three post series on the K World !

Theres this wall. Everyday on the way to work. On the way to work. Currently it echoes a lonely halo in the mornings. For schools are closed and children are away on holiday.

In some time though, schools would reopen. Overflowing satchel and sprightly uniforms will dot the roads. As much as school buses and parents at a bus stop. Tiny hands scratching the air while in animated conversation about an ‘important’ topic is clear. Of a butterflies. Bees. Cricket. actors. Etc Etc. And of course, mothers there have their own.

It is indeed some sight. To watch the contrast. The children without a care and worry. The moving butterfly, the kite that broke free and the odd ‘secret’ visibly keeping them busy. Them mothers, i don’t know. Their subject of discussion remains distant to me.

Coming back to the wall.

The children, they sit on the wall. They are rather, propped on the wall. By ageing grandparents and caring mothers. An escape from having to stand and wait for the school bus. And sitting on the high perch, on the high wall, they converse.

The 10 seconds it takes for me to drive past them, are enough to spot the happiness in them. Animated. Energetic. And that 10 seconds is usually http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/blood-pressure enough for me figure the energy expended in keeping them up there. At one place that is.

And in the evening, when i drive back, by the same wall, exactly where the children sat, there are the others that sit on the same wall. Men. Propped by themselves.

Young men. Old men. Middle aged men. All sit and have conversation. Some read the newspapers. Others discuss. Perhaps they too are waiting for their bus to arrive..

For a while now, i haven’t been seeing the children. When the schools reopen, there is going to be chatter and banter. And it is such a sight to behold. Everyday morning.

And i wonder, how it would be to be that wall. To be privy to all what the children speak. Their dreams. Their worlds. I wonder. And then, i think of the company the wall keeps in the evening. I shake my head. And say, ‘time flies’.

The wall will come to bounce with morning energy again. Soon.

Here’s to a great school season. May it rekindle in children the joys of living, the spirit of curiosity, inclusive thinking and a mindset that will make our futures better.

And may they tear down all walls. Save this wall.

This is the first of a three part ‘Kids World’ series on the modern day world of a child

Naah-No gazing !

Its been on the dinner table for some time. As conversation that is. Its been on the parliament’s table. For the same reason. And its been successful fodder to trainers and training programs : For a variety of reasons. ‘Innovation’. ‘Self Belief’. ‘Keeping a promise.’ ‘Positioning’. And an endless more.

Finally, the rubber is meeting the road. After all ! Yes. The Nano is here. You can buy one online ! But hold on. Hold on. Dont go away. This is not yet another post cooing the wonder that this is becoming ! This post isn’t about the Nano.

(You sure must have read about the cobbler and the bus conductor queueing up to buy. And amongst the many images, i am also told by a neighbour of those driving into a Tata Dealership in a Ford Endeavour to check it out for their ‘college going daughter’. It would have fit into his Endeavour as a take away from a restaurant would have !!)

Closer home, a friend’s friend, has booked 3 Nanos for the home. For the wife. For the mother. And one, generally. Monthly installments on the car, my friend supposes to range in the range of Rs.1,500/- ( $ 30 ). Suddenly, the car becomes a distinct possibility for a small man like me.

Ok. Ok. No. No. This post isn’t about any of that.

This is a crystal ball gazing post into the middle and long term future. And now, armed with the might of my incisive arm chair wisdom & a looming Monday, these are predictions of what the Nano will do.

With the rich, the middle class, the inbetweens, the pretenders and just about everyone else ( save Mamta Banerjee ) wanting to get one, Indian roads are all set to change. India too is all set to change !

Circa 2015

a. Employment Generation increases manifold
: You need more policemen on the road. More mechanics. More arbitrators. More insurance agents. More scrap dealers. More driving schools. More RTO offices to grant driving licences. More agents in the same RTO offices. More road building machines. More operators of those machines …. You get the idea right ?

b. Construction industry is booming: With all the world on the road, where would you park. Of course, Parking skyscrapers are being built. And cars would be parked right up there !

Corporations across the country have made it mandatory for apartment complexes to house one more sky scrapper : The parking sky scrapper. With five cars for a four member family, you wouldnt owners to park in living rooms right ?

c. Meters’ Down : For the rest of the folks who still have resisted the revolution and chosen to go without purchasing the Nano are travelling by Nano taxis ! Mumbai no longer has Premier Padminis as Taxis. And Kolkatta has consigned all Ambassador taxis to Singur.

d. Fashions’ Up :
Fashion officianados make their cars fashionable. Paint their cars with objectionable images and articulate graffiti. If some local leader, didnt like it, they scrap the paint. If it costs as much as it does to buy, it costs a fraction to paint ! Better still buy a new one !

e. And a new culture is born: There is peace and harmony in the lives of all Tata Nano homes. When other cars bump into them, they are remarkably calm. If a police officer catches them doing something wrong, they are remarkably calm. For they have in them, the right of first refusal. I mean, they hand over the keys to whoever cares in that area, and walk away !

f. Shoe sales is way up :
Seriously. Now hold your breadth. Drivers, owners and brand loyalists of other cars are jealous of the Nano and its mass appeal. With a general air of irritability, they have been throwing their shoes around ! Now, a common habit ,that was introduced to them in 2009. So, shoe production is up !

Naah-No !?!

Defining Images ’08 : Women of the year !

Clicked in Mumbai Sept ’08

There are iron rods that jut out in the incomplete apartment complex next door. Seeming to arch out and reach the sky. Getting closer to the blue beyond and cotton clouds, everyday, a new floor climbed. Hoisted with bricks, cement, mortar, steel.

All in exchange of perhaps three square meals, happiness on a toddlers face and for inflaming the hopes beyond. At lunch time, they take a break. All those who climb those incomplete stairs of the yet to be complete buildings, hauling over bricks and mortar.

There is one lady who i watch today. A lady who hurriedly canters to a small shed. From a distance, through all the din and dust, i hear a toddlers smirk of happiness and a mothers voice.

In a moment they emerge. An elder daughter swinging a discarded bottle follows. She has him on her hip. Sings a song in a language that is alien to me as they walk by. Mother. Daughter. Baby. Unaware of my or anybody elses presence, they seems present in her world. Fully present there.

The lady stops for what seems to be a fleeting second. With one swoop of her other hand and a slight bend, wipes clean construction equipment from the floor and ports it atop her head.

My camera goes click click obscuring the chord that tugs the heart. From somewhere, my own amma telling our childhood stories stream in. ‘kandhalile muthucharam kappathi kattivaithen..’ ( From tatters i saved this string of pearls just for you..), she used to say, repeating lines from a film song.

Today, with an elegance that could compare a Russian gymnast on a trapeze, this lady of this hot Mumbai afternoon sways along. Presumably for lunch. Lullaby on her lip, work load on her head and love on her hip.

Long after they are gone, the alien lullaby & toddlers response still rings my ear. And i do not wonder why.

Image II

Mahabaleshwar ’08

It is around 6.30 AM. Mahabaleshwar. I walk the road to breathe in the fresh air and soak myself in. In some distance, a bundle of quiver seems to canter in my direction, at a brisk pace.

As she comes closer, i see a frail old woman. A bundle on her head. Barefoot. Carrying her slippers along. One on each hand. She seems to canter on. Each step is a struggle, i can see. And it takes a while for her to cross me. Slippers. Bundle et al in hand.

I am curious. To say the least. I turn around. And walk. Following her. In an obscure distance.

From afar i see a young lady approaching us. We walk on. They cross each other, with a greeting and wave. A slippery wave that is ! And the young woman tells her aloud, just as they are passing each other, ‘you should be wearing those slippers and not carrying them’.

She replies, with a panting quiver, ‘Shiri gave this to me. I don’t want to damage this…these will look good on ..( i cant quite catch the name)..’. She walks on. A few seconds later, a louder quiver emerges from the same throat. ‘I can do without these..‘ and as the voice trails off, i realise that the trail leads somewhere where i have no access to.

I drop off the trail. Staring into the sun, and the mist soaked land. I don’t have to look very far for love & promise. I realise.

Pedantic incidents, these may seem to you. To me, these shaped my 2008. Perhaps re-shaped, my mental map about hope, possibilities and women! There are two other women that i wrote about earlier. Do check out Vanita and the other woman that i know for a while now.

PS: On a completely different note, the missus and the mother-in-law are not featured here. Given the fact that they have ‘controlling interests’ in my life and therefore on this blog, featuring them here may involve a certain degree of conflict of interests. So in the interest of probity in public life… !!!

Residual Embers

Published in NYT here
This to me, is a defining photograph.

Of children.
Of technology.
Of adoption.
And of course, of death and sorrow.

What i would rather see as an an empty ad for a children’s drink with vague pictures on film heroes in the background, entertaining children, is not to be.

Yes, these indeed are heroes. Policemen : who lost their lives to terrorist bullet.

And ah, those kids. The taller kid is clicking a snap of the lifeless image of the shorter kid’s deceased father. Shot by a terrorist earlier. Now shot on camera, as he stares from a still wall. On a mobile phone. Perhaps to make that image as a permanent wall paper on the phone.

At that age, neither did i get to use a phone, nor did i get anywhere close to wielding a camera. But, my father sowed in me a overarching vision and a intimate voice. I wonder how the future will pan out for these savvy children with a voice stored in memory, photo stored on the phone and love stored in a vacuum.


We must move on. Each passing day strengthens that resolve. Images like these give a strange new purpose. That a worthwhile living, is one that is lived with a purpose. One that leaves behind a difference.

Today, a group of friends have had our first round of conversations on what perhaps can be done. Interesting ideas have emerged. Will keep sharing as we go on.

My regular posts will resume shortly. The mind and the mood bend the thought and the spirit. And i am staying there for a short while. With the bent thought and the strained spirit.

Asking for too much ?

This is Abrie’s, (a member of our extended family) rocking horse. I clicked this snap more than a year back.

Memories flood my mind when i think of such ‘rocking’ horses ! Am not sure how many of the present day generation would connect to this. Given as they are, to powered swings, mega amusement parks, carpeted floors, ‘riveting’ television serials, ‘role model’ film stars and a well heeled society !?! My mind still wanders to the seminar on Child Sexual abuse that i wrote about earlier !

The rocking horse & rocking chair used to really, (to use a modern day term), ‘rock’ ! Now, thats something that i can vouch for, for i rocked them too !! Many ages ago. While the innocence of those times flood through sluices in my adult mind, the power that it generates floods the keypad for this post.

Randy Pauch is no more. But his articulation of childhood dreams continue to kindle and stoke the flame of ‘aliveness’ !!

As a child, i recall wanting to be a journalist, much to the smirks of my parents’ colleagues who thought of it as a ruse by a dimwit, to wriggle out of getting through to an engineering college !

I didnt do journalism. But did management (by volition. The case of the fork in the road, and me having to chose one) ! With that choice, I thought the journalism dream was dead ! The passion to write & reach out to the world, stayed. Many years later, this blog was born. Do take a look at the tagline beneath the title of this blog !

Several other small ones have come true. owning a car, wearing a tie, speaking in an international conference, winning a tournament et al.

And several large ones remain. Flying was a passion. Becoming a pilot ( those were the Rajiv Gandhi years ) and maneuvering through the clouds was a mystical dream. I continue to harbour that dream. Some day !

Traveling the world, and seeing the people, animals & living in strange cultures mentioned in the ‘Great Atlas of the World’, specially ordered by a loving father with a degage look, through VPP ( value payable post ) from Readers Digest, remains strong.

As a kid, your imagination is limited only by your power to do so. And the rocking horse reminds me of the free spirited & untethered imagination. Blue sky thinking that flows freely in smooth harmony. And when i look at the kids of today & the digital age in which they are in, i realise that their power to imagine & think can be far better leveraged.

The rocking chair may not curry favour any more. But, sure thing, the kids do rock !!

If only parents give them space to think, soak up nature, believe in their dreams, wonder in wander, dive into experiences, reflect over their days, learn from stories, play with fervour and read at leisure !

Is that asking for too much ?

Back To The Future !

After almost a year of browsing on borrowed infrastructure, i post from home. Yes. I am connected on broadband from home. Feels nice ! Very Nice !

It was two years ago that i got started on blogsville. One lazy Bangalore Sunday morning, i asked Kamal who gave me a matter-of-fact ‘have google account, can blog’ kind of answer. In about an hours time, with his help, i had gotten started.

The last two years have seen me look around in awe. Like a kid with a candy bar in the middle of the jungle. The strange noises, the fresh wisp & nip of clean air, the ferocity of the animal who wouldnt bother with you unless you meddle with it, the sanctity of the clean green leaf, the simplicity of the flower, the abundance of plenty & the indifference of nature. These are thoughts that rush to me as i think of a metaphor to describe where i am now and the journey that i have had !

Fellow readers have now become friends and your lives & time zones intermeshed with what i do and how i think. In the discovery of the contours of the beauty of the jungle, i have discovered much of myself as well. The candy bar has long since become irrelevant. In all humility, i must say thank you !

I had no clue as how the journey would be, who i would meet, what i would write about. Its two years now. And i have survived. And more importantly, the second year, without connectivity at home !! With very little understanding of technology and lesser still of blogs, i started with a curiosity about people in the heart and baggage (in truck loads) in my mind. The former contiunes to flourish while the latter is clearly uncomfortable!

I squint my eye at the bright rays of the future and look into the horizon with hope and belief that it would be a great place to hurtle towards. The world has shifted beneath me. And how. Amitabh Bachan has a blog. Amir Khan has a blog. Lalu Yadav writes. Considering these people have ‘mass connections’, their taking to blogging makes me look up. Or does it ?!?

Considering all the competition, i think its time for this space to get a makeover. What can i change ?!? I request you, dear reader(s) / bloggers, to spare a few moments & write in.

Change the name ?
Change the picture going along with the name ?
Change the layout ?
change the colour combinations ?
Change the template ?
Change myself…!?!

Do let me know. And thanks in advance ! For the past, present and the future.

Well, for now, it is back to the future!!

Our Next Generations !

I have been working with Nikita, a neighbours kid, teaching her Julius Ceasar. I have begun looking forward to the times that i spend with the kid, in appreciating the wonder of the language and the splendour of the ‘Shakespeare’. And the beauty of impacting a child !

We have been working together for a month or so now. Its been tough with crazy schedules at work, and other domestic pressures ! But, what essentially began with Julius Ceasar, now extends to poetry from Wordsworth to Mackepiece Thackery to a whole lot of others. Each of those moments were so relishable, as i would work hard to see her get to the ‘wow’ moment. And each time, she would go ‘wow’ my heart skipped a beat !

Curious, i checked out as to how they teach her at school ! My stomach crunched as she told me her teacher reads out once from the text book and thats it ! Huh ! The ostensible reason: there is so much of ‘portions’ to ‘cover’ and there is a shortage of time.

Education is not an end in itself. It never was. It never will be. Its a means to an end. Of a better life. A better society. The focus on marks and an education system based on examinations http://pharmacy-no-rx.net/cialis_generic.html alone, is not going to get our next generation anywhere. Whatever happened to appreciation, application and the sheer joy of learning for life & enjoying each moment!

A classic case in point: The DPS school in Bangalore, i am told, has a system where students (when ranked according to their marks) who make the bottom 20 % of the class are considered unfit to be part of the class and have to move out ! So, in effect, you could be scoring 95%. But if 20 others score 96%, you are not fit to be part of the class ! If students are exposed to such pressures at class six, i can only imagine what it does to their morale, thier psyche and their confidence levels.

The future of a nation depends on the education its new generations are getting. And our nation is not getting an education. At best, its working on short term memory. By making our kids exam ready, parents are delighted to see great dividends in the short run. But, it will have debilitating impacts in the long term. I only wish and hope they realise that too.

Children must have fun while learning. The load that they carry must come down ! It will make them lean towards education !