Olympian memories !!

I read this in the New York Times. That sounded a trifle odd. Why would a McDonalds promote China, when the audience is truly global. Perhaps the olympics is a bridgehead for these organisations to gain entry to the billion plus populace of China !

That set me thinking.

About my own ‘experiences’ with the olympics. The first olympics that i clearly remember following was the Olympics in Los Angeles, 1984 ! Then came Seoul in 1988. Those were games that we followed as ‘Olympic highlights’ shown as snippets for half an hour, every evening on Doordarshan. I remember cramming to finish studying to be able to watch these spots.

The Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and the Atlanta olympics in 1996 are very clear in my memory & there were portions of it that you could catch live. And the 2000 & 2004 ones are like yesterday ! If that leads you astray to believe that i have followed the games for the spirit of the game, you are only partly there.

To me, they stay in my mind because of various ‘events’ that have coincided with the games. Like a board exams, ‘friendships’, aspirations, realities, state of the nation at that time, the smell of the air, the new colour television set etc.

So, as much as the olympics represent sporting triumph, they also symbolise a passage of time. An ageing process. From the hockey debacles to PT Usha finsihing fourth, to the tennis gold medals, to Ben Johnson and his doping to Carl Lewis and so on ! All stay ever green.

And i realise that four years from now there would be more head and lesser hair. And hopefully an optimal health and a greater connectedness with the world. Four years on, i hope to come back to this post, and still stay connected to you !!

The olympics, to an ardent Indian, can come in handy. Even if it means a lack of medals & a podium finish, they help you keep track of time. So forget the medals. that India ( or your country) didnt win! Ensure you dive in & save up memories ! They sure come in handy !

A different paper !

For many years now, reading the morning newspaper has been an activity looked forward to. An activity that started out many years ago in school. Where every student had to write a passage from the newspaper everyday and read it out to the class.

I remember walking upto my dad when he was in the deep discussion with a middle aged gentleman ( I remember the gentlemans face. He had big black eyes & thick eyebrows. I vividly recall how arched the eyebrows became and how big the eyes became after I popped the question.).

“ Appa, what is rape ?”

My dad understood that the reading the newspaper could have other consequences, like big black eyes to become bigger and thick eyebrows to arch like a bow. And a smart little ‘kaun Banega crorepati’ question worth one crore being thrown at him without a lifeline or a phone-a-friend possibility !

The practice of reading newspapers has remained ingrained. Even though many years ago the brand changed from what my father read ( & still reads). Perhaps the change in brand signalled my arrival into the ‘grown up’ world. As insignificant that it seemed at that time, looking back, i think it was an important point in my life.

The most serious of headlines these days have a smirk / & a smile escape my lips. I guess I have lost my bearings. Or the ‘news’ today’s newspapers carry!

That aside, I have been wondering what questions children of today would come up with. Each day the newspaper has had so many ‘interesting snippets’ that I shake my head in disbelief reading the headlines.

Especially so of the researches that get mentioned in the centre page. Here are a few headlines from recent times.

“Well fed babies earn more as adults : study.
Oral sex can cause cancer in men.
‘Key impact’ chimps initiate hunting.
Exercise makes you younger by 9 years.
Office Stress is killing, literally, find British researchers.”

These are researches from around the world, which holds a great deal of interest I guess for many a person. I am not sure if any of this is relevant, proven or adopted as modern day laws. Our newspapers will nevertheless carry them. I guess out of ‘general interest’. For the smile and smirk to escape my lips !!

My next post will be on a headline that I spotted on the Times of India some days back.

“NASA images hint at ‘naked woman’ on Mars”. Any thoughts on what I should be writing about ?

Republic Day Flavours

Every Republic Day used to be special. I used to wear Khadhi and see contingents of the Police and the NCC walk past the collector at Madurai. Some years before that, I used to be walk by in the NCC ( National Cadet Corps) Navy contingent. Polished shoes, sparkling white uniform, and the marching drum used to be worth all the kilometers of marching in the name of rehearsals. ( Distance terms, I think we would have gone around the globe. Twice !).

I age. The nation ages. The republic day tone gets a new flavour. In the apartment complex where we stay, the motely crew of security gaurds ( & a loud ‘command giver’ ) became the mainstay of the Republic Day function.

When the loud ‘commander’ gave his orders “ Teen o teen dhaine chalega, Dhaine mode” ( ‘Right Turn’ to the uninitiated), some turned left. Others turned right. Some others turned halfway and turned halfway back again. Smiling sheepishly at each other, they were turning on all sides! I restrained my laughter! Come on, these were security gaurds & not remotely close to the marchers !!!

We waited patiently for 20 minutes for the music system to get some electricity. The flag remained all tied up.. It reminded me of the India that was till sometime back : All tied in, while the world turned around in all directions !!

Just as I was thinking electricity or rather the lack of it, was going to suck the electricity of the day, somebody decided to get on with it. The function got underway, and an elderly gent unfurled the flag and spoke about a whole lot of things. From upliftment of the apartment complex to rooting out corruption.

The tricolour didn’t seem to care. It waited for the first gust of wind to start fluttering. It did. In all its glory. First tentatively. Then a little confidently. Seemed to me, that the fluttering was an attempt to make up for all the delay in keeping it wrapped up and tied down.

As a nation we seem to have come a long way. From being tied to the mast for a long time, to where we are now. The wind has caught us & we seem to be fluttering away!! The times they have changed. My attitude has changed. I didn’t wear khadhi this time. Not consciously. But somehow I think I have moved on beyond symbolism.

And when the national anthem played, the chest swelled in as much pride as before. Perhaps a little more. To watch the tricolour flutter in all its glory. This ad has been a personal favourite for a long while. I think it is topical !

Draft To Display

I wrote this sometime back. But this stayed on draft mode for some reason. I was reading to delete posts on draft. This post seemed to hold intense emotions and captured a very important time in life. It warranted a move from draft to display. Unedited. So here it is.
Its been a while ! Notwithstanding the quick Diwali post! The reasons are aplenty. But, they are at best that : reasons !

We have had support and kindness from innumerable sources as we progressed through a tough & chaotic time. As we traversed through different contours. But we are here. And that’s what counts !

Colleagues. Friends. Mumbai. Bangalore. Family. Old neighbours. New neighbours. Tenants. Landlords. Classmates. Everybody! Stood firm and stood by. And we are greatfull.

So now…we have new house to live in. A new city to call home. A new set of smells, sights and sounds. A new set of colleagues & of course a brand new job! The list of ‘new’ keeps increasing. But certain things endure!

Like the old values! The approach to life and living. And of course, this blog ! Which lived to fight another day. This day ! The last couple of months I have had occasion to review a few priorities of my erstwhile life in Bangalore. Blogging and this space didn’t come in for review. This was always on!

In the space between then and now many events / activities that could be posted here came and went. I have mental notes of them all. Will write about it someday. Some theme(s) / topic(s) include

Finding a house in Mumbai
Dealing with prospective landlords & real estate agents
Dealing with packers & movers. Why not to choose Agarwals.
Finding a tenant.
Of friends: Trust & mistrust
Driving in Mumbai
The Mumbai monsoon
A South Indian wedding
Devotion & God.
The Ganpati Puja of Mumbai
The Durga Puja of Kolkatta
Post Monsoon blues
Rain Water Harvesting
People! People? People.
Of passion & Reason
Catching & living with Mumbai’s common cold
My new phone
The comeback post
The power of friendships
Missing Mountains. An inconvenient truth
Chuck they !
Full & Half Full. Perhaps Empty. MINDs
Children & education in India
Sitaphal & vada paav !
Of physical stuff. Fit to be unfit.
The airport view

Do let me know if there are preferences ! (In the era of Musharaff’s emergency, democracy still rules)! And the topic and themes would also give you an idea of all what I have been seeing / hearing / doing !

I may be irregular to your pages for sometime, but I will make up for it ! And more!

Shaping a child. The Amar Chtira Katha way !

My moorings lie in the Indian culture and tradition supplemented by a valued ‘value system’. The understanding & shaping came, largely, from two sources.

One: My great grandmother
Two: Amar Chitra Katha

Amar Chitra Katha helped me understand visually many an epic & more importantly life at a different time. Mahabharath. Ramayan. Dr.Kotnis. The Freedom Struggle. Akbar. Aurangzeb. The Independence. Panchatantra. Tenali Raman. The list could go on.

I still remember running to the library at school and “search & savour” or “borrow savour many times over” the latest of additions. Many years later, these were beamed into living rooms as soap operas. Ramayan, Mahabharath although were never missed, they were let downs for me.

Arun Govil, who played Ram in the TV serial, was hardly the Ram that I had imagined, aided by the caricature of Ram, courtesy : Amar Chitra Katha ! So was the bloke who played Lord Krishna. I just couldn’t connect to the on screen Krishna. My imagination of Amar Chitra Katha’s Krishna was too firmly entrenched in my mind.

Years passed. I graduated from wearing half to full trousers to school. And graduated to books like Famous Five, Secret Seven, Nany Drew, Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators etc. And adolescence brought other authors and adult hood brought others !

But, even now, the temptation to pick up a Amar Chitra Katha is just irresistible. I buy the odd book at railway stations and airports. It is part nostalgic. Part interesting. But fully connecting ! Cant say the same of the books that I graduated to!

This was an interesting news that I chanced upon. For a moment I pictured me and school bag. Running to the library.

I picked Hakuna Matata for Sight & Sound. Closest that came to Amar Chitra Katha