A tribute to Pune and Punekars

Hello All,

I had been meaning to write this post for a while and specially in the wake of the Delhi rape case. The incident not only made me go wild angry, after eons, but also reminded me of the “constantly look over your shoulder” times I spent living in Delhi. All the three years I lived there, were a constant struggle for personal safety. I learnt abusive language (to counter the road romeos who think passing lecherous comments is their birth right), hitting without thinking (those sporadic incidents where I actually took my sandals out and hit overly enthusiastic men on roads) and living in constant fear!

Then happened Bangalore, a city far far from what I was used to in Delhi. Bangalore is MUCH safer relatively and one doesn’t have to “live with” being stared at. But now, it’s Pune!

I’ve been here almost a year now and I truly felt the need to write about the city. No other city in India has ever given me the feeling of safety the way Pune does. I have yet to understand what makes Punekars so respectful to women whereas their Delhi cousins just refuse to learn the word itself!!!!

The mere thought of visiting old Delhi fills me with dread. The areas are crowded and one can’t even keep a count of the pinches, the ‘rubs’, the accidental collisions…..not to mention, the comments and stares.

Thanks to Aadyaa, I spend half my working time hanging out in the old city areas of Pune. The crowd scenario is ditto but men? Couldn’t be better!!!! One can see respect and professionalism oozing out of them. Be it the printing fellows, paper cutting fellows, sweet shop owner, kutchi dabel wala or even nariyal pani wala, no one stares, no one leches and comments? Absolutely absent! I’ve never felt as “equal” to men as I have in Pune. There have been times I’ve biked home at 10 pm, driven home at 11:30 pm, alone. And the city definitely has the most women bike-riders I’ve seen in any other city. 

I’ve yet to understand this phenomenon of respect for women but am I complaining? No! I love the city, for how it has a thriving lifestyle, for how it functions (in spite of unending traffic snarls!), for how it treats Art as something worth revering, for how it allows you to be the trendsetter (or trend-breaker)……for how it allows you be whatever the hell you want to be, whether you’re a male or a female! Never thought this day would come but one city has come close to being as loved as Bangalore is, in my eyes!🙂

This is my tribute, to Pune, to Punekars, and specially, to all those guys in the old city who have treated me so well, it’s like being in the middle of equals. I wish  I could express my gratitude to them all, in some way. But they just refuse to treat it as anything special. “Ye to hamara kaam hi hai Madam” (this is our job) is what they insist on🙂

Thank you…..

Thank you Rapists

Image

A very different and heart-felt post your way! I will take the liberty of thanking the rapists of the world (not just our country) for:

1. Convincing our parents to shrink our “outing” times. The curfew hours just got earlier than ever.

2. Getting us programmed to look over our shoulders the moment sun has set.

3. Planting an image of a “potential rapist in every man”. Thank you rapists, we will never treat a strange man, however nice he may be otherwise, with either trust or friendliness.

4. Killing our faith in humans, humanity and everything humane.

5. Helping us avoid ALL good things that can happen after the dusk falls. No light shows, no Christmas lit markets, no late night movies, no pubs, no post-dinner strolls…..

6. Making “men” an important part of our survival. Unaccompanied = available for rape, thanks to you!

7. Probably making men ALSO wary of being out with a girl! You never know when they will be thrashed to near death or sometimes, even death for resisting rape!

8. Not being able to trust taxis, autos, company cabs, trains, buses……..flights are remaining but let’s see. The way your kinds are all pervasive, we’ll soon be wary of boarding flights as well.

9. Ignoring ourselves, always having to consider what a man might do to us if we let our guard down even for a second.

10. Last, but not the least, making us feel thankful for the “mild nature” of “routine eve-teasing”. For making us thank our stars and breathing a sigh of relief thinking, “Thank God, I was ONLY teased today on my way back home in the evening, and not raped”!!!! Thank you for helping us learn to live with our daily dose of humiliation, thinking we haven’t had to face the worst!

Thank you Rapists, for making us feel second grade citizens with no right to decide how we lead our lives and for taking control in your hands for what we do, when we do, what we wear, where we go!

– Pritesh

PS: One of the rare times when I am speechless with rage!!!!!!!!!

No thorns, only a path

Just like a vine, tender yet strong

That has no care for the steepness of the wall

I grow so slowly, but oh so firmly

Reappearing each spring, however long the Fall

*

With each tendril and each twig

I climb up, charting  a path

The road’s not smooth, I gather

But dispel, I shall, destiny’s wrath

*

For each thorn that came my way

I put a tendril forward to embrace

The sharpness of the thorn and Lo!

With a smile, every obstacle I shall face

*

My eye is fixed on the goal so high

My roots on the ground, unwavering

When determination rules your mind

There are no thorns, only a path beckoning

*

– Pritesh

(for Sayali, for me and for us both)🙂

 

O Summer

The rustling wind nudged the leaves

Dried and fallen, stirring slowly

The swing moved, the rope swayed

And a thousand moments came rushing back

My feet fly, back in time

And land in those summery days

Sun-rays filtering through the leaves

Laughter filling the world around

Happy feet pushing the swing

Some more happy feet dangling

Egging on to swing higher and higher

Five stones, flying in the air

Amid the giggles, caught by ready hands

Not a care in the world, we played

Till the sun burnt itself out

The dusk fell but not the spirit

A few morsels and there we went

Running again, amid the flickering lights

A drop of water brings me back

From that Summer to this Fall

My fingers roll the drop around

Many such drops fall and rest

On the tender threads of my dreams

And then, gently roll out of my eyes

O Summer, come back again

With those swings and laughter

With that wind and five stones

With those happy feet and smiles

O Summer, come back again……………

 

 

A lesson taught differently

Once in a while, there comes in front of you an image that rattles you, makes you pause whatever it was that you were doing or thinking and THINK. Think hard, at that. I came across one such thought provoking image today and I couldn’t help but relate to the sentiment. I don’t know who has written it but whoever has should see my head bent in respect in front of her (I am almost praying it’s a him!). I don’t own the copyright for this image but I want so strongly to share it!

A lesson taught different

 

I saw it and it just was stuck in my head! I know people will tell me, these are facts of life, we can’t be idealists, we have to live with how world is etc etc. And I want them to know that I don’t care for their ‘acceptance’ of ‘reality’, the way it is right now. If this reality has been created, it sure can be destroyed too, and a new reality can be created.

Picture this: A man looking all strong is captured by a woman and made to do slavish labour simply because he looked strong! She makes him do so much that he passes out and she doesn’t give him any food or water. She waits for him to come around, and forces him to slave labour again. And after that, she makes him to go to all her friends’ houses and work hard there too.

I can sense the ‘human rights’ thoughts forming in people’s heads and sympathizing with the man. I too sympathize. All I intend to do is to draw a parallel with the idea of rape. It is a violation of human rights, of one’s personal freedom, one’s personal space. And our Society, instead of teaching that one shouldn’t invade someone’s personal space, teaches us that one should work hard on making one’s personal space so inconspicuous that no one notices.

This image reminded me of all the warnings I have received from various quarters at various points in life:

1. Don’t stay out after dark, it’s not safe (SO, my day SHOULD come to an end as the sun sets!). If this was so in Sweden, my “day” out would be a few hours long in winter!

Can we teach a man the other aspect of the same warning? Don’t stay out after dark, you may see an attractive girl and you may feel like eve-teasing, molesting and even raping? Me thinks not!

2. Dress appropriately, don’t attract unwanted attention (and statistics will tell you that the most women who get raped are NOT the ones who are skimpily clad!)

Can we teach a man the other side of the coin? Don’t look at a girl with bare legs, you may feel like eve-teasing, molesting and even raping her? Me thinks not!

What surprises me is the meek acceptance of the male aggression and instead of addressing it, directing the lesson towards women. The males are going to be aggressive, now YOU step back.

I honestly don’t see anything wrong with a a person approaching another person (a guy or a girl is irrelevant) and initiating a conversation, to lead to whatever in Future. There is nothing wrong with appreciating someone good-looking either but forcing oneself on anyone is not DONE! And as a Society, it’s time we taught our boys to be respectful towards girls. Time to teach, “Don’t rape” instead of “Don’t get raped”…….

I talks to me

From the mirror, the ‘I’ said,
Stay there and get beautiful eyes
And ‘Me’ replied, no thank you
I’d rather have eyes that can ‘see’ beauty

The ‘I’ said, your hands look bad
Want some hand cream, make them pretty
And ‘Me’ replied, no thank you
I’d rather create pretty things with these hands

Exasperated, ‘I’ said, your skin
Could do with some touch up to make you glow
And ‘Me’ replied, no thank you
I’d rather let a smile make my face glow

The ‘I’ tried yet again, take this perfume
Spray it and look like you’re fresh off the garden
And ‘Me’ replied, no thank you
I’d rather walk in the garden to smell like I’ve been there

At the edge of its patience, the ‘I’ said
Here is kohl, mascara, eye liner, define your eyes
And ‘Me’ replied, no thank you
I’ll let my naughty twinkle define my eyes

‘I’ attempted once more, look at your lips
They lack colour, here, take the lipstick
And ‘Me’ replied, no thank you
I’d rather that a genuine smile adorns my lips

A last ditch try, the ‘I’ said
If you’re pretty and lady like, he will pay you compliments
And ‘Me’ replied, no thank you
He already sees me for who I am, not how I look

And then, my eyes opened,
Clarity flooded, sunlight streaming in
What a dream, oh what a realization
Prettiness gave in to beauty, let my day begin

With valuing me, for who I am
And what I can do with what I have
Brightening my inner glow, shining
With radiance of my inner beauty…………

(Deliberately left unedited)

– Pritesh

PS: Sorry, there is no rhyme or metre…………….I was merely following my instinct as I wrote🙂

Butterflies are never ugly

Hopping from flower to flower,

Wrapped in a rainbow of your own,

O my dear creature of beauty,

Reveal to me your secret unkown

***

I’ve met your siblings, your babies,

Your neighbours, your better half,

Such outstanding beauty you all possess,

In your aura, I all but gaffe

***

Seating herself gracefully on a leaf,

She folded her hands gently and said,

Ever given it a conscious thought?

If not, roll it around now in your head

***

No butterfly is ever ugly, you know,

But that is what we have become,

After a long journey, not so pretty,

What you see now, is its sum

***

We were not always bright like this,

Ugly we were, all mottled and grey,

Cramped together, fighting to survive,

In one place, a group of larvae

***

Change we did, with time and toil,

Overcoming our our ugly skin,

Spring we do lovely colourful wings,

And a new life we begin

***

Butterflies are never ugly,

For they go through a tough spell,

Having fought it all and making it,

In their beauty, they now revel

***

Quirky quirky

Ten quirky things I love to do!

1. Eating a chapati in 10 pieces: I have never understood why I like to do it, but I always seem to end up doing it!😀

2. Stacking utensils with smallest in the front (or top) and biggest at the back (or bottom)

3. Trying to walk as if I am walking on an invisible line😀 (I do it much lesser nowadays though)

4. Remembering the “layout” of all the shops I go to (maybe, this stems from my obsession with efficiency, go straight to the aisle you need a thing from, get the bill done and Hola!)

5. Arranging currency notes so that their ‘layout’ matches

6. Making lists! I loooove making lists, things to do, things done, things to pack, people to call, mails to write…..lists, lists, lists!

7. Gift wrapping beautifully………..I do that with such sincerity that I myself sometimes end up feeling like the gift is meant never to be opened😀

8. Making folder on my computer – This has got to be the craziest! In Ananth’s words – Ever heard of something called a Search function?😀 But I make folders endlessly, nevertheless!

9. Clearing off the inbox: GMail allows so much space (and I have additional bought as well!!!!) but I loooove to see a clear inbox with no pending mails!😀

10. Ironing clothes – I somehow enjoy seeing the creases smoothed out! I hardly ever wear clothes that need ironing but I enjoy ironing because of that smoothing! Crazy, isn’t it?😀

So, what are YOUR quirks?

A love so profound

Every single dawn, made possible because he comes

Every single dusk, made beautiful because he goes

Every single one of us, walking because he’s there

Every single plant, every leaf, every single rose

..

His rays kiss her, every minute of the day, everyday

Never does he say to her, “You owe me all that”, oh my!

Look what a love like that does to this cosmos,

A love as selfless as that of the Sun, lights up the whole sky

..

(dedicated to THE love of my life – Ananth)🙂

Mata Priteshwari’s Laws of Everything

(these are my fun musings related to day-to-day observations. Take them seriously at your own risk :D)

1. Law of infant pooping (my most recent discovery): No matter how long you wear your nightdress for in the morning (quite literally offering it to your infant as a plausible alternative), or put him on ANY other surface, the infant shall poop once you’re dressed for work, in a way such that both the kurta and the pant get soiled (along with the sofa, the floor etc.) so as to cause maximum damage😀 At the end of such an explosive poop (thanks to Kripa for inventing the term), the child shall give you the best smile you’ll remember to disarm you effectively😀

2. Law of misplaced objects: The probability of the husband finding a misplaced object diminishes as the object gets closer to where it is supposed to be. After 100 instances of this kind, you shall realize that this is so because the husband didn’t know, to begin with, where the object was to be, originally.

3. Law of generalization of child behaviour: As soon as you state that you child is a social person and mingles easily with strangers, the child shall give the visitors one look and bawl at the top of his voice. This behaviour shall remain strictly till the visitors leave. Thereafter, the child shall follow the generalization to the full stop😀

4. Law of organizing: As soon as you finish erasing the chaos from the dressing table/kitchen/bedroom, the husband shall walk in and tell you that there WAS order in that chaos and that the new ‘chaos’ is too unfamiliar. Law 2 shall come into force then and shall remain till he has restored ‘his’ version of chaos.

5. Law of lost clothing: The socks/gloves/scarves getting misplaced during the laundry (done by the husband, of course) will invariably be yours and, of course, the probability of them getting lost will increase with how much you like that piece of clothing.

6. Law of relevant expenses: When you make a careful list of groceries to buy (and secretly eyeing a saving so that you can buy that silver+amber pendant), husband shall offer ‘help’ (under the guise of offering to carry the groceries AFTER the shopping) and the estimated bill for groceries will be multiplied by a large integral number. You shall, henceforth, only eye that amber pendant😀 If you as much as mention liking it and wishing to buy it, husband shall promptly point out how expensive it is (never mind all that extra grocery he buys every single time he shops).

7. Law of Internet Payments: The amount of data you need to fill in is inversely proportional to the amount to be paid. An add on is a request to refill the data because you didn’t type in the security code properly, at the END of all the tedious form-filling.

8. Law of Shopping Online: The thing you need to buy most urgently will usually be out of stock in your country and available in some far far off land. The shipping charge will invariably be directly proportional to how urgently you need it, the time needed for shipping will also be directly proportional to how fast you want it to come and the cost of the thing will be inversely proportional to the shipping charge.

9. Law of Airlines Booking: Whenever you find a cheap airfare deal online, you will want to grab it and the airlines website will show an error on the LAST page. By the time you refresh and fill all the forms AGAIN, the offer would’ve run out. In the time you spent filling the forms, the coffee you made for yourself would’ve gotten cold too.

10. Law of Cricket Mania: When you plan a weekend of intensive house cleaning, the husband shall remain glued to the computer, watching a cricket match. All the help offered with the cleaning will restrict itself to the corner he’ll be holed in.

11. Law of Husband’s Loyals: Whenever you prepare a dish with utmost concentration (after reading recipes and making it as carefully as you can), the husband will come up with some make-shift dish and all his friends shall show loyalty by lapping up the instant dish faster than what you made.😀

12. Law of Infant Grip: The only times an infant will feel like taking hold of something and pulling it with all his might is when either your hair is loose or you’ve worn the earrings you love to wear. How energetic he feels about pulling them depends on how difficult it is to remove the earrings or how much you scream at your hair being pulled😀

This shall be an ongoing post……..;-) I keep observing things😉

Aweso without ‘me’

There’s no ‘lovely’ without any ‘love’

No ‘yours’ either without ‘you’ in it

No ‘noteworthy’ till there is ‘worth’

‘Superior’ lost without ‘super’ in it

..

‘Joyous’ is incomplete without ‘us’

‘Miserable’ comes with ‘miser’ too

‘Liveliness’ is nothing till you ‘live’ it

‘Health’ is where you ‘heals’ you

..

No matter where life takes you,

There shall always be

A string in your hand

‘Awesome’ is nothing without ‘me’……

– Pritesh (my contribution to Dhonuk’s magazine)

Some memories that just don’t let go

Sometimes, one gets this one hour when a machine is busy measuring some data. You can’t go anywhere for the fear that the machine responsible will report this to your boss (and the machine probably doesn’t even notice you’re there) and you can’t do much sitting in front of a screen that shows a graph being plotted at snail’s pace. So, you “switch off” from the machine screen and reminisce……….memories that bring a smile on your face, in spite of the fact that you were too small or too dazed or too tutored to make much of those events when they happened. I have some fond ones……..

……one of my favourite ones is of all the frocks my mother stitched for me (and my sisters). A silk cloth (mostly gifted by some relative or the other) was a prized possession. We pestered our mother for stitching frocks out of that for us. Relatives, being as thoughtful as they were, gifted a big roll and as luck would have it, we sported frocks made out of the same length of material. All three of us dressed: Same to same! I wish I had photos of those times, which brings me to my next memory.

…….family photo!!!!!!!! The once in a year affair I dreaded! And laugh at now! The family photo used to (invariably!) happen towards the end of the Summer vacation. We were dressed in our best dresses and taken to a studio. There used to be a (usually VERY tacky) background picture, of places we either would never see in our life (okay, I did get to see some like that in life eventually!) or care to see. It would usually be a Bungalow with a brook flowing in front of it, a wooden bridge on the brook and a very picturesque Fall setting! Never mind that India doesn’t have Fall colours! The part I dreaded the most during this photo-shoot was the stiffness with which we were expected to stand and not make ANY noise (like the noise would spoil the photo, DUH!). All our photos have us in different stages of moroseness. And the moroseness gradually transformed to rebelliousness and FINALLY, we got our own camera! So this annual photoshoot affair stopped!😀

……the Yashica camera we possessed! This HAS TO BE one of my fondest memories! We took a calculated number of photos on Birthdays or outings to parks. We finally had REAL settings behind us! We were (obviously!) not allowed to touch the camera and the 36 photos in one roll were precious (unlike the Digital age of today when you can click away to glory!!!). It would greatly upset my father if we ‘spoiled’ any of the photos by laughing, or looking here or there.

……our first refrigerator. I can swear that I polished the ‘Kelvinator’ written on it at least once a day to keep it shining! A fridge of our own was a matter of great pride and I remember boasting about all the “frost” gathering in the freezer to whoever would listen!😀 I missed no opportunities to come up to the fridge and eat some of the frost!😀 More importantly, I felt great at lending a hand to my mother for the ‘weekly’ cleaning of the fridge. The cold water in summers was a blessing and we never bought another fridge! The old green thing with it chipped paint and meshed rear side still is in our house🙂

……picking ber and imli with my brother. I have such vivid memories of being on the lookout for the keeper of the gardens next to our school while my brother picked bers and imlis. As soon as I saw the keeper, I was to indicate it to my brother, who had to then climb down as fast as possible and escape with me. I never saw even as much as a sign of the keeper but we were perennially ready to bolt. I can swear to God that bers and imlis bought from the market never taste the same and, of course, cost money!😀

……our first TV!!! This was an event I will never forget. The TV came to our house on a Wednesday evening at 7:00 and Dad was determined to watch the 8:00 pm chitrahaar on it. Many a scoldings later, it was plugged and switched on. I remember watching grey and black strips moving up the screen for solid one hour and we got to see the end of Chitrahaar finally.

……Ramayan and Mahabharat on Sunday morning!!!!!!! This surely has to be one of the clearest memories I have. We used to get strict instructions for finishing breakfast before 9:00 am (which used to be idli and dosa, a delicacy for us, a weekly affair). Mom didn’t want any ‘disturbances’ when Ramayan and Mahabharat were on TV. She was very particular about taking a bath before watching these serials (like anyone in TV noticed or cared! :D). I know of some families (in our neighbourhood) lighting agarbatti  in front of the TV when Ramayan was aired! I also remember the “war” where the ‘funnily shaped’ arrows “met” mid-air with flares of all sorts (thanks to B. R. Chopra and Ramanand Sagar!). The serials were so effective that Arun Govil is still “Ram” for my mother and Deepika Chikhalia “Seeta”😀 I’m sure Goga Kapoor was the most hated man in the country back then!

……Birthday cakes! I can never ever forget those hold-you-breath moments when the cake came out of pressure cooker (these are pre-oven days, people!). Sometimes, we used to get a rock solid cake which would kill anyone if thrown at them! Most times, we were lucky. As the birthdays neared, we used to wait for Mummy to go shopping for eggs and maida. And needless to say, we were all too willing to ‘help’ her with beating the eggs (a job we’d normally hate :D).

……the handful of toys. I remember having been given only one doll. It closed its eyes when put flat and her hair was blonde (I didn’t know back then, of course, that I’d one day live in the land of blondes!). I used to love to comb her hair and Mom would stitch clothes for her (on our vehement insistence, of course)! I can’t even begin to describe my anger when I realized that my sister had cut off the beautiful blonde hair of my only doll!😀

……Campa, Limca, Gold Spot and Thums-Up. Getting a full bottle for yourself was a BIG treat that was to be graphically explained to every single friend in school the next day! We usually used to get 1/3rd of the bottle, in a steel glass, something that we’d sip on for 2 hours!

……imli chooran sold in front of the school. This has got to be the most coveted thing during my 8th to 10th year of life!😀 The chooran seller would put a spoon-full in a newspaper and hand it to us. To enjoy it thoroughly, the chooran had to be licked. One needed to wet one’s finger with saliva, stick it in the chooran and eat the chooran that stuck to the finger! For 25 paise, the guy would give about 50 g of chooran and that was a thing to be shared with all the friends! How I loved the kaala chooran and mixed chooran!😀

……circus! Going to a circus needed a taxi-ride in Mumbai, something I so loved back then! We had a CAR to ourselves and the driver took us where we wanted to go! This was a BIG thing and gave me such immeasurable joy!😀 Circus also meant getting an ice-cream (usually an orange or coconut lolly!) to myself. The elephant, the lion, the trapeze artists…….it was the height of ecstasy for all of us!

……the Annual Day Celebration! The auditions for the dance in Annual Day was a nerve-wrecking experience and I remember how I pestered my mother into stitching a frock for my ‘two-line’ part in a play. I just had to come out of the ‘bheed’ and say “Shame shame, the emperor has nothing on his body. Shame shame”. I have not the faintest idea what transpired in the rest of the play! All that I cared for was that I had a blue and red silk frock with golden buttons!😀 Such simple things gave us joy back then!🙂

So, what is your most precious memory?

Alt-tabbing through life

Morning coffee incomplete without news on the web

One headline to another, interests very soon ebb

..

The lunch is incomplete without a SMS from the cell

No attention whatsoever to food’s taste or smell

..

Afternoon coffee incomplete without a status update

Within minutes replies to it is what we await

..

Dinner remains incomplete without a chat on GTalk

No catching up on the day, no post-dinner walk

..

No time to sit and just ponder, gazing at the sky

We’re busy Alt-Tabbing through life, not living it, just letting it go by……….

Because I love you most of all

……………………………..

We always hurt the one we love the most,

The one we mustn’t hurt at all
We always break the heart kindest to us
With words we can not even recall
.
We crush the petals of our favourite rose
Until they crumble, on our feet they fall
So, if I broke your heart yesterday,
It’s because I love you most of all

………………………………………..

She flies high

The sky, with its endless expanse,

Stretched out before her eyes,

Undaunted, she stared at it,

Passionate, determined and wise

.

A dream she nurtured, all these years

Rising high, conquering the sky

Wings attached to her dainty self

She could fly, fly and fly……..

.

It wasn’t an easy dream to have

There came hurdles, big and small

She faced, fought and won them over

Emerging a winner, standing tall

.

The wagging tongues, pointing fingers

She silenced them with her power

There she goes, blazing a trail

All around her, hurdles cower

.

Whoever told her, she couldn’t

Has been proven so very wrong

Amid disapprovers, she shines bright

Forever determined, forever strong……..

……

Dedicated to Kavita………:-)

Evening is still in a day…….

“Children, take these sheets”,

“Take out your paints, quick”,

“Draw a scene from a day”

“The best one, I shall pick”

.

Paints appeared, so did brushes

Papers smeared, chatter abound

Cars, carts, hills and slopes

Ideas of ‘a day’ went around

.

He sat quiet, drawing slowly

Yellows and oranges and reds

Magic emerged on paper

As he weaved golden threads

.

Bell rang and the teacher came

Gathering sheets from all

She looked at him, and frowned

Uttered a sharp, “Is that all?”

.

“Just a setting sun and a bird?”

“What happened to ‘the day’?”

“But this IS a day”, he said

But soon, in his hands his sheet lay

.

He called after her, “Ma’am, please”

“This bird is a part of things”

“There is STILL sun out there”

“Days can run into evenings”

.

“Look child”, she said, irritated

“A day meant, a ‘normal’ day”

“With cars and phones and offices”

“Kids and parks in which they play”

.

He opened his mouth, but too late

She was gone by then

His painting lay on the table

His mind in a tumble again

.

He made a note in his mind

To remember what a day is

A day is full of routine things

Overwriting the idea of his

.

An evening is an evening

No matter there’s still sun

When the sun sets, it’s night

When it rises, a day’s begun

………

This post arises from a discussion started by Ananth and so ably argued with by Sujit, about mass-producing education. We often see that anything that doesn’t “conform” about a student in this system, gets labeled abnormal and the child’s creativity is hardly ever given room to develop. I hope this changes soon and the teachers become open enough to understand and accept that birds (and not only offices, phones and cars) are a part of things and “Evening is STILL in a day”……….

Only 24 hours for so many excuses……

It has happened so many times in the past few years that I have come across this or some variant of this (essence remaining the same): “I would really like to do ………… (fill in the blank with a host of things) but I don’t have time”.  The blank varied from pursuing hobbies, reading books, spending time to oneself, exercising, socializing……..a whole range of it but the reason for not doing so remained pretty much the same, not enough time. In the allotted 24 hours to us by time, are we doing “so much” that we have no more time left to do all that we “want” to do and not “need” to do?

In my opinion, no, it’s not so. Someone has very rightly said: Your time expands to accommodate all that you really want to do.  So, this “I don’t have enough time” is nothing but probably an excuse to hide some inefficiency of our own, over-committing,  lack of motivation to do something, laziness etc. The sense of ‘investment’ of time in things that matter (to that individual) is slowly diminishing. We are spending more and more of our time in things that don’t give us fulfillment and contentment. As a result, the end of the day brings a sense of achievement without satisfaction. We have ‘done’ a lot of things but we end up feeling empty…….like something important’s missing.

Over the years, I have realized that getting rid of these excuses and using our time well is largely made up of some very small things we need to change. Taking small steps like identifying our time wasters, reprioritizing our commitments in the order of actual need, allotting some “open time” to ourselves to indulge in doing something completely for our own pleasure are some of the things that really help in making our seconds, minutes, days and years more fulfilling. By no means do I recommend living tied to the hands of the clock, but with this day and ago of so many time management tools, I find it sinful to say I don’t have time!!

And I end with a lovely quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: This time, like any other time, is a good one, if we but know what to do with it🙂

Waka Waka…..aye yo

Every day at 20:30 sharp

I battled with husband glued to sofa

And 22 players on the TV

Vuvuzelas screaming full flow

Like thousands of bees humming

Waging a losing battle daily

Finally, had to get to me

I succumbed, eating in front of TV

And watched Brazil vs. Ivory Coast

Then started my ‘education’

My head buzzed with off-sides

Fouls and faking injury, goals

And goal-keepers, wins and losses

Ah! Marriage, thou have given me

A husband and football lessons too

But most important lesson I learnt is:

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

– Pritesh

Comment, comment, comment

Scenario 1: Yours truly reading an article on CNN about a new species of fish probably going extinct because of the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Fortunately, most news websites allow commenting (often not moderated) by the website. By the time I was through with the article, I felt so bad for what the spill is doing to the environment, not just to the pancake batfish, but also to other organisms in the ocean. By the time I was through with reading first 25 comments, I didn’t know whose hair to pull. Comments like: This thing is so ugly, let it go extinct. Illiterates using Internet, looks like! Aarrrgh…….

Scenario 2: Yours truly reading an article on Rediff about music review of upcoming movie, Raavan. I had heard 3 songs already and liked one of them. Agreed, not Rehman’s best but catchy nevertheless. I finished reading the article that nearly agreed with my opinion of the Music and well, there were the comments. One guy had totally rejected the Music and argued that Rehman is not in form anymore (he quoted Dil Se and Lagaan, which are definitely some of the Rehman’s best creations). Fair enough! The replies took me by surprise. It was the reply that make me realize that the guy who rejected Raavan as a credible effort was a Hindu because the second comment trashed his opinion, not on Musical grounds, but religious!!! RELIGIOUS? I had to rub my eyes to believe! The argument being: You Hindus won’t understand a Muslim’s efforts at creating music in a film based on a Hindu epic character. Hellllllloooooooooo? Someone actually had the patience to dig out the history of Rehman’s conversion to Islam because Hinduism is not meant for anything great! Helllllllooooooo????????? And well……….there was a string of replies to this! The people commenting lost me after the second reply itself! The dip in IQ (if it can still be called that) from comment to comment appalled me so much that I’m still recovering!

Scenario 3: Yours truly reading an article on Times of India meant to advise women (Indian women, to be specific) about how to keep their husbands hooked to them. Ahem well! The article was stupid enough…..which most TOI articles are nowadays, anyway. But the comments? Masha Allah! One guy comments: You’re trying to spread immorality in Indian marriages by inciting Indian women into demanding things from their husbands. Indian women are to do their husband’s bidding, don’t publish articles like this. Uhm well………..illiterates using computers again?

Guess I’ll stop reading news altogether after some time!

Socially bound or legally?

“Log kya kahenge?” or “What will people say?”………it’s not very infrequently that we come across this phrase in India. Much of what we do, how we dress, what we project ourselves as is dictated by ‘log’ or ‘people’. Now, I must confess that most of the ideas of this post aren’t my own, I’m more like a reporter of an exchange (an absorbing one) between my husband and father-in-law.

Human-beings are an interesting species, they have built around themselves this interesting idea called a Society. Though there are usually no written rules of how a society does or should work, there are unsaid norms which are followed by the population in general. There are, of course, “aberrations” who disregard these unwritten rules (after all, there is no ‘place’ where these rules are written down to be read and followed!!!) and earn themselves the tag of “rebels”. But, by and large, people build a Society around them and stick to the ‘accepted’ norms.

As the human establishments become more and more complex, there emerges a concept of law and order. Humans are a race that comes with an inherent variance in behaviour, some harmless and some, destructive. In order to bring a general harmony in a gathering of humans, laws are laid down and hence forms a new set of rules, LEGAL rules.

As a society, we continuously deal with these two sets of rules, legal and societal. While legally bound, we refrain from activities that are forbidden by legal authorities, i.e. driving without license, tax evasion, electricity theft, jumping red lights etc. While socially bound, we avoid indulging things that are likely to be looked down upon by people around us, e.g. our family, relatives, friends, neighbours etc.

As the discussion continued, there came an interesting point of where do Indians stand in this? Ah, a broad question with an even fuzzier answer. Where do we stand as a society and a law-and-order follower? A very apt example cited is the law against dowry. Demanding dowry from bride’s parents has been legally forbidden under IPC 304B and 498A since 1961. We’re 50 years into this law’s existence but just take a look around yourself. How many parents have you come across who don’t ‘save up’ for their daughter’s wedding, fearing how much they will have to ‘cough up’ when the marriage does arrive? How many parents put their foot down and refuse to pay a penny? And worse, how many girls remain unmarried or are married off to less suitable boys because her family is unable to give the demanded amount? How far are we in ‘following the legality of anti-dowry law’ and ‘breaking the societal clutch of dowry system’?

The utter disregard for the legal system and a stronghold of societal system on Indian mentality makes me wonder sometimes. Though both sets of rules are man-made, why is it that legal is followed so doggedly by some societies whereas societal by some others? India seems to be in a transition phase where (hopefully) the respect for legal framework is increasing and that for societal is decreasing. Where does this exactly take us from here is anyone’s guess……

Pritesh

PS: The post may seem utterly incomplete but then, there is lots that can be said about this

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