Archive for October, 2009

Ooty revisited

The other day while I was having tea in one of my favorite tea shops near the Nilgiri library. An elderly person dashed into this tea shop, ordered for a cup of tea and occupied a seat close to mine. Not that he was badly in need of a cup of tea. But his intention was to chat with me. He was a total stranger. Some 30 minutes ago I saw this fellow at the Ooty head post office and now he was here. Without any introduction he got into a conversation, “sorry to disturb you, I want some information from you”, he began. “Of course, I must be off soon”, I said. “Sure…it is like this; I had been in Ooty for over 20 years and it is over 30 years since I left this lovely place. It has changed beyond recognition. There was a library opposite the collectorate, but…..”. Before he completed his sentence, I told him, “It has shifted to a new building near the temple”. “That bookstall?”, he asked. “It is very much there”, I replied. “Btw, do you know one Mr. Nanu Nair? He was my colleague….much younger to me…”. “Sorry, I don’t know”, I said. Even as we were talking, he tossed a five rupee coin onto the table and ran out and shouted, “Hi, wait a minute”. A man in his 40s stopped there and nodded somewhat bewildered. “Hi Nanu, don’t you remember me? You haven’t changed a bit….the same naughty looking chap, the same naughty looking chap”. That man was a bit scared and simply walked away, but the stranger followed him and held his hand and said, “I am Raghu, your good old friend and colleague”. The middle aged man stopped for a while and told him and told him, “I am not Nanu, he is my father. Right now, he is in Mumbai with my elder sister”. “Nice seeing you. You look exactly like your Dad”, the stranger told him and got into an auto rickshaw.

When boredom sets in

To hell with current events

The daily dose of allegations

And a spate of rejoinders

Extremists at it again

Security tightened, the minister assures

The judge’s promotion order withheld

Complaints of ill-gotten wealth galore

Trade unions unhappy about the pay hikes

Indefinite strike, the only solution

Climate change delays onset of rains

There may be crop failure, but no problem

We have surplus stock

Enough is enough, I said to myself

The world of fiction beckoned me

It was a long one but fast moving

A girl in her 20s and beauty conscious

Her would-be very strict and watchful

Don’t dress like a city girl

When she defied he blocked her way

I don’t know what will happen

But it takes you back in time

When teenagers were less free….

Let’s wait and see

 

A nightmare indeed!

Fortunately, he woke up minutes before he was to make that speech. He could tackle the media people without much difficulty. No doubt, there was a barrage of questions but there was answers in their questions and his replies were in monosyllables. “Yeah” ,“not exactly”, “Sure, sure” etc. There was quite a few sitting in front of the stage where he was seated. Those who were addressing the gathering praised him sky-high and added to his woes. “He was a dark horse till the other day, but his debut novel has made him a celebrity overnight”.

 Of course, he has published a couple of books earlier but the readers were mostly his kith and kin.

 Ironically, he became nervous when he won the award though he was happy beyond words. It was the thought of the speech he was to make, that made him nervous. But fortunately, minutes before he was to make the dreaded speech he woke up and sat on his bed and heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank God, it was a dream”, he whispered and reached for his fag. Even the award was a part of his dream.

THE UN FOOD AGENCY REPORT AND INDIA

A report issued by the UN food Agency says that a record one billion people worldwide are hungry due to food shortage or spiraling food price. It is a wake up call to maximize food production which calls for preserving agricultural lands and also efficient water management. What we see in most of the under developed and developing countries is a lack of discipline and cooperation, besides unending rivalry between political parties which most often end up in violence and blood shed.

The report on India seems to be superficial since it says that hunger exists in India not because there is no sufficient food in India but because people cannot access it. The fact is India pays special attention to people below poverty line (BPL) by making available several food items at very concessional rates through the state-run cooperative stores.

World Peace

The ceremonial lamp was lit

The pundits were chanting vedic mantras

Seeking world peace

“It symbolizes victory of light over darkness

And knowledge over ignorance”

The trend setter was waxing eloquent

Yes, it is Deepavali

Not somewhere in India

But at the Whitehouse

And Obama was the first US president

To “personally grace the occasion”

The trend setter that he is

Religion must cross the barriers

For the goal is won, no matter which party you choose

Let all the festivals symbolize

Victory of light over darkness

And knowledge over ignorance

The need of the hour is world peace.

Cricket is the secret of my wealth!

There was a time when the 5-day variety of cricket was the monarch of all it surveyed…but it appeared that cricket lovers were getting impatient with this lengthy and at times monotonous game which most often ended in a tame draw. Then came the 50 over one day internationals (ODI), which became immensely popular in a couple of years. It also saw the advent of one day specialists and master blasters. But the popularity of the game was fully exploited by the speculators who saw the game as a money spinner and certain teams began to dance to their tunes. Match fixing is an offshoot of commercialization. Some star players became star performers in the ad world too. Commercialization got a new boost with the introduction of Twenty-20.

As far as India is concerned the Twenty-20 version opened the flood gates for the up and coming youngsters. But the future of the game lies in the ability of these players to concentrate more on cricket than on ads so that they will do justice to thousands of their fans.

Upsets and surprises are quite common in international sports and games. The early exit of a top-seeded player or a super performance by an underdog are part and parcel of such international games but champions bounce back after overcoming the unexpected setback and the underdogs just get a breakthrough.

Nobel prizes, too, are unpredictable at times, but bereft of any excitements as such. Of course, the names of the winners find a place in the GK books of the students or become the topic of the day. If one of the winners happens to be your country man, you are eager to know who else in your country had won this prestigious prize earlier.

So, it was the usual, physics, so and so; chemistry, so and so, and literature…. Wait a minute. Yes, Miss Herta Mueller of Romania’s ethnic German Minority. The title of one of her books is “The Land of Green Plums”. Very soon you will get some idea about this one from Book-Review-Columns.

Then came, the surprise of the year. I took it for granted that the Nobel Prize for peace, as usual, would go to some elderly person or some diplomat who would have contributed his bit towards the cause of peace.

But, No; the winner is none other than Mr OBAMA, who has always something up his sleeves. Of course, not all were happy about this; but it gives rise to the hope that USA will play a major role in spreading peace. Whatever it may be, Obamaji, it is a huge burden on your shoulders. You have to be cautious of each of your steps- Congrats!

It is Ooty, Chaps!

Spotless sky and the warmth of the morning sun!

The rain has mercifully retreated

And the wind too seemed to be packing

“What a relief! What a relief!”

Exclaimed a couple of workers

“Things are not what they seem

This is Ooty Chaps”, cautioned the pessimist.

Just then the milk man appeared muttering

“Fools, fools”

“What’s up?” I asked the chap

“What do they know boss? Loafers.”

“Take it from me, winter is round the corner

In a day or two it will be frost all over”

“Winter or Summer”, I said

“It is bright and warm”

It was 10’O Clock in the morning

When I set out….umbrella in hand

“It is one extreme to the other”, I grumbled as I moved on

Whoever I met on the road had this to say

“After a long time….”

But as I was returning home

I saw it stepping out from nowhere

And yawning like an overslept babe

“I was tired, but now I am fresh”,

The dark cloud seemed to say as it began to spread all over.

SAVE THOSE LOCATIONS PLEASE

Acres of Paddy fields, criss-crossed by narrow muddy roads, with a few bullock carts parked here and there. Suddenly there appears a rustic beauty who walks in beauty….Yeah, you have got it right! A good-looking rural chap dreams of such an ambience and you hear the background music for a folk song. The next ten minutes could tempt you to dance to the tune or to take a short break.

At times you would see an ancient temple and typical Brahmin houses in front of it, reminiscent of bygone days. The frontage of every house is washed with cowdung-mixed water and decorated with white powder. The Brahmin ladies who wake up before dawn and have their bath by sunrise could be seen going in and out of their houses, singing some devotional songs even as their hubbies would be chanting some ‘mantras’. If it is festival season, it is heaven on earth; and you become nostalgic. Of course the real world is different. Everything is done in a mechanical way and in a hurry, these days.

            That’s why we must be thankful to the film producers and directors who recreate the olden days and those rare locations, but they too are at the mercy of those who are busy urbanizing every nook and corner of such lovely spots.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first and the best PM

The politicians in India occasionally find time to think about the past – not the distant past but about the first two or three decades after independence or rather, about their predecessors who were at the helm of affairs in those days. Their assessment of the former ministers or politicians could trigger protests from other politicians because those who make adverse remarks about a former leader see things only from a narrow angle.

The other day, a chief minister, while addressing a gathering said, “Complexion of India would have been different if sardar patel had been made the first Prime Minister of India instead of Jawaharlal Nehru.” Of course, this Chief Minister has his own reasons to give Mr Patel an edge over Nehru.

With due respect to Mr Patel, who was known as the Iron man of India, I must say that Jawaharlal Nehru who was Gandhiji’s choice was head and shoulders above all and he was the most charismatic leader India ever had. If the congress could rule the country for years and years, it was solely because of Nehru, who was an intellectual, par excellence and the one who put India on a “dynamic, scientific and non-communal basis.” During his days the people rose above regional and linguistic sentiments and understood the meaning of “Unity in diversity”