Archive for June, 2010

They are poles apart, but flock together!

“Nation-wide agitation” “Our party will fight against it”. These are the newspaper headlines, quoting various opposition leaders. And the reason? The government of India has announced an increase in the prices of Petroleum products and cooking gas.

No doubt, it is a heavy burden on people who are already struggling in the wake of food inflation for quite sometime now. The opposition parties take the easy route of organizing strikes and demonstrations, depending on their habits; and the people are made to believe that the government is merciless and anti-people as if the government is doing it to torture the citizens.

The opposition can save their skin by protests and demonstrations or strikes, thereby undermining the economy of the nation. If they are really concerned about the price hike, they would instruct the state governments to share the burden by cutting down sales tax on these items, but they won’t do it because they want to put the entire blame on the central government.

The Central government, too, has failed to explain to the people as to why the government is helpless in this matter. The people must be made to understand that the petroleum products are imported items and whenever there is an increase in the prices of these items in the international market, the government will be left with no choice. Moreover, the people must know that these items are made available to them at subsidized rates. If the common man realizes this fact, he won’t be carried away by the opposition’s propaganda.

Linguistic fanaticism

One’s attachment to one’s language or rather, one’s mother tongue is quite natural but when it crosses all limits and tends to ignore or condemn other languages, the love becomes blind and self-defeating. These people, especially the purists among them would not allow any new words or phrases to enter into their beloved language, if those words or phrases are from some other language. No language is perfect and it is difficult to keep pace with the rapid progress of science and technology which produce new words at regular intervals. If the purists are adamant, they are forced to coin an alternative word (which could be understood only by them!). On the other hand, there are those who enrich their language by borrowing the widely accepted new words. The linguistic fanatics are so attached to their language that they want it to become the monarch of all it surveys in their states so that the people as a whole will be left with no choice. Of course they have the blessings of most of the politicians. The modern generation is aware of the fact that it will be of great help to them if they learn a couple of other languages and, of course an international language as well. In view of this, the younger generation in India must assert their right to learn other languages including an international language.

An auto-driver’s predicament

Some Orthodox, elderly women were sitting on one of the steps leading to an ancient temple in Tamilnadu. They seemed to be tensed up. “It is getting late. Anything could happen to her… Poor thing…”, one of them said. “Our prayer wont go in vain… the almighty will save her…”, the other one pacified.

All of them carried a copper vessel which contained the temple “Prasadam”. They left the temple, saying “Save her, Save her” and walked fast and got into an auto-rickshaw, Parked at the temple gate. “Kannan Street… Quick” One of them ordered. The auto-driver was a bit scared of these heavily-built women but was helpless. One of the women kept on Saying “Quick, Quick… Lord, She must be saved… Poor thing”

“Stop; Stop” a woman ordered, but the auto driver said, “We are yet to reach Kannan street”. “No problem we will watch it from Savithri’s house.” “But, What about the girl you wanted to save?” the auto-driver asked.

“Ashadu, Asdadu (Fool, Fool). We are talking about ‘Devathai’, the TV serial… We are just on time”. All of them got out of the auto and dashed towards Savithri’s house. When the auto driver asked for the fare, they said in a chorus, “You collect it tomorrow – no time to waste”

By the wink of an eye

Were these the hills that drove the inhabitants helter-skelter in search of their woollen outfits that lay scattered all over in their houses?

Summer was at its peak. With their warm clothes and caps off their bodies, the people looked trim and younger, and their smiles were free from twists and turns. Of course, they felt the pinch of their purses owing to soaring prices – the summer bonanza for the shop keepers at the expense of the tourists and the natives to some extent.

Summer is also the time for the natives to play host to their dear and near ones. Every now and then, you get a phone call from guests, “We are at Charing Cross… how far is your house from this place? Instead of giving directions that will only confuse the guests, you would say, “No Problem… I’ll be there in ten minutes… By the way, what’s the colour of your car… and number?” and as soon as you get a reply, you dash to Charing Cross, repeating the colour and number in your mind. Then, On reaching there, you are a bit confused… “was it 5206 or 2506?” Anyway, one of the guests would have seen you, much to your relief.

The summer is always on its wings and, in a jiffy, it will be back to square one. The hills seemed to mock at me when I repeated those words, “Were these the hills that drove…” There was a roaring in the sky and the rain came heavily and fills in floods! The next day I saw the same old well-protected grim faced natives wherever my casual eyes were cast!

Hats off to the capitalists!

There are some problem states in India which are under constant threat from the political extremists who make their presence felt either by attacking public properties (mainly the railways) or by killing innocent people. These extremists have certain safe areas which are difficult to penetrate by the state police or the central security forces, mainly because the informers posted by them pass on the message to them, the moment they sight the security people some where in the village. The so-called intellectuals and the activists have a soft corner for these extremists and remotely justify their activities on the ground that they are championing the cause of the poor and neglected people. One of the intellectuals (an arm-chair philosopher), the other day, complained that the basic cause for all the troubles are the capitalists in India. In a thickly populated country like India, we have to welcome those who create job opportunities to millions. The government by itself is not a in a position to create job opportunities for all because of its limitations. If the unemployed youngsters depend solely on government jobs, it will be an indefinite wait but fortunately, the private sector is playing a vital role in generating employment opportunities to the educated youngsters, through campus interviews, thereby saving the job seekers from taking the circuitous and time-consuming route of registering their names in the employment exchanges. Ironically, it is these capitalists who restrain the activities of the political extremists.

Friend, philosopher and guide!

It was a pleasant surprise to me when I saw Gajendran near an Ashram where he had come with some of his colleagues to attend a religious function. He was himself a philosopher and it seemed he was waiting for an opportune moment to sneak out of the Ashram.

On seeing him, after a gap of ten years, I was overwhelmed and dashed towards him but he was a bit bewildered. “Hi Gajan, what a pleasant surprise!”. I said. “Wait, wait… Oh, I am sorry… I could not recognize you at first”, he said and hugged me. True to his name, he was a gigantic figure. He kept on talking about the good old days when we used to go for a walk in the evening on Sundays. “Though it is my favourite topic, the scholars are talking in a language meant for laymen”, he began, but before I could reply, he interrupted and said, “Forget it, let us go for a walk… I want some exercise too”. As we moved on, he was in his elements, “Ordinary People in out country have no knowledge about our ancient culture…” After a pause, he continued, “Look at those buildings. What a shame! There were trees, trees all the way… Can’t help.”

He was walking very slowly and I felt like telling him that if he was serious about reducing his weight, he should walk fast but, to my surprise, he refused to move further and I knew why. “Our culture”, he continued his monologue, “is different from that of others… basically, it is about tolerance and humility. If you analyse the meaning of Adwaida or Tathwamasi, or rather ‘Thou art that’, you will see Him in all beings… even in an insect!” He was waxing eloquent when an auto rickshaw stopped near us. The driver asked him, “Sir, we are from the catering department of Hotel Ashoka… We have to deliver some food items to that Ashram… is it some where here?” Gajendran lost his temper and shouted at him, “Get lost…you…” The auto driver drove past us, not knowing what to do. Gajendran continued, “Where were we? Yeah, tolerance and humility…” As he was talking thus, I just wanted to change the topic and asked him, “Shall we have some tea?” “Sure… got sufficient cash with you?”, he asked. I was sure that we would have snacks too.

If music be food of love, play on…

The same location, the same song, the same couple, the same co-dancers and the same mesmerizing effect! It was so, a decade ago and it will be so after decades. When I heard the background music of this song, I was hurrying through a footpath by the side of a crowded street. I stopped for a while and looked around to know where it came from… It was from a small bakery where they sold coffee and tea as well. It was not yet time for me to have tea or coffee but the music was irresistible. I ordered for a cup of tea and occupied a seat from where I could watch the T.V. “Snacks?”, the owner of the bakery asked. I just nodded my head, as I was sitting spell-bound, sipping the tea mechanically and tapping my fingers on the table till those last lines of the song ‘Thanna naa nana’ merged into the air….

Lots of movies are released every year but only a few are worth-seeing. Of course, one good song can make up the flaws in such movies.

Very often, the lovers take us to their dream world where you can witness them on the banks of a river or in an enchanting garden, chasing each other with songs in their lips. On one such scene, the hero asks some childish questions and the dame replies musically. The music director makes the song memorable by producing even the subtle sound of falling dry leaves!

Just listen to these soul-stirring son