Archive for September, 2010

And now, the secular fundamentalists!

“If there is a complication, enjoy it!” Thus goes an old song. In India, the approach is slightly different: if there is a complication, exploit it.

Problems crop up in one form or the other but the politicians blow even minor problems out of proportion, often with the help of certain news channels whose journalists have the knack of raising certain controversial queries when they chat with an opposition leader or a cabinet minister. The next day, some unparliamentary or provocative words uttered by X or Y would hit the headlines and what began as a seemingly harmless chat the other day would snowball into a crisis!

Most of the politicians and journalists use certain worn out or stale terms and phrases like “political extremists, religious fundamentalists” etc, much to the joy of the so called secularists who are in the habit of safeguarding their image by pointing an accusing finger at pro-Hindu parties. At long last, the over-zealous secular parties got a new name: “The secular fundamentalists”!

Hitch your wagon to the stars!

Smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. Yes that is what the creator is [Anoraniyan… Mahatomahiyan… I don’t remember those Sanskrit words which gave us an idea of the almighty]. When you tend to boast of your abilities, your status etc at the expense of lesser beings, just think of planet earth which is so big and so lavish but at the same time too small when compared to the sun or the tiny-looking stars, some of which are bigger than the sun! When you suffer from inferiority complex, think of those smallest and unseen creatures which can make or mar anyone.

In everyone of us there is a scientist or a historian or a poet or an administrator or you name it! All we have to do is to identify it and work on it. You may succeed or not but there is no harm in making an earnest attempt. Curiosity, keen observation, aesthetic sense and respect and love for the big and small are the qualities which lead you to your goal.

All said and done, beware of the fanatics, selfish and the greedy elements who would mislead you and make your life miserable. Look at the stars, the rising or setting sun, the hills, mountains, birds… oh there are innumerable such things which inspire you. Your time starts now!

No place for trees or birds!

The ideal couple were at it again! It was a lovely evening at the fag end of summer in Ooty, and we were on our way to the Elkhill road, our destination that evening. The purpose of the visit was to let them have a panoramic view of the Ooty town, the race course etc. The lady was way ahead of us while her husband was chatting with us… mostly about their previous visit to Ooty. “Rohan, come here, quick”. Rohan dashed towards that spot, camera in hand. “Seems Saro has spotted something”.

“What else? It must be the sunset”, I told myself. Before Rohan could find an ideal spot to capture the sunset, we were there. Saro was getting impatient, “Oh Rohan, focus on the sun alone—not those dull hills and birds”.

“Made for each other!” I said to myself. Last time they had their difference of opinion but in four years they have become the birds of the same feather.

Last time when they visited us, they were on a sight-seeing spree and it seemed they carried a list of tourist spots with them. So, they were busy from morning till evening. Botanical garden in the morning and Doddabetta in the evening or Deer Park in the morning and Boat house in the evening [sh… their main agenda was shopping].

During our visit to the Boat house with them last time, we hired a four-seater for boating. Saro wanted to take a few snaps of her hubby in various poses but she took her time to click. Maybe she wants trees and other natural beauties as background for the photos. “Oh Saro, don’t click now…only the trees will be prominent… no trees please…” said Rohan.

Saro who seemed to have some aesthetic sense in those days has now become a true copy of Rohan, especially when she wanted to “focus on the sun alone”. Wonderful metamorphosis indeed!

A pleasant surprise!

A little away from the main street there is a Hindu temple adjacent to a side walk. My folks entered the temple and I followed them rather mechanically.

The priest of the temple was chanting mantras, sitting in front of the main deity. There were well-lit brass lamps of all sizes and heaps of flowers, even as there was a steady flow of devotees with caste marks on their foreheads. As usual, I was standing in a corner with my eyes half-closed. The priest would stop his mantras for a while at regular intervals to enable the devotees to sing their favorite devotional songs. It went on for a couple of hours and just when I thought it was time to leave, I saw devotees standing in front of the main deity, waiting for their turn to receive a small bunch of flowers and kumkum from the priest… and soon after, there was a pleasant surprise. All the devotees were offered a sumptuous meal; a feast rather.

When all the devotees left, my folks were discussing some ‘important’ matters with the priest. “Sure, I’ll be there right on time”, the priest assured them. It was to conduct a religious function [rituals] at our house, the next day. As arranged, he visited our house and performed the function to our satisfaction.

You might be wondering why this chap [that’s me!] is narrating an event which happens every day in India. There you are! Believe me or not, all these took place in a big city in North America… Vancouver, to be precise.

Census 2011—India

Democracy is the best form of government, no doubt… as long as it strictly adheres to the principle, “By the people, of the people and for the people”. India opted for this form of government as soon as it became an independent country, way back in 1947.

With Jawaharlal Nehru at the helm and the Gandhian principles like non-violence and truth reigning supreme, the country was on the move along the right path. There had been slow and steady progress on all fronts. Schools and colleges began to appear in every nook and corner and food production began to scale new heights.

So far so good… but when the benefits of various welfare measures began to spread far and wide, certain vested interests viewed things from their own narrow angles, resulting in the mushrooming of regional and caste-based political parties and the concept of “by the people, of the people and for the people” gave way to “by this caste, for that caste and of this region or that region”.

So, when all these political parties raised a hue and cry to carry out caste census next year, the cat was out of the bag! The purpose was not to have an idea of the people as a whole but to focus on the castes these politicians belonged to.

The need of the hour is…

“If music be the food of ‘peace’, give me excess of it…” be it classical or film songs, the best among them could lift you to great heights. Such songs, like the gentle breeze sweeps away the dry and useless leaves [thoughts] from our minds!

Everyone loves peace but something or the other pollutes one’s mind. It could be greed, jealousy or vengeance… and at various levels, culminating in some unpleasant events at national and international levels.

The other day, I was watching on TV an interview with the famous singer Nityashree Mahadevan who talking and singing a couple of lines from some of her film songs. Before concluding the session, she was asked to sing a few lines from an immortal song sung by her grandma and, while listening to it, I felt that the whole world should have listened to it! The song I am referring to is: “shanthi nilava vendum…” Oh lord, let there be peace… let there be absolute peace all over the world.

Yeah, that’s what we need. Peace, absolute peace.

Oh for those magic hours!

A bright and sunny day. The sky is spotlessly blue. The mood of the nature changes overnight! Yesterday, sky looked like a huge filter as the pure water was dripping from the sky all through the day. Since the “sit at home” was ordered by the ‘chief’, I can’t say whether it continued to rain during the night as well. Anyway, the items blocked by this huge filter were, of course, the rays of the sun!

Not that I am a blind supporter of the sun, for I believed in the principle, “rain while you rain and shine while you shine”.

All that I expect from the sun and the rain is a sort of give and take approach. In short, on a rainy day, let the sun appear for a couple of hours so that His fans won’t miss those magic hours during the sunrise and the sunset!