Archive for October, 2010

Beware of speculators and gossip mongers

It seems T-20 will be the architect of the decline and fall of cricket in India. T-20, as such, cannot be blamed for the impending disaster, for it is an exciting game which produces a plethora of nail biting finishes. And, for the same reason, it became a money-spinner. Various organizations which conduct these matches at national and international levels began to attract big wigs and soon, scandal mongers and witch-hunters began to overshadow the game itself, much to the frustration of the cricket lovers. All these developments will adversely affect the morale of the players.

Even before the advent of T-20 there have been stray cases of match fixing and the like but such things never posed a threat to the game or the players.

Anyway, there is a ray of hope. Cricket continues to be the favorite game of the Indians and we have world class chess players as well. In view of this, it has to be protected from speculators and witch hunters. Let the media people—print and electronic—pay more attention to the game and the performance of the players than to those business minded elements and gossip mongers.

When opportunities knock at your door…

A police officer and a couple of constables ‘marched’ into a reputed shop. Was it a raid or just a visit for shopping? I wondered. It was immaterial but I followed them to have a close look at the officer. My intention was to verify whether they were actually from the neighboring state [A  casual glance from a distance gave me the impression that they were from a neighboring state]. Yes, they were indeed from the neighboring state, as was evident from their badges. I left it at that and went to a nearby restaurant before proceeding to my house but even as I was moving forward rather mechanically, my mind was trying to recollect my college days and gradually it narrowed down to the ‘preachings’ of our English lecturer. “Make it a point to work hard to get a job to your liking… and don’t succumb to temptations”. His advice was mainly aimed at literature students. He wanted them to become poets, novelists or journalists. He was a junior lecturer and his literary articles and poems were published in top journals. Soon I came to the conclusion that the police officer whom I saw at that shop was none other than the above said lecturer. I must meet him before he leaves, I thought and returned to that shop. I was right on time. The officer was about to get into a car parked in front of that shop but stepped back when he saw me.

After exchanging pleasantaries, he took leave of me. Yes, I was right; he was the very same lecturer but seemed to have washed his hands clean off his pet views when opportunities knocked at his door—soon he was to become the I.G of police.

Accentuate the Positive

There are negative forces all over the world. Though numerically they are a negligible minority, the noise and the consequent tension created by these elements seem to outweigh the performance of scientists, thinkers, artists, sports persons, etc., who inspire thousands of youngsters.

The purpose of these negative forces it to scare away the talented youngsters so that their ‘ideologies’ would spread thick and fast. Politicians who are supposed to nourish the up and coming talents are more interested in settling scores with their opponents and there are some popular news channels to give a larger than life image to the day to day bickering that take place in the political world.

Let us forget the negative elements and admire the talented youngsters in various fields ranging from sport and music to science and technology, for they are the ones who make our lives comfortable. The role played by the electronic and print media in bringing the best out of the talent youngsters is remarkable.

Just watch those healthy competitions on TV and you are reassured of a world free from the pinpricks of the evil and negative forces. Even from a selfish angle we have to encourage these youngsters so that in due course, the negative forces will be marginalized.

Of moons and planets

“She walks in beauty… like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies…” Amateur sky gazers create such immortal lines. Their affairs with Sun, Moon or Stars come in handy when they recollect emotions in tranquility. It is a riot of colors when the Sun announces its arrival in the morning or takes leave in the evening. Moon and stars have a different appeal. We would have heard about other planets and moons in the solar system, but our response to what cannot be spotted by our naked eyes is just a “wow!”

On the other hand, the interests of the learned astronomers go far beyond the fancies of poets and artists. They spend their time and energy on discovering what’s what about other planets and moons in the solar system and at times they pry into other systems. Jupiter and Saturn are much bigger than Earth and have over 60 moons each revolving around them. But the big question is: are they superior to planet Earth? – are there living beings and if so, how smart are they?

Shh… They may be overhearing us!

Long Stories!

“Puzhakkara! The same old small village on the banks of a river. The inhabitants have merged with modern civilization but not so, their village. Small houses surrounded by palm trees. Wonderful”, Revi said to himself, rather sarcastically.

“Did you say something?” Pushpa, his wife asked. “Oh, no. I was just thinking of that beautiful village”.

Revi, like his colleagues got a handsome amount by way of bonus after a gap of three years; and as a special gesture his employer permitted him to go on a week’s leave. Immediately, he thought of going to Ooty or Kodaikanal, the two nearby tourist spots so that Pushpa could be relieved of her loneliness. For their honeymoon trip she preferred Puzhakkara to any other tourist destinations and he was almost sure that she would choose either Ooty or Kodaikanal but to his disappointment she said, “Puzhakkara”. He still remembered that small village and that river but it was not as attractive as places like Ooty or Kodaikanal. Last time when he asked her “why Puzhakkara?” She said that she just wanted to know whether Puzhakkara had undergone any change since she visited the same village years ago when she was a student… The teacher who took the kids to that village told them that the house where an old poet lived was still there.

Now, when Revi sought her preference she said “Puzhakkara”. Of course, Revi got wild. Anyway, he thought of a holiday trip with a view to giving her some relief from her dull routine life and if she is bent upon visiting that village, let her enjoy. He would be spending less than half the amount set apart by him.

And so, it was Puzhakkara again. Pushpa told him that they could stay in a small holiday home attached to an ancient temple in that village. On day one she woke up five O’clock in the morning and told him that she would spend the morning hours in the temple. There was a small restaurant nearby and Revi let her go to the temple.

But Pushpa, instead of going to the temple, went in search of a house, a hut rather, which was not far away from the temple. The villagers were very helpful and she could locate the small house she had come in search of.

This story could be dragged on and on but I must cut it down to the minimum. The said house belonged to Pushpa’s aged mother who was compelled to sell her daughter when she was a child to a childless couple. Pushpa has no idea about her father who abandoned the mother and the child. In fact, Pushpa was totally unaware of her background till a few days before her marriage when a friend of her mother [the one who brought her up] revealed the bitter truth. The purpose was to request Pushpa to see her mother, before she calls it a day. Yes, she met her and naturally there were sentiments… Pushpa gave her some money. The mother begged her not to reveal this fact to anybody… During their honeymoon trip to the very same village, she could not locate the house because Revi was with her wherever she went.

The matter is as simple as that and at the most, the writer can describe the beauty of the village  and the river or Pushpa’s anxiety, curiosity etc but some of the award winning short stories are too ambiguous or too lengthy that you feel like abandoning the story mid-way. They may be following a trend but the reader is totally confused.

Beware of the separatists

Since I was one of those early birds in that library on that day, I was at liberty to choose the best magazine or journal… and I picked up the right one. There were other reputed journals as well but this one captured my attention because of its ‘cover story’ under the title ‘India’s surprising economic miracle’. The article was very convincing in the sense that even as it was highlighting some of India’s stumbling blocks to progress, it also gave a clear picture of the plus points which could give India an edge over other countries which are in the race.

So far so good. Let us hope India will make it to the top but at the same time let us not remain complacent. First and foremost, we must realize that our strength lies in our unity and communal harmony. Both are interdependent but unity means much more than communal harmony, especially at a time when the much-dreaded regionalism appears in one form or the other in every nook and corner of India. The divisive forces dream of separate lands where they could be the monarchs of all they survey. [History should not repeat itself]

In view of this, it is high time the national parties focused their attention on the unity of India and made it a point to remind the people of the need to stand united, without lending their ears to the selfish slogans of the separatists.

Sensible handling of sensitive issues

I am a staunch supporter of Rahul Gandhi, the AICC general secretary, not merely because he belongs to the Nehru family and to the Indian National Congress. He is neither aggressive nor defensive like some youngsters and has the patience to listen to the problems of the masses.

Naturally one expects him to be cautious when he touches upon sensitive issues like religion, caste or region because even a slip of the tongue could lead to chaos and confusion and undue advantage to some wicked forces.

As such, Rahul should avoid measuring the religious fundamentalists in India with the same yard stick. There are organizations which may be communal but Indians to the core and the ones who are not necessarily loyal to India… the ones who draw inspiration from certain anti-Indian outfits rooted in some neighboring countries.

“No Newspapers Please”!

When you visit places… I mean some foreign countries, far away from your homeland, you become curious. Their way of life, their language, their customs, their behavior; why, everything about them gives you a strange feeling, a thrill rather. Whether you are in Hong Kong or Vancouver, it is this aspect which you are curious about, even when you visit tourist spots.

The best way to know about the people in the cities of such countries is to have an eye on the natives who visit the shopping malls or a public library.

Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city where you come across people whose origins are from Europe or Africa or Asia [predominantly whites from Europe who speak English]. One thing which I admire is the fact that some of the local newspapers are free of cost and made available through boxes placed on sidewalks, though this free service is not availed by many! On top of this I could get an idea about people’s indifference to the local dailies when I saw “no newspapers please” boards in front of many houses, a la ‘beware of dogs’, ‘no parking in front of houses’ etc which are common in India. But can we imagine ‘no newspapers, please’ in India?

CWG 2010

Jai ho! A smart chap from Trivandrum woke me up from my slumber. It’s round the corner. No, no, it’s up there… all set for ‘on your march, get set go’. Let the pessimists and mischief makers go to hell. But still! Don’t be in a hurry. May be you are thinking of weight lifting or 100 meters dash or a host of such things and India’s chances.

The much awaited common wealth games had to overcome several obstacles but on day one, the best of India were on display. East, west, north or south, Indian classical dances and songs have many things in common, though the styles may be a bit different… there is something divine about them.

Yes, even as we look forward to a few gold medals, we should also focus on our hospitality.

A wonderful imitation indeed!

“It is raining, it is raining”. A young man was cautioning his friends with whom he had come to that shopping mall. “No chance” I said to myself. Just a couple of minutes ago, the sky was absolutely blue—there were streaks of white clouds which never indicated an impending rain.

There are several breathtaking places in Hong Kong, apart from those huge ultra-modern malls. Urbanization normally takes place at the expense of nature but in Hong Kong, the nature is only gently tamed and not destroyed.

Human beings have created wonderful worlds of their own but a beach is a beach and a forest is a forest….man-made lakes and parks are just imitations that could capture your attention only for a while.

Now, I must get back to that guy who yelled, “it is raining, it is raining”. He was right. It was indeed raining. The blue sky I had seen a while ago was an artificial sky! A wonderful imitation indeed!