Archive for September, 2014

Far away and long ago!

The advent of the computer and all those wonders associated with it has totally changed the human life-style. Of course, the print media and all those journals and news magazines are still in vogue though the users are few and far between. Gone are the days when we used to write lengthy letters to our kith and kin, invariably, commencing from “hope you are doing well” to these closing lines, “I am looking forward to your letter…convey our enquiries to…”

Those who are in the habit of preserving those letters could refresh their memories or express their wonders by going through those letters which could be from your grand parents or those between your parents and their siblings. Incidentally, such letters may contain informations such as ‘the cost of living in early 1920s or so. To quote an example, here is a piece from my paternal uncle to my father in 1937 or so, way before I was even born. “Dear brother,… I am urgently in need of 2 rupees to pay hostel fee for this month.” Incidentally, I saw a few receipts (monthly) from a popular restaurant [120 rupees per month] and a bill for a leading English daily (9 rupees per month). You should not come to the conclusion that the cost of living was incredibly low because the monthly salary was between 100 rupees and 500 rupees or even less. For IAS officers it was what they used to call 4 figure salary!

Customer Friendly

Marketing is an art. Irrespective of whether you are shopping in a supermarket or in a corner shop, what tempts you to busy something is the attitude of the owner or the sales persons. You might be in need of a popular item but, if it is not available in that shop, you are tempted to withdraw from that shop, if the answer is a blank “No”. Instead, the smart ones would pick up items under different brand names and say “These are equally good”.

If there is a heavy rush, one of the salesmen or the owner himself will attend to your requirements. At times, the value of the items required may be just 10 bucks but you may have a 500 rupee note. Again the smart ones would be ready to accept the bigger amount and return the balance without any murmur.

Such an attitude on the part of the business people would lift them up to higher position step by step.

Peaceful Co-existence

‘Old order changeth, yielding place to new…” The poet who wrote these lines would have taken into account the rapid changes that were taking place ever since stone age and the human capacity to bring about such changes but it is doubtful whether he would have foreseen the rapid unbelievable changes during the past 10 to 30 years. What seems to be wonders to elders are just ordinary day-to-day affairs even to kids.

But we must be thankful to certain no-changers who are of great help to average men and women. And the credit goes to those who manage the petty shops where things are available in small sachets even to the poor people. [You won’t find such shops in rich countries and their big cities] But such petty shops could be seen even in big cities in Asia. This is what we call peaceful co-existence.

To Live in a Broad World

“Unity in diversity” is a noble cause which deserves utmost respect and attention especially at a time when separatism raises its ugly head in various parts of the world in the name of different faiths or policies or languages.

One major cause of separatism is egoism or rather an undue love for one’s language or caste or religion which force such people to isolate themselves from the rest or to boss over those who are different!. What these people fail to understand is that while separatism may bring about temporary pleasure they may find themselves in a narrow and dull world.

On the other hand, those who are in favor of unity in diversity have ample opportunity to mingle with people belonging to different castes, religious or living in any linguistic states.

They are also at liberty to live in any corner of their country, thereby finding themselves in a world free from petty quarrels.

How about a playful hide and seek

“I am the monarch of all I survey…”

“Uhm… I know the rest of those immortal lines… you need not repeat them here. Right now, you are the lord of fowl and brute… You can even add… and those majestic trees and the vast sky. But, don’t you think that you are, in fact, highlighting the dull part of the day or rather revealing your sadistic tendencies?”

“Be patient guys. What’ll happen if it were sunny days all through the year? Those of you who praise such days sky high also curse those hot days, especially when it is too hot and last till 9pm… let me ask you one more question” the rain seemed to ask… “what stupid pleasure do you guys get by singing that age-old song ‘Rain, Rain go away…?’ What will happen if I go away. What will be the fate of the lakes, rivers and other sources of water?”

“Ok boss”, I replied; “You are absolutely correct but could you please play hide and seek with the Sun for a couple of hours in the evening… it is my humble request Sir!”

Hats off to…

At times, one’s mind remains stagnant and all the efforts to come out with something worthwhile are blown away as if they are dry leaves we fin don roads or sidewalks. Be it politics or other important issues or even funny things, one’s mind keeps saying “shit” and your eyes look the other way, condemning your mood.
The other day, I was in such a dilemma or rather, in a “to be or not to be situation” and was on the verge of saying “bye-bye”; but one of the cricket-crazy guys unexpectedly touched upon the very same subject and I woke up from my “dull-as dust” mood as usual, I burst into “runs”…
And, when we were half-way through our favorite subject we were also resting on our favorite phrase, “But, Sachin in Sachin”!

The biggest book

“Reading maketh the perfect man… Knowledge is power… All is well that ends well”, all such inspiring words prompt one to go to the reading room. The other day I too was prompted to collect a few books from the bookshelf but the beauty of the evening sky and the spectacular colors surrounding it tempted me to have a glimpse of nature’s magic and my mind sidelined all my attempts to read for a while.

But, even as one is immersed in the beauty of nature one is tempted to quote immortal lines like, “if winter comes can spring be far behind?” or “ten thousand saw I at a glance tossing their heads in sprightly dance” etc.

So nature the biggest book has produced hundreds of poets… and naturally there is no harm in saying “reading maketh the perfect man”.

Wherever your casual eyes are cast!

I don’t know how far those mountains are from where we stay, but they are ‘distracters’. You try to concentrate on what you read or write but you are tempted to have a look at them now and then. Does one of them look like a sleeping dame or an old guy relaxing on an easy chair? One is reminded of a couple of lines from a good old poem, “Wherever your casual eyes are cast…”

Below these mountains [Burnaby] are trees of various forms and several buildings. The other day we happened to visit an enchanting lake but not before missing the actual route to our destination.

Anyway, all our temporary hiccups withered into oblivion as soon as we reached the spot…the beautiful lake and the surrounding mountains. “Are you guys the self-same chaps who distract me most of the days?” I asked those mountains and the answer was “yeah…not exactly”. Sorry. I am disturbed by these mountains as I write this.

Onam

The ten-day-long ‘ONAM’ happens to be the most important festival in Kerala, one of the southern states in India. It symbolizes abundance and not beyond the reach of the poor, for all that matters is flowers of all colors and sizes, available in abundance all over Kerala. if at all there is some sort of competition, it is in gathering the small white flower called Thumbapoo. The responsibility of gathering these white flowers are ‘thrust’ on boys and girls and the rest is taken care of by the adults. The flowers thus collected are decorated on a small area in front of every house . In short, it is an exhibition of artistic skills of kids and elders.

The climax is on the 10th day when every one wears new clothes which are simple and attractive. The requirements of the poor and down-trodden are taken care of by the rich and the middle class citizens of the state.

There is a sort of serene beauty in the form of songs and dances which are unique in the state.

Memories flood back and I forget for a moment that I am miles away from Kerala. I heard that things have changed a lot and the main items like flowers are made available in flower markets. Gone are the days when it was pleasure to gather flowers from every nook and corner.