Sunday, October 24, 2010


Media plays a role in changing perceptions on issues that confront us on a day to day basis. It is small wonder then that a person of the stature of Winston Churchill remarked that there was nothing called public opinion and only published opinion existed. Take the recent events which have hogged the limelight and prime time of most television channels and one would wonder as to what extent media could descend in its endeavour to establish its influence over the executive and the judiciary.

The 26/11 was the watershed when the people noticed the clamour of the media on the need to send a strong message to the world at large. Months before laymen had borne the brunt of the violence and had been dubbed as the spirit of the respective cities merely because the victims were mere mortals - equality means some are more equal than others.

Move over to the Prathiba case. The judgement came as a shocker to the culprit. The noose would have been better on amy day. The sentence of imprisonment till death with no option for even commutation would send shivers down the spine of any person who desires or lusts in future. Imagine the torture of leading a life in a cell lifelong and compare it to the trauma of a few days hallucinating the noose and ending with a noose. This was truly a case of Daniel having come to judgement. Understandably the kin of the respective persons were moved by the emotions on their own counts but where did the media end up in this debate?

The trauma of this victim is no less to that of that of other such victims. Has the media played a positive role in bringing to book the culprits in cases which involve lesser mortals? Should they not be taking this responsibility? Should they not be highlighting the excellent work done by some in their respecive fields while baying for the blood of the culprits? Questions which media should sit and ponder over.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Seasons of time and seasons of life have been eternally intertwined by illustrious poets. The day was one of remembrance of the Father of the nation. October second had dawned and even as I had just finished my breakfast with a sweet to top it, the telephone rang incessantly. As I diligently picked the receiver, I found the young man at the other end having mixed feelings of joy as well as expectations. He enquired about me and sought an assurance that I would not laugh at the news he was about to share. There was an inkling that this young man who had been married for about 10 months would in all probability be telling me that he would soon be a father. However, I chose caution over valour and handed him the solemn assurance.

Even as the assurance was handed over, he laughed and said that may be I was aware but still he would share the news with me on first person count. The news was he had become a father the previous afternoon. Apparently, he was bestowed with a healthy boy though the mother had to go through a caesarian. As I was sharing his joy, I could hear the buzz of another person trying to reach me. But I did not wish to cut short the joy and pleasure of a young father all of 26 years far from his young wife and newborn son as well as his parents. After a good half an hour of drenching in the joy of this young lad, I felt that the sweet of the morning had been well served.

Another call came in from my fried informing me that he had changed his schedule for the day and he would not be able to meet me. Empathising with his needs I deferred to his wishes and placed the receiver back.

The telephone rang again. I was a bit annoyed at the invention. Days of peace were lost, I thought to myself as I raised the receiver. It was a call from a sister of my old class mate. ( If yours truly can be old then his classmate would be no lesser ain't it?) Even as I settled down for a long chat, she reprimanded me on long telephonic chats and got down to business. She informed me that the ailing father of our mutual friend had just breathed his last and I should be by his side. Understanding the enormity of the issue I rushed to the home to offer my tributes and condolences.

The friend of ours was in an inconsolable state while his mother was in shock. I refrained from offering any words and motioned to his wife for a few words of succour. After the passage of a few minutes I found him giving vent to his grief and regrets. Taking charge, I subtly told him that he should be the pillar of strength for his bereaved mother. Soon relatives and friends came in and I left the family in their hands.

Trekking back home, I realised that nature had taught me the best lesson of the birth and death cycle. Fatherhood for one and the loss of father's shadow for another. Few days later, I found myself in a good positon to handle a delicate issue of emotions with less ado. It is obviously that the proverbs and adages were written by experienced souls.
Spring and autumn mired themselves at my place and nature had its last say for this emotional fool.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


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The print media and electronic media have spent hours at end and reams of papers to highlight the mess at the Commonwealth Games. The same people spent some more time on the enchanting opening ceremony. It was interesting to note that this had the familiar ring tones of the early nineties when the country's economy was in the doldrums followed by a spectacular rise to bring home the mortgaged gold as well as prepay some debts. The eerie feeling of a clampdown economically in the early seventies and the early part of this century was another reminder too. The common trait of both was the epicentre being Pokhran. Did not people predict the fall of the Railway monolith only to later be awed by its profitability?

Yes the Indian seismograph always means a quake is followed by a grand event. A crisis always precedes a successful endeavour. These musings only reminded me of a tale oft quoted by my friend. According to him, an American, a Japanese and an Indian represented by the legendary Sardar were being interviewed for handing over a project. After a lot of minute details being spelt out by the panel, the American sought two years to complete the project with costs in US dollars of course!!! The Japanese twittered his fingers shrinked his nostrils made airy calculations and spelt out a time of an year to complete the project at half the cost to be paid in Japanese yen. The panel had decided that the contract would be bagged by the Japanese but for ethical considerations placed the facts before the Sardar. Imagine the expressions on the face of the panel members when the Sardar posed a question instead of responding with a time frame. His answer was " What is the deadline and what is your budget?" The panel members after regaining composure queried the Sardar what he meant by this response. The Sardar non chalantly replied we Indians gear up once a deadline is nearing and can give you the same for any budget that suits you. The quality would vary according to your budget that's all.

The contract was bagged by the Sardar for two months with a shoe string budget. At the end of one month nothing had commenced. At the end of another fortnight work was picking pace. Soon the panel members hiked the budget but would not waive the time line. The contract was executed to perfection in Indian Rupees which was much lesser than any other budget. Yes given a crisis we outperform anyone.

Anyone disagreeing please reminiscence a marriage scene - if everything is fine then a crisis is created to instil the thrill but imagine the scene of a tragedy the crisis is already there and the best comes out. We have now again exhibited this trait and soon we will do so by hosting the Olympics.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Brahmamuhurtham was a thing to read another to savour. On the assigned day which took me to Delhi and back on the same day, I beat the auspicious moment to hasten to the airport. After the security drill and the flight to Delhi which was largely uneventful, the day's proceedings largely kept me awake. A thunderstorm towards the evening led my hosts to literally throw me lock, stock and barrel out of the building which sheltered us and hurtled towards the airport for my return sojourn. The water logging made me muse on the "commonwealth" of Bangalore and Delhi. The cab driver who richly deserved a bravery award managed to keep all of us afloat and delivered me for the return. The long day had taken its toll and beauty sleep was whispering " veni vedi vici" in my ears. The security drill was through and just to keep my eyelids open a la Mr Bean, I chose to stroll only to be tracked by the vigilant cop who checked my credentials. Thankfully, the flight was announced and after a mini seat swapping episode, I settled for a middle seat in the front with the fond hope of resting my weary body.

The take off through I was greeted by a chuckle by my young neighbour who could only get a remorseful look from me. Unlike the famed airfarers who are known for their British behaviour, the young man motioned to the screen in front and even turned it on. Helpfully, he retrieved the earphones for me. Reluctantly, I plugged it on as the pilot requested us to keep our seat belts on and the backrests erect. Finding it difficult to doze off, I chose to heed to the neighbour's suggestion and paid attention to the movie being screened. It later turned out that this was the much talked about Karthik calling Karthik. Schizophrenia has been put across in as gripping as possible with all the elements of masala thrown in. I empathised with the character in the movie and for the first time acknowledged the need for psychiatrists and psychologists in India. At the end of the sojourn, I thanked the young boy for having enlightened me on this front. He was amused as he found the movie hilarious and my serious outlook only made him guffaw.

Couple of days later, I was put through the motion of watching the much hyped 3 Idiots. I have never been a movie buff. The only thing that the movie succeeded in doing was taking me to my own school and college days. Thanks to Facebook culture, we are busy networking and holding our own tete a tetes on the times that have gone by. It also brought back memories of a short stint of mine at Hyderabad where as youngsters we had shared hostel space. The end of the movie was custom made for box office consumption. The truth is when best mates get together after a decade or two the first thing they remember is the nickname and the best days they had. The last thing on their mind is what they are in the current day.

Many of my mates would find this piece a revelation to them as much as it is to me. A person who has not really gone to town on movies, actually penning on a review of movies watched over a couple of days. Flights of fancy indeed!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


The Independence Day celebrations brought me out of the blogging hibernation. The days of yore when we had crowded living rooms for a Chitrahaar on Wednesdays came out vividly. The patriotic songs which would inevitably have the one from Upkaar were a hit though it was predictable. The Vividh Bharathi's competition with the regular radio channel in capturing the listener's ear had a predetermined winner in the Vividh Bharathi winning hands down on both Kannada as well as Hindi songs. After all Desh ki dharthi sona ugle ugle heere mothi was the tune of the day.

Tricolours fluttered atop Government buildings. Schools and colleges hoisted flags and distributed sweets amongst the students. It was only after the heroic legal battle of Naveen Jindal that homes, autos, buses were decorated with national flags. Belonging to a post independent era did not diminish the fervour. Recently I received an email which is purportedly being circulated as that of Dr Kalam's. It called upon us to look at the achievements of this young nation and contribute to mitigate the ills of the nation rather than wistfully hold a microscope on such ills. This also inspired me to rededicate myself. The faint sounds turned into a very audible and sweet Jhanda Ooncha rahe hamara.

A couple of weeks ago an incident took place which caused anguish. A young lady boss was calling upon another young man who was her subordinate to build a strong career. The young man unabashedly spoke of his preference for matrimony rather than career. The lady whose own marriage had been fixed then delivered a shocker by asking " What would your dowry now be?" The young man's friend replied " Rupees Fifty Lakhs". Then she told that if he built his career before embracing matrimony then he could "command" a dowry of Rupees Five crores. Apparently, the hopes on both the young persons to wean themselves away from this ill were dashed. The young man then told me that he would prefer the lady's words to mine as she at least understood the ground realities. Could the young rededicate themselves not to be purchased as commodities?

A few days later I read a piece which announced the setting up of a male brothel by the lawmaker of another country. I was surprised that as none of our overzealous patriots challenged the originality of his idea or stake claim to the origin of the same to our motherland. What difference remains between a dowry and the fee at a male brothel is the probability of being faithful. Should one not dissociate himself and herself from such anti social activities? The song hey mere watan ke logon zara aankh me bar lo paani - if not as a tribute to the great warriors at least in shame and guilt.

The ill is one among many but as Dr Kalam's mail read we should focus on the achievements and try to correct these aberrations. Let us sing the song of Hum Hindustani and proceed to rededicate ourselves towards new vistas while undoing the ills so that it would make India as sweet as the motherland described by the Kabuliwallah in the immortal song Hey mere pyaare watan Hey mere bichde chaman tuj pe main kurbaan.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


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There is a popular adage that one always leads to another. This seems to be true as I had ventured to reflect on the "Two States" by Chetan Bhagat. Now I happened to read a virtuoso performance on the banana leaf in another blog which inspires me to place this blog on this site.

The author has made a wonderful description of the skills required to manouvre the fluids such as rasam, curds, buttermilk etc from reaching the boundaries of the leaf while savouring the goodies on the same receptacle with a fan overhead trying to blow away the favourite appalam while the silk sari vies for attention by ensuring the sweat on the brow. The description took me down the memory lane where I recollected the recipes rattled by dear Appuswamy, the efforts of arranging a wedding at Washington as well as wonder as to whether our own Foodie of the day has attempted this feat. I must admit to have a sneaking admiration for the Foodie of Times Now channel who adds the true flavour to the Cyrus Broacha shows of The news that Wasn't by giving outrageous performances. The travel did take me to my own battles with the food on the banana leaf. The banana leaf was rivalled by a poorer cousin which was round in shape and was in fact a collection of about eight to ten leaves held together by small sticks. These leaves were also popularly used by people to serve the tiffin in functions or at hotels as well as to steam the much revered idlis. The Salem merchants had come up with another novelty of crafting a stainless steel plate with embedded cubicles. In fact, it would amaze some that I still treasure a stainless steel plate which has cup shaped receptacles much like the ones used in some restaurants or darshinis wherein the liquids could be safely contained while one could leisurely chew at the food laid out. All this when I am not one of the favourites of any reasonably good chef with a sane head on his or her shoulders. The reason being my ineptitude to do any justice to the fare laid out.

As I visualise people heaving sighs at the number of feasts I have given a miss only to ensure that I do not become a cynosure for the abysmal performance, another incident came to my mind which would set anyone thinking.

We had the privilege of being the neighbour of a native of Tumkur district who believed that they were the best in terms of purity and emphasised that they were above "even Brahmins". We used to be in awe of her peerage though I must admit that in retrospect the smart lady had ensured that none question her caste credentials by invoking such a pristine position. Imagine a catastrophe striking a person of such a noble lineage. What else it could be than that her brother who chose to marry a person outside their caste more so which was considered much lower in the name of love? All offences had been committed at one go by this superbrat but the noble lady would still host a feast for the young couple. The nobility thus displayed was greeted by tears of this errant brother. One marvelled at the tears of joy and gratitude that welled in the eyes of the guest who had sacrificed his noble lineage at the altar of marriage.

It was much later that one was enlightened that the serving of the meal had taken place on the round congregation of leaves. Banana leaves after all a costly affair, one thought. But how was one to know that if a close relative of this noble community was served a luncheon on the leaf then it amounted to humiliation as per their tradition.

If this is the tale between Tumkur and Bangalore what could be the difference between Punjab and Tamil Nadu would be anyone's guess. It is for nothing that one says that India revels in its diversity.

My heart goes out to those Punjabis who are adept at tearing of a portion of the paratha held in the left hand by the right hand and gulping it with ado as much as it goes out to the Tamilian who believes that the left hand has sinned and should never be seen to as much as touch his much privileged leaf. While rasam of South and the kulchas of the North vie with each other we do have the binding force in the dal albeit cooked differently. If you disagree cruise along in a houseboat on the Dal lake to set the appetite on fire.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Numbers have fascinated humans for a long time. Probably the need for numbers arose when humans tried to keep a track of the repetitions in the activity. Maybe the tally mark was the first system of using them as a counting machinery in a systematic manner.

The most avowed hater of arithmetic or mathematics would still be indulging in some sort of a number game or so it seems. If anyone's eyebrows are raised by this do look around.The residence we live in, the office we occupy, the telephone we use for communication, the areas are identified by Postal Index Number or Code Numbers and so on are some examples.We have had numbers to identify ration cards, voter cards, criminals, convicts and undertrials,the ticket by which we would be entitled for travel, the seat or berth which is reserved, the milestones on the road, the various meters/ metres, the measures and weights,etc., the list could go on.

With the onset of technology we have now moved from numbering the various things to methods of numbering oneself. We have methods to numbers as employee identification numbers, voters identification number, Permanent Account Numbers, Tax Deductors Account Numbers, the Unique Identification Number - hopefully would be the crowining glory.

As we were deliberating on our growing penchant for numbers a colleague of mine gave me a shocker. Guess what? the Government would come with a move that no human can bear a name. The edict would read that all naming ceremonies would be rendered irrelevant. But hard core traditionalists do not lose heart, we will still have a numbering ceremony. So be ready for mathematical nick names such A cubed 32 or B squared 29.

Gen next was replaced by Gen Y. Now we look forward to a numbered generation.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


The sporting season spans the calendar year. Be it the frenzy of Formula 1 or the evolving styles of tennis interspersed with the various styles of cricket, a few matches of chess thrown in followed by golf,basketball,et al. The motto of sporting spirit is brought out once in four years in impeccable style by the Olympics, Winter Olympics, the Special olympics etc. The question is which could be termed the ruling deity of all games.

No two sports can be compared for their own intrinsic values. But it cannot be gainsaid that the season of French Open brings to fore the fragrance of tennis which moves to lawn tennis mode at the Queen's Club followed by the wet Wimbledon. The sheer tenacity of the warriors on the court brings the partisan viewer out of his most diplomatic stance of "the game is the ultimate winner" stance. The memories of the ace Vijay Amritraj who has made a record 41 consecutive annual visits to the shrine of tennis legends. Must make the most devoted Sabarimala devotee wriggle in anguish. Some of them find it difficult to make 18 consecutive visits to the famed shrine in Kerala. Similarly there are several other rites and rituals which demand consecutive annular visits which have to beat the obstacles of any natural eventualities.

Reading the memoirs of Vijay Amritraj one would have readily come to the conclusion that Tennis was the reigning deity of the games. But the denizens of the sub continent would have immediately rushed to the aid of their much revered game of cricket. Compare a Indo-Pak cricket match or the one of Aussies V England or the Kiwis, one could trust that the best of tennis stars cannot hold their forte against the frenzy of these games. The Anands, Karpovs and Kasparovs or the Woods and Schumachers would have to just bid goodbye to their fans in the cricket crazy lands for any kind of attention.

Yesterday was one of those days. India and Pakistan was to clash in a one dayer at Dambula in their battle for the Asia Cup. All the ingredients for a match of wits and skill were served on the plate. But imagine the relegation of this match to a mere filler between another game. The game that stole the show was one of riveting football. The twenty two men on the field, the two referees and the coaches with the music of the vuvuzelas ensured that one was just transported to the old world. The arms and feet were involuntarily moving to dribble past an imaginary adversary. The shots at the goals were breathtaking. As usual the minnows received the best wows. The Milla of Cameroon in the earlier editions came in the form of Gyan of the present edition. FIFA was undoubtedly the king of sports - at least if democracy was to be the form of rule.

There were some pathetic moments too such as the one of Green of England. This incident took me to the old days of sporting at school. The games period involved choice between hockey, football, basketball and volleyball. Football always had a shortage of volunteers in the form of goalkeepers. Yours truly was one willing soul as far as the best in the class chose me to be his team's goalkeeper. Our class had some of the best footballers or socceroos as you would wish to call them. Pradeep, Kamal and myself were an inseparable trio in opting for the goalkeeper and backs post. We would be rest assured that the ball came no where near us. If it did (by the folly of the best socceroos) what could the poor keeper do? Yes you guessed it right. The goal would land safely in the net. Therefore, my sympathies lie with each of the goal keepers. They say birds of the same feather stick together. Greene, if you do venture to read this piece, you will be rest assured that there was no mistake of yours or the Jambulani but it was only another quirk of sportsman spirit. Move over Pele. The new breed is here to take the world of football by storm.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Seven has been a favourite number for generations. We believe in seven being a lucky number. We speak of crossing seven mountains and seven seas to overcome hurdles. Princesses lie on beds made of seven mattresses and feel a pea underneath. In India, marriages are made for seven generations and does it really take anyone to the seventh heaven. We are so obsessed with the number seven that when one accumulates wealth, it is remarked that even seven generations would not be able to exhaust it even if they were not in any gainful occupation.

This led me to think on the front as to whether we could meet any person who has met persons of seven generations. That would indeed be a feat considering the fact that after having met my great grandmother, grandparents, parents and contemporaries as well as a spate of nephews and nieces, the boast ends at five generations. With not much time left on hand would I make it to see two more generations that would be entirely dependent on the pace of procreation by the present generation.

Looking back, I find that my paternal grandparents had the opportunity of contributing to the rearing of their great grandchildren but were probably not fortunate enough to meet their own great grandparents. Thus, at any given point of time they only made upto six generations. Seven indeed is a tough number and my ruminations continued.

One of my friends had shown us an invitation card for the centenary celebrations of this grandfather. As I pen this blog, I feel he may come closest to my find for a person who has seen seven generations. But....

Yes !!! the doubt remains. In mythology one of the greatest characters is Bhishma but he too missed the mark. He had never met his grandparents but if one were to consider Sathyavathi's father then upto his own generation one could reckon three. Pandu's generation was the fourth, Arjuna's the fifth, Abhimanyu's the sixth. He did not live long enough to meet Parikshit the one of the seventh generation.

The only one who remained was Ved Vyasa himself who went on to not only see Parikshit but also Janamajeya therefore making it eight generations at one go. But considering that Pandu and Dhritarashtra are his children, this looked in a different perspective reduces the number of generations he could vibe with.Are there any competitiors for this great feat?

Incidentally, it appears penning the golden jubilee blog is easier than traversing seven generations.


David Coleman is no more read a paper headline. I was not unduly perturbed till I read the report. David Coleman was none other than the child star of the famed Different Strokes. Memories flooded its way in. Different Strokes used to be a wonderful English sitcom beamed by Doordarshan in those pre cable days. The two youngsters who starred in the sitcom had caputred the imagination of all and set an appetite for humour for all of us. The twinkle in the eyes of David Coleman was unforgettable and the impish acts was a much awaited weekly phenomenon. Reading further I realised that he was just a few months senior to me and had gone through a traumatic phase in life which was contrary to the visuals that were in my memoirs. Silently, I paid my tributes to this untimely demise.

Different Strokes, The Lucy show and Around the world in 80 days were some of the most awaited sitcoms of the early days of Doordarshan in Bangalore. I had always considered the star to be much younger to me and looked forward for his cherubic smile. Silently I have even looked forward for a re telecast of these cherished moments but have not been able to lay my hands on them. Hopefully, Different Strokes would now become a fable for the present generation too.

The memories of these moments strangely brought to my mind the first dozen years of my life. I am one of those fortunate ones to have been able to vibe with great grand parent. I remember, my mother's maternal grandmother who had a stirring presence and a great physique. Her face too always sported a toothless grin and she took delight in catering to a family which spanned four generations. Probably, it was the common aspect of the smile, laughter and grins that she shared with David Coleman that brought memories of her at this point of time.

She precisely knew the prejudices that each of us harboured as much as she understood our weakness or liking to some specific items especially food. She also was a great sport and was the first one to introduce me to a boardgame. Popularly known as Pallankuzhi, it is a game played on a set of depressions in which tamarind seeds were used as coins. One had to start from one of them and if the seeds on hand ended in a depression which preceded an empty one then all the seeds that inhabited the one following the depression became the prize. This activity would go on till one of the two players ended up with no tamarind seed and the other took all. A wonderful game in hindsight but never can I recollect having won a game.

The lady firmly believed that passion, affection, love et al should never come in the way of a game. She would have made an excellent coach of this game and produced world class champions. Unfortunately, these games have been pushed into oblivion and we encourage video games and computer games.
The game was meant to be contested and won. No stone could be left unturned. Tips could be offered to polish one's skills but the practice of losing the game to please another was definitely not her cup of tea or should I say glass of coffee.

In hindsight this to appears to be a lesson in sportsman spirit and the need to cultivate a healthy competitive spirit. The tendency to spoil a kid to give it all the moment it starts throwing a tantrum or bawls was definitely not what was believed in. The need to strengthen the wings for a flight was always felt.

The affection was given in generous doses in other ways. In the last ever encounter I had with her, we visited her with grapes only to notice that eating would be difficult for her with a boil on the tongue. Such elementary understanding was also beyond me at that stage. The moment she offered it to me, I reciprocated by popping a couple into her mouth. She munched it over without as much as a protest. The compromise was made by her in bearing the pain but never in savouring defeat to please another.

She too was a master of different strokes. A predecessor to Anand's mother being his first second and coach.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Telephones have their own use was proved once more. A mother of my old classmate reached me at office over the telephone. She was clear in identifying herself and crisply told me that Uncle was in hospital and was in need of six units of blood. Admiring her ability to communicate in this time of crisis I assured her that the same would be available in a short span of time. She had the presence of my mind to give me the particulars of the hospital and I merely panicked in reaction and reassured her that she need not worry. In hindsight it was the most senseless act since without the particulars of the hospital to whom would the blood be donated and where?

Disconnecting the call, I proceeded to contact my friends who were in the habit of donating blood. After a few calls and finding that some of them would not be in a position to do the needful since the term of three months from the date of the last donation was yet to lapse. Couple of them had undergone a surgery and therefore would not be allowed to donate their blood. After a dozen calls, I managed to scent the first success. Normally, in times of such crisis I have always been used to scoring on the first shot. I had already worked myself up and after giving the relevant particulars the first prospective donor, I proceeded to scout for the next person. As time passed, I was more like a vampire or a dracula which was bloodthirsty and if I had the knowhow of extracting blood then most of them who were in my vicinity would have been subjected to an involuntary blood donation.

Few calls later and the blood having been arranged, I moved on to meet the aged parents of my friend. Discomfiture was writ all on his face, but he made it a point to talk to me and then excuse himself for rest. The folks at the hospital were cordial and it reminded me of a promise to speak of a nurse who had impressed me on an earlier occasion at the hospital.

The lady was probably in her sixties and had a straight walk. Hailing from the Mangalore belt, she could not be missed by anyone who even sauntered into the hospital or was one among the anxious waiting patients or attendants. She knew the needs of the persons waiting, declined to sit and ensured that the wait was minimised by putting the doctors on notice. She ensured that the staff and other nurses attended to the immediate needs of the patients by delegating tasks to the personnel available. Senior and junior doctors took her words seriously. She spoke to people with concern and in lighter vein to infuse humour in a tense atmosphere. In a nutshell she was the present day Florence Nightingale short of a lantern and war heroes.

Another nurse in the same hospital also had an impressive streak. Hailing from Kerala, probably God's laboratory for nursing, she wore a cheerful look, gave timely counsel and ensured no task was left unfinished. At the end of the day, she ensured the attendant was adequately briefed and made light of even the most grave issues. A heir apparent for the present day Florence Nightingale. Blessed be the hospital with such staff and such dedication in a world which is more into pomp and show rather than actual concern.

Reminiscing these moments as I exited, one of the donors or should I call him the victims of my vampire act made an appearance. He astounded everyone by making a solemn vow- if I did not possess a cellphone henceforth, I may be placed on his death row.

Resolute as I am, at least in these matters, I had to state matter of factly that it would serve no purpose. We laughed and parted ways. Blessed be such donors!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


The BPO culture has caught up with every sector. Even the Government is now resorting to outsourcing its work to the BPO s . The major project in outsourcing that Bangalore had initially bagged was the London metro. Today, we probably dictate the lingo of the BPO s across the world. I have had the occasion to have a peek into the BPO s and thought I should share some of its lexicon for the less enlightened ones.

ISSUE - In layman's term it may be a problem or one which requires a solution.

MAY I HELP YOU - Shortly you will be transferred to the seventh heaven with music if you are lucky or if you are less fortunate you will hear - Please stay on the line. Your call is valuable to us. or Please stay on the line the executive is busy. Sorry for the inconvenience. A permutation or combination of these messages is the help that would be unfailingly rendered.

SECURITY QUESTION - It is the gatepass for you to present your issue. One may write out his resume in different manners but this is stereotyped and unless you cross the requisite number of questions depending on the levels of security of the data,, no information can be provided. If you do not understand this logic, you are advised to read fairy tales where the prince has to cross seven mountains, seven seas etc to obtain access to the princess of his dreams

TICKET - This means the executive has considered recognising your query and therefore would be considerate to record the issue. The number he assigns is sacrosanct and is the key for any further progress in the matter.

ESCALATED - This means the "Issue" is transferred to a person who is higher in the hierarchy.

WILL GET BACK TO YOU- This means you are expected to forget any communication in the matter. In case you still dare to get back to them then they get back at you.

RESOLVED - This means the issue is treated as resolved since it has been actually resolved or it has no solution at the present or since the BPO does not have a clue to the solution or it feels that it cannot be solved or the time limit set for solving the issue is about to be crossed.

HAVE A GOOD DAY- This means the call is ended and the call will be terminated at the other end whether you approve or disapprove of it.

Negatives are not permitted and therefore you do not use complaints. Suggestions would be welcome if it comes from the person who has entered into the contract after due negotiations.



Mangalore hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A plane outshot the runway and crashed into the valley nearby leaving over 150 families bereaved. The reports of a couple of persons missing the flight on account of their bosses handing them generously a heavy workload and that of two brothers who were probably looking forward for a huge welcome party on account of their forthcoming wedding left mixed feelings. It brought to the fore the hard reality of our presumption that we are eternal. The truth of Yudhishthira's answer in the Yaksha Prashne sequence hit me hard.

Mentally, I extended my condolences to the bereaved families and mulled over the luck of the eight survivors. The debate on the television screens on the faults of the pilot vs the fault of the airstrip was again ill timed. It was not the moment to debate the issue but extend assistance to the overstretched manpower which was salvaging the debris and looking out for some survivors in fond hope. The technology was to be put to use to gather evidence, focus on areas which appeared out of bounds and lend a helping hand to the bereaved families. The very same debate could have been held a couple of days later after the decoding of the black box and all facts were on the table. The media appears has not learnt its lessons from its mishandling of the 26/11 attacks.

Highly opinionated, focussed on gaining TRP ratings and lack of empathy in tragic circumstances has become the order of the day. We have had the domination of the print media, followed by the Executive and then the judiciary. So the electronic media obviously does not want to be left behind in the race. Raising the frenzy of living room discussions with total lack of objectivity needs to be condemned unambiguosly.

Arnab, could you learn from the Big B, Sachin and others who tweeted on the issue? If you agree with me mail this blog to Times Now channel. If you disagree leave a comment to that effect.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Saturday is one of the days when one can catch up with the neighbourhood banker. In the hustle of this Saturday, I had chosen to use the hi tech ATM to withdraw the cash. Inserting the card, into the slot, I thoughtfully waited for the message on the screen. The PIN having been punched and the amount keyed into the system, I placed my hand to receive the cash. Instead the screen flashed that due to a technical error the amount to be drawn was only Rs 4000/-. This had been my experience for the past few months, I thought that I should make the authorities know of the continuing fault.

Having made note of the toll free number, I made a call to register a memorable conversation. The voice at the other end greeted me courteously and asked whether he could be of any help to me. Delighted at the obliging attitude in the most selfish world, I narrated the happenings at the ATM. I was cordially told that this call pertained to another division and was asked whether I would mind being on hold. Civil society needs to learn from these souls a lesson or two in polite behaviour. By the way I thought I should probably tune my own behaviour too. As my thought so meanedered its way, the music on the line went through its motions and soon I heard an apologetic tone expressing sincere regret for the delay and enquired about the issue faced by me. Again I made a mental note, issue is any time a better word than a problem.

Brushing aside the problem, I narrated the issue on hand. I was promptly asked the details of tha ATM, my account number, my mother's name as a security question and the voice at the other end told me approvingly, "Sir, you seem to have got into the habit of withdrawing only Rs 4000 at a time." I reiterated the issue. I was helpfully asked whether I had tried any other ATM. Replying in the affirmative, I gave details of the ATM s where I had faced the same "issue". I was told very regretfully, " Sir, this matter then would have to be taken up with your branch manager. Thank you for calling us. Could I help you in any other matter?" As i "but" ted, the voice told me clearly that in this matter the road's end had been reached and thanked me for using the services. The call was ended on most polite terms on a firm note. Obviously, the person at the other end had better wofk than listening to a whining old fool making a mountain out of a molehill.

However, pleased with the etiquette of the bankers, I would have miserably failed the young voice at the other end of the wire if I did not heed to the instuctions. Setting aside the priorities of the day, I made my way to the bank branch where I hold my acccount. Striding into the bank I noticed a sea change in the affairs. A huge billboard proclaimed the ease in the use of ATM. debit cards, NEFT, RTGS, internet banking etc. Another beautifully engraved board requested customers to use the ATM for transactions upto Rs 25000/-. This reminded me of the purpose of my visit. Looking around I found the office of the AGM, the branch manager empty. I was informed that they were busy helping the staff in sorting some "issues". Looking around I heaved a sigh of relief on not finding any kids. Otherwise sorting issues could mean sorting out of triplets or quadruplets or quintuplets etc. May be he was sorting the bigger issues (pun intended!!!)

After a wait I found a much harried branch manager resuming her seat. I was in a dilemma as to whether I should be adding to her woes. But could I fail that young voice on the wire which reminded me of etiquette which was taught at my mother's kneee. Gathering myself, I made a brave surge into her presence and announced for her audience. With a disgusting look she inquired " what is your problem?" Hurray, I had found another of my breed and vibing with people of the same wavelength is always easier. Therefore, I made a light mention of the problem with a heavy dosage of praise for the worthies on the wire. Instantly she reprimanded me saying those useless bunch of BPO guys had sent me on a wild goose hunt since the branch could do nothing about it. She raised her hand gesturing me to keep my mouth firmly shut. She gave me the brief on the woes of these hi tech gadgets and the network. she gave me another number to register the "complaint". As I told her that it was then only prudent that they allow me to draw the money from my account since more than five withdrawals were not permitted in the ATM and I am being prevented from using my own money which was against natural justice. She quoted the bank rules as one would quote the scriptures and I was turned back with a "next".

Wondering how the bank could be so ungrateful in giving me low interest, charging me service charges etc for using my own money in a SB account I made my way to the passbook counter. There was none to be seen. The printer was in its place with a cardboard sign which read as under:



Wish I was tech savvy and could have captured this memorable piece on a cellphone camera and posted in on this site for posterity. People many years down the line would reckon how forthcoming we were. We could have a baring party at a bank. Let me assure you the above is not my typographical error but reproduced as it was seen. Laughter they say is the best medicine. I laughed my way out of the bank, its issues and problems realising that I was too primitive in this highly advanced world.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Tradition, culture, rites and rituals are keywords to Indian philosophy. Discussions around the world involving any Indian includes a lament on the diminishing regard for these cornerstones of our existence and the heritage we have inherited. Of late, Bangalore is becoming a hub of activity for restoration to our glorious tradition.
Eyebrows may be raised and a couple of decibels too in pointing out that trees have been felled, tanks have vanished, western clothes have replaced the traditional clothes et al. This is a classic case of missing the fine print.

Let me elaborate for the less enlightened souls who are wallowing in the lament of the deterioration of the Pensioner's Paradise,Garden City relating a first hand experience of the return to our glorious traditions.

The BBMP elections were followed by the tarring of the roads on an evening which saw a apell of rain. The BBMP ensured that another coat of tar was offloaded using hi tech machinery. There were no labourers carrying loads of tar or levelling them. A vehicle which served as a tipper poured the asphalting material on to the roads whild an leveller in the rear of the vehicle ensured that no corner was left untarred. The resplendent black roads were glistening. A clear case of neighbour's envy owner's pride was visible as inhabitants of neighbouring wards muttered under their breath without making an attempt to conceal their envy. The owners joined hands to garland the machinery and congratulate the newly elected corporator. A Coconut was broken to bring tradition to the fore. Two days passed and there was a thunderstorm.

The roads were washed with water which could not move into the concealed storm water drains. The residents could no more be gleeful. Alas they had not realised that two Government agencies had resorted to the most wonderful task of taking people to their roots. The Senas failed and so did the Senes but the Government could never fail. After all we have one with believes that Government's work is God's work. The manholes had also been tarred and effectively blocked. The sewer water was gushing into the houses through the drains. Calls to the helplines were greeted with helplessness. The night passed and the day dawned.

It was decided that community cooking would be better option. The ritual bath had to be undertaken. Question of using the bathroom was ruled out. The ancestors reminded us that they did not have any such inhibitions. People moved to their respective terraces. An open air bath heralded the return to the tradition. The water so discharged from the terraces to the garden. A classic case of implementing the recycling of water. Soon we may have bathing ghats, drinking water ghats and so on in nearby locales. The most adventurous youth were seen sporting the traditional costumes except some errant ones who preferred the bermudas. Change was in the air and MNC s beware the much despised Government machinery is working and will leave no stone unturned in guarding our traditions without any seminars, discussions, project reports etc. India is back on track. Hip Hip Hurray!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Anand is Viswanathan screamed a local daily's front page headline. The play of words was something commendable while the feat of Anand himself was one which lifted the spirits of even diehard cricket fans. Having been an avid follower of Anand's spectacular rise, I wished I could have been the copy writer for this wonderful piece.

Anand is "Viswa" nathan could have been a clearer one while Anand is Viswa Anand meaning world's joy. The game of 64 squares has fascinated me and I have been witness to some games of the Russian grandmasters at the Malleswaram Club and the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall. The versatile Sudhakar Babu was a senior of mine at school and we took juvenile pride in his accomplishments. I have had occasion to play a game of chess with him and attend many classes at the Malleswaram club. The method of noting the moves was learnt by me at this place.

A couple of tourneys later I realised my potential in chess was way behind. My nephew who was taught the primary moves on the chessboard soon started defeating me in blindfold games where he would play blindfold. I prodded him to take up the game seriously. However, this was never taken seriously. Probably he was the first person for whom I had done a potential assessment. Later in the last couple of decades I have found that the uncanny knack to identify the inherent talent in others around me.Small mistakes are costly while Anand has managed to hold fort with steeled determination. In this context, my musings turn to certain recent events which is in itself a mindsport albeit not restricted to the 64 squares.

In the recent past, I had occasion to speak my mind to one of the youngsters. In the beginning I had warned him to desist being in Government service. The idea was to provide him an unfettered launchpad for a wonderful career. It soon became evident that he would never be receptive to any idea other than a Government post. I made suitable amendments to my proposal and asked him to consider taking civil services. He was quite cold to the idea. In my recent encounter, instead of just speaking my mind in a jovial manner, I chose a straight forward approach. An autobiographical account of the blunders committed in the career game in my own case was placed as a case record. The avenues missed and the miscalculations made were exposed. It must have sounded like a move by move story of a chess game in which the narrator was check mated. The youngster soon became subdued. After a sermon, I looked into his eyes to find it moist. I realised that he was touched. I left the matter at this and hoped he would soon be informing me that he had scaled this peak.

Last week was also one of disappointment. In my personal evaluation I had indicated to another person that the diplomatic trait in him would fetch laurels for the country. It was only the play of words by him but also his strategic skills on the board of 64 squares which impressed me. Soon, I came to face the temper of the individual. The very trait which had fetched him appreciation was missing. Did I make a wrong assessment? Or were the circumstances so overwhelming that the inherent trait was lost? Queries within my mind remained unanswered. I concluded that if the person concerned were to realise the gravity of the mistake and make amends by apologising to the persons concerned then he still would succeed in securing laurels in a diplomatic career. Lest I will have to rethink on my ability to hold wise counsel or the assumption of the role of a coonsellor.

Time would soon reveal the extent of success or failure in this endeavour. Did I emulate Anand or Topalov or Kasparov or was I Bobby Fischer who despite his talents went into history like a flash in the pan remains to be seen.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Musical Poet's Diary: YOU!

The fact that 24 posts had seen the light of the day after the dawn of 2010 was less daunting compared to the task of making the 25 th one memorable. I owed something to each one of you who have kept my spirits up and prodded into my writing skills. It was at this point that I stumbled upon Bhaskar's blog which I felt was the best tribute that one could pay. With due apologies to him, I place this link for YOU to read and voyage into a poetic world.

The Musical Poet's Diary: YOU!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


In the great epic Mahabharatha, there is a besutiful episode of yakshaprashne built into it. This story is used as a mode by the poet to answer several queries and point at several queer aspects of mankind. In one of the questions, Yudhishthira is asked what is the thing that amazes him most. He responds by stating that the mortals grieving over the dead but assuming they themselves are immortal. In another story which is on the lines of a rose by any other name called would remain as sweet, a child which has a peculiar name wishes to change its name. In its search it finds that a deceased person's name is Amar (immortal), a poor girl's name is Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) and so on. All said and done we in the east believe that the end of a person's life is a solemn occasion but at the same time do not grieve extensively since we believe in rebirth and fate. The only form of death that is celebrated is Veera Swarga that is the death attained in a battlefield.

As many of you might be wondering what this musing is all about, yours truly needs to bring the whole thing into perspective. Last week was witness to a historic trial resulting in the death penalty being handed out for a heinous crime. The hon'ble judge may have adhered to the solemn British tradition of breaking the pen on signing the judgement. This is not found worthy of reporting. The trial was parallely conducted by the electronic media which mishandled the 26/11 terror attacks by providing invaluable inputs to these offenders by telecasting the same. They escaped with a small reprimand. These co-offenders who, albeit, unwittingly contibuted for the snuffing out of some valuable lives now resorted to award the penalty a day before. They started a campaign for fast tracking the entire proceedings to the gallows. In the course of reporting, the reporters went on to remark that the accused Kasav sobbed and looked at the floor- an act described to be a drama. What was the media trying to do?

Let us face the truth. The families of the victims could at best feel some justice is done when they find the offender ultimately hanged to death. But let these pretenders not try to hike their TRP ratings by playing on the sentiments of the public. The offender is in his early twenties. He would have relished to see people run helter skelter to avoid his fire. How many persons of that age do not enjoy bullying the others? In fact, we have many adults doing so. This does not condone his act but it is a natural instinct of happiness to see another being afraid of one's own power. The fact that he was nabbed and being the only one to have been nabbed would have unnerved any other person. But the fact that the spotlight was on him and answers to queries were sought from him would have given him a foolhardy egoistic boost. He obviously enjoyed the Jekyll and Hyde act to the hilt going to the extent of claiming that he was a local. The day of the judgement would have pulled the curtains of illusion off him. It would be difficult to digest a question regarding the option of death. We are unable to face uninvited death. Here is a lad who goes through all the trials heroically only to be told that he could be hanged. Death staring in his face more so from an alien could move anyone to tears. This is what has obviously happened. The kudos in this should go to the judge who only described the depravity of his deeds but understood his emotions, permitted him to be taken out of the court room, provided water and brought back to listen to the pronouncement. He went ahead with the sentence which condemned the acts unconditionally and imposed the sternest of punishments but at no time did it offend the sensibilities of any person.

Living in the same country as the respected judge, why do our television reporters and anchors consider themselves as the upholders of all righteousness? Should they not have limited themselves to the professional reporting? They have fallen in the eyes of many once more. We do not expect them to be Christ to pardon the offender. We do not expect them to emulate the aggrived missionary family of Orissa in seeking pardon for the offenders. We do not wish that they emulate Gandhi in providing an equal footing to an adversary. But the least they can do is not stoop to the extent of terming the facing of a death penalty by a 22 year old in a court of law in a foreign country with a few sobs to be theatrics. May we remind them their profession is the fourth estate and would reflect the cultural identity of the country. Let them seek pardon for the offence by not committing any such offence in future.

The question of fast tracking of the sentence should be left to the judiciary. Let us remind them the success of our diplomacy was heightened when we presented the bodies of the soldiers to the other country in a dignified manner. The refusal by them was followed by a dignified burial in our own soil. This act spoke volumes of our ethics and stupefied many countries. As a nation we should represent a single face and not seek to publicise one's own identity.

Let us respect every person's life and death in the same manner. Solemnity of the occasion would drive home the truth. Celebrations of the demise of one could provoke sentiments on the other front. Let us not have a Hiranyakashipu follow a Hirnayaksha. The Asuras though misleadingly get agitated by the celebrations of the Devas on the death of the members of their clan. Enemity was not invited when Vibheeshana was made king instead of celebrating the demise of Ravana. A lesson taught by the epic but not learnt by the Arnabs, Rajdeeps and others of today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The concept of right and wrong are instilled into every person from one's childhood days. These rights and wrongs then get refined by one's perception of things. Over a period of time the perception of these things translate the views into opinions. The opinions then lay the foundation for the pride and prejudices one carries with oneself unto one's grave. Thus, the very basis of these biases lie in our attitude towards each aspect of life and translate into consequential actions formulating reactions as a chain as envisaged in the theory of karma.

Many speak eloquently about the prides and prejudices being instilled by the leaders, the media, the friends et al. It is a common adage that one can be judged by the company he keeps. Similarly, we are adept at creating terms like Gandhian, Hitlerite, Nazi, Nehruvian etc. Let us take a look at history and analyse the same.

We find that Gandhi was an unparalleled leader in the freedom movement of the country. There are many who are cited to be the principal disciples of his movement to such an extent that they would not even venture to question his wisdom on any move. They headed the league which came to be known as Gandhian. What did Gandhi represent? He represented non-violence and he represented a movement which would claim a right by passive resistance. How many of these persons would unflinchingly adhere to these concepts in domestic life as well as under all circumstances? How many of them would at least follow the same in the presence of at least their beloved leader? The analysis would reveal the selective tendencies of these very persons. As long as it was something acceptable to them, they were capable of asking another to adhere to it but if they found the same unpalatable they would flinch from adhering to it. Essentially, it was a matter of convenience for pushing oneself in a direction to take the cover of another popular person. This would to a large extent deter any criticism. They were neither students of the movement nor disciples or devotees. They had a mind of their own. The minds had to be churned in a single direction. Gandhi was able to feel the pulse and channelise the popular pulse in the popular manner for a larger part of his life. This gave him the pre-eminent position among the leaders of the day.

Take a look at Tilak. He also effortlessly channelised the movement with the help of populist diatribes in the Courts as well as blunting the machinery of law by organising celebrations for the popular God Ganesha as well as the local icon Shivaji to turn the tide in his favour. This did not mean the populace meekly took his bait. They followed him as long they felt they would do a similar thing in the given situation. If they felt otherwise, they chose to deferentially differ.

Then does it mean that these leaders were men of no stature. No that's not the case. It takes a person of mettle to identify a cause, an issue of common interest, a string that could bind the mass together to further the cause. This is what made them the leader. It is not that they influenced the mass to behave in a particular manner but found what would be the obvious way in which they would react positively if suggested.

In our school days we would have a common topic of debate as to whether movies were good or bad for the youth. If the same topic were to be tossed to me today, I would state that the movie remains the same. I relate to such views that I relish and cherish. It neither instigates or provokes me. It only binds me to my existing feeling. It cannot even be given the credit of unearthing my emotion. At best, it can only be given the credit for binding all such similar thinking persons.Unless the person has the base instinct to react violently, no movie can instil that thought in him.

There is a story of King Solomon in which he banishes a corrupt official to the seashore with a punishment to count the waves. Any normal person who was misled into this unethical practice would have been adequately humiliated and would have vowed not to resort to such practices. However, the person in question had the base instinct beyond repair. He chose to stop the boats which were sailing through and accuse them of preventing him from discharging the royal duties. Thereafter, this man goes on to seek a consideration for not reporting the "crime" to the monarch. Thus, this person who was neither inspired nor provoked resorted to baser deeds. The relating of this tale may reform a person who resorted to corrupt practices but was by nature against it. The same tale may also encourage a person to go ahead with his corrupt practices since this tale is only an excuse for his premeditated action.

To sign off, yours truly would remind you of certain ads that were placed on the then pristine Doordarshan wherein a drunkard merely finds excuses for his premeditated action of consuming liquor liberally. First its a birthday, then an anniversary, a wedding, a promotion so on that even a demise makes this noble soul hit the bottle. Is it then the crime of the bottle or the crime of the person who would find one anyway?

Folks, we need to understand that we react exactly as per our nature. Let us accept this natural truth rather than foist this upon another. Is it my view? Then please do say whether you agree or disagree !!!!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Rains lashed Bangalore and exposed the state of sewerage, drainage systems as well as the roads. Early morning there was a hue and cry amongst the general public. All were reminded of the fact that the BBMP had not done its duty. An elderly man remarked that these guys know how to draw the salary but fail to do the work. Another person remarked that he was nostalgic of those days when a scavenger would respectfully appear at beck and call to do the needful. Unmindful of the drizzle, two boys perched on a motorcycle were zipping around distributing newspapers of the day. None had time for the newspaper since the rains had wreaked its havoc.
Unfortunately, no permission or leave would be available on this count and the office goers were trying to sort the sewerage issue to the best possible extent to ensure that there would be a smooth outflow. I absolutely felt that the stench was unbearable but had to go through the motions and finally was on the way to office.
The commuters in the bus for a change were unanimous in their verdict that BBMP had failed to discharge its duties though it promptly collected taxes. The FM radio station was giving information on the state of the clogged traffic and water logged areas to be avoided with a dash of humour and entertaining songs. Slowly, we reached a point where the bus could neither weave its way ahead nor could back out. Commuters who were standing urged the sitting ones to open the windows. The ones who were blissfully sitting pointed that the bus was on a bridge over an open drain. I peered out to verify the veracity of this statement. In the large open drain, dark waters were swirling and even the best of poets would not have composed poetry as was done on the dark waters of the Yamuna. One could see through the drizzle that there were some objects like plastic containers which were lying around and four men clad in khakhi had rolled up their trousers and were standing in these “holy waters” of the denizens of Bangalore. One of the commuters who was in a great hurry requested that he be allowed to alight from the bus and the doors swung open to let in the “fragrance” of the rivulet. All who had insisted on opening the doors hollered for it to be shut forthwith. Hankies went up to the nostrils. Since the bus did not show any signs of moving, my mind drifted to another incident which occurred over a decade ago.

I had been travelling by the train and was chatting up a Travelling Ticket Examiner when a friend of his joined. Since there was sufficient accommodation, the friend also sat down and we introduced ourselves. The TTE then said that his friend was being modest since he was at the forefront of a revolution in the Indian Railways. He then went on to elaborate how many small stations did not have the facility of drainage system. It was a revelation to me that in these places the railway officials used what was known as dry latrines and the night soil was carried by the scavengers. This friend was at the helm of the movement in that sector which rightly considered this as inhumane and sought that such a system be dispensed with. In the present context, I wondered what had changed in the case of a drainage system. The frequency of being subjected to daily humiliation was deferred to probably a periodic one. Additionally, a system was in place, which provided them pay and allowances along with a uniform for the same work.

Should we not scavenge our mindsets to find a solution for all such issues? Should we not be able to empathise with our fellow human beings? Will we able to scavenge not only the night soil issue but also all issues that confront us on which we maintain a hypocritical double or multiple standard?

Monday, April 19, 2010


It is a norm in any society that one would be greeted and congratulated on assuming a new important or sensitive assignment. The year was 2002 when I was put in charge of a portfolio which was considered as prestigious to say the least. Persons around me eulogised my invisible capabilities and should there me a mention about me being transported to cloud nine not for the posting but for the ubiquitous qualities which were being recognised (as I thought). The whole charade came down as a house of cards when a senior colleague called me up and told me that it is time I landed on Planet Earth though he would prefer me to delve into the netherworlds by a couple of miles. He warned me that there was a vast difference between the terms praise and flattery. "Praise" he said, " was the recognition of existing qualities. This would be not necessary unless one feels that his qualities needs to be recognised and felicitated." He added that the persons who feel such a need were narcissists by nature and he did not expect me to fall under this category. Flattery on the other hand he said was the seeming recognition of the non-existing qualities.After a long prologue he gave me an example that if someone were to tell me that it was only I who could identify such matters which require great intellect then I could be rest assured that the person was resorting to flattery. He asked me to remind myself that I could not be the only one who could see a white elephant standing in front of a whole crowd as against identifying an ant on the ground. The euphoria died down and what would have been otherwise termed as a dampener appeared to me as the most valuable counsel that one could expect at this juncture.

Immediately thereafter another well wisher called me and counselled me that the portfolio required the tact of an eel, the eye of a hawk and the humility of a farmer. He reassured me that the expectations though high would be met with diligent work. However, he emphasised that I would remain on his radar for the times to come to ensure that I did not falter. These reassuring words made me confident that there were at least two well wishers who would venture to steady this boat when it is rocked.

These words reminded me of the words of Sant Kabirdas who had said in a couplet that it is best to keep a person who sings praises afar and make the person who finds faults one's neighbour. What would he have said of flattery?

We do live in times when flattery is taken more kindly than the words of wisdom. How would one rate the verdict of Birbal that a king is more powerful than God since he could banish one out of his kingdom while God could not. Was it not tactful flattery? The reward was of course immediate. However, I still believe that my well wishers have done me good by putting me on a firm platform and so would I where I wish one well rather than flatter them for immediate pleasure.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Cooking has never been my forte and I am no great eating buff too. I have sometimes even ventured to wonder what must be the resourcefulness of the person who traced some dishes. Imagine to think one could scale up a coconut tree, pluck and crack the nut only to make myriad dishes savour in a different manner. Being the son of probably one of the co-pioneers of a recipe book at least in South India, I empathise the immense agony and trauma caused to her by a son who hardly can polish a plate off without complaining that too much was served. The blunder is further aggravated by the fact that no attention is paid to the ticklers of the tasta or their absence in the peeving glory.

However, life does not treat such souls kindly. Yours truly can vouch for it. Life contrives situations where one has to battle the fires of hunger with a dish to be rattled up by oneself. The icing on the cake of irony is that one is already too sure that the dish rattled up only has a psychological name tagged to it and is not even remotely connected to the probable one. For people who could relish humour at others' cost, this piece would be irresistible.

In the year 1991, I was at Belgaum and we were having dinner at my friend's sister's place. For all practical purposes I was treated as one of the siblings. To top it all I was considered the youngest (being unfair to my friend's younger brother) and my weaknesses were laughed away while the strengths were glorified. As we finished dinner, news came in that one of their relatives had passed away. The nephews were to be in left behind due to their school and college schedules. Being an orthodox family, it was pronounced that they would not be permitted to enter the kitchen nor could they have their grub outside. All was fine till this point. The bombshell was then dropped without the slightest hint. I was told I would stay back till the elders return. I was then told that I would be the COOK.Pray what offence did I commit to attract such a severe punishment was the immediate response. The ifs and buts were simply brushed aside. Instant instructions were passed on the places to locate the various ingredients. I was also designated to pack their baggage and off the family left leaving me in a daze. The youngest of the three nephews was in ninth and the eldest was just out of college. The three musketeers surrendered themselves to my custody. The night passed peacefully since no culinary delight was to be created. Then came the dawn. A bleak dawn of which the three musketeers had no idea. I gingerly asked them whether some bakery food could be a bright idea. They said no. The next three days at least no outside food. My next question was could they at least find some help for me. The answer was no. The salt was rubbed into the wounds by affirming their faith in me.

A shower was had and a ceremonial entry made to the kitchem. Rice was to be washed and placed in the pressure cooker. But how much water? The youngest fellow gave me a measure which I followed. Then came the question of a dish. I looked at the side shelves and started picking a spoon of each powder and dumping then in a vessel of water with a wee bit of salt. A couple of tomatoes was sliced with the effort that would have put any Hercules to shame. I then announced that they should all pray for their well being. After a couple of hours, the breakfast and lunch boxes were ready. I left them to savour the delight and hoped if Almighty was indeed ALL MIGHTY, he should insure and ensure their good health. After a restless day at office, I reached home to find the three waiting for me. Horror of horrors, they said I should not have lied that I did not know cooking while dishing out a tasty dish. I was reminded of a relative who would say that none should venture to name the dish while it is under preparation but should name it only after it is prepared. Two more days passsed with the same fanfare. Truly God was on their side or they were truly tolerant.

The unforgettable encounter with the kitchen ended albeit on a happy note for us but the wishful thinking of medical practitioners was laid to rest.

Lessons are hardly learnt and no attempt to learn this fine skill was made. In 1995 I landed at Panaji where vegetarian food is scarce and rare. But Lady Luck smiled on me in the form of senior colleagues who shouldered the kitchen. The toughest cooking task assigned to me was the removal of the stem from the green chillies. A year later, I was deputed to knead the flour for rolling out chapathies. When they were not around, the Nala in me would emerge and cook rice which would be had by mixing it with the famed curds of southern India. Of course, the pickles imported from our respective homes.

Last week was a reminder of these incidents over which I have regaled many friends of mine. My mother took ill and the kitchen landed in my custody. Imagine converting good healthy persons into patients is itself a bad exercise but here I had on hand a couple of patients who were battling their ailments. But the uppermost question in their mind was not the dosage of the antibiotics or the notoriety of the viruses affecting them. The big question was whether the things I was supposed to hand over to them as edibles would be food worth consuming. Dr Iyengar's words acted as an inspiration and I hoped that they would bounce back to normal health.

Should they bounce back to good health, it shall be three cheers to Dr. Iyengar!!!!
Three cheers to Nala, Bhimasena and all the best cooks, the good cooks, the mediocre cooks and anyone knows cooking including a bad cook!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


An old friend of mine converses with me frequently. The term old could mean the age of the person or the age of the relationship or should I put the donkey in the front and say could reveal the age of yours truly. The reason for me to start ruminating on this was the fact that I had once remarked to a friend dufing a conversation that " The problem is sitting before me". The intention of my remark was to indicare that a person's valour or wisdom needed to be measured on one's intention to sit before me since I have an appetite for human brains. But the person chose to put me in my place by suddenly rising and saying the problem will leave. I was quick to realise that the words could also be read as that I was referring to the other as the problem. Undoubtedly, it was succint way of reminding me that I was not the doorstep of mastery over language and communication skills. Therefore, any one reading should empathise with this handicap of yours truly and only take the opportunity of correcting the use of such phrases through the comments menu.

Reverting to the old friend of mine who converses with me across continents, it must be said that I have carefully chosen the word old. By quirk of fate, he happens to have appeared ahead of me on planet Earth by a couple of years but convert them into months, weeks, days, hours et al, the young friend indeed is much older to me. I am sure that on reading this the adventurer in him will bring him straight to my doorstep to land his boots on my bottoms. Be that as it may since this bonhomie of ours is over quarter century young. Normally the sort to humour me in the worst of situations, I must concede that he set me thinking by one of his remarks. without building the suspense any more, let me share the remark. He remarked " Man was not meant to be employed and earn money from another. He is just another animal whose primary tasks were to hunt for food, shelter himself from nature and procreate for the sake of Noah's Ark". Think about it mate.

In jungle law, might is right. The weaker ones with a crafty brain brought in concepts of social living. They administered while the others did the work. Paper touted as money was dished out as wages. Nomenclature of incentives and promotions thrown in to distract one from the main agenda. These have gone to such an extent that today money measures the worth of a man. Similarly, one's status is dependent on the number of followers (preferably mute ones ). The arguments went on and it looked like he would soon set up a jungle and invite us all to join in the paleolithic style of living.

Mate, every species has this. The bees have queen bees and worker bees. So do have ants. Elephants, cows et al move in herds. Leadership qualities are there in all types of living beings. The saddest part today is enterprise means the capacity to betray the trust reposed in one and not the resourcefulness to innovate and deliver. Can we not redeem ourselves by setting ourselves as models for others to emulate? The urge to set a trend which would reverse the existing degenerating ethics is the need of the hour. Another friend of mine has displayed courage in tossing the papers of employment since it did not conform to the ideals but this courage needs to be supplanted with the courage to lead from the front and mould at least another dozen such persons. This would impact the social change.

Mate, I hope my answer is clear. Even if we lead a jungle life the battles would be there to fight. We will fight and we shall show that the victory does not lie with the individual but with history. Recently I had been to a laboratory which displayed a portrait of Gandhi with the lines that "He believed in disarming his enemies with a smile." May I take the libery of saying that though I have been a steadfast critic of Gandhian idealogy, I would like to correct the above statement to read " He believed in disarming his adversaries with a smile." Apparently, the man did not consider anyone his enemy. Should we not give him his due? As my good friend could be my adversary too or a rival or a competitor but he does not become my enemy. Even with the boots on my bottoms, I would still consider him my friend and not a foe.

Another day of wild solo brainstorming

Saturday, April 3, 2010


School days emphasised on our language skills. Communication in English was mandatory and THE HINDU was the prescription for improving our standards. The right word in the right place was given the utmost importance. Soon English was replaced by (I)nglish followed by (KAN)glish. Of late the influx of the north Indians has let us have our own style of (HIN)glish too. These dialects add to the wide variety of dialects already smothering the country. We used to have a ten mark portion aside for framing our own sentences in the English paper of examinations. The word "one" with a specific mention to be used other than for its numeric value was the doosra of those days. One had to exercise one's grey matter to frame one such sentence. The lessons of Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore and Radhakrishna set us thinking on the varied expressions of communication in the language. Radhakrishna was his eloquent best with a generous sprinkling of complex and compound sentences. His speeches were the best to understand the various clauses of the language. Does language matter so much?
Can we not use any term as long as it iw understood correctly? These queries had been posed to me time and again. Some of my friends used to compare me to the epic poets and desire that I frame my sentences in a short crisp manner to facilitate easy comprehension. I used to look around me for a suitable example to drive home my point of view.

Lo and behold! Today's newspaper had a wonderful caption which drew my attention. It read "NATION CELEBRATES GOOD FRIDAY". The occasion of Good Friday is marked by solemnity. The Son of God and the messiah was crucified on this day. Apparently, this could not call for a celebration. The right word would have been "observe" . The caption could have read as " NATION OBSERVES GOOD FRIDAY" . We do not celebrate anybody's demise. Similarly, the sports columnists generally tend to pen " On the demise of X, India tottered". The word "demise" is ordinarily used to indicate the ultimate departure from planet Earth and not the loss of a wicket. The word that could have been appropriately used is "exit" or "departure". The virtues of knowing the language correctly is lost. Today, if any one would attempt correcting such a wrong he would be termed a snob or a delinquent. Unfortunately for these souls the beauty of a language and the import of every word is lost on them. No two words in the dictionary mean the same. They are different albeit subtle differences qualify them to be synonyms.

Urdu poetry would seldom be understood since its words in this language are itself sheer poetry. Khushwant Singh has through his columns made Urdu poetry a fascinating part of our lives. Probably to appreciate the importance of a specific word, the need to educate people in Urdu should be considered. Hopefully we will start observing Good Friday and celebrating Diwali in the near future.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Stories shape a lot of minds. Mythology is the greatest repository of tales and the attraction it holds for young minds is undisputed. Recently, my cousin paid a visit to my place alongwith her son and daughter in law. This young nephew of mine always reminds me of the fascinating tale of Ganesha brought out in the Amar Chitra Katha series. In his young days when he was unable to read but was curious to know the written word, he would make me read out the tale and translate it for him repeatedly. This tale therefore has got imprinted in both his mind as well as mine. This memory however kindled my desire to put out the long festering doubt on the way the character of a maternal uncle is brought out in mythology. The impact of a presentation made by my sister in defence of Shylock of the famed Merchant of Venice had actually made me think on these lines. I had once even discussed this with some of them. A couple of my friends had ridiculed me while another couple had evinced interest in my arguments. The fact that I had received a lot of affection from my maternal uncles only aided my arguments. The catalyst to pen on this issue was the way my nephew showed his affection for this relationship.

In the South of the Vindhyas the relationship of a maternal uncle is next only to the mother. In fact, several communities accord him the place of the rightful groom and only with his consent would it be right to go in for any other alliance. Then how do we accept the roles of Kamsa, Shakuni, Shalya amongst several other such mythological maternal uncles. The tales are predominantly from the Aryan households wherein the system of patriarchal society was prevalent. In these communities it is believed to be a sin to even have a day's meal in the daughter's house. Therefore, the fact that Shakuni moves in with his sister is made much of. Similarly, the need to make Kamsa a villain when his nephew is destined to bring him death subtly puts this relationship in dark shade while the rivalry between brothers is supposed to be a macho quality.

Let us take a look at the epic through the eyes of Shakuni. He is a young prince of Gandhar, the present Kandahar of Afghanistan. He is fond of his sister and dreams of a wonderful alliance for her which would befit the royal princess. At this stage, the grandsire of the Kuru clan Bhishma makes an entry and seeks her hand for the prince of Hastinapura. In some versions, it is not even made clear as to whether the alliance is sought for Dhritarashtra or Pandu. The father of Shakuni is in a dilemma since he does not want to wage a war with the Kuru clan which would be inevitable in the background of Bhishma's war to woo the pricesses of Kashi for his brothers. Tamely, he gives in to the wishes of the mighty Bhishma. Was might right in this case? Shakuni is not in a position to disobey his father nor can he resist the tender feelings for his sister. He makes the calculated decision to be with her to ensure her protection since Gandhar would no more require an able king being a protectorate of Hastinapur. The fondness for his sister translates into a fondness for his nephew. The fact that the nephew is not even seen by his blindfolded sister makes his affection for Suyodhana greater.

Take a break to the present. Most parents want their children to fulfil their unfulfilled ambitions. The parents of Suyodhana are bound by several factors. This makes Shakuni the natural choice to ensure that at least Suyodhana is put in a position of strength. The young prince who would otherwise have been an able king of Gandhar is now the custodian of the destiny of Suyodhana. He therefore does not spare a single effort to ensure that fate does not mete him an unfair treatment. Bhishma could afford certain errors due to his status. Lack of empathy was never attributed to him since he had made a great sacrifice for the happiness of his father. But Shakuni had no such liberties. Neither did he possess the might of Bhishma's Hastinapur nor his skills and stature. The clash between the rights and wrongs become evident. From times immemorial the status determines the righteousness of an act. People would move heavens and earth to justify the acts of Bhishma. The only place where Ved Vyasa forces the society to look into the flaws of this character is through his silence during the scene of Draupadi's Vastraharana. It is here that we understand that Ved Vyasa does not seek to make any character in his epic a perfect one to be emulated. He seeks to portray different facets of human tendencies through different characters but plays along the societal mores by ensuring that the failed ones are as per the perceived notions.

Another maternal uncle Shalya's bravery during the battle for the princesses of Kashi is merely a flash in the pan to the eloquence reserved for his being taken for a ride by Suyodhana. The mighty king gives a word for one meal that is served by Suyodhana as against the love for his dear sister Madri. In fact, if he had known the extent to which Shakuni goes to redeem his love for Gandhari, Shalya's dilemma to back his nephews against the word to Suyodhana itself could be a master epic in itself. The image of this man is tarnished further when he ensures that the concentration of Karna is decimated by him.

These two characters may be reviled by most but fascinate me no end. It would have been a wonderful experience if I had the pen of a Shakespeare or a Kalidasa or a Mythili sharan Gupt to defend these characters in true style.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Every International Day sets me thinking and the International Women's Day on March 8was no exception. The opinion that our land celebrates every facet of life seems to be ignored and the new celebratory days are now gaining in acceptance. It was therefore surprising to note that a leading English daily recalled the importance of the festival of Navarathri or Dussehra in this context and drove home the point that the potent force of this festival was greater in celebrating womanhood rather than any other occasion. Reflect and you will notice that for a whole fortnight the entire nation bows to the feminine idol which assumes different forms for each day. Genders are swept in the background and gaiety replaces any differences.

The traditional days take care to include every sector of the society. Imagine today a educated, liberated woman walking with devotion to the doorsteps of devadasis to seek some clay to make an idol. Let alone for this purpose will any person just walk to the doorstep of the devadasi just to enquire about her welfare? This is probably the reason the traditions were built in such a manner with elaborate rituals in place and the fabrication of legends. In the Panchatantra, Vishnu Sarma reveals that the students have to be classified and persons who fail to understand the concepts need to be educated through stories. Therefore, the bulk of us fall under this category who fail to appreciate concepts but are happy to adhere to rituals and treaditions.

Reverting to the issue of celebrating womanhood, Indian men have done wonders. The sculptures at the temples is one while the temple celebrating the dancing abilities of Queen Shanthala immortalised by King Vishnuvardhana would inspire any hard core chauvinist to pay obeisance to the royal couple as well as the sculptor. The mausoleusm of Mumtax Mahal is never referred to as such instead it is celebrated as a wonder of the world and is an acknowledged to be a pilgrim centre for any loved ones. The Chola queen mother who spent time to construct several Shiva linga temples said to number 1008 inspired the Brihadeeswara temple at Tanjore. He goes on to give her the credit for his monolithic endeavour. These are not myths but substantiated by history.

In every rite or ritual the woman is the one who is given the place of pre-eminence. To drive home this point, Sage Vashistha questions Rama as to how he intends performing the Yagna without Sita. All take pleasure in pointing out that he performed the same with the presence of a statue. He may have done so but the fact remains that he had to request the sage to find a way out. Even at that point the issue that he had to concede to have a statue of Sita is not recognised. In today's parlance imagine a minister or a person of status to reconcile to this fact and acknowledge it in public and all one could expect is a debate 24X7 with a host of panelists. Why do we miss the salient issues? Why do we fail to learn from them?

Go back in time. Matha is the first God. Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. Every auspiscious rite requires a woman. A single man is considered inauspicious while the kanya as well as the married woman are considered auspicious. Much is made about the status of a widow without realising the widower is not considered in any manner for any ritual including his own funeral. Of the five elements, the major ones of earth and water are considered as feminine. Only air accounts for masculine in the immediate vicinity. Sisterhood is celebrated in all faiths in India. The responsibility of safeguarding the sister is with the brother, the provider of food and shelter is the father, brother, husband or son. Over a period of time these fine lines have been altered. Women have taken the roles of men. A man wins a war is not much of consequence as much of the valour of a woman who even ventured to wage a battle.

Women, arise and awake. Follow the great Anasuya who commanded respect rather than demanding it. She showed the world her power by demonstrating on no less than the Trinity. This legend is not to cast aspersions on the Trinity or to uphold the chastity of Anasuya but to re inforce the fact that conviction in principles can lead to commanding respect which needs to be earned not demanded or beseeched. Now should we have a rethink on all our legislations which promote the idea of being a weakling or backward rather than the old principle of empowering oneself.

Loud thinking for the benefit of brainstorming!!!!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Of late I have been receiving a lot of mails which preach me on the way to lead life. I had begun to wonder whether the people around me had come to the conclusion that I was one among those abysmal failures who failed to appreciate the value of life. However, moments later as I noticed the number of email ids to which these mails had been forwarded to before it landed in my inbox confirmed to me that these fears were unfounded. But then it was material enough for me to muse over. Therefore I thought I would share some in my blog.

One of them read as under:

First I was dying to finish my high school to start college,
And then I was dying to finish college to start working
Then I was dying to marry and have children
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough
so I could go back to work
but then I was dying to retire
and now I am dying and suddenly realize
I forgot to live

At first shot it looked wonderful philosophy. Similar mails on how to remain happy and contented are plenty in circulation. Read between the lines and don't you think the man who penned it has lived his life in full zest always shifting his goalpost farther and raising the bar. Contentment is one thing and achievement is another. Zest for living should essentially mean the thirst for achieving something more. The change from trying to achieve something personally to taking on responsibilities is another growth area. Then comes the life lived for others' priorities which gives more satisfaction than one's own. Imagine the happiness on the child's face at the sight of a lollipop which could not be achieved by earning millions of dollars. Therefore, I believe this man who penned these lines lived life to maximum levels.

Another cute mail came along on the issue of temper. Undoubtedly, people who know me well are prone to tell that I am very patient until tested. But once tested there is no holds barred. This mail spoke of a young boy who was advised by his father to drive a nail into a fence each time he lost his temper. Soon a day came when the boy had no occasion to drive a nail since he had not lost his temper. Then the father advised him to pull out a nail on each day he did not lose his temper. Soon all the nails had been removed. The father then shows the holes caused on the fence which cannot be mended. However, does it mean that we should never lose temper. My understanding is that as long as affection and love can bring in the bushels there would be no reason for acrimony. But if you deal with irrational and incorrigible people who presume that patience is more a weakness than a strength then it may be necessary to display anger. Similarly, anger built into oneself is more dangerous. It causes holes in yourself which is worse than the holes that may be caused in relationships with others. A tete a tete after reading the mail with the sender of the mail later I handed out an assurance that it would be a subject matter of one of my blogs and here it is.

Another mail read as under:

There was
a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving friend. He was always
there for her.. She told her friend, 'If I could only see
the world, I will marry you.'
One day,
someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages
came off, she was able to see everything, including her
He asked
her,'Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?' The
girl looked at her friend and saw that he was blind. The
sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected
that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life
led her to refuse to marry him.
friend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her
saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before
they were yours, they were mine.'
This is
how the human brain often works when our status changes.
Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who
was always by their side in the most painful situations.
Life Is a
before you say an unkind word - Think of someone who can't
you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone
who has nothing to eat.
you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone
who's crying out to GOD for a companion.
before you complain about life - Think of someone who went
too early to heaven.
whining about the distance you drive Think of someone who
walks the same distance with their feet.
And when
you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the
unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your
And when
depressing thoughts seem to get you down - Put a smile on
your face and think: you're alive and still

The piece was riveting at the stage when the friend discloses that the eyes which were once his was now hers. Many events happen around the world where the act of kindness is not noticed. In many cases people do not wish to understand or acknowledge the acts of kindness. In fact the mail would have been even better had the girl reprimanded the boy saying he was foolish to have donated both his eyes or claimed that he was pulling a fast one.

Will we regain our humanitarian credentials?

Friday, March 5, 2010


A soothing lullaby is the first warm sound that a new born recognises without fear. As days pass, the appreciation of sound moves to more typical melodies and the youth is said to be the fountainhead for music. We recognise the sounds of various animals and birds. In fact, a good singer is termed a cuckoo or a nightingale. Familiar words. Who has not heard the names of Lata Mangeshkat, Sarojini Naidu or Subbulakshmi?

Emotions are also linked with music. In fact we have as many as seventy two melakartha ragas in Carnatic music which are segregated in a defined manner to appreciated the navarasas. Similarly, the Thaat in Hindusthani music is the paradigm of the various ragas if this genre of classical music in India. In fact, the most appreciable one in both the scales is the one of happiness. It is probably the reason that anything that brings happiness when related is termed as music to one's ears. Striking a jaring note would render the entire music no more to termed as music. Every note in its place is the essence of music.

Music has no barriers has been established time and again. In one of the legends it is said that a poet once told a king that the writ of the king ran only within his kingdom while that of the poet or an artiste would be universal. On this count it was argued that the artiste has a greater persona in comparison to a ruler. Tansen and Baiju Bawara are heroes in their respective realms and the legends about their musical prowess can leave one spell bound. If the legend leaves us spell bound then what would be the power of the recitals makes one feel despondent that a treasure of music has been lost to be savoured during a lifetime.

India is home to classical, folk, light and fusion musice amongst many other genre of music. We also revel in the jugalbandis of the same genre and between two different genres of music. The healthy rivalry in itself can destress any individual and provide the much needed balm to the frayed nerves. But the thirst for refreshing music is so high that we are enamoured by the symphonies of the western world. People in South India marvel at the capability of their beloved Illayaraja or A R Rahman in posting a symphony.

Organised and well rehearsed symphonies are enchanting. But how would one feel if a symphony of accomplished musicians and lesser mortals were to perform in a synchronised manner on a single stage with not even a full fledged dress rehearsal. This is not a feat that is imagined nor is it a fantasy. Recollect the month of December and January of every year. A small village Thiruvaiyar in Tamil Nadu was home to the famed musician Thyagaraja. He is worshipped as one of the trinity of Carnatic music. No musician in Carnatic music ever misses a pilgrimage to the ancestral homes of the trinity of Carnatic music. Apparently the devotion of Thyagaraja to his favourite Lord Rama was sought to be outdone by the devotees of Thyagaraja. They therefore decided to celebrate their devotion by holding a Aradhana. This Aradhana is a congregation of all vocalists and instrumentalists who render at the Pancharathna keerthana compositions. The rendering is nothing such sort of symphony. It is astounding that this confluence of the musicians who congregate once in a year render in such flawless cohesion that should astound any person who has a reasonable understanding of the nuances of classical music. A similar feat is also performed in honour of Purandaradasa who is revered as Father of Carnatic music. These two symphonies are outstanding examples of concerts in unison.

Today, we watch several music reality shows, listen to verious FM channels, use the MP3 players or Ipods but the essence is the same that we are all unconsciously tuned to the musical soul. The poem Solitary Reaper of William Wordsworth is one which subtly glorifies the power of music. No narrative would do justice to the poem's lyrica and hence I choose to reproduce the same.

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass !
Reaping and singing by herself ;
Stop here, or gently pass !
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain ;
O listen ! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands :
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings ? –
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago :
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day ?
Some natural sorry, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again ?

Whate’er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending ;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending ; –
I listened, motionless and still ;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

This is the feeling one gets when we listen to the translations of the various lyrics on different programmes. A prominent flutist conducted a show on television which analysed the various ragas used in film songs. This has been carried forward in another programme which has two artistes. One recites a song from classical music and another one from folk to film music based in the same raga to drive home the point that music in each form is as appealing as another.

Therapy apart music is an inherent part of all life and will outlive any soul. But why the petty debate as to which music is better. Could we not savour all kinds of music? Am I striking a musical note or a jarring note is for the raaders of this blog to decide.