Sunday, September 18, 2011


A weekend with a mood to read led me to the Reliance Time out and as I sifted through the tempting tomes placed neatly, many a treasured gem tempted me with their competition for my attention. Guha's Makers of modern India was the first one which my hands picked up to find different viewpoints of esteemed personae. Amongst them were some of the irresistible pieces of vision of the veteran Rajaji. His simple prose of Bharatiya vidya Bhavan in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were quite a contrast to his eloquence in these pieces which convincingly refuted many of the illustrious persons such as Gandhi, Nehry among others.

Even as I was planning to pick this one, my eyes wandered to the shelf of Indian writers wherein was perched a enticingly titled paper book. As I see it proclaimed L K Advani. The need to see something from his viewpoint for a mercurial leader was one while the fact that it was a collection of his blogs was as much revealing. Touching moments with rarely cliched language revealed an unknown facet of this towering personality who is raring to go on another yatra. The material in the book made one aware of the "Never say Die" approach of this man. As I was making my mind not to conclude any matter dismissively, a book by Malvankar on the Assassins of Gandhi caught my attention.

This book sent the one by Advani to the shelf while it perched itself in my hands. The first chapter of partition was gripping and took me to the days when I had reeled under the pains of Train to Pakistan or the sorrows brought out on the small screen in Buniyaad. The conflict of opinions of Gandhi , Madanlal, Apte, Nehru, Patel, Jinnah and Godse were all there. Strong willed men pushing the destiny of not only their persons or followers but of peoples who were unknown. Each of them had a viewpoint. Each was right to himself but pray did anyone display the empathy required?

Three books with viewpoints of persons who shook the world by their actions. They were strong willed and went by their viewpoints. I understood their viewpoints but differed on them at varying points to varying degrees. Empanthise I did but disagreed. Strolling out, I asked to myself, is empathy a virtue, a vice or a sign of weakness?

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Fests and feasts go hand in hand in every land. The tribute to days of fasting by feasting is best celebrated by the Iftar during Roza and the Easter feasting after the Lent. A little known fact to many of the present day is the fortnightly Dwadashi feasting after the Ekadashi fast which is observed by the austere Hindu. Thus, while festivals celebrate the existence of the vitals known as the stomach to the taste of the tongue and aromas to suit the nasal instinct they also pass of as devotion to the Lord. The best way to relish a feast is by enduring sessions of fasting. The pains of the fast is now scientifically established to be a means of healthy living too. This gives a silver lining to the pangs of hunger too.

Fast forward to the Ramlila Maidan where a celebrity fasted his way through the mires of law making. 12 days of fasting followed by a weekend of festivities commencing from Ramzan and Gowri through the Ganesha appetizer into the St Mary's feast. Annaji could be relishing many a feast after a fast that has made him dear to all the Lords (pun intended).

Having gone through this exercise mentally, I am bewildered by the way my own vitals behave. Normally there is no pangs of hunger much to the constraint of people around me who tend to gain a feeling that I am deliberately feigning to attribute gluttony to them. But strange are the ways of this small but vital organ that on a day of feast more so when the festivities are due to commence latter in the day, the breakfast is expected to be given a go by. A person who could normally skip a meal or two, I find that my stomach has some strange aversion to fest related fast and sends messages for some gulping to be done. It is on these days I am reassured that I indeed possess this vital organ but am also deeply anguished that it refuses to behave for the short period of time.

Well it is nothing short of a super brat. The pangs of hunger simply die down as the rituals end and the feast is up for serving. It appears to be more a psychological issue but decades have gone by and there is no change in this affair. On normal days my pals suggest that I could be nominated for any fast to be undertaken but what happens if the super brat behaves the way it does on festival days?

Therefore, while the media ran live shows on the parleys being held, the supporters feasted in the presence of Anna, I was quietly inquiring the vital organ of Anna as to whether it also behaves this way? The mail logjam has apparently ensured that this query remains in the realms of mystery. As though this is not enough some channels beamed statistics of the various fasts held by Anna and also by others like Gandhi and Bhave. Must be quiet a feat to fast to feast too. How do these men manage this each time?