Sunday, February 14, 2010

Narrow escape

Two issues I would like to share regarding the blast that occurred in the famous German bakery in Pune. One, had I been there a day later as per my husband's plan to visit the bakery we would have been among the victim's list and the media would have cried "Two from Tamil Nadu among the persons killed in the blast." It was a narrow escape for us as we visited the famous bakery a day before the blast occurred, exactly at the same time. Little did I know that the chairs that I sat on the small verandah of the bakery, the puddings and the cakes I relished and cherished, the waiters who served us with a warm smile, would face such a disaster the next day itself and the bakery would be on news for the worst reasons. It was such an awful experience that me and him couldn't wipe away the nightmares we had throughout the night. To put it in the philosophical note, we thought how short our life is and decided to make the best out of it.

The second issue is the most irritating factor. Certain part of the media has yet again reacted insensitively to such a sensitive issue. It is an example how stupidly, insanely media could handle such issues. A woman anchor of one of the television channels talks to one of the blast victim's mother. "Mam, how did you 'feel' when you came to know that your daughter was sitting on the same table where the bomb was planted." The poor mother, stuck with immense grief, had no answer. Obviously she will not. How will she have an answer for the question "How do you feel". She will 'feel' the same way as when the anchor's boyfriend or mother or any of her family members are killed in a blast or accident. She will 'feel' the same way as any other normal human being who lost their closed ones will behave. Where has the ethics of journalism gone and when are we going to stop asking such dumb questions to people who are already in misery? When are we going to stop sensitising issues? When will the media learn a lesson?

Bomb blasts and terror strikes have now become part and parcel of common man's life. Every other day a blast occurs in some place and the country wakes up, television channels rush to cover the issue in the most sensitive way so that they could give the hottest news to the people, ministers stand in a row to say "It's such an unfortunate incident. The government will do the needful." blah blah blah...Is there no proper way to fight against these dark forces of terrorism? Why are we always crying over the spilt milk rather than trying to take some consistent preventive measures?

The day before the blast when I visited Koregaon Park, the blast site, I casually mentioned to my husband. "So much of foreigners and a lot of international audience are here. This place looks quite vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Why is the security so thin here?". This question would arise in any citizen's mind. Except for the Jewish Chabad house, (that too only after the 26/11 attack), there was no security in the area even though intelligence reports had already mentioned that Headly had screened the area, the Osho ashram and indeed the German Bakery and warned of possible terror attacks. Surprisingly, rather shockingly, security was relaxed in the area a week before for reasons unknown. What could be this called other than the lethargic attitude of the government? Rather than gathering support for marathis and the marathi language and fighting for the Ram Sethu and Ram temple, the politicians could use their brain power to find a proper solution to save innocent lives. It is what the people expect. It is what every Indian citizen asks for-Security to their lives. It is not the language or the religion that is going to save them. Instead of making a hue and cry over such issues, only after the damage is done, it is important to understand that prevention is always better than cure. Jai Hind.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

All for eye

I stand at the bus stop waiting to barge into a bus. After a 10-minute wait, there comes one. But wait. Is that 170M or 70N. I am not sure. I squeeze my eyes, move forward to get a clear view. No use. Finally, when it was near it was neither 170M nor 70N but 17M. Sigh! It's been happening with me for quite sometime. Ego or self-consious, I didnt bother to rectify my defect. I didnt want someone to identify me as "oh! that girl-short and bespectacled". Gosh!. And the thought of using a contact lens made me sickening. Remove it, put it in a solution and again place it on your eyes. Can't go out in the dust nor stay overnight somewhere without any preparation. And above all carry those boxes wherever I go. sigh!

But this time. I was determined. Come what may. I can't go around with my "half-blind" eyes. And moreover, the number of headaches I had in the past few days has been on the rise. I went through just dial, made a few calls and finally found a doctor close to my house.

It was one evening I decided to make a "sacrifice on my beauty(he..he..)". After buzzing the bell, I waited for a call. It was a small, dark room with dim light. Neatly arranged ophthalmology and medicine books on one side, and equipment of various sizes and shapes on the other corner. The doctor looked like an intellect. Bald and was wearing spectacles. A Malayali menon, I noted. I was asked to sit on a chair, a special one designed for the purpose.

"Look at the mirror in front of you and see whether you can see the letter." he said. Right before my eyes, in the mirror, I could see black numbers on white screen. The bigger ones were visible, but the smaller ones looked like a jelabi. Squeezing my eyes, I tried to figure it out. But naw..nothing was clear. Embarrassed, I said him no. He inserted another glass. Wow! this time it was visible. I could read the bigger and the biggest letters. But the smaller ones still looked like a jelabi. My attempt to read those numbers failed and I ended up reading 6 as 2.

The third glass was much better. I could see the smaller ones, blurred. Finally, when the fourth glass was used, I could see even those jelabis. Hurray!! It was 7-2-6-9-4-8. The same procedure went on for the next eye too. The doctor, still not satisfied and want to predict my power accurately, went on further. A beam of light was passed into my eyes. And then two slides were shown in the mirror. Red and green with letters inscribed.

Doctor: "Now, can you see the colours"
Me: "Yeah. Orange and green."
Doctor: "Thats red. not orange."
Me:????? (Do I suffer from colour blindness?Oh God!)

Again a series of readings. Umpteen glasses used and changed. Finally!! I got one! So clear and crystal. I could read the smaller and the smallest. A smile on my face. And my power. It's -1.:)
And here I am ready. To join the intelligent group. Bespectacled and looking wise.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Survival of the fittest

Everyday morning you open a newspaper and browse through the contents, you get to see that there is a spurt in the number of deaths due to suicides. People tend to take their life in extreme conditions. Love failures, debts, failed marriages, depression- the reasons are aplenty. But what makes me wonder is how do the kith and kin of the deceased take it after the death of their loved ones, that too in a tragic manner. This morning happened to see news of a couple, who had killed themselves after they were unable to clear their debts. They have two children, both 12 and 8 years respectively. When the kids last saw their parents before leaving to school, little would have they known that their parents would kill themselves and orphan them overnight. The kids posed for the photographs holding the picture of their parents (may be an 'absolutely creative' news photographer would have asked them to hold it that way) and looking pathetic. It was said that their relatives were reluctant to give shelter to the kids. Leave alone the fact of providing them the basic essentials of life, but what about their education? What sin did the children do? If at all the parents, before taking the extreme step, had thought even a second about what the children would do after their death, would have got some second thoughts and changed their mind. Humiliation and criticisms from society might have pushed them to turn selfish not caring even about their offspring.

It’s even more appalling to hear about cases when the persons kill themselves and their children. Whenever I happened to type a headline "Woman kills her kids, self", I feel heavy in my heart. What rights does she have to take the life of her children even when she doesn’t have the right to kill herself? Not only it is against the law, but against the dharma too. How would have the kids psychologically felt when they come to know that the death is knocking at their doors or sometimes not even aware that it is approaching them. In fact I feel one should have a gut feeling to commit this crime. They should turn stone-hearted and grim to face the situation.

I read this poem somewhere penned by a father, who lost his daughter.

Was on this day that your were born
A ray of sunshine that I adorned
From heaven above you were sent to us
Hand crafted and unique,
one of a kind you were made
With big brown eyes and a gorgeous smile
Why couldn't you stay longer than a while
An aura you had that shown like a star
I search and look in the night sky you are
As quickly as you arrived
You had suddenly departed
Not right, not fair
For your life had only just started
So today a wish I make for you
One of love and happiness
Happy birthday to my girl
so true You'll always be in my heart and soul
Beautiful as a butterfly
Your spirit set free
Wishing I could be near you
To hold you close to me
Happy birthday my sweetheart

Forever loved,
A father.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

What happiness is?

Happiness is relative. It varies between persons. To me happiness is,
1. Watching a baby smile from heart.
2. Flowers in full bloom.
3. Reading a book on a relaxed off day while hearing Elvis Presley on the system.
4. Watching the rains.
5. To talk for hours with the person whom you love a lot.
6. When you spend time with your sweetheart.
7. While I am with children.
8. Going on a trekking in a wild forest. Staying at a treetop hotel and looking at the stars at night.
9. When someone says that I have lost weight.
10. To drive at 120 kmph on a national highway.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The true smiles

It's been a fortnight long I had been to the home for children. Thought I would visit them without fail this off day. It's always fun being among children. They don't have pretensions. Their love is genuine and you feel like a bird when you are amidst them. You become a child again. It was not surprising to see them sing a song from a latest movie. Kids nowadays learn everything very fast. Be it movies or lessons. They are really smart.
Avudai, a special child, started becoming very close to me nowadays. Think she had started identifying me after my frequent visits. She even hugs and kisses now.

Was trying to tell them some stories. But, was ashamed to find myself struggling to recall the stories my teachers and parents taught me. When I was a kid my grandparents used to tell me stories from epics. They would have a moral at the end. The story-telling session would be very interesting. We would sit in the terrace in the moonlight. I would be sitting on the lap of my mother or grandmother. Feeding the rasam satham, my mother used to tell stories of crows, foxes and even Krishna or Rama. Though dozing, I found them very interesting. Those days there were no cartoon network or pogo channels. We children had to depend on elders to hear some larger than life stories. Doordarshan was the only solace then. We waited for sundays to watch He man or malgudi days.

With each generation passing, children have become cleverer and smarter. They now know what a local body means, the difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, what olympics and oscars mean, how rockets are send to moon and on what issue India and Pakistan are fighting over. They can even understand the value of emotions, trust and love. Children are like clay balls. Moulding them in a right way is our duty. And once it is done, you never know the heights they would reach and the success stories they would create.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My time with the Times

Rahman in tunes in Chennai-The Times of India-the moment I read the ad in papers, I made my mind not to miss the show this time. A R has been my all time favourite and listening to his mesmerising melodies in an open ground will be a lifetime experience for sure.

Determined to capture the musical night, my hunt for getting the passes for the show began. Getting hold of friends in TOI was my first attempt. Managing to get three tickets (literally begging them), I started dreaming about the D-day.

Fate entered in the form of my friend who called me over the phone to say that he had got a VVIP ticket for me. My happiness knew no bounds. Am I am going to get a chance to see the musical genius close-by!? Trusting him, I distributed the tickets to my brother and his friends completely unaware of the consequences I should face in the future.

THE D-DAY: It was five in the evening when we reached the venue. The show starts at 6.30, but we knew parking would be a problem as around a lakh people were expected to be on the show. Even at five, traffic at the Chetpet road leading to the St George's Ground where the show would be conducted, was unmanageable. Hundreds of police deployed to control the crowd looked bemused. As time passed, considerable number of people started flocking the ground causing more chaos and confusion.

It looked as if the entire youth in Chennai have assembled to witness the show. The cops, who were already in an irritated mood, were shouting at the people to clear the path for the vehicles to pass by. The newspaper has arranged parking facilities for nearly 1,500 two-wheelers and 2,000 cars, which was absolutely inadequate.

Got a message from my friend (who has the VVIP passes) saying he is on his way and will be there in 15 minutes. It was already 6.30 and I was in a hurry not to miss even a song of the day. Cursing him in my mind, I waited impatiently along with a friend, who was ready with a camera to capture the moments of the show. Rahman began the evening with "endrendrum punnagai".

Then it happened. The cops closed the gates preventing the crowd to get inside. Hundreds of people, who were disappointed, tried to push themselves in, but in vain. There was utter confusion and the police resorted to a mild lathicharge. It was a complete mayhem. My friend got stranded outside. My dreams to watch the show began to shatter slowly. Shankar Mahadevan was singing "varaha nathikaraiyoram" in his high-pitched vocal. Filled with delirium and ecstasy the crowd cheered to Rahman’s enchanting voice when he sung “khwaja mere khwaja”.

It was already 7.30 and I could hear Shreya Goshal's "munbe va" now. My friend messaged telling he is unable to get in. Tears welled up my eyes out of disappointment. Life doesn't give you what you wanted sometimes.

It was 7.45 when something unexpected happened. The cops opened the gates all of a sudden and nearly 100 people rushed in. Before I could realize what had happened I was caught amidst the mad crowd. Suddenly, I felt a hand pulling me outside. It was a guy. "Watch out buddy. If you wanna go inside, please don't. It's a mess there," he warned.

It was 8.00 when I received another message from my friend. "Hey, I don't think we could meet up. Go home safely."

Not again! Filled with disappointment we decided to go home. It took nearly 20 minutes for us to get out of the ground. The crowd outside didn’t make a move hoping they will be let in sometimes later. Somewhere at a distance Rahman’s “newyork nagaram” floated in the air.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Likes and dislikes in Chennai


Beach, temples, shopping, December music season, spencer, eat-outs (idli, dosa, vada, sambhar), central station.


Traffic, pollution, bus, crowd, heavily-charging autos and sultry heat.