Monday, January 30, 2006

Chhod Aaye Hum Wo Galiyaan.....

Just received a forwarded e-mail today. So whats so important about that? Don't we receive umpteen number of inane forwards everyday? Well, this one touched my heart in a certain way. Was sure all of us would identify with this one, at least the ones who studied in any school in India. Maybe the ones who studied abroad too, but then, I wouldn't know about that.

The body of the forward is copied below - please excuse any grammatical errors, the content is worth it.

When the school reopened in June,
And we settled in our new desks and benches.
When we queued up in book depot,
And got our new books and notes.
When we wanted two Sundays and no Mondays, yet
Managed to line up daily for the morning prayers.
We learnt writing with slates and pencils, and
Progressed to fountain pens and ball pens and then micro tips.
We began drawing with crayons and evolved to
Colour pencils and finally sketch pens.
We started calculating first with tables and then with
Clarke's tables and advanced to calculators and computers.
When we chased one another in the corridors in
Intervals, and returned to the classrooms drenched in sweat.
When we had lunch in classrooms, corridors,
Playgrounds, under the trees and even in cycle shed.
When all the colors in the world,
Decorated the campus on the Second Saturdays.
When a single P.T. period in the week's Time Table,
Was awaited more eagerly than the monsoons.
When cricket was played with writing pads as bats,
And Neckties and socks rolled into balls.
When few played "kabadi" and "Kho-Kho" in scorching sun,
While others simply played "book cricket" in the confines of classroom.
Of fights but no conspiracies,
Of Competitions but seldom jealousy.
When we used to watch Live Cricket telecast,
In the opposite house in Intervals and Lunch breaks.
When few rushed at 1:45 to "Conquer" window seats in our School bus.
While few others had "Big Fun", "Chock-o-bar","kulfi ice" and "Pepsi" at 2:00 Clock.
Gone are the days Of Sports Day, and the annual School Day,
And the one-month long preparations for them.
Gone are the days Of the stressful Quarterly,
Half Yearly and Annual Exams, And the most enjoyed holidays after them.
Of 10th and 12th standards, when we Spent almost the whole year writing revision tests.
We learnt, we enjoyed, we played, we won, we lost,
We laughed, we cried, we fought, we thought.
With so much fun in them, so many friends,
So much experience, all this and more.
Gone are the days when we used to talk for hours with our friends.
Now we don't have time to say a HI.
Gone are the days when we played games on the road.
Now we are stuck on the road (in traffic) with a laptop.
Gone are the days when we saw stars shining at night.
Now we see stars when our Boss takes our case.
Gone are the days when we sat to chat with friends on grounds.
Now we chat in chat rooms.....
Gone are the days where we studied just to pass.
Now we study to save our job
Gone are the days where we had no money in our pockets
and fun filled on our hearts
Now we have the ATM as well as credit card but with an empty heart
Gone are the days where we shouted on the road.
Now we don t shout even at home
Gone are the days where we got lectures from all.
Now we give lectures to all... like the one I'm doing now....
Gone are the days
But not the memories, which will be
Lingering in our hearts for ever and ever and Ever and ever and Ever.....


Please keep alive that child within you - always and forever. That is what makes life worth living.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Rang De Basanti....

The latest offering from Aamir Khan "Rang De Basanti" promised to be worth watching. My wife and me (both BIG fans of Aamir) along with another couple - friends of ours, after a lot of effort procured tickets to the "paid preview" show of the film to be aired on Jan 25th at Inorbit mall. The added attraction was that since it was a late night show it would spill over to Republic Day what with the movie being touted as one with a lot of patriotic fervour. Well, at least to me that did hold some attraction.

After a hurried dinner on my part and hardly any on my wife's, we managed to reach the movie hall with 10 minutes to spare. While waiting for our friends (they had the tickets with them!!), we noticed a lot of small time celebs waiting to catch the same show. It sure looked like it was heading for a packed hall. Well, soon our friends arrived and then armed with popcorn and some fizzy drinks we settled down in our seats. I noticed that the whole row in front of us was occupied by college kids who also maybe worked in some call centre. I was hoping that they'd behave themselves during the screening and not spoil my movie show for me.

Right on cue, the screen flashed "Please rise for the National Anthem". To me, this is one of the best things to have happened to our cinema halls lately (obviously the movies are getting better too). I mean, when was the last time you sang the National Anthem after those compulsory school assemblies?

Going off on a tangent, for a country in which millions of people over 200 years struggled to achieve "independence", we are sadly lacking in any real love for the motherland. The most common arguments one hears are listed below:
1. What's worth loving in this country anyway? The roads suck, the government sucks, corruption, violence, poverty, terrorism are rampant, dirt & filth abound.

2. Crowded trains, buses, even apartment buildings so close to each other that it seems they are supported by each other.

3. If the above were mostly urban problems, even life in villages are nothing great - all the age old practices like child marriages, sati, girl infanticide etc still persist.

4. Brutality on the part of police and goons go hand in hand.

5. We still have one of the lowest literacy rates in the world.

These reasons and also the promised high standard of living in Western countries are driving so much of our educated population away from India. But come on folks, though this list looks long when you write it down like that, doesn’t being Indian mean anything at all?

What if those brave soldiers so far away from their loved ones also thought in the same vein - that it would be much better to fight for Western countries as the living conditions there are much better? Would it be possible for you to finish that post graduate course of yours in the best of educational institutions and enjoy that free life that is so taken for granted by us these days? What about the grit, determination and fellowship displayed by the Mumbai janata during the still recent Mumbai rains that allowed the weather-lashed city to retain its sanity and maintain her dignity in the worse of calamities? Compare that with New Orleans where there was massive lawlessness in the wake of “Katrina”, where people looted stores, killed people and general pandemonium reigned supreme – all this in the country most sought after by so many of our young aspirants, the USA!

I do not have answers to the questions or problems I have posed above. But it is open-ended questions like this that have made me realize that India is the place to be, that she is on her way to proving to the world what she always was – a queen in her own right, one that is able to hold her own against the best in the world!

Without spoiling the plot of Rang De Basanti for anyone, I’ll just say that it does a good job of addressing many of the questions that face us today, in a manner that today’s youth would be able to identify with. I left the theatre satisfied but at the same time with a lot more expectations.

A gripping movie from start to end, during which, come to think of it, I was not at all distracted by the call center crowd in front of me. Happy Republic Day to all….. Jai Hind!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Here I am!

Over the past two years, I have been hearing more and more about the phenomenon of "Blogging". Being a person who likes to read anything that is remotely interesting, I used to see a "blog" as a just another source for good reading material but with a major difference – most blogs have the essential element of reality attached to them which makes for infinitesimally better quality of reading.

But since then, I have realized that a blog is not just a good read. They contain the deepest feelings and emotions of the people who write in them. This makes “blogging” a parallel world all on its own. To top this, other people comment on blog entries with words of advice, encouragement and, at times, even criticism. Anything that has so much of effort, so many emotions thrown in from so many different individuals cannot exist without an identity of its own that is closely allied with its creator – a kind of alter ego.

Wanting to be a small part of this world, I have ventured into Blog space – a place where I can capture my experiences and memories at my own leisure. I have been unsuccessful in maintaining a diary of my own even after having started a diary about 3 times since school days. But being a technophyte myself (I am much more comfortable using a computer for anything), I see a ray of light this time.

So here I begin my foray into the world of “Blogging”!

“Tentative though my first steps may be, I feel just as exhilarated as I do when taking a walk by the sea.”