Breaking illogical tradition taboos in Vrindavan!

Our traditions are nice to follow, feels great too. But what about the orthodox traditional practices, those that are harsh and follows discrimination? Most of the times you’ll find the “Thekedars” of these traditions saying it’s in shastras knowing well that common man might not have in-depth knowledge about our shastras. Nowhere in our shastras there is any sort of discrimination. And many such discriminations are attached to our Widows.

We had the shameful tradition “Sati Pratha” at one time. Thankfully it has been eradicated now. This too was marked as a “Hindu Ritual” and widows were made to follow. But that is nowhere true as far as our shastras goes. The term Sati is derived from the original name of the goddess Sati, who self-immolated because she was unable to bear her father Daksha’s humiliation of her husband Lord Shiva. Later Sati became a term in our shastras for women in Hindu mythology who were exceptionally devoted to their husbands and righteous. Property tussles was the root reason behind this practice, with male heirs preferring to do away with a widow, leaving the inheritance entirely in their hands. The Brahmin who helps in the burning would get a hefty share so they brought forward all theories on glorifying Sati Pratha.

Sati Pratha was ended but there still remained many discriminatory practices. A widow was expected to stay away from all festivities, renounce all earthly pleasures, wearing only white, shave off hair, and eat veg food. For big majority of widows life was more like “Living sati”. Many of these taboos have been reformed but complete reform is still awaited. Continue reading

Punno Maati – Not so Uplifting Custom of Durga Puja

durga puja

There are many rituals and traditions that we follow blindly without really knowing the true reason behind them. And one I would address today is connected to Durga Puja, especially the making of idol. So many times I have visited the Kumartuli of Kolkata just to watch the Kumors making different idols of Gods and Goddesses. Kumortolas across Bengal is most busy before Durga Puja when they are busy making n-number of idols of Maa, each one as beautiful as the other.

Kumartuli-2But this idol making of Durga has a custom, soil collected from a prostitutes home is used to partially make the idol. This soil is called “Punno Maati” or the pure soil. It’s said that when a man enters the porch of a prostitute, the “Nishiddo Palli” meaning the forbidden territory, he leaves behind outside all his purity and virtues. Hence the soil outside is considered pure. There’s another view that because Maa does not make difference among human beings. So the soil from outside a prostitute’s home is used to show inclusiveness. The destitute sections of society are shunned by all and through this process; it makes them feel a part of society and shows them that they too belong to the world as much as the others. Continue reading

To make a difference – Nelson Mandela.

It is Nelson Mandela’s birth anniversary today and I am reminded of one of his quotes. It’s my favorite one among many of his.

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

If only most of us could follow this lesson, world could be a far better place as far as humanity goes.

To make a difference in someone’s life is to enrich someone’s life.

We should never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those very little things could be the biggest part of their life. That is how change for better happens. That is how you make a difference. One gesture, one thing at a time!

If it is to be, let it be me!

The quote always reminds me of the Bollywood Raj Kapoor song from the film Anadi – “Kisi ki muskurahato mein ho nissar…”

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To live like a Flower!

Do you find that people in the world around us have lost the true meaning of what it means to be beautiful? At times advertisements, television, movies and magazines leave us feeling that if we don’t wear a particular piece of clothing, jewelry, make-up or hair style that we are to be listed as unfit to walk about the “in” crowd of people on the Earth. These false views of beauty have people searching in all the wrong places what it means to be beautiful.

Take flowers for instance. They don’t go to the store to buy their colors, and appearance. It comes naturally and they don’t seek to alter how they look, or complain that need a different shade than what they are to do the job they were created to do. Even if some of the petals fall off their stems, they still feel beautifully gifted and sway in happiness. I don’t think in principle even bees are particular about which flower they will visit, because it is what the flower has “inside” (pollen) that attracts the bees. Even as they stand alone in the fields, without the aid of advertisement, television, etc., we enjoy their beauty and the bees and other insects enjoy the benefits also. Continue reading

The “Missing” Factor.

Image Courtesy Google

During my graduation days I generally never felt missing anybody. Seldom did I think of home. Maasa used to be always miffed at this peculiar behavior of mine. I used to reason with her putting forward my defense, “Calling everyday just to say I am fine? Maasa I can’t do that, it’s boring.” But I had to eventually succumb to the frailty of a mother’s heart.

I used to wonder, when I don’t remember anybody, why should anyone remember me. She used to tell me that she misses me often, and I used to ask myself baffled and perplexed, why? Now today when she is not there with me I get the answer to that why and much more!!!

I used to get lost in a train of thought earlier wondering what had come to pass last time we met that she is now missing me so much!! Had there been an unanswered question that she had posed and I had failed to answer? Or had I said something too rude while I was lost in my reverie? What possibly could I have done? Trying to find the answers I used to re-run the tape of all conversations again and again in my mind, and try to find the figment, the spark that she might have carried away and now is the cause of this missing phenomenon.

Mothers are the most important ones and many a times we don’t realise we are missing them, but we do. It’s a fact. I realize now, just hearing my voice was probably enough for her to know I am doing well. I mildly slap myself on the back of my head and smile a little today. Well I might have been a good for nothing son, but she was different, infact she was the Best!! It is her goodness and congeniality that she used to think of me at leisure. Even today this thought satisfies my troubled mind and give me some relief from her absence. And secretly I smile, at least I now not just remember her, I miss her a lot too. Though maybe it’s too late!!!

When your mind is busy you don’t have time to miss someone. You only remember them in those short breaks that your mind takes. More than missing a person, I think, we miss the things that we used to do together with that person. As long as we are happy, preoccupied and comfortable with where we are we don’t really feel that something is missing but eventually the feelings do creep in!!!!

And yes, I missed you all, my Friends, these last few weeks!!!! But now am back and it do feels nice to be back among you all again. 🙂

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Compassion among Animals.

The friend of mine.

When your house is surrounded by wilderness and you get to take some time out of your busy schedule to watch the happenings around you, give some attention to this other side of Mother Nature than us the human beings, you are bound to notice lot of surprises. Mother Nature till date has never failed to amaze me with all her wide ranging features. A small plant, how it grows, the changes in its colours! Birds, different types of them and how they live together on any big tree, with so many nests and yes, they too end up fighting among themselves just as we the humans do at times with our neighbors. It’s so much fun watching all these happenings and one of my favourite pastimes being, to go out for a walk into this wilderness or sit nearby window and watch all this.

What I saw yesterday has left me really wonderstruck! There are few big trees behind my house. And on one mango tree, which is growing almost attached to my house, lives few squirrels. Morning when I have my tea with biscuits, it has become a rule that I would throw few pieces out and one of these squirrels’ would come down to eat those. Infact recent times I noticed I just need to come and sit near the window and it comes running down the tree. It’s the same one I know from a brown mark on its side.

This very tree I noticed also has few crow’s nests. Two of them even have fledglings. I can’t see them but noticed how their beaks would show when the mother crow brings food home.

I was busy in my own work when I heard lot of chirping. I went along to see and found one of the nests had fallen down. And the nest had one small baby in it, eyes closed and it was shouting or maybe crying! The crow was nowhere to be seen. Other birds were sitting on the low branches nearby and were creating a ruckus.

I know we have cats around and also few snakes. My first thought was to pick up the nest and try putting it back to some higher place. But then suddenly I recalled a lesson from childhood. You touch the egg or baby of these birds and the mother would simply throw it away never to take it back. I stood watching them all from my window helplessly.

And suddenly I see the squirrel come down. What followed later was so mesmerizing that I simply could not move away. This squirrel went on running around the nest while squeaking. Next it tried few times to hold the nest with it two front paws. Failed!! Next try was using his mouth. Even that failed. It then ran up the mango tree again. I was wondering what would the animal do and looked up the tree trying to find it. Before long suddenly I saw few more squirrels running down the tree behind this one. Now they all together tried different postures around the nest, trying to do lot, which was beyond my understanding!! And all this time other birds were going on shouting creating a really big din.

Suddenly I see the crow flying back and sit on one of the branches. Could be because of the squirrels being there it was not coming down. Next moment all the squirrels ran up and the crow is besides the nest. The fledgling is restored back somewhere up the tree. Nest is still lying at the base of the mango tree. And all is quiet as if nothing happened.

The whole incident left me wondering about “Compassion” among animals. I learned that it’s prevalent not just among their own species but also for other animals belonging to other species or family.

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Stumble to get up again…..

Image Courtesy Google

In some phases of your life, you suddenly feel all alone. Everything around you moves with the speed of light and you are still stuck at some place, trying to take that final step but still hesitating because you are too scared.

I have too many unanswered questions lying in a corner. I am glad that some of you ‘really’ know what you want from life. I don’t. Every-time I sit to write things down, be it on paper or here, I realize that I have no idea what do I exactly want. One thing although stays common at the end of all these sessions: Peace of Mind.

My thirst for ‘Peace of mind’ comes from the life I have lived, a life which has been an amalgamation of too many short stories just like many others. I have spent so many nights, curling up in bed, wondering and questioning God as to why be I the only one whose prayers are not answered. Why do I have to struggle in life, in every phase? Then, I met some of you. I saw many other sides of struggle. In some of you I found such brave hearts who have fought every odd and still rose!! That gave me hope!

I fought a lot of my own battles too, but I thought someday I will be paid off for my perseverance and spirit. I never was, or maybe I was too blind to see the rewards. I know I still have a wonderful life, family, friends and dreams that are unattended. And I am aware of the fact that, end of the day, I HAVE to find my way out. May be today is a day when I stumbled again, when my faith in me is shaken again. But tomorrow, I will get up and walk again. Every day I am telling myself that I will sail through this one too. Because sometimes we have no choice but to NOT give up!!

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The Power of “Tongue”.

“Think twice before you say something” is what the quote say. But I would rather say, think 10 times before you say ‘something’. And atleast once after you say that thing. Because words are like bullets!!!

Getting into one’s good books is the most difficult task. You spend weeks/months/years to do that, but spoiling it, it takes just one second. Maybe even a fraction of a second! Just a wrong “Word” and poof, it goes down the drains.

The most powerful word in English is – Sorry.

This word is so powerful that, it can change any situation to a favourable/good one! And of course, it requires a lot of courage (real) to say this. But trust me, it’s worth it. And people like to hear it.

Exceptions:

This is not applicable for the following 2 types of “Sorry”.

1) The ‘sarcastic sorry’ – That’s abuse.

2) “I’ll do anything I want and get away with a sorry” sorry – Now that’s misuse.

Another word which is my favourite – “Please”!! With this simple word you can get your work done in a much easier way than it is meant to be! Now tell me, who won’t like you, if you say ‘please’ with a smile on your face?

Swear words – I rather prefer not to use them!!!

Hate words – NEVER.

They say that the tongue is the most powerful weapon. In my opinion, it’s like an animal, tame it! You’ll be proud of it! You’ll love it. It’s also a prisoner, as ferocious/dangerous as ‘Hannibal Lector’.  Think before you let him out. Sometimes its better not to let him out, remember the damage Dr. Lector could do!!!

Even when you are left with nothing else in this world, you’ll still have words with you. You can count on them! Last but not the least – Words have the power to take anyone’s heart away – Sweet words, Lovely words, Awesome words!!

Listen to this song. An awesome song telling what “Words” can do. Posting the video with lyrics included.

Enjoy!!!!!

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God Never Lets Us Down….

Image Courtesy google

I was amazed to read the book “If God is so Good, Why do I hurt so Bad” by David Biebel. It’s a story of his struggle, how his first son was killed by a rare degenerative genetic disease. If that was not bad enough his second son was then stricken with the same ailment. The book is about how to deal with suffering, and overcoming suffering and pain by submitting/surrendering you to God.

This book helps in developing an honest sense of how one might react to such incredible pain. I remember a time when I would always think since God would not give me more than I can bear; that no one close to me would die because I would not be able to bear it. I realized later how wrong I was!!

The death of a close one can be all consuming at first. Rest others with you get so neglected. It is ok to grieve and need time to come to grips with the situation. The author almost turned alcoholic, but he also embraced God. When things got too tough and he thought for sure that he was at his end he was sustained by some thing – Held up by Someone!!! God did not abandon him in the time of greatest struggle. Rather the Lord kept him from being wholly consumed with grief. The author’s reaction in the end was to turn more fully to God, and to embrace God. He was not broken nor did he fall into sin. This part I found so connected with when I thought about my own. I too had few very nice close friends who would always push me whenever I would feel down. Most importantly, God sent me someone like Minniedi to see I don’t falter and end up destroying my life, which at one time I was tempted to. He didn’t abandon me either!!!

It is this small bit of the book that made reading the entire thing worth it to me. Not that the rest was bad, but reading how another fellow human facing the same reacted to this was too inspiring. The pain that he went through and still experiences in this book is obvious. There is no denying that he was in agony. He is still able to turn to God, and he now has a much deeper understanding of pain suffering and healing.

Some people do suffer and that is not God’s fault. God does not want us to be in pain, but there is a use for the pain. It is like God reframing our perspective on the pain. Traits will devolve in our live through the suffering. It will take time, but there are benefits to the trial. God has a reason for what he does.

I am glad I read this book; it puts things related to grief in a new perspective. It helps you overcoming grief yourself. The very grief which still works detrimental to me at times, the pain I would feel thinking about my Brother, my parents, now I see differently. Yes the Lord did take away too precious ones from my life but he gave me few other irreplaceable ones, who are like his gift, his blessings for me!!

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What happiness mean to me!!!!

Book Fair entrance gate - 2010

The Kolkata book fair starts today and like every year, I would be visiting the same today. This is one occasion which I try not to miss. The very thought of visiting the fair makes me feel upbeat. And when on such an upbeat state of mind you get a lovely mail early morning, it’s icing on the cake. Well, could be even much more than icing!! This post I dedicate to Minniedi, the person who taught me how to be happy and again today as so many times, she really made my day special.

Happiness can mean different things to different people. It can also mean different things to the same person at different moments.

Well I wonder what it means to me.

My moment of happiness makes me feel on top of the world, gives me the momentary confidence that I have it in me to win the world. Well ‘MY’ world.

The man in the mirror without even a shave looks perfectly fine, just the way I love it.

The outfit that didn’t fit well looks great on me that day and I seem not to find any problem in wearing anything that’s not blue. =)) The mind seems to be without any fear and the head is held high, well that makes me look a few inches taller too and well needless to say slimmer. 😉

Everything gives me this sudden appetite for life!! The life I will have to lead for the next few decades or so. Appetite for life!!! The one summarized truth about what happiness can do to me, happiness or moments of it, makes me regain my Appetite for My Life, for the LIFE of my LOVED ones. Happy is what happy does, indeed!!!

Enough of my blabbering, well I had to kill the time till fog cleared and we can start on our journey for the Book fair!!! 🙂

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Is Big Always Better….?

Click on the picture to view full article

This article of mine got printed in a local magazine here called Janachintan. I am attaching the scanned page of the same and also posting the whole article in text after taking permission for doing so from the publishers.

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Studies after studies are stating – Our brains are shrinking. We are still groping in the dark about the implications of this evolutionary trend but do our shrinking brains actually indicate that we are getting dumber? Our young seem to be living in a copy-and-paste world and see nothing wrong in it. Life’s greatest mysteries are just a Google search away. Protests are registered through online campaigns. We do not let such trivialities come in between our comforts; we let “Internet” take care of it. Is something really wrong with us or are we just evolving? But the bigger question is – Is big always better? Let’s check out.

Case 1 – Our Desi Livingstone, Dr Binayak Sen:
The man, a gold medalist in medicine, had a bright future laid out for him. He could have set up a Nursing home and earned millions. And what does this strange man do instead? Goes off to the jungles and dedicates his life treating the tribal. Not happy with playing Santa Claus to the poor, he goes ahead and starts dabbling with human rights. Does he not know the poor have no rights! Imagine fighting for “Their” right to live with dignity. Who asked him to fight on behalf of nobody’s children when he could have led a life of ease and joined some online campaign to ease his conscience? In this David V/s Goliath battle – size did matter.

Case 2 – Our much idolized Celebrities:
Well, not getting into words, here are a few pearls of wisdom from our much idolized celebrities:

So where’s the Cannes film festival held this year – Christina Aguilera

Internet is a great way to get on the net – Bob Dole

I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother & father – Greg Norman

AIDS is just a little more worrisome than a common cold and it’s curable, so just go out there & get it done – Kajol

Smoking kills. If you are killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life – Brooke Shields.

Yet we idolize them!!!!

Case 3 – Our Media:
Media is relentlessly dumping down its readers, listeners and viewers. Kangana’s implants, Aamir’s Dog, Kareena’s weighty drama grabs national headlines. Rakhi Sawant dispenses Insaaf on TV and a dozen women bare their claws over a Rahul Mahajan. A past her prime Ms Anderson’s entry in Big Boss sends the nation into a tizzy – of course size matters!! Switch on India TV and you immediately want to flee the country to someplace far away. Camera mein kalaa jadoo – Khatarnaak batak – Khoon peene wali nurse!! And the anchor is looking earnest, trying to scare the living daylights out of you. It always works.

Case 4 – Our government:
It definitely thinks we are dumb. It taxes us, with the assurance that it will be utilized for development. It is used for development but of a different kind – the minister’s many bank accounts!! To ensure our netas get a truly global outlook, we fund their trips to Germany en-family to study the drainage system intricately. The CM’s MIL gets a flat, the MLA’s son’s career goes sky rocketing. We gleefully pay millions for their Z class security. While we, the aam admi, pay bribes to get even a faulty meter replaced, do not expect police help because they are too busy taking care of our VIPs. We are content at cracking jokes at the ineptitude of the representatives we elected. So who’s dumb?

There are some who may argue that the shrinking brain should be of no concern to us. After all, not many of us utilize our grey matter to think, some of us use our hearts! So who cares about the size, big or small??

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Unachieved-to-Almost-Achieved Dreams of 2010

Image courtesy - art.com

Today we have a bandh in our district so all offices closed. Nothing new especially when you are staying in Bengal!! Morning went off in leisure with few friends. And then saw Adi has sent some lovely flute tracks. While listening to them I realized we’ll be bidding adieu to 2010 soon. So many things I promised to do but…… Finally I thought how about jotting down few of the important unachieved-to-almost-achieved dreams of mine of 2010.

Alpha –

I so wanted to write a book. The idea took root sometime early this year. It was so captivating that next few weeks I got the titles of the chapters ready. Wait, I am talking of a CSE book!!! A book on Computational Algorithms and by a month’s time everything was ready except for the typing part. Well – “Typing is too Tiresome”!!

Beta –

Learn to play the guitar. This has been a dream for long and not just this year. Not to be too hard on myself though, this year, I made some decent progress. I now know that a base guitar has only 4 strings while the lead guitar has 6!

Gamma –

Quit Chain Coffee Consumption!!! If you’ve thought that the thought had never crossed my mind, you are mistaken. (This part is for Minniedi) Ok fine! Quit would be an over-statement. Reducing it, yes definitely!!!

I can actually quite honestly say that I’ve done this. Not in the traditional way though. There has been a great rise in the prices of food materials and a 100g pack of Nescafe which cost around 50/- in Jan 2009 now cost almost 145/-. Ridiculous isn’t it, more when you need around three such packets!!! So I shifted to few cups of tea inbetween.

Lesser mugs in number!!! This is one Almost-Achieved-Dream!

Delta –

Besides doing my job, to study something like say Mathematics or Business Administration!!!

And as my knowledge of greek alphabets in order is limited, I am including other academia related dreams in Delta itself.

I thought of going for CAT. Get 100 percentile and get into IIM-A, or B or C. In case that didn’t work out, there’s XAT or maybe IIFT which I can always hope to ace. The fact that I am finally doing nothing with all these exams has finally brought about this general questioning of our nation’s education system and the desire to understand its fundamental flaws. Hopefully, by next year, I would have prepared a report on it with all possible reforms and get a Paper on it if not a formal degree.

DREAM EPSILON –

To complete 200 posts in this blog!!!

And I am still I think four posts away from the same. I have few weeks in hand to get this ONE dream of 2010 come true!!! But not getting any idea and I don’t want to go with those “10 top films” “10 top songs” and other usual end of the year thingy. And “Sorry” to disappoint anybody who thought I am going to quit blogging. I am not going anywhere!!!! I’ll carry on even after that 200th post. Only question – Can I get it done this year itself!!!

In spite of everything written above, 2010 has been a great year for me…till now (I don’t want to jinx it). I made new friends, I bettered relationship with few others, and I came out alive from one of the worse accidents I faced!!!! Let’s just hope the coffee continues to roll in 2011 and “Laziness” never gets the upper hand of me.

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Nothing goes right but then…….

 

Image courtesy Google

There are days when nothing somehow goes right and then there’s a bright light changing everything. Today was one like that. Morning I got up and checked mail. The one I was waiting for was no where in sight. Things that needed to be done were not getting done. I could see few plans and projects falling through. My mind won’t work; I ended up skipping meal and also had to work during a Saturday in the office. I seem to be having a gravitational pull directing all not needed troubles directly to me.

Finally late afternoon after having lunch I decided to go for a long drive. I was still not up to the mark, with my inner self in lot of turmoil; I was driving back when I received a message. Just few simple lines but it suddenly brought back a smile.

Someone to lean on when problems appear,
Someone on whom you’d depend,
Someone who’ll lift you when you’re down in the dumps,
That someone is truly a friend.
That’s how I feel about you my dear friend;
You’re so special just as you are.
Just to know that you’re there provides comfort to spare;
A friendship like yours sets the bar.

It was from Shiza, one of the sweetest friends of mine. And this was not the first time!!! There have been many other such occasions when I would receive a nice message from her just when I am feeling down. Big congrats Shiza on your achievement and remember it was all because of your honest hard work. And thanks always for being there and being the true friend. I really feel blessed to have few of these sweet sisters – Preeti, Gagan, Butter, Amby, Saara and Shiza – always there to cheer me up and pick me up from my worse possible moods.

Bad times help us realize the value of the good times we were enjoying without being grateful to them. During bad times we can value and analyze our true strength and it makes us sit down and think of the things we otherwise never bother to think and care about.

I realized if good times don’t last the bad ones will not too. All we need to do is analyze and see inside ourselves. We need to make sure that nothing destroys the heart and bitterness creeps in. Else you would miss out the knowledge that you had the chance and ability of a magnificent potential within yourself, which was gift wrapped inside you as a surprise gift from god but you refused to accept the gift and threw it away thinking it as waste!!

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Wishing for a better tomorrow…….

Like a daily ritual, lured by the taste of Chedi’s sandwiches, which has a tendency to linger on your tongue well after it’s consumed, I would end up regularly at this roadside joint at a railway crossing for my bite on holidays. Today is no different. Here I am, biting into my toast sandwich.

I look around me. Everyone is in a tearing hurry. Motorbikes zig zag their way through the traffic while irritated drivers shout at the ones in front sticking their heads out of their vehicles, egging them to move. The chirping of birds gets lost in the constant honks of motor vehicles. Its mayhem everywhere!! Curses and abuses flow around like it were running out of fashion. One guy is concerned about the scratch the speeding motorbike just left on his brand new car. His abuses get lost in another set of honks from the vehicles behind him. Two women take advantage of the halt and cross the road along with their children. They walk past me shaking their heads and cursing the rising traffic related problems at this railway crossing which at last now would be getting its long needed over bridge. I see a young man get out of his rickshaw stuck in the jam and making his way to the front with files clutched tightly in his hands. All set for the interview, I think. I can feel the tension writ large on his face. He hardly notices the beggar who pleads him for alms, but folds his hands and seeks blessings from the roadside temple while still finding his way out of this jungle of vehicles. Pleading for Divine intervention!!! Strange how our prayers are so dependent on each other. For beggar, it would have been like answer to his prayers if the young guy would have dropped a couple of nickels in his bowl. And the young chap desires divine help to impress the person he is going to meet, so that he drops the job offer in his bowl. In this sea of vehicles and irritated audience, there is hardly anyone who has a smile on his face. I see tense faces, angry ones, irritated bunch and the vocal lot.

Chedi’s son places my coffee on the table. I take a sip and marvel at the fact that how conveniently we have forgotten to smile. There are seemingly a million forces at work to wipe off that smile from our face. All that matters is how to cling on to the next rope from the one that you are hanging from presently. All I see around is childhood lost. Innocence bruised. Conscience murdered.

I glance at my watch. Its 9:00 am, time to go back home. I gulp the remnants of my cup and head to clear my dues. That’s when I notice the little rag picker behind this joint, combing through the garbage and sorting out stuff. In that moment, to me his garbage bag looks like the route to salvation for all the discarded articles within his sight. Those who go into his back are in with a chance for a better tomorrow while the others retire to their destiny. The rag picker goes about his business and moves his hands through the garbage like an expert. His hands have been trained to sift wheat from the chaff. He has been thrown in front of life to face its brutalities and survive, while his peers are parroting their way through Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. Strange are the ways of nature!!!

My thoughts are interrupted with a sudden change of expression on the face of the rag picker. He seems to have come across something significant for him to let go off his bag and get completely involved with the catch. At a closer glance, I recognize the wrapping. A bar of chocolate!!! As the rag picker unwraps his find, I can see a beam of happiness in that smile of his. The smile of contentment!! Unwary and uncaring of what lies ahead in the day, just enjoying this moment of bliss. Living in the moment!!! I smile having witnessed this scene. I silently wish how better off we would be if we could start living and enjoying the moment while it lasts instead of worrying about what lies ahead. I silently wish for some sanity in this seemingly insane world. I silently wish for the lost childhood in each one of us. I silently wish for a better tomorrow – for us and the rag picker!!!

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Appreciate what you get, how so ever small it may seem!!

After a long and tiring debugging job, it came to me that I have a blog and I need to update it. Tired and weary, I was thinking what I update it with. Here I am not getting time to even have lunch and blog…………sighhhhh!!!

So here I was already regretting my decision to blog continuously. No to be more precise, here I was on my way to have my breakfast delivered at home from a “MESS” regretting my proclamation to the world my decision to blog continuously. I mean a post every few days? Who am I kidding? I cannot come up with ideas worth putting up every few days. I am not that dedicated either, atleast I don’t feel like being most of the times. But then, an inner voice spoke and it spoke for good. It said “Cigarettes for the soul” is mainly for my soul first and then comes the world. So I reassured myself that I am doing everything for myself and my own peace, and on this high note I started with my breakfast.

On Tuesdays (such as today), this particular mess serves Gobi-Ka-Paratha. I began eating voraciously because I had not eaten anything in a long while and I was very hungry. It was into my 3rd helping that my mother’s face floated up in front of me. Now I was not high, mind you, and I don’t drink come now!!! So this really freaked me out. I have a presentation tomorrow and I had not slept or studied. I began thinking of wild excuses for my shabby (or “unholy” as she would have put it) state when she just cynically smiled at me and vanished.

The entire thing lasted for about less than a second and there I was mouth (filled with paratha Gobi-Ka) half open left staring at more paratha “Gobi-Ka”. The “Paratha” is the guilty party here, well Gobi-Ka-Paratha to be exact. It all came back to me in a flash. The meaning of this apparition or hallucination and especially that cynical smile became clearer.

Back home when Maasa was there I used to be too fussy when it came to food. I would tease her a lot with the food. Her favourite dish and therefore my least favourite (:P) was Gobi-Ka-Paratha. She use to prepare it beautifully (realising it now while eating this 4th bite of the same dish) and with ghee topping and it melts in your mouth. But I never used to like this particular dish as it had Gobi. She would cajole me into eating it or sometimes would prepare some other paratha especially for me while everyone else eats Gobi waala as they all loved it. A lot of times, when she would be really tired she used to curse me saying that one day or the other I will realise the value of her Gobi-Ka-Paratha which I did today, more than ever. My tongue is “dead” after almost 3 years of mess food and now I am yearning for home food (still, plain paratha preferably but fine Gobi waala will also do).

Now, all jokes and humour apart, please do not take this just at face value. I have learnt a great lesson through paratha here. The smaller things are missed the most and we do not realise the value of things until they are gone or unavailable. So next time we are about to criticise someone for something they have done putting in a great effort, please do think twice.

I know that I will because I have THE MESS to thank for!!!!

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