Dec 31, 2012

Adieu 2012... A perspective

Another year coming to an end.. 2012 relegated to the history books and we would be looking to the future, to what we have in store in 2013. I too among the millions around the world am no exception and as all of us do, await eagerly for a brand new beginning.

As time passes by, I cannot but help think and recollect what I did achieve in the year, that I would like to have  a better year going forward.. After all, there are hundreds if not thousands of "Happy New Year", "All the best", "Have a wonderful one...." that all of us get from our friends, relatives, and at times absolute strangers. We all look to it, expect that the coming new year will be a better one, a much improved one than the last, however at times I do wonder, is it the same as the last one?

Personally, 2012 has been interesting. A couple of job changes, more interesting work, learnt new things, met new people, travelled quite a bit, completed two major projects, wrote a lot more than 2011, learnt tweeting; the latter part of the year seeing myself a bit more relaxed; time to myself and the family, and most important, meeting old friends and relatives that had not seen in a long time. The icing for me was to travel back to the place where I grew up (Bahrain) after leaving for good more than three years ago bringing back sweet memories.

The downsides: not achieving goals and targets that I set personally, losing friends who moved on, relatives who decided to follow a journey to the other side; read and write more than what I planned for, and not be able to devote more time at home. A mixed bag as one would say.

But what about the world? Indian Cricket went through its worst year; Ponting, Tendulkar, Dravid, legends of the game of the willow, all calling it a day; the World Economy still in the doldrums; Giant corporations losing battles against increasing competition and change; industries struggling but surviving, the Mayan prediction of the end of the world scaring every one and coming a dud.

2012 also saw the awakening of the common man all across. The "Springs" of freedom that encompassed many countries across the world and going the democratic way, some losing the plot midway; BO coming back for another four years. Social Media (FB, Twitter), proving their power to influence and bring change, with the regular media the news channels slowly losing theirs. Technology going viral, with mobile phones losing their charm and the world moving onto Smart Phones, the Androids, and the IOS..

The year also saw crime, corruption, violence, increasing multi fold, and probably more rampant today than what it was 20 years ago, the shootouts in schools, rapes against women on the rise and the political nexus striving every bit to keep the tempo down. Competition still at its fiercest, making the adage Survival of the fittest absolutely apt and valid. Once again, a mixed bag.

No doubt every year has the worst of it and the best. Every country will have their own and their version of the world's top and bottom events and often, the worst overshadowing the good. Yet we all look forward to the next year. A year filled with hope, with opportunity, a belief that things will be better. We enjoy the going away of the previous year as we aim to bury all that was not right, some confined to text books, some forgotten.

The one thought that often comes to mind is: do we ever spare a thought as to what we would like to do different in the coming year? What is in our power to change and do we change that? We all have our resolutions, the things that we would like to stop, to implement, to improve, to better, and yet we all get embroiled in our daily lives so much that it remains confined to another year of not done. Not to say that nothing changes.. But if all of us manage to even achieve half of what we aim to better, the impact no doubt would be phenomenal.

My goal / dream.. To become a better person, and to be able to contribute to society a change where all are equally accepted and to have a world that we can leave behind for generations to come. No doubt there are always shades of black and white and having an ideal world is but a Utopian dream, but the change has to come from us. Generation Next for all is round the corner, for some it is yet to start, for some in progress, and for some, round the corner. We probably managed to survive our round, but at the rate at which we are heading to, the next round may simply not exist.

It is no doubt a new beginning, but every dark cloud has to have a silver lining. It is this lining that I believe that we need to work towards and have our contribution to. Drops from a tap fill a bucket, good deeds done today will come back around tomorrow.. It is for us to take the call to ensure that the change is not just another night that has gone and another regular day that has started..

Adeiu 2012.....Swagatam 2013..

Dec 30, 2012

RIP.. Nirbhaya

I never realized that my last note on a society going haywire would be so real life that in a couple of weeks, this would be a country wide phenomenon. Crimes against women have been on the surge so much, that it is virtually a challenge to even open up any news paper or channel and not hear about some crime or the other. Leave aside, letting a lady go out alone after dark.

Nirbhaya, the 23 year old girl who was molested and left to die on the streets of Delhi. Needless to say, the incident has acted as the last straw in a nation that had seemed resigned to accept any kind of molestation, either of the citizens, or of the country, or of life in general.

Was it a shocker, was it a surprise, probably not, as this seemed to happen every day, and more so in the wonderful capital itself. Her crime that every demented human being comes up with these days: She was out late at night? Was she wearing the right clothes?

This would have continued the normal way, however a change this time has been the awakening of the average Indian, who for some reason had believed that Silence was Golden. The sheer numbers in which the masses have congregated has been a true eye opener and a real indicator of the true people power. Politicians are being asked to leave, a PM and a Govt who have no clue as to what is really happening, a CM who asks Is it Ok and more.. It is all Theek Hai. 

A shoot out takes place in the US and a President is moved to tears for the loss of children that his country has had to go through with a genuine attempt at ensuring that it never happens again, vs a PM who does not even conjure up a genuine speech of anguish and pain.

This could go on and on, and for sure there will be no end to the incidents and the embarrassments that are coming up, nor am I trying to do a compilation of all that has happened. It is no doubt a sad day in India, but a hope of glimmer as the common man seems to have stepped out. The elected is no doubt scared, as the electorate is now asking for their pound of flesh and one does hope this brings about a change. What is necessary that a life that was so cruelly taken away is not wasted into some electoral vote debate, but brings about a change that will protect the women from more anguish. If that happens, Nirbhaya's life may not be wasted, though the anguish would always remain.

RIP Nirbhaya.. we owe her that much. 

Dec 8, 2012

A society going haywire...

When I first started blogging, the idea was to blog about things that I see in life from my perspective. Realized soon enough, one's perspective may be contorted and of course one sided.. When you look around, you see so much of disharmony around, it makes one wonder.

Two Articles that I read recently, that brought a question to myself.. Where are we as a society? Are we really developed enough to understand what freedom is all about? Do we really understand what we are doing as human beings?

One article on Sexual Molestation of a six year old in Kerala by her own father for six months after giving her alcohol, and not only doing it himself, but also others.. How does a father even think about it? Having a physical relationship with an adult when services are paid for is an age old tradition, but with children, that are your own blood and sweat??

The second one related to a man beheading his sister in public for running away and marrying some one else and living with him, and the family defining it as immoral. The fact that a person chose to have her / his own life, has kids, is of no relevance to the family who consider the act as being demeaning to their very existence and not being able to walk with their heads held high.

Is this what the freedom fight was all about? Is it that men only describe and have the right to define what is moral and immoral. Have our religious books been so dis contorted that all rights belong to the very few select people in the house who decide wrong from wrong.

Unfortunate to add to the woes, that our Judicial system too is so paralysed that it cannot take swift decisions. Casteism comes to the fore. Human Rights speak for justice and fairness when criminals are punished, Politicians see that as vote banks for the taking. The common man, is no where in the picture, as not worth considering or thought for.

We as a country despite having had our independence, have not left our barbaric roots that we come from and it is indeed a fact that the British did tame us and teach us a bit of civilization that we know. With progress being limited to a select few, with traditions in many places dying, and in some places, barbarism continuing, it is only a matter of time, we as a civilization cease to exist or move back to the Stone Age, where no rules exist, it is a man eat woman world..

PS: My thoughts may be out of sync, but reading the above two, could not hold myself from wondering where we are headed to...

Nov 10, 2012

A Grand Monument

It was a topic that started as a place to visit. Quite often we have a tendency to go to places far and away and make it a point to visit a monument that every one talks about. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building.. the list is endless... For us, it was a visit in the country, a monument built that we only read about but never visited.. The Grand Mosque in Abudhabi..

The sheer magnificence of the Architecture and the grandeur, yet the simplicity of the structure was stunning to say the least. With a capacity of holding nearly 40,000 people, 82 domes, the final structure was a sheer example of proof that Monumental Wonders can still be built in this day and age. No doubt, the comparison always goes to the wonders that have stood the test of time, the Grand Mosque was a simple example of a vision coming to reality.

Words are simply not possible to define the beauty of the Grand Mosque, the peace, the peace, the tranquility one goes through while visiting the place is a feeling that can only be experienced. What struck as the most impressive was the manner in which people of all religions, nationalities mingled alongside each other, proving yet again in this day and age that great love and labour transcends all.

A key element was the amount of detail that has gone into the building of the Mosque, not only from the grand Domes or the Minarets, but the intricate details reflecting the finest elements of Art, Calligraphy, and skills. It simply brings forth to mind the monuments that have been built in the past, hundreds of years ago, and more so, reflecting the culture and the diversity that a monument reflects. Modern to meet today's world, but yet, deep rooted in the culture to which it belongs. It brings forth people of diverse skills each contributing his / her skill to a building / a structure, which over a period of time, as it achieves its goal, becomes a true reflection of a Wonder that lives beyond its time.

No doubt, this has been built in today's times, no doubt, technology is probably 100 times better than the wonders built centuries ago, no doubt the Wonders built years ago were all manual, without any machines, but the effort remains the same. The dream, the vision, the end result when it is achieved and brought to reality, leaves one gasping for breath and it is this simplicity, that remains etched in the mind for ever.

Personally, the visit was not just to see something that every one talks about, it was more to live the dream that some one saw, and with sheer efforts brought the same to reality for all to share.. We all have our dreams, we all aim to reach there, but how many of us actually live our dreams.. No doubt, this does not reflect that one builds monuments, but achieving a dream of ours, a belief, a vision as to where we want to be and reaching there, too is, no less than a monument for the people who share our dreams.

Sep 30, 2012

An Abundance of Talent

Regular weekend TV viewing, new programmes coming up by the dozen.. What was it this time? India's got Talent.. The New Season is out..

What never ceases to amaze is the abundance of talent that lies in our country called India.. Be it the recent episode of September 29, where one saw a 3 year Old drumming away to glory, or Amardeep Nath, who virtually seemed to have no bones in his body.. Compound that with people also coming who put in swords / needles in their bodies or the simply ridiculous and then with all that pain move cars, or take weights or even jump over tube lights.

One cannot fathom as to where Talent starts and stops, and where life's desperation's come in.. Some of the stories that one hears on these shows are literally heart wrenching, when one finds out that many people bear pain, just to survive... I recall an episode last year, where there was one person who used to eat Tube lights.. So painful was that, that Dharam Paaji, went into tears.. Simply because the man who did that, used to do it for a living!!

How much is real talent, and how much is necessity.. Talent, as one grows up learning is that it is something that one is proficient in, one is a master in, or excels in and improves upon. . But where does piercing your body and stating that one does that for a living promote talent..Where does talent come when it means that you suffer just to make two ends meet... Where does talent come in, when the family of the talented, cannot confirm if their bread winner will come back home alive..

One does wonder, should this be shown on National TV? Yes, you see the riders at the bottom, but still, is pain our only earner of fame? Do we not have real talent, that can be shown, stuff, that India as a country is made of, or do we pride on showing the bizarre... Is this what we as a country are heading off to, the way the Western world has prided themselves on...And what does remain common, is that the one that is really soulful and excellent, is mostly with people who are really struggling to make two ends meet.

Where do we fit in? I guess as human beings, we too have our next generation ready to take on the world.. They too have their talents, their areas of expertise, and how they utilize the good to excel in is our responsibility.. We may have some excellent dancers amongst our midst, or some one with a brilliant voice in our family.. How that is nurtured to ensure that it is real talent and not simply a derangement of the mind, is how the generations are guided to grow up with.. However what one does see, is that most of the talent is in abundance with people who have not had the opportunity to succeed, either through a good life or education.. The Educated ones are the ones that scare the most...

Brings me back to my question.. Where is the dividing line, between genius and madness.

Sep 15, 2012

A Weight Problem

From Gulf News
Nothing to do with fat people, or people who have trouble losing weight.. Just an Article in the news (School Bags pose Weighty Problem) about schools starting and the age old problem coming up of how many books our kids take to school.

Never ceased to amaze me or make me wonder.. What do the kids carry to school.. For sure, all of us have gone to school at some point. We too have had our share of 8 classes, 8 subjects, textbooks, notebooks, the works.. But did we ever take 10 kilos of books to school.

People with large numbers of books were confined to be nerds, and I distinctly recall at my time, the idea was, can you survive with as few books as possible.. A feat that I managed to achieve in my 12th Std, where I used to take only three notebooks to school.. One for Accounts (for all the TB's and the P*L's / BS's) and two 400 page books for the other subjects.. The Notebooks split into Sections: Economics, Maths, Commerce.. and each section used accordingly.. Yes, a pain when studying as you had to go through multiple books, but come to think of it.. Just three Note books..

Where are all the cool swanky bags that used to be taken to school, the thinner the better.. We too had our textbooks, we too had our drawing books, but never to an extent of lugging in half your body weight to school on your back.. Where are the old school bags, made out of light tin, the small square ones..
A thought does remain, as to what are we trying to do with our kids.. Yes, competition is fierce, there is no mercy, but what good is a stunted intelligent kid, with his back half broken by the time he is 18.. It is now to a stage where not only does a kid need to study, but he also has to be in body building classes to not only carry the weight, but also learn posture.. Do we really expect them to study??

A big challenge no doubt, but something obviously gone wrong in the educational system.. We all graduated, we all did our MBA's, Medicines, Masters and the works.. The books were there, no doubt, however they were either in the library to come and read in, or at home, when we studied after school / college.

The schools were meant to go and listen to the teachers, who did the text book part and taught us from there... Not that we were to go there and read with the teachers for the first time..

Technology no doubt is changing a lot.. One sees in the Western world a change of having interactive classes, with no books, all on the net.. Or you bring in your IPAD's or your IBooks, the idea being to understand what is out there and then apply.. Where you still need books, schools provide locker concepts, where your books are put into the locker and you only carry what you need for a particular class. A lot many schools, countries are following the same concept, however one sees it more on the Western way of Education, rather than the Asian.

No doubt there are two sides to a coin, that the reading / mugging concept helps us as it teaches us to concentrate / grasp, however it may be mugged. Proof is that Indians are every where in the world in the work force. But then, as one sees, the Indian may be smarter, but works harder, whereas the Westerner, who also studied the same, probably works smarter. It no doubt, boils down to Education, which both may have the same.. But it is also the concept and the process how each has come to learn with..

Some where, some how, it gives a feeling that learning to carry our heavy bags from our school days, is simply a reminder that no matter what, we should always slog our entire life.. Enjoyment is only when you retire, if you are alive to enjoy, that is....

Aug 20, 2012

Bombay oh Bombay....

Some things never change.. No matter, how long the time gap, how many generations pass by, what ever changes come over, how much of technology overruns simple life, some things are not meant to change..

I guess my habit of disappearing at times is indeed one of my traits, however, for me it was Bombay, or rather for a big generation now, Mumbai.. Of course it will be a long time before the people who used to call it Bombay are all gone, and Mumbai becomes the standard name, but just like Bombay remaining Bombay, life in Bombay remains life in Bombay.

I recently went for a vaction back home after nearly 15 years, I have had my occassional trip to Bombay but has been only on work, hence it has been the standard office / hotel routine.. Going back home without having to work and on a break was indeed a long time off..

As I went through the standard routine of meeting relatives, aunts, uncles that I had not met for years, it did strike that though a lot had changed, basic life remained the same. There were tons of new flyovers, the Bandra Worli Sealink was a marvel no doubt, however the by lanes remained the same. You had all the international banks in Mumbai, the European ones, the German ones, the French ones, but you still had your SBI's, CBI's, IOB's still standing where they were.. Leave aside the fact that they still had setups that could take you years back in memory, with some not even changing the furniture.

The Jazzy Showrooms of the Volvo's, the Hyundais, the Mercs, standing next to the Tatas and the Maruti Showrooms.. Of course, competition had changed, it was no longer the dull old Fiat that one would see on the road and the long old time of people searching for a non AC cab, simply due to it being cheaper was long gone.. Call a Cab concepts were a dime a dozen, the Honda's, the Toyota's, the Hyundai's, all running in line with the diplidated Fiat's that were more than a dime a dozen. Chowpatty Beach / Worli Seaface / Haji Ali, all still there, some with no change, some like Juhu a sight simply to be avoided.

Dining was of course part of the game.. I recall the last time, I went for a Thali / Dosa in Mumbai, four years ago... A good restaurant was 200 Bucks for a thali, 40 bucks for a Dosa... Come 2012, 300+ Bucks for a decent thali, a Dosa at an Udipi restaurant at 60 - 80 bucks.. Ouch.. The road side stalls still there, the sandwitch waala, the bhel puri waala, the dosa waala, and how can I forget the road side Chai stall.. All there, still in the business, still catering to the masses, the people walking out of the train stations and having their first breakfast through them.. Many also having their pre train snacks at the same stall..

Prices no doubt have gone up.. No longer one finds chaai at Re 1, or a sandwitch at Re 4, Amul Butter sandwitches at Re 6, these days, every item is upmarketed. No matter what you have to offer, no matter how wild, there is always a buyer, as long as it is marketed well. Outsourcing is no longer limited to BPO's, every thing is outsourced. A medical test for blood, you cannot go, no problems sir, we will come to your house, for a fee.. A delivery that you cannot take, we will do it, for a fee..

MNC's hire BPO's, BPO's hire small time entreprenuers, STE's hire the day / night operators, and they in turn hire the free lancers.. Every one has a price, and the more it gets streamlined, the more expensive it becomes. Of course, it is initself a boon to the economy, as it runs, every one generating their share of the income in Bombay, but, when it comes to life in general, how much of it do people enjoy?

It is simply a run every day.. Residence to the station, station to the Work place, and back.. Hours disappear when commuting, yet people still flock to the Magical land.. One lives farther and farther with every passing year, with people now living a hour off Virar and communting to Churchgate. You spend more than half your life running up and down, without a thought, all trying to get that dream house of a 2/ 3 BHK and living life comfortably.. How many of us ever get to it, no one knows, how many never even reach the start is mind boggling, but yet, the magical lure of Bombay or Mumbai, once in your blood.....

Bombay oh Mumbai..

May 25, 2012

A Cricket Match

Long time overdue, tons going on, and I guess that is normal for a lot of us.. We get so down on work, no time to enjoy, or take a break. Have a life.. It is simply Work, Work and Work..

Found myself in a similar situation once again, however this time decided to have a break. A game for a change, and of course planned or unplanned, it turned out to be Cricket. Started off as being invited for an office match on a Saturday, had been years since had played, it was even surprising that could remember how to hold a bat. A few swings and it was like riding a bicycle.

The fun and the mental relief was amazing. Completely forgot about the worries of the day, the pending mails, the tens of issues on the desk, the guilt feeling of not working.. It was simply a time to play and enjoy. 4 hours of pure exercise, batting, bowling, fielding, feeling every inch the cricketer that once every one probably was..

Interestingly enough, two weeks later got more lucky on a work trip to Pune, where a sudden decision by the group to see the MI vs PWI match happened. A sudden flurry to get tickets to the match, calling people here there and every where to see if we could was a highlight of the day. Finally enough we did manage to get the tickets (paying three times the price of the second lowest stand), and off we went.

Another situation.. years since had watched a match live.. Difference obviously was, the last time I did, there was no concept of night matches. First step in, and simply overawed at the change that had taken place over the years. Lights, music, people in colourful dresses, waving flags like mad, jumping, screaming and enjoying every run, every dive, every shot.. The noise, deafening, the atmosphere, eclectic to say the least.. Very soon, I was one of the crowd, waving flags, screaming, and jumping with joy on every great shot. Another moment, where simply lost in another world, another dimension, with no cares of the current.

Nothing special one would say, however the two instances were simply a realization of life in general, where we tend to bog ourselves so very down that we have no time left for ourselves.. Of course, many of us, do manage to split our lives and ensure that one lives a full and enjoyable one, however, it was a stark realization (for me at least) of a time, that had left behind, and a moment savoured so preciously. The choice I guess is for us to make.. We all do live for our employers, but there is also a necessity to live for ourselves.

Apr 20, 2012

Natively Speaking

It was a discussion on one of our community chat pages on FB.. How many of our kids speak our native language any more and where they don't, why not?

A simple enough question, the answer should have of course been, all our kids. It was indeed amazing to see the various responses from all walks of life and so many parents, both young and old, having a view.. What was indeed common among all was the similarity of thoughts the two generations had, of course, there was a blend of the old in the new, and v.v. but the overall thought process was similar.

The elder generation felt that our kids today don't and the new generation felt that it was a matter of choice. Of course, the visibility and the exposure that our children have today is far far more than what our parents had in their hey day, and to a large extent what the middle generation, we, have. Cultures too, can be blamed, the environment in which one grows up, of course plays a big role, however the root point was indeed, how many of the new kids speak our home language at home.

My personal experience has been mixed, with the new kids going the Western way taking a big lead, with many openly stating, I don't understand (and fully proudly supported by their parents). Kids today speak English a lot confidently than probably we or our parents did. Does it make sense as to what they speak, or is it grammatically correct, or does any one understand what they speak, is a secondary discussion. Point is, how many of us as parents force our kids to speak our home language at home.

It is an HS matter that our kids speak English and an LS if they speak native. Many of the new generation parents and their parents promote the kids to speak in English. It is a matter of discussion in many parties, a matter of pride, in a function that your four year old speaks and responds in English, leave aside that the entire function may be of your own community.

Surely, with the big wide world becoming more smaller with technological advances and the visibility of more cultures / TV programmes, cities being more multi-cultural than ever, generations growing up in unit families, inter community and relgion marriages, one would say this is an inevitable process. English is the language of the world, however it is indeed unfortunate that many cultures are losing their own identity, for the sake of a foreign one.

One still sees many communities, specially in India and in the Southern belt, for that matter, where people take pride in their language and speak in it at the first possible opportunity. Maybe that is what binds them all together, maybe that is why every South Indian is termed as a Madrasi, but I guess at some point, they would be the few communities left who still have their own language and more important, their identity.

Whether we decide to keep ours, is our choice and how we make our kids follow this, too is our decision.. I always tend to remember a quote, I read once and all the more to ensure that we keep our history, and our identity:

"No matter if English is the common language of the world, more people speak Chinese than English"

Apr 8, 2012


MBO - Google Images
Three alphabets, just the last one changes.. And it means a world of a difference. A difference between a person going out of his way to do some thing against a person going into a self induced trauma, unknowingly and subconsciously, that may scar him for life. Some of you may have already realized it.. If not, all about Management.. By Objectives, or by Example, or simply, by Fear

Surely, most of us go through it at various times during our work environment. We all have our times, when we are guided by our peers, either through defined objectives and goals, which the peers themselves believe in, and lead by example and living up to the objectives that all try to attain.. A common goal. The Manager or the leader takes the first step, clearly reiterating the common goal and objective, the vision, the road that we all must reach to. The team follows like lambs, the goal common, the vision clear.

MBF: Google Images

Come over to the other part of the world.. Fear, coercion, threats to get the work done. Peers simply ensuring that there are always threats looming over the team to get the work done. Irrespective of the fact that the work is being done, but the fear has to remain.

The threat and the fear of losing one's job is sufficient motivation to scare the living daylights out of a person to ensure that he / she performs to his maximum. Never takes a light moment. Always on the run, from the time one enters the office to the time one leaves.. Lunches are at supersonic speed, the 15 minutes spent could be better used to do some work.. A joke during a cup of tea is a luxury!! Of course the Manager gets all of it.

We all go through life in the same manner. We all have had or still have our shares. There are hundreds of instances daily where one sees various Managers following one example or the other.. Unfortunately, it is the MBF more often than the MBE (explaining why we never had another Gandhi or Martin Luther King or a Lincoln). And they thrive on it. And it succeeds, because, it is part of life, it is part of our psyche.

We live on the fear and our peers know it. We go through it in school with the bully, in college with the ragging, in life, not wanting to take that unknown step as to what would happen, if we challenged it. Many managers believe in it and continue this mode. Screaming, shouting, are simply mechanics to have the fear installed and kept, even if unwarranted.

How do we stop this, how does this reduce? Of course, not propagating picking up a base ball bat and having a swing at the crop of the hair, covering the head. That would be criminal, but one way would be to start at home. Why? Because in one way, it all starts there. How many of us, use the MBF with our kids to get them to do what we want? How many times have we dangled the sticks and bones theory. In some places it even applies to the wife or the wife to the husband? It is always the blame game.. If some thing goes wrong, you are responsible for it. Failure cannot be accepted, as it is a high stakes game. You have to be the winner and you cannot let your peer lose..

We start this as being kids studying in fear for that elusive grade.. We see it at work when we join, with the Managers instilling fear in us.. We learn this and take this to our subordinates, and at some point, we take it home with us and start this all over again. Life indeed comes a full circle. Where do we stop this, or can we stop this? I believe we can, and it all starts with Self Education.. Or the life we want our future generations to live.

Mar 30, 2012

A Time gone by - Old Ads

Memory lane continues...Watching an old movie recently from my VHS collections (Any one still remember? Betamex / VHS..??), and this was a recorded one done quite a long while ago (I still have my VHS cassettes :))... 

Half way through the movie, an an ad comes up (these were the days of recording one and watching another and no effective pause buttons) and I go spell bound.. Nothing great or out of the world, but the sheer oldness and the simplicity of the Ad rang a bell. Nothing fancy, no special effects, and yet a message. Fevicol

Off on a wild chase for more of such memorial ads that many of us grew up watching, during school, or college and were probably the brightest spots in a boring Chayya Geet or a drab Sunday movie on DD1.

An all time favourite: Lalita Ji and her "samajdhari" in purchasing Surf. Simple setting ad's, children doing nonsense, no shirts being torn, no women in see through wear or people jumping off buildings, or women coming out of pools, just the message.

Creams.. Sangita Bijlani in the old Vicco Turmeric Ads.. Family wedding, an old style lavish bungalow, followed onwards after marriage. Absolutely simple, yet effective. Pan Parag with Shammi Kapoor and Ashok Kumar... "Baratiyon ka Swagat, paan parag sey kijiye".

Talcum powders, body creams, deodorants, simple messages through people that could be associated. No Rock stars, high fliers that we have today.. Yes, there were film stars that did the ads in the days of the old, but yet, one felt that the masses could relate to them as most were with people of every day life. Today it has to be an SRK or a John Abraham, or a Kareena, or a Deepika Padukone.. How many of us relate?

Another favourite: The Remo / Juhi Pepsi Ad, truly a rocking ad at the time. Musical and starry, felt the blood go on on that one, with a classy finish.

Then there were the ones with Gavaskar and Imran, and Imran, Wasim, Waqar... Remo going Yehi hai right choice Baby.... .Aaahaa.. The Hajmola Ad...

Endless, surely, and the list can go on and on, with soo soo many favourites. Missed no doubt, never seen again, ever, surely the people who acted in them, might not want to see them, but all said and done, they are pure classics.

Part of life I guess, things move on, times progress.. What is classic to us today, would have been shocking to our parents then. could they have accepted us rocking like Remo did, or drooling over Sangeeta Bijlani.. Lalita Ji, was to respect and revere.. The Nirma Ad was just a blaze of circles, with the package only showing.. Never a person.

But as always, times change, people move on and the world looks for something new. But in this search for the new, do we retain our innocence?

Why do we need women in bikini's to be standing next to a guy and rubbing his cheeks for a clean shave? Why do you need to do a body to body salsa, going through every curve of a woman just to eat a biscuit? Why does a man need to smell a woman all over just to find out that her hair is smelling gr8 and has no dandruff? How do Angels fall when you splash Axe? How can you come out of the ocean wearing a bikini and it gives you a lemon freshness feeling? Why is it that when a guy in shorts walks past the pool, the water evaporates from the heat of the body spray??

Are we so conscious, or are we as a generation growing in the midst of a new century, so obsessed with looks, bodies and beauty, that every thing else is secondary? Do we really buy the products watching half naked people walking in the Ads.. Surely, the wife and the husbands would kill each other if that being the case? Why then the need to degrade people of any gender, simply to sell, or to "reach the masses".

As we changed, surely, our coming generations too will change.. What we don't know is where the next generation goes. Of course, one would say that we are unnecessarily worried, but sure, as we progress, our coming generations too have a right to progress..

That of course, is a long time off.. For the time being, it is a forgotten past, an era gone by, simplicity replaced with show business, and all we have is memories.. In case, one needs to view old ads, these are all on the Doordarshan blog spot.

Mar 25, 2012

A tooth gone bad..

Has been a while since I wrote and not for want of topics (yes, one goes through this once in a while), but sometimes as I notice, you take an unplanned break, and before long, a couple of weeks disappear.

Event of the week for me.. A tooth gone bad.. Very simply speaking, was eating, a bit of my tooth chipped off, two days later, another bit.. and for the first time in my life, I went to a doctor, when I saw something going wrong.

Quick overview, BIG Cavity, half your tooth has disappeared, very serious, and before I knew it, the guy drilled into my tooth, got rid of half of it, and filled it up with the standard filling. On the verge of starting to clean all my teeth and took some convincing to hold him back, as still had to get over the shock of the cavity, and not to mention the bill that I got only for the filling. A lot more wiser after the incident with also a free dental overview as to how teeth are structured and why Root canals are important and people spend money for teeth, left home for some soul searching.

What soul searching, one may say for a tooth? Not much, but one point that the dentist mentioned stuck in my head. Your cavity must be there for about two years. If you had come earlier, we could have cleaned it and your tooth saved. Now honestly speaking for all the grey hair that I have collected over the years, I might have gone to the dentist not more than twice in my life. Simple reason, I take care of my teeth. I brush twice a day, properly clean my teeth after meals, have a huge sweet tooth, but still take good care.. I guess that is not enough.

The doc simply said.. No matter what you do, it is still not enough as the bacteria tends to stay and needs professional cleaning. Isn't life like that? We make sure we are filled with good habits, we meet good people, we read good books, we ensure good thoughts, we teach our children to follow the same, yet when it comes to ourselves, internally, we tend to let it go. Why do we accumulate negative thoughts despite all the good efforts that we put in. Why do we have bad experiences despite ensuring that we always follow the good path?

When it does happen, we are not ready for it, simply because we are not expecting it or have tuned ourselves to not expect it. We have this tendency that things will take care of themselves if we take care of things

Just like the tooth, if had not taken that extra effort and gone, probably might have left it for long, the cavity eating the other teeth over time, just as one bad apple spoils the others, or one sour mango spreads itself to the others, life too has its shares of good and bad.

Be it the tooth, be it our innerself, be it the clothes that we wear, we all at some point in time, require cleansing, that may not be so apparent from the outside or even possible on our own, but is something that is so necessary for our very survival.

Mar 3, 2012

A forgotten life....Games we played

A typical post on FB.. Forgotten Games of India.. Not many, just a few, and wham.. Like always, a click on the image, you go into memory lane, and try to remember when was the last time you played any of these. For that matter, how many games did we even remember growing up playing.

Having had the fortune and misfortune to have spent my growing years out of India, no doubt, I too have been a participant and a player of most of these games, the misfortune being, that I was not exposed to more. But be it India or outside in the Middle East, which was predominantly Indian and the communities in bounds, the games were all our desi games.

How many times, coming back from school, would we stop on the road side, dig into our bags, and pull out our marbles (no pun intended) for a quick game. Or while walking back the lattu in our hand and twirling in the palm of our hand, each one trying to better the other. Running home, a quick meal, and then our cricket bats.. No padding up, no guards, it was just the tennis ball, one wicket that one guy in the building had and the other two wickets being broken sticks at time..

We sill have a laugh and a roll on these, and we tend to reminiscise every time we travel back home or we get into memory lane. The laughs and the jokes, of do you remember, how we beat the shit out of Shyam, and do you remember, how we went home crying and on and on.. No games for boys and girls.. We all played them irrespective of their type and who they were meant for. It was a life meant for outdoors..

I am not sure what changed, but some where the world moved faster than all of us, or rather we allowed it to.. Of course a major difference was that cost of living was much lower, but then money had a value. Money was not to be spent simply because we as children asked for it. You lost all your Gotis or your cricket card selection, you had to play to win it back.. No Mom buying you extra breakfast cereal boxes just for you to collect extra cards..

Games were meant for enjoyment and were looked forward to not as school sports days annual events, but were played in the society compounds or in the gardens on weekend family visits. Never did one find it limited to kids, both the young and the old played and joined in.. Who plays ludo now? Where has Snakes and Ladders gone? Do we ever play Checkers or Bingo? How many of us even have a Carom Board at home any more? Does any one ever remember Atari?

No doubt we all moved on, but some where we took our future generations also with us. More income meant more to dispose.. Changing times meant technological games, coming down to gaming centers, or XBox's or Wi's or now even better, on IPA D's, IPhone, PS2's, PS3's and before you can understand the first, the sixth upgrade has come.. The kids today have half their eyes squinted on to a 6 inch monitor or if better a 17 inch, or if the dad is still rich, games on a 52 Inch Led Home Theater Screen, with new games every week.. The kids do not go out any more, parents probably prefer them at home, as going out means some one has to monitor (leave aside that our mom's used to cook and still find time every five minutes to have a glance from the window or the neighbour's mom would keep tabs, if our houses were off.

No doubt, time has moved on, and we still have memories flashing back with all of us some where, some how, trying to maintain our past, in this ever changing future. However it is a diminishing trend, with the competition and the will to survive being the predominant factor in life. Question remains that we learnt the will to survive by growing up with friends / foes and in our compounds and streets, where matters commenced, fights started and finished with friends coming and closing these off, with handshakes. End of the day, you still had one girl in the building who would smile at you, and the guys would still be friends.

No doubt, in the India of today and in many parts this still exists and would still be time until we wipe this out, however the time is not far, when the only knowledge our kids may have is how to gun down the enemy to go to level 17.. Would it be too late by then?

Feb 23, 2012

The Green Thing

It all started with a mail chain that got fowarded and set me on memory lane. Initial story as below:
Courtesy Little Green Blog
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

How True.. All we see today is Green, Green, and Green.. Surely, a lot of us are not that old going back 7 decades, but a lot of us have grown up in the "Non Green Environment".

Soft drink bottles were returned back to the stores for 50 fils, which not only gave some extra pocket money, but the bottles were sent back for washing / sterilizing and resold. The same bottle gets used again. We never drank Cokes and Pepsi in plastic bottles, simply because these were wrap sealed. Nothing green about it.

School meant walking, even if it was for 30 minutes. No Dad or Mom driving their gas guzzling 4x4's that would drop us to school, simply because petrol was cheaper than water.

Elevators were only in high rise buildings, but we never thought of these if they did not exist in ours, even if it meant climbing up and down ten times a day. It could be as simple as a friend calling or going to the grocery store to buy milk and in the bargain get a lollipop. We walked every where, never needed a gym that had enough lights to turn night into day or worked on machines that were huge energy busters.

One TV, one Radio, One AC. That for many was their luxury of appliances. TVs mostly black and white, Radio in the living room, Ac's never switched on unless it was really hot and even then only when it was time to sleep. Once the room cooled, the AC was switched off. We now have 40 inch LED's in every room, home theaters to listen to a CD of light music and Central Ac's with free chillers that are on all day.

Crystal glasses that we would take back home would be wrapped in all our old clothes and newspapers, fitted with rubber bands. Today we use foam, bubble wrap, and we even plasti wrap our bags. Once we reach, we dump it all. The amount used would be enough to cover up three people without clothes, if ever these could be stitched.

Water in steel glasses, no one cared how many people had used the glass before us. Some water, a swipe of the hand and the glass is clean. Eight glasses of water a day today, and eight plastic cups used as a minimum. Disposable plastic pens? We grew up on ink pens.

We switched off electricity in the rooms where we did not sit, simply because it cost money. We never let the AC run for two hours to cool the room before we could go and sleep, nicely tucked under a 7 kilo blanket. Gardens were in our balconies, today we create them outside our villa's and have power generated motors to manage them.

We destroy forests then host conferences on how to save the Amazon. We run our electricity all year long; switch it off for one hour in a year and proudly declare that we participated in this. Global conferences entail thousands of people travelling all over the world for two days, to discuss what we can save for our future, without ever compromising on our present.

It does make one wonder as to was our upbringing wrong, or was our environment not in line. We see the generations today, do everything that our parents taught us not to do, however we are unable to tell our future generations the same. What also never surprises, is that every generation expects the previous generation to save the world for them to live and enjoy, without ever realizing that the world today exists because of the past generations.

Development does bring its costs, however there is an element of common sense, which unfortunately we seem to have lost some where along the way. Is it simply to hide our mistakes that we know we can never stop? Is it simply a matter of who cares? Or is it society's plague that we ourselves have built and have no means of getting out.

For me, I am still glad, I was born before the Green Environment, and if given a chance, would go through it all again