Friday, April 21, 2006

idealism

A few months back i was travelling from Bangalore to Erode by bus.I was in the aisle seat and i happened to get a series of calls from friends from different corners of the country and the gentleman seated near the window became curious about me.He asked about what i do and other usual queries that are asked to fellow travellers.I told him that my job entails hell lot of travelling and is quite adventurous.We started getting along well.He worked in a leading IT company and has put in around ten years.His wife is also with him in the same company and i could gather that they are well placed in their company heirarchy and satisfied with what they have achieved.We then discussed about working conditions in private sector and government.After a while he pointed out a hoarding that extolled a cine actor as the only hope for the poor and asked me how i felt about this phenomenon where politics is the refuge of all scoundrels.i asked him whether he has ever voted in the elections. He replied with out embarrassment that he has never voted.

This conversation kept on coming back to me.I evaluated the contours of my life since i left college in chennai.After college I was at the University in delhi for around seven years.I am surprised to learn how far i moved away from being a believer in uncompromising idealism to being practical in life.Does every body believe in some fundamental ideals?universal ideals? I was a student activist in college and university.So i was in some sort of laboratory condition where one had the confidence that change for better is always possible through activism and all of us have some thing to contribute towards a better (ofcourse 'better' meant different things to different people)world. But that optimism and confidence started eroding so subtly that i failed to notice. I guess that for people who were not exposed to the possibilities of social dreaming being practical is the very essence of successful living.I am not eulogising activists. Most of them become pratical at one stage and get swallowed by the wider system. I believe that to hold on to one's ideals is a tough task given the material consumer culture that envelops our every aspect of life. The most important strategy is to be aware of our own actions and what they mean to us personally.Idealism should be sought not in great deeds but in every day life.In what we do at home,at office, in every day chores of life.

Friday, March 17, 2006

God's Own Country

As part of my training i had the opportunity to be at cochin for a week.In my travels around india i found the keralites to be the most happiest of the lot. Donot ask me what are the parameters for deciding upon the quantum of happiness.One of my friend's friend had come to see us and interestingly he had done his MPhil on 'The Impact of IMFL(Indian Made Foreign Liquor) on Kerala Society'.He told us that the per capita alcohol consumption is the highest in Kerala among all the states. I had visited cochin twice before.The first trip was when in my +1 vacation i went to lakshwadeep from cochin port.My memories of that trip consist of endless ferry trips, the jewish synagogue and the marine drive. The second trip was in 2004 when i went along with my mom to backwaters of kerala(made famous by kumarakom resort). We didnot spent much time at cochin except for an evening at marine drive.I stayed near M.G.Road in Ernakulam and my place of training was at Fort Kochi which is around 10 kms by road.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Festival of Words


I wrote poems for school annual magazines till tenth.Read them at higher secondary and that reading made me hate poetry and poets.My fears about poets was confirmed when the poet laureate of my school in erode became my good friend.I had to read his poems.In college he fell in love and inflicted me with his poems filled with romantic delirium.But afterwards he slowly joined the mainstream, became a careerist, married that girl and stopped writing poem.I think he could no more dare to dream, imagine.The whirlpool of life-BEING PRACTICAL -sucked him out of that world of words and the poet in him died.My life lost its way and i lost the ability to appreciate beauty within words. But in the past one and a half year i have managed to read a lot of wonderful books where words have many lives of their own. I came across pablo neruda a number of times and it seemed everybody liked his poetry.Then sometime back i read, i forgot where, that he was a diplomat in asia and had the typical attitude of the Europeans and although no fault could be found in his poems, the poet was not what his poems speake.So i became curious and got hold of his auto biography simply titled MEMOIRS and a collection of his poems from the library and started reading.It gave me a new feeling.Reading pablo neruda gave me that bliss i get by lying on the floor, being half asleep and dreaming after eating a sumptuous lunch prepared by mom. He is a wordsmith. His poems are sheer festival of words.I will serve you some words.Please relish.




From what I have left in writing on these pages there will always fall-as in the autumn grove or during the harvesting of the vineyards - yellow leaves on their way to death, and grapes that will find new life in the sacred wine.


I had to suffer and struggle, to love and sing; I drew my worldly share of triumphs and defeats, I tasted bread and blood.What more can a poet want? And all the choices,tears or kisses, loneliness or the fraternity of man, survive in my poetry and are an essential part of it, because I have lived for my poetry and my poetry has nourished everything i have striven for. And if I have received many awards, awards fleeting as butterflies, fragile as pollen, I have attained a greater prize, one that some people may deride but not many can attain.I have gone through a difficult apprenticeship and a long search , and also through the labyrinths of the written word,to become the poet of my people.That is my reward, not the books and the poems that have been translated, or the books written to explicate or to dissect my words. My reward is the momentous occasion when, from the depths of the Lora coal mine, a man came up out of the tunnel into the full sunlight on the fiery nitrate field, as if rising out of hell, his face disfigured by his terrible work, his eyes inflamed by the dust, and stretching his rough hand out to me , a hand whose calluses and lines trace the map of the pampas, he said to me, his eyes shining: " I have known you for a long time, my brother." That is the laurel crown for my poetry
.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Rail Payanangal


Ever since i came to delhi in 1995 i have become a compulsive traveller.I made a rough calculation about my train travails and i found out that i have spent a minimum of one year of my life on trains!! Initially i used to enjoy interaction with the fellow travellers.But soon i started getting bored as everything started falling in to a pattern. From the looks and a few minutes observation i could make out the contours of the conversation that is posible in a day or two of our sharing of small space. So nowadays i observe mouna viratham on my travels and divide my time between books and overhearing others talk.The past few weeks have been hectic and i could not find time even to surf and blog.I am happy that atlast somebody had faith in my creativity and i am indebted to bindu for giving me an opportunity. But alas i was bowled out by that googhly.In the past couple of months i have had the fortune to traverse the length and breadth of our forsaken land and instead of trumpeting about the places i shall give only the itinery.


Delhi-Dehradun-Mussoorie

Mussoorie-Shimla-Sangla(one day drive from shimla along the sutlej)henceforth by trek-Rupin Pass(5400 mts)-Jhaka(H.P)-Naitwar(uttranchal)trek ends-mussoorie

Mussoorie-Delhi-Hoshangabad(M.P)-Tawa tiger reserve-Hoshangabad-Delhi-Mussoorie

Mussoorie-Delhi-Erode

Erode-Chennai-Delhi

Delhi-Ahmedabad-Somnath-Diu-Gir Sanctuary-Ahmedabad-Delhi

Delhi-Kota-Neemuch(M.P)-Chittor-Udaipur-Mt.Abu-Delhi

Delhi-Hyderabad-Delhi

Delhi-Agra-Fathepur Sikri-Delhi

Delhi-Indore-Mandu fort-Ujjain-Delhi

Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Delhi

Delhi-Coimbatore-Madurai-Tuticorin-Delhi

Delhi-Bangalore-Delhi

Delhi-Bangalore-Erode-Madurai-Tuticorin-Chennai-Delhi

Delhi-Agra-Fathepur Sikri-Delhi

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Learning Hebrew


I have dreamt and still dream of doing so many things. I am always planning about the steps that i got to take and assure repeatedly myself that i will not drag on and henceforth i will be a transformed( for worse?!) person.In the long list of dreams learning languages was one.While in college at chennai i made an attempt at learning sanskrit. I found out a student of sanskrit college at Mylapore and became his first student.But after few days i became regularly irregular and dropped out without even informing.For post graduation i came over to JNU,Delhi which is an excellent center for learning foreign languages.My best friend Anbu was a student of German and thus i got to hear a lot about foreign languages and the modus operandi of learning. Still i could not move my honorable self in to any attempt at learning a language.After few years of endless 'Chai' sessions and big talk, i decided to learn Hebrew and enrolled at the Israeli Embassy at Delhi. Anbu also joined and thus my tryst with Hebrew and the Israeli embassy began.

I decided on Hebrew as i had planed to do my thesis on Israel. I, like many disinformed persons had a romantic notion of Israel as a valiant little david upagainst diabolical Goliaths from the staple reading list of any small town boy like me comprising Oh Jerusalem, Exodus, Mitla Pass, Entebbe Operation etc. I remember Kamal Hassan reading a book on Entebbe in a scene from Balachandar's movie.The course was of one year duration. But going thru the security check thrice a week while attending the classes at the embassy was intolerable. My first hebrew teacher Ayala Gal was a Jew of French origin and wife of a diplomat. She had all the ignorance that is expected of an european who knows India well but she was a nice teacher.The encounter with racist attitude at the embassy made me look deeper in to the history of Israel and spurred my interest further.I despite my best efforts couldnot bear with the behaviour of the embassy and stopped after six months. The jews at the embassy were unable to differentiate between an Indian university student wanting to learn hebrew and an immigrant thai agricultural worker in Israel.
After this misadventure i gave up all hopes of learning hebrew.Fortunately after some months Israeli government decided to introduce Hebrew language in India by sending teachers from the Hebrew University and thus an one year part time course was introduced at JNU.I felt lucky and joined.For the first six months our teacher was Mr.Hiya Dahan,a senior teacher who was very affectionate and took effort to teach us.He was of the first generation in the new Jewish state and had the pioneering zeal which looked any questioning of the sacredness of Israel as blasphemy.He had taken the picture postcard image of India teeming with cows, snake charmers, elephants , maharajahs, disease and poverty a bit too serious and could never come to terms with the chaos that is India. For the next six months, we had a wonderful and sensitive teacher,Ms.Mira Smoli but from the initial strength of 15 we were only 2 after a few months. But she did not loose heart and enabled me to complete a language course at last!She was widely read and had a realistic idea of India as a nation that can only be felt and not understood.The hebrew language course was discontinued after one year because of bureaucratic wrangling and Israelis who had withstood multitude of arab armies fell before the onslaught of our red tapism and clerks and decided to cancel the hebrew language program.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Deciphering the Dress Code


The confusion that arose after the publication of party photos of The Park seems to have acquired a life of its own and is portrayed as a diaster of tsunamian magnitude by both the sides. As a wanna be famous blogger i am compelled by the circumstances to add to the confusion!

How important is dress code and drinking/smoking by women to a culture? If anyone has the time and interest to look into our own past they will realise this as a tragic-comedy. The progressive -feminist brigade has rose in one voice to defend the right of girls(and ladies too) to dance as they wish and drink what they want.But why is this voice so loud only when there is a threat to the lifestyle of the elite? The guardians of tamil culture are neither knowledgable in Tamil nor cultured.I am the best example for what these guardians have done to Tamils.My writing skill in Tamil is non existent and in English it is poor.I studied till my eighth standard in an English Medium school without learning a word of English and also Tamil. I speak a language that is a mixture of Tamil and English in unintelligent proportions.But the worst part was i lost the ability to think in any language!!! Women of my grand ma's generation and before didnot wear the blouse. May be being topless was in fashion then. So many women from rural heartlands smoke beedi/cigar/hookah.so what's revolutionary in our feminists smoking under the notion that patriarchy is going up in smoke? Dress code will continue to change as has been happening since the beginning of the human civilization. The question is under what context. so let's fight over and argue over more substantial issues like personal laws and right in property for women!!

A plausible solution for the confusion over what and how women must wear . GO FOR DIGITAL DRESSING.




Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Who is Afraid of Exams!

Yesterday my departmental exams got over.After going thru so many exams( annuals, semesters,entrances, scholarships, fellowships,competetive,)i was elated that my travails would be over once i landed up in a job.But alas there is no end in sight for my misery. Approach of exams always make me relaxed. I have never been able to take any exams seriously.Starting with my 12th to the present times of departmental exams, i have been always amused by the hullabaloo.The approach of the date and the feverish ambience inflicts sleeping sickness on me.May be that's why i am unscarred. During my higher secondary the whole lot of students( i was in science group with maths)aiming Medical college were totally focussed on the public exams and withdrew themselves from all the joy and adolescent creativity of school life.Our group was a bit off the track and was a eclectic mixture that was into trekking, quiz,culturals, sports and most importantly reading.(ofcourse not text books).my amma was troubled by my disinterestedness in scoring marks and tried her best to make me realize the necessity of being competetive as she thinks that 12th marks are the stars that decide our destiny in life.only two persons from my class didnot attend the tuition classes.one scored the highest marks in the state and i was the other lucky one but was one among the last in the class.For my final year BSc Botany practical exam we had about 15 experiments. But i could not make myself thorough with any of those even with my best efforts. So i put the burden cooly on lord Venkateswara of Thirupathi by promising him my hair and chose only one experiment to study. And true to his credential Lord Venky saved me.But looking back, i most of the times feel i have been right in the way i have dealt with the exams.