Sunday, October 24, 2010


               Accidentally, a pair of eyes caught my sight. They were rummaging around furtively and they finally set upon something lying in one dirty corner. ‘Whoa!’ a piece of chapatti but a stale and dusty one. Those starving eyes picked it up, scraped the dirt and stashed it safely into a jhola. Probably, the charitable soul would feed a stray animal. But what I saw was a bolt from the blue! He settled down at a peaceful spot, slowly fetched this seemingly invaluable possession and, started nibbling it off!
               Eat your breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper! How many of us actually have the dispensation of eating our meals like this? Indeed, millions don’t get food for days; eating according to this health byte is out of question! Spending your days without high-quality first-rate food is unimaginable, isn’t it? But, it isn’t for this chapatti-discoverer and several others like him who probably consider themselves blessed to have found one, for it helps them wrestle their starvation!
               So what did you eat today; Thai, Mexican, Continental, Chinese or simply Indian? The choices are indeed infinite and certainly your taste buds would have started tingling. The indigent will surely be amazed to know that there are things beyond dal aur roti! Eating elaborately too is an exclusive attribute of ours; a three, five or an unbelievably seven course meal too we can devour. But managing even one meal a day is unattainable for many! How gloomy it is for us to eat the same food twice in a day, we want things crisp, hot from the oven and garden-fresh. On the contrary, is flavor ever a concern for the destitute? Ever skipped a meal? Beyond doubt we will overindulge in anything which we come across first. Food is used as a bait to entice people to join schools (need for food being much greater than anything else)! Feasting- another opportunity to overload ourselves with foodstuff, fasting- compulsorily a way of life for the deprived! Familiar with Digene and Pudin Hara, how often do we use it to our rescue? Girls want to go thin; men too want a well-toned tummy. They watch their waistline by going for a low-fat or sugar-free or high-fiber nutritional regime. Alternatively, the impoverished are involuntarily undernourished! Excesses delight us and we die of obesity, however, the unfortunates die of hunger!
               Plainly, food is the way to a man’s life! Our accessibility to food of our preference is a privilege; we have the luxury of eating what we want and whenever we want. Awkwardly, we have sumptuousness of squandering it too!
               The intent is not to persuade anybody to eat food insufficiently but to dissuade everybody from wasting it. Leftovers can help feeding lives (as for the chapatti-discoverer) but giving something to eat because is it trash is uncouth! Fill up your serving dish with all what you can eat (comfortably). Respect the food in your plate for the reason that there are countless who go dead for the lack of it!

Happy Munching!
Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010


               This huge network of Indian Railways is so infuriating! Beyond doubt, I will disregard the positive aspects of it. There is no dearth of negative issues that run parallel to the Indian Railways namely non-availability of tickets, dirty platforms, train accidents and not even the additional money the passengers pay to get a seat in an already house-full train! Here, I bring all your attention to this gargantuan and no-solution-seems-possible problem of the trains running behind schedule and the problem isn’t very young; it is as old as the network itself!
               Did you just say that you haven’t faced this problem? Impossible! I won’t believe even if you ask me to inherit the property of the richest man on earth! I can claim (with complete confidence) that almost every person (atleast in India) has experienced this. It isn’t something you have to experience by choice; its an inherent characteristic of the railways and you will be made to forbear it- simply buy a ticket!
               Ours is the largest railway network in Asia and Indian Railways runs around 11000 trains per day. 13 million passengers are using this system everyday! Thus, there is a huge ‘responsibility’ on our railway system but the same was kept under consideration only while designing the tag line for the Indian Railways ‘Life line to the Nation…’ and the magnitude of this responsibility was forgotten immediately after.
               ‘Welcome to the Indian railways enquiry system…’ this sounds familiar, right? Yes, it is the same facility introduced with the purpose of cautioning the passengers with respect to numerous aspects of our railway system, but rarely has it been the source of accurate information (especially with regard to the arrival and departure of these 11000 trains)!
               The railways do assume the agony of the passengers and express their concern through the incessant and unfathomable railway announcements ‘inconvenience caused is deeply regretted…’, we listen to them attentively, just hoping against hope that this time the announcement is being made for the train’s arrival! Indeed, that’s an easy way of clearing oneself of one’s wrongdoing. There is a sigh of relief when the train finally reaches but don’t dare to think that it will catch up on all your lost time and energy, indeed there is doubtlessly a possibility for further delay! Wonder about those who are waiting with you amidst chaos (read it fellow-sufferers).
               Think of this article again on a day when you are standing on a platform, waiting for your train to arrive. I wonder you will because at that juncture you would be busy hurling expletives, obviously to the railway system and its people! If your train is running on time- it is just an exception and if it is running behind schedule- there is no reason to get worried, it is the most trustworthy trait of our great Indian Railways!
Have a happy journey!
Monday, September 20, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010


               While teaching ‘aksharmala’ to a bunch of high-spirited kids, I too learned a lesson. Wondering what ‘aksharmala’ is, its the series of hindi alphabets- the first step in our formal tutoring! Two things to be noted, firstly I was teaching a troop who was not opportune enough to get education in schools like us and secondly, I could teach only what I knew! After I managed to reach the letter ‘gha’, I paused and pondered; ruffled but resolute I restarted with all I could. Now, read more to it.
               Shankar was youngest in the lot and being completely new at this task of teaching a child, especially of his age and means, I tried to go about my own logical way. I asked this champ if anything came to his mind which possibly begins with ‘gha’. He looked puzzled. He wasn’t dumb; he was bright and clever for a child of his age. To encourage him to think I asked “tum kisme rehte ho?” Clearly, the answer expected was ‘ghar’ but swiftly he replied ‘jhuggi’. His response stabbed me. Don’t we all dwell in a ‘ghar’- our homes, the place we call our own and love it enormously too!
               I coaxed him to think and believe that where he resides is his ‘ghar’ but the outcome increased my embarrassment. He was rigid in his belief. For him people like ‘us’ stayed there. His reply was abrupt, “Ghar mein aap rehte ho!” Wherever we live today, we wish for a much bigger house and a mansion would certainly do! Simply look around; there are homeless people who are living on the streets, a few have managed to grab a place in the slums. Ever can we imagine ourselves in places like these?
               Nonetheless, my attempt to familiarize him with the letter failed miserably. I needed cover. I started thinking of other words beginning with ‘gha’ which probably he could relate to without making me uneasy (inadvertently though)! Thus, I asked “time kisme dekhte ho?” thankfully he answered ‘ghadi’, “paani kisme se peete ho?” and he answered ‘ghada’. He said ‘ghoda’ when I asked “tange ko kaun sa jaanwar kheecta hai?” I felt better that he finally learned the letter though the incident had unnerved me.
               Doubtlessly we are living a very demanding life. Every effort is put in with the objective of making it better (truly a self-centered aspiration)! We- the privileged ones should realize that it is no fault of that little gem and countless others like him for where they are today. A promise to change the world is not required. Changes- small but significant, few but uplifting will matter. It is definitely not about charity and donations. It is about ensuring that every child is enabled and equipped to bring about his transition from a ‘jhuggi’ to a ‘ghar’.
               Unknowingly we come across a sight which ‘moves’ us, effectively for an hour or a day and non-effectively till we come across something similar again. But to come across something unknowingly and to ignore it knowingly is what spectators’ do and we don’t! Thus, educate if you can as there is a world waiting to learn.

Happy Teaching!
Thursday, September 23, 2010


               I have always wanted to write and people to read (of course my literary creations)! What prevented me from penning for so long was my inability to read my own piece of writing. Joke apart, another reasonable reason for not daring into it was that majority of what I read did not strike my brain cells. To put forth simply it was difficult to read them till the last word!
               I do not doubt anything or anybody and it obviously includes my reading and apprehending skills, my choice of features or books and the wonderful galaxy of writers around. Of course I always thought that if this is how people wrote (read it not-so-simple) and this is how people understood (read it did-not-understand), I better not write. It would surely save the reader’s world from martyrdom that was uncalled for and me from the monstrosity of the unsold and unread copies of my creations!
               During my graduating years, I received a number of letters from family and friends (those were the letter writing times, we were technologically advanced but weren’t savvy enough). I remember a letter sent by my maternal grandfather. It was written using a type-writer. Another arresting thing about it- it was a letter cum CAT-like comprehension passage. Its first read was as good as no read. Two reasons hold good for it, firstly, I was fluttering with joy to have received a letter from him and secondly every third word in the letter was straight from some peculiar dictionary. Though years ago I read that letter innumerable times not only to me but to my hostel mates as well and I am still its proud owner. I respect my late grandpa for his skill and I love him for writing it!
               I have the zest to write and hence it is easy (did I just say easy)! This really sounds promising. Writing about something close to the heart is when the ball in my court but others reading it means my ball isn’t in my court anymore! So, I need to throw the ball well.
               My belief- a literary creation can be considered nice (read it good) if it is read till the end and is remembered (reasons can of course vary- can be good or bad)! I will inform (capability required), persuade (conviction required) and entertain (courage required, read it humor-is-fatal) by what I write. Looking at the sunny side up, I am certain that I have been able to put across the ‘idea’. Yes (doubtlessly), that I will write!

Happy Reading!
Thursday, September 09, 2010