Monday, December 26, 2011

Kshitij's Rajatotsava - Ab na banegi dehri - a review

"Ab Na Banegi Dehri" is a book that I have loved. So when one heard about its dramatization, one moved heaven, earth, and everything in between to go for it.


The play was a production of Kshitij – a 25 year old theater group, that is, incidentally, celebrating its silver jubilee this year. Only on going there did one realize that the group has nsd alumni (yes one is biased and all that)

It is very difficult to bring the tenderness of a love story on stage. It is even more difficult to do it when the love story is supposed to be “covert” – hidden. On a stage, you do not have the advantage of camera angle, close up shots, or location.

And yet, the magic of the love story was so beautifully brought out on that stage… one saw love happen while the rest of the world went about its everyday life… we saw the pain , the fear, the wanting to hold back but not being able to…

In this play.. almost everything was outstanding.. but what stood out the most, was the acting. Everyone from Mukaddam Chacha to the lead pair to Nandu.. everyone stood out.. there were multiple characters… and each one stayed with the viewer on the way home.. as did the questions raised by that play…

My jackpot moment of the day? Sitting right next to the author – Padma Sachdev ji, for a brief while, and hearing from her about the story.. :-) Yes, she was there to see it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

for the woman protester in egypt

no need to tell me
of the whip lashes
you suffered..
i can see
the welts
all over you.
raw, and sore
they will be
forever..
When i touch them,
not a muscle moves
anywhere.

Wince, China Doll...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

translation from the browsing corner


मैं तुम्हें चाहता हूँ

जैसे रोटी को नमक के साथ खाना

जैसे तेज़ बुखार में रात को उठना
...
और नल से मुंह लगा कर पानी पीना

जैसे डाकिए का लाया

भारी-भरकम पार्सल खोलना

तेज़ धडकनें लिए, आनंदित, अनिश्चित

एकदम बिना जाने कि उस में है क्या

मैं तुम्हें चाहता हूँ

जैसे हवाईजहाज़ में

समुद्र के ऊपर से पहली उड़ान भरना

जैसे मेरे भीतर कुछ आंदोलित होता है

मैं तुम्हें चाहता हूँ

जैसे ईश्वर का आभारी होना

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book review - because he is..

for the last 2 days, the rest of my life stands ignored.. parenting ,  housekeeping, everything. because, for the last 2 days, i have been actively ignoring everything to read this book.
the jacket says the first print came out in 2004, and a reprint in 2007. HOW DID I MISS THIS BOOK?

Because he is, is a biography of gulzar, penned by his daughter, meghna gulzar..

its a lovely book, written with sensitivity, clarity, and oodles of emotion. the pictures complement the words in just the right way, and gulzar's poetry to bind it all together.. this is 180 pages of pure, incontaminable bliss!!

1 line review: MUST READ.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

on reading a book

when i read a book that is very engaging..a book that involves the heart and the mind and the soul, i find that i cannot read it at one go. My 700 wpm reading speed goes right out of the window.. these books cannot be read as a marathon.

after a few pages, one finds that one has  to stop... live the emotion for a while... wait for the moment to abate, before one can pick up the book and read again.. it happened with the last 2 books of poetry , and it happened with the new book one is reading - because he is... biography of gulzar..

does that happen to you too? when u identify with a book, do u need to pause too??

Sunday, December 11, 2011

501st post - on gratitude..

gawd! no happy posts in a while?! this isnt even fun to read!

today, took time to be grateful, and the number of things one can be grateful for, is not funny..

presenting, only the most condensed list: :-)

one is grateful for:

1. being able to put both my feet on the floor and walk
2. being able to open my eyes and see
3. having a roof on the head
4. access to internet
5. food in the larder
6. an education
7. a family that never pushed me to become a doctor/engineer, and was happy to trust my decisions.
8. a family that loves me, idiosyncracies and madness included. :-)
9. a child who sleeps till 8 on school days and promptly wakes up at 7 on a weekend.
10. friends who drop in unannounced.
11. friends who stay up to talk.
12. friends who dont give up on you.
13. beautiful, wintery mornings.
14. lovely, sunny afternoons.
15. a library at home
16. agatha christie, erma bombeck, and amrita pritam, among others..
17 moon streaming in through the window at 4 am

18 .....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

500th post - Christina Georgina Rossetti

no, it wasnt planned.. i knew the 500th post will be special, but i didnt mean it to be one of my all time favorite poems.. just that.. this piece is not on the blog, and it is an all time favorite piece, so here goes...

When I am Dead, My Dearest

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sometimes, pablo neruda knows best.

I do not love you except because I love you;

I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

... I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.


Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.


In this part of the story I am the one who

Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,

Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

lies are
such lovely things
to live with. :-)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

pain
like water
fills up
the ocean
and the thimble

pain
like water
takes the shape of
every mould
the heart makes
for itself.

pain
like water
makes up
60% of
me.
This is a song from the film Aakrosh - i LOVE the song for the way it brings together poetry, music and good singing to create a magical effect.. :-)



सीधे सादे सारा सौदा सीधा सीधा होना जी,
मैंने तुमको पाना है या तुमने मैं को खोना जी..
आजा दिल की करें सौदेबाजी क्या नाराजी,
अरे आ रे आ ....




सौदा है दिल का ये, तू कर भी ले,
मेरा जहां बाहों में तू भर भी ले,
सौदे में दे कसम, कसम भी ले,
आके तू निगाहों में संवर भी ले
सौदा उड़ानों का है, या आसमानों का है,
ले ले उड़ानें मेरी, ले मेरे पर भी ले..
सौदा उम्मीदों का है, ख़्वाबों का नींदों का है,
ले ले तू नींदें मेरी, नैनों में घर भी ले.


दिल कहे, तेरे मैं होंठों से, बातों को चुप के से लूं उठा,
उस जगह, धीरे से हौले से, गीतों को अपने मैं दूं बिठा..
सौदा तरानों का है, दिल के फसानों का है,
ले ले तराने मेरे, होंठों पे धर भी ले,
सौदा उजालों का है, रोशन ख्यालों का है,
ले ले उजाले मेरे, आजा नज़र भी ले..

मैं कभी, भूलूंगा न तुझे,
चाहे तू मुझको देना भुला
आदतों जैसी है तू मेरी, आदतें कैसे भूलूँ भला,
सौदा ये वादों का है, यादों इरादों का है,
ले ले तू वादे चाहे, तू तो मुकर भी ले,
सौदा इशारों का है, चाहत के मारों का है,
ले ले इशारे मेरे, इनका असर भी ले..

कारवां गुज़रा किया , हम रहगुज़र देखा किये,

कारवां गुज़रा किया , हम रहगुज़र देखा किये,
हर कदम पर नक़्शे-पाए राहबर देखा किये...

यास जब छाई उम्मीदें  हाथ मल कर रह गयीं,
दिल की नब्जें छुट गयी और चारागर  देखा किये,

रुख  मेरी  जानिब  निगाहे लुत्फ़ दुश्मन की तरफ
यूँ उधर देखा किये, गोया इधर देखा किये...

दर्द - मंदाने वफ़ा की हाय   रे मजबूरियाँ
दर्द-ए-दिल देखा न जाता था, मगर देखा किये..

तू कहाँ थी ऐ अज़ल, ऐ नामुरादों की मुराद,
मरने वाले राह तेरी, उम्र भर देखा किये..

hear it here:
http://www.muziboo.com/vikaszutshisn/music/asha-jee-carvan-guzra-kiya-hum-reh-guzar-dekha-kiye/#

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JduNAY2V7-s

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

more from The Browsing Corner

Am blessed to be a part of the Browsing Corner - its a lovely place on facebook where one gets to read some awesome poetry (and other stuff, but if u have read this blog for any length of time, you will know that i live for poetry)

Presenting, then, one of the 2 gems i intend to share from that treasure trove:

The first is a poem that i want to grow old reading:
A lesser known poet's "As I Am"  (click to link to the original)

I am beginning to unravel my flaws,


To despise them a little less than yesterday,

To know in the scheme of things,

The flaws are intrinsic, nature’s way,

The water won’t cleanse them,

The hands will remain soiled,

And that is how I will know,

I have arrived, with a pair of dirty hands,

Kneeling by His side,

Singing in His name,

Thank you God,

I am utterly, truly yours…flawed as I am
 
 
And the second is "Visthapit" - coming soon in another post.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Divorce

i have removed you
from the legal papers
and from the house
and from the heart....?
and yet
i cant remove you
from the
nooks
and the crannies
where pieces of you
remain
like marks of crayons
made by our child
when he was very young.
pieces of ur memory
in the dresses
that you used to hate
and the cooking
you detested.

Cannot remove
the sound of
"what the hell happened?"
as soon as you enter
no one to put the food away
in the fridge
late at night.

No, i cannot
remove you
from the nooks, crannies, corners
and the depths
of all that
we have lived through
together.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

धीरज का क्या है, टूटे तो कल टूट जाए, न टूटे तो ४६ साल न टूटे..


माँ, बच्चों का दुनिया में विश्वास होती है.  अगर माँ मर जाए, तो बच्चे का दुनिया में विश्वास भी मर जाता है.

there is no good age to lose a parent.

as u can tell, i m reading a lot of amrita pritam these days..

Sunday, November 13, 2011

erma bombeck quotes

If you have not read erma bombeck, you have missed something in life.
while u find time to get one of her books, sample the quotes here. she is a laugh riot, and yet, she is lovely!

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/11882.Erma_Bombeck

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/erma_bombeck.html

http://www.quoteland.com/author/Erma-Bombeck-Quotes/1275/

http://www.searchquotes.com/quotes/author/Erma_Bombeck/

and here is more about erma bombeck:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erma_Bombeck

and this is where her memory lives:
http://www.ermamuseum.org/home.asp

enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

kya rhyming hai..

i wish i was
your santa claus!

ainve hi sher..

खुशतरस में न आशियाने में
दिल सा दुश्मन नहीं ज़माने में

क्या बुरा है जो खुल के रो लीजे,
सौ तकल्लुफ हैं मुस्कुराने में

- अज्ञात

Saturday, November 05, 2011

lotus leaf

Morning is wiser than evening. Sometimes.

Lotus Leaf
She
whom nothing touches
or corrupts
Lotus Leaf
must feel
very lonely
untouched
by the earth
undaunted
by the bugs
eating into everything else
in there
and yet
not there
focusing on
just the task
of nurturing
the flower
she helped bring
into the world.


Lotus leaves
must feel
very lonely.

Friday, November 04, 2011

On Female Foeticide

There are 2 ways to kill a girl. The first is to kill her in the womb, or right after birth. That is the gentle way. The other is to kill her, breath by breath, step by step, for the rest of her life.


“Don’t wear this.”

“Go inside, there are boys here.”

“Girls should not be playing physical sports, run away.”

“Don’t answer back.”

“Who will marry you if you cant even cook?”

“No matter how much you study, eventually you have to cook!”

“The woman of the house must not work outside.”

“I am the husband, and you will do as I say.”

By deciding, even, how deep a breath she can take. There are, after all breasts to be considered.

The illiterate kill their girls the first way. The rich, the literate and others use the second. Only a girl who has lived like this for 16-17 years, can understand the benefits of dying at birth.

Going the last mile..


Kuchh isliye bhi mai us'se bichhad gayaa 'Mohsin'
Wo duur duur se dekhe thahar thahar ke mujhe

कुछ इसलिए भी मैं उस से बिछड़ गया मोहसिन,
वो दूर दूर से देखे ठहर ठहर के मुझे..

- This was the sher that started it. The sher hit me because most other poetry talks about the romance of seeing someone from afar and doing nothing about it. This sher talks about the consequence of seeing from afar and doing nothing about it.
What is going to come next still breaks the heart, after all these years:

************
A friend liked someone in her office but said nothing about it. The other person also said nothing. In time, both of them got married to other people. After that, one time, they met, and ended up confessing how they felt about each other.
It was heartbreaking to see them. She knew, without any physical communication, everything from whether he is in trouble to whether he has eaten! And he was equally telepathic about her. i have never, ever seen that in a couple - neither before nor since.
But they had to go their separate ways - guilt and all that.
*********

When i read this sher, it sooo reminded me of them, and of so many other people, who are unhappy, because they just did not step up while there was still time. And it isnt just true of romantic relationships...

Lots of friendships happened because one just said, "Lets have coffee." and those coffees led to games of "Truth" .. which, in turn, led to lifelong bonds..
And some friendships were lost, because, while there was still time, one did not say those magical words, "lets talk".


I have said it lots of times on this blog, so at the risk of repetition, here goes again:
If you really like someone, the time to tell them is NOW.
If you want to make friends, the time to have that coffee is TODAY.
Standing on the sidelines, is only good if you intend to be a bystander. If you want to be a part of a life, the time to step into that life is now.

Departure - by Edna St Vincent Millay

It's little I care what path I take,
And where it leads it's little I care;
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
I must go, and off somewhere.

It's little I know what's in my heart,
What's in my mind it's little I know,
But there's that in me must up and start,
And it's little I care where my feet go.

I wish I could walk for a day and a night,
And find me at dawn in a desolate place
With never the rut of a road in sight,
Nor the roof of a house, nor the eyes of a face.

I wish I could walk till my blood should spout,
And drop me, never to stir again,
On a shore that is wide, for the tide is out,
And the weedy rocks are bare to the rain.

But dump or dock, where the path I take
Brings up, it's little enough I care:
And it's little I'd mind the fuss they'll make,
Huddled dead in a ditch somewhere.

'Is something the matter, dear,' she said,
'That you sit at your work so silently?'
'No, mother, no, 'twas a knot in my thread.
There goes the kettle, I'll make the tea.'

Monday, October 31, 2011

Your silence
like the dense fog
covers
all the seeds
i plant
in the soil of love

They die
in the cold.

Love, the way i like it..

ਸਤਲੁਜ ਦਰਿਆ ਜੋ ਵਗਦਾ

ਉਸਦੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਦੀ ਜੂਹ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ

ਮੈਂ ਕਰਾਂ ਢੇਰ ਸਜਦੇ

ਉਸਨੁ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਨੀਵੀਆਂ ਪਾ

ਓਹ ਸ਼ੇਹਰ ਗੋਰਾਯਾਂ ਦਾ

ਓਹ ਬੜੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਦਾ ਰਾਹ

ਮਿੱਟੀ ਉਸਦੀ ਲਾ ਮਥੇ

ਮੈਂ ਲਇਆ ਹਜ ਮਕਾ

ਓਹ ਏਕ ਲੋਹੇ ਦਾ ਬਾਜ਼ਾਰ

ਜਿਥੇ ਵਸਦਾ ਸੀ ਮੇਰਾ ਯਾਰ

ਉਥੇ ਵੇਚ ਮੈਂ ਏਕ ਏਕ ਕਤਰਾ

ਲਹੂ ਦਿਤਾ ਇਸ਼ਕ਼ ਦੇ ਉਤੋ ਵਾਰ

ਓਹ ਚਲਦੀ ਹੈ ਪੁਰਵਾਈ

ਉਸਦੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਦੀ ਜੋ ਲੇਕੇ ਵਾ

ਲੇਹ ਉਸ ਵਿਚ ਲਮੇ ਸਾਹ

ਮੈਨੂ ਹੋ ਜਾਵੇ ਏਕ ਨਸ਼ਾ

ਓਹ ਉਸ ਘਰ ਦਾ ਦਰਵਾਜ਼ਾ

ਜਿਥੇ ਰਹੇ ਓਹ ਮੇਰਾ ਯਾਰ

ਮਨ ਉਸਨੁ ਆਪਣਾ ਕਾਬਾ

ਸੁਨੀਲ ਚੁਮੇ ਪਇਆ ਵਾਰੋ ਵਾਰ

English Transliteration:

*****************

Satluj dariya jo vagda

usde pind di jooh de nal

main kara dher sajde

usnu nit nit neevia pa

Oh shehar Goraya da

Oh bare pind da rah

Miti usdi la mathe

main lea haj maka

Oh ek lohe da bazaar

Jithe vasda si mera yaar

Uthe vech main ek ek katra

Lahoo deta ishq de uto vaar

oh chaldi hai purvaai

usde pind di jo leke vaa

leh us vich lame saah

mainu ho jave ek nasha

Oh us ghar da dawaza

jithe rahe oh mera yaar

Man usnu apna qabba

Sunil chume pea varo var

29th April 2011

Copyright © With Gratitude from a post by Sunny Jaggi

This is inspired by a real life incident which was narrated to me or rather to everyone who had attended that Punjabi lecture in DAV College in winters of 1994, I was one of the regular class bunkers who was hardly ever seen attending any lectures and this was once of those rare occasions when I decided to attend the Punjabi lecture.

The Punjabi lecturer was a very soft spoken young man in his early thirties and he was lamenting that how the youth of the day (which was us at that point in time) have no time for love and feelings and how everyone is so busy trying to get into engineering colleges and medical colleges as we were all aspirant engineers at that point in time. No one enjoyed poetry and how we were all more interested in pop and rap (those were his words, pop was new in India then I guess!)

He narrated an incident of his youth when as young men he and his friends used to travel to Ludhiana from a nearby village by bus for education and they had to cross the bridge over the river Satluj and one of the boys used to everyday make an extra effort to look out of the bus window towards the river, close his eyes and bow his head to show his respect for the river. They were all confused as this went on for over a year and one day one of those boys asked this boy why he did so and after a lot of goading he told all of them that the waters of the river went past a village in which his beloved lived and he bowed to the water so as not to flood his beloved’s village (as that area was prone to flooding) and to take his love and his feelings to his beloved!

That incident as narrated by him has stayed with me till today and my above lines are inspired by this incident. I hope that even if you do not like my lines you will appreciate the feelings of that young man

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Jagjit Singh Ghazal sung privately..

This was shared at The Browsing Corner(a bunch of ppl who like reading) .. am grateful to the original poster - for the ghazal and for permission to reproduce here..

वो दे रहा है दिलासे उम्र भर के मुझे,
बिछड़ ना जाए कहीं फिर उदास कर के मुझे..
Wo de rahaa hai dilaase umr bhar ke mujhe
Bichhad na jaa'e kahi'n fir udaas kar ke mujhe

Jahaa'n na tu na teri yaad ke kadam ho'nge
Daraa rahe hai'n wahi marhale safar ke mujhe

जहां न तू, न तेरी याद के कदम होंगे,
डरा रहे हैं वही मरहले सफ़र के मुझे


Havaa-e-dasht mujhe ab to ajnabi na samajh
Ke ab to bhool ga'e raaste bhi ghar ke mujhe

हवा-इ-दश्त मुझे अब तो अजनबी न समझ,
के अब तो भूल गए रास्ते भी घर के मुझे

Dil-e-tabaah tere gham ko taalne ke liye
Sunaa rahaa hai fasaane idhar udhar ke mujhe

दिल-इ-तबाह तेरे ग़म को टालने के लिए 
सुना रहा है फसाने इधर उधर के मुझे


Kuchh isliye bhi mai us'se bichhad gayaa 'Mohsin'
Wo duur duur se dekhe thahar thahar ke mujhe

कुछ इसलिए भी मैं उस से बिछड़ गया मोहसिन,
वो दूर दूर से देखे ठहर ठहर के मुझे..

The last sher was particularly nice.. a lot of relationships are lost because, at the right time, we dont go out and cover the last mile..

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book cases

Dont you know
that bookcases
dont feel pretty?
Just useful.
And ignored.
The books in them
get more attention
than the wood in them
Except
when something
is wrong.

If there is a termite infestation, making them hollow
there is a termite treatment
its called antidepressants

If the polish wears off
from someplace
there is
the visit to the beauty parlor.

If the wood chips off
some place
there is
the emergency (or planned)
surgery.

If the base gives way
there is
replacement.
Divorce
With generous alimony.

Rarely, if ever,
is the wood chopped off and finished
by the people
who wore it off.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

तुम्हारा नाम , छाला बन गया है जीभ पर,


दुखता है, जब भी कुछ कहती हूँ


Sunday, October 09, 2011

ab mujhe koi intezaar kahaan... lyrics

अब मुझे कोई इंतज़ार कहाँ...
वो जो बहते थे आबशार कहाँ...

आँख के एक गाँव में, रात को ख्वाब आते थे,
छोने से बहते थे, बोले तो कहते थे,
उड़ते ख़्वाबों का ऐतबार कहाँ?


जिन दिनों आप रहते थे, आँख में धुप रहती थी,
अब तो साए ही साए हैं, ये  भी जाने ही वाले हैं..
वो जो था दर्द का करार कहाँ?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

तुम्हे पता है सपने कब टूटते हैं?
ठीक उसी वक़्त, जब हमें यकीन होने लगे, कि वो सच है।

Why Workplace Diversity is important - and good for business

This is the work of Mudra Group, Creative Director: Jonoo Simon and Copywriter: Akhilesh Bagri. Thankfully, we cant tell the name of the client because its literally in fine print. I think that might be deliberate. :-)

The Mudra group is one of India's oldest and most respected advertising agencies. That they should approve this ad comes as nothing short of a shocker, but the employees in question deserve special mention.

This ad proves why Diversity is important. The advertisement is wrong on a lot of levels. But basically, it is wrong because it places the onus of safe driving on someone who is not driving! And absolves the driver of all responsibility for Safe Driving. I am still amazed that an ad like this was cleared for production.

My exact comment on the blog post where one first saw this ad:
**************
Dont talk while HE Drives?? Really? And what is HE? an invalid who cannot take that simple decision of what he needs to do for safe driving? WHo gave HIM a Driving License?

And the visual is very disturbing too. Ridiculous. Someone passed this ad? Really?
************
My guess is, that one woman on the team, or a non Indian team member, would have seen the stupidity of that assumption rightaway. Work like this proves that diversity is not just a pretty concept. Its VERY necessary.

This ad is not just stupid and insensitive. It crosses that fine line into being offensive. The ad creators did not realise that its a diverse world, even if they dont have a diverse team

Thursday, September 22, 2011

कोई हाथ भी न मिलाएगा, जो गले मिलोगे तपाक से
ये नए मिजाज का शहर है, ज़रा फासलों से मिला करो॥

Dr A K Singh and Dr. Sanjeev Dua Fortis Hospital Noida

When i first read about the death of Rupali Sharma and another unknown patient due to negligence at FortisHospital, Noida, my blood boiled. These doctors should be charged with murder, not medical negligence.
I posted about it on the blog and hoped that at least some people will decide against Fortis, or at least spread the word. Personally, i would not like to take someone i love to these doctors. I may go to the hospital itself but not to these doctors. EVER.

And today, i am happy to report that, there are more and more people googling to find out about the case - its gone VIRAL! So , dear Readers, please.. do your bit.. spread the word.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

We, who live in chains..

we, who live in chains ,
should not
ever
talk about freedom
like we own it
or even like
we are hurt
if someone else does not ask for it.

we, who live in chains
coated in club memberships
and "own" houses
chauffeur driven cars
and protected addresses
have no right to complain
about
unprotected hearts
left around
to dry in the sun.
Abandoned,
in every sense of the word.

We, who live in chains
should not
try to
breathe
too loud
lest the sighs
escape
the genial laughter
and spill
onto
the tarmac
of the personal helipads.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Grandmother's House by Kamala Das- Love in Small Change..

When i first read this poem, i was struck by that expression - Love in Small Change.. it has stayed with me over the years and haunted me no end.. here it is again.. the original Love in Small Change..

There is a house now far away where once
I received love……. That woman died,
The house withdrew into silence, snakes moved
Among books, I was then too young
To read, and my blood turned cold like the moon
... How often I think of going
There, to peer through blind eyes of windows or
Just listen to the frozen air,
Or in wild despair, pick an armful of
Darkness to bring it here to lie
Behind my bedroom door like a brooding
Dog…you cannot believe, darling,
Can you, that I lived in such a house and
Was proud, and loved…. I who have lost
My way and beg now at strangers’ doors to
Receive love, at least in small change?
- Kamala Das

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fortis Hospital, Noida

Started my day with this. Sad, and yet, one is so used to medical negligence that one is not even surprised any more. And am not sure which is more sad - the deaths or our absolute lack of surprise at them. I think its the latter.
*********************

Dear All,

Please forward to all.


With deep regret I want to inform you the demise of my wife Rupali Sharma on 17th July due to post operative complication after brain surgery.

I would also like to bring to your notice how private hospitals like FORTIS are robbing people of their life and money. Please be very careful while dealing with such hospitals. Find below the details of my experience with Fortis Noida.



My wife age 29 ( occupation- trainer with HCL) was diagnosed with a non malignant brain tumor on 17th June2011. She did not have any major symptoms like headache, eye problem or vomiting. She was suggested surgery for removal of tumor. We took opinions from Max, Indo Gulf and finally decided on Fortis because of the good reputation of Dr. A K Singh.

Doctors did not make us aware that it is a very complicated surgery and said that there are only incidental risks. "Amount of risk involved is same as the risk when you come from your home to hospital"


On the date of admission I pointed out several times that my wife was having severe cough and cold. It was ignored by doctors saying "Everything is perfect". Later on Dr Sanjay Gupta admitted that this could have led to infection.How could they ignore it? Moreover the doctor preponed the surgery by one day because he had to go outside India.We were totally unaware of that. Why did not they postpone the surgery instead?

From day one the team did not have any consensus on how the tumor will be removed. They said that they will try from nose first , if not they will cut open the skull. On the day of operation (8th July)they said after 5 hrs that they could not extract tumor through nose so .. they will open the skull. My dear wife had to go through both the procedures. The whole operation took 12 hrs.

Post operative care is pathetic. Why was my wife given sandwich and chole chawal in ICU after next day of such a major surgery?My wife vomitted on 13 July morning and was drowsy. We immediately alarmed the doctors on duty. But they ignored the situation saying that everything is normal. In the evening she was perspiring, We again alarmed doctors on duty but no action was taken. If the doctors have been proactive they could have saved my wife.

By 14th morning the condition had deteriorated and doctors took her to ICU and put her on ventilator saying it is not required but as a precaution they were doing it.The worst part is that senior doctors A K Singh and Sanjeev Dua went out of country on that day. We tried to reach them through various means but they were not available for next 3 days. (How could they leave two patients in such a serious condition?There was another patient with similar case in ICU who also died )

Doctors who were available ( Vikas Gupta, Bundela, Sanjay Gupta ) acted like bunch of idiots. They could not diagnose the problem and condition deteriorated every day. There was total lack of leadership and no team work at all. Each doctor gave a different reason for the problem ( lung infection, hypo perfusion, brain infection none of which was confirmed by the time of death). On 14th July, doctors were saying that there is lung infection but they had not called any lung specialist. It is only when we suggested , they called an expert? Why did not they call the experts on their own?

On 16th July Dr. Vivek Chawla was instructed to update us the condition by 7:00 am in morning. However we were not informed till 11:00 Am that she had a cardiac arrest at 4:00 am. My wife's cousin (who is a doctor in AIIMS) visited Fortis Neuro ICU on 17th July , he told me that my wife was already dead. After he left , hospital declared dead my wife. Otherwise they would have continued with ventilator for god knows how many days. One of the lady doctor in ICU very shamefully admitted that there was negligence on part of doctors.

The hospital has international standards in only the exorbitant rated they charge. They gave me an estimate of 2.5 lakhs to cure my wife and charged Rs 5.5 lakhs for her deadbody. We were never communicated that the charges had gone beyond the estimate. How could they expect us to deposit more than double the amount at the time of death on a Sunday evening?

There was no doctor from Neurosurgery team available when the death was declared. When we shouted at the authorities they were quick enough to call the police within minutes. But they could not get any doctor to confirm the cause of death or at least give a condolence message as a human gesture. We had to immediately arrange double the estimated cost, otherwise they would not give us the dead body.

We had a meeting with hospital management and team of doctors on 4th Aug. Where doctors accepted majority of our allegations. We demanded a return of the extra money paid and action against doctors. Director Mr Sukhmeet Sandhu assured a response by phone in two days. After 8 days we received a condolence message with no action.

Nowadays hospitals believe in profiteering even at the cost of life. There is no trasparency and they put people on ventilator even when it is not required. Very careless attitude of doctors, nurses and other staff. Again warning you against such malpractices.

Kindly request you to forward this mail to all your friends and relatives and request you to suggest me good lawyer/ agency who could help me in dealing with this situation.

Regards

Srijan Sharma ( F1707 )

9818643613
***************

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Relationships and Coke..

Some relationships are like Coke.. they are sweet, hard hitting, full of gas, give u the caffeine high, but can turn toxic very quickly.

Some relationships are like cocktails.. they look sweet and innocent but are actually quite intoxicating.

Some others are like pure alcohol.. you know, when you take the first sip, that you're in it for the intoxication, and that it wont last too long. And sometimes, you get addicted to them and keep bobbing in and out of consciousness.

Some relationships are like canned fruit juices.. they appear to be very good for you but are, in fact, artifically sweetened.

And some lucky relationships are like water - tasteless, odorless, very imperceptible in your life, but as essential as water... and like water, they make up most of you.

Happy Teacher's Day

When i was 16, my friend passed away.. she was a really good friend.. and her family was devastated. So was I. But her passing away taught me something really important. It taught me that there are no tomorrows.

The time to say "I love you" is today - every single today. The time to make the phone call is now, when you think of that friend. The time to help a person cross the road is when you see them, not another day. There is no other day.

And i learnt that 20 years later, no one will care if you were the smartest boss on the floor. But 20 years later, your child will remember the kiss that you ran out to plant on his cheek as he left for the school picnic. And 20 years later, he will also remember, the kiss that you were not there to plant....

For some reason, i m a terribly long sighted person....

In 100 years,no one will care if you were the first person to break the glass ceiling. But in 100 years, if you have been a good parent, aunt, grandmother, your love will still live through the people who will have learnt to love because they have been loved..

Every Teacher's Day, i pay a tribute to one of my teachers.. my dear Ritu.. this year, is for you.. for teaching me how fragile our todays are.. and that the only way to make them strong enough to last, is to behave as if each one was the last ever..

Addendum: I'm sorry.. i realised later that this post is judgemental and unfair. Lets rephrase: I learnt that whats important to ME is being there for the family. and I was wrong.. a good boss will be as well remembered as a good friend. A person who breaks the glass ceiling will also inspire many, many more women to go out and get their dreams.. i learnt what works for me, not what works for the rest of humanity.. :-)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sanskaar..

The glass veil
is not made of glass
it is made of
centuries of shame
heaped upon our collective shoulders
and left there
to become
in time
the fertile manure of "sanskaar"
from which,
will emerge
millions of shoulders
who are genetically programmed
to carry the burden of shame
and to transfer it to other shoulders
no matter how unwilling.

Until , one day
a mutation comes
and refuses to carry
the centuries old burden...

To be contd..

Thursday, August 25, 2011

लिखा था जिस किताब में, कि इश्क तो हराम है,
हुई वही किताब गुम, बड़ी हसीन रात थी॥

सवाल गुम, जवाब गुम,
बड़ी हसीन रात थी॥


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

nal devta ki kahaani

बहुत दिन हुए, एक झुग्गी झोंपड़ी में एक नल था. वो नल, उस पूरी झुग्गी बस्ती में पानी का इकलौता जरिया था, सो उस का बड़ा मान था.. गर्मी में लोग उस नल के आस पास मेला करते, उसकी पूजा करते, कि घरों में पीने का पानी पहुंचे. लोग बहुत सुबह से उस नल के सामने आ कर बैठ जाते, कि कब पानी आये और कब वो भरें. कभी कभी तो उस तक पहुँचने के लिए मुठभेड़ हो जाती थी.
इस सब से, नल को धीरे धीरे अपने पर गुमान होने लगा. वो समझ गया, कि इन बस्ती वालों का मेरे अलावा सहारा कोई नहीं.. मैं एक दिन न चलूँ, तो ये सब प्यासे मर जायेंगे - दुनिया में कितने ही नल रोज़ बनाते हैं, परे मेरे जैसा भला काम शायद ही कोई नल करता हो.  लोग तो नल को यूँ ही बड़ा भला मानते थे, धीरे धीरे नल भी स्वयं को बड़ा भला मानने लगा - अपने भले मन पर उसे बड़ा नाज़ होने लगा.

पहले बस्ती के लोग उस को महत्व देते, तो वो मुस्कुरा उठता था - मैं बस एक नल, मेरी क्या बिसात, जो मुझे इतना सर चढाते हो.. मैं न लगता, कोई और नल लग जाता.. ये तो मेरा सौभाग्य है कि मेरा जन्म सफल हुआ - इस बस्ती को पानी दे कर, न कि किसी १० नल वाले स्नानघर में लग कर.. पर इस में मेरी कोई भलमनसाहत नहीं.. ये भगवन की मुझ पर कृपा है.. 
बस्ती वाले कहते - ये तो तुम्हारी विनम्रता है भैया, नहीं तो तुम भी तो अमीर महल में लग सकते थे - पर तुम यहाँ आये - तुम इतने साल दर साल पानी दिए जाते हो, न थकते हो, न अघाते हो.. ये तुम्हारा बड़प्पन नहीं तो क्या है.. 

नल को धीरे धीरे इस बात पर विश्वास होने लगा और वो सच ही स्वयं को बड़ा भला नल समझने लगा.. यहाँ तक कि कुछ दिन बाद उसे लगता - मैं इतना भला जीवन जीता हूँ - ये लोग मेरी और उपासना क्यूँ नहीं करते? मुझे नल बाबा या नल देवता क्यूँ नहीं बुलाते ? कैसे अहसान फरामोश लोग हैं, मैं इतना भला नल, और मेरी कोई कद्र नहीं! 

कुछ दिन बाद, ये दंभ देख कर भगवन को ठिठोली सूझी. उन्होंने उस जगह पर पाईप में कचरा फंसा दिया, जहां से नल को पानी जाता था. नतीजा? लाख कोशिश  करे, पर नल खाली! सब लोग हैरान! हमारा नल, और खाली? नल भी हैरान! पानी नहीं आएगा, तो दूंगा कहाँ से? फिर ये लोग मुझे महान कैसे समझेंगे ? मेरी साधना का क्या होगा? मेरे चमत्कार का क्या होगा?
पर पानी को न आना था, न आया.. लोग नल को कोस कोस कर चले गए.. नल सारी  रात बैठा अपने भगवन से लड़ता रहा.. "ये क्या किया? तुम्हारे कारण कितने लोग प्यासे रहे आज? मैंने इतनी साधना की, उसका ये परिणाम? "

सुबह तक , जब भगवन के कान पक गए शिकायत सुन सुन कर, तो भगवन नल के पास आये, और बोले,
"सुनो नल, महानता न तुम में है, न उस पाइप में जो तुम तक पानी लाता है, न उस तालाब में जिस से ये पानी निकाला जाता है. महानता मुझ में भी नहीं.. महानता सृष्टि के इस अविरल चक्र में है, जिस के कारण बारिश होती है, तालाब भरता है, पाइप आता है, और तुम, नल पानी देते हो. पानी चाहे तुम्हारे मुंह से निकलता है, पर तुम उसका स्रोत नहीं हो - न ही तुम उस के लिए कोई श्रेय ले सकते हो.  तुम्हारे मुंह से पानी निकलता ज़रूर है, पर तुम उस के सिर्फ वाहक हो. और ये वाहक होना, तुम्हारा सौभाग्य है, कि तुम्हारा जन्म अछे काम में लग रहा है. तुम किसी बुरी जगह पर भी लगाये जा सकते थे, तुम भली जगह पर भी मटमैला पानी दे सकते थे - पर ये बात, कि तुम में इतने साल में कोई खराबी न आई, और तुम भली जगह लगे, जहां तुम्हारी ज़रुरत थी, ये दोनों बातें, तुम्हारा सौभाग्य हैं, तुम्हारी महानता नहीं. ये याद रखोगे , तो खुश रहोगे.. सिद्धि मुट्ठी की रेत है - पकड़ो, तो फिसले, न पकड़ो, तो पड़ी रहे.. "

जब तुम्हे सिद्धि मिलती है, जब तुम प्रवचन करते हो, तो वो प्रवचन तुम्हारे मुंह से निकलते ज़रूर हैं, पर तुम उनके मालिक नहीं, अधिकारी भी नहीं.. तुम सिर्फ नल के जैसे हो, उनके वाहक. तुम्हारे प्रवचन, प्रकृति के नियम जैसे , शाश्वत सत्य हैं - उनकी महानता का कोई जनक नहीं.. कोई मालिक नहीं.. वे अपने आप में सत्य हैं.. जब वे सत्य तुम्हे सिद्धि के रूप में मिलते हैं, तो वे रेत की तरह तुम्हारी उँगलियों से गुज़र रहे हैं बस.. उन्हें  छू कर तुम्हारी उंगलियाँ पवित्र होती हैं, पर ये तुम्हारी उँगलियों की महानता नहीं.. उनका सौभाग्य है..


Saturday, July 30, 2011

i was born
to a dream..
after labour pains
that lasted a lifetime..
cant live in reality
for too long.. :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sandeep Anand

Somewhere, there is a LinkedIn profile that will not get updated. There is a facebook profile that will not see any more status messages. And there are 2 very young children who will never go to temple again with their father.
Because that father is no more. He passed away this morning. He was a colleague. And a friend.
His wife is responsible for the design of the Esha site. And the CLABIL site. And now, for their 2 children.

Nothing can be said for a moment like this. Nothing at all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I'm a small town girl..

And these are the things that i miss about being in a small town:
1 If someone eveteases you, all you have to do is shout and blows will rain upon him, while you are escorted home as "dear daughter"

2 If you are traveling alone with a child, no one will think twice before taking all your luggage and escorting you to a car and ensuring that you are comfortable before moving on.

3. Everyone knows everyone and if your child misbehaves, you can rest assured that you will hear of it before the evening is done.

4. No one can do something morally wrong (like cheating on a spouse, troubling the DIL, abusing a child or a step child et al) and hope to get away with "none of your business" to the neighbors, or to those who know.

5. If you are elderly, you will be given a place to sit, and if you are a child, you will be protected, even escorted home, if you are a woman, you will be taken care of. Someone will carry your luggage for you. If you are a pregnant woman, Mother Earth and its 7 sisters will bend over backwards for you.

6. Basically, i miss the genuine warmth, the social vigil (that was in some ways stangulating) and the sharing of delicacies when made in one house.

7. If you came home and your mother was not at home, you just rang the neighbor's bell and sat there and ate and were monitored until mater returns. if mater had to go somewhere, all she had to do was to inform the neighbor and a play date was arranged. No one needed to "ask" if you will babysit and no one needed a 24 hour maid. The kids got exposed to various kinds of houses, and stuck together through it all.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Panchabhoota (Five Elements)

I was Born
To the WATER
of my Soul
- Ever Flowing
and ever strong

To the smell of wet EARTH
after the rains.

To the SKY
that's too far away
to make the distinction between
exists or does not exist.

To the BREATH
that smells of someone else.

To the FIRE
of my heart.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

www.expedia.co.in - MUST AVOID

The thing is, when you are in the travel business, and you make a mistake, you dont just make a mistake, you ruin someone's holiday, and they may have been looking forward to it for months, or even years.

I havent been to the Golden Temple in years. Its a dream to go back and experience the peace of 4 am in Golden Temple like the last time. So finally, one zeroed in on a weekend in July, and got the tickets booked.

The hotel was booked through www.expedia.co.in.

Here is the whole story:
Day 1:
Reservation made online. If you book online, there is a time when they say "checking availability, please wait". So one assumes that the rooms are booked. The full payment is taken in advance.

Day 2: 1700 hours:
To be sure , i call up the hotel to confirm that they have got the booking from expedia.co.in. They say no, and sorry, we are sold out. No place at all. Then i call expedia.co.in and ask them why the booking has not yet reached the hotel. The lady, Gayatri, puts me on hold for 10 minutes and then tells me, sorry the hotel is sold out. I cannot do anything. I can give you a full refund if you want. I do not want a refund. The full refund i will get even if i cancel online. No meherbani there.
I asked for alternative accomodation. She says, sorry , we cannot process that. We will have to get to another department that deals with cases like that.
Me: Ok, so talk to them and get back to me.
Gayatri: Sorry, i cannot do that. I cannot call them if u drop the call, and i cannot call you back or email you.
So, i am put on hold for 15 whole minutes after which i drop off.

Day 2, 2330 hours:
I call again, only to be put through to the lodging team again. This time, the hold time is about 5 minutes. The lady tells me that she has to speak to the original hotel personally before booking me in an alternative place. I tell her that someone from their company has spoken to the hotel and indicated that there is no place, which is the reason why i m making this call in the first place. She says "i understand, but this is policy."

Hold time: 15 minutes while she tries to talk to the hotel (Best Western Merrien)
After that, she unholds me and tells us that she is not able to get to the hotel but she will go ahead and process my alternative accomodation anyway. She recommends another comparable hotel and i say ok. She puts me on hold - 20 minutes this time, and then tells me (You have to hear this to believe it) "Oh, i finally understand why i am not able to get through to anyone in India. Because of the time difference - it is night in India now, and all the reservation desks are closed." - This, from someone who works in an international operation across time zones.

I am promised that tomorrow morning, by 10, someone will make an alternative booking for me and call me back. Great.

Day 3: 1040 hours: No call yet.
I call them, and the agent - Gagan Kalia this time, gives me another runaround and another round of holding while he talks to the lodging team. I ask him whether the agent from last night has left an instruction that i should be booked into another hotel first thing tomorrow morning. He says NO, we do not have an instruction like that, nor do we have an instruction to call u by 10, and anyway we cannot make outbound calls.
I leave instructions with Gagan on the order of preference of hotels and will he please email me within the next 2 hours with the new accomodation details? He says, for sure mam.

Day 3: 1700 hours: No Call or email yet.
Predictably, i call again.. and this time, i am told the same thing "I have to contact the Lodging Dept to authorise this alternative accomodation. May I please put your call on hold while i connect to them? It will only take 2-3 minutes."
Actual Hold time: 15 minutes.
Result of Hold time: This case has been assigned to another person who is finding from the hotel why they cannot give reservation. I will advise you to wait for at least 24 hours because he sits in the US. (Like i care!)
Me: Can you please at least process a full refund?
Asif Ahmad: Not without authorisation from this person mam.
Me: How come Gayatri said she can do a full refund right now?
Asif Ahmad: I dont know mam.
Me: Asif, its on your website. Cancel 4 days in advance and get full refund. Where does approval come in?
Asif Ahmad: Can i place you on hold while i check whether i can get u a refund right now?
Hold time : 15 minutes.
Result of hold time: We are processing your entire refund, and it will take 7-10 business days (thats half a month in calendar time)
Me: Why will it take so long?
Asif Ahmad: Thats the SOP mam.

Why am i taking these names? Because this stellar performance should come up when someone is googling them for employment. If you want employees who are good at giving customers the runaround, i would highly recommend all employees of expedia, and personally recommend these 3. In a cheating and fraud business, these guys will be right at home.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Ithaca



When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)
- One of the beacons of my life.. and among the few long poems that i truly love.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Film Review: Delhi Belly : Avoidable Crap

At least one thing is true - the movie's name is completely accurate. Delhi Belly is the term non Indians use to explain the mandatory "stomach upset" that most tourists experience in Delhi. And this film is about "stomach upset", and also manages to test your ability to stomach nonsense and absolute f^&(ing crap. Mine is upset now. VERY UPSET.

The thing is, I am old fashioned about movies. I like a movie to ideally have a point, and at the very least, to have a story. A random set of pictures on the innards of bachelor living accomodation is of NO INTEREST to me.

The "story" is about 3 young men staying in filthy bachelor accomodation. The girlfriend of the hero, Tashi, inadvertently becomes a courier for diamond smuggling. She passes on the packet innocently to Tashi to deliver. Tashi gives it to his photographer flatmate, because he gets late covering a murder (he is a journo).

The photographer gets loosies and therefore the task of carrying the stool sample (covered in brown paper) and of delivering the parcel (covered in brown paper too) falls on the third flatmate. Predictably, the third friend gets the 2 paper parcels mixed up and the diamond smuggler gets poo on his table (and yes, you can see it too. On screen. Human Faeces. )

The baddies follow the good guys, some mashup that i couldnt understand, and a while later, Aamir Khan going back and forth with his pelvic bones. For 3-5 minutes that feel like an hour. Some things, Aamir, you should never do. Making Delhi Belly and doing item songs are 2 of them.

So, you should see this movie for the kind of crass language that assaults you from all ends - with no point , need, or even justification (other than "ordinary ppl talk like this." How come i know no such ordinary people?) . You should also see this for absolute lack of a storyline, much less a point. At every level and in every way, this film is just crass, tasteless, loud and vulgar for the sake of being vulgar. i dont even KNOW anyone who uses this sort of language every day, so dear director, stop assuming that all ordinary ppl talk like this. Or want to hear this language. This is one film that, if it becomes a hit, will actually make me feel ashamed of the kind of work we are producing.

Review in one line: Avoidable Shit. (And thats the nicest thing you will hear in the film. if this surprises you, wait till you see whats in store).

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Phoenix called India

A few hundren years ago, there was a land called India. It was marauded by the Arab invaders and by the invaders from the East. They did forced conversions, they took the weath away, they broke the idols and burnt the holy books. Over a period of time, they assimilated into the conquered culture , and both cultures changed for ever.

A few hundred years later, the same land was conquered by the British. These conquerers, however, took money back to their homeland, and never assimilated with the conquered culture. They left a very rich country very poor. And they ruled for at least 2 centuries. During this time, they literally bankrupted the land.

Exit the colonisers, and within 60 years, the country was right on top of the IT revolution. In a recessionary global economy, theirs was among the few economies still standing (though weakening progressively) .

What is it about India, that makes us a Phoenix? May this country always remain this way.. but what is it?

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Return of the Governess

In English novels of the  19th Century, we come across the lovely , essential person called the "Governess".

Her only job was to mind and educate the children, to be nice to them, and to take care of them while the mothers went about the harrowing task of partying and socialising et al. (no pun intended, it IS harrowing and a task)

Who can forget Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music?

Governesses were educated young women from the middle classes. Always, they were treated on par with the members of the family.

And then, sadly, somewhere along the way, we lost them. They reappeared as babysitters in the US and au par girls in Europe, but none of these quite qualifies as "Governess". And that, methinks is the loss of the parenting community - educated , bright young girls who want a house to live in, want to save some money to pay for their college, and also want to love children.

The girl who has been with us for the last 2 years, and is leaving us now, is a "Governess". She works around the house, but only when she wants to and as much as she wants to. She lives in a room of her own like a PG. She is educated upto Class 8, and her primary responsibility is the child.

When i am not at home, i can rest assured that the child will be taken care of like.. i would , and not like a maid would. I know that she is capable of playing jigsaw puzzles and building blocks and cricket and badminton with the child. She will read to him from his books. I know and trust that the child will be fed, and will be cleaned and will be put to sleep at the right time, even if the office is holding me back.

I know that she does not spit, or use foul language, and is conscious of how she and the baby are dressed.

Which brings me to the subject of the post - why shouldnt more girls who have cleared their 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, and are looking for jobs(even if it is to pay for their higher studies) , apply, not as maids , but as Governesses?

Why don't young bright girls who are in town for studies, take up, not PG, but Governess role, that they perform only after their college hours? This way, they get accomodation, they get a family to call their own, they are on par with the family, and they get a set of kids to love (and teach).

Perhaps an attitude change is needed on both sides of the table. More families should consider taking in educated governesses, and not treat them like "maids" or "paid staff" . And more young girls should consider this as a career option.

This will mean better care for our children, and of course, a better experience for young girls currently hankering after that "BPO job" that takes away all day and night and still doesnt pay.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

कुछ बातें..

कुछ बातें
इन्द्रधनुष सी
सतरंगी, खुशनुमा,
सात सपने ले कर आती,
सात सपने हम में जगाती

कुछ बातें
ज्यूँ मटमैले कपडे
धो कर, सुखा कर ,
तब भली लगें

कुछ बातें
कबीर के दोहे सी
छोटी, गहरी॥

कुछ बातें
कविता सी
पूरी भी,
अधूरी भी...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

पिया

क्या रंग दर्द का होगा?
ज़र्द, सफ़ेद, भूरा...
तेरे तो,
गम का रंग भी
गुलाबी लगे पिया

क्या मन
बिरहन का होगा ?
उदास, बेजान, बेनूर?
तेरा तो हिज्र भी
रूहानी लगे पिया

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jobsworth, Tata and the Indian Work Ethic

Actually, this post is about none of the above. Its just triggered by a mind map that had the abovementioned stops. Early in the morning, i was considering writing a post on the professional Blog "5 Consulting Myths: BUSTED". Then i read THE Tata interview in the paper, where he has accused Brit managers of Jobsworth (a word i learnt from a similar article a few months ago) , and one of the lines struck me particularly : "Now things are better. Now no one leaves at 5, and we have bosses who call for meetings at 5." I went in my head "Hullo??!" One of the Consulting Myths i wanted to bust was "more hours = more work." Fact: An Employee is someone who can sabotage your project, while getting paid for it.(the sabotage, not the project, though you might think you are paying for the project).
And then i thought, Why is it that we Indians think nothing of taking work home? Where, in the first place, did this magical figure of 8 hours come from? A little thinking answered that - most probably, from the Industrial Revolution. It was not possible to measure your productivity on the assembly line, so we measured and said "Spend at LEAST this long at work" and over time, that magical figure became "Spend At most this much time at work." Way back then, there were supervisors whose only job was to ensure that you do spend that time working, work was easy to see and monitor (your hands either moved or they didnt) and it was ok.

And then i thought, "How did we measure performance before the Industrial Revolution? What was the traditional Indian way of measuring performance?" Then a story came to mind - of Jayadeva (the author of Geeta Govinda) using 2 lamps on his desk - one for his work, and the other for meeting personal guests. "Ohhh... even way back then, it was assumed that one would bring work home. Indians!"

And THEN it struck me - in the Vedic period, we identified so much with our professions that our most basic social and religious identification - the much maligned VARNA system, was based on what? The PROFESSION of the person!! The teachers and the knowledge workers were the Brahmins, the warriers were the Kshatriyas, the traders were the Vaishyas, and the menial labour people were the Shudras. Our work was not just what we did, it was what we WERE!

In Sanskrit, the word for duty and religion is the same - Dharma. It takes some commitment for a civilisation to actually do that without even thinking of it. While that might explain how India manages to play the Phoenix over and over again, there is another side to it. It also explains why most Indians just dont understand why people have to spend time away from work with their families.

Performance Management in Ancient India
Was simple. An astrologer( Raj Pandit) was judged by how well he predicted the future, not by how many hours he spends at the Court. A farmer was judged by the crop produce, not by the no. of hours put into the farm. The mathematician was judged by the quality of his writing, not by how many years he put into the research. The Minister was judged by how well he advised, not by how much he attended court. The trader was judged by his wealth, not by the working hours of his shop. In short : In almost all knowledge efforts, results were rewarded,not effort, and most certainly not hours at work.


The Indian Concept of Work Life Balance
You see, the family was completely involved in the work. it was a family profession. The children followed the father's profession, and since they had to be trained early, the entire family was also a work unit. Which means that there was no concept of a family life separate from work. Couples were hired to work together, and together they stayed. When children were born, they were inducted as early as possible too.

And that, Mr. Tata, is why 5 o' clock meetings are not ok. This is not the Vedic period. Indian companies do not do Family Days. Families are not a part of the profession or work any more.

And last, but not the least: Lack of Planning at your end does not constitute crisis at my end. 8 hours a day is not too little time to work and bring a company out of the financial mess.

Disclaimer: I am not in his shoes. Perhaps they pinch really bad for him to take a stand like this. I have never before heard him be vocal about something like this.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day..

I have known my mother a long time.. i have noticed
The creases on her face
for many, many years..

Today, i realise
That i cannot describe
my mother at all..
Because you cannot describe
The Pacific Ocean
Or the Universe
Or a phone call on your darkest day
saying
"How are you beta?"

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sandwich every bit of criticism in 2 layers of praise

When i first read this one liner, over 20 years ago, it appeared absurd, even funny. Because obviously, it was the natural thing to do, wasnt it? Why would anyone put it down as advice?

But the one liner stuck in the head. and later, it turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice i have heard and internalised. And like all elementary things that children do as a matter of course, i realised that a lot of adults do NOT do this. Over the years, from being a natural thing to do, it has become a conscious act of will, at times, even become a thing to be done for its own sake. But not once, has the advice failed one. It ALWAYS works.


  1. The credibility of the review goes up. When a review has both pros and cons, a lot more people trust the review.

  2. The person tends to not get defensive. This is the biggest advantage of this approach. Since you start with a compliment and end with another compliment, the receiver is not defensive. It helps.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Middle East Democracy

Am i the only one who finds it curious that:
1. ALL the Middle East unrest happened so concurrently.
2. They were able to mobilise so many people in such a short time.
3. They were able to mobilise so much logistical and financial support so quickly - in almost no time.
4. Most of these "revolutions" start nameless, with the name of a mob, and dont get a leadership face until later, and yet, they seem to be remarkably well directed?
5. They get military support from NATO, no less, in a jiffy?

That all of this coincides with the worst period in US domestic economy, a time when there is exactly ONE economic threat to the US - the cash rich, low debt middle east?
That all of this coincides with the time when the President is grappling with BIG internal issues and his ratings are at all time nadirs?

On the Osama death that was announced earlier today: Am i the only one who finds it weird that all the stories come with no pictures at all? Not even pictures of the mansion that was ambushed? When the Iraqi dictator was captured, it was all over the place.. the pics, the works.. how come its different this time? maybe its too early to be curious.. so i will wait..

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Navtej Bharati's poem..



ਤੂੰ ਜਦੋਂ ਬਹੁਤ ਸੱਚਾ ਜਿਹਾ ਹੋ ਜਾਨੈਂ
ਸ਼ੁੱਧ ਬੋਲਣ ਲਗ ਜਾਨੈਂ, ਫ਼ਿਕਰੇ ਘੜ ਘੜ ਕੇ


ਸਿਹਾਰੀਆਂ ਬਿਹਾਰੀਆਂ, ਵਿਰਾਮ ਚਿੰਨ੍ਹ ਲਾ ਕੇ


ਮੈਂ ਡਰ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹਾਂ


ਓਦੋਂ ਮੇਰਾ ਜੀਅ ਕਰਦੈ


ਤੇਰੇ ਚਿਹਰੇ ਤੇ ਥੁਹੜੀ ਜਿਹੀ


ਮਿੱਟੀ ਮਲ ਦਿਆਂ


ਨਛੁਹ ਲੀੜਿਆਂ ਤੇ ਛਿੱਟੇ ਪਾ ਦਿਆਂ


ਤੇ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਕਿਤਾਬੀ ਜਿਹੇ ਨੂੰ


ਅਸਲੀ ਬਣਾ ਲਵਾਂ



a poem by Navtej Bharti (Canadian Poet)
My take: Kitabi jahe to dar nahi lagda.

Someone please translate..

Mampi: thank you for sharing this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lessons for Life

Today, i learnt something very important. and i've realised that when something is important, i tend to write it in my diary but then look for it here. So it makes sense to post it here too, right?

Today, i learnt that there are a few things, about 5-10 things, that are the core of your personality. They make you "you". These are usually, though not necessarily, small things.. Like you have to have a cell phone on silent. You cant stand the ring of a cell phone. Its not funny. There is a reason to a supposedly small thing too. It is important to understand , identify, and acknowledge those core things, and then to not compromise on them, no matter what.

We compromise on these things for various reasons - relationships, marriage, career, money, friends, social norms.. whatever. But just dont do it. Because if you do it, then you end up with a an unexplained frustration that you will never understand. It is this that will make you "successful but not happy." And once that harmony is lost, you will not be able to get it back because you wont be able to tell what you are missing.

As we grow up, we are taught to get out of touch with ourselves. Children are always so clear about what they want and what they do not want. Ask any adult, and they wont be half as certain. hell, they wont be one tenth as certain. While it wont help to stay so defined on EVERYTHING, its extremely, extremely important to stay in touch with the 5-10 things that make you the core you. Even if they are small and inconsequential to others.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

पतंगबाजी

बीन्धें कुछ पल,
चोरी करें पतंगे
और उड़ायें दूर तक
औरों के आकाश में
कुछ औरों की पतंगें

अपने ख्याल
न इतने आज़ाद हैं
न इतने हलके

पतंगें बनाने का काम
कवी ही सम्हालते हैं हमारे गाँव में
रोटी कमाने का काम
हमारा है।
और पतंगबाजी का शौक भी।

लोगों के मन के आकाशपर
कवियों की बनायीं पतंगें
उड़ाते हैं हम
आपस में
करते हैं पतंगबाजी भी
जुमलों के मांजे से

कवी भी
अपनी ही पतंगें उड़ाते हैं
अपने ही मन के आकाश में
करती हैं पतंगबाजी
उनकी ही उलझी सोचें
चोट खाए जज़्बात
उनके ही सीने से चिपटकर ॥

बस एक ही बात है
जो समझ नहीं आती
उनकी पतंगें
एहसास के मांजे पर तैरती
इतनी दूर कैसे जाती हैं?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Innovation in Education - Lab in Box, India

Once in a while, one comes across an innovation that one truly wants to write about. Today, i also had the added pleasure of understanding the innovation from the innovator himself - Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya.


Like all developing countries, India has familiar problems in the education sector, particularly the rural education sector:
1. Poor Content.
2. Poor Infrastructure (including, and especially, power)
3. High Dropout ratio
4. Connectivity

If you have seen Entangled,(or if you have read Rapunzel), you know that Rapunzel spent her whole life in a tower - high up. No friends, no meeting people, no interaction with the rest of the world. EXCEPT.. that one tiny window, which lets in air and light.. and .. the promise of the lanterns.

Imagine living a life in a tower like that - WITHOUT THE WINDOW. You have little idea of what children outside your tower know. Even fewer chances to do "exploratory learning" . Remote, rural India is a little like that. Children rarely know how other children live, think, learn.

So what exactly is Lab in Box?

Its a shipping container, hermetically sealed, which draws its own power , is connected, and is fitted with computers. These computers are the little lanterns (metaphorically speaking, of course)

Put simply, its an 8 * 40 ft. classroom that can be carried on the chassis of a truck, in a ship, on a train, airlifted by a helicopter.. basically, any which way, can be placed anywhere, and provides instant classroom facilities. OR a computer lab. Whichever way you like it. Multiple containers can be put together to create a portable school anywhere.

WHICH means, that suddenly, its possible to open a window absolutely anywhere, for all children, but most of all , for children in remote areas. If Mohamed cannot come to the mountain, the mountain will be taken to Mohamed. If the children cannot come to metros where there is good infrastructure, clean, all weather classrooms and an opportunity to interact with other children, we will take the well equipped classroom to them.

If you have never been to remote, rural India.. it will be difficult to understand the importance of something as simple as a classroom. But if you have been to any remote area anywhere, and seen the infrastructure there.. then you will know what we are talking about. :-)

The applications of something as simple and powerful as this, are too many to be listed here.. so lets do it differently.. what are the various applications that you can think of, of this product?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Childhood Sexual Abuse for boys

I have a son. And i am very scared. Because, while abuse with girls is easier to acknowledge and talk about, abuse of boys is still pushed under the carpet, as if it never happened.. as parents, we do not know how to make sure we know when something is not right with our boy, the signs to watch out for in a male child, and of course, not enough people know what to do.
For personal reasons, i'd declined an invitation to join April as the Childhood Sexual Awareness month, but this is an important subject that needs talking.

What IS sexual abuse of a male child?
Same as a female child - any unnecessary and unacceptable touch / conversation around the private parts / sexual prowess of a young child. This starts right at birth - all aunties looking at and commenting on the "size" of a little infant boy - all in jest, of course. The nanny touching his private parts just a little bit longer than necessary... As male children grow, they are under increased threat, not just from aunties and maids, but also from other, older boys (or boys of the same age). Unlike females, privacy in a male washroom is minimal and allows for "peeking" and "comparing". There are other "games" that all male children may not enjoy, but are forced into.

If my child appears unimpacted, is it still abuse?
Yes. Children do not immediately react to abusive memories or incidents. It only shows up as emotional response or behavioral response many years later. make no mistake about it - the impact of sexual abuse is long lasting and sometimes severe. in most cases, it impacts the ability to trust and emotionally connect with others - especially of the other gender.

How to tell if my child is impacted?
This is where i draw a blank. I can tell you for girls, because most victims i worked with were girls. A boy may get more aggressive, or way more withdrawn. They may become socially rude, or they may become terribly moody. At any rate, they are likely to become anti social and talk less. If your child is talking lesser to you, that is cause for concern. If its not sexual abuse, it could be bullying, or anything else.. i would investigate as soon as a male child withdraws. Beyond that, i would really like to know from other therapists working on the subject.

Open Communication Channel
There is, however, one thing that cannot be overstated - NOTHING ELSE can tell you if your child is being abused. ONLY YOUR CHILD can tell you that. its so discreet that no one else gets to know. Which is why, the single MOST IMPORTANT Prevention and correction mechanism is to have an OPEN COMMUNICATION CHANNEL with your child.
Ask HIM if he ate. Ask him if he took a bath. Ask HIM if he reached school on time. NOT his caretaker, not his teacher, not his day care. Only the child. He may be only 2 and unable to talk, he may lie in the beginning and make things up. But thats ok. He is getting the confidence that you care about his activities and his feelings, and that you take his word for it. Which is the second most important thing. Always, his word is trusted more than any other word. Even if you know it to be an explicit lie, trust it and act as if you trust it. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Let me explain why this is crucial. When he comes to you, if ever, with the confession of abuse, the one thing that he cannot bear to hear is "You're making this up. Of course Uncle Binny would never do such a thing. We've known him for years! " He needs to know, BEFORE he comes to you, that he will be explicitly trusted. no matter what his age.

Here are some links that i found useful:
Sexual Abuse of Boys
Living Well website has a lot of resources.


And of course, this post by Monica that started it all.


Do visit the CSA blog - i think its fantastic work!

someone stole my content!

Yes, its finally happened.. someone stole my content and published it under their name, with no trackback, acknowledgement, nothing. Even tho it was jus Amrita Pritam poetry and my opinion on some pieces.. it feels bad.. when we share our most personal favorite, and someone just rips it off and makes away.. one feels not nice at all.. :-( PS: i m not linking to that site deliverately bcs i dont want to send them even more traffic.. but if u can help, pls email me at kijaana@gmail.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

मौनी बाबा

कहाँ कह रहे हो तुम
कुछ ऐसा
जैसा मैंने सोचा था ॥

कहाँ हाथों में हाथ डालने की कोशिश की तुमने ?
न आँखों में झाँक कर देखा शरारत से ।

"अच्छी लगती हो मुझे" इतना भर भी
कह नहीं रहे हो तुम
प्यार की बातें तो
खैर तुम कर ही नहीं सकते शायद।

बस अपने घर की चाबियों का छल्ला
मेरे हाथ में धरा है तुमने ।
तुम से तो मुई चाबियाँ अच्छी हैं -
कम से कम "छन " तो करती हैं!
आओ।
तुम नहीं जानते हो
दुनिया है।

बच्चे की तरह
ये मान कर चले हैं हम
की बारह ही रंग होते हैं दुनिया में
पर ये दुनिया है
ये अपने
दूधिया से ले कर स्याह तक
सभी रंग दिखाएगी तुम्हे
और तुम
विस्मित से देखोगे।

पहले नाम देने की चेष्टा भी करो शायद
पर नाम
जल्द ही ख़त्म हो जायेंगे
और रंगों का आपसी फर्क भी।

तब
समभाव
जानोगे तुम
और बुदध के सामान
ज्ञाता होगे।

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Tenant

When you return
you will फंड
a black house.
The white लाइट
with which
we covered the walls
- like covers on cushions,
was not cleaned properly।
It gathered dust
- Why didn't u come and dust it?
I can sweep the floors
But i can't reach the high walls।
Why didnt u come and clean the cobwebs,
that had begun to grow
in the corners of our relationship?

There were other people here
wanting to rent the house।
I haven't taken off the "To Let" board yet
That's for you to do।
So people still see the board
and try to enter.
And you left
after paying the advance.

Why weren't you there
to answer him
when someone came
to be my tenant?

How much could i do alone?
Dusting the house,
keeping off other tenants and
Waiting for you?
So, i went ahead and painted the house black.
You will see when you come.
And the white light is pressed
under the black.
You will have to chip and scrape
the whole house
to take it out again.
That will give you an idea
of how i toiled
when i painted it black.

किरायेदार
तुम आओ

तो देखना
सारा घर
काला पुता होगा
जो रौशनी हमने तुमने मिलकर चढ़ाई थी
घर की दीवारों पर
तकिये के लिहाफों की तरह
उसे साफ़ नहीं किया
धुल जम गयी थी उस पर
तुमने आ कर उसे झाड़ा क्यूँ नहीं?
फर्श तो रोज़ बुहार देती थी मैं
पर ऊपर मेरा हाथ नहीं पहुंचता
- तुमने आ कर वो जाले क्यूँ नहीं हटाये
जो हमारे रिश्ते के कोनो में लग रहे थे?
कोई आया था यहाँ रहने
मैंने किसी को नहीं बताया
की किरायेदार रख लिया है मैंने ।
सब मकान को अब भी खाली समझते हैं।
तुमने तो बस पेशगी किराया दिया
और चलते बने।
जब कोई आया
किराए पर लेने
ये मकान
तो तुम
क्यूँ नहीं थे
दरवाज़ा खोलने को?
तुम क्यूँ नहीं थे
उसे बताने की मेरा किराए चढ़ गया मकान?

मैं क्या क्या बचाती अकेली ?
उस धुल को साफ़ रखना
किरायेदारों को मोड़ना वापिस
और तुम्हारे लिए रोज़ खाना बनाना
- शायद तुम आज लौट आओ!

बुरे किरायेदार हो तुम -
इसी लिए मैंने सारे घर को
काला पोत दिया है ।
जब आओ, तो देखना ।
और रौशनी
जो काले रंग के नीचे
दबी बैठी है
उसे खुरच कर निकालना होगा तुम्हे -
ताकि तुम्हे पता चले
की मैंने कालिख पोतने में
कितनी मेहनत की है!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gurgaon Shops review - Big Bazaar, Spencer's, Bags n More

Monthly grocery shopping is a 4 hour pilgrimage that one dreads. However, it has to be gone through. Usually, i take my son and go to Spencer's. Its a pleasant experience and the store is well designed.
Yesterday, however, one made the mistake of going o Big bazaar in Sahara Mall. The experience was bad, the prices were higher, and in general, the decision was way less than optimal.

During Feb, we bought a bag from Bags n More - Ambience Mall. The handle broke in 2 weeks flat! My Lajpat Nagar bags last much longer than that - at least a few months at a time!

There, review of shops completed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

जुस्तजू जिस की थी - उमराव जान अदा

जुस्तजू जिस की थी उस को तो न पाया हम ने
इस बहाने से मगर देख ली दुनिया हमने

तुझ को रुसवा न किया, खुद भी पशेमा न हुए,
इश्क की रस्म को इस तरह निभाया हमने

कब मिली थी, कहाँ बिछड़ी थी, हमें याद नहीं
ज़िन्दगी तुझ को तो बस ख्वाब में देखा हमने

अदा और सुनाये भी तो क्या हाल अपना
उम्र का लम्बा सफ़र तै किया तनहा हमने

Translation not possible.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Being a Flexi Mom Successfully

This post is about being a flexi time/part time/ telecommuting worker, especially if you are a woman.

I have been helped by professional advice from other women, so today, am trying to pay it forward (yes, saw that movie today and cried buckets) .

1. Flexi time is not part time : This, imho, is the single most important lesson for professionals. just because someone is not monitoring your activities does not mean that they are not monitoring the quantum of work being delivered. In particular, sales and allied jobs - your job may or may not need you to enter time sheets and visit sheets, but people notice.

2. Keep it professional: If possible, have a separate corner in your house/room, no matter how young your child or how full your house. If you do flexi time or part time, make sure that those times are dedicated to work and work alone.

3. Excel at something: If you are going to work part-time/flexi time or telecommute, it is important to excel at at least one thing, or take ownership of at least one thing for which you are very important. it really helps.

4. Commitment is not part time or flexi time: Remember that. Your organisation will allow flexibility on the work, not on the work ethic.

5. Communicate and Stay in touch: Sure, you cannot network after office and you cannot go out with the others. But does that stop you from communicating in other ways? Share professional advice, help people in their work, send regular updates to your stakeholders, and make an effort to understand their end of the communication.

6. KRA please: Ask your employers what your KRA(Key Result Areas) are. Is it logging in 4/8 hours for sure? Is it completing the work, no matter how long it takes? is it being available on call at all times, even if u r not working all the time? Find out what this KRA is, and then, make sure that you deliver on it just like another employee without the perks of flexi time etc.

7. Do not accept unacceptable behavior: After you have delivered your end of the bargain, do not let anyone treat you unfairly. You have been fair - you have asked for certain concessions, and you have delivered - professionally and well, on your KRAs, so why should you be short changed on praise or promotion?

And last, but not the least, this talk by Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO, is one of the BEST things i have come across in a long long time, about being a woman professional. raise a toast then!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Faces of steel
cannot shed a tear
and that
is the misfortune
of faces of steel.

A tear
on a face of porcelain
does not betray
the sadness within
It only
enhances the beauty
of the porcelain
And that
is the misfortune
of the porcelain face.

Faces of tender clay
disintegrate
under the weight of
salty tears
And that
is the misfortune
of tender, unbaked clay.