Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ek sher..

naa sahi mera imaan qaabe qaleesa mein...
hua main hua toh kaafir hi sahi...

charchaa tera zehen-o-lab din raat......
par ab bhi shaayad tujhe main jaanta hi nahi

ho kyon naa gumaan khud par, e buut tujhe
nazar shamsheer toh hai, chahe dil sang hi sahi

palat kar aa pahunchi khud tak sada meriintehaa meri ibteda se naa-waakif hi sahi

I know who wrote it, but have been told to not mention credits..

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mountains and Hills

If you want to trek up a hill, you can do it alone. And with some practice and grit, do it really well.

But no one, and no one, can climb a mountain alone. To conquer a mountain, you must climb with a team. And the rules of the mountains teach much.

There is no hierarchy. The respect is earned not by who pays whom, but by who knows what and who does what. The Sherpa who, strictly speaking, is a paid porter, gets much respect. Because he has been up and down that mountain many times, and because he has spent his life observing this mountain, worshipping her. He understands her moods way better than you ever will. When he tells you to turn, you always do. Because he knows better.

Imagine if we ran organisations and countries that way.. how would it be different ?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Narendra Modi loses elections to stray dogs

Namo is sitting in his office. Shocked. He thought he had nailed it -a GOOD manifesto, promising growth and development and positive policy change. With that, his Analytics team had assured him, the thinking public will vote, and vote for him.

They had voted, but they had unianimously voted AGAINST him and his party.

Namo lost no time in asking his team to find out what exactly happened here. Such defeat was entirely unanticipated.

The team came back in 2 days, having run focus group discussions and boy, were they lucky! They had got a unianimous answer from all the people they spoke to.

The story is simple. The condominiums had stray dogs. These dogs should have been sent to a dog shelter duly created and run by an animal rights NGO. BUT each of the residential complexes had received threats when they tried to evict the stray dogs. The dogs were a source of danger to the inhabitants, but that was not the concern of the animal lovers, who didn't move a finger to create a dog shelter. The main irritant was the letters - they were open threats.

In one case, the president of the RWA was taken to the police station and threatened with a case of physical assault against the 75 year old mother of the resident activist. When asked why the said activists did not take the dogs to their own houses, the residents received further insult and threats about their criminal behaviour towards the innocent, law abiding citizens who were also animal rights activists. Never mind that their activism was directed at social adoption of all stray dogs but no personal adoption.

The residents then did the only thing they could do. They found out who was the person behind all the threats, and where they derived their power from. (they were intelligent, remember?)  The power came from being a BJP MP.

En masse, the BJP was not voted for.

And that, my dear friends, is how NaMo lost a whole parliamentary constituency to stray dogs.

GLOCAL is not such a bad word after all.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lohri Traditions - 2

Asking for Lohri

Once the Bai Khichdi and the Til Mooli rasm are over at home, young boys and girls, dressed in their finery, form groups and go from door to door, asking for "Lohri" . The Lohri songs, with full text, are here:

And you can also hear the boys's song here:

And this is one Lohri song that really took my heart away :

If they sing well, they are rewarded with popcorn, peanut, gajak, rewri and other Lohri goodies. If the group is happy, they sing: Dabba bhareya Leeraan da, Ai ghar Ameeraan da (A box full of rags, this house is of a rich man)

If they are not happy, they sing:
Hukka bhai Hukka , Ai ghar bhookha
(Hukka o Hukka, this house is of paupers )

At the end of this trip around the village, the children share their booty.

The Lohri itself
The sacrificial fire of Lohri is lit up in the courtyard. You can read about the celebration here:

Basically, one does the parikrama of the Lohri Mai and offers Lohri goodies to the holy fire. Only after that is the packet in one's hand considered "Prasad". it is then given to younger family members, and also offered to others as Prasad. People share each other's Prasad and goodies.

The Dancing
After the fire, comes the dancing. Gidda for women and Bhangra for the men.

Lohri Traditions

Lohri is very special to me. Every year. This year, its time to document some of the lesser known traditions of Lohri.

ਬਈ ਖਿਚੜੀ / बई खिचड़ी
 At night, the family makes chana dal khichdi. Please make sure that you add jeera, heeng and saunf to the khichdi. The khichdi is kept overnight. In the morning, the family is supposed to sit together and have khichdi together at breakfast. This Bai Khichdi (stale khichdi) is the last reminder of the year gone by. With the Bai khichdi, we bid goodbye to all the anger, resentment and disappointments of the previous year. We let go of the attachments and the things that hold us back. The Bai khichdi is saying Bye, to the year gone by.

ਤਿਲ ਮੂਲੀ / तिल मूली
This tradition needs at least 2 members of the family. On Lohri morning, each member of the family gets a small slice of radish in the right hand and a few black sesame seeds in the left. They dip the radish into the sesame seeds, hold it up in their right hand, and ask "Til Mooli Chakhaan?" तिल मूली चखा? (Should I taste this Til Mooli?"
The other member of the family responds to this by saying "चखो जी!" (Please do!)
After this first, the person with the Til Mooli uses the next 4 bites to mention the things that they want to keep/ wish for in the new year. A typical sequence for an older person might go:
Til Mooli chakhan? (Should I taste the Til Mooli)

Maa pyo rakhaan? (Should I have my parents in the coming year?)

Dhan daulat izzat ikhlaq rakhaan? (Should I keep money, respect and love?)

Ghar di such shanti, deh arogyata rakhaan? (Wishing for peace at home and health)

Aye paraune da maan, guruvaan da naam rakhan? (Wishing for respect for all visitors who enter my door and prayer in the coming year)

A student might wish for Vidya da daan (gift of erudition)

A young married person might ask for harmonious relations in his/her married life.

And so on.. its a beautiful tradition - that allows you to be grateful for what you have, and also to make resolutions for the coming year.

I love the way these resolutions are worded. They are not "should I ask for". They are "should I keep" - placing the onus entirely on the efforts of the  individual making the resolution.

One by one, all the members of the family make their resolutions.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Population Tax

I have this bright idea.. instead of income tax, we should have a population tax. Why? Simple. When we tax income, we are taking away from people who succeed. We are not taxing the use of our resources. But every child that is born taxes the resources of the country. And its time to start taxing them.

The thought was honestly a continuum of that post where a 2 year old child was out in the cold and adult women sitting near him were clad in shawls. These children are brought into the world so they can be free farm labor, free begging resources. Not to be loved, cherished, and nurtured, but to be used, abused and left to fend for themselves.

So methinks, in a country where female foetuses are killed bcs they will ask for dowry in some years, what is the fastest way to dissuage this practice which doesn't help anyone? And pat the answer came - start taxing them for producing more children, make it impossible to receive any govt benefits unless the child is registered, and you have a winner. nothing succeeds like money.


Sunday, January 05, 2014

2014 - resolution uno

I have decided to laff. a lot more.

All my blog posts are serious!

This is not on.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Should children be taken away from abusive parents?

This is not an impulsive post. It has patiently brewed in the head for a full day now.

Last evening, while driving home from office in the cold Delhi winter, I noticed a child who looked around 2 years old. This child was wearing a shirt and sweater on top and absolutely NOTHING underneath or on the head. Next to him were 2 women wearing the ghaghra and with a shawl each. I stared incredulously at that sight. One of them was presumably the mother, bcs the child was not shivering. it was playing merrily. The temperature outside is likely to be about 8 degrees. I asked the woman to dress the child properly in the cold, and she used that opportunity to ask me for money and clothes! I was too flabbergasted to even comment! I know for a fact that these people are NOT short on winter clothing. As a mother, I would have used my shawl to cover the child and would have kept the child close to give it body warmth at least. At any rate, its hard to imagine a parent that lets their child play in the cold with absolutely no clothes on!

The image of that child has not left my mind yet. Because that child is no exception. We all know enough parents - moneyed and otherwise, who abuse their children.

Should the parents be allowed to keep these children and actively abuse them? Or should the children be taken away from the parents?

What do you think?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

2013 - 2014

"वक़्त के गोल पहिये पर
किसी  ने एक जगह
बिंदी लगा दी
तब से हम सब
नया साल मनाते हैं "

शायद पिछले साल ये लिखा था , पर ये कौमी जूनून, अच्छा बहाना है, बैठ कर सोचने के लिये

३६५ दिन बीत गए
एक के बाद एक
पेड़ पौधे ज़िंदा रहे
बच्चे बड़े हो गए
दवाइयां कुछ बढ़ गयीं हमारी
और वक़्त की रफ़्तार
कुछ कम हुई है
खाना खाते हुए
अब अखबार नहीं पढ़ते
पूजा करते हुए
अच्छा लगता है
गहरी सांस और प्राणायाम
अनायास ही हो जाता है।

इस साल हमें पता लगा है
 पुख्ता सबूत के साथ
कि पेड़ हैं हम
धूप और रौशनी न मिले तो
एक दिन में सांस लेना मुश्किल हो जाता है

 बस, यही इस साल का सरमाया
इस साल की बिंदी आने तक
बस यही हो पाया है।

अगले साल का कोई दिशा निर्देश
अभी नहीं बनाया है