Thursday, November 22, 2007

Destiny in someone else's hands

[Hope you have visited that link]

It so happened that the Boss and my 'first choice person' above when they retired, were presented a scroll in the form of rhyming poems [scroll to see my post in this blog] at different times. I was much satisfied with the way both compilations happened!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Childhood Deepavali memories

After Dasara holidays it was Deepavali which we eagerly looked forward to when we were young, in the 1960s and early 70s. It was not solely for the chance to buy and enjoy fireworks, but it really meant a festive atmosphere everywhere. Such was the spirit.

It would begin with buying cloth lengths [cotton only] for all the male members in the family. For me and brother it was for a set of shirt and half pants to be stitched at Tailor Narayana Rao’s shop close to our house. Ready-mades were less preferred, though some shops sold them.
Then it was the purchase of fireworks with our grandfather. Our loudest sounding item was ‘elephant cracker’ with that Red Fort picture on the packet, which exploded with a tolerable sound and there was an odd one that fizzed too, much to our delight! We used to buy just a couple of chains of these but a lot more of those cheap ‘horse crackers’. These were much smaller. Some adventurous boys used to burst them holding in their fingers, while it was concealed into cigarette to explode at the lips – the seniors played this mischievous fun trick. So feeble were these. All crackers in the chain were separated to increase the number instead of burning chains at one go, so that we will have ‘more’ time to spend!

‘Atom bombs’ [now banned, but still manufactured and sold] were not much popular, though ‘Lakshmi cracker’ and ‘China chuvva’ [close equivalents] were bought by us in very small numbers as we grew older – a sense of promotion! But since I have always hated big noise, this was not an item on the list. But we enjoyed it from distant somewhere that reverberated in the city skies. Skies were so silent then, esp. before dawn, except for the disturbed crows and house sparrows [now gone from the region]. I was actually afraid to burst a cracker myself or being close to it!

For the two of us, the expense would be hardly twenty five or thirty rupees at the most. Compare it to the thousands that people spend now! We just bought a few crackers, some sparklers, match sticks, incense sticks [for igniting fireworks], flower pots, threadlike sparklers and ‘ground-wheels’. No rockets and other dangerous things. It was also a common thing to ask others ‘for how many rupees did you buy fireworks?’

The ladies of the house would clean all the copper vessels in the bath and fill with fresh water [24-hour supply then] the previous evening. Mother would exhibit her talent with rice-flour rangoli in front of the house – a beautiful pattern would be drawn. [See my 'crafts in the family' post in this blog - picture]. We were woken up at 4 a.m the next day for oil bath. Already, some cracker noise would be heard at a distance, envious we were not ‘first’ to burst. People were ready with all the enthusiasm to celebrate the festival. Special dishes for lunch, new clothes would be worn and fireworks played.

Boys were curious to know what other boys would burst. It was fun. People did not make much of a show by exchanging greetings for the festival like now. We have come to a state when we wish others on any day –‘Happy Independence day' or 'Happy Ganesh Festival' for example! I don’t remember they did that in the 1970s! Patriotism existed in greater spirit, than now, in spite of not greeting the fellow citizen!

Then, it was less people, less noise. The festival did not have a nuisance value generally. The sky did not choke. Now it chokes. More people, more show, more noise, more poison smoke, more of all the negatives! The festival-enjoyers show least concern to other neighbours or passers-by. The Police stipulate the time for bursting crackers. Yet, nobody listens or heeds to rules showing utter disregard to others in society. Bombs go up at anytime of the day or night with shocking intensity. Smoke fills the air and settles like fog, creating breathing problem esp. to the sensitive. Stars cannot be seen during the festival nights. Also, many accidents take place due to carelessness. It can be very painful. My young brother had burnt his fingers playing with ‘fire’. Accidents should not teach us, we should be forewarned.

There was one fire accident at a house on our Devaparthiva Road. We had been to the Dasara Exhibition [old building] in 1970 or so. By the time we returned home [by walk], we saw people gathered and fire engines standing. On one of the houses, hay was stacked [they owned a couple of cows] on the terrace and a rocket had started a fire. Luckily only a part of the house was gutted. We saw how the firemen worked for the first time.

Scientifically, they say that this festival of lights, Deepavali, is timed when insects are more after the monsoon rains. So this smoke, only when emanated in moderation, helps control the insects. But we are overdoing it to an extent of causing concern to human comfort and environmental pollution, leave alone the insects. It confuses birds and animals as well. Look at the amount of rockets and other colourful fireworks and the amount of poisonous smoke they leave behind.
Are we not harming our own environment in our own little ways? That is not what the previous generation left behind for us. At least now that it is being pointed scientifically the exact reasons for various climatic changes, let us be warned and act wisely. And leave behind, not smoke, but a better environment for the next generation to live in.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Analyses of Man and Woman

ANALYSIS OF MAN (purely in a lighter vein)

Symbol: MaW2 (Mighty, Almighty, Woman wooer)
Molecular weight: 55kg, equivalent to "Reference Woman" as defined by FAO/WHO Expert Group.
Origin: Darwin's Brain Trust!
Zoological name: Romeocca Mangentilus. Ima
Physical Properties: Short-tempered, egoistic, possessive, demanding. Wants to have the cake and eat it too! Always feels that grass is greener on the other side! Would like to have a submissive spouse!
Chemical Properties: Possesses great affinity towards fair sex. Blushes at ladies' attention. Turns violet when his girl talks to other Men! Turns white in trouble, tries to win hearts of other young girls that he is still attractive to the fair sex!!
Reaction: Acidic if challenged; Alkaline if ignored and neutral if necessary!!
Occurrence: Hopping around ladies' colleges and hostels. May also be found at the doors of theatres!
Uses: A good escort for defence of fair sex especially after night shows!
Caution: Unpredictable, Unsteady, breaker of hearts and mischier monger proving Darwin's theory!!
ANALYSIS OF A WOMAN (purely in a lighter vein)

Nomenclature: Woman
Symbol: Wo
Occurrence: Ubiquitous and abundant
Origin: Unknown
Size: Standard -- 42-24-36
Availability: In all sizes except the standard. Some are upside down to the standard.
Mass: 35-55 kgs.
Length: Between 1 and 2 metres

++Structural: Mostly petit frame with 75 % surface tension.
++Physical: At times highly dynamic, but no initiative in times of crises; possesses little strength and force; exhibits alpha, fronted by a better looking specimen.
++Chemical: boils at nothing and melts under sentimental conditions; freezes at sensitive moments, bitter by nature; violently reacts after a brief solitude and improper treatment leading to explosions; turns red even on a little provocation and becomes pale during crises.
++Conductivity: An equally good conductor of both love and hate.
++Thermal: Cold sentimentality under hot conditions and exaggerated sentimentality under cold conditions.

=Susceptibility: Systems:
Eyes- Susceptible near all saree and dress emporia
Ears- Susceptible to all fashionable earrings, earlocks, eardrops, etc.
Tongue- Susceptible to all gossip.
Nose- Susceptible to exotic smells.
Mouth- Susceptible to all pickles in general
Mind- Highly susceptible under sentimental conditions. Very high infatuation towards gold, silver, etc., and invitations.

- General- An ornamental piece fit for an ivory tower; acts as a tonic when judiciously used, otherwise a non-reversible poison even in sub-lethal doses. An accelerator of spirit and simian enthusiasm even among ascetics.
- Economic- Rise in value under speculative conditions, increases demand, and fall in value decreases demand, a paradox in economic parlance. An instrument for equitable distribution of wealth; acts as an effective income reducing agent. An article of ostentation and possesses snob-appeal. A popular bait in all shops and supermarkets to net the victims.
- Caution- Beware of feminine wits and potentialities. Stop, look twice, listen and recede. 660 V. Inexperienced hands should neither touch nor feel. Never try to find the origin. A cul-de-sac. A land of no return.
[Reproduced from a club souvenir, unknown compiler]

Secret Answers in our rooms!

This was an e-mail forward some time back. I have saved it, because of its true worth. Look at the comparison with the objects that we actually have in our rooms everyday, yet they go unnoticed! Worthy reminders to become better!

Roadside wisdom for a rupee

This is a picture of a sticker I could not resist buying from the roadside many years back. I think it was in Bombay when I noticed this among hundreds that was being sold from a pile on the pavement. The diferrent messages there were meant for using on different letters that we wrote to friends, etc. Since they are loaded with so much wisdom in simple effective words, I have retained it. Even treasured it! I thought the messages in this little piece of adhesive sticker serves as fine warnings that suit today's busy, hectic and stressful lifestyles which pushes the adranaline up. Reading those points every now and then could possibly help! It cost me just one rupee but its value is much more.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This is tolerance

I sometimes wonder why we 'citizens' react even at trifles and trivialities. For instance, in traffic when someone honks behind us or someone overtakes from the left we get easily annoyed. Or worse still, in the rainy season when someone else’s wheel splashes dirty water from a puddle on us, we know at what speed the adrenalin shoots up and how impulsively we react. Someone has to remind and calm us “Okay, cool down, cool down”. They say, such impulses are due to stress!

I was traveling in a Passenger train recently. As usual, true to its reputation, the compartment was full… full with passengers and dirt, what with the typically awful condition of the compartment itself - missing planks of seats and the luggage shelves [which are also climbed and occupied]. The Railways perhaps know how tolerant people are!! But that is not the point here.

I had managed to get a seat in one such compartment filled with its own class of people on the whole, mostly daily commuters and from villages traveling from work. This train stops at every little station. This is one train that also satisfies many vendors - tea/coffee, fruits, peanuts, snacks, churmuri and really, whatnot. All will have a fine sale here.

There was one clumsy man comfortably sitting cross-legged on the broken luggage shelf above me. He bought a ‘chota tea’ from a vendor who supplied in an environment-unfriendly plastic cup. Such was the rush that both the tea and the money had to be passed by someone! He was already been opening shells and eating peanuts, just bought. Shells were being dropped on to the passage. So his hand was not free for tea. He kept that cup precariously on the broken part of the shelf. A minute later, his knee tipped the cup accidentally. He was careless to keep there in the first instance. The cup and entire liquid came down on a young man’s trousers sitting next to me. This young man was most likely to be from a village.

Now how did he react to this mess? While I was thanking stars for it was not my trousers, everybody was looking at the mess. He just paused for a second, got up holding the messy part with his thumb and index fingers, went to the tap, passing through the crowd, returned and sat back with a one-side-half-wet pant! No words passed. He did not seem to mind one bit at all. All others continued their gossip as if nothing had happened and that this was an everyday affair! Now this is what tolerance is.

Could his calm behaviour be attributed to the less stressful ‘village atmosphere’ or his own nature, I wonder. Anyhow, that exposes us city-dwelling ‘so-called-educateds’ what we might be lacking!