8460 hours

It’s three years since I joined my company!
Aaargh!
Yes, that’s the first expression that I got on my face. I wondered “Should I be happy that I have completed three years under a manager who approves leaves but not our grieves. Perhaps he has his own stuff to take care of but then, there have been complaints folded neatly in the heads of our HR and the other designations which are not taken care of.”

Well.. that would hurt my heart again so I decided not to behave like an unfortunate being and see the brighter side of the three years of the 10-12 hours spend every day
So, that makes it 705 days or 8460 hours.

And, these hours, minus the grief there have been many happy hours. The joy of working on what you love–The sharing of grief with colleagues from diverse backgrounds or the lessons learnt from them.

Be it Karuna from whom I have learnt that one must chill, anyway, not be tensed or Malaica to be as you are and never change for anyone or Shaily to laugh it off and take things with a pinch of salt or Soumma to juggle so well.

I have not been particularly successful in getting rewarded like I do occasionally in my writing world, where the reward is based on the writing, purely and with each rejection I get motivated to improve, but I have received many consolation prizes like wonderful people who have been with me despite my shortcomings, the colleagues who never judge me and genuinely feel happy for my work being selected elsewhere.

Been blessed to learn so many lessons through humiliation and through disgust but then they have bettered me as a human and also helped me understand the various things I should not be bothered about.
A friend once said “why waste your life in doing something you cannot. Instead sharpen your pencil and motivate yourself to do what you love.”

I feel it is so true! My aim here is not to make my supervisors happy with other sorts of “maska chaska” but to better myself. I have had many chances to be dishonest but I luckily stopped my temptation.
Today was another instance of the same. Am glad I honestly went up to my manager and disclosed a mistake that took place. Am sure it happened due to my lack of motivation but a mistake is still one.

Anyway, like I promised, today I shall waste no time in thinking what could have happened or what can I do, rather I promise myself to do continuously what I love despite rejections and despite humiliation.
I am a student in this open school called life and every remark/failure would be a lesson. It doesn’t matter where I end up as I know I’ll be happy at the end of the journey.

If I receive some accolades, that’s great.
Else, I shall move on and not simply, wait.

A few pics of the silly things we did :P!
And, officially my 3rd anniversary at thomson reuters in on 7th July. Another post on my blog[http://nivuuuuu.blogspot.com] by then soon

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Politicalization of Indian History

This post was originally posted around 2 years ago. It took me around a month to complete. It was my effort and how can it be censored? Why and how it was removed remains a mystery to me. Is it possible for someone to delete my posts? I don’t know…Any ways re-posting it to check my assumptions.

I am a man who is an absolute sucker for History. Be it Indian History or World History, I have this tendency to poke my nose whenever and wherever something related to History is being discussed or talked about. I may not be as well read as the scholarly historians or even Mr. Jaswant Singh, but I know my history and also as I proclaim, I have multiple opinions about any topic which has the slightest hint of being argued. Hence I could not refrain myself from writing on the hot topic of Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

In fact, what you will read hereon will be a talk on a much larger perspective of India’s Modern History. How I have been feeling for a long time now, about the portrayal of facts and how the Text Books have been troubling me.

Whenever we start looking at our Independence Struggle, it begins at The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Well, calling it ‘A Sepoy Mutiny’ in itself is a misnomer as albeit the start it was a unified revolt of entire India that was under the control of British East India Company. The revolt had several inherent flaws resulting into its failure and bringing about a direct rule of the British Empire for the next 90 years. It was also a sort of laying the foundation of a political party, which has ruled for almost 55 years post Independence.

British learnt their mistakes quite quickly from the revolt. After the formations of just a few (albeit powerless and effect less) political parties like Dadabhai Naoroji’s East India Association in 1867, and Surendranath Banerjee’s Indian National Association in 1876, the British decided to let the vent of Indian people out through a medium which should act more like a safety valve(The well known – Safety Valve theory). Inspired by a suggestion made by A.O. Hume, a retired British civil servant, seventy-three Indian delegates met in Bombay in 1885 and founded the Indian National Congress. They were mostly members of the upwardly mobile and successful western-educated provincial elites, engaged in professions such as law, teaching, and journalism. At its inception, the Congress had no well-defined ideology and commanded few of the resources essential to a political organization. It functioned more as a debating society that met annually to express its loyalty to the British Raj and passed numerous resolutions on less controversial issues such as civil rights or opportunities in government, especially the civil service. These resolutions were presented to the Viceroy’s government and occasionally to the British Parliament. Despite its claim to represent all India, the Congress voiced the interests of urban elites; the number of participants from other economic backgrounds remained negligible.

Now, if the foundation itself was so measly and scrawny how do we expect a strong, fail-safe structure above it? My views here should NOT be interpreted as anti-Congress or anti-anything…I am just expressing my view point on something that has been and cannot be changed now.

So, coming back to the role of congress, we all know of its impinge on the common Indian in the early 20th century. The first spurts of nationalistic sentiment that rose amongst Congress members were when the desire to be represented in the bodies of government, to have a say, a vote in the lawmaking and issues of administration of India. Congressmen saw themselves as loyalists, but wanted an active role in governing their own country, albeit as part of the Empire. This trend was personified by Dadabhai Naoroji, who went as far as contesting, successfully, an election to the British House of Commons, becoming its first Indian member.

Whatever happened thereafter, advent of Mahatma Gandhi, the Satyagrah movement, the appeals, the rejections and eventually the ‘freedom’ at the cost of partition of India and Pakistan is supposedly known to all of us. I specifically use the word ‘supposedly’ because whatever history a common educated man of India knows – knows it through the NCERT or other text books prescribed in the curriculum of their schooling.

This was where the Congress had foresightedness. Feed the forming minds with glory. Show them only the brighter side of everything that actually happened. Present ourselves in white light. Hide everything that could blot the image. Contradict the facts as and when required.

My statements are not baseless. I remember Ms Sarojini Naidu commenting about Mr Jinnah as “ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity‘”. The Muslim League, formed in 1906, was the brainchild and conception of very few beleaguered Muslims under the leadership of Mr. Aga Khan. With their grievances and ‘national interest’ they went up to the then Viceroy of India, Lord Minto, who saw this as a nice opportunity to further decelerate the nationalism brewing in the country that time. I will like to quote Mr Aga Khan himself here, who had this to say about Mr Jinnah: “It was ‘freakishly ironic’ that ‘our doughtiest opponent in 1906′ was Jinnah, who ‘came out in bitter hostility towards all that I and my friends had done… He was the only well-known Muslim to take this attitude. He said that our principle of separate electorates was dividing the nation against itself.”

Well, young man. I will have nothing to do with this pseudo-religious approach to politics. I part company with the Congress and Gandhi. I do not believe in working up mob hysteria.” This was what Jinnah had to say about his parting ways with Congress, to a Journalist Durga Das. The reference is from Durga Das’s classic book, India from Curzon to Nehru and After.

Gandhi and Jinnah in Happier times
Gandhi and Jinnah in Happier times


What actually went wrong between Jinnah and Congress? We may never come to know. However, we all must understand that there was certainly some issue which made this crusader of Congress turn hostile. Thereafter, he has been portrayed as a villain.

Nehru and Jinnah
Nehru and Jinnah

Unfortunately, people do not give the treatment ‘History’ deserves. We could all understand History in a much more elaborate manner if we did not treat it as a heroes-and-villains movie.

Moreover, its not just Mr Jinnah’s story. Cover-ups have happened all through the lexis of Modern History of India. Facts have been suppressed. Events have lost into the manors of obscurity. And again it is not a figment of my imagination. I will again sight an example – The origin of demand for ‘Complete Independence’.

The first Indian political organization to call for complete independence from British rule was the Ghadar (or Gadar) Party, organized in 1913 by Indian immigrants in California. The Ghadar movement was remarkable for many reasons. Although Sikhs from Punjab made up the majority of its founding members, the movement was completely devoid of any trace of regional or religious chauvinism. Its platform was uncompromisingly secular and called for a total rejection of any form of caste discrimination. And unlike the Congress, its membership was primarily drawn from the working class and poor peasantry. Sikhs, Muslims, and Hindus of all castes (including Dalits) were welcomed in the movement without bias or discrimination.

The literature of the Ghadar Party was also the clearest in describing the depth of misery that the common people of India experienced under British rule. They were also amongst the first to anticipate the outbreak of the First World War. Correctly sensing that it was an opportunity for the Indian people to liberate themselves from the yolk of colonial rule, they called for a mass movement for total independence. In their widely distributed poster, “Jang Da Hoka” (Declaration of War) they warned of the danger of Indian soldiers being drawn into the British War effort in the First World War.

The Congress failed to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity and leaders like Gandhi went as far as campaigning for the British War effort, calling upon Indians to enrol in the British Army. This treacherous and sycophantic policy of Gandhi not only drew biting criticism from Ghadar activists, but opposition from other quarters also emerged.

Now, how many of the Indian population have even heard the name of ‘Ghadar Party’? Forget the contributions they made. And why is it so?

Why have people who have such rich History to look at, not even bothered to pop simple questions? Why do they believe everything that is served in a platter to them with garnishing of fallacy so evident? Why can’t we question? Why is it hysteria if text books are tampered a little bit (even though the motive of that tampering was also political)? Why reading about us is ‘boring’? Why knowing facts is ‘Not Cool!’ ? Why History doesn’t interests people? Even simple facts like how our Constitution was formed is not known, the constitution which we all abide by or even just the claims to do so. How can we let a single party play around with our History? Why haven’t we read books like Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. And if we have read such text, why don’t we question? Where has the sensibility gone? I am bewildered! I sign off now…

Just leaving you with a pic for your bewilder ness …Enjoy!

Nehru Smoking!
Nehru Smoking!



Engengo Sellum Yen Yennangal(Wandering are my thoughts)

Today, morning I was listening to songs on my way to office. It has now become a kind of ritual in the mornings and evenings, as I have to travel a distance of one and half hour journey to office everyday and back home. Left with no other options, can’t read a good book, thanks to the Roller Coaster Ride, I get every day in and out, and just chilling out listening to music on my iPod is the best among the options on hand.

My eyes had started to close and my brain refused to be active, the music in my ears was singing a lullaby to me.

I was almost on the hill tops with cool breeze, the clouds touching my forehead, the drizzle chilling my spines, and then suddenly music so serene and charming hit the ear drums of mine that my brain woke up with a start and said, “Hey, wake up you can’t afford to miss the SONG”.

Reluctantly, I tried to wake up but the music bore into me and made an instant start ahead of me.

I was swaying and foot tapping to the music. The song is so catchy, that I almost sang aloud with my ears still plugged with the ear phones, I know people in the bus would have thought something’s wrong with this dame. But, you know people were busy with their dreams that they did not bother much to this small insignificant happening. Thanks to the drive and the dreams. Phew! What an escape..!

I just could not wonder in haze the ‘Miracle of Music’ that hits you like a bolt and then melts away without any notice. But you linger with the thoughts of it throughout the day and it even makes you smile unknowingly and the people who pass-by you think you are rather smiling at them. Whereas, hardly you would remember the face, anyways, I just loved this song and its music.

By the way, it is a Tamil song and I thoroughly enjoyed the lyrics and the music.

The after effects of it are very evident still…He…He…He…!!!I have posted the lyrics of the song here…Ensoi.

Engengo sellum Yen Yennangal…
Ingedhaan Kanden Pon Vannangal
Yen Vaazhkkai Vaanil Nilaave…Nilaave……
Ohhhh………Naan Kaanbadhu…Unn Kolame….
Angum…Ingum…Yengum……
AAAAAA……Yen Nenjile…Unn Yenname..
Andrum…Indrum…Yendrum…
Ullaiththil Dhevan…Ulle Yen Jeevan…
Nee….Nee…..Nee………. (Engengo)

Ahhh….. Kallaanavan…Poovaagiren…
Kanne…Unnai..Yenni…
Ahhhh…Poovaasamum…Ponmanjamum
Yendro…Yengo…Raajaa…
Yedharkkaaha Vaazhndhen…
Unakkaaha Vaazhven…
Naan…Nee…Naam……(Engengo)

Engengo Sellum En Ennangal Ingae Dhaan Kandaen Pon Vannangal
En Vaazhkkai Vaanil Nilaavae…Nilaavae

Those who can’t understand the words, it is a love duet. The singers and the actors are trying to tell each other how much they love each other through this song…Just few lines of translation, folks-

“The guy says, he had been a stone man all these days, but on seeing and thinking about her, his mind has bloomed into a flower, bringing in all its qualities. So, since then he is thinking, You, Me and Us……”

Image Courtesy : http://www.eyefetch.com

 

किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़

चलने ही चलने में कितना जीवन, हाय, बिता डाला!
‘दूर अभी है’, पर, कहता है हर पथ बतलानेवाला,
हिम्मत है न बढूँ आगे को साहस है न फिरुँ पीछे,
किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ मुझे कर दूर खड़ी है मधुशाला।।७।

श्री हरिवंश राय ‘बच्चन’ जी की इन अमूल्य और अतुल्य  शब्दों के भावार्थ आज सत्य से प्रतीत हो रहे हैं| मुख्यतः मेरी परिस्तिथि पर| मैं निराशावादी नहीं हूँ| उल्टा अगर मेरी गिनती निराशावादीयों की श्रेणी में हो तो मैं उससे दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण घटना, अपने पूरे जीवन की,  किसी और को नहीं मानूंगा| मेरा आज तक सिर्फ आशा की किरणों ने ही मार्ग दर्शन किया है| मैं आशावादी हूँ| मेरा मानना है कि, भविष्य सुन्दर है…भविष्य उज्जवल है…सिर्फ मेरा ही नहीं…समस्त पृथ्वी का| स्वाभाविक है कि अब आपका प्रश्न होगा कि फिर मैं निराशावादी क्यूँ प्रतीत हो रहा हूँ? उत्तर भी सरल है …एकाग्रित हो कर उपरोक्त पंक्तियों को दुबारा पढ़ें …उनमे निराशावाद से अधिक असमंजस है…भ्रान्ति है| मैं निराश नहीं हुआ अभी…पर हाँ,  किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ अवश्य हूँ| परिस्तिथियाँ ही कुछ ऐसी हैं, किन्तु परिस्तिथियों के विषय पर कभी और वार्तालाप करेंगे| 
 
आज इस स्तिथि “किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़” के विषय में विचार विमर्श हो जाये? 
 
किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ता, साधारणतः एक अल्पजीवी अवस्था है| एक ऐसी अवस्था जिसमे आप अपनी सोचने, समझने और समस्या का समाधान निकालने में असक्षम हो जाते हैं| जब आपकी बुद्धिमत्ता पर अन्धकार कि एक चादर डल जाती है और आपको ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि आप एक महासागर के मध्य में बिना किसी साधन के, बिना किसी मदद के, खड़े हैं| कुछ परिस्तिथियों में ऐसी अवस्था लाभ दायक भी साबित होती है, किन्तु अधिकांश तौर पे यह अवस्था बहुत हानिकारक होती है|  क्या करें? क्या न करें?…ये प्रश्न बहुत ही विचलित करते हैं| तो इस अवस्था से निकालने का उपाय क्या है? साधारण मनुष्य जैसे कि मैं और आप ऐसी अवस्था में क्या करें?
 
मेरा मानना है कि मुझमें, आपमें और हम सब में एक असीम उर्जा का प्रवाह होता है…शारीरिक या भौतिक उर्जा नहीं … किन्तु मानसिक उर्जा| मेरा यह भी मानना है कि मुझमे इस उर्जा का प्रवाह, असाधारण नहीं किन्तु पर्याप्त मात्रा में अवश्य होता है| मुझसे जब भी मेरी इस अविरल ऊर्जा स्त्रोत के विषय पर प्रश्न किया जाता है तो मेरे पास सिर्फ एक ही उत्तर होता है, और वो ये कि – हमारी मानसिकता, न की हमारी मानसिक स्तिथि, उस उर्जा का स्त्रोत है| अब आप इस विषय पर किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ होंगे कि मानसिक उर्जा क्या है और इस चर्चा से उसका का क्या सम्बन्ध? सम्बन्ध यह है कि इस मानसिक उर्जा का प्रभाव आपकी मानसिक स्तिथि पर एक गंभीर रूप से उद्धारित होता है| यदि आपकी मानसिक उर्जा सही मात्रा में प्रवाहित होती है तो आपकी मानसिकता आपकी मानसिक स्तिथि को अधिकृत करने में सक्षम हो जाएगी| अब आपकी मानसिकता और आपकी उर्जा, दोनों ही दो प्रकार के हो सकते हैं – सकारात्मक या ऋणात्मक| यदि आपकी मानसिकता सकारात्मक है तो निःसंदेह आपकी उर्जा भी सकारात्मक होगी और ऐसा होने पर भले ही कैसी भी परिस्तिथि हो, कुछ क्षणों के लिए आप अवश्य अपना संतुलन खो देंगे, अवश्य ही निराश या नकारात्मक हो जायेंगे…किन्तु यह स्तिथि अल्पजीवी होगी…आप तीव्रता से अपने आप का संतुलन वापस पाने में सक्षम रहेंगे…एक आशा कि किरण आपमें वो पुरानी स्फूर्ति ला देगी जिससे आप अच्छी तरह अवगत हैं| उदाहरण के तौर पे – एक ऐसे दिन का ध्यान करिए जिसका आरम्भ किसी अच्छे समाचार या सन्देश से हुआ था…अवश्य ही वह आपका पूरा दिन सुखमय व प्रफुल्लित व्यतीत हुआ होगा? निष्कर्ष स्पष्ट होना चाहिए कि हमें एकमात्र सकारात्मक विचारों और परिणामों का ध्यान करना चाहिए| केवल सुविचारों के प्रवाह को प्रोत्साहित करना चाहिए| और इसके विपरीत स्तिथि वाले दिवस का भी एक बार ध्यान करिए जिस दिन आपको कोई बुरा समाचार या सन्देश मिला हो…वह दिन कैसा व्यतीत हुआ था? मैं ऋणात्मक उर्जा और मानसिकता के विषय में विस्तार से वार्तालाप नहीं करना चाहता क्यूंकि ऐसी विचारधारा पे समय व्यर्थ करना मैं उचित नहीं समझता| सद और असद विद्या, दोनों का ज्ञान होना आवश्यक है, पर मेरी समझ से आप सब इस “असद” विद्या से बोधित अवश्य होंगे| इसी कारणवश मैं नकारात्मक मानसिकता और उर्जा पर मैं अपनी उर्जा और समय व्यर्थ नहीं करना चाहता| एक वाक्य में – ऋणात्मक विचारधारा और मानसिकता से जितनी दूरी रखिये उतना ही लाभदायक होगा|
 
एक बार जब विचारधारा पर आपका नियंत्रण हो जाये, उसके बाद का कार्य अति सरल हो जाता है| उसके बाद आपको सिर्फ एक ओर बढ़ना होता है…सिर्फ निर्णय लिए ही कार्य करने होते हैं| ध्यान रहे कि बढ़ने से पहले या कार्य करने से पहले आप फिर उसी विचलित अवस्था में न चले जाएँ…कि इस ओर बढे तो क्या होगा? ये कार्य किया तो क्या होगा? यदि हमने जैसा सोचा है वैसा नहीं हुआ तो? ऐसे विचार कृपा कर के अपने मस्तिष्क में न लाये..ये मेरा अति विनम्र और अटल अनुग्रह है आपसे| हम में से कोई भी भविष्य नहीं जानता| यदि हम इसी विचार में रहे कि हमारे किस कार्य का क्या परिणाम होगा, हम अपना जीवन उसी विचार में व्यतीत कर देंगे और हमें कभी जानकारी नहीं होगी कि उस कार्य का असल जीवन में क्या परिणाम होता? कार्य कर के तो देखो आप, कि परिणाम क्या होता है? अन्यथा आपको वो ज्ञान कैसे होगा? बिना कार्य किये या बिना निर्णय लिए ही आप कैसे जान जाओगे परिणाम? दूसरों कि ओर ना देखो, दूसरों कि परिस्तिथियों से तुलना ना करो| कृपा करता हूँ…आग्रह करता हूँ| दूसरों कि भूल से सीख लेना अच्छी बात है, किन्तु हर किसी कि परिस्तिथि एक नहीं होती, हर व्यक्ति कि क्षमताएं एक नहीं होती…इसलिए यदि किसी और ने आपके समान कोई परिस्तिथि में कोई निर्णय लिया और वह निर्णय या कार्य उसे भरी पड़ा तो आवश्यक नहीं है कि वाही कार्य या निर्णय आपके लिए भी भरी पड़ेगा| आप कार्य कर के तो देखो, निर्णय ले कर तो देखो…यदा कदा में न रहो…जीवन में इतने सारे यदा कदा हैं कि उन सबका उत्तर स्वयं इश्वर के पास नहीं होगा| कार्य करो, फल कि भी इच्छा करो, किन्तु फल कि इच्छा में कार्य न करो, ये तो उचित नहीं है|  एक छोटे से शिशु का ही उदाहरण लो…यदि उसे यह ज्ञान होता कि जब वह अपने पहले पग उठाएगा तो अवश्य ही गिरेगा और उसे चोट लगेगी तो क्या कोई भी शिशु कभी भी चल पाता?
 
‘मधुशाला’ कि जिन पंक्तियों से मैंने इस चर्चा का प्रारंभ किया था, उनसे ही अंत भी करना चाहूँगा…और शायद श्री बच्चन जी कि उन अगली पंक्तियों से आपको मेरे चर्चा का सन्दर्भ भी समझ आये …
 
मदिरालय जाने को घर से चलता है पीनेवला,
‘किस पथ से जाऊँ?’ असमंजस में है वह भोलाभाला,
अलग-अलग पथ बतलाते सब पर मैं यह बतलाता हूँ –
‘राह पकड़ तू एक चला चल, पा जाएगा मधुशाला।’। ६।

चलने ही चलने में कितना जीवन, हाय, बिता डाला!
‘दूर अभी है’, पर, कहता है हर पथ बतलानेवाला,
हिम्मत है न बढूँ आगे को साहस है न फिरुँ पीछे,
किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ मुझे कर दूर खड़ी है मधुशाला।।७।

मुख से तू अविरत कहता जा मधु, मदिरा, मादक हाला,
हाथों में अनुभव करता जा एक ललित कल्पित प्याला,
ध्यान किए जा मन में सुमधुर सुखकर, सुंदर साकी का,
और बढ़ा चल, पथिक, न तुझको दूर लगेगी मधुशाला।।८।

धन्यवाद|

You Bihari! You £$%#@!

Circa:  2006 A.D. Route: Poona – Jamshedpur. Services: Azad Hind Express, Indian Railways. Scene:  A typical 3AC compartment – with a youngster trapped amidst – a family of five with three annoyingly hyper-active and argumentative kids on only four reserved berths; an old lady, from the southern extensions of this vast country, yapping her way to glory; and a middle aged couple munching on the popular snacks of the region and utilising the floor as the waste bin.

 

The wondrous services of Indian Railways had ensured that the passengers of that particular services – get to travel no faster than a bullock cart (comprehending to the ever increasing demand to “enjoy the scenic beauty of countryside India”), halting at every signal post constructed on that route (to facilitate the realisation that none of these posts stood without a reason) and derive the immense pleasure of a stuffy, non-functional AC coach (in order to motivate passengers to use regular sleeper class coaches and improve on fuel efficiency).

 

Old Lady, who was from some obviously indomitable state of Southern India, had some amazing ability to convert her thoughts into the words and to blurt them out without the application of any filters, and was flaunting, very precariously, her “prim and proper” self. First, it was the turn of the oh-so-innocent middle aged couple who had had Bhel-Puri, Kachhi-Dhabeli and others of the sort, while feeding the poor and hungry floor more than their own beloved stomachs, on the topic of hygiene and cleanliness, and garnering a total oblivion in return. The wife had managed a perplexed look on her face and was looking towards her husband for a respite and a riposte, but fortunately he was unperturbed.  Without the lack of vigour, she turned her energy towards the kids – the kind she claimed to have mastered in her school as she was an English Teacher. Lessons on the importance of discipline and obedience poured on the poor souls unblemished and vehemently. The compartment was turning into a ‘Moral Science’ classroom.

 

She was gloriously yapping to the innocent kids, “Everybody must do their own work”, when her lecture was interrupted. “Everybody must do his or her own work…Not ‘their own work’…a common Pronoun error” a voice broke. The poor, ignorant youngster had no idea then, what wrath he had unveiled on himself. The old lady’s jaw dropped. She could not believe her ears or eyes. How dare an indecorous and insolent young fellow who was still busy in his cell-phone, make such a preposterous remark at her?

 

Old Lady: (Turning towards the youngster in utter disbelief) Excuse me?

Youngster: (with his eyes still fixated on his phone) It is a very common grammatical error, where the pronoun is not in agreement with the number of nouns it is referring to.

Old Lady: (with “How dare you?” expression on her face) What?

Youngster: (now giving her a casual look) Yes! Everybody and own are the mismatch here – plural and singular. Hence, instead of their, it should be his or her. I hope I am making sense.

Old Lady: (trying to calm down now) Yes! Very Much! Thank you for the correction. (Forgets about the Moral Science lecture) So…Where did you do your schooling from?

Youngster: (again…Casually) DPS.

Old Lady: (with excitement) DPS, Bangalore?

Youngster: (with a perplexed look on his face) Do they have a DPS there? I am afraid; my knowledge is limited about the expanse of the fraternity. I am a DPS, Bokaro Steel City, alumni.

Old Lady: Oh! Alright…So your father works in Bokaro Steel Plant, but you are from Kerala?

Youngster: (with signs of disgust on his face) What made you arrive at this conclusion?

Old Lady: (with some sense of pride at her derivation) Well! For one, you have very good English, and second you look quite the Mallu.

Youngster: (Irritated) I apologise to be continuously disappointing you, but I am from Bihar, and Bhojpuri is my mother tongue.

Old Lady: (in disbelief again) But…But that cannot be.

Youngster: (somewhat mockingly) Again an improper sentence, or rather, an incomplete sentence. There has to be a verb or noun at the end of the sentence. For example “But that cannot be true or correct”. Now, may I have the pleasure of knowing why that cannot be true or correct?

Old Lady: (getting back to her “prim and proper” self) That is precisely the reason why it cannot be correct. You don’t sound like a Bihari.

Youngster: (with disgust) Excuse me! Then, according to you, how do Biharis sound like?

Old Lady: They do not have such good English and their pronunciations are even worse. How come you have such good English?

Youngster: (muttering mockingly) What can you say? My Mom and Dad conceived me on the banks of Thames and my Dad even went a step ahead to sprinkle those holy waters on her womb.

Old Lady: I am sorry!

Youngster: (smiling and now audibly) To break your preconceived notions, all the educated Biharis I have come across, do have a fabulous fluency in and knowledge of, English. Without being modest, I can confidently say I am not even a noteworthy example. In fact, I am astonished that you being an English Teacher are startled at my English.

Old Lady: (perturbed by the retorts) Son! I have been into teaching for the past 22 years. I have been in Jamshedpur for 6 years now, teaching at two of the best schools the city has, and I have never come across a Bihari student who could dare point out my grammatical errors. Let alone the grammar, the pronunciation is an even bigger issue. You must have had very good teachers at your school.

Youngster: (muttering again) Then what did you think? My Mom gave me the chutney of Wren and Martin’s English Grammar and Composition, instead of gripe water, to help me digest my food?

Old Lady: (perplexed look)

Youngster: Obviously my teachers had a good role to play in my education but that does not single me out. As far as pronunciation is concerned, according to me, Biharis have the best and the most correct. We speak the clearest and pronounce each word as it has been described in the oxford dictionary. Anyways! Since we are having this conversation, please oblige me with your description of a typical Bihari. I promise, I will take it very healthily and in the right spirit. Also, my answers might help you understand us better (and he smiles a wry smile).

 

 (The explanation will follow soon…)

Companionship…thy name is Love!

On my journey to Chennai this weekend, I came across a couple who sat next to me in the Aerospace bus to airport.

Unlike me, who was traveling to the final destination of the bus, they got down several stops before me. The striking thing that I found in this couple is the care and affection they had and showed for each other.

I don’t know whether they were husband and wife or just companions or whatever state of relationship they were in…the thing that mostly mattered were that they showed complete confidence in each other and trust that we could see through.

It so happened that I got intrigued and started watching them as their common conversational language was English. Though they did not either speak as perfect tech savvy types or try to ape the westerners with an accent. They spoke perfectly well that each of them could understand each other and respond.

It was by mistake they got into the bus I was in. They have been regular in their travels that they assumed this bus to be one of their regulars. They had offered a fare of Rs.40 to the bus conductor for their trip and found out that it actually cost them another 40 rupees, for their trip.

That is when they come to know it is not their regular bus and need to get down exactly one stop before their place and walk up to till there.

The conductor asks for a name for their place they want to get down, but they don’t seem to get the place correctly, they just remember the place they need to get down.

The guy is so much in his thoughts that he keeps repeating to her…not sure where this bus is going and where they need to get down.

The girl comforts him by saying, they can take an auto from the stop as it would cost them another 20 rupees only and she has done it several times. He just nods to her and tells her that it is actually far…and calms her before she gets worried.

They keep talking to each other and she points to their bus that they usually take, when it plies past them. At this he just nods and his forehead worry lines tells us that he is thinking at the stop they need to get down.

After much thinking, he tells her, I think we need to walk a long distance. At which she says, ok will walk by, what to do?

She now gets into thinking; I see her tapping her fingers on his lap and lost in thought. Then as if out of revere she says, yes, it will be far…I thought about another bus-stop when I said we will take a auto, no use we wont get auto’s there…we have to walk.

At this, the guy laughs and says, so at last now you have come to a conclusion… at this she says something further that is understood only by them.

I could see both smiling at each other. A passenger next to them opens a conversation with the guy and he almost repents to him taking the wrong bus. He tells him that they usually take another bus and when she stopped this bus, he did not check it. Now, wondering how she will be able to walk so far.

Just before their stop is come, the bus conductor asks them to get ready and he stands up taking the bag she has and moves forward. He cautions her about the step beneath her feet and asks her to be careful about the step.

He moves forward in the empty bus…keeping a watch over her and instructing her to catch hold of the rods that are provided for support in the bus. He twice lets out a cry to be careful and looks onto the road in front of him.

He finds that it is the same place where they have to get down, he strikes one of his beautiful smiles and looks at her with a relaxed and pride look. They both smile and nod their head in acknowledgment and the bus stops at their stop.

He gets down first not before asking her to be careful and then gives her a hand to hold on for support as she alights down the bus.

The bus slowly moves on and I find them walk hand-in-hand towards the long road that unfolds in front of them.

I wonder, for almost a century now, I believe that sweeter are the conversations you have in your own mother tongue and the sweetest journeys are when you share it with your loved one.

I was proved wrong…the conversation can be as exciting and beautiful as long as you are talking or sharing your feelings with someone you like and love. I could not strike a resemblance to any language as their mother tongue and they seem to be conversing the way they did sometimes, by laugh, by touch, by smiles, by looking at each other, and not the least by talking …

For an instant, I felt the warmth of love and affection and companionship in all one package! I was moved by the amount of worry that guy had for this woman…his worry lines almost spoke his heart and the amount of care he bestowed upon her…they way he led her and took her hand…helped her alight the bus.  She is being given a royal treatment. May they be blessed together!

PS: The couples were in their old age, the man must have been above 60 years of age and the women must have been the less or same age as him. They just made a wonderful couple.

(Read Again….)

Silhouette of a man and a woman

And you thought SHE had spared me? Part IV

“Oh! Yes! Mr Deepak Kumar! We have spoken to the Leicestershire Constabulary and they have agreed to issue a letter addressed to Consulate General of India stating the loss of your passport and a reference number. You can go get it from them and make you application with the fee”. Was I dreaming? Was it really happening? After 3 months? My momentary joy knew no bounds. Had it not been so many people around, I would definitely have jumped high in the air. I was so elated with the news that I almost forgot that She plays these tricks in between to laugh at my responses. I was literally running back to the train station to head to Leicester, when I realised, that bloody if this was all he wanted to say, he could have asked his manpower to key in this message too in the e-mail. I could have got the letter and made the application straight away without making this trip twice. This was the point I realised that She must be up to some nasty tricks, and I should calm down till I get the passport. So, I reach the Constabulary, tell them what I was told in the CGI Office and Voila! The constable types this letter immediately: 

 
 

The actual letter issued by Leicestershire Constabulary  (Few critical details blackened deliberately)

The actual letter issued by Leicestershire Constabulary (Few critical details blackened deliberately)

 

 

 

I simply could not believe it. After this agonising wait and trauma, I was going to have a new passport. It was certain. At least it seemed so. Next day, I was before time, for the first time at the CGI Office. One of the first few to enter the office. My application with all the documents except the letter which I was carrying was already with the Passport officer. I had also carried £ 84 in cash as the fee for issuing a new passport in UK, so that the process is not interrupted in between. The officer took the letter from me, attached it to my application, asked me to change the date of application and sign at the changes and then directed me to the counter where I needed to pay the fees and hand him the receipt. I paid and handed him the receipt. He asked me to come back after two weeks to collect my passport, as that is the time they generally take for student’s passport. I was so amazed and relieved that I cannot explain it in words. It all happened so smoothly that I could not believe it. The Lady Luck must have gone on a short excursion or must have been busy somewhere else. All this was totally unexpected in her perfect plan, I thought. But, I was soon to be proven wrong. I reached home in 3 hours and was unable to wipe that smile for all those 3 hours. I was exhilarated, but not for long.

 

Those two weeks seemed the longest wait amidst all the waiting I had done. All the planning was taking place. I would get the passport on 12th. Fill in the TOC (Transfer of Conditions) form of UK BA and post it by 13th. Should be able to get the passport back by the mid of August. Enough room for delays to accommodate, and still make it for my scheduled trip to India in the last week of September. All this was well worked out. Or so I thought. I had ignored Her in all this planning. Still, it was 12th of July. I was there again. First in the queue at 2:30 pm. Passports were supposed to be collected only in the second half of operations of the office. Excited, I reached the passport officers window. He went through his file and disappointedly looked at me and said, it is not ready yet as the passport printing machine is under repairs, come back next week. I was a little disheartened, but still hopeful that one more week…No problems…will wait! Another week passed and again on 19th I was standing in the front of the queue. I should have realised that day that standing in the front of the queue was not that auspicious for me, but did save a lot of time. This time, when I was on the window, the passport officer was alarmed himself. He said that it does not take this much of time; there surely is some problem with my application. He asked me to come back again the next day, he will make a check about where is it stuck in the process. The machine had started working fine and all the pending applications were cleared. So he needs to ensure as to where the problem is. I was ok with the response as he had promised some action. This time instead of going back to Leicester, I stayed over at Birmingham at a friend’s place.

 

Next day again I was in there and the officer also had the answer with him. “Patna Office, from where your passport was issued, has not sent back your PVR. We are waiting for that. In fact, after you went back yesterday I found that your application is awaiting PVR, so I sent another fax to them demanding the PVR. Let’s hope they send it soon. Until it arrives, nothing can be done!” WTF? I had shivers down the spine. Goosebumps all over my body. What do I do now? How does Patna office get involved here? My God! They do not utter a word from their mouth without being bribed, how will they send my PVR (Police Verification Report)? Even if they accidentally send it forward, there is nobody at my home to attend to the verification and bribe those Policemen who visit. This is a well known fact to all those who have applied for a passport, that your PVR is not sent across till you bribe at least Rs 500 to Policemen. Now what do I do? I will have to inform my family. They will panic for sure, but have no options available. Again, you can witness a brilliant plan at work. My Lady Luck had worked on each and every intricate detail. The intricacy of this plan was further realised when I requested the Passport officer at CGI, Birmingham to pass me the telephone number of Patna office. I wanted to take a chance of sorting things myself first. High Hopes! I know! But it was more of desperation.

 

Anyways, I made the call to the Patna office, an international call. Explained my situation to the first person who picked the call, he transferred my call to somebody else. Again I blurted out the same story, again a call forwarded. Third time lucky, I spoke to the right person. He asked me to hold on as he somehow remembered receiving such a fax from Birmingham. He drew out the fax or my application; I guess and said “हाँ भाईसाहेब! हमको ई बताइए …जब आपका पता झारखण्ड का है तो PVR पटना काहे आया है? इसको तो राँची जाना चाहिए ना? हम हियाँ से झारखण्ड में पुलिस भेरिफिकेसन कैसे भेजे? हैं? बताइए? आप fax राँची भिजवाइए ऊहे लोग कुछ करेगा …हम कुछ नहीं कर सकते| परनाम!” (Dude! Your passport has an address of Jharkhand state so the PVR request should go to Ranchi, instead of coming here to Patna, Bihar. We cannot direct Jharkhand Police to do verification for us and hence send your PVR request to Ranchi. We cannot help.) Shocked? At least I was. A fear unlike all the fears, except and of course what happened after the initial shocks, had gripped me. Everything started flashing in front of me. My passport was made in year 2001, and although the separation of Bihar and Jharkhand had occurred, Jharkhand was yet to open a passport office. Hence, my passport was made in Patna and hence this office has sent a request there. I immediately ran back to the officer. Waited for my turn and blurted out the problem. I asked him to send the request to Ranchi. He said, he cannot do that, as the Place of Issue on my old passport is Patna, and even if he does so, Ranchi office will come back saying that they did not issue it and hence they cannot carry out any requests for the passport.

Another deadlock? I was doomed! What should I do now? I will never get my passport. My Lady Luck has perfectly crafted this plan. There is no way out!

(A new drama unfolding…only one more part to go!)