14th November- An important day

Our first Prime Minister post independence, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru was born on this day. Though lately much has been talked about his lineage, his decisions and his thought process, the fact remains that he was the architect of Modern India and notwithstanding this orchestrated campaign against him, he continues to be popular amongst masses. Because he used to love children who used to call him Chacha Nehru, his birthday became Children’s Day, celebrated each year with much gay and joy. For me it would always remain a children day for another reason for my daughter, Ankita being born on that day. I have always been fond of children, making children’s day special, the same becoming extra special being birthday of my daughter.

I was reading somewhere that while Europe is already middle aged and would soon become an “old continent”, India is going to be the youngest nation with the current median age being 26.8 years. This has been one of the positive fall outs of population growth and reduction in infant mortality rate and though it by no means supports the concept of population explosion and we must take steps to control it, the nation is on the threshold of reaping the benefits of its youth power!

Let’s celebrate this day as a day to boost the future flag bearers of this nation – children and youth of today! I additionally celebrate as my child’s birthday!

जन्मदिन मुबारक वीणा

On her birthday on 12th November, my wife Veena, who is currently in Singapore, will not be celebrating the occasion with me. However, a special person deserves special wishes and I wish Veena a very happy birthday through this poem, which has come straight from my heart 💔. It reads:

तुम पास रहती हो तो

दिलोदिमाग़ पर छा जाती हो।

तुम दूर जाती हो तो

मेरा दिल और दिमाग़ साथ ले जाती हो।

समझ में नहीं आता तुम्हारा क्या करूँ?

तुम्हें याद करूँ य तुम्हारी याद में मरूँ!

तुम हंसती हो, हंसाती हो,

सारे जहान में ख़ुशियाँ बिखराती हो!

घर में तुम्हीं से रौनक़ है

तुम नहीं तो सब बेरौनक़ है।

जीवन के कितने ही सावन बीत गए,

पर मुझे याद है वो पल अतीत के

जैसी सुंदर तब थीं

उससे कुछ ज़्यादा अब भी !

हमेशा ख़ुशियों में सराबोर रहो

मुम्बई चाहे सिंगापुर रहो!

Happy birthday Veena. Stay happy, healthy, gorgeous, beautiful, petite, innocent and much more!

Hats off to you

Supreme Court gave much awaited verdict on Ayodhya case. There was palpable tension all around. Government left nothing to chance. Police bandobast left no room for error, peace committees of multiple religious groups were formed, people were advised neither to celebrate victory nor to lament the loss and everyone, including our PM spoke the right language, leveraged around tolerance, brotherhood, unity and magnanimity.

Then came the D day. While the verdict was delivered on the expected lines, the communities showed marvellous restrain and maturity. Hindus embraced Muslims, calling it a legal decision based on the facts presented by the two sides. Muslims on their part decided to take the verdict in their stride, without any bitterness or malice. Sunni Wakf Board has already decided not to challenge the court’s decision.

Not that there have been no voices of dissent! Owaisi called it a victory of faith over facts, though 5 member bench headed by CJ himself made it amply clear that decision was based on the facts and evidences provided by two sides. He also said that Muslims didn’t require Government’s charity of 5 acres land parcel, as ordered by the hon’ble Supreme Court, for constructing a mosque. But by and far the dissent has been muted and isolated.

The moot point is who is you in the title of this blog? You is no individual or agency! It’s all of us – the Honourable Supreme Court, Ranjan Gogoi, the incumbent Chief Justice of India, whose untiring efforts to complete hearing and pronouncing judgment before his retirement, would be viewed with gratitude by nation, four other judges on the bench for unanimous verdict, lawyers who fought tooth and nail but without acrimony, Hindu and Muslim religious leaders, PM Modi, opposition, law keeping agencies but above all, the people of this country, including you and me, who once again chose to stand united against any adversity !! India emerges stronger and communal bonhomie much deeper and a hope takes birth that all our issues can be resolved within the ambit of constitution through dialogue and amiability.

When the cat’s away mice will play

This is a period of an unexpected bliss- not only one but two cats in my life are away at the same time and this mouse is getting so overwhelmed, not knowing how to celebrate! Agreed, wife is a great companion ( lifelong) and friend! In my case, my boss is also a friend of more than 30 years! I share great rapport with my domestic as well as office bosses. Having said so, a boss is a boss, a big fat cat, friendly but it’s basic nature is feral.

Life doesn’t become any easier in the absence of bosses. Home boss’s absence makes food, house cleaning and laundry big headaches; office boss’s absence lays down additional responsibilities and removal of the protective layer, shielding you from even bigger bosses!

But all said and done, the very feeling of the brief boss-less existence is exhilarating. For once you are your own boss, able to play unrestrictedly as the big fat cat is away! Only one thought is the spoilsport- would the big cat come back hungrier, fatter and more feral ? And this fortnight of freedom already seems exhausted anticipating the return of dragon(s) – or did I call them cat?

Shyamashree

Poetry is not necessarily an outcome of romanticism, though love ballads are supposedly the best poems. Poetry is also a powerful medium to pay obeisance to an awesome personality and therefore, instead of verbose prose, I have tried to compose a few rhyming lines for Shyamashree, a person I admire a lot. It’s called An ode to Shyamashree:

An ode to Shyamashree

God has created men and women,

But is really female a lesser gender?

Not if you know Shyamashree,

She’s so headstrong & yet so tender!

She’s what all a person can be,

A scholar, professional and a teacher;

Besides being a loving wife & an affectionate daughter,

And above all a doting mother!

Her heart is generous,

As she doles out empathy, love and knowledge;

To each and everyone without exception,

Whether you are in office, school or college!

Lucky are those who know her closely,

But not only husband, children, father& mother;

But even those who know her from distance,

An outsider like me and million others!!!

Happy birthday Shyama, stay blessed; achieve all your aspirations and help make this world a happy place!

It’s all in the mind

There are problems galore around though it’s also the truth that 99% of them may not be touching us personally. It’s one thing to worry about these issues as an alert, law abiding and concerned citizens and another to become obsessed with these issues, paint everything gloomy and await doomsday!

Sitting here in Mumbai, it’s alright to sympathise with our brethren in Delhi for it having been declared most polluted, unliveable city in the world or be anguished at police lawyers clashes, but these have absolutely no impact on Mumbai. Similarly, Delhiites should not worry about political stalemate in Mumbai beyond a point as we have seen such political games on so many occasions in the past. Kashmir is tense but all that’s required to be done there is being done and when such large decisions are taken, one shouldn’t expect everything to be hunky dory immediately. Pakistan may be flexing its nuclear muscles, but we know India is capable of giving that nation a befitting reply. Auto sales are down, people are getting impacted by developments in certain cooperative banks, unemployment is rising, GDP growth projections look gloomy, even the best corporate like Infosys are grappling with whistleblower menace, untimely rains are playing havoc with agricultural production in certain parts of the country and the list is endless. But in a country of our size and complexity, such a scenario cannot be altogether ruled out and 1% of the population at any point of time may be affected by this or that! Instead of worrying, spreading panic and doomsaying, we should rather join hands in helping the affected people overcome the tragedy!

However, our nation will be put to litmus test when SC delivers its verdict on Ramjanmabhoomi- Babri Masjid suit. Whether Hindus and Muslims will show maturity by moving on after accepting the verdict or get panicky is something to be seen though being a hopelessly optimistic person, I think we shouldn’t be unduly worried as people of this nation seem to have risen above all this!

Let’s train our minds through meditation and yoga, keep the negativity at bay, hope for the best and enjoy this beautiful life the almighty has gifted us with to enjoy the best of this world.

Delhi’s smog

What’s happening to Delhi? It shreds your heart when you read that your birthplace is the most polluted city in the world, 16 times more polluted than the next worst, Lahore. And come November, this disaster of Smog engulfing the city starts each year and continues to hold the city in its vice like grip till February.

Delhi of yore was not like that. In fact, it had beautiful autumn and once winters used to set in, we would experience fresh mist and fog that was very different from smog. Farmers used to burn their waste crops even then! And mind you, Delhi was one of the earliest adopter of CNG and had made it mandatory for public buses to run on CNG. It also boasts of one of the most elaborate network of metro that has eased the strain on road transport. Notwithstanding population explosion, it continues to be more green than many other metropolitan cities. While we cannot fight with the nature, I am sure if IIT or some other accredited agency does a root cause analysis, something can be done.

I read somewhere that China had recently addressed this issue of smog and pollution through technology ( drones spraying water etc). This shows that if there is will there’s way. Delhi definitely deserves much better than being christened the most polluted city in the world. If we cannot be Best, we should avoid being worst at least. Wake up Government, scientists, accredited agencies and intelligentsia of this country and do something about this issue that is bringing shame to us.