Power couples

There are power coupled in all the fields – business, politics, social work etc, but those in showbiz attract maximum attention. In the past, we had Beatles star Lennon and his wife Yoko, US President Obama and First Lady Michelle , tennis champions Steffi Graf and Andrei Agassi and Amazon chief Bezos and his divorced wife Mackenzie. Closer home, we had Rajiv and Sonia and Benazir and Asif Zardari. However, the names that readily come to mind at the very mention of Power couples are the Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities- Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt and Angelina, Sunil Dutt and Nargis, Rajesh Dimple, Amitabh Jaya, Rishi Neetu, Abhishek Aishwarya, Ranveer Deepika and of course the newest couple on the block Vicky and Katrina.

Katrina, considered very close to Salman and his protege, is amongst the top paid female stars that made her most eligible. She dated Bollywood hearthstone Ranbir Kapoor, before two of them called quits. Her marriage with a relative newbie, Vicky, is very surprising to say the least. The rumour mills were busy spreading their story in the recent past, but the affair culminating into a formal marriage was quick and astonishing. Also, the event happened with all its opulence and grandeur and there was a veil of secrecy around the entire proceedings. Pictures of the wedding are being released one by one in instalments, keeping the interest and curiosity alive. There are posts doing rounds on the website regarding the gifts comprising Lamborghini ( by Akshay), Land Rover ( Salman), Mini Cooper ( Aamir), Diamond ring ( Vicky to Katrina) etc. Everything associated with the marriage seems to be big, grand and expensive.

The crux, however, is the longevity of such marriages. Many celebrity marriages come to an early and bitter end due to irreconcilable differences. Vicky and Katrina appear to be sensible individuals who apart from loving each other, also seemed to have understood each other well. Let’s wish them a happy and long married life and great stint in Bollywood.

Three mantras to make life easy

Came across a beautiful post forwarded to me by my friend and inspirational leader Mr Sunil Babbar. Here the speaker, apparently addressing a group of students that are passing out of their institution, is giving a very valuable advice. He says that it’s not easy to live this life – one has to make it easy. How? His mantra is that we can do so by being patient for a few things ( sabra सब्र), tolerating( bardasht बर्दाश्त) a few others and ignoring ( nazarandaaz) very many! He further goes on to say that if we live by the principle of “My way is highway” then we are bereft of all the above three necessary virtues for making our lives easy. He advises humility to be inculcated by all of us, as nothing is more important than being humble.

I think through his aforesaid advice, the speaker has hit the nail on the head. The cause of distress and strife in our lives is our impatience – about possessing material goods, raising standard of living, earning more money, elevating our professional and social status- intolerance – about the well being and progress of others, especially rivals and neighbours, religious beliefs and practices of others, eating habits of others – and ability to ignore – malpractices by others to make a quick buck, provocation at half baked unverified facts etc.

If at all we have to be impatient , let’s be impatient at the slow rate of growth and development around us, let’s be intolerant of communalism, casteism and other social malaise such as gender discrimination, dowry, Eve teasing and let’s not ignore global warming and social tensions.

Why to worry about things not in our control?

Instead why not conserve natural resources such as petrol?

Why be in a hurry to possess everything in life?

Keep on making efforts and everything can be yours in time!

Why be intolerant of what others eat?

As long as we are getting our own rice and wheat!

And why earning by shortchanging the system by others should lure us!

It’s in our own interested to ignore such acts without a fuss!

Being patient, tolerant and ignorant about the useless things can make life easy

There are many frontiers to be captured in short span so don’t be queasy !

Bharat Mata ki Jai

General Bipin Rawat, the first Chief of Defence Services ( CDS), his wife and 11 other officers of Indian Army and Airforce that formed the entourage of the CDS, died under the most unfortunate circumstances when their helicopter crashed in the hills of Nilgiri, barely ten kilometers away from their destination , Wellington.

The tragedy has plunged the nation into pall of gloom for, this is not the way for the country’s top general, his wife and 11 other brave hearts to die. General Rawat, coming from a family that has served this nation for generations with distinction, was a complete soldier – brave, bold, firm, fearless and strategist. He was also a strong advocate of “ Made in India” and was doing a pioneering job in integrating the three arms of defence – Army, Airforce and Navy – that have hitherto operated as separate outfits. The nation will always remain indebted to his tremendous contribution in making the nation and its armed forces stronger than ever!

The black box of the crashed helicopter has been found and the inquiry is underway to establish the cause of this tragedy. But let this martyrdom of India’s top general, his wife and eleven other of his entourage not go futile and the best obituary we can pay to our martyrs is to take an oath in the name of our motherland to stand united and oppose all divisive forces – external and internal – that are trying to weaken the very foundation on which this great country is built!

Salute to General Rawat and 11 other martyrs and obeisance to Mrs Rawat! Long live India and the defence forces of this country! Bharat Mata ki Jai!

Omicron

We spent considerable time in South Africa with our daughter’s family and till our return around Diwali, the term Omicron was unheard of. Now suddenly everyone is expressing relief that we could make it safely back to India avoiding the omicron outbreak in that country, though personally it’s no relief for us for our children are very much there and sitting here we remain concerned about their well being.

First it was Covid and when the world seemingly was getting handle on it, we heard about Delta variant – more virulent and more transmittable. And when the Delta seemed to be going into oblivion, we now have omicron. When a crisis tests you – your health, patience, finance, relationships. prospects – beyond your bearing capacity, apart from looking towards the medical fraternity for some critical breakthrough, most of us also look skywards towards the Divine Master, the creator of this world.

Read outside Mahim Church this morning, “ Omnipotent can erase omicron! Change fear to faith!” I think when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, faith in the omnipotent is very soothing and heart warming!

Fair weather friends

There’s a very popular Bollywood number that explains the irony of the theme of this blog. The song runs as-

सुख के सब साथी दुख में न कोई ।

A very close friend of mine recently had the first hand experience of this when his mother-in-law fell seriously ill following the adverse consequences of the deadly dengue. She developed multiple organ complications and being in a small place with limited medical facilities, he had no option but to rush her to Chandigarh, the nearest large city. Leaving all his businesses and his wife’s job, he camped with the aged patient for more than 3 weeks and in fact, had to go to her place again following the re-emergence of the symptoms.

Of course, his mother-in-law comes from a large extended family, most of the members of which are well endowed – academically, socially and financially. The family comprises members having high end jobs, with a few of them professionally qualified being doctors and engineers.

While he had no plan to dump any of his responsibilities on others, being an outsider himself to her native place, he just tried seeking guidance on the next best option after Kurukshetra. The quality of suggestions and responses that he received could be at best described as apologetic if not outright pathetic. And he shivered at the very thought of if he had to ask for financial help from any of these financially sound so called “ relatives”.

Let’s face the facts. It’s a very cut dried cold world out there. While social media has played part in bringing friends and families together through creation of FB and WhatsApp groups, these platforms are mainly for wishing good mornings, happy birthdays or announcing some achievements. Whenever a member of these groups tries to highlight a problem, he is either ignored or blocked.

Let’s all have financial security and adequate medical insurance for ourselves and our close family members. Don’t test the dependability of your friends and relatives. They are all fair weather or Sukh ke sathi.

Beyond ishq and romantic liaisons

Some times, a short verse can take one very far with the sheer depth of its message. Came across the above verse in Urdu that says:

ये लम्हे इश्क़ व मस्ती के कभी पाबंदी नहीं रहते

सदा ख़ुशियाँ नहीं रहती हमेशा ग़म नहीं रहते

ज़रा देख दरवाज़े पर दस्तक कौन देता है?

मुहब्बत हो तो कह देना यहाँ अब हम नहीं रहते ।

The above can be loosely translated as:

Times do not wait for love and fun

Neither joys nor sorrows are perpetual here;

Please see who is knocking at the door?

If it’s love, tell I no longer reside here!

This immediately brings to my mind the famous couplet by Faiz Ahmed Faiz that says:

The above Faiz’s all time popular couplet is loosely translatable as:

Love is not the only priority in life

Meeting a lover is not the sole agenda of life!

So while we all know about the romanticism associated with Urdu poetry, the aspect of practicality of things over and beyond romance and romantic liaison is equally pronounced and the impact of some of such verses could be very profound as one can experience in the couplet forming the basis of this blog.

Advent

It’s my habit to read the thoughts inscribed on the boards outside churches and as the famous Mahim Church is enroute my office, I seldom miss a thought outside this church. However, today’s thought on the board, “Advent creates people. New people. “ sort of confused me forcing me to look into the meaning and rationale behind this thought. To my surprise, the thought had a lot of tradition behind it.

The Advent season is a four week period before Christmas that celebrates the anticipation and coming of Jesus Christ. Not only is the Christian meaning for preparation and celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ, his birth at Christmas, but also to celebrate the new life when someone accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior, and lastly, the anticipation of Jesus returning again. Hence the thought – people – new people.

The season of Advent begins from the fourth Sunday before Christmas through Christmas Eve. The four Sundays of Advent each have a specific theme or focus. The purpose of each theme is to spend time reflecting on the true meaning of the season – the life of Jesus Christ. As I understand the theme for each of these 4 weeks of Advent are- The Prophets’ Candle, symbolizing hope; the Bethlehem Candle, symbolizing faith; the Shepherds’ Candle, symbolizing joy; the Angel’s Candle, symbolizing peace. Hope–Peace–Joy–Love. Faithfulness–Hope–Joy–Love.

Thanks to this thought, I could know these additional details about Christian faith in this season of joy and hope – Christmas.

Season’s greetings to all my readers.

Also ran

Like there are winners in sports – gold, silver and bronze medallists, there are winners in the life’s race too! And like there are those finishing at number four downwards, who are called “ Also ran”, in sports, there is this category in the real life too! Yours truly, the author of this blog, considers himself to be one such “also ran”.

However, a slightly more deep and scientific analysis reveals that this is more to do with genealogical and birth related issues rather than an issue of an individual’s ability and capability! Let me explain how. The first born in any family is generally much adored and an apple of everyone’s eyes. And if the first born is also a first born in the extended family, such a baby is spoilt for choices. Naturally, such babies get groomed so well that they turn out to be winners!

Let me explain my familial position in the above context! My mother has six other siblings, she being the eldest in the family and naturally an apple of my grandparents’ eyes. When my elder brother was born, he was first born not only for my parents but was also the first grandchild. The adoration that he received made him smug, confident and a natural winner! Each of my mother’s siblings has 2 kids, making the total count to be 14! After the birth of my brother, children just kept on getting born, with the elder of the two in a family getting slightly more importance than the second! I am number two in hierarchy on the maternal slide, which is equivalent of also ran!

My father had four siblings and he himself was number three! He almost treated his eldest brother like his father as my grandfather expired rather early and my eldest uncle carried the family along. In this tree on the paternal side, my position is even more pathetic! While on the maternal side, I am at least number two ( though it’s like coming second in a race ran by two participants), on my fathers side, I am second from the bottom in a brood comprising 14 siblings! My elder cousins still treat me like a baby, just short of cuddling me, and a baby can be adored, cuddled and kissed, but never placed on the winning podium!

I am also ran because of fault of my parents and grandparents and not because I had or have ordinary abilities! This way i feel good and almost like a winner having one a gold medal!

Nothing to do

There’s an advertisement being aired these days in which a person deeply engrossed in eating chocolate is unaware of everything happening around and his inaction is proving to be benevolent to others. These beneficiaries, in fact, thank the chocolate eater for not doing anything.

If not doing anything is so cool that it has been used as an underlying idea for effective advertising, I am not sure as to why people around me are getting so much worked up about my impending retirement. The first question that’s posed to me is, “ What are you going to do after retirement? “ and I always thought that retirement meant that one had to to nothing !

And unlike the chocolate eater in the ad, I am not a born idler! In fact, I am going to retire after having slogged very hard for almost 4 decades! Moreover, I am not completely bereft of any interest, passion or talent ! I am an avid reader, love to travel and already have a blogging site that has over 700 blogs! I want to read, write and travel and these three combined should not add up to “ Nothing to do.”

As a tot I played with toys

And as a child I studied with boys!

In college I had my companion in books

And ensured that life never got off the hook!

As a professional I worked diligently

And planned my life most intelligently!

Deferred all my passions and interest to later life

Along with plan to spend quality time with my wife

Now that the time for leisure and joy is in the offing

People are agog with anticipation as to what next I am doing

When I tell them that I intend to do nothing

They sneer at me as if I am good for nothing!

On a lighter note, I want to assure my readers that once free from my official obligations , I am most likely not going to be in “ Nothing to do” category and they should not fear bombardment of blogs, messages and posts from me. People around me will ensure that I don’t become an idler. In fact, I am shortly planning to start looking for new jobs! 😃

Yesterday versus today

One of the favourite topics of story tellers, bloggers and anecdote writers is nostalgia- especially about “good old days” and the cities and places where they would have spent a large part of their childhood. This is normal as most of us have indeed very sweet memories of our childhood and the place where most of it was spent. I have seen people talking about the good old days in almost all the cities- Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai , Lahore, Karachi ( as I can read Urdu, I sometimes follow Pakistani newspapers, which are also replete with nostalgia of the past) and especially Mumbai. Someone like me, who made Mumbai his hometown much later in 2001 in my 40s, also frequently feels nostalgic about the Mumbai of yore – the charm of Fort area ( in mess currently due to ongoing Metro work), heritage buildings with gothic architecture ( many of these seem to be under perpetual repair and renovation), hustle and bustle at Nariman Point ( no longer a financial hub- BKC emerging as a new hub), absolutely scenic Marine Drive ( again out of shape thanks to coastal road work), closure of several iconic joints – Parsi-Iranian restaurants, cafes, bakeries, Kwality, Purohit thali, Cafe Samovar etc. and decline in traffic discipline.

I also have similar feeling about Delhi, my birthplace, where I grew up and spent my entire childhood and adolescence – a quaint, green, relaxed place of 60s and 70s that has since metamorphosed into a megapolis with all the usual problems.


However, here I would like to present a slightly different perspective to this much cherished but sometimes a bit hyped emotion. Delhi of yore had lots of problems. It’s local transport was unreliable and erratic till 1974 when Greenline service with Central Secretariat as hub was introduced. Till 80s, the power supply used to be marred by cuts and load shedding and people used to talk about good position in Mumbai. There were only two bridges linking rest of Delhi to Trans Yamuna area and sometimes the traffic jam on the old British era bridge was nightmarish. Autos and taxis were either not available or had tampered meters, charging unreasonable fares.


In contrast, Delhi of today boasts of world class metro network, elaborate flyovers, e rickshaws that are affordable and pollution free, fleet of AC buses all running on CNG, Airport that handles more flights per day than any other airport in the country, a consistent power supply and host of eating and outing options.


To change the perspective again, may be we feel nostalgic about the simplicity, less materialism, leisureliness, more time for relationships and sheer delight in the things that would today look a mere passé!