Monday, December 24, 2007
trying to stay in synchronism
with the fast way of life today.
You give a smile from your heart;
a smile that does wonders on whom its grace falls;
feeling amused at how things are different today.
Your wrinkled face – a measure of your experience, living.
You are struggling to munch a few biscuits.
Your child-like desires still alive,
overriding the not highly armed jaw line.
Your beauty, devoutness and calmness,
remain as an etched memory.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
These two lines say it all about the climate change summit at Bali. But I see some hope. A recent report published on the issue of assigning responsibility of climate change (CO2 emissions) to the countries of the world, gives me hope. This report has considered the following to decide the contribution of each country in the world to the carbon present today:
1. Harmless emissions – as calculated today, the terrestrial sink can absorb 7 billion tons of CO2. This number divided by the global population gives the harmless emissions per capita allowed.
2. Subsistence allowance – the emissions required to bring people living under $1 per day, above the poverty line.
3. A part of the warming today is due to the CO2 emitted in the past. Thus, taking 1890 as a cut-off year (from this year records of the emissions are available), the contributions of the countries to carbon emissions is calculated till date.
4. The emissions which have taken place since the knowledge of its effects on global warming (late 1980s) are taxed more than the emissions that took place before the time.
Taking these factors into consideration, the report says that the responsibility on the developed world is far more than that on countries like India and Brazil. The Indian scenario was analyzed by the report and it concluded that India was the least responsible of the present predicament. Promode Kant, Director of Institute of Global Warning and Ecological Studies, has summarized the implications of the repot in India in his recent leader page article in the Hindu. But he also suggests that India should choose the lowest carbon path for development and bring more people out of the poverty loop through such means. The publishing of such a report is not an end but surely the means towards one. It will still be difficult for the countries to come to an agreement over the acceptance of this report.
The Indian scenario shows the big divide between the rich and the poor. A recent report by Greenpeace India, suggests that the Indian poor have subsidized the Indian rich with regards to carbon emissions ( see article). This would mean that the even if the world accepts the Differentiating Responsibility report and works on its basis, the Indian government must make sure that the allowances in carbon emission must trickle to the lowest rung of the society and help its development and not augment the allowed emissions for the Indian rich.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Both the parties completely blamed the ruling party for the terrorist strikes that have taken place in the past few years. What they tend to forget is that in our democracy, the onus of anything good or bad that happens, ought to be shared by both the party in power and the parties in opposition. Blaming the ruling party alone about the lack of security measures taken before a terrorist strike, after the harm is already inflicted on innocent citizens, shouldn’t be the way things work. Bluntly, even the opposition would have been sleeping during the pre-terrorist-strike period. If they were awake, they would have questioned the competence of the security of a particular area before the strike, which is not observed in any case.
All the finger-pointing takes place only after lives are lost. That being the time the country should be united against the common enemy and not fall prey to in-fighting. Being a democracy, every citizen is responsible for whatever happens in the country, albeit in a small way. I request the political fraternity not to forget this.
Friday, December 14, 2007
This is the message that Erin Gruwell, a school teacher in Long Beach, California, tries to ingrain in her students’ minds. Her task is not made any easy, with racial tension at its peak during the times after the race-driven riots in California in the early nineties. She leads her class, with students from varied backgrounds – blacks, Hispanics, Cambodians, whites – from animosity and distrust, to form a closely knit group of youngsters who had all found the meanings of their lives, through the stories and experiences of their classmates. She initiates this change with the introduction of an assignment that involved the students writing and maintaining a personal journal. In this they jotted down all their inhibitions, their harsh experiences, and all what they thought life was about. This journal was the healer for their hearts wounded by the experiences they had had. The journals of these students from Erin’s first batch, who named themselves as the ‘Freedom Writers’, were compiled and made into a book “THE FREEDOM WRITERS DIARY - How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to ChangeThemselves and the World Around Them”, which inspired the movie.
This movie helped me imbibe in myself, more strongly, the lines I had started with.
Related Links -
The site of the Freedom Writers Foundation
The official site of the movie
Reviews on the movie
Go here for the soundtrack - A dream - wonderful words
Sunday, December 09, 2007
I read an article yesterday, in the Magazine supplement of the Hindu on Anil Kumble being given the additional responsibility of leading the Indian test side . The title of the work rightly went – ‘Justice delayed, not denied’. The article had a photo of Anil bowling in the Antigua test in 2002 with plaster supporting his broken jaw. Seeing this, I reflected on the reasons for him being a truly great sportsman.
The very first instance that came to my mind occurred during a test match (I was too young to remember against whom or when and where it was played). I vividly remember him taking a go at a shot from the batsman that seemed to be a caught and bowled effort. As soon as he had caught hold of the ball, he turned to the umpired and gave a shake of his head, clearly conveying to the umpire that the ball had pitched on the ground before he had caught it. This scene stuck in the young child’s mind, and even today, I respect Anil for the honesty he had shown that day. I also remembered the handful of times he was kept in the sidelines, even when playing at his peak. We did not hear anything untowardly from him. He had recently spoken about his disappointment during those days, but I feel his exclusion from the team only brought out a much stronger competitor.
Many would count the ten wickets he took in one innings in the Kotla test against Pakistan, his number of test wickets or his century against England earlier this year as things that make him a great cricketer. Without devaluing these, I would add that just the ‘person’ he is, makes him a greater sportsman.
Photo courtesy of http://www.kumble.com
Saturday, November 24, 2007
was unwinding in the peacefulness
of my mind.
I relived the times when I
did not do what my heart told.
I lived through the times again,
when things you did justified my decision.
I saw flashes of how better it could have been.
I open my eyes, with a prayer of hope.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I always felt something
Slipping down my closed palm.
What it was I did not know.
Its value, I did not realize.
The sudden fall opened my senses to the feeling,
What I had hid so well,
to the point of suppression.
And all it took was this news,
to bring out a vortex of emotions.
I cannot explain what I am feeling.
And I know there is no point trying;
No one would understand.
It is time to be more honest to myself.
And tell what needs to be told,
And show what needs to be shown.
It’s time to make amends;
It’s time to remove the mask I have worn.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I have not felt like penning down thoughts.
Am I lacking thoughts? Have I lost feelings?
Things do not seem to catch my attention any more.
It is like having a cocooned mind and heart,
Unable to see outside the well that is I.
Some ask me whether it is inflicted hurt
that has made me thus; I say no.
The same people used to tell that what I write
showed an element of longing and pain.
The fact that I am not writing today
may be because I have overcome this longing.
I believe in self – talk and I hope
repeating the last line aids me really overcome it.
I enjoyed my walk to work,
With greenery all around,
I could not ask for more.
Today, has it gone to oblivion?
Work seemed like work.
What had been fun for so long,
turned loathsome today.
My perception has changed perhaps.
I do not know what has caused this.
Could be the work of expectation.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
to your heart.
Things that make you special to me;
These I try to express in words.
My mind’s busy thinking
about everything you do.
Everything that touches my heart,
Coming right from yours.
I try to play with words,
I try to rhyme,
I try to write one poem,
But can’t manage even one line.
If only I were a poet.
With the wet grass beneath me.
I am taken to a different world,
Far away from the cobwebs in my life.
I look at the brightest one up there,
Selflessly illuminating the dark sky,
And sense its presence just like yours.
I reflect upon these thoughts,
And recognize that you’d be the brightest
in my sky, even if you are
one of the stars further away from home.
trying to allay the fear in my mind..
What you said helped dispel some of
the pain, though I knew reality
had a harsh take.
I wouldn’t relish seeing you in this peaceful state,
draped in immaculate white.
My memory rich with the fun and life in you.
Let my memory remain thus.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
The last couple of days,
I haven’t been myself.
My dependence on externally
is teaching me a lesson or two.
There are some things,
they say, you can’t put in words.
What I have been feeling lately
feels just like this.
I started off, trying to explain
what I am going through.
Words fail me.
I give up on this venture.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
coverage in almost all national dalies.The presidential race was under discussion in the world of the internet too. A couple of weeks ahead of the declaration of the candidates by the UPA and the NDA (the third front did not exist then!), I was forwarded a message, asking me to log on to some web site and sign a petition in support for a second period for Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. I did that without giving a thought (the incumbent being the 'people's president') and also forwarded the message to all my friends.
One of them replied telling that the ruckus that was being created, regarding the President's
election is totally unwarrented, since the President of India has only ceremonial powers. I felt the argument to be very true and wondered why I had not thought in those lines earlier.
It is through articles on the the President's role in India, I learnt about the real significance of the Presidential race.Firstly, in today's India, coalition governments rule the roost. Coalitions are inherently associated with instabilities, and under circumstances when no clear winners exist after elections in a state, it is through the discretionary powers of the President, the decision is made regarding who will rule the state. Secondly, it is true that bills which are sent to the President for his consent have to be mandatorily signed by him the second time. What is not understood is that when returned from the President's office, the first time, the political parties consider the suggestionsproposed by the President, and most of the time, changes in the bill are introduced to comply with the President's suggestions.
These two powers of the President imply that a diligent selection of the President is a necessity.
But the partisan struggle between the various political fronts that we have witnessed in the last
couple of weeks has made a mockery of the whole issue.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
A complete lack of care and responsibility,
supplemented by the sheer will to have fun!
The tears we shed and the little tiffs we had,
The bear hugs and the kisses that followed - the panacea at hand.
Time and changed circumstances
have brought in a thousand miles between us.
But we keep holding on to the common strands
of love, of friendship, of kindness, of care,
and of the certainty that we would be there for each other
even when the world has seemingly turned bad!
We have in us the belief, that the closeness
we’ve shared and felt with each other,
would not spiral to the physical distance that has us apart.
This belief and hope keep us going.
Friday, May 11, 2007
waiting outside for an acknowledgement
which was not to be received.
That day I had left with some hope.
Was wondering ‘when would this
dogs day be?’ ;
That day I believed that there would
surely be – as they say – a Sunday.
Today I am standing in front of the same wooden door.
Facing the closed door,
gives me the shivers I had then.
Acknowledgement or not, I am knocking.
The latter scenario
would not leave me with any hope.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
A couple with their little child happened
to sit beside me.
The girl was crying over some petty issue.
Her parents kept trying hard to console her.
How much I wished I could tell her
to make the most of these years,
when she is with her parents.
I may be older then her, but not old enough.
It is true when people say that we value
things more when we do not have them
in our vicinity; this as exactly what I felt.
In a few more years, even this little girl,
then grown up, may travel in a bus,
and feel the same, seeing some child cry.
It would be late by them to make changes.
She can try to change the present,
If only I could tell her.
She may be too young to comprehend all this.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
fifth year in school
I returned from school one day
not feeling very well.
I kept sitting on the sofa,
then on the bed;
this continued for some time.
Seeing me sit on the sofa,
my mother came to me.
She touched my forehead with her palm
to check for running temperature.
Her guess proved to be right,
I was having fever.
I hadn’t mentioned about the ill-feeling
to her, but she could read it.
Some days after I had recuperated,
I asked her how she had found it out.
She replied that since I wasn’t
the chirpy me that day,
she knew something was wrong.
Is there any reason for
love to be sought by a being?
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Sometimes courtesy of you, sometimes me.
And there were these little secrets that we shared,
They still remain, many of them not to be cared for now.
There was a time when we spent most of our time together,
The little games we played, the small fights we had.
The way we made up so fast, realizing both were at fault.
There were instances we corrected the flaws in each other,
Sometimes taking long to accept ‘yes I am wrong’.
I still remember us plotting against the ‘not-so-friendly’,
Soon realizing how unintelligent this venture had been.
How you came into my life, meaning so much to me,
Taking a place in my heart, in my family,
Like no one else’s has.
The fun we had, the jokes we cracked,
The songs we wrote and sang,
The questions of life we answered,
The problems in math we solved,
The trips we made,
The hours on the phone we spent,
The crisis at home we made,
The deepest feelings we shared,
I will miss all these.
I will miss you.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I carried with me this tendentious belief, all through these five years that have passed since. I inferred that politics was turning sour because of under-participation from the ‘better’ and the ‘more educated’ strata of the society. I concluded that it is only with active participation from today’s youth, politics in particular, and the country in general could develop and reach the heights, that many have prophesied it would.
My stance on this issue took a new turn after I watched an hour long program on NDTV, where a panel of well known members and political analysts from the media and the polity, were discussing who the next Indian president should be. There was an opinion poll taking place simultaneously, where mainly urban Indians (with access to mobile phones and internet) were making their voices heard (though of not much significance in this particular case of nominating the next president). The poll result clearly showed that the urban Indian had lost faith in the polity and preferred non-politicians like the Infosys’ stalwart Mr. Narayan Murthy and Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen to take the seat of the highest honour in our country.
It is at this juncture in the program, when the panel and the participating crowd in the discussion were happily playing the blame-game, accusing the politicians of their wrong doings, the editor of the Pioneer newsgroup (who was one of the panelists), made a very valid statement. He asked the public for the number of straightforward and hounourable men in any profession - among journalists, among technocrats, among sportsmen. Since there was not one profession in which all the persons involved could be given a clean chit, he said that that was the case with politics too. He reminded that it was the same society that threw politicians. So unless the mindset of the people changes and the society becomes a morally improved one, not one of the professions, including politics, could get a totally ‘clean’ group of workers.
Though I still believe in my past inferences and the plausible solution I had mentioned about, I had no other option than to wholeheartedly support his point of view.
forward in understanding you,
I sit with a sense of satisfaction.
It is then I scuttle;
for every step I take,
the destination seems to
go a few more steps away
from where it was.
Would I ever reach my destination?
You could make the task easier
by complementing this effort.
unnatural for that time of the day,
giving the dry leaves
an unnatural crimson radiance.
There was smoke seen
at the horizon,
from some bush fire;
Unnatural, because it had been raining.
The moist environs
totally unlike the summer heat
that had troubled many
in the past month - unnatural too.
Forgetting you – unnatural.
Nature’s unnatural nature.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
in the people around.
We were parting,
after four years of fun and frolic.
We had the downs which
played low to the umpteen highs.
Who would remember the
one black sheep,
when we had ninety nine white ones?
The people around weren’t their
normal selves for a few days now.
They were happy at getting across
a wide autobahn in life,
but then the idea of parting from
friends, wasn’t very appetizing.
Some asked me how I felt about the same,
I replied that I had experienced
many such days in life.
I gave instances – when I had to leave
my parents, when I left school – two different ones.
I didn’t know when I answered that I was
only feigning mental strength.
We all said to each other,
that our lives would cross each
others some time, somewhere.
I knew we had our apprehensions about
this question – we hid it well.
When it was the actual goodbye time,
I still felt I was the ‘experienced’ one.
Little did I know what I was feeling
When on the bus taking me away
from them, a sudden sense of loneliness,
gloom dawned in.
A phone call from one of them
was the last straw on the camel’s back.
It broke my defenses.
I had tears wet my eyes after a really long time.
I lost my normally present poise.
I had my glance fixed out of the window,
lest the co-travelers would see me in that state.
With my eyes moist I felt ‘normal’.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
on this journey,
twitching and turning.
The frequent glances at your watch
showing your impatience to reach home.
The afternoon sun and heat
playing their parts in
adding to your annoyance.
There is this part of me,
making a secret wish.
Could this journey last
for some more time -
a few more moments with you?
One question lingers in my mind -
can we traverse the paths in the
journey called life
beside each other?
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
you touched so many hearts.
You brought smiles to many a face.
Your convictions lessened
You climbed to heights,
you would never be satisfied with –
your desire to continually improve.
You’ve left your mark in our lives.
You are remembered today.
In a years time, people would
accept this loss.
This void you’ve left, would
show its face in our lives
if not theirs.
I still remember the lessons you
taught me during this course.
I never told you how grateful I am
Today I may be late in this attempt
I have your words ringing in my mind.
You said ‘It is better late than never’.
I am not shedding a tear for you today.
you would never had enjoyed
seeing me thus.
Thanks for giving me this strength.
You are at the gate of another world today.
A higher force has felt that it’s time
you graced some other lives
in some other world.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
I believe a very simple principle – of good begetting good. I believe that life throws at you what you have thrown at it – both the bad and the good done For a staunch believer of these statements, the question of whether there is life after death (or more precisely life before birth) would give an indubitable answer – YES! I have only one argument as a vindication. Take a newspaper and read the accounts of little children dying or being inflicted with injuries, or of them being exploited, due to various causes and for different reason like war, disease, or simply ill-luck. Had these tiny tots done such grave mistakes in the few years they graced the lives of the people around, that they have been reprimanded thus?
One thought lingers in my mind – in what sense am I a rationalist?
Friday, February 23, 2007
hoping to catch some light,
to do some reading.
The open window,
allowed a light breeze in,
which brought something along.
It carried with it,
the fragrance of the wild flowers
on the trees outside.
Distance made the
flowers look modest.
Their beauty and scent
augmenting their smallness.
It wasn’t a very strong scent.
But it succeeded in initiating
a desire in me.
A desire to refashion the whiff to
a continuous feeling.
That was not to be.
It is said that all good things in life
come in tiny packets.
It was true in this case.
If I had my longing satisfied,
maybe I would never have taken
pleasure in the scent
as much as I do today.
A small dose of the good,
with a discontentment -
a want for more,
is the most beautiful feeling,
second to none.
Friday, February 16, 2007
charming they were,
forming a delicate arch over the path –
Squirrels playing hide and seek
on their branches.
How many had noticed these?
A few birds – elegant, sweet,
perch on the stalk holding the flowers.
A subtle movement of their neck,
and they sip the nectar
from the yellow flowers.
How many had noticed these?
Open up your senses, look around;
in people, in animals, in birds,
and in these yellow trees.
When beauty is all around,
How can people complain of seeing none?
The ‘beholder’ is different,
and so are the people.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
trying to get a glimpse
of what lies on the other side.
It’s all water that you see.
You seem to give up so easily.
Or maybe you never really tried
to sail across the waters
to the real person I call me.
Once on the other side,
you would never feel the impulse
to return to where you stand now.
That’s a guarantee.
Friday, February 02, 2007
we are much more than what
we actually are.
These are the people to whom
you normally turn a blind eye.
Life takes us through paths
where we keep yearning for
love from people –
not noticing the ones ready to love,
but lamenting on the ones lost.
Those who have loved us
have never expected anything in return.
But we’ve given them a piece of
our mind very often.
We’ve taken them for granted.
If life takes a bad turn today,
we mustn’t be left with guilt -
guilt of not recognizing true love;
guilt of being after love
when actually love was all around.
I have wondered to where you travel.
It is the only time I see you without that smile,
reinvigorating the others on whom its grace falls.
You’ve built a fence around these thoughts;
kept them under lock and key.
A very few privileged or maybe none have taken a peek,
at this world so unlike the outer being.
I would like this privilege extended to me.
I do not know how many have asked for this.
I would like to delve into this world of yours.
Whether my guesses have been right, I could then see.
If it is a flowering garden,
let us both be captivated by it.
If there are somber, dark clouds,
maybe I could point out to their silver lining.
This is one thing I ask from you.
Let this world of yours be shared.
Let me love the inner you.
as a deciding factor of my destiny.
At least here the probabilities equally divided.
I am unable to ease the ruffling of my mind,
trying to foretell my chance in this tale
which I began writing lately.
If the sun decides to shine on me,
it would be the graceful hand that leads me
out of my world that had turned grey.
If the forces decide against me,
I would end up loosing more than what
I would have gained otherwise.
It is a gamble – a risk maybe worth taking.
Would this turn out to be brighter days in the making?
Monday, January 22, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
To have religion as the only singular means to identify a people calls for some serious deliberation, especially when imprudent world leaders have identified people thus. Shashi Tharoor in his book ‘India’ has indicated that the only thing singular about a country like India is its inherent pluralism. This was written in the context of India alone, but can be extended to include the diversities in the world as such. Both Tharoor and Sen have voiced their concerns regarding inciting communal intolerance in India (while Sen witnessed the riots at the time of Indian independence, Tharoor had been witness to the more recent riots in December 1992). Following Huntington’s theory, these cases of communal riots will have to be seen as a clash of the Hindu world and the Muslim world in India.
The diverse identities that the people of a community may hold remain unnoticed. Most of the time these other identities override the religious identity a person holds. For example, farmers belonging to different countries, different religions; have been united against the oppressive nature of the free trade policies that their governments have chosen. Similarly, social activists, breaking all the chains of religion, class etc., voiced their pleasure at Pakistan’s breakaway from the dehumanizing Hudood ordinance. The killing of a journalist in Indonesia or Sri Lanka, or the restrictions imposed on free journalism by certain authoritarian rulers, bring all journalists together, and thus their ‘journalistic’ voice is heard. Many instances like these may be listed, further exemplifying and justifying this claim of pluralism and diversity.
Rather than inciting hostility based on divisions created on religious lines, it would bear fruit, if attempts are made to use these other identities as a means to unite people. Above these common traits that the people of various lands, religions, class etc. may hold, there lies something that brings the whole world together; and that is the yearning for a happy and decent life. And you don’t get this at another’s expense.
* This article has been influenced by ideas presented in the books ‘Identity and Violence” and “The Argumentative Indian” by Amartya Sen, “India – From Midnight to the Millennium” by Shashi Tharoor, an interview of Samuel Huntington published in a Gulf News supplement and various other news paper and magazine articles.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
the prospect of having
brighter days ahead –
Very unlike the state
in which I found myself.
I had this want, from
when things had gone
I wanted to get my mind
cleared of the thoughts
that had me fixed thus.
I had to invent this feeling
of happiness and optimism.
My mind did not
yield to this want.
I think I’ll leave this
want, for the moment.
I’ll give time for the
present feeling to sink in.
I had walked on so many times
during those days.
The walk brought back memories.
I was with darkness
and the stars above.
This time again with you
in my mind.
I wondered how nice
the previous walks on the
same route had been.
I always had something
nice to think of then,
when times had been better.
I wished I could change these
things which I myself had
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Saturday, January 06, 2007
My mind filled with a thousand thoughts of you.
I tossed and turned on the bed,
trying to catch some more sleep –
I held onto the pillow beside me.
The pillow had been a being in my life;
That being you had never tried to be.
I reminisced about how you had entered
my world as just ‘someone’,
and had proceeded to become my life,
changing me for good,
without even realizing this.
These changes you brought about,
by your presence alone.
I can still feel your touch,
and smell your raiment,
and remember the feel of your deeply oiled hair.
I knew you would never see
the tears that has my eyes filled today
when I think of all this.
Our story is a joke for the others around.
Something on which people can laugh about.
I don’t see this as something bad;
at least I am being the cause
of some others’ happiness.
How conveniently you have forgotten;
maybe not me, but what we had on our way.
It might be my fault that I never saw
this thing that we shared
with callousness or insincerity.
I had put my thoughts into words
and had written about my feelings.
Somehow all of them managed to
miss the person they were intended for – you.
I imagined speaking to you for a long time; this morning;
something I hadn’t done for so many years.
I spoke about everything I had written now,
just wishing you would see
me telling you these things in a dream.
And maybe then realize.