Friday, March 31, 2006

Indulekha lives, reminisces

Indulekha is a very old, but amazing piece of literature which was every bit controversial in it`s times and yet was read throughout the vast circle of malayalam readership. Written by O. Chandumenon, a radical thinker and reformist who helped in bringing upon great changes in the old nair style of matrilineal inheritance and also fought against the stringent orthodoxy of the Kerala upper caste society to bring across education and literacy to the masses.
Indulekha is the story of love between the beautiful, educated and modern Indulekha and handsome and knowledgeable Madhavan and how they surpass all odds, brought across by the weakness in the society and use their education in the right sense to unite and live happily marking a great transition from the uninitiated old system to the years of modernity. The story is rightly set at the time of the british rule in India, and at the nascent stage of the Indian Congress and makes for an engrossing read.
The whole plot, is in a play form and is hugely decked with beautiful sanskrit verses and poetry.
But above all, the book sheds a lot of light on the little and beautiful state of Kerala. The story ends with how both the lovers get married and go to live in Madras, the present day Chennai.
But nothing can really be stretched as much as imagination. To think and wonder about how Indulekha would have lived in Madras and how she would have reminisced about Kerala makes for an interesting exercise. Because like all lovers, who get married, nothing is more valuable and precious to them than those memories of the times, when they were just lovers and the small fights and split ups they had.
Today there are thousands of Indulekhas, who move out of kerala, with education, knowledge and great spirit to be in union with all modernity and migrate to the cities all over india. But wherever they go, however they live and how much ever they enjoy their lives, before they go their beds to sleep, there are atleast ten minutes for which they reminisce about their homeland, the ancestral houses, the aura and splendour of the serene temples, the rich and lush green of the paddy fields, the calm and beauty of the backwaters.
Kerala, is today a major tourist destination globally and just like all tourist destinations, people come, enjoy, laugh, rest, rejuvenate and leave... Sadly today the very children of kerala`s water, soil and homes are not home. They come, just like all the other tourists, visit and return.
As they turn and go there is some corner in their hearts, which hurts.
There is some voice they hear... "Stay my child... Don`t leave me... "

... And they leave in tears...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Please Welcome Aishwarya!

No, Not Aishwarya Rai. She is already welcome everywhere.

Please welcome Aishwarya, the baby deer born through artificial insemination.

Hope such streaks of innovation can give a much needed impetus to Indian Wildlife

Ray of hope: Scientists excited over baby deer's birth - - News on Baby deer's birth brings ray of hope

In these days, when even mere survival is becoming an herculean task, reproduction and breeding seems so far-fetched for these mute creations of the Almighty.

Such human interventions are truly welcome

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Wreck of a Murder!

Treading all alone in the dark,
In search of sinister secrets
Dark and evil, crime begets
Laugh not, as the haunts persist

In that weak slice of time
No reason over mind,
No brain over brawn
Quenching thirst, giving death

Guilt, a strange essence
Is but a late reckoning
An immersion of reasoning
Of the mind, to regret in vain

Death, seems rarely so spiteful
A mere absence of life in the skull
Avenging the acts of the mind,
The body, the gateway to the soul.

In taking life from kith and kin
Wrecking one`s own mind and soul
Over inane causes, with disastrous effect
A life was lost, and one more insane.

In engraving these words
Showing no interest, but pity
Exploring this wreckage of a mind
Laugh not, as the haunts persist.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Why was I Born ?

Pic - Courtesy - Canvas Art Prints
Why was I born ? Lord!, wont you answer me
Was I to be a mute witness
As my friends in this journey
Reached out back to you
Why me ? looking up at you pitifully

Why was I born? Lord!, wont you listen to me
Was I to be happy with myself
While my comrades in this journey
Lay sick and poor, lay at your behest
Why me ? why was I alone loaded and healthy

Why was I born ? Lord!, wont you lend me your ears
Was I alone, to be safe and secure
Whilst you unleashed your fury on them
As nature roared and wiped out lives,
Why me ? Warm and cozy at home all these years

Why was I born ? Lord!, please do reply
In these years of modernity
When colour and creed are not key
After all my forerunners faced all shame
Why me ? In all honour and pride; eyes dry

Why was I born ? Lord!, are you still there.
Why the silence ? Aren`t my cries heard ?
Lord!, at last I hear thou voice
“My child, your friends, all under my wing
Learning a lesson, you learning down there”

Monday, March 20, 2006

My Pay, my own little secret

We`ve always been taught that women should keep their age secret and men, their salaries.

But when it comes to students of IIM-B, maybe a public announcement was required to keep a pulse on the value of a management grad, or perhaps it is another factor which helps in analyzing the economy.

IIM-B grads keep huge salaries secret - The Economic Times

Well, however going by the responses, the students sure didn`t like it...

Either due to insecurity or Age-old Indian tradition.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thoughts astray...

A hectic day at the office..

Discussing the working of some device drivers and the kernel and lots of things, which I`m still learning to get into my blood. Monitoring events, writes, reads.. and what not..
Let`s not get too technical. !
But it`s just that taking a holistic view of the working of an operating system on a machine and comparing that, most unforgivingly to the uncomparable speed of the execution of the Mind, I decided i must post or rather vent my energies into this blogpost.
The Human Mind is the most complex and yet most fascinating thing on earth. The mind is the sole place where you drown your sorrows, dream all day about joyous occasions, fantasize about things, you know will never come true, yet those beautiful images and clips are brought right in front of you by the mind. All you`ve got to do is just close your eyes.
But the Mind, is not without it`s own flaws. The mind is also the origin of all ill feeling, jealousy, greed, lust and it is the mind, where these venomous seeds of evil first sprout up to cast their spell upon the body and the brain.
As science progresses and mankind urges towards next generation technology and innovation, Man is still a naive student, trying his best to learn the workings of the mind, but falling short somewhere, somehow... probably the best student until now should be Sigmund Freud, and yet I may be proved wrong, because it is the brain that suggests his name, and not the mind.
Well, coming back after a brief hiatus with psychology what would be an interesting exercise in itself would be to monitor your mind, gain control of it and arrest it. That is what the hundreds of ascetics and yogis have been doing since ages. This could almost sum the very ideology of yogasara upanishad.
But practically speaking, i don`t think i would ever do it, not because i don`t think highly of it, but because I believe the wandering of the mind along with it`s flaws lend a humane touch to my persona.
Summing up, i would say, that in these few lines, that I randomly scribbled lazily, there has been nothing conclusive or objective, because all the while, i`ve been letting my mind wander and roam around the green meadows of joy, crossing sandy deserts of time.
Thank you my Mind!. Also thanks lavanya for sending across "The Psalm of Life". Those lines were truly inspiring and intellectually stimulating. I wish I could write such intelligent and philosophical poetry...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Historian`s dilemma

"History is written by the victor" is a popular saying. In all the civilizations which we`ve known, there have been definite historical records, and it is also well noted that all civilizations have had wars, fights and scandals, and it is always the victors, the winners, the people who come clear of all controversy who draft the history of the event or incident.

It is therefore no surprise that people, who have lost, people who have not survived, fail in leaving an imprint of their viewpoint, their outlook of the whole happening, and in this game of turns, we learn what, is our history. We learn the winner`s outlook. We learn how he did good and banished all things bad or sub-standard, or in other words, the losers.

Kings and emperors, who were not of really the highest ideals and moral values, who had power and the tenacity to build great empires, created written records of history, hailing themselves as the greatest beings ever, such that we will never ever learn about the other halves.

Speaking on these terms, I believe that democracy has in some way or the other hindered history. Looking back at the fifty nine years of Indian independence, we cannot be sure that anything we have seen in all these years is true history of the land. There have been too many diversions and conflicts, that I believe these fifty nine years, that it surely cannot be assumed, that the next generation will have a clear idea of these eventful, yet very badly documented years.

It was believed that during Indira Gandhi`s tyrannical rule, she planted scrolls very deep in the earth, which claimed to be the history of that period. These were also later believed to be dug out by the next government very promptly. Who knows ? Maybe if those scrolls hadn`t been dug out, a few hundred years down the line, there would have been people who believed that the land of India was ruled by the noble and godly kings of the royal Gandhi family. Though very false, they would also have had some proper source of history about the land and the people, the culture and our style of living.

In the tussle between groups of mankind, between justice and injustice, history remains a lone distant loser. Today, in the papers, I read an article about how Indian mythology was being modified the Hindutva way by some RSS elements in the textbooks of California State Education Board. So we are witnesses to such elements who do want the people in the future to know of a history, a history which they would prefer, a history in which only they are good and where they fight against the world.

Maybe, I should be impartial and document the history of India and the world, but then very obviously I would also include my name at the end and then hundred years down the line I would be hailed as the historian of the twenty first century.

History!, you lose and I bow down my head in guilt!...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

City of dreams, here I come...

The train chugged fast along the railway track, raising smoke and in it`s own majestic style sped away through the village. Nandu stood along the tracks and waved with intense happiness and admiration. The train was going to the nearby city and Nandu yearned to board the train and go to the city, the city of dreams…

Nandu had decided. He must go to the city. He must see what that city of dreams was like, the city to which throngs of people from his village had gone, when the huge motor fans which pulled water to the paddy fields had stopped rolling, when the small electric bulbs had stopped glowing, when all the wells had dried up in the village.

He set out with determination towards his house. After having packed his small belongings like marbles, slate and the green pen with a gold plating on it, which ramu kaka had given him, he proceeded to leave.

He went and told his mother
“ Maa, I am leaving for the city. I have packed up everything. “

His mother smiled. Nandu was always upto something, she thought.

Nandu headed towards the old battered railway station, in the village and sat down on the bench, waiting eagerly for the train.

Across the bench, sat a small girl. She was crying piteously, so nandu reached out to her
and asked her the reason of her grief. She just kept crying saying “Bapu… Bapu…”
Presently, the kind old station master arrived. He told nandu that bitiya rani`s father had gone to the city and so she was crying. He asked him to take her to her house and so Nandu took the small girl to the house opposite the railway station.

Inside the house, the girl`s mother had been waiting for her. She admonished Bitiya rani and told Nandu about how foolish she was to want to go the city.

Nandu was confused.. “What is so foolish in that?” , he argued.

The lady sighed… “Where is the peace and happiness there..?” She remarked.
Nandu was still not satisfied and meanwhile the train had gone away. So he decided to go another day and trudged back towards home..

All the way muttering…” What is peace..? What is happiness? How do I get them ?”

Nandu reached home and suddenly his heart filled with joy. There was his Bapu, seated on the charpoy. His Bapu was working in a factory in the city and came to the village on weekends. He ran ahead and hugged him laughing with glee. His father held out his hands with love and caressed him. He, then asked his father
“Bapu, please take me to the city, show me your factory ?”

Nandu`s mother presently came out and told Nandu
“ Nandu, how will you be healthy, if you go to the city..? Let Bapu relax, go outside and play little boy…”

His parents looked at him going out to play, with faces of happiness, wonder, passion and yet there was some sadness in their eyes as they looked at each other.

Nandu, meanwhile was thinking to himself…
“ How can I be healthy in the city…?”

As nandu walked past the old banyan tree, he noticed that there was a small gathering of the people and in the center sat the village sarpanch. They were talking about something animatedly.

Nandu wasn`t interested and prepared to go to the temple tank to play marbles with his friends, but as he turned, he just heard a few words of their conversation and the sarpanch remarking in his gruff tone.

“Where is the freedom in the city? “
Nandu thought to himself “ Oh No!, Now where do I go for that”

He then ran along to the temple tank. He did not feel like playing marbles. Instead he sat near the pond and kept throwing stones into it. He was sad and unhappy, because though it was the city of dreams, it seemed like he did not have all the things needed to go to the city.

“Plong!...” He had dropped another stone.

As he sat beside the pond, there came and sat near him, the old sadhu baba of the village. He was old and depended on the villagers for his daily needs. He was not really wise or a proper saint, but he was old and the villagers did not mind. Moreover he was very old and having a saint in the village was considered a good omen.

The old sadhu then asked Nandu, why he was not playing with the other boys. Nandu liked the old sadhu baba, his gentle smile and long white beard and so he confided his problems.

He asked the baba “Baba, How can I get peace and happiness. “

The Sadhu was immediately surprised at having heard such a question from a simple boy in the village. He however assumed his all important self and replied with an air or piety

“ In prayers to God ! “

Nandu`s heart suddenly filled with hope. He again questioned the baba

“Baba, how do I get healthy..?”

The Baba replied. “ Silly boy, you don`t know this! Health comes from food”

Nandu was at the height of happiness. He screamed and hugged the baba and asked again

“Baba, What is freedom.?”

Now the baba was for a moment confused. But then he replied.

“Haven`t you seen the tiranga(flag) in school..? That is freedom. You can also get it from Gopal`s shop “

Nandu had nothing more to hear. He ran in glee towards his house spreading his hands as a motor gaadi.

“Turrrrrrrrrrr..Peee Peee “

Nandu woke up in the morning all fresh and excited. He brushed his teeth, put on his best clothes and readied his ruck sack. He had written all the prayers he uttered during puja in sheets of paper. He had also stocked some parathas and fruits and had a nice big flag, bought from Gopal`s store.

He then went and told his mother.
“Maa, I am leaving for the city. I have packed up everything. Shall come soon”

His mother smiled as usual. Nandu was always upto some antics or the other, she thought.

And thus Nandu, set out towards the city of his dreams. After all, what had he to fear ? He had everything in his small red rucksack.

As, he walked towards the horizon, his mother looked lovingly at him, a smile on her lips and a tear on her cheeks.

This story, I dedicate to all those thousands of villagers who travel towards the city of their dreams, leaving their beautiful villages behind.