Sunday, December 13, 2009

No More Silence!

As I write this in the middle of the night, I feel strange and lonely. My parents and sister had been over for the weekend from Chennai and I've just left them at the railway station. Perhaps it is the parting that is taking me time to adjust to. No.! It's not that.! I've been away from home quite often and I know that feeling. This is not that.!

As I headed back home after leaving them at the station, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing something. I was walking back from the bus stop, when there appeared opposite me, a fat unruly man and in his tight grip a girl of not more than thirty years of age. I could sense some tension between them, but I decided to turn away lest I be invading upon someone else's privacy. But then suddenly he stopped and wildly slapped her across the face, pulling her hair, asking her to walk ahead. I stopped in my tracks and kept watching. He then suddenly pushed her down and as she fell down and winced in pain, I turned back and slowly advanced towards them, trying to muster some courage and frame some sentence in Kannada, which I'm not yet fully comfortable with, to protest. But then, he picked her up and kept walking into the night, into the dark, while I turned back and kept walking with anguish in my heart, hoping and praying that the girl is relieved of her ordeal. What really made it all the more difficult for me to intervene was the silent admission with which the girl bore the brunt of it all.

We hear a lot about domestic abuse of women, trafficking, sex slavery and what not ?. I've never really understood the actual pain and trauma, but today when I stood witness to that inhuman act of violence, it really dawned upon me how humiliating it must have been for that woman. It disturbs me to think of how such physical abuse would be within the confines of an house. There is totally no escape route. The sheer trauma and stark horror of it all just numbs my mind.

How will this problem be addressed ? Is it through education of the masses? Is it through education of women ? But then have there not been instances of such abuse even in well-educated and well to do families.? Perhaps it is due to this whole male-dominated Indian society where we still follow dated assumptions and meaningless conventions of how a woman must be.? But then are there not such incidents witnessed even in the most developed countries.

I will have a disturbed sleep tonight. I am making a resolve today. I should not and will not keep quiet, if god forbid there is a next time. I will make my protest heard loud and clear. I also hope that no woman tolerates this silently. Women, of the world, I hope and pray that you remain safe, that you never will remain a silent victim. You have the right to stop it! In such circumstances, silence is not the key, silence is not golden!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Chosen Path

It's been really long since I wrote anything. I sometimes think it's because I am not getting inspired enough from my life, or probably it's because I have just been lazy and have not really tried to collect my thoughts and pen them down, or simply because in this metallic monotonous life, where the world revolves around money, getting settled, making a home and just going with the flow, I have learned to do the same, forgotten the simple pleasure of writing, what is there to be written.

Not every one's life has a classic plot of revenge, redemption, or love, lust, passion and adventure. Not everyone has a life that could become a bestseller if written as a book. The majority of us have been predestined to lead simple good or gray ordinary lives, which we mean to live honestly and truthfully or not to the best or worst of our abilities, until we come face to face with death. Death of either our loved ones or ourselves.

And then we realize.! We realize that the time is less. Many of us almost magically and instantly forget this simple lesson and live on like nothing has ever happened. Some of us get disillusioned and waste the remainder of our lives, and that leaves behind a small group, a small group of people who decide to seek answers to this mindless design, this endless and colourful myriad maze where no one really bothers to find an exit.

Perhaps those who forget and move on, are right. Life is to be lived in the present, but life can surely provide experiences and clues to some of the burning questions our souls seek to find. This is something that cannot be taught, for the paths are all different and unique, leading to the same great truth. Our paths have to be decided by each and every one of us ourselves. In Hermann Hesse's book, Siddhartha, the protagonist is also searching for answers and lives the life of an ascetic until he meets the Budha himself, “The Enlightened one”. While Siddhartha's friend, Govinda decides to stay with Budha and follow his teachings, Siddhartha instead questions the Budha, about his path to Enlightenment and then goes on to provide a perfectly logical explanation of why he does not intend to stay. The Enlightened one can teach all that he knows, but his followers will ultimately have to strive and find their own paths and ways to get enlightened.

The story is undoubtedly fictional, but there is an element of truth all the same. Finding out the paths, we need to walk upon and treading down those paths carefully is what life's success is all about. If one finds that gaining all material wealth is his/her chosen path, then so be it. If some one decides that total renunciation of all wealth all life's other vices is his/her chosen path, then so be it. If some one decides that helping society and human kind is his/her chosen path then so be it. And if some one else decides that simply living life as it comes is his/her chosen path, then so be it.

Because no one's idea of life can be out rightly rejected. It takes a bird' eye view to see a lot and yet one might not have seen all. When the skies turn dark and punishing and nature unleashes it's fury during monsoon, or when earth turns parched and broken due to the sheer heat, it takes again a whole different perspective to appreciate life for what life is.

When I was a child, I have always thought about success. Initially it seemed like good academic learning was success. Later I thought it was fame and riches, then I thought it was knowledge and again later I thought that turning all my dreams I had as a child into reality would make me successful. But then I started learning about relationships and how you have to invest time and affection to make them successful and searched for my own success in the same. All of this does seem to be right, and yet the emptiness and yearning for more still remains.

I have to write and keep writing until my chosen path shall appear for me to walk on, So be it!.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Those Three Apes

Wet lay the road, long and far
The chill of the rain, sinking in,
As the tires, screeched on the tar
The humming of the radio, kept within.

The path, comfortably winding ahead
No urgent urge, no answers to seek
Freedom, so sweet, so hollow in the head
The hills so steep, down from the creek.

Crying would have been easier,
Fighting tears back was the hardest
But crying meant to lose, life ever
Racing ahead, to put mind at rest.

Long down the road, stood a dark tree,
Staring at the retreating sun, from atop
Arms upon each others shoulders, sat; they three
Those three young apes, put life on stop.

As the hills grew dark, two climbed down
While one sat on top, with a broken ankle,
Like those old friends, waiting in town
Their arms they held, for their friend who did dangle

Down he jumped, not a sign of fear
All smiling, conquering every height
Every danger, left vanquished clear
Into their loving arms, ever so light.

As they walked, upon their legs;four
Tears had dried, suddenly everything small
Turning back, to knock on every door
To fight back at life, and to stand tall

At all those times, when life grew dark
Those three apes did come to mind
Every one's not always happy as a lark
And yet my two apes, I could always find.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In the name of God.

Recently a news item that was splashed across in the media really set me thinking about God.! What should we look up to as god?. What is the purpose behind religion and why do we need temples, churches, mosques or other places of worship?. Obviously there are reasons why things happen, but it is often, in discovering those reasons and then by applying it in our lives, that we realize ourselves, know truth.

Since time immemorial, man has tried to appease divinity in order to get what he seeks. Man has often bribed, begged and even threatened the gods, so that his needs, desires and wishes are granted. I don't see that as too much of a crime or sin, but when a person gifts to a temple, a crown of 45 crore rupees, to me frankly, it really does not make sense, why ?. What does such a person wish or desire from his deed. Is he going to get retribution for all his sins, or is it in search of something even more everlasting like Salvation.

To me, religion was an invention, born out of necessity. As man as an animal evolved, he surely must have needed a society, then an hierarchy and then eventually as life moved on, there would have been an emotional emptiness, which some wise people at that time, decided could be overcome if life was to be lived in a particular pious way, in order for goodness to pervade across their human existence. In order for this goodness to be bound by some strict regulations, there required to be some faith in a super human or supernatural force that could punish you or reward you, based on how well you adhered to the regulations. In time, there would have evolved rituals and customs, in many ways akin to how wedding rituals and customs have evolved over the years. Sounds atheist, doesn't it ? But that wasn't my intention, I have belief in this invention. I believe that it's a great idea to maintain harmony and peace, but like every good idea, this one too needed right reform at the right times in order to satisfy whatever was the initial objective.

The truth is that every religion was a particularly good way of life and the method to live and also in essence the pathway to the truth, that ultimately what was important was goodness, selflessness, peace and harmony. Every religion in some way or the other teaches this. I am not an expert on all, but let me help explain with a rare spiritual moment of learning that I experienced. Around the year, many Hindu devotees make a pilgrimage to Sabarimala, in Kerala, in the south of India. I too went along with my father, carrying all my offerings for the Lord on my head, and climbed the sacred eighteen steps. As I reached the top and reached near the sanctum sanctorum, the first thing I saw was, "Tat Twam asi", which in sanskrit means "Thou Art that", which simply translates to what I strongly believe is that god is within us. I understood my tough journey to the top was symbolic of the steps I had to take in life to know this message. As I stood, taking the meaning in, my father led me through the temple. I asked him, where our offerings must be given. He said that whatever we brought was now considered the prasadam of the Lord and we that we take it back. I realized then that everything is with us only. Religion, places of worship, religious scriptures, rituals are all simply carried out in order for us to realize that ultimately it is our goodness, peace, harmony and service to humanity and the world in general that matters.

Now having said that, I don't want to negate any belief that anyone might have had. All the stories and mythology that we have heard maybe true. No arguments on that front, because my belief in those techniques is pretty solid. I call them techniques, because to me they are all moral science lessons ultimately which will keep our soul away from all kinds of bad thought and evil. My belief in god is that god is simply that powerful quantity of energy that we find everywhere in nature, in the rising of the sun, in the colours of the rainbow, in the songs of birds and the fury of storms. I often speak freely and have conversations with this powerful quantity of energy which resides in my mental space and conscience. I speak to it about every act of mine, argue about everything, debate about what is good , what is right and what is wrong.? To do what is right and correct in life, I realize that I need to talk only to myself, debate it out with my conscience and then take a decision. Sometimes I do wrong, but am always aware that I had been informed about what is right. Eventually to put things straight, it is my persistent belief in this powerful energy within myself which is to me, my belief in god, my god.

I therefore know that I do not require to adorn myself with a crown. I do not see any need to make any exorbitant gifts to places of worship in the name of god. The more temples I go to, the more stronger my belief seems to be getting. My prayers are to myself and to nature. Many tell me that I often seem to be lost in my own world. As far as I am concerned I'm simply a praying devotee.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

T.Nagar Times

In the months of May and June, Chennai is like a boiling pot. The sun is merciless in the way it disperses heat and everyone dives for cover, and at times with the help of watermelon, sugar cane juice, umbrellas the people thrive, but these only provide momentary relief, because it's like a constant frying pan, and a little cold juice is not often enough to beat the summer.

On these painfully warm days, when you start sweating as soon as you finish bathing, the evening air again brings some relief with some salty breeze from the Bay of Bengal, but again it's not entirely cool, so we the people have just got to live with it.

But man's needs are never few and some recreation is always on the cards, so what does a traditional, conservative city like Chennai do, many might wonder. Do we go to the sprawling Marina beach or the colourfully crowded Elliots beach. Do we go around the temples of Mylapore, churches of Santhome, the China Bazaars.. Well! we do all that, but mainly we shop.! And if there's something to buy, then there's only one place to do it. T.Nagar!

So that's where I was headed along with my mother, a veteran shopper on a surprisingly cloudy Saturday evening in the month of May. I wanted to buy a small gift for a friend's wedding, so we decided that we had to go to T.Nagar. There were no second thoughts. As we walked from the bus stand through Usman Road, the place seemed pretty much less crowded than usual. It was around 4:30 in the evening, so many had already made their purchases and left. Amidst the strange sweet smell of all the fruits and flowers that lined the sidewalk, we just kept walking gingerly, the vehicles often swerving alarmingly close.

And then there were the handbags, the purses, clips, rubber bands, of all possible colours, and then the inner wear shops and belts and toys and sweets, and again more sugar cane juice being constantly extracted. The houseflies swarming in for a lick, they just never stopped hovering. "There, come!", said my mother suddenly and I understood that we had to turn left.

And what a left that was.! It was like a huge river that was pouring into the sea suddenly. There were so many people around me so quickly, but for the huge river, the journey was not essentially easy. Because from the sea, seemed to rise huge waves of people again trying to come out and blocking your way. And there I was in the middle of it all, The left turn to Ranganathan Street was never really going to be easy. And then suddenly I realized that I was alone. I searched for my mother, and lo and behold, she had already tamed the current, as she evaded the watch sellers and lottery ticket sellers, the puddles on the road and the other shoppers and just kept zooming ahead. I struggled as she goaded me to come quickly, so sure footed with every next step.

Our aim was to reach Saravana Stores, the panacea for all shopaholics, because you just get almost everything under the hot chennai sun. As the cold sprayed air swept my face at it's entrance, I realized, I was still just flowing from this river of humanity into a huge pool by the side.

Once inside, we walked to the nearest sales boy and he directed us to the section, where I started by looking at small silver lamps, and quickly selected one. "That's it?", my mother asked. She was not satisfied. I realized i had made my decision too quickly and she was uncomfortable with that, and I watched on as she pointed out to another one and another one. Finally out of three we narrowed down to two and then the cheaper one. At last a purchase was made. She seemed more satisfied now. We wanted to get the item wrapped in gift paper, but no one seemed to be eager to help us there. After some amount of threatening and inquiry, I lost hope, not my mother and at long last we got a supervisor to get the job done. I somehow get easily irritated when the sales people don't really attend to our needs well. They do so, when they've no business though, or if the prices are really high. Opportunists.!, I thought. But when you come to think of it all of us are opportunists, we all have our own reasons for which we do things. We lead our own small lives in our own small worlds, and yet we are ever so unknowingly part of this larger world, when we come across people of all worlds and collide and share ideas in an human confluence. While these thoughts pervaded my mind, my mother nudged me ahead.

"What next ?", she asked. Before I could reply, she replied "You drink some juice.! Mine without sugar".
We were about to go into the vegetable market near the Mambalam railway station at the end of Ranganathan Street. So there we sat and drank chikkoo shake and Moosambi juice respectively and then headed to the market, bought a few drumsticks, which went along with the more costlier goods from Saravana Stores, some more spring onions, beetroot, plantain etc. Two of the women vendors selling tomatoes were talking. "Who won the elections ?", one queried. "Yaar jeyicha namakku enna" ( How does that affect us), she replied, turning and smiling at me. I guess she was right. Because how does it really make any difference in their lives. No one really campaigns on ranganthan street. Here all were either customers or shopkeepers, all were equal and yet all had their own needs and reasons.

As we walked to the bus stand, I remembered all the times when we've come to T.Nagar as a family, ate at Geethanjali Restaurant, playing with my sister, and my mother endlessly looking at new things, and my father getting impatient and angry. Those were the times, even today it is always T.Nagar times, times when we come out of our own worlds and then become a part of a larger world. I knew that my mother was happy with the day. She has never needed more. Her dreams and aspirations have always been those few moments of togetherness and spending. As we neared the bus stand, she ran like a child, towards our bus to Madipakkam to grab a seat. I knew I was happy at heart, so I guess we're not all opportunists. We do feel happy for ourselves, our families and our world at times and at other moments, we have our own needs and our own lives. It's just that at times, we are less subtle about it.

As the bus neared home, she pointed to me a newly opened shop and told me, "You know what ?. We could have bought our things from here too". "Then why did you take me all the way to T.Nagar", I prepared to ask, but then I just smiled.

I guess, I already knew the reason why.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Gandhi's Plight.

In the recent few days, we've witnessed, what can be termed as a rat race, for Mahatma Gandhi's memorabilia. It was so keenly taken up by the Indian Government and was well planned. They had to bring India's heritage back to India. It was a matter of pride, a matter of achievement as the elections near. No stone was to be left unturned.

On the other side was James Otis, a collector of historical items, an auctioneer, who was going to auction off India's heritage. He had the audacity to dictate terms to the Indian Government, ask for budgetary increase in allocation for India's poor, as if India did not know to take care of it's poor.

The main issue, was that Gandhi had to be brought back to India at any cost. Finally came Liquor Baron Vijay Mallya to the rescue. He brought home Gandhi's old sandals, round rimmed glasses, pocket watch, a bowl for 1.8 million dollars.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would have either laughed with sarcasm or turned in his grave with tears. There is a small message in the movie "Lage Raho Munnabhai", where Gandhi's character says, that all Gandhi's statues in the country must be demolished. A subtle message that, we have still not got over our obsession with mere symbols.

There is a greater gift, a greater lesson, that gandhi gave us, the path of truth and non-violence, Satyagraha or the desire and struggle for seeking the truth. A non-violent means to achieve anything. In these times of terror, these much treasured gifts remain forgotten. In these times of economic depression, again gandhi's message of abstinence and simple lifestyle remains forgotten. He would have surely scoffed that his simple almost worthless belongings were being brought for such a huge amount of money.

Truth, non-violence and simple living were all there before Gandhi as well. What was essentially an Indian epithet was transformed into a message for the world by this man, and yet today his country had to depend upon Vijay Mallya, a man who sold liquor all his life, to bring back Gandhi's heritage to India. What was essentially Gandhi's heritage, had however never left India in the first place.

I personally have nothing against Vijay Mallya. I respect him in fact for the excellent businessman that he is, and the prosperity that he has brought. But I still cannot help sympathizing with Gandhi's plight.!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Kuttan got just Half.

"Appu Ettan has done it again!", screamed Minnu. She came running and screaming all the way from the courtyard till the well at the southern most end of the house. She knew she would find Kuttan near the well. She was out of breath by the time she caught hold of Kuttan and shook him vigorously, disturbing his research of how millipedes react to hot water.

"Appu Ettan has done it again. He has performed another Magic Trick.! Come.!", she said and kept running back, screaming again at the top of her voice.

"Appu Ettaaaa.. Once More!, Kuttan is coming.".

As Kuttan walked slowly behind Minnu, his body seemed dull and tired. His eyes looked drowsy and his face covered in sweat from loitering around in the sun all afternoon, but his mind was restless. He was eager to see what trick appu had shown now, he could almost picture Dasamama's eyes beaming with appreciation in his mind. His mind was filled with jealousy. Appu, his first cousin, who had never been to the city, always had these tricks up his sleeve, which he was never able to do. He, himself was bright at school and could also recite a poem called "Ozymandias", by heart, but still he could not fell a mango like Appu did, or swim like him. Appu`s magic tricks were something he couldn't even dream about. He wished at least this time, he could figure out how the trick was done.

As expected all were present and Dasamama was praising Appu. "Come Kutta, look at Appu and learn something", he chided. Kuttan was about to respond, when Appu started to perform with his usual histrionics. He took a piece of white paper and wrote on it "100" with a red ball point pen. "It has to be red!. Otherwise the magic wont work", he proclaimed. He then took a match box and lit a match. "Careful!", cried Kuttan's mother. "It's ok. He can handle it", remarked Dasamama. Appu then burned the paper and dropped it on the floor and stood spreading his hands, as it burned completely. After it had fully turned to ash, he crushed it and took it in his fingers. He then applied the ash on his forearm and Lo' Behold the number "100" appeared on his forearm in black.!

While everyone clapped, "I also can do it!", shouted Kuttan. He had to prove it this time. He rushed into his room and took out the red ball point pen, he had brought and rushed back. "No!, you can't ", declared Appu. "Let him try. Let's see what he does", said Dasamama, a wicked look in his eyes. Kuttan quickly wrote "100", took the matchbox from Appu and lit a match. "Careful!", shouted Dasamama. He pretended to ignore and quickly set the paper to fire. He bent and looked at it, until it burned completely, then took the ash and applied it on his forearm with great gusto. His forearm was stained black, but where was the "100", he wondered. It was not there. Dasamama roared with laughter as his eyes brimmed with tears, from the pit of his stomach, his grief bubbled upwards and out came a sob.!

Only Gowri Chechi really took pity on him. "Come with me to my home. Let me get you some jackfruits". Kuttan loved jackfruit, and he loved gowri chechi and her home which was a stone's throw away from their own house. Gowri Chechi's grandmother and Amma's grandmother were sisters. Gowri chechi always told him nice stories and fed him with mangoes and jackfruits at her house.

"I hate Appu!, I hate Dasamama", remarked Kuttan, as they walked to the house, past the cowshed. Even Nandini, the cow seemed to be laughing at him, her mouth full of cud.

"Haa Haa.. We will beat them when we go back", consoled Gowri Chechi. Gowri Chechi's grandmother was reading the Ramayana at the porch, when they reached. It was already getting dark. "Is it Kuttan?", she tried to confirm through her weak eyes. Kuttan just rushed past to the dining hall. "Why are you so angry? What Happened?", he could hear her asking. Kuttan climbed on top of the rickety wooden bench, thinking about Appu's magic trick. "How does Appu do it?. It didn't work for me", he asked Gowri Chechi. Gowri Chechi came from the backyard with a plate full of jackfruit and set them in front of Kuttan. "That Appu!, He is always up to those stupid tricks. he does it with Onions.",

"Onions?". He looked at Gowri Chechi, with a questioning glance, his mouth full, and lips yellow with jackfruit pulp. "He writes the number with onion juice on his forearm, before he does that trick.". "Where can I get Onion juice?". Kuttan was already plotting in his mind. "I'll get you some", replied Gowri Chechi. She brought him some crushed onions from the kitchen. "Do I fill it in my ball point pen ?", he asked. "No Silly. Here I'll write it for you, and she took a small twig and wrote with it on Kuttan's forearm "100", while Kuttan licked clean the plate of cut jackfruits. "Wait now, I 'll get you some water to drink", she said and went to the kitchen and returned back, but Kuttan was not to be seen. "Where is Kuttan?", she asked her grandmother in the verandah. "He ran back home. The mad little boy", she said and chuckled as usual, with her fake teeth.

All were in the dining room, preparing to have snacks and tea, when Kuttan reached back home. Appu was not there. He must have gone to take bath in the pond. "Where were you? Where's Gowri?", scolded his mother, sticking out her head from the kitchen. "I will do the magic trick again!", he announced. "Amma, Kuttan is performing a magic", Minnu screamed again at the top of her voice. "Enough now, with your magic and stupid tricks. Take Bath, both of you and come have something to eat", his mother shouted back. "Amme, please..", he pleaded.

"It's ok!, Let us see him do it". A voice boomed. It was Dasamama. Appu stood beside him naughtily smiling. They had returned from their bath. Kuttan turned his face away from them and picked up a paper and held it aloft and took the ball point pen in his had. Just before he put pen to paper. "..and now you'll write 100, and then", dictated Appu. "No!. It is a bigger magic", he shouted back, and with his red ball point pen, calling out to all the gods in his mind, he wrote neatly on the paper. "200".

Minnu, brought him the matchbox. He quickly lit a match and set the paper on fire. "Aren't you all taking bath, tonight?", Kuttan's mother asked from the kitchen. "Wait Amme..", screamed back Minnu. The paper had burnt completely. He took the ash in his hands and applied it on his forearm, where Gowri Chechi had applied the onion juice. His forearm was again stained black, but this time, slowly he could make out in black the number on his forearm "100".

Everyone roared in laughter. Minnu kept shouting "Magic! magic!". But Kuttan's eyes were already clouding. He didn't stand there. He started to run. Behind him, he could hear Dasamama shouting, "Looks like you got only half of Appu's magic powers.!!". He could hear Appu laughing aloud too. "Kuttan come back! Where are you going now?", his mother was shouting. All their voices were slowly drowned as Minnu kept screaming, "Magic! magic! Kuttan did magic!".

But Kuttan did not stop. He kept running. He had to find Gowri Chechi!.

- Elder Brother.
*Chechi -
Elder Sister.
*Dasamama -
Dasan Uncle.

Accepting with Gratitude...

Two awards, which were granted to me by two wonderful people Starry and Hip Hop G'mom, both wonderfully honest and brilliant bloggers themselves.

I remember how I once read this post about Starry encountering a bobcat in her beautiful garden. The whole experience so fresh, and the innocence in her writing struck me deeply. Have always followed her blog since then. The honesty with which she has been talking about all her family, her own health, sharing all her joys and sorrows is truly remarkable. Thanks Starry, for this award.!

Hip Hop G'mom has the most refreshing blog around, with her little ditties about life, family, children, social conscience, the teaching profession, grand children and what not? She brings an experience of a lifetime in to her writing.!

Thank you, again for bestowing this award on me.

Having said that, this kind of recognition from my friends here, does tend to embarrass me. Am I worthy of all this, I often ask myself. I have not even been writing much in a long time. Have not really taken the time and effort to let the creative juices flowing. I hope I am able to write more and do justice to your impressions.!

I'm not awarding this to anyone right now. I'll keep it with me for a while. (Selfish me!). Honestly speaking, I have too many people out there, who I want to give it to.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New Beginning!

In many villages in India, hardworking farmers reap all they have sown and have celebrated and are still celebrating their harvest.! In Tamilnadu, they call it Pongal festival, some call it Sankranthi, some call it Bihu, some call it Lohri, Whatever the name, whatever the customs, the fact is it is a celebration of the bounty that Mother Earth has given us. It is the beginning of a cycle, the renewed vigour of beginning work again, but not before all have partied enough.

It is the new year and we are looking forward to a lot of things, the whole world, looks forward to gaining prosperity, a clear path to what was the good times. Jobs are being done with, Markets crash and the world still needs to find a way to peace, a way in which both terror and war can be eradicated. Be it Mumbai, or be it Gaza , Palestine. Everywhere people are awaiting a new dawn, hope and peace of mind. Even as some celebrate, some suffer, and then vice-versa. Life is a cycle and with Time all pain heals. Nature and Time is the only discovered panacea that we know of.

Having said that, we know for sure that the future is not bleak. Nothing is impossible, It is just a myth awaiting demystification. Like the farmers who toiled on their fields, under the sun, ploughing hard against the ground which had dried up. Rains were always either less or too much. Whatever remained of Mother earth, was as solid as stone and yet they ploughed panting and huffing, both beast and man. There was work to be done and very little time.

Water was needed and more money to get the motor pumps running, the bullocks had to be fed. The manure had to be procured and all the government grants that had been announced when the vote-hungry rulers came to their homes were yet to yield them anything of worth. But still they struggled, sold whatever little jewels they had, took more money from Money lenders and put all they had into that small piece of earth, they owned. They knew they had to work hard, and pray to the lords, for that is all they could do. Evenings were spent massaging their bodies with oil, the pain in their knees and limbs simply unbearable, but they knew that one good night's sleep would be enough. Some, weak at heart took their own lives, some fled to the cities and either begged or merely survived, but some remained.

Then finally the rains came, it poured and poured, for many a blessing, for many a curse, because the rains caused floods, and elsewhere the clouds had passed on. So eventually very few survived, the survival of the fittest and the most blessed. It was these blessed few, who raised the food and livestock for a billion of their brethren. Their struggle is no less severe and no less traumatic than what the world has gone through everywhere, the previous year. Yet they persisted to survive, to nourish and to provide, like Mother Earth herself.

So today when they celebrate in the villages, each one of those farmers know that they have to get ready for their next struggle. All this might sound like out of a Premchand Novel. However it is as close to reality as possible. Let us hope and pray that their struggles becomes easier and lesser, but let us also get inspired as we look up to that thin Indian Farmer as he rejoices this glorious harvest season. Let us believe in the mercy of nature and the ability of time to heal all and rejuvenate.

For us, for our families, for all countrymen, for the world's population at large, let us persist, no matter what. To survive, to nourish and to provide, no matter what the sacrifice.

A Happy and prosperous new year 2009 to All.

I've taken a resolution to try to keep posting in here. For the nth time, now I'll be making a new beginning. That's so cliched! I know.!. I love cliches.