Friday, December 21, 2007

Whew!

Whew!

For those who know what this means.....well, you know what this means....
For those who don't...........go figure... :P

Sunday, December 09, 2007

For some 'thinks' are worth it

Today is a special day. The Math of life unveils itself in strange ways. It changes a lot of things. A window opened today.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Hero in red undies

You are Superman

Your results:
You are mild-mannered, good,strong and you love to help others.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test.


























Superman


80%
Supergirl


75%
Robin


75%
Hulk


70%
Spider-Man


65%
Green Lantern


65%
Iron Man


65%
The Flash


50%
Wonder Woman


45%
Batman


40%
Catwoman


30%

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Where is Xistinchaos?

There have been no confimed sightings of Xistinchaos in recent times!! Where has our friendly neighbourhood blogger gone?

Callers from various quarters claimed to have seen X in action.....in discos, at rallys, as a part of morchas and wierdest of all, at fashion shows. All these claims have turned out to hoaxes since even wild horses could not drag X there.

This reporter was lucky enough to corner X into revealing what has been going on behind the scenes. So here is the scoop....

X was busy following, cheering and celebrating a very dear friend's achievement! It is not easy being friends' with COO of you-know-what. X had to field and filter numerous calls so that only a select and legitimate few got across. And then there was the launch of this dream project to attend. :) It was a very well managed and busy affair. X indulged in sightseeting, canoeing, catching up and topped it all with a great lunch, all at one location. Sadly, X missed the glitzy night party. Not to worry though, losses have been made up for. This was in September.

X always tries and finds new passions to persue in life. Regulars with X will be surprised to know that X was busy laying out the math of life. Clearly numbers have not been X's favourite friends except when counting the reps for bench press. So X had no rest till the math was all done and the sums resolved. Here is an orginal from X, "For everything you have missed, you have gained something else. And for everything you gain, you lose something else. It's about your outlook towards life. You can either regret or rejoice."

X spent time canoeing down the Bhima river, as far as the Ujani Dam. X is happy when the mind is free to wander and the hands are busy in fruitful chores. Nature is X's greatest passion and since this intitiave was coupled with a social cause that X believes in, it was extremely satisfying for X.

Diwali was family time at X's. X drove down to Alibaug and thereafter to Chiplun. Keynote from trip: Konkan is great at that time of the year. There were a lot of photo opps and exchanging of gifts. X loves to see the delight on the faces of near and dear ones as they open the thoughful gifts. X sought blessings at Amnayeshwar and asked that there not be too much to do with numbers in this life atleast. Amen!


X's once a year day had a special touch this year. Friends, flowers and FOOD!! Yum!
X could not wait to see Om Shanti Om! It is one of the most masala-iest film ever and X loved it. X was ga-ga over Shanti, the character potrayed by Deepika Padukone. How much there is of either in each other, one cannot tell but what can be told is that Deepika is the film's special package. Talk of having everything in the right place and the right size. The spotlights and paparazzi are bound to follow, while the expectations are sure to kiss the pinnacle. :))

Incidently, X still spends all free time at work when not rejoicing with life's greatest blessings- friends and family!

X signs off with another original, " Remember, you are born to live. Don't live because you are born. Don't go the way life takes you; take life the way you go!"

Now that X is back, we can look forward to more engaging and heartfelt thoughts and observations.

Watch this space. :))

Monday, July 02, 2007

One for my Folks!

Time: 1.08 pm
Place: Canteen

Lunch time conversations, subjects floating freely around. A group of middle aged moms settled itself near my table.

One of them had a son who just passed his Class Xth exam. To the uninitiated, this exam is considered as the most important event in anyone's life by everyone around, except the one attempting it. It is next only to marriage in importance. Anyways, so she began her tale.

Her son had cleared the exam with reasonably good marks. This was followed by making rounds of different colleges to collect forms, gathering info on different entrance exams and their dates, etc. She was excitedly going on about how he was doing all of that on his own since both his parents were working and could not accompany him. She sounded thrilled as she related his accomplishments doing all these rounds. Finally, she let on that she could not believe that her son, the laziest boy in the world according to her, was actually doing this methodically and without prompting. Her pride and satisfaction were apparent in her sparkling eyes.

It really takes little to please our parents. While we may be stretching ourselves to meet the expectations of the world, we need to do precious little to meet those of our parents.

This one's for you folks! :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

375 ml of Life

Yesterday, I gave away about 375 ml and gained a good deal in return. I have a tiny medal to prove it!

We had a blood donation drive at the office. They had announced it a week ago so that everyone who wished to donate would be prepared. Mentally, more then anything. The blood bank technicians and the doctors came well equipped. 4 beds were laid out in the board room.... yes, the board room. :) One lady checked everyone’s hemoglobin in an adjoining cube and another handed over the collection bags. The whole process was very methodically and somber, but I found my little moments of hilarity even there..mostly as a result of my own actions. :)

I filled my form and sat down for the customary hemoglobin test prick. Ouch! A drop of red blossomed on the tip of my finger. She swiftly sucked it in a dropper and let a drop of blood fall in a beaker full of some blue liquid. As it descended with amazing rapidity, the drop broke up in the middle and the hole spread outwards to form a ring of red. She nodded in approval at that sight and asked me my illness history. I had trouble remembering when I had jaundice, or when I had my shots of hepatitis and its consecutive booster dose. The only booster dose I remembered was the one I had as a kid. She was mildly shocked with my sketchy answers but I guess that tiny drop she’d extracted earlier said it all. My recent history was clear of any medical misdemeanors. No BP, diabetes, or other persistent conditions too. Hooray!

Armed with the NOC, I marched in the board room and got my blood collection bag. Thereafter, I lay comfortably on a bed staring at the board room ceiling. A BP monitor was taking my count and simultaneously increasing the pressure on my right hand. I was given a soft ball to squeeze. That would pump up the pressure in the blood and all possible veins would pop up on the skin’s surface. I have never been horizontal in the board room before (oh alright, I have slept through some meetings sitting) and it was a nice experience. The circles of white light shining down from the false ceiling at specific intervals…..glowing but unobtrusive; the blinds that shut out any other light….the atmosphere was perfect for a siesta.

And then I saw the needle. It was meant for a thick skinned buffalo, I was sure, and felt the need to gulp in a large amount of air. Time to be truthful, I thought, and told the doctor of my reaction to all such pointy, prickly things. I usually get a feeling of faintness (without actually fainting, which makes it complicated as I am neither here nor there :( ). This feeling disappears in a few minutes if I just sit quietly and do nothing. After it passes, I am as fit as a bull. But for those few moments I am a spent bullet. She was ok with that and told me to lie down as long as I wanted to. There is one more thing; I said to her, I grimace very loudly when the needle is actually entering me. And in that process some expletives may be uttered. This elicited laughter from all my colleagues around. She was amused as well but ok with the arrangement.

My hand was sufficiently pumped up and she tried to find a suitable vein. They were all tiny and she slapped my hand a few times with result. I was going to be punctured now. (ohmigod! Gulp! Gulp! Ouch! Ouch!) She was skillful, yet I felt the needle enter and slide up my arm. Some *&^@+*”>:&%# followed. But no blood would come. I pumped the ball till I felt ants crawling all over my right hand, yet no luck. She removed the needle.

I felt the dawn of hope shine. So if my veins are tiny I won’t be able to donate, right?...... I asked her eager to escape the ordeal I had put myself in. We’ll try the other hand she said matter-of-factly. Mentally, I heard my hope crash into a thousand pieces. Just as I was pondering my fate, a tiny angel popped on my shoulder, much like it does for Tom and Jerry. “Shame on you!”, he chided me, “where has all that bravado gone? Who was so happy about being the only female to pass the hemoglobin test? Now pay your dues, be brave.” I could see him adjust his halo as he waited for me to raise my downcast eyes and make up my mind. There! The decision was made.

I shifted to another bed so that my left hand would be nearer to the BP monitor. She finally found a big enough vein after all the pumping, squeezing and slapping. Puncture time again, the angel very much in attendance and watchful. I gave him a dark look but felt really warm inside. Some more *&^@+*”>:&%#. This time the blood flow was instant and the bag started filling up. I lay watching the lights shining down on me. A few naughty sunrays had managed to avoid the blinds and had made their way in. I am sure they were there on purpose, to watch me and comfort me. :)

People passing by the room could see me inside and many gestured with a thumbs up sign. It felt good to be on this side of the glass partition. Our coordinator even took a pict of us, needles and all.

Finally, I was free of the needle. I looked at the full bag, all 375 ML of it. I had just transfused life and it was now safely stored in that bag.

They immediately gave me a pack of glucose biscuits and a cup of tea. I was feeling faint but that was expected. I sat down on the carpeted floor and began eating. The doctor gave special instructions to the technician to watch me at all times. I had gone quiet now and the feeling would not go away. The doctor did not like the look of it and immediately asked me to sleep on a bed. The watchful fellow got a glass of pure glucose and poured it down my throat. The effect was electrifying. I could feel energy surge through my veins. I closed my eyes in bliss.

I felt a sudden shake on my shoulder. “Open your eyes, open them”, said the doctor. They thought I had switched off like a light. Keeping my eyes open was a way of reassuring them that I was very much here. :) So I kept them open and dreamily thought of all the times I had spent in the board room, sitting upright and listening to spiels.

Time to go; I finished my tea and biscuits. They did not let me go till I had polished off the entire pack. There was more advice to come….tell everyone around your cube that you may feel faint so that they can come and call us…..don’t stand too much…..don’t sit on a chair if you feel faint at any time……drink some juice in a while……actually we don’t recommend that girls donate…and so on. I listened to all that well meaning advice in silence. They gave me a certificate, a medal and an informative booklet as a mark of their appreciation.

As I made my way back to my cube, I could see the pride in my eyes reflected in those of my friends. The experience had been insightful and extremely morale boosting.


There is no doubt that I will do it again, fat needles not withstanding. Legit opportunities for *&^@+*”>:&%# are hard to come by. :)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What's your story?

Its amazing how seemingly normal, otherwise-well-rounded people (yours truly included) find their way into physically taxing sports? Of course, there will always be those mysteries of nature who can burn up endless calories without even trying. But where does the rest of the pack come from? Say, how does an individual decide that doing push-ups for all 24-hours or swimming some incredible distance is something that they might be good at”? Or even scarier, how do they say - “Hey, that might be fun!!.” I’ve ask myself this question before. I feel like I can trace it all back to one mid morning hour when I was 16. I was at Rajmachi near Lonavala at an adventure camp. My mum, for want of other options to keep me occupied in the summer holiday months, had enrolled me in one. They promised activities like river crossing, rifle shooting, rappelling, rock climbing, zumaring, and finally a wilderness cooking experience.

The course was well planned as was each day at the camp. We had reached Rajmachi the previous night and were up early the next day. The whole day was dedicated to orient us with the rules, activities, facilities and the camp setting. Acclimatization was through an early morning 3 hour hike up the mountain next to the camp. That was to be followed by an rock climbing session.

I remember struggling up the ridge at about 6.30 a.m. Our suffering soon started to slip into audible abuse. After several long minutes of groans and grumbles, we all just stopped. Cut to silence and we looked at each other. I could see in the eyes of the other hikers the dead-end fatigue I felt in myself. I glanced up trail. The instructors words of encouragement fell on deaf ears. The ridge was no more than a half an hour away - and beyond that I imagined the wind-blasted ridge line, the final assault to the peak, and the inevitable sunrise over the valley. And so I said to no one in general, "Well, the hard part's over now. It's all mental from here." Somehow, I talked myself into believing that. The rest were too tired to argue or did not understand what I meant. So we marched ahead keeping each other company and terrified of being left behind.

At the peak, we were treated to piping hot tea and glucose biscuits. I sat beside ledge and watched wisps of pink clouds as morning arrived. The horizon was crimson. In the new clarity of daylight, I had a bewildering view of what seemed to be hundreds of little peaks jutting out from the valley randomly. I wanted to climb them all. And even stranger, I thought as I sipped tea, I wanted to start that second, from where I was. I wanted to climb the next peak, and then the next. As exhausted as I knew I was, I craved some sort of journey into the known unknown that had so suddenly revealed itself.

I think that's when I knew.

What's your story?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tender Thursday

I feel like writing something today, but nothing very serious or ‘constructed’. I don’t much care for putting up unstructured posts on my blog. But at the same time, I don’t want to feel hostage to some 'bright idea'. So, I shall just do as I please for now, because it's my blog! :)

It’s bright and sunny. My hair seems to be on fire and I would see black polka dots on practically everything around me if not for my Polo Club glares. I decide to have some tender coconut water from the bhaiyya on the corner . It does mean a walk from office in the heat to the corner but I love the water and the walk helps. The bhaiyya knows exactly what I want, I only had to tell him once. I usually have the pani and thicker-than-patli-malai variety. I have grown up around two bountiful coconut trees and I love to crunch on the white tender flesh. If at home, I have little nuggets of jaggery with the it.


Mmmm...!

I finish the water and watch as the malai gets freed from its shell by a deft scrap with a curved chopper. He gives me a coconut halve with the malai slices heaped on top of one another. It is quite a halve-full.

As I walk back, I look up to see a blue cloudless blue sky. That somehow manages to fill me up. I don't seem to have the appetite to finish all that malai I have so greedily taken. I think I will take it along and coax my friends to finish it. I know I will hear that friendly sermon about being greedy, once more.

Right then who should amble along from behind me but an elephant! I see the poor animal fanning himself desperately with the big ears. So much real estate to feel the heat on. I pause to let the grand animal pass and more importantly to give him a spot in the shade. When he comes nearer, he slows his walk. As if he'd read my mind. He proffers his trunk and I let the entire contents from my hands be taken. No questions asked, no sermons given. The trunk feels soft to touch and it rests for a bit on my palm..as if to say thanks.

My malai meets a fateful end and I have a very happy day for I have made this Jumbo happy.

Scratching the surface....no whirlpools

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Of rabbits, warriors, vendors and Sushmita Sen from Disneyland

It was a very sorry little rabbit that hopped away. The ears were all drooped, the head was hanging low, and even the bob that went for a tail, seemed to take it hard. He had been unable to open his mouth at all. He knew his little speech by heart, but just when the time came to say it all, courage failed him. He stood frozen for some time… resplendent white, whiskers shivering and feet together. All he could do was stare around with wide eyes and look for familiar faces. Suddenly, the only place he wanted to be was in his mommy’s lap. In a decisive move, he hopped away searching for her face. He felt better that no one booed him. Poor bunny, his chance would only come next year now.

It was the warrior’s turn next. He walked in royally with slow, purposeful steps. He showed all the signs of bravado you’d associate with someone so powerful. Without pausing further and staring right into the crowd, he declared, “I am Shivaji, the mighty Maratha warrior.” Out came the sword and he brandished it with commendable finesse. When he felt he had awed the crowd enough with his swordsmanship, he hilted the weapon and walked away. But not before he gave a quick sideways glance to the people who would be deciding his fate.

The vegetable vendor-ess hastened forward just as the Warrior exited. In fact so eager was she to play her part that she almost bumped into him. A few cucumbers made a leap for freedom from the basket on her head in that mishap. She gathered them all one by one and also rescued a truant tomato from a cruel fate. Through all this, she was as cool as the cucumbers she had just collected. She walked with much aplomb and a gait suited only to her ilk. In a shrill voice, the loudest her tiny vocal cords could muster, she listed her wares and their prices. After a few such calls, she plunked herself on the floor and put down her basket. She fanned herself with the free end of her saree and prepared to wait for customers.

As each tiny tot limbered up on stage, I recalled a tale from long ago in what used to be the ‘middle’ in the TOI edit page.

An eager daughter wanting to play Mickey Mouse and her parents equally eager to make sure she did just that. Preparations were underway…… lots of thermocol, glue, satin, scissors and other nitty-gritties to get that shape with the big ears. A small speech was written for her to recite. It started like this, “Hi, I am Mickey Mouse from Disneyland.”

But try as they might, nothing would make the head seem right. The ears appeared lopsided and the nose would not stay fast. These folks were not about to give up though. Since only the best would do for their daughter they hit upon a brilliant idea. The much talented Ms. Sen had then recently won the Miss. Universe crown. Why not get their precious darling to act her? There preparations were much simpler to execute this time..a grand gown, a sash made of satin and a little crown painted silver. They even made a new speech to go with the new act.

Finally, it was showtime. And in walked the beauty blowing kisses in the air, smiling and looking all around at the adulation being showered on her. A shush spread over the crowd as she took her place near the microphone. “Hi”, she said with a confident air, “I am Sushmita Sen, from Disneyland!”

After watching all these stellar performance I wished I could be among them……. dressed up as someone I am not and saying things I otherwise won’t……..

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

'Holi' turns Holy

I so remembered Gerald Durrell for the past few weeks! (Delightful author, bless his soul.)His colorful tales in ‘My family and Other Animals’ has aptly colored my imagination since the days I laid eyes on his work. However, it was not the animals, but the part about the Family that made me think of him.

Much like Durrell’s daily life in Corfu...the past 2 weeks were a riot at home. The whole paternal side of my family had descended into our house for a mega event. The deal for giving away the development rights of their ancestral property to a builder was to be finalized. There were aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Not to forget the sons in law.

The process to find the chosen one had been on for months now. A willing fellow was found.

Then the negotiations began. As with every land deal, there were the usual complications. My father’s family was sharing the land with their extended family and how to make the divide was a contentious issue. A lot of sound bytes were spent on this particular one. And as if the family was not enough there were the lawyers to add another dimension the ‘charcha’.

In a family of non stops talkers, my Father is a complete misfit. He speaks only when necessary and says only so much that needs to be said. Now that he was the host, he had to do more that his share of talking. (Mother knowingly looked at me…all would be quiet on the front for the next few days after the guests were gone.)

One of my aunt’s, poor thing, had to endlessly extend her stay here since things refused to settle down. The other aunt was managing it to and fro from Alibaug to here numerous times. It was left to Father to take an active role in getting the paperwork done, coordinating meetings, soothing tempers and stirring the discussion down the right channel whenever anybody strayed( which happened too often for his liking). Each issue was cut down to size, debated on and thrashed out in a public debate in the family. And once more at the lawyer’s. After that one would think that it was the last they heard of that particular issue. No prizes for guessing that the issue lived to tell the tale. Once the common forum broke up, different rooms were filled with small groups of people in deep conversation about how they felt about this and that …and how things should be, can be, can’t be, supposed to, could have been, should have been and many such forms.

Mother was playing the perfect hostess, not intruding upon that part of the house where discussions were taking place, but supplying the very essential chai and snacks.

We cousins were, of course, keeping out of everyone’s way. Land deal discussions are known to bring forth hitherto unknown traits in individuals. (Why risk it? ;)) We tried our best to follow each strand of argument and counter argument to its logical end…but in vain. It was an exhaustive study in the number of aspects anything can really have. I could almost visualize that theory about endless lines passing through a single point. Phew! I had my camera handy to capture all those historic moments should any of the folks ever deny having been there and done that!!

Finally one fine day, they agreed to agree and the registration was planned. The deed was done (pun intended)!! Coincidently that holy day turned out to be Holi(y) (another intended pun!!)We had puran poli cha jevan.

The occasion warranted a grand wet party. And where else but at the house they just sold.

Future plans include a trip to Konkan ...the whole family to visit the kula daivat. Nothing concrete yet, obviously, since it has to be finely filtered through charcha and more charcha...

Waiting for that to unfold now. (Shudder!)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Some fun...!

ImageChef.com - Create custom images

Just as I like it...frothy and personalised. :)
You can have your share of fun here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why have we let it come to this?

A little incident back in my university days. A classmate from the Manipur, T, had accompanied me to the University Library to get our membership formalities done.

We both had the necessary documentation like receipts and i-Cards. After I was handed my membership card, it was her turn. The conversation went thus:

Clerk: Sagle 'dacuments' ahet ka?
T: Sorry..I don't understand, can you speak in English?
Clerk: Kay phoren hun yeta..kay mahit nasta..you have all dacuments?
T: Yes, here is the receipt and the I card.
Clerk: Where is foreign student's ID?
T: Foreign student? But I am from Manipur....
Clerk: That is like foreign only...kashala ikde lamb yetat..bhasha mahit nahi dhad
T: ????

Finally, I had to interrupt in Marathi and get the fool to accept all her 'dacuments'.

A recent Economist article by their S-A correspondent has re-highlighted this feeling of alien-ness that the people from NE India are subject to. They has never been an attempt o mingle them with mainstream. An occasional visit by the PM or the President in a decade is all they get. Then there are the army atrocities under the protection of a very very colonial law. This gives them licenses to shoot first and ask questions later.

The questions remain:
Why are they treated like refugees in their own land?
Has there been any attempt to find out what is it they want rather than what their politicians want?
Why have they been out of the limelight of progress and mainstream development?
Why has AIDS become an epidemic there?

We are all so busy showing off the IT super power status and how we are poised on the brink of a great leap forward....

Are we poised to prevent this leap backwards?

Monday, February 19, 2007

The feeling

I was trying so hard this morning.....trying to find just that one word..to describe the state of my mind.......what does it mean to feel the way I am feeling... I wonder as I sit at my desk... in an almost Holmes like concentration, except I don't have the violin to pluck at.

Well..things are going right, everyone is making the correct noises, nobody has snicked or tried to snick the pink plusle figure I keep on my desk, I am having that oh-so-routine argument with my folks that helps clear the air, motorists are turning right when their indicators show left and infuriating me to no end, that long cherished camera is mine now, clients at work continue to be as obnoxious as ever, even the water pressure is holding up nicely and saving me the trouble of bathing in already drawn water........nothing could be far from normal. Then why am I not feeling it? What is this feeling of not being in the right time frame, right state of mind?

I really wonder and ...........Ah! yes ..maybe that's it....Insatiable..that would be the word....I know am looking for far more NOW than ever before.

It is sheer avarice for knowledge & information, and the drive to do more than I have been doing with the help of all that. I do not want this feeling to go away, ever....for it will keep the fire burning. So much to do...and so little time!!

Well, maybe, I made that last statement in a bit of a haste. It may not be that I'll start out like Alexander on a world conquest though I can identify with how he might have felt. It may not even be that I'll make breaking news . It may even not be that it is only in the realm of my work/job that I am seeking what is out there.......I think if goes far beyond....work is incidental.....living, on the other had, is existential...there are a thousand journeys I look forward to taking up...journeys in relationships, in distant lands, amongst various people, across practices and professions, deep into books and literature, movies, the arts, culinary arts, ......oh yes! there is so much more to do and explore.....many passions to discover

The question is not if I have that kind of time .The question is....where do I begin?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Elephant Paradigm

What lies ahead....
"The biggest danger of today's rampant economic optimism is that it could breed complacency about the need for reforms. That would be a sure recipe for a future slowdown."

..and how not to get there..... in a nutshell.
 
To boost sustainable growth, India needs to clear the path ahead rather than risk running an economy beyond its safe maximum speed. Indians are understandably eager for their economy to sprint like a tiger rather than amble along like an elephant. Yet few animals have an elephant's stamina or can travel as far in a day—provided its way is not blocked...."

An excellent begining of the the year article from the Economist.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

# 18

....A word suspended
in thoughtless vacuum,
glazed with a pause of
jarring silence......

Pension Pains Interest Gains

"What would you choose to be if not yourself? Anyone, any object, anything at all.." Thus reads one interesting question HRD often asks prospective employees. If I was at the receiving end of one such, I'd say I want to be the Fin Min's mind.

The move to get rid of pensions in stages is long overdue and kudos to the FM for saying it aloud. Subsidies are another area whose time for the chopping block has to come soon.

The rising pension bills at all levels of the government would be increasingly difficult to finance in future, given the other demands that are there on our resources, particularly for enhancing our expenditures on essential social sectors such as health and education. The pension expenditure of the Centre could reach Rs 35,020 crore by 2009-10. For the states, the projected figure is as high as Rs 65,081 crore.

The much needed Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill is awaiting clearance from Parliament.

Meanwhile, under the New Pension Scheme, employees contribute 10% of the sum total of their basic salary and dearness allowance. This is matched by an equal contribution by the government. Earlier, employees were not required to contribute anything and it was entirely on the government to provide for pensions. The objective is to offer a new pension system to all citizens employed in organized and unorganized sectors.

As expected, there is a hue and cry over slashing of pension and naturally so. Apart from one time MPs and MLAs who eat up precious resources, there are genuinely needy people who have all their hopes pinned on pensions. I have had a first hand experience of this at a bank which distributes pensions. Old folks will wait for hours on end at the beginning of each month of get that prized sum which sustains them till the next month.

To offset this cut, it would be just and timely to raise interest rates on FDs, bonds, government saving schemes. As the employee starts contributing to the pension plan, it will mean tax saving along the way. Also doing away with tax on interest gains will go a long way in encouraging people to plan their retirement through investments. There is news that the government plans to invest the corpus that is gathered from pension benefits in the share market. The left thinks it is fashionable to oppose any scheme that the government can come up with and so they will do just that.

The question now is will this move lead to increased saving and less spending? This question comes at the crucial time. With VAT and a slew of services coming under the service tax net with every Finance Bill in March, the government is hoping that people’s spendthrift ways will add more to their kitty.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

India poised?

A small news item in the national daily went unnoticed. The Nithari carnage and election fever takes up all real estate in print these days. The news in that item was worth a headline. I could not let it pass without giving it thought or a mention in these columns.

A farmer in a tiny WB village, yes, the very state simmering with discontent over land acquisitions and anti- SEZ sentiments, has found a simple way to spray fertilizers on this newly sowed crops. It’s very simple, really. But the convenience it has brought the inventor and his family can only be imagined.

It began when he ran out of ‘means’ and ways to fertilize his fields. He hitched three bicycle wheels together (like a rikshaw’s three wheels) and mounted a tank on top. The tank had shower like outlets on both sides. At the backend he attached a bicycle handle with to be able to maneuver the mobile tank. The handle also had brake like devices. And guess what powered this contraption? The wheel movement and pressing of those brake like devices from which sprung the small air pumps. Easy? Simple? For you and me, maybe. For mister poor farmer from WB…….very very ingenious!!

The reporter was good enough to further state how this clever man sings contently everytime he uses his invention to care for his crop.

This is that India straining at the leash to spring forth and grow. Let us urbanites, all techno-savy and worldwise, not be lenient on ourselves nor let us be fooled that we are the ones on the cutting edge waiting for that next big wave. Let us not dominate the stage and dictate how the world sees us. Let us make way for what happens behind that wall of statistics. Let the people behind the news come forward. What may come to us with ease comes to others after a trial by fire. And this is what makes their little victories all the more important and noteworthy.

On a trek in the Himalayas a few years ago, I saw how villagers had diverted a fast flowing stream through a man made channel and used the hydel power thus generated to operate their corn grinding machine. It was an ‘Aha!’ moment. There will, I am sure, be thousands of such souls, looking inward for help than anywhere else. There will be many success charted by India Inc, there will be the pride of acquisitions in foreign lands, there will be sunrise industries and careers. When they are all long gone, and the sun has set, it is these pockets of brilliance that will sustain……and show the way.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

hum ne dekhee hai.....

hum ne dekhee hai, un aakhon kee mahakatee khushaboo
haath se chhuke ise, rishto kaa iljaam naa do
sirf yehasaas hain ye, ruh se mahasoos karo
pyaar ko pyaar hee rahane do koee naam naa do..

pyaar koee bol nahee, pyaar aawaaj naheen
yek khaamoshee hain sunatee hain kahaa karatee hain
n ye buzatee hai, n rukatee hai, n thhaharee hain kahee
noor kee boond hai, sadiyon se bahaa karatee hain ..

muskuraahat see khilee rahatee hain aankho mein kahee
aaur palako pe ujaale se zuke rahate hain
hothh kuchh kahate nahee, kaapate hothhon pe magar
kitane khaamosh se afasaane ruke rahate hain ..


by Gulzar

PS. I listened to Lata croon this song as I stared out from the train on New year's night. The lyrics hit home.