For want of wealth,
my time is lost.
For want of time,
my hope is lost.
For want of hope,
my future is lost.
For want of future,
my present is lost.
For want of present,
my dream is lost.
For want of dream,
my sleep is lost.
For want of sleep,
my night is lost.
For want of night,
my day is lost.
For want of day,
I am lost.

– Copyright 2002 Bhuwan Thapaliya

Neil Diamond in his song “I am, I said” has this to say about his split longings.

“I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more.”

This part of the song has always touched a cord in me as I can relate to exactly the same emotion as Neil expresses there.

In India, when someone new is introduced to one, the first question in getting to know each other is “Where are you from?”

In my case, this is one of the most difficult questions to answer as, I am from many places. I was born in Bombay as it was then known, did some of my growing up in Madras as it was then known, part in Hyderabad, back for some more in Madras, and then took off like a rocket all over India. I schooled in Madras and Hyderabad, under-graduate studies in Madhya Pradesh, Graduated from Bihar and Post graduate work in Gujarat. I have worked in Hyderabad, Madras, Bombay and many other parts of India before finally settling down at what was then known as Poona.

When I am asked that famous question, I say that I am from Pune, as it is now known but that never satisfies the questioner. What he wants to know is the village from which my forefathers came, where it is located, what connections I still have there etc, and I am totally lost for answers as that place is only a memory for even my father. There have been times when I have seriously considered adding the Surname Punekar to my name so that people will know that I am from Pune. One of these days, I may just do that too. At least for my son Ranjan, it will make life easier.

I wish that I was my brother Barath, who lives in the UK. When asked the same question, he simply has to say that he is from India. He is not lost.

I hope that you enjoyed reading another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

Margaret Mitchell and Gone With The Wind.

Having been led by chance to re-read “To kill a mocking bird”, I am tempted to re-read Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the wind.”

There are some striking similarities about these books that seem rather odd. Both were written by Southern American women. Both were geographically located in Southern America. Both were made into remarkable and memorable movies. Both won the Pulitzer prize and many awards for the movie versions.

And, both authors did not write anything else.

Both have quotes that have become famous.

Atticus Finch’s “But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted – if I could hit ’em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Rhet Butler’s “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

I wonder if there are any more similarities between the two. Any additions will be most welcome.

Memories Of The Three ‘R’s

I had taken my father to the local lending library for his weekly quota of books to read, and while I was waiting for him to return the last lot and pick new ones, I was browsing the shelves. I came across the old classic “To kill a mocking bird” by Harper Lee and decided to re-read it after perhaps thiry years or so. Just bringing the book home brought back memories of Gregory Peck in the movie of the same title and how much the book and the movie had impacted me and many of my friends.

Many of my readers should also be reminded of this wonderful book and the equally wonderful movie. I don’t have much to say about them. What I wish to write about is the peculiar identification that I now have with Scout Finch. In the very first chapter, Scout recollects how she had problems with her teacher about her reading skills. Let me quote:

“I never deliberately learned to read, but somehow I had been wallowing illicitly in the daily papers. In the long hours of church – was it then I learned? I could not remember not being able to read hymns. Now that I was compelled to think about it, reading was something that just came to me, as learning to fasten the seat of my union suit without looking around, or achieving two bows from a snarl of shoe laces. I could not remember when the lines above Atticus’s moving finger separated into words, but I had stared at them all the evenings in my memory, listening to the news of the day, Bills To Be Enacted into Laws, the diaries of Loronzo Dow – anything Atticus happened to be reading when I crawled into his lap every night. Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

I do not remember this passage having any impact on me when I had read the book the first time all those years ago. For some strange reason, this time around, this passage stands out as a very important lesson. When talks about this experience, she has just attended her first day in school. The teacher simply was unable to accept that the little girl could read so well and blames Atticus for teaching her using the wrong methods!

I do remember learning how to write using specially ruled notebooks with alphabets and words printed on the margins to copy and practice. I also remember learning the multiplication tables and doing simple additions and subtractions in the Montessori school to which I went till I was taken out and put in a regular school in class IV. I have been trying to remember how I learnt to read and as much as I have struggled with that thought, I simply cannot remember formally undergoing training to read. Like Scout, I just seemed to have picked it up, without formally going through a process of learning how to read, though I learnt Tamil first and English much later. I have vivid memories of eagerly awaiting the arrival of the weekly quota of Tamil magazines over which I would fight with my mother and later on with my siblings. I too can honestly say that “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

I wonder if this is something that is peculiar to me or everybody feels the same way about how they learnt to read. I will be truly interested in finding out from my readers if this is true in their cases as well.

Cleric Put In Jail.

Maulana Noor-ul-Huda an Islamic Scholar who runs a Madrassa, was offloaded an international flight just before take off at Delhi, arrested and kept in jail for a night.

This was due to a misunderstanding in overhearing the Maulana’s cellphone conversation with his son who had come to see him off at the airport. The lady who overheard the conversation is a Non Resident Indian (NRI), euphemism for a person of Indian origin, normally residing outside India.

You can read all about the incident in most of Indian newspapers today and all the tones of the report convey indignation and anger at the incident. Naturally, many political actors wooing the Muslim vote bank, have got on to the band wagon and clamouring for someone’s head to roll. One reasonably balanced report from the Indian Express can be read here.

I am willing to grant that the police have over reached themselves in their action but would ask the Maulana to introspect on an important aspect of the action about which he said, “I had to spend a night in jail just because I have a long beard and I am from Deoband and I run a madrassa. More than the mobile phone conversation, it seems to me that my profile appeared suspicious to them,”

I believe that this is a typical victim mentality trying to appear as a martyr to the public and particularly to his constituency, the Indian Muslims. He would do well to ask himself why the profile appeared suspicious, and why an innocuous comment caused such an embarrassing situation for him. Any child should be able to answer those questions. The Maulana can do a great deal with his constituency to get Indian Muslims to relate to the atmosphere and environment in a country beset by Islamist terrorism and do something about it.

I also challenge some rating seeking TV channel to do a similar sting operation on any Indian Muslim, to what they did to one notorious Hindu extremist Muthalik yesterday. The man was shown up to be just an opportunistic hoodlum holding people to ransom be acts of hooliganism and goondaism. The Congress mentioned in the article is the political party to which our Prime Minister belongs as does the Minister for Home affairs and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. When this man threatened to disrupt the last Valentine’s Day celebrations, Indian women expressed their protest in a very novel way and some others blackened his face.

This post is primarily to educate my readers about India’s “secularism” and has been written without any malice towards either Hindus or Muslims.

Indians Buy Bullion.

Today is Akshaya Tritiya. The most auspicious of all days in the Hindu calendar. It is believed that any activity started, or any thing bought today will result is success and prosperity. It is the day that Indian jewelery makers and bullion sellers see maximum sales. Other consumer goods and automobile dealers also see peak purchases on this day.

Today, despite being a Sunday, all jewelery shops will be open and the crowds will be a sight to see for those interested in seeing such things. The crowds will be something like the Black Friday crowds of shoppers but not at big shopping centers. The crowds will be at select shops, like in this photograph.

India incidentally is the country where most of the world’s production of gold ends up. Even the poorest of the poor will have some gold ornaments stashed away for the proverbial rainy day. We are simply obsessed with gold!

I personally wear a fairly heavy 22 carat gold chain with a Rudraksha pendant. The chain is one part of a double given to my mother by her mother as part of her trousseau. The other part is worn by my brother Arvind. I also wear a ring with a black onyx stone which was given to me as a wedding ring by Urmeela’s family. The ring that I had given her has ended up as part of some gold jewelery that we gave to our daughter in law.

This year gold prices have shot through the roof and many people who would have bought gold have decided to buy silver instead pushing silver prices also up.

After this post went live, Grannymar sent me a link to a very interesting article related to possible new ways of buying gold in the future in India. I wish to thank Grannymar for this wonderful link.

Funny people Indians! All that gold all over the place and they allow themselves to be perceived as a poor country. What do you think?

Modern Myths.

I suggested this topic for blogging by the Loose Bloggers Syndicate and therefore am ready for more critical perusal by my readers than the other members of the syndicate.

The idea for this topic came to me because; there is this maddening refrain from various quarters on the top most myth in my list. The other myths do not follow any order of priority and have been listed as they came up in my thought process. Perhaps there is some thing to be read into them!

I shall not elaborate on the myths but am willing to respond to any comments from any of my readers on them. I do this because I am reasonably sure that my readers need no elaboration as to why these are considered to by myths by me.

Modern Myth Number 1. Islam is a religion of peace.

Modern Myth Number 2. Pakistan is a trustworthy, ally/neighbour in the fight against terror

Modern Myth Number 3. An MBA degree is the passport to riches and a satisfying career.

Modern Myth Number 4. An MBA degree will make you an effective Manager/Leader.

Modern Myth Number 5. Democracy works.

Modern Myth Number 6, Freedom of expression is exercisable in democracies.

Modern Myth Number 7. Politicians and Bureaucrats have the nation’s interest at heart.

Modern Myth Number 8. Global warming is a myth.

Modern Myth Number 9. Amnesty International is an unbiased entity.

Modern Myth Number 10. All companies are serious when they offer Customer Service.

I hope that you enjoyed reading another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by yours truly.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.