Hope.

Hope By Zordo

The hottest news in India today is the popular disdain being expressed for the political and the bureaucratic class of India.

To show the ridiculous levels to which corruption has seeped into our system, here is a story which takes the art of bribery to a new level! ‘MLA’ in the story stands for Member of Legislative Assembly, the state level equivalent to a Member of the Parliament. You will learn something about Anna Hazare as you proceed further in reading this post.

Various small steps taken in the past by many activists have now cumulatively morphed into a popular movement led by a crusader Anna Hazare. More information about his crusade here. Subsequently, the government agreed to constitute a joint mechanism with what it called the Civil Society, thus agreeing that it represented the uncivil aspects of our body politic, to draft a Lokpal bill. This would eventually result in an Ombudsman kind of constitutional mechanism.

The Lokpal bill which is expected to be enacted before Anna goes on his fast again on our Independence Day, August 15, 2011. It is expected that it will be a forerunner to bring about many other changes to the laws at state levels and also to bring up badly needed administrative reforms at all levels.

It is too much to expect an overnight miracle, but a start has been made and the establishment has been made aware that the public will not take this lying down anymore.

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”
~ Robert Francis Kennedy

I join many other Indians in hoping for quick and lasting change.

Blog Brings A New Friend.

On the 12th of April, I got a message through my contact form in this blog from a total stranger who had reached my blog via a search engine, that simply said this:

“From: Vinod Desai
Subject: Social
Message Body:
Me ( 62 ) and my wife Vaishali will be moving to Kalyani Nagar shortly ( from Mumbai).
I keep excellent health and I have taken up some assignment.
May be we can meet when we will be in Pune.
With Kind Regards
Vinod Desai”

Mobile Phone: XXXXXXXXXXX

Immediately on receipt of the message, I rang up Mr. Desai and found that he was planning to settle down very close to where I live. I informed him that I was very pleased to get his message and that I looked forward to meeting him on his shifting to Pune. I followed up that with this email:

“Dear Mr. Desai,

I thank you for taking the trouble to contact me via my blog.  My blog is my
formula to keep sane and I hope that you will read many of my old posts as
well as what I post every day to get to know something about me before you
move to Kalyani Nagar.

I have been a resident of Kalyani Nagar since December 1990 and have seen
many events happen here as well as in my home.  I live now with my 94 year old
father and 40 year old son, all single, in a Bachelors’ Home as it were.

My address is:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX  Land line phone: XXXXXXXX

You already have my mobile number with you.

I look forward to making your acquaintance when you move into our locality.

In the meanwhile, if there is anything that I can do for you here, please do
not hesitate to ask.

With regards,

RAMANA RAJGOPAUL

On the 14th of June, Mr. Desai sent me this mail:

“Dear Mr.Rajgopaul
 
We shifted couple of weeks ago and trying to settle down after finishing some of the basic things. May be we can meet during course of this week as per your convenience.
 
With Warm Regards
Vinod Desai.”

I rang Mr. Desai up on the 15th inst. and we decided to meet on the 16th inst. He landed up at our home in the morning after his walk and stayed for coffee and a nice long chat which got us to know each other quite a bit. We have a lot in common and the foundation for a strong friendship has been laid. As I write this, we are on first name basis with each other and he has threatened to ask me over to their place next week after his wife finishes the decorating that she is in the midst of.

He goes for his walks to the same park that I go to for my walks in the evenings, but in the mornings. We are planning to meet at the park so that he can meet my other friends who only visit the park in the evenings. And this is what he looks like:

He is not a blogger, but that can be remedied in due course of time.

Viva the blog world.

India’s Economy Version Android Tablet.

A news item caught my eye this morning and before I go off for the week end, I wanted to share my views on the branding of the tablet.

This review is a fair one and I am very happy for the development and the launch of the gadget.

What is unfair about the product is the brand name given to it – Sakshat.

Saakshaath (साक्षात) in Sanskrit has various meanings each depending on the context. Nearby, Within sight of, Personified, Obvious, and Incarnate, the last being the most commonly used.

I am sure that the last word, Incarnate, is what the branding genius had in mind, but he could have been more circumspect had he chosen a more phonetic spelling for the gadget.

To me and I am sure to many others, it sounds like Sack Shat. I am sure that the brilliant minds that thought up this brand did not have this in mind.

Glory.

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Padmum.

That is a variety of Morning Glory. Its seeds are used as a hallucinogen. Now you know what made me write this post at five in the morning on a very rainy day here in
India. We are in the beginning of our Glorious Monsoon.

I am now in my golden years as a magazine for the elderly calls people over 50. By that definition, I am a golden oldie as I am almost two decades over their cut off point. So, what can glory be to me?

My blogger friend Ursula gets upset with my proclivity to use quotes and I inevitably respond that I prefer not to reinvent the wheel and so let other more capable writers speak for me. So, here I give some quotations that should give an indication of what I think of Glory. Where needed, I shall of course add a few of words of wisdom. The latter, to assure Ursula that I can write original stuff on glorious quotes.

“‘Age’ is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.”
~ Martha Graham

Am I mature? Cheerful Monk thinks otherwise!

“By common consent gray hairs are a crown of glory; the only object of respect that can never excite envy.”
~ George Bancroft

And my crown of glory is only fringed with gray hairs. I wonder if a bald pate excites envy!

“But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded.”
~Edmond Burke

I disagree. The age of chivalry may have gone, but chivalry itself is very much alive and kicking. I flatter myself that I am a very chivalrous person! I am still alive and have not kicked anyone in a long time but, can at need.

“Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

I am the most glorious person ever then!

“Happy people are ignoramuses and glory is nothing else but success, and to achieve it one only has to be cunning.”
~ Mikhail Lermontov

I am an ignoramus.

“Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”
~ James Joyce

I would rather be gloriously passionate than just plain glorious when I pass boldly into that other world.

“Glory comes too late, after one as been reduced to ashes.”
~ Marcus Valerius Martial

I sure hope that it does.

A Bit Of Maharashtra, North India, And Urmeela.

Maharashtra is a State on the Western and Central Deccan Plateau parts of India and Pune, the city where I live is in it. Pune is located just East of Mumbai more familiar with its old English name Bombay, which is the State Capital.

As with most of India, Maharashtra is predominantly Hindu and one of the traditions that Maharashtrian women follow is to observe a fast for three days to concentrate on their prayers for the well being of their husbands. Yesterday was the last day of the fast called the Vat Purnima in local parlance. You can read all about it here.

A news item about this ceremony in the local paper reminded of an incident which I narrate here.

My late wife Urmeela did not observe this Vat Purnima fast, but one year when we were based in Delhi, she did observe a local variety of the same fast called the Karva Chouth.

To conclude the fast, women await the rising of the moon. Once the moon is visible, depending on the region and community, it is customary for a fasting woman, with her husband nearby, to view its reflection in a vessel filled with water, through a sieve, or through the cloth of a dupatta. Water is offered to the moon to secure its blessings. She then turns to her husband and views his face indirectly in the same manner. In some regions, the woman says a brief prayer asking for her husband’s life. It is believed that at this stage, spiritually strengthened by her fast, the fasting woman can successfully confront and defeat death. In Rajasthan the women say “Like the gold necklace and the pearl bracelet, just like the moon may my husband always shine brightly”.

The husband now takes the water from the plateand gives his wife her first sip and feeds her with the first morsel of the day (usually something sweet). The fast is now broken, and the woman has a complete meal. It is customary for the husband to make a gift to his wife, such as jewelry or a new dress.

She was more of less bamboozled into observing this fast by our lady neighbours who were observing it, and she did not tell me in advance about it. Not knowing that it was karva chouth, I invited some friends over for some cocktails and dinner in the evening and telephoned her to get things organised. Even at that point she did not mention anything and the party went off very well. At about eleven after the last guest had left, she performed this last ritual and I was more than touched and apologised for the inconsiderate party that I had thrown. As she always did, she brushed the apology aside and broke her fast and had her dinner. I however insisted that she does not do anything like this in the future as there was no need for an annual occasion, when I knew that she always had my well being in mind and that was that.

The story however, does not end there. The next day, our lady neighbours berated her for having given the party with liquor, and horror of horrors, meat and chicken cooked at home on such an auspicious day when she was observing the fast. Urmeela listened to all the rants and raves patiently, and finally said, that she implemented the spirit of the fast – the welfare and well being of her husband by arranging a party as per his wish. That shut the whole lot of them up. I came to know about the punchline from one of our male neighbours who complimented me for having such a wonderful wife!

Her prayer worked. She defeated death from taking her husband away from her, but death had the last laugh. He took her away from me.