A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)


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Better than the Best…

Isn’t that a fine ambition to have? More so, when you pit yourself against your own self.

What can you do better than what you do now? They say the greatest challenges in life are made in one’s own mind.

  • Can I now be a better organizer? [Was I one in the first place? Lol!]

  • I certainly can be a better parent, for sure 🙂 :D!! [Which is going to be seconded by the Younger one for sure, silently :P]

  • A teacher? Now when did I ever claim to be one? Nah! I’d rather be a learner like those kids I pretend to teach, forever. Amen!

  • A better citizen. Yes. I must, I Will! Thanks to the innumerable inspiring posts I have read from so many of you!

  • A better disciplined person[Like Rakesh ..:)]. I know I can, so why don’t I? Learn to practice all that I preach endlessly. Actually, I think I have made a rather good start by keeping myself glued to the papers in hand. Though I did break up when I found just a class and a half left, lol! So that is just about 70+ papers yet to get through.

Still, this sombre twilight hour makes me feel a little pensive. I really am not all that Happy New Yearish as I sound. The events of a month ago haunt. The events of a couple of days ago at Gaza haunt.

And yet, one goes on.. The show, life, must go on. And we Actors don roles again, play to the hilt, till curtains fall again!

In the words of someone, on OSO…. Picture abhi baki hai!!

Don’t mind me, I’m just doing something I do better than the best…. Ramble. Lol!

Have a prosperous and peaceful 2009, dear Comrades-in-Arms! Let it be Better than the Best, you’ve ever had!

P.S. This entire post is the direct result of a chat I just had now with Soumya! Thanks Soumya, for being so inspiring again!!! As you always have been!

P.P.S. I typed the whole thing into the Create New Post, without Pen and Paper. Hurrah!!! Progress!!! But then again, this is another silly one.. lol!

31 December, 2008


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India, My Beautiful Country!

Given the ferment brewing in different parts of our country, more of intellectual, and deep soul searching ferment, among those, who so far had taken anything and everything in their stride, trying to make sense of the happenings, being so used to apathy from those elected to take good care of them, I wonder, actually, if the topics for elocution that came this year, for our Annual Inter School Cultural fest [on November 21 and 22, 2008], were in some way prophetic! I have already shared one of them here, Tolerance is the Need of the Hour, which was presented by a Class 7 student, Niranjana.

I’d like to now present the topic and text of the Group II participant, Ashna D. Her group had this beautiful topic, given as the post title here, India, My Beautiful Country. She had to speak for 3 minutes. Exceeding the time limit would mean disqualification, and it was an uphill task all the way, trying to encapsulate the beauty of our nation, in 3 minutes. But needs must, and, the following was what came to me, as I prepared. With a bit of work on it, and editing, and nail-biting sessions where we timed, re-timed and honed the brilliant little girl, Ashna, to a perfect delivery, this , below is the finished product. She got the second place too; and a first place for English Recitation, [3 minutes again] for the touching poem, “Daddy’s Day” by Cheryl Costello Forshey, which for reasons of time constraint, had to be edited down to 3 minutes. But a first place for the poem, was truly deserving. She studies in Class 4, and is a prodigy; a wonderful, sincere, and entirely “there” child!! Congrats, again, Ashna. I shall also share some poetry that her elder sister, Anjana D. writes, on the other blog, A Quest.. 🙂 Soon, I hope.

So here is the text of the speech, on the topic, India, My Beautiful Country!!!

Ashna spoke:

Quote:

Namasthe.

A thing of Beauty is Joy Forever;

Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness…

these lines from John Keats, Most Honorable Judges, Respected Teachers, Parents and all of you dear friends describe the one thing we have in common, India, Our Beautiful Country!!!

For me, the loveliness of our land is seen, felt and known at the most basic levels. I’d suggest experiencing the fascination of India through these Thresholds – The Physical, The Emotional, and finally, the Spiritual.

All through the vastness of its length and breadth, India is unique in its tantalizing topography, colours and brilliance of flora and fauna! Is there another country so varied as to host golden beaches, on three sides, snowy mountainscapes, tropical forests, mesmerizing deserts, perennial rivers, fertile plains, plateaus, lagoons, bays… and Oh! So very many features?

On an emotional level, it’s the warmth of her peoples, their hospitality, their vitality and the energy that is the most remarkable. So pliant and warm is her welcome, reflected in her people, that they embody –Athithi Devo Bhava– our Guest is akin to God – the tradition that I do believe, makes her one among the top destinations on Tourist Maps! With fascinating variety of languages, customs, traditions, even an Indian is yet to know her fully in all her hues!

The Soul of India is the Spiritual Legacy of her Vedas, ancient Scriptures, the Science of Yoga and meditation, which are the unparalleled kind that even today Scholars from all over want to delve deeper into, and sip from, as if it were the nectar of Life. The creed of non-violence, unique to her, also marks this inner loveliness that is India.

This is best summed up in the words of Keith Bellows, the Editor in Chief, National Geographic Society, when he says, It was as if all my life I had been seeing the world in black and white and, when brought face to face with India,, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolour!!

Beauty at its simplest and most Profound – India, my beautiful country, steeped in the culture and knowledge of her rich heritage!

JAI HIND!!!


Unquote.

There is something about this topic and speech that rings out clearly , this day, when her peoples come together again, to clarify and underscore the emotional strength, and hope to revive her political strength too. Salutes to those brave souls who gave their lives, so that we can still breathe her free, inspiring air!


Jai Hind!!!


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Beat this!!!

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s family refused to meet, and interact with Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan, and his Home Minister, K. Balakrishanan. He was not welcome, as it was clear he had come under “duress”, the words, of Mr. Unnikrishanan. There were angry scenes at their house.

The CM left.

And now, on Times Now, I just heard this, a slighted CM Achuthanandan reacting to his unceremonious ouster from the martyr’s house.

He said that if it had not been Major Sandeep Unnikrishanan’s house, not even a dog would have gone there.

Can you beat that, any of you politicians?

Who’s next?

(This comes in tandem to the post that at IHM’s blog, about another politician who questioned the citizens’ anguish and their protests against politicians. I had just finished posting a note there, and my son called me urgently to watch and listen to yet another horror unfolding, in the form of the Kerala CM’s remark! Truly unforgivable!)

1 December, 2008


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An Open Letter to the Government of India

India

29 November, 2008

An Open Letter to the Government of India

I have to, in some way, express this deep anguish over the many losses our nation has faced today.

Though one cannot quantify the loss as more or less important, I do feel gaping holes have been left with the demise of the bravest of our countrymen, of the NSG, the Mumbai Police and the ATS.

And at this point, I come back to a bickering Government and the IAS Babus, over the Sixth Pay Commission. Are YOU so gutless, as to still pursue that YOU are worth more that these brave souls who dared to go in where YOU WOULD NOT? Is that grade of the Lt. Colonel still a bone of contention? How much further will we take this Babudom’s Autocracy??

Can’t the Government, unanimously, cutting across all boards at least NOW, NOW, for heaven’s sake, say that there will be no more anomalies and will accept unconditionally the Service Chiefs Requests on that?

They are only asking a little of what they deserve. And no one who dares to call themselves an Indian this day would begrudge them this little they can do for the Services.

I know that this seems inappropriate, but what better occasion than this to drive home the point that it is these poorly paid soldiers who unhesitatingly, unstintingly and unconditionally put themselves in the line of fire; and did not boast about it in front of the media.

They are the unknown faces of succor to the nation and yet, we do not give them a single benefit they deserve.

Nothing.

That is saddest part of today’s governance. That YOU will not do this, for those, who lay their lives down, laughing in the face of danger, and making sure we can sleep in peace at night.

Can you Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Defence Minister, and Mr. Home Minister, not do something about this?

Please?

Hoping that this will be received with an open mind, and a generous spirit, and the Heart of an Indian

I submit,

A Grateful Indian

***

I wonder if my vision is earthworm like at this moment, but there is a feeling deep within, something that has been wanting to take the Government by its collar and shake it senseless, demanding to know why even now, they quibble over giving anything to the soldiers. I am not an expert on the exact content, but I do enough to know that injustice has been done, is still being done, in not accepting the perceptions of the Services.

The country, the taxpayers are only too happy, so why is the Government, as always, creating obstacles, by giving in to the Babus, the IAS?

Why?

30 November, 2008

Edited to add: Just found this, on Mr S. P. Joshi’s blog, Random Thoughts. It really gives an eye opener of a view, simplified for us to understand, of the reason why the anomalies must be corrected, and the SErvice Chiefs requests be met. It is called The Armed Forces of India.Do excuse me for using it without permission. But it elaborates your comment very well too.


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I still Hope..

This morning, from the Warzone Mumbai, that screened on the news channel, I went to school, where it was business as usual, being in a sense, far removed from the happenings in Mumbai. At assembly, the news was read out by Niranjana, and she shared the latest happenings, in numbers and quotes from newspapers and news channels. I was glad she did. I hoped that a sombre mood would prevail, and hoped for the seriousness of it all to sink in, in the minds of the children.

But children will be children, right? My class, the sixth, were busy with the cleanliness campaign, having newly discovered the value of dignity of labour. We had a session yesterday, where I shared some of my own school day tasks. I take heart. Something has transferred itself to them. So I share what I saw just before I left for school. And I ask them, is there anything we can do? Re-phrased. What can we do?

Silence for a while. A young boy pipes up, “Shoot the terrorists.” So we discuss this, and we realize that this is happening. But isn’t that something an elder person would do? What can you do? Re-phrased. What can we here, do? “Pray” came a quiet voice. A young girl. Suddenly, I realized I had been rather insensitive.

Quickly I asked them, do you have anybody in Mumbai? Are they safe? Some nodded. The same young girl looked a little worried. Anna, I asked, anyone there? Yes, teacher, she said. And are they safe? Yes, but they live very close, in Colaba. Hmmm… so did you all speak to them. The response was affirmative. But the atmosphere in the class changed. They empathized with her. At the end of the period, I noticed how some children went across to her to quietly ask her things and speak to her.

In the eighth and ninth standards, the responses were more vocal. Condemning the news channels, especially those taking mileage out of the happenings, and yet sharing all that they knew of what they had seen, they were still not able to go beyond, “Shoot them all”, when it came to what we could do. Treat each other better? I asked. Smiles. No, I insisted, begin there, and see how it ripples out. What if something like this happened again, and to someone who we knew, us, also? Can we make a difference I asked? Usure looks again, but some more positive nods. The how of it, well, they still had to define for themselves. So I spoke of that wonderful story of the man on the beach throwing the gasping starfish back in the sea. It is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever heard. The bell rang, as I wound up. I simply told them how it made a difference to that one starfish, thrown back to life. Could we not in some way internalize that??

Why am I telling the children this, I wondered? But then, there is no one else who would understand it so well, and no one else I would trust to change and make that difference.

And that is why I still hope.