The “Flying Rani”!

Gujarati? Catch the “Flying Rani” going Mumbai to Surat!

બાળપણ નું સુસ્મરણ

હોતું હશે!

(ભઈ તમે માનો કે ના માનો આ વાત હકીકત છે.)

DSC04823
After reaching Navsari (pix above: Juna Thana), Surat is just minutes away… you get set to alight… with all your bags! 😉

મમ્મી: ઓ કે, હું taxi વાળા ને પૈસા ચૂકવું છું, તું કૂલી ને શોધ (ચિંતા નહિ કરતી, તું શોધે એ પેહલા એ તને શોધી કાઢશે)
હું : એ એ એ… આણે તો bag ઊંચકી એ લીધી!
મમ્મી: ઓ એની સાથે ભાવ પેહલા થી નક્કી કરજે, ભૂલતી નહિ … ઠીક છે, કંઈ નહિ.

મમ્મી (કૂલી ને): ઓ, કેટલા? કિતના લેગા?
કૂલી : ફિકર નહિ, આપ સે જ્યાદા નહિ લેગા … બસ, બીસ રૂપિયા.
મમ્મી: હેં!……. કેટલા રૂપિયા??
(કૂલી ને): તુમ કો ક્યા લગતા હૈ – હમ નયે હૈ ઇસ શેહેર મેં ! દસ રૂપિયે સે ઝ્યાદા નહિ દૂંગી
કૂલી: સત્રા
મમ્મી: નહિ, નહિ, ચલો, બારા બરાબર હૈ
ફૂલી: અરે ક્યા મેમસાબ તુમ ભી… અચ્છા પન્દ્રા
મમ્મી : ચલો છોડો — જાને દો. હમારી bag રક્ખો, તુમ દૂસરા ઘરાક શોધો

મમ્મી (અમને, બચ્ચા પાર્ટી ને): ચાલો, ચાલો, જલ્દી જલ્દી એક એક bag ઉઠાવો – નાની, મોટી, જે ઉંચકાય તે લો.
હું : મમ્મી, જલ્દી, પછી સીટ નહિ મળે!
મમ્મી (કૂલી ને): અલ્યા ચાલ, ચૌદ રૂપિયા નક્કી, ચાર bag ઉઠાવ – આખી berth પકડ, બારી સાથે!
કૂલી: ફિકર નકો કરા મેમસાબ
મમ્મી: છોકરાઓ, જલ્દી કરો, નહિ તો આ ભીડ માં કૂલી ગુમ ના થયી જાય!
હું : મમ્મી, કૂલી તો બહુ ફાસ્ટ જાય છે!

થોડેક આગળ ગયા, થોડી વાર પછી, થોભ્યા:

ફૂલી: મેમસાબ, ઇધર રુકો, bag કે પાસ, અભી સીટ પકડ કે આતા હું!
હું : ઓ…, કહાં જાતે હો? Train કહાં હૈ? Platform પર હજી આવી નથી ને!
ફૂલી: બેબી, અભી આતી હૈ train.
હું : તુમ કો કૈસે find કરેંગે?
કૂલી : એક રૂમાલ દો, ચાદર હૈ?
(મમ્મી પર્સ માંથી કાઢી, એમનો સ્કાર્ફ આપે છે કૂલી ને.) કૂલી સ્કાર્ફ લઇ ને ભીડ માં ફરી થી અલુપ્ત થયી ગયો!

મમ્મી : તમને બંને ને કહ્યું’તું જલ્દી તૈયાર થયી જાઓ, નહીતર આ ભીડ માં ભીંસાવું પડશે પણ સાંભળે કોણ! કેટલો Rush છે, હવે જઈશું ઉભા ઉભા ઠેઠ સુધી!

મમ્મી (અકળાઈ ને) એક બીજા યાત્રી ને: ઓઓઓ, વગાડી દીધી મેટલ ની bag. કચડી નાખ્યો મારો પગ! જોઈ ને તો ચાલ!

હું: આવતી vacation માં મારે train માં ક્યાંય જવું નથી! I don’t want to go on the train anywhere! What a nightmare!
મમ્મી : ઓ, ચાલો, ચાલો જલ્દી જલ્દી, ગાડી આવી ગઈ!
હું: ઓ, પણ bags નું ધ્યાન કોણ રાખશે
મમ્મી : ચલ એક જણ અહીંયા ઉભા રહો, તું ઉભી રેહ… ઓ લે, જો, ફૂલી એ હાથ દેખાડ્યો… જગા મળી ગયી લાગે છે.
મમ્મી (કૂલી ને બૂમ પાઈ ને કેહ છે): ચલ, આવી ને bag ઉઠાવ!
કૂલી: Bag આપ લાઓ, નહી તો seat ગેલી!
મમ્મી : અલ્યા અડધું કામ અમે જાતે કરી લઈએ તો ચૌદ રૂપિયા તને શું કરવા આપીએ!
કૂલી (હસતાં હસતાં): મેમસાબ, બગા તુમી, seat મસ્ત હૈ… પાંચ રૂપિયા ઔર દેના બક્ષીશ!
મમ્મી: ઘ્યા હે ચૌદ રૂપિયા, નહિ તો એ પણ નહિ આપું!
હું : મમ્મી, જલ્દી, આપી દો એને જે જોઈએ એ, ચાલો, let’s settle in, please!
હજી તો બેઠાં નથી, અને કોઈક બીજા યાત્રી આવ્યા:
યાત્રી : Excuse me, પણ તમે મારી seat પર બેઠાં છો! હું ફક્ત પાણી ની bottle ભરવા નીચે ઊતર્યો હતો.
મમ્મી (જરા અકળાઈ ને): ઓ હો, શૂ વાત કરો છો! હમણાં જ મેં પેલા કૂલી ને પૈસા ચૂકવ્યા seat માટે!
અચ્છા ઠીક છે, બધા જરા જરા ખસો, થોડું “adjustment” કરીએ… આ છે તો એક unreserved compartment ને! ફક્ત સાઢા ચાર કલ્લાક ની જ journey – મુંબઈ થી સૂરત સુધી ની!
યાત્રી (અડધું મનમાં બબડતા): ક્યા થી આવી જાય છે આ લોકો!
મમ્મી: મને કૈંક કહ્યું તમે?

સીટી વાગી, લીલો ઝંડો ફર્કાયો, ગાડી ની છુક-છુક શરુ થયી. ધીમે થી વેગ વધવા માંડી… પળ માં જ platform પર થી ગાડી બાહર ખુલા માં જતી રેહવાની…
મમ્મી (અકળાયલા સાદે): જો, હજુ તારા પપ્પા આવ્યા નહિ દુકાને થી… આવજો કેહવા અને મળવા!
(દૂર, પપ્પા દોડતા આવતા દેખાયા – બારી માંથી અમે આવજો કર્યું, એમના હાથ માં થી નાસ્તા નું packet જલ્દી થી લઇ લીધું! અમને, ખાસ કરી ને
મમ્મી ને હાશ થયી… મને મન માં થયું, “કદાચ પપ્પા ને પણ હાશ થયી! એમનું vacation પણ શરું થયું “) 😉
બીજા યાત્રીઓ ને પણ હાશ થયી…

યાત્રી (મમ્મી ને): ક્યાં સુધી જવાના, ક્યાં ઉતરવાના?
મમ્મી: last station… સૂરત! અને… તમે?
યાત્રી : હું પણ
મમ્મી: ચાલો, સરસ, થોડી company રેહશે 🙂

અર્ધ-સ્મિત સમેટ યાત્રી અને મમ્મી ની અકળામણ સેહજ વિલીન થયી.

મમ્મી (મારા નાજુક, baby ears માં ધીમે થી બોલ્યાં): સરખી tight બેસજે, જો, કોઈ ધક્કો મારી તને ખસેડી ના દે!
હું (મન માં વિચારતા): હાશ, જગ્યા મળી એટલું જ બસ છે… પાંચ મિનીટ પેહલા જ તો seat ના ફાંફા હતાં, અને station પણ હાંફળા-ફાંફળા પોન્હ્ચા’તા!
મમ્મી: હાશ, હવે જરા નિરાંતે શ્વાસ લેવાશે!
થોડીક જ પળો થયી હશે, ત્યાં તો, bag માંથી Pear કાઢી, purse માં થી ચપ્પુ ખેંચી, મોઢાં પર સ્મિત વેરી ને બાજુ માં બેઠેલા નૌપરિચિત યાત્રી ને મમ્મી એ પૂછ્યું, “Care to Share?”

Seeking fame. What’s your name?

Isn’t that quite like seeking the elusive dame?

Here’s an easy route: Love yourself. The world will clamor to clutch you with their greedy grips. Ouch!

But what’s the alternative to getting famous? Duh… getting infamous. So, titillate

If you’re wondering why this inane post, I’ll share my agony. Nothing to do with whether or not I’m seeking fame. I just posted the following on The Wall…  oh no, it has nothing to do with Pink Floyd. If anything it’s the complete opposite. Well, coming to think of it, may be it is because of it that Facebook has called it their Wall. You know, the isolation that folks in today’s world experience, across the board. Aren’t we all “just another brick in the wall”?

So, the post on my Facebook Wall reads:

“Why not just use the neuter gender?

Two recent incidents bring on a sardonic smile, making me wonder… The first at a small party recently when I met someone, had just introduced myself, when the lady said to me right away, “Don’t mind my saying so, but your name is very common.”  Okayyy… 🙂 My mind flashed: “Should I change my name so as to sound more uncommon? I already have – onscreen – in my virtual world (which she doesn’t know)!”

Then again, a couple of days ago online here on fB someone remarked, “Oh, with a name like yours, it looks like you’re not even from this world!” Since we were in a pleasant conversation, I introduced myself in a private message. Pronto followed another response, “Oh, don’t tell me you’re a ben.” Arrey bhai (or ben)… did I ever climb up Big Ben claiming to be anyone other than who I am? Besides, for those who know me only as one among their thousands of virtual friends, what difference does it make anyway? So of course, my thoughts went all over the brain-map with synapses crisscrossing. (“Random thoughts reined in”, says my WordPress slug-line) 😉

Consider this recent trend of political correctness where actors-actresses prefer to use the term ‘actor’ (I wonder why)… What are we afraid of? Should we just remove the feminine gender altogether? Why not just use the neuter gender? (Hence the two videos above. I’m now watching these videos in a new light, seriously!) Who am I to judge those women actors who’re dancing, or point fingers at the makers of the movie, or critique ‘such’ songwriters, or the choreographers, or even the audiences who went bananas over these numbers. I’m not the world’s policeman, policewoman… oh, darn!

No, so the post did not end there. Here’s more…

That also reminds me of many who want to befriend me here on Facebook. Then some even ask “Are you a man or a woman?”. Seriously! So, some dear friends here have piped in, coming to my rescue, while I’m oblivious to the query – snoozing in some other time zone. (Perhaps such curious minds are in some twilight zone, I’m wondering. Light rays must penetrate through one’s lens to hit the retina, right? Only so much of a physics lesson, ok!) Then again, if folks can have names like “Babloo”, “Paploo”, “Simple”, “Dimple”, “Munni”, “Sheila” … you get the drift… why not, “What’s my name”…

What’s in a name… and all that jazz… Despite the inanity of this post, I will reward my dear friends here who read through it all, empathized with my agony. This song brings sukoon… Essence of the song: “Time”, “change”, “the name will be lost” “this face will morph over time” “whether or not we meet again” “The voice will sound the same”.

Film: Kinara (1976); Playback Singers: Bhupinder Singh, Lata Mangeshkar; Music Composer: Rahul Dev Burman aka Pancham da; Lyricist: Gulzar

Perhaps my thoughts will continue to flow just as randomly. Peace.

If it’s Houston this must be Texas… really?

If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium… but,

20150501_195425_Richtone(HDR)

Ask any Texan, Houston is Hewston…

If it is mid-week, never say Wed-nes-day

But if you’re in New York, and

Headed to Wall Street

riding the subway,

or walking on foot — call it route 11

You’re bound to cross Houston

But wait… remember this street is Howston

Take your chances

Crossing this line involves

high stakes

Now don’t cross the Nee Yawker

Or be prepared for defamation

Yeah, all over the famous ‘Gawker’

Now if you’re South Asian

No matter where you are

up North, or in the North East

Or down all the way20150402_135831_Richtone(HDR)

flying south by Southwest

Please don’t insist you’re visiting Hooston

Headed West?

Surely not to ‘Frisco’!

Headed to ‘Cali’ you say?

Oh, goddess Kali… cut, this isn’t Calicut

If it’s Thursday, Friday, Saturday

or Sunday… who cares

It just doesn’t matter

You’ll stand out like a sore thumb

Deriding San Francisco &

Californians!

They aren’t Texans!

Oh, but didn’t you know

Texas has Frisco, a city

But California has the city,

the biggest in the area + the Bay

So call it by its entire name

“San Francisco”… now you know

That’s Northern California

Away from LA, and miles away from San Dee-ey-Go

Nope, not Sen Diaago

Aww… never mind,

20150307_135740_Richtone(HDR)(1)

California’s tail end has two cities

and then some… did I mention

Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and even Disney

Mere neighborhoods and a land that’s

Spinning stories, making it merry for this world to go around

Now that… is Southern California!

Texans have hard cash… see, Oil?

Californians have their eyes

On your software skills

For this they’ll poach… occasionally, when not

relaxing at the zoo or safari;

but that said, they do prefer the laissez-faire style

Ouch… but today IS Monday… and there’s no IF

There’s no ambiguity… no ‘but’, nor ‘if’

That’s how it stands… like it, or leave

Stand on no formalities, wait for no goodbyes

People come, and people go

Time waits for no one

If it’s Tuesday, or Thursday

Be it at home, or on holiday in Rome!

Visited your local library, or the local bookstore recently?

When was the last time you visited your local library or peeked into the bookstore? If you’re like me, then more likely you’ve browsed through Amazon books online. Or, if you’re unlike me, you’ve read your books of choice on Kindle, or listened to music on your iPod. Who wants to drag oneself to the car, then drive several miles to the library, only to see drab faces along drab aisles filled with books on self-help? Depressing, eh? Well… if sitting in the car to drive a few miles is construed as ‘dragging oneself’; and real people appear ‘drab’, then online activity is drifting you, me, and them farther and farther away from reality into a phony, make-believe world… and that is surely even more depressing.

We need to snap out of it. Real people have real problems, and they may wear sombre expressions, but so what… that is the reality. By actively escaping into an online world, donning avataars that appear sexy, seductive, aggressive or egalitarian to our online audiences does not make the real you, I, or me that kind of a person. To truly deal with our reality, shouldn’t we face real people, live through real situations, to find real solutions to real problems?

Escapism is fine for an hour or two – as we did in the past when we had only movies – our entertainment on celluloid. But spending hours on end online is neither healthy for the head, nor is it heart-healthy. If we step out of our online space – that space which we believe is our comfort zone to meet people in person… in real time, not simply as facetime, that would be truly cool. Again, just going to the nearby mall, or to the grocery store don’t quite count for stepping out of one’s comfort zone. With self-checkout services everywhere, there’s little scope to actually speak to a living soul. We have to make it a point to chat to someone. Even in our job, not all jobs call for speaking to people… we may go to our desk day after day, and are not required to actually speak to anyone. Colleagues knocked on our door, or would drop by to say hello, or to resolve an issue, or we would go to their desk, interrupt with an ‘excuse me’  to ask a query that would take but a few seconds to answer! But now, our colleague physically next door, or even just a wall — or a hallway away, sends email, or text message. Isn’t it against current business etiquette to walk to a colleague’s door to resolve a tiny issue? Conference calls, video chat, voice chat (by appointment only) are the order of the day. Spontaneity is out in contemporary business or even personal communication. We leave messages, whether it’s in our office, or for someone we try to reach urgently at their office. Nobody answers their phone… oops, sorry, cellphone. Blame it on what was once a boon… the caller id. Whether it’s a bill we want to pay, or a charge we wish to dispute… no matter where, it is all automated. Try searching for a new job… “Don’t call me, I’ll call you” is so yesterday! Should you receive even an email response, consider yourself fortunate, or well, it could be an anomaly.

So what is this world turning into? Isn’t it beginning to seem like the world we used to watch in films? But that was science fiction… oft they were memorable sci-fi films depicting degradation, a depraved human race, and decadence in the future. We are fast approaching that scenario… only now, it’s not on celluloid, it’s in real life.

Why is it then surprising that those self-help bookshelves are burgeoning? Why should it be irksome that people who approach those aisles are in fact searching for some meaning in their life. Folks who are actually taking the effort to drive up to the poorly-funded libraries, and to fast-disappearing bookstores, those who’re browsing through those depressing aisles are actually very real people. So I ask myself, “Who am I to mock those men, women and children who are struggling to keep head above water, striving to be human… while I busy myself furiously typing away at my laptop on a blog online”!

 

 

Who skips the sex scenes… while e-Reading?

What someone enjoys as bedtime reading, or what twisted tale a storyteller wishes to spin, matters little to me. But out there, like Peeping Tom, loads of companies are snooping on you to note whether you’re a diehard romantic, or whether racy violence is your page-turner. Do you speed-read, or is pausing after every paragraph your scene. Whether you play, re-play, or ponder over the written word… or perhaps pause to grab that bag of popcorn. (Pardon me, but that last bit of popcorn was a stretch of my imagination!)

Now, do reviews on Amazon tell the real story of how many folks truly enjoyed a book, or do start ups have a better handle on the true facts about real reader interest in all fiction. A new war seems to be looming, one that’s more than likely to draw writers away from their desks or out of the wood-works, to battle on virtual grounds. Data, collected by tracking reader habits, and made available by companies, may steer astute writers towards domains that seem to sustain reader interest. Those who enjoy writing may have put pen to paper, or clicked away on a typewriter, or keyboard… for the sheer pleasure of writing. Deep within, most writers seeks readers, yearn for their feedback, their appreciation and if that’s a critical essay, could one ask for more? (No, not everyone is Naipaul.)

In an era of e-books and self-publishing, competition is not only from other authors in the genre, but is also from blog-writers, advertisers, endless Facebook time, tweet time, YouTube viewing, TedTalk, reality shows, extreme everything… to get that rush of adrenaline. With this continual battle to grab a moment of quality reader time, it’s time to morph a veritable passion for the pen and turn it into a killer sword. Your hard-bound novels are likely to be pirated to be made available on Scribd; your paperbacks may be sold in wholesale… a dime for a dozen. Dreaming of the Pulitzer, or are you of Pearl S. Buck caliber?  Beware, or at least be cognizant of the Oyster tracking your work, which follows readers, to determine which of the pages are skipped, or which make for a thriller. As readers, or authors… we will all be manipulated, one way or another. Now the question is, as a writer, will you survive by the skin of your teeth, or do you have that killer instinct that will allow you to thrive in the deep jungles of the vast Amazon?

Do you mosey?

WordPress, twitter, facebook, pinterest, linkedin, tumblr, flickr, mosey… yes, mosey, and the list goes on. Nosy, then stay on. Knowledgeable, or if you’re simply not interested in what I’m about to express… then please feel free to move on.

Have you noticed how these wordpress blog posts (not on tblog, blogspot, or is it  blogger… oh, how did I miss those earlier!) seem to get farther apart? Indeed, there’s only so much I can tweet, pin, tumble, post, fb, flick, link to, or pick my mosey… yes mosey.

However correct the word may be – mosey does exist in the dictionary (well, to be honest, I did have to look it up when I stumbled upon it yesterday). The following is the first among Google’s ‘organic’ search results.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

mo·sey
ˈmōzē/
informal
verb
verb: mosey; 3rd person present: moseys; past tense: moseyed; past participle: moseyed; gerund or present participle: moseying
  1. 1.
    walk or move in a leisurely manner.
    “we decided to mosey on up to Montgomery”
noun

Brit.
noun: mosey; plural noun: moseys
  1. 1.
    a leisurely walk or drive.

The next one reads as follows:

Mosey: Welcome

https://www.mosey.com/

Mosey allows you to create, curate and plan adventures. It’s the perfect way to respond to the question “Hey, I’m going to be in your town. What should I do?”

About – ‎The Ultimate Tourist – ‎Shopping – ‎Sign Up
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Nosy as I am (not considered a virtue) but if you prefer to refer to me as “Curious George” I’m okay with that. Curiosity is a virtue in some circles (scientific, American, archaeologists, biologists, explorers, travelers… ) and truly, due to at least some interest, and/or a wee bit of knowledge in all of the above) would likely squeeze into at least a few of these categories… Well, you reckon I’m monkeying around? No, sir!
Oh, where was I… nosy as I am, I peeked into Mosey. Then, I was thinking, is it a morphed version of flickr, instagram, or some other “been there-done that-what-a-great-life-I-lead-you-must-envy-me” sort of spot to park at? Well, so I haven’t signed up… not yet, but does that mean I never will? Well, as they say, “Never say never”.  Now, would you believe it, I happen to be one of those laggards (for the marketing segmentation folks) who joined facebook just over two years ago. Yes, and if I’m not mistaken, very soon the facebook fellas) should be celebrating their tenth anniversary. Rumors suggest that the ‘kids’ — the early adopters — of facebook have jumped ship to move on to other planets where no man, woman or parent has been before! Could they be hanging out on Mosey? I don’t know. 😉
But now here’s what I’ve noticed on facebook…  many of those who joined the social networking platform early on, are silent observers, inactive, or just hang in there either because their friends, or kids are there. They have little to say… or the max they may ‘do’ in terms of ‘activity’ is ‘share’ (the equivalent of ‘forward’ on email from the dinosaur era), or hit ‘like’. Some do neither, nor have comments… are they even there? If not, then where? Are they busy tweeting on smartphones? Well, a restriction of 140 characters can be quite a challenge for many… there’s little room for verbose, so knock out ‘prose’. There’s room for poetry, but a debate on philosophy? Well, you can flirt with it… just reach out for quotes from Confucius, or quote Kabir… you can by-pass confusion, appear knowledgeable, be a ‘guru’, start a ‘think tank’ be a ‘thought leader’ (yikes)! Then you have have several hundred followers, and you follow an equal number — including those who follow you, give-take a few… sum that up. You scratch my back, I scratch yours… yadda yadda yadda!
No, Mosey must wait… not with bated breath though… will they care whether I join them, or not… I think not… not with 6.999 billion others on this planet they can cozy up with.

Technology Turns…

FaceBook Usership_2017
Graphic added in 2017. For a further age and gender break up on same source site, visit https://www.statista.com/statistics/187041/us-user-age-distribution-on-facebook/

 

Facebook का यह मेला क्या है?
अजी समझो, यह एक भूल भुलैया है
‘गर अन्दर गए,
तो फिर बाहर आने की कोशिश,
मान लो आप, वोह बेकार ही है.

अब ले लो इस बला को
जिसे कहते हैं लोग ट्विट्टर
पंछियों की इस चह-चहाट में
ढूँढें किस तरह से हम
कोयल की उस मीठी कुहू कु को!

जुड़ जाते हैं हम रोज़,
आज इस फोरम में
कल उस महफ़िल में
निशाना और मकसद
हैं सभी के अलग अलग.

कोई है हसीं चेहरे की तलाश में
कोई चाहत को पुकारते हुए
किसी को तरन्नुम की,
तो किसी को साज़ की
तलाश करते करते
किसी आवाज़ खींच लाती है
किसी के गीत बुलाते हैं हमें

किसी को दोस्ती की खोज है
तो किसी को नौकरी की
किसी को सिफारिश की ज़रुरत है
किसी को सुन्दर लड़की; या युवा लड़के की ख्वाहिश
आप खुद यहाँ क्यों हैं, क्या आप को है पता
माफ़ कीजिये, सवाल मन में उठा खुद अपने वास्ते
पर  पूछ लिया आप से!

चलो, निकल पड़ते हैं साथ साथ
इस सवाल के जवाब की खोज में
वहीँ से शुरू करते हैं खोज अपनी
जहां खो जाना आसान है;
करोड़ों की संख्या जो है!
पर अजीब बात यह है की
खोकर भी चुटकी में मिल जाना आसान है.
ढूंढो, और न मिले, यह तो बात नामुमकिन है
एक गूगल ही तो है
जहां खोजना मुमकिन है,
और खोकर पाना और भी आसान!

यह तो था सिर्फ गूगल सर्च
पर हुआ यह के लग गए लोग
करना सर्च के ऊपर सर्च,
यानी मान लो रिसर्च!

पर बहुत हो गया यह सिलसिला
छोडो यह facebook , ट्विट्टर का चक्कर,
आओ, फिर से उस जगह
जहां पचपन से कम उम्र के मिलते हैं इंसान
जिनको सीधे शब्द में कहते हैं लोग ‘जवां’!

कहो इसे एक नया अड्डा, या कहो अनोखा सा इक घर,
यह शहर, यह जगह, यह, मोहल्ला, बस है तो यह
एक अनोखी दुनिया
जिसे हम पहले कहते थे गली का नुक्कड़,
आज वोह है दोस्तों और दोस्ती का मिश्रण
सर्च की कोख से जन्मा यह संगम
चलो, मिलते हैं एक अलौकिक गली में
उसे आप नुक्कड़ कहो… कोई कहे हेंग-आउट
technology वालों ने दिया नाम उसे Google +!

Hah! Who fooled me?

Yeah, I got fooled… not on All Fool’s day, not today, nor yesterday.

Everyday, for the past  eight months, and especially over the last few days, I’ve looked at some archives of my photos! I’ve searched, and searched, and searched deeper for pictures I would like the world to see… even if they aren’t exactly the Ansel Adams kind. How can they be so, ’cause I’m an amateur photographer, besides, I rarely take b/w photos. There are some awesome photos I’ve seen here on wordpress (bloggers, those who have awesome pix, I’ve paid you a compliment each, right?) though. I could have looked on Flickr, or Shutterbug, or browsed through Getty images, but, wait, this post is not about photography, (sorry, I digressed) it’s about who fooled me, recall? 😉 😦

But why did the subject of photos creep into my writing here? Is it because I’m not focused? 😉 You see that, right? But of course, you do… is it in my photographs, or in my writing, or in my thoughts! It’s I who cannot see it… umm, is it ‘I’ or should it be ‘me’? Which of these pronouns should it be?  Do I need to go back to high school grammar? (‘I’, I know that for certain) 😉 Whoa… and I thought I could take up some professional writing again. But does it really matter? Grammar seems to be of such little consequence in these days of flash messaging, symbols, and sextext. Also, with each passing year, there are numerous additions to the English vocabulary… ever looked at ‘urban dictionary’ (does any kid refer to The Oxford English Dictionary anymore, or, to Webster’s Dictionary, for that matter)? Who knows if grammar – as we knew it, once upon a time (may have to peek at the Way Back Machine),  is also morphing  into a form that may soon be hard to recognize! In a world that’s spinning on speed reading, the length of my text thus far, is already way too long…

Okay, so my point is that, to speak to, or to grab the attention of anyone, marketers must speak the language of their target audience. Now, if I want to capture the 15-25 teen-adult attention through my word-net, shouldn’t my lingo match theirs? (Yeah, yeah, would have to keep my wits together for that). How do I do that? How should I hold the attention of that  ‘youth’ out there? Stay focused, I say to myself. But if parents – are finding it hard to speak to their own kids (that is when they do get to speak to them), how is the marketer to succeed in grabbing attention, leave alone  retaining youth attention. How does the copywriter succeed?

Billions of dollars worth of goods and services are being marketed across the globe, and a larger chunk of this population internationally constitutes the Boomerang generation, more simply referred to as Gen Y of the new millennium… or call it the youth bulge. As a business content writer, it is key to be able to write copy that is keyword heavy and search friendly. About the tricks of the search marketing trade I will revisit some other time. Nevertheless, I consider this a diabolical situation. To write well for business, one needs to be experienced enough. If you’re experienced, chances are you’re already too old to speak the parlance of this crowd (not coterie) aka Peter Pan. See the irony?

Well, so… in an effort to start again with some meaningful writing, albeit random, I reverted to this space on words-n-motion. But the words were hard to find. I took the shortcut and delved into photo archives instead, plugged in a few descriptive words (with a nudge from the blog-platform designer/architects), and voilà… I had my blog going again… revived. Yes, this fooled nobody, but yours truly! I fooled me… grammar begone, the joke’s on me!  But before I go…  will hum along while I listen to Robin (r.i.p.) 😦  as he sings ‘I started a joke’ (Bee Gees).

You read my mind!

Imagine you’re chatting with someone, either in person (which is so rare these days, unless you’re a Mom, or Dad to a pre-tween kid); or you’re on the phone (but chances are you don’t do that either, unless YOU feel like talking to a real person); or then you’re chatting online (more like the way I end up chatting these days).

Chances are, that during the course of the conversation, you’ll say this at least once to the other person, “You know what, that’s exactly how I feel!”. Or, you’ll be dying to interrupt to say, “Gosh, you’re not going to believe this, 5 seconds ago I was going to say these very same words; you just read my mind!”. Admit it, we all say this at one point or another.

They say (who’s the ‘they’) that in this universe (or multiverse) there’s at least one other person who’s a spitting image of you (and who thinks and behaves exactly as you do)… Now, were you just going to pause reading this page and move on to look up the meaning of ‘multiverse’ on Wikipedia, or to search for ‘they’? I know that if there was something I did not understand, I certainly would have hopped on to ‘search’ ‘google’ the term… and that’s precisely what I’m getting at.

In the days of information at our fingertips, it’s so hard to appear anything less than knowledgeable, intelligent and if I may stretch that, even to be anyone less than an intellectual! Don’t worry, I won’t take the joy away from you, of traipsing off on your eternal search… not just for the word/s, but also from your quest for more information… so much of information, that our brains are more likely to burst from the empty air in it, than from our ‘bits ‘n’ bytes’ packed cells. I’m saying this from first-hand experience. Timely retrieval of any of that information that we so arduously acquire and store is a challenge. So is that information being stored in our cells at all i.e. stored in any meaningful manner?

Let us say I’m in the midst of a conversation at a party, and someone is narrating an incident, someone else is expressing their thoughts, views on the subject… I, on the other hand, am actually losing out on much that’s being said because my brain is trying hard to retrieve the information on the same subject but without much success; somehow, I think I know something on the subject, and would like to get my two-bit into the conversation – I must appear savvy, now, mustn’t I? In all probability I have encountered it somewhere – in the newspaper, or on TV, or while surfing the web. But try as I may, I experience great difficulty in expressing any coherent thoughts and am at a loss for words. My mind is all whoozy. What just happened? At this party I cannot ask about all that was just spoken about (lest I appear a dim-wit) since I was right there! Nor have I recalled what I had vaguely learned at some point… and in this game of pretense, instead of learning something, I lost… it could have been so easy for me to just listen to the person speaking… if the info was a repeat of what I already knew, it would be reinforced; if I did not, I would now know; and if it bothered me too much to stand and listen to what I knew already, I could have excused myself and gone to the bathroom! 🙂 😉

Much is written about poor attention spans of kids (and adults, I daresay)… many of us are guilty of it. Now, you’ve just read this page… do say, “That’s exactly what I was thinking; wow, you read my mind!”? 🙂 😉 I’ll say, mission accomplished! 😉

Image

The genie is awaiting my command… sometimes the bottle cap won’t open! 😉

An Indian’s reflection of India, post “Independence Day reflections from London”!

Vir Sanghvi_Counter Point_13th August 2010
Independence Day Reflections from london

Vir Sanghvi’s Counter Point article, entitled, Independence Day reflections from London”, which he posted on 13 Aug 2010 08:47 p.m., seems to be floating in cyberspace as a ‘forward’ re-titled, “The new look at India by the arrogant British”!  In the past two months, it has appeared twice in my Inbox – and perhaps it won’t be the last time, am quite certain. Well, the first time around, although I was peeved, and while I pondered over the writing, I too, in turn, just forwarded it to some folks on my contact list. However, this morning, here’s what I wrote back to my India-based friend who sent it to me…

“When I read it a couple of months back, I said to myself… this is the same 350 year-old view of India when the Brits’ greedy eyes saw the wealth in India, and wanted it for grabs… just as they did in other ‘Commonwealth’ nations across the globe. Indians were gullible then too, and were taken in easily by all the sweetness and sweet talk… only to suffer, for centuries that followed!

Again, what amazes me is that Vir Sanghvi speaks only to (and of) the elite few of India… what “effortless rise of India” is he talking about? That too, in “just less than two decades”! He has blindfolded himself to the fact that millions of Indians have toiled with their blood, sweat, and their lives, for several decades (and centuries)… and they continue to do so… with little benefit for themselves! The growth he refers to as being “just short of miraculous” is ‘the lopsided, convenient, good, warm, fuzzy feeling’ sort of view that such speakers-publishers-editors provide; sweeping under the carpet, and totally disregarding the fact that even tiny little nations such as Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, and even Thailand have achieved way more in just two decades; we won’t even mention China (since it’s large), although we’re aware that they, notwithstanding all their inherent evils, are giving the US and the world a run for their money!

Yeah, one can argue that why is it that I – who escaped the woes of India – am so vehemently deriding Vir-speak. Well, that’s because I do not belong to the elite 1%; I toiled in India, but lived under conditions just a wee bit better than those of the slum-dwellers. Despite my hard work, the basic necessities such as a clean shelter, clean water, & hygienic living conditions were outside my reach. When I stepped on the street, despite paying my taxes and dues, I still had to cope with ‘the system’. It was not easy for me, not then, and not now if I opted to return and live there. More than 3/4 of my life I’ve lived in India, and have every right to feel the way I do today. Although I live in North America, it has never been ‘home’ for me. Ironically, was my ‘home’ i.e. India, ever comfortable for me? Encountering gender discrimination, and class discrimination, I lived for the better part of my life there, struggling (and yes, I’m aware, I wasn’t alone in it… millions of others suffered then, as they do now). Even today, be it in England, the US, or in India… only those with money have a voice!

Vir Sanghvi has that voice that we’re listening to, since he has wealth ( it’s a safe assumption), he’s always been among those elite few… not without it could he have had the luxury and ‘good fortune’ of a Mayo College education, not to mention Oxford! The rest usually follows. Money attracts money, as well as the moneybags! The point of all this is not that I’m envious of his good fortune, or of his successful career thus far, nor of his fame! He’s entitled to his opinion, his fame and fortune… just as that poor boy was, from Slumdog Millionnaire, whose fortune changed, making it his turning-point!

Read between the lines, and it appears that Vir Sanghvi is more than secretly (and openly) pleased, that now the West looks up at India (but note that he does not say ‘Indians’), and that they’re sucking up to India. But hey, say if the West did not verbalize their changed opinion of India, would Vir Sanghvi truly believe that India has made this ‘miraculous’ progress? It’s almost as though even today, India needs recognition from the West; the West must ratify India’s progress, without which Indians will not believe it one way or another. But what do the GDP numbers say? How do they compare to those of similar nations whose progress was impeded in the past, and yet, in the last 3-4 decades those very nations have galloped away to glory! What do health figures speak? Is India anywhere close to the ‘finishing line’?  Has India arrived? Soon, there will be yet another round of ‘forwards’ – patting one’s own back for say e.g. Aryabhatta’s role in math; or Sushruta… India’s very own… father of surgery, from past centuries! Just as Vir Sanghvi sings praises, and refers to ‘mark of quality in such areas as computer software’! Isn’t that an ignoramous statement? Where is India’s equal to Google or Apple? No doubt, India is great at leap-frogging into a new era e.g. no phone to cellphone for even roadside vendors! Of course, ‘outsourcing’ – the buzzword of India’s first decade in the 21st century. Innovation and quality products still rise from nations far from India!

India has plenty… harnessing that potential is the challenge. Valuing what is in hand, unleashing the indigenous potential, and recognizing it from within, should be elemental.

Do check the following links, and then compare the data to similar data for other nations.

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INDIAEXTN/Resources/Reports-Publications/IndiaEconomicUpdate-September2011.pdf

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/EASTASIAPACIFICEXT/KOREAEXTN/0,,menuPK:324651~pagePK:141159~piPK:141110~theSitePK:324645,00.html

http://www.worldbank.or.th/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/EASTASIAPACIFICEXT/THAILANDEXTN/0,,contentMDK:20205569~menuPK:333304~pagePK:1497618~piPK:217854~theSitePK:333296,00.html

http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/philippines

Check others, if you are interested… or, have time… remember, we are not the 1%… we have to work… words alone are pointless!”