If I was a Frenchman…

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My name could have been L’eon, or Anant if I was a South Asian guy. But on moving to Texas,  that would surely have shortened to Andy the brown immigrant turned Texan cowboy. But hey, I’m neither French nor a guy, garcon, hombre, l’homme… Je suis une femme, a woman, une fille, dama, a desi nari… so don’t get me wrong, I am not ‘nar‘ the desi man, my emphasis lies on ‘not’ and equally on ‘man’! Oui, I am quite the opposite, definitely a woman, the emphasis now on ‘definitely’ and ‘woman’.

Okay, so that issue being quite settled, I should think, here’s a commonly asked question among my desi brethren — bhaaiyon aur behnon, i.e. brother, sisters — and fellow countrymen (and women). “Are you settled?”

In my view thus far, isn’t this a loaded question? Yeah, yeah, in Texas, folks may walk around with loaded guns, but to be honest, I’m not afraid of those. However, I am leery of the missile I’ve had to dodge for as long as I can remember.

To give you a little background: well, I recently moved — no, no, not from India, but locally. In fact, ‘shifting’ from Mumbai to North America happened almost two decades ago. A.k.a. immigrating (or, ‘back home’ where it is commonly referred to as ‘migrating’ – perhaps because we take flight from our ‘matrubhumi‘ – motherland, across the seven seas… ‘saat samundar paar‘, on a transatlantic, or ‘transpacific’ flight; and when your friends don’t follow you peechhey peechhey, (hence you may make facebook friends and make feeble attempts at building an online following); and just for the records, I didn’t follow anyone either. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say, I’d moved, simply on a whim… (and did not change my mind on a dime). This dame was strong, and soon ‘settled’… or so she’d thought, until…

She moved down south – again, not just on a whim, but with purpose. As the years went by, my moves were frequent, and each time I often faced this loaded question, “Are you settled?” Believe me, the question rattled me, in fact it was most unsettling. Never could I  fathom, ‘why’.  One could argue that with the moves as frequent as 12 on last count, I should be quite adept at the process, right? Oops, I daresay, ‘wrong’!

You can, and may move as often as you can cope with it, but until and unless you make that shift inside your head, you’re still rooted in your motherland. As a consequence, your career can take a beating, your social life comes to a standstill, your bags, books and boxes will move with you… but your mind has remained in a faraway land, which also morphed while you were away, and is really no longer your home. Your heart too beats in a rhythm that is completely out of sync with the sounds that surround you here. Do you hear them? Are you even listening? You may as well be tone deaf. If so, then how would you communicate with those around you? You’re now in neither-land… yeah, you may as well be in Netherlands, with folks speaking Dutch, and you feeling out of your depth, secretly praying that they’d dumb-down their language. Bingo… that’s the secret sauce… learn their language (easier said, but not entirely impossible).

But remember, you’re not in Netherlands. You are in a nation that speaks the language you do speak… so it should be easy. All you have to do is change your thought process… remember the old adage, “When in Rome be like the Romans”, and all that? Well, if you wish to feel ‘settled’, embrace the culture that surrounds you…  you don’t have to shun what’s encoded in your DNA, but if you’re smart, you can adapt to your new environment… that’s key to survival… that’s fundamental Darwinism… that’s key to your inherent strength… even back in motherland the maxim was to adapt, to survive… or get trampled over, or worse, left far behind.

You can be French, Spanish, Japanese, German, English… American or American Desi, or Desi American… or cook up whatever name or ethnicity or race you wish to embrace. If you wish to feel ‘settled’ sooner rather than later, alongside the geographic change, the change must take place within you. The peace and the purpose within will follow, I have no doubt. In case you wondered about L’eon or Anant… well, my true name has its origins in ancient Sanskrit vocabulary… it means infinity… or a long epoch of time… eon — in other words, timeless… and that is a constant. So what else is constant… but of course, ‘change’… and that applies to every aspect of life. No matter your name, or your nationality, or ethnicity, race, color… learn to embrace ‘change’. Rest assured, your inner peace will follow. At least I plan to do just that, going forward. Better now, than never.

No matter where life takes me, the next time someone shoots that missile, I will smile and say, “Yes, I’m settled.” In fact, better still, I will not view that dreaded question as a missile… after all, why should I look for a deeper meaning to a polite, simple question, filled with some concern for my well-being? Just view it as misri — ‘sweet’. At least someone cared enough about my well-being to sweetly ask.  So now, I ask of you, “Are you settled?” 🙂

 

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.)

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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?”

Trotting on your high horse?

Headed to Buckingham Palace? Chances are you’re more than likely not going anywhere near there. Then why this compulsion to speak the Queen’s English, eh?  Here’s what I think the issue is…

It’s an instant giveaway that although you’re a product of independent India, you haven’t quite broken away those shackles of your colonial past – even if you were born two generations later. See this invisible long chain… your parents’ thinking influenced your childhood. They in turn were a product of parents amid an entire generation who believed that speaking English with the appropriate vocabulary, specific diction, pronunciation – ‘a command of the language’ would get them in high places. What does ‘high places’ really translate into? It meant a better paid job, access to an ‘elite’ inner circle, a membership into a club reserved for those not just with the means, i.e. wealthy, but also with a certain ‘polished’ look and feel about them. In other words, knowing which spoon to ‘not slurp’ that mulligatawny soup with, which fork to jab the paper thin phulka roti, or dosa with… and which knife to stab the steak with. No… you can’t pretend to be shocked! This was hurtful… because it’s true…

Well, in a desperate effort to give their kids a head-start parents work even harder in urban metros, I hear, paying an arm and a leg to see their kids sail through an International Baccalaureate program offered by a school that may even be tens of kilometers away from their residence — which is hard on young kids. Ostensibly, there’s the  ultimate payoff i.e. easier access to an Ivy League School, or at least better chances of admission to a good university in the US; or even to Cambridge, Manchester, Stirling, Oxford in the UK; or even down under in Australia! Isn’t that true? On the other hand millions of kids and youth strive, struggle and must elbow their way to come out ahead through education at poorly-funded municipal schools (not ‘Public Schools’ since those in India are the elite schools), or ordinary primary, middle school and high schools that are  close to home. In rural areas, they have to walk miles and overcome challenges to get anywhere near a school.  And that’s another story. I’ve digressed.

What crossed my mind is the following. Remember Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam? 11th President of India? Ever listened to him speak, whether he addressed the nation, or in an interview on Knowledge at Wharton? He spoke in English, but with an accent that is construed as ‘thick’, not just in the western world, but among his own people – the ones from elite schools. Listen to him, and say you don’t think so… but wait, pay attention to the content and his line of thinking? Amazing…

The point is, with the spread of languages we are exposed to routinely, we are at such a huge advantage (as compared to those who speak only one language — English)! Even the Eastern Bloc folks learn English, but foremost each one speaks their own language, may be even a different dialect. We know that the Japanese, Chinese, in the Philippines, natives of numerous African nations, the French, Spanish, Greeks, Hungarians, Scandinavians, Portuguese… they all are proud of their respective languages. As Indians, to express ourself, if we don’t find an appropriate word in English, there’s always another language we can borrow from… I often do. Just dip into your ‘mother tongue’ – no, chances are English is not your mother tongue, even if your entire family speaks in English! The joy of sprinkling your everyday parlance with your native lingo is immense… it’s so satisfying. It’s like having a complete meal – tangy, salty, spicy, sweet, and oh, with even with some bitterness in the mix! It’s all made so very flavorful…

When I hear Indians say with a hint of pride, “Oh, I only speak English, and am unable to read or write in any other language”, it makes me sad. What if one day, our human race turns into a homogeneous society where everyone speaks and thinks in just one language… how boring will it get! Science, math, technology is all boiling down to zero and one (0,1, 0, 1, 0, 1…) If all the languages of this world are reduced to just one, society, I’m afraid may be reduced to zero. They world may feel, “Know thy English“, but all I would like to say is, “No, to thy English.” “Ride, no?” 😉
QE On Horse_archive_hourseandhound_CO_UK

On 11th June 2016, Happy Birthday to Queen Elizabeth II… Her Majesty turns 90! 🙂
Photo Courtesy: Horse and Hound

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!

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 +!

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! 😉

Pablo Bartholomew… passionate artist, photographer, photo-journalist

Today, reminiscing about my ‘advertising’ career in India – soon fading; and while reviewing my sporadic flirtations with photography; about Ektachrome, Kodachrome (also now relegated to the archives of photography), my thoughts drifted to the time Pablo Bartholomew was doing a calendar assignment for Kodak.  The theme for that specific year (somewhere in the mid-’80s, I’d say), was ‘windows’.

An old-style building in South Mumbai — with arches that framed the window panes, enhanced by ‘money plants‘ and lilac ‘morning glory‘ vines around them (thanks to my mother’s green thumb, and deft gardening skills) — somehow, must have caught Pablo’s attention, probably during a recce (Was the ad agency for Kodak then O&M? I’m not certain of that). Of course, someone from the agency approached us to request for permission to shoot ‘our’ window. Once the permission was more-than-willingly granted by mother, a date was set; they brought across a pretty model who posed by the window, and Pablo Bartholomew,  standing three-four stories below, across the street, zoomed in on our ‘archaic’ building’s architectural detail. Certainly considered archaic for a day and age then, when Hafeez Contractor and Raheja’s hi-rises were the order of the day. You just have to look at Nariman Point, Mumbai of the 1980s to see what I mean. In contrast, someone mentioned to me just the other day that our 100+ years-old building may soon be deemed a heritage building. About that, well, we just must wait and watch.

Anyway, the point is, I was wondering, if by some remote chance I could find an image of this ‘window’, online… may be in Kodak India’s archives of their then much-sought-after annual calendars… alas, I couldn’t find any. Mother had this picture framed, which she proudly displayed on the wall for a very long time – more of a salute to her own gardening skills, than to Pablo’s eye for beauty, or for that matter with any connection to Kodak or creativity (in the photography sense of the word). 😉 Of course, people would often ask her if the girl with pensive mood by the window (in the picture) was her own daughter… in response, she would beam away but I daresay, admit with much aplomb, “Oh no, she’s a model! She even used our bedroom as her changing room!” Of course, I was not sure then, whether I should laugh or cry at this response. 🙂 😉

Well, to cut a long story short – during my search for this image, I came across some interesting links that gave me some insight into Pablo the photographer, and Pablo a 50+, independently-thinking Indian of the early 1960s. Hope you will enjoy viewing his portfolio. Click, if you wish to, on each picture, to view it at a larger scale. Also, you may want to click on the video to listen to Pablo speak about his own work in this interesting film.

For Pablo’s more serious pursuits in photojournalism listen to his interview on www.artbabble.org. His portfolio of photos on the Nagas exhibited at the Rubin Museum of Art, NY, is simply astounding… my heart skipped many a beat!

Pablo Bartholomew walked away from the Bhopal Gas Tragedy... well, almost!

Quantitative Easing… made easy for at least 1.2 million people!

After watching this cartoon by Omid Malekan, QE2 must be clear – at least conceptually – to the 1.2 million viewers who’ve watched the video on YouTube! If that hasn’t worked for you, try following Felix Salmon on Reuters to see why Quantitative Easing may not quite be the solution to solving America’s ‘burning’ issues/problem/s – job creation, to begin with; the liquidity trap, deflation… Ben Bernanke’s nemesis? Yep, this reference is to QE2 – hot in current news, being touted all around, for more than one reason.

Feel like you’re sailing in uncharted territory aboard the maiden voyage of QE2? Well, breathe easy, you’re not alone! Just twitter about it… no, then how about this? Talking and blogging about a maiden voyage  (hear a lighter note?), here’s some trivia…

Prince Charles was the first “civilian” passenger to board QE2, with her first captain, William Warwick. Now, talking of Bill (no, not from the US Federal Treasury), indeed, Prince William is the first among England’s “royalty” – just engaged – to embark on a life-voyage with Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton, a “civilian”. 🙂 😉

It appears that QE2 may well be the current hot news… not only around financial round tables, but also in socio-economic circles! 😉

What in god’s name at destination Games… is all this monkey business?

Hanuman (No – not human – this is no typo…), an incarnation of Shiva, destroyer of evil, rescued Sita from the clutches of demonic Ravana of Sri Lanka, in the epic story, Ramayana… Indian women are often expected to follow her example – the epitome of virtues, the ideal woman!

So, what does this monkey have anything to do with Commonwealth Games? Well, read on…

38,000 Hanuman langurs deployed in Delhi to secure venues ahead of the CWG this coming weekend!!!

James Pomfret reports the following in Times Online, official website of The Sunday Times Newspaper in Sri Lanka:

GUANGZHOU, China, Sept 29 (Reuters) – The emerging Asian giants of China and India may be locked in a battle for economic supremacy, but on the sporting front at least, China has sprinted well ahead of its southern rival.
In an illustration of some of their relative strengths and weaknesses in tackling complex infrastructure and policy-making challenges for big events, China’s slick preparations for the Asian Games in Guangzhou have contrasted sharply with India’s chaotic Commonwealth Games preparations in New Delhi.

Some of the problems plaguing India’s Games, such as poor governance and shoddy infrastructure, carry poignant lessons as the country strives to prove itself against an aggressive, entrepreneurial and powerful competitor to the north.
While India was racing to finish venues, scrub clean an athletes’ village and restore battered public confidence in the four-yearly Commonwealth Games, the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou was finishing preparations for the Asian Games, second in size to the Olympics, with 50 days to go.

“We’ve made comprehensive preparations,” said an organiser, Hua Shan, during a tour of the Asian Games Town sprinkled with lakes, apartments for athletes and stadia built in about two years.
“We’ve seen the reports from India and are confident we’ll do much better,” she added. “Our government is fully behind this and we’ve had experience of putting on these big events before.” Over the past nine years, China has hosted at least six
major sporting events including the 2008 summer Olympics and two East Asian Games, leading some liberal commentators to dub China’s president Hu Jintao a national pride-seeking “sports fanatic”.
“Sport is the new arena for asserting China’s soft power,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a Hong Kong-based political scientist.
Besides China’s urban infrastructure and deep budgets to bankroll such spectacles, inter-regional rivalries have also played a role in ensuring smooth and safe implementation.
“(Guangzhou) is clearly the third city in China after
Beijing and Shanghai and they want to have their share of the cake and their share of fame, both domestically and on the international stage,” added Cabestan, of Hong Kong’s Baptist University.

SOCIAL PRICE
For India, meanwhile, images of a collapsed footbridge by a main stadium and other shoddy construction have thrown the spotlight on its infrastructure problems. While now Asia’s third largest economy, for competitiveness, India is ranked just 51st overall globally by the World Economic Forum [ID:nSGE68L0C4].
“India has a deficit and public debt has increased. It’s a little bit difficult to mobilise resources and focus on infrastructure and it’s more decentralised so I think there are some striking differences (with China),” said Jong-Wha Lee, chief economist of the Asian Development Bank.
Besides logistics problems, India’s Games have been marred by security worries, including a suspected militant attack on tourists and the possibility of religious violence flaring.
China’s showcase events, however, have come at a social cost in many cases including mass evictions, media censorship and the silencing of dissidents as seen for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai Expo.
In Guangzhou, hundreds of villagers in older urban areas have clashed with riot police as bulldozers razed homes in a blitz of development ahead of the Games, fuelled in part by soaring real estate prices.
Many villagers voiced anger at perceived official corruption and collusion with developers with billions ploughed into public works and as the pressure to force evictions with minimal compensation grows.
“The Asian Games have led to a tightening of freedoms,”  said Zhu Jianguo, a political commentator in nearby Shenzhen.
“That’s the main aim of these games, to demonstrate the country’s prosperity and the legitimacy of the ruling party. It also brings power and opportunities for corruption.”

Photo caption: Langur handlers walk with the large monkeys outside Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on September 28, 2010.  Delhi authorities are to deploy a contingent of langurs — a large type of monkey — at Commonwealth Games venues to help chase away smaller simians from the sporting extravaganza. Ten langurs will be put on duty outside several Games venues in the Indian capital, with the swimming complex seen as particularly vulnerable to monkey misbehaviour, an official said.  AFP