continuous discontinuity

"We are all just prisoners here .. of our own device".
This line from the famous song by the Eagles, "Hotel California" recently triggered off a series of thoughts.....
Amazing, to note that the feeling of being trapped, made worse by the knowledge that it is all one's own doing has been present for ages. There is no "chance" in the world. Every action is a conscious / subconscious decision by an individual, and every incident is a reaction to a decision / action taken.
The song also triggers different emotions everytime i listen to it. It feels like a tribute to the human spirit while being cynical about the hypocrits in all of us.

The next time you feel like complaining, listen to the song. It will do wonders. At least, it does, to me ! :)


The elusive perfect ....

What makes us do? Why are we us? Who controls the mind? Who controls the thought? What controls the action?
Is it the invisible pink unicorn?

Why do we strive? What do we fear? How do we reason? Where do we understand? What do we inherit? Who do we trust? Why do we love? Why do we dream? Why do we hope?

Who are we fighting? What are we revolting against? What is the world ?



peer pressure ..

oof ! too much blog-competition these days.
since i have already been blacklisted, i have decided to sit back and watch from the sidelines.
so, competitors; take it away !! lets see who has the last laugh. :)


Waiting for Murugesh ...

The importance of the coffee-person in any office can never be underestimated. He is, easily, the most venerated person; helping to soothe irate nerves and keep the peace.
His arrival is the most anticipated moment during the day. All work comes to a grinding halt when he's around, space cleared on cluttered tables, every eye on him, with thankful sighs resonating all around.

11 AM : OMG ! half hour more ! Why can't he come a little earlier?
11.10 AM : 20 minutes more! This is torture !!
11.20 AM : I give up. No more work can be done until i get some hot liquid down my throat. I wonder how i can pretend to be working until Murugesh arrives ....
11.30 AM : A smiling Murugesh walks in, with his usual "madam - tea or coffee?"
The whole atmosphere in the office changes. Frowns and scowls turn into smiles,everyone crowds around the "coffee-table" and the entire office echoes with happy chatter.

11.35 AM : the chatter dies down, everyone's back to their respective places, eagerly counting down to 4.30 PM ...

11.35 AM(IF murugesh hasn't turned up yet) : JF: "hello .. Murugesh, elli iddira? ( or, Murugesh, Goobe, bega barakkagalva!!)"
Murugesh: "Coming...coming.."
expectant faces looking wistfully at the clock and doorway; until the sound of Murugesh's footsteps on the kota brings a smile to their faces ..



Two of my best friends moved half-way across the world recently. I will be honest and say that i am not very thrilled about the situation.I'm happy for them and all that, but i'm sure that mini forest will miss us.
To quote mastercard, "there are some things in the world money can't buy". Best friends are definitely one of them. There are a few people i call "best friend". As i recently realised, the definition differs with every person.
I love each one of them equally, no doubt about that; i just love them "equally-differently".
There are some people who will patiently listen to all the nonsense that i tell them; and not judge me for whatever i say; there are some others who will not hesitate to put their foot down and say "Shut-up, Jyotsna ; you're making no sense" :P
There are some people who will give in to your crazy whim; some others who will warn you of the consequences before you attempt to do something irrational; and still NOT say "i told you so", once yu come out with your ego bruised.

If this post is not making any sense, it is because i am not able to see too much sense right now. But, i truly believe that ....
"As our lives change, come whatever, we will still be, friends forever" .


Independence day...

60 years of independence. Yayy ! We have been a "free" nation for the past 60 years. We have made major advances in all fields - science, technology, sports, art, agriculture, rural healthcare and sanitation, infrastructure, clean drinking water, free and compulsory education ...the list goes on .. or so the government and the news channels claim.

Is this really so? Are we really a "free" nation?
At the risk of sounding boorish, i beg to differ.

Even after 60 years, we are not a free country. We still follow the much-criticized 'divide-and-rule' policies of the British raj - under the guise of 'reservation' and 'equal distribution of rights'. What about the caste politics that our leaders unashamedly practice? Aren't we slaves of a corrupt mindset?

Does 'upliftment of the downtrodden' mean 'trodding upon the rights of the "uplifted" '? Isn't that policy again a consequence of the greed for power? Aren't we now slaves to power, which, in turn guarentees money and fame in the 7th most corrupt country in the world ?

Are our girls and women really 'free' ? We hear of female foeticides, kidnapping and gang-rape of little girls, trafficking of women and flesh trade, dowry deaths, abusive households, eve-teasing , kidnap and murder of working women. The solution offered is this - stay away, stay safe. Is a country that can't guarentee safety to 48 % of its citizens really free ?

Are our children free ? Sucked into the system right from the tender age of 3; they bear the burden of expectations, try to excel in a system that does not recognise ingenuity, basically live the lives of 10 people who want to make the child what they could never be.
Aren't we now slaves of the system?

To quote former President Dr.Abdul Kalam, who, in his farewell speech said :

My dear citizens, let us resolve to continue to work for realizing the missions of developed India 2020 with the following distinctive profile.

1. A Nation where the rural and urban divide has reduced to a thin line.
2. A Nation where there is an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
3. A Nation where agriculture, industry and service sector work together in symphony.
4. A Nation where education with value system is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination.
5. A Nation which is the best destination for the most talented scholars, scientists, and investors.
6. A Nation where the best of health care is available to all.
7. A Nation where the governance is responsive, transparent and corruption free.
8. A Nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed and crimes against women and children are absent and none in the society feels alienated.
9. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
10. A Nation that is one of the best places to live in and is proud of its leadership.

His vision can only be achieved if we become a free nation. A nation that is free from its own vices. A nation where the people do not make money by starving poor people. A nation that is proud of itself, its heritage, its culture.A nation where merit is rewarded and mediocrity punished. A nation that is proud of its every citizen. A nation where every citizen is proud of it.

JAI HIND. I firmly and truly believe: MERA BHARATH MAHAN. Happy Independence Day.


lessons from a bowl of pasta ...

1. My pasta taught me an important lesson in glocalization.
No matter how much you try to standardize and use "good-quality , imported" material, its those fresh little leaves from your garden that make it taste so good.

2. It also taught me a lesson on standardization.
No matter how similar things are, they require that little attention to detail that makes all the difference in the end.


I took a book quiz ....

.. and tada.. here's what i found out !!

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Mothers day .....

Another mother's day passed.. i still haven't found the right way to commemorate the occasion.
I can safely say that i understand now how difficult it is to be a mother...and wish i had understood that atleast 10 years ago !!

To those that say that there's no need for a special day to make your mother feel special. well, how many of us do it everyday ??

What i am today is dedicated to the woman because of who i am...
Mothers day greetings....to all the moms and aunts and grandmoms and everyone who has any "mum"ta in them !! :)



When i first met her, Divya was a confused 15-year old who loved school and hated maths. The third girl child in the family, her father turned an alcoholic after her birth, leaving her mother with the responsibility of being the sole bread-winner for the family, which, i should say, she managed quite commendably.

A class 9 student then , Divya wanted some help with her maths, which i readily agreed to do. She was a keen and enthusiastic student. Though I was not very conversant with "teaching" in tamil, and she was from tamil-medium school, i should say that she managed very well, and produced good results in the class 10 board exams.

Then came the question of "what-next". She decided to take up commerce, as it involved less of the hardcore maths that science students study. She also decided to shift to an english-medium school, to help her cope better at college.

Now, Divya is on the threshold of college education - she wants to do BBA, work a while and then go on to do an MBA.

What is commendable is no just her intention, but the way she goes about it. Never once have I heard regret or despair in her voice. Her birth was not welcome by the family. Her mother was undergoing treatment for depression during most important exams of her life. Her father was an alcoholic, who used to create ugly scenes at home everyday. She has 2 sisters who were married off when they were 17-18 and studied only upto class 8.

It is, indeed ironic that she'll go on to become the most-educated person in the family. She will go on to work, earn and do justice to all the money and effort her parents spent on her eduction. She will become an "educated" member of society.

She still does have some issues with "peter-scene" colleges, where all the wannnabes behave like, well, wannabe's ! But still. There's her whole life in front of her. There's hope. There's enhtusiasm. There's determination. Where there is a will there's a way.

This is the age of new role-models..ones that inspire without preaching. Ones that do, not tell. My new-age heroes.

P.S. Incidentally, while i was writing this, i came across a news article about Saraswathi - the daughter of an auto-driver who hs scored 95% in her class 10 boards and aspies to enter the civil services.

I can't help but :)


The truth about non-conformists....

My favourite lines from the 'little golden' book "poky little puppy" , which was my first lesson on conformism.

5 little puppies dig a hole under the fence and go for a walk in the wide, wide world. The poky little puppy sniffs at a different patch of grass and finds out what's for dessert every night. His siblings go home and get reprimanded for disobedience and are put to bed without dessert, while the poky little puppy comes home after everyone's asleep,eats up all the rice pudding and goes to bed "happy as a lark".

"And down they went to see, roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble, 'till they came to the edge of the green grass, and there they stopped short."

"What in the world are you doing?" they asked."I smell something!" said the poky little puppy.
Then the four little puppies began to sniff, and they smelled it, too.

"Strawberry shortcake!" they said. "

And home they went to see, through the meadow, down the road, over the bridge, across the green grass and up the hill, two and two.

And when they got to the top of the hill, they counted themselves, one, two, three, four. One little puppy wasn't there."

Now, where in the world was the poky little puppy? "

Moral of the story: "Non-conformists might get to eat rice pudding every night, but miss out on strawberry shortcake".


Adulthood ....

After my rather impulsive outburst on being an adult on my 21st b'day...
One year into it, here's why adulthood is not as bad as i thought it would be :

I can proudly say I am grown-up and no one can veto it.
I get heard, and your opinions suddenly seem to matter more than they did as a teenager.
All the kids around don't know whether to call me akka or aunty!! [ :D ]
There are friends' weddings to attend , friends' spouses to 'catch up over lunch with'.
I can boss over younger siblings and get away with it.
I can call school-kids .. kids!!
My work is entirely my choice - not imposed by some board or syllabus or system.
There are nephews and nieces and friends' kids - to whom I can still be the young,hip aunt!!

Of course, I would still love to be the little kid who loves earnie and bert, loves reading tinkle and gokulam and cries that bambi's mother died and the monkey lost his heart....but..well... I can re-live my childhood thru intellectual discussions with sathu on why crows don't have hands or why oscar loves garbage!



Summer then :

Much-anticipated holidays.
Eager relatives and cousins waiting at Madras central.
2 months of mangoes in various stages of ripening and forms.
Hand-fans .. in various colours and sizes.
Amma's MMS - 3 times a day.
Jackfruit trees and blisters from the sap.
Britannia Brita biscuits.
Feeling sick after too many biscuits.
Silly "house" and "doctor" games.
late nights spent playing cards or monopoly.
Daya-kattai and pallanguzhi.
Being pampered to bits by adoring relatives.
Essays on "How i spent my holidays" .....
A heavy sadness when the season gets over.

Summer now :

Endless cribs about the heat.
Exams in the heat.
Eager parents waiting at Bangalore City Jn.
Travel to cooler places.
The constant hum of airconditioners from every house.
Window-shopping to escape the heat!
Endless summer-camps and "value-addition" classes.
Late nights spent in fornt of the computer.
Amma's MMS - once a day.
Mango - in various forms - taken with a warning.
Hurried trips to "fulfill obligations".
A sigh of relief that the season is finally getting over.



A snatch of a song ... a television jingle ..... a word in the newspaper ..... a stray chocolate wrapper lying on the road ....colours of spring... mangoes in summer.... a note that flies out of an old notebook ... a childhood promise sealed with dirty fingerprints... a dress ... a colour ... a photo that falls out of an old book ... a lost pencil ... an old bill ... words behind a notebook ... gully cricket ... padding up for the 'duck' scored ... 'houses made of chairs and bed sheets ... early morning trips to the railway station ... fights on the way back for the front seat in the car ... a conversation overheard... a childhood acquaintance long forgotten... the smell of jasmine strings ... the sight of loud vegetable vendors sweating in the sun ... a sequence of numbers ... a string of gibberish ... the sound of kids walking about innocent, inconsequential things ... cycle rickshaws ... an old movie dialogue ... morning walks at lalbagh ... climbing "mountains" and feeding deer ... a tree... a flower ... a leaf carefully preserved between the pages of a book ... a doodle .. a bottle .. patti's mysore pak ... thatha's wisdom ... the smell of amma's rasam ... the sound of appa's car at the gate ...

a touch of emotion .. a brief trip down memory lane ... the moment stashed away in memory ...... a hint of nostalgia .. life must go on.....


Being an Indian cricket fan......

Being an Indian Cricket Fan (ICF) is hard work!

You are subjected to such a rough roller coaster ride, with emotions rising and falling every day. You have to go from being deliriously happy on one day to utterly dejected the next.

Everyone is expected to be an expert of the game. The nitty-gritties of the game are lost in the larger picture - who's who's girlfriend? Who's doing what endorsements? Who's getting more than money than whom?

There are so many birthdays to kep track of, so much family history to know, so many children's names to remember, not to mention their likes / interests!

There are so many interviews to watch, so many debates to partake, so many opinions to understand and give. whew!

There is so much stress involved in the post-match analyses; so much energy spent in talking about every player's performance.

There is so much to protest about, so much more to feel disappointed about.

Days, weeks, even months are fueled by cricket scores.We pray feverishly for miracles, rain, sun or inclement weather in remote locations.Superstition touches a new high, with even "scientific" people turning into morons!

The entire country is united by the same 'mantra' ; where the young and old, rich and poor, godmen and mortals come out in hordes, each trying to please the Gods and the team in their own way.

The productivity / mood swings with the fortunes of the team. We hope and pray that there's no immportant exam or presentation the day after India has lost a match, we need time to come to terms with the loss, you see!

With so much cricket being played these days, it is, indeed surprising that the ICF finds time to do other things, like, work, for instance!


Indian Standards....

Visited the FORD factory recently.
I was amazed by the discipline of the employees there. Every regulation was adhered to, every rule followed.
If it said NO CROSSING, the employees would take a circuitous route, to avoid the crossing.
All safety goggles and ear plugs were worn, open shoes banned, pedestrian movement restricted to specific areas and everything was in its place.
The campus was spic and span. Not a speck of dust on the roads, not a piece of stray litter on hte ground.
Felt like a dream - a place that was not India, where we believe that "rules are made to be broken".
A place that can proudle claim to set "Indian Standards".

The personalised safety warnings and caution signs, along with encouraging measures like the safety green cross did help.

This visit stirred new hope. Hope of an awakened India. Where everyone believes that" Swasth Bharath ke liye zaroori hai swasth parivar". Where rules are followed. Where roads are clean, traffic smooth and lawlessness minimum.
A country that we are proud of. Proud to be a part of.
A country where we can proudly say "Mera Bharath Mahan". In all respects.


shrinking. . . .

First, we had town criers.
Then we had snail-mail.
Up came telegrams.......
Then came radio.
The miraculous invention, television.
Then, came blogging.
Now, status messages!

Adaptive species, aren't we? Keep shrinking our words and text, in effect, communicating more!!
The world is shrinking. And our words are shrinking with it.
Words are becoming shorter, letters are becoming shorter, messages are becoming more cryptic....Interesting phenomenon.

Wonder if the sms language will become widely acceptable in literary circles? There already is an sms novel...
Wonder what the Bard would have had to say about all this????


random thought.....

Solitude is like a shadow. It goes with you everywhere, taking various forms, shapes and sizes depending on the environs. Your best friend. Your worst enemy.


The RAND connection

Was the protagoinist of GURU, Gurubhai, an objectivist?

GURU is the story of a man who dared to follow his dream. He pulled all stops, left no stone unturned to realise his dream. He bulldozed his way to success, throwing aside all consideration for ethics, morals and values as society understands them today. He justifies his means by the cause for greater good. He refuses to live by the norms of society, forming his own value system based on human emotion and mutual respect.

Interesting, that all winners are shown to be rebels. The law does not come in the way of their sucess....along with their sucess comes the succes of millions of other voice-less, making them modern-day robin hoods.
The scene where a man thanks Guru-bahi for making him rich, and pledging his support, just before the public trial, stands out in my memory.

We make the lawmakers that make the law. We break the law and blame the lawmakers for making a dysfunctional law. We blatantly ignore the law-enforcing machinery. We blame the machinery for not enforcing the law.

What is more important - success or ethics?
Is the cause of the collective good greater than the law itself ?
How valid are Rand's ideologies in today's world? Can they change society without corrupting it ?