Sunday, May 28, 2017

Child in you is immortal.

'If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.'
                                       -Tom Stoppard

The quote above beautifully, exactly and absolutely explains my feelings right now about discovering the childishness in me. That child that always dwelled within me, refused to leave you in my growing years, that child who impishly laughed at my own self, that child who got scared when the light went off suddenly, that child who licked the milky trail of a melted ice cream making its way towards my elbow and more such instances when I am in téte-a-téte with that invincible child in me.

Every time I read a book to my daughter I meet this little child in me. As the story progresses we laugh, we feel sad, we feel hopeful and finally we are happy when little red riding hood is out of the fox's tummy or when Eeyore has a beautiful cosy house to live made by Pooh and Piglet or when 'Aalshi' the honey bee is set free after being trapped in a bottle of honey. With my daughter, I start this journey and relive my moments. Rather my moments are those that we spend together.

I have metamorphosed to a better mother, daughter, wife and lastly a human. This When the ugly 'different' duckling is lonely the smile on her face vanishes. I learn that ugly is being different and with being so comes loneliness but one day the different becomes as beautiful as a Swan and you are not lonely anymore. I learn to be brave just like those three little pigs who came together and kill the wicked wolf. I learn to be a child like Pooh who invents a silly game like 'Poohsticks' and suddenly being silly is the coolest thing ever. At times I am Bubby the sheep who innocently gives away her wool to the needy without expecting it back, I learn the art of giving. My belief in dreams strengthens with Alice who compels me to think about my Dreamland.

Oh! What a magnificent journey these little books take you on! Bedtime story time is our favourite time of the day. After being a mother I realise, my me time definition has changed. My time is our time. A time when I meet my childish version of myself....carefree, relaxed and forever young...when I bond with my little one being a little myself 🙂.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The 'different' Duckling

I am really getting good at reading stories to my little one. It is a daily bed time ritual. Though reading is a daunting task after having had a busy day but it is worth when I see her beaming. 

This blog is one such incident that happened on one fine day while I was walking with my little one along a beautiful pond side. The geese and few ducks were loitering around aimlessly. A pond is not worth watching without ducks and geese and turtles. My little one loved chasing them and they 'quacked' running helter-skelter. 

I am amazed at how these little kids are meticulous observers. For me it was flock of geese and ducks, some were white and some were not. My little one yelled with excitement, "Look Aai, that black duck! It is an ugly duckling."

I immediately answered, "No Aadhya, it is not ugly but it is different."

"Why is it different?"

"Well we all are humans but we have different hair colour, eye colour and skin colour. We are different."

"Okay Aai."

"Neither black is ugly nor white is beautiful. They are just colours."

She must not have understood this but I made a point that she does know that that duck was 'different'. 

My lessons of rational thinking commenced post motherhood. I measure and weigh before speaking to her or in front of her. I am choosy about what I read to her. 

Responsibility is the crux of motherhood or parenthood (in general). What you feed to these young brains goes a long way. As a child I empathised with the ugly duckling. I loathed how the poor little duckling was teased and harassed and bullied. But I loved when it metamorphosed into a gorgeous Swan. 

image - Google

As I grew up I deciphered plenty of hidden morals in that story. Importantly it was about believing in one self. Never feel dejected. Always believe that we all are different and unique. Do not forget to respect 'different-ness' in you and others.

This different-ness could be a blessing in disguise. It could be your strongest asset.

We all were once branded 'different' in terms of looks, intelligence, ability, competence...etc etc but we all made it to where we are today. Congratulations to all of for living with this different-ness.

Oh Yes! We still read the story and go through those emotions of pity and happiness for the little duckling. But every time I read, I do tell her that it is not ugly but different. And that different duckling could swim faster than other ducklings. 

There is nothing shameful about being different. It is good to be different than usual and boring :)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Manthru's controversial perspective.

It is 7 a.m. and time for a cup of tea with the daily newspaper, a routine that Geeta Aunty has been following for years together. Her Mother-in-law never understood the importance of this deadly combination of tea and news together but believed about tea and gossip, together. Needless, Geeta Aunty looked forward to her tea after her morning walks.

Immersed in the newspaper, seated in her posh garden that needs some trimming, about to sip her tea, her mobile beeps. A message from her gardener Manthru that he is going for a rally to support a group of nationalists opposing Bharat Mata ki Jai. Manthru has not even passed his school, never gone to a college or university but what is education to do with intelligence?

Geeta is confused and mutters, " Haan Bhai, Freedom hain."
A few days ago, Manthru had been to a gathering held by a random sanghatna on 'Valid reasons for a Son to look after his father even after marriage - Mera Beta Mera Khoon.'

Anyway, firm on not to spoil her mood, she sips her tea. Nodding her head with a disapproval look on her face, she reads about the Bharat Mata Ki Jai broil! She is right there in the middle of thoughts, Geeta's MIL interrupts, "Bahu, look at the kitchen, it needs cleaning. Vessels need cleaning."
"Ji Mummy ji."
"How will your reading this newspaper help getting our morning chores done?"
"Don't worry Mummy ji, I will do it."
With that curt look on her face MIL says, "I always told my son, marry a less educated girl but he never listened to me."
Geeta is still busy reading. MIL is rambling in the background.
"Cook something good today, my son and your husband is coming home after 15 days from his business trip."
Geeta didn't utter a word, of course she knew her husband is coming; she soaked rajma beans the previous night, his favourite.

The recent ongoing controversies in the country have been disturbing for Geeta like for most of the citizens but right now more disturbing was Manthru's issue.

Geeta finishes the chores, cooks a meal and is waiting for the family to join her for dinner Lunch was managed on previous night's leftovers. She has cooked, Rajma-chaval for Mr Husband who misses this most during travelling, oil free paratha-oil free sabzi and sugar free kheer for MIL and Soup and salad for her daughter who has been struggling to lose some weight.

Everyone is happy eating delicious meal, MIL quotes, "I always told my son that a girl who cooks good is the one with a heart of gold."
Geeta chuckles and serves a little of everything in her plate.
The daughter is proud of her Mum.
The husband is busy enjoying Rajma-chaval.
The sun sets declaring the end if evening and Geeta in no time is in deep slumber after a long laborious day. One more day and her maid will be back to work.

The next day Manthru walks inside the gate and Geeta is enjoying her newspaper and tea; she hasn't gone to to her morning walk today.

"How are you Manthru?"

Manthru answers after a long pause, "Bibi ji, yesterday my son fought to me. His wife is really cunning. Wants me to leave my old mother back in village to die. She is old and getting finicky, needs help."

"Hmmm. Then why do you live with her? Send her to your village"

"Bibi ji, she loves me and cares for me; she is my mother, how can I leave her?"

Geeta repeats the question, "Why did you attend the rally?"

The question remains unanswered and Geeta sips her tea.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Delhi.....yet again!

New Delhi - Delhi - Dilli -- The capital of a populous democracy, famous for masculine Red Fort, tall Kutubminar, bustling Chandni Chowk, gorgeous Taj Mahal in the neighbourhood and its culture.

The memories of Chandni Chowk are still fresh and the aromas of kulche, paranthas, cholle, aalloo tikki...yum yum, the taste lingers. The cycle rickshaws, shawl clad people walking on streets, hot stuffed parathas being cooked by the roadside and served with tea, people grouped and enjoying a puff of beedi, the normal class busy with their everyday life. Dilli ki Sardi ki baat hi kuch aur hain!

Lovely and colourful and cheap markets; Delhi is vibrant and a touch of royalness is witnessed when you see those dainty shy girls clad in salwar kameez and modernly dressed girls redefining fashiona culture whose foundation is an outcome of fusion of Hindustani and Moghul cuisine, art and culture, which  makes Delhi an exquisite experience.   

Basically, everything about this city comes in a spotlight; the good and the bad.
Nirbhaya gang rape, Mr CM, his tweets, his policies, most polluted city, not so old odd-even car policy and the recent 'world cultural festival' marking 35 years of 'Art of Living.' - Delhi has always been media's favourite.

A recent broil about why only Delhi for world cultural festival? The river is dying and now this event has seen a huge turn-over through out the world.

A lot of criticism and I don't want to get into politics, not my cup of tea.

As a teenager, I remember visiting Mathura on a pilgrimage. The makhanchor, nand laal's bhumi, where a speck of dust too is considered pious, the air, the water and the entire Vrindavan is nothing but a representative of Kanha. Hare Rama..Hare Krishna is constantly ringing in your ears. I encountered those white vaishnavas in saffron robes, immersed in 'Bhakti' and one feels surprised. How can someone of a different culture and lifestyle be so comfortable in a new culture? Fondly known as Krishna's bhumi, it must have been clean during his reign; cleanliness is godliness but I was surprised to see Mathura so filthy, so unclean and unhygienic. We went to banks of Yamuna; it smelled horrid and I never understood a bunch of people led by priests offering prayers to Yamuna; milk, rice grains and flowers with great satisfaction reflecting on their faces. Not only Mathura, a few pilgrim places in Maharashtra - Pandharpur, Tuljapur and Akkalkot are no exception.

Coming back to Yamuna, the pollution was evident but yet people were ignorant though recently several NGO's have taken an effort to cleanse this holy river but why do we need a reason to oppose? Why in the first place a gathering was required to make us all realize 'largely'about the dying Yamuna? It has been dying a slow death for several it is unfathomable to me that a 3 day event is causing a major threat to Yamuna than those industries that have been polluting it for several years.

It only leaves an impression that in today's day and world, there is a set of people who believe in doing something and another set who believes in criticising and not necessarily both are correct.

Sadly, People who talk about Yamuna conservation that is making so much noise now, don't care about:

pollution caused due to them using plastic bags
their habit of littering everywhere
spitting that pan masala
smoking in public places
honking horns
violating traffic rules
smoke given out from their vehicles
indulgence into shopping and buying non-sustainable products
being unkind and rude
gang rapes and child abuse

Not only Delhi but all metros are chaotic, losing their integrity, peace and calm. Our natural resources are at stake. Quality of life is declining. So wake up! People living in East, West and South of India all of a sudden are concerned about Yamuna, which is appreciable but they need to raise their voice for problems in their state, city, town, village they are in has many more problems to be dealt with. 

My question to you is - there must be a river or pond or lake in your surroundings or neighbourhood, what have you done for its restoration so far? Did you stop disposing 'Nirmaalya' or immersing idols of Ganesh and Durga mata?

It would be sensible if we do not become prey to politics and become a part of it, we are highly evolved creatures and something substantial is expected from us. 

Every time you protest, be honest about the reason of protesting. It shouldn't be influenced by religion and politics - be honest and neutral; neither leftist nor rightist, be neutral when it comes to natural resources.

It is not only Yamuna that needs to be conserved and cleansed but also our conscience.

Pic courtesy: Google. 

Dirty lanes..

The only highlight Shruti looked forward to was her evening stroll with her Aaji (grandmother) during those 2 months of summer vacations; that was packed with interesting encounters. Walking through local grocery market, cloth market, old market, libraries, utensils bazaar etc etc. Shruti noted her experiences in her diary that very night.

So much to see, learn and enrich, Shruti was a big fan of her Aaji. 

Today, Aaji decided to trudge through one such lane of the city, mostly populated with houses glued to each other sharing common walls almost looking like compartments of railway, whistles of pressure cookers adding hot steam in air with the aroma of rice and pulses, from somewhere radio playing songs of 80s and 90s, young girls in groups chatting, boys running and screaming, men stretching themselves in lungi's and pajamas discussing their day. 

These were normal houses with normal stories but judgmental eyes never saw the normalcy. The existence of people dwelling in never mattered to rest of the city. Shruti and Aaji passed another patch where women of different sizes, shapes, colour would wear make up and sit on threshold of their houses. She saw a woman, stout, square faced, neatly done eyebrows, dark red patchy lipstick, with a gajra, a cheap but sequined saree with a velvet blouse. Another young woman in a gown sitting with an old man. The other house with a woman getting dressed up and giggling in between and a man sleeping on an iron cot observing her, with lust in his eyes. The neighborhood teen aged girl in salwar kameez with a middle aged man, walking with his arms around her neck.

What Shruti observed was that though these houses looked normal, there was something abnormal about their existence. The women were sad but yet doing what they were supposed to do, they weren't cooking but were wearing make up. There was a man in every house but they didn't look like a family. Some houses had no one but the woman was sitting on the threshold waiting for someone to come, all decked up. A group of women with glittering clothes and loud makeup were chatting and looking around like a hawk. There was something unusual about these houses, these women, their stories and lives.

pic courtesy: google

Shruti asked her Aaji, 'Do they look different to me or are they really different. I mean the houses, the women, their lives?' Shruti had only seen them in movies and sort of knew that they exist in the society. 

Aaji smiled, 'You observed right, there is something different and the difference is that they are strong women, who live life on their own terms, they are prostitutes. They have their own society and are comfortable within their circuit. Society doesn't understand them, looks down on them but for me they are a living example of being strong. After all no woman chooses to be a prostitute!'

What is the purpose for me to see this Aaji? asks Shruti innocently.

Aaji replies, 'I want you to understand that the world is a place where flowers and thorns live together, dark and ugly have their own identities, rich and poor have their own existence, normal and abnormality are contradictory. What is abnormal to you is perfectly normal to someone else. So don't judge anyone and before having an opinion, think twice. Just as these women, they became prostitutes due to circumstances, wrong decisions. A person is not good or bad but circumstances and decisions unfortunately make them one'.

Shruti understood something, her Aaji was preparing her for years to come when she will grow as an independent woman in a society that is so biased and judgemental about women. That day she went back and wrote in her diary:

A woman never chooses to be a prostitute. She is a woman first before she is anything else!

Sunday, March 13, 2016


As ambiguous as the title reads, once can fathom - Devil and Fear share a connection but how can a Devil smile? How can it be conquered?

The most scary, nasty and horrendous looking creature, would lose its charm with that smile.

Devils have been introduced through fairy tales and to me they are just like a speed breaker, when everything is kinda smooth and easy going, there comes a hump - a Devil.
Who is this guy? Who created him?

Unlike its opposite, the Angel, this guy has to be red eyed, a big jaw, long untidy nails, sticky hair that haven't been shampooed for ages and probably a big fat moustache and wait, what is its skin colour? Never understood why Devil is associated with dark?

Oh! So does it mean that a Devil is black, red, purple or of any colour except White? - how racist!

                     pic coutesy: twitter@devil, google

This is debatable and perplexing; his kin Ghost too is equivalently, a weirdo; hanging upside down on some lifeless trees almost like a bat, laughing wickedly and undoubtedly the most ugliest by looks. The whole clan seems to be stereotyped and amazing that none of us has ever seen or witnessed their presence.

Though I agree, when I trudge through a dark lane, my heart thuds and I can almost feel that knot in my stomach. I am scared. Afraid. Perturbed. But by whom? The Devil? But where is he? He hasn't touched me, slit my throat, twisted my arm and not even laughed thunderously but I almost feel he has done all that to me.
With all those goose bumps, I come in light and the Devil is gone. My heart beat is pacified, I have retrieved my throat and arm, there is no more laughter ringing in my ears.

And then I am enlightened that this  guy 'Devil' is nothing but my Fear.

I have encountered this fear; on the first day of my school, writing an exam, facing an interview, riding that bicycle on a road for the first time, giving a presentation, sleeping alone in the bedroom and every such little or big thing where there is a possibility of failure and rejection.

One is fearful when he is consumed by the thought of failure, which leads to rejection.

Now, that one figures out that this Devil, lies within us, the solution to conquer it also lies within us.

If our every failure is perceived as an attempt, a step towards success and achievement of our goal, there would be no fear; no Devil.

So, the next time when your heart is thudding, your throat is dry and about to be slit, your arms seem numb and twisted, thunderous laughter rings in your ears; stand still, get hold of that Devil and look into his eyes, smile at him and he will smile back; do not succumb but conquer him.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Celebrating Life - draft your way

Life is a journey for all living beings with an unknown destination. 

A new life - newborn receives the warmest welcome, the mere news of its arrival brings in curiosity. Yet unborn, this little creature inside the womb has unknowingly started its journey, its plan to step into the world and very little it knows about how well it will be received. Every parent, the farmers, the poor, the commoners, the royals; from whichever strata of the society have their own ways of celebrating life!

The recent 2 instances of the way of celebrating life lay the foundation for this post-

The world learnt of a proud father, an eminent CEO of a social networking site that I and most of us use to promote, share and vent our experiences from our everyday life. The CEO shared his joy of fatherhood. The couple's daughter, needless to say is the most precious gift for them and a very elated father, donates 99% of his company's shares that accounts for $45 bn (30 bn) at its current market value. Very sensibly this amount will be given away over the course of couples lives and it primarily focuses on improving human potential, promotion of equality of children. The couple wants the world to be a better place for their adorable daughter.

This announcement broke the internet - undoubtedly it had to!

Though there are many unanswered questions, CEO's wife's property isn't accounted and only time will analyse the authenticity and purity of the purpose. 
Like the world, I too applauded this benevolence and commitment of these powerful parents towards their daughter.

My limitations that I could only laud because unlike them neither I posses that amount of money nor I have that ability to make this world a better place for my daughter, instead I can only strive to make her a better human who can make this world a better place to live.

Often when questioned about the disparity in our Indian society, the divide between the rich and poor, privileged and underprivileged despite of India being a land of multi-millionaires, I prefer to keep mum. Do I have any answer? That is an unfathomable reality.

Oh Yes! I opened a Sukanya Yojana account and have been piously depositing some funds to secure her future - I am a commoner!

Now what instigated me more to write this post? 

A Prince is born in a Royal family of Bhutan. Again, needless to say the Royals are over the moon on their Prince's arrival in not so perfect world; a world that is cutting down trees, a world that is losing its connection with nature, a world where modernisation comes at a cost and at last a world where natural is replaced by unnatural and the later being accepted as modern civilisation. So going ahead this couple with the help of the government of Bhutan, plants 108,000 trees! Bhutan is a democracy, underdeveloped but high on happiness quotient. It relies on India for its needs but is progressive about restoration of a faith as per Buddhism, which believes that trees are symbol of longevity, health, beauty and to an extent compassion. Now why 108,000 trees? Like Hinduism, the number 108 is very sacred in Buddhism, it relates to cleansing of 108 'kleshas - impurities' that obstruct beings from enlightenment - so now you understand importance of 108 beads in rosary, which also exists in Hinduism and Islam.

So when Buddhishts, Hindus and Muslims dwell in India, is something like this difficult to adapt and practice?  

Never being colonised, being rooted to the tradition, never being attacked unlike its South Asian counterparts, Bhutan silently is giving a 'strong message' and it is up to us to decipher. 

Unlike the world, I applaud and praise this stance of planting trees more over the former's donation stance; no way I am being judgemental or demeaning the CEO. 
This Royal family has laid the stones and it is for the world to realise the significance of living in a world close to nature and the irony is most of us spend time and money to organise a perfect holiday amidst hills and trees to find solace. 

Solace is; when that crisp pure air soothes your respiratory tract and rejuvenates your lungs and different colours of nature calm your eyes that leave an ever lasting image in your brain. The experience is magical when your senses are in co-ordination.

As neighbours, India can and should learn so much. There is a probability of 'vaan nahi tari gun lagla' as a saying goes in Marathi. If each faith plants even 108 trees, a global message can be conveyed. 

A commoner like me who doesn't have billions or even millions to donate, yet can be a Royal by planting trees - what a fantastic thought and act - take a bow Bhutan!

There is no rule book to celebrate life and one can surely draft its own way. 

Each sapling is planted with a prayer and gratitude, the tree grows well and healthy, so shall the Prince.
Long live the Prince.

                                                        pic courtesy:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Manthru's tryst with Swach 'Bharat' Abhiyaan

Immensely written articles about Swach Bahrat Abhiyan, celebrity posing with brooms, politicians cleaning heaps of garbage and being photographed were such a common sight in the daily newspapers….just like a thing of past it is now!

Everyday seeing a new face with white clothes and a broom and some litter around, the curious me once asked them, 'Bhaisaab and Behen ji, these Rin white clothes will get dirty?’. I was obviously ignored.
I agree that it was an honest effort that was genuinely announced and introduced by our PM but for some of them it was a publicity stunt or rather one more opportunity to flaunt themselves on Page 3 and for some it became a source of income. 
Sharing a hilarious incident that  happened in the neighbourhood with Gita Aunty.

Gita Aunty was sitting in her chair with the newspaper and a cup of masala chai. After a cuppa and catching up on some news she scooted for her morning walk.
Mathru, her gardener is compassionately cleaning the garden, it is autumn and a tiny hillocks of dry leaves, decomposed leaves that made ‘charr charr’ noise on stepping, whatever, leaves are leaves, just rubbish in the garden.
What is there to invest emotions in those dry, crispy and rotting leaves?

‘I am sorry that I haven’t been clicking your photos for cleaning my garden for last 20 years’, said Aunty as soon as she returned from her walk. 
‘I want to post it on Twitter’. 
Manthru was certainly unaware of all the ranting his Memsaab has been doing but gave a smile and pretend as though he understood every bit of it, after all it was about clicking his photo.

Manthru replied, ‘Memsaab, twitter mane woh chidiya toh nahi?’

Aunty was stunned, ‘Yes Manthru, Twitter has a symbol of bird. How do you know?’

Manthru replied, ‘I don’t know much but young boys of our society who gather for evening chats were talking about this’. He then continued, ‘Memsaab, they were saying something like usne aisa tweet kiya, uska tweet padha kya?’

‘Memsaab, yeh tweet kya hota hain?’, innocently questioned Manthru.

Gita Aunty now was looking for an answer and an easy way to explain him about Twitter.

Finally assured enough about having found an answer she started, ‘Manthru, woh kya hain na, like in old days Raja-Maharaja communicated using birds but in this era, no more Raja-Maharaja’s and no more pigeons used but digital bird is used and this service is Twitter’. 

Manthru is listening to his Memsaab with keen interest.
She then continues, ‘Are you keen on learning to use Twitter, Manthru?
Unsure if he is stunned or happy or in denial, he says, ‘Haan Memsaab!’
‘Acha Manthru, sharp at 2 p.m everyday. I will fetch my laptop and we will start the class in our garden, it is really nice here.’

A fast learner and so intrigued about changing world, Manthru is the new ‘Twitter Man’ in the society. His Twitter handle is @TheGardener….Gita Aunty is happy that she could educate someone and of all her gardener, whose nails had mud stuck in it but now would run on the keyboard. She was a role model for rest of the employers, her gardener knew to use Twitter!

Gita Aunty went for her evening walks, never missed it.  One such evening sipping her tea from the finest bone china, she cracked a light joke with Manthru.  ‘Arey, so much of swach abhiyan going around, we can supply them with some dry leaves from our garden.’ 
Diverting the topic she asked him, ‘Arey kya hua tumhare Twitter account ka? Did you tweet?’

Manthru hopelessly said, ‘Kisko karenge Memsaab?’ and Gita Aunty empathized with him.
Something popped in his brain, he chuckled. Ever since that day, he became overly active, never seen resting nor with his beedi. He started practising his Twitter lessons on Gita Aunty’s laptop every afternoon, Gita was proud of her and him as well.

Roughly after a week, just round the corner Gita Aunty saw a throng of men, photographers sneaking here and there, brooms after a hard work of cleaning, hillocks of leaves with some polybags and general litter. Men and Women with Rin white clothes and masks covering their nose. 
Then she saw Shambhu's popping head trying to catch a glimpse of the action, he was Mrs Dev's gardener.

With her hand raised high, she called him. He quickly ran towards her and greeted, ‘Namaste Memsaab.’
Gita Aunty said, ‘What is happening and what are you doing there?’
Shambhu said, ‘Memsaab, all this good is happening because of you, we are earning something extra.’
Perplexed, Gita Aunty asked, ‘What? What have I done?’

Shambhu's grin almost touched his ears now and almost blushing he said, ‘ Memsaab, Manthru taught us to use Twitter, most of the gardeners now know to use it. We sell all those dried leaves to groups who are interested in buying it. Today this group bought all the dried leaves from your garden!'

Shambhu eyes were beaming with pride, just like a diamond merchant's shining eyes while exhibiting his finest collections, he questioned, ‘Memsaab, can you not recognize those leaves from your garden…see those mango tree leaves, Ashoka leaves and also those dried bouganvillea flowers?’

Furious Gita Aunty could only see Manthru’s face in that heap!

No wonder the society looked sparkling clean recently. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

गणपती बाप्पा मोरया....पुढच्या वर्षी लवकर या!

आज बाप्पा परतीच्या प्रवासाला निघणार. अगदी थोर ते बाल वयोगटातील मित्र मंडळी खिन्न मनाने त्याच्या सांगतेची तयारी करतात. आहेच असा तुमचा, आमचा आणि आपल्या सगळ्यांचा 'बाप्पा'! अंगाने अवजड पण चेहऱ्यावरचे भाव बालीश आणि लोभस.

मोरया रे बाप्पा मोरया रे...

कशी एक मूर्ती, आपल्या घराची शोभा द्विगुणित करतो हे कोडे आजतागायत उलगडले नाही. गणेशोत्सवाचे दहा दिवस म्हणजे 'लाईव्ह' नेटवर्किंग काय असते हे पटवून देते आणि त्याची सुरुवात म्हणजे गल्लीतले किंवा चाळीतले किंवा सोसायटीतले तरुण मंडळी वर्गणी जमवतात, दारोदारी जाऊन. गणेश स्थापना, सकाळ - संध्याकाळ ची आरती, सगळ्या वयोगटातील मंडळीसाठी स्पर्धा, काही ठिकाणी 'फन फेर', ह्या दहा दिवसांत कधीही न दिसलेले चेहरे चक्क हसताना आणि कार्यक्रमात सहभागी होताना दिसतात. अचानक गल्लीतले किंवा चाळीतले किंवा सोसायटीतले काही फारसे 'गुड फोर नथिंग' तरुण मंडळी अत्यंत धडाडीचे नेतृत्व करताना दिसतात, कुठली मॕनेजमेंट स्कूल असा क्रॕश कोर्स देईल? माझा आवडीचा भाग म्हणजे संध्याकाळची आरती! काय तो कमालीचा तल्लीन पणा, दिवसभराचा क्षीण त्या 'टाळ्या-घंटी-करपूर' ह्या त्रिकुटात विलीन होत. उकडीचे मोदक कोण विसरेल बरं?

इतका आनंद, उदंड उत्साह आणि मनाला प्रसन्नता देणाऱ्या बाप्पा ला कोणाला सोडावा वाटेल? तो जाताना चैतन्य घेऊन जाईल!

मला काही राहावेना, मी बाप्पाला म्हणाले, 'प्लीज जाऊ नकोस रे, पुन्हा आमचं आयुष्य रटाळ होऊन बसेल, हे असं लाईव्हली वातावरण राहणार नाही. तु पुन्हा एक वर्षानंतर येणार तोपर्यंत आम्ही हा सगळा आनंद, उत्साह  विसरून जाऊ. नको ना जाऊ रे'.

बाप्पा एक मोदक खात म्हणाला, 'ह्ममम्, फारच टेस्टी आहे. अगं मी परत येणार आहे पुढच्या वर्षी. मी जाताना तुम्हा सगळ्यांचे प्रेम घेऊन जातो आणि जेव्हा त्याचा साठा संपतो मी परत येतो, तसंही तुम्हा माणसांना आवडीची गोष्ट लिमिटेड मिळालेलीच बरी असते!'

बाप्पाचं हे म्हणणे मला पटले, ह्या दहा दिवसांचा आनंद आणि उत्साह आपल्याला वर्षेभर पुरेल आणि प्रेरणा देत राहिल.

मी बाप्पाला नमस्कार करुन निघत होतेच तेवढयात बाप्पा म्हणाला, 'अगं, पुढच्या वर्षी तुमच्या मंडळाला सुचव की मला 'ईको फ्रेन्डली' स्वरूपात आणण्याचे आणि हो नो डाॕल्बी प्लीज!'

मी बाप्पाला हाय-फाईव्ह दिला आणि सुखकर प्रवासासाठी शुभेच्छा देत म्हणाले, 'गणपती बाप्पा मोरया....पुढच्या वर्षी लवकर या!'

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Story of rain droplets - Aimless to Determination.

Ever since Raveena started working as an intern as a part of her Masters course in Journalism, she started feeling responsible and focused. The difficult child that she had been throughout, she now was learning to mellow down. Working with a brilliant creative team at 'The Bombay Times', she found a new meaning to her life. She started commuting through local trains; her journeys became more interesting as she started observing her commuter mates nearly, anything could be a story now. She was this bud who was desperate to bloom, she was every bit of that jet of water flowing through the narrowed nozzle cleaning dusty leaves and branches in the garden, she was just like those rain droplets; still and determined on the window pane of her car, once upon a time!

A few months ago, this wasn't the case. Raveena was passionless, clueless about her frigidity, she had no dreams and had lost all her charm. She was just like that little flower in the vase which wilted due to insufficient water. There was something going in her mind that she couldn't express. She had a fantastic life, a life of a princess but she lacked motivation, lacked determination and had lost her creativity. Anything in excess is poisonous and that was the case with her. Love, care, money and freedom whatever one could have asked for was served on her platter. Her new I-phone 6 failed to enchant her, that I-pad to which she was always glued to was no more drawing her attention, a chauffeur driven car had become a golden cage for her – she had a privilege to open the doors of this cage and free herself! A life that made all her friends jealous and were ready to trade for but within, Raveena was losing herself inch by inch every day.

A normal Sunday evening, showers hitting on her car's window pane, Raveena could relate herself to those drops which were trickling down and aimlessly making a path to settle down under the influence of wind. They had no choice, even if they wanted to stay there on the glass, they couldn't! Then with the harsh wind, slapped a poly bag on the window shattering all those droplets. What a life! She looked at Jolly, her driver who was driving with concentration, hands steering the wheel and head straight on his neck. The small teddy hung around the car mirror was dancing, wipers were moving faster and faster again crushing those droplets. The car stopped, the red signal light looked hazy as though it was dissolving in that rain. Suddenly there was a knock on the window pane, a girl in her early teens drenched in the rains, wearing a frock that was wet and hugging her body stood with some bestseller novels neatly wrapped in a transparent poly cover was trying to look at Raveena through the window pane. 

Raveena pulled the glass down and looked at her. She was attractive, wheatish with her nose pierced, hair braided in two pleats with red ribbons and a prominent bindi between her eyebrows on her forehead. The girl was shivering but determined to sell her books.

Raveena asked her quickly, 'Naam kya hain tumhara?' (What is your name?)

The girl answered, 'Gehna'.

Raveena then questioned, 'School jaati ho?' (Do you go to school?)

Gehna with a light in her eye answered, 'Night school jati hoon roz' (I study in a night school)

The rain had stopped and signal changed from red to orange. Raveena quickly slid on the other side of the seat and opened the door, asked Gehna to get in before signal changes to green! Jolly was confused but he didn't utter a word, he took his position, hands steering wheel and head straight on his neck.

Raveena then gave a flannel to Gehna to dab that dripping water at least. Gehna with wide eyes was looking at the interiors of the car. This car was the best place she saw till date, spotless! 

Raveena then asked Gehna, 'Why do you sell books on roads? Do your parents ask you to do this?’

Gehna first dried that poly cover and then rubbing that flannel on her hands she said, 'Thank you for this ride in your car. I like your car very much and you are very beautiful. My parents are no more, they both passed away last monsoon, probably drowned in a manhole, don't know what happened. I live with my Maasi (mother's sister) and she has no children. She earns enough to live a life and saves a little so that I can attend night school. My parents always dreamed that I will read and write books, very big books. After they passed away, I decided to sell books and this earning would help my Maasi too.'

Gehna was still wet, her eyes and eyelashes were moist, looking at Raveena she smiled. and said, ' I want to grow up and become a writer, want to write big books and fulfill my parents dreams.' 

Jolly was listening but didn't express. Raveena absorbed every word, something moved her 
and something motivated her. 

Gehna then keeping her books on her lap innocently asked to Raveena, 'Didi, what do you want to do when you grow up? Do you also want to write books like me?'

Raveena said nothing, she herself didn't know the answer but this question was enough to stir her. 

She simply said, 'I love to read and want to buy all these books from you.'

She was glad that she met Gehna and Gehna was very happy to have been able to sell all her books. At the next signal, Gehna alighted and bid a good bye to Raveena.  The sky was clear, rain drops were just like pearls sitting on the window pane, the cocktail of sublimed lights through these pearl droplets was mesmerizing, droplets looked determined for once and so was Raveena. 

Sometimes a good-bye is essential, that good-bye was actually a new beginning, a new journey for Raveena. A journey full of motivation, determination and passion. 

Most of the times, it takes an incident or a moment or a story like this to jolt you, bring in self-realization. Determination never dies, it only gets buried somewhere under a mound and an incident, a moment or a story like these scavenge through this mound and dig out Determination- just like that rain, aimless droplets and Gehna evoked long lost 'Determination' in Raveena. 

Determined droplets