30 January, 2006

Children and their life

One of those days....... The Metre guage Fast Local Electric train waited for signal before entering Egmore. There were only few occupants in the first class compartment. I look around and smiled at the lady in a corner seat. She smiled back. I have seen her always sitting in the same seat when I used to board the train at Perungalathur. The next day when I got inside the compartment I looked towards the same seat and smiled at her. She greeted me back. Within few days the friendship grew.

A lady frustrated with her life and the lone kid born to her, had a troubled husband and failing to receive help and confidence decided to give up her life. She laid the baby next to her in a Railway track, thinking of all her sorrows in life. She did not want the girl baby to suffer in her life too. She could hear the train coming at a far off distance. Her heart was beating very fast and she wanted to have a last glimpse of her young baby. She turned her face towards the baby and the baby smiled at her innocently. Within fraction of seconds, she pulled the baby and jumped out of the track. She looked at her baby again and the baby not knowing anything kept smiling and gigling at her mom. The smile saved both of their life. The lady started feeling very bad about this and was ashamed of her act. She wanted to live for the baby. But did not have any earnings and livelihood was a big question of her. This is real and this happened.

Now you must be wondering about me... talking about a lady in my compartment and another lady trying to give up her life. After few conversations with my train mate, I came to know that she was Mrs.Indira Bhat and working as a bank manager. She modestly told me that she was living at Maraimalai Nagar. One day after getting closer, she told me that her husband is a Doctor and they were running a small house for single parent children. She narrated about the above incident, where the lady who was about to commit suicide, heard about this couple and brought in the kid and left the kid under their care. My interest grew more. After few discussions, I came to know that the Bhats were living in T.Nagar very comfortably. One day Dr.Bhat asked his wife whether she would be interested to join him in starting a house for orphanages and especially single parent children. He gave Mrs.Bhat a week time to decide. But Mrs.Bhat decided within an hour to join him in his venture. Mrs. Bhat was my train mate. We used to discuss about many things in life. The journey between Tambaram and Egmore was so short for our discussions. We never felt bored in discussing interesting things in life. The entire compartment was like a small family and we missed each other during our short holidays. One day I decided to visit their home.

I took my family along with me. I briefed my son who was just 5 years old about the place. We went on a Sunday morning to their home. Their were few dozens of children and all sang songs and recited many tamil rymes and Thirukural. My son was liked by many of those children. He also mingled with them quickly. We took many young children and had them on our lap. Many of them were longing for it. I tell you.......... You should experience it. There were children who lacked real love and affection. It was such a nice day. From then we made it a habbit to see them. Though due to lack of time and other schedules we could not go every week, I made it a point to see them atleast once in few months.

The best part is during my last year's visit I came to know from Mrs.Indira Bhat that she had given voluntary retirement from Bank service, and was dedicating herself fully now at home. Since Dr.Bhat alone could not handle many things, and ageing, she wanted to support her husband. Many unskilled ladies, are taught tailoring and they are even placed in good export companies. Rural women folks, are being given confidence to live and Mrs.Indira Bhat is doing a wonderful job by spending her time usefully. I still remember her saying that Dr.Bhat lost his mother when he was just born. He did not even have a photograph of his mother. He does not even know how his mother looked. He should be in his mid 60's or late 60's. He was associated with lots of gurujis in his younger days. He decided at one point of his life, to dedicate their life for the abondoned children, especially single parent children. Now the couple are proud to say that few of such boys, are in abroad and one is doing well as a Software Engineer in US. Most of the girls are sent to Vivekananda Ashram in Madurai where they are trained as nurses. This couple, are young at heart and doing a yeoman service to those children. If those children were not cared, they would have easily become anti-social elements. Thanks to people like Bhats.

I am proud that I came to know them and could be of some use to them. They do not advertise a lot and just trying to live with their investments.
I just did a Google search and found few interesting news about the Sewing training Centre for Rural Women, and news about Mrs Indira Bhat in Business line

If anyone is interested to visit those children and spend a day usefully with people who want love and affection

Sri Jyothi Brahma Mission
NH1, HIG, 41, Vallal Began Street,
Marai Malai Nagar,
Kanchi Dist 603 209

Phone: 04114 52355
04114 52918

I am Tagged

Tagging seems to be OK but not something like My Perfect Lover to a person who is married for the past 16 years. I was tagged by few bloggers and I was blinking whether to get into this loop or not. I am a person who normally do not get into the chain mails, like..... Please forward this to all your friends...and if this reaches you back it means that you are a good friend....blah..blah...Especially few certain mails with god fearing sentiments like... if you send this to so many people in so many days you will get so much of money. Recently I came across something like if you take part in this you will be sent millions of money... OK this is a different topic.

Let me come to the tagging. I was tagged and it would have been more interesting if it was something other than asking perfect lover. I respect other bloggers and also the blog readers. They are something special for me. Blogging is not an ordinary kind of interest. I know many people who are very talented but cannot put their thoughts in writing. There are many who are very good in academics, but given a stage or public appearance will feel nervous. Some have interest, but not the required skills. In general, according to me bloggers are different and unique in their own way. So when I was tagged I was seriously thinking whether I need to respond. Also, will this cause any disturbance with my life now... Will my wife think bad? On the contrary my wife was interested to know about my response to the tag stuff. I do not want to disappoint my fellow bloggers too. So a little change in the topic My perfect Lover (if this was asked 16 years before)

* A girl who should be very simple.
* A girl who should have undergone sufferings in life.
* A girl who could understand realities.
* A girl who could treat my mother as her mother.
* A girl who keeps smiling.
* A girl who loves children of this world(not only those born to us).
* A girl who feels proud of being born as woman.
* A girl without pride and dislike for wealth.

I am very proud to say that I did get a girl as I wished, and thanks to my wife for being so wonderful to me. I am not tagging anyone. Sorry if I have not responded quickly.

26 January, 2006

Jeethenga ! Jeethenga !....

Incredible match! Thunderous crowd! The atmosphere was really Electric!

If any country wants to produce Electricity cheap... they can conduct cricket match between India and Pakistan...... Oh...Pillaiyar..(Indian version of Oh...Jesus) What a day!!! After a long argument with my friend we decided to leave home by 7.00 A.M. and finally we left home by 7.35 A.M. We expected a traffic jam on the motorway...but it was just OK. He has a Citroen C5 car and wanted to test its speed...... I had to remind him that he is not Karthikeyan or Schumacher. His wife also joined the chorus with me...Finally we reached Edgbaston ground. My friend was worried in parking it in a safer place. We took it straight into the stadium and we found that we should have bought the Car pass earlier. There was an Asian Steward and he gave us a counterfoil of a Car pass and charged £10 for it. My friend was wondering...what it was...and questioned whether we will be allowed in with a counter foil of a used carpass. The steward asked us not to worry and signalled the gate keepers to allow us. Again they were Asians. But when we approached the gate my friend handed the counterfoil to an English man. He questioned for the full ticket and his Asian colleagues interfered and asked us to proceed inside. The English man was puzzled... You all know the answer.

We entered the stadium and met another gang of friends, Doctors and Software Engineers by profession and have come from Switzerland, London and other places. My friends decided to have coffee after we were let in with a serious security check. Any products other than those who were sponsoring the match were not allowed. I saw cans of Fanta, and other drinks taken away from the people before me in the queue. I was laughing about my turn because I had lots of fresh Vegetable Salads, Fruits and our favourite 'Thayir Sadham'. They cleared me within few seconds. Personally they checked us. A tall African Origin guy checked me.. Anyone interested in shooting Mahabarath again can approach him for the real Beema role. I think he has not stopped growing.... When he laughed it was terrorising... After entering inside the stadium I looked around for something interesting.

Suddenly I screamed....... I could not believe myself. Our Krishnamachari Srikanth was standing and talking with few people. I went to him and introduced myself and shook hands. Later I took my friends and they were thrilled too. My friend said to Srikanth that he still remembers his famous cover drive (on knees) in the 1983 world cup finals at Lords. Srikanth acknowledged with a smile. We took a picture. (Later my friend said that the battery did not work... Remember guys... it does not matter how expensive your Digital camera is... But you need to have good new batteries...) Within few minutes I saw Wasim Akram walking few steps away from me. I could not believe. He was busy talking over his mobile. He was having discussion with the gate keepers. Later when I started walking towards him he went away. He wanted the gate to be opened and the English gatekeepers refused to do so. When I went near them this was the conversation....

GK 1: Do you know who he is? He is ex-cricketer of Pakistan... Wasim Akram.

GK 2: I don't care about it. I can't do things which I am not permitted.

I imagined the same situation in India. Within few minutes I saw plenty of ex-cricketers like Ravi Shastri, Farookh Engineer, L Sivaramakrishnan, Ian Botham, Clive Lloyd, Tony Greig, Arun Lal, HaroonRashid, Sanjay Manjrekar and few more... I was very happy in seeing Ian Botham very close... There were few more whom I could not identify. Everyone has become old. But then it took time for me to realise that I have seen them young when I was a young boy and now I have also become...It was fantastic to see most of the crowd in blue and green. I was sitting among a mixture of crowd from India and Pakistan. The couple next to me was strange.The lady was a Pakistani and the guy was of Indian Origin. He was there with his friends.. They are a group called Bharat Army. These people book tickets as a group,wherever India plays Cricket in this world and see the match. So whenever a Pakistan bowler took a wicket she used to tease her husband and friends, and viceversa... There was a Pakistani family just behind me... A decent Uncle, good looking aunty with her four daughters and a son... They mistook me for a Pakistani. (May be because I was clapping gently for both the sides....me being a real Madras guy ... For those who do not know.. Madras crowd is very sportive and have never indulged in any violence). There were fun now and then.... Whenever there was a boundary by Indian batsmen ... the Indians got up and teased the Pakistanis. Again whenever there was an Indian wicket there was thunder from the Pakistan side... I could understand how much of pressure the players will undergo in such a match. As Bob Woolmer the coach for Pakistan said it resulted in failure of batting in both the sides.... I do not want to talk much about the game... You all must have read it and seen it...But I want to tell few other things which I observed....

***** There was a group of six to seven people who were appreciated by the whole stand. These people had shirts which were half green and half blue bearing the names Pakistan and India on the respective colours.They went around the stand kissing both the part of the shirts carrying a banner which was like this...TWO NATIONS ONE LOVE...CRICKET

***** A glider plane flew around the stadium with a banner saying......"BROTHERS ENJOY THE GAME - MUMTAZ, BRADFORD" ...(For your information Bradford is noted for its racistic incidents in UK... Always you can read some news about some incident in Bradford..) The message was meant for both Pakistanis and Indians.

***** Harbajan Singh must have been excited on seeing plenty of Sikh Turbans in our stand. So when he wasfielding near our stand... he started doing Bangrastyle dance shaking his shoulders, "Bale...bale..."

***** One Indian gentleman who had long hair and dressed himself like a saint was booed 'Swami...Swami...Zindabad...' whenever he was going around the stand. This was by both the country fans...

***** There was always a long queue in the bar as well as equal queue in the Loo. No need to prove Beer and wine are diuretic.

***** I found lot of Indian Ladies with the tri colour flag on their shoulder drinking Jack Daniels and smoking Benson and Hedges.

***** Most of the good looking girls and aunties were speaking Gujarati.

***** At no point of time I felt that I was in abroad because of the crowd. The crowd was Asian. There was litter every where. Most of them had a Samosa in their hand.

***** Most of the Gujjus had plenty of sweets alongwith their meals. I wondered why they have so much of sweets. Gujjus are already very sweet.

***** Very often the Indian crowd sang " Hey dosti...Hum Nahin...." from the film 'Sholay' looking at Pakistan crowds and they equally responded.

****** Whenever there was small tussle between a Pakistani and Indian guy a police and steward rushed there. But immediately the Indian and Paki fan were having their hands on each one's shoulder and fooled the Police as in Indian movies.

****** The crowd was not as knowledgable as Madras Cricket fans. Many of them were looking at the third umpire results in the giant screen even if the batsmenhad reached safely.

****** Some of them did not understand why a by-runnercame for Yousuf Yohana. Some ladies mistook that 3 batsmen are allowed in Cricket.

****** Everyone clapped their hands when Inzi was on 9,999 one day runs thinking that he had crossed one run. They all wondered why the run was not counted. I had to tell them that it was a leg bye. I further understood their in-depth knowledge when they asked me what it means.

****** Though people have been boasting of being born and brought up here and having become a Citizen....the roots never change. Still everyone wants to support their origin country when they get a chance.So one thing is clear... though all have been living away from their home country for years their liking and patriotism has not decreased even a slight... I have colleagues who are of Indian Origin but have never seen India since their birth and love to hear about India always. In fact the Indian culture is more in abroad than in India.Finally to say.... here we live very united. So nothing can split our unity. They(Pakistanis) like us and we like them. Each have respect on others. It is only those bit mischief people here and there who aggravate things joining more with our Great Politicians of both the countries. In fact whenever I walk on the road and come across a Pakistani, I am greeted with respect and I reflect the same.

So do not have hatred on anyothers. After all we are human beings. Love is greater than anything. Love each other. Let us start from our blogging world. One seed can make the whole earth green.Zindabad! Zindabad! Blogging world Zindabad!

Jeethenga! Jeethenga! Hamara Pyar Jeethenga!

(The above was sent by me as an email to my friends just after witnessing a Indo-Pak Cricket match in 2004 at Edgbaston on 19th September)

16 January, 2006

Pongal Meet in UK

We are used of living as a community. There is a general feeling that it does not work so in metropolitan cities. But still, there is a great feeling of community, which still persists in Cities. Whereever we are from, a City or Village, still we long for a good community. That too, having been far from Mother Land, we really miss many things in everyday's life. But on 15/01/06 we had a touch of our life, in Milton Keynes, near London when few bloggers and friends met for a day, to celebrate Pongal. It was a fantastic feeling.

Since I stay a bit far from the venue, we decided to go a day earlier. There was a warm invitation from a gentle couple Mrs Premalatha Balan and Mr Balan. I had known them only through blogging. After deciding to be in there house, Balans have read my mail sent to the group mail of bloggers in UK, and extended their invitation. There was another gentleman Mr Oswin Paul who was also keen in accomodating our family. I have no words to explain my happiness on receiving invitations. Still in order to keep up our earlier commitment we preferred to be with Balans. They promptly received us and we had a wonderful stay in their house. My kids enjoyed each and every moment in their house. Balan is a nice gentleman with pleasing manners and so Premalatha. Though they had lots of personal problems during the weekend and could not make up for the meet, but still made arrangements for us to reach the venue in time. If that was possible, it was again by another blogger reader, Baskaran a perfect gentleman. He drove us in his Honda City to the meet.

We reached the bloggers meet in time, but to our great surprise only two families were there and they happened to be the organisers. The meet was greatly organised by two young women Deepauma or Umadeepa. Confused........ they were so much together and I do not even want to type their name separately. WOW...they had planned so well and we had two elders, who happened to be one of the organisers in-laws, and were actively organising few stuff.

Suddenly came a 'Mallu Vetti Minor'. I was wondering the spirit of this gentleman who could come in a Silk dhoti, in such a cold place and later I got introduced to him to know that he was Oswin Paul. He had taken in charge of the acoustics and was there with the system. Slowly people started gathering. More children came and started running here and there. They were very happy.
I was impressed with the organisers leaving a corner for the toddlers. A kind participant had brought loads of toys for the children to play with. Most of the women were in sarees braving the cold. Few of the men were in Silk dhotis. I felt like I had come for a Tamil wedding. The euphoria was there.

Meet started with "Tamil Thai Vazhthu". The organisers themselves sang the song without even missing a word. It was wonderful. There were few events for the kids like fancy dress, solo events. Children were very happy. Almost every kid did well. Children found friends suiting their age. Slowly elders started mingling with others. There were solo events for elders too. Few ladies sang songs from Tamil films, and few men were also there to show that they are in no way behind. The famous Tamil blogger 'Dubukku' alias Renga was there playing Keyboard and cheerfully joking around. There were plenty of enthusiastic participants. We had a good meal from Saravana Bhavan.

After the break we had "Jodi Porutham" for married couples. Young eligible bachelors, and spinsters were requested to be the judge. The event was a bit hilarious. We got eliminated in the second round. The first round was, one of the couple to blow a baloon, and the other one to tie it. Husbands were asked to keep sticker pottus for their wives in the second round. Some of the wives were too enthusiastic and loving that they also kept pottu for their husbands. All of them "Pottu Parthargal".

Finally came the dancing section. It was nice to see many of the ladies leaving their shyness and dancing for Kuthu songs. "Annathai Aadarar Vechiko" from Apoorva Sakotharargal a Tamil movie, drew more participants and the children also happily danced with their parents. Since it was getting late, the curtains were down and we had to call the day.

Behind every successful woman there is a successful man. If Deepauma or Umadeepa could make it so successful, it was because of men behind them Ramki(Deepa's Husband) and Krishnakumar(Uma's Husband). Hats off to many more who were behind the scene and did a wonderful job.

The whole day I observed most of the participants, silently, and there was not a single person, young or old, woman or man, boy or a girl, who went out............................................................
having not smiled and laughed.

It was a great experience to have met 60 or above people from our land just a day after Pongal in United Kingdom.

11 January, 2006

Pongalo Pongal

The early morning mild cold used to be so nice in the month of December. We always used to feel like sleeping more. It is the time when we used to have those Half year term exams and then holidays. Maths used to be the third exam after English and Tamil. Science being the fourth and then History and Geography. Once that is over, big plans will be going on in everyone's mind of how to spend the holidays. 'Margazhi' month always had its unique feeling. We can hear hymns and Devotional Songs from various temples. TMS will be singing 'Muruganai koopitu' and MS will be singing 'Bhaja Govindam' in a different speaker. Ladies will be making pongal according to the pasurams of Thiruppavai. Everyone knows that 'Sakkarai Pongal' has to be made for 'Koodarai Valli'. After all this comes Pongal. In the meantime New year would have come and gone. It used to be a real mutli cultural and multi religion look in the midnights. When the Ayyappa groups used to return back from late night poojas, the Christian youth groups used to visit homes for Carols. Josephs and Viveks used to say 'hi' and introduce their friends to each other. Oh...what a unity in diversity! I remember walking with my friends in the midnight to see the Church being decorated. Once all these fever gets over then comes Pongal.

I remember Pongal as a farmer festival, only after getting introduced to 'Sekar'. They had lots of cows in their house, and supplied milk to all the neighbourhood. Just a day before the bhogi, all children will mark the arrival of bhogi by playing a small drum. All the neighbourhood will start hiding the normal wooden stuff that used to lie in the garden. Previous night to Bhogi, all those naughty boys will return from the Theatre after seeing the second show (Probably MGR picture) and peep in to every house to flick wooden gates or some wooden materials to burn in front of their house shouting "Bhogi". I remember my Dad locking the gate with a long iron chain and big locks. The thieves will not spare even the 'Raatinam Kayiru' (the pulley used to draw water from the well). On the Bhogi day everyone used to burn their old stuff in front of their house. My mother was very specific in not burning any plastics in those days itself. She always used to keep all the dried leaves fallen from our trees and plants. We had lots of December plants in our house and my sister and myself had the duty of plucking them and selling it to our neighbourhood. We sold in turns and thus started earning our pocket money. Only when I grew up, I realised Pongal is a Farmer's festival more than all these. Sekar described a lot about Pongal and started painting the cows horns. Then he used to decorate his bullock cart and tie balloons to the cart. My mother never allowed me to go in the bullock cart shouting 'Pongalo Pongal'. But we have enjoyed hanging at the back of bullock cart as far as we could. All the bullocks would have got terrified with the sound and must have run because of the unusual sound. The big bells tied on their neck will be making great sound and also some salangai will be tied to give more background music. We as kids thought the bullocks were very happy. Sekar explained me how it is celebrated among farmers. Oh.....those were wonderful days.

Years have rolled by. Last November when I visited home town went and met Sekar. His house had been modified and they have sold all their lands and cows. I could see a huge Swaraj Mazda and few ambassadors in front of his house. He is running a travels agency. Even today he comes to receive me at the Airport, and is there to send me off.

I really feel for my kids.... When I am writing this blog my kids are talking about the latest model of IPOD and hip hop songs.

Will the bloggers meet in Milton Keynes(UK) on 15/01/06 give us a feel of home. Let us hope.

Wish you all a happy Pongalo Pongal!

(For those who do not know what Pongal is... it is a farmer's festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu)

04 January, 2006

New Ideas

Good thinkers are becoming less in this world. Sometimes I get irritated at the bad thought of others. It is very difficult to find someone who could think alike. When others could not think at the same level as you, it leads to more frustration and anger.

Solitude is the best for thinkers. I have also been on my own for few years. Sometimes it bores. But I have enjoyed most of my time. During solitude silence accompanies our thought. I have made some good decisions in my life only when I have been on my own.

Everyone should be alone atleast for few hours in a day. It gives a great pleasure. You could do more things effectively. Solitude helps creative mind. Some individuals cannot live alone or be alone. They always require crowd. But some would like to remain to themself.

The picture in this blog was taken during one of my visit to Lake District in England. It is the most picturesque place in the United Kingdom. I would have loved if I was rowing alone in a boat in this lake. But I was atleast with 50 people or more when I took this picture. Still most of them were silent.

Silence helps many times. During controversies and heated discussions if you remain silent, it is of great advantage. Also, when your partner is angry and you remain silent it helps a lot. Again, being silent when you are angry also helps you to control your anger. After all life is short, why complicate it by getting angry and talking unnecessarily.