29 May, 2009

Life and death

Everyone who is born have to die. This is law of universe. The way you die is very important. Some die peacefully after having done their responsibilities in their life. Some die without their knowledge. Some die with their knowledge. Some die due to chronic disease. Some die of accidents. Very few die to certain other reasons.

For the past few months it is disheartening to know of innocent civilians who have been dying due to only one reason in Srilanka. The reason is for belonging to one sector in this world, and for speaking one language i.e., Tamil.

I am not going to justify who is right? But as a human and a person who would love to live life full, I feel pathetic for anyone who has to die for no fault of them. During every war there are unprecedented deaths. Let it be World wars, or any war; certain deaths of innocent civilians do bring anyone to sorrow. In the recent war between the Srilankan army and the rebels there have been lot of deaths on both sides. Though the real statistics may not be revealed, the innocent civilian deaths in this war cannot be hidden which is a bare fact during guerrilla wars. My heart bleeds on knowing the death of young children, women, Old people, & young men on both sides. Many nights I go to bed hoping for an early solution. It was heart rendering to see few videos where young children were wounded, and children seeing their Mom dying, and everyone in the family crying while seeing their Dad (the bread winner dying). It is very disheartening to see many people dead in the bunkers, with their parts of their bodies lying next to them.

I still think that human beings have not fully matured and behave without difference between Animal and human. We do have science which helps in discovering so many good things for the survival of human being. We still have certain things which help in destroying the same human being. Unfortunately during wars, the science is helping on the destruction side.

I hate wars, and my heart bleeds on seeing these deaths of innocent lives of both sides. I am sure there must be lots of relatives of both sides who have been living abroad and must be feeling distressed on hearing the loss of their kith and kin. I deeply mourn for those deaths of innocents.

I wish the conflict ends soon and some neutral parties intervene and bring peace for both sides.

After all life is very short and sweet and it is not worth to die in bunkers. I mourn along with all the parents who would have lost lives of their children. I mourn along with all the children who lost their parents in the war. I mourn along with every family who have lost their dear ones on both the sides. I see only the human whether they are military or rebel. Nothing is achieved at the end of the war except the loss of lives on both sides.

When I lived in London, I had acquaintance with few Srilankan Tamils through whom I heard first hand information about the genocide happening in their country. One day I was invited for a Christmas party hosted by a Srilankan Tamil family. The invitation was only for few close family friends and relatives. It was going on well and we were introduced to everyone who was present. There was good music, food and dance. One couple were so happy and were so active. They were my friend’s best friends. My friends who were Srilankan Tamils introduced their best friends. On talking to them I found they were not Tamils and they were Sinhalese. It was so nice to hear. The Sinhalese couple mingled with us very well.
Again recently I came across another Srilankan Tamil couple. One of the male was very keen in recommending his friend’s wife for a job. Being inquisitive, I enquired whether they were related to each other. But this couple said that they were just friends and they were Sinhalese.

My question is when an ordinary individual could behave so well with each other, without minding their religion, colour and creed, language in a different soil how does hatred develop between communities at their home which lead to killing and war.

Is this all politics? Who inflicts hatred on others? Few politicians for power, votes and popularity develop hatred among people and live on others.
Both sides have had enough. War and Violence cannot bring peace on earth.

After all the gods Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Krishna did not preach hatred and wanted everyone to love each other. I would wish everyone stops hatred and preach love and learn to love each other. May peace prevail throughout the world and people love each other.

I remember beautiful pictures of Srilanka, which I have admired during my young days. I wish everyone shed their difference of opinon and a new life starts for all those who are living there.

Life is very short and sweet! Live and let others live!

10 May, 2009

Cycling memories

During childhood we dream to learn few things. I always feel that it was nice to have struggled in younger days; otherwise I would not have had many dreams. Again the pleasure of dreaming is equalled when you achieve them personally.

One of such dream was to learn cycling and own a bicycle. Bicycles are poor man’s transport even today in third world countries. I have grown up seeing few people owning their bicycle with great pride. All my neighbours had bicycles and it was a great sight to watch them wave to their family and pedalling off. We lived in a place where we had a car factory and most of my neighbours worked in that factory. In those days, mopeds were not popular and bicycles were affordable.

If Natarajan Uncle had a full chainguard, and a yellow cloth covered on his head light, my neighbour Jayaram Uncle wiped and cleaned it every week end. The way they took care of their cycles impressed me a lot. After putting the cycle on stand, they used to pedal and see the rear wheel rotating and clean the rim. As a kid, I always stood near my neighbours when they were cleaning their bicycle. I used to question at every stage why they were doing it. They did explain everything with so much of patience. After completing their cleaning and oiling when they pedalled for a test drive, I used to lip smack and wonder. A smile from me and a dream to grow big and own a bicycle got instilled in my mind.

Once during my summer holidays I had been to a village where my cousin was living with her in-laws in a joint family. That was my best summer holiday because I learnt cycling. Rangu Anna (my cousin’s brother-in-law) who was a bachelor then, had all the patience to teach me cycling. Every morning he made me to sit on the cycle and came running behind the cycle holding it. It was an hour every morning and I picked up the balance within few days. Oh.. What a great feeling it was! After few days, he would hold the cycle and let me get on to it and then wait for me to turn the cycle and come back to him. I returned back home from holidays and wanted to continue cycling. The only friend who had a cycle and was able to pedal them was Shekhar. They were doing milk business and he took his cycle everyday to pour milk at every house in the neighbourhood. I used to run along with him when he pedalled his cycle and enjoyed seeing him cycling with those milk cans. He was a ‘Hercules’ for us since he was able to do many things like a ‘hero’. My interest on cycling increased and so I started liking all my neighbours who owned a bicycle.

So every weekend went to my neighbour’s house and Jayaram Uncle was a very kind person. I used to ask him whether he needed my help to go for shopping, since he offered his bicycle too. I took care of his bicycle like my own and handled it carefully. Whenever I felt like cycling, he was there to offer. Nobody other than me would have felt sad when they had to move house.

My other neighbours were very strict and did not bother to lend their cycle. One of my friends found a new person Ramu Uncle, who had a new cycle and was very kind enough to lend his cycle to even go until the next town. Though I knew him personally, I felt awkward to ask him. But he talked with me one day and said that I can take his bicycle to help his wife getting provisions, and as well as help my mother too. He was kind enough to lend his bicycle.

Another gentleman by name Chakravarthi Iyengar, was also a kind person. He never used his bicycle and was always ready to lend us his cycle and happily received us whenever we went to his house. I was finally able to get my own bicycle only at the age of 18. It was a great moment. A dream that was coming true on that day. I was so excited and pedalled all the 15 miles from the shop to my house on the very first day. I possessed it with so much of pride. I brought in all the techniques I learnt from my neighbours in maintaining it.

Once when my son became 4, I wanted to teach him to ride a bicycle. It is always better to teach kids when they are young. Though my son learnt it from me when he was less than 5, last summer I taught my daughter who was eager to learn.

She learnt it within hours and without any injury. Though she fell down after few days while doing some trick, she was the quickest learner. Nowadays it has become a routine to take the kids for long cycling especially during the weekends.

However, I really doubt whether my kids relish their bikes the same way as me because of the way they handle. There is always a pleasure in dreaming for something and getting it.

Nowadays kids dream for very expensive things and their happiness and spirit dies sooner they get it. Even last weekend when my kids took their bikes, I was laughing to myself thinking about my younger days and they all wondered why I was smiling and looking lost!

How can I explain them all the joy? It may not sound great for them because they have heard it from me lot of times.

I bet those younger days are the best!