Remain connected to your roots…wherever you may live

October 20, 2016

Dear Little one,

In almost all my posts to you on your birthday, I have been, invariably, looking back on certain moment that remained so fresh in my mind. But in today I am in different frame of mind and really don’t know, why I am looking at the future where our association as parents and a child would be so very significant!!

mandi-shivratri-105-aYesterday when you made a stray comment about owning a “house”—a house of your own, I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was elated that you are a big girl on the other hand I was worried of how would we live without you all in our “home”!! It is because these days I am more attached to the house that you, till date, referred to as “Dadi’s house” and I would call “Gaon wala ghar”! Today, that ghar is empty…it has lost its soul as your Dadi has passed away. Staying there for a considerable time, I reflected on all the possibilities of keeping it intact and living but honestly speaking am no wiser than what I began at!

mandi-shivratri-110-aIt was a retreat for us all…remember “Gone with the Wind”…when Scarlette says that she would go back to Tara and everything would be fine! It was that house which suppled her with strength to face all that she was burdened with!

I, too, feel the same way! Houses are living entities…either they sap you of all your energy…mainly the positive energy or they zapp you up with positive energy. I wish the “house “you have fills your life with positive vibrations and energy. It makes your life full of love, peace and vitality. But whenever you feel that you need to refill the depleting source of energy…come back to your roots. I am sure that you would feel energized and full of life at “home” which is where you feel connected to.

mandi-shivratri-116-aRemain connected to your roots as these are what give strength to our very existence…our very being. And remaining connected to a “house” is nothing if one doesn’t remain connected to our very own who live there! I feel it all the more these days when I see the place occupied by your Dadi…empty!

Stay connected,  as you always have been, and stay happy!!! We all love you!

A very happy birthday to you my little one!

It is “the time” that our politicians Arise, Awake and Act…against the enemy

Running is in vogue these days. Every second person on Facebook posts selfies. And why would they not put selfies on social sites when it is so very fashionable to put their love for running. We, the friends of these narcissists, like these status posts and comment section is full of “Wows” and “Great” and “wonderful” etc. etc.  Marathons have become so common these days even in small towns or even peripheral suburbs of towns that people, putting on a cap, start running at the drop of a hat! They run for “clean India”, “green India”, “lean India” or even “Mean India”, or any other prefix/ qualifier attached to the word India. Such is their love for India that they put on their bestest sports gear and run. People of all size, color and shapes run to show unity for the country they love…India. Running is so much in our genetic makeup that we have started running “marathons” to shy away from core issues!

My socially-activated-self has become so accustomed and attuned to watch people running on roads that nothing less than a Marathon would come to my mind even when I would see a group of runners…may be running to save themselves from a mad dog. So, when a nitwit like me, who has such shortsighted vision, would watch young boys running on road, how could I think otherwise?

I don’t participate in Marathons so I do the second, most fashionable, act that is strolling leisurely on a road in my evening bestest clothes. I wave hands to people whom I meet in the evening…the people who belong to my social circle…middle class people, working hard to gain entry to the next band-width of town elites! Sometimes, when I go for a walk…a long walk, towards side roads, I see, almost, everyday some young boys running up and down the hilly roads surrounding Hamirpur. These boys were neither fashionable to look at, nor were obese…so why the hell they were running and panting like dogs  while traversing a few kilometers of running. I saw them every day, every single day. Running.   Bewildered, I asked one of them why were they running. What was the purpose or the goal? Was it some ensuing marathon that they were preparing for?  “Marathon?”  “What is that?”  Asked one of the boys who had stopped to answer my query. I could see plain innocence writ large on his face. He might have been seventeen years of age. His face glistened in sweat. I didn’t care to answer his question and put another question to him, “Why are you running?”  His face expressed excitement and pride. “For army recruitment”. Suddenly I, too, felt a surge of love for nation in my sixty-years-old heart! The boy exclaimed, “I want to join Indian Army!” “All my friend, too, are practicing for the physical test for army recruitment test.” The other boys, too, had stopped to hear what was being talked about. All of them had small stubs of growth on their chin…boys on the threshold of manhood! Eager to join Army, Indian army. “Why don’t you study further?” The teacher in me rose up to propagate “Padho India”! “Where are the jobs?” asked one of them. He was much mature for his age. “I have my young brother and sister to look after”, “if I get recruited in army, they could study”, he added wistfully! Now it was the mother in me that was awakened, “are you not afraid of wars and being killed?” “No” ,he replied. “I would fight the enemies and become famous like Vikram Batra!” His chest seemed to swell with pride. I was relieved and happy. Walking back to the coziness and warmth of my home, I forgot all about this small conversation.

But, today when I listened to the gory and cowardly killing of our Army personnel in Uri, I thought of so many young boys aspiring to join army. What those young boys might be thinking of? Would I see those boys still running on the dusty roads with the same zeal as I had seen them some days ago? Come on India! Wake up and give a fitting reply. Our young boys need an action and not high-power-deliberations in the name of politics. We are simple people and need simple answer…simple and straight…hitting the target straight and swift!

Roles Reversed…

If I could peep inside your little heart, when you were small, I surely would have seen the strength that you had! But for me you were just a “second” child born to me and your being a “girl” child made you special but, sure enough, in a negative way! I had already my hands filled with so many tasks at hand and your arrival jeopardized many of the plans that I had for my life.

But it was now on “our” life. If on one hand I could see my ownself being reflected in you, I wanted you to turn up even much stronger than I was supposed to be. Like you, I too, was a second daughter to my parents, so how can I not understand your special needs! You looked at me for approval, appreciation and acceptance! A close hug was all that you needed at that time. And there was no scarcity of hugs from a mother to her Little one!

Despite having much on your frail shoulders…the baggage of expectations,the-trouble-maker.thumbnail you did splendid… much better than what my middle class upbringing could have thought of.

And that evening when you stood waiting for me at Rome airport, I could feel that the roles had reversed, I was taken care of you, so lovingly, by you my Little one! When we roamed together in the streets of Florence, when you wanted me to enjoy every little moment of life, I  lived another lifetime, when roles had “reversed”! Now I looked at you with admiration and searched for approval, appreciation of many antics  that made me feel outlandish. I was there in your heart so there was no need of any acceptance. You have grown in a way that would make any mother proud my Little one!

But I know for certain that inside you still lies a small girl, looking expectantly for approvals and appreciations and there lies a small girl lurking inside the veneer of strength waiting to be cuddled and hugged! Many hugs to you my Little one on your birthday! Happy Birthday my dear!

A True Daughter to my father….

Come the summer vacations and my mind is full of devilish plans to get-set-and-go to the mountains! Every year I tell myself that next year I would rather go for a much easier trek but end up searching for a challenging trek to take. There sure is something wrong with the way I get ad reline rush while thinking of Himalayas and its myriad mystic folds up the mountains.I did some hard thinking as I wanted to find why these peaks have always enamored me so much…rather, to be true, not always, but since last few years. I tried to seek an answer to these “whys” and tried to rummage through the blind alleys of my mind for the first image of the snowy peaks that I still carried with me, lovingly and passionately, even today when I am about 59 years old!

Simla 1963

I could smell him. It had to be his body odor mixed with that of the diesel odor of the long bus journey that he might have taken. But my eyes sleepy with dreams would not open and it was in the morning that I finally saw my Bauji.  He had come back to Simla after spending about six months of official tour in Kinnaur district. I had missed him, missed him a lot during his absence from home. I had waited for him each day.  Or perhaps I waited more eagerly for all that his small trunk would carry from Kinnaur. So, finally he opened the box, the much awaited box. It had Chilgozas that I loved so much,  kala zeera that helped Amma to use as a much desired spice in her kitchen. There were some paper thin yellowish translucent and fragile leaves. Bauji said, “these are Bhojpatras and all our sages used to write on these when there was no paper”! It all seemed something belonging to a world that we never had heard of. I waited for some more precious jewels to tumble out of the humble box. But the box was nearly empty. There were none more gifts in it. But, no, there was something else. A thin packet which seemed to hold some papers! Perhaps it was a  big Bhojpatra, I thought. Bauji opened the packet much lovingly.

It was a black and while photograph of snowy peaks of Kinnaur Kailash that my father had carried in his tin trunk when he returned from an official tour of Kinnaur! He had painstakingly kept it folded in many layers of newspapers so that it may not crease and crumble during the long journey that entailed from Kinnaur to Simla way back in 1963. As his doting daughter of seven years, I remember watching intently the high peaks which Bauji claimed to be Kailash Parvat! I was mesmerized and my Bauji, in my eyes, rose to an herculean figure who had been to Kalash Parvat.

The pictures were large, very large, of the size of around 30” by 20” and I could see the minute details in the pictures. Perhaps it was not the enormity of the Kailash parvat  but that of the size of the pictures that impressed me more. They were big, very big, indeed, too big for the small house that we lived in, Bauji wanted to get them framed and be displayed on the wall.  But as the pictures were very big and the walls were already crowded with calendars and pictures, Kailash Parvat had no chance of getting displayed in our house. Or perhaps the cost of getting them framed was much more that my prudent Amma would have found to be a sheer wastage of money. Whatever may have been the reason but the pictures were destined to be put in a tin trunk…my Amma’s “locker”! Those pictures were, very lovingly, put inside another tin trunk which held Amma’s few valuable possessions. And whenever the trunk would be opened we would get an opportunity to relish a look at the Kailash parvat that lay hidden in a trunk in our small home in Simla.

Gradually everyone forgot about those black and white pictures of the Kailash Parvat and even when we had bigger home with plain walls; no one thought of getting those pictures framed and displayed. Why would anyone when there were pictures much lucrative and detailed available everywhere. A click to google Kailash and thousands of references would open up but to me the initiation was the day when I saw a black and white picture of Kailash Parvat brought by my Bauji!

Looking back, I honestly wonder how much in love he had been with the Himalayas that he carried, of all things from Kinnaur, some pictures of the Himalayas. Though the pictures were locked in a trunk but they had made an everlasting imprint on my mind about my father’s love for Himalayan peaks! And being a true daughter to my father, I stretch myself beyond my limits to wander in the Kailash parvat in search of those peaks that were in that picture.

It has been more than twenty-five years that my Bauji left for his heavenly journey but I am sure that his spirit roams in the Kailasha peaks that he so loved and the yearly ritual that I undertake to trek to some part of these mountains is the tribute that I pay to indomitable spirit of my Bauji. Perhaps he watches somewhere from behind the cloudy mist on the peaks at his daughter who carries that black and white picture of Kailash parvat  in the deepest abyss of her heart!

A small Jute-bag full of love unlimited….

20 October, 2014

Monday

I started, the once-in-a-year,  clean-home project. I started with a conviction to get rid of all the unwanted and unused stuff that cluttered my very being, little did I realize that what nuggets of emotions it would lead to!

There were a lot many things that occupied my cluttered cupboards. It needed cleaning. I would get so many lost treasures during this cleansing exercise.. But the most prized item that I came across was a small jute bag. It was small in size but it aroused such great emotions in my heart. I could see clearly two small hands with small long fingers deftly embroidering it….many, many year ago.

Small Jute bag full of love
Jute-bag full of love on your Birthday

Though I don’t remember the exact year or  the day but what I remember clearly that both of us had had some argument over some trivial issue. And you had stopped talking to me. A good decision it was as all talks result in altercations when tempers run high. The next thing that you did was even better. You searched in cupboards for some useless and discarded material as you were afraid that you might not use some cloth that I might have another plans for. I was watching you from the corners of my eyes though showing my least concern. I was intrigued. You searched for some colorful threads, sequins  and a piece of red cloth. I was sure that your little mind was upto something. Your little fingers deftly held a needle and started putting your emotions on a piece of jute!

This small jute bag—embroidered and sequined—is the result of that day.

My dear Little one, I learnt a big lesson of my life that day. I could see how you put your emotions to the best use. You stopped conversation when it was getting ugly and the negativity thus released in your system was put to use in planning and executing a very beautiful jute bag!

I wonder why do one need to go to a Management school to learn some very basic lessons that life, alone, can teach you. These lessons are in our very own genetic makeup, we only need t revisit them. This is a lesson for life. Life is beautiful but we do, sometimes, encounter difficult situations and the person who emerges a winner is the one who uses these tough moments to the best possible use.

How can I ever discard this small jute bag…it holds in it such a vast treasure of emotions.

Happy Birthday my child!

We have come a long way but have miles to go further….Reflecting on the Raising Day of NIT Hamirpur

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07 August, 2014
Thursday

Many years ago, to be precise, on 07 August, 1986, Regional Engineering College Hamirpur was established in a small rustic town of Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh. The small town suddenly came alive with girls and boys from the far off places—distant and unheard of for the people of Hamirpur! Girls and boys from Delhi, North-east, down South and all other places of the country thronged the roads of Hamirpur.The simple and rustic people looked admiringly at the students who would become Engineers! Such was the feeling of awe generated by the first batch of the students of the then REC that almost everyone in the town would recognize and applaud them I am sure my students from the First batch and thereafter batches carry some pleasant memories of their stay in Hamirur.
I was the first warden of the Girls’ Hostel. Being a local, I would be invited to many functions in the town. And whosoever would come to invite me would say, “Bring these girls also along with you!” and would add “where would they get an opportunity to eat our Dhaam!” And I would tag along all the girls and like a mother-hen would steer them to the Dhaam!
As the first Girls’ Hostel was situated in a building near HRTC workshop…almost all the local drivers of the HRTC buses would recognize the students. These are some of the positive outcomes that one gets in small town! Since the girls; would have to go to Baru, the Polytechnic, where our first batches had their classes, these drivers would stop the bus whenever the girls’ would ask for a lift!
Not only this, during any problem in the hostel like failed electric current or any other problem, the HRTC workshop personnel would be first ones that we would contact to bail us out!
Such was a simple way of life on and around the campus that we lived like a small family.
Today when we claim to have come a long way, I look back nostalgically, at the years gone by and search for all these things. There is nothing like the life that we had in the beginning. We had less of facilities and more of cooperation. We sacrificed more for the benefit of others. we were, in plain language, simple folks.
Now there is abundance of everything but, sadly, we lack trust amongst ourselves. Everyone is in hurry to grab all that he can…be it the students, the teachers or the locals!
We have lost contact with the world of innocence and have now reached the world of experience! We have come a long way in these Twenty Eight years and have miles to go further…. Where would this journey lead us to….I am not sure of….Honestly not sure of!!!