To all those who love National Institute of Technology Hamirpur that was established on 7th August, 1986 as Regional Engineering College, has completed one more year of its existence!



Rain retrieves remembrances….

It rained today. A much awaited rain it was. The fragrance emitting from the parched earth when rain drops touched it refreshed not only our soul but also refreshed many memories. Surprisingly all these memories take me back to my childhood. And the smell of frying pakoras emanating from the kitchen of my Amma still fills my nostrils with a never-ending desire to have more and more of crispy golden pakoras with chutney! Electric Mixers and grinders were unheard of during those days and it was the ever faithful Kundi-danda that did the trick of transforming green mint and coriander leaves, along with other spices,  into  smooth  chatni.

Perhaps Amma wanted to restrict us to our small little home by alluring us to lip smacking eatables. With a life bereft of TV, video games, computers or in short all those screens that keep modern kids immersed in their own little world, outside world held greater charm to us. And we would run out of our safe home to explore the outside world. I learnt to enjoy and appreciate little joys of life that didn’t cost a penny but have become a source of happiness to me even today.

Today when I came out in the verandah to enjoy the rains, I was hooked to the sight of raindrops glistening like pearls on the green leaves. Watching the dazzling water drops I was transported to the world of my childhood when we would see the same magical diamonds on green leaves wandering around Shimla green areas.

The Sanp ki Buti would fascinate and terrorize us at the same time. Its proud green hood like a serpent would make us shiver but the water droplets shining on its bright green surface would dazzle us. We would go near it with a trembling heart. afraid that a snake may not be lying hidden nearby, but there would be no snake around. And the child who would go and touch those deadly beautiful saanp-ki-buti would be acclaimed a brave-heart!

I moved close to the ornamental plant whose leaves had retained the dazzling water droplets on it and lovingly touched the water! Instinctively, I moved away, watching around for a snake lying hidden nearby and realized I was much away, in time and space,  from my childhood.

The fist splash of rain in Hamirpur had retrieved many remembrances of my childhood which belong to a period of golden past!

Ides of March

Thursday, 15  March, 2012

The soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar , “Beware the Ides of March,” has forever imbued that date with a sense of foreboding, even though I  heard “ides of March”only  when I was studying for my Masters in English Literature. But since then it had always been a day to be wary of! Such is the power of superstition that we start believing in all superstitious stuff whatever country and time it may belong to!

So it was a bit of dilemma for me to enter the room in my office which I had to leave some three years ago. I entered the room with a twitter in my heart but as soon I was inside it, I felt as if the room, its bare walls, the bricks, the window  panes , in short everything was saying, Welcome back! I could feel that “the room” had missed me and all that clutter that made this room my own! The feeling of  home-coming read “room coming” swept me off my feet and I forgot about the Ides of March and the soothsayer’s warning to Caesar. Once I had made myself a little comfortable, I once again started thinking about the ides of March and the negative connotation that once-upon-a-time innocent word has come to allude to!  My emotional self would take me to the dark abyss of negativity but my rational self would get hold of me with the logic that the word “ides of March” held no significance for me till I read the play Julius Caesar and nothing had ever happened to me on Ides of March. Another part of my thought process came up with another logic to support my wavering mind. The logic, as per the new thought process,  was that had Ides of March been a formidable day then why would Akhilesh Yadav decide to take oath as Chief Minister of U.P on this very day. Since Akhilesh Yadav was beginning his long journey in Indian political scene, the Party must have taken care of selecting the most auspicious day to herald his journey in the field of politics, hence the day, ides of March, has to be a very auspicious day!

I was surprised to find how human mind works to prepare any human being with a logic to make him feel that whatever step he has taken are the best according to some logic! When I felt low, I had the negativity of Ides of March further supplement my negative thoughts but when I felt a bit positive then another logic raised its head to fill me with positivism!

But as it was still difficult to shed free of the initial burden about ides of March, my rational mind devised another logic and finally this was the one I believed in! If Ides of March was an inauspicious  day when Caesar was killed, it must have been an auspicious day for  his friends and protégé, among them Cimber, Casca, Cassius, and Marcus Junius Brutus as they were successful in stabbing Caesar to death in the Senate house on  March 15 (the Ides of March), 44 B.C..

As this was a day when a dictator was brought to justice albeit in a tragic manner and as it were his friends who played a role in bringing down the dictatorship of the man, I could feel a sign from my guarding angels about the things to come! 🙂

And I was a much relieved person after all this thought provoking contemplation!

Why don’t I write these days?

Many of my friends and foes (?) might be wondering why don’t I write these days? What stops me from putting my thoughts on my blog which, no doubt, is a big open public place? Well, even I wonder at times why and what stops me from expressing my thoughts. Is it that I have nothing more to write? No, on the contrary I have abundance of feelings, emotions and stray thoughts that I want to share. Then why on earth I still not write anything? It has been a long time, a very long time!
The fact is that I have had so many bitter feelings about many people that I thought to be my “friends” that had I written anything it would have been pure venom split out in a public place so the best thing was to let the feelings simmer down and then to write about them as dispassionately and objectively as possible I didn’t know whether I was ready for objective writing or not and felt that perhaps I was not and therefore kept on deferring giving a vent to my feelings. .
Yesterday at a get-together I looked at many of them and surprisingly I realized that I looked at them not with a feeling of hatred but a feeling of pity that you have when you look at a spineless creeping creature who suddenly is about to be trampled by your next step!!! And finally I realized that what I fool had I been to even let these come near me for many years. You never let a creeping loathsome creature come near you! 🙂
And now I feel that I must talk and write about all those feelings that have now simmered down to give me most dispassionate analysis about people and and their ways in the real world!

25th Raising Day of NIT Hamirpur..07 August, 2011

07 August, 2011

I deliberated throughout the day whether to write a line remembering an Institute that I loved so much or not? And that too when it was the 25th raising day of the Institute?  At this point of time that is 11-12 p.m. I realized that my love for NIT Hamirpur outweighed my despise for many of the people associated with NIT and here I am. People come and go but the Institute must go on… All the very best to NIT Hamirpur!

Slavish Mentality of the Public Servants…

My father’s official communication, written in June, 1947, opened up the visage of an era that we have long forgotten. People of my generation who were born in the early years of independent India had the privilege receiving information about many anecdotes from the first-hand experiences of our parents’ generation. Sadly the younger generation, having taken freedom for granted, have not been exposed to what it felt like growing up in a slave nation. Luckily I grew up listening to stories about the Raj as well as the Gulami of our nation.Looking back, I can see, for sure, the reason and the factors making me the person that I am today. If you look at the official communication of my father intently and read the last closing line of the letter you’ll find that he closes it with the expression:

“I have the honour to be your most obedient servant”

Now this expression, “your most obedient servant” always generated a debate in our home. Though I had never seen this letter earlier but there were a number of English Grammar books and also Essays and letter writing books, belonging to my father, that I would read with great interest. All the official letters, in the Essay and Letter writing books,  had in the signature line the same very odd expression, “your most obedient servant”! As I grew up, in an independent India, inhaling the fresh and clean air of Simla, I would be very angry to see that government officials would resort to use such a language in their official communications. I would question my father, “Do you also write expressions like these while writing to your officer?” And when he would say Yes to it, my little heart would bleed with agony. My Bauji was epitome of dignity for me and the fact that he used such expression of obedience would just be difficult for me to swallow!  “But we were servants of the Angrez Sahibs” he would say laughing aloud in his open style laughter and would add wistfully, “we are servants of the public”. “Why have our books the same expression in all the official letters?” I would retort back, “Are we  not living in a free country?” People of my generation would recall that all our English Grammar books had this kind of concluding line. My father had no answer to it except saying, “Old habits die hard”. and would add. “gradually with the passage of time people will learn to use more dignified language in their official communication.

My father’s dream of  free people living in a free country has, unfortunately, not been realized despite being the fact that we have been free of the slavery of the British rule  for more than sixty four years now. But, sadly, the mental slavery to the master still pervades all walks of life.

I cannot say much about the corporate work-life but in the corridors of Government work-life it still remains, “your most obedient servant” though the style has innovated a little. People address the Director, invariably, in their official communication as “Worthy Director” or sometimes even “the  most worthy Director” and use so many “your kind attention please” in one single letter that would have sufficed my father an entire year of official communication.

Nothing has changed. “Public servants”, in the name of Government, make blatant misuse of power vested in them for public good and sadly no one, I repeat NO ONE, seems to mind. The chalta hai attitude has rotted the fabric of good governance. And under such circumstances persons like me who have grown up dreaming of living and working in a country where there would be no need to write, “your most obedient servant” are worst hit by the powers-that-be!

Bauji, I ask you today, why didn’t you teach me the tricks of the world? Why did you bring me up to be an upright citizen? Why did you fill my little heart with the feeling that all will be well in Free India?

Life time of Applique Work: Needle, thread and colourful pieces of cloth

As I do all the stitching at home, I have colourful pieces of leftover cloths–small pieces that, perhaps, have no other purpose to fulfill!  I never could even dream of throwing them away as who knows when would I need one of them! So I literally stuff those pieces in bags and put in some corner of my already overstuffed cupboards. And whenever I  need a small piece of a desired colour all that I have to do is to open bags full of small pieces and search for the required piece! I just love it. The small pieces bring back memories of so many different cloths that I had stitched, the exact time and the mood that had prevailed at that time and I literally immerse myself in a world of colour and dreams! I use these small pieces to embellish plain surfaces of, otherwise, dull looking cloths!

When my Little one had come visiting us recently, we both decided to design an applique work. The bags were opened and colourful small pieces were brought out, the designs were neatly cut and the applique was put on a light coloured base material. And Lo and behold–pretty soon a very beautiful design surfaced brightening up the plain surface. The result was electrifying! The joy of watching the pretty design emerge and adding some more of small pieces to the applique was mesmerizing experience! My Littlle one with her deft fingers hemmed the applique while I was giving my expert opinion about “hows”!

I thought, while looking at the end product, how colourful life can be if we have the art of bringing back the small pieces of remnants of love back to it. The dull and drab life would become rocking only if one could learn to applique it with colourful leftovers memories that we might have put in some, difficult to find, mental block!

Couldn’t I do to my life what I was doing to a colouless plain surface? I could only if I tried! So I am on a lookout for the remnants of pleasing memories of my past that could add to my present and lend colour to it!