March 27, 2006 @ 11:31 am
I will be away for about 9 days.
See you later, ladies and gentlemen
I will be away for about 9 days.
See you later, ladies and gentlemen
Playback Story #2
One of the performances that I cherish the most was at the Bosco Mane (mane = home in Kannada) in Chamrajpet.
That was the first time ever I got exposed to the small little world of street children, all living under one roof and having their share of moments of joy and sorrow.
Happiness etched on their faces, the children had celebrated the Ganesha festival just a day before. As part of that, there was a Ganesha idol kept near the entrance of the ground floor. When we finished our performance, almost every kid took us near the idol and made us apply the vermillion kumkum on our foreheads, while they themselves engaged in short dances.
The following story was shared by Manju, a 14 year old boy staying now at Bosco Mane.
Manju lived in a small village in the northern part of Karnataka. His father was the sole bread earner but had gone the alcohol way, as was the trend in many villages. Every evening his father would return home drunk and beat Manju and his mother. Then one day, his father abandoned them. Just left, without a word.
The responsibility of running the home fell on 12 year old Manju’s not-yet-developed-shoulders.
He came to Bangalore and worked as a cleaner at a Darshini. Most of the Darshinis in Bangalore have little kids cleaning up the plates once you are done with your plate of Idlis.
Manju was one of those kids. He worked hard for a year and managed to save Rs. 200. With those savings, he decided to return home and give the money to his mother. However, there was a small hitch. Having left home at an early age, Manju didn’t quite know how to get back to his hometown. He went to the Majestic bus stand and asked around for help.
A stranger offered to help Manju and asked for money to buy the required ticket. Manju, having no idea how much a ticket costed gave the entire amount to the stranger. The stranger ran away with those 200 rupees leaving Manju stranded at that over-crowded bus stand.
A year’s savings, a year’s effort of cleaning plates, sleeping on the cold restaurant floor, all gone in seconds.
A weeping Manju gained the attention of some people who took him to the police and ultimately he found his way into Bosco Mane.
Since then, Manju has been staying at Bosco Mane, getting his share of primary education and living a life of a child with other children.
But, how much would Manju trust people in future? How much would he trust us?
A play based on a book by President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Note: Entry by invitation only. For invitee passes, contact Dhi Only One
The recent edition of Tehelka carries an interview of Munish Puri, CEO of Times Infotainment.
Munish was the national director of the recently concluded Femina Miss India contest.
Question: “There’s a set trajectory for the winners – global contest, Bollywood. Have you thought about other things you can do with this community?”
Answer: “We took the contestants to a playschool; they visited the Spastic Society and the like. We even had them write an essay – as Miss India, how would each one add value to society.”
Notice the wordings “Spastic Society and the like“. What exactly are they trying to do here? Why demean organisations that are working for the underprivileged?
We all know that Miss Indias care a f#$% for the cause of the society’s needy. Then why this facade? The casualness of the answer itself reflects the true attitude of this contest.
My suggestion is simple – carry out a beauty contest and let it be only that. Have your swimsuit rounds and the like and give the pretty woman her crown. Don’t jarr the whole thing by carrying out ostentatious processions to community homes and the like.
These things should be kept separate. Besides, why are pretty women expected to have Mother Teresa as their role model? Why do we expect these beauty pageants to be a source for goodwill and peace and harmony?
Why can’t it just be what it is supposed to be – a contest of statistics. A meaty one at that.
In the bus going towards Majestic. Two young men sitting across the aisle. One of them removes his cell phone and calls up the customer care of his cellular service provider (I know because he asks whether it was the customer care).
The second man then screams into the phone – “Madam, nim madve aagidiya?” (Translation: Madam, are you married?).
Both the men giggle and want to resume the conversation but the phone is apparently disconnected from the other end.
A couple of people around me stare at them and some other people smile along with them.
Give me sufficient time and I shall read the entire newspaper in a day – Dhi Only One.
With that profound quote, I begin this post. I was reading India Today’s latest issue titled Bridging the Divide. It is about the India Today Conclave which was held recently and involved a “galaxy of minds” (as put by the editor) gathered together to discuss on the divide that exists between the rich and the poor.
India Today’s editor-in-chief, Aroon Purie, begins the address by stating some pertinent statistics.
40 percent of the poor in the world today are Indians.
30 percent of the Indian villages are not connected by roads.
Bangalore may be the abiding metaphor of the bestselling Indian narrative in globalisation but the reality of Bihar cannot be ignored.
The former Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schroeder makes a very interesting speech:
We cannot afford to see the world falling into two camps: those who benefit from globalisation and those who suffer.
I agree with Mr. Schroeder there. Globalisation, for us, has resulted in a liberal market, free trade and higher standard of living. But the story is not quite the same for the rural and underprivileged people of the world. He also goes on to emphasise that the UN has to play a key role in ensuring multilateralism. Germany, under his leadership, had abstained from joining the US in the “fight against terror”. In fact Germany had opposed the US in this aspect. It comes as a surprise then that Mr. Schroeder too harps on Iran giving up its nuclear program.
Queen Rania of Jordan, looking as beautiful and graceful as ever, talks about what she considers to be our biggest challenge: the Hope Gap.
The greatest challenge we face today is the hope gap that from birth separates people into those who have a future and those who do not.
Her speech was articulate and to the point. I liked it.
Nelson Mandela delivered his speech from Johannesburg. His input:
We live in an age of scientific and technological advancement but we cannot ensure the delivery of basic healthcare to most of our population.
That makes a lot of sense, especially in the context of developing nations like ours.
L. K. Advani was a disappointment. He took the platform and started ranting about the current government rather than focussing on bridging the divide. Nitish Kumar too failed in my view. He advertised Bihar and brought to focus the water problems that Bihar was facing.
Same was the case with Vasundhara Raje, who took the opportunity to do some central-government bashing and gave a glimpse into the future roadmap of Rajasthan.
I skipped Sitaram Yechuri‘s speech and I also just skimmed through Nandan Nilekani‘s speech. Mr. Nilekani was just parroting every software company’s quality policy – Innovation is the key to the future. I found it crap and an abstract thing to say.
Praveen Togadia, as always, took an extreme view point and was all about how the “other” religion should be tamed. I am surprised Mr. Togadia was made a part of this conclave, he spoke irrelevant stuff.
James McGregor goes on record saying there are no communists in China and that China is far ahead than India when it comes to infrastructure and such facilities. I agree with that. My brief visit to Shanghai had exposed me to a massive city with booming infrastructure.
Karan Johar gave his not-worth-reading views about his own movies, about how they are not being made only for NRIs, about how Shahrukh Khan is the greatest person ever to be born, etc.
Worth skipping his piece.
Saira Mohan looks so beautiful that I didn’t have the heart to analyse her speech.
I suggest that you buy this copy of India Today and read it. Gives you a good global and national perspective about the divide that exists and about what the leading thinkers of the world plan to do about it.
Yet another short story:
Dressed in blue jeans, sneakers and a T-Shirt, he stood at the swarming bus station. Sir was not used to travelling by bus, having taken up the endeavor off-late owing to the fact that he had sufficient time on his hands. Bus travelling was more of an excitement and a novelty for him rather than a usual means of transport.
He waited patiently for his bus to turn up. The bus came, the usual crowd ran and crowded the entrances of the bus. He finally got on, found a seat and took his place next to the window.
Hoping that no one would sit next to him, he slid open the glass window. Minutes later, a sleazy young man took the position right next to him. He smiled at Sir and looked as though he was about to commit some petty crime. Sir noticed from the corner of his eye that the man’s hands were quite active and also concealed a blade amidst his fingers. Immediately covering his jeans’ pockets with his two hands, Sir gave a nasty look to that sleazy young man. Sir knew he had to guard his valuables (a wallet and a cell-phone) from this young man. Sir continued to think of ways how he could get up from the seat and stand further down the aisle. However, he felt that this would cause unnecessary attention on him. Hence he continued sitting there, all the while looking at that young man with furtive glances.
Suddenly, the sleazy young man got up with a jump and offered his seat to an old man. The young man didn’t think twice before getting up and letting the old man sit right next to Sir. Sir felt ashamed. He had doubted that young man to be a criminal, but here he was doing virtuous things like offering his seat to an old man. The old man asked Sir about a certain bus stop and how much it would cost to get there. Sir, proud to get an opportunity to display his own philanthropic side, explained to the old man in detail about when the bus stop would come and where he should alight. The sleazy young man was standing on the aisle and looking outside. Sir gave him a smile and nodded in agreement of his good deed.
Sir was also relieved that he no longer had to be overtly cautious about his valuables. Sir relaxed and let the late-morning air smother his face with dust. A while later, the old man got down and the young man got down along with him.
Sir looked back and saw the old man and the young man sharing a joke. Sir was pleased and happy to see such bon-homie. The smile left Sir’s face when he couldn’t find his wallet. The father-son duo had done a good job indeed.
Previous short story on Sir – here.
A round-up of quotes I came across:
“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” – Thomas Mann
“Advertisements… contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.” – Thomas Jefferson
“I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.” – Richard Feynman
“Blame someone else and get on with your life.” – Alan Woods
“I hate life, I hate death and everything in between just doesn’t interest me.” – Chris Rapier