23 October 2011

dust to dust...

We live in a minuscule pale dot in the universe fighting for every minuscule inch of terra firma & every resource. Every drop of water precious & each millimeter of land essential. We don't have anywhere else to go or won't find another place for god knows how long... & if we do who's to say if the inhabitants of that planet would like aliens to invade their home! We certainly don't seem to like the idea ourselves...we can't have anyone invade our houses let alone an entire planet.
There's immense beauty & equal amounts of destruction amidst us. Only one species equivocally has stressed this giant rock & water mass so much that it has made extinct several species of flora & fauna. And strangely enough this species has also been blessed with this intelligence to recreate or clone all the species that are dead and gone. Despite all this intelligence & awareness there are few amongst this populace who are so blinded with their beliefs that they never realise how short this life time really is to be fighting these bloody wars & how fragile this system really is.
If we could all at least once a day take the time to sit back and look at how insignificant the rat race is..how mundane the madness for material wealth.. How futile the mindless illusion of power! None of it is going to travel with you to wherever once you're dead & gone and your body is fertilising the earth or turned into ashes and we will all become part of the earth again.

wind songs...

Eternally the song of the wind will go on
Long after I’m gone
Long after life ceases to exist
The wind song will go on...

02 July 2011

Envisioning change!

Draw a map of India on paper. Now carefully cut it out making sure every coast & border is neatly cut. Hold it up from the top. See how the NE bit hangs dangerously almost sagging & cut off from the main body of the rest of the map! That’s probably closest to how this region feels – hanging loosely & about to be cut off any moment! The narrowest bit struggles desperately to keep it together. On scale that bit is less than 25kms at it’s narrowest. I sometimes wonder if it hadn’t been for the oil & tea, would the erstwhile Indian government have included it in it’s territories?
Interestingly enough this region which was once mostly rainforest with a few scatterings of permanent settlement is struggling to maintain it’s identity whilst also trying to take unto itself the challenges of the ever changing economics & technologies of the globe. Perhaps its own past is also what is responsible for it’s slow growth. As a tribal community much of the population is coming out of it’s traditional beliefs & ideologies. It’s not a very recent past when there were many tribes that were warring with each other to gather all the resources they needed to survive. That need has been diminished as goods are brought in from the heartlands by road, rail & air. Of course that ideology still prevents quite a few parts from receiving resources easily with roadblocks, raids etc coming in the way! The Ahoms fight the Bodos & Meiteis with Nagas etc etc
We only seem to make matters worse for ourselves with all the bloodshed & violence. Instead of blaming the central government, we should take matters in our own hands! If for just a year all the insurgents give up arms & focus on creating socio-economic resources, one can only imagine what amazing things can happen!
We are still at war with each other when we should be actually coexisting which is far more beneficial economically! Imagine if there was smooth movement of goods & services to all parts of the NE.. We’d have fantastic tourist destinations, crazy colourful traditional & music festivals! There’d be rail & road development & India too could boast of world class highways on the mountains.. We could have excellent schools & colleges thanks to the wealth of knowledge that lies dormant & waiting to be put to use! And we’d have world class health centres that’d make the region ideal for medical tourism! & we’d bring forth sportspeople who’d break new world records in every international venue!!!
My thoughts are very utopian perhaps but the sheer thought of these possibilities makes my heart soar for I can see the wealth of amazing things that can happen. I hope and pray that this vision gets shared amongst my country folk too.

06 June 2011

Remember me

A long time ago, a very dear friend of mine penned these words in her beautiful handwriting in one of my books in bengali script. It seemed to come from a very deep place in the heart of the poet, from the heart of the great Rabindranath Tagore. It must be the rains that made me remember this poignant piece and it felt right to share it.

The Bengali (original) version...

Tobu mone rekho...
Tobu mone rekho jodi doorey jaye choley 
Tobu mone rekho...
Jodi puratano prem dhaaka podey jaye naba premor jaale
...mone rekho
Tobu mone rekho...
jodi thaaki kacha kache 
dekhitey na pao chhayaar moto achi na acchi... 
mone rekho
Jodi jal aashey ankhipaatey 
Aek din jodi khaela theyme jaaye modhu raatey... tobu mone rekho
Aek din jodi baadha pode kaaje sharado praatey... money rekho
jodi podeya  mone...
jodi podeya mone chholo chholo jal nai dekha dei nayanno konney
tobu mone rekho
mone rekho

English translation...
Yet do remember...
Remember me
Even if i go far away... Remember me
If old love is smothered in new Loves' snare
Remember me...
If like an unseen shadow
I choose to stay nearby
there for your descry, yet you can not see me... Remember me

If on a spring night the play suddenly stops
and tears swell on the wells of your eyes... 
Remember me
If on an autumns first light your work is hindered suddenly...
Remember me.
If no tears well on your eyes when you remember... Remember me.

Youtube video supposedly in the voice of the master himself : http://youtu.be/r9teMCBGS7Q

30 May 2011

Slam book!

An autograph book page from the late 19th century!

A long time ago...well it sure feels like a long time ago, way back when we were teenagers, we used to have a curious practise. We used to fill up Slam Books or Autograph books. It used to be such a big deal to have one & to fill up the ones you got from your friends. Everyone had one & you'd be considered a bit of an outcaste if you didn't have it. These were made from old diaries that had been tastefully done up in bright colours, stickers & what have you. It was a delightful but not necessarily truthful insight into each others psyche! There were always questions that began with 'what if/what would you do' etc. Some of the questions that were used in these books went like :
If you were a caveman/cavewoman, who would your better half be?
Who would you like to be marooned in an island with?
And then there were tamer questions like - who's your favourite film star!

These books at one point in time determined pretty much how popular one was. You could also read other peoples' contributions and many a friendships have either blossomed or soured in its way but it was always hugely entertaining.

Here's to a long forgotten school time, teenage tradition that was replaced by online social networks!!

21 April 2011

Moving on!

I'm listening to a lovely melody and the prospect of  moving house next week seems somewhat daunting. Two years ago we moved to this lovely house & it brought us so much happiness. We are leaving this house with a sad heart and more things than we came into the house with. I'll miss the garden especially the 2 rose climbers that produce the most spectacular blossoms. And the living room where many friends have sat with us and enjoyed a meal, a conversation, a laugh & few tears as well. 
It's time now to pack up all the things and the memories and set forth on a new journey and make new memories. This house will always be special though... more than any other we've lived in. Every phase of our life we seemed to have moved from one house to the other. The 3 bedroom gorgeous apartment in Mumbai with its enormous windows where we started our journey as man & wife... and then the small 1 bedroom flat in London where we learned how to survive in this big city! Then moved on with a bump to this loooovely 3 bed house where we learned about each other and loved each other a little more. Through this last phase we learnt how much our friends mean to us & how much we meant to each other as well through all the tough & jubilant times as well. 
I guess its time to move on. Don't know what the future holds and what new phase is about to begin but I'm feeling pretty excited at the prospect of living 2 minutes away from one of the biggest parks in London! And as the banner says... keep calm & carry on. And its apt - as in with its regalia etc., as we are moving the weekend of the Royal wedding!

11 April 2011

So i watched Guzaarish...

I've been meaning to watch this movie for a long time now... mostly because I think Hrithik Roshan is gorgeous and that his pairing with Aishwarya Rai is probably the best thats ever been in the Hindi Film Industry. 
I admire that SLB had the courage to make a movie about such a controversial topic like euthanasia. I still have lots of reservations about euthanasia as much as I have about abortions! Its not possible for anyone to really have a right or wrong view about this issue. 
About the movie... if the director had only put Hrithik R, Aishwarya RB & Nafisa Ali the movie would probably have been a hit. It didn't need anyone else really as the most poignant moments of the movie are the ones between Hrithik & Aish. There was too much over acting from the rest of the cast to the point of it being unbearable. Oh well..thats just what I feel anyway.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to see euthanasia as anything else but assisted suicide. And I also don't know how it must feel for the person in such an incapacitated situation or be around someone in that state. Is euthanasia moral or is it not? Is it almost assisted murder or is it assisted suicide? So many thoughts...oh so many!!! I can't pass judgement on anybody's decision but then how can anyone watch their loved one suffer in silence or otherwise, unable to move their entire body apart from the head down, to be at the mercy of other people for even the smallest things we do and take for granted. 

05 April 2011

random thoughts about sports

Yipee...India won the Cricket World Cup 2011 and did so in an exceptional manner! 
And yipee that Indian Tennis players found their place as World No 1 in the Miami Open 2011 Tennis Cup! 

Its very clear now that cricket has become a religion in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka... I'd say more so in India but it's not all bad. Its one of the few things that brings together people from different regional communities and we all pray & pin our hopes on the national team as one unit which is a rarity in its own right! I was amazed to watch footage from all over India through the news channels, the social networks, radio, etc. as millions left what they were doing and huddled together to watch the World Cup FInals 2011... from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari, from Kutch to Thoubal, in by lanes in Orissa, up in the hills in Himachal...in the common grounds in obscure villages, people came together as one and watched a game played by able and sincere(this time it seemed truly sincere!) men who played with their hearts and achieved the most amazing results bringing home a trophy after 28 years! Oh how we celebrated! I do wish that other games and sports get as much footage and following as cricket but it seems that cricket will always be number one. 

Finally it seems that Indian sportspeople are getting the recognition they deserve or is it so?! But did you know that:
Pankaj Advani won the gold medal in Billiards in Asian Games 2010
Saina Nehwal took the gold at the Swiss Open Grand Prix 2011 for badminton
SK Solanki won the gold in Asian Games 2010 for wrestling
Vijender Singh was awarded gold in Mens Boxing in the Asian Games 2010
Mary Kom won Gold medal at the 2010 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championship
These are just few names in a long list of people who did the country proud but never got the recognition they deserved for various reasons. I'm unable to decipher the depth of the insanity with which our nation follows cricket when really Hockey is considered to be our national game. Is it time to change our national sport to cricket? 

I for one don't follow cricket or like it too much for which I've been accused of being a non-Indian (blaaaaaa....) but really... I was swayed by the millions of hearts hoping for India to win. The last couple of years the nation has seen a spurt in the quality of sportspeople. From obscure corners of the nation there are athletes & players waiting to be discovered and show their ability and do their families and the nation proud! I can't wait for the day when sports becomes an integral parts of our lives - and I don't mean by sitting in front of the box and watching it...but people playing and encouraging their children to play. Schools where children are encouraged & supported if they want to become sportsmen and women!

A few years ago my brother came across a one time famous hockey player on the train. The gentleman was working in the Indian Railways as a ticket collector and he was moved deeply that he had been recognised by a young man on one of his many work schedules. I hope we can give our sportspeople more recognition and respect that they deserve.

08 February 2011

Shaken & Stirred

An old man with an old tattered photograph in his hand was shunned by the common folk who walked the streets near Mumbai Central station about their jobs & their lives... he wanted to know if someone had seen his son... he didn't know if he would ever see him and still he searched on asking everyone he met if they had seen his beloved son who had left him years ago to defend a nation ever so proudly...

A mother was left abandoned on the gates of a medical practitioner's clinic by her children because she had become a burden on them - she was a cripple. She was left behind in the bitter cold of Delhi's winters and as she dragged herself really shocked wondering if this is what she had taught her children to become, she disappeared into the darkness of the lanes. I was there that evening passing by the shop next to that clinic and the shopkeeper told me about her. I saw her pass by in absolute silence - she looked like she could be from a middle class family. Nobody saw her ever since.

A little girl was sent with a man she hardly knew, married off to a man three times her age. She was brought to an alien land and sold off to another bidder as a 'virgin' bride. Why this betrayal she wondered... she didn't even know what or who to ask? She was now trapped forever in this web and years hence she doesn't even recollect what her name used to be & she doesn't remember where she came from. But this one time when she was being sent off for the nth time sitting quietly, looking way older than the 24 years of her life, in the 2nd class compartment of a train... the train began to near the hills of a tea-growing valley and some scent stirred inside her soul and made her cry.

Some stories I witnessed in my life and I don't think will ever recover from. I wrote these instances down the time when I witnessed them...only a few minutes of my life but it left a lasting impression.

04 February 2011

Garage shutter makeover

On my short trip to India I was handed a project after my own heart! This large garage shutter was a canvas waiting to be splashed with paints... it was quite a challenge to paint on a surface that was irregular plus I used the unfamiliar medium of emulsion paints! I had a wonderful time creating this mural. The 6 lotuses represent the total number of people in the family & the sun represents the blessings of their ancestors upon them. As and when new members join the family, I will be adding more lotuses to the mural. 

21 January 2011

Some amazing shots captured by Sakhenbi

An offering to the Gods

Drying out the yarns on heavy wooden poles

Looking out!

Stacks of bamboo baskets that hold anything form clothing to dried fermented fish!

And goes without saying that a cuppa tea is absolutely necessary!

These beautiful shots were taken by Sakhenbi on our trip to Imphal in 2010! 

13 January 2011


Some families are enormous, some are really small
but no matter what size, its the same for them all!

Families are dads, that frown & say - we didn't do such things back in the days..
that shirts too bright... the skirt's far too tight
now give me the name of the people with whom you are going out tonight!'

Families are moms, who flap & fuss, 'Hurry up, get ready or you'll miss the school bus!
Straighten your tie, tidy your hair...
how come you always have nothing decent to wear!'

Families are brothers, who taunt & tease,
and stand up for you against all the bullies...
They think they are bigger & better than you
and far more important are the things that they need to do!

Families are sisters who share all your things...
your clothes, your shoes, your books, CDs & earrings...
They use all your perfume & wear your jeans even if they are tight..
and will always stay up with you all through a heart broken night!

And as time passes & the families continue to grow
The story remains pretty much the same wherever we go...
I'm lucky to have a family as huge as it is
And each year there's always someone more to add to the family list!

11 January 2011

Aarrgghhh...switch off the lights!

It's interesting to sometimes observe how our minds take us so swiftly from one thought to another, often without even the slightest realisation that we have moved from one topic far away to another realm all together!
I was reading about the increase in VAT prices and this quickly took me to price rise in many stores across the city. Well essentially speaking the price rise isn't as drastic as I thought it was going to be. A big store I know has increased prices, for example from £1.95 to £1.99. And whilst I was thinking of the store, my mind drifted to how the main lights inside that store get switched off 30 minutes after the store shuts for business each night and leaves only a couple of emergency lights on or lights are on where people are working to fix lights, displays, etc. Then I recollected a bus ride a while ago through the heart of London city. Almost all the office buildings I saw along the way had lights switched on. I thought perhaps there may be people who worked late there... so I squinted my eyes in hope to find some flustered employees working frantically at their desks... of course there wasn't anyone there! Entire floors of empty desks & chairs and floors & floors of lights for ghosts I'm guessing because they won't be able to find their way in the dark perhaps! And its not just one or two buildings... there are so m any office buildings across London that leave their lights on. It's appalling the way so many of these corporate buildings waste so much energy for god only knows what reason. So much for corporate responsibility!!!!! Whilst eco-activists and even many energy companies are trying desperately to spread awareness amongst the population, these big & not so big corporates seem to be living on another planet... besides its not their job to save the planet, right?!
This topic has been the pea in the mattresses of my mind!! Its so freaking annoying. We watched this program on current tv quite a while ago about these eco-warriors who went around Paris switching off unncessary lights in shops & office buildings... I think more of this is needed unless of course companies become more eco-conscious & only keep switched on whats necessary. The world could do with less light pollution!
Darkness is as essential to our biological welfare, to our internal clockwork, as light itself. —Verlyn Klinkenborg
Of course I started thinking about light pollution. Its been years since people have been talking about switching off lights inside their homes when not in use... I recollect TV ads back in the 80s & 90s that used to promote this awareness in India! If we can switch off lights at home when we aren't in that room, why can't we do it at our work places? Is it because we don't pay the bills for these commercial/work places? But then ultimately we will all pay the price of this unchecked light bill!


10 January 2011

Tintin's birthday

It's my older nephews birthday today & we nicknamed him Tintin as he graced this planet on the date that one of the most famous & loved private detective Tintin also celebrates his birthday. The comic character has been our family's favourite ever since we first laid our eyes on the first Tintin comic book or graphic novel as they are now called. And the same goes for my nephew... we all just fell in love with him from the first moment. He's 11 now & I find it so amazing that so many years have passed. He used to be the most adorable baby with his little button nose and his cute mannerisms. Today he's a strapping 5' 6'' tall and as awkward as any pre-teenager can be. He may not hug us as much anymore or respond to all our strange cutesy weird nicknames we call him but he will always be the first whom we all fell in love with.
Sourab Banerjee, we love you so much.
And then Mihir came soon after Sourab... and now its hard to decide who was a cuter baby... Mihir is like cherry pie, ice-cream, honey & cream... oh dear...  I love my nephews :-)
Happy Birthday Sourab for 10th January & Mihir for 21st January!!!!

Love... Always.