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Friday, October 24, 2008


I'm sure every culture has a code for that one (following up on my post on 'The Culture Code' :D)

It brings to my mind a mosaic of images- Mom and Dad cooking for me, Grandma's caresses, lying on the grass lawn with my parents and watching shooting stars in the sky, Beena Didi, Ashu Kaku, my pet dog which lives no more, the treasured suitcase full of Tintin and Asterix comics under my bed, the cupboard that has all my soft toys and Barbies, the book shelves and movie collection, pictures on the wall and a myriad of other things. People and possessions.

But most of all - it means 'security'. In my childhood, however, I detested the idea of being driven around everywhere I wanted to go or have a home guard trail me everytime I stepped out of my house. Probably, an aftermath of a kidnapping attempt on me and my elder bro when we were kids. I wanted to explore the world on my own. See the colors and sights, try to sense what's good or bad myself.

When my parents came to drop me off at my hostel for my undergrads, I was excited. But then my cousin brother (Misti Da), who was residing in Delhi at that time, said: 'Don't worry, we'll be there if you need us.' It was antithetical. I knew I wouldn't be seeing my parents for a while. I had not taken this into account ! It was a beginning and an end.

Sometimes, kids start living outside their homes earlier or later than I had. Nothing new. My point is - most of you know how it feels to be away from home and probably attach a different meaning to 'home' now. It might not mean what it meant before. For better or for worse.

Growing up the way I am, being 'homesick' is considered a repugnant weakness or the aftermath of illness or inability. My mother always told me success stories which inevitably ended : '...and then he went to live there* (variable) and is doing great professionally.' Fairy tales were my own vicious indulgence. I don't remember my parents ever buying me Cinderella or Snow-white. Little Red Riding Hood - maybe.

So, when your éclat is judged on the magnitude of your well-being away from your home, it becomes a little embarrassing to admit how much you miss 'home' at times. Or the home you had as a child (contrasted with the possibility of your owning one yourself )

Anyways, all that rambling spurred from the likelihood of my going home this December. A toast everyone, to home, sweet home.

Friday, October 17, 2008

There's no Plan B. This is it.

If you have a plan B you are planning to fail in A and that's not an option. Agree?

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Pursuit of HappYness III

Unlike some sages of the old, I believe- you can't be happy by secluding yourself. You might not get hurt by being passive, but you won't be happy either. When you want happiness, you have to involve yourself in what you do. And since just one thing or one person can't give you all the happiness, you have to engage yourself in numerous creative activities that make you happy. Naah, more.. that get you ecstatic. Whether it is composing music or working for the less privileged- you have to give yourself a chance to bring out the best in you - in something which you probably didn't know existed as a potential.

And then you can channelize you energy into the selected few- to maximize your happiness- or state of well being. The criteria for choosing them might differ from individual to individual. In the end, everyone defines happiness for himself/herself.

In a lot of ways, I find the Indian education system flawed in this regard(at least during the time I was a part of it). I don't think there is ample scope for a child to choose her area of expertise. Most parents often have preconceived notions about success and they direct their offspring to attain those standards of excellence which they deem to be correct- or are the fruition of their own failed aspirations.

'Let me be like a river. Let me have the right to choose my own path. ' - is what every child should say. I have been fortunate in this regard. My parents never imposed their biases on me. They just suggested alternatives. However, it pains me immensely to see some parents in my immediate family struggling with their kids to excel in domains which they have no talent at.

In Bengali they say - Gaadha pitiye ghoda kora jaay na ( You can't transform a donkey into a horse by beating it) But that is for a farmer who doesn't know the uses of a donkey. Fortunately, there are parents with better discretion.

I wonder what Leonardo Da Vinci's mother (*disregarding/taking into account the historical conjectures made about his personal life) would have had to say about this?

(* Leonardo was the illegitimate son of Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci, a Florentine notary, and Caterina, a peasant who might have been a slave from the Middle East. Source : Wikipedia)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My thoughts on Agartala blasts

This is a word-for-word copy of a group mail I sent home.

Thanks for the update. The media could have been more responsible in handling such news. But when the headlines along with 'Agartala Blasts', is "SRK watches Drona premiere', you can imagine how callous we have become towards such things.

Worst of all, we play the blame game. The government for not having more stringent anti-terrorist laws. The police for not being omniscient. And the mainland media for covering blasts in Mehrauli more than in Agartala during prime time because they don't have enough correspondents in the fringing states.

What we don't realize most of the times is the worst effected- the common man - me and you are the most responsible for it ourselves. I understand that during the frenzy of a festive season, it is difficult to be alert. I, personally, seem to be lost in my thoughts most of the times. For those to whom it doesn't come intrinsically- they can excuse themselves.

But the ones who can- specially the young - in body or mind - can volunteer to form core anti-terrorist groups - at least temporarily until the Pujas are over peacefully.

Last afternoon, I was having almost a heart attack (not exaggerating but I stopped breathing for a while) when I read the sms***: 'Hope your folks are all same, there were serial blasts in Agartala." No one ones to see their hometown being ripped apart. What we fail to see is - Mehrauli or Jaipur or Agartala - it is our home. Whether it is religious fanaticism or political agenda- it's equally inexcusable

Without sounding too pedagogic, I'd recommend you to take some time out of your busy schedules and watch , 'Mumbai Meri jaan', which seems to me a realistic depiction of the Mumbai blasts ands its aftermath.

Have a great week ahead. And enjoy the Pujas. My humble wishes.

*** Thanks to Shashi, who tried calling first. I was outdoors when I got the news