The making of a Simple Man – I

I turn 30 today. I want to talk out those moments that have left a strong impression on me. I will start from my childhood and as I relay my thoughts bare, it may not remain interesting, but it is nevertheless me as I became.

courtesy: Sandeep bhaiya @ Buckroe beach

My childhood school(Holy Cross School) was on the outskirts of my city and needed a 30 minute ride on the school bus through a not-so-smooth terrain. I’ve motion sickness and hence, everyday I used to vomit in the bus towards the end of the trip. Everybody in the bus wanted to sit away from me. In that crowded ‘green’ bus, I was in no competition of popularity … everyone knew me as the ‘vomiting boy’.  Everyday I used to think … “today I won’t vomit”… “may I not vomit today” … “hey bhagwaan, aajh nahi“. Something in me never lets me lose hope, everyday I would think that ‘today is going to be the start of the day when I would stop vomiting’. Everyday I would imagine that finally there would be a day, when all these people would give up their desire to sit away from me.

There started to be some rare days finally when I would not vomit, but the crowd would anyways push me to the back end of the bus near the conductor’s gate where there was some space where, it was suggested that it is easy to clean that part of the bus.

I recall our trio Kunal (Kishore?), Danish (Khan?) and myself. we would read out the spelling of ATLAS which was a bicycle advertisement written all over the place on the way to our school. Teachers who shared the bus would get irritated but there was a fun element in that too.

Once Danish and myself went on the top of a place in the playground meant for jumping from a height. It was adequately cushioned with sand at the bottom. we both were afraid to jump from there; but after a promise to each other, we decided to jump on the count of 3, we both started counting 1, 2 , 3 ; and I jumped … Danish did not. In the air, out of fear my pants got wet. Then and Now… my fear of height has never gone away (they may not be correlated though). When I saw that he had not jumped, I was childishly offended by his breaking of promise. Now, I think, his fear might have taken over at the moment of jumping, but probably, to avoid admitting that, he instead said, “am I a fool to jump from here? I just wanted to see if you could jump”.

I recall our class was sitting for an exam and for some reason my pencil lid kept breaking, I had a sharpener, but in those days, it was normal for us to own only one pencil. I tried re-sharpening it several times, only to find another broken lid. I was scared that if I am unable to write I would fail the exam. (I don’t recall why I didn’t tell the teacher in the class that I needed a pencil) But I kept telling my bench-mate ‘Nirmal’ to share his pencil with me. But obviously he did not want to lose the time while I would write with his pencil. (we all used to have just one pencil for writing). Dripping with fear, I suggested Nirmal that he can break his pencil from middle and then I can sharpen the other half and use it for my writing. But he said that “Mummy will get angry with me, if I break my pencil; why don’t you sharpen your pencil again, it will work”. The memory of the moment and the fear is almost vivid even today. The teacher in that class room finally walked up to my bench to ask as to why I was talking to my neighbor again and again. I was about to cry, but I did not share my situation with the teacher. I stopped asking Nirmal for ‘the-half’ of his pencil after the teacher questioned me. I don’t recall what happened next, but I remember that I did not fail the exam. My deep wanting that Nirmal should have given me half of his pencil, left me with a certain impression for ever. I start feeling guilty when I find myself with something — even half extra — if I see another person lacks it.

The number of seats in the bus was much less than the number of people it used to take up. Hence, every inch of the bus space where someone could stand was put to use. It is an accepted wisdom all across human race that the one who comes first gets it first, so it happened in the bus-seats too. On our way back to home from school, I recall some ‘big boys’ would push the ‘small boys’ out of the seat, in order to get a seat.
I think that it was not for the comfort of sitting, but for proving the manliness and acquiring what one wants. I too attempted to do so(even as a kid, these feelings exits!!) at times using the tool of argument that ‘I came first to this seat’. At times, my argument would be pushed aside with the manly force of somebody who was a little bigger. I was never good at physical fight. Sometimes, some seniors in the bus would defend our case from their friends. I was so impressed by those seniors, that I slowly started attempting to get involved into any seat pushing event in the bus and would start arguing on behalf of the one who was sitting there first. I had not realized that the assertiveness of the seniors got accepted because they were ‘seniors’. I would almost always lose. I recall standing on the footsteps of my green-bus and looking down at at my (small) body and thinking that “once I grow up, I will make sure that nobody gets pushed out of his seat”. At that age (~ Class 4), I thought that, once I grow a year or two older I will become one of those who manage to push aside anybody; but I was naive not to think that by that time, those boys too would be 2 years bigger by that time.
I am 30 years old now, things of this kind still happen, no respite; and I have done little to stop it. At least, honestly, I could have done a little more towards it.

All of the above happened by or before I reached Class 4 in school.

Finally, in standard 5, I got admitted to Chinmaya Vidyalaya which was closer to my home; the daily bus-torture came to an end. I was in love with the school. I found myself getting more attention. I felt awkward about why there should be 2 days of Saturday and Sunday when the school had to close. My first bench-mate in Chinmaya was Jasmine. She was a very good person and even allowed me to copy her notes as she copied it from the blackboard. My vision was weak and I was unable to see the blackboard from the back-benches. In Holy Cross, I was allotted a fixed front row because I complained about not being able to see, but in Chinmaya there was a rule that the student’s position would change every day giving everybody an opportunity to sit in the front row. Till then I used to think that everybody just sees like me and that there is a very small variation in the ability to see because of which Jasmine could see the blackboard and I could not. I assumed that to be normal, like the little differences of facial features and height.

There’s so much thought that is streaming into my mind, but I guess I will end this post here and would make another set of entries to finish this short-autobiography.


Parliament’s breach of privilege! : Team Anna

While thinking of politicians, I get reminded of a kavi sammelan where I heard the poet say :I am Anna
“जब हम बचे थे, तीनो भाई बोल कर लड़ते थे,
माँ मेरी है, माँ मेरी है, माँ मेरी है ,
अब माँ बूढ़ी हो गयी और हम बड़े हो गए,
हम तीनो भाई बिना बोले लड़ते हैं ,
माँ तेरी है, माँ तेरी है, माँ तेरी है”

Its common that on being cheated a friend says to the other “yaar, tu to politician ho gaya“. Even school children in their drama and skids put a politician in the role of a cunning person who lacks morality.

Technically the Parliament may be equipped to punish people who mock parliamentarians, but who all would it punish, the school children, the poets or every other citizen who takes no exception in stating that the only time when we hear sanity from our parliamentarians is before elections.

Mr. Sita Ram Kesari in an open letter written to the then Prime minister Mr. Deve Gowda called him Nikamma and there was a entire debate in the parliament with the prime minister holding this letter in his hand and responding to the letter point-by-point. The debate can be found at the parliament’s official website at this link. There was no breach of privilege notice to him ! How can the parliament be partial to the citizens it represents ? If Mr. Sita Ram Kesari did not violate anything by calling our Prime minister Nikamma, then what wrong was done by members of Team Anna ?

To the TV show anchors discussing this event from the comfort of their studio, the acting by Kiran ji or the words used by Arvind ji may appear unpolite, but one needs to put oneself in the perspective to understand the actions.

The nation witnessed Anna’s fast entering its … 9th day, 10th day, 11th day… Do you already feel something ? Aren’t your red blood cells becoming more red ?
Isn’t there a few molecules of  H­­2O starting to populate a corner somewhere ?
A parliament which cannot feel this does not represent me.

On the view of anything edible, the eyes were attempting to drown itself, in its self created H­­2O.
On hearing ‘Anna’, the body hair attempted to rise, grab and shake the people sitting in the parliament.
One needs to have some metal to be in the sun in Ramlila ground, and stand through all this. Team Anna bravely stood through this. I dismiss the comments of TV news anchors who fail to reflect this sentiment of the nation.

During this witnessing, if a few of the words said sounded un-polite, our parliamentarians should not make an issue out of it. I would have expected even from a simple high-school educated person to see the words in perspective and show more maturity than this.

Kiran Bedi later admitted that “it is not my grain” to have acted like that. Om Puri said that he got emotional which made him use those words. What else do they expect ? The more this issue is pulled, more dirt will fly from under the carpet of our Parliament and it is in the best interest of the later to give up on the issue and take the occasion to gauge people’s temper. As Mr. Arun Jaitely said in the parliament, this was a wake-up call not just for the Government but thhear me or I will get loudere entire parliament as a whole to get sensitive to the call of the people. If our parliament loses this opportunity of self inspection and instead indulges in throwing stones on the eye-openers, history will hold the current day parliamentarians responsible to demeaning Parliament and the honor of parliamentary democracy. The parliament needs to hear the words which are already saying that “hear us, or we will speak louder”

First hand experience: Anna in Ramlila

The following was sent to me by a dear friend who is stationed in Delhi and happened to join the protest by Anna Hazare against corruption. A few parts of it are written in hinglish, and hence may not be understood if you don’t know Hindi.
Today I went to ramleela maidan. It was an awesome experience.
Initially, when I left home, I was a bit doubtful about the kind of crowd I would get there and lil worried if I would land up in any trouble.But then, socha ki jub ye kam karna hai to karna hai. 2-3 doston ko call lagaya but nobody was ready to accompany me. Phir akela nikal pada. And when I entered the venue, i realised that I made an excellent decision 🙂
Venue k entrance mein lambi line. Still the crowd followed the queue and behaved in a very disciplined manner (amazing na.. especially for delhi 😛 ). There were no lousy comments, no misbehaviour and no rush. It was very well orgainsed.
Inside, in the venue, I found people of all ages. School children, small kids with their parents, college students, newly married couples  (ofcourse, you can make out with the heap of bangles they wear 🙂 ) and senior citizens. The crowd was from all sections of society and there wer equal participation from men and women. Ofcourse I could not see daily wage earners. And yes, also goons kind of people were not there (never know if any wolf is there in sheep’s skin). In short the venue was safe for families and especially for women. I heard from a volunteer that there were people from intelligence and crime prevention team who are within the primises in civil clothes.
There was mat spread on the ground to sit and  there was a shade overhead to safeguard from rain/sun. Crowd was cheering on every pro Anna comments and booing on every anti Cong/Politicains/Govt. Volunteers were distributing biscuits and water. Sight was full of tri-colour flag and air was full of “Vande Mataram” and “Inqulab Zindabad” The energy level was quite high and was constantly boosted by the speeches of the few gentlemen over there. Today the Delhi Medical Association also joined the campaign. The atomsphere got charged up ..infact electrifying …when Kiran Bedi, Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Shanti Bhushan took the stage and addressed the press (press meet organised everyday at 6pm). Finished by almost 6:45 pm. At 7:30 pm when I left the place, hundreds of people were still getting into the venue. It is certainly a mass movement.
The reason I wrote all these is because, there might be people like me, who wanted to go but are in a bit of haste… just considering how every political rally is. But honestly, this is totally different. And one must visit it, even for half an hour. Surely they will not leave the venue before 2 hrs. At the end they will be glad that they visited the place. Most importantly, now.. more than ever.. it is the count that matters. And now it is our responsibility to get this bill passed and implemented. Also, the team which took the pain of drafting this bill, should know that their effort would not go waste.
Ask all yours friends in Delhi to join this movement and atleast be there tomorrow and on monday (both the days are holiday in delhi). What I wrote, is a first hand experience.

Happy New Year … नववर्षाभिनन्दनम्

Greetings for the new year.

Amongst the common masses in India at several places, the culturally celebrated new year happens to be around mid-march, when the new month starts in March with a full moon. It is marked by a festival called Holi, commonly known as the festival of colors by the world.

In ancient days, all over the world, March (the vernal equinox in late March) was taken as the beginning of the new year. The day of new year was of special astronomical importance since this contained the time when the earth’s axis was exactly parallel to the sun and on equator the length of day would be almost the same as the length of night. This event happens twice a year(spring equinox and autumn equinox).

In 45 B.C. the Roman empire started using Julian Calender which was constituted by Julius Caesar on suggestions of astronomer Sosigenes. It came into affect from 1st of January. January derives its name after the Greek God Janus, which has two heads and can see both front(ahead) and back(past) and hence was chosen to be the first month by the then empire based on the prevalent practices of that time.

In around 1582 B.C.E Gregorian calender was adapted which further added some modifications hence making the calender year to be 365 days rather than 355 days in Julian Calender.

If we follow the meanings of the months, they testify a wonderful “coincidence” :

December  : das + amber [दस – अम्बर  (the 10th sky)]
November : nav + amber [नव – अम्बर (the 9th sky)]
October      : asht + amber [अष्ट – अम्बर (the 8th sky)]
September: sapt + amber [सप्त – अम्बर (the 7th sky)]
August  : oops ! [(in Greek) Sextilis: the 6th month)]  (… reason follows)
July : [Quintis: (in Greek) the 5th month]

The name of of the 6th month used to be Sextilis, which was changed to August, in honor of the then Roman Emperor Julius Augustus. Similarly the 5th month July, gets its name from Julius Caesar. July was earlier called Quintis, which stands for ‘the 5th month’.  February stands for the ‘the last offering’ or the expiatory month. which also implies that March was going to be the first month.

Infact when the Roman senate changed the name of the 6th month to August, it used to be a month with 30 days(as per the Julian calender), but giving the reason that if the month by the name of Augustus was only 30 days while the month by the name of Julius having 31, the generations to come would believe that Augustus was lesser in his greatness than Julius in some way. Hence they changed the number of days in August also to 31. They further reduced the number of days in September from 31 to 30, in order to not have three consecutive months with 31 days. Further to compensate for this extra day, the number of days in February was reduced further to make it 28 (from the then 29).

I started writing this in March and my apologies for finishing this article only today.


ए वीर धरा के जाग जरा ,
चीत्कार कहाँ से आती है .
इस देश के आन पे मिटने को ,
भारत माँ तुझे बुलाती है

… भारत स्वाभिमान दल

The center of world (via Abhinav Bharat)

The center of world I was around 13-14 years old. I used to get mesmerized by the sound of flowing river. A small river named Garga used to be my favorite spot. Once while wandering near the river I decided to sit on a stone. While sitting like a person who has forgotten what he was looking for just a while ago. I was aimlessly looking on all sides of where I was and then …I suddenly felt special. …  Exalted I noticed …  "oh !  look, this place, right here is … Read More

via Abhinav Bharat