Saturday, October 20, 2007

Off to Bharat

My next blog shall come after ten days. The reason is that we are going to see the real India, that is its villages. I shall be going to a village in Tonk district, Rajasthan.

It is not that I have never seen a village. My grandparents lived in a village and I used to go there every year. But this time it shall be different. We will try to understand functioning of development programs, caste dynamics, delivery of services etc.

Before going there I wish to put what I expect a village to be like. It would be fun to see after coming back if all this is true.

1. The caste will be a dominant factor in village.
2. Since the village is in Rajasthan, there will be problem of water.
3. Women will be in Purdah and more backward than males.
4. The school teacher must not be coming regularly.
5. The actual functioning and statistics on paper of development programs will be different.

Well these are only my naive perceptions. I will be happy if the village has mobile signals. Not because my mobile will be functioning, but that shall be a sign of perculation of development. Anyways I have to rush now.

Wait for the details of ‘Bharat’ till I come back

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Tip

The noises were too loud to be ignored. Though he had slept hardly for an hour, Raju could no longer continue his sleep. His landlord had come again, demanding the rent. This was becoming the routine from last seven months, when his father passed away. He was frustrated by the naggings of his landlord, milkman and the person who had given them a small debt.

His father was a taxi driver, and when he was alive they had a comfortable life. If you are thinking what comforts a driver can give, you come from a different piece of land. Isn’t having an assured meal without any worries a big comfort. No one knew it better than Raju.

But one accident changed his life. His father died on the spot and his family was given one thousand rupees in all to forget about the case. Raju whose life till now revolved around cards and friends became the sole bread earner of the family.

He adapted well with the change. Raju’s father had taught him driving long ago, after seeing his disasters in studies. So Raju got a job as a driver, by the 'generosity' of his father’s employer, albeit at half the salary. He worked really hard and no one could have imagined Raju like this when his father was alive.

Now he had to save money, save the family from continuous naggings of everyone and also put together some money for his sister who was already fourteen. Adding to this, even the health of his mother was deteriorating.

So Raju was saving in all the ways he could. He ate with half the money that his employer gave him, stopped having his ‘pan masala’ and took any additional job that came in the way.

One day he was sent to get a carwash. There was a carwash market, which had tens of shops bustling with activity. The fixed rate was forty rupees and that was what his master gave him. But Raju decided to bargain. He tried in many shops, hassled with shopkeepers, argued with them and then found one who agreed to do it in thirty. That shall enable him to save complete ten rupees.

This was going to be the way in which all his dreams will get fulfilled. Why is it not possible that he will own a fleet of taxis on day? Even if a fleet is not there, he may be able to drive his own taxi. His father always said that fortunes are built by meager savings.

Lost in his dreams, he was watching the ten year old boy washing the car. Thin as a kite, the boy had to apply all his strength to remove the car stains. He was wearing torn clothes and a big talisman on his arm. He must have been from the fleet of young boys who came to the cities from villages to get some work. There must be a family back home that was waiting for the wages of this boy.

When the work was done, Raju came and sat in his car, his dreams somewhat disturbed. He started the car but then he noticed the hollows around the eyes of this young boy. He could not move on.

He called the boy and gave him ten rupees tip.

PS: This story is almost based on a real incident. Humanity keeps on amazing me!

News for you all, my raft got toppled while River rafting. I drank at least 2 lts of Ganges water, had many up and downs in river rapids and was finally rescued after three minutes which seemed like a lifetime. Now I think I should put adventure sports to the backseat for sometime.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I cannot resist this anymore, so here is this blog.

There are things that I want to share but they will not fit into anything specific. Why always look for order when chaos can be equally beautiful. So I decided to dedicate one blog to my unspecific, yet according to me interesting thoughts.

The first thing is about Catch-22. Not exactly the novel, but the phrase. Look around and nearly all the time we are in Catch-22 situations. I will give you examples.

One of my close friends said that each one in our friend circle is simple and good at heart. So they will be perfect for their girlfriends. But since all of us are simple and good at heart; almost no one has a girlfriend. A perfect Catch-22 situation.

Another one is about the LBS academy. The faculty here wants us to be frank and open in discussions. But they also want our behavior to be officer like. So anything that is ‘frank and open’ can be dubbed as unofficerlike and vice versa. I bet bureaucracy will have maximum Catch-22 situations.

Now I want to share something else. I know I look ‘almost’ alright or I like to believe this. The truth is I do not see mirror quite often. But when I have to get my haircut, I am made to stare in the mirror for complete 15 minutes. I keep on saying to myself ‘Gosh! you are not good’. The image in the mirror looks to be a stranger and those 15 minutes look like a lifetime.

I feel like this ghazal ‘Mere desh me, mere bhes me, koi aur tha, koi aur hai’ (In my land, in my dress up, there was someone else, there is someone else).

And to end this something that amazed me, a sort of discourse on God. Let us assume that God exists and since he is God he is omnipotent. As he is omnipotent, he should be able to do everything in this world.

Now can he create a stone which he cannot lift? If no, then he is not omnipotent hence not God. If yes, then since he cannot lift the stone he is not omnipotent hence not God. Well no conclusions from my side……..

In case you now want a statement from me now about my religious beliefs, I am somewhat between an agnostic and a theist.

PS: The ‘adventure’ at LBSNAA continues. After having rock climbing this weekend, we are going for River rafting and Para-sailing on the coming sat-sun, though I reserve my take on my interest in adventure :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Prisoners of the Past

She had really loved Abhay. It was just a three week affair. They had met in a party and things clicked as they normally do in fairy tales. He was the perfect sort of guy she had imagined. When a lifetime also turns out to be less to know a person, they decided that there is no reason why they should not get married.

That was the beginning of problems . Her parents were against it, his parents were against it, adding to it even Abhay looked indecisive. When she got an accusing call from Abhay’s parents, having all that stuff about fooling their son; and he was still not ready to come in her support, she called it quit.

Never again, she would do such a thing to herself; she would never fall in love; it was a promise she made to herself. She decided to spend all her time in work, so as to forget the past, so as to forget herself. Being a workaholic was fun. Somehow she loved lines of a song ‘Ye Shehar Bhoola Mujhe, main bhi ise bhool gaya.’

While working she was assigned a project with another colleague of her, Dhruva. He was a different kind of person. By different she meant the kinds whose heart remain pure and unadulterated by this world. He was….what she should say….simple. The beauty of simplicity can be appreciated only if you find one.

She liked talking with him. He never asked probing questions, he never gave suggestions. She could just be herself with him. Things started turning out good. She started sharing all her thoughts with him, even the darkest corners of her mind about Abhay. She was scared of that, but Dhruva surprisingly made it all easier for her. He made her believe all that happened was none of her fault.

They liked spending time together. She tried everything she wanted to do, but had never done. One day they drank together. After that they chatted, laughed, cried, watched stars and were awake till dawn. That day she sat calmly, feeling a sense of serenity she missed for years, keeping her head on his shoulders.

Next day, for some reason she was confused. Something inside her was seeking answers. She explained to herself, Dhruva was just a friend, he would never have those feelings for her.

That day again Abhay called. Though it was just a friendly call, he did not forget to mention his plans of marriage and how good his fiancé was. In a way he blamed her for everything that went wrong. She did not say anything to him, just tried to be composed.

But after an hour it became unbearable. She was no longer able to remain alone. She wanted to scream, to smash her head on the wall. Then she called Dhruva. When he was there, she did not say anything to him. She just said I want to hug you. She hugged him and remained like that for more than an hour. No, not a word was whispered. They just went out on a long drive that day.

After that, it became difficult for her to remain without meeting Dhruva for a day. They were together most of the time. Yes, she repeated to herself he was just a friend, he must never have thought anything about her.

And then it happened. Dhruva’s eyes were saying something from many days which she chose to ignore, or never wanted to believe. But one day when she asked him, his reply was simple. He smiled and said; I love you.

But, she did not accept, she did not refuse. She was angry that he did this when he knew that she wanted never to fall in love again. She was happy because she never thought that she was worth him. But then she did not want things to change.

After that day she did not ask him anything again, she dared not to. She just pretended that nothing has happened and things continued.

As far as I know, the status is still the same.

PS: Please do tell me what you think will happen in future. And do I need to tell that I was nowhere involved in this story :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Journey worth Lifetime

The weather was bad from some days. But we had to start at 6 in the morning. The previous night was cold, and if you slept in a tent in your sleeping bags, you can actually feel how painful cold can be.

After walking for an hour, heavy rains came. The wind made sure that none of us could escape being wet or having a taste of the low temperature that may have been just above zero. When you are in such a situation and the destination is still ten hours away you realize what difficulties in life can be.

It was tough and we walked for ten hours in continuous rains in a steep uphill terrain. That day we realized that human endurance is much more than we believe it to be and one has to go out of his comfort zones to discover his limits. It’s the mental strength that matters more than physical.

So friends I am back from the trek, again alive and well, albeit 2 Kg. less and somewhat darker by sunburns. How do I describe my trek; …………well I can find no words for it. Let me take help of pictures.

In a village midway

Inside the Tent

Just a pose

Trying hands at meditation

We walked for nearly 140 Km in 7 days. Everyday the team started early in the morning and kept walking for entire day. It was demanding, it was tiring but yes it was enjoyable. Many things happened for the first time in my life. I saw ice on mountains and I felt the chilling water of stream coming direct from glacier. For the first time in my life, I was above a rainbow.

A Rainbow below us

Crossed many streams like this

Swargarohini Peak

The valleys we walked in

The entire team

Landslide area

And what did we learn during trek. That nothing should be taken for granted in life, even bathrooms, in literal sense. I made many records and one was how to keep going without taking a bath for 4 days in a row, actually there was no option to.

For nine days, we craved for good food, electricity, beds, and leave mobile phones we craved for just one PCO to send message back home. But we enjoyed a lot too. The first night began with cards and a game of bluff. It gave way to ghost stories and plank chit, the effect of which was intense courtesy the lone forest guest house in a dense jungle. After that we had rounds of palmistry. In the end it went on to match making and ensuring that all team members get a bride or groom.

You tend to become philosophical in difficulties. Trek looked very promising in the beginning but it was full of obstacles. The same is with life. We are enthusiastic when we begin but during the journey, life becomes difficult and far from the dreams. But when you look back with hindsight, you say both look good.

I realized once again that I loved my family, I loved my friends. I missed making just one call to them to say that I am well, to hear the same from them.

So the experience cannot be termed being good or bad,its beyond words. I have more memories of last nine days than I have of last nine months. I enjoyed it but if you ask if I want to go for it again, my reply is no, at least for now. It was a kind of experience that one may want only once.

To put in simpler terms, it was a journey worth lifetime.

Faces after nine days of trek