Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

164. Irony

Sometime in 1980:
I pull five two rupees notes from my bag. I count them twice.

Last week, I have received the scholarship amount. My friends have asked for a party. It is supposed to be a lavish party. We will be having Cream Roll with cup of tea. A cup of tea costs twenty five paisa and Cream Roll costs about twenty paisa each. There would be nine friends with me. I calculate the amount. Five rupees would be sufficient. However I am keeping additional five rupees. I come out of room and my mind starts asking questions. Should I not carry more money with me? If by chance someone wants to eat Idlee or instead of tea wants coffee, I will need more money. I run upstairs. There are only coins. I count five more rupees; lead my friends towards the hotel in the corner. My pocket is heavy with coins and heart happy to be able to treat friends.

All these nine are my good friends. I know that if I need a loan of a rupee or two, one of them would certainly oblige me.

Sometimes in 1990:
I am leaving Mumbai. I have submitted statement of accounts to the office. I have no personal bank account, so there is no question of clearing and closing the account. One of my friends had bought a train ticket for me which will take me out of Mumbai. But I don’t know how I am going to manage my expenditure. I have to certainly start from scratch, but where does that particular spot lie I am not sure.

We are at Dadar station. My train leaves at 8.00 in the night. Many of my friends have come to see me off. The train moves slowly. One of my friends hands me an envelope through the window. The train has gained speed, so I don’t have time to ask what the envelope is for.  It must be a farewell letter – I think. I sit quietly – thinking about Mumbai and thinking about clueless future. After an hour or so, I open the envelope; there are grand new four fifty rupee notes and nothing else. I smile. At least, I don’t have to start from a scratch.

I can tell you story after story.

However, I am aware that your story might as well fit into this narration.

Now I carry ATM cum Debit card with me and don’t have to carry cash. But still one never knows whether the ATM would be functional or not. So, I still prefer the old way. I check my wallet; there are few five hundred rupee notes. I don’t know whether amongst strangers if I need help, will there be someone in these strange parts of the country?

I sigh. And I withdraw some more money – just to feel secure and safe!

I won’t say that with lesser money I was happier. But the converse is also not true. I mean, I am not happier because of more money! I was not unhappy because I had no money  - for me happiness and money were never really related. 

I have realized that many of our happy moments have nothing to do with money. In the midst of happiness, one does forget all such things as money, possessions, relations, success… The moment of happiness is very peculiar and it is not bound by any such material aspects of life.

For that one moment, we all strive to do our best in material life (that is making money) – that is the irony, which amazes me. I am sure it will always amuse me.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

163. World of JH

Oscar is a socialite. He likes to attend various social meetings in the town.
When the door is left open, Hamish runs away from the surgery and sits patiently waiting after reaching home.
Judy the nurse, dutifully watches everyone. She is always there to attend the ill.
Gertrude gulps two gallons of beer.
Bobby is a picture of massive muscle power.
Skipper is stunned by the death of Jingo and almost gives up his life too, only to be revived by presence of another young one in the family.
She is hiding her new-born baby.

What am I talking about?
Last few days, after reaching home from, I did not do anything but spent my time with those whom I have mentioned above.  
It does not matter that Oscar is a cat, which was found by a girl and brought to surgery.
I forget that Hamish is a Dog of a retired school teacher.
I have not mentioned that Judy is Eric Abbot’s sheepdog taking care of ill bullock and small chickens.
Gertrude is sow who has is just not allowing her newly born baby’s to come near her. The baby’s would die if it the mother continues to behave so.
Bobby is a splendid horse belonging to Mr. Mount.
Skipper and Jingo are two dogs.
There are not only cats, dogs, cows, horses, pigs.
There are interesting human beings as well.

Who would forget Tristan’s pranks? And his brother Siegfried?
The benevolent Mr. Barge with his Soothitt; Mr. Hollin the farmer with traditional wisdom; Mr. Mount with probing grey eyes; the overconfident Mr. Seth Pilling who had to eat his words; Mrs. Ridge who was happy even when her car was stolen because her dog Joshua barked at the thief; how lonely James feel along with number 87 of Mr. Blackburn; Paul Cotterell who appears so strong and James thinks that nothing touches Paul deeply.. how he commits suicide after his dog Theo had to be put to rest;    how blindness of dog Digger helps Andrew to come out of the dark phase of life…

There are stories after stories. Enchanting stories of the world of Darrowby .. World of Yorkshire.
As seen by James Herriot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

162. Confusion

I had two interesting conversations today.
In the office early morning, the peon brought me a cup of tea.
 I smiled. Generally he smiles and moves away.
But today he did not move. He is a young lad – maybe in his 20s. He works on daily wages here. Not much of education and being on his first job, he does not have much exposure.
I realized that he was standing there. So, I asked him, “You want anything?”
“Madamjee, can you give me a suit?” he asked.
I was baffled.
“Suit?” I asked. “What do you mean?”
“A set of your old clothes”, he explained nervously.
I was still confused.  It took time for me to understand what he was saying. But why did he need it?
Then I asked, “Do you have a young sister?”
“Yes”, he was happy that finally I had been wise enough.
He needed one set of my used clothes for his sister.
I said, “I will give it to you tomorrow.”
He smiled and went away.
In the evening I went to see a very senior government official. After 35 years of service he retired today.  We sometimes used to chat and many times I had asked him to write memoirs 'after retirement'. Our relationship is not ‘boss –subordinate’ type; but of mutual respect.
There were many people in his room. He was obviously busy. But still he smiled and said “Hello” to me.
I sat on one of the chairs and enjoyed the conversation regarding his financial arrangements.
I wished him happy retired life. However,  I knew he was taking on another assignment – a high profile one.
I asked, “Where are you going, Sir?”
He was confused. He looked at me and then looked at his watch. It was almost 6.30 in the evening.
Then he smiled and said, “I am going home.”
Now it was my turn to be confused. I clarified, “No Sir, I mean which job you will be taking now?”
“Oh, that is what you are asking!”  He laughed and told me.
Two conversations.
With two different human beings.
With difference in age, education, experience, social status ….
I have different relationships with these two – though I claim those to be egalitarian; the understanding of the term is different for both these persons.
But confusion was common.
Is confusion integral part of  me? Does it reside within ME? 
Do I tend to use words without touching its depth? Do I use words superficially?
Is it better to be silent than to speak or write constantly?
Somehow, I feel that silence always (almost always) creates more confusion especially when the topic is very trivial. Better to speak out even when I need to clarify …
In critical matters, words create more confusion – there silence works better.
But how do I decide what is trivial and what is critical?
The confusion remains.