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, July 14, 2012

176. Right Question

When I read the notice about a Panel Discussion, initially I just ignored it. 
Then I saw that RB was going to chair it, I noted down the date and the time. 
I respect RB though I do not know him personally. I had listened to him a couple of times and had liked his talks. So, I decided to go for it. 

And I could make it as was planned. 

Before the panel speakers started the presentation, RB announced that all questions would be taken up for discussion in the end. He appealed that all those who had questions to ask to panelists should write those on a piece of paper. the small pieces of paper were circulated. 

I was amazed to see a number of people from the audience writing enthusiastically and handing over the piece of paper to the volunteers. I was wondering how people can have so many questions to ask. It was bit ridiculous of me to think so as I too keep on asking many questions. The only difference is I ask questions to myself and they were asking it to others. Maybe, I am too egoistic to admit my ignorance. RB was going through all those questions that kept on coming to him. 

The panelists shared their ideas one by one. RB summarized the discussion. He was brilliant as usual and did a lot of value addition that the 'Chair' is supposed to do and by thanking everyone he declared 'end of the session'. 

The audience was stunned. One of the volunteers rushed to him and spoke something to him. I was sure and everybody else was sure that the volunteer must have reminded him of the questions people had asked. 

RB smiled. He nodded. He closed his eyes for a moment and seemed to lost in some kind of thoughts. Then the usual peace returned to him and he spoke calmly. He said, " Thanks .... (abc) for reminding me about those questions. I have read all those questions. None of those was a question. I invited questions and not comments, not your ideas. However, all those were comments. I kindly request you to learn to ask Right Questions. That is very important when we are seeking answers sincerely."

There was complete silence. Those who had written questions must have been hurt with the gross insult. But everybody kept quiet. 

Asking the Right Questions!!
Well, that is what I need to learn.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

175. Two Minutes

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 29; the 29th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'TWO MINUTES'.
Veer Bhadra Sing is sitting in the courtyard. He is just sitting. He has been doing nothing else but sitting and waiting. The Sunlight is warm and he is enjoying it. It reduces the cold that is entering into his bones. He is waiting for what?

Since when is he sitting alone like this? For how long - he does not remember. It seems that for ages, he is just sitting there; waiting something to happen. If someone asks him ‘what he wants to happen’- he will not be able to say anything. He has not spoken to anyone for a long time. Rather he wants to talk to but there is no one around.

The other day some people came to his home and asked many questions. He could follow only half of them and could answer very few of them.  They were asking about his age. How could he tell that? He is old – that much anybody can see. He has lost his wife long ago and his two sons died due to some illness. His daughters (two? or three?) were married to boys in nearby villages but he has not seen any one of them lately. Have they all died? – He does not know. Now only two of his grandsons are there; who come to village occasionally. They never send him any money. Maybe, they too are poor like him- he thinks.

Those unknown people were also asking about his home, his land, whether he has TV and what not. He wondered whether they could not see themselves that he is poor and he is hungry. He has nothing in home to cook for. Earlier his neighbors used to give him a rotee and subjee – they in their own way used to take care of him. But now they too have grown old. Veer Bhadra Sing has not seen any of them for many days now. He is not sure whether they are dead or alive.

Hunger is spreading in his veins. He wants to eat something – anything. He closes his eyes. He smells Chawal and Daal. He smells hot rotee and his favorite baingan subjee. Aroma of hot tea hits his nostrils. His lips make an involuntary movement to sip that tea only to realize that he is sitting alone and hungry.

Everything around seems deserted at first glance. Then Veer Bhadra Sing realizes that he has lost his vision and hence cannot see what is happening around. He has not been able to hear anything. Maybe the world around is as colorful and as live as was in his young days – only his capacity to experience that world has diminished. Only if somebody spends two minutes with him now and then, things would change! But alas! Nobody seems to have two minutes to spare for him.

Suddenly Veer Bhadra Sing realizes that he is waiting for death. But the Lord of Death is a brute. He visits those who do not want him. And those who want him to come and pick them up, he invariably makes them  wait.

Veer Bhadra Sing feels helpless. He wants to die, he desperately wants to die.

“Sir, a case of hunger death”, Nitin calls his news editor.

“Well, what is it?” news editor has no time for more details.

“Sir, I am in village Ashoh, district Banda i.e. Chitrakut district in Uttar Pradesh. A man has apparently died of hunger.” Nitin continues.

“Man, cut it short. Tell me one thing. Is it significant?” News editor.

New editor has not time. He is working in a ‘cut throat competition’ environment. He is weary of this young generation recruits who think that media coverage can bring in social change.

“Sir, he was an old man. Apparently he was alone; nobody to take care of him.” Nitin is not stopping at all.
“Old man! What caste he belongs to?” news editor asks.
“Caste? Sir….. Well, I do not know.” Nitin is suddenly apologetic. “But Sir, this shows our apathy to old people. Does it mean once people cross their productive age; we should just let them die? What is government doing – with crores of rupees being spent on ‘old age pension’ scheme? What are NGOs doing? What is society doing?” Nitin continues.
“Listen Nitin. You have a 30 second byte”, News Editor is clear of his priorities.

“Sir.. but listen … “ Nitin wants to say something.
“If you get caste of the man, if you get political equations covered in right manner, you will get two minutes, two full minutes.” News Editor emphasizes.
“Come back to me in five minutes”, barks News Editor.

Nitin is aghast.
Two minutes!
Nitin thinks bitterly of his profession, of the insensitivity of his clan, of his compulsions to be part of the rat race, of his ruthlessness ….

He overcomes his weakness. This is an opportunity for him, he can’t waste it.
Nitin knows that two minutes’ byte would give him a break. He has to catch those worthy two minutes which might turn out to be the greatest moment in his short career. This will help him to grab better job.

He turns around to the crowd and throws questions at them.
The aim is clear: 
Make a story worthy of Two Minutes. 
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