INSIGHTFUL TALKS, QUIRKY WRITINGS ON INDIA…

A BMTC bus ride

A BMTC(local) bus ride! It had been many, many, days since I took a BMTC* bus ride. Not that one doesn’t want to. It’s just that there never seems to be the right combination of available time, a suitable bus route, or leisure that one can find. It just seems so much easier to hop into an auto (and now that Ubers are here, even more so), than wait and take the trouble to get into a bus. It came as a welcome change, when there was the chance to go to Richmond road, which very conveniently , is served by multiple buses on the arterial old airport road. And so, it was the BMTC bus I got into. Not the fancy – airconditioned Vajras, but the regular BMTC ones . The ones that get washed perhaps, once a year. Or maybe its gross exaggeration- more likely to be washed once a month. And having got in, and secured a precious seat ( it was off peak time on Saturday), it was an experience certainly worth its while. For starters, the ride was smooth. No jarring music, no loud mobile phone conversations. Simple folks, looking out of the window, as would be expected in a bus ride.  As it used to be, in the olden days, before the mobiles took over almost every minute of precious existence. I sat there and looked too. And that was what made the bus ride so much more worth the while. I must have travelled along the old airport road at least a thousand times before, but, it was only this time, that...

The joy of Indianness

The joy of Indianness We Indians are a super sensitive lot. Call us poor – how dare you! We will, we will show you, they shouted from the rooftops . And away went the snapchat ratings-right down the tube. Well- calling someone poor- is that wrong? To me, it may be just wrong perception based on some stupid average index. What Snapchat didn’t realise- Indians are superrich, rich, average, below average- just as any other community in the world. There is a vast mix of peoples with an average number that sits somewhat below America. So do people really care? Yes, they do indeed! The Amazons, Tescos, Googles of the world know this allright. When it comes to India- poor is not the right word indeed. It is not the right word at all. It reeks of ignorance. Perhaps the right word, if that were to exist, is “unignorable”. A country that no one can afford to. Be it for tapping into the vastly intelligent employee base, or going by the sheer untapped marketsize, it certainly is “unignorable”. The smart ones – the’ve figured this out long ago. And are well on their way to getting entrenched here. Tescos, Best buy, Target- they are just part of the beeline making its way, standing to enter. For India may be unignorable; but is not easy to get into either. Another word for India maybe “Hard-to-conquer”; as Alexander the great, the Moghuls, and many others knew; many aeons ago. But tried they did- for it was worth the while; the pot of gold that lay within. And as they do even...

A happy mother’s day

A happy mother’s day!    This mother’s day, for some reason, a thought came to mind- what about all the mothers out there who are struggling to feed, bring up and grow their children against all odds- poverty, wars and calamities? What can we do as fellow mothers to make their lives a bit easier? An organisation springs to mind. It is an organisation with a story. Many years back, I read this story and for some reason, it just stayed on in memory( some stories are indeed so powerful). Many more years ago, a lady was running a school in Lucknow, educating poor children. She saw a mother of four breaking a piece of bread into four parts to feed all of them. A piece of bread was all she could afford with her sparse earnings, as a chikankari worker. The middlemen took all the profit. The lady educator realised education was not enough. She took it on, to create a self help group for these women, to create and sell their own chikankari work directly to the buyers. Thus augmenting their income. Over years, the Self help group grew by leaps and bounds, and established itself as a known name for chikankari products. Beautifully embroidered kurtis, sarees, Dupattas and more; mostly sold through exhibitions they hold. Training, advocacy,skill building activities- everything came under their banner. Awards and accolades- including the Bharat Ratna poured in for the lady who started it all ; but the biggest award of all – in my view – is the difference she made to the lives of many mothers and their children, The organisation...

The seeds of Manduka

Amblingindian nuggets on life… ( A story for all ages ) Once upon a time, there was a young man, Manduka, who lived in a prosperous land. The land was fertile, lush green, and they had plenty of water. Manduka was clever, he knew all about trees and vegetation, for he had studied them closely for long. He had grown a medley of fruit trees which burst with fruits all year- mangoes, papayas, chikoos, custard apples, everything you could ask for. It was a place to live and die for. One day, a king from the neighbouring kingdom came to visit. Impressed by the fruit bearing trees, he asked the young man’s father to send Manduka with the seeds to his kingdom. To plant the fruit trees and reap prosperity for his people. He offered them riches in return. Manduka’s father gladly obliged, and tasked Manduka with the job. Over months, Manduka collected a motley mix of seeds. When he had enough, he made a small cloth bundle filled with the seeds, and started off on the journey. The journey was arduos, took many days, and went over hills, forests and valleys. And then he reached. The king welcomed him and gave him a lovely room in the palace. When Manduka woke up, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The place was gorgeous. He was in the midst of undreamt of luxury. Velvet sheets, glimmering mirrors and more. Beautiful birds flew around fearlessly. Manduka enjoyed the luxurious food and drink, the joys of the palace. He got more and more immersed in the luxes of the land, and forgot to...

Blame it on GST !!!

Blame it on GST!!! Over the last many weeks since the much awaited GST regime unfolded and rolled into full gear the amblingindian has been watching with baited breath… Sadly though, after much brouhaha and fanfare of course, bringing extra work to the under-worked civil servants and other civilians it seemed to roll out very quietly, almost like the Y2K prep where people had stockpiled months of food and essential supplies only to find it was a whimper. Nothing really went wrong. And so it happened with the GST, too. Almost nothing went wrong. Pretty smooth it seemed. No newspaper headlines shouting about the darned thing.Even the govt propaganda machinery was quiet this time. LPG seemed to continue ruling the roost as far as billboards went. The billboards almost screamed at you – “N million women got self respect thanks to LPG subsidy give up”. What about the others who lost it b’coz of rapes acid attacks and more? Well, we shall not talk about it now for fear of digressing… Another day for sure. So what about the darned GST then. It seemed to be somewhat amusing; or irritating could be the better word he thinks. The neighbourhood store for want of a better understanding- started billing us for MRP plus GST. No amount of reasoning would prevail for he was too terrified to go under. Until the consumers decided to give him the boycott treatment for a week. And the fear of really going under made him sit up and come back to ground; or GST reality. Thankfully he bills us now at MRP only. And some...