INSIGHTFUL TALKS, QUIRKY WRITINGS ON INDIA…

The season of change

The season of change – Bangalore : July 31,2016     The seasons change. Overnight, the mercury plummets. The rajais , comforters and woollies come out. Seems so typical of nature-to be taking one by complete surprise each time- just two months ago: a hot, arid and unbearable summer, suddenly overtaken by welcome but incessant rain, and then the cold winter months. If the  vagaries of nature weren’t enough , the vagaries of human behaviour also  envelop me with complete surprise.  A season of bandhs descends on Bangalore – almost a dark, cloudy, menace like season  – starting with the BMTC bandh ( a complete stoppage of Bangalore municipal transport buses) , and then moving on to Karnataka Bandh ( a protest against the water tribunal award of river water).  And so a whole week goes by, nothing gained, nothing achieved , but much lost. Kids languishing at home, for all schools have stopped. Commuters held to ransom for going to work. Daily wage workers tightening their belts for losing their livelihood . And it doesn’t stop there. So much more lost, by way of morale, productivity, and common sense. What sense does it make though- to stop work completely because someone is not happy with What they get paid How much water they get from the river water sharing agreement What stops them from walking out of the situation a?  Walk out of the job if unhappy- isn’t that ideal? The Bangalore transport staff are not bonded or wedded to their jobs. Why hold a city to ransom? Cushy government jobs are a privilege for some, not a right....

From demonetisation to demobilisation

From demonetisation to demobilisation… Love it or hate it – Demonetisation in all its glory has spoken . Along with this masterstroke, I wish though, that Mr Modi had created another one. The one of demobilisation. Now what on earth is meant by that big term… de..mobi.. lisation. Putting it in very simple terms- all it means, dear reader- is that- the way Mr Modi, the Indian PM, has stopped people from using cash and pushed them online- I wish, somehow, that he would stop people from using mobiles too, and cajole them towards the written word. In a very non- destructive way that is. No need to burn piles of mobiles here, just ask people to send messages or mails explaining what they want, instead of calling up at all odd times, especially targeting the times that you are brushing your teeth, or having a bath, or having stuffed your mouth with a particularly crunchy piece of food … And  what are you supposed to do when that happens? Pick it up and mumble your way through the conversation with lots of embarassing background noise… Return the call immediately after, by which time the other fellow might have gone for a bath,or be brushing his teeth, or have his mouth full of a pizza slice.. I mean, how, are you supposed to  know , apart from telepathy? Send an sms stating- busy, please message me. To which there will invariably be no reply. Anyway, wasn’t that obvious- the fact that the phone didn’t get picked up meant that the person was busy , right ? But that wouldn’t...

This land, our own

This land- our own? by Aina Rao | Feb 11, 2017 | Every now and then comes a post that shakes you and makes you want to cry. A 2 year old who wants to die as a refugee ?This is so.. unbelievable – it belies belief itself. Who gives us the right to kick others out of a land, a place, a country even? Who are we to call a place our own and not that of others? Who decides what we own? It is very easy to forget that we ourselves are living on borrowed time, on land that has never been ours. We mark our territories thinking and assuming that they belong to us. When in fact nothing is ours for keeps. One fine day, we will leave this earth too.. we have to.. its not ours.. it has never been. To all the bigots out there.. the aces and the trumps.. don’t forget that you are just an insect in the vast expanse of the universe. The walls, the regulations, the restrictions you make, just a creation of your imagination. You think you rule this earth.. Read on..from Kabir, the 16th century saint : ” mati kahe kumbhar se tu kya ronde mohe ik din aisa aiyega mai rondogi tohe” ” Clay says to the potter- are you kneading me today , wait for the day when i will knead you into dust…” Regards Aina Rao www.amblingindian.com Post from CNN below http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-refugees-border-crossing-1.3972374 ———————————————————————————- After the quirky characters- the amblingindians and the blog, here comes… A fun story on India–Bollywood, IITs, IIMs, politics  & more, a...

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...