INSIGHTFUL TALKS, QUIRKY WRITINGS ON INDIA…
Amblingindian nuggets on life- on time

Amblingindian nuggets on life- on time

  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...
A happy mother’s day

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...
The BMTC bus ride

The BMTC bus ride

  A BMTC* 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...

This land- our own?

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.. dont 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...
Money, the new mirage…

Money, the new mirage…

Is money a mirage? Well, possibly so, especially if you were an Indian or a foreigner visiting India anytime this week. You may have been rich, with a wad of notes you thought, but only to find, on the 8th of Nov, that they turned completely useless.  And so, with one stroke, also being labelled the masterstroke, Modi decided to “demonetise” the currency.  And what did that mean for the billions of people who trusted him with their vote to revolutionise the country ; energise the economy? All it meant was that people were left completely helpless and the economy stumbled. The ordinary people, the aam aadmis; and aurats that is. They did not have wads of cash to fret over. They did not have sleepless nights over demonitisation. They had harrowing days, of  standing in queues to get a small stash of Rs.100 notes- now the only legal tender, just to go about their daily business . Their business of life; of working hard and earning honestly. But, what did they get for all their honest work? Just more pain. Small traders suffered, customers could not pay – they had no legal currency on them; only Rs.500 notes that were useless.  Sick people suffered, they did not have legal tender to buy medicines, travellers suffered, they were carrying only the old Rs. 500 notes and had no way to exchange them except at banks where queues were serpentine. Foreign tourists suffered, they had no legal cash at all, no way to withdraw a decent sum from the ATMS ( for the cash limit at ATS, where cash was available if...
The Season of Change

The Season of Change

The season of change ———————————————————————————————   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. Certainly, me thinks, no...