INSIGHTFUL TALKS, QUIRKY WRITINGS ON INDIA…

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...

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...
The Flavours of Service

The Flavours of Service

The Flavours of Service….   The last week was a different one. I got to taste many flavours of something for the first time. It wasn’t icecream- just something more novel.   The first flavour was at the local Canara bank. Is it imagination or something else. Whenever I walk into.a public sector undertaking can’t help get the feeling that the bubbonic plague may be more welcome here than a customer.   A simple request to open a bank account was greeted by a ping pong reply pushing us to the next and the next cashier who to our consternation was also processing cheques, deposits, new card requests, and more with a sleight of the hand that would be the envy of any magician.   With one side glance at us she declared ” No account without Aadhar or Pan Card”. Yes, dear- but this time we were prepared- having heard that oft- repeated slogan many a times. Producing the precious two documents didn’t suffice though; for she needed photocopies. And then we asked innocently ” Can you not take a photocopy in here?” which evinced a curt reply” No- it’s the customer’s duty to get the copies”.   Feathers being ruffled, I didn’t give up. ” Madam, we are customers . You are the service provider. Please understand our problem. The photocopying shop is quite far and we need to rush back “. Not much use though, for back came a quick repartee from the bank staffer “I am not your servant”. I was now truly gobsmacked. Servants, service and so on. What did these terms mean? Will...
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...