Meandering!

It feels nice to meander once in a while!

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Meandering means following a winding course. This adjective is used for rivers. I saw some beautiful pictures of meandering rivers, on the net and felt like sharing with you! The river water just takes its course following the path of least resistance. Today my thoughts are meandering like the river and jump from one thought to another, just meandering along. In my city Pune, we have two rivers called Mutha and Mula. Their confluence is within the city. Mutha river has a path which hardly meanders, in fact, the river hardly has any water around the year. I am generous in this description. In any year, there are only 3 to 4 days when it can be called a river otherwise it is a stream! This is during monsoons when the upstream dams get full!

Yesterday my day started with a phone call from my friend Shrikant who is holidaying in Spain and Portugal. A rumour had reached him that a dam upstream of the river Mutha had broken and water was flowing above one of the bridges. Thanks to social media! I told him that there was a breach in the canal which draws water from the dam. The breach had caused a bit of flooding in the shanties along the canal, causing damage to homes of many families. As the water kept on coming on an extremely busy major road, there was a traffic jam in large part of the city. In the social media, the breach in canal got converted into a dam breakage!

Another friend who is currently in the US, sent me a message that I have become old, after reading my blog “What really is Romance?” I sent him 🤣🤣 as a reply! Dilip and I were classmates and both are around 70. I was wondering how I suddenly became old with one blog? My definition of romance was being together, sharing everything with each other, face life’s tough situations with a smile, together. Just a touch of hand and caress is romance. These are practicalities of life and has nothing to with age Dilip! Personally, I feel that I am around 45, age-wise, when I am in the gym I feel as if I am 55! Never in my life yet I have felt my real age around 70. Five years back I underwent cancer treatment. My health was down for about six months but even during the treatment my zest for the life never went down.

Our Supreme Court has taken five major decision a short span of last ten days. The interesting part is that 3 of them involved something related to sex. First one was about the gays. Now gays can openly move around in the society, maybe with their heads high. But I always used to wonder what is normal? A man and woman have liking for each other, have sex and make babies. As against that two men or women have liking for each other, have sex and obviously can’t make babies. What is abnormal in that? What was illegal in that? Why their heads had to be down? The gays are made such by nature. Do we mean to say that in “normal” people there are no freaks, there are no perverts, there is no rapist? In fact, rapists are the worst normal persons who go and rape kids, they go and rape even old women of the age of 70 plus.

Next one is about adultery. Finally, the Victorian era seems to be coming to an end – the judgment on Section 497 is progressive in many ways. In the context of changing social realities of our times, especially the transforming gender equations. Justice Chandrachud has cited the violation of Articles 14 and 21, saying that Section 49 perpetuates the subordinate status of women, denies them dignity and sexual autonomy, and is based on gender stereotypes. Previous law said that in the case of adultery if a man had consensual sex with a woman without permission from her husband, he could be arrested. The judgement has removed the criminality from the law. It is allowing women sexual autonomy! We are moving with times!

The latest one is about Sabarimala Devasthanam. They did not permit ladies between the age of 10 and 50 to pay their obeisance at the Devasthanam. They declared that women in this age group have their menstrual cycles active hence they are impure! Hence, they should not visit! Men who had taken this decision seem to forget that they came into this world because their mother had an active menstrual cycle and had sex with someone. They are the result of these two so-called impure acts! This is the tact used by men in patriarchal society to control things the way they wanted it. The court has said that in the democratic nation, rights of individuals are above the so-called traditions which have formed in a society and the thought process, which is totally irrelevant today. Some years back there was an incident. There was a case of theft at Sabarimala and 35-year DCP came to investigate. To the horror of the priests, the officer was a lady! Of course, she went inside and did her job!

Then there was the famous case of Babri Masjid. Supreme Court has given a decision that the case has nothing to do with religion and should be treated as a civil suit. According to the verdict, it is simply a land dispute case and will be decided based on the evidence available.

The last case is about the so-called intellectuals arrested by Pune police. A big noise was made by intellectuals about freedom of speech and freedom of expression. They claimed that it is a politically motivated case and should be summarily dismissed. Supreme Court has said that there is evidence to prove that these intellectuals were connected with a disbanded Maoist organization who have various plans, including bringing down the Indian Government by using force! What is it with these intellectuals? They do not say a word when Maoists kill people, last week two MLA’s in Telangana were murdered. Sometimes back 71 security forces were killed in an IED attack. Not a word of protest. These people have been praising terrorists as if they are freedom fighters fighting for India. Under the garb of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, these folks and their followers make statements which an enemy would generally make. When terrorists are killed, these guys write to the Human Rights Commission. But when security forces are brutally kidnapped and murdered, they are away on a holiday to cold climes! They are strong followers of communism at its worse, though all over the world communism has died.

Ignorance is bliss they say but is not treating your medical issues on time the right thing to do? Heard this one from a neurologist. The patient was diagnosed for MS, multiple sclerosis. This condition is tough on your body. The doctor further said that this has been going on for five years! Why do people delay going to doctors? The person accompanying the patient mentioned that he also suffered from diabetes, which currently was well controlled. Only thing is that the he needs dialysis twice a week, side effect of “controlled diabetes!” Amen!

On a lighter note, thank Mr Trump for starting a trade war with China. Mercedes Benz is now exporting their cars to the USA, from India instead of China! So long….

Confluence of Goodness!

Make this world a happy world with Goodness!

अगर धीरे चलो
वह तुम्हे छू लेगी
दौड़ो तो छूट जाएगी नदी
अगर ले लो साथ
वह चलती चली जाएगी कहीं भी
यहाँ तक- कि कबाड़ी की दुकान तक भी
छोड़ दो 

These are a few lines from the Poet Kedarnath Singhji’s poem नदी. नदी means a river. The poet has used the river as a metaphor for background support that we get from different people in our life’s journey. Our life’s journey begins with our coming into this world in the mother’s womb. Beginning of our existence is not known even to our parents for some time! In normal course, no couple is thinking of a child being created, when they are in an intimate embrace. It is the nature that supports you during this phase of anonymity. This is our first river in the form of Amniotic fluid in the mothers womb! How can someone support you, help you, when they don’t even know that you exist?  

In the lines above, the poet says that you go with the river, you meander with its flow and it will let you go where you want to go, it will follow you, where ever you go. Her support will be unstinting, with no returns expected. You need to understand it’s rhythm. The poet has explained it beautifully and says that if you take the river to a scrap collector, it will go with you. If you go to flea market, it will follow you. A flea market (or swap meet) is a type of bazaar that rents or provides space to people who want to sell or barter merchandise. Used goods, cheap items, collectibles, and antiques are commonly sold. This is how unstinting the river support is! But you take up wrong way of  life and the river may break its umbilical cord with you.  

In many cultures the river is like one’s mother, caring, supporting, she is always there in the background. A child is tethered to the mother. This is world’s closest relationship and mother always wants to keep on supporting the child irrespective of situation, age. This is the everlasting or evergreen relationship. In this relationship virtual umbilical cord always remains in place, at least from mother’s side.  

In our life, we have many people supporting us, they are there in the background. They will go with you even on the rough path of your journey! How does this happen? How are such relationships formed? Mother child relationship is the most natural relationship, it just exists like the universe. Bearing and giving birth to a child is nature for female species; this closeness creates such a close relationship between the two. In this relationship nothing needs to be done to attain the level of closeness, it just happens. But for other relationships this is to be nurtured over a period.   

As our journey starts from childhood to adulthood we meet different people. We meet them in different situations, under different circumstances. We live with siblings in our home but as we grow older, each develops into a different person and has own personality, own thought process. Do siblings always have very close relationship? They grow up in the same house, they grow up with the same background. But are they behind each other to support? Not necessarily. Except for parents all other relationships need to be cultivated, nurtured. One cannot assume that others will be there in the background to support you like the river. 

Why is river important in life? The river encompasses our lives, it absorbs whatever we throw at it. Its water body is big and fluid all the time; so, it has a great absorbing capacity. Its flow purifies all bad things dumped into it. Similarly, our mind should also have fluid thought process, it should be able to absorb new things, it should be able to absorb changes in the way situation demands. It should be able to throw out bad things from our life. Our mind, like river, has incredible capacity to take good or bad things. Our mind should learn the process of turning bad into good, like the river.  

In our life, we have many sets of rivers in the form of different persons like friends, acquaintances, relatives. To absorb good from these people, is in our hands. There is a saying that birds with the same feathers flock together. Similarly, good will always prefer to be with good; the good have power to absorb bad! In Varanasi, there is a tradition to dump dead bodies in the river in the river Ganga; we dump drainage water in the river without treating it. But the flow of the river, and the volume of water (which is the goodness) takes care of these things and water remains pure!  

Friends, life is full of things which are good, bad and ugly. But if we as a society, get the humans together like confluence of rivers, bad and ugly things will get defeated. The society, a group of people, a colony, people in a building should come together and form river of goodness, there will be confluence of these rivers and we will be able to create a quietly flowing big river of goodness.  

 

 

Don’t Break the Flyovers!

Take decisions in life from long term view! It’s your life after all!

Our personal life and the life around us has many things in common. In both cases, issues crop up, they are studied, they are discussed and decisions arrived at. In retrospect, we realize that better decisions could have been made, finer solutions could have been found. As the saying goes, the hind sight vision is always 20/20! Had we been able to take decisions closer to 20/20, things could have been better! Mistakes happen in both public and personal life. The end result is complications and stress. This thought gave me an idea of comparing these two aspects together.  

COEPFlyover

In Pune’s newspaper, I saw a photograph of the perpetual traffic jam on the flyover system near the engineering college. The city planners built an elaborate system of flyovers to overcome the traffic snarls in that area. I have read somewhere that by building fly overs, planners tend to push the traffic snarls in to the next traffic junction where we have traffic signals. But in this case, something else happened; just after the fly overs, there are traffic signals and the traffic gets choked there itself, even after flyovers were commissioned, not much has really changed. At the next junction, which is signal free, there are no traffic snarls. 

Life is always in WIP (work in progress) mode. It means that at every stage we keep on processing information that reaches our brain. We of course know that our brain is the world’s most advanced and fastest Super Computer. All new data is processed, churning takes place, information is sent back and forth to the stored database/ information in the brain. The result is arrived at, on the basis this churning and processing. This happens so many times during the course of the day, that we tend to take decisions but we process results based on priorities. Sometimes our priorities clash, sometimes end results clash.  Humans tend to push certain issues under the rug or come up with a temporary solution. These solutions are reached, based on the analysis of the available data, to solve the issues based on current situation. Most of the times, humans don’t take long term view into consideration and this action sometimes creates problems, later.  

Did you any similarity in the above two paragraphs? Indeed, there is similarity and we tend to put issues on back burner, we sometimes ignore problems. City related issues are handled by the humans,  in a very similar way. This affects large number of people in the society. But in our individual cases incorrect resolutions affect individual lives directly. What needs to be done such cases? For any issue or a problem, overall solution needs to be considered and not a short-term solution.  

 MumbaiPuneHway

I have displayed a google map of the area in Pune, where there are traffic snarls, after new flyover system came up!  The Red circle indicates the snarl area. If we consider the traffic arriving from 4 to 1, we will know the real problem. The new flyover system helps people to cross the railway line in problem area. In fact, all four points do the same thing. But point 1 has been closed for this crossing long time back. Point 3 has been closed recently. Point 2 and 4 help in crossing the railway line, but these crossings pass through narrow or congested roads. In last few years, besides traffic from 4 to 1 coming in red circle, traffic has been pouring in through the new road, from airport, parallel to the river. All this indicates that problem definition and solution did not go hand in hand. Huge traffic volume comes to the red circle area. The solution should have been to not bring traffic to snarl area and divert it via different routes. But the studies were not proper and hence solutions were incorrect. What is the solution? I don’t know. In Mumbai some such issue about a flyover was resolved by breaking a particular flyover to be replaced by another one, which resolved the issue. We have similar problem in Pune University circle area. In University circle area, one could see from the beginning, that solution was not correct. On top of the wrong decisions, judgement about future traffic density were also grossly under estimated. End result, the same. In peak hours, a group of policemen is required to manually handle the traffic chaos!  

In our lives, we also misjudge many things. Sometimes, we make wrong investments. Sometimes we misjudge our future requirements at home as well as finances. Sometimes, we do not take decisions and let the problems linger. I have seen this happening in people about their health. They try to ignore issues or postpone the checkups. A friend I met after many years, told me that he is afraid to get himself regularly checked up by doctors. I asked him the reason. He said, ” I am afraid that some health issue may get detected”. I said, that is the reason for getting yourself checked.  

In public domain if we make a wrong decision, we can find different solutions, including from above example, break the flyover and build a new one. This creates inconvenience and costs a lot of money. No individual is directly troubled with this solution. But in our own case, we and family are the direct sufferers. Wrong career moves, wrong investment decisions, involvement with wrong type of people, are described as errors or wrong decisions, in retrospection.  But they take their toll!

Friends, try and learn the art of visualizing things about future, while taking life’s decisions. We have enough information stored in our brain, learn to utilize it correctly  while we decide something. When we have to take major decisions in life, sleep over it before taking the final decision, ask friends and mentors. Don’t feel shy to take advise. Ultimately, it’s your life!  

Goodness is Godliness!

Spread the spirit of Goodness!

My friend Vivek sent me a video. I saw the video once and watched it so many times, that had it been a vinyl record, it would have worn out! I have shared that clip below and I am sure you will love it too!  

 

A couple of months back I had written a blog “Oh! My God!” It was about the things that happen in this world which are not under our control but under HIS control. But anytime I see something good, it always reminds me of God! I am almost an atheist. Atheist is a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God. By this definition, I am not an Atheist but I can be called 95% Atheist! I do believe that there is a super power in this world that can be called God. But I don’t believe in religious rituals. As a family if we go to a mandir, I feel nice when I go there. I have visited Churches, Gurudwaras, Dargahs. All these are pristine places and give me a feeling that I have reached near Him! But that does not mean that I must visit Mandirs frequently, perform the poojas and so on!  

But do we really have to go to these places of worship to be near Him? HE is there in everything, a stone, a pond, a river, a child! HE is there on the road, in the jungle, in the skies! HE is there in a beggar and in an animal. When he is everywhere why humans take so much efforts to reach HIM, by way of rituals and physically go to places of worship?  We are forced into this by the society in general; people are scared that something will go wrong if some rituals are not followed! People tend to wear their God on their sleeves! Why this is done? If HE is everywhere, you don’t have wear a cap or a shawl displaying HIS Name. Does someone not wearing something displaying HIS name a lesser follower or a bad person?  

I have observed that in most religions, the so-called God men make sure that people will feel that if they don’t meet HIM regularly in a Mandir or a church, don’t follow the rituals regularly, they are in for trouble! Most people do this out of fear. I am aware that some of us just feel nice, going to places of worship and they may do so. But this habit should not get converted into a ritual. One should not feel, “Oh I have not visited the mandir in last two weeks, something bad is going to happen!” Because in such cases, it becomes a ritual followed out of fear!  

I am writing more about Hinduism, because as a Hindu I know a little more about Hindu rituals than those of other religions. Be honest to yourself and think whether your heart was touched more by the video clip above or by some rituals you follow, most of the time blindly or because someone else does it. I feel that if your heart is in the right place, the video film will beat everything else most of the times. Look at the Godliness in the film. The child believes that there is God in this world; his mother beautifully supports that innocent idea. He is too young to follow any teachings. He might have just heard from his teachers and parents that there is God and he is good! The reverse side of the story is that for homeless woman getting something to eat and the love she received unconditionally cannot be anything else but an act of God! The beautiful end is when the child tells his mother, “I met God today, but God is a lady with a beautiful smile!” Similarly, the homeless lady tells her partner, ” I met God today but he was much younger than expected!” What a beautiful way of expressing!

Think of this small film and the story. A great meaning is hidden in this story! Ultimately what do all the religions teach you? They say that be happy, be generous, love unconditionally and do not expect returns for your good deeds. The religions also tell you that He always knows and sees what is happening in our lives; He acts when we are destined to be rescued or served! Both the child and the homeless do not expect anything else from the encounter! The matter of fact way in which both share their experience, the child with his mother and homeless lady with her partner is to be seen to be believed!  

Today is the Christmas eve; Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25, as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast. This is a Christian festival but the ritual followed in Christmas is one which teaches children from childhood, that Santa gives gifts for the good deeds that we perform throughout the year! Its a great way of teaching children to be good, all the time! In childhood it is great way of teaching goodness! Ultimately, Goodness is Godliness!  

Merry Christmas to all my friends and let us listen to HO HO HO from Santa Claus!

 

Apprehensions? What is that?

Throw away apprehensions, your inhibitions and embrace the goodness of life! Help the world to drive away dark clouds in life, every bit adds! 
 

The other day instead of going for a walk, I took my camera with a new wide angle lens for tryouts. Left home around 5.30 and went to the bridge on the river, near my home. This trip was under guidance from my friend Vijay Ghate. I take his help on anything related to photography and he suggested that it will be a good idea to go out and take 40/50 photos, trying out variations. Slowly I got the feel of things and decided to come home.

On the way back home I saw three gentlemen, all retired much more than a decade earlier. They were chatting away. They were standing outside an old people’s home by the name Matoshri Vrudhhashram. I saw one more person coming out, he spoke a sentence with them and went inside again. So I assumed that all these friends lived in the home. As I was nearing them and saw that they were observing me, a guy with white hair wearing a T shirt, track pant and a Chappal. I was in photography mode and not in morning walk mode. I had Camera hanging round the neck! 

As I came near them, I asked them in Marathi, “How are you?” The initial apprehensions on their face gave way to a smile. I have generally observed that people speak to me initially in Hindi as they assume that I am a non-Maharashtrian. One of them asked me “Are you from that school?”  I jokingly said, “Now I do not think anyone will take me in any school at this age!” Then I realized they thought that I was from film institute. Then I briefly explained to them my reason for the sojourn with camera. One thing led to another.

We ended up chatting with each other for about 15 minutes. One thing I realized was their keenness to talk to me. I realized that they wanted to share their stories with me, an unknown stranger. One of them had worked in Bombay Suburban Electric office at Parel, Mumbai; another had worked as electrician in a factory. Third person had his career in Govt job. I had common things with first two of them and we could take the conversation further, very easily. Words were just pouring out of them. They wanted company, they were together but maybe they were lonely, away from “home”, the real home.  Was this how you become when you live in an old people’s home? I could see keenness in their eyes but also some sadness. If I had not smiled at them, I don’t think they would not have spoken to me. It is this apprehension that comes in the way in interaction between people. I did not do anything out of the way but I felt nice to see smile on their faces. One of them had worked at Cummins on maintenance side. He took a few names during his time whom I knew. When I told him that I am a Metallurgist by training, he was thrilled to share his experiences about heat treatment furnaces! Was he happy! Mumbai person wanted to know where I lived in Mumbai. They wanted to know where I did my engineering. We could have chatted on and on but I had somethings lined up at home; I wished them a good day and moved on. The story does not end here!

While I started walking ahead I felt that a gentleman, again not known to me, out for his morning walk, was walking parallel to me. I gave him a smile and said good morning. Then I told him that I was just chatting with these folks as I thought humoring them in the morning was a good idea. We walked about fifty steps together and when my lane came, we stopped, I introduced me to him, and we kept exchanging pleasantries and bit of information with each other. He was a registrar in a large education institute. We were talking about the institute. I saw one more gentleman, unknown to both of us, was slowing down. I said good morning to him; and lo he also joined our tid bits. He worked in a consulting company. We all chatted. He was also curious about what I was chatting with the retirees! Without mentioning any details we chatted for another ten minutes and parted ways.

Friends, what I described just now will appear to be a very small event and in life’s cycle it will not even be a blip. But I felt that there is deep meaning involved in those 20/30 minutes. A few people not known to each other, just came together to chat, exchange pleasantries. This to me is most important thing in the world. In our day to day lives, we live next to each other but because of apprehensions we don’t know each other at all! Ok every day you may not get time, you may be busy. But whenever you get a bit of time, why not spend the same in spreading the camaraderie, spreading pleasantness. We know we cannot change lives in that short span of time but we can always create a silver lining to the dark clouds! I hope I did that, to those three gentlemen living in Matoshri! There is nothing more precious in life than a smile on someone’s face! So throw away apprehensions, your inhibitions and embrace the goodness of life! Help the world to drive away dark clouds in life, every bit adds!