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Heer and Ranjha Revisited

Posted on 8 May 2013 In: Soundingboard

In my quest for romanticism and virtuosity I search for an actual love story that has all the usual emotions of love, longing, pain, quest and sacrifice, of eternal love, eternal longing, eternal quest and eternal sacrifice, I remain sad and crestfallen as I find none in my lifetime. I did read the past classics; some of them seem so far far away and remain illusionary.  ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in blank verse did never appeal to me; an alien language leaving me blank and confused. Nearer home I discovered and related to our popular folk lore. Some of them no longer a story but have become a metaphor, a symbol of pure and eternal love. For my generation time is perhaps the ultimate test of greatness and it is a testimony to the enduring appeal of the story of Heer Ranjha that it continues to be a dearly loved part of the collective and individual memory of millions across the world even after almost 300 years. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Progress’ brou·ha·ha !

Posted on 12 Apr 2013 In: Soundingboard

Looking back at the personal level, I feel that we have over the years progressed well. Hark back to sixties, the College of Military Engineering parking lot looked a lot better with our cycles, neatly parked as we enjoyed the movies in the open air theater. Today we see our cars crowding the lot at Rajendrasinhji Institute as we enjoy the movies in its open air theater. The cycles to say the least are used by our man Friday to fetch household goods! Even our men have two wheeler parked in front of their quarters. Yes, we have all benefited from the various reforms and their fallout. The village has a fewer thatched houses (I have seen quite a few in the interior mainland China), more children go to school better dressed and are taught more caring. My nieces residing in my ancestral village Kichaucha Sharif studying in 6th and 8th classes scored 97% and 99% in their final exams respectively. Neither I nor my children, who were educated in Bishop Cottons, Simla, could ever come anywhere near although we are considered the brighter members of the family! Read the rest of this entry »

Quo Vadis ?

Posted on 1 Mar 2013 In: Soundingboard

The oft repeated cliché that terrorists have no religion borders on boredom specially when emanating from those who find themselves in a bind. The obvious stares on our faces; The perpetrators use religious scriptures to justify or explain their violent acts or to gain recruits, their cleric figures are their role model and provide leadership and they use antediluvian disaster images of destruction to justify their acts. Religion is not innocent; barring a few most of the religious scriptures were formally written and accepted after the demise of their Prophets and do get ‘lost in translation’ for various reasons. Even those holy books that contain the words of the Almighty to the Prophets and authenticated by the Prophets and his followers during their lifetime, are conveniently interpreted to derive and sustain the sphere of interests of those who wish to create division and destruction. Read the rest of this entry »

Lest We Forget

Posted on 11 Feb 2013 In: Soundingboard

For over six decades we have raked the benefits of our nascent democracy with hiccups and dissipation. We have ridden the sinusoidal curves of highs and lows; ecstasy and wretchedness, supernova and catastrophe, ratiocination and insanity, passion and abomination and so on. Our democracy though battered and beleaguered survives. For most it augurs well, for some it affords an opportunity to forage for and exploit its frailty and fragility and to further their pretentiousness and personal design. Let us examine the latter a bit closely.

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Truth Chortles But Does Not Kill !

Posted on 29 Jan 2013 In: Soundingboard

I often wonder as to why the female anchors do not stretch their larynx as much as their male counter parts so that their vocal chords produce as much cacophony. Perhaps they realize that persons such as me would likewise shut off the TV and their voices would only be heard either by the aged batty grandmothers, or the housewives and the maids busy in the kitchen or serving meals to the family. Yes, that probably is the treatment given to most of the programs on the TV at prime time when the resolute and vociferous anchors make it a habit to exhibit their oratorical skills to engage the array of august experts and opinion makers on their show. But then for lack of better pastime I have to suffer through these most of the time. My illusion could be misplaced but the underlying objectives of these nocturnal discussions and presentation is to somehow ascertain the truth and nothing but the truth. But do they? ‘Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is perspective, not the truth,’ Marcus Aurelius. Then what is the truth? How do we find the truth? Read the rest of this entry »

“When rape is inevitable…………….”

Posted on 11 Jan 2013 In: Soundingboard

I often encounter at zebra crossings without signals and observe that if there is a pedestrian about to cross, the driver of an approaching car would slow down, stop, and wave to the pedestrian to cross. Yes it is true, and observed by most Western countries and never in India! I have also seen health conscious men and women of all ages stretching their and their dog’s legs on the sidewalks and pathways both here and in Western countries, but the variance is that here we allow the dog shit to remain as it litters and walks whereas the same is lifted and carried in plastic covers by the Western men and women. Speaking from personal experience here, on a rail journey an early riser will observe in the foggy morning a unique sight of men and women with least inhibition defecating not very distant from the railway tracks in the open spaces; and how many boundary or perimeter walls have been moistened by mass public urination?  To some extent this malaise and that of spitting on the walls has been arrested by painting or embedding pictures of gods and goddesses on them. But the same can not be said of the floors where phlegm and colorful spit provide a kaleidoscopic artistry in the corridor at intervals. Read the rest of this entry »

The Choice Is Mine. Is it?

Posted on 20 Dec 2012 In: Soundingboard

We were only eleven of us in a class out of which nine joined the armed forces and two did not. Out of the two one could not pass the exam and the other chose a civil career through college education. From the nine, seven had parents serving in the defense forces and the other two had parents as private entrepreneurs. Did we have a choice for higher education, other professional examinations and other professions? We were too young to realize, we let our parents and teachers decide. Obviously our exposure was limited and our faith in our future lay in our elder’s acumen and astuteness. We did not question then and I do not regret (others may differ) our and their choice. We all had our innings in our respective services, each filled with memorable and not so palatable experiences and remonstrations. We live with these everyday of our lives wiser, incremental and accrual. Read the rest of this entry »

Clearly, treading in an unexplored and a touchy territory we do need a disclaimer, few clarifications and a definition, and we can proceed.

The disclaimer is that I know virtually nothing about our existing Defense Strategy and our Military doctrine.  I have attempted to  read about these, but have yet to ascertain as to how these  have been effected in times past and present in our  Armed forces, especially so in our air-land forces.  For, unlike so many well researched pundits, I do not air in public on matters about which I can know little or nothing.  Novel concept I know – but it avoids adding more confusion to the babble-on so characteristically taken up by those in search of headlines and ridicule.

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The Inertia Veil

Posted on 12 Nov 2012 In: Soundingboard

Cooped up in an Air India aircraft for 14 hours at a stretch between Newark and Bombay is not a delightful experience, but then the lure of the cheapest ticket scores over the temporary discomfort. Three movies and the chat with the neighbor did shorten the mental agony and the restlessness. English movies were a mixed bag, the one with Russel Crowe and Leonardo Di Caprio was good, though Air India scissors did snip the adult contents! Mohan an American Citizen was the neighborly occupant of the seat next to me. Middle aged mild mannered, well educated and owning several gas stations in various locations in New Jersey. We both got on well, our destination was the same, Hyderabad and he was all excited to be there after a lapse of five years or so. He was not returning to his ancestral home, nor did he plan to meet any relative; he looked cheerful and was looking forward to seek darshan of his Swamiji and listen to his discourses at a camp at the outskirts of the city. He had met and heard the Swamiji a year back in New Jersey and since then he had become his ardent fan. His eloquence on Swamiji’s persona and aura was no lesser than a teenager’s infatuation for Shah Rukh Khan and his movies. Read the rest of this entry »

Here and There

Posted on 2 Oct 2012 In: Soundingboard

As is customary, the media here in USA is full of news and analysis of the presidential election. The two contenders generate sufficient heat and debate as they woo the constituencies to seek support. Having viewed the Bush – Kerry and Obama – McCaine campaigns earlier, the present one, Obama –Romney, is no different barring the personal attacks and negativity from either side. On this particular count I find myself in homely conditions as I write from here in Hockessin, Delaware as back home there, in India it is an accepted and normal daily ritual to ridicule and curse your adversary. In here and out there, also exists another commonality viz the’ blame game’ for every action that has gone awry.  How do the more important issues add up? Do the major proponents here and there strike the right emphasis to convince their party line to their voters, especially the undecided ones? Do the issues that seize the populace here have a resemblance back there?  Let us proceed to examine the more important ones. Read the rest of this entry »