Saturday, 8 December 2012

Dreaming in Kalahari

In the continent of Africa, there is a place that inhabited life for centuries yet got being labeled as a thirsty land- the Kalahari deserts. No doubt, the deserts do support life in many forms but the Kalahari is a special case. Unlike the heats of Sahara or the colds of Arctic, this place supports a variety of flora and fauna than is expected out of a desert. And so, there thrives a human community, preferably called as the San people. This tribe has lived here for decades and their bond with the place has grown stronger with each passing day.

The life of the boy was very similar to that of his family, except for the feature that he was a dreamer. Living in a hut made up of mud, stone and straw, the boy had gained a little knowledge about the world outside. Due to his keen interest in the language, he had learnt many dialects that prevailed in the adjoining regions. At the age of 17, he had started thinking about the world as a magician’s creation. When he had looked upward at the sky, it appeared as if it’s a void overhead, but then he came to know that there is something called earth’s blanket of air that enveloped this pretty planet. When he sat outside his hut gazing the plants grounded in the soil, he never knew that they all were living species. In his notion, the stars came, and went somewhere when the sun arose, before he became aware that they still were very much present in the daylight. The wind across the deserts had often created mirage, to which he was familiar now.

In his entire lifetime, the only man-made thing that he had seen flying was a kite. And Zaheer was fond of watching it, rather than flying himself. He loved when the kite rose upward, with fliers trying to cut another kite’s string. And as soon as someone would cut the string, a moment of ecstasy began for him. The very sight of kite flying freely with the wind filled his heart with joy, maybe because deep inside he too longed to sway freely, without any string holding back.

The days passed by and much of his life remained the same when one day, he woke up to the sounds of pacing roar. He had never heard this sound before in his life, and within seconds the sound grew louder and louder. The tribesmen ran out of their huts fearing danger and gathered nearby, when each member whispered prayers for their safety. But Zaheer was busy gazing upward. After few moments of silence, the sound came again but this time, it was not the sound alone. The crowd saw a huge dragonfly with abnormal wings flying over their huts with two similar dragonflies following it. The tribesmen thought of it as a sign of God’s displeasure and started fearing for their lives, but the boy watched them as they flew. Zaheer noticed one such dragonfly coming down with a flame on its tail. And when the sight of fire trembled most of the tribesmen’s heart with fear, Zaheer ran in the direction of its fall. The people called him back but he ran as if no string was holding his back.

And soon he saw a man inside that huge flying object that bumped into the sand with fire starting to envelope it. The injured man tried to crawl out, when Zaheer ran for his help. The man looked different from his attire, and looked like a fighter with wounds on his head and arms. Zaheer pulled the fighter out, and soon the helicopter disappeared into the flames. The 17 year old Zaheer was still in the state of shock and excitement, when he heard the fighter’s clarion’s call for help. Zaheer pulled the fighter under the tree and ran to call his people for help. But when he reached there and narrated what he had seen, the tribal leader frowned and yelled at him for helping a soul that he considered to be evil. Zaheer was again hit by surprise and his adolescent mind demanded reason for considering the fighter as evil. Knowing the time was crucial, the boy ignored the clan and ran with water in his ostrich’s egg shell. The fighter was still alive, breathing hard, when splash of water rejuvenated him little bit.

Zaheer never knew the exact reason that made him go against his own people, but he thought maybe it was the action of a rational mind. But instead, the reason was a bit different. The boy was so fascinated by the flying objects that when he saw a man inside it, he reckoned the fighter as a noble soul empowered to fly, which was contrary to what clan’s leader had thought. For that entire day, the fighter was recovering in Zaheer’s hut unaware of the fact that entire clan had abandoned this young boy. And soon the air force traced the location of the accident when next day, other aircrafts came for rescue and enquiry operation. The fighter was expecting that his people would come, and when they came, he asked the boy to make a wish that he could fulfill to pay his gratitude.

Zaheer thought for a moment and to fulfill his fascination that came with flying objects, he asked for a ride in the helicopter that once he had thought of as a huge dragonfly. The fighter amused by the boy’s wish ensured that he could keep his words, and Zaheer was all set to fly.

With sand and dust flying all around, Zaheer rose above the earth into the skies. He was looking at his hut that gradually looked like a tittle on his village. He was flying above the heights ever touched by the kites, and with a pace that could beat the fastest bird in the sky. And the ascent was so favourable, that when the boy descended into his village, the people held him on their shoulders and treated him in a way he was never treated before.

The Kalahari saw a brilliant example of the man’s desire to attain something. As it is rightly said, that when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true. And same happened with Zaheer as well.

-Arpan Khare

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

23 Days in Mumbai

Ever since I landed in this City of Dreams aka Mumbai, my conscience got escalated to a new level of the realisation that every single breath carries with it. Yes, the single breath means the sand in ones unique hourglass and portrays the paramount potential of those minuscule grains. And as history stands, the one who’s ever succeeded in mastering the trickle of this algorithm now hold a place in the city’s affluent bastions. The place respects competition and has bound more than 20 million by the single thread of its spirit.

Traversing on the snake roads across Sahayadri ranges, with windmills of the top and rain-washed greens on the landscape, I was cheerful when I encountered this signboard. After many days of feeling illiterate on Kannada dominated streets, I saw something (other than English), which I could read and connect to. Though written in Devnagari, it was a Marathi word “thamba” that made me aware, that we were very much into Maharashtra. Witnessing how the darkness lighted tunnels came and lasted for short but anxious periods, we were moving across the beautiful place called Satara City, dwelling amidst lush green mountains under scenic cloud cover. On the roadside, I remember the sight of the bushes coming out of a fossil driven junk (once a Car) parked in a garage, saying that even this pollution causing vehicle could not withstand nature from turning it green.

Out of my particular interest in history of royals, I was wondering how once these rivers and mountains framed borders, and how I had just moved from a region once ruled by Tipu Sultan, into the strongholds of Chattrapati Shivaji. And along with several other things, how these two had a common enemy- the British. And that reminded me of a couple of news articles, of which one was about a document some British agency had created, listing the best Generals they had fought in the last century, and Tipu Sultan had his well deserved name there. The other was about bringing back a sword, named as Jagdamba Sword of Shivaji Maharaja that is well adorned in the Royal Collection Trust in London. I was thrilled by these antediluvian memoirs when I noticed the skyscrapers that bought me back into the vertical realities of this spherical world.

Occupied by the notion of wild jungles en route getting replaced by concrete jungles, I looked around my new work city. I knew the purpose behind my deputation to Mumbai and that of course dealt nothing with forests or climate of the place, but somewhere I had started missing the airs of Bangalore.

Soon started a life in the new city and sooner started the office and it’s been like flash of time to day 23. No doubt the pace keeps me running, but I kind of have started enjoying it. And that’s the trait of adjustment our evolutionary ancestors have bestowed upon us and how well have we learnt to live by it.

Monday, 24 September 2012

EN ROUTE ... .. .

As the sun shines with the chirrup of small birds and the whisper of breeze, the road gets crowded by its rolling natives and life accelerates. The flyover has lost the relevance of its name, and trees are choked from passive smoke. And amidst all this is a man who rushes on to hit the thinnest hand of the clock. 

The cab crawls on the road, and I read the traffic police’s clarion’s call, citing family’s wait. With smoke and fumes down the lane, I see the stack of flowers and incense sticks. And soon comes the Ganesha temple with devotees in a long queue; and every day, unfailingly is an old woman at the gate, with stretched hands eager to listen that jingling in her pouch. And after hundred men ignore her, comes that delightful jingling coin, which brings smile in her eyes and blessings on her lips. Nearby is the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited campus, with tricolour fluttering on its top reminding about the immense contribution this organisation has made in our country’s growth. And past few hospitals and 5-star hotels, I reach my office and the work begins. 

This 15 km journey, which takes nearly an hour to complete is a colourful display of life; the way life dances on the streets with shackles of money being tied at its every step to those unbound. And en route, reminds me of these famous lines by Whitman, 

“I carry my old delicious burdens, 
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go, 
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them, 
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.” 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Happy Independence Day

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.
To India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service.”

-Pandit Nehru on eve of first Independence Day.

The words of Pandit Nehru, though 65 year old now, seem to be so dynamic and relevant today. They also tell us the timelessness of our nation and demand commitment to our motherland.

In this post, I, from my own brief experience, will share the unique diversity that I witnessed across the nation.

Starting from the place of Sri Aurobindo, a freedom fighter who turned into a seeker of Divine, and who also shares his birthday with India. Pondicherry, once a French colony, is a place on the coast of Bay of Bengal. As a child, I spent my early days here, and from then on, I have been a regular visitor to this place. The place inherits French culture that could easily be noticed once you are on the streets, from buildings having typically large French windows and landmarks named as Rue Saint Louis, Roman Roland Library, etc. These French threads got finely weaved within the local fabric and present a unique texture. The people here have the choice to decide to be governed either by French Constitution or Indian Constitution, as per the treaty between France and India that resulted into its annexation by India. Nearby is a yet another amazing place, Auroville- the Universal City. This place is built on the idea of human unity, where men and women from all countries can live in harmony above all creeds, politics and nationality. The place has Matrimandir, which is not a temple, rather a shrine of Universe Mother and soul of Auroville. The place symbolises living embodiment of the human unity.

From south, I take you to the central India, where I have spent most of my life till date. Bhopal is the place and as mentioned in the previous posts, is very special to me. The city built on the terrain marked with hillocks and lakes, is a place that soothes life. Having risen from one of the worst industrial tragedies, the place lives by its never dying spirit. The people from almost every part of the country live here and make it complete in every sense. This city works all day and importantly, sleeps peacefully at night.

Moving up in the north is the historic city of Gwalior. This place has held an important position in national affairs ever since Agra became the stronghold of Mughals. This place has produced legends like Maan Singh Tomar, the classical maestro Tansen and in modern times, our former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Having climatic conditions where mercury, in a year, traverses almost 45 degrees on the scale, the place exhibits the implicit adaptability of human race. Under the influence of adjoining areas and pulsated growth, the place is a mix of urban and rural ingredients.

And finally, its Bengaluru. Though I am new to this place, I have learnt a little about it. Firstly, this place is a climatic paradise. The fast pace of life has only added to the spirit with which Bangalore lives. It has all the components that make it a dazzling place on the face of Earth. In spite of being the capital city of Karnataka, this place is quite different from rest of the state in terms of the growth that it has witnessed. This Indian IT hub grows with every passing second and adds hues to its vibrant canvas.

All these places that I mentioned here have a common thread of unity that binds them together into this great nation India. On the occasion of 66th Independence Day, through this post, I shared the tiny glimpse of diversity that I  witnessed about our motherland, that truly makes it Incredible India.

Jai Hind !!   

Monday, 30 July 2012

Transition !!!

It was a cloudy morning; rains had just kissed Bhopal and I was suppose to  board Karnataka Sampark Kranti, which indeed was all set to bring Kranti in my life. I had booked a waitlisted ticket for myself and papa, that after series of jugaads (in English, that’s innovation) got converted into Reservation Against Cancellation or simply RAC and W/L 001. And we were to share our half berth between three of us, yes our third member almost twice our weights occupied a lot of space, nearly that of 5 huge bags. Interestingly, those bags were packed over a period of 4 days of which first three and half days amounted to at most 5% packing. The train was set to depart at 1616 hrs and after rushing through that remaining 95% of packing, we were at Bhopal railway station well on time.

After 4 years, it was again that same moment when I was all set for a new place but all my being still unwilling to leave Bhopal. Yes, it’s this place Bhopal-the very special place in my life. Last time it was Gwalior and now it is Bangalore- one of the most dazzling places on this globe. The clouds were pouring heavily; and amidst the noise of rain, train and people, I got on board. With no confirmed tickets, the journey seemed tough, although it never turned out that way.

And after 27 hours, moving across 4 states, we were at Bengaluru (or Bangalore), and next morning I joined my first job. The joining formalities went long till 7 in the evening and then I shifted into allotted accommodation. The next day, was formal inauguration, in which I, along with 150 more trainees, plunged into the corporate world.

Since my inception into the company, I wanted to write this blog to mark my first day at job, but tight schedules, tasks, evaluations, etc never made it possible. But today, when I have received my first salary, I am not gonna miss this chance to make this inaugural blog mark yet another important day. 

The time from joining to receiving first salary flew like the shooting star’s span and now every morning seems like too eager to turn up, shrinking reverie to minimal. But amidst all these schedules, tasks and assessments, the truth lies in this subtlety, that being busy is just the matter of priorities, and nothing else. We always have time for those who matter, and interestingly, we are actually very much aware of this fact.