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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG GIRL

When I was a child I was obsessed with playing. It never was enough. I played uninhibitedly with a group of friends during the primary stage of my schooling. Our most favored past time was playing house. We would collect bricks and each one would make a square with them for demarcation. There were many Neem (Azadirachta Indica ) trees around. Its fruit oval shaped and green served as a vegetable and a fruit. We would bring salt from our home and wet the Neem fruit with our saliva and after touching it with salt put it in our mouths, roll it inside till the salt was sucked in. This exercise would go on endlessly. The small branches of the Neem would be tied to act as a broom to do mock sweeping. Buying and selling transactions were also gone through with one of us acting as a vegetable vendor and the other as a buyer.

cartoon courtesy: internet
As we grew up, another diversion was added to our daily evening calendar. Skipping rope became our new favorite. A loosely suspended rope was held at its ends by two members of the group standing appropriately apart, who swung it in a circular motion. Other girls stood in a queue and would enter one by one when the rope went up and be prepared to jump when it came down and leave quickly for the next girl to take her turn at jumping. It was a single jump and extreme alertness was required to enter at the right moment. The skipper who failed to make it would hold the rope and the other girl would join the skippers. We played it for hours together because of the continuous excitement it generated.

Another one of which we were never tired of playing was ‘Hide and Seek.’ One of us would count up to stipulated ten or twenty with closed eyes while others would dash to hide under beds or behind cupboards, boxes and piles of wood in the courtyard. Our hearts would race when the seeker would be on the verge of locating but missed and in the end somebody would be found out to the spontaneous screams of joy emanating from all. The game would start all over again with the same enthusiasm and zest till late evening. We didn’t mind hiding in the dirtiest of places and neglected nooks and corners full of grime and dust. I marvel at my mother’s patience who would wash my soiled clothes clean without a hint of reprimand.

Later my insatiable desire to play discovered another outlet .I would sneak out after lunch when everybody was resting in summers. I would go out to a friend’s house that had a game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ and played it to our heart’s content till evening .On reaching home mother would be very angry and slap me sometimes because she wanted me to lend her a helping hand in looking after my two younger siblings while she prepared dinner. Irrespective of scolding I could not control this sneaking out for quite sometime.

During one of these afternoon rendezvous my friend took me to a house where there was a Ber (Indian Berry) tree. Finding so many ripe one’s we started aiming at them with whatever we laid our hands on. We succeeded in dislodging a few. Out came the lady of the house uttering expletives and we beat a hasty retreat while cursing the lady from the core of our hearts.

Those were heavenly days and we children were innocent to a fault. Our mothers would scream at us but we never heeded them and kept on indulging in our games till we were tired and hungry.

Soon I was in high school and old girly games stopped altogether.

The remembrances of those days take me back in time and I relive the innocence and purity of the magical days gone by.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR

MY DEAR BLOG FRIENDS:

Now that the Christmas fervour is over, count down for the New Year has begun.
Congratulations and wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. (2012)
The year 2011 had been momentous in so many ways. Totalitarian regimes have been overthrown in the Arab world by the people power, but the saddest part was that there was blood shed. So many innocent lives were lost. There was wide spread destruction, arson, looting and untold pain and suffering. I wish sanity had prevailed, and all this had not happened.

Then economic meltdown has caused recession and fears globally. Unemployment has risen and people’s purchasing power has declined. Economic growth has plummeted causing serious repercussions.

There were wide spread protests in Wall Street, New York. Americans were fuming as the disparity between rich and poor is widening because of the unregulated working of the financial markets, where unscrupulous elements thrive at the cost of general public.

In our country crusade against the scourge of corruption is on, spearheaded by civil society members led by social activist Anna Hazare and his team. His armour of support is the young, who are discontented and disillusioned and see a bleak future for themselves.

This was the worst year of scams. Every day a new scam is unearthed. There is confusion galore and solutions to raging problems seem to be eluding us.

A spark was ignited in the collective psyche of India when our cricket team won the world cup after a gap of 25 years. But it could not retain the bonhomie for long.

Most of the year dark clouds of corruption, misgovernance and indecisiveness in administrative set up at all levels, loomed large dampening our spirits all along.

The concept of trust among individuals, between the citizens and the government and among different nations has eroded. Credibility is at all time low. The chasm between saying and doing has reached a breaking point. Cynicism has set in. Thinkers and intellectuals must figure a way out of this morass.

Let's hope that New year may breathe in a vision of better life for all, a promise of commitment to truth and honesty, a pledge to talk less and achieve more, a resolve to help the less advantaged fulfill their dreams, a belief in forgiveness and tolerance, a desire to find amicable solutions to problems through understanding, and finally a vow to put service before self in all our endeavours. We ought to make all these a part of our new year resolutions to save the planet earth for our progeny.

All said and done, we should never lose sight of our aspirations and dreams for the future. Things will surely turn around. It is hope that makes life go. :)


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS


Dear friends all over the globe: Christmas is round the corner and I wish you all a great, wonderful and joyous Christmas!!! : )
Santa Claus in his velvety red and white attire, with his long tailed woolly cap, is on his way from the snowy mountains, sitting majestically on his reindeer driven sleigh, overflowing with eye catching gift packets, containing love, happiness, benevolence, rapprochements, reunions and tons of other assorted goodies to bless us with, on this auspicious day. The very image of Santa spells mirth, trust, childlike innocence and festive spirit. Soon the whole world will be celebrating Christmas by beautifully decorating their houses with lights, Christmas trees with toys and shimmering stars, attending special church services, singing Christmas carols- 'jingle bells' I adore- enjoying lavish meals and exchanging gifts with family and friends. The atmosphere will be soaked in joy, camaraderie and cheerfulness.
As in the west, so in big cities like Chandigarh, preparations are in full swing in business establishments to attract  customers and shops are being magnificently embellished with imaginative lighting designs to present a ‘come hither’ look. Holiday spirit already pervades the environment and people are having shopping sprees, eating out and visiting friends and relatives. Every body is in a joyful mood and having a blast of a time. :)
My mind, however, brings me back to Christ’s message of love, brotherhood and peace!

Post Script: Here is a beautiful poem "Ring out- Wild Bells" by Lord Tennyson about Christmas:
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.












Saturday, December 17, 2011

REMEMBERING MOTHER

Thinking of dear mother and missing her terribly on her death anniversary.  Here is a humble tribute!




Dear Ma! thy memories come flooding by.
Blissful it was, with you around,
The eternal pillar of potent power,
With a heart of gold nestling in a frail exterior.

Thy magic wand of love and sacrifice,
Ironed smooth the Furrows of life,
Secured our future from the stormy seas,
Forgiving and forgetting the painful slights.

Thy unwavering steely grip of selflessness,
Cared little for indifference and unconcern.
Thy hallowed greatness: courage and fearlessness,
Were of a life led righteously and truthfully.

And thy religiosity and commitments,
Forged ahead with dense purity of will.
Magnanimity of giving pervaded thy soul ,
Making it always the 'psalm of  life.'

Thy unseen presence uplifts, boosts and restores,
The weakened resolves within;
Thy fragrant vibes permeate my soul,
Enlivening, renewing and igniting a spark.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

SHINING INDIA?

Dear friends, excuse me if I lay bare certain facts. It so happened that we were to go to Delhi and got our seats reserved online in the morning train from Patiala. On the appointed day we readied to go to the railway station and a friend was waiting to drop us there. Before locking the house dear hubby wanted to make sure that the train was on time and switched on the Internet. To our disbelief the site showed the train as ‘cancelled.’ One or two frantic telephone calls and it got confirmed that it was actually cancelled. No clue why?

The alternative was to take the available bus. Our friend dropped us at the bus stop in the drizzling rain (the first winter rain, a boon for fledging wheat crop). But it was a virtual nightmare for us. Slush, slush and more slush. Every step was an effort. I wonder how people travel during rains. The bus stop was crowded (even at that hour) and mounds of garbage were spotted every where. Shopkeepers, fruit sellers, vendors and traveling public contribute equally to the mess. It smells horribly of decayed eatables and urine- yes urine - and all along the walls men urinate shamelessly and the smell wafts in the air.

We settled for an ordinary bus which was fully packed. All the people who were to go by train (the railway station is close by) rushed to board buses. Heaved a sigh, when the bus started and I could look right and left unobstructed being perched high above. I missed this sight for many years and the experience proved quite revealing about certain glaring realities of our lives.

The appalling scenario was, all pervading filth and littered garbage along the roads and in front of the shops which line the major part of the way. The shop owners clean the interiors but have no care about their immediate surroundings. Shop fronts are not even paved. Nauseating dirty wetness around tea shops and eating joints abound. Stray cattle, dogs and pigs roam freely causing scare. Only a few pockets comprising good hotels and government establishments, present a semblance of cleanliness. Otherwise the scene which catches your attention is heaps of waste here, there and everywhere. MCs of the respective cities seem to be dwelling in ivory towers somewhere.

Actually it mirrors our national character. The way we throw peels, plastic bottles, shells, snack containers and pouches out of the running cars and buses, unmindful of our civic duties, tell a sordid tale.

The crux of the problem, however, is absence of accountability and effective deterrents. The brashness of our multitudes is alarming. Masses are aware of their rights but ignore their responsibilities. Tolerance has reached nether levels. There is arson and destruction of nation’s wealth at the drop of a hat.

Our country is facing serious social unrest. The stage of our falling into the abyss of frustrations is imminent. What we need is drastic overhauling of our operational mechanisms. Authorities alone cannot achieve this gargantuan task. All of us should lend a helping hand to shake the sinking administrative machinery. Let’s step out of our safe and glassy cocoons and help frame policies to take up remedial measures at war footing.

There is no dearth of prudent and committed bureaucrats and corporate titans who could be requested to help out. The industry giants who made possible high economic growth and overall prosperity would surely invent methods to save India from becoming a nation of garbage. If this single job is done successfully, we can save our citizenry from contracting deadly diseases. It would ease our overburdened health services and many man days would be saved.

Another burning topic which continues to be sidetracked is our bourgeoning population. Anybody who loves his country will aver that without population control all our efforts for all round betterment will remain a pipe dream. The political class of our country has to rise above vote bank considerations and put in place measures to deal with the issue. If there is genuineness in its formulations nobody is going to oppose it. No sacrifice is big enough for the sake of the country.

*******.
A small hoarding at a wine shop in Panipat " Chield beer served here."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

LIVING ADVANTAGEOUSLY

An unpleasant friction occurs in our relationships when we become obsessively self- willed and rigid in our approach and try to impose our will on others. We look through the prism of our own limited world view. We resist different opinion and wish to have things our way. In the process we antagonize others, lose our calm, act unreasonably and end up working against our own interests.
Florence S Shinn of ‘The Game of Life and How to Play it’ says that resistance to natural scheme of things is hell. Rather than distrusting others, pledge full faith in them and speak positive affirmation, “Every man is a golden link in the chain of my good,” and will further the divine plan of my life.
It is in our nature to become tense and worried about some letter or call which has a bearing on our life. We spend tormenting hours waiting, for that letter or call, suspending our normal activities. Experience is a testimony that nature is our ally and we should have faith in the balancing act of the supreme power which is governing this universe. It is going to help us, get, what is ours according to the divine plan of things. Our letter or call will come at the right time.
The images of opulence, health and prosperity in our subconscious, get externalized in our life spontaneously by the natural law of attraction. Highs and lows are part of life and they are there to keep us in touch with the real world. Resisting situations, on which we’ve no control, create unnecessary stress and lead to expending of our vital energies on negativities. “Bless your enemy and you rob him of his ammunition.” Send goodwill to everyone. By the sheer power of your genuine blessings you will take from him the power to harm. Agree with your adversary and he will fall in place and even may befriend you.
There is a Chinese maxim which exhorts: Let life flow like water in a river. So many obstacles come in its way, but it flows placidly undisturbed. Instead of trying to change the personality of others we should try to change the obduracy in ourselves and give due regard to all. We should never lose sight of the ground realties and allow barriers erected by our egos to be demolished and then every righteous desire of the heart will be fulfilled. In Sikhism in the last verse of our most sacred prayer (Ardas) the blessings of the Almighty are invoked by singing: ‘God’s name is bliss and by His Grace everybody is blessed.’ “Nanak nam chardikala, tere bhane sarbat da bhla.”
God’s bountiful benedictions will be ours, if we pray for the good of all His creatures. This message, we need to remember for always!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

LESSONS FOR LIVING



For the past week I was feeling completely dry of writing fervour.  Just like an autumnal leaf shaken from the mother tree and flying with the force of wind before falling lifeless on the ground. Ideas got stuck some where. Refusing to be dislodged from their comfy state of inertia. I felt like an abandoned well. It was a thoroughly unpleasant situation. I longed to RECEIVE that famous 1 per cent inspiration to kindle the power of creative spirit.

And finally, that, I did get from an unexpected source. Long back I was gifted a small book, but somehow it remained hidden in between larger volumes and away from my gaze. Since I was bent upon getting initiated into writing my weekly blog post( it has become an integral part of me) I got to peruse it and found it wonderfully inspiring. Embellished as it was with nuggets of wisdom and pearls of spiritual strength capable of transforming  life completely.

The book in question is “The Game of Life and How to Play it” by Florence Scovel Shinn. It teaches spiritual enlightenment as well as a recipe for healthy, happy and prosperous life. At the outset she says,” Most people consider life a battle, but it is not a battle, it is a game”

To play this game successfully, the divine law of giving and receiving must be understood in a larger context. In the sense of the saying “As you sow, so shall you reap” e.g. by giving love you’ll receive love and by sending hate you’ll get hate. If you cheat you’d be cheated and if you lie you’d be lied to. In short life is a great lesson in boomerangs.

And that man should be extremely careful about his thoughts and his images in the mind. Your subconscious has a direct bearing on your actions and behavioral patterns in daily life situations and the state of your mental and physical well being. Remember people uttering silly insinuations or  abusive words and immediately realizing the impropriety, try to back track by saying: ‘Oh it was a slip of the tongue’ but actually in an unguarded moment the real feelings wriggled out. One day he/she surely will get paid  in the same coin.

Your mind is a great potent force and should be trained consciously to harbour healthy thoughts and send spiritual vibes of love and goodwill. Which will fill your life’s pathway with beauty, wealth and good sense? People will be attracted towards you, seek your help, confide in you and bless you

Thoughts of envy, anger, vengeance and being critical, poison the mind and body and sap joy out of life. Positive orientation and feelings of goodwill for all bring peace of mind and make life productive and meaningful.

You must have noticed around you, some people being much more successful than others. The secret is their attitude and faith in a power which guides us in our life’s journey. Such people keep on invoking the intervention of the ‘Infinite Spirit’ to supply them, which is rightfully theirs and wait patiently for the fruit of plenty in their lives and receive it when the time comes. Such people have keen intuitive power or hunch to act right. That is why it is said ‘always follow your heart’ it can never go wrong.

The writer lays tremendous emphasis upon the power of prayer soaked in deep faith (man must make the first move) and maintains that it should be worded very carefully to encompass the demands which you richly deserve and surely the flood gates of plenty will be opened for you.

“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt.vii.7)