Sunday, November 13, 2011


To an observant eye, life offers a kaleidoscope of varied impressions. Some intense, some amusing and joyful and some saddening, but all leave an imprint on the subconscious while enlightening us about the ways of the world in the process.

In the context of the above premise, I can’t help narrating a funny anecdote regarding a harmlessly deceptive angle associated with cell phone use. Some time back my hubby and I were volunteering at a group of educational institutions and were asked to contact one young man in case of any problem. In fact, problems, there were many. But the fellow was overburdened and stopped picking calls and later on when confronted in person, would make some excuse or the other. That didn’t work for long. The place was in the hills with limited space and there were frequent encounters. (Looking back I can understand his predicament being overwhelmed with work and unable to deliver.)

Then the poor fellow devised an ingenious ploy. On seeing us from a distance he’d turn his back and pretend to be talking on his cell. (I saw through his trick quite early but started enjoying the scene.) Obviously, there was no question of disturbing him though he certainly was faking to be in serious conversation. Naturally, we‘d pass by, postponing to get something urgent fixed in our suite. This went on for quite some time. Later on, out of curiosity; I shared the finding with another couple who was facing a similar situation. Smilingly they corroborated being aware of the gimmick of the man but just ignored it because of his otherwise good manners and an important position in the setup.

Thank God he never came to know that we were aware of his trick because  we left the place soon after.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guru Nanak Dev ji's Birthday

Congratulations and good wishes to all on the sacred birth anniversary of Guru Nanak (1469-1539) the founder of Sikh faith. People’re thronging to various gurudwaras to pay their obeisance and listen to shabads (Guru-ki- bani rendered in musical compositions) and discourses on the life and teachings of the Guru .The celebrations will culminate in partaking of Langar (free kitchen),where all will sit together in rows and enjoy food ( which is taken as blissful) and return home feeing blessed. At night gurudwaras'll be decorated with lights and lamps, presenting a marvellous sight. People too will light candles and electric bulb strings to mark the occasion. The young also burst crackers.


Dear blog friends, I’ll be writing a piece on Guru Nanak’s tenets of philosophy which are based on the simple truths of life.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chandigarh Then and Now

There was a time when Chandigarh (French architect Le Corbusier’s dream project) a meticulously planned city, was open, peaceful, expansive, grand and lovely. You could walk without being disturbed by honking horns and deafening noise of the combo of vehicular traffic and people.
I’m referring to mid sixties when Chandigarh was in its infancy and cycling down to my college in sector 11 and later to the university used to be a pleasurable experience. Yes, cycle was the mode of transportation for most of the students, who were day scholars. Commuting by a rickshaw for a student was seen as being softy and unadventurous.
I don’t remember seeing any car on the road, only a few scooters.
In the university, love bytes were exchanged in the library (we had to spend much time there preparing notes.) The language of romance was the gleam in the eyes and mischief in the smiles and mutually devised nods implying volumes of meaning. Sadly there was no pillion riding on boyfriends’ mobikes and killing time sipping coffee and in spicy gossip sessions. Most of the girls’ were wary of going over board in such matters because of strong parental influence, hormones or no hormones.
Trend setting styles and hot couture hadn't caught the fancy of the students and our parents didn’t have money enough for us to splurge, as they had our siblings to support also.
Today student life has changed entirely. Students wear trendy, branded clothes and foot wear, and sport stylishly coiffured hair; are smart, intelligent, fully aware and well focused about their goals
Then there were only two fully developed shopping centers, Sector17 and 22. I purchased and got stitched my marriage trousseau from Sector17 and jewellery, crockery and other stuff from 22. There was the hotel Aroma, where the marriage party was put up. There was the Tagore Theater. That was all.
All the sectors’ve their own markets now. There’re exclusive stores for branded clothes and consumer goods and there is nothing which is available in the US and not here.
But Chandigarh’s taut and chiseled landscape has been furrowed. It is bursting at its seams. There is a mushroom growth of colonies around it and burgeoning migrant population to make a fast buck out of the pockets of the rich. Chandigarh’s limited infrastructure is overburdened with multiplying floating labour force. Who won’t aspire to be part of this “thing of beauty?” Needless to say, it has been messed up completely.
Crime rate has risen alarmingly. Not a day passes without news of chain snatching, day light robberies, deadly brawls, property disputes resulting in murders and old couples robbed and then brutally killed by their servants. Law enforcement agencies remain under tremendous strain. The city nestling in the Shivalik foothills has lost its virgin identity and is crying for a face lift.
I always loved to go to Chandigarh because it was the city of my youth. (After marriage I shifted to where my husband was.)But now I dread going there. One confronts traffic snarls, traffic jams and meandering movement of the vehicles all the time. From where‘d you get so much patience and how‘d you reach your destination on time? People buy cars without knowing the ABC of traffic rules. (They procure driving licenses somehow.)
The perennial traffic snarls are accentuated further as Chandigarh has become a favourite shopping destination for residents of its satellite towns. The basic cause of course is our ballooning population which neutralizes any enhancement or up gradation in public utility services. Chandigarh’s special status may soon vanish unless we take effective measures to keep its landmark status afloat.