Friday, February 28, 2014


I met a family.  In fact, a special family it was. No way can I obliterate it from my mind scape.

The other day we were driving on Rajpura, Chandīgarh highway, on our way to visit Chandigarh. Dear hubby was at the wheel, so I had all the time to look around.There was much hustle and bustle, constantly moving motley crowd and din of vehicular traffic.

Suddenly a couple of rows of artefacts arranged neatly on the berm of the road came into a fleeting view.  I got curious. Abruptly, I requested my hubby to halt for a while, though he hates to stop in between a short journey. He slowed down, I got out and walked back a few yards and saw a shabby tent on a small piece of dry land, with  sundry articles strewn around. In the midst of that disorder, there was the presence of a whole lot of artistically made figurines of young couples in romantic poses, beautiful young maidens with flower baskets in their arms, vases with leaves and flowers sculpted on the outside and many more exquisitely made pieces with plastic of Paris.  Some pieces were painted and ready for sale. Some were drying in the sun. I could also see some wet material lying in a dented iron bowl and some dirty blue colored plastic containers filled with water.

The picture of poverty was unambiguously palpable in the surroundings. Yet I could not help marveling at the honed skill of these abjectly poor artisans. The man of the family was no more than a boy with white powder smeared on his hands, face, and all over his clothes. There was a tiny girl moving around, attired only in a soiled sweater and with naked bottoms. Another child, I saw crawling inside the tent equally begrimed. Then a comely girl wearing a threadbare sari appeared from nowhere. She was the mother of the tiny tots.

It was painful to see a couple so young and having such artistry not being able to make both ends meet and living as it were from hand to mouth. So poor that  they could not afford to buy a few clothes for the little one. When I told the man that I intended to take pictures of the art pieces he was happy but lamented “Dhanda nahi chal raha" (there are no sales) and that he had no money to buy even food stuff. It was intriguing to make out how a couple had magic in their nimble fingers and possessed sharp creative imagination in spite of being illiterate. It was simply mesmerizing. Moreover, it was hard to envision that  dismal poverty and artistic talent could coexist. However, it happens all the time. 
I took the pictures and left but the image disturbed me. I kept thinking how such people could be helped. The following views came to my mind.

Mainly such families are from Rajasthan and temporarily settle for the season in Punjab around the highways where they sell their products to commuters passing through. They don’t earn enough to subsist but carry on.  
The authorities do take measures to encourage these folk artists by arranging fairs and other outlets periodically but these help only the smarter ones. The bulk remains unrepresented.

The NGOs can help by enabling them to market their creations to big business houses or to specific outlets.
These people can be trained professionally in better coloring techniques and perfect finish for attracting sales. Such  statues and  decorative pieces  can fetch a lot of money in foreign lands, where there is much more appreciation for arts and crafts.

Friends, what are your views on the subject. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Linked to ABC Wednesday

G is for generosity  
Nature's generosity blossoming in our front yard

The spirit of generosity is desirable more than ever in the present-day scenario of self-centered living and its alarmingly growing ascendancy amidst us. Though family incomes have increased manifold, concern for others, who are less fortunate than us, is largely diminishing. It is more so in nuclear families where the backyard happens to be their whole world now. Selfishness bordering on haughty indifference is slowly tearing apart our social fabric. As if, nothing else matters and the aim of life is just to pursue as much personal gain as possible. It appears to be the only motivation, to which most of the people respond. 
There is another malady no less worrisome gaining ground fast, that of utter reluctance to share the small wins of life even with the closet relatives because of some bizarre distrust and doubts existing in the minds of people. Strangely, more and more educated people are adopting such regressive tendencies.
All this has to change. Our life is meaningful only if it has the quality of generosity, care and kindness. In line with this proposition, let’s spell out some accepted principles of leading a generous life and deliberate upon them.
Developing generosity of spirit: The act of giving willingly without expecting any reward and making giving a part of life is large-heartedness. Deriving genuine pleasure in helping others in tough times is really being kind.
Believe in charity: Being magnanimous implies, reaching out to affected people of natural disasters, with monetary support, irrespective of one’s own economic status. Donating to charities causes or purely to social organizations engaged in projects for society’s common good enhances your capacity to carry out your convictions.
Thinking beyond our loved ones: Showing empathy to those who help us in so many ways is a way to build mutual trust. For example, house cleaners lessen our burden of routine household chores, gardeners mow our lawns, rake leaves and clean and beautify our outside area with plants and flowers and give it a presentable look. They deserve appreciation for maintaining our valuable patches of herbal plants. Make them smile with a gift or extra money on auspicious festivals. It’ll boost their self-respect.
Be affirmative: Generosity also means to have a positive and healthy orientation towards life.  That means dwelling on noble qualities of others’ while ignoring flaws and shortcomings. Taking genuine interest in making others succeed and prosper is a two way blessing.
Have a liberal outlook: There is no place for jealousy, envy or meanness in a generous person’s character. He rejoices and congratulates others on their successes. He practices liberality of spirit
Gracious giving and receiving: A generous person gives so he receives according to the law of abundance, which works in his favour and governs his life.
Be ethical:  Follow right means. Work honestly for your living. Manipulating systems and the gullible for misappropriating wealth, which does not belong to you is gross criminality.
A liberal person seeks joy and satisfaction in making a difference in others’ lives. He selflessly plunges into projects for the good of the community. Name and fame are immaterial to him.
Feeling generous is not enough; you have to show it through a smile, a reassuring hug or a lot more. A pat on the back for bucking up someone who has been passing through testing times, gives one great power. Show it in so many ways that you care.
Cultivate generosity: Get inspired. Read about the lives of great philanthropists who contributed money, effort, time and energy selflessly to help people and institutions to grow.
Be grateful   to your elders, siblings, friends, and God for countless blessings of life, which helped you to make something of your life. Pledge to enable someone else to reach the ladder of success and savor the pure pleasure of doing it.  
Believe in yourself: Many of us want to help but hesitate, thinking of failure or inadequacy in convincing others about our intent. Take a step, however, small and remain positive.
Practice Karma: Make generosity go hand and hand with your other important activities. Incorporate it in your life style. Because you only live once.
There are several channels we can adopt to bolster hope and confidence in others. The moot point is the beginning.

Friends, what do you think of the subject. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


F is for Faith
Soren Kierkegaard the Danish Existentialist philosopher termed faith as “the highest passion in a human being.”

The concept of faith is as vast as the universe itself, for it envelops the whole of humanity in its blessed fold. The idea of faith took birth when man first appeared on the earth. Living in jungles at the mercy of natural forces, man created his own icons of faith to overcome his fears and to survive amidst extremely hostile environs. Over the ages, the notion of faith in one form or the other became the essence and an inseparable part of man’s existence.
Faith as a lexical item denotes deep trust and confidence in one’s beliefs, which with time, mature into an aspirational urge to take care of our life and steer it forward wholesomely.
Faith has various manifestations, which, dwell within us. As citizens of our country, we repose faith in its constitution and other institutions, whose mechanisms indirectly ensure righteous governance through administrative checks and balances. In a democracy, we elect our representatives in the hope that they will legislate and then execute laws keeping in view the welfare of the people. Then we have faith in our judicial system to mete out justice through legal means, to those who knock at its door for the reparation of the wrongs done to them.
Well, we have faith in modern medicine to cure us and look after our physical and psychological well being.
Our deep faith in the tenets of our religion provides us mental strength to face untold miseries which keep propping up unannounced. Faith makes us conscious of the realities of life, concomitantly reminding us of the basic mission of uniting decisive forces around us.
Faith is subjective and an inner affirmation. Like a lighthouse, it illumines a safe path to traverse through rough terrains of life.  However, faith remains an existential enigma and a miracle that belies a simplistic definition. It is uniquely experienced.  For the believer, it encloses his every limb, nerve and cell.  Can it be questioned? No! Because it is a purely private and a sacred thought process.

Prayer too is an act of faith, which has God somewhere up as an addressee.

Faith resides in the human heart with multiple emotional indices. For example, we have absolute faith in our parents’ ability to think and ensure the best for us. Then we have faith in our children that they will grow into successful and good human beings. Then we’ve trust and confidence in our own resilience, to triumph over the most testing times of our life.  Surely, it is our faith, which begets self-assurance and doesn’t let us waver in the face of unexpected challenges. For a person with genuine faith in his own capacities, nothing is insurmountable.

The spirit of Faith sharpens positive thought processes. It ushers childlike approach to life, which is curious, innocent and receptive. It inspires, motivates and kindles altruistic tendencies. True faith is enemy of dormancy and inertia, and prepares one to push one’s limits for achieving higher ends.  Faith heals, keeps us energized with hope to tackle heavy odds. Belief in God or some supreme being instinctively spurs us on to plunge into the arena of happening life fearlessly.

What can be more eloquent sign of faith than the spontaneity manifested in the natural phenomenon? The dichotomy of day, night, and cyclic change of seasons happen according to some invisible spiritual rhythm. Not for a moment, we doubt that summer will not give way to fragrant, colorful, windy autumn or chilly and bare winter will not post an invitation to beauteous resurgence of plant life in spring, together with an atmosphere of gaiety and playfulness.
All religions revolve around faith and trust in God. They proclaim that faith symbolizes compassion and reaching out to others in goodwill and harmony.  In Buddhism, faith implies a resolute and courageous act of will. …..steadfast resolution combined with confidence can achieve whatever it has set its goal on.”

Every morning, when we get up, the freshness, the mild breeze, the chirping of fluttering birds, the sounds of human activities, the salivating aroma of food emanating from neighborhood kitchens, the barking dogs and mewing kittens, are all indicators of pure blessings for those steeped in deep faith. It mutates into a clarion call to seize the moment and surge ahead with renewed goals and dreams.

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Mahatma Gandhi

 Friends, your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Linked to ABC Wednesday

Inspired by Roger Green’s tale of expressively beautiful string of E words; I too thought of loosely weaving a tapestry of innocuous but powerful E words, which act out our lives day in, and day out. For example, E eggs us on to earn, eat and enjoy an eventful life. It even encourages us to extricate ourselves from the inanities of life and encounter the challenges of life with élan. It engenders hope and enthusiasm in the hearts of those who embrace edifying edicts. While enjoining upon us the need to embolden the committed and enable them to empower their elders and enrich the lives of the enslaved through endearing endeavors and create some ease and ecstasy in their ensuing years.

Here are short narratives with my chosen E words.

I chose the word eavesdrop because of its association with some sort of intrigue and mischief. Originally an eavesdropper was one who stood at the eavesdrop (where the water fell near the house) to overhear what was said inside. It is the habit of stealthily listening to a private conversation without the others’ knowledge. Sometimes simple curiosity makes people to indulge in this nasty secretive play. It is a stolen pleasure, so it is a malicious pleasure. It also feeds the urge to know what other people talk about you. More often than not, it has led to confrontations and heartburn. Sometimes people purposely conspire to enable others to eavesdrop to mislead them with evil intent. Many times you become an eavesdropper for no fault of yours e.g. in trains, buses and in air travel. Have you heard of a mother in-law eavesdropping on her son and daughter in-law’s conversation on a regular basis ending up in a family feud, when it was found out?
In this new age of sophisticated technology in communication systems, governments can eavesdrop on all aspects of the private life of its citizens. For that purpose phones can be tapped, offices bugged and wired. Monitoring of computer activity is allegedly a regular practice in the hands of govt. and law enforcement agencies.

Leaving aside the eavesdropping to its votaries let’s go after a simple E word that characterizes our lives very smartly by being a part of special proverbs. The word is Early and it got nestled in my mind-scape effortlessly. However, once there, it wanted its presence felt rather early. The adage ‘The early bird gets the worm', ‘didactically implies that our productivity will increase if we start our day early in the morning when there is least disturbance and distractions. Then the proverb “Early to bed and early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise" also exhorts us to go to bed  early to reap the advantages of more work done by rising early. Since it provides a head start for the day. Whenever we travel, the advice we always get is to be at the airport, bus stand or station earlier than later. Therefore, the word ‘early’ signifies a formidable power to make or mar our destiny. It is a metaphor against laziness and carelessness. Its mantra is to do things earlier than later.

On the heels of preachy early the E word ebullient enters gushing and stamping its feet spiritedly. Its ebullient bearing seemed to chide us for our cynical looks and negative vibes.  Surely, its ebullience disapproved of our frowning visage and impressed upon us to take life as it comes and face the miseries and sorrows with faith in our good sense and confidence in our power of overcoming the odds of life valiantly. It brought forth the argument that birds happily peck into the ground or glide in the air above us displaying joy and carefree abandon.They leave everything to nature, which sustains them in all seasons and climes. Likewise if we resolve to work honestly and joyfully to the best of our abilities while being kind to those who are less fortunate  than us, life’s myriad dilemmas  get resolved in due course of time. 

Wasting no time, ebullient walked out hurriedly, leaving us gaping with wonder. 

 Images: courtesy the Internet.

Friends, what do you think of the E words?