Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 2

Power of love and togetherness of a bygone era 🙂

Tapestry of Life & Soul

By Bhuvi M

Continuing from Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 1

One day, while cleaning up old stuff from the cupboards we found a large family picture taken on the occasion of my grandfather’s Tilak ceremony (A ceremony of formal engagement). And gleefully she explained who was who in the 12”X10” black & white photograph, which had approximately fifty odd people from the extended family. The groom sitting in the front row with the kids on the carpet and her grandfathers sitting in most important chairs in the family photograph session, we kids couldn’t stop smiling and asked her, “दादीजी, दादाजी तो बच्चों के साथ बैठे हैं I दूल्हे को तो कुर्सी पर बैठना चाहिए था I” (Grandma, grandfather is sitting with kids. The groom should have been seated on the chair)

She used to happily explain the way my grandfather had collected a box full of gifts…

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“Life” The Greatest Teacher!!

By Bhuvi M

Teachers-Day-Greetings

Though each day of life is special, then remembering everything on each day for an average human is practically impossible. Additionally celebration breaks monotony. Paying gratitude to all those for their role in our development and wellbeing is must. Hence we started the culture of marking days for all those special people, occasions and things; to remember them in our special ways.

Most of the countries in the world have their own dates for celebrating teachers. In India 5th of September is marked to celebrate Teachers Day. The day is chosen well. It is the birthday of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan; eminent educator, academician & philosopher of our times and 2nd President of the nation. All our growing up years we have been celebrating teachers day paying gratitude to educators. As grown up individuals, people remember their teachers with reverence sending out messages, praying for them, thanking them.

Of all these teachers we do forget paying gratitude to the greatest teacher “Life” which gives most vital teachings to all of us. Most of the lessons we learn is in practical situation. In ancient India Gurukuls (Teacher’s Family) existed for imparting education. The child was imparted lessons while living a life in a Gurukul. Gurus or teachers were ascetics and lived hardy life. Along the lessons, the child was also exposed practical living situations and its realities. Guru also exposed them to situations as of debates and negotiations while visiting any person of significance. The Gurukuls had their drawback too. Not all got an opportunity to be taught by a Guru. It was reserved significantly for higher class of society. One prominent example is mythological story of outstanding Eklavya.

The system of education changed and evolved with foreigners coming to India and thereafter on independence and with new policies. We have Madrasas to Convents; from Government Institutions to Public Schools; the exposure to practical situations has been limited rather negligible. The child gets not much of opportunity to learn and develop competencies much-needed to excel in real life situations. Even after completing formal situation it takes almost a decade of exposure to real life scenario that one learns to manage real life situations. Mostly from ones’ own experience, observation, ones’ own quest for learning and if lucky, one crosses path with some wise soul will guide. Life remains the only teacher all along the person’s journey. It throws the child in unexpected waters and to let them swim. In that situation some learn to dive, swim, float and some do get drowned.

Can we pledge on this Teachers Day to make the education system more realistic, life oriented based on developing capacity and competency to steer life well? It is long journey towards an optimal situation to evolve, it may take generations. We can contribute to it by taking one step at a time.

Wish Teachers Day to LIFE. Cheers to LIFE!!

Picture courtesy internet

An Evening at Delhi Drum Circle

By Bhuvi M

I’d a chance to come across some of the pictures of this circle on a friend’s post more than two years back. Intriguing and appealing it had been to me since then. Had never got an opportunity to reach out, hear and watch their jamming session. It was a great opportunity when one of my activity groups, posted an event to spend an evening hearing this community playing. There was no second thought; I was attending this jam session without fail. Exalted to be the audience of Delhi Drum Circle at Hauz Khas Deer Park, New Delhi on a spring evening, I ensured to reach the park in time. A long ride of metro and then a joyride of auto rickshaw (after negotiating with three auto rickshaw drivers) helped me be there just in time.

This is a wonderful casual, non-commercial community based drumming group which gathers to play their drums every fortnight in the park. It is all about playing drums, djembe, tabla, dholaks, daf as well as other instruments as afuche, flute, didgeridoo, shankh. It draws people from all ages, nationality and walks of life who love to play and enjoy music. A beginner, an amateur and a professional, all play, learn and improve here together. The drum circle members happily lend their instruments to interested audience to play increasing participation.

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The members start to play the drums warming up for the jam session. As time proceeds, rhythm increases, more members join with their instruments and audiences add on to the green corner of the park. As the drumming progresses; body, mind & soul receives an ethereal gift of sound waves and begins assimilating it. Soon playing intensifies, the entire environment gets engrossed in the rhythm of beats which grows into a crescendo like thousand thunders on roll. The gazebo converts in an open air opera house reverberating with the most exotic sounds drawn from the different corners of the universe. It seems as if a perfect stage is set for Lord Shiva’s dance.  The body and soul matches to rhythm, jigging, prancing and shaking the leg. The music from other instruments transfuses in the air. Few members and audience dance in the circle. It is soon that the soul feels lightened, complete body resonates with the beats. One can feel moving to trance, where the soul merges with the universe, where you receive the positivity in abundance through sound of drums.

It is a stress bursting activity with a community of people who come together for their love for beats. In close to an hour one can feel being in higher state of mind, a heavenly experience taking the soul to eternal state, far beyond this world. I must admit, I was in transformed state for a while even after the event. Anyone who gets a chance to hear DDC play and participate should grab it. I’d major blocker to loud beats, resulting into pounding head; a myth shattered, soul soothing experience.

A Wonderful Sunday Experience!!

Pillar of Existence

By Bhuvi M

A man who had been my Pillar of Existence, it is his birthday today, a man who had been invisible source of my strength, man whom I loved the most, a man who is cherished forever in my life, a man who never grew beyond 1960’s. He is no other than my father. He loved Denis the Menace, Dara Singh Movies, Doctor (film series), medicine, poetry, books, silk scarves, playing squash, swimming, save the girl child and learning technological changes. The nerves of steel, core of wax he had been compassionate all through his life.

PillasIt was from him I inherited physiological features. Any of his friends or class mates whom I met in his absence, have easily recognized me as his daughter. My childhood pictures resembled so close to his; he quite often used to get confused identifying them. He taught me importance of female education; strict advocate of gender equality; taught me building Lego, to polish my shoes; English; interests in literature, poetry, books, reading, writing, carving out identity, independence, taking decisions, being fearless, freedom of speech, importance of trying; he often said “One should always try however uphill it seems, you never know it can be a fraction of chance that you may succeed. Without trying you are sure it is 100% failure.” So true was this statement; it made me try lot of things which seemed to be difficult. Now I look back and realize they were worth trying.

Few more things I learnt from him; to be modest even if born with a silver spoon and raised as a prince, respect people for what they are, to live and let live. But he never realized that there is a fraction of society which thrives on derailing peace and harmony, there is an existence of “Satan”, Mr. Hyde with Dr. Jekyll. He never could foresee them while he grew up; may be it was not taught to him by his parents or teachers. Accepting it had been a disappointment for him for a major part of his adult life.

“Child is Father of the Man” the proverb coined by William Wordsworth which means people’s personality forms when they are children. I’m taking liberty to interpret and use this expression differently; when the man grows old, his children play the role of the father. The child, who is now a grown up person, takes care of old man the way he had cared and reared them in their growing up years, instilling values, passing on the baton of culture. The life comes to a full circle. He was my pillar of existence. On the contrary my siblings and I were his “Pillar of Existence”, his source of strength, joy, happiness, life mystified. I had seen his eyes glinting with affection when his children were along with him. Without demanding he just wanted us to be around. We had been a ray hope for him to continue with his fight of existence.

I pay tribute to you; my dear dad on your birthday for my existence is carved out of yours. I would have never existed without your existence. I don’t get a chocolate cake for you anymore, I miss the family gathering, miss calling you up to wish you….but I wish you from the silence of my heart. Happy Birthday Dad!!

Diary of “Not so Glamorous” Single Girl

By Bhuvi M

Recently, I came across series of articles titled “Diary of a Single Girl” in Times Life, (the sunday supplement of The Times of India)  and has been forced to think, “Is this the only picture of a single girl, who is a professional staying in a metro?”

The Times of India column portrays a single girl as objectified glamorous diva from the modeling world. She does everything her way without caring for the world and societal norms. I appreciate the attitude of living her life her way….but still I think, is this the only real picture of “Single Girl”…. probably not.

Moving away from the column; I observe there is another breed of single girl; not into such glamorous profession; the front end of fashion, movies, media, airlines, hotel etc. Thousands of those who stay in metro cities; work breaking their back nine to nine, camouflaged from public eye in the very same glamorous sectors, corporate, NGOs, hospital or teaching at a university.

She is the girl next-door of our colony. She is educated and takes back home a decent pay cheque every month. She is focused in her career and clear with objectives. She is loving, friendly, ordinary and intelligent. She may not care for the world but still respects & greets her neighborhood uncle and aunty with smile. She is will stand by you in despair.

She is not a diva. She is modern and traditional all rolled into one. She dresses contemporary, casual, traditional & conservative, as the situation demands. She is confident and knows to carry herself. Her mother taught her to be safe in metro so she will not befriend strangers at the drop of the hat. She doesn’t find dates easily; may be she likes to know a person before deciding to date him. She will never invite someone home whom she has just met in the conference. She thinks twice before indulging into anything that can pose risk to her and her family.

Her routine is ordinary from visiting gym, managing house in the morning, office during the day and kitchen in the evening. She attends professional conferences and parties in the evening. On weekends she indulges into her passions; either in her circle of friends or alone. These can be traveling, backpacking, painting, writing, attending literary shows and watching theatre, watching movies, cooking, shopping or designing. She meets her extended relatives and manages those relationships with care. This is the majority of the “Single Girl”.

She works hard and smart to build her career. She shares the family responsibility. She invests for her future. She waits till her parents find a groom for her or she is able to find someone herself. She may date someone after liking and plans to marry her. Quite often she misses the man and not sex, a man who is all hers. She is the one who makes a lovely wife, stong relationship and a beautiful home.

Does this sound interesting to the ordinary reader of the column “Diary of a Single Girl”? She is among us. We can easily relate to her. The cover page of her diary may be ordinary as is her personality. If you are lucky to get a chance to flip through the pages of her diary and so as of her life you will find her far more interesting, loaded with endless challenges than a diva’s …… because she is you and me. She is the one who adds a charm to our day-to-day life. She is our daughter, sister, friend and colleague who make our lives meaningful and interesting. Shall we get inside the dairy now….the question lies with the reader.

Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 2

By Bhuvi M

Continuing from Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 1

One day, while cleaning up old stuff from the cupboards we found a large family picture taken on the occasion of my grandfather’s Tilak ceremony (A ceremony of formal engagement). And gleefully she explained who was who in the 12”X10” black & white photograph, which had approximately fifty odd people from the extended family. The groom sitting in the front row with the kids on the carpet and her grandfathers sitting in most important chairs in the family photograph session, we kids couldn’t stop smiling and asked her, “दादीजी, दादाजी तो बच्चों के साथ बैठे हैं I दूल्हे को तो कुर्सी पर बैठना चाहिए था I” (Grandma, grandfather is sitting with kids. The groom should have been seated on the chair)

She used to happily explain the way my grandfather had collected a box full of gifts for her before their marriage. The box was safely tucked away from the family in some inaccessible corner of store room, till my great grandmother accidentally found the treasure trove and my grandfather had to spill the beans how he got money for the articles. He worked extra apart from his regular job of working in the business with my great grandfather to earn more for gifts. He was never paid a salary from the family business and he did not dare to ask money from his father for buying gifts for his fiancée. She told us the stories of the time of her newly married life and my grandfather used to feel a bit awkward and often requested her to resist. But she was on with revisiting the past, her love with glint in her eyes as newly wed and happiness she derived from being loved unconditionally.

At most of the times my grand parents complemented each other in qualities. She took care of him and he pampered her with gifts and all the things she needed. She was a great cook and cooking was her passion; he ensured that the kitchen supplies were in place. On the other hand, my grandfather was great at his networking skills and popular in the social circles; that reflected in endless list of guests who relished food cooked in my grandmother’s kitchen. They took annual trips with each other till a few years of my parent’s marriage. He stood firmly as a solid rock behind her in all situations and I never ever saw him rebuking or pointing out to her publicly even if she was wrong on certain points. Really don’t know if he did that in private. The respect they gave each other was commendable; always saw them addressing as “अहाँ (Aahan in the local dialect maithili is आप / aap in hindi)” The space both of them gave to each other was building block for this love story that unfolded through more than six decades.

As kids we loved to play colors on Holi, without being aware of the pain my grandfather went through and the annoyance he had on this festival. He had lost his mother on the day of Holika Dhahan (Choti Holi or Sammad as it is called in our region). My great grandmother passed away in an advanced age; like anyone of us parents are parents at whatever age you lose them. I remember him yelling at us for spilling color all over the house each year. As always my grandmother reacted to this, “बच्चें हैं, रंग तो खेलेंगे ही I आप बेकार में गुस्सा होते हैं I माताजी का उम्र हो गया था तो उनको तो जाना ही था I” (Kids will play with colors. You are getting angry uselessly. Mother in law was aging and her leaving was natural), firmly standing against the man who loved her unquestionably. She never had slightest inkling that she too will leave for heavenly abode on the very same day as her mother in law. After her demise my grandfather could not survive even a year. A man so strong, I’d never seen him shedding tears in my life, which he did silently in ten odd months of survival without his childhood friend and love. He passed away just after ten months of the demise of grand mom.

This is a tribute to my grandparent’s love-story, with whom I shared more than two beautiful decades of my life. Quite often I’m being co-related a lot to my grand mom in physique, attitude and attribute. At times my father questioned, if I was his mom. Great resemblance though….but I still don’t have such a love story that she had and with complete confidence I know will have one some day.

For all those who believe in power of love… it really brings all the sugar and spice to life.

Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 1

By Bhuvi M

My Grandparents were married at a young age when my grandfather was just eighteen and grandmother all of twelve years. The age at which they were married had been a topic of discussion for both of them all through their lives. My grandmother’s version was sixteen and ten years respectively. I took my grandfather’s version; he was the one who was more mature to remember the right age and an educated person who had later became a successful businessman so in all faith I had to believe that he recalled right numbers.

Exact date and year of their marriage was never mentioned and debated upon. Celebrating anniversaries had not been a culture at home in those days. Based on calculation of my father’s age and approximate years into the marriage after which my father was born, we could roughly calculate that their marriage lasted for close to six and a half decades, with real terms “till death do us apart”. In those sixty some years, they grew up from childhood to adolescent and then adults; playing, caring for each other and sharing the responsibility of a huge joint family where they were the eldest son & daughter in law and also eldest daughter & son in law.

Both of them had different personalities; can’t be called poles apart but yes they had their own share of differences. Grand pop more reserved, less vocal, conforming to rules, strict, completely no nonsense, non approachable, traditional male of large joint hindu household and grand mom was peppy, talkative, easy going, could indulge in long conversation on some hush-hush topics, tom boyish, liberal in outlook, fond of movies  (I’d watched some worst, Zeenat Amaan movies with her which people would have not thought of watching with their parents) and a strict advocate of education. I still remember her telling us, “बउआ, यह पढ़ाई है जो सिर्फ तुम्हारी है I इसको न चोर चोरी कर सकता है, न भाई बाँट सकता है I कितना भी बांटोगे ज्ञान सिर्फ बढ़ता है I यह पढाई ही इंसान को मज़बूत बनाता है और हौसला देता है I” (Baua (a way of addressing younger in the family) only knowledge is your own. Neither thief can steal it nor it can be divided between brothers. If you distribute knowledge, it increases. It strengthens the individual and gives confidence) I knew that she was different and she was the one to whom any one in the family approached in distress. Even not knowing the situation and the solution for the same she used to say, “Have faith in you and be positive, everything will be OK.” This was re-instilling “Aall izzz well” situation. That is what was expected from the senior of the family to pep up kids when they were low and confused; just required someone to re-instill their belief in themselves. In my brother’s words, she was the most beautiful lady he had seen; yes she was, eloquent, elegant, regal and royal in all ways.

Continued at Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 2