Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lucky 13!

13 years and a long journey ... An address book with 1500 plus names, some acquaintances, some crossing that invisible line to become friends. Adding to the ever expanding encyclopedia of mind and heart, creating new memories on the way! 

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing...
So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another....

Today marks the anniversary of the journey that I started 13 years ago - from Banaras to Bombay and I complete a full circle sitting in Mumbai today facing the vast Arabian Sea from the hotel window. 

It has been a rollercoaster ride, have had moments of fun as well as pain, have met some really wonderful people on this journey. 

Thank you Friends for your love, support, guidance as I continue walking,
December 17, 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014

To Teachers, With Love!

My first memory of a teacher is of my Grandmother, when I was not even 3 yrs old. She was the one who taught me alphabets, numbers and colours. Whilst some of the memories have faded away, what I do remember is that when I went for my nursery admission interview, I already knew alphabets, and could write my name. And that teaching was done, staring out of a first floor window, facing the street, watching the world, or rather the traffic, go by. That was my favourite place. It was the days when ikka or tonga used to ply passengers, there were bicycles, few scooters, fewer buses and almost no cars. There was no brown colour in my vocabulary, so it was white horses or red horses. The matras in Hindi alphabets either faced right or left, I had by then mastered right and left directions. Lot of it was taught while having food, she feeding me, I throwing the spoons down the window to the grounds. She was my first teacher, and she had loads of patience. 

However, once the school started, my mother took over the responsibility of making sure homework was completed every day. And I think we both learnt together ... I, the course and she, the patience. (She would need many more chapters to do due justice to what she means to me in my life.) Moving to higher classes, my father mentioned lot of times of teaching me himself, but except for few sessions, chapters of science, it really didn't happen. He however made sure he taught me bicycling starting from trainer ones, to two wheels child cycle to a fully grown up cycle. In later years, even the scooty. And I learnt from him to stand up for the truth always, and not give up even in adverse circumstances!

The transition from primary to secondary school brought a new teacher in my life ... My masi. She taught me English, Hindi, Social Sciences, Maths and even Sanskrit. Looking back, I wonder she knew so much, I think I would not be able to attempt to teach even one subject to anyone. And lot of discussions and revisions happened while waiting for the school bus in the morning. She is the only one who also taught me formally at college, when I had Geography as one of my subjects. It was a very different and difficult to be present in the class knowing her so intimately and yet remaining aloof. We managed the two years by she not calling my name out any time during the class except for the roll call. And she stayed away from the examination and evaluation process for the two years I had Geography as the subject.

Moving back to secondary school, I had met lot of teachers who knew either my mother or my masi, 35 plus years of teaching in the same city does that to its residents. Many of them continued to excel in their subjects and had an impact on me. I remember them with fondness today on Teachers' day! 

One of the teachers who I can never forget was my English teacher in probably class 8 or 9, and that too for a short period. She used to only take higher classes, and took few classes with us as substitute teacher for absent ones. My love and interest for the subject came because of her. Being taught almost my whole school life in government schools, English was not the medium of choice. I could have learnt English at home, the language being my mother tongue ... My mother is convent educated by English nuns and is a English professor 😉... But it didn't happen. Call it fate or destiny, I picked up English speaking because of her; painstakingly reading newspapers, forcing myself to think in the language rather than translating before speaking, writing as I was thinking instead of learning it by heart. And by the time, I finished Class 10 and changed schools, I was proficiently speaking, talking, writing, walking English! 

Class 10th in my times, was generally torturous, primarily because of hype and pressure surrounding it.  Two of my weakest subjects in the class were Economics and Maths. While I was glad to say goodbye to maths after Boards, Economics followed me till MBA, including two of my major degrees in the subject, I don't joke when I say I mastered Economics! My support system to take me through these two subjects in these terrible times was my two mamajis.  My elder mamaji was an Economics professor and had written simple books in Hindi on the subject which were lot easier to undertstand than the language the teachers spoke. And while my Maths teacher helped me quite a lot, the credit for my first class in the subject in Class 10 goes to my other mamaji.  I don't remember the circumstances of why he was in Banaras that time, but he made me revise the whole course before the Board exams in a very simple way. My grandmother was amazed that at no time, he raised either his voice or temper while explaining the concepts to me. She remembered him taking a very different route with his children in their times! I guess the only time I enjoyed the subject in my life was in those 15 days with him. 

The graduation years was equally difficult, I knew almost all the teachers because my mother and my masi taught in the same college. It was difficult to bunk classes, the information would eventually flow down to them. And there was no chance to sit around with classmates and gossip about teachers or the college either. I guess compared to others around me, my college life was pretty boring. 

And so was post- graduation, being in the same campus, there was no escaping the fact that there was a line to be toed since your teachers were colleagues to your parents, and there was a reputation to mange and hold. However, there have been few teachers who have contributed to what I am today, have been responsible for my education and my beliefs. Thank you. 

In the last 13 years of my career and 3 and half decades of my life, I have had many bosses, colleagues and some friends. Some were completely forgettable, erasable; some have lingered on the memories - bitter-sweet experiences; for some I have loads of respect and some have become close friends and confidants. All of you have made difference to my life in some way or other, taught me some of life's lessons, have been responsible in making me what I am today ... My good and bad sides combined. 

So on this day, Happy Teachers' Day to the first teachers of my life, my grandmother, my parents, my masi and to all those who have crossed my path in their various avatars and with whom I continue my learning journey.

In gratitude,
September 5, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

NH8 woes or wonders?

NH8 or Delhi-Gurgaon highway for non-dilliwallahs can be a nightmare for daily commuters most of the times, but sometimes, it is a pleasure to drive down on it. Leaving office post 8pm today, the highway was almost a zip through for a change.
With Delhi airport sprawling through a large portion of the highway, and the resultant absence of high-rises on both sides of the road; I have catched quite a few beautiful sunsets on this stretch. It's a beautiful sight, where the runway is almost touching the highway, and an airplane landing on it against the backdrop of setting sun in the evenings. Inspite of so many air travels, it is still a fascination to see the planes landing and taking-off. 
At a point on this stretch, where the highway curves, the feeling is almost like cruising through the Marine Drive, with the whole expanse of lighted airport on one side and other surrounding areas and the halogen street lamps framing the other side of the road. I can sense some smirks from Mumbaiwallahs on my timeline 😉 ... 
And at the end of a tiring Thursday, the respite in the day was a meeting away from office over a decently brewed cup of Darjeeling tea, a time-out from the mundane office environment. 

Thankful for a tolerable day,
July 31, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Celebrating Eid... My way!

As I promised myself yesterday, I am back! And keeping another promise to self, had a lazy day ... Well almost, apart from couple of calls, few emails and some whatsapp messages with other people who were sadly working!
I had music on my mind, and as I rummaged in the shelf found a 1960 Akashvani recording of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saheb which included thumri and kajri. I didn't even remember buying it! Few days back, I had attended a concert where I had a chance to listen to some Banarasi music and I wanted more of it. It was a perfect weather to listen to a rare old recording. 
Rummaging further, I found CDs gifted by a dear friend while he was moving houses, and next on the line was listening to Ustad Amir Khan, followed by Pt Jasraj. 
A sukun walk in the park, watching the airplanes fly by ready for landing, promise of rain in the cloudy skies above to end the day.
While I missed seviyan today, wishing that I had a foresight to buy some and make it at home, and remembering that special day when I started my professional life, I pray and thank God for the journey since. 
And looking forward to the festival season in India, Eid starts the celebrations and rakhi, janmashtami and Independence Day in the next fortnight, festivities and fun will continue. And so I hope my musings!

July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

To A Perfect Life...

Small, simple things in life around can give pleasure, make the day little easy, only if you can spot and feel them around you. While I occasionally do practice this thought, this note today is thanks to a friend, who has challenged all for a 5 day challenge, 3 things a day. However, am making my own rules, will try to do one thing a day, for as long as I can. Simply put, I am sure there is atleast one good thing that I can be thankful for during the day!

So the manic Monday was not so, for a simple reason that Tuesday is a holiday; especially because for the last fortnight, I was thinking that Eid is not a holiday. May be the mind was not thinking of an almost mid-week off due to the deadlines that need to be met, racing against time. 

Coming back home from work, while it drizzled and caused jams like always, I looked forward to a Mid-week off, having no plans for Eid, just relaxing at home. Sitting in front of the idiot box with the dinner, watching my favourite movie of all times, remembering the good, old childhood carefree days is the perfect way to end the day.

In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

So here I am remembering My Favourite Things, listening to The Sound of Music and believing in myself that I Have Confidence in Me - exactly like 13 years ago, when I started my career on Eid day in Mumbai!

Eid Mubarak.
July 28, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Music for the Soul

Sunday morning... It is not easy to get up early, get ready and go out at 9am in the morning. I made the effort today!

After a cloudy, chilly and windy day yesterday, I was praying for a sunny Sunday. And it turned out to be a sunny, slightly windy but beautiful Spring morning. 

A perfect day to listen to Ustad Amjad Ali Khan playing morning ragas in the open amphitheatre at India Habitat Centre. He started the recital by claiming that it is very rare for musicians to get a chance to play the morning ragas these days and he is happy to be here.

Ustadji went on to play for two hours, interspersing serious ragas with shorter playful ones. Sitting in the sun, with smell of marigold flowers pervading all round, I wished the day wouldn't end. 

I have somehow never had an opportunity to listen to Amjad Ali Khan live before. As a child I do remember listening to Sarod, Santoor and other classical instrumental music while studying. Music helped clear away other background noises, forcing me to focus on studying. Somewhere in the professional race against time, music got relegated to the back. 

In the last few years, I have rediscovered music, I don't understand the science of music but love the sound, beats and generally, the language. 

Khan Sahib narrated a story of his father, wherein they were both playing and someone from audience remarked that they were still hungry for more. His father responded that if he is hungry, he should go and eat. Music is for the soul, for ruh. And how true it is ... This Sunday morning was truly music for the soul! 

"If music be the food of love, play on."
February 9, 2014