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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Like children

When you look at a child, there are a thousand expressions in his eyes. (It must be weird for all the paediatricians to imagine the expressions I am talking about since the only one they get is either a blank face or a scared one!) The child may be cute/not cute, rich or poor; but they are all the same! Once you have caught their attention, you would either receive a smile or a cry!

In case you get a chance to enter a nursery room in a school, the most amazing sight awaits you! Each child is different in his own special way (atleast that’s what Aamir Khan made us believe after Taare Zameen Par) and you need to observe each one to know what life is all about! You would see some engrossed in animated talks within the gang; some others aloof than rest of the class. One of them is sure to be a gangster running and bullying people around him. They are like flowers in a garden; all different and all so amazingly beautiful!

People are like children. I think this is the simplest way to describe human behaviour (that too in one SHORT line)! You smile at them and they smile at you (Ok, I mentioned the kids who do NOT smile at you too!) Deep down our masks of this world, we all are children- we need to be cared for, seek attention and show patterns of jealousy! Try observing a kid who has got a new sibling. He would always try to seek attention of his parents in one way or the other; showing jealously towards the new born. Mothers have to act smart by giving the responsibility of the younger one to elder (atleast that’s what my Mom did; and it worked!)

Like children we take our broken toys (read dreams) to our parents (read God) to mend; but keep hovering around them. We do not give him time to mend our lives; we act like impatient brats! The fact is that we hold on to our dreams so tight that we strangle them. We do not realise that life is not about reaching somewhere; but how we reach there! Life is about today!

Of course I believe that what ever we do comes back to us; doesn’t mean we keep living in past or future! (Anyways I always wonder how many things that I have done; do I want to receive back? Gosh! it sure is scary) When you look a young child; he has no plans, no worries in mind. (Yes, may be he plans to get that videogame on his next birthday) For a child everything is a wonder! Every moment holds a new question. He may not get an appropriate answer from his parents all the time (especially when they tend to bring office back to home), but he knows life is about learning slowly; experiencing each moment. Lets live like children-believing in goodness of everyone. (I have received beautiful smiles from children, to whom I was a complete stranger; you just have to smile at them first!) When we do not believe in goodness in people, we only exist. Let us live life……… children!

A heart rendering experience......

A well connected by road, but segregated area with only more than a few houses. Complete rural atmosphere- mud houses and thatched roofs. You would fail to notice anything unless you are told!

This is the site of sex-workers in/around the city of Alwar situated 30 kms away from it. As we get down from the bus, greetings of small children are heard. They greet us with shy smiles.

Are they the children of SEX workers? Are they legitimate or illegitimate? Are they ‘wanted to be born’ as much as we are? Have they seen their mothers sleep with different ‘Uncles’ visiting their home or have they spent nights alone in huts when their mothers goes to work at night! Do they actually understand the profession of their mothers? I seriously doubt it!

What do sex workers look like? They are humans just like us! All Females, of different ages-young and middle aged. Surprisingly, I did not see anyone old there. This thought comes to my mind just now. Where do they go when they start to grow old? Who fends for them then?

They remain huddled up in a corner when we make ourselves comfortable on charpoys. This is when you feel the unwritten boundary-a line which is stronger than economic status of people; it seems much stronger than the boundaries I have seen during trips to slums.

Are they any different? They are dressed decently in salwar-kurta- all of them. But just then I notice a little more than extra kajal in those eyes, lips a little more red and that cleavage showing the hint of bosom. I thank God, I did not wear kajal in my eyes today!

I look deep into their eyes and see no life. The face of the youngest doesn’t leave me-who has the mixed expression of shyness and desire to interact with us. She had been speaking to us before the elders took her place. She quietly shifted to one side and kept watching us with her big eyes.

They have been Devdasis since 400 years-it’s a tradition; now a culture here! Two out of a family of 3 girls take up sex trade as occupation. “Do you want to leave this occupation?” was our question. “We want to but can government give us some source of livelihood? Would that be better than earning 800-1000 per ‘sitting’?” Economy is not good there too-I agree but still they have televisions at home!

They knew about HIV and get themselves tested! They also urge their partners to use condoms during practice. But how do so many children surround them? How does it happen then? Was it a deliberate pregnancy-or that ‘lover’ did not agree to use condom during ‘making love’ to her? So many questions surround me!

A school is set up especially for their children but then children do not opt for other occupations even after that. I see the face of a 7 year old girl who looks at me with awe, one hand in mouth. Untied frock ribbon and her eyes look ‘not so bright’-what is she going to be when she grows up? She doesn’t have to wait for long to get an answer-just a few more years!

Impregnated with these thoughts I reflect that even in today’s times birth does make a difference to our lives just as it did in times of our forefathers! Where have we reached then?     

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I sit by the window

Gazing into sky,

There is the far away horizon

And the birds flying by!

Trees are swaying in the wind

Singing me a lullaby,

The flowers smile at me

A smile so very shy!

A promise of tomorrow

On the young mango tree,

Fruits are tempting me for a bite,

Swaying on the trees carefree!

Nature’s beauty is unmatched

Watching it, I can sit all day!

But alas I have to go back,

Into the world made of clay!

Manners anyone?

Good manners are one of the prime things that we tend to teach our children from the start, but it seldom finds its way into minds of adults.

The Oxford dictionary meaning of the term Manners means “social or polite behaviour.” Whether we still remain social or polite; is another thing to ponder about! Manners have been many a times debated upon (either in books or in person) as to what should be the correct conduct, especially of a lady!

There is a lot of literature about manners and one could literally do a Phd in the “Good Manners” of the particular society! What may seem a good behaviour in one society may be forbidden in the other? But few of our manners are built into our lives and have become such an integral part of our day to day conversation that we don’t even notice them. (Unless we come across someone who grossly misses on them)

One manner that finds place in most of our dialogues is “Sorry” (Though we may say that “No Thank you and Sorry in friendship” but I guess it still has a great deal of importance)   

Recently a friend of mine, created a small blunder in the office. She felt sorry for it immediately to the concerned officer and he rudely brushed it apart. She was not sure that he had forgiven her, so she profusely said sorry to him a couple of times more. And lo behold! He was the warmest person one would ever come across! That is the power of “Sorry” sometimes!

The power of Thank you is amazingly put in Munna Bhai MBBS (I do hope you have seen the movie, it’s a must for all the people who believe that human behaviour can be influenced for good!) The way the “would be” doctor thanks a sweeper shows that manners need not be limited to only your own strata of people, but are universally accepted with good grace. I have seen shopkeepers breaking into a smile when I thank them for their good conduct while selling their goods.

Smile is another powerful expression which has a huge potential to heal any hurts or grudges. One of the most beautiful smiles I have ever come across was from an urchin on streets of Patna. (Now had Leonardo da Vinci been alive, he would have sued me for saying that!)  It was from my way back office, when I noticed a young girl of about 4 looking at me keenly. I smiled at her and her expression was of total surprise which suddenly transformed into a shy smile. Ah so beautiful!

One of the most important manners that I wish everyone would develop is to never waste food. (The habit of finishing every single bit of food on my plate ever since my childhood is what I cherish even today). Wastage of food is the worst kind of behaviour that a poor country like ours can afford (We need not display our riches by wasting food, there are better means of doing it!). In European countries it is considered a criminal offence to waste food as it is a wastage of country resources. Once we inculcate some basic behaviour in our conduct, lives would be more “mannerful”!