The Great Indian Nautanki – Part 1

Finally its here! The time for which every democracy waits with bated breathe! When the errors of the previous choices are given a chance to be repeated! When history goes in for a makeover, and comes out just the same – apparently there is no way we can mess with imperfections! And that in short is what we call Elections!  When the people of the largest democracy will vote to power newer set of people with old agendas to mismanage the country’s administration (once again) for the next 4 years!

What has made the current election exciting is the fact that while the stage is being set at National level, Karnataka is all set to go in for its assembly elections in May and it certainly seems like there is a change in the air – both at the State and National levels.  For many, the results of Karnataka may seem a precursor to what may unfold at New Delhi. From the guys smoking at the street corner kaka-shop to the political pundits braying their throats out on various channels, from astrologers to tarot and parrot readers, everyone is busy predicting the outcome for various National and Regional parties as well as their satraps.

But there possibly hasn’t been a nadir that Indian political scenario had reached earlier, than when it is today!  The nation is at the brink of having to choose between the devil and the deep sea.  I wonder if ever there was such a dearth for leadership as what is facing the Indian democracy during the upcoming elections – both at Karnataka as well as National levels.

India in Election mode

India in Election mode

Too Many Cooks (Coalitions):  When the coalition government was initiated at the National level, it was heralded as a new dawn in the political sphere.  National parties could no longer claim majority, and they needed regional parties to support them – thus it was argued, the states would benefit and the concerns of the state administration would be addressed very well.  After two decades we are probably far from being anywhere close to that assumption.  A platform that was meant to be a launchpad for effective administration by a collaborative State and National involvement has been reduced to shambles with internal bickering and political gun trotting. Unfortunately, after the virus has spread, there is no way to quarantine it!  The National Parliament proceedings have been held hostage by several regional parties disrupting its functioning time and again.  While there is absolutely no need for such maneuverings, the elected representatives just don’t seem to know of any other method! The NDA as well as the UPA regimes have been held at point blank range by pesky partners who only proved to be the proverbial spanner to the wheel – TMC, AIADMK, DMK, SP, BSP and CPI(M) to quote a few examples.  Personal agenda and vendetta has always super ceded National interests.  A third front alternative is as good as the dead dodo, and even if forged would only add to the mayhem.  Unless there is a clear mandate given to one party, there would be no end to such chaos.  Unfortunately, there is none deserving of this attention currently.

The sole savior – Hero worshipping: The two major National parties are now giving us options to choose from! On one ‘hand’ we have a wet ear, and on the other we have a potty mouth! That the oldest National Party has steeped itself into a state of dynastic politics and dependency was a forgone conclusion.  But what is surprising is that they seem to have misplaced their commonsense along with it too!  They have clearly dug out a grave for themselves by positioning an absolute green horn such as Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate.  A person who has barely taken any stand-worthy position (except during the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty) is going to be handed the reins for running the country.  What is ironical with this move, is the fact that Congress has blatantly misjudged the call for change by the nation and neglected several well experienced, nuanced, and mature candidates who have a good track record.  Instead the change they want to give (in terms of representing younger generation) is to field a immature and inexperienced candidate to lead the Nation which they have now held  hostage with their sycophancy and immaturity.   Surely, running a country requires lot more than rhetoric and name! Unfortunately, recognizing this isn’t one of the strengths of Congress.

The BJP hasn’t turned out to be a real knight in the shining armor either!  In the past 4 years, BJP has come to resemble a party with absolutely no direction, let alone a leadership.  Every issue of National interest that they’ve tried to cash in on, has back fired implicating members of their own party.  Their (mis)administration in Karnataka has been fraught with internal bickering, scams, crime and volatility.  While this represented the failed leadership at the National level, it also gave an open ground for Narendra Modi to carve out for himself a niche despite his dubious records and questionable mannerisms.  For a person who has a panache for cheap-talk, it would be a scare to have him and his despotic attitude at the helm of National Affairs. I am not someone who says that there can be no redemption at all.  If Narendra Modi really admired Swami Vivekananda, he would’ve recognized that Swamiji was the epitome of leadership and that too of the concept (which has been wonderfully put forward by Asim Chaudhari) as Servant-leadership.  Servant-leadership is a model where the leader lays claim to the position by his attitude of ‘service’ and perception of himself being an eminent servant of the masses.  But then for Narendra Modi it symbolizes him being the master of slaves.  With sheer word power and hot air, while neglecting the core issues, he has positioned himself at a vantage point.  But clearly, empty words, and hot gas.. are just that!

Finger Pointing:  If one has to really find a field where every person is a criminal for everyone else, politics would

Various Party Symbols

Various Party Symbols

be the right starting point.  The reign of the UPA-2 regime if anything has been the most foolish in the recent decade.  In the wake of winning the mandate twice, they seemed to have let down their guard on several matters, and it rightfully boomeranged.  From ministers like Shinde who can barely watch their mouths (or should it be foot?!!) to a prime minister who inspite of being a remarkable statesman has sadly chosen to be a silent spectator, this was a rule that had ‘doom’ written all over it. With the exit of Pranab Mukherjee, things only got worse!  With scams after scams hitting the ruling coalition on their face, most of the critical administrative efforts were spent in dodging the attacks than attending to matters of prime importance – economy being one.  From a foreign policy that was miserable, to faltering on important issues of National significance like corruption, security and border control, the administration has depicted itself as being a lazy behemoth, that is a hopeless representation of the vibrant and young India that is now emerging.

What may have turned out to be a clear vantage point for BJP nevertheless fizzled out – thanks to its debacle in Karnataka and its own National Party President being embroiled in scams!  The pet peeve of Congress and other ‘secular’ parties has been the infamous riots of Gujrat, but it would be sane for Congress to also remember the riots that followed Smt. Indira Gandhi’s assassination.  In remark to this, Rajiv Gandhi had famously quipped – “When a huge tree falls, there is bound to be some disturbance!”.  This certainly is no absolution argument for Narendra Modi.  But alarmingly his remorseless attitude is no comfort either.  Not only supporting a person like Amit Shah, but the coolness with which his Government gave the go ahead for the maximum prosecution for his own ex-minister Ms. Kodnani, goes to show, how at the opportune moment, every person just turns out to be a pawn in the hands of those in power!  If Narendra Modi is serious about leading a country, he should first have an attitude of grace and gratitude.  Unfortunately, there is no leader in BJP other than Sri. Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had such self-respect and grandeur as to naturally elicit admiration and respect.  Instead of making personal remarks and vitriolic comments on a person’s character or personality, he’d do better to focus on issues of National interest than behave like a cheap low-class entertainer.  For a person who had got an earful on Raaj-dharam by none other than Atal Behari Vajpayee, Modi surely has learnt very less!

‘Secular’ are we?  The biggest debacle this election may lead to would be with the so called “secular” parties teaming up to keep another Right-wing party out of power.  Unless ofcourse the BJP gets a thundering mandate to shut everyone up! But in case of a hung verdict, it’d lead to all the so called “secular” parties coming together and retaining power.  Now, this idea of secularism  has a very weird connotation with respect to Indian politics.  The dictionary defines secular as something that does not belong to any particular religion or religious congregation.  In our context, it has turned out to be appeasement of certain sections of religion over the others.  The minority community appeasement has taken the form of secularism in Indian democracy.  And this has led to every party feeding like leeches either into the inherent mistrust or frustration of one community over another.  Leaders are elected based on the vote banks available from one community, governments are formed and elections are won based on boot licking either the leaders of the religious communities or their respective religious institutions.  Crores of rupees were given as funds or grants to religious institutions belonging to various communities by the BJP Government in Karnataka.  This is a disgusting precedent this government has set, to which every successor Government shall abide by, in order to stay in the good books of the religious king-makers.  Narendra Modi is only too happy to be fraternizing with the likes of Baba Ramdev who are worse than clowns with a pathetic sense of humor.  They are so serious about the crap they speak that, one cannot even consider them to be jokes!

Congress on the other hand, has been adept at using discreet strategies.  The way Salman Khurshid was seen tapping to the emotions of his community members was puke-worthy! It has long set a trend of calling for reservations without taking concrete steps to addressing the needs of providing qualitative education and empowerment to any of the communities.  And now they set their eyes on the premier institutions of India to carve out reservation seats.  To this circus we have the SP, BSP duo  and our occasional Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav and his brigade who are amongst the low brow of politicians cashing in on ‘backward’ tags.  To talk about their goondagiri, hooliganism and corruption would require a separate blog by itself! What is strange is everyone seems to be turning a blind eye to one fact – true benefit for any community – majority or minority comes from development – educational, social, economic and environmental development of the region and in turn its residents.  Education, Housing, Food, affordable living – these are the basic tenets of life in any country.  And the BJP Government in Karnataka as well as the UPA regime in the center have both failed miserably on these aspects.

Whither from hither?!!! – The Great Indian Nautanki – Part 2.

ಅಕ್ಕನ ಕಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ವಗತ…..

ಚಿಲಿಮಿಲಿ ಎಂದೋದುವ ಗಿಳಿಗಳನ್ನು, ಸ್ವರವೆತ್ತಿ ಪಾಡುವ ಕೋಗಿಲೆಗಳನ್ನು, ಎರಗಿ ಬಂದು ಆಡುವ ದುಂಬಿಗಳನ್ನು – “ನೀವು ಕಾಣಿರೇ? ನೀವು ಕಾಣಿರೇ?” ಎಂದು ಬೇಡುತ್ತ, ನಿನ್ನ ಗಂಡನಾದ ಚೆನ್ನಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನನ್ನು ಅರಸಿ ಹೊರಟವಳು ಅಲ್ಲವೆ ನೀನು? ಎಲ್ಲಿಯ ಉಡುತಡಿ, ಎಲ್ಲಿಯ ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲ!  ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಿಂದ ೫೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮಿ ಕ್ರಮಿಸುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಹದಗೆಟ್ಟ ನಮ್ಮ ಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಎಲ್ಲಿ? ೮೦೦ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ, ನೀನು ಕ್ರಮಿಸಿದ ಈ ಹಾದಿ ಎಲ್ಲಿ?  ನೀನು ನಿಜವಾಗಿಯೂ ಮಾನವ ಮಾತ್ರಳೇ? ಅಲ್ಲಮನ ಎದುರಿಗೆ, ಅಷ್ಟು ಶರಣರ ಸಮ್ಮುಖದಲ್ಲಿ ದಿಟ್ಟವಾಗಿ ಉತ್ತರಿಸಿ, ನಿನ್ನ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯದ ಅನಿಮಿತ ಪರಿಧಿಯ ದರ್ಶನ ಮಾತ್ರವನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿಸಿದೆಯಲ್ಲವೆ ನೀನು? “ನಮ್ಮ ಗುಹೇಶ್ವರ ಲಿಂಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂದಿಲ್ಲದಿಪ್ಪ ಮಹಾದೇವಿಯಕ್ಕನ ಶ್ರೀಪಾದಕ್ಕೆ ನಮೋ ನಮೋ ಎಂಬೆನು” ಎಂದೆನಿಸಿದೆ – ಅಲ್ಲಮನಿಂದ! ಅಲ್ಲಮನ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯ, ಬಸವಣ್ಣನ ಭಕ್ತಿ – ಸ್ತ್ರೀ ರೂಪದಲ್ಲಿ ಏಕೀಭವಿಸಿ ಉದಿಸಿದ ಮೂರ್ತಿ ನೀನಲ್ಲವೆ?

ಅದನ್ನು ತೋರ್ಪಡಿಸಲೆಂದೇ ಅಲ್ಲಮನು ಏನೆಲ್ಲ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಹಾಕಿದ! ಏಕೆ? ರಾಜನ ಹಂಗನ್ನು ತೊರೆದು, ಸಮಾಜದ ಮರ್ಯಾದೆಯ ಕಟ್ಟಳೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮೀರಿ, ಉಟ್ಟ ವಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನೇ ತೊರೆದು, ನಡೆದ ನಿನ್ನ ಪರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯ ತಾನೇತಾನಾಗಿ ಕಾಣಲಿಲ್ಲವೆ?  ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಛಲವಿರ ಬಹುದೆಂಬ ಗುಮಾನಿಯೆ ಅಲ್ಲಮನಿಗೆ?  ಛಲವಿರದ ಭಕ್ತಿಯುಂಟೆ ಅಕ್ಕ? ನೀನು ನಡೆದ ಆ ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಈಗಿನ ಐಷಾರಾಮಿನ ಸವಾರಿಯಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅಲ್ಲವೆ? ನಾವು ದೋಣಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಳಿತು, ಸರಾಗವಾಗಿ ಬಂದು ಕದಳಿಯ ಬನ ಸೇರಿದ ರೀತಿ, ನೀನು ಬರಲಿಲ್ಲ.  

ಅಕ್ಕ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ

ಅಕ್ಕ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ

ಆ ಕಾಲ ಘಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ, ನಿನ್ನ ಚೆನ್ನಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನ ಇರವು, ಈಗಿನಂತಿರಲಿಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ.  ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಅದಾವ ಗುಹೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನೀನು ಅವನನ್ನು ಅರಸಿ, ಕಡೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅವನರಸಿಯಾದೆಯೊ!  ಕಂಡವರಾರು?!! ಅಂಗ ಲಿಂಗ ಸಂಗವನನುಭವಿಸಿದವಳು ನೀನಲ್ಲವೆ? ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಕಂಡ ಕಣ್ಣು ಮಿಂಚುಹುಳುವಿಗೆ ಮಾರು ಹೋಗುವುದೆ?  ಭವನನ್ನು ಕಂಡ ನಿನಗೆ, ಭವಿಗಳ ಸಂಗವೇಕೆ ಬೇಕಿತ್ತು? ಬಹುಶಃ ಅದಕ್ಕೆಂದೇ, ಇಷ್ಟು ಕಠಿಣವಾದ ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದು, ನಿಬಿಡವಾದ ಅರಣ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ನೆಲೆಸಿ, ನಿನ್ನ ಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನ ಜೊತೆ ಲೀನಳಾದೆ. ನಿನ್ನ ಆ ಅಗಾಧವಾದ ಭಕ್ತಿಯ ತುಣುಕೊಂದನ್ನು ನನಗೆ ದಯಪಾಲಿಸುವೆಯಾ?  ಈಗಿನ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ, ಅಷ್ಟು ಮಾತ್ರದ ಭಕ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ನಿಭಾಯಿಸುವುದೂ ಒಂದು ಮಹತ್ಕಾರ್ಯವೇ ಸರಿ.  ನಿನ್ನ ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲವನ್ನು ನೀನು ಈಗ ಕಂಡಿರಬೇಕಿತ್ತು.  ಕದಳಿಯನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಇನ್ನೆಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆಯೊ ಯಾರಿಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತು!

ನೀನು ಕಂಡ ಕಾಡು ಈಗ ಇಲ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ! ನಮ್ಮ ಸ್ವಾರ್ಥಕ್ಕೆ, ದೇವರನ್ನೇ ಮಾರುವ ನಾವು ಕಾಡನ್ನು ಕಾಪಾಡುತ್ತೇವೆಯೆ?  ಆದರೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಮಹಿಮೆಯಿಂದ ದುಡ್ಡು ಸಂಪಾದಿಸಲು ಮಾತ್ರ ಬೇಕಾಗುವಷ್ಟನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದೇವೆ! ಅದಕ್ಕೆಂದೇ, ಈಗ ದೋಣಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಜನರನ್ನು, ನೀನು ತಪಸ್ಸು ಗೈದಿರಬಹುದಾದ ಗುಹೆಗೆ ಕರೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗುತ್ತೇವೆ!  ಅವರಲ್ಲಿ ಎಷ್ಟು ಜನರಿಗೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಿರಬಹುದು ಎಂಬುದು ಸಲ್ಲದ ವಿಚಾರ.  ಅದರ ಗೊಡವೆ ಏಕೆ? ತಿಳಿದಿರದಿದ್ದರೂ, ಗುಹೆಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಆನಂದಿಸಬಹುದಲ್ಲವೆ?

“ಯಾರೋ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ತಪಸ್ಸು ಮಾಡಿದರಂತೆ” 

“ಯಾರಂತೆ?” “ಯಾಕಂತೆ?”

“ಯಾವೋನಿಗ್ಗೊತ್ತು! ಯಾವ್ದೋ ಭಕ್ತೆನಂತೆ!”

“ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಇಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಬಂದು ಮಾಡಿದ್ಳಂತ?!! ಸರಿ ಹೋಯ್ತು!”

ಇವರನ್ನ ರಮಿಸಲು ನಿನ್ನ ಕಥೆಯನ್ನ ಹೇಳಿದರೆ ಏನು ಪ್ರಯೋಜನ? ಅದಕ್ಕೇ, ಇವರಿಗೆ ಅಂತಲೆ, ನಾವು “ಶೀಲ ಕೀ ಜವಾನಿ” ಹಾಡನ್ನ ಹಾಕಿ ನೀನು ತಪಸ್ಸು ಮಾಡಿದ ಜಾಗಕ್ಕೆ, ಕರೆದು ಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗುವುದು. ಕಿವಿ ಗಡಚಿಕ್ಕುವ ಈ ಹಾಡಿನ ಮಧ್ಯೆ, ನಿನ್ನ ಗಿಳಿಗಳು ಮೌನವಾಗಿ ಬಹಳ ವರುಷಗಳೇ ಕಳೆದಿವೆ.  ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ ಪಿಕ್ ನಿಕ್ ಜಾಗದಂತೆ, ತಿಂದು, ಉಂಡು, ಮೋಜು ಮಾಡಿ ಅದರ ನೆನಪಿಗಾಗಿ ಈಗಾಗಲೆ, ಬಹಳ ಪ್ಲಾಸ್ಟಿಕ್ ಕವರ್ ಗಳನ್ನು, ಬಾಟಲ್ ಗಳನ್ನು ನೀನು ನೋಡಬಹುದು.  ಯಾವುದಾದರೂ ಪುಣ್ಯ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋದರೆ, ಏನಾದರೂ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬರಬೇಕೆಂಬ ವಾಡಿಕೆಯಂತೆ. ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯದ ಭಾವ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪವಾದರೂ ಇರಲಿ ಅಂತ ಈ ಒಡಂಬಡಿಕೆ. ಅದಕ್ಕಂತಲೇ ನಾವು ಅವನ್ನೆಲ್ಲ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬರುವುದು! ಇನ್ನು ನಿನ್ನ ಹಾಗೆ ಅರಮನೆಯ ರಾಣಿಯ ಪಟ್ಟ, ಐಷಾರಾಮಿನ ಜೀವನವನ್ನು ಬಿಡುವ ಜಂಜಡ ನಮಗಿಲ್ಲ!  ಇದು ನಮ್ಮ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯದ ಪರಿಧಿ – ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಅರ್ಥದಲ್ಲಿ – ಆ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದ ಪಾಪದ ಪರಿಧಿ.  ಎಲ್ಲಿ ’ಪುಣ್ಯ’ ಎಂಬುದು ಇದೆಯೊ ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ, ಅದನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡು, ನಮ್ಮ ಪಾಪದ ಕಂತೆ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಟ್ಟುಬರುವುದು ನಮಗೆ ಜನ್ಮತಃ ಬಂದ ಗುಣ.

ಅದಕ್ಕೆಂದೇ, ನಿನ್ನ ಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನ ದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕೂ ನಾವು ಸಾರಾಸಗಟಾಗಿ, ಲಂಚ ನೀಡಿ ಹೋಗುವುದು.  ಅವನನ್ನು ಮುಟ್ಟುವುದಕ್ಕೆಂದೇ,  ಎಲ್ಲ ನ್ಯಾಯ ನೀತಿಯ ಕಟ್ಟಳೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮೀರಿ, ಮೋಸದಿಂದಲಾದರೂ ಮೊದಲು ನುಗ್ಗುವುದು.  ನೀನು ನಿನ್ನ ಮಲ್ಲಿನಾಥನಿಗಾಗಿ ಏನೇನು ಬಿಡಲಿಲ್ಲ?!!! ಅದೇ  ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೋಗಬೇಕೆಂದಿರುವವರು ನಾವು! ಅದಕ್ಕೆ – ಸಹನೆ, ಭಕ್ತಿ, ನಾಚಿಕೆ, ನ್ಯಾಯ, ಇವುಗಳನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟಿದ್ದೇವೆ!  ಇನ್ನು ಮೋಕ್ಷಕ್ಕೆ ಮೂರೇ ಗೇಣು! 🙂  ಇದೇ ದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಯಾರೋ ಹುಚ್ಚು ಜನರು ಮಧ್ಯ್ರರಾತ್ರಿಯಿಂದಲೂ ಬಂದು ಕಾದಿದ್ದರಂತೆ! ಬುದ್ಧಿ ಇಲ್ಲದವರು!  ನಾವು ದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕೆ ಸರಿಯಾದ ಸಮಯಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದು, ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹಣ ಸುರಿದು – ಹಣವೇ ಇಲ್ಲದವನ ದರ್ಶನವನ್ನು ಪಡೆದೆವು!  ಮೋಕ್ಷ ಇನ್ನು ನಮಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಲ್ಲವೆ?  ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲದ ಶಿಖರವನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದರೆ ಪುನರ್ಜನ್ಮವಿಲ್ಲವಂತೆ – ಇನ್ನು ಲಂಚ ಕೊಟ್ಟು ದರ್ಶನ ಪಡೆದು, ದೇವರನ್ನು ಸ್ಪರ್ಶಿಸಿದವರು ನಾವು! ನಮಗೆ ’ಬಯಲು’ ಕಟ್ಟಿಟ್ಟ ಬುತ್ತಿ!

ನೀನು ಈಗ ಇರಬೇಕಿತ್ತು ಅಕ್ಕ! ಅಷ್ಟು ದೂರ ಕ್ರಮಿಸುವ ಅಗತ್ಯವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ!  ಅಲ್ಲಮನೇನಾದರೂ ಪ್ರಶ್ನಿಸಿದ್ದರೆ – ಕಿರುಕುಳ ನೀಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದನೆಂದು ಸೆರೆಮನೆಗೆ ಕಳುಹಿಸಬಹುದಿತ್ತು!  ಜಮ್ಮನೆ ವಾಹನದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದು, ಲಂಚ ಕೊಟ್ಟು ನಿನ್ನ ಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನನ್ನು ನೋಡಬಹುದಿತ್ತು!  ನೀನು ಈಗ ಇರಬೇಕಿತ್ತು!  ನಿನ್ನ ಭಕ್ತಿಯ ಹುಚ್ಚು, ಅದರ ಕಿಚ್ಚು – ಇವನ್ನು ಈಗ ನೋಡಬೇಕಿತ್ತು!  ನಿನ್ನ ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲವನ್ನು ನೀನು ಈಗ ನೋಡಬೇಕಿತ್ತು!  ಅಲ್ಲಿ ನಿನ್ನ ಗಿಳಿಗಳಿಲ್ಲ, ಮರಗಳಿಲ್ಲ, ಕದಳಿಯಿಲ್ಲ, ಎಲ್ಲಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಮಿಗಿಲಾಗಿ – ಅಲ್ಲಿ ನಿನ್ನ ಚೆನ್ನಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನಿಲ್ಲ!  ನೀನು ಅವನನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಿಕೊಂಡು ಬಂದ ಹಾಗೆ – ಅವನು ಈಗ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಿಕೊಂಡು ಎಲ್ಲೆಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವನೋ……… ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಈಗ ಅವನಿಲ್ಲ….. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಈಗ ನೀನೂ ಇಲ್ಲ………….

(Leg)Breaking NEWS…

Right… so the last time I was here, I had promised that there’d be lots of new posts and new sections and what not! I have a growing feeling that it’s becoming the quintessential election manifesto! But not to lose heart, there are infact many posts that are in the draft stage. The problem being that before I can complete one, an idea for another would’ve cropped up in my mind, and I immediately start off on the new draft so that I don’t lose it!  Well, that’s me – your own blog-philanderer aka Casanova-e-blogistan!

Well now for some “Breakin’ News” and you’ll appreciate not only the genuine nature of the facts established here, but also how literally this news is “Breakin’!” I so wish all the NDTV, CNN-IBN, and TV9 channels strewn on the Indian home screen shall pick a leaf off this blog and apply.  So what’s it you ask?!

Your’s Truly has met with an Accident! Now for the benefit of the many who shall invariably ask the who, what, when, where, how of this Breaking News… pliss to read on.

So there was I, minding my own business, goody-two-shoes going along the Chikkalsandra Main Road (well its actually just a small road where a lot of thoroughfare goes through to avoid the actual “Main Road”) to drop off a package at the courier.  As I was crossing the road, two of the oh-am-so-cool-i-can-speed-anywhere brigade of college nincom-poop-brained guys riding on a sorry Honda Activa emerged from behind an auto, overtaking it from the wrong side and to their surprise, found an unassuming chap carrying a parcel! The next thing you know, the opposites attracted – I was what you’d call the embodiment of wisdom and intelligence and valor, and they the lack of all of the aforementioned and more!  BAAAAAAAAANNGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And next thing you know….there was I on the pavement (well I was almost getting onto the pavement, when they came and knocked me off) my leg wobbling with an obvious broken bone! Long story short… yours truly got admitted to the hospital and a surgery was performed and post discharge, now, here I am, keying in the most happening literally Breaking News of last week (It happened on Monday – 4th of March approximately around 11:30 AM) – live from the horse’s stables! 🙂

With two breaks in the tibular region of my left leg, there isn’t anything much that I can do except hoist my a$$ on the bed, and try to catch up on a lot of reading and writing.  Work shalt be resumed from the haloed grounds of my room, and I shalt be spared the horror of Bangalore traffic! On the ups… lots of pampering.. the awwwwwss.. the Oh-NO-Not-to-yous.. the fruits, flowers and cakes! 🙂

Life has a panache for springing the surprises when we are least prepared for it or expecting it.  We’d have made grandiose plans only to find that in the flash of a moment, it’s all undone, and we need to start-over.  But there’s beauty inherent in this too.  I am learning to appreciate my body at a totally different level – learn to care for it and listen to it.  (Well.. on another positive side, my parents are getting to see me more at home, and talk to me more!) Although it surely doesn’t make it necessary to break one’s bones to be able to do all this, it has given me an opportunity to fetch a purpose and meaning – one that was worth breaking my leg for! 🙂 For when I am up on it, I must go for the kill!

And for all those speed-thrillers out there – Surely the Constitution guarantees everybody’s freedom. You, my dear friends, are most welcome to over-speed, flout basic driving rules and knock yourself dead. But when it comes to hurting someone else, because you think you are super-cool….. next time, may well be your last time! Amen!

And the show’s back!

It’s already been 2 months nearly since I keyed something in here!  Geez! I seem to be losing my touch!  It used to be atleast a couple of months before I would start feeling the gnawing sense of abandoning the web space, but seems like am already on my way to tread the same old habit!

And again, I do plead guilty albeit with genuine reasons! In the past few weeks, I’ve been busy preparing for my IEEE Certification as a Biometric Professional, and Voila! I did it too!  And what a better way to start the new year, than celebrating that achievement, which incidentally (planned actually) was achieved on the 31st of December! And soon after that I had to travel to Dublin and just so many changes happening in so many quarters – personally, professionally… I guess I was just too self-indulgent to be pampering myself on the web space too!  But eeenyways, these, my dear non-existent readers are the things of past! I am byaack and with a byaang! 😀

So what can you chumms and chummiyas expect in the Season 2013 series?!! Apart from the usual fanfare related to the most wonderful person (read “ME”!), there’ll be a lot of music, more drooling over the beautiful ladies from the silver screen, more agonizingly painful poems that don’t seem to go anywhere, books that are currently piled up next to my bed (thankfully not underneath it) and.. wait a minute…hold your breathe…. some technical mumbling too!  Yeah! That’s right!  Before you guys could faint at the sheer variety, pliss to listen.  In the course of all these years, where I was ensuring that the supply  of chapathis and curry on the table wouldn’t dry, I had a wonderful time running into new technologies and obstacles in understanding them.  Sometimes the most dumb questions would pop into my now budding mind, and I had a good time embarrassing myself on many online portals and discussion forums, where genteel lads guided me around these technologies like a new born baby should be!  And I thought, what better way to repay this kindness, than actually show it off!! So now you know the motivation behind this new category.  On the sidelines, ofcourse, we now have another section that’ll starve itself for want of posts! Sigh!

Well all said and done, it’s back to the key board, and chop chop.. ideas to churn out and verbal diarrhea to spew around! Welcome and do sit in the front rows… there really aren’t many.. and there’s enough space to sleep around (It’s not what you think! Geez!) too! The show is gonna start … and it’s curtains up now!

The Bridges of Madison County

One of the things am ever grateful for are my wonderful friends who’ve continuously inspired me for many things. One of my dear and close friend gave me the idea to start writing about my favorite movies.  And hence this new series wherein I want to share my thoughts on movies that have left an indelible print on my mind and heart.  And I begin this series with a movie that I got introduced to, thanks to another wonderful friend of mine – Sushma Rao.  I feel it only befitting to begin this series with “The Bridges of Madison County“, a movie that I have felt more at home with than any I have seen so far.

The story of four unforgettable days in the life of Francesca and Robert.  The former an Italian, living in Iowa, leading what is perceptively a mundane family life of a woman, who has sacrificed her passion and interests to cater to the needs of her children and husband and the latter is an apparently free soul who followed his heart and continues to do what he likes to do and loves being a “citizen of the world!”  I must confess that I’ve watched the movie countless number of times.  At times, I felt I could understand what she went through, and at times, I felt puzzled by the whole affair.  Here I am, trying to key in my thoughts about this movie, and all I seem to be able to do is smile.  For this movie, that has made me cry inconsolably every time I watch does nevertheless always leave me with a sense of peace in the end.  Like the calming effect of the water drops trickling down the leaf after a torrential downpour,  the movie raises in the mind a tempest of feelings only to eventually lead the viewer to the magic shores of tranquility and acceptance.

Francesca’s confession of her affair in a letter she writes to her children is only for her children to accept whatever had transpired irrespective of how they may judge it.  Her request to be cremated and her ashes thrown over the Roseman Bridge, is substantiated by her narration of what was truly the most wonderful moment of her life – one she cherished as a truly personal possession.  It is indeed a most beautiful and at the same time the most painful characteristic of love – a love that is so personal and unique, that it cannot be shared nor sought to be understood by anyone.  The story may seem to be one of what we generally talk of as forbidden act that puts to question the commitment of a marital relationship but yet, transcending this myopic view, if we scale to the heights of the true nature of love and human relationships, the same shocking act, blooms into a blissful companionship that transforms into a soulful experience and not a mere carnal attraction.

The confrontation between Robert and Francesca, both aware of their longing for one another, and equally aware that they may never have a chance to be together is one of the most poignant moments in the movie for me. “I don’t want to need you… because I know I cannot have you”.  The other being when she yearns to get out of the car and run to Robert’s car and leave with him while he waits at the traffic signal.  It would take only the genius of Meryl Streep to portray it with the sensitivity it deserves.  The seeming indifference of her family is not one that is born of contempt, but a feeling that originates from a person being taken for granted.  There are countless instances when we feel that the people in our lives may not truly appreciate us, or our presence in their lives.  Then along we may run into a person who in a short duration gives us the most unforgettable experience of being wanted, needed and desired like never before.  Francesca and Robert gave that experience to one another.  And in the pain of separation their personalities expand to encompass a higher dimension of art and humanity, one that expresses itself in how Francesca treats others, and likewise in the writings of Robert.

The movie has its moments of tenderness, eroticism (Francesca bathing in the tub where moments before Robert would’ve showered, is probably one of the most beautifully captured expression of desire), confrontation, drama and a befitting climax.  In short, it is a perfect mixture of what makes it to be a truly remarkable romantic movie in that genre. The Bridges of Madison County is a movie that must be experienced and lived to be truly appreciated.  How many of us can talk of having experienced a love that was so uplifting that it transforms us from mundane creatures to true human beings? How many of us can remember having met someone who in a very short time seemed like someone we’ve known for a lifetime and would wanna spend our life with?  And how many of us can truly talk of the pain of having to let go of a love such as this.  The pain of knowing just how perfect we’d be, and yet cannot be, together – and that it is Ok!  It is OK because, there shall be a time when the physical limitations of this body shall cease to exist, and we shall truly become one in an endless expanse of creation beyond the space and time.  It is this message, that makes the Bridges of Madison County a timeless epic.  Watch it, if you wanna feel that love!

Directed & Produced by Clint Eastwood. Starcast: Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood, Annie Corley, Victor Slezak.

P.S: I thought I’ll write an objective review on this movie.  But this movie makes it so tough for me to be objective.  All I can blabber here is what I truly feel, is what I’ve learnt.

Sense, Sensitivity & Spirituality

I took a long coveted break about 2 months ago – 10th August to 20th August. 😉 A luxury that it may have seemed at the outset (what with 10 days – 240 gleaming hours at my disposal), seldom do vacations really turn to be ‘personal’ time off for me.  More often than not, it just ends up being hours spent for something/someone else. This time around too the case may not have been any different but for the fact that of these 10 days I had the luxury of having a few days/hours for myself exclusively.  I however did not spend it in seclusion but learnt and experienced things that shall certainly remain in my memory for a long, long time to come.  I want to tell you some of these experiences.

Rural empowerment in India is a topic that is present in every political agenda, but seldom implemented effectively.   Dependency is a parasitic attitude that our political administration nourishes in practise and abhors in plans.  But in the current global situation, wherein NGOs and Corporate social involvement has started taking the lime light in many main stream projects, the turn in the tide seems to be manifesting.  Two of the best examples for such initiatives in India is the RUDSETI project and Canara Bank Self Employment Training Institute.  I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Canara Bank training institutes in Jogara doddi and Vaajarahalli (two villages on Mysore Road just off of Kengeri) and was stunned with the services they were providing in order to improve the lives of several families in the surrounding rural villages.  The institutes basically provide training in various vocational skills such as mobile repair, tailoring, sculpting, pottery, sericulture, etc.  These trainings are customized based on the region in which the institute is located and thus the courses offered may vary.  The important feature of these training centers is that they offer free boarding, lodging and food facilities for the trainees for the entire duration of the course!  The trainees are not expected to pay anything but lend their services to the institute in maintaining the premises clean and ensure that they utilize the skills they’ve learnt.  The most heartening aspect of this visit was ofcourse interacting with the trainees, whose demography ranged from women in their 60s to boys in their 18s.  They came from various socio-economic backgrounds but were unified in their determination to achieve a proficiency that will enable them to obtain the financial freedom they’ve dreamt of.  One woman learnt dairy farming, obtained a loan from the bank and started her own cattle breeding and has not only cleared the loan amount but also planning to expand her services.  Another lady had opened her own tailoring center and has employed 25 ladies!! A guy who was a software engineer underwent the mobile repair training and opened his own mobile repair shop and has now been earning well over 35k every month!  The beauty of this scheme is that none of these people had to abandon their villages, lands or families and migrate to the city!  Not only have they empowered themselves and their fellow citizens, they’ve also started to actively involve themselves in various rural schemes to ensure that their village benefits from the essential government schemes.  This initiative of Canara Bank has won National recognition with the Government of India directing every bank to set up such institutes on the model of Canara Bank.

At one end of the spectrum, we see a generation of disillusioned citizens who either abandon their country for greener grounds, or become caustic about their country and complain about everything – this ofcourse fueled by the inept and worthless leadership we are seeing at not only local or state administrative levels but even at National levels.  But there are institutes and individuals working silently and pro-actively in the background trying to create a change that others are only talking about.  In the words of Swami Vivekananda, it is these handful of people who are sustaining the socio-economic stability of the entire nation.  Kudos to these hands!

After the Independence day, my parents, relatives and I left on a pilgrimage tour to Shirdi and Nasik via Pune. The itinerary was to land in Pune and drive from there to Shirdi.  There was a comfortable Traveller booked and we started on our journey to Shirdi.  It was my first visit to the state of Maharashtra and Pune made me feel comfortable and at home!  There was something very endearing about this city and as we started getting to the suburbs, I had almost started to wish that I would get an opportunity for an extended stay there.  We stopped over for lunch on the way and surprisingly I had a tough time convincing the driver to dine with us.  Brushing aside my insistence, he moved to a different place altogether and had his lunch.  While I waited on my parents and relatives to finish their food, I got into conversation with him, and came to know the reason for his behavior.  Apparently, he had been chided few times by his customers for eating with them at their table!  Particularly shocking was this one instance, where he had apparently been asked to get up and move to a different table! When I come to think of it, this is a country were untouchability and other social evils still persist in some sections of the society (irrespective of whether they are urbanized, educated or uneducated).  But inspite of these so called development and progress that we boast about on one hand, why is it that we are so insensitive to someone who in our perception is not well to do?  I would wonder how that customer would’ve felt if someone higher up to him were to ask him to move away and sit at some other table!  Being a citizen of India, the driver had just as much right as other citizen!  On our way back from Shirdi, we again stopped by at a wonderful restaurant to have an ‘authentic’ Maharashtrian thali food.  We were seated on the floor with a nice wooden pod on which a huge plate was placed and delicious food was being served.  There was another group sitting in an adjacent row.  One of the ladies in the group seemed to be following some ritualistic practise and hence was particular about what food was being served.  So far so good. But what really got on my nerves was the pushy manner in which she was bullying the young servers.  She went so far as to abuse them for serving her a dish that had a tinge of onion (which she didn’t even taste but smelt).  The others from the same group rather than get her to leave were also bullying the servers.  Why is it that inspite of all the so called religious values and morals that we gloat about, we still do not show a semblance of respect and kindness towards others?  I would wonder how she or others from her group would’ve behaved had they been in say Sheraton or Leela palace!  All in all, IMHO they were more uncivilized and lowly than the people they perceived to be so.

Shirdi held a lot of mystery for me.  For one, it was a place I had longed to visit for many years now, and this was my first visit to the abode of the holy man Sai baba of Shirdi. Needless to say, given its fame, pilgrims from all over India had thronged in large numbers.  The authorities had a tough time controlling the crowd and what was apalling was the mismanagement of even people who had reserved the slots for the Aarti darshan.  The aesthetic aura and the spiritual benevolence of the place gets cluttered and disturbed mainly due to such unsavory behaviors by both the devotees and the management.  After the Aarti, the security had a harrowing time getting the people to leave as each one was taking ample time to submit their list of memorandum of wishes to Sai Baba. As I had the luxury of having stood in the end of the queue, I had to bide my time to go out of the hall, and in the meanwhile, I observed an old lady helped by a young man, slowly make her way to the altar.  All the way as she walked, she kept smiling and gesturing to the idol of Sai Baba, and lovingly gestured from her hands as if she was warding off the evil sights (something that my mom used to do when we were kids and would return from a festive fair or a trip outside). As she cried at the joy of seeing her beloved Godly form, she kept murmuring in Hindi “How beautiful you are my Sai.. how magnificent you look! How kind is the gaze from your beautiful my Sai is..” As she hobbled and held to the altar, a security person came forward and offered to take the flowers from her hand.  The priest took the flowers and placed them near the feet of the Lord and her face lit up with a huge smile.  She turned to the young man holding her and said “My flowers touched his feet… look how beautiful my Sai is.” I felt ashamed at myself for concentrating so much on the behavior of others in this place, while the epicenter of my attention must’ve been the devotion and the pleasure of being in Sai’s abode.  I found more spirituality in the old lady, who oblivious to herself had taught me a very important lesson.  The next morning I again visited the temple shrine before leaving, however this time, I knew where my focus should be.

Below is a set of pics that I clicked on the visit to the Canara Bank rural employment training center in Jogaradoddi.  Apologies for the poor quality. I always ignore carrying a camera with me, and end up clicking clumsily on my phone! Sigh!

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