26 June 2006

A blissful dread

Continuing with my 'thriller' trilogy, second post is here

One more incident that left me clueless about what I should be doing then and finally got over that moment with great memories is as follows.

There is a small village called Bedigana Halli in Hassan district, near Hole Narasipura. It was way back in 2000 when I wanted to visit this village, where our neighbor’s parents lived. Incidentally it was holiday season and my neighbor also had been to Bedigana Halli.

All settled and it was decided that I go there, meet them, take their Aathithya and get back to my college which was starting two days later. So, I decided to pack my bags and take the bus to this un-known place. I was alone traveling, so it was decided that I take the 1:35 bus from Bangalore to reach there in time.

Let me first warn you about the place and how to reach there. This was a remotest village in an unknown corner of the country. The villagers boast themselves of being one of the neighboring villages of Deve Gowda (former PM). The village didn’t have a direct bus facility from anywhere in the world. It didn’t have a single telephone connection. It didn’t even have a first-aid center. Fortunately it had one primary school and a small temple. But most importantly, the village had a canal from Hemavathi reservoir running through it making it a water-sufficient place. Villagers feel to be living in a heaven for their crops were never a failure with such good water facilities. And they grew, mostly, commercial crops like tobacco apart from other gram seeds. There were some 500 families living a happy life in it.
That’s about the village. Now how to reach there. From Holenarasipura take the Arakalagud/Sakaleshapura buses, and get down at Bidirakka stop. It’s a request stop and not many people will be there to get-down there along with you. From there you need to request for a drop, from some villagers, to Bediganahalli or walk for about 3-4Kms. This is one way of reaching. There is another way. Take Madikeri buses from Holenarasipura and get down at Keralapura and walk for about 5Kms on the tank bunds to reach Bedigana halli.

Hmmmmm. Yeah now that I know that place well, I can advice you about how reaching there and such stuffs. But when I went there I didn’t know all these things. All I knew was I had to take 1:35 bus from Majestic and get down at Bidirakka, and get along with my friend who would be waiting for me there on his bike.

I left Kolar early enough not to miss the coveted bus. But a traffic jam near Hoskote spoilt the party and I got down from the bus exactly at 2:30. I ran to the platform of Hnpura. But unfortunately, this time the KSRTC was punctual. I find these guys more punctual when I’m involved in it, more specifically so when I’m sure to miss the deadline, otherwise, they never will be punctual. But unfortunately, the news was I missed the bus by a whisker.

There was one more bus ready to leave to Hnpura, I thought of taking that bus and catching the other in hnpura itself. I asked the driver to go fast and help me catch that bus. All through the journey I could not sit peacefully. ‘coz I knew that my friend would be wondering why I couldn’t make it. And if he happens to call up, my mom would tell him I ‘d left in time and they all would be worried. I hated my fate very badly that day. So many things were going in my mind, I could not sit properly. To add to my woes, the bus was driven very slow. At some point, I thought of slapping the driver and taking the bus to my control, to drive crazily. In short, I was really getting pissed, on missing the direct bus. But well as on other occasions, I derived strength from somewhere and said to myself that there would be many more buses to that place, and I was strong enough to walk the 5KM distance too with a little guidance from the villagers. I was relieved. The bus was now flying through the National High way. I could see the statue of Bahubali on Vindhyagiri at Shravana belagola like a small object in the sky. Basically I was now enjoying the show, anxiety was lost to the courage.

I got down at Holenarsipura at 5PM. I thought there was still 4 hours before ending the day, by which time I could easily reach Bediganahalli. I enquired at the Help me counter at the bus stand where the officials told me there was no direct bus until 8Pm; I could take any bus coming at a specific platform to reach Bidirakka. They asked me to stand there.

I stood there waiting for the bus. I stood there, stood and stood. There was no hint of a bus coming in. It was 5:45 and there it came… a bus and stopped just in front of me. By the time I went in, there were people sitting everywhere in the bus. They all had climbed in from the driver’s window, the small windows besides the seats, and they also reserved seats for their friends. I was angered, and wanted to start a quarrel, but as I was opening my mouth, my mom’s words came to my mind. She had warned me from starting conversation with strangers in the strange land. I kept quiet and reserved to myself. I was but no chance, to be content standing there. Finally the conductor came issuing tickets, and when my turn came, I said to him, I wanted to go to Bediganahalli, and queried him to let me know which was the nearest point to reach there. He asked me to get down at the last stop, and he didn’t know further. Well… I cursed my fate for the second time, and since I didn’t want to go back, and it was already late to get back to college too, I had no other option, but to travel. I had full confidence that somehow I would reach the destined place that day. I took ticket up to Bidirakka, the last stop.

I heard from the fellow travelers that the distance between the two places was 5KMs. And when I enquired about the distance b/n Hnpura and Bidirakka, they replied it was to be 25Kms. I thought I’d reach there before 6:30 and had ample time to walk 5KMs and narrate the villagers my adventurous expedition to their village.

Finally bus left for its destination filled with the villagers, at 6PM. This bus was slower than a centipede. I cannot imagine how a vehicle can move in such a slow pace!!!!! I think I could’ve reached faster had I tried walking those 25KMs. Well… the bus was reaching its destination slowly. 6:30 passed and so did 7. Finally it reached a place called ‘Koppe’ at 7:30 and the driver declared that he could not go further because of bad weather. I had no option but get-down.

I saw one elderly gentleman calling me. I went there and came to know that it was his residence of which he was sitting in front.
I asked him, “Sir, is there any way I could reach Bediganahalli, now?”
He replied “Mari, Bediganahalli is just one mile from here, this village close to it than Bidirakka.” I was thrilled and thought that I was just a mile away and I could easily walk about that much distance.
I again enquired, “Please show me the way to go to that place, I shall be grateful to you. I’ll start now.”
He said, “Maga, that road is really scary, and we the villagers do not choose to walk thru that road in the darkness.”
“What the hell!” I thought, it was just 10 mins past 7:30. Still so much of time was there for the night, and enquired, “How else can I reach there, thatha?”
He said, “There is a direct bus to that village at 9:30. He’ll come here around 9:30-9:45. Be here. Come on. Sit down. You can reach there by 10 o’clock. Donn worry.”

I was relieved. It was one of the biggest relieving statements I’ve ever heard (!).
We talked about many things about my college, my native place, my caste, my traditions, and so many things. And also why I was on this foolish expedition, and I narrated to him how I missed the bus and all the things. He said he is a retired teacher and then I quoted that my father was also a teacher (Halli meshtru). We talked so many other things. About the caste system in the villages, about the temples, good old days of his childhood. His son-in-law who was currently a halli meshtru himself joined the party and he also talked to me about his school and such things. I was feeling really strange to be there, in that position. There was no TV in that house, welll.. I didn’t get inside the house. We just chatted from out-side itself.

And after sometime, the daughter-in-law of the gentle man came out and asked me to wash my hands to have the dinner and shyly showed me the way to wash the hands. I said I was in no mood to have dinner and in any case, I’d reach my friend’s house in an hour and no problems. I asked them to have it leisurely. But she was reluctant and got a mug of water and gave it to me. I could not refuse. And I had very little food that day. I thought having a little would be better than refusing it and had as little as possible. I had a customary dinner for me than the stomach filling exercise that day. By the time I finished, the bus came, it came honking. I hurried and spilled water all over my dress. Still.. I ran towards the bus, the son-in-law of the master ran holding my luggage. And rushed back with the same speed stating that the bus would not go to Bediganahalli that night as there was a reported fall of some big tree on the road between Bidirakka and Bediganahalli. So, they’d decided to halt that night in Bidirakka instead of Bediganahalli.

I felt drowned deep inside. I started quarrelling with the conductor of the bus, straight into the night. I asked him to wait, and thanked the master for his support and told everyone that I’ll travel in the bus and stay in it that night and walk early morning to my friends’ village. The conductor was angry on my but had to admit me inside and also let me sleep in their cozy palace that night.

Just a moment before the bus started, the elderly gentleman called for me and said “Maga, its far away to walk from Bidirakka to Bediganahalli, its easy for you to walk from here, instead. Sleep here in my home tonight, and tomorrow morning you can start to your destination.”

I was helpless, and could not decide upon what I shall be doing then. I was in an alien place, all-alone, and had to listen to this gentleman. I said good-bye to the conductor and his bus, and let it go. I was left to spend the night in Koppe.

The master gave me two rugs (kambali), one to sleep on and another to sleep with. I slept on the pyol of the house where we were chatting till then, and where I had food just before the bus came. I slept there itself. Master accompanied me, continuing the stories further thru the night. I was speechless at the humane item in the heart of one of the remotest villages and good nature of the person who had given me food, water, shelter that night. I slept that night with a well being going through in my mind. It was a good sleep indeed.

Morning I woke up at 5:30 itself. I saw the man besides me also getting up and ready to go inside. And also I heard some sounds from within the house that suggested that many people are already up and started with their daily duties. I rose to go, folded the shawls, keeping them in a safe place, asked him to show me the way. He asked me to wait since he wanted to go on a walk with me, to show me the way. He went in, came out with two glasses of coffee in that graceful morning. I was made to accept this last favor from him. I drank it shivering.

Then we both left. He gave me a walk through his village, a school for the primary children, an SC/ST colony, a temple, and all the things that mattered. He showed me the fields belonging to him and explained what all they grew each year.

Well.. after some distance, he showed me a way that would take me to Bediganahalli and bid adieu. I was equipped with no words to thank him and his kindness. Thanked him from the bottom of my heart and bid Good Bye to him.

People in Bediganahalli were shocked to see me at 7AM. They filled me with where I stayed that night and all such queries. I calmly explained them what went wrong, how and why. And finally how it all got a solution in the form of Ramiah master.

He was Ramiah, the teacher of Koppe village in Hassan district. I might not meet him again in life, but I cannot forget how deeply he impressed me that dreadful night. I cannot forget how he behaved as if the God’s words in Gita was given to earth after seeing him. What was the connection between myself and that village, I don’t know, but that night bonded it to me forever with a favor to repay. I can just remember now how bad a shape I was in that night and how good a feeling it ended to be. I will never forget this particular incident in my life that increased my faith in the humanity and the humane values.

If I think of it today, this incident might not have happened if I had a mobile then and they had a telephone connection in their village, or a direct bus to that village. Anyways, I cherish this particular page of my diary very much.

Though it might not be considered a ‘thrilling’ experience, it’s an experience worth sharing and an experience well documenting. I lived through this momentous night. I can never forget it.

23 June 2006

Oh! It was a thriller!!!!!!

"Thriller!" : I was reading this post on Hallucinator(Shruti)’s page. And no need to say, as always, very much impressed with the topic and the poetic way of explanation. Yeah She had a thrilling bicycle ride in the dark… And again when I think of my own ‘thrilling’ experiences… I can count three momentous moments, now, not exactly ‘thrilling’, though.

1. When in college, we used to go on one-day short trips to some surrounding places. A group of 15 collegers on a trip is no-attempt-needed to keep the fun meter booming, it happens automatically. So, it was the fun that is important to us, not the place we visit. Welll… we were on a hunt again, in search of refreshed fun, to the same old hill on the outskirts of the nearest town, named Chikka Tirupati. It’s a set of five big hills, called “sanjeevini parvata shreni”, the biggest is the one we wanted to climb that day.

It’s a hill with sophisticated steps carved out of the rock. A temple of Venkateshwara on top of it is a treat to look at. This hill has 1000+ steps before the temple is reached. And the temple, pretty old and torn, opens only once in a year, on the day of ‘Jatre’.

Well.. We wanted to just climb the hill and comeback. So, we chose a different path… not the usual steppe to reach the top. So went over some villagers’ fields, finding the very unusual way… I think this is the very usual mindset with a tripster team. Trekking, it’s called popularly. Spoiling someone’s field is not it, I thought though ;)

Again… I’m going away from the actual topic of my ‘thrilling’ experience. If you are wondering what is soooo thrilling about it… Yep.. Climbing a hill is not so thrilling, but falling off it is!!!! It sends jitters to my mind when I think about that moment when I was ‘about to’ fall off to the ground 1500 ft bellow!!!!

Atop hill there was a ladder, seemingly carved in the old stone age :D , rusty and torn… I wonder who constructed it and for what reason. But it was erect with full gusto.. standing in the rains and the clouds, snow and the Sun. It was made from the strong iron, so its still strong enough to cater to crazy people like me, I think. Well.. I had that ‘burning ambition’ to climb it every time we went there, but because of one of my friends who used to pre-see danger in every opportunity, would spoil that enthusiasm with some stealthy words..(how I hated him!!) but that day it was not to be.. he was not there with us, that day. And there was no stopping for me..! I started climbing it.

The ladder was standing on the biggest rock on the hilltop with no further support on any side of it. Just the rock and the ladder. Its 100 ft off the hill towards the burning Sun. The ladder being rusted and spoilt as I’ve mentioned already.

I was exulting on achieving my burning ambition of ages that day. I was climbing towards the sky, 14 people stood down watching me with terrified look and no one could stop me… They all knew me; and the fact that I was not going’ to heed to their pleas was evident to them. They just allowed me climb. I was going up with speed too!! Imagining that scene again leaves me in shiver. I don’t know what was going on in my mind that gave me such a gut. My theory then was "if it was created by humans, which meant it was possible for people to climb it". Pretty simple as it sounds :P

I didn’t look downwards, but kept climbing it to fill my enthusiasm. I was happy to be climbing. Then came the time of my life. I put my left leg on a wrong (completely rusted off) step and it slipped. Oh! An air of fear hit me for the first time; I thought it was the end of me…! But hung on to the stronger steps with my hands, and fortunately my right leg was intact, in its position. God gives courage to everyone to face such adverse situations with strength. It seemed to be a miracle for me then and thanked the almighty for that grace of life. I stood there for a couple of seconds, and glanced down, towards my friends who were staring up without even flipping their eye lids (J), tensed… they seemed to me as small children from there… and next moment I took off my eyes from them, I didn’t want to see them as I knew that I would get tensed after looking at them. I took my eyes off to a distant rock down the hill.. it seemed like a small living being, oh! That sent a wire of shock to my nerves. I tried filling strength to myself. Boosted it with the slogan of Jai Bajrang Bali and tried putting a step ahead. And I did.. There were 20 more steps, and what more.. the quality of the steps deteriorated further top. But managed to climb them all. And on the last step I tried standing for a while and wave to the dumbstruck crowd anxiously watching.

1000s of feet off the ground, standing without any support, but only a rusted ladder, needs a heart of 1000 watts power. I managed to stand for fraction of a second, but retreated as I found it hard to keep. Retreated for a few steps, and stood leaning to the ladder and leaving both my hands to freely float in the cool breeze! Someone shouted from down, “For God’s sake!! Come down”!! I could feel the anxiety in the pale voice coming from another world.

I didn’t want to trouble them anymore and slowly retreated downwards. It was a fantastic experience, I enjoyed it to the core, and came down with loads of memories, fresh memories of watching a bird of Jove fly very near; memories of the toughest rocks seeming the material of child’s play; memories of the dumbstruck people screaming for my safe journey back…! Oh it was a ‘thrilling’ experience.

I thought of not elasting the post, but it took too much of space, as opposed to Rk's comments! So, I'll post other thrillers in my next post. Keep hooked.

12 June 2006

India!!!!! Democracy???!!!

We were waiting out side the public school for the bus to come and pick us. We were as enthusiastic as ever. I’ve had such experiences before, so was just curious for the process to begin. Four elections I’ve attended as an assistant moderator in a rural place, but this is my first posting on such duty as the chief of the polling station. I was all excited with a little bit of fear. Others joined us and informed us that there shouldn’t be much of any problems, as the polling in that region had never been disturbed. I was happy as well to be carrying this BIG responsibility on my young shoulders.

We were all ready and counted the number of additional papers and other stationery, (just to kill time, everyone knows those were proper, ready, there was no mistake in the numbers… but still counted). Actually it’s an irritating thing, to wait with a lot of stationery and the important things in front of a Govt. building, with nothing else to do.. ;).

There was one more thing for me to be happy. It was the chairman of the assembly who was competing from that place. He was also projected to be the next chief minister. I was, in a way, proud of the fact to monitor at one booth of the constituency that elected the chief minister of the state.

Coming to the leader…He was quiet popular for his simple looks and simple approach he adapted before the media. I admired him for the same. But was not a fan of him, because, I hated the party he represented. Many other leaders, I didn’t like. Well.. Who am I to say who is good, who is bad, I had just be a helper to the real deciders to decide upon who is best suited for them in the system of democracy. Of course, I too would vote; but not to elect the chief minister.

We, myself and three sub-ordinates with a police guarding us (of course with a big Banduk held in place), left for our destined place. It was a bus containing 10 such groups. Unfortunately mine was the last booth to be driven in. So, counted the boxes, number of pencils, and the other things again for the 100th time; read the complete manual for the200th time. But certainly I was a bit nervous and was happy tooo.

Finally reached the destiny, exactly 30 mins before 5, Got down the bus, made sure that everything was in place. We were told that a police jeep would fly inn and distribute the ballot papers. So it was the time to settle down. Went in and asked the police to get us a bucket of water to get freshened up. We were told that the village had no tap, so we had to get the water collected from a well at the center of the village. I asked the helper provided by the panchayat to stretch a bucket of water for us. He listened obediently and finally fetched a bucket full of water; the whole process took 30 mins.

I asked him, whether there was any hotel nearby so that we had dinner with peace. He said there was no such a thing in the surrounding 8 villages! Thank God! My mother, being so thoughtful, might have pre-seen this scene, so that might have persuaded her to pack a bunch of chapatis for me. I counted them now, as though these were the precious things now, more valuable than the ballots that I kept counting till then. ;) There were 10 chapatis…Thought that should be enough until I reach home. So, hid them from any piercing eye. I was just a senior in the team, not responsible for their food and other luxuries. Let them take their own care. I felt as though I was the richest in the team with the food. Others, one of them was an amateur, so, other two started narrating their earlier experiences…. And I learnt from them that they had got enough food in the form of bread, biscuit… etc.. Ooops… they turned out to be cleverer.

Soon after we just settled down and marked the entire place as was instructed to us, I found an elderly man wearing a shawl on the shoulder approaching me. I was afraid at first. Then went ahead and started to talk with him with a bit tough tone itself. I said, “You are an old fellow, might have seen many such elections. Don’t you know that you should not enter this place without being appointed by election commission.” He listened to me peacefully and introduced himself to be the chief of that village’s panchayat. I Helloed him. Then he said, he had arranged the dinner at his house for all the five of us. I politely said “Sorry Sir, since you belong to a political party, we cannot accept your treat.” He thought for a moment and said, “You are our guests today. We cannot leave you people starving. It won’t be good for our village. OK. I’ll arrange for the food here itself. Please don’t refuse. I’ll send it with some other person.”, for which I said, “Why are you troubling yourself so much. We’ll take care.”. He asked me if I wanted to bring the ill will of Gods over that village…! Well… I had no answer for it. so finally it was decided that we would have no problems with fooding until we left that place.

In the evening, I just took a stroll across the village. It was surrounded with a lot of green fields, and majority of the villagers were living in huts, not to say, bellow poverty line and most of them were illiterate. Some of the houses were really big and I felt, they could accommodate the entire village.

Well.. came back to the school where we were to stay that night. Checked for the proper arrangements for sleeping, and then the food arrived. We had a fantastic dinner. My mother’s chapatis, I distributed between everyone, along with the village’s food. My richness shared among the poor people. ;) Wanted to call home for informing them of my safety and the arrangements, but couldn’t do it since there was no telephone in the entire village.

Night passed without much hiss and fuzz…. And the Sun started his journey upward… It promised to be a cloudy day. I prostrated before the Sun God and asked for his blessings for the smooth passage of this big day in my life.

I just assumed that all the people in the village were to be like the one I met the previous day, good and honored; and felt better.

Then we got breakfast from the same gentleman’s house, and then announced the starting of the process of voting. First voter turned out to be the same elderly man, who kept providing us with the tasty food from the previous night. His wife came next and all his children voted in succession. He also said that previous experience made him compelled to vote first, so that his vote was not wasted. I didn’t understand the context of his message. I just thanked him for his efforts in providing us with the food and shelter. He said it was his duty. And then he left. The villagers started coming.

After some time, the policeman came in and wanted to talk to me. I enquired what the matter was. He said some of the political agents were bribing the voters with money and asked me what he should be doing now. I asked him to frighten the crowd around and stay on until the patrolling jeep came in. I was a bit irritated at this news, though.

It was lunchtime and duly we received the lunch from the house of the chairman. One by one we finished lunch. Then the patrolling jeep came. I reported them about the policeman’s discovery. They ruled out any action and calmed me down by saying it was a common thing across the country, and asked me to forget about it. Anyways, the result was pre-known and these issues didn’t have effect on it. I kept quiet and once they left, I asked the political agents to stop it at least in the surrounding of the booth. They had a brief quarrel among themselves for the ill activities. I had to stop people entering in for about 15 mins, by which time, all of them went out and convinced their people and peacefully came in. The process of voting continued with no interruption. I was happy at my success in persuading the rigid party workers to stop their miss-deed.

It was 4PM. I was just one hour away from announcing the end of the process. By that time the turn out might just be around 50%. I thought fair enough. I did succeed in my first assignment as a chief of an election observation. I was started feeling pride for myself for all these things.

There were not many people coming in to vote. It was just a passive time. We were joking on each other inside the cabin and passing our time off.

Then came a big group of people. I thought they were just voters coming from a neighboring village, and got ready to give them all the ballots for voting. I least knew that they were not voters, but violators.

They all came in, pushing the poor police man out, closed the door behind them, and before anyone could guess what was happening, they occupied all the corners of the room, holding some weapons, scaring us all. We had better shut up and heeded to all their orders, I was clueless as to what was going on.

I derived a little strength from some un-known corner of my heart and went ahead and talked sounding as friendly as possible. I asked them what they wanted. I enquired if they voted before. Everyone said they’d voted already. They didn’t stop at that. Instead, they went on threatening me with the weapons. I was shocked to the core. I had not a faintest clue about these things. I always had a feeling that I live in a democratic world. I used to see them only in movies; those movie fanatics showed what they desired, I had thought.

But this moment, I had a thing to sort out. I did not know how. The opposing team was equipped with deadly weapons. In any case, I had to surrender before them. Should I become a fool in this system and get killed along with my staff, and become a national hero, or should I allow them do whatever they did, against my own principles and hide it from everyone, allow some Rowdy to rule this land. I was thinking about the consequences in each case. If I hid it from the officers and somehow, if they find out, I was standing in a chance of loosing my job. Otherwise, I was in a chance of loosing my life. Both were unthinkable for me.

I remembered my mother then, and my teacher, and my father, everyone, prepared myself to bid adieu to them from that dreaded place itself.

Then with calm voice I addressed them, asked them which party they belonged to and how bad it was to hijack the democratic process. They went aggressive, but their leader said that they belonged to the party from which the chief ministerial candidate was contesting. I virtually laughed at this. And said “He is a popular leader. Why do you want to try spoiling his name? He’ll win any ways.” For which one of them tightened the voice and said that the trend was against them and they would loose face in the state if their chief ministerial candidate were defeated. So, they had to do this. I was really shocked. What a good chap he seems to be on TV and what has he really been exposed here as!!!! I said nothing, and they expected nothing from my mouth too. They all came in, snatched all the ballot papers from my hand, started pressing against the dreaded name. I was just a dumb spectator at this crazy frenzy of the fans of the biggest leader of the state.

Some one remarked from the behind, “His signature is needed on all the papers, else these ballots would be considered as invalid.” Again all of them came rushing towards me. I said, since you people have already cast the vote, I could not sign on it anymore, but they were in no mood to heed to my lecture. I was forced to put my signature on them.

Once every last ballot was cast, they smiled triumphantly, looked at me with a witty look and frightened me for the last time with their weapons and ordered me not to reveal anything to any one. And then they left. I sighed a relief. My colleagues were happy that they escaped un-hurt. All advised me to keep silent about it in front of the officers while returning the boxes. I didn’t say a word to them.

Bus came; we boarded it with all our ‘Burdens’ and strange experiences. I was somehow feeling I should not have allowed them to take advantage of my helplessness. I should have been a martyr; I was feeling guilty at this, then.

In the constituency head quarters, I descended the steps of the bus with loads of Burdens of my own cowardice. I made up my mind to inform my inability to control the crowd to the electoral officers. When they asked me how the process went, I explained them the whole story, made no mistake in telling them about the rowdies taking charge of the booth and the ballots, the officers looked at all the papers, and enquired about my signatures in the proper places, which were intact. I explained them about my help-less-ness at the moment, and requested for a re-election with more security at the booth.

The officers were clueless and threatened me of leaving the duty of re-election on me again if it were to be held. And also, they promised me of no consequences if I didn’t complain about the irregularities. This constituency was at the eye of the whole state and they didn’t want any such ‘Black marks’ in the process to be disclosed.(!) I was shocked at their attitude.

I was adamant about my complaint. I explained them the trauma I was going through since the happening. And how I didn’t want any such happenings further. And also my belief in democracy and its process. I wanted no more argument; I wanted my complaint be registered and I wrote a letter to the election commissioner of the state with copies to all the officers sitting there, got it signed by my associates. I was in no mood to conspire any colonial right wits. I was successful finally to lodge the complaint and get the approval for a re-election in the constituency.

The feeling of a good village finally turned to be a place of ghosts in my mind and any amount of hard work by the chairman could not get the village moving in a right direction. This reminds me that the importance of teachers and their good thoughts can contribute in creating a brand new world.

This is a part of my experience at some remote place. This left me wondering about the true picture of the nation. I remember my Bihari friends telling me that the electoral voters were made to vote at the point of a gun in their villages and towns!!! What a face of democracy. I sometimes doubt if any number of true teachers will be able to change the fate of this country.

In India, we have had a great set of teachers who taught that harming the sentiments of others was not DHARMA. They also taught that the Faith and Dharma alone could keep the goodness in the world alive and flying. Unfortunately Indians have failed to understand the greatness of the Dharma even after so many teachers teaching the same thing. It was not understood properly in the past, and today, still we are pushing the true Dharma in to the ruins. We are no different from those mindless beasts who spoiled our civilization some centuries ago with their mindless act. I hope for a second freedom struggle to get rid of all these self-centered politicians from the country. God!! Save my country, Please.

06 June 2006

Lets enjoy music.

There should be a way to implant the knowledge in one’s mind. Modern education, for example, would start with basics of arithmetic and gets to the complexities of astronomy. It’s the way to learn and attain the wisdom. Any education, if there is no discipline, cannot make a good learning. Knowledge then will become a thing of a specific class, who are gifted with the wisdom at birth. This is the reason for making any education a level-based one.

Our ancestors realized the need to factorize the known literature, and tried to implant the knowledge of the same in more number of people’s mind, so that the knowledge is shared, cherished and grown. And so that it doesn’t stay a property of the connoisseurs.

Veda Vyasa, hence, divided Vedas as Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana Vedas, and devised a simple way of learning them. Further, various Rishis and Aacharyas developed the art of learning Vedas and preached it to their students who furthered it with their talents and devotion. This system, still in the reformation, called the “Guru-Shishya parampara”, is a continuous process. The divine relationship of a Master and his student is the essence of this particular system.

The same system is used in learning the art too. One, even though an able person needs some guidance from an elderly, experienced and efficient person called a “Guru” or a Master. Thus this Master and his student then become the center of the whole system mentioned above. This student learns things from his Master’s experience and learns many more things from his experience too, and teaches the bettered knowledge to his students, who better this knowledge themselves as they move on in life. Thus the knowledge is a continuous process like a flowing river, never stops, generations to generations, ages to ages it flows like a sacred gift.

Music, being one form of art has had the same problems of belonging to one particular set of people, who couldn’t effectively teach others, give it to the next generation. Fortunately, some of the various forms of music are still in life today. Thanks to those who brought some discipline into it along with a simple way of learning them. These Gurus are called Super Gurus in the Parampara. Purandhara Daasa is one such Super Guru of a particular music form. The music was formalized in Karnataka, by Purandhara Daasa, so its called Karnataka Shastreeya Sangeetha.

Name has ‘Karnataka’ because, the first verses and formation are in Kannada, and was devised by a Karnataka based legend called Purandhara Daasa. He is also referred to as the father of Karnataka Shastreeya Sangeetha.
Name also has Shastreeya, meaning classical form. Classical because, there is no one person starting it, not it has any scriptural evidence of its beginning.

It is been gifted to our generations by the Guru-Shishya parampara. The art has flown from generations of un-known to Purandhara Daasa from the Masters, and from the generation of Purandhara Daasa to us through the systematic Guru Shishya Parampara….through the legendary Thyagaraaja, Mutthu Swami Deekshitar and Shyama Shastri, known as the Trimurthy of Karnataka classical music and others. We are fortunate enough to have this form of music alive today. These legends added so many new Raagas, new compositions, new renditions that enriched the musical form they learnt, practiced and preached. It is learnt that these Gurus have attained the salvation of life with music.

While Thyagaraaja and Shyama Shastri’s divine compositions are in Telugu and Sanskrit, Mutthu Swami Dikshitar’s compositions are in Sanskrit, Swathi ThirunaL's lyrics in Tamil and Sanskrit. They never hesitated to call this Karnataka Shastreeya Sangeetha. They didn’t even care if it is called by some other language’s name. All that mattered to them was the power in their music. Their teachers gave this to them and all they wanted was to spread it, practice it, and enrich it. They knew music has no religion, no language. It was as pure as the flowing river. It was as divine as the Ganges. Same nature can be found in other musicians as well. Music has no barriers of the material world. It is invaluable, greater than all the assets of the world.

So, never it was an issue of any controversy that the form of music be called Karnataka Shastreeya Sangeetha. But the British called it Carnatic music, and from then on, the definition has changed. Some people from other states call it Carnatic too to avoid the usage of the name of Karnataka. It’s so unfortunate that the contribution of Purandhara Daasa to the classical music is being neglected. It’s so unfortunate again to note some politicians wanted to call it with other names like Tamilu Sangeetha and so on. In my opinion, let them call it whatever… it remains one of the greatest forms of art, much above the imagination of all these ill-thinking goons. Name is not important; it’s the essence, the feeling that is more important in this case.

I had to write this because I read an interesting article titled “Karnataka Sangeetha” on a site and was clueless as to why these people are trying to get a hold on the divinity of music. What are we quarreling for?!!! It’s the music that is above everyone, don’t constrain it to one particular region. It’s a property of all,everyone.

Rule remains that until we get introduced to music with “Lambodara Lakumikara…“, Purandhara Daasa will be honored with his due place in history…and Karnataka is the place that cradled this particular form of music. No one can rule this out. Why are we quarrelling?

It’s not “Karnataka” in the name that is important; rather it is the “Sangeetha” in it that makes sense. Lets maintain the name given by our ancestors to it, not politicize it. The Gurus of the earlier times, as mentioned already in this post, gave this music to us to enrich and improve the same, not to spoil its divinity by our rigid and unholy constraints. Lets enjoy the music; lets keep it away from all our mortal issues.

02 June 2006


I have a friend, simple yet complex; soft yet bold; she is short yet large hearted.
Her eyes are small but she has long sightedness; her senses too bright.
She makes me laugh at her stupidity; and brings tears at her innocence.
She is humble herself and makes me go mad about her.
She has a big ego and makes me cry for her.
She has that smoothness that embraces me all the times.
When I’m down she is my company,
When she is not around I feel I’m down.

She is moody but charming, She is rude but caring.
She is knowledgeable, she makes me run for it.
She makes me read, makes me work, makes me be happy.
Teaches me to be me as she is herself always.
How can I be like her.

Applying make-up on the face, buying fashionable clothes are not for her,
She believes in soul-engineering than body-beautification.
She makes me happy even in my dreams, makes me feel proud even in my imagination,
She makes me angry by being straightforward, She makes me feel stupid at my ideas.
She believes in God and equality, She believes in rationalism and modern thinking.

There are times when her arrogance has killed my patience,
There are times when her belief has made me strong,
There are times when she made me forget my weakness,
There are times when I felt stronger than myself, with her company.

She is an angel, she has been sent from heavens to strengthen me, to strengthen myself, strengthen my belief in life, to strengthen belief in love, to strengthen my belief in myself.

She sings a song, that becomes the song of my life!

I was a black and white movie, she came and painted on it; She made me realize the colors of the world.
I was innocent of my emotions, she came and these emotions got feathers,
My life was a snail and she gave it an acceleration that became a Jet plain.
I was alone, she gave me company,
I didn’t know if I was happy, she made me realize the happiness in the world,
I had a thought that I’m the center of the world, none else, She came, she conquered my mind, and now she is my world.
I was just a body, she filled life into it.
I was just a machine, she has powered it with efficiency.
I was inferior, she made me confident of myself.
I was sound less, she has filled me with music.

She teaches me tolerance, she teaches me diligence;
She teaches me loyalty, she teaches me faith.
She teaches me religion, she teaches me induration;
She teaches me living, she teaches me life.

She is my cognition, she is my idea;
She is my perception, she is my vision;
She is my nature, she is my trait;
She is my just, she is my fire;
She is the apprehension, she is my word.
She is my act, she is my sense.
She is my manner, she is my music.

I’m an instrument, She is the player.
I’m a body, She is the Breath.
I’m an eye, She is the vision.
I’m just me, She is my sense

This SHE is not just my SHE, but I think SHE is in every boy’s dreams, in everyone’s imagination. SHE can do sooo many things. SHE can fill a man with life. SHE can make or break HIS life.

Mahakavi Kalidasa writes in Raghuvamsha…

"vAgarthAviva sampRktau vAgartha pratipattayE
jagata: pitarau vandE pArvatI paramESvarau "

It means Vaak(speech) and Artha(meaning), if they are different, then Vaak is Shiva and Artha is Parvati. It means if Shiva is body, then his Shakti (strength) is Parvati. Without ARTHA, VAAK is of no use.

Such is the importance of SHE in a HE’s life. SHE can make HIS life worth living/miserable. So this post…without SHE he is nothing.
A famous British proverb justifies my point here :
Behind every successful man there is a woman.