A bouquet of flowers picked along the way ….

Giving and Receiving October 2, 2007

“Why do you have to be so formal?”, she said in the manner of a comment.

For a second my thoughts were frozen as I had not imagined my gesture as “formal”. I somehow found that comment-question to be out of place, a little dry and bordering on the impolite. My mind whirled and quickly consulted whatever little I knew of her disposition and sensitivities and it was only then that I made some meaning out of the comment. So, I answered explaining the informality of the gesture. And all it took was an ordinary birthday gift, given out of sheer love and respect for her interests and associations!

Later, in the comforting solitude of aloneness, I pondered over the incident and its origins. Here I was expressing my joy through a socially accepted gesture. I would prefer a bearhug anyday but then not many people can take a public hug. Especially so if you are a young beautiful lady! Alternate responses could have been: “Thanks, that’s very nice of you”, or “Thanks, that’s very thoughtful of you” or the all time classic delivered with a smile that goes upto your eyes – “Thanks!”.

For strange reasons, giving and receiving have become burdensome. People keep score, see ulterior motives where none exist and have built a whole universe of complexity around one of the most fundamental acts to Life. While one would expect a natural act to be easy, the truth is far from that. Few people can receive with grace, fewer still can give gracefully.

Giving and Receiving is as fundamental as breathing. You receive breath and you give breath. The giver exists because there is a receiver. Neither is above the other. Neither can survive as a singular entity.

Giving is Receiving.


Parking my Ego September 5, 2007

Filed under: Automobiles,ego,women — gurdas @ :

As someone who has recently started driving around town, there is a certain joy in parking well. Like those instances when you park so bloody perfect that you wish someone would pull out a camera and take a picture of you for the next day’s front page story.

And the sense of achievement is heightened if the spot you parked into was one of those tight, zero tolerance spots which women do not even consider as ‘parkable’. Male ego never had it so good. Tyres straight, ample room to open the door and least possible chances of anyone hitting your vehicle because it protruded 3mm into the drive-by zone.


I saw an angel June 2, 2007

Filed under: Inspiration,women — gurdas @ :

Today, for the first time in the brief history of my blog, I am so very thankful for having a blog. Because I got to write this.

 As I prepared to walk out for my breakfast, CNBC-TV18 played their interview of Sudha Murty as part of the “Up, Close and Personal” series.

I stopped dead in my tracks. For I was looking at an angel.

Sudha Murty is unlike any person I have ever seen on TV. The first thing that struck me was that she is as pure as a child. The words are not cooked and the smile goes right upto her eyes. Notice how her hands move and eyes twinkle when she talks of stuff close to her heart and you know hers is a spotless mind. And the sunshine is eternal.

Blunt, girl next door, motherly and so very Indian. She is also a techie who let go of her dreams so that Infosys could get going. For the uninitiated, it was her Rs. 10000/- contribution that helped start the company.

 What also amazed me was her comfort level with ideas and thoughts which are nothing but intimate.  She talks of her husband, kids, relatives, friends, shopping, ambition, money, and movies with glee. She rolls off statements like “Murty does not enjoy things like he used to” as if she was having a dinner table conversation with her mother. Top that off with something like “In the early days I was the mother but now the foundation is the mother and I am the child” (while refering to the Infosys Foundation) and you cannot help but say thank you. I does not matter who you are thanking.

 Sudha Murty just made my weekend.

—- Further reading —-

A web search for “Sudha Murthy” or “Sudha Murty” will lead you to many interesting pages. Here are two to get you going.

Followup: Ali, the store manager at Crossword called to inform that the Urdu Poetry book I had ordered was available for pickup. While at the store, I caught sight of “Wise & Otherwise”, a collection of short essays by Sudha Murty. I picked a copy and having read a few pieces I can comment that she is also very readable. The essays are like a page from anyone’s life. Like the essay when Sudha visits her friend on Diwali or the essay where she cannot but help overhear conversation between two women on the nexus between software engineering and marriage woes. The book is published by Penguin India and reasonably priced at Rs. 150/-. Highly recommended.


She May 18, 2007

Filed under: India,women — gurdas @ :

I plunged my bike into the curve and just as I came out of the turn, I saw her.

Sweat on her brow and broom in hand, she was one of the many women working on the new road under construction.

Who is she? What are her aspirations? Does she have kids? How many? Do they go to school? How does her husband treat her? Will she always only clean roads in the sweltering 40degC heat? Does she worry about her future?

I had no answer to my questions. How small I felt and how ignorant.

As I passed in front of her, our eyes met.

It was as if she knew all about my questions. And yet happily forgives me for having just questions.

I wonder who she was…


An ordinary girl May 3, 2007

Filed under: friends,philosophy,poetry,women — gurdas @ :

She is an ordinary girl
Her expressions are not free
because you’ve blamed and scolded
her often and easily.
If ever her attitude you mind, you do not expect her to clarify.
She is prohibited from laughing aloud
Speaking her mind out has always been out of question.
Even for crying, you have taught her
‘Never express in public’.
She shuts her door in remorse.
She has never said,
“I am hungry, I do not like it.”
Or even, “I do not feel fine.”
She is an ordinary girl
Like you and me.

You see her everyday
At the bus stop,
At the railway platform,
At your office,
Or maybe walking down the street.
You watch her intently
Her bindi, her sari,
The color of her nail-polish,
Her eyebrows, her lips,
Her eyes, her ear-rings,
There are many parts
you unknowingly notice
And many others, you want her to reveal
For she is an ordinary girl
Like you and me.

She cares for your dignity
Looks after your family
Arranges your four square meals
Loves you as a being
Shares your worries
Supports you in distress
Helps you in trouble
She is an ordinary girl
Like you and me.

After all these sharing and caring
For you dear, she never got
her rightful unconditional faith.
You blame her, whenever she
wanted to do without your wish
Or whim.
In the interior regions of Bihar
You often pick her up by force
She makes your night bright.
And you throw her away by the daylight.

After all day’s work, when she is tired
You make her walk miles and miles
in the arid climate of Gujarat
To get enough water for your family
to drink.

At office, you work with her.
Try to be friendliest of friends
Hidden thoughts work behind
May be of possessing her some Night.
She is an ordinary girl.
Just like you and me.

It’s nothing new, that you do today.
You’ve been doing it, since ages.
You’ve never believed her sanctity.
When she came as ‘Sita’.
You took your credit of deceiving her
of her right,  for the sake of country.
And she had to put herself on pyre
to prove her integrity.
When she came as Draupadi
Dushashana pulled her out of the palace
And tried to unclothe her in the court.
You stood and watched her genuflect.
When she came as Mirabai
You forced her to take to your
belief of God and tortured her
until she left your palace
for the sake of her faith.
As Padmini in Rajputana
You made her jump into fire

You gave yourself the bravado
of belonging to a society
Where she can end her life
But not compromise her sanctity.
Again you blame her
For the same as easily as you do.

It is history, nothing seems
To have changed even today.
In the most modern educated society
You afford her the best of education,
Best of food, best of clothing,
But when it comes to her
Integrity, sanctity and character
You blame her as easily as you
always have.
You do not let her be alone outside home
Even when it is dire need.
If she comes emotionally closer to you
You whisper about her character.
You take it as your birth right
to blame her.

Now, if I ask, what about you?
Are you not the same or worse?
If she has ever slipped
Have you not been equal partners?
Why did you not blame yourself ever
for being what you are?

Oh! ordinary girls
It is time for revolution.
A revolution of our mind, thought
and status.

You’ve sacrificed down the ages.
You’ve tolerated injustice.
Please do not succumb
to the pressures of this society anymore.
That society which gives you everything
But along with it a stigma
Of disbelief and stain
Of being unfaithful.
With this similar attitude, society
relates to you as a mother, a wife
and as a daughter.
Then again curses you easily
For anything you do without its approval.

It is time to change the definition
Of your being girls.
It is time, to show that you are
strong as your counterpart.
It is time, to tell the society
That we are not here to take the blame
Or lay the blame.
We are here to have faith
And make others believe
Share our duties and responsibilities
For a world of equality and equanimity.
A world of faith and love.

Come, my dearest ordinary girls
Let us find ourselves some way out.
Make ourselves strong enough
To make the society believe
That there is no need
They should keep us in high walls.
Or not let us work at office late at night.
Let us tell them that we do not need
Their virtual security, to be in this world.
We can take care of ourselves
And fight any odd that
Comes our way.

I know, any change is hard to be brought.
It is tough to materialize
But my pen has its aim
To make you think.
I am sure, if you think today
You’ll believe.
Once you believe in yourself
Faith will be there to guide
You on your way.
Today the world must know
Though you are an ordinary girl,
You have an extraordinary strength.
You’ve gained it through
Sacrifice and tolerance down the ages.

It is time world should realize
You are an extraordinarily
Ordinary girl.

– by Vilombita Sarcar


Confession Of Sasmita

Filed under: friends,philosophy,poetry,women — gurdas @ :

Dear friends, I request you to restrain all your anger and sneer
Because a newborn child needs the help of those who are living.
Today I publish the confession of Sasmita, a village girl.

Sasmita, a village girl, was betrayed by Sukanta.
She did not let this anybody know.
Slowly the days went by to show early signs of conception.
And she tried to starve herself
So that the baby would die.
She took-up all the strenuous jobs
So that the baby would never pry-out alive.

Dear friends, I request you to restrain all your anger and sneer
Because who will be born needs the help of those who are alive.
Today I publish the confession of Sasmita, the village girl.

Slowly the days passed by, she was alone.
Her connection with the external world diminished.
A fear always troubled her
Might anybody guess anything.
And she began wearing a tight belt so that
No bulge could be noticed from above her saree.
One day out of sheer panic she drank some folidol.
But she was saved by neighbour’s timely  action.

Dear friends, I request do not cry or show compassion
Because who will be born needs the help of those who are living.
Today I publish the confession of Sasmita, the unwed mother.

Finally the appointed day came
Of all the fear, panic and hatred
She had grown an unwanted love
For the baby yet to be born.
She worked hard all day long
Cleansed all the floor, washed all the clothes
Finally at eight, in the evening
She was free to be at her home
Just had her back touched
The strings of her bed
That a shivering pain upped her brain
Becoming conscious and fearing neighbours should hear her groan
She choked her cry with a ball of cloth.

Dear friends, I request you not to cry or show compassion
Because who will be born needs the help of those who are living
Today I publish the confession of Sasmita, the unwed mother.

After all her initiations not to let the baby pry
She failed and by God’s grace it saw the darkness
Of that cloudy night, dark night when wind was blowing hard.
Lest anybody should respond to the baby’s first cry
She slowly came out of the house when the strong winds blew.
She supported her self to the cowshed
There among the cows and calves
On the grassy bed, the baby was born.
The wind blew high and low, none could hear the baby cry slow.

Dear friends I request you not to be happy or compromise
Because the newly born needs the help of those who are living
Today I publish the confession of Sasmita, the mother.

As cruel as she could be
Separating the baby from herself using the sickle
Lying on the floor, she brought the baby near her lips.
Touching its pink ones with her own, silently
She said, ‘you are mine’.
All of sudden the thoughts of love and care vanished
One of shame, sneer, contempt, anger cropped-up.
Soon she brought the baby near to her heart
And immediately the soft neck was between
Her demonic fingers
They closed  tight, until all the air blew out
The baby gave a long drawn cry, that
Vibrated up-down and in-out
But the wind was blowing high and low
None had any notion of it all

 Dear friends, I request you not to cry or show compassion
Because who was born, needed the love and care of those who are living
Today I publish the confession of Sasmita, the village girl,
the unwed mother and the mother as cruel as she can be.

Again bringing the lifeless new-born near to her heart
Giving it a long drawn kiss, she kept it on the floor and said
“You were mine”
Then she worked long with weakness, to make a small
grave for it, and laying down the baby
She covered it with more sand and earth
So that nobody would ever know about that darkness of night.

Dear friends, I request you to restrain all your sneer and anger
I request do not cry or show compassion
Do not be happy and be ready to compromise
Because the newly born needed the help of those who are living

Today I publish the confession of Sasmita the unwed-mother.
And with the burning sensation of anger, sneer, sadness and compassion
Ask you “why should the baby be known by his father,
When he is as irresponsible as he is.”

– by Vilombita Sarcar