Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back to Bhutan-Vadodara!

Bhutan has never left me since the time I have been there. Its not just the mountains, trees, weather which takes me back there, its the people of Bhutan. All of them whom I met have been so loving, humble, caring and helpful.

In India if we meet more than a few people of this kind in a single day, we feel something is wrong. We are so much adapted to dishonesty, fear, uncaring and other bad things that if someone does good to us we see them with doubt and feel that person has some hidden intentions for doing that.

In the later days of my travels in Bhutan I came to know why the people of Bhutan are so amazing. Its because its a tradition passed on from their ancestors and its in the genes now to be good, caring, helpful and loving to everyone they come across. 

Its a painting, a story called Thuenpa Puen Zhi (Four Harmonious Friends). In Bhutan, the story gives a national identity for people to live in harmony with nature, for people to co-operate with each other even with cultural differences, and for families to work together. A conservation ethic has arisen based on it that also influences Bhutan’s national policies.

The story is a familiar Tibetan motif derived from the Jataka tales of Buddha’s former lives
In terms of a symbol understanding of this beautiful allegory: The elephant represents our body, the monkey represents the restless mind, the rabbit represents emotions, and the bird is the soul. Here is the story adapted from Buddhist Channel:
Once in a forest in Varanasi, four animals: An elephant, a rabbit, a monkey, and a partridge disputed about the ownership of a tree where all of them had fed. The elephant claimed, “Well, this is my tree because I saw it first.”
To this the monkey replied: “Now, elephant do you see any fruits on this tree?”
The elephant agreed that the tree was without any fruit.
The monkey continued: “That’s because I had been feeding on the fruits of the tree long before you ever saw it.”
Next the rabbit spoke up: “I fed on the leaves of this tree when it was just a small sapling before the monkey ate its fruit and way before the elephant ever saw it.”
Finally the partridge who had been watching the argument, came forward and asserted: “The tree belongs to me because the tree wouldn’t have grown if I hadn’t spit it out as a seed. I helped plant the seed that grew into this huge tree before the rabbit fed on it, or the monkey ate its fruit, or the elephant saw it.”
The elephant, monkey, and rabbit, conceded that the partridge was the first to know the tree. So all of bowed to the partridge and regarded it as their elder brother.
The four animals became friends and decided to share the tree together in peaceful harmony, enjoying the beauty of the tree’s fragrance, the nourishment of its fruits, and the bounty of its shade. They worked together to obtain fruits: The fruits on the ground and on the lowest branches, the partridge and rabbit found by working together. The monkey climbed the tree and dropped the fruits for everyone to share but only the elephant could reach the highest branches with his trunk. The four animals worked co-operatively and with their combined strength, each one benefited and no one went hungry.
Other animals in the forest often saw them together with the partridge on top of the rabbit who was held up by the monkey who rode on top of the elephant. Since then, they were called “The Four Harmonious Brothers.” The four animals were looked upon as an example of peace, harmony, co-operation, interdependence and friendship.

I dont know this is going to be possible for India, but for a city called Vadodara, I am definitely going to try it!
I know they exist, I can feel their presence the Four Friends, they are in Vadodara too! :)
Lets rewrite a story of the city called Vadodara....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SMS Classes! :)

Recently Mukesh has learnt to do text messages. I am guessing with the number of text messages he is sending to me and other friends at Handmade Hope, he is already liking it. Mukesh hasnt studied much and surely not much of English. So there is an issue of spellings in the text messages. I do understand what he meant by the message but it is not the way it should be. 
We started a simple exercise a few days back and seems like it is working.

Whenever he sends me a text message, for example
               (corrected:  Bhaiya Good Morning)

We can ofcourse understand what it meant, but if he has to start conversing with others to its my responsibility to make it look good.
So here is what we have started, we have decided to do maximum conversation for anything related to Handmade Hope on text messages. When I receive the message, I do the correction and send it back to him with the answer, for example
Rushabh: Do we have 81 notebooks, we have got an order! :)
Mukesh: 81 HAA.... BHIAYA BUK CHHE
Rushabh: Bhaiya, 81 Books Che!
Mukesh: OK...GOT IT! 
Rushabh: Saras
Mukesh: BHAIYA, BIJU KAI, YES OR NO (the spelling changed)
Rushabh: No! :)
Mukesh: OK... BYE! 

Simple, but effective! 
We would start with sentences in English soon.


About Mukesh: Mukesh has spent more than 14 years of his life in Boys Observation Home where I used to go to teach, play and spend time. He is now working with one of our projects Handmade Hope. At the age of 19 he is the chief production manager at Handmade looking after the total paper bags production and he has trained more than 25 people to make the same. He is the main bread earner of his family of six.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


On bended knee is no way to be free
lifting up an empty cup I ask silently
that all my destinations will accept the one that's me
so I can breath

Circles they grow and they swallow people whole
half their lives they say goodnight to wive's they'll never know
got a mind full of questions and a teacher in my soul
so it goes...

Don't come closer or I'll have to go
Holding me like gravity are places that pull
If ever there was someone to keep me at home
It would be you...

Everyone I come across in cages they bought
they think of me and my wandering
but I'm never what they thought
got my indignation but I'm pure in all my thoughts
I'm alive...

Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere
underneath my being is a road that disappeared
late at night I hear the trees
they're singing with the dead

Leave it to me as I find a way to be
consider me a satelite for ever orbiting
I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Power of One!

She wanted to become a doctor. With her merits she got admission in one of the best colleges of the city. She was happy as she could now pursue what she wanted to do.
She went to the college in her best outfit, the best she was comfortable with her. A perfect pair of Levis' jeans and tee. Entering the class she realised there is something wrong with her. Everyone was staring her. 
In a class of people with a same dream suddenly made her feel the odd one. The Dean saw her and shouted, " You cannot wear this. It is against the rules!" 
She was totally confused. "Yes! If you want to be a doctor from this college you will have to traditional Indian wear, a salwar kameez." he said. 

She rejected the idea then and there! 
The simplest question which should have struck all the hundreds of people sitting there struck to her, "What difference does clothes make from me being a doctor? The treatment I would give once I study from here is what will matter!" 
She was standing alone. With no one on her side, she was afraid but then she stood strong.
 She stood with her perspective which she believed is right. 
Standing alone was hard. 
She explained to her Dean and the faculties but no one was ready to listen to her. 
She stood strong to what she believed. 

She dint go to the college for next SIX months. 

After that the Dean called her up, the reason she still dint know about and met him. 
She joined the college again, went there in the traditional Indian wear. She told to the Dean that she wasnt wearing it because she is accepting what he and the faculties believe is a rule but just for respecting him and it wont be a daily thing. 
The unusual happened. There was a board meeting called with all the faculties and management. The only agenda was one girl who is not wearing the traditional form of outfit which a student in their college had to wear.
After a lot of talks and brainstorming, the Dean came out and told to the girl, " I dont know what made you stand so strong but we believe what you said has nothing wrong and you can wear decent outfits not necessarily a salwar kameez.
It can be western too." 
A rush of happiness and self confidence, with her head held high she told her batchmates who now were not only happy but also had respect for her. 
The same mates who considered her to be foolish to fight over such a small thing now believed though small she was a person who stood for something that was right!

She along with her other friends went to college the next day wearing her favorite jeans and tee! 

A small act, a small step and a leap of faith by a girl 
we know as Palak Jalan.
Thats what I call, The Power of One! :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

folk media!

Theatre is a strong impact media. It makes you think. Almost after an year of the performance my college class it was the junior batch at college performing today. I would say I loved it. Students with no formal training just a self exploration workshop of 3-4 weeks performed. I don't know performances but two things which according to me are really very hard. One delivering a humorous dialogue and actually make people laugh and the other would be to deliver emotions and importantly make that emotions reach to the audience. 

Witnessed today with beautiful performance with emotional quotient of Devashree and Naman and Jinith on the humor quotient. Remembered the performances by Kalpeshbhai, Priyanka, Himadri and Kushan from last year. 

Folk media! Yes.. there is definitely something in it!

(from the archives of March 2009)

There are few things in life which I don't like.
I never liked it. I always thought I am not a person of theatres nor I can play someone which I am not.

Theatre workshop of my masters course in media culture made it mandatory for me Act. If not for myself or anyone else for heavy weight 30 marks which it carried.
I tried out every possible way to slip out to get in some other thing but nothing worked.
No Options left.

A small role (to the extent that Megha's dint even know that I was in the play) had to be played.
So many rehearsals I did. I am really thankful for the patience my team had and  to bear all my "natakpanti".

We performed at 4 different places and believe it wasnt that bad too! :)
I realised that I am liking it. I was getting better. I was trying to understand the audience taste and also change my dialogues accordingly ( ideally which is not right) and dhire dhire I started loving it and now I am open to try out more of it.
I guess everything what we believe we cant or dont want to do should be given a try.
If we dont like it even after trying it,  its a different issue but a try can help you in opening up new avenues for yourself!

I just opened one for myself! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011


We have a greed with which we have agreed
And you think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all you won't be free

Society, you're a crazy breed

When you want more than you have
You think you need...
And when you think more than you want
Your thoughts begin to bleed
I think I need to find a bigger place
Because when you have more than you think
You need more space

Society, you're a crazy breed
Society, crazy indeed

There's those thinking, more-or-less, less is more
But if less is more, how you keeping score?
Means for every point you make, your level drops
Kinda like you're starting from the top
You can't do that...

Society, you're a crazy breed

(few words of the song, Society: Eddie Vedder)

Life is Simple!

Academics, love-life, hygiene, image, popularity, impression on elders, rapport with teachers, statement of purpose, short-term goals of life, Long term goals of life, keeping parents content, denying distant relatives a reason to pick on you, phone bills, random friend's birthday present contribution share, boyfriend/girlfriend trouble, heart-aches, deadlines, interviews, books to read, things to do, movies to watch, etc etc.. There are so much stuff that an average young adult is responsible for.

Every single time when I think that I have gained expertise in one aspect, other ones start falling apart. Managing ones’ life effectively is more difficult than probably managing a multi-national company! Just that a lot is on stake in case of the so called 'managers', but all of us do manage by, don't we?

Thinking about how one can change their life into something better is probably the world's favorite way of passing time. What we fail to realize is that, at some point of time, we have to loosen the strain on improvement and care about making the best of what we have. Cribbing about life doesn't make it better, it only creates negativity which is very difficult to get rid of.

There has to be a simpler way of living. More richer, more fulfilling..

Appreciate; yourself, others, their efforts.. Understand; what the universe is trying to tell you.. Realize; that it's never too late to make a fresh start. Try; to like the choices available to you.. and choose, the one choice that makes me most happy.

Easy to talk and difficult to walk?

I am going to try. There is everything to gain.

When you read this and you think somewhere it is the same with you, check this LINK !

Credits: Shatabdi and Alok ! :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

the only thing

the only factor of human nature which should remain under control totally is 
e m o t i o n !
If I can control my emotions, 90 percent of the work would be done for me!! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

speaking of emotions

A businessman came and sat next to me. I figured out he was a businessman as he was on one call after the other probably talking with his clients or debtors. 
I was listening to the conversations. They weren't soft and meaningful conversations. They were to the point, a bit rude, arrogant and with no emotions.
I know everyone wonders how can a business talk be with emotions?
 It has to be direct. 

That precisely is the point I was pondering upon...
People spend more than half of the day working without emotions to spend a few hours with the people they are emotionally attached too. 

The process flow is like: 
work with no emotions ( business, offices, jobs etc.) - money earned - spent on emotions ( family, friends, special ones etc.)

If the philosophies, universe conspiring theories are taken into consideration,
How can one get one happiness in such consequences?  
If someone says that it makes them happy than might be
he is living in an illusionary world of happiness which he 
won't realise till he dies!

just a thought! 

(photocredits:  Karolyn Lowe)

Monday, February 7, 2011

dont know what and something good!

Today was a good half-day at college. I laughed heartily after a long time. Thanks to the translation workshop which made me talk a lot. But as usual by the time I was leaving the college loneliness again started creeping in. I left for the Aurobindo Ashram to get some handmade papers for an interesting activity I am planning to do. After that I had something to share with my dad about his company so went there which didn’t work out to be a good idea.
I hadn’t met my dada-dadi from quite a while so thought to drop in there. I got big time scoldings from my chachi for not wishing her on her birthday and even marriage anniversary. I knew it but I just didn’t call, I don’t know the reason why I did so!
Anyway, so I met dadi and she was not exactly in the good condition I had seen her before! I had some conversations with her. I am actually worried with her deteriorating health but I know this is the cycle of life we just can’t stop. A thought crossed in me at that time. We are always surrounded by people of all age groups but still we live our life in such a way as if we are granted permanent residency on earth.
So yup.. I was going to write more but not in a mood again!! I hate text messaging services of the mobile networks to the core!!!
Yeaa... all I did was made dadi sit in my car and thought of taking her to see the different Jain temples from outside as she cannot walk and then a crazy idea ! I took her on a long drive too Sindhrot ( for non-barodians, its a place for lovers to hangout), sat on the bridge, ate boiled corn-masala, she cant eat directly as got very less teeth so i took out the corn individually and made her eat!
She said she loved it and want to go to some other place the next time! It was almost after 2 months that she went somewhere out of the house.

Only good thing that has happened to me in last 2 months other than Shweta’s attempts to make me smile!

good things-bad things

We do good things. We do bad things. I did both.
I realised and accepted the both to the closest humans to me. Suddenly they forgot the GOOD ME which still exists and remembered and perceived that only the BAD ME existed which died and the reason I told them was that the BAD ME died.
I am happy. I am happy that after saying and accepting the bad, they aren’t left with any more to talk about the BAD ME!!
All left now is the lonely GOOD ME!!