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Reposted from my old blog  

Its a nice afternoon with bearable temperatures of 5 degrees. Just the perfect climate for a walk around the neighborhood. As I straddle up around the corner shop I meet the owner, who nods up witha cheerful smile and greets me ,’ Hi, You alright !!’. An involuntary action I reply back, ‘Im fine, thank you!!’. I walked ahead with the thought looming in my head, am I really fine ? When we ask someone how they have been , are really meaning to find out or is it just out of formality ? I moved on and decided to notice, what the general response would be when I inquire …. this wasnt just going to be a walk around anymore, more of a psychoanalysis escapade !!

The first participant for my voluntary survey was none other than my house mate (names are witheld to respect privacy),coming back from his part time job at the Petrol Station, My instant reaction ,’hey how u doin?’, and as always he gleefully responded, ‘im fine’. One down . Of course from the chat that followed i figured out, he didnt have such a good day at work today. Some buggers drove off without paying for the fuel. He went off his head hanging down, deep in solitary thoughts and I was left wondering whether his job was all that was bothering him.

Next I walked into the supermarket to buy some dairy fudge chocolates for myself. They are so mouth watering delicious that one is just never enough. As I made my way up ahead towards the city center, I decided to pay a visit to my chuddy buddy. I buzzed myself in and was greeted with a longer than one moment hug. Just a hint of ‘im so glad u came by’ feeling there. Any hoo she was to be participant no 2 for my survey. I quizzed her how was everything and she came up with a more fastidious response , ‘Great!’. Yet I couldnt fail to notice a drop in her shoulders, eyes that gazed into gaga land. Down one cup of tea, I slowly realised the real reason behind this lull. It had to be a guy !! Some soul searching later I left realising she wasnt that ‘Great’ after all.

Heading towards the city center I looked at the people around me. An elderly couple walking hand in hand walking towards me were my next participants, I greeted them with a cordial smile and immediately I was reciprocated with,’ You alright lovey ?’. Looking at them pass by I could not help but think how long they have been together and what an amazing life they have had. I let out a satisfactory sigh, wishing my life should be like this, but was startled to see them walk into the Old Peoples Home. It made me wonder whether they walked with their hands locked reminscing about old times or was it for the support they craved for from each other

 

 

 


Our thoughts create our reality — where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go.

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus

Mark Twain

 

This post has been published by me as a part of Indian Bloggers League; 
the Battle of Blogs, sponsored by WriteupCafe.com. 
Join us at our Official IBL Website and our Official Facebook Page.

Inyourdreams is a place everyone wants to be at.

Why, you say, as anything is possible here. The best of your imaginations come true here. It is not your everyday muggle metropolis where you wake up, go to work, come back home and suffer the usual rigmarole of the conventional metropolitan life. Inyourdreams gives you the option of choosing what day of the week you want it to be. So if you decide it is Sunday for next 3 days or 10 days it is quite possible.

There are multiple modes of transport, most of them one cant see, but only experience. You only have to wish which place you want to be and ‘puff’ you arrive. No traffic and no pollution, without wasting any minute all your travel woes are nullified.

Food, you say, the world cuisine is at the clap of your hands. Best chefs serving the most delectable delicacies at your beck and call. Why it is Inyourdreams of course! Anything is possible here. Now if you could only imagine what this place looks like. No its not full of candy colored houses, with doors and windows made of marzipan and icing, with perfectly white clouds floating away in bliss and tweety birds chirping away love songs Duh!!

Inyourdreams is much more evolved than that. We have sky scrapers that have reached moon. You now don’t need a space rocket to get there. Its as simple as pushing button of an elevator and,”Voila, you reach the moon.” With bio efficient fuel technology it is most sustainable extra terrestrial habitat for humans. With the depletion of potable water resources on Earth, we tapped into Moon. The supply for now is limited and restricted for Inyourdreams only.

Inyourdreams is completely solar powered. The technology is such that all mountain ranges and sky scapers in the city have solar panels along their faces and are able to generate sufficient energy to power up street lights, electricity for entire city. Odourless bio fuels are the best invention that happened at Inyourdreams and plummeted the city to a phenomenon status. Dr. Fartsy Hawakar the man responsible for this invention lives right in the belly of Inyourdreams, very proudly besotted the title of Son of the city.

The ladies of Inyourdreams are nothing short of beauty queens. Intelligent, brainy, beautiful, fitness conscious and extremely forward fashion sense. Combined with their traditional upbringing, they make the best mates. The lasses brave various attires, often considered raunchy for tastes of old school folk, mostly non residents of Inyourdreams. The women move here freely without fear of being harmed or taken advantage of. Citizens often appreciate their freedom and feisty spirit with dignity. The gentlemen of Inyourdreams are of Adonis descent. Well sculpted and chiseled physique, often seen roaming shirtless along the city lanes, they are born charmers. Some of them are even rumored to have been dipped in charm potion as babies. Hardly a gent here that would have nasty eyes.

Multi cultural matrimony is professed in Inyourdreams, this evolved race of humans, encourages such exchanges as it allows them to study inter cultural as well as inter racial nuances from close quarters. This is also a secret behind the 150 years of peace that has prevailed in this region. There is not a report of any human deceased due to warfare, gun fire, mob fight, killings etc, anything that you may consider an unnatural cause of death.

Religion is an option Inyoudreams. You may persevere idol worship or pagan Gods. Reservoirs, dams, lakes and rivers are temples here. Devotees often flock these places not to bathe in the holy waters but to keep them clean. Harshest of punishments are bestowed upon those who would perform any act that would disturb the sanctity of the believers. Those who are caught throwing garbage, plastics, polluting water are exiled without notice. This is possible on Inyourdreams.

There are no degrees Inyourdreams. You can complete basic schooling, pursue any specialization of your choice. No profession is considered more elitist than the other. There has been a recent study conducted where most of the youth seemed to be going back to their roots. Taking up the challenges to re-invent the wheel and design tools, mechanisms and policies which will improve state of things as it currently stands. These youngsters of Inyourdreams are not afraid to go back a few steps so that they can take a giant stride towards the future with things they discover.

Tax policies and economy Inyourdreams relies much on how much you contribute to conservation. So it is a common sight to see families recycle waste. There are huge tree plantations and they are not planted as part of a produce crop, but often documented as green cover projects. Intelligent as the people are Inyourdreams, they have realized on thing quite clearly, the advantage of community living and the societal obligations they have. Dust bins are provided at every strategic point. Clean roads, a well designed waste management system, administration is aware of the nerve of its ‘junta’ and keeps at its best to live up to the expectations of Inyourdreams.

Politics Inyourdreams is a different ball game altogether. It is what they call a ‘Prajavidyanganitsutratantra’. Policies for Inyourdreams are based on scientific analyses supported by facts that can be proven and are accepted by its people. It is a holy trinity and confluence of humanity’s strongest beliefs coming together, Science, Math and people. The leaders are chosen based on their IQ and those that are above certain threshold are allowed to contest elections.

Inyourdreams has been able to eradicate a disease called ‘Stress’ with huge discoveries made by Dr.Nidra Zzz using traditional medicines combined with a balance in working hours and recreational hours of its citizens. Her formula for the right amount of dosage of both remains secret. She has also been leader in successfully deploying silent zones in the city, where no sound from manmade speech, objects is permitted.

However despite all its positives and alacrity, Inyourdreams suffers from a threat, from being attacked by outside forces which will disturb its natural balance, usurp all its know how for ulterior purposes. It stands at the brink of being destroyed by these external forces which may shake the very foundations that Inyourdreams was based upon. For a while now, it has stood firmly defying these threats and dodging attacks, but the recent rumors are to be believed then enemy is planning a large scale attack which will have Inyourdreams defenseless and ransack what has been built over a period. If that spray of water is harsh enough to shake of the slumber and make you open your eyes, then it will be the end of Inyourdreams

 

 

 


She wore her dark glasses and grabbed her red and white stick, reached out for my hand and as innocently as she could, cheerfully said. “Let’s go, Trupz”. It was a regular ritual we had. Saturday evenings, when I returned from boarding school for a weekend  I would go to her room and take Nayana out for a stroll along our favorite place. The garden of Eden, as I fondly called it. Nayana – her name meaning eyes, but her misfortune that those beautiful pair of grey green eyes, could never see anything, she was born with no sight.

As we walked our way to the garden, we always met some people regularly, Aunty Sonia would be on her way back from work and would usually meet us near Pushkar sweets. The sweet smell of Halwai prepatring his delicacies would always find Nayana’s extra sensitive nose automatically walk towards it. A little further from there we would wait up near Jayant uncle’s place – he would give Nayana a rose from his garden. He had a rose garden in his half acre land. Red, pink, yellow white roses grew ever so gracefully in his care. He offered a red rose to Nayana, and she looked up at me asking, “Uncle describe, Red to me.  Quizzed and perplexed by her question, Jayant uncle was stumped as how I can describe Red so he told her imagine, “N, close your eyes, and imagine you are waiting for Trupz to come pick you on Saturday, how you feel when you hear her voice and the joy your feel, when she comes. Now which color flashes before your eyes – that is Red.” Nayana was happy.

Taking a right turn from ‘Mamata Stores, walking the long stretch of Lane 3, we headed to the garden. Lane 3 was lined with thick trees and a tree cover always played shadow plays on the road. I told Nayana that mango tree was in full bloom and we would definitely see some ‘Kacchi Kairi’s’ (Raw Mango) on it soon. Yes was her quick revert, I smell the flowers she said. It was incredible how the things I saw and those could feel via her other senses were so different, yet we spoke to of the same thing. While walking as we came near the lush green Neem tree, Nayana immediately said,”Trupz do you see, this spot is so much cooler than rest of the road, I know the Neem is here”. These little traits of hers always had me surprised. As much as I tried to tell her something more explicit and detailed of what I could see, I always came back learning something more from Nayana.

“Nayana we are now entering the garden”, as I pushed the gate open, she always asked me to describe to her what the garden looked like, which flowers were in season and what colors they were. The garden was a circular stretch of 500m in circumference. Lined with Bamboo, Bougainvilla, ‘Chafa/ Champa’ trees along with Marigold bushes – the garden was an actual landscape with unearthly beauty.  It being the monsoon season and fresh showers have made the plants come alive I told Nayana. The vibrant colors across the contrasty grey sky had thoroughly changed the landscape into a picture straight out of photobooks. One did not have to be in a very exotic location to enjoy the peace and serene that was provided by this little garden of ours, which was right in the middle of the city.

Small bunches of roses were planted in strategic places, different colored wild flowers grew all over the lush green grass. Wild orchids grew along the creepers on the fence of the garden. They looked like laces which were stitched along at the hem and the purple bell flowers hung from their branches. The outer periphery of the garden, beyond the fence they had laid an athletics running track, many a people came there for walks and jogging. Early mornings always saw a health conscious crowd hit he garden keeping up with their gym regime. I described to her ladies late into their 40’s and 50’s who came there for their Yoga classes. Very coyly Nayana gushed, “Wait for some time, you will the heaps of them at the chaatwala outside the gates”

 

The centre of the garden was decorated with a huge fountain, they called it an oasis in the city, beautiful lights synchronized with the fountain. There would be a laser show in the evening, orchestrated music which would sway according to the fountains. Usually it would be one of the symphonies from Beethoven, little kids gathered around. “Nayana, we are here”, I said. “Is our spot taken?”, she asked . There was this particular mound on the small hillock along the lines of the fountain where we sat, it was most beautiful view of them and also the perfect listening spot in the area. The height advantage gave an 360 degree view of the entire garden, you could see the people, the vendors selling their paraphernalia, little kids demanding more ice cream from parents, love lorn couples who could only find some recluse in the garden, where they could dare to be amicable once it got dark. Nayana’s favorite was the the little boy, Nandu who sold balloons, he would make different shapes from those balloons and bring to Nayana and ask her to identify them. ‘Didi”, was the shrill cry I heard from a distance as Nandu actually tore the crowds to come to us. “Guess what I made today” and he handed Nayana a mangled balloon twisted in ways I cannot imagine. What I could make of that modern sculpture was it looked barely like a skeleton of a pair of glasses. Nayana moved her hands around, feeling every edge, turning them around corners until she laughed uncontrollably. Naughty fella, he made her a pair of glasses, as he quickly whisked away towards the kids, he shouted, “wear these, Im sure you can see then.”

 

The crowd settled, and the music show began. “Ta-da-da-dum,dum-dum,dum-dum” – i was describing to Nayana, how the fountains are reaching new heights today, she said she could feel it, i wondered how she could know about these things without being able to see the grandeur of the show. “Look “she showed me her forehead, “droplets on my face” and grinned. As the crowd swayed to the fountains, Nayana swayed to the music. It was amazing to see, how Nayana had made her handicap into her strength and her uniqueness. She enjoyed those things that most people usually missed. She would be more observant than those who were completely abled. Enchanted she remained all of the 45 minutes.

 

We completed the ritual of our Saturday, with a round of pani puris, we met Yoga ladies as Nayana, so correctly pointed out. Blushing and laughing among ourselves we gulped down last of the puris, when Nayana quipped, “Thanks to the pani puri, I can now understand that the earth is shaped just like that, and all of us living on the planet are like the potato and the chutney floating inside”. She always stumped me with most random and unexpected parallels she drew connecting instances.

As we came close the gates of her home, Lana, her Labrador came running to her, Nayana held her collar belt and gave her a pat on the back for being the best guide dog. As the sun set and light dropped quickly, I said I must leave since it was getting dark. Her sombre smile made me realise just what I had said. Darkness was something Nayana had combated ever since she came to her senses, quietly she replied, “you should try befriending darkness, its been a constant companion except on Saturday’s, when your words help me see”. Her demure silhouette disappeared in the blind people’s home where Nayana was spending her last few years. Her illness now taking its toll on her health, she looked a lot older than her slender years, she had not even lived long enough to experience everything. Her frail health meant she could get out of the barricade of the home, just once in a week. Although we travelled only few kilometres around the campus, for Nayana it was like globe trotting or she at least it made her feel like that.

 

 

 


A Birthday Wish
Blessings and wishes poured in tonnes 
He promised. “I’ll come home early today” 
For it was a special, twas my birthday
Mum said, “May you live to see a million suns”

As I donned my pompous attire,a princess to be 
He called me, “Darling,I’m leaving now” 
My heart knew no bounds, I pranced in glee O how!!
Dressed at my best for Daddy to see 

But all changed, after that dreaded phone ring 
They said, “He is no more”, it was over in a flash 
Motionless he lay there, in a highway crash 
While I waited eagerly, “Happy birthday”, he’d sing 

Of fallen petals, over floating ashes 
My dreams shattered, with melting birthday wishes.
Link to check rhyming scheme it is [abba cddc effe gg - iambic pentameter, English or Shakespearean] http://reyeseng.org/Sonnet.html 
This poem is a Sonnet by form, elegy by nature. 
 

Copyright – Trupti Mulajkar Deshmukh – UrbanWanderer


Story in pictures

Story in pictures

Book – Ramayana of Valmiki

Original Author – Maharashi Valmiki (Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith)

Date – Treta Yuga

Available – in various interpretations – ranging from a version of Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas to a more modern take on it by various authors.

Those of you who know the characters and plot well, you may jump directly to the Critique

Characters

Dashratha – King of Ayodhya, husband of Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra, father of Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana and Shatrughna

Kaushalya – Eldest wife of Dashratha and mother of Prince Rama

Kaikeyi – 2nd wife of Dashratha and mother of Bharata

Sumitra – youngest wife of Dashratha and mother of Lakshmana and Shatrughna

Prince Rama  – Eldest son of Dashratha, main protagonist

Sita – daughter of Janaka, king of Mithila – she is found by him in a hole, wife of Prince Rama

Lakshmana – younger brother of Rama, faithful follower and companion throughout the account

Bharata – younger brother of Rama, mother Kaikeyi’s tricky ways makes him eligible to be King of Ayodhya, but his righteousness gets the better of her jealousy and he remains a loyal first in command till the rightful heir Rama returns to his throne

Shatrughna – youngest brother of Rama

Shurpanakha – Rakshasi, sister of Ravana – the Lanka king

Sugriva – leader of the monkeys

Ravana – King of Lanka

Hanumana – disciple of Rama, his follower and co- warrior

 The Plot

Ramayana is a story told in poem form, by memory (Smruti) about an Indian prince Rama, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and his presence on earth in human form was as the prince of Ayodhya. This story revolves around him, his exile from his kingdom, his survival with his wife Sita, and brother Lakshmana in the forests. The core of the account starts with Ravana, the Lanka king treacherously kidnapping Sita. This is because the Rakshasi Shurpanakha, who is Ravanas sister is luring the two brothers, her attempts do not heed and she tries to kill them. Lakshmana in rage cuts off her nose and ears. Rama’s search for his beloved leads him to Kishkinda, where he meets his trusted disciple Hanumana. Together with him, Sugriva and their army of ape soldiers they march to the Lankan lands, literally walking over the sea to recover Sita. A gruesome battle is fought, Ravana succumbs and our conqueror returns home victorious.

  Critique

The story combines of all human attributes all engulfed into a single life, there is jealousy, there is drama, politics, there is love, there is devotion, suffering, war and killing, victory and elation, a bit of science fiction too (monkey people – anyone say Planet of the Apes, in Valmiki times) and modern architecture (built a bridge over water with floating rocks). They have also figured out complex genetics here, since the King Dashratha as the story opens has been childless for several years, but after a  ‘Putra – kameshti Yagya’ and he has 4 sons!! Valmiki, one may concede was well aware of the subtleties of human tendencies and their implications. The temptations we give into, the emotional ball game and how women use it to their advantage, the power game and how one can yield it to manipulate people. In the entire account, there is mention of how those who were eligible for position of power were tricked by those close to them, whether it was Rama, Sugriva or one can even argue Ravana, he banished his brother Vibhishana since he opposed the kidnapping of pious Sita.

Rama the protagonist is the most complex character – he follows the path of ‘dharma’ which means doing the right thing no matter what the consequences are. When his parents ask him to relinquish the throne, he does so to maintain respect of elders. When he sees someone doing wrong, he gives them an opportunity to recover but if they do not, he does not hesitate from even killing them for their deed. For the ones who are closest to him and his most loyal followers, he is willing to go to any extent to protect them. His love for Sita is so true, that he over came all adversities and arduous circumstances to recover her, but his trust in her was as blind as the God of Justice, he abstained her as wife for lack of evidence to prove her sanctity for the time she spent as Ravana’s captive.

The character of Sita is most intriguing, she is found by Janaka, and considered daughter of Mother Earth, her eventual end also is defined as she succumbs into the Earth. She is brought up a warrior princess, pious and revered she follows he husband’s footsteps as he leads her into exile, giving up her princely possessions and living a hand to mouth existence. Even when she is kidnapped she does not give in to her temptations and remains a one man woman, yet her fidelity is challenged by society but she vehemently stands up to their questions, after being exiled by her own husband she raised 2 sons on her own. It could be argued that she started concept of single mother hood back then.

There is every reason for this work to be an EPIC as it is rightly termed so – Valmiki has encapsulated human qualities so vividly in the text, that every man walking face of the Earth is a Rama, or some shade of his, personifying his qualities as a son, a brother, a ruler, a warrior, a lover and a husband and above all as human. His depiction of society and system in those Treta Yuga times, are so relevant even now. We still depend on hero worship, we still want someone else to fight our battles, and we still believe that it will be someone else’s good deeds and sacrifices that will bring peace and harmony to our lives. We still believe (some of us do) it will take God in human form to resolve all evils and vices of the universe while we can only wait and watch for him to appear. Valmiki in his works has  expressed the detailed outline of hurt, anger, pain and suffering of Rama’s life, yet we look at it and seek to get inspiration from this. Had he psycho analyzed our race to be such that feeds on the deplorable situation of others? I have often wondered how many actually empathize with character of Rama? For all that he has endeared through out this entire account of events has been full of deceit, mistrust, suffering and loneliness to some extent. What was the Ramayana then – a glorified account of a family dispute, co scripted with love, war and separation? The best thing about Valmiki’s Ramayana is that it his only work, which has revolved around many human generations and there are many unanswered questions about it, many theories and speculations circulate it. There are the staunch believers and the ardent atheists, but there are few such novella in history of mankind to have generated such interest and for that he does deserve a Nobel!!

Note – the satire in the critique is not intended to offend anyone’s personal or religious views. 


Slow dancing on the tunes of “I’ll be there”, feeling every word of the song….

This has been my favorite song for ever since I can remember. All I had was this cassette with some mixed tracks of Billy Joel, Culture Club and this one by Jackson 5. With no music videos to accompany the song I didn’t have a clue as to who or what the Jackson 5 were. But of course it was the soul searching voice of a young Michael that captivated me. We all know about the mammoth rise of MJ from being a child prodigy to becoming the King of Pop. Although many associate him with his chartbusters and the pop hits like Thriller, Bill Jean, Bad etc, this particular song remains special for me.

Many years later, after my father passed away, I often took solace when I heard this number, it reminded me of Dad and rekindling that hope that he is always watching over.
Those exact feelings and even deeper emotions run through when I look at Adi and think about these lines,

“You and I must make a pact,
We must bring salvation back,
Where there is Love,
I’ll be there.”

A belief that together we can accomplish all there is to in this world.

Today as the whole world mourns the passing away of this great entertainer, I am thankful to him that he has left us this wonderful gift of his music that gives us the chance to feel those emotions and relive those special memories forever.

TO MJ – You will always be there….

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