(Ok, heres a last post before I go offline!)

Today morning I started late for work. After 9:00am the traffic gets a little heavy and hence I was driving slowly and carefully. There was a tam-tam (six-seater auto for the non-Puneites) in front of me, who was applying his brakes every now and then to take on board every other passenger standing on the roadside. I was waiting for an opportunity to get ahead. Right behind me was a young man on his mobike, obviously getting impatient with my peculiar middle-aged caution. He kept honking, egging me on to overtake the tam-tam. However, for dear life, I refused to exhibit any rashness. On a turn the mobike-fellow managed to overtake me and the tam-tam. He even slowed down next to me and very audaciously shouted something about using the accelerator and rolled his hand, probably trying to show me how to use the accelerator. I naturally ignored him; and he zoomed off. Some way down I caught up with him. He was got caught behind a PMT Bus (public transport bus), unable to overtake. The bus driver suddenly applied his brakes and, surprisingly, caught him unawares and he dashed against it. He looked around sheepishly and atleast for some distance he drove slowly and carefully!

I don’t know how long he continued this way ‘cos I couldn’t keep up with his slow speed and had to leave him behind 😀 !!

We are going to Kolkata, my sasural, for Durga Pooja.  I’ll be gone for two weeks.  These two weeks will be spent without any internet access.  I may be able to check emails once in a while, not sure though.  So, no postings for the next two weeks!

The extended dry spell in the last one-and-half week can also be attributed to the fact that I’ve been terribly busy finishing work in office and preparing for the vacation.

Happy Dussera! (in advance)

My superstition (?)

September 11, 2006

Story goes that one day Lord Ganesha was playing about in his house. Mother, Parvati, was busy with domestic work. She wanted to take her bath, but was sceptical of leaving young Ganesha all alone as Lord Shiva was not at home. Not seeing any signs of Lord Shiva returning she decided to go ahead, and left Ganesha with very strict instructions-“No letting anyone in while I’m taking my bath”. Ganesha nodded his head vigorously. Feeling assured, Parvati left and Ganesha continued his play.

After a while, Shiva returned. As he was about to enter the house, Ganesha saw him and was in a fix. Mother did not say anything about making an exception. Could he let his father in? Parvati’s words were like command for Ganesha. He couldn’t let his mother down. So, he stopped Shiva and told him that mother had asked him to not let anyone in. Shiva was amused, he smiled at Ganesha and was about to step in when Ganesha drew his weapon. Shiva was not going to take any nonsense and asked Ganesha to stop fooling about and let him in. But, Ganesha was not ready to budge. In a fit of anger, Shiva beheaded him. Shiva is quite famous for his short-temper. He gets angry in no time and the very next moment he will cool down and will regret his doing.

So, here was Ganesha beheaded, lying in a pool of blood. Seeing his son lying at his feet, Shiva came to his senses. He sat down with his son in his lap and started lamenting. Parvati heard him weep and came running down. Seeing what had happened while she was away, she was grief stricken. She admonished Shiva for what he had done and clearly told him that she wanted her son back. Shiva summoned all the Gods and asked them for advice on what could be done. People gave different suggestions, but nothing seemed like a good solution. Someone suggested that if a head of another child, about the same age as Ganesha could be obtained and fitted on Ganesha, he would come alive. Someone in the crowd added that if they managed to get the head of a child, whose mother did not love him, it would be a lesser evil. Everyone agreed that it was indeed a good idea. So,people were sent in all directions to look for a child about the same age as Ganesha, whose mother did not love him.

People rushed in all directions to find a appropriate head for Ganesha. One tired group was roaming around in a jungle when they spotted a family of elephants napping in the shade. The father elephant was lazing under one huge tree and the mother elephant was napping with her two baby elephants under another tree. One baby elephant was lying near her tummy and the other one was lying near her back. The men sighed on seeing the family relaxing in the cool shade and were about to move away when a thought came to their mind. The mother elephant probably did not love the baby elephant lying near her back as much as the one near her tummy! How could she let him sleep unattended and uncared for! There was no doubt about her partiality for the one sleeping in front of her. And the baby elephant looked the same age as Ganesha. But,there was a small problem, would a elephant head be acceptable. Time was running out and they couldn’t take a chance. And besides no one had told them that they needed a God/human head. So, they went ahead and beheaded the baby elephant and carried his head to Lord Shiva.Gods and Shiva rejoiced on seeing the men return in time. However, when they saw what the men had got, everyone was aghast. Parvati started crying even louder. Time was running out. The Gods advised Shiva that they had no option left and would have to go ahead with the baby elephant’s head. After some anxious moments the head was fitted. The Gods sprinkled some water on Ganesha’s face and waited for him to show signs of life. Ganesha stirred and within moments opened his eyes and looked about him, surprised at the crowd that had gathered around him, not knowing what had transpired. Shiva and Parvati hugged him. The Gods rejoiced. Everyone went away happily. No one gave a thought to the sorrow of the mother elephant who had lost her child.

I heard this story when I was small. It left an impression on me. So much so that, if I ever saw any mother sleeping with her back towards her child, I would feel sorry for the child. However, I never realised how deep the impression was. After Aru arrived, I would never sleep with my back towards her. And even if I did, I could never sleep in that position for long. I know many of you are going to laugh your hearts out on hearing this, but even today I’m not comfortable sleeping with my back towards Aru 😦

In praise of Nagpur

September 4, 2006

In the one week that I spent at Nagpur, I realized how a reasonably maintained city/town makes a huge difference to the quality of life of it’s citizens. Nagpur has always been neglected as far as development plans go. Local politicians are more obsessed with “self-development” at the cost of Vidarbha’s developement. As a result, even today Nagpur does not remain a top career choice for many. But, it’s far more “livable” than a lot of other cities. Roads and general cleanliness are probably the basic needs of any city, and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) seems be doing a honest job on this front. They definitely need to be congratulated for this.

While the basic needs are taken care of, even the beautification of city is on right track. Despite the construction boom, you still find open spaces left out for children’s park and amusement parks. Even at places where new construction is happening, enough thought is given to provide wider roads. Unfortunately we did not click any snaps of the Nagpur roads that impressed me so much. However, here are some snaps of a childrens’s park right opposite my appartment.

Notice there are ample play-things for all age groups. Look at the background!! 🙂

Truly child friendly- bright colours, no sharp metals, good aesthetics, easy to play.

Lovely, well-maintained grass. We had infinite fun running around, falling, rolling, jumping on this grass.

I also have some snaps of a Water Park developed by Haldiram’s (Yes, the namkeen and sweets people from Nagpur). I’m told that the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) has given a contract to Haldiram’s for running the Water Park. And they are doing a good job of it. I was quite impressed by it and hence decided to give it some publicity and will dedicate a separate post to it 🙂

I’m not saying every thing is perfect, and Nagpurians will probably have a lot to say in this regard. However, things definitely seem to be on right track. You see definite signs of good planning as the city expands. With a little attention and some concrete steps to attract industries, Nagpur can very well become a model Indian city.

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