Thursday, 23 February 2012


We are all modern Indians. Modernized Indians. Modernizing Indians. Modernized up to that extent that we do not even know what our culture is and what our traditions are. You ask a young urban going on the road, “What is the next album of Shakira?”There will be an instant reply. You ask another question, “Do you know who Tansen and Thyagaraja are?”The upcoming citizen of India thinks and thinks, but I am sure he finally gives it up. Such is the fate of Indian traditional music today, but ONLY IN INDIA. There is an excellent patronage to this music in most other countries of the globe. Cleveland Thyagaraja Aaraadhana is the best example to this. The migration of the traditional Indian musicians to these far off places suggests a considerable amount of lack of encouragement in the mother land though some of them had gone there with the motive of spreading our culture. It is fortunate that they are successful there.
However, did you know that there are foreigners who are proficient in our music? I too did not till very recently. The other day when I was casually turning some Wikipedian pages, I landed on the “List of Carnatic Singers”. I found one ‘Patrick’ among the orthodox names like Deekshithars, Murthys, Sastris, Nairs, etc. At first I checked my impulse of considering him a foreigner thinking he may be one of those Keralite Christians who gave a fair patronage to the traditional Carnatic music. But when I saw his last name ‘Ngcobo’ a moment later, I was indeed surprised and thinking of a possible African descent, I immediately clicked on the link attached to his name.
I came to know that he is indeed an African of Zulu lineage living in South Africa. I wondered how he came to be a seeker of Indian music.
The increasing curiosity made me click on the BBC news page link located at the bottom of the Wikipedia page.
Sri Patrick Ngcobo
There it was written, the whole saga of Sri Patrick Ngcobo and his Carnatic music. It was mentioned that Ngcobo was once very much impressed by a song of Sri K.J.Jesudas and being himself inclined to music, decided to pursue the style of music that was very pleasant to his ears. He was fortunate to find Sri Jesudas who being a wonderful human being had instantly agreed to teach him on the only condition of Patrick coming to Madras.
Then there is the mention of hundreds of hurdles and adversities Patrick had faced, starting from the poverty that made it difficult even to cross the boundary to the difficulties in practicing the great intricacies of Carnatic music.
After his formal training with Sri Jesudas he left India to his home place planning to make this as his profession. He believed his thoughts are justified by the presence of a large Indian population in South Africa. But much against to his idea, he did not receive that amount of encouragement which he had expected though he has sung in many concerts in Botswana. He says he want to sing in South Africa and it is remarkable that he expresses a lot of hope in singing Carnatic songs throughout the world.
Now the story is over. What is its moral, then?
It is a lesson to all those youngsters, who are running madly after the foreign customs and traditions, drastically endangering the culture of homeland.
It is a point of proof of the virtues of our traditional music when it had made a foreigner strive for it.
It makes us salute the individual who has become a patron of such an alien music, fighting the countless adversities that came his way. He could have been very peaceful without all these. But he did not care for all these and was finally very successful in pursuing his goal. This indeed showers us in a great inspiration.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Those Mystical False Assurances

Today, doubt sits in the mind of every individual, continuously hovering in the cloudy folds of his brain and interrupts the smooth transmission of almost every signal. Having a natural doubting mechanism is beneficial in the sense that it ensures security. But the abundant amount of it only worsens the situation just like a high resistance in an electrical circuit makes the battery ineffective and the circuit devoid of charge flow.
Generally, the rubbish of all sorts is that we doubt. Like, “Am I doing it right?”, after beginning the task. The task is also bound to be failure because of the excessive doubt we had while doing the task.
This false fearing, I think is present in all sorts of individuals. If a person is suffering from the feeling of inferiority then doubts his own talent, himself. If he is a confident person with a pinch of superior air around him, then he simply doubts others’ talents. If a person is introverted, he doubts the others’ feedback about him. If he is extroverted, then he doubts the effects of his uncompromising, sometimes rash style.

But I also think at the same time that this doubt Raja is partially inclined towards inferiority in the sense that the victims of inferiority are bound to be the victims of this tyrannical quality too. Ironically, we generally hate those highly doubting people who are indeed sufferers and the most notable observation of the irritating doubt expression is when people doubt themselves. However, inferiority is altogether another great aspect that only big people like psychologists can profess.
 Now, coming to the title discussion that is central to this article, “Those Mystical False Assurances” represents the natural relationship between people and the false assurances they sometime or the other, try to make use of.This can be adopted in technical situations also very relevantly.By doing so, one can escape the ill effects of chronic doubting (particularly in oneself) to some extent.
Number one:
I am preparing for my examination. Suddenly, a great doubt creeps into my mind, “Am I really going to perform well?”The time available to me starts leaking away unnoticed in my thinking this way, and I finally end up with exactly what I expect. How could I avoid this? By incorporating a simple thought in me that, “No, I can write the exam well. I will get very high marks. After all, the subject is just the same difficult for me as it is for others.”
Number two:
My technical communication professor asked me to give a surprise oral presentation. Luckily, I know many things about the topic. But, as soon as I enter the stage, I suddenly see all demons and devils sitting in front of me! I become fully confused and God knows what happens next. What could I have done, instead? I could have thought, “I shall speak very well. All these audience shall receive me very well. Of course, I am providing all of them with valuable information.”
The above two instances are followed by many other situations we generally come across. Each has its own solution.
There is an enchanting (and well known even) quotation in Sanskrit;
य़द्भावम् तद्भवति।
(Yadbhaavam Thadbhavathi) that means
 “What you think will happen.”
Finally, I want to emphasize that this sieve of false assurances will be highly useful only at the starting point of any task. Once our work is half spoilt and once our speech is half disturbed, the chances of success further, will diminish.
Hence, making a point to create a wonderful, comfortable atmosphere around us prior to every important task we perform lets us pass out with flying colors.
The recent Hindi movie song line, “ALL IS WELL” indeed fits here well.

A Warm Winter Day 
Light and warmth 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Vital Vote

       If your feet are moving around this world for a time more than 18 years,then let me ask you what election day means to you.Do you take it to be a great relief holiday among the tsunamis of your office going days?Or as an exam day as important as one's university qualifying exam?'Oh,exam!How can election be exam?'you laugh at me.
       But,don't forget that the vote you cast is the only power that rests solely in your hands in today's corrupt democracies.Citizen is the undisputed master of democracy neither the prime minister,nor the president.Vote is the weapon of the citizen.When citizens are strong,nation will be strong,when citizens are weak,it takes no time for a nation to fall,at least in terms of ethics,fearless living,etc.
       You may also very comfortably argue,'What if I ,a single individual do not cast my vote?' and continue watching the TV show lazily.I reply,'What if many 'a single individual's like you hold the same idea?'Of course,you are aware of the story of Akbar,Birbal and the huge milk collection
       And also,very contrasting is the response of your village brothers towards election and polling.Of course,most of the times with an underlying purpose.They might be lured by an offer of few fifties to a full wine bottle (not all villagers) that easily makes them sell their very precious possession,the vote.Poor people without sharp knowledge of civics,social studies,etc.Therefore,it is our duty to educate them also in this regard.
       'I have planned a family holiday for this weekend.I cannot vote,let alone educating my village brothers;'You contemptuously glare at me.I tell you,'You can have your holidays five times the ensuing five years supposing the worst case of one holiday per year.But,does election wait for you?It is a twinkling "Paanch Saal Kaa Chaand".
        Fortunate enough as we are,we do not have the restriction of compulsory polling.Suppose you are an average earner and the government laid big taxes upon you for your being ill at the time of election and consequently not cast your vote.How could it be?Ours is a culture that gives respect to wisdom and common sense.Do we need force on ourselves to do our duty?
         We should keep this in mind.
        Not only vote,but also the entire study of general administrative civics should be kept in mind.That is not current affairs.The knowledge of the situations leading to an emergency,for example helps a lot in the case of a leadership with autocratic inclination.

A famous cartoon character "COMMON MAN" on election day,by renowned R.K.Laxman.
         We,as citizens,always possess the power of leashing our whip on the government bodies,but casting your vote is a clear prerequisite barring which you yourself will feel ineligible to do so.
         Oh,I forgot to share this piece of information with you.From this year onwards we will be having a "National Voters Day" on 25th January of every year.And tomorrow is the first voters day.

The fate of Sanskrit in current India
The Doctors Day

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A Warm Winter Day

       Every winter invokes the laziness in you.It may make you devoid of your interest to read,write.It may make your gray cells blunt.You feel like doing anything needed to not part with the cosiness attached to the thick layers of the winter rugs you are using.You feel like not at all caring the world around you,not even your employer when you are enjoying the vivid dreams being screened in your head under the huge,warm quilt of yours.Of course,that is not at all a luxury as it seems to be and not even a comfort.It is a need to have a thick blanket to fight the cold that tries to shatter our sleep to pieces by sending chills down our spine.Fortunate as many of us are,we are able to have that basic need which is still thought to be a comfort by many of the people in our country.But winter clothes and warmers are as essential as the food and water!If one cannot live without food and water,then one cannot live without sleep also!
        Often,many of us have more than what we need.Some collect all types of quilts manufactured in different corners of the country and display their collection to their friends.Some use the worn out quilts also for any other purpose except giving them away to the needy.After all,who am I to comment on them?It is all done according to their own wishes.But,let me share with you a rather rare experience of mine.
       Recently,the National Service Scheme,IIT Roorkee chapter,fondly called NSS,IITR, had planned a cloth collection drive and as I am a volunteer for NSS,I had to participate in it by asking people to donate any old,unused clothes of them that would serve the purpose of protecting many poor from the terrific cold very common in Northern India.
       I was given a companion and we two were supposed to ask for the old clothes in a small apartment housing four to five families all of whose employment is provided by the IIT.They stay just outside the IIT,in a small colony where all the apartments are of a same type and infact due to this,I came to the conclusion that the buildings were also built by the IIT.However,they are also a normal lot and are nothing more than general middle class people.
        My companion too held the same view."What can they give?"he said to me.But when we got the response which we did not,in the least,expect,we two were overwhelmed with surprise.
        First,we searched for people in the ground floor and we did not find any.We climbed up the stairs and continued to the second floor as we did not find any in the first floor too.In the second floor,we found four women and a young girl sitting near a bonfire and chatting.When we explained them our cause,one of them told us that she had already given the old winter clothes of their house to an invalid person.When we told her that the clothes need not be only those meant for winter and that any thick clothes would do,she went in and returned with a gunny bag full of jeans pants and shirts.We looked at her in surprise and asked her,"Auntie,what,all of these clothes will really be of no use to you?"She replied,"No beta,they are all used already and some of them are lightly ragged in some parts.Absolutely,I have no use with them.If they can help you,that is what we want.""Oh,why not?Why will not they help us?"replied we and looked at the other women.They too set out to get their old clothes and one woman descended the stairs to their home in the first floor.
      Presently,they returned with bags of old clothes.We were very much surprised.We almost might have asked that we had not expected this much from them but having sensed the inappropriateness in doing so,kept quiet.But,the amusement on our faces increased much more when the cloth count increased further on our asking a family in the ground floor.
      When I knocked their door,a lady opened it and I was very much surprised to find that they were already searching the clothes in their tiny hall cum bedroom.In no more than five minutes,we were again handed out a bag full of clothes and then the carrying of all these to the front yard really seemed a difficult task.Another man living in the ground floor too got a few clothes to give to us without even our asking him.
      All along,our other friends were busy doing the same thing at the other apartments in the colony.When we came out,we noticed that there are similar heaps of clothes in the respective front yards.
      Incredible as it may seem,we really had to hire two rickshaws to carry the stuff we had collected from a small number of families.
      I was really impressed by their gesture and was inspired too.After all,they seemed to very well know that they all, both the haves and the poor, belonged to that geographic which posed a great threat to the happy functioning of life in the form of cold.
      That day really was a warm and a sunny one among the snowy,chilly winter days of mine.

Encountering the transition from home to hostel
Sensitivity is the measure of maturity