Friday, September 29, 2006

R D Burman : Rah Pe Chalte Hain

Pancham Yahoo group .. is something i am fond of being associated with.I keep on discovering many nuances, traits and memories of my favourite music director- R D Burman.
Here is what what Mandar Trifaley writes about the song that is dear to my heart :
"I just went to the site called Music India Online and found really gem...Under Music Director section there is Boss's folder and I was listening Raah pe chalate hai...(Namkeen) and I heard the antara in own voice of LoRD. So just want to share this with everyone.
click the headline above and listen the song. LoRD is great "
Sabyasachi Chakrabarti writes
Dear Friends
I got a chance to meet RD along with Gulzar in a hotel named Casino in Cochinin 1980 where I was staying so were both of them too. After breakfast I wassitting in the lobby when I saw RD & Gulzarji entered and took their seat. Theywere talking to themselves and I just could not believe my eyes that if it wasRD?
Immediately I decided to meet them and talk, but at the same time I waslittle bit hesitant about my move, thinking if they would get disturbed. AnywayI took a strong decision and approached to them. I wished them first &straightway told RD in bengali that, "Panchamda I am too an ex student ofTirthapati and how I am lucky to meet one of my renowned senior here" And youknow what was his next reaction?"Aare Boso Boso (Sit down )" and he moved side way to offer me a space next tohim. Then he briefed Gulazarji about our school. We talked on so many items forabout an hour before I had to bid Adieu to them.
In that one hour I neverrealized that I was sitting with two stalwarts or icons. He was so simple, somuch humorous. They could have easily ignore me after a few talks. That morningwas one of my memorable morning of my life till date when Gulzarji recited twostanzas of Tagore's poem "Gagane Garaje megh holo barosa" it was unbelievable.
When I was about to leave, Panchamda told me in bengali " Tumi to Bombay te Jaoekdin eso aamar barite" means you often visit to Bombay, come to my home oneday. t sounded like were known to each other for long time. Till today I can notforget that voice.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ramdan has begun

Holy Month Ramadan has begun. Last year, I managed to Ramadan fasting almost 28 days till the advent of Diwali. Will I be able to do it this month?

I like the concept of Ramadan in Islam – identical to the one in Hinduism

According to Sri Swami Sivananda Fasting controls passion It checks the emotions It controls the senses also. It is a great penance It purifies the mind and the heart It destroys a multitude of sins Fasting controls the tonguein particular which is the deadliest enemy of man.Fasting overhauls the respiratory circulatory digestive and urinary systems. It destroys all the impurities of the body and all sorts of poisons. It eliminates uric_acid deposits. Just as impure gold is rendered pure by melting it in the crucible again and again, so also this mind is rendered purer by repeated fasting

Both religion state that fasting does generate ideal sublime and ethical conscience that helps get rid of bad habits and attitudes; Acquire new good traits and habits; Strengthen and crystallize these traits. For me, the most important thing is to feel ‘pangs of hunger’ that makes me empathize with the person that goes through without the meal and second, is to test my willpower.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dr. Ashok Tulpule : My First and the Best Customer

I should have written about Dr Tulpule much earlier but it’s not easy to articulate the impressions of an awe inspiring multifaceted person that has been evolved over many incidents and interactions. Anything scrolled down in a half hearted inadequate manner would have been a gross injustice to this immensely vivacious talented personality. A mere mention of his name in the context of Hrishikesh Mukherjee on my blog brought a comment from his cousin Prakash Tulpule. With that comment, all memories of yester-years flashed back. I decided to pen my thoughts about this renowned cardiologist without whom my career to medical device industry wouldn’t have taken off.

It was early 1982; I had embarked my career in Medical Device Industry. High story under construction Hinduja Hospital building caught my attention to start working on the possibility to get some business. I started making sales calls and few such calls took me to– a wonderful gentle, light-hearted person named Mr. Abhyankar – an ex GE India man who looked like diminutive Jack Welsh. He must have taken a pity on my amateurish efforts of getting business in competition with other stalwarts who had already made a head start in political manoeuvring. He gave me a mantra of success ‘Convince Dr Ashok Tulpule ‘.

My first impression of Dr Tulpule was nothing less than overbearing, dominant, busy cardiologist but my lack of self belief in those early years, made every cardiologist and cardiac surgeon appear in the same manner. Despite this, I somehow summoned courage to meet him and managed to convince him to have a look at our newest installation at Bombay Hospital. I was ecstatic in believing that I achieved something spectacular. Being naïve and inexperienced to undertake this job, I had to completely rely on my senior collegue Sudhir. At appointed time and the day, Dr Tulpule was ready but Sudhir didn’t turn up and I could imagine the horrible ordeal that was waiting for me to happen. I was too timid to tell Dr Tulpule to cancel the visit fearing that it would be the end of the road that so assiduously I had discovered. With technology mobile phone, pagers yet to arrive, I could no way reach Sudhir and decided to leave it to my destiny when we started our journey from JJ to Bombay Hospital. Here I was, taking the influential decision maker for Million dollars equipment purchase to a customer site that I was not familiar, to demonstrate a system that I had no idea. When we reached Bombay Hospital, my heart was already in my mouth hoping no one stops us at the entrance. ICU was busy the hustle bustle of visiting doctors. I managed to take him to the central monitoring console and blabbered about its functionality. By now, it must have been crystal clear to Dr Tulpule the futility of wasting his time to go with me. If this was not enough, we came across another arrogant cardiologist who after hearing the purpose of our visit, started vitriolic adjectives about our company, products and services. With that, I knew all the nails on my career coffin were perfectly drilled. There was a stony silence as he dropped me to the Lamington Road.

It was natural that I downplayed the events about this event. Perhaps, Sudhir may have felt the guilt of putting me in such terrible situation. He took initiative in reaching for Dr Tulpule alongwith me at his clinic at Opera House and our first visit led to another followed by a string of visits that lasted more than a year. Initial visits at Opera house clinic were like normal med rep visits. We would wait for long hours till Dr Tulpule would be through with his patients. By the time, we were ushered in; we would barely have few minutes as he would be ready to go to his Bandra clinic.

But our persistence paid off. With Sudhir’s product knowledge, few minutes of interaction now started getting extended. He could sense that not everyone in this company were as ignorant as I was. But his element of suspicion was still palpable. He looked every inch East European person with his fair skin and piercing gray eyes. Sitting erect, dressed in baggie half sleeved shirt, stethoscope and paperback fiction book on his table, he would intently listen to what we had to say but would have a habit of tapping his finger on the table while doing so.

We were not sure of making any headway till one day Sudhir had a chance meeting with him at Sawai Gandharva Musical festival in Pune. In subsequent meeting, we started talking about classical music. When I mentioned about my relation with Mai Kurdikar and Kishori Amonkar – it changed the course our conversation. Shade of mistrust and suspicion transformed into a cordial acceptance, much in the same manner raga Megha Malhar would bring rains to douse off the fire. Classical music became a catalyst in shedding all hurdles of our communication. We slowly started realizing that beneath the veneer of stern Russian looking heartless heart physician was a warm, jovial person with fascinating creative nuances. Our discussions would begin with Classical Music and meander through Yoga, Cricket and USSR socialist health care policy. I think his uncle being trade union leader may have had influence on him of socialist policies. Cricket was another topic, he was passionate about and that too Mumbai Cricket team. Being cardiologist, reading must have come naturally to him but what amazed me his reading English fiction paperbacks while waiting for patients to come. By then, we became almost his clinic companion. Throughout these meetings, we didn’t realize how we settled on our project proposal to Hinduja Hospital. The receptionist, peon at both opera house and Bandra clinics stopped asking who we wanted to see. Soon, we earned the privilege of knocking at his door and he greeting us by snapping his book to ensue interesting conversation. When patient arrived, we would go out and sit outside. This cycle repeated 2-3 times a week and over almost a year. Very often, we would leave together past 9 pm and he would drop me at Mahim for me take a bus to my home in Kalanagar.

On one Sunday morning, we arranged a special demo of specially imported new bedside monitor at his home in Dadar TT. After initial introduction with his family, we sat at his car garage to play around with the monitor. PC and windows were not prevalent then, I could see his eyes glitter with excitement when he saw those soft keys and menu driven software could turn magic with patient’s vital signs, medication data and connectivity with the other devices. I think at that moment he decided to back our products all the way, and once he decided that, there was no going back. His approval led to the involvement of management discussions from respective sides. What started of as a pathetic site visit turned into a million dollar order. He was proud that products he chose were the ones at Mass General, Johns Hopkins and he was happy with our engineers who went on doing installation and commissioning. His pet idea of setting up emergency cardiac care that would monitor the patient right from ambulance to ICU was realized in setting up telemetry monitoring.

Today when I look back at this business transaction, ‘Incorruptibility’ is one aspect of Dr Tulpule that stands out in stark contrast to today’s murky medical purchases. At no point, there was even hint or exchange of any favours- either direct or indirect. Normally, with such scale of purchase transaction and being a sole decider, it would have been an easy temptation for anyone to seek help in setting up one’s own clinic or sponsorships in international conference. Perhaps his penchant of Yoga, Medicine, Socialism combined with classical music may have contributed to his clean and ethical business practise.

Classical Music was his passion. I think he followed gayaki of Firoz dastur of Kirana Gharana and I was fortunate to see him in animated discussion with Kishori Amonkar on ragas and its abject imitation in Marathi bhaav geet. He invited me to attend his solo music concert at Maratha Mandir Hall. He looked proud and confident as he took tanpura to enthral a packed audience. I must say I was pleasantly surprised to see his lung power and control over Taan.

As I changed my job from Cardiology to Laboratory products, my contact with him became less frequent. I got the news of his admitting at Hinduja hospital with heart ailment. I felt ironical that the devices and technology that he chose for the hospital were now monitoring him. Soon after, I met him at the Hinduja hospital lobby. I felt awkward of broaching the topic of his illness. I somehow took courage and meekly mentioned ‘I heard you were in the hospital’ His remark was ‘Yes it was heart attack ’. I was taken aback by his direct approach but slowly recovered to say ‘I hope it was a mild’, his instant retort was ‘Mild or Severe, Heart attack is a Heart attack ’. His uprightness and direct approach towards life and death had not changed. But he looked fine and I felt happy to see him back in action. But one day, when I reached my home – Marathi news at 7 pm on Doordarshan flashed his picture. I increased the sound volume hoping that it must be some state govt award. I was too numb to react to the news that he was no more.

After all these years, I am still in the same industry and when I have an opportunity to meet a cardiologist or visit CCU, Dr Tulpule’s vivid image comes to the fore. I don’t know if P D Hinduja Hospital has recognised his contribution to their cardiology department but his name plaque is already been carved on my heart.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Life Companion

My father had bought this in 1964 at Indian Rupee 4.00 (10 cents). Printed in Great Britain, this ‘The Little Oxford Dictionary compiled by George Ostler is still is intact with her brown cover bind that has inner liner in the form of surgical dressing. The thread – almost like suture - that holds the pages has still not given up. This little dictionary has been my companion from early English learning days and still with me next to my worktable.

There used to another Marathi – English – Marathi dictionary – I think by Veerkar. It was bulky greyish green coloured one that reminded me of baby elephant. This baby elephant helped me in my Marathi school days. Later in college days, my father brought Riverside Webster Dictionary – crimson red colour with few illustrations on thin butter paper. He put his name on this dictionary but I grabbed it when I saw it. Being gentle person he was, he didn’t object. Other than Veerkar, both these dictionaries are still part of my life. Little oxford stays next to me on my work space and big one book shelf. With emergence of net, Merriam Webster Online Dictionary is now book marked.

I have a habit of marking the word that I refer in the dictionary. Most of these dictionaries have coloured markings all over. My fascination with words is evident when I rummage through Reader’s Digest. First page I turn to is ‘test your vocabulary’. Now similar quiz is on my blog too.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Extraordinary lives

Many years ago, in Readers Digest, I had read a short essay by Richard Nixon on ‘Extraordinary lives of Ordinary people’. He talked about the struggle and sacrifice of ordinary people through tremendous adversities with a single cherished dream of making their family to lead a better life. I couldnt lay my hands on this essay but every time I took Dubai or Shrajah taxi and chat with Indian or Pakistani driver, I think of that essay.

Today, after giving my car for servicing, I took taxi run by Edison. He appeared about the age of 28 but turned out to be 34 year old . His being from Kerala was no surprise that his coming to Dubai at so late in his life was unexpected. His coming to Dubai wasn’t pre planned life time mission as other Keralites. In Cochin, he was fairly established in his stationary business but when municipal authorities , in order to widen the road, razed his shop, he had no means to survive. Being rental premises, he didn’t get any compensation. All the proceeds went to the landowner. That’s when he saw the advertisement for recruitment of Drivers for Dubai Taxi. The only qualification they needed was English language. His studies in convent school helped to get a job as a driver but he had to pay an agent Rs 100K and agent provided 4 months stay in Dubai with food and paid for driving licence school fees. Now he drives 12 hours a day to give a minimum business of 300 Dirham business a day (US$ 80.00) to make him qualify for 25% commission that would his emoluments. From this, Dubai Taxi deducts money towards his house. He makes net Rs20, 000 p.m.

He is happy with the money he is making and invests his spare time in learning Arabic and Hindi. He still regrets of not completing his gradutation after his father passing away at the age of 17 . But he is keen to make a difference in the life of his wife, mother and child through his hard work in Dubai. I am sure in few years; with language skills and driving ability, he would be soon be a qualified salesman for FMCG companies and fulfil his cherished dream of graduation through his child.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Zulu Marriage

I became familiar with the word ‘zulu’ through Lans Klusener but hadn’t developed much interest in my first to South Africa. This time, met a zulu person and hopefully soon would get a chance to visit Kwazulu Natal to get glimpse of Zulu tribe. posted interesting facets about Zulu history, traditions and culture. One of the fascinating aspects of Zulu tradition is marriage.

Among the Zulu, marriage is an important aspect of life. Courtship through to marriage is a subtle and complex process. The girl makes the crucial first move, by sending an adornment of colored beads through a trusted friend. Through her color choice of beads, she sends across powerful love messages to the favored young man.

In Zululand, color is symbolic and can be used as a language. Therefore, every colored bead speaks a particular message: red means love or passion, white -faithfulness and purity, blue - thoughts of love, loyalty or loneliness, yellow -jealousy, and black expresses the wish for marriage or may sometimes convey anger. In courtship, if a reply is required, the girl includes some grey-blue beads.

On receiving the beads, the boy seeks the correct interpretation of the message. If he accepts her ornament of love, then courtship begins. They continue to exchange hot messages coded in beads, until they are ready to marry. Though this is a very exciting time for the lovebirds, it is out of question that they may engage in sexual relations before marriage. Zulu customs are very clear about this, and the girl must be married a virgin.

On the boy's request his family approaches the girl's family to ask for her hand in marriage, and the process of bride-price negotiations, - lobola, begins. This marks the official engagement. During lobola negotiations, the two families set and agree on gifts to be offered to the girls' father in terms of head of cattle. The bride price is paid in installments, and continues after the wedding, until the whole amount is paid up.

The proper meaning of bride price here is the compensation a father is offered for the loss of a daughter. For once she leaves her father's home, she becomes a member of her husband's family. A man may marry as many wives as he may afford, but a woman belongs to one man only.

At a set date before the wedding day, the bride and bridesmaids depart for the groom's home with all the bride's belongings. On arrival, the bride first presents her future father-in-law with gifts from her father. Accepting the gifts signifies acceptance into her new family. Early the next morning, the bride and her girls take to the river where they bathe naked as a sign of cleansing and purification. The bride thereafter goes through a string of rites and rituals before she is declared ready to be wed.

The preliminaries include a virginity test conducted by elderly women with experience in such matters. The results of the virginity test are eagerly awaited. Before the verdict, there is tension between the two families; they line facing each other as they haul across teasing insults. This may drag on for as long as two or three days. When the girl is declared fit to be a Zulu wife, there is jubilation on all sides. Celebrations begin with the downing of two head of cattle, and the two families exchange meat as a sign of unity.

The official wedding is conducted at night, usually when the moon is full or bright, in order to avert ill fate. The bride's parents do not attend the wedding so as to keep sad emotions from the joyous occasion. The wedding celebrations and feasting may last another two days, and will only end after the bride picks up her sleeping mats and heads for her husband's house.

Among the Zulu, different types of dressing define a person's status in society. A young unmarried girl wears heavily beaded, short hip-length skirts and is adorned in bead necklaces and walks around bare-chested. When she gets married she wears a black pleated leather skirt, decorated with beadwork. The men usually wear two stringed pieces of cowhide -one to cover his front essentials and the other, his rumps. Little children strut around in their birthday suits, punctuated by a few bead strands around the waist.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Five Essential Pointers of Success

From a Black South African man who has succeded the corporate ladder through financial and social adversities and now owns and manages a company that was previously owned by a white businessman.

Respect towards others.
Honour your commitment
Good and Happy Family
Be friend with your Banker
Hard work

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Last Minute Blues for India Hockey

It’s painful to watch India’s matches in the current world cup.

Fourth time in a row, India went down in last 10 minutes. Does India hockey team need a sports psychologist? If cricket team were to lose in this manner, all conjectures would have led to match fixing accusations. But this is not true with our Hockey stalwarts. Enthusiasm match with skills and spirit only to leave the field with dropping heads.

Coach Bhaskran attributes this crucial inability to hold the team together in final 10 minutes. 2-2 with Germany, 1-0 with England and South Africa, and today 1-0 with South Korea till final 10 minutes and then all of sudden we concede penalty corners in galore.

It must be so hard to the youngsters who play with their hearts out.

I still have vivid images of India winning world cup in 1975 in Kaula Lampur when I gave my first SSC exam. As I gave my second exam on first day at chetna college , I knew India had prevailed over Pakistan with big noise outside. I still remember Ajit Pal Singh as center half, Govinda, Ashok Kumar in wings, Harcharan Singh, Chand Singh in defence and without Jaswantsingh – hockey commentary wouldn’t be the same on AIR.
I am sure every Indian hockey fan must have been as disappointed as I am

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Being feminine : It's no one's fault

It was my last day of a week long distributor/product training program in Nice, France. Spare time during the week went by roaming at the beach side of Nice. Monaco city, Monte Carlo- casino and city of Cannes. Train ride from Nice – Cannes could be a specimen of what a paradise must be. On one side, foamed azure waves and the other side sloping red hills nestled with exquisitely designed penthouses. I never felt financially so inadequate in my life after seeing the opulent lifestyle of world’s some of the rich and the mighty. Being alone at such wonderful place, I did feel hollow within, more so when I saw families sun-bathing at Nice beach or charming wizened couples doing ball dancing.

My last day in Nice turned out to be an eventful one. It was my lunch time and I had come to my room to attend something. My telephone rang and a melodious, cute and gentle voice of a lady over the telephone call seemed to have momentarily beckoned the possibility of shattering that hollow emptiness. My first reaction was – it could be from the reception to check the time I would be checking out. But it wasn’t so. A sweet sounding female ringing hotel rooms is not something uncommon. Few years ago, it would happen in Dubai and still does happen in Bahrain, when east European woman ring your telephone as soon as one ushers in. I thought this was similar attempt to fish out prospective clients to foster their business. But this woman didn’t belong to that category. She just wanted to chat with me on telephone. My reaction was a mix of intrigue filled with excitement, but with one eye on my watch to join the post lunch meeting, I couldn’t carry on the conversation. Needless to say, I felt sad of getting this call on my last day of a week long stay in Nice.

During the afternoon tea break, I happen to mention to my other colleagues from Middle East about this woman calling me and beseeching me to have telephone conversation. Overhearing the conversation, another participant from Greece jumped up and became curious about this woman and her talk. His excitement surprised us all but what he narrated afterwards stunned all of us out of post afternoon slumber. Let me narrate his verbatim version albeit in my words and expression:

“ I am Greek Cypriot, grew up in Athens and now part of this team in Nice. Though not as handsome as some of my fellow Greeks are, I do posses aquiline nose, fair skin and curly hair that would make others notice me. I do enjoy travel to good places but often feel lonely during my travel. I never realised my stay in nice would have such a deep impact on my life.
As soon as I checked in my hotel room, my telephone rang. There was sweet sounding lady wanting to talk to me. I told myself, ‘ what the heck, here I am in a exotic country – all alone by myself – and here comes a woman come knocking at my door ‘ there shouldn’t no harm.

But contrary to my expectations, she didn’t sound what I thought she would be. She appeared simple, genuine and sensitive person. Our initial talk of exchanging pleasantries led to few more calls from her. That very night, we talked for almost an hour. I wasn’t keen to keep the phone down but I had to, with my next day meeting were to start at 8.00. I skipped my B’fast next day and asked her to call me. She convinced me that it would be easier to call me in my hotel instead of me using expensive hotel telephone. We would hang the phone only after deciding on next call at the appointed time. She didn’t let me down. From second day, it became my ritual of skipping my lunch. As soon as we would disperse for lunch, I would head to my room and spend all my lunch time chatting with her. I knew, I was hopelessly getting sucked into her conversation. By now our chat must possible topic on this earth and yet excitement never seemed to get over. She came across a wonderful companion who could transfix me not just by her enchanting voice but by her intense emotional expressions. This was getting unbearable; my long conversations were now extending to wee hour of the morning. I was hopelessly falling in love. I started doubting all this. Can this happen to me? A woman, I have not seen or touched but still I still empathise in all respects.

It was my third day in Nice. Lack of sleep and food intake was taking its toll on my health. I had to meet her. I couldn’t get any sleep. During training, I had difficulty keeping my eyes open with her images floating all over. With just two more days to leave Nice, desperation was setting in. Was I getting paranoid with her? Perhaps yes. I persisted with her to meet. There was no way I could go back to my country without meeting her. I was already imagining my love romance with her with even marriage as a possibility.

At last she relented. I knew our love would prevail. She explained her difficulties in meeting me in the evening but agreed to meet me next day in my hotel room. I was on cloud Nine. I never felt so happy since my first love that happened ages ago. It was natural that I skipped my lunch. I had to utilize every minute that we had with us. All my dilapidated energy rejuvenated by my surge of love for her. Meeting her, holding the hands; my imagination was difficult to get reined. I was ready with my best attire in her favourite colour, wearing perfume with flower bouquet for her. I was all set to receive her and be with her for another hour of sublime, blissful heady romance.

The time ticked; there was no sign of her. I even went down to the reception to see if she could be waiting for me over there. But Alas!! She didn’t turn up. With heavy heart, I left the place to join the post lunch meeting.

By evening, I was getting worried about her. Why she couldn’t make it – Is it because her family came to know about her meeting me? Or is it that she developed cold feet of meeting a stranger? Is she safe? Has something happened to her on her way? My mind was getting cluttered with so many apprehensions. I was torn between two emotions- losing her on one side and my concern for her well being and safety. I had no other means to reach her. All I knew was her name and nothing else. That night was our official dinner night, I couldn’t have missed that. I drank in memory of her and cried all my heart out as I listened to live piano concerto.

I came back to my room and slumped in my bed. Sheer mental and physical exhaustion had overpowered me. When telephone bell rang, I couldn’t make out if it was a dream or reality? I reached for a phone and heard her voice. I almost cried when I heard her. She didn’t sound all that chirpy and bubbling as she was all these days. My heart missed a beat. Has something happened to her? Before I could say anything, she asked me if she could say something. I was tense but had belief in my new found love that I would overcome her difficulties.

She thanked me for the wonderful time she had with me. She said, it was best time in her life to have spent hours and hours talking to me. She adored me, respected me and even loved me. But she confessed her helpless of carrying it any further. She said she normally wouldn’t have given a ring but she had to; she had to apologise for not her coming y’day to my room. Before I could ask her the reasons, her answer came and I was too stunned to react. It wasn’t ‘SHE’ but ‘HE’, a small teenage school going boy who fancied young men but was too afraid to do anything in open. Blind telephone calls to foreign visitors were his best chance to wallop in his fantasy world that was forbidden in the society. ”

We were all dazed to react. I considered myself fortunate to get his call on last day. But somehow, I couldn’t take him or her out of mind. After all, I could feel the talk of few minutes was mesmerising. I could imagine the plight of my Greek friend.

After almost a decade, last month that event surfaced again at Penang airport. Our Emirates flight from Dubai was 2 hours late and I missed our Penang connection. No complaints – as I was taken care by Emirates Malaysian staff. The person who escorted us was a young guy with exquisitely chiselled feminine traits. He continued conversation till he safely brought all of us to our new gate. His upwards slanted almond shaped eyes resembled that of Vaijayanti Bala who did by putting ‘kajal’ at the edges. His hair was patted in a neat manner to give semblance of a wig. Average built but when walked his limbs moved in artistic exquisite feminine manner. Everything about him was so naturally feminine. With his necktie and jacket wear, he did his job to the best of his abilities but I felt sorry for nature’s misjudgement in sculpting human body inside the womb. My thoughts raced back to my days in Nice and incident of a Greek person.

Back in Dubai at my home and watching – Sir Elton John Live show –brings the image of his Gay marriage .There is nothing feminine about him while he sings ‘‘your candle’s burnt out …”and his fingers slide in adroit manner over Piano keys. There was hardly any visible feminine traits of him.Now it’s well known that when we conceive, we all are females to begin. Only in later weeks, our gender gets determined. All of us have a bit of feminine traits in us in varying degree. Nipples for men is a testimony to this femininity

I am 46% Feminine, 54% Masculine

I am in touch with both my feminine and masculine sides.
I am sensitive at the right times, but I don't let my emotions overwhelm me.
I am not a eunuch, just the best of both genders!!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Treasure Box of my Early Years

This week, rummaging through a blog of Chennai based Journalist opened a small treasure box of my childhood that nourished my early days of intellectual growing. My parents didn’t let me posses this treasure box lest it would take me away from the drudgery of insipid academic books. But they had no objection of my spending all the time through this treasure box during my vacation days at my cousin’s place in Mughbhat -Thakurdwar; a Marathi quarter in the downtown of Mumbai.

The treasure box was ‘Chandoba’ – popularly known all over India as ‘Chandamama’.

A flimsy 40 odd page A5 size magazine bound together with two or three stapled pins would transport me to the world of fantasy, fiction, imagination filled with awe, curiosity, interest and entertainment. The style and narration of various stories were neatly segregated and structured in different sizes with abundant illustration in orange, blue colours. Combination of stories with backdrop of folk-fairly tales, mythological and historical incidents took me to fascinating ride in the fantasy world. After devouring one issue, I would climb on wooden stool to reach the top of dusty cupboard to fetch older issues that eluded me in the semester gone by. Once that was over, I would once again go through my favourite stories to revive the old magic. I still can recollect some of the popular themes e.g. Tale of two brothers–one gentle, benevolent and other evil –that became standard theme for many Hindi movies, A tired traveller who needed a night’s rest in a small cottage and come across a poor soul who doesn’t have anything to feed his family but looks after his guest like a god. A center story of ‘Vikram and Vetal’ became trademark of chandamama. First paragraph of this story bordering on esoteric subjects remained same forever. In my initial years, I would skip this story that shattered my innocence with skulls, ghosts, and cemetery but as the years rolled by, I looked forward to the same very story. Emergence of adolescence slowly reduced my dependence on Chandoba and got overshadowed by other magazines and periodicals like ‘Kishor’, ‘Dakshata’ and host of detective story books of ‘Baburao Arnalkar’ and other Marathi writers. But the interest that this little treasure box developed in written words and expressions continued to flourish all my life.

I was amazed to learn about the tradition of Chandamama, their initial beginning, journey through heady success days and now their struggle to be in the circulation amidst changing interest of young generation fuelled by audio video media onslaught. Bishwanth Joy has nicely depicted chandamama story in his blog “At chandamama – no one retires; how wonderful expression!!! I wish we all emulate this in our own life”

Chandamama did have an unenviable brand image but I feel this image is now rapidly fading away from public memory and may soon fear extinction unless a radical business approach is not employed by its present management . A rich tradition and goodwill over three generations will not be enough to avoid being labelled as successful historic relic of India’s post Independence print industry. I read about Chandamama’s new management mantra of taking this magazine to the rural India but I doubt if that approach can last long. Satellite TV and Internet are reducing the cultural gap existed between urbane and rural part of India and its just a matter of years, Chandamama would soon be in the same situation in rural areas as they are grappling now with urbane India.

I think they can use ‘resurgent AV media’ the same very bane that brought them to their knees, to their advantage of survival and growth. Satellite Television with influx of cartoon network and children TV channels have taken away the slot Chandamama had occupied in fertile and growing minds of children. Chandamama has amazing contents garnered over six decades. They need to address this either by teaming up with India media barons – like NDTV or Times TV by setting up a new channel ‘chandamama’ and transport all those amazing print stories into action paced audio visual ones with real or cartoon characters. With inputs from allied subjects of history, nature, science, space and geography they would have all the ingredients that can bring them in league with Cartoon Network, Pogo and others. Surrendering the company and rights to Walt Disney may be a rumour but still a viable option of longevity despite being at a risk of replacing Indian identity of simplicity, rustic flavour, mythological mystic and traditional virtues with that of technology, space odyssey , modern international names and manners.

Whatever the course of action may be, I would be happy to see this treasure box continue to lead the way to the fantasy world for coming generations.

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