Saturday, March 10, 2007

i am coming!!!

Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

Punctuality and Nationality

Its not easy to generalize about any behavioural habits pertaining to any specific nationality. One would have to have similar set of situation and circumstances and then measure the response of various individuals. Again sample size should be big enough to come to any meaningful conclusion.

I had the opportunity to observe the punctuality pattern while I was in Oman for almost five years. I would pick up my visitors from Muscat Intercontinental. General response and action of various nationalities would be as follows :

India : Let us meet around ‘twelwish ‘ meaning around 12’. This is IST – supposedly Indian standard time but I call it Indian Stretchable time.

UK : Okay let us meet at 12 pm, give me a call when you are in the lobby. So he would be all ready in his room and as soon as I would give a call, he would reach within few minutes.

German : He would wait in the lobby on a sofa facing the main door, as soon he would see me usher in, he would join me.

Japan : He would stand outside the hotel porch so that I don’t need to park my car and save precious time.

Needless to say, I always get impressed by Japanese. I think Japanese provide a benchmark for punctuality alongwith Germans.

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Mangesh Padgaonkar


Being brought up quintessential marathi culture associated with marathi medium schooling,marathi poetry was introduced in early school life. Often study would become miserable with boring and complicated poetry till Mr. Mangesh Padgaonkar arrived with his poems. With his use of simple words and mischevious connotation, poetry no longer became avoidable exercise.

Later years when I was captiavted by various songs (Bhavgeet – songs with emotive contents) composed by Yashwant dev, Hridayanath Mangeshkar and Sriniwas Khale, I was surprised that bulk of those songs were based on the poetry were penned by Padgaonkar. Even after being away from Marathi culture over last few decades, Padgaonkar’s poetry alongwith ग. दि. माड्गुळकर्, वा.रा.कांत्, सुरेश् भट् keeps intact my umbilical mothertongue cord.

His poems are amazingly simple, witty , touching, funny but immesely sensitive to touch very eseence of life’s basic premises ‘ emotions’ . His poem “ या जन्मावर् या जगण्यावर् शतदा प्रेम् करावे ” reflects my attitude and passion towards life. ‘शुक्रतारा, मंदवारा, चांदणे पाण्यातुनी remains evergreen song of in histrory of marathi music.

On his birthday today, I thought I would list down some of my favourite poems :

अखेरचे येतील माझ्या, हेच शब्द ओठी
लाख चुका असतील केल्या, केली पण प्रीती

अशी पाखरे येती आणिक स्मृती ठेवूनी जाती
दोन दिसांची रंगतसंगत, दोन दिसांची नाती

भातुकलीच्या खेळामधली राजा आणिक राणी
अर्ध्यावरती डाव मोडला, अधूरी एक कहाणी

भेट तुझी माझी स्मरते, अजून त्या दिसाची
धुंद वादळाची होती रात्र पावसाची

धूके दाटलेले उदास उदास
मला वेढीती हे तुझे सर्व भास

सांग सांग भोलानाथ, पाऊस पडेल काय ?
शाळेभोवती तळे साचून, सुटटी मिळेल काय

श्रावणात घन निळा बरसला, रिमझिम रेशिम धारा
उलगडला झाडांतून अवचित, हिरवा मोरिपसारा

One day, I would love to translate his poems in English language.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

soweto : spiritual capital of south africa

After getting a letter from Priest Msimangu, Stephen Kumalo starts his journey from his village town to Johannesburg in search for his missing son Absalom and during this mission, he discovers his sister Gertrude who has become prostitute, brother John – a carpenter and learn about his son Absalom murdering white fighter of racial justice Arther Jarvis who happens to be son of his neighbour. Novelist Alan Paton created these characters from social milieu of pre Apartheid regime in his novel ‘Cry the Beloved Country’. This book was prescribed as a syllabus for English subject for my intermediate science. It was beyond my reach to read this book in English – so I managed to buy Marathi translation of this book and answered my examination paper in English.

Little did I know then that after so many years, like Kumalo, I would also visit the very same place and rediscover the essence of South Africa and its struggle to come out of clutches of Afrikaans speaking white rulers. In the process, I became familiarized with social and political setting in which people like Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela. Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu carved out a birth of a nation through throes of human sufferings. I also learnt about an event, which would become cornerstone in the history of South Africa’s apartheid struggle much the same way Jallianwala Bagh Massacre did in India.




On June 16th 1976, an innocuous protest march by school students against compulsory enforcement of Afrikaans language turned into brutal carnage of 500 innocent students. One of the victims was Hector Peterson who became the symbol of the South African struggle. Ms. Pulange, who had marched with all those students on that fateful day of June 16th, took us around the historical sights of SoWeTo. Listening to her story and traversing on the same streets as those of students, being at the very place –where children were mauled, bloodied and eventually succumbed to police bullets was a moving experience. Walking on a street that housed two Nobel laureates, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, being inside first and original home of Nelson Mandela too was equally an enriching experience. And in that tour of five hours I came across many diverse characters similar to the one in novel in similar settings. Being Saturday, I was also fortunate to witness glimpse of wild wedding celebration, weird funeral procession of a slain gangster. The culmination of visit happened with tasting of traditional South African food at 'wandies' restaurant that has been visited by Richard Branson, Boxer Hollyfield, Soccar star Rudd Guliitt.

SoWeTo – stands for south western township- was built by whites, exclusively for blacks and Indians after a spread of bubonic plague in Johannesburg. My imagination of SoWeTo was similar to that of transit camp built in Bombay for people who are displaced during rains or riots. But this is a city, a huge sprawling city in excess of over a million population with medical school and university. The streets beehive with people – walking, selling, some just rummaging, some screaming, yelling, laughing and some huddled together praying or counselling but they are everywhere. One can never be lonely in SoWeTo. Each residential block reflects economic prosperity. Newcomer migrant have shacks made up of Tin and Cardboard, established ones have brick with asbestos roof and some blessed ones have brick, mortar painted walls and courtyard. Government spending on SoWeTo is visible with facilities of sanitation and power supply so is the visibility of Christianity in the form of churches. Neighbourhood of Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s house must be Beverly Hills of SoWeTo. There is a plaque outside his house that says’ A man is not a man till he owns a house ‘.

SoWeTo is an aorta of South Africa that supplies essential gradients of its life sustenance. Noble Laureate or Robbers ,Illegal migrant labourers or well dressed articulate African professional workers, both trace their origin to SoWeTo. SoWeTo is truly spiritual capital of South Africa.

I am glad that FIFA South Africa office is being built there and so would be the finals of 2010 world cup finals. This would be fitting tribute to the legacy of SoWeTo by bringing it to the notice of billions of TV viewers.

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