Friday, April 29, 2005

Progati - The tale of Progress (Part I)

"Have we really come to an age where we no longer differentiate between the sexes? Have we really given women their true position in our so-called well-educated and advanced society? No, we have not!
There are still those narrow minded and conservative people who believe that letting women of the family step out into the world is hazardous to their family's honor. There are those who not only restrict the freedom of the women in their own family, but try to influence the others to do that as well. Then there are those who are absolutely unconcerned with whatever goes on outside the four walls of their own house, inside, the women are captives of an age-old culture. One such captive was Sudha....."

As soon as I read the opening lines of this book, I was reminded of Rewa. Rewa Shastri, the tall dark girl from my colony, an ordinary girl with an extra ordinary personality. It wasn't as if she was very beautiful or very charming, but she had a personality that left a mark. Every one who had met her was impressed by her. Well, everyone except Nabin. Rewa lived in the same neighborhood as me, and we ended up in the same school and college. But we were never close friends, acquaintances you might call us, but not friends. She had her own group of friends who were interested in everything from sports to dramatics to movies to debates, from fashion to boys. I was this demure girl from a simple middle class family where the stress was to raise a girl to grow up to be a good homemaker. We were three sisters, and my Father was forever worried about our dowry. My mother spent the entire day looking after her elderly in-laws, and our home. The three of us began pitching in at a very young age, and the time that should have been devoted to books was devoted to pulses and rice, and needles and threads. My sisters accepted this gladly, for they had no interest in the former, but I always wished I had some more time to spend with them. But I could never vocalize my feelings. The very upbringing my parents gave me prevented me from rebelling against them. I found it ironic, and laughed it off sometimes. At others, I simply pushed it to the farthest corner of my mind and continued with my chores. Rewa led an exact opposite life. She was the free spirit of our neighborhood. She lived with her aunt and uncle, and was always out of her house. Yesterday was a basketball match, today a debate, tomorrow a dance competition. Where was the time to sit at home and learn the chores?

Rewa had been popular in school and in college, her popularity grew double fold. Three months into the start of eleventh standard, Rewa became an instant celebrity in the entire college. She had taken Nabin Mukherjee head to head in a debate. Nabin Mukherjee was the college star, intelligent, good looking and the son of an influential industrialist. He was a student of second year B. Com and had won many university medals in debates and elocution. When Rewa faced him in the intra-college debate finals, all were sure of his easy victory. Can't blame them, none of them knew Rewa. They had to speak about the freedom of women in a man's world. Rewa was supporting and Nabin opposing. That was probably the first time Nabin met his match. Quite literally too! Well, fact is that Rewa won and Nabin, not used to facing defeat, took it very badly. He claimed on stage that Rewa had had the advantage of an easy topic. Everyone is advocating the freedom of women in today's society. Her part was cakewalk. And Rewa, stung by his remarks, refused to accept her prize. Not only that, she called for a re-debate where she would speak against and Nabin could "advocate for the freedom of women". Two days later, the auditorium was packed. Everyone had heard of an SYJC girl who had challenged Nabin Mukherjee. This time, the debate was more heated, more passionate, and once again, Rewa outshone her opponent.

I think of Rewa often, wondering where she is and what she is doing. Last heard, she and her family moved to another part of the city. And since then, no one from the neighborhood had heard from them. And that was twelve years ago! While we had been waiting for our final year B.Com results. So much has changed since then. And in the deepest corner of my heart, I thank Rewa. After all, it was the article written by her that changed my life.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A thought....

Reports, processes, documents and meetings are keeping me a bit busy these days.... to add to that is my new story, ready in the mind....... a lot of it on blank sides of documents no longer useful..... I've got to organise those and complete typing out the whole thing....

And while all this has been eating up my time, my blogs been feeling a little left out..... So I write a thought that a friend of mine sent me

Everybody wants heaven,
But no one wants to die!

Ironic, and simple, with a ring of truth in it........ don't you agree?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Red Roses....

There was a boy in high school we will call Joey. One day Joey leaned over to the girl sitting next to him in class and whispered, "Red roses."

The shocked girl stood up, slapped Joey in the face and went crying to the teacher. The teacher called Joey to the desk and asked what he had said.

"Red roses" was Joey's reply, at which the teacher screamed and sent poor Joey to the rincipal's office. As Joey waited in the lobby to be called in, he pondered what was happening to him. His thoughts where cut short by the sound of the secretary saying he could go in. Joey walked into the office and was told to take a seat, which he did. After telling the story of how he had been wrongly accused and how he knew there was some mistake, the principal smiled and asked, "OK, Joey, I understand. What did you say to her?" Joey was sure the principal would be a reasonable man and responded
"Red roses." you could watch as the principal turned red and shouted

Joey asked to wait for the bus to take him home, since he lived some distance away.
"NO!" Then Joey was informed that if he were caught on the premises again, he would be arrested for trespassing.

Very distraught, Joey set out on his way home. He had made it about a mile down the road when Old Man Jones, the local pig farmer, stopped and offered a ride home. Joey, being very upset, of course, accepted the ride. Not more than a mile down the road, Old Man Jones asked why Joey wasn't in school, so Joey told the story of the events that had happened that day. At the end of the story, the old man said that it sounded like Joey had quite a rough time of it
"Oh, and what did you say?" Joey hesitated-- should he tell the man what he said, or not? He decided to tell him.
"Red roses."

The tires squealed as the truck ground to a halt.Old Man Jones reached over and opened the door and pushed Joey out of his car. Now very angry, Joey got up, brushed himself off, and continued on his way home. Upon arriving at home, Joey's mother, Mrs. Campbell, saw
that her son wasn't looking too good, and asked why he hadn't caught the bus. Joey told her. She fixed Joey a bowl of soup and then asked,
"Joey, dear, what on earth did you say to that little girl?" Joey wasn't sure what to do. He knew his mother loved him, but he didn't want her to have the same reaction everyone else had. But he told her anyway.
"Red roses."

Joey waited in his room with a bruised ego and a sore bottom, wondering what would happen when his father got home. Six o'clock came around and Joey's father got home. He could hear his parents arguing outside his door and then suddenly it was quiet. Mr.. Campbell came into the room and said,
"Your mother told me you had some trouble at school, but I told her you and I would figure it out. But the first thing is you have to tell me what you said."
"OK, Dad, I said red roses'," was Joey's response.

The next morning, Joey decided he needed to get a job. It was awhile before he found anyone who would hire a 15-year-old who had been expelled from high school and kicked out of the house. But Joey wasn't a quitter, and he did find a job working at a gas station in a neighboring town. After a few months, Joey had managed to get settled in his new job and had even moved into the apartment over his boss' garage.

On a particularly slow day at work Joey's boss asked what had happened that caused everything that had happened to happen. Joey went into along story of emotional stress,misunderstood youth, the pain of having lost all of his friends and family in one fateful day. The tale Joey spun was so powerful; his boss was moved to tears and, out of compassion, offered to adopt Joey.

With the firstsmile to cross his lips in months, Joey accepted. On the way to the court proceedings a few days later, Joey's boss asked him,
"Exactly, what did you say to her?" Without thinking, Joey replied,
"Red roses."
His boss grew as white as a ghost and said, "That was my niece, you little pervert!"

Once again, Joey was without a friend in the world. The next day Joey took all the money he had managed to save and bought a bus ticket to wherever the farthest place from here is. As he waited for his bus, a little old lady sat down next to him on the bench. Even though he didn't want to, she started talking, and before you knew it, she had heard almost the whole story. But she interrupted and asked what he had said.
"Ma'am, I said 'red roses'."

Well, the words were just barely out of his mouth when she started beating him with her cane. In order to flee the fury of the old woman, he ran across the road, but he never made it to the other side. He was hit by a speeding Mack truck and he died.

The moral of this story is, Always look both ways before crossing the street.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Musical ramblings.....

Music is another one of my hobbies. But the lack of a respebtably sureeli awaaz, forces me
to leave my vocal cords at peace and just be content with listening tomusic. And in the recent past, i've bought a lot of music and borrowed some from friends and recorded it.....
Point is that I have a large amount of cassettes and CDs lined up that I haven't really done
justice to. The collection includes:
  • Saathiyaa ( yeah, i bought the album a few months back - really really late!)
  • Veer-Zaara ( have heard it once, in about three sittings - and i must say, i was very
    dissatisfied..... need to hear it in one complete sitting)
  • Anksy's melodies ( Ok, now don't think that i've released an album or something. This one's a collection of soft and melodious numbers released over the last few years. The only shining jewels in an otherwise mediocre album. I have heard this one about five times, but i intend taking that number to five hundred - too ambitious???)
  • Sunehre Pal (A lovely compilation of Mohd Rafi's songs, about fifteen of them, from the
    bygone era. A motlen butter voice, plays magic on the ears)
  • Deewana Hua Baadal (Another comilation of oldie goldies. This time its Asha Bhosle singing off duets with Mohd rafi and Kishore da. I must confess that I've always liked Asha Bhosle a bit better that Lata Mangeshkar, and Kishoreda a bit better than Rafi Sahab. And this compilatoin is all to my liking. Soft Mushy classics!!!)
  • Do Lafzon ki hai ( This one is.... you guessed it! Yet another compilation :) By now, anyone who hasn't been sleep reading this post would know that i have this thing for ompilations.... I guess I like to have the cream! This ones a double cassette album... With Asha Bhosle solos and duets.... right from Haal kaisa hai janaab ka to Rang de.... some of my favourites that are not heard often, like Mera kuch saaman from Ijaazat)
  • ELVIS ( Elvis Presley's all time hits..... you are my teddy bear to jail house rock to blue
    suede shoes.... )
  • Harry Belafonte ( An old tape I recorded from radio a couple of years back. Re-discovered it while cleaning my desk.... This one has all the cuties - Jamaican farewell, coconut, and the one that plays during the hutch mini TV ad. Awesome stuff!)

And the one's I wanna get:

  • A new CD of Madhushala ( My dad's tape i've heard so much, its worn out...)
  • Lucky- no time for love
  • The best of Neil Diamond ( Another compilation - Recommendation from Dad)