India - Region, Language, Uncategorized

Hindi Hai Hum?


Some days ago, I saw this picture on Instagram that my friend had clicked in Tamil Nadu. It shows a signboard, which says ‘Pick Up Point’ in English and ‘Lene Ki Jagah’ in Hindi. And the caption was, ‘This is what happens when you force Hindi on south India’. It had surely generated laughs, but when I read the comments on that picture, I saw a lot of flak, too. Which I couldn’t understand. I read an article called ‘Vernacular’, a couple of months ago. It was in Hindi. Towards the end, writer said that we should look within and place Hindi above English. That was all great. Loving your language is one thing, placing your language over a global one is also fine, but getting too obsessive about it with a sense of superiority is deplorable. How can we force Hindi on south and north-east India? They hardly speak the language.

Yes, Hindi cinema and songs have a wider reach and that’s the Wren and Martin of non-Hindi speakers, but the expectation from people residing in all parts of the country to alter their language of thought overnight would be a big mistake in a pluralistic nation like India. The priority right now is the development of our country and an over thrust should not be put on preservation of culture and heritage. It comes second. Even if you say that heritage should be preserved, as an argument, let south and north-east states preserve their culture. Let’s not force them to learn an alien language like Hindi. The non-Hindi states don’t speak the language in their homes. It’s either the native language or English. Hindi is known to them only through cinema and songs. And that’s great. Bollywood holds our country together in terms of a common form of entertainment. Art is the mother tongue of the universe. And because of cinema, which is our country’s national art, Hindi has also gained more popularity. No wonder it’s the lingua franca. Throughout my college days, I’ve done  public-speaking in Hindi & Marathi. My love for Marathi, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu is immense. And because of this love, I empathies with the people of different states and their various languages. Let them love their mother tongue and let them prosper. Yes, we call our language mother tongue because in this great era of feminism the father hardly gets to speak.

Some people believe that the desire to be a global citizen makes us less patriotic. Well, it’s not true. This is what politics that abuses linguistic differences can do to us. Patriotism is not merely in a language or in supporting a cricket team. It is a strong internal emotion. All the patriotic Hindi chest-thumpers should realise that Hindi has been influenced by Persian and Arabic. If you really are talking about ‘purity’, then you should revere the Dravidian languages. They are 100 per cent Indian without any ‘adulteration’. Tamil is the oldest classical language in the world. So, Hindi cheerleaders should take it easy. And this statement comes from a passionate Hindi lover. Though Hindi is the most popular and widely-spoken language of our nation we can’t make it mandatory for non-speakers. That’s what happened in Bangladesh (erstwhile east-Pakistan), when Urdu was forced on Bengalis before 1971. We are a democracy and we have to give respect to each and every language and culture of our nation. And to be fair, let’s make English the common link.

English has been a part of our culture, too. We can’t erase the British Raj from our history. They have ruled us. They have given us the railways, left-hand drive cars, our magnificent Parliament House, a well structured Lutyens Delhi, Mumbai’s Gateway of India, Delhi’s pride India Gate and a global language — English. And the reality is, we are quite decent in English. That’s why we get jobs in other countries. We are preferred over Chinese nationals mostly because of this. Else, they are the most hard-working and ambitious ones. India is also one of the most favoured tourist destinations because of its linguistic flexibility. As a nation, we have no option, but to be flexible. We have 23 official languages including Hindi and English. Let’s respect all and be fair. Mahatma Gandhi said, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”

We have a big nation. Let’s have a big heart by keeping our fragile egos at bay.

Sport, Uncategorized

The Umpire


“I get what I desire, it’s my empire and yes I call the shots. I’m the umpire.” — Nicki Minaj

Last to last week we played seven-over matches in between times while jamming for Guitar Class Annual Program. The last India-Australia match in Ranchi was a shorter version of that. Sigh. The cricket fan in me wanted a full match, but the end result of India winning by nine wickets made me happy and that prompted me to write on cricket. And this time it’s on umpires, who are like the closest spectators in a cricket stadium. Unbiased… well, most of the times. First-hand accountants. Closest to the action. In fact, they are in the middle of the action. They also have the liberty to wear formal black pants, that too, in the middle of a playground. They are like those class monitors, who control the discipline on field. They should ideally be invisible during match proceedings. If they get attention, it’s not good for the game.

When I was a teenager, my friend AK and I used to play cricket almost every day even under the harshest sun during summer vacations. Those were the times in gully and district-level cricket when one of the umpires used to be a legit player from the side that was batting, and the fairness of the decision was totally left on the conscience of the player. It was hard to be an umpire in such a situation. If you were fair, your teammates hated you and if you showed bias towards your team then the opposition wanted to kill you. It was a tricky one. But as a cricket lover, I found it the most fascinating part of the game.

Watching the match proceedings of an international game from the closest quarters with the best cricketers in the world begging for your decisions. But umpires are not handsomely paid. It’s a job that’s one chooses because of one’s passion for the game. The umpires from the elite panel get 1,00,000 dollars a year, which is nothing when compared to the hard work they put in for a single game. It’s a responsible task. You’ve to be knowledgeable and well-versed with the ICC rule book. There have been a lot of controversies around umpires. Like a certain Steve Buckner bore the brunt of our nation’s displeasure during the Gavaskar-Border trophy of 2007-08. Such is the might of the BCCI that it managed to remove Buckner in the middle of the series. This was an aberration. He was a decent umpire overall.

We’ve had other amazing umpires — like my personal favourite Simon Taufel. He was just 27 when he umpired in his first international match. He’s a failed pacer, who had to retire prematurely due to a back injury. His calmness and gentlemanly attitude was hugely acknowledged. He’s also one of the youngest to retire from umpiring, due to family issues, though he’s still a serving the game as an ICC executive.

Then there was the most-revered Dickie Bird. His career spanned 23 years and when he retired he got the ‘guard of honour’ from cricketers from India and England at the Lords in 1996. One of the most affable umpires during his time was a certain David Shepherd, who was widely known for his posture of standing on one leg whenever a team reached a score of 111 or its multiples.

India is known as the superpower of cricket in this era, but there has been only one Indian umpire who has got a lot of respect from the rest of the world, and that’s Srinivas Venkataraghavan. He started a bit late, but was known for his quick decision making and analytical mind. He was conferred with Padma Shri in 2003.

What about the real-life umpires — when spouses fight, their parents act as umpires, or a traffic policeman becomes one trying to solve a road accident issue between two parties. Right decision at the right time, and being fair is life. Life is all about correct umpiring.

Life, Male, Female, Pursuit of Happiness, Yoga, Society, Uncategorized



The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I’ve promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.”

— Robert Frost

These lines were also the favourite of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It talks about giving up on sleep and carrying on with life, in general. It’s a sort of self-motivation. Sleep has been termed as a luxury.

This activity, which consumes almost 1/4th of our life, is the key to happiness. It is the answer to the toughest questions. It is better than sex. In fact, sleep post-sex is better than sex (I have not experience yet: P). But sleeping immediately post-sex could be the worst thing ever. Talk, pretend, cuddle and just sleep. Okay.

The kind of clarity you get post-sleep, is magical. But sleep deprivation has become a state of life. There was a time before 2012, I used to get no-frills sleep. I used to sleep for a minimum of eight hours. I haven’t slept really well since the day I left hostel. My mind has never rested in peace since then. It’s always working.

The diverse purposes and mechanisms of sleep are the subject of substantial ongoing research. Sleep seems to assist with improvements in the body and mind. Research in the 21st century is investigating whether sleep is a period of maintenance for removing metabolic waste compounds from the brain. Post a good sleep, you look bright and feel bright.

Have you ever heard about the American band called R.E.M.? I love their song Losing My Religion. The song was a hot favourite on radio in UK. By the way, the full form of R.E.M. is rapid-eye movement. It is a form of sleep. Dreams occur only during R.E.M. But most of the dreams I’ve had were dreams with my eyes wide open.

The dream of becoming Corporate Leader, Leader who could individually do Sales, Marketing and Operation and become a triple threat in the performing years. I may not sleep till I become really awesome in these things. And I’m too self-critical to achieve awesomeness. Anything I do would be an inch less than awesome. So, sleep will always elude me.

But I’m still happy. My mind keeps getting excited about the day. The beauty of the early morning sun. The lessons I learned with my every project are so profound, that sleep eludes me. Yet, my eyelids don’t feel the heaviness. My soul sings as I’m a born singer.

Sleep eludes me because I’ll never let life elude me. I’ve seen politicians sleep in Parliament. I’ve seen my batch-mates sleep in class during the last period of the school. I’ve seen travelers sleep in the bus/train/flight or at the airports. I’m not one of those travelers who always carries a neck pillow with an eye mask tucked in. The idea is to sleep whenever you find a dull moment in your life.

Sigh. I don’t find any. That’s the best and the worst part of this beautiful life. But you also detest the time right before you go to sleep when you automatically think about all the things you want to forget. Sleep well.

Pursuit of Happiness, Yoga, Society, Uncategorized

Is Evil Necessary?


What you label as evil essentially depends on which side of the border you are on. I
understand, the only evil on the planet is, people are in pursuit of happiness. In pursuit of
our happiness, we will do many things which we think are perfectly okay, but somebody else thinks is evil. The man whom you call a criminal is also in pursuit of happiness. It is just that he is pursuing it far more vigorously than you. That is why he creates unpleasant results. You worked for 30 days and you made some money; you made this money in pursuit of your happiness. But his longing for happiness is so vigorous that 30 days looks too long. He wants to get it in ten minutes – which you call as crime. He thinks it is just pursuit of happiness.

When you are in pursuit of happiness, you are in some way causing suffering to others all the time. For us to sit in a comfortable home, do you know how many worms, insects and other creatures have suffered? In pursuit of human happiness, every creature on this planet has gone through untold suffering. If you ask the worms and the insects, they will say human beings are evil!

Just an Ant’s Life?

We are doing these things in pursuit of our happiness, but that is not coming easy for others. It is just that we think, “Oh, it is just a damn insect,” but an insect does not think so. In an insect’s mind, the most important life on this planet is an insect’s life. If you try to crush an ant, does it not do everything in its capability to save itself? Obviously it values its life. It does not think, “Oh, just an ant’s life. Okay, take it.” How much you value your life, the same is instilled in every life.

The moment you are in pursuit of happiness, you do not know what you are doing to others. If your life is an expression of your joy, you will still do some of these things, but only to the extent it is necessary – no more. And that is all you can do. You cannot stop completely. If you simply inhale and exhale, a million microorganisms die. Your existence is evil, if you want to look at it that way. But if you were very pleasant within yourself, you would not do it to an unnecessary length and extent.

Let us not go about labeling people as good and evil. The essential problem is; we believe too many things that we do not know. If you see, “what I know, I know; what I do not know, I do not know,” you have no fight with anybody. If you believe something is right, somebody else believes something else is right – do you think the fight is ever going to stop?

Violence and war are not happening just like that. They are in pursuit of somebody’s happiness. If you were joyful by your own nature, then you would not do anything that is not needed. You would conduct your life sensibly to the extent it is needed.






Indian Society, Parenting, Life, Male, Female, Uncategorized

Finding Freedom in being fluid (Just Maybe):

In my delusional space of randomness, I often wonder about freedom. Am I really that free? Yes, I am living on my own. Yes, I take my own decisions when it comes to my life. Yes, I have chosen my own field of work and yes, I have chosen my own sexuality. But is it really true, especially the last choice?
I mean, rewind your life to the day you were born and your nani made halwa and daddy distributed ladoos in his office and mummy took out the stock of hand-knitted booties and caps. It was the day when the doctor declared, ‘It’s a boy’ or ‘It’s a girl’. I mean the bias starts creeping in from that moment on.
Nobody gave time for that ‘it’ to become a girl or a boy, the doctor declares it and we abide by it like a rule book for the rest of our lives. And if the declaration isn’t enough, we have an ardent conditioning taking place over the years —whether it’s in the form of clothes you are made to wear, or the gifts you’re given, or the uniform that you wear or the queue that you select or the washroom you use or the sitting posture on a bike or the type of perfume you wear — just about everything is gender-based and gender-biased.
A lot of people realize their sexuality late in life and often, are confused as kids. Confused because other kids were clearly boy or girl-oriented. But what if there was freedom to choose your identity yourself? What if you could choose whether you want to put yourself out as a boy or a girl or whatever you are comfortable with in your birth certificates, ration cards, driving licenses, passports, Aadhar cards, voting IDs, educational admission forms or the character certificates issued to you by your education institutes yourself? What if there was absolutely no conditioning of a patriarchal or matriarchal society around you when you were born and you were just declared a homo-sapiens and then with time, with no judgmental eyes or scathing remarks or benefits for some gender, would you choose your own sexuality? What if such boundaries were so fluid that it would ultimately boil down to own your choice? Some may call it being experimental, some may call it being characterless, I say you are just trying to figure out and that in true sense, is freedom. Could this possibly be the end to sexism and maybe foeticide, infanticide and many other such conflicts that plague humanity?
Since I am working in Lucknow for project (Duration is around 2weeks), I want to take this analogy of the “Bada Imam Bara” that I just went visiting. It has the famous bhul bhulaiya in it. So every passage has four entrance points, you get confused which route to take and it takes a whole lot of time to figure your way around, but to exit, it takes less than 30 seconds, if you have figured out the route.
Similarly, when it comes to sexuality, it may take some time — perhaps, a few years for some or a life time for others — but once you are sure of where you stand, it’ll take only a few seconds to take the right decision. And that right decision would mean freedom in every sense of the word.
Sounds crazy? Yeah I know…since when did being random make sense! But the day it does, we might just feel more connected, more rooted, more happy, more human. Just maybe.


Why Friendship Should be a Choice


The Friendship Project:

You have lots of friends. You know that some of them are “good guys” and others are…well, not so much. And, you realize that some of these friends can influence you in bad ways, while others inspire you to do more and be better through the examples they set each day.

  • ..We Shouldn’t Leave this Important Activity to Chance

Most of us let friendship just happen. We encounter people as we go about our daily routines…attending school, going to work, participating in sports, enjoying our hobbies. As we make our daily rounds, we encounter people that we like and, when the feeling is mutual, friendships develop. For the most part, our friendships develop by chance…we go about our lives and “whatever happens, happens” in the friendship department.

But rather than rely solely on chance to build your friendship circles, you should take this on as an important project, a friendship project. You should think about ways you can promote sound friendship development in your life, and then make the choices needed to turn those plans into specific actions and activities. You can update and use this plan your entire life as the importance of developing friendships will continue until your dying day.

  • Friendships Are Great Investments

Friends can bring fun, laughs and an endless number of enjoyable moments into our lives. Friends can be there for us when we need someone to talk to and guide us through difficult situations. Friends can be influential concerning our job/career as they become a part of the network that we use to find our way through life. Friends can introduce us to new friends and expand our life experiences. Friends play so many important roles.

“Spending time with friends is fun, but it may also yield many long-term physical and emotional benefits.  Studies show that healthy relationships make aging more enjoyable, lessen grief and provide camaraderie to help you reach your personal goals. Maintaining positive friendships should rank up there with healthy eating and exercise as an important investment in your health.”

Before making an important financial investment, most of us would think carefully about it, do some homework concerning options and develop a plan to accomplish our financial objectives. Well, your friendships are important, too – more than money will ever be. So, the time you spend to develop sound friendships is, in many ways, an investment that you are making in your future.  That’s why we recommend that you get just as serious about the project of building your friendship circle as you would about investing your money.

In some ways, this element of chance will exist as you implement your friendship project as well.  But, by going about this in a planned, well-thought-out way, you are much more likely to develop meaningful and long-lasting friendships, and to develop more of them. So, improve your chances – and significantly so – by getting started on your friendship project today.

“A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, 
and that which we take the least care to acquire.”

What You Need to Know to Get Started

  • Acquaintances vs. Friends.There is a big difference between an acquaintance and a true friend, and we need to be aware of this difference. An acquaintance, of course, is someone we know casually…a “we know them when we see them” kind of thing. On the other hand, a friend is “a person who we know, like and trust.” You could even expand this definition to know well, like a lot and trust implicitly. And, why is this distinction important? Well, for two reasons. You will have many, many more acquaintances than friends, so don’t expect it to be the other way around. True friends are hard to come by and most of us only have a few at a time. The second, and more important reason, is that you need to be very careful how you let an acquaintance influence your life or talk you into something that you may not be too sure about. True friends will likely be more concerned about your well being, acquaintances – maybe or maybe not.
  • Number of Friends.There are thousands of people living within a few dozen miles of most of us. However, our “friendship world” includes only a very small portion of these. According to Lewis Smith in his book Whatever Happened to What’s-His-Name?, we have approximately 400 “pals, mates, chums or buddies” during our lifetime, but only about 30 at any one time. Smith further points out that, on average, only about five or six of these would be considered “close friends in whom we confide and trust.” Although the exact number may be difficult for most of us to pin down, the important point is this – the benefits of true friendship are delivered to us by a very limited number of people.  Therefore, we should put some careful thought into who those friends will be.
  • The Influence of Friends.Another important point about friends – the level of influence that friendships have in our lives and the way we live it can be very significant. Your friends can influence you in many ways. What your friend is wearing to the party can determine your clothing choices as well. The opinion your friends have of someone, with little awareness, can become your opinion as well. Where your friends want to go and what they want to do can quickly become your plans, too. Even your friends’ little sayings or mannerisms can frequently become a part of your conduct. If you fail to manage these influences and maintain the independence to make your own choices, you can become much “like everyone else” without even noticing it or thinking about it.

Developing Your Own Friendship Project


This is your friendship project and you are, of course, free to design it as you think best. It should be your own plan and contain activities that are important possibilities to you. Here are our suggestions for some of the steps or ideas you can consider as you put this plan together.

  • Give It Some Careful Thought.  This may be one of the most important “life planning” activities you have ever done.  Other decisions may take on a greater importance as your life moves along, but right now this is probably the most important thing “on your list.” So take some time and give some careful thought to the activities and choices involved.
  • Write It Down/Review It from Time to Time. More careful thought is required to write something down than to just give it some casual thinking. So write down the steps or activities that you want to be a part of your plan.  Save this plan, edit/update it from time to time and “get it out” frequently so you can review it to determine the actual progress you have made.
  • Decide if You Need Someone to Help You.  There are two other reports in this section titled A Valued Listener(Part 1 and Part 2). If you haven’t read them, maybe you should do that as part of your friendship project plan. You can then determine if you need a valued listener (as Gran was for Sydney in the story above) …a person to help you develop and work through the activities in your friendship plan.
  • Start by Being a Good Friend. Perform a little self-assessment…are there some personal changes that you need to make to qualify as a good friend yourself? Do you need to be a little nicer? Do you need to be more helpful? Do you need to stop doing some things that you know are not good for you? What do you need to be doing to be a better person and, at some point, a better friend? Put these into your plan and start now to make the choices to make these adjustments happen.
  • Look within Your Family. Look with your family…this is the best place to start developing real and important friendships. Who knows…your sister, your brother, your mom or dad, or even your cousin may also be an important and influential friendship in your life. Sometimes, there is a hands off attitude that develops within families…watch out and make sure such an attitude is not hindering some of the most important friendships you may ever have.
  • Join Special Groups or Clubs.  Join a school club where you will find others who have the same interests as you. This could be a club in your school or community or an athletic team. If you are not into sports, reconsider the importance of being so. Not only is physical activity good for you, but the experience of practicing, sweating, playing, winning and even losing can be one of the best friendship development experiences of your life.
  • Volunteer to Do Something for OthersVolunteering at a charity or nonprofit organization can bring you in contact with like-minded people. If you are interested in animals, volunteer at the local animal shelter where you may meet others who are interested in helping animals as well. If you are into reading, volunteer at the local library. Maybe you are interested in the field of human health and would like to help at the hospital. There are limitless choices for volunteerism that will also allow you to meet others with interests similar to yours.
  • Conduct Special Friendship ExpeditionsThis could be attending a summer camp, tutoring a young person in your school, feeding the homeless in one of the kitchens in your community or reaching out to help a family that has just moved to your town or neighborhood. Just look around for something or someone who needs some extra help and provide it.

These are but a few ideas to help you get started with your friendship project. Everyone can benefit from the development of such a plan. You may be the most popular person at your school or in your neighborhood, but you can still gain new and important friends from doing this work. You may, on the other hand, feel that you don’t have enough friends or that, like Sydney, you’ve got the wrong group of friends.

You have the power to change your friendship circumstances. You just have to think carefully about what you need to do, develop your friendship plan, and then make the choices required to fully implement it.