Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ghanta Singh

Sometime last year,on one of the radio stations, they had a section called “Ghanta Singh”. I used to like it. At times it would be silly, but most of the times funny, on how the section went. Few months went by, and they changed it from Ghanta Singh to Mr.Ghanta, and the series continued. I dint understand why they removed the Singh in the first place. I then assumed, probably it was offending some people and that’s why the change. 

A few months back, in company, I saw one guy, a sardar. He wasn’t too tall, not too short either. Rather he had a cute face, in a way an innocent look. Words actually fail me here, in his description. But as soon as I saw him

I told G “He looks like Ghanta Singh”.
G was surprised, “When and Where have we ever seen Ghanta Singh in the first place”.
“I don’t know. I just feel. It’s him. And I am so glad to see him” was my response.

From that day, till date everytime I see him, I can feel my mind and heart calming down. It’s like being in a serene place. I don’t know what effect he has on me. But however tensed I am or upset I am, the moment I see him, it brings a smile on my face. It’s the affect a stranger has on you, unknowingly. I definitely wouldn’t want to go and speak to him or even let him know about this. It’s nice this way.

It’s been a long time since I have seen my “Ghanta Singh”.

Ofcourse there are some people, who can just spoil our mood, just by their aura in a room. But let’s look at all the good people who make moments better for us.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The School

Sheshadri woke up at 5.00AM, his usual time every day. He completed his morning rituals and was at the breakfast table by 7.00aM. He had the day’s newspaper in his hand. While he was busy pondering over some important news item, his wife snatched the paper and kept a plate in front of him. It was his favorite breakfast.

“What’s special today? You have prepared my favorite after a long time” he winked at her

“Ofcourse it’s a special day. Isn’t It?” She smiled and went in to get the hot cup of filter coffee.

After the breakfast, Sheshadri went to his room to get dressed. He took out the neatly ironed crisp white dhoti. It had a very thin golden zari border. He then took out his favorite light blue shirt, and then wore the black coat, which made him look very handsome. As he proceeded to leave the room, near the door was his cream and gold turban, which he picked on the way out. As he was nearing the main door, he realized he forgot his most loved possession. He went back to his writing desk and picked up his pen. He put it in the pocket of his coat.

As Sheshadri walked, almost every day greeted him with a smile. There was no doubt; he was one of the most respected men in the entire community. In 20 minutes, he reached school. He had been a part of school, from the time he was a kid.

The first time he came to the school, was with his dad. They did not have uniforms then. He wore a mini white dhoti and a grey shirt with a black turban. His grandmother had pinned up a peacock feather to his turban. She always thought of him as Lord Krishna. He had been a top scorer in Mathematics, Science and Sanskrit. He had ventured out of the town to gain knowledge in the 3 subjects. He had come to the town and joined the same school as a teacher. In a few years, he was able to convince everybody that girls deserved to be in such a great school and they deserved to have girls in their school. Years later, his children were students of the school.

He had served the school for 35 years. It was time for him to retire. Neither him nor the school wanted him to leave. But they had to abide by the rules. As he entered his room, there was a note kept on his desk

“Beloved Sir,

You have always been our inspiration. We will be grateful our entire life. We would like to invite you to the auditorium, for a little surprise. Please grace the occasion.

-A humble request from your students and staff”

He remembered how he had gone in search of the best builders in town to get the auditorium built. It surely was one of the best in couple of towns nearby. As he neared, the building seemed too huge and overwhelming to him. The security guard near the door, smiled and bowed in respect, and opened the door. As Sheshadri stepped in, he could hear the loudest applause ever in his life. The number of people in the auditorium was astonishing. Students had come from all over the country. As he neared the stage, the crowd cheered. He took the centre stage, folded his hands in front of everybody, and bowed down. The applause had stopped but there was not a single person present who had not stood up. He gestured them to take their seats. He also took his place on the stage.

The farewell went for hours together, where Sheshadri did not utter a word, but everybody else wanted to convey what his role had been in their lives. He was moved by their speech, and content that he had touched so many lives. The vice-principal of the school came to make a speech. He wished Sheshadri for a peaceful life ahead and mentioned that they would be like lost sheep without his guidance, and that even though he would officially not be a part of the school, his suggestions and guidance would always be required.

Finally, it was time for Sheshadri to give the speech. He had never liked long speeches as a kid. He had followed the same principle as a teacher and till date as a principal. His speech was always, short and crisp. He made sure they left a mark on the audience. But today, he was emotional. He dint know how to talk. For the first time in years, he felt, he would probably fumble in front of his students. His first speech as a student flashed in front of him. He remembered, he was the 1st standard, and he was supposed to talk about a topic for a minute. The topic given to him was school. Sheshadri smiled. He knew what he was about to tell his audience.

As he came near the mike, students rose from their chairs. Sheshadri neared the mike.

“Thank you. Please be seated. I might fumble if I see all of you stand. You don’t want to do that to your old man now. Do you?” Everybody laughed and sat down.

“I remember the first time I was asked to give a speech in my life. I was given a minute to speak. As I picked the sheet of paper, my hands trembled. But the moment I read what was in the sheet of paper, I had a smile on my face and my father says, he saw a twinkle in my eyes. The topic I had to speak for a minute was “school”. I spoke for a few seconds. I finally ended saying “I will never ever leave this school. I love it here”. Little did I know then, that I would stick to my words. I have always loved the school, and the reason behind it is all you students, teachers and the staff. I will always have time for you people. And today as I leave from here, I would like to repeat what I had said decades ago, I will never ever leave this school. I love it here. My soul will always find peace here”

He bowed in front of everybody, waved his hand at them and moved out of the auditorium.

Monday, May 07, 2012


Ranga kept his foot on the bed sheet, while Swamy was trying to pull it, trying to cover his face. A few minutes later, when Swamy knew his efforts were futile, he rolled the sheets over Ranga. There were no beds to make early in the morning, for they had no beds to sleep on. They slept on the floor. There was no room to clean. They did not even have a house, and were satisfied sleeping on the pavement of the railway station. This was their life for years, from the time they were born.

“Ranga-Swamy”, the station master, Pratap called out, and both ran upto him. It was their breakfast time. This was the one meal he could provide to the duo. Pratap had given them shelter years before. Both were at his doorstep. His family was huge; hence he couldn’t afford to accept them to be a part of his family. He secretly allowed them to stay near the railway station. He would buy breakfast for them on the way. The porters took pity on them and allowed them to help in the work. They got their share and lived off it in a corner.

Even though both grew up together, they were different in many ways. Swamy was always the one who spoke to everybody; Ranga was the stronger one, but a silent follower of Swamy. His eyes did most of the talking. “Ranga-Swamy” were the names given by Pratap, to the lovely duo.

As days passed by, Swamy noticed Ranga was slowly losing his strength. He wanted to take Ranga to a doctor, but they hardly made money to satisfy the daily needs, spending for a doctor visit seemed out of bounds. Swamy decided, he would take help from Pratap, just this once. The duo never accepted any monetary help from him. They knew how difficult it was for Pratap to manage his family. They not intend to burden him with their problems. But, this time, Swamy couldn’t resist. It was not for him, but for his companion, who had been with him all these years. There was not a day which passed by, when ‘Ranga-Swamy’ were not together.

The next morning, Pratap handed over the breakfast to the duo. Ranga took the food and walked away, he wasn’t cheerful, like the usual. Swamy later discussed the problem with Pratap. Even though Pratap could not afford to take care of them, he considered them their own. He checked the amount he had in his safe deposit box. They decided to take Ranga for a check-up the next day.

A month later, Swamy woke up. But, this time, there was nobody to pull his sheets, nobody to roll over the bed sheets with him. His companion Ranga had moved over to a different world, leaving Swamy alone in the world, they had shared till then. Swamy quietly folded the sheets and kept it away. He went on with his routine; the smile on the 12 year old boy was missing.

A fortnight earlier, when Pratap and Swamy took Ranga for the doctor visit, they were shocked to learn, Ranga had only a few more days left. Though Pratap understood the situation, it was difficult for Swamy. Ranga was also around 12 years. The doctor then explained to Swamy, a dog’s life span is different from that of a human and Ranga, being a dog, was nearing the end of his life.

The week after the visit was most miserable. But, the duo had the satisfaction of being with each other, their entire life. Ranga had pulled the sheets from Swamy’s face and once they both had rolled over the sheets and on each other, they started panting for breadth. Ranga was on his best friend’s lap, in a few minutes he became motionless. Swamy knew, it was time. A tear drop from Swamy’s eyes trickled down to Ranga’s face.

A decade later, Swamy still is a porter in the railway station. He tries to help any stray animal. He has an old photograph of Ranga and him, which Pratap had gifted him. The void left by Ranga has not been filled by anyone in his life yet. Pratap hopes one day Swamy will find someone, who does just that, takes Ranga’s place in Swamy’s heart. “Ranga-Swamy” till then will remain inseparable.

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Nikon D7000, Canon 550 D, Nikon 5100 – G was on constant research for the past few months. Well, he was researching on DSLRs for a longer time, to choose among the 3 mentioned, it was a few months. I was not totally convinced that we need a SLR. We have a good Canon point and shoot S3 IS, and the person who uses it most is me. Ofcourse we had our discussions and anrguements. I did not find it sensible enough to spend thousands on something, we were hardly going to use.

D7000 was definetly a no from my side as it cost around 70K. I was finally ok with either of the other two cameras as they were nearly half of the first one. Fortunately, D7000 is not in stock from quite some time, hence leaving us with two cameras to choose. Last week we became the proud owners of Canon 550 D. Our anniversary is coming up this month, and what better gift to us, from us, which will be used by us.

As of now, both of us are exploring the camera. And I must say, I am enjoying it. It definelty worth it. Here is my fav pic till now, taken in Lalbagh on 6-May-2012. Reminds me of Cherry blossom in Macon, USA