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November 2009
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Clouds and Sky

(Photography V2)

 

Clout of the Clouds

 

When we were kids, we would often wonder what clouds actually were! Then we started reading books and came to know they were like water vapor and when they condense, they rain. If they were denser and bulky, they would look black and if they were white: means no rains in the near time! Still, they fascinated us all the time. There may be many reasons for this: after all, the clouds traveled from one place to the other: having originated in the oceans, they would come making rains all across their journey. That they flew in the open sky was a very delightful thought. When there would be storms, we would be asked to run to our homes: but the thundering clouds would come and scar us and would have all the fun themselves. At their own free will, they would rain, till they desired: making us captive in our own homes. There was only one friend who countered the clout of the clouds: the wind! Many times, merciless black and giant clouds would not be able to do anything because wind would ask them to leave: wind would carry them away!

 

So it was like a football match: Sky was the Playground, Clouds and Wind were the two Teams. And we were humble spectators.

 

When we started reading and writing poems, clouds captured our fancies again. How about the wish to ride over the clouds to reach our friends? How about asking the clouds to rain or stop rain to make or stop some events? It can get as creative as we like: clouds were friends: clouds were wonderful friends…  

 

And then, we started flying by aero planes. Now we could see the plane run through the clouds. We would get over the clouds and would keep flying while looking down on them. Where was the clout of the clouds? They could rain: but they could rain only downwards: up above the clouds: we were safe and secure. Now back to the curiosity: did the clouds know that we, the kids, would some day fly above them? That their pretty little white attire won’t be able to keep them hiding and we would play through them? That they no longer will be able to hold our fascination with the imagery that we could ride over the clouds and go visit places along with them: aero planes could do the same?

 

I don’t think we lost our fascination with the clouds. The very fact that we could feel them and can watch them from very near: increased our interest in them rather than reducing.

 

I had seen a friend capturing some beautiful snaps of the clouds from his camera. So this time when I went to fly, I kept a camera with me too.

 

These are what I captured:

 

 

As vast as the Blue

 

 

In the tick of the wings

 

 

Clouds: Here There Everywhere

 

In Hyderabad now: 

 

 

Colors in the Sky 

 

(Rahul)

 

Travelogue and More

(Life V3)

Travelogue and More

 

Last two weeks I had to make very frequent business trips along with some colleagues. Gujarat, Delhi, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Himachal, Hyderabad, Chennai, the list includes many places where I had not visited anytime before. The trips were short, of around one day each and we flew as a means of travel. I would mention about two of them.

 

I particularly liked Chandigarh: I never thought it would be as beautiful as it is. It’s the most well organized and the cleanest Indian city I have ever visited (the competition would be from Tata controlled area of Jameshedpur). Planned housing complexes, wide and very clean roads, not so crowded public places, good restaurants, and much greenery around: it’s easy to fell in love with the city. Though I wish I I could have got real feel of life in longer stay. Then the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad were the other revelations. The International Airport at Shamshabad was simply splendid – the best in India where I have landed in. The roads from airport the city are laden with so many colorful flowers at the center and at both sides: it’s a delight to travel through them. Though the city is old and not so much developed like Mumbai, I was told that barring some areas the cost of living is very ‘comfortable’ here. And yes, I too enjoyed the tasty Hyderabadi Biryani at one of the famous restaurants called Praradise…

 

Here is one snap of the new Airport:

 

 

And here, we get a glimpse of the road leading from Airport to the city:

 

 

On way back to Mumbai, we heard the news that MNS had gotten into a pitted battle with Abu Azmi and the so called ‘North Indian’ Samajwadi Party. One of our colleagues was a Maharashtrian who had voted for MNS during the last elections. We started talking about the incident while reading about it in the newspaper. I asked what is the use of such tactics and violence in the name of a language. When no one stops someone from speaking in Marathi then why should some other stop others from speaking in Hindi? This guy had a different view: he said everyone should be forced to speak in Marathi and every MLA forced to take oath in the same language. And he said the city of Mumbai was too crowded and a separate city should be established at some distance and all ‘outsiders’ (whom he defined as people who came here not before 15 years ago) should be sent away to this new city. I was shocked to see this kind of regional chauvinist and apathetic view as he displayed towards his fellow beings.

 

The company where both of us work has a pan-India presence: it would lose out in a day if it was forced to keep all its facilities and offices within Maharashtra. The owner of our company is a Parsi – Parsis in strictest of the term – were not originally even from India, leave the states like Maharashtra. Many of us, whom my friend wants to shunt out to some other city in hoards, are better qualified and hold better degrees because we have taken education and have worked in diverse locations rather than confining ourselves within one state/city. And yet, it is ugly apathy if he thinks the so called ‘outsider’ Indians should be dispatched to some other city or sent back to their hometowns.

 

It seems the root cause of this kind of regional chauvinism is when they see someone who is better than them. Each job that they lose, and each argument too, to a person who is not born Marathi, is testimony to the fact that they should come out of their holes and open up. But it is unfortunate that such regional and linguistic chauvinists take a self-defeating position of ‘hating’ and ‘hitting’ at those who are better than them, rather than developing themselves to be able to compete with them. And what to say about the politicians who make their money converting the regional feelings of such individuals into votes.

 

From Chandigarh to Chennai, India is one. But many of us have still not learnt this basic lesson even though we enjoy the fruits of our freedom and nationhood. Even Biryani would taste dull if there are no varieties of ingredients and spices added in it.

(Rahul)

Balanced Approach

(Life V3)

Goodness in everything Bad

 

We were having our lunch in between a long presentation to a client. The top most executive in our company was there with us, along with a senior person from the client’s side. They started talking about GST (Goods and Services Tax) that is planned to be implemented from April 2010. The talk turned out into praise for the Prime Minister who has taken the initiative to implement it. I kept listening to the interesting conversation. They seemed to be in a good mood – as they started praising Congress party for having leaders like Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Pranab Mukherjee and others who are very good in economics and finance. Sensing that he was praising INC, the other person tried a trick. He said that the BJP didn’t have such leaders! Now I was uncomfortable – as the talk had turned out to be a free-ki-publicity for Congress! But I was surprised at what followed this remark.

 

He said he disagreed! He said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was such a learned man and so highly qualified for the post! Then he mentioned names like Arun Shourie, Pramod Mahajan and the likes and said the BJP government in the center didn’t have any dearth of highly qualified and experienced ministers! Next, he said let us take Naredra Modi for example. Narendra Modi has changed the fortune of Gujarat: just look at the Gujarat that was before he took over and what he made out of it in his term in the chair. He said if we are strictly looking from the moral point of view (on post-Godhra riots cases), we can think that he is not a good man: but no one can dispute that he is a brilliant and exceptional leader! I said wow! But, next, he said that he thought that Narendra Modi in his second term was not the same as the one in his first term: he had done much better and much more in his first term in the office.

 

The entire conversation made me open up my eyes. How often, we rush to take up either of the sides: either we support Congress blindly, or we support the BJP in whatever it does. Either we support the USA in all its actions or we support the Muslim world (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, etc) and would even support their wrong deeds. At this point, I remember what was said once about Manmohan Singh: “He is a right guy in a wrong party”.

 

What I learnt from this conversation was that we should have the heart to accept good things in all people and all parties. And we should be able to criticize wrong things, no matter from which quarter it comes. This is called a ‘balanced’ view. The top guy in our company must have learnt it on his way to the top… We should get it right too.

 

(Rahul)