Recession: The dreadful ‘r’ word..!
9 Feb 2009 -- So there’s a recession facing us, staring at you and
me, and the first thing you or even I want to do is run away, rush off
to hide or rid oneself off such morbid thought! Notice all the ‘R’s that
follow in the wake of a recession. But there’s some very positive ‘R’s,
I’ve thought of, we could use them today to handle this dreadful ‘R’
word. The first ‘R’ word is ‘Recover’.
Yes sir, whether you’ve been sacked, facing a salary cut or been told to
start looking around, you need to recover! Recover what? Why your
confidence silly! What’s happening to you isn’t because of you, isn’t
because you were less at your job, bad at your work, or didn’t possess
the required leadership skills; oh no dear friend, it’s got nothing to
do with you, it’s to do with outside forces.
Like facing a Tsunami, you didn’t cause it, nor can you stop it, how
d’you ride it out? So ‘recover’ your confidence, get back your zest for
life, shake depression off and realize you’ve got to get into battle
gear and be in readiness for combat. And that’s the second ‘R’ word, be
‘Ready’ Get ready to pit yourself against the world’s best, because the
world’s best are out there, in the same state as you.
So look in the mirror, grin at yourself, oh yes, go ahead, it’s been
some time since that face of yours creased into a smile isn’t it? Treat
yourself to a huge, big grin, then grit your teeth and say you are ready
to do battle. It’s not going to be a fight of a day, it may take a
couple, maybe a week, a month or two, but get ready to go all out and
win. To win you need to use the third ‘R’ word: To draw on your
‘Reserves’. Which could stand for resources, religion, resilience,
whatever, but you’ve got to dig deep into yourself, into that stored
away, stashed away reserve and use every ounce.
Let me explain; every challenge we’ve gone through in life equips us to
fight a bigger one in the future, right? Okay so the future has arrived,
go back down memory lane, remember every problem you overcame, draw into
those memory reserves, think out how you overcame a particular past
issue, what were the circumstances, what your feelings were, how you
fought, and how you won. Dig into your reserves and get your weaponry
out! They’re still there, and you’re still as skilled, if not more so
now. The fourth and last ‘r’ is ‘Rejoice!’ Rejoice you are part of a
moment when you can come out a hero, a victor, that unlike a year ago
when you were part of thousands who were automatically pushed up, you’re
now being given a chance to push your own self up.
Rejoice as you see a new you emerging, rejoice as you thrash and batter
the dreadful ‘R’ word with the bagful of other ‘R’s you are now equipped
with..! This is Bob’s advice for you today, ‘Rout recession, raise
resolve, recapture respectability ..!’
The photographer — part two..!
3 February 2009
No, no, this isn’t the same photographer I wrote about a week ago, nor
is it about the same wedding; this particular episode took place at the
silver wedding anniversary of a close friend, who after the incident,
isn’t exactly a close friend of mine anymore, no fault of mine, if
you’ll give me a few moments to explain:
The celebrations were like a mini wedding, coloured bulbs, confetti,
flower girls, wedding cake, liveried waiters, the works! It was a moment
of celebration and I decided I would totally involve myself in the
festivity and rejoicing the occasion demanded, which meant I picked up
some confetti and readied myself to throw it on the still young looking
pair. I threw the white stuff, ah well blame it on my aim, and the fact
I’d forgotten to take the little white pieces from the plastic packet;
the packet went flying and hit, thank God, not the couple, but worse,
He glared at me. I smiled at him. He glared at me. I glared back. Come
on ole chap an accident is an accident, but some guys aren’t the
forgiving kind, like I was soon to learn.
“Lets dance!” I told the wife. The wife looked at me quizzically, “You
aren’t too fond of dancing Bob?”
“Yeah, but I don’t want to be remembered as a damp squib in all these
celebrations!” My sole purpose was to see that I would be seen in the
wedding album, enjoying myself and having a good time. My friend I knew
was into this album thing and had one for most occasions, his first job,
his promotion, his engagement, which was hastily thrown away because he
married another, and now I knew he would have one for this great
occasion. And so I danced.
And walked around, and talked and moved from table to table till I went
back to mine exhausted.
I moved with lightning speed whenever I saw the photographer and placed
myself at vantage spots where he could spot me. I was determined to be
seen in at least a dozen snaps in my friend’s, to be new silver
anniversary album. For too long had I been left out, sitting in some
lonely spot, some dark corner, unnoticed and forgotten!“Bob,” he called
me yesterday, “Will you come and see my album?” I went dutifully, “Why
didn’t you come for the celebrations?”
“Of course I was there,” I said, going through the album at breakneck
speed and realizing there wasn’t a single snap of mine. I cursed the
vindictive photographer and tried to explain to my friend, “Remember I
talked with you while I danced, then we met again on the stage, then…”
“Bob, you were not there!” Now if you’ve been wondering why I’ve written
two pieces about the same subject, I hope you realize how I’ve been
hurt, and in case you’re irked everyday by my picture, you see when you
read this column, don’t blame me, it’s that same guy; the photographer,
he’s trying to do the same with you..!
A month gone by..!
2 February 2009 - Seems only yesterday we burnt the old man, bid
farewell to the old year and welcomed the New Year in. Seems just last
night we wished each other a happy new year, sent a zillion SMS’s and
made a dozen resolutions.How quickly a month passed by! Time flies,
There’s the story of a hunter in our own country, who, hunting with a
sling, came to the end of his own stones, and needed one to sling a bird
in a tree. He saw some fine ones lying nearby and took up a handful to
hurl one by one. Without much success however, for the bird flew off
quite gaily, and the stones fell into a river, with only one remaining
of the handful he had picked up. He was going to throw it away, but
seeing it looked quite pretty, saved it as a plaything for his daughter.
On the way home, he met a diamond merchant, and showed him the stone.
The merchant saw at once it was a diamond and offered a large sum for
it. The hunter started lamenting his bad fortune and on being asked why
he was so disconsolate, he explained he had not realized the value of
the stones he had thrown away trying to get the bird. Had he but saved
them, a fortune might have been his. They were now lost to him forever
lying at the bottom of the river where they had fallen.So, like those
stones, is every moment precious, and they can never be recovered. A
month has gone by; what have we done, what have we accomplished?
As a nation we’ve wasted our time shouting over petty issues, fighting
over problems that have not strengthened us a notch nor helped us a bit.
As individuals, are we wasting this precious, God given gift called
‘time’? The other day I visited the office of a friend of mine, very
close to VT Station. I hadn’t been there for many years and as I sat
down, I looked at an empty stool near the door, and asked, “Where’s
“He’s retired!” said my friend, looking at me puzzled as I grinned, “Why?””I
remember him very well, “ I chuckled, “he used to sit on that very same
stool and watch the clock as he sat there. He did nothing, except wait
for the clock to strike five, and then like a rocket he was off!”My
friend laughed, “And Bob, one day while he was watching the clock, he
was so mesmerized by the big and small hand, he fell off his stool!”
We both laughed as we remembered the old office clerk. Is that what we
are doing with time, sitting still and watching it go by, unmoved by all
things around, not investing ourselves to changing the world, not
interested in making a difference?February is upon us, with a few days
less than the month before, but wake up, get off that clock watching
stool, and use those diamonds well..!
19 January 2009
The little boy wet his pants. He watched the policemen enter his home.
He watched as they searched for his dad, who was hiding in the kitchen
loft. “Where is your father?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said
and looked cautiously up at the loft. One policeman followed his eyes
and pushed open the hatch door. The boy peed in his pants again as they
pulled his father down and took him to the police station.
His mother had made the complaint. They came over to my home that night.
The little boy with his father and mother. They were fighting. They had
been fighting the day they were married. “I complained to the police,”
said the mother, “he hit me.”
I looked at their little son. He had his head down. He did not react as
the parents fought with each other about women and affairs and
unfaithfulness. He did not flinch as his mother spoke about thrashings
and cuts and bruises. To him it was the most natural thing in the world.
There was no horror at incidents like this, they were part of his normal
life. I knew that if the police came to his house again, he would never
wet his pants. Policemen had just become an everyday feature in his
young mind. Some double murders had shocked the people some years ago. A
young mother was killed in her flat, along with her eighteen month old
grandson. Leticia was stabbed with a chopper 14 times and the little
baby Dylan was found hanging to the fan, dead. Leticia’s daughter Glenda
who was also in the flat, had her throat slit and was given up for dead.
She managed to crawl out of the blood stained house hours later and
inform the neighbours before collapsing.
She was able to identify the killers. Clay, Ashish, Clinton, Wilfred and
Karan. All five, between sixteen and nineteen years of age. The father
of the dead baby ran to the police van carrying the accused. “How could
you kill a baby?” he screamed in agony. The whole city asked the same
question. Weren’t the five boys troubled to commit so gruesome a crime?
They were educated, all five, college students. They were from well to
do families. Wasn’t there shock, terror, horror at such an act? After
all they were not hardened criminals, seasoned killers.
Child Monsters! They came to me, that night, the father, mother and the
boy who had peed in his pants. I remember the expression on his face, as
his parents lashed out at each other. Boredom and a couldn’t be bothered
expression. His days of being terrified of policemen were over. His days
of reactions to insults and foul language were over. He was slowly
evolving into what his parents were making him. A child monster..!
His own car..!
7 January 2009
Many decades back, my dad, a businessman, decided to start exporting
handicrafts to the USA. He got craftsmen to make the stuff, and sent
samples to the States. He was soon flooded with orders and asked same
craftsmen to work hard and deliver the required numbers. What we saw
finally were horrible pieces of workmanship. “The sandal wood elephants
are rough underneath?”
“Who will see it saar?” “ The handloom cloth has stains on it?” “Ha, ha,
the Americans will think it is a design saar.” Well my dad cancelled the
order with these craftsmen, found most others doing the same slip shod
work and never exported the stuff at all. People had gathered to watch
the Greek sculptor Phidias carve the statue of Athenia for the
Acropolis. The sculptor was taking great pains to chisel the strands of
her hair at the back of her head. One on looker commented: “When this
statue is completed it will stand 100 feet high, with its back to a
marble wall. Who will ever know all the details you are putting behind
“I will!” replied the sculptor.I wish those craftsmen had been as
particular. A man had taken his car to a garage for servicing. While he
waited for the attendant, he observed one of the mechanics servicing
another car. He was impressed by his meticulousness.The mechanic changed
the oil without spilling a drop, checked the radiator, cleaned the
windshield, wiping off every speck of dust and greasy finger marks. Then
he placed a clean cloth over the seats, washed his hands thoroughly and
drove his car slowly out of the garage and parked it along the kerb.
Just then the foreman came by and the man who had been observing all
this turned to him and said: “Now there’s a real mechanic!”
“Oh,” said the foreman with a shrug, “That’s his own car..!” It was many
years ago my father thought he could venture into exports. Today I see
our whole country venturing into many business deals with the west. We
even compete with countries like China and Germany. What’s going to be
important is how we look at our work. If like those old craftsmen we
say, “Anyway who’ll notice,” we are doomed to failure, but if like the
sculptor, we can carefully chisel and delicately carve areas, which
nobody will see, we are on our way to success. If each job of yours,
every business venture, all projects, get our personal touch and we
treat them like our own car, well then in this new year, the sky could
be our limit..!
Holding my dog’s ear..!
5 January 2009
Place the front door where the back door is now!” “Make your bedroom the
kitchen.” “Place your kitchen platform here on the right.” “Close this
window or put a mirror on the opposite wall.”
I watched the man holding the compass giving instructions to those who
had just bought neighbouring flat. “Will there be prosperity in this
house?” “Prosperity if the door is placed a little to the right.”
“Troubles?” “No troubles if you close that window permanently.”
“Success?” “Plenty if you follow my instructions fully!” I went back to
my own house and held my dog’s ear. “What are you doing?” asked my dog.
“Getting rid of my troubles,” I said. “By holding my ear?” “My friend
John told me it would happen,” I said laughing and my dog laughed with
me. I watched from the window as the man with the compass got into a
rickshaw and left. Words came to my mind. Said Maltrie Babcock:
‘One of the commonest mistakes and one of the costliest is thinking that
success is due to some magic or something or other we do not possess.
Success is generally due to holding on and failure to letting go. You
decide to learn a language, study music, take a course of reading, train
Will it be success or failure? It depends upon how much pluck and
perseverance that word ‘decide’ contains. The decision that nothing can
overule, the grip which nothing can detach will bring success. Remember
the Chinese proverb, “with time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes
satin.” The world has a way of giving what is demanded of it. If you are
frightened and look for failure and poverty you will get them, no matter
how hard you may try to succeed. Lack of faith in yourself, In what life
will do for you, cuts you off from the good things of the world. Expect
victory and you make victory. No window moved or wall built up will ever
make a victor of you. No amount of holding my dog’s ear either.
There is an Eye that never sleeps, Beneath the wind of night. There is
an Ear that never shuts, When sinks the beams of light, There is an Arm
that never tires, When human strength gives way. There is a Love that
never fails, When earthly loves decay. This comfort and blessing do I
leave with the owners of the new house and all others like me who hold
onto their dog’s ear..!
02 January 2009
Bangladesh, I read today, has allowed her eunuchs numbering over a
100,000 to cast their votes in the elections that are now going on.
A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me whether I’d help him start a
restaurant, I agreed and all I asked was a corner table that would be
mine from where I could keep my laptop and do my writing. However every
once in a while my friend had to leave the hotel and for want of anybody
else I sat in for him as cashier and handled the money people paid as
they ate and left.
I quite enjoyed doing this. One day as I sat on the high chair, counting
out the change to those who’d just eaten while keeping an eye on the
waiters and the service they were giving the customers I felt a presence
near my left side.
I was a little irritated, because whoever it was, was neither coming in
nor leaving but partially blocking the outside light. I couldn’t take my
eyes of the counter as I was dolling out change but from the corner of
my eye soon made out it was someone with a sari.
Five rupees!” said a harsh voice from the sari wearer, and I turned in
surprise all along assuming it was a woman and realizing now it was a
hijra. “No five rupees!” I said, “But you can go in and have a cup of
tea!” The eunuch turned to me, “Free?”
“Yes, “ I said, “Free!” He walked in and stood at a table, “Sit!” I
said, and he sat down surprised. The waiter looked at me shocked, “One
chai!” I said and went back to my job.
I looked up in time to see the waiter bringing the tea with no saucer. I
quickly asked him to come to me. “First give a glass of water like you
do for the others then a cup of tea served with a saucer!”
It was a little later when the eunuch finished his tea and walked to my
counter. I felt his hand on mine, “Thank you!” he said. “You enjoyed the
tea?” I asked. “Yes, but I am thanking you for treating me like a human
being!” I had tears in my eyes as the hijra pressed my hand warmly again
and started walking away, then suddenly turned around, came back and put
a five- rupee coin on my counter. “No,” I said, “It’s on the house!”
“But I want to pay!” he said, smiled and walked away.
I have never forgotten that incident and so often when I hear about
eunuchs being mocked at, gays being ridiculed and others less fortunate
than us being treated badly I think of that visitor with a sari who
dropped into my hotel that day many years ago. All he wanted was to be
treated equally and with that he was willing to pay his contribution to
society like every one else.
Bravo Bangladesh for the bold step you’ve taken, may your elections run
smooth and may you be blessed with a strong, stable government..!
It’s the driver..!
31 December 2008
Years ago, before the Mumbai-Pune Expressway was built, driving to Pune
was quite an adventure; you were never sure you’d reach for lunch,
dinner or next day breakfast. With the coming of the Expressway, things
changed, but sadly not for me. “I did Mumbai-Pune in three hours!”
boasts a friend. “Three? I took just two,” says another, “How about you
I look at my wife unhappily and look away, “He took eight hours!” says
the wife, and as friends gather around, wives giggle and husbands guffaw
she tells them how the bumper first dropped off, “We felt so nice with
everyone waving at us and we waved back, till we realized they were
telling us something!”
“Dad fixed it with a hanky!” my elder one explains to interested
audience, “but I spent the whole journey sticking my neck out to see if
it was still there!” And if it’s not the bumper it’s the fan belt, the
balance rod under the car, a radiator leak, punctures galore, a bonnet
that gets unhinged at every bump! You name it; I’ve had them all! “What
we need,” said the wife, “is a new car!”
But they were all new cars: My Maruti 800, just a year old when smoke
bellowed from engine, this, even after I switched off the AC while
climbing the ghats as the AC wallah at Dadar’s Five Gardens had told me
to do, two decades ago.
The Tata Estate, still gleaming white from factory, when washer from
engine broke, flew onto radiator and made a mess of the innards of car
and my trip to Pune, as family and I waited at Lonavala, while local
mechanic drilled, bored and welded things into place that would have
made the Tata’s shudder.
I thought things would change, with better cars coming into the country
and into my life. I should have known better as on Christmas, yes, yes,
the Christmas’ that’s just gone by, I ventured to drive to Pune again.
“Car’s in tip top condition sir,” said my driver the day before, happy
that he would have the day off while his sahib would do the driving,
“Tires okay?” I asked. “Bumper?” “All okay sir!” We drove from home
straight to the petrol pump to fill up, “Check the tires!” I told the
“You have a puncture sir!””How?” I spluttered and swear I heard my Honda
giggle. We started off, an hour later, and were on the Expressway when I
saw my daughter waving at people in the next car, “You know them?” I
asked. “No they waved at me!”
“Check the bumper!” I screamed and sure enough the fancy appendage was
hanging on by a screw for dear life. “Hanky!” shouted my wife as I
climbed out. “Yeah I know the drill!” shouted the younger one as she
shook her hair loose and got some make on, “What’s she doing?”
I shouted, “Getting ready to stick her head out and face the outside
world!” grinned the wife. “It’s not the fault of the cars!” says the
wife philosophically as we drive back the same evening after another
tire burst on the ghats. “Nor that of the Expressway!” shout my
daughters. “It’s the driver!” I admit wearily as I hear my car snigger.
Hear the music..!
22 December 2008
My aunt from Canada is down for a few days and was eager to meet her
nephews and nieces, I shuddered as I heard some of the excuses, “We’ll
come but we’ll stay a few minutes only!” or another, “I’m so busy I
can’t leave the house, as I have to finish off some housework.” It
saddened me that we try to fit others into our schedules instead of
fitting ourselves into the schedules of many who want to be with us.
A famous writer says, “I cannot count the times I called my sister and
said, “How about going to lunch in half an hour?” She would stammer, “I
can’t. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty.
I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like
rain.” And my personal favorite: “It’s Monday.” “She died a few years
ago. We never did have lunch together.” Because we cram so much into our
lives, we tend to schedule even our headaches. We live on a sparse diet
of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect:
We’ll visit dad and mom when we get a live in maid to look after the
We’ll entertain Kumar uncle when we replace the living-room carpet.
We’ll go on a second honeymoon when the kids are out of college.
Life has a way of speeding up, as we get older. Days get shorter, and
the list of promises gets longer. One morning, we’ll awaken, and all
we’ll have to show for our lives will be: “I’m going to,” “I plan on,”
and “Someday, when things are settled down a bit!” Start living the
Go on and have a different day. Do something you’d like to do to do, not
something on your schedule list. If you were going to die soon and had
only one phone call you could make, whom would you call and what would
you say? And why are you waiting? Get out of your rigid straitjacket
schedules: Watch kids playing on a merry go round, listen to the rain
lapping on the ground! Follow a butterfly’s erratic flight or gaze at
the sun into the fading night!
When you ask “How are you?” Do you wait for the reply? When the day is
done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred odd jobs running
through your head? Ever told your child, “We’ll do it tomorrow, lets go
for a walk together and enjoy the rest of the evening?”
When you hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift, thrown
away: Life is not a race. Take it slower. Ah my dear friend; hear the
music before the song is over…!
Hijacking with a fork..!
21 December, 2008 -- Made a quick trip out of the city two days back;
flew out in a private carrier and flew back next day using the national
airline. One major difference; while private carrier gave me steel forks
and spoons during mealtime, the national one had me use plastic. “That’s
to prevent any hijack bids!” grinned my neighbour as he watched me open
the foil that contained the insipid plastic cutlery, with which I had
great difficulty in holding, tearing and placing food in my mouth as the
plane quivered, trembled and leapfrogged its way along.
I imagined hijacking a plane with a steel fork: “This is a hijack please
divert the plane to Goa!” I shout. “Why do you want to go to Goa sir,
are there any specific reasons for you to want us to land in Goa? And do
you have a bomb?” “No questions! I have a steel fork! And let me warn
you I know to use a fork very effectively!” “Captain he has a steel
fork, please divert the plane to Goa!”
“Ladies and gentlemen this is your captain speaking! Our plane’s been
hijacked by a man carrying a fork, we are diverting the plane to Goa to
comply with the hijacker’s demand! Please bear with the inconvenience!”
“He’s got a fork!” “A steel one!” “A steel fork! That’s dangerous, we
can’t jump him with a fork or we’ll all be killed!” “No don’t overpower
him, a steel fork is lethal!” “Sir will you have a soft drink?”
“I don’t mind,” I tell the sweet airhostess, “will you hold my fork for
me while I finish the drink?” “Yes sir!” “Thank you, no don’t hold that
end hold the other, that’s it, clever girl.” “Ladies and gentlemen this
is your captain speaking the hijacker is now having a soft drink while
one of our crew holds his fork for him, please do not get up from your
seats or disturb her as she is not used to a steel fork and we do not
want any loss to life or property while he finishes his juice and she
holds his fork!”
Thank you,” I tell her, “may I have the fork back please? Thank you!”“I
told them this would happen!” mutters the airhostess. “Told whom? What?”
I ask. “I told the management that these steel forks would one day be
used in a hijack bid. They never listened! This would never have
happened if we’d used plastic!” “Ladies and gentlemen this is your
We are landing in Goa and will offload the hijacker, please let him
deplane peacefully with his deadly fork!” My neighbour looked at me
suspiciously, “You got a silly grin on your face, you’re not a hijacker
“Nah!” I told him, “you can’t hijack a plane with a plastic fork..!”
19 December 2008
There was a young guy being introduced around as a potential candidate
for the marriage market last night. “I can’t get a wife!” he told me.
“Place an ad!” I told him. “Will you help me write one?” he asked and I
grinned as I drove home later. “What’s the grin for?” asked the worried
wife, “I hope you didn’t pull a fast on him?” “I was just thinking of
the different matrimonial ads I could write depending what his
profession is!” and we both chuckled as I told her what I had in mind:
Fisherman: Wife wanted, must be able to dig, clean, cook worms and clean
fish. Must have own boat with motor. Please send photograph of
Salesman: Once in a lifetime offer to get yourself the original, genuine
article: One of the most handsome and smartest bachelor’s around is now
looking for a wife. And you could be the lucky one he chooses! Has own
house, car and successful career! Economist: I am in demand of a wife.
Supply is great though my requirements are high. However the elasticity
of my demands should not bear too heavy a burden upon the national
interest. Mathematician: Wife required to complete the formula of my
life. Must be numerate and understand complex algebraic logarithms,
needed to help further my family unit.
IT Consultant: Well there is definite room for improvement in my life.
The speed of my current flows of information and processes is slowing
down and the injection of a wife into my life is bound to improve
efficiency. Compatibility could be an issue.Business Man: Wife wanted
for company. Politician: I feel there is a need in this world, to
improve the ways we live, to harmonize the processes of life and to
build upon past differences and shortcomings. I believe that we the
people need someone to share our lives. To feel the joys of parent hood,
and bear the social responsibilities, as we should in a civilized
society.....(blah, blah and never getting to the point)
Car Dealer: Wanted a sturdy, reliable, low depreciating wife. Should be
in excellent working condition. Farmer: Wanted a wife from good stock.
Required for breeding. Lawyer: I hereby propose to solicit myself as an
eligible candidate for the post of wife after marriage. The person whom
I’m looking for should be strictly -a girl. The girl should be strictly
a girl, with evidence to support this view that she is a girl. The girl
should be willing to surrender to the service and jurisdiction of My
Lord i.e. Myself. Any objections would be overruled and will not be
sustained. Apply in limited confidence as all liabilities are null and
void in the event of failure on our part of any kind whatsoever
Pilot: Wife required to complete my life. Please, only level headed
applicants. She must not have her head in the clouds, but have her feet
firmly on the ground. Her heart must be in it for the long haul. And she
absolutely must also be aerodynamically shaped!!Banker: Wanted wife who
takes interest in me and credits me with her service.
“Okay,” I said, “now which profession would you want your husband from?”
“Businessman!” said the wife and we both laughed.
17 December 2008
Something I loved doing on my visits abroad was to open newspaper and
gaze at hundreds of car advertisements that adorned the pages. I
drooled, ogling shamelessly at breathtaking models. I don’t have to go
to America to do so anymore. The pages of every newspaper in our
country, display, promote and publicize nothing else but cars, cars and
A few months ago a prominent newspaper carried a headline that ‘the
sophisticated soft roader Honda CR-V will shortly find a tough rival in
the soon to be launched Pajero.’I have only one question. Where do these
rivals do battle? Where does the Mercedes overtake the Skoda? The Swift
the Santro? Where does the Flair show superior Ford technology to the
Palio, the desi Indica, better mileage than the sophisticated Lancer?
Not on roads, where maximum speed now with so many cars around is 20
kmph, where potholes with grim determination lie in wait to break
foreign axle and laugh jubilantly as spring and suspension give way!
Surely not on highways, where overloaded lorry and outdated bus occupy
middle and do not give way to horn or headlight signal, instead take
perverse pleasure in knocking lighter vehicle into ditch and gutter!
Where then do we show off glittering fancy toy? Outside your homes,
that’s where! Watch as Sardar neighbour parks fancy Chevrolet near
little Maruti. Watch driver stare with disdain at three cylinder tin
Look at building secretary, chairman and treasurer as they salute,
scrape heels and salaam owner as he with not the smallest glance at them
strides scornfully to snazzy sedan, not to drive away, but to open door
and instruct white liveried chauffeur, to bring up paper and briefcase.
The car lies parked in self same place, gleaming as society watchman,
pump man and lift man take turns to keep the shine shining. And then
when he finds neighbour buying same style car, he hands keys with
disdain to wife to drive, to shop nearby, or pick child from bus stop
outside the gate, and buys for himself another fancy set of wheels.
“We have no parking place for your second car sir.” “Remove the gardens,
cut the trees!” “Third car sir?” “Knock off the children’s slides and
swings!” “Fourth car sir?’”Use the badminton court!” And there in
compound where children used to play, where trees and gardens bloomed,
lie now these vain fancy showpieces.
I have a suggestion to make: ‘Manufacturers! You can save thousands of
rupees; install ancient rundown engines or no engines at all inside
lavish, extravagantly sculpted limousines. Let owner display such models
outside home.’ muscle power of a different kind sir..!
15 December 2008
With the Congress faring better than expected in the recent assembly
polls, the puzzled opposition think-tank sessions are now in progress
and many justifications, reasons and explanations have started coming
“Its young versus old,” said an opposition leader emerging from the
meeting, “there we have a young, handsome, dimpled cheek, Rahul
wandering all over the country and against him an old, stern, unbending
Advani. It’s a bit unfair if you ask me!” “Maybe the country is looking
for young leadership,” I suggested hopefully. “In any combat, be it war
or sport, opponents must be equally matched, we are going to appeal to
the election commissioner and hopefully this problem will be resolved!”
“You mean have somebody more elderly standing from the Congress?” “No,
no, just make Rahul look older!”
“What?” I shouted, “You can’t be serious?” “Today,” said the opposition
leader seriously, “the electronic media rule the roost. You are carried
away by what you see, right?” “Yes,” I agreed.
“So if Rahul is shown looking older then what he is, it would make a
tremendous difference and bring about a fair election, otherwise the
polls are as good as rigged!” I pondered over this for some time as the
opposition leader looked anxiously at me. “No!” I said finally, “I like
Rahul the way he looks, dimples and all, it’s a refreshing change to the
potbellied, crass, paan chewing politicians we’ve been having till date,
“But what?” asked the opposition leader hastily. “Why don’t you have
Advani looking young instead? A good make up man would do a good job,
also Nawaz Sharif grew a good crop of hair in Saudi Arabia!” “You want
to send Advaniji to Saudi Arabia?” “I’m sure we can do the same here,” I
said, “if our farmers can grow some of the best crops in the world I’m
sure a head of hair shouldn’t be too difficult! Also his eyes!” “His
eyes?” asked the opposition leader, “What about his eyes, you want him
to wear contact lens, that maybe a little difficult to convince; these
are people for whom their glasses are not just fixtures but part of
their personality!” “I know, I know,” I said patiently, “I have nothing
against Advaniji’s spectacles, it’s his eyes, it could be a lot more
gentle, a little less anger, a little more merciful!”
“Hair I can manage,” said the opposition leader, “make up also, but
making him more peaceful and dove like may be nearly impossible. Though
I’ve an idea, why don’t we ask Rahul to look a little more fierce, stare
threateningly at Pakistan all the time and glare ferociously at the
minority community?” “I don’t know,” I said. “Otherwise we will complain
that the future Lok Sabha polls are an unfair election..!” warned the
opposition leader threateningly, as he walked back into his think- tank
Breaking the jinx..!
13 December 2008
How could you make an eighty year old aunt on a wheel chair wait outside
the airport for you? asked my wife yesterday, “especially after you were
there much before her flight came in?”
“I don’t know,” I said miserably putting my head down.
Somehow me, and picking up people from railway stations, bus stands and
airports don’t go together. It’s not that this syndrome started
yesterday; I was born with it. “There ma, there!” I would wave excitedly
to somebody in a white sari resembling an aunt and as mother and little
me would scramble to get to what I’d seen, the real aunt, not dressed in
anything resembling a sari slipped past and would be making calls home
to ask where her sister who was supposed to meet her at the station was.
Maybe mother gave up or father felt I was old enough to go to the
station alone and despite even more relatives giving me the slip, my
services were not discontinued, “Where were you Bob?”
“On platform 5, I tell you I was on platform 5!” “But I looked all over
platform 5 for you!”“I saw the engine coming in, I stood at the
beginning of the Central station…”“Central?” “Yeah Central!” “But I told
you Dadar!” And this morning, very early in the morning, “I told my
driver Terminal 2C okay? The plane’s come in already!” My driver looked
bored, nodded, rolled up the glass and promptly fell asleep. I guess he
knew his master, knew it was going to be a long haul; it was. My aunt
got off at Terminal 2C, I waited at Terminal 2B, sitting on some plastic
debris, joined by a girl who told me she reads my column in the local
paper. “You do?”
“Yes, but you look different in the picture!” “Yeah,” I agreed smiling
at her light brown eyes, “That photograph doesn’t do justice to me!”
“You are older!” I curse her silently as the phone rings, “Bob where are
you? Those loaders who’ve pushed your aunt outside the airport are
getting impatient! They say they are standing near the coke stand.”
And as I was returning with a slightly subdued aunt, the phone rings
again, “We’re just getting into the plane Bob! Should be there in eight
hours, terminal 2C!”“Who’s it?” asks my aunt. “Friends coming from
England, have to meet them at the airport tomorrow morning!”
“I’ll come with you!” “But t t ,” I stammer and next morning she sits
besides me. “Why did you bring your aunt to the airport,” they whisper
as they sit in my car. “So you could actually come back with him!”
chuckles my aunt, “Someone had to lift the spell and break the jinx..!”
12 December 2008
With President Zardari nearly leading his country to war with India
because of hoax call he got from somebody who, he says, impersonated
India’s Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee, hoax callers all over the
world are having a field day:
“Whatcha doin’ husband?” asked Mrs Bush as she watched her husband
changing from his business suit. “I’m puttin’ on me boxer shots and
bedroom slippers and going to where de Twin Towers used to be!”
“Whatever for?” “I just got a call from Osama Bin Laden. He sez he be
willin’ to give himself up to me, if I came by bare-chested and wearin’
only my shorts. Whoopee! I’ve finally got dat Bin Laden before me term’s
And in the office of Dr Singh the Indian PM, “Hello, hello who is this?
Ah Namaste Madam it is you. What did you say Madam? Yes I know we are
going through a terrible recession madam. You want me to scrap all taxes
and excise duty. How will we run the country without money madam.
I’m sorry madam of course you know how to run the country. I will make
the necessary announcement right away madam, on TV and on All India
Radio; all taxes abolished in India! Yes madam I am sure the people will
be very happy!”
At 10 Downing Street: “Brown is that you? This is Tony! Tony Blair
speaking, listen Brown the missus and I are missing the place. Yeah we
want you to vacate, leave pronto, yeah take all your things and get out.
Yeah your cat also! No you can’t remain Prime Minister Brown, you know
you can’t once you vacate No 10. No you don’t have to say goodbye to the
nation, I’ll do it for you, once I go on air tonight. Yeah Brown,
thanks, yeah you can start leaving right away! And don’t forget the
In the Office of the French President: Yes this Sarkozy speaking.
S..A..R..K..O..Z..Y. That eese it Sarkozy. Yes I am also the President
of the EU. What eese it you say? You are speaking from the UN. I see, I
see you have decided last night to save the world from theese terrible
recession. You believe only I have the leadership to do so. Yes I also
believe so. You want me to become Emperor? Like Napoleon Bonaparte
right? Yes, yes I accept, and my little Carla will be Empress! Thank
you, please tell the UN I accept. Yes I will appear on TV wearing
Napoleon’s hat, it eese very appropriate. Oh how wonderful I must tell
my little Bruni she eese Queen!”
And in Pakistan: “Hello, hello this is Zardari! Who? Sarah? Sarah Palin?
You want to come to Pakistan? Ah my gorgeous, my gorgeous..!”
Don’t do a Bush..!
8 December 2008
A cowboy named George Bush stood at his window seven years ago and
watched the Twin Towers crumble, “Laura,” he shouted, “My guns!” “Who
you gonna shoot at?” whispered his distraught wife.
“I’m gonna shoot the world!” said the cowboy gleefully as he shot madly
in the air, then poured bullets at Afghanistan and rained bullets at
Iran. “Whatcha doin husband?”
“Shootin’” screamed the mad cowboy as he shot from his hip, bent, picked
up his sten gun, fired missiles, sent costly tanks, flew planes and
“Husband!” shouted his wife after seven years, “We’re broke! There’s no
money left! Our banks are busted, people are homeless, and troops crying
to come home!” “But we won!” shouted the mad cowboy guns still blazing,
“We won!” “Have we?” asked his wife, as she looked at a ruined country
and at Americans who were safe no more, anywhere in the world.
Today in India we face similar situation as we turn our anger at
anything friends and leaders are pointing to us; at Pakistan and even at
our brothers and sisters of the minority community. A year ago my house
was crawling with ticks. They were on the walls, on the floor, under our
beds, on sheets, crawling on curtains and even onto us. We were under
attack. “I’ll call the pest control!” I shouted.
They came. “Best pest control for ticks!” said the pest control worker
as he aimed his smelly spray at my precious books, clothes, my expensive
shoes and spoiled everything I treasured in his quest and also mine to
annihilate and exterminate the ticks. The ticks returned with even
greater strength. “Maybe we should medicate the dogs!” said my doctor
“Medicate?” “Hold them,” she said and carefully ran a liquid down the
spines of both the animals. I’ve never had ticks bothering me from that
Let’s not do a Bush today! Let’s not spray the walls and curtains and
spoil the furniture and all things precious when what we have to do is
be specific with the controlling of terror.
The recent terror attacks were aimed at our unity. If these attacks
cause us to turn on each other in hatred and conflict, the terrorists
have won. They know hatred and chaos feed on division. They want us to
turn against each other. Let’s deny them that victory. Lets medicate
ourselves, and the society we live in by working hard at being more
united than ever. Stretch out your hand today at brother in Masjid and
Mandir and Church and stand united.
Stretch out to those across the border who face the same terrorism.
We’ll win, if we don’t do a Bush again..!
2 December 2008
One of the finest sights as your launch takes off from the Gateway of
India are not naval ships on the left, or lights of other merchant
vessels all around but the sight of the splendid, imposing Taj Mahal
Hotel in the background. She even makes the Gateway a minor landmark.
And as your boat goes farther and farther away you look back and get the
feeling the hotel rises higher and higher from the sea, most probably
because other buildings around pale into insignificance. And after the
launch does its harbor cruise or takes you to the Elephanta Island and
returns, again the Taj reaches out across the waters, welcoming you back
to your beloved Bombay.
There is something so refreshing about the over hundred year old
building, it is not some dead historical monument from the past, it is a
living symbol of Indian might, its arches and turrets and domes majestic
yet human, imposing yet common.
But there’s history in the hotel: In the late 19th century, famed Bombay
Parsi businessman Jamsetji Tata set out to create one of the world’s
finest hotels because he was a victim of racism.
The idea came after he wasn’t allowed into the Apollo Hotel in Bombay to
meet with European investors. Tata, one of the world’s greatest
industrialists, couldn’t enter the place because he wasn’t white. In
those days of the British Raj, you had to be British to enter the finest
hotels. So Tata decided to build an even greater hotel, which would be
open to Indians. And that was how the Taj was built. It is a symbol of
Indian pride, a statement against racism, and a show of Indian
superiority. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time and money in the
Taj’s outstanding Nalanda bookstore, eaten several meals in the Shamiana
coffee shop, which has some of the nicest old waiters you’ll ever meet.
Up in the second-floor Sea Lounge, you can see Marwari and Gujurati
couples meet for the first time as part of the elaborate ritual of
creating arranged marriages. Behind the front desk is a brilliant M.F.
Hussain painting, likely worth millions. There’s the Golden Dragon
Chinese restaurant, a Louis Vuitton store, Ravissant, and much more.
This is the type of place where there are attendants in the washroom who
will turn on the faucet for you before you wash your hands and turbanned
gaurds outside who take you back to days gone by; of Maharaja’s and
This, the place which terrorists tried to bring down!’That’s the Taj,”
says the guide on the launch as your boat returns. There are no lights
shining out bright, no fluttering curtains. But even in her wounded
state I hear her say, “Welcome! I’ve survived and I’ll be back bright
and smiling as usual, soon!” “Ah Taj..!” you sigh, tears in your eyes.
1 December, 2008
Even as Mumbai weeps, weeps for her dead and deathly devastation, in the
sidelines like hyenas waiting for the wolf to finish, our politicians
crouch, baring their teeth and flashing false sympathetic looks at those
dead and those whose loved ones lie grievously harmed.
In the opposition camp, their leader asks, looking at his TV set many
thousands of miles away from the scene of action. “Is the gun battle
“Nearly sir, nearly!” “Then get our statements ready, say the terrorists
were friends of the Congress! Because they are soft on minorities see
what the minorities have done to the people!” “That sounds nice sir!”
“Of course it sounds nice, now let me think of some nicer lines, so we
can milk this situation for all its worth.” And in the ruling camp; same
reactions, “Tell them that terror was controlled because we acted fast!”
“But hundreds are dead sir!”
“Say if they had been in power thousands more would have been dead!” Yes
sir!” “We saved Mumbai, also say if they had been in power they would
have negotiated away all our jailed extremists like what they did in
Kandahar years ago!”
“Very good sir!” Outside a terrified city moans, outside and in houses
where the dead have been brought home, cries rent the air.
“Sir the people are crying!” “We have to change those cries of grief to
cries of anger against this government. How fortunate this took place
near the elections!” “You think we will win the next elections sir?” “It
depends!” “On what sir?”“How we convert grief to anger, how we change
sadness to rage. How we divert their minds from terrorism to
communalism! Ah this is what I was waiting for!” Can we react different
this time? Can we look up from our grief, and cry back at them as they
soon start their normal call to strike and stall and create a ruckus?
Can we as a nation shout, “Enough!” “Enough? What enough?”
“Enough of your double talk! Talk you can make behind your black cats
and commandos and after which speech, in fear you call for more black
cats and commandos. We’ve had enough! Now shut up and let us pick up the
pieces, and go about repairing our lives, go about getting out of the
trauma we’ve just been through, without you cowards putting us through
it again. Enough! Did you hear us? Enoughhhhh..!”
To hell with spelling..!
27 November, 2008
Look at the SMS’s on your cell phone, you’ll realize spelling is
changing; gone are the old traditional ways of orthography; now its
minimum letters to get maximum meaning across.
However, a meeting I attended yesterday took the cake: It was organized
by a large TV channel, and speaker after speaker spoke on perfection in
reporting, editing and achieving excellence in writing.Were you
impressed?” asked the producer after the rather long speeches. Will this
be televised tonight?” I asked. Of course!” said the man smiling at me.
“Excellence is a good subject to teach people, and viewers should know
we journalists are striving to attain such heights!” “Then you better do
some quick editing,” I said and pointed to the banner behind the podium
where speakers had spoken from: On it in bold letters was written,
“Media Seminr” instead of ‘seminar’. Excellence should have started at
home! Maybe I’m being harsh; many, many famous people including writers
who never had the advantage like we of ‘spell check’ were bad spellers.
Fitzgerald was one, and after the publication of his first novel, the
New York Tribune invited its readers to participate in a competition to
see who would find the largest number of mistakes in Fitzgerald’s novel.
A Harvard scholar won with a list totaling a hundred! John Holiday
peppery founder and editor of The Indianapolis News stormed into the
composing room of his newspaper one day determined to find the culprit
who had spelt height as ‘hight’. A check of the original copy showed
that it was spelt ‘hight’ and furthermore the copy was written by Mr
Holiday himself. ‘If that’s the way I spelt it, that’s correct!’ he said
and height was spelt ‘hight’ in The Indianapolis News for the next
After all he was the editor. More powerful than the dictionary! And so
are Queens: Queen Victoria grew irritable with the Princess Royal
whenever she misspelt a word, “I must tell you, “ she wrote to her,
“that you have misspelt several words several times, which you must
attend to, for if others saw it, they might think you have not been
And then the good ole queen herself made blunders like going into ‘extacies,’
and finding things ‘schocking’ and ‘bewhildering!’ But then she was the
Queen. I wonder what the producer of yesterday’s channel is going to do?
I suspect the only part going to be edited and thrown out is my tiny
appearance onstage: Seminr will remain seminr! After all he is the
Beating the moon man’s wife..!
26 November 2008
The Man on the Moon heard the shriek and stumbled out from one of the
moon craters where he lived with his wife, “What is it dear?” he asked.
“Somebody threw something at me!” “You’re hallucinating again!” sighed
the old man, “You did it forty years ago when you said you saw people
climbing down from a spaceship and you’ve started again!” “Of course I
saw people on a space ship getting off onto our moon, “ said the old
lady defiantly, “and I swear somebody just beat me with something! Look
my neck is bruised.”
The Man on the Moon sighed and looked at his wife, “In medical terms,”
said the old man, “you are psychosomatic!” “Psycho what?” asked his wife
glaring angrily at him. “It means your body is reacting physically to
what’s playing on your mind!” “So what you’re saying husband is…” “That
you so desperately want company that you are even getting bruises from
imaginary stones imaginary people are throwing at you!” “Just like the
imaginary earthlings I saw forty years ago?” asked his wife angrily.
“Exactly!” said her husband as he went back into the crater he’d come
The Woman on the Moon looked round wearily for the stone she was sure
had been flung at her and nearly shrieked again but thought better of it
as she saw a pole painted green, saffron and white staring at her. “What
is this?” she asked herself as she picked up the Moon Impact Probe she
didn’t know had been sent down by India’s rocket hovering above. “Oh I
know these colors,” whispered the woman as she looked at earth thousands
of miles away. “Those are the colors of India!” She looked up and saw
Chandrayaan circling above and clapped her hands with glee, “India!” she
screamed silently, “India! I know you are from India! You hit me didn’t
you? Don’t tell me we will be having visitors soon?” The Woman on the
Moon walked back to the crater where her husband was already asleep,
“Husband,” she screamed, “I’ve found what hit me!” “Woman stop
hallucinating, let me sleep!”
“The Indians are coming!” she screamed, “The Indians are coming!” The
Man on the Moon turned over on his side and looked squarely at his wife,
“Listen woman when you told me years ago you saw Americans on the moon I
nearly believed you, because I know they were capable of doing something
like this, but if you’ve become mad enough to suggest Indians have the
technology and money to come here, you better get your head examined!”
“Husband have you looked at India lately? Look down husband, tell me
what you see?”
The man on the moon looked down at the world below and gasped, “What’s
happening?” he asked, “The lights are off all over except India?”
“There’s a recession below dear husband, and your America and other
countries are all going down under, but the feeble light you see still
burning and which seems to be struggling but steadily becoming stronger
is India!” This time the Man on the Moon walked with his wife to where
the tricolor lay on the ground and grinned,
“Way to go India!” he shouted and all the stars and planets clapped,
“Its good to see you beating the world, but you’ve dared to do what even
I wouldn’t dare: beating up my wife..!” And the Moon Man and his wife
laughed and danced a jig with a billion jubilant people down below.
Market crash and a still centre..!
November 5, 2009
The postman was at the door, “Parcel for you. VPP!” I didn’t remember
ordering anything, but thinking the wife had, signed, paid and opened
the cover, “How to Win An Argument,” said thin paperback. I smiled and
realized I’d been part of a gimmick where by accepting parcel and paying
postman I’d inadvertently subscribed for a magazine.
Curious I read the first chapter and found something extremely
interesting; that there was no need to get agitated, worked up or
worried, all one needed was a ‘still centre’.A still centre! How d’ you
develop one? I pondered. A ‘still centre’ was formed, I realized out of
values, ethics, and was all about character building, not personality
shaping. Look at the financial problems of today’s market.
How many of these problems are the result of inferior products (dubious
mortgages, in this case) sold to unaware buyers? I am convinced that
long-range successful businesses, and truly successful lives, are built
on values. Two of such values are honesty and integrity.Over a century
ago, John Wanamaker, whose retail business grew into one of the world’s
first department stores, would have agreed. Wanamaker is sometimes
called the father of modern advertising. He instilled the attitude of
utmost honesty in his employees.The story is told of one of his
advertising people, instructed to make a sign promoting neckties that
were reduced in price from one dollar apiece to 25 cents. After
personally examining the ties, the marketer asked, ‘Are they any
good?’‘No, they’re not,’ he was told.
Wanamaker was completely honest, so the ad copy had to reflect the
attitude of the store. The necktie advertisement was finally written
this way: ‘They are not as good as they look, but they are good enough
at 25 cents.’ The department sold out of ties almost immediately and was
forced to purchase several more weeks’ supply of cheap ties to fill the
persistent demand Wanamaker believed that only a business based on
values has real value. And businesses of value are always successful.
Such businesses have a still centre. Can’t it also be said that such
lives also have real value? Yes, when you and I build our lives on
honesty and integrity, we build still centers that cannot be shaken by
the earthquakes of this world, will thus last and taste real success.In
a world that has come crumbling down due to unscrupulous deals,
dishonesty and lack of integrity, use today’s bad times to rebuild
character, instill values and build a still centre; nothing else will
I look at little book postman just brought and from somewhere above hear
a still voice saying, ever so silently, “Bob it’s I who can give you and
everybody who asks me a still centre to tide you through these times..!
Shut up, start listening..!
November 4, 2009
If there was some mechanism that could amplify all cell phone
conversations taking place at once, the sound produced would be louder
than an earthquake or bomb blast, a rumble worse than a giant drill
tearing into a concrete road! Once upon a time we saw people walking
around in silence, stopping to wish or converse only when they met
someone, but now, chatting doesn’t cease. And with that has gone your
quiet time. There’s the story of a corporate president who, as a young
man, learned an important and life-changing lesson. He’d just graduated
from college and was called for an interview for a position with a firm
in New York City. As the job involved moving his wife and small child
from Texas to New York, he wanted to talk the decision over with someone
before accepting it, but his father had died and the young man did not
have anybody to turn to.
On impulse, he telephoned an old friend of the family; someone his
father had suggested he turn to if he ever needed good advice. The
friend said he would be happy to give him advice, ‘Go on to New York
City and have the interview,’ the older man said. ‘But I want you to go
up there in a very special way. I want you to go on a train and get
yourself a private compartment. Don’t take anything to write with,
anything to listen to, or anything to read, and don’t talk to anybody
except to put in your order for dinner with the porter. When you get to
New York call me and I will tell you what to do next.’
The young man followed the advice precisely. The trip took two days. As
he had brought along nothing to do and kept entirely to himself, he
quickly became bored. It soon dawned on him what was happening. He was
being forced into quiet time.
He could do nothing but think and meditate. About three hours outside
New York City he broke the rules and asked for pencil and paper. Until
the train stopped, he wrote – the culmination of all his meditation. He
called the family friend from the train station. ‘I know what you
wanted,’ he said. ‘You wanted me to think. And now I know what to do. I
don’t need help anymore.’
‘I didn’t think you would,’ came the reply. ‘Good luck.’ Years later,
the same young man headed a corporation in California. And he always
made it a policy to take a couple of days to be alone. He went where
there was no phone, no television, no distractions and no people. He
went to be alone, to meditate and to listen.
French writer and Nobel Prize winner André Gide reminds us to ‘be
faithful to that which exists within yourself.’ But how can we be
faithful when we don’t really know what is inside? The answer is to be
quiet. Stop that cell phone habit, still your mind and listen. You’ll
soon know what to do…!
Grandpa’s words of wisdom..!
November 3, 2009
Cheer up, lets have some laughter today: A friend sent me these gems of
wisdom penned by a grandfather and I thought I would share them with
you, so here goes: Whether a man winds up with a nest egg, or a goose
egg, depends a lot on the kind of chick he marries.
Trouble in marriage often starts when a man gets so busy earning his
salt, that he forgets his sugar. Too many couples marry for better, or
for worse, but not for good. When a man marries a woman, they become
one; but the trouble starts, when they try to decide which one.
When a man has enough horse sense to treat his wife like a thoroughbred,
she will never turn into an old nag. On anniversaries, the wise husband
always forgets the past -but never the present.
A foolish husband says to his wife, “Honey, you stick to the washing’s
ironin’, cookin’, and scrubbin’. No wife of mine is gonna work.” The
bonds of matrimony are a good investment, only when the interest is kept
up. Many girls like to marry a military man - he can cook, sew, and make
beds, and is in good health, and he’s already used to taking orders.
Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age,
and start bragging about it.
The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for. Some
people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know
“why” I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads
How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you are? When you are
dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth.... Remember about
Algebra. You know you are getting old, when everything either dries up,
or leaks. I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the
top. One of the many things no one tells you about aging is, that it is
such a nice change from being young. Ah, being young is beautiful, but
being old is comfortable.
Old age is when former classmates are so gray and wrinkled and bald,
they don’t recognize you. If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you
won’t have anything to laugh at, when you are old. First you forget
names, then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper,
but it’s really worse when you forget to pull it down. Long ago when men
cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today,
it’s called Golf.
I hope you enjoyed grandpa’s simple humor today.
Not without my paper..!
What excites me most each morn, isn’t morning coffee being brewed with
aroma divine drifting into bedroom, nor quiet yet persistent prodding of
my dog into my blankets, reminding me its another glorious day, oh no,
what excites me is the anticipation, that feeling of high expectation,
slight apprehension as I tiptoe to door, swing it open and hey presto
there on doorstep lying like waiting seductress, white faced yet lined
with clamoring lines, my bundle of newspapers!
Each bold print, font and letter leap to meet my eye: ‘Take me,” they
scream, “No me!” “No me!” “Look at me!” screams one below offering color
picture that nearly steps out of broadsheet, tabloid, walks forward
offering to be discovered, uncovered, ravished, used.
But like clever lover who stills himself waiting for opportune moment to
unleash passion I likewise, pick sensual bundle, holding, treasuring
each sheet carefully, but then place precious lot on inside table, and
without a second glance, though shivering with anticipation run from
home for jog in park. I hear headlines cry: “Look at me!” “Read me!”
Ravish my pages!” But determined to make such pleasure linger I move
away, though yearning to return and pleasure those juicy news bits that
stretch headlines out to me. They wait, not touched by other hands, who
dare not ravish till I am done, and when my time in park is done I
return, with smile of anticipation, greedily lift those pages and they
fall limp as I carry them up to terrace garden where again I tease
myself with another wait as impatient dog has his time with game called
And then the settling down, the coffee cup that’s filled with welcome
brew but which waits as mine eye greedily ravishes enchanting page,
devouring line by line, turning page, moving from print to picture,
picture to print, till at last when first fervor be over I sip my brew
and then with easier pace the rest I do.
But today I am aghast; nothing lies outside and then I remember dreadful
word: Holiday! “What’s wrong dad?” asks elder one as I open bedroom
“Everything okay?” asks worried wife. I walk around, poke, peer, play
angrily with dog till dogtired he flops and wonders; which Roman galley
has such slave driver offloaded.And then I smile, I remember, yesterday
I’d kept back two: Two papers I’d not devoured, but left aside for
withdrawal symptoms I’d face today.
I pull them out with glee; it’s yester news! So what? I moisten lips,
smile and like ravenous man, devour page and print, and print and page,
tit bits I’d left to feed myself with today. It matters not the news be
old, it’s paper in my hand that satisfieth. No TV, no radio, no computer
can replace the joy of crisp page melting in reader’s hand..!
A festival of lights..!
One of the most beautiful sights of my childhood was to see little
flames dancing on the compound walls of my neighbors’ every Diwali: Not
the colored bulbs of today, so standard and artificial, but actual
little flames, and as little lights danced out of small earthen pots
filled with oil, I imagined them being warriors leaping left, right and
centre, warding off evil, bad luck and other forces of darkness. I pray
this Diwali such lights will fight the darkness and gloom that have
entered homes this season, that the lights of good fortune will shine
again in the abodes of those whose large investments have been lost in
the market, that smiles will once again light the faces of housewives
who sank that little extra household money on shares, and on husbands
who’s only fault while watching index going up was of a better life for
I pray those lights will blaze into cesspools of darkness that lie in
the minds of leaders who incite and instigate ignorant masses to ransack
and ravage, injure and damage their brothers who hail from other parts
of same country or worship god in forms different from their own:
That these lights of Diwali will either transform such warped thinking,
or burn them extinct.I hope this year that the Festival of Lights will
light up this country again, that areas which go through hours of
darkness, may through use of nuclear technology or forward thinking by
our leaders get that wire, that electricity line into homes, carrying
power that will shine brighter than petromax, candle or kerosene lamp.
My prayer also is that the light of knowledge through education will be
availed and be available to more of our children who through such
learning will be able to decipher and comprehend the tricks and deceit
that white kurta clad leaders with blackened hearts have been fooling
them with: That the light of understanding will make them rise in unison
and ask for brotherhood through love, not death and destruction through
That this Diwali we realize that no God whether Muslim, Hindu or
Christian would want devotees, or followers to take up arms for his
cause, that any such action is not that of light but one that stems from
the forces of darkness and evil.
Ah those little flickering flames of my childhood; leaping to the left,
darting to the right and spiraling up centre; I pray those same fires be
kindled in our hearts into bonfires of love that will propel and carry
us forward into blazing a trail of light in this country of ours: A
powerful inferno that will never be extinguished ever by the powers of
darkness. Happy Diwali dear friends..!
Go for gold..!
Many amongst us have kids, a little different, more shy, gawky, not too
good looking, maybe stutter: now here’s something for you and those kids
The story of Michael Phelps, whose Olympic achievement - eight gold
medals in Beijing, 14 over all - is astonishing in itself.
But set against the backdrop of his early years and a diagnosis of
Attention Deficit Disorder, his performance is even more awe-inspiring.
Let this be a lesson for all those who don’t fit the mold:
Don’t let anyone count you out. Before he became the greatest Olympian
ever, Michael Phelps was a kid who was bullied because he had big ears
and a lisp. A teacher once told his mother he’d never be successful
because he couldn’t focus. But Phelps achieved his amazing Olympic
accomplishment, with the help of so many others-many unseen people that
were there for him to achieve this accomplishment. And the best part of
this, he repeatedly gave credit to all these individuals; his mother,
sisters, coaches, and teammates. Each had an integral part in his
success.Debbie Phelps, an unbending champion for her son, sought a
creative release for his unhinged energy - swimming. His coach, Bob
Bowman, laid out a plan that propelled him into the highest levels of
his sport. Think of the possibilities if the world viewed kids like
Phelps for their potential, not for their imperfections. What if every
child who faced such obstacles had at least one adult who saw the talent
within and became their champion? The Holy Scriptures are filled with
stories of people who depended on others for support and success.
Encouragement is to a team what wind is to a sail - it moves people
Michael Phelps isn’t the only one whose achievements are made possible
by the work and services of a support team, so great and so complex,
that God alone deserves the credit for making it possible, whether
Michael realizes it or not. While he has become an extraordinary young
man, who deserves the public’s respect, he is the awkward, unfocused
little boy who ultimately triumphed and became the person God uniquely
created him to be. And that’s what you have to tell your kids, that’s
what this article is all about.God has a unique place in this world for
you, whether you are shy, unfocussed, having a torso which is longer
than your legs like Phelps doesn’t matter, you are special, start going
after your gold. Or Help someone else go for gold..!
You reap what you sow..!
As I hear about the terrible atrocities all over the world, I know it’s
politicians who are behind all this, who without remorse, without the
least concern watch innocents butchered and burnt.
But my dear political friends you reap what you sow; when you sow hate
you’ll reap hate and good reaps good like this story shows: An incident
took place during Ignacy Paderewski’s (November 18, 1860 - June 29,
1941) career. The famous Polish pianist agreed to play a concert
organized by two Stanford University students working their way through
college. Paderewski’s Manager said they would have to guarantee the
artist a fee of $2,000.
The boys agreed and eventually the concert was held. Though the two
student promoters worked hard, they took in only $1,600. Discouraged,
they told Paderewski of their efforts and handed him the $1,600 with a
note promising to pay him the balance of $400. But the artist tore up
the note and gave them back the $1,600. ‘Take your expenses out of
this,’ he said, ‘give yourselves each 10% of what’s left for your work,
and let me have the rest.’Years later, Paderewski was faced with feeding
the people of his war-ravaged Poland. Amazingly, even before a request
was made, thousands of tons of food were sent to Poland by the United
States. Paderewski later traveled to Paris to thank President Herbert
Hoover, who headed up the US relief effort. ‘That’s all right, Mr.
Paderewski,’ said Hoover, ‘I knew that the need was great. And besides,
though you may not remember it, I was one of two college students whom
you generously helped when I was in need!’
The story illustrates a law of successful living: sooner or later we
reap what we sow. Paderewski reaped a harvest of kindness he had sown
years before. Those who sow love will eventually reap love. Those who
sow goodness will reap even more. Those who sow fear and mistrust will
reap an unwanted harvest later.
Yes, Mr Politician you will pay for what you are doing with the lives
entrusted in your care, each child who lives in fear, each woman hiding
in the jungle and each man who lies awake in terror night after night
fearing for his family, hopes and prays that you will change your ways
before the day that all you sow starts reaping in your hateful, spiteful
Just as a Paderewski was rewarded for his kindness by the then President
of the United States, you will also have to one day stand before your
God who will chastise, castigate and punish you for what is going on
Five rungs to your dream..!
The Olympics have come to an end: Sixteen spectacular days when we saw
men and women win gold, silver and bronze, break records, make new
records and show the world the extent human endurance could reach.
Before you sit and wait for the next Games in Britain, here are two
stories to inspire you also to greater heights: Many years ago a young
black child was growing up in Cleveland, in a home, which he later
described as “materially poor but spiritually rich.” One day a famous
athlete, Charlie Paddock, came to his school to speak to the students.
At the time Paddock was considered “the fastest human being alive.” He
told the children, “Listen! What do you want to be? You name it and then
believe that God will help you be it.”
That little boy decided that he too wanted to be the fastest human being
on earth. The boy went to his track coach and told him of his new dream.
His coach told him, “It’s great to have a dream, but to attain your
dream you must build a ladder to it. Here is the ladder to your dreams.
The first rung is determination! The second is dedication! The third,
discipline! And the fourth rung; attitude!” The result of all that
motivation is that he went on to win four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin
Olympics. He won the 100 meter dash and broke the Olympic and world
records for the 200 meters. His broad jump record lasted for twenty-four
His name? Jesse Owens What about the fifth rung? Well, another tale,
this time not an athlete but a preacher: Somewhere in the mid-1960s,
evangelist Billy Graham was invited to speak at an event in the
university’s football stadium.
There were 18,000 people in attendance that evening. America’s civil
rights movement was well underway and the stadium crowd represented one
of the largest racially integrated meetings ever held in the state.As
Rev Graham was giving a message about easing racial tensions, a huge
thunderstorm gathered overhead. Suddenly, lightening struck and a ball
of fire seemed to emanate from the speaker’s microphone and travel down
the wire.Graham immediately sat down. Then he leaned over and spoke to
Alabama’s legendary football coach, Bear Bryant. “Coach,” he said,
“you’d have stopped, too, if that lightnin’ had hit you like that.” Bear
said, “No sir!”
“What do you mean?” asked Graham.”Well,” he said, “if I was down on the
one-yard line, I wouldn’t have stopped until I scored!”
Rev Graham returned to the microphone and finished his talk. The fifth
rung to your dream; ‘never quit, till you score..!’
The Chinese have won the most number of gold medals but the US have won
more medals overall, and this is causing a dispute of international
proportions between the two giants. “Look at the medals we are carrying
home,” panted an American athlete as he lifted a sack, “even the
airlines are refusing us on board unless we pay for extra baggage!”
“Gold is gold,” chanted the Chinese athletes, “you can carry back your
silver, you can carry back your bronze, but we carried back the gold!”
“You might have got more gold,” shouted the American Olympians, “but
we’ve got more medals and the Olympics is about medals dear dragons!”
Now there’s one thing about the Chinese, though the dragon it be
national emblem and you also see it in most Chinese restaurants and also
restaurants which are not Chinese but want to fool customers they are,
still nobody likes being called a dragon. “It’s a very provocative
term,” said the referee who was kicked by the Cuban, and whose
statements were now being swallowed by the International press, “you
just can’t call anybody a dragon! Ofcourse that fellow who kicked me, he
could make it to the dinosaur category but not dragon, never!”
“We’ve got to put an end to this controversy!” said the head of the
Olympic committee, “We can’t have this dragging on…”
“Dragoning one…” laughed his Chinese interpreter. “Ah yes, dragooning
on!” said the head of the committee. The British were upset, this could
spell trouble in the next Olympics and it was decided to find a solution
before it got carried to the Isles of Britain. “I think I’ve got a way
out,” said Prime minister Brown, “weigh the medals!” “What do you mean?”
asked the Olympic chief as his interpreter hastened to translate his
English to Brown.
“Dammit, just melt all the American medals and put it on a weighing
machine and the Chinese on another and see which is heavier, that’s the
winner.” “Genius!” shouted the Olympic chief as his translator hastened
to translate the word for Brown, who waited for her to finish and then
patted himself on his shoulder.Wait!” shouted the Chinese chief.
“No!” shouted the Chinese team. “America win!” shouted the Chinese
president. “Why did the Chinese give up so easily?” asked the American
President as he boarded the plane to America.
“The gold medals were made in China!” chuckled the Olympic chief as his
translator scowled, “they were not genuine gold, just gold plated, like
the little singing girl mouthing another voice and the imaginary fire
works on the first day!”
“Ah! Made in China! What else can you expect!” chuckled the rest of the
Revenge smells bad..!
After seventeen years of marriage, a man dumped his wife for a younger
woman. The downtown luxury apartment was in his name and he wanted to
remain there with his new love, so he asked his wife to move out and
said he would buy her another place later. The wife agreed to this, but
asked that she be given three days.
The first day she packed her personal belongings into boxes and crates
and suitcases. On the second day, she had the movers come and collect
her things. On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their
candlelit dining table, soft music playing in the background, and
feasted alone on shrimp and a bottle of Chardonnay. When she had
finished, she went into each room and deposited shrimp leftovers into
the hollow of her curtain rods. She then cleaned up the kitchen and
left. Her husband returned with his new girl, and decided to make a
four- poster bed; so he pulled down curtain rods painted them and used
them as support.
All was bliss for the first few days for his new wife and himself. Then
it started, slowly but surely. Clueless, the man could not explain why
the place smelled as it did. They tried everything. First they cleaned
and mopped and aired the place out. That didn’t work. Then they checked
vents for dead rodents. Still no luck.They steam cleaned the carpets and
hung air fresheners.
That didn’t solve the problem. They hired exterminators; still no good.
They ripped out the carpets and replaced them. But the smell lingered.
Finally, they could take it no more and decided to move. The moving
company packed everything except the heavy four poster bed and moved it
all to a new place and since his former wife had nowhere to go and as
part of the settlement she moved back to her old place. “House smells!”
says her husband as he moves out and she moves in.
“Oh yeah!” laughs the woman, and as you laugh knowing what happened with
her trying to imagine where the stink was coming from, not realizing it
was her own curtain rods now part of four poster bed, remember revenge
is always a poor option if we want to be healthy and happy.
The problem is we want to hit back but revenge is like a boomerang it
comes back to you and if you’re not a boomerang expert it hits you
pretty hard. Some resentments are large; they’ve built up over a long
time and will not be easy to part with. Some have been fed by years of
pain and anger, but all the more reason to give them up. If you’re tired
of being hit back with your own anger and resentment and bitterness, you
can choose a better way. Be forever unhappy, or be healthy. It’s
difficult living with the smell of revenge. It stinks..!
The pothole song..!
Have you ever looked closely at a pothole? There are plenty around, so
do so now, they’re actually huge singing mouths, different shapes and
sizes, with jagged ends which are teeth and if you lean even farther
you’ll hear their voices singing away quite lustily; the ‘Pothole Song’:
Listen to the words:
We love you oh dear people, because you do love us, Allowing us each
monsoon, to exist without a fuss! We love the way you groan and moan,
And gasp with pain as we break each bone, We love the way you slip into
us, And slip out again without a fuss!
Every year, when clouds do come, We hear you ho, we hear you hum, ‘No
holes this year’ we hear you yell, ‘No potholes this year’ your mayor
does tell, We see you smile, but we Potholes know, That this all an
‘Annual Show’, And then when the first raindrops fall, And you stare
from mansion or house so small, There we are waiting out for you.
Potholes old and potholes new, We hear you shout, we hear you yell, We
hear you raising merry hell, But heart of hearts we all do know, That
yours is just an annual show.
A little scared we were this year, Of new technology that we did hear,
When it would be applied on us, Would make us vanish without a fuss.
But the contractors, they loved us more, Mucked up the technique so much
so. That now in every road and street, With yawning mouths we you do
greet. We love you dear Oh dear people, because you do love us, Allowing
us each monsoon, to exist without a fuss!
We love the way you groan and moan, And gasp with pain as we break each
We love the way you slip into us, And slip out again without a fuss!
So as you fall into your next pothole, listen closely, ever so carefully
to the Pothole Song and since you know the words, just sing along..!
It was nearer midnight in Washing ton when Thomas Jefferson noticed it
and a lil’ later George Washington too, “He’s getting’ a twitch,” said
Washington to Jefferson from their respective memorials as they watched
Lincoln twitch. “Poor feller, I’m sure he’s bothered ‘bout sometin’!”
said Jefferson looking at the marble figure sitting in his famous pose.
“Yeah!” said Washington, “Maybe Abe’s worried, but if he is, it’s all
his fault!” “I couldn’t agree with you more,” said Jefferson.
“There are things that should ‘ave bin left alone! Like cattle,
horses..” “And slaves!” said Jefferson as they both laughed. “Though
it’s good to ‘ave dem as mistresses, not wives, they keep yer bed warm
but stay out of yer head!” “He should have left them slaves alone Abe!”
“Kept them in the field..” “Singin’ their spirituals and raisin’
babies..” “Some of dem babies’ ours!”
“Yeah! But what does good ole Abe do?” “He go and free ‘em!” “Now look
at him twitchin’,” said Jefferson and both the ex presidents looked with
concern from their different memorials at Honest Abe twitchin’ away to
glory. “Hey Abe you feelin’ guilty huh?”
“You’re the cause of this upheaval! You freed them and see what’s
finally ‘appenin!” “A slave named Obama standin’ fer President!””Ye gads
a black takin’ our place!” “Slaves dey be fer work in de plantations and
plantin’ our seed in dem!” growled Jefferson as Washington guffawed,
“Heh! Heh! You rascal!”“Yeah I had my time in me estate but now dem same
fellers dey be loafin’ all over this white country and now one of dem..”
“Yeah one of dem is standin’ fer de same post we struggled to get!” “De
President of de United States of America!” Jefferson jumped as
Washington went pale, Abe’s twitch was all over his body. “He’s
shaking!” He’s breakin’ out of his marble!””Abe’s come alive!” “He’s
dancing wid joy is our Abe!” “It’s not a twitch!” “Abe’s happy! He’s
“The son of a former slave fer President!” shouted Lincoln, “I never
knew I’d see the day when America would be mature enough for this!
Hurrah Obama! Hurrah America..!
A true friend..!
She was standing alone, inside the badly lit store, sipping a soft
It was late in the evening. “Nothing cold at home?” I joked, knowing she
lived just above the shop.
“He locked the fridge,” she said. “I’m sorry,” I said, as she sipped the
remainder of the drink and paid the shop man.
“Tell me,” she said, “how long can I take this, won’t I ever be happy?”
I looked at her and felt sad. Hers was a bad marriage with a husband who
abused her physically and mentally. He was neither a drunkard nor a
womaniser, he just loved to taunt, and the fights continued night and
“Come home tomorrow morning,” I told her, “and I’ll introduce you to two
very happy women..!”
She came home the next day, just before I went about my writing. “Where
are those happy women?” she asked. I pulled out two photographs and
showed them to her. She looked at the first; it was taken at a picnic
and showed a group of women laughing at the camera.
“Who d’you think is the happiest?” I asked. “They all look happy but the
one in the centre is smiling with her eyes. She looks so cheerful.”
“She is,” I said. “Lucky woman,” “Lucky?” I asked. “That woman returned
that same evening from picnic to an alcoholic husband, who threatened
her with a knife for money for his drink. She returns home every day to
the same man who stays at home drinking!”
“I can’t believe it. She looks so happy.” “ Now look at this snap,” I
said, showing her a family group. Is there a happy person there?”
“There’s something wrong with the man,” she said. “He’s under
psychiatric treatment,” I said, “he worked in the mills and lost his job
eight years ago, the same year he lost his father, he is now under
severe depression and has to be looked after night and day by his wife
and daughter. That’s his wife by his side.”
“She’s smiling. She must be mad! What with such trouble!” I smiled.
“Both those women were in hopeless situations,” I said, “and had faces
as long as the face you had when I met you at the store last night.”
“Then what happened?” she whispered. “They met a friend..!” “Some friend
if they can be so happy!”
“A friend who is now with them night and day as they deal with alcoholic
husbands and psychiatric disorders. Someone who holds their hand while
drunkard tries to manhandle, gives them inner peace when mentally ill
gets disturbed. A friend who gives them total calm in the middle of
stormy scene and strength to face the next.”
“Can this friend give me the same joy?” “Give Him a call,” I said, “he’s
just a prayer away, and one more thing....”
“What?” she asked with a smile. “Let me add your photo to my file once
you’ve become friends. There are many others who need to be introduced
It was my mother who suggested I visit Atlantic City when I’d visited my
parents in New York a few years ago. “What d’you have over there?” I
asked her. “Gambling!” she said. “I don’t gamble,” I told her. “Just go
and have a look at all the casino’s and plazas,” she said, “you’ll be
I was. Atlantic City is a few hours drive from New York. Buses take you
there, and for the cost of the ticket, they even gave me twenty dollars
worth of coupons. I put all the twenty dollars into one slot machine and
lost everything at one go. I was happy with the result and decided to
walk outside. What a sight. There was Trumps Plaza and the Taj Casino
and glass plated buildings where scantily clad beauties went around
carrying coins for the machines. Everything spelt money. I left the
buildings and walked along the boardwalk watching the sea. Along the sea
front where little tents selling small knickknacks. I walked across and
saw something that looked out of place in Atlantic City. It was the poem
‘Footprints’, which was being sold for a dollar. I picked it up and as I
read it there in the middle of all the vice, I wondered what it was
doing here in Sin City, till I looked around and saw lonely broken
people strolling on the beach, dozens who had lost hundreds and
thousands of dollars in the gambling dens and wandered broken. Now I
knew why the poem was selling here. Even to these people there was hope
in this simple verse:
Footprints One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along
the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one
belonging tohim, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his
life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand.He
noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one
set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he
questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to
follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that
during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of
footprints.I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave
me.” The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I
would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when
you see only one set of footprints in the sand it was then that I
carried you…!”Atlantic City: breaking people, and a God, waiting in a
poem, to carry the broken ones. What a picture..!
Years ago as a teenager, I remember seeing Gregory Peck in Mc Kennas
Gold and telling myself that wow, I would love to be that man. He was
one of the handsomest men I had ever seen on or off screen. But the most
beautiful part of Peck was his life was as lovely and wonderful as his
image on screen. There was no difference between the inner and outer
There shown through him an unending feeling of goodness. How? I wondered
did people like Gregory Peck learn to be such good human beings and as I
pondered over this, I learnt about an inscription in an old church
monument in Baltimore, dating way back to the year 1629.
‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may
be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms
with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to
others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story.’
‘Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If
you compare yourself with others you may become vain and bitter, for
there will always be greater and lesser people than yourself. Enjoy your
achievements as well as your plans. Keep interest in your own career,
however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of
‘Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of
trickery, but let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many
people strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.’
‘Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical
about love, for in the face of aridity and disenchantment, it is
perennial as the grass.’‘Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with
imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a
wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.’
‘You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars
you have right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you the
universe is unfolding as it should be.’
‘Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and
whatever your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life ,
keep peace with your soul.’
‘With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful
world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.’
Gregory Peck I am sure had his share of sham and broken dreams, but he
strove to be happy and that happiness came through in his spectacularly
Plastic surgery is what most people go in for, but real good looks come
from deep within..!
Big B’s baggage bungle..!
Now I know one’s baggage gets misplaced once in a while, but in Big B’s
case its the eighteenth time and always by British Airways!That’s a bit
of a coincidence what? “Hey there baggage handler! Why’s this happening
to the Bachchan baggage?””Bachchan? Who that be mate?”
“The tall Indian guy!””Tall Indian feller? Y’mean de guy and his devils
who gave our fellers a lickin’? Me dad he told me ‘bout it, t’was
sometime in 83' wasn’t it mate?””No that’s Kapil Dev. This here man’s
got a huge boomin’ voice.”
“You mean de man wid de loin cloth and spinnin’ wheel?””That was Gandhi
and he didn’t need no boomin’ voice to get his way. But this Big B’s son
he got married to the most beautiful woman in the world!””Y’mean someone
got married to Jade Goody? Ha, ha, ha! Sorry mate we was only jokin’!
What d ‘you say his name was?””The Big B.””Y’mean Amitabh?””Yes Amitabh
Bachchan! Why’re you chaps always mishandling his baggage?” “You see
mate there’s sometin’ we handlin’ guys can’t talk about!””Whoa! Whoa!
We’re talking about misplaced baggage and you’re the baggage handler
right?””Right you be mate.” “So who’s been fiddlin’ with his
baggage?””Like I said there’s sometin’ I can’t …unless ofcourse..””Here’s
ten quid.””That’s mighty generous of you, but fer ten..”
“Here’s another ten!” “Now you’re talkin’ mate.””So who’s fiddling with
the Bachchan baggage?”
“We don’t wanna get into any trouble ‘bout this mate?”
“I assure you, there won’t be any trouble, but it’s the eighteenth time
Big B’s lost his luggage on your airline; it seems someone’s mighty
interested in his belongings?”
“There’s somebody lookin’ fer de Big B’s magic box!””Magic box?”
“Yeah this Big B, he be the come back kid right? He was down and out,
flat broke and made a big come back, right mate?””Yes! The Big B’s even
bigger than what he was before.”
“So there’s someone searchin’ fer his box of magic, what gave him de
power to make dis’ come back in dis’ big way…but fer twenty
quid…””Here’s another ten, now tell me who’s searching for this magic
box?” “Tony!””Tony Blair?”
“Yeah, it’s the eighteenth time we caught him rummagin’ in de Big B’s
baggage, lookin’ fer his magic box. Poor Blair, he don’t wanna go into
oblivion, and he’s vowed he’ll keep searchin’ the baggage till he finds
the Bachchan magic..!”
Bloom where you’re planted..!
Ever so often in my conversations with different people do I hear a
husband or wife telling me how they gave up lucrative career or well
paying job to look after their children or ailing parents, how they gave
up a good salary abroad just to be with family. I have seen the far away
look in their eyes as they imagine how high they would have advanced,
compared to how little they feel they are doing right now. To such as
you do I address this piece. David Roper talks of a friend of his who
used to operate a ranch in the Owyhee desert south of Boise, Idaho. Once
when he was visiting his old homestead he pointed out a gnarled juniper
tree, the only one in sight. David looked at it and grimaced at the
sight of such an ugly piece of greenery. The rancher chuckled. “Its the
only tree thats managed to survive in this space,” he said, “And just
look how its doing its job!” All the tree could do was to provide shade
for a cow or two. But under that lone tree those cows got their cover
from the blazing sun, and then refreshed, walked on.
“That,” said the rancher, “is the best illustration I can give you of
the principle; bloom where you’re planted” The principle isn’t ‘grow a
little where you’re planted,” nor is it ‘grow grudgingly’ but bloom.
Open out, bud, blossom, flourish, thrive, prosper, succeed..!
For this to happen all you need do is to see yourself different. One of
the world’s greatest architects, Sir Christopher Wren, undertook the
task of helping to rebuild London after it had been nearly destroyed by
fire in 1666. One day he visited the site where a large church building
was under construction. He saw a worker tapping away diligently into the
wall from atop the scaffolding.
“What are you doing up there?” cried Christopher Wren. With pride the
man called back. “I’m helping Christopher Wren build a cathedral!” It
was not an empty boast, for without the help of unnamed workers Wren
would never have constructed his impressive structures. Open your eyes
right now and see yourself as part of an important task. The parents of
Gandhiji and Abraham Lincoln , never made it big on the fame scale, but
their ‘shade’ produced world leaders.Sir Michael Costa was conducting a
rehearsal in which the orchestra was joined by a great chorus. About
half way through the session, with trumpets blaring, drums rolling and
violens playing their rich melody, the piccolo player muttered to
himself, “What good am I doing? I might just as well not be playing.
Nobody can hear me anyway.”So he kept the instrument close to his mouth,
but made no sound. Within moments the Sir Michael cried out, “Stop!
Stop! Where’s the piccolo?” It was missed by the ear of the most
important person of all; the conductor.
So don’t stop playing, however small the sound you think you’re making,
the performance isn’t complete till you bloom out..! ‘In God’s eyes it
is a great thing to do a small thing well..’
The surgeon’s scalpel..!
T’was tucked in a corner in morning newspaper: Chinese woman to spend
six months under surgeon’s scalpel, to change herself into a beauty!
Aha! Wouldn’t quite a few of us like do the same? We are already at it.
Hours at beauty saloon, or in front of mirror, a dash of mascara, wonder
creams that hide tell tale wrinkles, fairness lotions, enticing
lipstick, bewitching eyeliners!
And of course suction machines that suck stubborn stomach away, filling
ones that fill busts to queen size proportions!
He came home to visit, this cousin of a close friend of mine, many years
ago. If there was a specimen of a man, I could call handsome, this was
it. We spent the whole evening chatting, nay he spent the whole evening
talking, I listened and as the evening wore on, I yawned, but with
courtesy to friend, whose cousin it was, I kept tired eyes open, near
snoring nostrils shut.All he spoke off was himself, his achievements,
accomplishments, aspirations, his qualities, his courage, his greatness,
his genius. I listened, and suddenly it struck me, I was in middle of a
sales pitch. The man was selling himself. There was a plea in his
endless rhetoric. “Listen,” he was saying, “I’m good, aren’t I?”The
young man finally left and wearily I went to phone and rang friend whose
cousin it was. I heard a chuckle on the other side. “Plastic surgery!”
he said. “He’s had plastic surgery. Was one of the ugliest chaps before
the surgeons knife turned him into sexy hunk, but he still thinks like
he looked before.”
What surgeon’s scalpel couldn’t touch and shape and mould was the still
ugly man inside his handsome looks. What he still felt of himself was
not shapely nose, seductive lip or Tarzan jaw, but obnoxious, foul,
Thousands of years ago, the prophet Samuel went in search of the next
king of Israel. He was guided by God to the family of Jesse, who had
four sons. The sons were paraded before Samuel, one by one. The prophet
looked at the eldest, and then the next and the next and wondered each
time that surely this was the one whom God had chosen, since they were
all tall and good looking. But God chose the youngest who was in the
fields, a shepherd boy, saying, “Don’t judge a man by his face or
height. I don’t make decisions the way you do. Men judge by outward
appearance, but I look at his heart.” To God, good looks, good height,
mean nothing. He looks deeper and knows true beauty lies beyond looks
and mascara, that lovely face and chiselled jaw still hide weak, wishy
washy, frail spineless person.
God looks into the heart of man. That is where His scalpel needs to
reach. With a deft cut here and a push and a jab, with closing of wound
and a healing of hurt, with cutting of habit and hacking relationships,
tuning the heart and cleaning your soul, He will sculpt our ugliness
into beauty divine. “Hey handsome..! Hello beautiful..! You’ve been
treated by the Surgeons scalpel..!