Languages.

This very technical article concludes that being bilingual is an advantage. So, how about someone who is multilingual?

According to Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. However, figures from other sources vary, primarily due to differences in definition of the terms “language” and “dialect”. The 2001 Census recorded 30 languages which were spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 which were spoken by more than 10,000 people.

Almost all urban Indians will speak at least two languages and quite a few will speak at least three, the third being English.

I can fluently speak read and write four languages and converse quite comfortably in three others.  This came about primarily because of my career having been in sales in transferable conditions and I also was blessed to have been able to see every corner of my mother land, often in depth including visits to rural parts.

There are many like me in India and I am sure that all of them will agree with this:

Posted in Gratitude, India/Pakistan, Language, Marketing | Tagged | 14 Comments

Pen Pals.

No, I did not have to use a pencil to correspond with my pen pal. I had only one ever and he came about because of the United States Information Service’s library in Madras in the 1950s. My cousin was a librarian there and she had made me and my siblings members. We used to borrow books from there. One day, she asked me if I would like to be a pen pal to an American of my age, which at that time was 13 and I said sure and so I became friends with a young lad from the USA named Johny Horrigan Jr. We exchanged a few letters, and both of us got bored of it and so the pen pal activity tapered off to an unceremonious end.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and I have made a great many online/blogger pals who I suppose are the modern equivalent of pen pals. We use computers and the internet instead of paper, pen and the postal services. The process is much faster too.

Like all pen pals do, I too hope that I will get to meet some of my online pals as they assure me they do too. Without personally meeting however, I have been able to establish many good long distance friendships thanks to the internet and blogging and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Shackman has suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

The Danger Of A Single Story.

This is a remarkable TED talk by a remarkable lady. I not only enjoyed hearing her talk, I went back and read the transcript too. Please do spend some time listening to her. Well worth the time you spend on it.

Posted in Language, People, Philosophy, Sociology, Writing | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Loss!

My blogger and virtual friend Marie posted this on her facebook page yesterday. Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

Today is the eighth anniversary of the death of Urmeela. What the old man says resonates with me.

Strangely enough today is also Holi. Yesterday when Manjiree and Ranjan were discussing what should be done today, I simply said that it should be like any other day and we should not do anything out of the way either for the anniversary or the celebration of Holi.

My way of dealing with loss.

Posted in Blogging, Family, Nostalgia, People, Philosophy, Relationships | Tagged | 20 Comments

Peace!


“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV

When I had suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts, I had no idea about what I will write on it. As late as yesterday, I had no clue as to how to go about writing the post on time. This morning however, when I sat down for my daily session of meditation, the idea of writing about inner peace came as though it was a command and ideas on what to write also crystalised.

In Sanskrit peace invocations one always concludes by saying “Om! Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.” The reason that the word Shanti, meaning peace is said three times is to invoke peace of mind during sufferings arising out of Adhidaivika (of divine origin), Adhibhautika (originated in the physical, material beings), and Adhyatmika (created by ourselves).

Adhidaivika
The word “daivika” means “of divine origin”. Adhidaivika refers to the suffering due to divine causes, causes that we have no control over. These include natural disasters like floods, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, plagues, fires and the like.

Adhibhautika
The word ‘bhautika’ is derived from ‘bhuta’ which means all “things”. It can be any entity, living or non-living. For example, even a stone can be termed a bhuta. So Adhibhautika refers to suffering caused by other things. These are classified as – other humans, domestic animals, wild animals, reptiles, insects, mosquitoes, bugs, cockroaches etc. For example, suffering can be caused by someone physically hitting you or hurting you through verbal abuse. Similarly, suffering can be caused by a snake or a scorpion bite, you may have sleepless nights due to mosquito bites, you could be attacked by a domestic or a wild animal etc.

Adhyatmika
The word ‘atmika’ means ‘self-generated’. Adhyatmika suffering is the most damaging and long-lasting as we inflict it on ourselves. This could be physical, mental, or emotional.  We cause physical suffering on ourselves by, for example, overeating, not taking care of our health etc. Most other suffering is mental. We suffer when we carry negative emotions – anger, hatred, jealousy, greed etc.

In the Indian ways of life, one remarkable feature was the way the average Indian was expected to face trials and tribulations of life with equanimity and peace of mind. Unfortunately, we have become quite materialistic in our life styles here over the past few generations and so this ideal of a life of inner peace despite adverse conditions is also rare to find except in those who follow some kind of a spiritual life which will include regular meditation and study of the scriptures.

I flatter myself that I lead a spiritual life and by and large, live a life of inner peace and joy. I have not however  yet reached the stage that the Dalai Lama has reached. Ido slip every now and then and get agitated. I am however making steady progress and hopefully will reach that stage before I call it a day.

I have suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

Posted in Blogging, India/Pakistan, Meditation, Philosophy, Spiritualism | Tagged , | 14 Comments

The Himba People of Namibia

My cousin Shankar who keeps coming up with amazing pieces of information sent this link to me which I want to share with my readers.

We have a few such tribes still in existence in India too but they too are slowly succumbing to modernity. By the time our children reach our ages, perhaps none will be left to study and compare like this article has done so effectively.

Posted in Books / Reading, India/Pakistan, People, Sociology | Tagged | 8 Comments

Food For Thought.

When I looked around for an inspiring thought for today, I found this image in the internet.

This took me on a different quest for something that I had read some time ago. Let me give my own reactions to the five regrets listed there for this post.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

I honestly believe that I have lived my life as it evolved without ever wanting to change it and welcoming events as they took place. Perhaps that is why, I have come to this three score and ten plus years stage with hardly any stress which surprises the medical profession no end.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

I never worked “so” hard. And, I am not being facetious at all. When I worked I enjoyed every moment of it.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

This has been a weakness but not something that I would regret as not having had the courage. I would say that I was concerned about the other’s feelings and so avoided expressing my own feelings. There have however been instances when I had indeed expressed my feelings without any restraint when those feelings were on the positive side.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

As my readers well know, I have and so this is not a regret that I have at all.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I have let myself be a happy person and bar those unfortunate losses which gave me sadness, my life has by and large been a happy one.

At the end of the Guardian article this question is asked “What’s your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?”

My answer is simple. I lost my wife too soon. I have no big ambitions left and no desires to change anything. My oft repeated prayer is a Sanskrit one which simply asks for a death that is no trouble to me or my near and dear ones and a life without penury. I have the latter and hope that I will get the former too.

As a post script, let me add another paragraph to discuss the contents of the image given above. Among the unstated regrets that most men have in their lives is one that is rarely if ever openly admitted to. They would like to lead lives as depicted in the song Wandering Star and My Way. Highly impractical former and possible but not likely in the latter. I too have had my share of longing for both and like to hear the songs every now and then just to go gaga! I am sure that there must be songs with similar thoughts for women and I will appreciate some of my readers leading me to them.

Pravin had suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

Posted in Blogging, Nostalgia, Philosophy, Spiritualism, Values | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

Lion (2016) Movie,

My children Manjiree and Ranjan insisted that I see Lion, and I am glad that they did. I would have gladly given it a miss had I depended on just the kind of publicity that it has received here. In fact, till I sat down to write this post, I did not even know that this film is a multiple award nominee and winner. I had vaguely heard that Dev Patel got some award for his performance in this film but other than that, I was totally ignorant.

Briefly, this is a real life story of a five year old boy from the heartland of India who gets lost, is sheltered in a foster home and eventually gets adopted by an Australian couple. He eventually returns as an adult after going through a traumatic life of memories, to find that his mother has never given up on him.

The story does everything possible to pluck at your emotional strings. Joy, amusement, anger, pity, frustration and so on and I must complement the director who has been able to do so successfully in his debut film. The child actors perform so well that they overshadow Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. The very effective music score at the background soothes and excites by turns and the overall effect is a pleasant experience, somewhat like a roller coaster ride that ends well.

If ever there was a movie that strengthened my belief in the theory of Karma, this is it. Many questions like why the young lad gets separated, and unlike more than hundreds of thousands of young children who go missing every year in India, why he gets adopted by an Australian couple, why the other child adopted by the same couple becomes a disappointment etc, can be answered only with the logic of Karma.

If you can, you must see it.

Incidentally, this is the third Indian film that has featured Australia that I have enjoyed seeing. I have written about UnIndian but not about Bhag Milka Bhag, a song from which keeps bugging me as an earworm on and off. Let me share that  song with you.

Posted in Movies, Spiritualism | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Life With Social Media


Zero without it, is how I would start.

I don’t use twitter unlike the guy in the cartoon. I however am quite active on FaceBook and WhatsApp.  These two are enough to give me sufficient activity to keep me out of mischief. It has now come to that stage where I wonder how I lived without these two tools and also the facilitator that makes it possible, the smartphone!

Shackman had suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

Posted in Blogging, Humor | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

Irada.

Two of my favourite actors, Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi act in Irada and that was the sole reason for my deciding to see it.

I am glad that I did.

It is not anything like the other films where these two actors have paired,  It is far more serious.  Arshad tries to bring in some humour without much success as the story does not allow for any humour except of the dark variety like when the Chief Minister’s mother asks her to eat with her mouth closed!

The subject matter is contamination of underground water sources and resultant cancer in one particular geographic area. Collusion between Corporate interests and politicians, murder, hear break, suicide etc all come together in a fast paced presentation to make it a worthwhile experience.

Excellent direction and cinematography makes it technically very sound.  All the other actors produce professional performances  and if you can get to see it, please do not miss the opportunity.

Posted in Movies, Politics | Tagged , | 4 Comments