The Perfect Road Trip

The Perfect Road Trip
Runners Up Award- Ambipur Contest

Monday, September 15, 2014

Time to Act


 The city was waking up from the slumber as the overnight rain had created huge puddles all along the road. The erstwhile potholes have now become craters and if one looks at the satellite picture of the roads in Gurgaon, he will mistake them to be craters on the moon! Car, buses, motorbikes were all in a hurry and were splashing the water, on the poor pedestrians who were trying hard to find way on what once looked like a road.

During the day the weather kept playing hide and seek and by late afternoon the clouds gathered once more, rumbled and it rained for another one hour. Around 5 PM, most of the office goers collected their bags and left the office hoping that by sunset they would reach home. The millennium city was groaning under the weight of vehicles and everywhere as far as one could see there were huge traffic snarls. It had taken almost one hour to cover the distance of 1 km and still the main road was far away. By now some of the drivers that had lost patience started entering the roads from all directions leading to a situation that traffic came to a grinding halt. The situation was grim and there was no solution in sight! Desperate now, many of the office goers made beeline for the metro stations and packed like sardines, traveled to their destination.  Most people were too tired after an exhausting day and were waiting for the trauma to end. This is the situation in the city adjacent to the capital, which houses all the major MNC/ Government and Public sector undertaking offices almost every rainy day! Incidentally, the number of taxpayers contributing to the kitty would perhaps be the highest here.

The scenario is much the same in the capital itself and most of the major metro cities with all major roads clogged with traffic and water overflowing from every drain and small rivulets running next to the roads on the rainy days. A low feeling of the collapsing infrastructure in bigger cities is visible all around.


Is it really very difficult for the municipal authorities to clear the drains and create a drainage system that works, when needed most! Is it so difficult for the traffic police to be available to guide the traffic in such times when people need them the most? Why it is that only the Armed forces are remembered and asked to assist the civil agencies that behave as if they have been paralyzed when emergencies arise? We never learn any lessons and the story repeats year after year only the locations keep shifting. We may take pride of Indians who are serving in every sphere with brilliant contributions but situation at home does not appear to be improving! We can only debate endlessly on prime time on TV shows but do little tangible except indulging in blame games! It is time to put our act together before it is too late!

PS: Image Kind courtesy Google

Saturday, September 6, 2014

On Teachers Day


How the teaching changed over time! There was a time when children were sent to ‘gurus’ for education. Even the princely had to abandon the life of riches to live in ‘gurukul’ where they were taught by the gurus. Most of us have read about ‘Dronacharya’ the famous teacher who taught the ‘Kauravas’  and ‘Pandavas’ in the epic Mahabharat.   He was chosen as the teacher by ‘ Bhishma’ who was the grandfather of Kauravas and Pandavas after he had performed the feat of collecting  a ball from the well where the children were playing by his ring and blades of grass, using them as spears! The great teacher had a soft corner for Arjun the warrior and thus asked ‘Eklavya’ to severe his thumb as ‘guru dakshina’ as he had learnt the skill of archery from Dronacharya on the sly!

Parshuram was another great teacher known for his fiery temper who had vowed to annihilate the “kshatriyas’( warriors) who lived in the times of Ramayana as well as Mahabharat. He was the teacher of Dronacharya as well as Lord Rama! Parshuram and Agastya are considered to be the father of  ‘Kalaripayattu’ the oldest form of martial arts.

Teaching is a noble profession and the credit for grooming the future generations goes to them. In countries like United States, the best universities hold all the teaching fraternity in a very high esteem. The close coordination exists between the industry and the top universities to pursue the research and results thereof are well known! The annual event of Nobel prizes is dominated by US and western world where the academic accomplishments are not only recognized but given the due place in society.

There was a time when universities like Nalanda (near Patna) and Taxila(near Rawalpindi) were considered to be world renowned seats of learning.  With the passage of time commercialization has taken over everything else in our country! Those who can afford prefer to send the children to schools that have air conditioned classes and buses to provide comfort to the students! The engineering and medical degrees can be virtually purchased at a price and likewise for other professions. The only saving grace is that small number of government colleges for professional studies still go by merit for selecting the students. Other shops only sell education to the highest bidders who in turn want to recover their investment in double quick time when they have acquired the degree.


I have lovely memories of the time spent in school that had the best of teachers who inculcated the deep desire to learn, read and write! I was fortunate to have never attended a single tuition class besides the time spent in school! It pains to see even the tiny tots attending such classes after school what to say about those preparing for entering portals of higher education! Somewhere we have forgotten to strike a balance between the need and desire. Our generation is fortunate to have seen and heard the great teachers like Dr S Radhakrishnan and Dr Zakir Hussain. Hope the address of the new prime minister to the nation fosters the spirit of learning and herald a new era in education! 

PS: Image Kind Courtesy Google

Monday, September 1, 2014

Escapades


I am sure most of us would have encountered some hair raising moments in their lives! Once the incident is over with a happy ending, we tend to forget it for some time till we go through yet another incident, which gets stamped in the memory. They are reminder of some funny, comical, and some adventurous situations. I share a few of such instances.
We had to traverse 60 km through the night from Jamnagar to Khambaliya on foot as a part of exercise. Armed with rucksacks, rifles and some tinned ration we split into groups of five and started the journey. The boots, anklets and the heavy rucksacks made the journey a tough one! Around midnight, we had covered almost half the distance and the legs protested loudly now! So I along with rest of my mates sprawled in the middle of the road as we did not want a slithering reptile in the sandy area to bite! It felt better than a cushioned bed for a while. A few minutes had barely passed when we noticed the headlights appear in the distance. We quickly scrambled back to our feet and waved at the truck! The driver looked at us and told us to board the truck which was loaded till top. What a relief! The truck began to roll through the night. Our happiness was short lived as the uniform started to get wet and we felt as if we are about to freeze! The stench was also unbearable. We asked the driver to stop and asked what he was carrying as we got down!

‘Fish’ he replied and we were relaxing on ice blocks! Gosh! No wonder we were freezing!

There was hilarious situation when I was asked to jump off a Whaler (boat) in the sea in backwaters in Kerala and a lifebuoy was hurled at me! Gasping for breath, I tugged it close to my chest. Next a rope was tied to it and I was towed for a distance of about one kilometer. It was meant to be a demonstration for survival at sea!

As if this was not enough on the same sailing trip during the night at Bolgatty Island, near Kochi, I stepped on moss in dark and skidded to land with a thud in sea! I was gasping for breath as the world around me darkened. I frantically tried to bring my head up; my hand touched the rope by which the boat was tethered to shore! I was pulled out of the murky water with help and had to sleep for the rest of the night in same wet clothes , as I was not carrying any change!

Once on a trip to Stockholm, I was residing at Kista a suburb on the outskirts of the city. I got up early  and decided to go for a jog. It was freezing cold outside and the sky was still dark! There was not a soul in sight and after running for a short while I was gasping for breath and felt as if I would freeze. So I decided to walk and crossed over the road towards the wooded area. After trudging through the sheet of snow for about 15 minutes I looked back and realized that the pathway had disappeared. I looked around but could not find anything that could guide me in the right direction as the stillness was overwhelming.  The more I tried to retrace my steps the more I realized that I was getting lost! About an hour elapsed when I was seized with the fear that will I ever return back!! One more time, I tried and walked in a direction that my hunch told me may be the right one! About 15 minutes of walk brought me to the edge of the road where I could see some lights! I was almost 3 km away from where I had started. I thanked god for finally bringing me back!


It is a long list and am sure you readers too would have had similar instances to share!

PS- Image Kind courtesy Google

Monday, August 25, 2014

Trapped


The sharp roar of the engines slowly reduced to a hum as the light turned on with an announcement that the flight had now reached an altitude of 34000 ft and passengers may unfasten the seat belts. Krish, who reclined on the seat, was feeling a little uneasy as the cold smooth elbow from the adjoining seat kept brushing against his hairy arm! He looked sideways where the girl, who had just boarded minutes before the take -off, appeared to be asleep. She had covered herself in the blanket, but not before Krish noticed the deep cleavage with a shiny gold necklace and a huge pendant slowly playing between her ample bosoms. The black lace top and the red pants that hugged her body displayed the well maintained contours. A huge gold bangle hung lifelessly on her wrist, as she opened her eyes and appeared to whisper, looking directly at Krish.
‘Pardon, do you want anything?’ Krish asked her, feeling a little foolish as he was caught in the act of looking at her.
‘Please can you shut the blowers, I am feeling very cold as I am having fever’ she replied.
Krish unbuckled his seat belt and shut the blowers from where the cold air was coming.
‘Thanks’ she said as she pulled up the blanket further up to her neck, and closed her eyes once again. Krish was unable to concentrate as he fiddled with the screen to look up at the inflight program.

‘Sir, what will you have’ the air hostess interrupted, as he removed the headphones to converse with her. ‘I will have a beer’ he replied. The girl opposite to her opened her eyes yet again and mumbled, ‘Can you get me a juice’? The air hostess had moved away, but Krish called her back and asked her to get the drink for the lady.

Soon it was meal time, and as Krish asked for his meal he noticed a glint of metal from the seat below. He stooped and picked up the huge gold bangle which appeared to be unusually heavy! This must be costing a fortune, he wondered. The girl from whose wrist, it had slid off was still fast asleep! He kept the bangle in his pocket as the conflict raged in his mind whether to return it to her or keep it as a souvenir for his wife!

Almost two hours had passed and the lights came on, as the pilot announced that the flight would land in twenty minutes. The girl opened her eyes and appeared to feel much better. She apparently had not noticed that the bangle was missing!

After the flight landed, Krish got off the flight and walked past the immigration and after collecting his baggage, walked out of the customs ‘Green Channel’. He had barely walked past the exit when he felt the same soft touch on his arm! He turned back and looked and felt his blood turning cold! That girl in black lace top and red pant held out her hand and smiled at him. Sheepishly, Krish extracted the gold bangle from his pocket and handed it over to her.

‘Thanks’ she said in a cold voice and melted into the incoming rush of passengers. The mission to bring in heroin hidden inside the gold bangle had been yet again accomplished flawlessly!

PS: Image Kind Courtesy Google


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Heartless


A heartless man with no emotions
  Makes the life a drudgery notion
A princely life with all the might
 Means little if cannot bring delight
Those who have little but a big heart
  Bring joy and smiles as a priceless part
Each day is a gift so share n start
       A rich life and riches to part
Life is a journey so cherish and relish
   Look beyond small things and abandon fetish

PS- Image Kind courtesy Google

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Self - Made


Suresh looked at the setting sun from the window of his house as the huge red ball slowly melted in an envelope of the black cloud! He was turning forty and had noticed his hairline receding and the tuft of hair turning steel colored. He was running a small business and doing reasonably well. His eyes were moist! He had travelled a road not many would have dared!
His mind drifted back in time as he remembered his childhood. He had an elder brother who was very bright in studies. His father worked in a factory and his mother was a home maker. Their house had just one room where the family made a living. Suresh was very honest and a simpleton and could barely pass in the school. His elder brother had joined engineering after finishing the school and earned a scholarship! The parents adored him, whereas Suresh at times felt neglected. After finishing the school Suresh went out in search of making a living. Days passed and he sulked back home empty handed each day. One day he came across a factory and found a board hanging outside, that they were hiring.
His eyes gleamed and he walked inside where a stern looking supervisor called him to his room. He was interviewed and Shekhar, the supervisor liked him. He took him to the manger and told him about his suitability for the job of an operator of photocopy machine.  Suresh did not know how to express his joy, when he returned home to break the news. His parents heaved a sigh of relief that instead of leading a life of a vagabond, he had finally become another earning hand in the family.
Each day Suresh would work diligently and soon earned the trust of his manager. One evening, the manager got the news that a machine supplied by their factory had broken down and needed a spare part which could only be sent by hand. Suresh was assigned to carry the item, where Shekhar was working. The repair took two days while Suresh assisted Shekhar to fix the problem. Shekhar was impressed by Suresh’s diligence and recommended management that he is allowed to undergo a short training on the machine being produced in the factory. The break opened a new gateway for Suresh who immersed himself and learnt all the technicalities and his visibility was soon acknowledged. One day The Managing Director of the firm broke the news that a small team would soon leave for United States to be trained on a new venture involving transfer of technology. Shekhar was the leader, and he decided to include Suresh in the team.  
Suresh continued with the hard work and perseverance. He saved every single cent he could by living in a shared accommodation, subsisting on bread and butter and corn and gram. Even on the weekends he studied and spent mornings in taking long walks in the beach town. The time flew and by the time he returned home he had accumulated enough from the hard earned savings to buy a small flat for his family.  He handed over a small packet of sweets to Shekhar and broke the news while bowing to him. Shekhar hugged him and suggested that they become partners in a new venture that he was planning.

Suresh looked at the picture of Suresh in the newspaper wiping the tears from his eyes that had broken the news that Shekhar had become a victim of sectarian violence!

PS : Picture kind courtesy Google

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Leap in Future


I just turned four last Sunday! It was such a fabulous feeling to have come into this world at a time when there is so much happening! Just turn your head around, no matter where you are, and you will know what I mean! Lift your head up towards the sky, and you will invariable, see a plume of jet with a huge aircraft, heading across the continent. Some satellite just making a pass to survey the earth. Far in the galaxy yet another, rocket heading towards Mercury, in quest of the frontiers, hitherto considered stuff of which only dreams are made.

 I just hazily remember when I was still in the womb of my mother, Nisha. She would spend hours poring over her laptop, reading about how to take care of oneself, during months of pregnancy so that I am born as a healthy baby. She would occasionally, watch some movies and recite poetry when writing her diary in times when it was not possible to indulge in much physical activities. One day, when my father, Rohan, who traveled frequently, was away in a foreign destination, I decided to step into the world and immediately, mom was shifted to a nursing home. Amidst, the entire din, I recollect, Nana (my mom’s father) called up dad informing him of the urgency. He had earlier requested the doctor when mom went for a ‘checkup’ to allow him to be in the ‘labor room’ as he was keen to see me being born. On receiving the call he immediately connected up his laptop to the hospital site for the live video feed from the labor room and was thrilled beyond words when the nurse held me in her arms to show my little face to him. I am told that a few years back when the technology was not so advanced, such news could travel only by way of a ‘long distance call’ or a ‘telegram’ which has now become a history!

Daddy uses his smartphone for almost everything from work in office, to catching up news, following the soccer and cricket matches. When he is commuting, he listens to the favorite music and makes business calls. At home things are no different, as mom, keeps sharing jokes with her friends on mobile applications, watching favorite TV shows in the afternoon, and reading about new recipes to try in the kitchen. Sometimes, when I feel cranky, she lets me play with her smartphone, and tunes in a funny cartoon show. She also tries hard to teach me numbers, alphabet, colors, shapes and many other things. What better toy could I ask for?  I also love to watch the stories from mythology and rhymes. I like the touch of the screen but mom does not allow me to watch the screen for long time as she says that it will hurt my eyes! Of course with the rapid strides in technology many of the fears of past can now be laid to rest.

 Sometimes, it is  funny to see mom and dad in the house  at night, both bent over their smartphone and tablet engaged in chats with friends or doing their own work while I hold the ‘toy tablet’ in hand making all kinds of noises craving for their attention! 

The new  ASUS Zenphone 6 which has just hit the market has some great features which would be an ideal gift for my fifth birthday, like scratch proof  strong Corning glass surface, better resolution for pictures( 13 Megapixel camera!),long talk time 28h! So even when I play with it , I am safe and also the device can withstand wear and tear due frequent fall from my nimble hands!The multi touch screen will help in exploring the new icons and will help in improving my learning skills! I now wait my turn to possess an ASUS Zenfone6 and explore this fascinating world!

PS- This is the imaginary story of a four year old as he sees the world which is rapidly changing our lives with foray of smartphones in our daily lives.

1. Picture kind courtesy Google

2. Submitted for ‘In Search of Incredible’ contest sponsored by Asus India and Indiblogger http://www.asus.com/campaign/zenfone/IN/