Sunday 27 December 2009

Season of Festivities

Christmas has just got over and new year is within arm’s length. A long holiday for children and an extended weekend for me. My landlord is a Christian but except for the stars displayed outside his home, I don’t see much energy levels signifying the onset of Christmas season. My room mate planned a Christmas party in our house involving some colleagues. None of us were Christians, including the guests.

Our Christmas party started on 23rd Dec by 7 pm and continued till 11pm. In the short span, we sang many jingles and other songs apt for the occasion being celebrated. Though this time there wasnt any Santa Claus among us, with the limited strength that we could muster, we had the best of times possible. I recollect with joy the past Christmas years, when we would go around on Christmas eve, santa claus and all, distributing toffees to children in the locality. Every household we visited, we were treated to variety of fares and also enough liquor flowed freely, during the season.

These days people don’t have much time for themselves. Still in Air Force, these kind of festivities are not forgotten, when we are posted far from a city. Only these festival occasions provide the much needed platform to indulge in lot of partying and thereby strongly securing the camaraderie already in place. I don’t know much of the jingles, but there are some among us soldiers, who are adept at these melodious songs.

With the passing of years, the social connectivity is getting lessened, and I don’t know why this happens. No clear reasons, only thing I can fathom is that people are getting more self-centric. Celebration as a society is falling down in strength and quality. My short years left in the air force, I hope will help me indulge more vigorously in these kind of occasions, so that I have lot of joyful things to recollect in my later years.

My New year wishes to one and all. May god bless all with happiness, peace of mind and prosperity. Ever yours in the lord. Joshi.

Thursday 17 December 2009

The Forgotten Games

Today my wife forwarded me a mail, which talked about the things that gave happiness in immense measures during our childhood days. And those never cost anything. The children of today do have many things which couldnt be imagined while we were young. But still i feel they are a deprived lot. These kids face the toughest challenges in their small age itself. They have become more serious, and the innocence gets killed quite soon in their lives.

Last time i went to calicut in Kerala (In Nov 09), it was for sharing grief for the loss of an elderly family member. But the kids were not affected much, and they were always playing. Their stock of games are many times more than the city kids. But when compared to our times, its a far cry. I did introduce them to a new game, and indulged myself as a playmate. They all had so much fun and enjoyment in my company. I got 2 other adults also to participate partly, and they too forgot their pains for a while.

Next time i visit those kids, i want to introduce them to a whole lot of games which they havent heard of. No money was required to play games during my childhood. Tamarind seeds could give hours of enjoyment. One only needed to make a few few depressions on the ground. With just 6 pieces of stones we could play a game using our hands. A piece of long elastic gave a couple of hours of hard entertainment. A simple rubber band got us started using the fingers on both our hands in making exquisite and spellbinding shapes. A handful of mud with spittle on it and a stick dug in the centre of the spittle opened up another altogether new game. I can go on and on and on.

Ofcourse we did play cricket and soccer too. If you didnt have a bat, a wooden plank cut in a bat's shape did the trick. The maize's discard, thoughhard, could be used as a ball for a couple of games. I once almost blinded by sister using a bow and arrow made of broom sticks. I made kites on my own using newspaper, 2 broom sticks, a few grains of cooked rice for pasting purpose and presto! my kite was ready to fly. Earth dug for laying foundation for government quarters was used to play hide and seek. We hurt ourselves many a times, but never complained. After all the running around without slippers when we used to return home, there were flowery thorns in the dozen waiting to be picked from our bare heels. They pained, but we were always immersed in the game.

Past was so pleasant. I think everyone agrees.

Saturday 12 December 2009

The Kite Flying Days

Since childhood, the chance to fly kites have always got me excited. Once high school was over, it became difficult indulging in this favourite pastime, because one was to supposed to grow up. I never imagined i could entertain myself with this sport ever, unless i got transferred to Gujarat.

In Gujarat, Kite flying is associated with a festival called Uttarayan. It comes around the month of January. I dont know the connection between the festival and this sport. All i wanted was no raised eyebrows when i indulged in my favourite pastime once again. For three years consequtively, on every Uttarayan festival i would go happily to the market to purchase the specially prepared strings called 'MANJA' and quite a number of Kites.

"Pech" in hindi, i guess roughly means entangle. This hindi term is used extensively whenever kites take to the sky. Any one can entangel their kite strings against yours and the weak string would get snapped. Skilled labourers who are trained in making 'Manja' arrive in hordes to Gujarat from Uttar Pradesh during Uttarayan. They do make a quick buck, but their expertise is not commendable. In the three years that i flew kites there, i didnt find too much skill among the kite fliers either. They were quite happy to fly the kites, but werent adept in the art of cutting other's strings.

I used to team up with rank youngsters in Air Force and go the places where there were many kites waiting to be snapped for a free fall. We used to derive ton of pleasure seeing our near invincibility, thanks to one bloke who was too good in this art. Even for the average skill that i possess in this art, i managed cutting many strings which crossed my kite's path. When it didnt cross automatically, my kite pursued the nearby ones. Every 15 mins or so i too would lose a kite, but still it gave me enjoyment.

How many cut fingers i have seen among my friends! But i used to be careful from day one, by plastering my right index finger with band-aid. Oh... how much fun i had in Gujarat! I am still yearning for those kind of days to return. May be i might have to return to Gujarat to re-visit my childhood.

Friday 11 December 2009

Misconceptions Galore

I come across many friends and acquaintances who have some belief systems which have no foundation. A case in point which i recollect from a few years back is about my friend having got a new girl friend. The courtship was going on and for all practical purposes he had the three lettered word in mind. During a casual conversation, he shared the news about his new girlfriend and her increasing closeness to him.

The only thing that i wanted to advice him was since the inevitable is going to happen in a few days time, i wanted him to take necessary precautions. Those days knowledge about HIV/AIDS wasn't very common among the masses. With my enormous appetite for reading, i had already gained sufficient knowledge about this disease new to our country.

My friend had heard gory stories about HIV/AIDS and had a firm belief that patients afflicted with HIV/AIDS are easily recognised by their weak health, discernible to everyone. When i asked my friend to use precaution if they both have plans to get intimate, he reasoned that its not required as she is quite healthy and from affluent family. That day i had to use all my force to drive home my point. After that i didnt follow up about his adventure or his adventurous girl friend.

A little knowledge of Anatomy goes a long way in burning misconceptions. Many of my friends who got married, dont know what safe period is. Even girls themselves dont know much about it. With the kind of candid talk i have with my close associates, i usually drive home some points which will help them in future. A whole lot of cock and bull stories heard from friends is what most of us accept to be the truth about the taboo subject of India. There is a wonderful book on the subject i came across many years ago in the "Dummies Series", named "Sex for Dummies" authored by Ms. Ruth K Westheimer. That book would be a good bet to break the misconceptions that get cemented with time.

Agony aunt columns in good magazines is a great source to gain some real knowledge. Thats where i mostly learnt many things from my school days. I stress upon the importance of reading to all my friends, and i know for a fact that many still thank me for putting them into a healthy habit, which has benefited them immensely. Reading automatically increases one's knowledge. Its not for nothing that Francis Bacon famously said "For Knowledge Itself Is Power".

Friday 4 December 2009

A Long Hiatus

In everyday life, things turn so unpredictable. My 2 weeks of planned leave got used for other reasons. My wife's granny passed away 2 weeks back and i and my wife ended up visiting Calicut to share the grief and loss of a noble soul in the family. Then i went to bangalore to visit my folks, while beena went to chennai to catch her train to mumbai to attend her company's meeting. Yesterday (3rd December) we both reached chennai from different cities to spend a couple of days together.

Plans could take a somersault in this fashion, i never imagined. Our visits to 2 temples in tamilnadu and kerala would be carried out in future. Making a promise to god and not keeping it is a bad thing. May be thats the reason i never make a promise easily. :) A month in Tirunelveli district got me cut off from the Internet and it was little difficult for me. I hate not updating my blogs, but somehow this proved to be a long hiatus.

The few days in bangalore i spent just meeting old friends and building new alliances. Being away from the city of birth, its difficult to find the roots for a soldier after a gap of 20 years when he returns back. I am always terrified about his aspect and never allow the connections to fade away. Its 5 year since we relocated to a new place in bangalore. Not knowing people in the vicinity has its difficulties. I always strive to build relationships slowly and steadily. In this regard, this leave proved to be little beneficial to me.

In my efforts to be with my wife, i had applied for a co-location posting for chennai. Nothing has come of it. Still waiting with my fingers crossed for a favourable consideration. Once i return back to my workplace, i might get to know the developments. On 7th december i will be joining back for work. From then on, my blogs should appear on a regular basis. Sorry for missing for closer to 6 weeks on the blogspace. Promise to maintain a regular appearance henceforth. See ya guys.