Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dasvidaniya 2008...Welcome 2009...!!!

A year going by...leaving behind memories of all hues and tastes...sweet and bitter...every year seems to go faster than the previous and life just goes on!

2008 has been a very significant year of my life.It changed many aspects of my life.The most memorable event of my life has occured in 2008 - my marriage.Ami became my better-half.We tied knot in Feb'2008.Memories of Honeymoon are yet afresh.I had been to some of the most beautiful places during this phase.Another two new chapters of my life started - first as a Radio news reader and the other of getting four books published with my name as the Author.Being a part of Staff Welfare Committee of the Organization for which I work - NSEInfotech & NSE,I got lot of opportunities to do some noticable work for my colleagues as well as for society in my own small way.I successfully built a network of good contacts.This year has made me more responsible.One more new opprtunity is at the door of my life which just came in December 2008 which I would talk about in 2009!(Little Suspence you know...!)

It is not that the year was all Goody-Goody year.This year has also been a financial disaster for me.Actually not only for me but due to Global Economic Recession and slowdown each and every individual has got affected in some or the other way.But my loss has been due to my follies and greed or whatever one may call it.I lost heavily in Bearish Stock markets and my entire portfolio of investment has been washed away.Serial blasts in various parts of my country and Terror attack on Mumbai on 26 Nov 2008 has shaken not only me but also the whole nation.

But, as a friend Keisha SMSed me today - 'Life is only traveled once.Today's moment becomes tomorrow's memory.Enjoy every moment,good or bad,because the gift of life is life itself...', the wheel of time will keep rotating and we have to make the Best use of whatever we have got and make life of ourselves and others as beautiful and livable and lovable as possible.

I had taken a leave today from work to retrospect the year which is ending today.Whatever I gained or lost has given me lot of learning.I have made some new good friends.Lot of things happened during this entire year.I wanted to think about it all. So I spent the day at home.In the afternoon I slept for a good hour and half that I can not do on a normal working day being present in the office.(Though I have expressed my desire to do so, while taking a stroll after lunch on many occasions with my colleagues!)Then I went to Bandstand and Mount Mary Church to spend the last evening of the year 2008 and I had a good time with myself.I missed Ami as she is at her Parent's place now.After many years, this time that moment when an old year passes by and welcomes a new fresh year,I spent with my family.At 12:00 midnight,I lighted some beautiful floating colourful candles in water bowl and cut cake and shouted 'Welcomed 2009' forgetting all the worries and tensions!We all prayed to God to make 2009 the Best!And then we watched some T.V. prgrams and now I am writing this Blog and sharing my feelings with you all!

Now I am already into 2009.And I want to live it even better than 2008!(Lot of new year resolutions you know!)I give a warm and heartfelt welcome Hug to the year 2009!May it prove better than all previous years in everybody's lives.As in 2008, the year start situation was totally different from year end situation. Economy was at peak with sensex value of above 21000 level in January and in December it had fallen down to 9000 level.May the same situation-reversal phenomana occur this year too.I mean, in January 2009 the sensex level is at 9000, hope we see it at 21000 level again in December 2009!May all our dreams come true in this new year and we all live happily and this world become a better place!

Dasvidaniya 2008 ... Welcome 2009!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Temples...


Temple…I have always been fascinated by temples…be they in any form. I visit temple, Daherasar (Jain temple), mosque (Islami temple), church (Christian temple) and Gurudwara (Shikh Temple). I was always curious to go to an Agiyari (Parsi Temple) also. But no one other than Parsi can enter an Agiyari. That’s the reason I have not visited an agiyari so far. And I have found a divine feeling in a temple of any religion – a feeling of eternal peace, of a satisfaction, of a positivity.


I love going to Mount Mary church and have visited Haji Ali Dargah and a few other mosques in Aurangabad and Ahmedabad. Visiting GoldenTemple and another Gurudwara called ‘ManiKarna’ in Manlai were one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Though I don’t prefer going to crowded places much, I like visiting SiddhiVinayak and Mahalaxmi temples in Mumbai. During one of my visits in Vadodara there was a private temple – owned by a family, Jaggan Nath Temple and another Kashi VishwaNath temple – both are etched in my memory forever! Visit to Swami Naarayan Temple in Delhi was also an Amazing experience.

I used to attend Aartis on Thursday evenings in a Saibaba temple in Malad. I had attended Aarti in a CheharMata temple in Mandropur(a small village in Gujarat) a few evenings when I was there. I had attended Aarti in RiddhiVinayak Ganesh Temple a few times and during all these occasions of attending an Aarti, I have felt a kind of energy flowing into me, in to everybody around clapping during the Aarti. With those musical lines of Aarti, I feel I am directly communicating with God.
It’s again a feeling which cuts me across from the world outside and connects me directly to God. I wonder then, why don’t I attend an Aarti every day?


When ever I go to RiddhiVinayak Ganesh Temple near my home, I pray. I close my eyes, fold and join hands in Namaskar mudra and feel that something within me, my aatma in the form of a jyoti - is moving out. It flies and goes outside the temple. It moves towards sky. It enters the universe far, far above earth and enters a bigger Jyoti which we call as Parmeshwar or Ganapati bappa. At this moment, I start praying,” O God, please burn all the vices, all the weaknesses, all the negativity present in my soul and fill it with fresh energy, new strengths and great positivity and all the good qualities.” I wait for a few seconds for letting God do that and then feel that the spirit gets separated from Paramaatma Jyoti and starts moving back towards me. It enters the temple and finally comes back into my body. This entire process is very quick and takes only a few seconds. But this happens only when I am in a temple.

At times, when I am feeling very low or depressed then I go to a temple and I feel better. I sit for a few minutes in the temple and try to feel the serenity and purity around. I observe people praying and children playing.


I love roaming and visiting new places very much. I make it a point to visit temples whenever I go to a new city or a new location. Even when I have gone for picnics, I remember of having attended a temple or two at that new place. I had gone to Pune and Chennai for some official work and found and visited new temples. I had gone to Daman for picnic and had attended a prayer in a Church there. I had gone to various places during my honeymoon and there also at all the places me and my wife stayed, we attended lot of temples.


I recollect two-three experiences during these temple visits in these far-off cities.

I had gone to Pune for official work and after the work, I managed to visit two Ganesh Temples of the famous AshtaVinayak eight temples. My journey to these temples was very unique and interesting. I sat on a hay pile in a truck and reached the temple at RaanjanGaon! I took an interesting local transport ride to reach another AshtaVinayak temple.

My visits and journey to temples of Dwaarka, Somanath and Nageshwar in Gujarat were also very very interesting.

I had gone to Chennai for official work and after the work I visited a few temples. Temples of South India are peculiar and lovely. I visited a very old (more than thousand years they claimed) Shiva temple – Kapalishwar temple. It was a beautiful grand temple with hundreds of Shivalingas of different sizes.

The next day I visited Kamakshi Temple in Kanchipuram and a few other famous temples there. One thing I very much disliked was that the foreigners were not allowed in a few of these temples. I heard in other few temples of South India, even women are not allowed. I can’t digest this idea. Why shall there be any rule for a certain sect for entering or for not allowing them to have a Darshan. After all God treats every one equal and God does not believe in any kind of discrimination. Then why we humans make such discriminatory rules and regulations?

My most favourite part of temples of South India is the dome.


It is called Gopuram and it has got a very peculiar and beautiful pyramidal shape. I loved the Gopurams of Meenakshi Mandir in Madurai and that of Rameshwaram temple near Hyderabad. I loved the Gopurams of Tirupati Temple as well as Mahabalipuram temples. There are so many Gods and goddesses in Gopuram facing all four directions. I also love that pillar outside south Indian temples lit with lots of Diyas. Though the south Indian temples are generally dark (or so they seem due to the Black stone used for constructing them) , their grandeur make you feel good and little in front of God or Goddess residing in them.



Rameshwaram temple was huge and houses more than 21 wells inside its premises. One has to take a bath in the holy sea water , at the shore of which this ancient temple is standing, and purify his/her body with all 21 well’s water before finally having Darshan of Jyotirlinga of Shiva which is believed to be built by God Rama himself. It’s a great experience.


I have been lucky to visit 6 jyotirlingas (one I just mentioned – Rameshwaram). There are 12 of them across India. I wish to visit and have the holy Darshan of all of them. One thing I dislike about these famous Jyotirlinga temples and other big famous temples is the commercialization in and around these temples. If you wish to have quick Darshan or touch the idol and enter the GarbhDwar of the temple, spend money, buy Tickets and you can do that.

On one side you will see some devotees rolling their body literally on the ground and going for Darshan and on the other side you will find different queues for the Darshan of same God. Pay more and your queue will be shorter! Inside temples also there will be Pundits treating devotees differently depending on their spending capacity. Prasads will also be available in different denominations! I simply abhor these ideas. In front of God, I believe everybody is same – be it a millionaire or a pauper. Then why we have this differential treatment for different class of people?


I love the NeelKanth Mahadev temple located in the middle of a small forest like area near Paadaa Kendra in Mahesana in Gujarat. (My in-laws place).It is actually not a typical temple. It does not even have roofs or walls. But still it is one of my most favourite temples and whenever I sit in this temple, the feelings I experience can not be described in words.


Squirrels run all around me whenever I am praying the Lord Shiva sitting in this temple and doves and sometimes Peacocks play in the surrounding area of this small temple. I loved a few similar temples in Surat - Gujarat also.




Few years back we had gone to Daman in one of my office picnics. There are some very beautiful churches there. I could not help myself from visiting a huge ancient Portugal Church. There was some special kind of prayer going on when I entered the church. Everybody was standing in two queues and the Father was giving a white sugar candy to them as they bowed their heads to him and they were eating that candy as Prasad and moved forward. I also was very curious and just joined the queue without thinking much. As my turn came, I also bowed down my head and father handed me a candy. But he suddenly realized something and asked me to return the candy back as only Christians were allowed to eat it as Prasad. I was quite embarrassed. I could not decide what happened was right or wrong. I left the church with remorse. But then realized that I should not have tried to be part of a custom which I knew nothing about.











I have many more such experiences to share but place and time permits me to write this much only for this Blog! I would surely share other such experiences in future Blogs...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attacks...When would I see the World Without Terrorism...???

Yesterday(On 28-Nov-2008, Friday) evening I was going to Churchgate, after my office hours, to read the news at Aakashwani(All India Radio).It was just 06:30 PM but due to winter being on it's way, it was dark and the street was almost empty. I felt like asif it was midnight. All the shops were shut. The city which is always on the run had come to a sudden halt and for the first time in my life I experienced fear while walking on the street. The fear of terrorists, the fear of sudden firing, the fear of unexpected sudden fatal attack...Since last two nights and two days they have made my city worse than hell. They have killed more than 100 and injured more than 300 innocent people of my city. They have succeeded in creating panic and grief among all of us.The entire nation is watching this drama. The whole world is condemning this ghastly and inhuman act. They are just 15 (or even less than that) but they have stirred the entire country. They came to Mumbai by sea route Wednesday night(26-Nov-2008) and dispersed in groups of two to three and started firing indiscriminately at various places liked Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Cama Hospital, Nariman Bhavan and many others. Some of them entered two top-Indian 5 star hotels - Taj and Oberoi (Trident). They have made hundreds of people captive and have already killed more than 100 for no reason. They are constantly firing bullets through state-of-the-art machine guns like AK47 as if playing with the toy and using hand grenades and other destructive weapons they have not only destructed valuable properties but also put a shameful blot on the capital hub of India - Mumbai.They have killed many foreign nationals also.They have killed a person who gave them water to drink.They have killed ATS (Anti Terrorist Squad) head and a few other top police men. They have killed businessmen and commmonmen. NSG Commandos had to be called to fight with them and to save lives of the captives they had held in two hotels and Nariman Bhavan building. An NSG commando and many hotel staff-members have lost their lives in the battle with these terrorists. There were lot many people waiting outside the hotels and the building terrorists had used for their mission.

I can write pages and pages of this episode and talk about fragile security system and corrupted political system and all that but I would not talk about all that any more.

Today morning, a courier person came to my home for delivering a mail. Usually my mother or sisters offer water to the postman or courier guys even without them asking for the same. But today my sister took the mail from the courier fellow from closed door only and when he asked for some water, she latched the door and came inside to get the water. This small example shows how terrorism and similar things affects us.It scares us. It makes us not put faith in fellow humanbeing.It destructs the bond between two humanbeings.

Why they do this? Don't they have heart? What would they finally achieve by creating a kingdom of terror? I remember the beautiful prayer song from the movie '1947:earth':

ईश्वर अल्लाह तेरे जहाँ मे नफ़रत क्यू है जंग है क्यू?
तेरा दिल तो इतना बड़ा है इंसान का दिल तंग है क्यू?

कदम कदम पर सरहद क्यू है? सारी ज़मीन जो तेरी है
सूरज के पहरे धरती है फिर क्यू इतनी अंधेरी है
इस दुनियया के दामन पर इंसान के लहू का रंग है क्यू

गूँज रही है कितनी चीखे प्यार की बाते कौन सुने
तूट रहे है कितने सपने इनके टुकड़े कौन चुने
दिल के दरवाज़ो पर ताले तालो पर है ज़ंग ये क्यू

I really wonder at times why humans have this vice called Greed? They want to conquer the world. They want the religion they are following to be accepted by all. They want to rule the earth. But consider the entire universe. How infinitesimally small we are. And afterall without God's wish does even a Leaf can turn? Then why this destruction? Why this bloodbath? Why this war?

Can't we simply live as Human beings? Without any labels of religion? Without any boundaries? Without any greed-ill wish? Just as a Human...

When would I see the world without terrorism? A world where peace and humanity prevails...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

God into Human Body...???

I want to start this blog by asking you a question: Do you believe in God entering into a human body? I want this blog to be interactive. So please all the readers share your thoughts on the subject matter as comment (you can enter it using the link provided at the bottom of this Blog).I would like to know what you all think on this subject.
I believe in existence of God. I pray. I go to temples also. But I don't think God can enter into a human body. I have encountered many such incidents which I would like to share with you all.
There was a lady in whose body, they said, Ganesha enters. She has got a very good personality and there is certainly an aura around her. She has got excellent oratory skills. Her house is always full of devotees. Lot of people come to her for seeking solution of their problems. She sits in trance, hears the problem and suggests a remedy/solution. She gives some rice particles and/or a flower and asks the solution-seeker to do some number of fasts or may be to feed cow for a few days or such similar thing. I had also visited her place when I was a very young child. Till day my family members visit her place sometimes. But I don’t go now.

There was another lady in whose body, it is believed that KalikaDevi comes. Ditto same description of her place and devotees as in the above case. One peculiar thing in this case is that on Kali-Chaudas night (the night before Diwali) she appears completely different. She sits also in a different way, with one leg bent and the other half bent. Her tongue comes out so much that one would get scared looking at her this swaroop. An ordinary human being may not be able to bring out his or her tongue this much. She applies a big Red bindi on her forehead and keeps her hairs open (untied).She resembles Kalimata. Faint-hearted people may get heart-attack out of fear, if they see her in her this avataar. Her whole body shivers/vibrates and she moves her head and face in a circular motion. There are so many devotees on this night at her place that her whole home gets full with people and people occupy and fill up her neighbours’ home also.


One of my male friends is a great worshipper of DeviAmba and GanpatiBappa and celebrates both these festivals with great fervour and devotion. I have attended aartis during Navartri and GaneshUtsav at his place. He sings these aartis without referring book and also recites many Sanskrit shlokas after the aarti which he remembers by-heart(I wonder how?). On specific days during these festivals, he also becomes different. He also does what we call in Gujarati 'Dhune chhe' (ધુણે છે) .(Shakes the body with great power)This friend of mine is almost same age as mine and is a well-educated person. We may have to shift towards the walls and give him enough space when 'God' enters his body.

One of my aunts says Meladi Ma enters her body, another believes Bhuvaneshwari Ma enters into her. An uncle who visits my place can call Ashapura Ma whenever he wishes to call her into his body. My family members even though, elder than these people, bow down to them and seek their Aashirwaad when respective Gods enter their bodies.

At times, the people in whose bodies God enter become violent also and they hurt the person in front of them. They may slap the person or call certain person by calling out his/her name if that person is not in the vicinity. They remember old incidents and quote them during the conversation with the people in front of them while constantly shaking their hands and sometimes with their eyes moving in circular motion or in the upward direction.

I don't believe in this phenomenon. Earlier I used to when I was a child. During my S.S.C exam I had gone for the darshan of KaliMata Woman and seeked her blessings and kept the rice she had given me in my pocket while writing the exam. I had scored 90.85% in S.S.C exams. But today I am sure, it was my hardwork (and luck also) that fetched me good result. One of my cousins also had gone and seeked her blessings, but he had failed!

Today, I firmly believe that God can not enter a human body. Human is so small and God is so great that even if the human wishes/believes God enters his/her body, it may be a state of mind and a psychological phenomenon. Humans commits so many sins consciously or unconsciously that something as great as God can not enter the poor human body.

May be one of the reasons why they do so (not all of them though) is to garner attention and seek respect.May be psychologically they start believing that God enters their body to curb an inferiority complex or may be to show that they are special.In some specific cases, I am unable to decide why those individuals must be believing/behaving so.

What are your views?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reading...

Reading is a very good hobby, a very good activity.Every wise and smart individual must read a lot.
I love reading. I strongly feel good reading can affect your personality in a very strong and positive way.
When you read fiction, you reach another world - a world of fantasy. Reading has got the power to enthrall you, make you feel moments of ecstasy or agony. You may laugh with the characters of the story or cry with emotion. I get goose bumps while reading. A good story makes the hair on my hands stand and I get the intense feeling of sharing that good story with a friend who has the same sensitivity. Reading may take you temporarily into another world - far from all your present worries and tensions. If the novel is interesting enough, you want to read one page after the other till the end day and night without the track of time. You might get addicted to it!
Non-fiction work also can work wonders in building your personality and character. They have the power to transform you into a new Avatar full of positivity, full of optimism. You can learn how to live a happy and successful life. I have personally benefited a lot by reading self-help books in my college days. They teach you right techniques to not only tackle the worldly problems but teach you how you can use mental power in healing and to achieve your personal goals.
Reading should start at very early age. Then it will become a habit. If a child reads stories, it becomes a better human being. It becomes creative, a thinker, and a right decision-maker. Stories like Aesop fables and Panchatantra Tales not only interest a child but also teach it the right lessons early in life.Researchers have supported the fact that a pregnant lady should read good books during her pregnancy and it will have positive impact on the child that will born.You should encourage children to read.Haven't you noticed how much children enjoy stories?Then why not make them read those stories themselves?
Elderly people also read to pass the time.You must have noticed your grandmother or grandfather reading the BhagvadGeeta or some other holy book.When others neglect elderly people,books become their best friend and Reading becomes their main and best activity to pass time.
Good reading gives you confidence. You learn how to talk in the outside world, how you can appear in interviews, group-discussions, debates. You read more and not only your vocabulary improves but also you have more stuff to talk, to discuss.
Reading newspapers is also a very important and good activity. You keep yourself abreast with current affairs. You can become alert and learn from others mistakes which appear in news. These days newspapers don't just print news but a gamut of other interesting stuff like interviews of celebrities, spiritual or inspirational articles, contests and much more. I spend a good amount of everyday time in reading newspapers and it has actually helped me a lot. I start my day with the toothbrush in one hand and a newspaper in the other! I read all the supplements provided with the main newspaper. I have the habit of carrying old newspaper supplements in my bag wherever I go. (That’s the reason you will always find me with a bag!)I read whenever I get the time and the space. In the crowded train every morning, I fold the newspaper article multifold, may be two-three months old supplement of Times or DNA or Gujarat Samachar and read it. At times other passengers look at my position and think I am crazy. There is no space to even move a limb and I manage to read in that situation. But that is how much I love and enjoy reading!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Teachers...(Part-2)

5th september is celebrated every year as Teacher's Day (in memory of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan who was a great Teacher) and this year I wanted to thank all my teachers by writing and dedicating this blog to all my respected teachers on that day...but life in Metro/Mumbai does not permit one to fulfil all one's wishes and poor me also didn't get time to complete this blog on teacher's day!But Never mind...it's never too late for doing a good thing! So my feelings may be expressed late but they are true and heart-felt!!!

In part-1 of this Blog I wrote about all my Tution teachers.Now let me talk about all my school teachers...All who helped me being whatever I have become today.I salute all my school teachers through this Blog.

गुरु गोविंद दोनो खड़े काको लागू पाय
बलिहारी गुरु आप की गोविंद दी यो बताय

These lines I must have recited number of times in school on microphone while reading an essay on the importance of Guru - Teacher on the day of Guru Poornima in school.They suggest Teacher is greater than even God and I agree with this subhashita.

My first two teachers were Kusumben and Bharatiben in Naani Shreni (Junior K.G.) of Nutan Vidya Mandir, my first school.I have the memories of the first day of my school life still fresh in my mind.(It's strange but yet true.I may be just 3-4 years old then but yet I remember which clothes I had worn and how my classroom was!)They were wonderful teachers.They tackled all those tiny-tots so well!Most of them crying-out-loud!These two teachers not only made me like to go to school at that age but taught me the first lesson of my school life very well.In Nutan Vidya Mandir I studied upto 3rd standard (that is for about four and a half years) and I came across teachers like KundanBen,HeeraBen and may be some others.(But I recall only these four teachers.)They were very good and made my base strong.They told me very good stories and contributed in my progress a great deal.Midway in my 3rd standard, I changed my school to Sheth N. L. High School - My Alma Mater - from where I passed my S.S.C.(10th standard - last year of school life).It has a great share in my life - in my career - in my development.In 3rd standard,I had a difficult time due to change of school and change of educational environment.But my first class teacher in that new school was TaruBen.She was very good and supportive.She gave personal attention to my progress.Can you believe, I, who had scored 90.85 % in my S.S.C. had flunked in Maths and other few subjects in the Unit Test and a few other mid term exams in 3rd and 4th standards. My 4th standard class teacher MeenaBen was also very cooperative and with personal attention on my progress made me work harder and pass the final semester exams.Unlike in Primary standards(3rd and 4th class),secondary standard classes had different teachers for different subjects.So I came across many teachers after I entered my 5th standard.I may not remember all my teachers but surely remember all those who had left their footprints on my heart and mind through their teaching,their characteristics,their way of life.I heartfully thank all of them for making me whatever I am today.In secondary school, 5th standard,Mr. Ajit Nayak was my first teacher who taught me ABC's of English as a second language subject.Other few teachers I would like to mention here are : Chandrakala D. Desai(Gujarati),Preeti Shukla-Vyas(Gujarati),PratimaBen(Gujarati & S.S.),Mrs. Ravalji(Maths),UshaBen Pathak(Marathi),Mrs.Kapadiya(Hindi and Handicraft),Mrs.Phillips(English),DhiruBhai Desai(P.T.),JanakBhai Sir(Drawing),Ibrahim Sir(Maths & Science),MrudulaBen Bhagat(Gujarati),NirmalaBen Chheda(Principal of my school),MeenaBen Joshi(Music),Librarian Mrs. Telang,Mrs. R. P. Dalal(S.S.),ArunaBen Kothari(Sanskrit),C.D. Ashahr(Gujarati & S.S.),SumanBhai Desai(Science),S.P. Naik(Maths),Late ShashikantBhai(English),RamanBhai(Science),Mr. Gokani(Science),VarshaBen(P.T.),Mrs. Madhubala Raichura(Gujarati),UshaBen Dave(Sanskrit) and many others.We had two different sections in my school then.Timing of Boys Section was in the morning and Girls section was in the afternoon.I was pet student of a few of the girls section teachers as well.(As I used to come standard First between both the sections, the girls section teachers knew me.Also I used to participate in various common programs on special occasions like 26th January function, GuruPoornima Day Program, Annual Day of the school event etc. and hence was famous.)The few girls section teachers were:Late Mrs. KaumudiniBen Ashar(Gujarati & S.S.),KokilaBen Nayak(Gujarati),NaynaBen(S.S.),KrishnaBen(Science),Mrs.Garodia(Science) etc.
I remember the peculiarity of some of the teachers which have made a deep impact on my mind.My Most favourite school teacher ,if someone ask me to name,it would be none other than C.D.Ashar sir. He always used to wear a white half-sleeved shirt (which he always used to keep out) and a white trouser.He taught us subjects of History,Geography and our first language - Gujarati.He was excellent teacher.Many teachers have lot of knowledge but they are not good at explaining things effectively.But Ashar Sir was one of the Best teachers of my school.He used to teach by involving Fun element.His favourite address to a student was 'Neech Sundar Vaghran' with that peculiar facial expression and a typical accent.Even though these words were derogatory, nobody felt bad because they were not spoken with bad intention or tone.Infact we used to laugh loud when he adressed somebody with those words!He recited stories from not only India but even foreign countries.He loved reading and was a great literary himself.I admired his oratory skills.We all used to get engrossed when he was telling us a story.He gave us the knowledge about Illiad and Odyssey.He made us love words and taught us to play with them.He introduced us to the words like Agony and Ecstasy.He used to seat on the table with his one leg hanging half in his peculair style and told us great stories.He used to bring maps and models to make the study interesting.He taught us wonderful tricks to remember certain things by associating facts with something specific or by using funny acronyms.(For eg. to remember the direction of earth rotation on its own axis he asked us to remember word 'Pruthvi Papu'...! which meant Pruthvi-earth moves from paschim(west) to purva(east) or DiDaJ and RaJaD - This is quiz for you readers of my blog..can u guess what it could be? May be my old classmates who attended AsharSir's class would be able to answer!)It was Ashar Sir who inspired and encouraged me to get the Best score in S.S.C.He told me once that he would like to read my name on a wooden board which had names of all the top scorers of S.S.C of all previous years since the inception of the school.I really worked hard to do that but unfortunately could not come first in the school in S.S.C. board but success of scoring a high score of 90.85% in S.S.C. I would attribute to the encouragement of my favourite teacher ChanduBhai D. Ashar.I have a great respect for him.
Another great teacher was Mrs. Phillips - a christian elderly lady who taught us English.She was very good at teaching the language and always encouraged us to use right grammer and speak in English at least in her classes.Her thick glasses and soft puffed cheeks and chin made her look cute and she always spoke in a very good accent and style.
Shashikant Sir,R.P.Dalal Mam,Raichura Mam,C.S.Desai Mam,Preeti Mam,ArunaBen Kothari also always inspired me and encouraged me during my formative years.
MeenaBen taught me taking part in singing and music related activities.The practise sessions we students had with her were really great and memorable.

All these teachers have played a great role in building my life,my career and has produced many more successful people with their noble and great profession of teaching.

If someone asks me what would I be if not a software professional, my answer would be - A Teacher! (I mean it! I have taken tutions and taught a few school students during my college life and I am sure at some point in time in future I would surely teach an entire class of students!)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Teachers...(part-1)

I read an article in today’s newspaper covering an interview of a Lady Professor of St. Xavier’s Institute and running came the memories of my school and tuition teachers and college professors who had influenced my life and made me possess some good qualities I hold today.

This blog will be a tribute to all my teachers whom I respect from the bottom of my heart. They are my idols, role models. I have learnt a lot from them and try to imbibe the good qualities they possessed.

I will write two Blogs on Teachers. In the first part I will talk about all my Tuition and Private Coaching Teachers. And in the second part I will talk about the teachers in my School and college.

I had not even started going to school and my mother had started sending me to one of the tuition teachers in my neighbourhood. She was Kokilaben. My First Teacher. A good building needs a strong foundation. The strong base of the building of my academics, my career, my education, I would attribute to Kokilaben. She taught me from the Bal-Mandir (Junior K.G. as we call it today) till the 6th standard. As it was not a private tuition and many students like me used to be all taught together, we not only learnt our school lessons but also the other important lessons of life. We learnt many good qualities from the tuition of Kokilaben. Her daughter Divya was also in the same class as I was and we were in the same school too (but different divisions). She was very good academically and very good friend of mine. (Infact till date she is one of my best friends) Chaitali, Shabana, Shabbir, Parul, Savita, Nilesh and many other friends I made at Kokilaben’s home. I still remember the Red-coloured thick semi-transparent Foot-ruler she used to use while teaching us. She occasionally gave us those small toys like the butterfly whistles or small Chakardis(small toys that can be brought into circular motion with hands) etc. Also the hanging black board on which she used to write and explain us the lessons or do the maths sums is still fresh in my memory. Also I remember how her face used to become all red when we all used to laugh at a joke together or when she was very angry at somebody’s mischief. I have very fond memories of my first tuition classes and I have a lot of respect for my first teacher – Kokilaben.

After learning for about eight years at Kokilaben’s classes I had to move on and join some private class (as she didn’t teach higher level classes). I had joined Vyas classes in Std. 7th. After that I joined Mavani Classes in Malad where Miss Leena used to teach us Maths and Science and Mr. Vinubhai Nayak taught us English. Leena miss had actually strengthened my Maths and science base and I would attribute my very good academic progress to her. She taught Maths and Science so well that I started scoring highest marks in these subjects after joining Mavani Classes. Vinubhai Nayak was one of the Best Teachers I have memories of. He taught English language and grammar so well that I remember his teaching style and the lessons till date. He made me grammatically strong. Today in foreign countries also they speak grammatically wrong English. But Vinubhai taught the English grammar rules so well that I could write and speak English grammatically correct and better than my same level English medium counterparts.

10th was the year of S.S.C and the most important year of my school life. Leena miss got married the same year when I was in 9th class and she stopped teaching at Malad and went to Ghatkopar post marriage. I had a tough time as I was so used to her teaching style. But life takes away one good thing from you and offers another even better. In vacation of 9th std. I joined V.C.R. (vacation cum regular) batch of Kumudben classes. Kumudben is another teacher whom I will never forget in my life. She used to teach so well and in a great manner. We all used to love attending her classes. In a small room around 70 to 100 students used to sit together on the floor (not even benches) but we all loved the classes. We used to laugh like anything in the class at a joke cracked by a student or some peculiar punch lines used by Kumudben while teaching like ‘Chaalo Jatu Karo…!’ (Let it go) or ‘Hey Bhagwan…’ (and some student always used to rhyme that with words ‘De vardaan…!’) or the sweet names she used to call us students by – like Labaadiya or something similar! I scored 90.85% in S.S.C and Maths and Science were the subjects where I had scored maximum – possible only due to Kumudben. In college level she taught only 11th and 12th class Maths to Commerce stream students only and I had chosen Science stream in Junior college level. Even though I had joined Mumbai’s best coaching classes in 12th Science called Agarwal Classes, I learnt my Derivatives and Integration Fundamentals clear with Kumudben’s teaching only. We were so thankful to her for letting us sit in her classes even when she used to teach only commerce stream students. That was one of the Best coaching session in my life which I attended during my 12th std. along with all my friends like Divya, Dipti, Zankhna, Jayesh, Hitendra and Pratik.

After these years, I mean after 12th, I didn't get any coaching teacher by whom I got highly impressed or who could influence me.I recollect a few professors whom I may talk about for their peculiar characteristics.(But they didn't have as lasting an impression as Kokilaben or Kumudben or Leenamiss or Vinubhai had on me)In Agarwal classes also I had joined V.C.R batch and there I got to attend lectures by a few well known professors like Babu and Pareira for Maths, Avatramani for Chemistry, A sikh Prof and Prof Mathew for Physics but I sometimes had difficulty understanding the concepts taught by them.(Either I had a problem due to my vernacular medium studies till 10th or I didn't have the pace at which they taught and others learnt)Only prof I loved was Prof Kadaali who taught Chemistry. He was amazing at teaching the subject.

After 12th ,I attended many crash course classes or regular batch at Vidyalankar but in the same way as in case of Agarwal classes, I just got little support to score marks in the exam. No professor had the lasting impression on me.

In my next Blog I would talk about some of my School and college teachers whom I deeply respect.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Independence Day...!

Tomorrow is 15th August - our Independence Day...So I am feeling a little patriotic! Let me share today some thoughts in that context only..

What is patriotism? Whenever our national anthem is being played somewhere and I try to connect and listen, I feel a vibration pass through my body. Many theaters in Mumbai have the custom of playing national anthem before the movie starts. Everybody in the audience stand up in respect of the national song and I really love that feeling of national pride every time I see everyone standing in it's respect and a strong sensation passes through my body everytime I am standing hearing the national anthem.

Same happens when India wins in a significant cricket match or any other sport or if some Indian achieves International acclaim or success. Reading the news of Abhinav Bindra winning Gold Medal recently in Beijing Olympics made the corners of my eyes wet with tears (of pride). I had felt the same when Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai had won The Best Beauty titles. Even a foreign resident of Indian origin also does something great or achieves some remarkable success, it makes me feel proud. Reading the news of a Gujarati US born NRI Raj Bhavsar winning a Bronze in Beijing Olympics also made me feel happy and proud. Sunita Williams or Kiran Desai or Amartya Sen scaling new heights of fame by their professional success made me feel great and proud.

When some foreign country tries to belittle India or us, Indians, then I feel ireful. When US recently tried to accuse us for the paucity of grain or food, I felt not only irritated but outrageous. It was silly and baseless accusation. Reading about the racial discrimination faced by Shilpa Shetty in the UK Reality show sometime back also made me feel angry. Today where are we heading to? Globalization has made the whole world a small unit. And still certain people or countries indulge in such silly things.

So is that all about patriotism? I guess not! Patriotism is much more than this.

Patriotism according to me is respecting our country and try to do whatever we can for its betterment, however small it may be. There are lots of troubles and issues in the world today like Global Warming, over population, Economic Slowdown, paucity of natural resources like power, water etc. We as true and responsible citizens of our nation shall always try to help Government in whatever efforts they are making for India's growth and to tackle all the above mentioned problems.

We got freedom 61 years ago from the British Rule. It's time to retrospect. What have we achieved in all these years of freedom? This Freedom has costed us a lot. Many lives have been sacrificed and too many hardships have been faced to achieve it. So we shall all just not have to enjoy the freedom but we have some responsibility too, as the true citizen of a great nation.

We all love the cleanliness of countries like Dubai or Singapore but what we do to make our country or city the same? Do we try to maintain our public places and roads neat and beautiful? We throw garbage anywhere. People spit or piss anywhere on the roads. It is time we start being conscious about such small things.

Do we pay attention while using water or electricity? Many times I observe, people keep Taps open after drinking water or washing their hands at a public place. Women use plenty of water thoughtlessly while washing clothes or for cleaning their utensils, homes etc. Lights and fans are kept switched ON even when they are not needed. We have to be aware of all such tiny things.

On roads, there is lot of traffic. Why? People don't think before using vehicles. Even for a small distance where a walk can do, they use vehicle. Options like Car pooling can not only be a very effective tool for saving fuel, fuel costs etc. but also reduce traffic and pollution levels to a great extent.

Patriotism for me is not just showing respect for your country but to treat your fellow citizens with respect and care. We don't care about our neighbours, our colleagues, our fellow Indian citizens. We act selfish. Many times I have seen people thinking about themselves or their own families only. But true patriotism is in the belief of ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्’ (The whole world is a big family). We shall not fight amongst ourselves based on our own state or religion. Humanity shall be at the top above all the things. If we understand this, then only we will be able to fight the terrorist attacks and other such grave issues.

Let's pledge of contributing our own bit in making our independence truely meaningful. Let's enjoy our Independence in true Spirit...

Happy Independence Day to all...!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

People Never Forget How You Treat Them…

Never treat people badly because they never forget how you treated them. And why should you treat anybody badly? There are enough tensions, stresses, problems in everybody’s lives, why not spread little happiness by a good genuine smile and make their interaction with you better. This will also make the person you gave that smile to, feel good and in turn make you feel better.

Some people always wear that weary look on their face that you don’t feel like communicating with them, some others go to extreme and have such disdainful look on their face that you don’t at all feel like looking at them, forget communicating. Imagine the state of a person working under such a guy!

On the other hand, there are people who always have that cheerful smile on their face which make them look cute! Even if such people are busy in their own life, you always feel approaching them, in need and they will also welcome you with genuine concern. How lucky are those who have such a Boss!

I would like to share two recent incidences of my life with you all. One good and one bad. Generally, I don’t like sharing bad things. But this bad incident I will share with you all anyways so that you also learn something from it and abstain from behaving in bad manner with others.

First I will share the good experience. I had some work in the Degree Engineering College I had bidden a good-bye to some seven years back or so.

Generally you have these very ill-tempered, rude people in Government and other such offices who do not have any respect for fellow human-beings and this reflects in the way they treat others. You have some work to get done from them and see how much bhaav you have to give them. Sometimes you literally have to plead them or in worst situations you may even have to bribe them. Bhagwan bachaye aise logo se!

But in my engineering college, there was this very good natured clerk who always had a big smile on her face. The peculiar thing about her was that she remembered all our, student’s names by heart. Whenever we used to go to her for taking the Railway Concession receipt or for some other official work, she always greeted us all with our first names and helped us in filling up any remaining or wrongly filled details of the form. She used to have little conversation whenever possible while stamping the form or doing her job. It always felt good to talk to her, sometimes after standing for a good amount of time in the queue. So after seven years or so when I went to my college for some work, I was not sure if that ever-smiling gentle-woman would be there or not. Seven years is a long period, isn’t it? But she was there! And the moment I went to her, she said,” Kaise ho Vikas?” I was pleasantly shocked! After seven years, still she remembered me by my first name! She must have come across thousands of students after I passed out from my college. But she remembered my first name. I smiled back and thanked her for helping me in getting my work, for which I had gone to the college, done. I felt so good about this incident, about the way she made me feel that day that I will always remember it. By your little gestures at times, you show the person with whom you are interacting that you care, you respect and you value them. And that’s a very nice thing to do! You make some one feel better.

Now, the bad incident. I had to visit this ENT doctor once. After sitting at the clinic for almost an hour and after seeing all those patients having some or the other problem with their Ears, Noses or throats, when I went into his cabin, he gave that weary look. I felt bad. There was no welcoming expression on his face, forget smile. I started talking about my problem and he didn’t even bother to hear me completely. He wrote me some medicines. I was wondering if something was wrong with him (or me?!).And I left the cabin in a few minutes. My day was marred. I will never forget how he made me feel that day. Neither I would advice anybody to consult that doctor in future (you loose business also by treating somebody badly!!) nor I would ever treat anybody in the same manner. Because I learnt an important lesson that day. I knew how I felt when that Doctor, almost ignored me.

Never ignore or neglect anybody. Listen to your clients, your friends, your colleagues or any body communicating with you, with genuine interest and respect everybody.

People always remember how you make them feel…

Friday, June 27, 2008

My SSC Result day in 1994...

Yesterday SSC Board exam Results got declared. They brought back the memories of my SSC Result I had got in 1994.

I had got 1st rank throughout all the exams in 8th and 9th standards. Infact up to preliminary exams of SSC also I was Standard First (that was the term we used in my school as there were separate Boys and Girls sections then) in all 10th class exams also. My parents never asked me to study or force me into anything. I doubt my father knew also which all subjects I had in 10th class! But I remember that day of June 1994 very well even today and I will never be able to forget it. My favourite teacher C. D. Ashar Sir had once shown me the wooden board in our school where names of all those who were 1st rankers in SSC board since the inception of the school. He said,"Nayak, I want your name to be there this year." But that SSC Board exam Result day came and I stood, not first, not even second but Third in the school. Two girls were ahead of me. I had scored 90.85 % (636/700 Marks) which was not at all a bad score and I was 28th in Mumbai. I had not only missed Merit List by 7 marks but also I could not obtain 1st rank in the school. I was very sad inspite of scoring above 90% marks. The grief increased when all the prizes and praises went to Aruna Gada (The girl who came 1st in my school).My Tution Teacher Kumudben personally visited her home and congratulated her but she didn’t come to my home. All these facts hurted me the young me then. My parents and my sisters were very supportive. They knew I had aspired to be the first and didn't even come second. But my parents explained it is a dream for many to score above 90% marks and I had a very bright future ahead. Had I been depressed and stood there only with my failure to be first in the school, I would not be where I am today. I moved ahead. I accepted my result. So what if my name was not printed on that wooden board where my favourite teacher wanted it to be? I took admission in D.G. Ruparel college science stream and even though I was a vernacular student (Gujarati Medium), I managed to score 93% in H.S.C and completed my Engineering Degree from one of the Best colleges in Mumbai (VESIT, Chembur). Today I have completed my M.B.A also from India's one of the Best Management Schools (JBIMS). Also I am working in one of India's leading and world's one of the Best Stock Exchange's (National Stock Exchange of India Ltd.) technical arm (NSE Info Tech)

Had my parents kept over-expectations and put me in pressure during my SSC or after SSC, I would not be able to achieve all this today. I love my parents for that. They never bothered me with their expectations and always encouraged and let me took my decisions on my own. I am Thankful to them for that.

I urge all parents of the SSC students who got their results yesterday, not to discourage their children if they have failed to score high marks or if they have failed. SSC is not the End. There is a long way to go. And today where we are! We have so many choices to make! Try to learn what skill your child possess and help him/her grow in that field. Don't burden him/her with your wishes and aspirations. Let him/her be what he/she wants to be in life.

I pray for all the students that they achieve what they want out of life....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Rain Goddess DhundhiyaMata...

I Love Nature and I love all Natural Beauties one of them is Rain! (Ya...I consider it a Beauty!)I love the showers of Rain and the climate it creates...I love the Aroma of Soil when the first rains of the season wets the over heated Earth...I love the clouds, the rainbow, the orange evenings (we call it 'Khileli Sandhya' in Gujarati) and the gusty winds rains bring along with it in the monsoon...

Though some people don't like the gloomy flavour attached to the dull kind of climate during monsoon and some others do not like the water all over the roads and the mud and the need to carry an umbrella or a raincoat wherever you go, I think nobody would wish Rain should not come as soon as possible after a hot hot summer! Everybody longs for it. Year by Year summers are getting hotter and hotter and winters cooler and cooler. So this year when the monsoon started little early, in the first week of June (usually it starts in the third week of June), everybody was happy that they got a little relief from the pangs of summer heat...but after raining for continuously eight days or so the Mumbai Rains seem to have taken rest! It has vanished since a week or so. We all are now waiting for the rain to return. This waiting reminds me of my childhood days.

There are some beautiful cherishable memories associated with my childhood and the waiting for rain. There used to stay an old lady called Prabhaben in my neighbourhood and we children used to call her ‘Prabhamasi’. She was a very strict lady and we all used to get scared of her a lot. But one traditional ritual related to the Rains, she taught us and that is still fresh in my mind after about 20 years.

Come the month of May and she used to call us, all children and ask us to get some ‘Lal Mati’ (soil) and we all sat in a circle. She then used to get some water and made a small figure of a Rain Goddess called ‘Dhundhiya Mata’. Sitting idol of this rain goddess looked beautiful even though it was not in perfect shape or had any artistic touch. Prabhamasi used to stick two small white stones as DhundhiyaMata’s eyes. She used to make a little nose and little mouth also on the face so that the idol looked like a human figure. Two tiny hands and two tiny legs were also the part of the idol and DhundhiyaMata was made to sit on a tile or a flat big stone. Chundadi of a nice clean cloth was put on the head of this idol and on her forehead Prabhamasi used to put a KumKum Tika. We all children used to see the making of this idol and then her symbolic Sthapna in open air on the grounds in front of my home. It was believed that DhundhiyaMata will bring rains early and in good amount, if we regularly pour some water on her head every day and pray to her to send the Rains soon. She was called ‘Rain Goddess’ after all! Daily two to three times we children ensured that DhundhiyaMata get her share of ‘Jal Abhishek’. We enjoyed this game. It was fun to see DhundhiyaMata’s idol decaying with all that water we used to pour on her head. The custom was so. Finally DhundhiyaMata used to ensure that Rain come on time and the last remains of her idol be washed away in the first few showers of it. That is how the Visarjan of DhundhiyaMata’s idol had to take place. I still remember how I used to eagerly watch through my window how DhundhiyaMata’s idol looked in the Raining water and how gradually it used to diminish and finally only the nice clean cloth remained on the tile after all the soil used to get washed away by the rain water.

For a few years Prabhamasi made DhundhiyaMata idol and then I took on her legacy and made it sure to make the idol with my little hands for some more years till the time I got adult and got busy with my higher level study and then Job etc. As a child I always had great faith in this ritual and Rain Goddess DhundhiyaMata. Don’t know whether it was DhundhiyaMata who brought the Rains or not but then certainly we all children believed so. And we all religiously and regularly followed the ‘water-pouring on her head’ ritual with sincerity.
I wonder Today’s generation children would do so? They would hardly get any time out of their busy school schedules and then their videogame or internet sessions.

This year I feel like making a DhundhiyaMata Idol again! To call the Rain back who has vanished since a few days… (And I promise if I do so I would surely click a picture of the idol and post it here in this Blog!)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Propagating wrong ideas through Movies...

Today I saw the movie ‘Jannat’ (with lead actors Imraan Hashmi and Sonal). I like movies on varied subjects and this being a movie on a different kind of subject - that of gambling, cricket match fixing/batting, I liked this one too.

Now this is not one of my most favourite movies or I didn’t like it so much that I would write a Blog on the same. But there are two three points I want to make through this blog about how movies propagate wrong ideas. There are a few strong points about the movie 'Jannat' which I would like to discuss through this Blog.

The hero is a gambler and is greedy creature who has left his home as his father is a poor honest fellow who could not fulfill all his son’s materialistic wishes. The hero is a firm believer that money if earned through a way like gambling where there is no direct harm to anybody or direct implication on anybody ), is fair(I believe there is direct implication on gambler's family members by gambling). The hero does not have any fear of loosing at all while gambling. He takes tremendous risk and looses lakhs of rupees in a single gamble game.

This hero has an innate skill of predicting the moves of a cricket match. By intuition he predicts the batsman will hit a six and the batsman actually hits a six. He says the batsman will now be clean-bowled and the batsman is clean-bowled on the next ball! He is unaware of his own skill and one day accidently realizes about it in a hotel while watching a cricket match.Later, exploiting this skill he earns a lot of money. He becomes very famous in Bookie’s world and due to this skill reaches South Africa with his girlfriend. He works for an underworld Don there. He makes a lot of money and becomes a very prominent Match-Fixer. The large amount earned by him is spent by the Don on Terrorist activities, for other illegal means like drugs, cocaine etc. But the Hero is indifferent to this aspect. Even though he knows the money earned by him is going for wrong means and is killing lakhs of innocent people around the world, he believes it is not his business to bother about how the money is spent. When the heroine confronts him, he even argues that even Indian Government is taxing the citizens heavily and then uses this amount for making nuclear weapons and guns and bombs. Now this point I have a problem with. How can he make such a statement? The Government also may be using a part of the tax money for the purpose our hero is mentioning, but he forgets that the whole idea of investment by Government in weapons and guns and bombs is for the Security of the citizens and not for killing them. So how can he justify his own indifference by blaming the Government?

Second point I disliked about the movie was a scene where the hero narrates his childhood days when he didn’t get all the luxuries the children of rich families get to enjoy. He says his father never took him from the way on which Ice-cream parlour or a Toy shop was present as they didn’t have the money to buy it. The hero says he does not wish his children also to pass through the same phase. He wants to give them all the pleasures in life. But at what cost? With the money earned by illegal ways? The hero speaks all these dialogues so convincingly that the gullible youth watching the movie gets convinced by his ideology and would get the wrong message. I heard two youngsters talking during the interval of the movie about this point. One of them was favouring the hero and said why one needs to bother about others when he is making money for self and the family? It is justified even when one does a little wrong by being little unethical and being selfish. I felt really sad hearing their conversation.

The end of the movie is fair. The wrong does not live longer and the hero gets killed by the police. The message – bure ka ant bura (wrong always looses/dies in the end) comes but very late in the movie. The whole movie according to me propagates wrong ideas by which the youth and the immature minds may get influenced wrongly. Movies are a very strong media impacting the minds of the audiences heavily. So directors and writers of the movies have the social responsibility of not propagating the wrong ideas.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Living in a chawl ...

Yesterday one of our neighbours - Pragnabhabhi, Kamleshbhai, Tejas and Chintan left their place in our neighbourhood in Malad and shifted to a new place in Bhayander. If we were staying in a building then it would not have made much difference but we live in a chawl in a colony called Bhadran Nagar. Hence it was a big incident for my family and many other families in our neighbourhood.
There are 16 rooms in my chawl and exactly opposite is another chawl with another set of 16 rooms. The doors of our homes face the doors of the homes in the chawl opposite to ours. Pragnabhabhi used to stay in the home 2 rooms after my home. Just beside her stays Lalitabhabhi and Rameshbhai's family who is a Marwadi family. Exactly opposite to her stay Kokilabhabhi and Ketanbhai. These three families are very close to each other. We also have good relations with all the three.
Now, Pragnabhabhi and Lalitabhabhi together purchased new flats and Pragnabhabhi already moved to her new home yesterday. So on this occasion there was hustle bustle since morning yesterday. Kokilabhabhi came to our home and started talking in an emotional tone about how she felt on this occasion. She had tears in her eyes. She was not feeling well since last few days anyway and moreover this now. Her one of the closest neighbours and friend was moving away from her. She said what she would do when Lalitabhabhi also moves away after a few days. She would be all alone.
This is the essence of staying in a chawl or a community habitat. You are close to your neighbours. Even at the midnight you are in need of help and they are there. There are numerous other advantages. You not only share new recipes you make for lunch/dinner but also your grief and happiness. They - your neighbours are a part of your life. Kokilabhabhi had become emotional as she was feeling a part of herself was moving far from her. Her tears made me, my sisters and my mother also feel a bit sad.
In a chawl system, the neighbours are very much a part of your home. Me and my dad are most of the times out of our home for work but my sisters and my mother are kind of attached to our neighbours Rekhabhabhi, Ramilabhabhi, Manisha, Kokilabhabhi, Lalitabhabhi and Pragnabhabhi. Ramilabhabhi are at my home most of the times. At night/evening also when I return home after a tiring day, my mother is sitting and chitchatting with either Ramilabhabhi or some other neighbour. And at times I don't like that. I feel as if my privacy is at stake. But then I don't complain and perhaps I also feel I don't mind it because in the same manner I like the company of my colleagues at office, my mother and sisters like the company of my neighbours. They share their work, gossip and do the daily chores in each others company and watch saas-bahu programs also together!
There are fights also at times between families staying in the same chawl but then that’s part of life. Good and bad are sides of the same coin.
Your doors always remain open, your children grow up easily and there are lot many other advantages like the safety of your home in your absence etc. of living in a chawl/community.
Tomorrow even if I move out of my current residence to live in a bigger place, I will never be able to forget my this home where I was not only born but also grew into whatever I am today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My First Experience as a Radio Professional...

Being a creative and truly versatile soul I keep my fingers in many pies. It’s my nature to keep doing something new constantly in life. Kabhi dance to kabhi writing... Kabhi swimming to kabhi teaching..! Last year I appeared for a written exam at Radio station for Gujarati news reading position. (Have you heard a software professional doing so before?!)I passed this exam and a voice audition followed in February 2008. (It was just before a day I was supposed to leave for my marriage in Gujarat!)I cleared that too. And last month my training started for the post of a Gujarati news reader of Aakashwani - All India Radio. I have to reach AIR building after my office hours whenever I am supposed to do the duty. Generally 2 officers are on duty every day. They have to sort the news items from the heap of papers that keep piling up through out the day. (These news strips come from News agencies like PTI, Bhasha etc.)The news are printed in English and Hindi. The officers on duty have to sort and select some 10-15 news items for translation. They translate them into Gujarati and then it is supposed to be read by one of the officers during 10 minutes interval from 08:50 PM to 09:00 PM.I find it all very interesting - specially the reading the news on Radio (Live broadcast) part! Though this news bulletin can't be heard from anywhere in India (It is for Gujarati Audience in middle and East Africa) I am sure it would give me immense satisfaction and pleasure when I would read my first news on Radio.
On Wednesdays there is a program called 'Vartman Na Vhahen'(Current Affairs) and on Thursdays - 'Akhbaar Ni Atari e thee'(From the news balcony) which are both five minutes duration programs. Here the officer on duty would prepare an article from newspaper or write something related to current affairs on his/her own and read it on Radio.

Yesterday I got the first chance to go On Air. I had to prepare and read an article from a newspaper for 5 minutes. Now this 5 minutes should also include brief intro and the summary and the presenter’s name etc. I was over excited to step into the world of Radio and doing something new of this sort for the first time in my life. (I have participated in Radio Drama during my school days some 15 years ago and have cleared auditions also for Gujarati drama and news reading but this was for the first time I was going to present something professionally for a Live audience in Africa. I had chosen an article on 'Global Warming’. The article was long and my mentor Maitrayiben warned me about its length and that I would not be able to read it in 5 minutes. But I was over-confident and assured her that I would edit some part and finish it well in time.

Was I nervous when I entered the recording studio? I had decided to record my own voice through my mobile as there was no other way I could have heard what and how I spoke. I had kept the settings also ready on my mobile just had to press OK to start recording. But as soon as the newsreader Jyotiben finished reading news I got excited and in hurry forgot to click OK on my mobile. I took my seat and started reading. I guess I was too fast. Though my pronunciations of Gujarati words were quite clear and I didn't do a single mistake in reading, I made a blunder! I didn't look up to see the clock hanging on the wall opposite to me which is a must ritual for a newsreader or anybody who is giving a live performance on radio. I didn't see what my mentor Maitrayiben wanted to tell me through signs. I didn't see at the big equipment which had a scale to show how loud you speak. Louder you speak higher is the angle by which the needle of this instrument deflects. I never noticed deviation of this needle. I just kept on reading (or running?!) to finish my article. It was more than 5 minutes. I could feel the uneasiness around but didn't stop. kept going on and on. even after Maitrayiben clearly signed me to wind up, I could not stop. Finally she had to come beside me and abruptly switched off the button to stop the broadcast and to allow the radio speaker Taruben to continue her further program. After the recorded program tape was connected to the broadcast equipment, Taruben gave me a firing! She was not angry upon me but she explained me all my mistakes clearly and with a seniors style. She is a veteran in this field and knows all the nuances of Radio job. So is my mentor Maitrayiben. She also didn't favour me and explained me all the things I shall take care of while giving a program on Radio. Both these ladies were very kind and didn't insult me at all or scold me but taught me some very important lessons. I felt very very bad from inside. I tried to read newspaper and book (Kite Runner) in train while returning home but could not concentrate and my mood was not good. After returning home, first I narrated the whole incident to my mom and sister but still mood-change thing didn't happen yet. Now today after a day is over since my yesterday's bravado and after writing it down in this blog and sharing it with all my good friends (you all!), I am feeling good and now I feel I have overcome the blunder! Now my next duties are in next week.

Hope I do full justice to my job as Radio presenter and do my Best!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Buffalo Jeans : Creative Ads...

I have a T-shirt with the message printed on it - “Great Ideas feel right in the Gut...”

I completely agree with the above statement. Any intelligent or meaningful idea appeals to me and moves me. The advertisements, be it on T.V. or Radio or in the Newspaper or on the Sign Board on road or anywhere in any form, are no exceptions. I always enjoy Hat ke Ads.

I came across these very creative and innovative kinds of Ads across Ville Parle railway station of western suburbs of Mumbai today morning. All the platforms carried these big hoardings of Buffalo Jeans wear which set me look at them carefully and thinking for a while. There were three-four different concepts. I would like to discuss them with reasons why I found them interesting, different than the rest of the ads and why I liked them.

Each of these Ads had a big Hindi letter written along with a word starting with that letter which was the concept of the picture. One ad had " श - शुरुआत ". It displayed five-six youngsters jumping from the fence of a field/fence (as if showing they are trying to run free from all the day-to-day tensions of the world and enjoy their youth!) All of them wearing Buffalo Jeans wear.(It reminded me of the movie ‘Rang De Basanti’, specially the scene where all the heroes remove their shirts and run freely along with an aero plane flying from just above their heads).This picture clicked with me instantly!
Another hoarding shown a Bengali lady sitting with her family including an old man, enjoying their meals as their hosts – three-four youngsters, wearing Buffalo Jeans were serving them the food. It made a nice picture of an Indian Tradition of greeting the guest like God! Appropriately it bore the letter-word combination:
स – सत्कार

Third Ad was a beautiful picture of five – six youngsters singing and dancing on the roof of a Bus wearing Buffalo Jeans and they all had this typical rock-star types hippy look with curly long hairs, white kurta and colourful muffler and with musical instruments like guitar, manjiras (cymbals), keyboard etc. (This picture resembled the scene in bollywood number ‘Chal Chhaiya Chhaiya…’).The theme here was “ भ – भक्ति

The last hoarding was a touchy picture of two-three youngsters wearing Buffalo Jeans and all drenched in the pouring Rain water and teaching football to two street children. It displayed the Hindi letter – word “ प - पाठशाला
Though these ads would seem very ordinary at first glance, yet they were classy and had a meaningful concept behind each theme and there was this Indianness in them with which I guess we all would connect. It appealed to me very much.

Advertisements like these make deep impact on the minds of the audience, if not consciously then may be subconsciously. ‘Buffalo Jeans’ has surely got a new customer – Me!

Exuberance...My First Set of three Books Got Published...

Exuberance was the word I read a few months back in a magazine, on which readers were supposed to write narrating the most exuberant moments of their lives and there were many interesting stories I read as part of this contest. One such occasion in my life also came recently when I felt most exuberant - when for the first time my work got published...and I got a bonus! It was not just one book...but a series of three books!
The books are compilation of the articles, stories etc. published in the regular column called 'Internet Corner' I write every Saturday in supplement 'Mahek' of Gujarati Daily called - 'Janmabhoomi'. After I joined NSE.iT some six years back, I started receiving these emails of lots of types from various sources. I read and enjoyed them a lot and one day I thought why not share these good thoughts with thousands of my Gujarati readers who don't/couldn't access Internet. After all Good thoughts should spread across as far as they can. And in Gujarati a poet has said - 'Gamta no karie Gulaal...' (meaning the things we like shall be shared with many).With this objective I started this column in Janmabhoomi 4 years back.
I translated varieties of emails like stories, humorous articles, inspirational speeches of personalities like Narayan Murthy, Azim Premji, Subroto Bagchi, Dhirubhai Ambani etc., and some very nice touchy thoughts on love, life and many things in general. These articles were read and appreciated by many guajarti readers who gave me their feedback through post, emails, phone calls etc. from time to time. It was this encouragement that kept me going (and still I write every Saturday with same enthusiasm!) and has made me reach so far.
Mr. Rohit Shah of Gurjar GranthRatna Karyalay of Ahmedabad, Gujarat saw and read these articles and thought of publishing them in the form of books. I accepted the offer without a second thought and got this opportunity to spread the good thoughts to yet a larger set of audience through this Tri-series of books. Mr.Rohit suggested to divide the articles in three broad categories - Short stories , the first book named 'Katha Corner',
Inspirational and other types of articles ,the second book called 'Mahek'(means Fragrance in English) and one liners, quotes etc., the third book called 'Karandiyo'(means flowerpot in English).
It gave me immense joy when I actually saw my books published! I hold them in my hands and felt the pleasure which can't be described in words! Exuberance is the word that probably describes how I felt then.
The cover page design was the concept developed by one of my very dear friends Devendra Purbiya. He is an amazing personality with lot of creative talent. He is a very good photographer and a designer too. He had clicked the picture of foam holding it between his hands and edited this picture in some image editor with nine different colours. Now literature or any art form also has nine different types of Rasas (like Shaant, karuna, haasya, veer, bibhatsa, shringar etc.)So I thought why not use Devendra's beautiful picture which I had seen on his flickr profile, as a cover design of my books - as a symbol of Nine rasas depicted by each of the different coloured cube. And the same nine coloured square box was used as a common element on each of the covers of 'Internet Corner' series..
It really clicked well and the books look very elegant and attractive due to Devendra's concept. Thanks Dev!
My favourite poet, my guru and a great personality Mr. Suresh Dalal agreed to write Preface for my book and my happiness knew no bounds! I was over-whelmed when such a genius wrote a few words about my books and my work. Mr. Kundan Vyas, CEO of Janmabhoomi group also obliged me by writing his kind words for encouraging me and my work.
When I wrote Thank You note for all those who had directly or indirectly helped me in making me reach this far, lot of sweet memories of my childhood days, school days, college days and such old times came vivid.
The response I got from various people whom I didn't even know, after the books reached market, made my heart skip a bit! The first SMS I got from a Doctor in Ahmedabad, the call I got from the editor of a Well-known Gujarati website (who has also published the review of my second book Mahek - see the link http://www.readgujarati.com/sahitya/?p=1601) and comments of many people on his website regarding my second book 'Mahek', the feedback from the people whom I gifted the book etc. has increased my passion for writing and sharing good thoughts manifold. One more thing I learnt in life through this experience is that one never gets success in an instance. There is lot of hard work and time behind any success. One needs to be perseverant and passionate about things in life. Positive outlook and optimism surely leads to success.
                    
And last but not least, the words from Mrs.Chetana Dave and VanalataDidi (who had published my first small item in 'Balko ni fulwadi' in Mumbai Samachar in 1990) that in Life one has to keep moving and not stop at one point or one success. I will always try to remember these golden words of advice.

[

You will get these books at -

Online on - Website 'www.rediff.com' (Rediff Shopping)

In Mumbai - Navbharat Saahitya Mandir
134, Princess Street,Mumbai - 400001
Phone - (022)22017213/22085593

In Ahmedabad - Gurjar GranthRatna Kaaryaalay
Opp. Ratan Pol Naka, Gandhi Marg,
Ahmedabad - 380001
Phone - (079)22144663

Also In Gujarat across most of the CrossRoad Book Stores and other book stalls
]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Swimming...

I have taken yearly membership of Swimming at Kandivali's S.V.P. Swimming pool. Though I can't go on a regular basis whenever I get the chance to swim, I must admit - it gives me immense pleasure!

Yes - Immense pleasure...I have not joined it only for the body-building or exercise purpose but I have been renewing my membership at the Kandivali swimming pool since last 3-4 years just because swimming gives me a kind of joy which very few other activities would give!


During Summer I enjoy swimming more regularly. During winter I avoid going because it's already cold and I have allergic cold problem so cold water and cold weather combo would play havoc with my health if I continue swimming regularly in the winter. And monsoon has its own charm as far as swimming is concerned! You are already in water and there is a shower from the sky also and you feel water water every where!
The climate is so good during monsoons even when it's not raining and clouds hide the sun. The colour of the environment changes. The evenings are orange or yellowish and the mornings are also dull - not the usual bright sunny. In such climate, I love swimming like anything! And when the rain is just starting, the rain drops are big and fall on you giving you a completely different kind of experience love to capture these raindrops on my body when the rain just starts and then the rain starts in full swing.


I try different styles while swimming: Frog style, Butterfly style, normal swimming style, underwater swimming, back stroke et al. I love the back stroke style the most where I lie on my back in the water and either by moving both my hands from above the head towards the waist in the same direction together or in the opposite directions (that is one hand from above the head to waist and at the same instance the other hand from the waist to the head).And while swimming in this manner I directly face the sky. What a feeling! I simply love this style of swimming. I feel as if I directly connect with nature, with sky, with the clouds or birds flying and talk to them! Sometimes even those dragon-fly insects pass by and I talk with them too! I sing also at times while swimming in back stroke style. (Of course silently with my lips closed! Otherwise people swimming around me will surely think I have gone mad!)This style gives me a feeling of freedom. Freedom from all the worldly tensions, stress etc. for those moments at least! I feel liberated when swimming in this style. The world seems to have lowered its pace. But when someone who is also swimming in the same style but in the opposite direction, bangs with you, you come to your senses back! And then you have to get into proper posture for maintaining your balance in the water!

Diving and jumping are also two things associated with swimming. The former is entering the water with your head down towards the water and the latter involves the jump in the water with your legs entering the water first that is jumping straight in to the water as you are standing. I have tried diving from the height of say 1st floor of a building. It is scary but it is fun! When you are standing on the dive-board and about to dive into the water, you get scared like hell but you don’t think much and dive! And in a jiffy there is a splash! More the height you dive from, deeper you go in to the water. And you loose the sense of direction, depth etc. for sometime but immediately you have to come back to the normal state, gain balance and move upwards to come to the surface. Believe me it is a great experience to dive or jump from a height in to the water!

I also enjoy underwater swimming a lot. It is a different kind of fun. You can experience the kind of feelings the fishes might be living all their lives I have bought swimming goggles also so that I can see the sight under water. I can not stay for very long underwater. But for the time I am under water, I enjoy!
!

I still have to learn how to go right at the bottom of the swimming pool and remain there and swim there for longtime. I remember my Friend and colleague Sunil doing this very well when we had gone to Manas Resort for my office picnic. I tried hard to learn it but till date I have not been able to learn this style. (Any body reading this Blog and knowing this style can please share some tips about the right technique! I would be thankful!)


Whenever we go for office picnic, I am the one among first few who dive into the pool! The hectic schedule and the daily routine activities keep you so busy most of the times that you can’t pursue your hobbies or enjoy the activities like swimming or gymming regularly but one must engage in such activities more often not only for the health sake but also for making the life more interesting. I wish I can be more regular in my swimming sessions in 2008 as I love swimming...!!!