Saturday, July 4, 2015

One Earth: Don't Mess Around!

One Earth: Don't Mess Around!: Give crow rice, it will eat neatly, not a scattered grain. Koels are fairly clean eaters too. Not much mess around their dish. Mynah, I...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Clouds of Imagination

One, two, three
Chasing each other in glee
Kick one off the list
Two replace it quick

Not a thought in the head
But subheads demanding to be fed
Stories, novels, features, blogs
Family, dance, leisure, phew, no dogs!

Work drills, heat kills
Body cries, mind dries
Like a zombie, on the mill
Up and down, and yet only downhill

Pull the reins of your life
Leave behind the daily strife
Break free from the life of ruination
Adrift on the clouds of imagination.

Floating and dreaming
Mind empty, life filled with meaning
A nice dream, till it lasted
Now let me get back, before I am blasted!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Clasped Hands

Nithya extended her hand. Sampoorna resisted. "I will manage," she said stubbornly.

Nithya pursed her lips angrily and looked at the road. The traffic showed no signs of abating. "We are not going to cross today," she complained. "I have to get back. My children will return from their classes," she complained.

Reluctantly Sampoorna grabbed Nithya's hand. Nithya was shocked at the touch, at how hard the hand had become.

She kept a foot forward and Sampoorna followed hesitantly. Slowly the two walked across, Nithya matching her steps to her mother's pace. A speeding car slowed but blew the horn near them. A startled Sampoorna clutched her daughter's hand in fear.

Nithya glared at the driver and they managed to cross. She needed to steady herself for a second as memories of her agile mother confidently helping young Nithya cross the road, holding the tiny hands in her own soft hands came flooding. Waiting patiently in the park, allowing the child to play to her fill, taking her to the doctor's, taking her to her friend's homes, giving in to every demand - memories of her mother's youth and strength. Her mother was but a shadow now, still patient, still not demanding, unable to do all that she would like to.

But even if she had demanded, who would have heard the old woman? Nithya hadn't been giving her mother time, thanks to work and family. Today had been an emergency and already the piling list of chores made her tense and upset.

Seeing the contentment on her mother's face, she dropped the list from her mind for a few minutes. They walked slowly, chatting about olden days. Even Nithya felt nice, not worrying about mundane routine for a few minutes. She took her mother to the temple and bowed before the deity with a free heart, feeling a connection she hadn't in a long while.

Maybe she would lag by a few minutes in her schedule, but she felt she needed to make time for her mother. If that was part of her schedule, it would not be a lag, would it?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Tyranny of Success

A cute sardar boy ran howling to his parents on being rejected in the selection round of a music reality show in TV today. A voice over said, "Rejection is not the end. It is the beginning of a journey to success."

I wanted to slap the scriptwriter. It was just the kind of shallow, oft-repeated thought that sounds deceptively inspirational, but means zilch for the child whose hopes have been raised and dashed. The entire ecosystem - right from parents to the show hosts - is responsible for this. Some children who cannot hold the tune are made to come and contest. They become laughing stock on national TV. Mostly under 12, they may not even realise they are being laughed at!

A week ago, one boy literally begged the judges to give him a chance. The boy was not more than 9 years old. I watched aghast as he started crying. The judges were embarrassed. Finally they called the family. The boy said his father will scold him for losing. The uncle said some crap about if the boy worked hard then he could meet expectations, but to give him a chance. The judge stopped the uncle bluntly and told him not to put so much pressure on the boy at such a young age.

I remember this topic coming up during an interview with Sri Sriram Parasuram, the Hindustani classical singer and husband of playback singer Anuradha Sriram. He was very vehemently opposed to such reality shows for such young children. "The kind of training they have to go through is not fair to them," he said firmly.

When attending a competition at a smaller level, I was amazed at the concert-level quality of some of the young children. Yes, it is amazing. But is it needed? If they do gamakams and palukals when they are 10 and 12, instead of enjoying the pace and the beauty of a song at that age, what will they be left with when they reach 20-25/30-35? Let me put it differently, if they have to worry so much about delving into the depths of ragas at this age, when will they play and enjoy life? Is it necessary to 'create' and nurture prodigies at such a young age?

The premium of success, the definition of success, the stress on success... Or, is it short cut to fame that is being sought, vicariously by parents through their young children? Are success and fame synonymous? Are we chasing success, which comes with hard work and maturity, or fame just to be in the spotlight?

As I watch young children put through the circus, I cannot but wonder what their life would be like once the limelight is snatched from them... What happens to them when they go back to their ordinary lives?

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