Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MY INDIA, YOUR INDIA, OUR INDIA

While blogging a few days ago I came across a poem in Urdu that had been translated into English by the blogger. This poem made a lot of sense to me. It said something like, 'I had no say, or control, over the place, family, caste, religion, nation etc. that I was born in and yet I am ready to fight and give my life over each of these issues'. This is what I took away from that poem, and it is so true, if you dispassionately sit and think about it.

I am also reminded of a story of one family that had twins. When young one of the children would fight with his twin over an issue like 'these are my parents, they are not your parents' and the other would yell back, 'no these are my parents, not yours'. This would go on for some time and they would finally end up crying and come to blows over this issue. A few years later when these two kids grew up, they realised that this was one of the biggest non-issues that they had been fighting over. Their parents belonged to each of them, primarily because they had given birth to both of them.

I was lucky to have been born in India. I grew up, completed my schooling, went to the National Defence Academy, joined the Indian Air Force and spent the better part of my life in a service where I never judged any body by his caste, religion, parentage, or state of birth. Everyone was an Indian who was ready to do what was needed to serve the country, even including laying down one's life in the line of duty. We represented people from all religions, castes, states, etc. and never felt that India was only mine. Each one of us stood by the Indian flag and the Indian Constitution, and that is how it should be. Our differences were personal but we all belonged to India, and this added to our strength as a nation. Our brotherhood was without any considerations for our personal differences.

We were lucky to serve all over this great and varied land, from the Siachin glacier in the mighty Himalayas to Trivandrum and Andaman Nicobar islands in the South; from Dibrugarh in the East to Bhuj in the West. Never once did we feel out of place in any part of this magnificient country. I have flown over nearly the whole of India and have seen the rivers, the deserts, the Himalayas, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian sea. Ours is a rich and varied country with diversity in every conceivable way. I am not sure if one would find any other country with the diversity that we have. I will be writing on the diversity later.

My experience in the recent past has not been too happy. I find political parties trying to make Biharis, Marathis, Muslims, Hindus, etc. out of Indians. Each party is actually trying to send out a message that this is 'my India, not yours'. This is similar to the incident I narrated about the two siblings earlier. Can we the people grow up and realise that this India is not mine, or yours, but OURS. Why? Like the two siblings were born to the same parents, we are all born in this God's own country - India. This land has always through millenia given refuge to people persecuted anywhere else in the world. This country has always had a large heart. And now we are fighting amongst each other, amongst people who belong here and are not from an alien land. Please donot be mislead by some power hungry politician who is trying to carve his own constituency by inciting people against each other. These politicians are thankfully in a very small minority.

The only way to defeat the evil designs of these small minority of negative elements of society is through believing and behaving that this is OUR INDIA - as much yours, as mine and we all have the same rights and responsibilities as citizens as per the Constitution and nobody can take that away from any of us. Keep the Indian flag flying, even when you must protest - you could belong to any party, state, religion or caste. We are all Indians and our flag is the highest symbol of unity - keep it flying high always. Omar Abdullah hit the nail on the head when he said something like 'I am a Muslim and an Indian'. We have our personal identities and we have a national identity. Our dealing with each other in the public realm should always be as Indians. Our India would then shine, as it has always been destined to. I believe in it.........do you???

Sunday, November 23, 2008

WARMTH AND SNOW IN CANADA - NOVEMBER 2008

God gives couples a second chance to enjoy the bliss of becoming parents once again - of course, this second chance comes with the 'GRAND' title. You get the perks and privileges, without the responsibility of bringing up the young ones - I am sure about this.
Another way of looking at it is that God gives a chance to one's offsprings to witness first hand what their parents had gone through to bring them to their present state from their birth. Is it God's way to make one value the contributions of one's parents to their well being? Enough philosophy......now about the most important and recent addition to the family of our daughter and son-in-law - Meher Mandyam.
Narsim and Medha were blessed with our grand daughter 'Meher', who was born on 29 Sep 08. Poonam was in Canada for the event and I reached there on 02 Nov 08. I am back in Chennai, much against my wishes. Poonam continues to enjoy Meher for another two months. Meher has been the centre of attraction for all of us. She brought a great deal of warmth into our lives even in the bitter cold of Canada, at this time of the year. We even had 7 cms of snow just before I left - rather early this time.
So it was the warmth of a new addition to our family, and the cold weather and snow that greeted me in Canada on this occasion. A glimpse of my trip follows.
Happiness.......a warm feeling. It makes you smile too!!!
Narsim, Medha, Self with Meher (sleeping beauty), Chaitanya, Poonam and Leia

The dreaded snow......you need to clear the driveway and the sidewalk.

However, Leia loves the snow......frolicking in the snow in the backyard

Canadian winter is not only dreaded by the humans.......

Southward bound migratory birds airborne from the lake

Poonam and Meher (Not too pleased, but resigned to accept the attention)