Category Archives: Life

Respecting your tools

Carpenters, iron smiths and all those workmen and women who use tools pray in front of them on the Vishwakarma day. While cleaning my laptop just now I was thinking, it is good to respect, and pay homage to the tools that sustain you, that help you earn a living and bring food to the table and maintain a roof over you and your loved ones.

There is also a practical reason behind revering your tools and devoting a day to their upkeeping. You can use them for a long time. Your tools are your true gods.

My daughter’s clever trick

A boy comes to play with my 3-year-old daughter. Whenever he wants something my daughter doesn’t want to give, he says, “Give it to me or I’ll leave.” Unable to bear that aspect, she gives him everything. But still there are some things she can give under no condition, and she knows she cannot avoid giving them if he says he’ll leave.

She hides them before he can ask for them. She knows how to solve complex problems.

Sidenote: As Steve mentioned, I thought I’d post a clarification; that boy doesn’t take things home, it’s just that, whenever Vasudha is playing with something, he wants it, whether he wants to play with it or not.

My teacher

A few days ago I came across my old teacher’s daughter’s FaceBook profile and sent her a friend request that she accepted within a few hours. While going through her online photo album I saw my teacher’s photograph and it was a unique experience to see her standing with her family just like any other person, wearing, perhaps, a cotton gown and holding one of her grandchildren the way they hold kids in India, by the side, under the arm, resting on the pelvis.

A glimpse of her always transports me to this dreamy, tremulous, enchanted part of my life. I had just started going to my special school. For the first time I was among those who wouldn’t run ahead or feel frustrated because I couldn’t keep up with them. There were merely 6-7 kids there and an equal or more number of teachers. Even during later years when there were 100s of kids and scores of teachers she remained among the most favorite ones.

Back then we didn’t know she was the wife of the Reserve Bank of India’s governor, Bimal Jalan. Yes, we knew her mother was a published Hindi author but beyond that, she was just our beloved Meenu Didi we always desired to be taught by. Sadly, she rarely did. More than a teacher, she was an administrator, a manager. She taught us only when there was no other teacher and she mostly took our Hindi class, telling stories, encouraging us to interact and express our own points of view. While playing in the corridors of the school we would see her passing by, never without a smile, or a few loving words. Even those small glimpses used to fill us with joy.

In the beginning months the school didn’t have transport. Parents themselves had to drop and pick their kids. My mother was a teacher and she used to pick me up after her school. One day she was late. So late that all the children had left with their parents, even the attendants were gone. But none of the teachers left, and we were all waiting at the gate for my mother. I panicked and started crying.

She quickly came to me, sat by my side, hugged me and said, “We’re all going to be here with you, nobody is going to leave until your mother is here.”

The way she said it, I still remember it.

After about a year or so she left for England (I don’t precisely remember but she left India) and she stayed there for a few years.

Teachers are often an important part of your life and it is rarely the other way round. For them, you are just one of the students. You may feel that they treat you better than your classmates, but in most of the cases you’re just, as I said above, like any other kid in the school, simply because there are so many students and a teacher has to care for everybody.

There was a time I used to say, without hesitation, that she’s like my mother. So when we heard, after a few years, that she was coming back to India, my happiness knew no bounds. We knew the date on which she was to come. She came, but she didn’t rejoin the school immediately. We eagerly waited, and then went on with our lives. I don’t really remember when she started coming to school again.

She was not the warm, smiley person we had known. She was polite; she still smiled the way she used to and she still carried her inherent charm, but somewhere, a wall of formality had cropped up. She was no longer the friendly person we knew. I really don’t know what happened. Maybe she was always like that and our childish eagerness to render a halo to every person we love made her what she was for us prior to leaving the school, or maybe something had snapped. Or maybe from 6-7 kids we had grown to more than 50.

After that initial snapping whenever I saw her I felt the distance growing. She had become like one of those higher-ups you are only supposed catch glimpse of occasionally, and you can only talk when they talk to you, otherwise you politely keep quiet. Even the smile that used to trigger a thousand blooms seemed official and detached.

Nonetheless, when I saw her photographs, the trinkets of memories that sparkled were knitted from those initial days. I’m glad for that. I’m glad I have had such people in my life.

Living for more than 1000 years

Personally I’ve got no problem with ageing being optional. Why should people die of old age if they don’t want to, and if it is medically possible? In ancient scriptures we often find mentions of people living for 100s, or maybe 1000s of years, so even if it is not true, this concept of living for a really long time has been alive forever.

Scientifically and philosophically, we can live for ever if our consciousness can survive without a body. Even in terms of body, old age happens due to wear and tear and if somehow this wear and tear can be stopped, or better, reversed, we can remain young forever. This doesn’t mean all illnesses and accidents are ruled out (if possible, why not?), but if somehow this process of wear and tear is halted, a big problem is solved.

I feel scientists should consider multiple possibilities. What about changing bodies if ageing cannot, for the time being, be stopped. Stem cell research shows that we can grow body parts. We can grow our bodies, and then get our brains transferred to the newer body when we want to.

If somehow our “self” learns to live and function without a body even then we can become ageless. Why bind the soul, the real existence, to the vortex of biology?

Deciding to never give up

Are you feeling depressed and dejected because things are not turning out the way you had wanted? Do you think the world has turned miserable and not worth living in. Are you deciding to become a terrorist or sympathizing with them because you think the world is full of injustice and bias? Although I normally don’t like comparing adversities because we all have our own threshold levels, there are some adversities that can simply never be compared.  Take for instance being born without arms and legs.  Just imagine a single day without your thumb.  I found this video on Steve’s travel insurance blog and couldn’t resist posting it here. I don’t believe in saccharine encouragement and saying good things to people merely for the sake of saying them but sometimes you can experience the abundant confidence and determination just by looking at a person’s eyes by observing his or her body language.