Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baduku Jatakaa Bandi and Calvin

Baduku jatakaabandi vidhi adara saahEba
Kudureneen avanu pELdante payaNigaru
maduvegO masaNakO hOgendakadegOdu
padakusiye nelavihudu- Mankutimma
“life is a horse cart. Fate is it’s driver. You are the horse. He (the driver) decides the passengers. Marriage or funeral, run whichever way you are asked to. If your legs fail, you have the ground to support you.”
This is probably the first verse from ‘Mankutimmana kagga’ that I got by heart. The meaning is fairly simple. There was no need for me to go through the book which explains the meanings of these verses or the dictionary, to get it. Every now and then I remember this verse and I have been lucky to just appreciate it from afar without finding myself in a situation in which one needs the solace that can be obtained by the last two lines.

You are only a horse. You have no control over the passengers. The driver takes in whoever HE wants. Your parents, siblings, children, friends, relatives and any one with whom you may come in contact during your life time. – If they are pleasant, enjoy their company. If not, tolerate them, their actions, mind and moods. You did not select them and you can not reject them.

You have no control over where you head, either - The happenings in your life. It could be things that are good and enjoyable or those that make you sad and depressed. Marriage-meaning everything that is pleasant, good or enjoyable, Funeral-you got the meaning, it is not your choice. The driver is directing you. You are not responsible for your actions. Enjoy or simply bear. No choice.
Yesterday I came across this sentiment being endorsed by a very unlikely character. Calvin of all people! In his own way and his own version. You know Calvin don’t you? The boy who carries squashed bugs, flies and spiders in his lunch box and has a tiger for company! You will find him confidently rolling full speed downhill in his roller cart dragging his reluctant companion and flying off the cliff! I was enjoying some of the Calvin and Hobbs comic strips and came across this one: Calvin walking with Hobbs on a starry night
C: Do you believe our destinies are determined by the stars?
H: Nah
C: Oh, I do.
H: Really? How come?
C: Life’s a lot more fun when you are not responsible for your actions!
The comic strip made my thoughts run astray and ended up with this piece. Having started it let me finish.
As long as the load is light, company pleasant, road good, mood happy, run along merrily. Bad luck strikes, load gets heavy or road goes bad? Still you can’t stop running. Run along hoping for better times. Can’t run anymore? Legs giving way? Are you sinking? Don’t despair. The ground is there to support you.
Now, what is this ground? This is left to one’s imagination. I feel what Sri DVG means here is the God or the belief in god. If your fate has driven you to such a situation where you feel you are sinking, the belief that the god is still there-keeps you up. So, do we need to believe in god? One need not, if one is so confident about one’s legs. When that confidence is lacking, it is better to have the support of the ground. I feel Sri DVG himself was not sure about God. Look at this.
DevarembudadEnu kaggattaleya gaviye?
Naavu kaaNalaaradudelladara oTTu hesare?
Kaavanorvaniralke jagada katheyEkintu?
huttusaavugaLEnu?- Mankutinna.
“Is god a dark cave? (something that we can’t see or realize)The name which encompasses everything that we can’t see or understand? If there is a caretaker why is the world like this? What are life and death?”
But he chose to believe in god for his own benefit. And suggested the same through ‘baduku jatakaa bandi’. Just like Sri Rajaratnam, whose ratnana padagalu express a similar feeling in the poem ‘devru’
Nanagen beda nin budwaada
Nanagu ninagu baaLa bheda
Nan taapatren muLugistaite bagavantan esarin sakti
Adake nange bagavantan esru andr aapati bakti!
“I don’t need your advise. You and me have lot of differences. The very name of god,(or the belief) gives me strength to bear my difficulties. That is why I worship him.” It is my belief and it gives me relief.
I intended writing the calvin and hobbs strip and two lines of baduku jataka bandi and ended up with all this. I will stop here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Letters to the editor

I react to the various news items that I see in the papers everyday, with in myself and sometimes in front of my wife if she happens to be around. Some items evoke a slightly stronger feelings and I decide to express my views for whatever they are worth, in the news papers as letters to editor. By the afternoon 90% of such intentions die down. Out of the remaining 10%, eight are ignored by the editor. One will be published with a heading giving the exactly opposite view. One appears as I intend it to. But I can't keep quiet. Once I put something in print, I feel better. My writing is not with the hope of seeing changes, it is for the selfish intention of beleiving that I did something and feeling better. The following two come under the 10% caregory.

1. I have been following the issue of garbage disposal, which has been going on for years. All of us do our best to create as much of necessary/unnecessary garbage as possible. None of us intend doing anything either in reducing the quantity of garbage that we produce or proper disposal. We want the civic bodies to dispose tha garbage. The civic bodies are run by people like us who are there for their own benefit. They neither have knowledge about garbage disposal nor intention of finding a proper solution. And the officials, the less said about them the better. In such a situation every one ends up doing what we easily can, that is, throw it in to the neibhour’s compound/land/village and hope that nobody would notice. There is time till all the empty space around us fills up with garbage.
There are a handful of organisations/people who are really bothered about it but has no say in the matter or power to do anything. The government, which can do something has no mind/time for it. I observe that more than 50% of garbage being generated is plastic covers which are being used unnecesarily. If that is prevented, the problem is reduced by 50%. We can think of the remaining 50% subsequently. Shall we open our eyes? Or is it better to keep it closed and wait till the garbage literally reaches our nose!

2. I read the yesterday’s news item where the Hon.Health Minister has expressed intentions of opening another medical college in Goa. We have been seeing the disaster in medical education and profession, crated as a result of mushrooming of medical and dental colleges all over the country. Our neighbouring Karnataka is a classic example. There is a college in almost every district, more than one per district in many cases. After a decade of taking medical and dental education to all corners, there are still no doctors in the corners.
I understand that the quality of education, inspite of the best infrastructure and latest equipments, is nothing to boast about, as the basic ingradient for medical teaching, ie the patients, are missing. There are ‘specialists’ with MD in gynaecology with out having done even one caesarian section.
The rot has been noticed by the aspirants for “doctor” qualification and more than 50% of dental seats have been vacant in all colleges including the new dental college in Bellary, which the Karnataka govt opened (foolishly) two years back. Next will be the turn of medical seats.
I hope that the Goa govt will not follow the example.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fly in the honey

One of the lesser known kannada magazines, 'Sankramana', conducted a competetion in humour writing. I was not aware of it. My cousine Brinda Rao, saw the announcement and suggested that I should send an article. To send one, I had to write one. I could not think of anything. I thanked her for the suggestion and left it at that. She pursued the matter employing methods like coaxing, goading and threatening till I realised that it was an order and so, I wrote up on a subject that was the basis of my being, 'tooth ache', and sent it for the competetion. It won a prize and was published in their special edition. I was not aware that people read that magazine, till one gentleman wrote to me from Gadag, saying that he liked the article and congratulated me. Later I received a copy of the magazine and a parcel of three books as my prize and the matter ended there.

The State of Karnataka turned fifty and the ruling government (which had done nothing worth boasting either in the formation or running of the state) decided to celebrate the occassion grandly. A very good chance to spend and misappropriate money. One of the items on the agenda was publication of collections of 'representative' literary works like, novels, shortstories, poetry etc etc, published over the decades.
Kannada saahitya academy had a big role to play and the president of the academy happened to be the publisher of the magazine which had given the prize to my article. I think thats how my writing got mixed up in the collection of the humorous articles and found a place in "Golden humourous essays"!. I received a letter asking for my permission to include my writing and I of course was glad to oblige.

There was no news about the collection after that. About two years later I received a cheque for a thousand rupees from the Kannada development authority and after another two years, a complimentary copy of the book.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself in the company of very eminent writers whose works I have immensely enjoyed. The book carries writings of greats like Shivaram karant, VeeCee, ANMurti rao, Gorur, Kuvempu, Anakru, HaMaNayak etc etc and- thanks to Brinda and Cham Paa - Dr.Raghunandan!
I sincerely hope that the readers will not notice the fly in the honey.
The fly, for those who like flies, is in my Kanada Blog, titled

Friday, June 19, 2009

KuruDu naayi

I am nearing one hundred posts and blogging is showing the signs of becoming an addiction. If I am unable to cook up something for more than week I start feeling jittery. Sometimes, I sit in front of the computer and stare at the screen. Blank screen and blank head, not a happy combination. During the last fifteen days I made many unsuccessful attempts to post something on the kannada blog "maatu-kate". The kannada transliteration facility does not work according to my commands. It has it's own mind. To bring two minds together is very frustrating. But I intend keeping my Kannada writing alive and so, decided to type on Baraha, take pictures and post them. But our computer never obeys my commands either. It is another family member. After folding my hands and begging it to consider my commands as requests, and taking help from it's brothers, it has obliged grudgingly. So I have been able to put up something on my kannada blog

I had heard 'daasara padagaLu' sung not in usual classical music style, but in folk song style -(BV Karant and group) long back. The tune and few lines which I had liked very much, remained in my memory over the years. When I got a book of collection of 'purandara daasara pdagaLu' I got the full text of some songs. Some where else, I had read a few lines explaining the inner meaning of some of the 'padagaLu'. With whatever 'knowledge' I had acquired through hearing and reading bits and pieces of our philosophy I made an attempt to explain one of the songs in my own way and have posted it. Any one who has enough pateince to read it is free to make his/her own impressions of the 'Dasara pada' and my 'bhashya', and warn others if needed.
After I published the post I noticed that the pages have come out last one first and that it needs lot of will power associted with eye power to go through it. Good luck for those of you who intend reading it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flowers from our garden

Out of a dozen varieties of flowering plants that we have planted in our garden, atleast five to six varieties flower everyday. I leave some of them on the plants because I like the sight and pluck some to decorate the deities imprisoned in the mini shrine of our house. Today all the flowers that I got were white and fragrant. They made a pretty sight on the plate and were spreading their fragrance.

The flowers at the top are the 'parijata', the most pious of the lot. It is permitted to even pick them off the ground and use in worship. The middle row is made by what is called 'kaneri' in konkani at the left, white rose in the middle and three jasmine at the right. The flowers at the bottom are what we call 'nandabattalu' in kannada.

Since pleasing the wife is more important than pleasing the gods, I offered the jasmine to my wife first. She loves them and had been trying to educate me in the aestheics and finer sentiments and emotions involved in buying jasmine, surprising the wife with the offer of a string of those flowers and enjoying the sight of the flowers in her hair. But to her utter disappointment I have been a very poor student.

"Did you bring everything from the market?"

"Yes. I got all the vegetables and did remember lemons and coriander'

"Anything else?"

"The mangoes were good and with in reach today. So I got a dozen."

"Anything else?"

"Yes. I remembered colour pencils for Ashwin"

"Anything else"

"Crocin syrup. Yes I bought it too"

"Sigh, thats all".

This went on for years. I never rememberd jasmine.

To make up for the lapse over the years, I offered to tie them in a string and give her today.

"Very nice of you to have rememberd. But I neither have the longing nor enough hair to wear jasmine now".

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Happy Rainy Season.

It rained not just cats and dogs but tigers and wolves since last afternoon. As expected the rains washed Goa clean including the newly laid road between Ponda and Margao. One of my stray thoughts was that the timely arrival of mansoon is something to feel happy about and a significant occassion to greet others rather than the usual new year, birthday, father's day, mother's day, valentine's day, doctor's day and such other 360 days.
I received this greeting by SMS from one of my friends this morning.
" Wish you a happy rainy season. Let there be shower of love, greenery of prosperity, thunder of fame, lightening of power and a small drop of memory to remember me"

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mansoon arrives!

It started raining today. Mansoon is on schedule. As the summer advances and the temperature increases, we start looking east, hoping for the pre-mansoon clouds. They do oblige by middle or third week of May, and suddenly dark clouds are seen one hot afternoon followed by thunder showers which bring down the temperature but increase humidity.

With the the premansoon showers, the anticipation begins. We first hear of the mansoon when the weather department locates it somewhere off the west coast and announce the same. It is follwed by the news of the mansoon arriving in Kerala and the the anticipation increases. In another day or two the rains arrive in Goa like a honoured guest and all of a sudden, ah, it is so very cool and refreshing.

I have been in Goa for nearly three decades now, and every year I experience the same anticipation and pleasure. I rejoice over the arrival of rains. I wonder at the way nature works and am always thankful that inspite of we taking liberties with our planet the nature continues to pamper us.

A week of rain and everything will be clean and green. Water supply is assured for another year. When ever I read about deforestation, global warming , green house effect, so on and so forth, I start worrying whether the nature will forgive us. I consider the arrival of mansoon as the nature's way of saying "Ok, you are pardoned this time" and wonder how long it is going to remain considerate?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Time to give up?

I have been living with grey hairs right from my twenties. In the absence of any resistance from me by way of plucking them out (which would have made my head empty on the out side too), or colouring them black, they had the run of my head and facilitated my acquiring the status of 'ajja' by the time I was forty. But I did not feel aged and remained young in thoughts and action, like, for example, jumping into or out of a moving bus with ease. Even though my fellow passengers admonished me saying "such tricks are not for you old man, don't attempt to break your back and trouble others at home", I continued to feel and act young.

Five years later I was still feeling young even though wrinkles appeared on my face and my back started bothering me often, and when we felt the need for a second two wheeler, I decided to buy a Hero Honda kick start instead of a TVS Scooty self start and demonstrate my 'youth'. I had confidence in my riding skills and limbs. I wore sneakers, shorts and bright coloured T shirts and went jogging and running. Not walking. I did not feel aged. I happened to be jogging one morning when a contingent of army trainees in battle gear passed me. Inspite of their heavy gear they managed to keep a good pace but one of them was feeling it difficult. I ran alongside and tried to keep up with their pace and demonstrate my youthful capabilities. The seargent, running with the recruit who was lagging behind, pointed at me and coaxed him "dekh beta, itna buddha admi bhag raha hai our tumse nahi hoga kya?"
Now, I started getting doubts.

It is another five years and I am in my fifties. Knee joints make their presence felt when I climb and it is difficult to beleive that my eyes are present, when I drive at night. There are bags below the eyes and and I have started trimming my mustache very short so that I do not look like the 'betal' in 'Vikram aur Betal' with my long grey mustache. Kickstarting my Hero Honda is difficult but I feel some of my youth is still with me and some more years of riding is still there. I decided to buy a lighter two wheeler with self start and side stand and was looking at one in front of the show room when one of my acquaintances who was passing by hailed me. He is around seventy. "Hello doctor, thinking of buying a new vehicle?" he came closer to enquire "Do you think it is WISE to buy a two wheeler at YOUR AGE?"

I assured him that I am still young and can ride a scooter and went to the bank to confirm the availability of a loan. These bank managers are very optimistic and never give up. I go there asking for a loan and he tries to get a deposit from me! " New interest rates are very attractive doctor, and as a SENIOR CITIZEN, you are eligible for half a percent more!".