Rail Sneham


Was at the same park last evening. Watched the son play , run and chase kids.

Kids he met for the first time.

Kids, he may or may not meet the next time round

Kids from similar families as us

Kids from not so posh families

Nevertheless kids..

all out to play, with their families

A poignant moment , where a 2 year old from a not so rich middle class family, held the bat and the son bowled and they played for a looong time  , even as the not so rich dad, and “not very rich but ok” mom like me , smiled as we watched them play

Cutting through social barriers , a government park is where you see every one have fun – irrespective of where you stand in a society.

… A  beautiful park.. and what made it even more beautiful was a bunch of volunteers that was doing the voter ID card registrations all this weekend

..we are happy or what in this space !

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dhaatu.org


DSC_0804This place refuses to leave my mind. This noon, I went all the way to Banashankari to view the dolls displayed at Dhaatu and my ! what a collection. A few thousand colorful dolls on display from miniature ones to life size ones.

This was no ordinary golu or bomma habba where you stack row after row of dolls. They have a entire house dedicated to dolls. There are dolls depicting everything from a flag hoisting ceremony to Mysore Dusshera procession.

The ones that will catch your eye are the ones depicting a few hundred scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata , the Abhimanyu chakravuh included.

There are also story telling and puppetry for kids

As always I ponder over

whether they put the dolls away at all

How do they dust them

Where do they store them?

As kids, I still remember how as a family we would carefully dismantle the dolls and wrap them up in newspapers. We had huge golu pottis (boxes) that were then left for year in the paran.And amma often worried about rats getting into the boxes. Setting up a golu and dismantling the dolls is a mammoth task, breaking a doll or two is considered inauspicious.

With all that in mind today I was wondering how these people manage to set up not 10 but 1000 dolls ! And in Bangalore, I often detest the dust that gathers all over the show pieces so much so I vowed never to have a show piece in the living room. So how do these folks manage to dust the dolls ?

There were kids at the entrance, I assume volunteers. There are even puppetry and story telling happening during Dusshera

I listened to the story of Valmiki very keenly. I did know the bandit connection but listening how he began to write the Ramayana was interesting

All these years I stayed a stone’s throw from this place in South Bangalore and never knew about this one. And today it took me a hour and half one way to reach the place. However the directions mentioned on the website is perfect and would not miss guide any one

Imagine the dedication and passion of the entire family to set up such a mega project

Simply marvellous .

The Ganeshas


There is this area in Bangalore, I have often passed by which stocks Ganesha’s . The real giant like ones. The ones that don’t get picked are losely wrapped with plastic sheets , with the plastic sheets blowing in the wind. I often imagine these Ganeshas as being left in the Bangalore chill as if  no one cared.

…and I wondered, if those Ganeshas felt bad- for not being picked, for not being worshipped.

What makes people pick one Ganesha over another? Do you even do that

Having written this post, henceforth would I pick the first Ganesha I set my eyes on.Would I feel guilty if I picked one over another

??

Games


We had an offsite at work and we had lots of fun playing in water. It was a water theme park , somewhere near the new airport in Bangalore. But  the best-est take away was not the water sports we got to play there, but a game a senior member of the team devised.

So 13 of us in total sat in a circle in a Jacuzzi  The game we played is a popular kiddie game. One person stands and goes around and discreetly drops a hanky behind a person’s back. The person has to then chase the one that dropped the hanky before he occupies the vacant seat

Now this is one simple game when played on the ground. But try playing in water.

Try chasing a friend around a circle in water . The fun doubles – no ! it triples.  And your legs would give up. And your lungs would ache – with your squealing and running around chasing the opponent in water.

..Do it amidst cheers and loud cheering and clapping.

And do try playing when you are in the 30’s

And get back to me and say if you enjoyed this game in water !

The Ugly Indian Initiative


I was one amongst 20 other citizens of Bangalore that landed on a dump site in Koramangala to do spot fixing as part of the Ugly Indian initiative today.

905267_501248136601113_1766433512_oLook at all that trash ! Unbelievable isn’t it .

DSC_0232We started work at sharp 8 AM and finished by 11 AM. In 3 hours, we dug, collected piles of trash ranging from tooth paste covers , to used sanitary napkins and Durex covers. The stench was  unbearable

And no there wasn’t any anger about what I was touching. What was going through my mind was that napkin could very well be something I used . It made me realize one important question – What happens to the environment and our surroundings when we dispose napkins and condoms? Is there a better way they can be disposed off without being a nuisance to the surroundings and being a health hazard?

At around 10 AM, when the cleaning was complete, we picked huge stones, painted them and drew smiley faces and erected a board that read “Men at work”

DSC_0239I helped clean and repaint the pathway with yellow and black paint

Do you see new plants ? The team had planted them yesterday.

We were served coconut water which was indeed very sweet and refreshing for all that digging and collecting we did .

A midst all that mess and stench, the one that put a smile and a ray of hope is this bright graffiti – signifying HOPE for this city and this country

DSC_0244

Right next to this yard is a family that sells cane baskets. The urchin kids looked on and  after about a hour or so helped clean the pathway for us to paint

These guys are homeless and just because we cleaned up the mess, does that mean they will not defecate there  again ?

It would be interesting to see if this plot remains the way we transformed it today

May be this project will have a phase 2. And I hope I can take part in Part 2 too. Me being a working mom to a 3 year old ,  have to think about Charity at  home too 🙂

How do you become a Ugly Indian

A)Like them on facebook.

B) Their upcoming events would then show on your news feed. You write to them showing your interest on the specific project

C) There you go ! they send back a email with their do’s and don’ts.

D) You fix breakfast and lunch @ home , waking up at 5 :30 AM and dash off by 7 AM  . As simple as that !

You aren’t in Bangalore but want to start one ? Go ahead and start one in your city. All you need is ideas and a facebook page – says the Team Leader !

The Road side MBBS


I push aside a dirty nebulizer and take my seat next to another mom. She is dressed in Indian comfort clothing  – i.e  a dirty nighty with a cotton dupatta across her chest. She also has a woolen scarf that cover her head. I presume, looking at her scarf that she is a new mom, someone that had a baby in last one month or so. This is how new moms are covered from head to foot , in rural India

My son, a little shy refuses to take seat and stands  , watching a little urchin boy hold on to the dirty nebulizer.My son has never seen an object like that before.

I presume these are wives of autorickshaw drivers and construction workers that work in our area.

This is the clinic that we have been frequenting in the last one year or so and thankfully , has worked wonders. A few years back, when we had birthed our boy in a swanky hospital at Jayanagar, I smirked at this road side MBBS and doubted the degrees attached to his name. We once visited him when the boy was an infant, for a nappy rash and he gave us a very weird look when we told him the baby goes to a daycare and is dressed up in diaper all day.How could  I blame him, if all day he treats urchins that run naked on the streets

Since then we have come to trust him. We have visited him for colds, fevers, coughs, for my migraines and even for certification on school admission forms – all for a mere 70Rs !

This works best for me- I rush on barefoot, no searching for a parking lot or depending on the husband.

This is one doctor a lot of us in the apartment depend on – from the Readdy family that moved from the U.S to the TamBrahm Iyer that has a strong-American-hangover-and-dresses-to-work-in-Denim-chaddis/shorts

..and I begin to realize it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a string of phoren degrees or a twisted angrezi accent.All that matters is that the medicine works. It works magic !

Property Dreams


While we were kids, we visited our grand-ma who owned a property in the prime Lalbaugh area of Bangalore. So this is the Bangalore I grew up knowing, the Lalbaugh, the National college and Jayanagar.

What I saw today made me gasp! this city is growing by leaps and bounds. For some business dealing, the husband, the son and I set off from our part of town in South Bangalore to a different part of town- beyond KR Puram. So while we waited and waited for the person to turn up, we killed time by ordering some juices etc. And all this on a dusty highway,where the only stalls you see are the ones that cook road side mutton and chicken biryani or some fried rice.

When the person whom we had to meet turned up, she took us to some villas getting constructed. You can call this some sort of gated community, far away from the main roads, tucked inside. Some villas are nearing completion while still a lot of work and a lot of workers continue to build other houses, so there are cement mixtures and construction workers round the clock. Dust, construction material, laborers, the noise of cement mixtures – this is what is gonna be the situation for atleast another one year I felt so.

For a moment, I wondered who booked these villas. Far away from roads. There is no way you can commute if you didn’t have a car. What sort of school buses would pick kids from here? And what kind of water facility do these villas promise?

Dusty roads, the never ending outer ring roads, the flyovers, the traffic- it was a little too much for the day by the time we made it to home by late afternoon. And somehow , today it seemed like it is peak summer already

I think my eyes are used to seeing a certain things every day – the familiar south Bangalore surroundings, the familiar ORR. My part of town isn’t very different from what I saw today. I stay on similar surroundings, on a highway with  the Metro getting constructed, a good part of our roads are eaten up

A few years back. the husband and I took the dusty Kanakpura road on our scooter. He was showing me few apartments on the road. That road was so new to me then. Today , this is home

On a dusty hot afternoon, any other passer by from a different part of Bangalore might have similar questions- Who buys property here !!

But we all buy something that answers some questions for us – for some it could be  proximity to the work place, for others it could be an area where schools are in abundance , and sometimes, the most important factor is what you can afford  – of course no middle class Indian can dream of property today in prime areas such as Jayanagar or a MG road today.

That explains the need to move to places -that seem illogical to some of us

Whatever said and done – the city is forever growing. Apartment complexes are coming up in the middle of nowhere. Again , as we drive through these areas, we ask each other the same question – who buys property here.

The answer is the same – You buy only what your pocket can afford