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Friday, October 28, 2011

A week since i left Oman ...R&R

Leaving Muscat...taken from air just after take off

Relocated to Chennai from Oman after working for almost three years now and am currently in my sabbatical break between jobs which I plan to take up in Chennai itself after couple of months. A welcome change from the day to day stressful times I had there. My return coincided with Diwali or Deepavali round the corner and it was good to be back home among the near and dear ones for this occasion. 

The monsoon rains this time did dampen the festivities in Chennai as it was pouring cats and dogs early morning and also late afternoon and hence there was no bursting of fire crackers around the city. The rains eased out in late evening and immediately the skies lit up with array of colorful burst and yes we also had some fun on our terrace. Yet I do have a feeling that the fervor of the celebrations did not match that of the times when I was young. I still remember my grandmother waking us all at about 3 am in the morning and go on with the ritual of nalang (vermillion paste being smeared on the legs) and then oil the hair for the head bath. Then after the bath we take blessings of the elders and adorn new clothes …burst fire crackers till about dawn and have breakfast of hot idilis & sambar. Fond memories and I do miss those times when the entire extended family be together and celebrate this festival.

 Few photographs taken from my balcony

Dawn with dark clouds looming

Hawk Owl

Pair of colorful Kingfishers

I keep myself occupied these days by reading books, or browse the net or by taking photographs of the nature from my balcony without thinking about the uncertain future ahead of me. I know that life is tough and I would have to face the challenges as they churn out and I am steeling myself accordingly.More notes will follow in the days to come. Have fun friends Season greetings to one and all !!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yadon ki barat…… (Memories flooding)

I am not talking about the famous multi starrer Hindi movie of early 70’s but the rush of memories that invaded my mind while watching old Hindi songs on TV yesterday. A string of songs featuring Neetu Singh from the movies Khel Khel Mein and Deewar transported me back in times while I was very young for my connection with her starts way back to 1961. Now don’t get me wrong for there is nothing romantic about the connection as she was my playmate there (a brief encounter) 

My father was posted in SriGanganagar- Rajasthan from 1958 to 1962 and the early memories from there is slightly vague for I was too young, but then I do recollect two servants who were at my beck and call, our Alsatian female dog named Sheba, my father’s double barrel 12 bore rifle, making of manja and flying kites from terrace during the late summer and so forth. It was in Sriganganagar that I met Neetu Singh when was a 3 year old child and me just about 4 years old. I hardly have any recollection of the meeting but then my father and mother had stated this and when my father was transferred out of this town we gave our dog Sheba to Neetu Singh’s father as it was not possible for us to take her along with us to Bangalore which was about 4 days travel by train.

After leaving Ganganagar I never gave a thought about this till such time I was reminded by my mother while watching the movie Yadon Ki barat …wow she looked great and I can surely say that she was the fantasy girl of millions of young Indian men for I was one among them those days. I have watched most of her movies which had released from 1972 onwards till such time I completed my college in 1979. Thinking back it makes me smile that I was so besotted by her just because she had been my playmate when she was 3!!!!  

The beauty of the human brain is such that memories last a life time but then like in computer if you do not browse the correct section of the grey cells you do not get a clear picture even though you could have a deluge of unrelated incidents popping up in your memory. I will surely share some of the interesting memories of mine as and when I am able to piece it all together.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Back from future or is it back to future ???

Last three years has been amazing with all aspects and quality of life I have been living here in Gulf while on Job assignment. With my relocation date nearing which is just a week from now I am steeling myself to the life back home in India for there is immense change between here and there in the basic amenities such as infrastructure, power, water and so forth. Indeed it is a pleasure to be back in India for all the near and dear ones are there, but then I would really miss living here.

Potholes on roads a common thing seen in India
The first thing that comes to my mind is the sorry state of Roads in most parts of India which is pocked with holes which magically appears during each monsoon because of poor quality of materials being used while construction of the same ( each year the roads are rectified by the municipal corporation in bits and pieces..How else would they be able to earn their share of the bribe if contracts cannot be awarded year after year?). Another common scene you come across in India is that roads are dug up for some utility and then there is no repair carried out by the company or the municipality for a very long time creating chaos to traffic. One incident I would like to share here is that the roads in front of my house was done using concrete and all was well but four months later we had an excavator digging up this road in the center for laying drainage lines to the locality and now they have laid the pipes and filled up this trench with the excavated material..So either side of the road is concrete and in the center it is just mud ,and this settles down during the rains making the roads unusable. No amount of complaint to the local municipality is heeded and the residents are suffering the consequences of development. 

Roads in Gulf countries

At Chennai  when I think of driving 38 kilometer through the pot holed roads with unruly traffic to go and see my father , it gives me jitters… this drive would take me around hour and half to reach destination and would be totally mentally and physically exhausted in spite of an air conditioning in the car. Here in gulf this drive would just be 15-20 minutes because of good road conditions and orderly traffic (though you do get few unruly drivers on the way here in Gulf.)

Next thing is constant power cuts which make life quite unbearable at home especially while at home (Most offices have backup generators running during power failures). Here in Gulf in the last three years I have witnessed only one power cut and that too a scheduled one for maintenance just for 30 minutes…..Further i have never had my taps run dry during my entire stay of the last three years here...
I guess having lived there before I came here made me appreciate the benefits of working here but then most of us would have to turn back one day or the other to our country. Well I need to recalibrate my thinking as I return back to India and I am sure it is going to take a while to adjust to the bustling life there with all these shortcomings.