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Friday, November 9, 2012

Johnny ‘Walk’-er!

I had a knee meniscus injury for the last 5 years. I love walking and exploring places, but I could not walk because of the pain. But this May, I had a surgery. We were all very scared that will my foot be normal ever again. My mother is not that religious but she took a vow in some temple in Haridwar, that if I can normally again she would come back to the temple. That was the first time I saw my mother something like that. I was moved.
I came back to Mumbai after the surgery. I could walk with some problem inside my knee in the beginning. As time passed, it started becoming normal again. And I could walk again…climb stairs again at the station…pretty much the way I did before.
I started exploring places again, by walk. My doctor had told me to walk as much as I could, as that was considered good for a meniscal injury. So I almost gave up taking rickshaws just for the joy of walking and exploration. I shifted to this place (4 bungalows) which is quite close to my office. It takes no time if I take a rickshaw, but it takes 20 minutes to walk to the office.
I have this mall which is pretty close to my place too, rickshaw-wise. It takes 15 minutes on the rickshaw, but when I walk I take a short-cut, which makes it 10 minutes. But I have always preferred walking, but you enjoy the journey only when you walk.
Even a super-fast city like Bombay becomes slow when you walk and watch it go on. In Bombay, there are people who walk on the footpath at an unidentified pace, always in a hurry. I am sure you never notice such people when you are in any vehicle.
Today a friend of mine dropped me at Juhu circle and told me to get a rickshaw to home. I am sure the rickshaw would have taken me back home in 10 minutes. But I chose to walk and look around the way.
The footpath was full of poor people we usually see, but I noticed a couple watching TV on a small laptop. They were poor, very poor but I still wonder how could  they manage that little laptop!
Marshall McLuhan was right when he said “ Medium is the message!”. Whenever I would ask people for my place (Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, 4 bungalows), they would direct me to the place where I can get a bus or an auto to my destination. I had to ask them again saying that I wanted to walk. They gave me a ‘strange’ look. But I continued walking!
 I reached home, slightly late but not to miss the images and visuals I caught on my way. I sat down at a chai-wala and made a note of the ‘stories’ happening around me. Content and happy!
I am happy that I can walk again and it is helping. This is always a nice thing to do, just to explore stuff around. And yes, last week my mother went back to that temple in Haridwar, as she had promised. Content, she is too :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I ask as I sit next to the lake…

This hot summer afternoon, I sit next to the lake,
An artificial lake they made a couple of years ago,
With a massive afternoon in the center,
Cooling everything around,
From the ducks in the lake,
To the breeze around.

I sit there facing the cool droplets hitting on my face,
And I wonder how true the truth is,
How real is the reality?

Are the people who walk around the lake real?
Or is that sweet smell of water falling on the mud more real?
Are the Gods we worship more real?
Than the ‘heroes’ we see on celluloid?
I ask, as I sit next to the lake…

Are the people whom I see every day more troubled,
Than the people I face inside me?
I still wonder who is more real.
Are the smiles around more real?
Than the crying sounds I hear in the background?
I ask as I sit next to the lake…

These are unimportant questions,
coming up from deep inside,
these are doubts which won’t make a difference,
but yeah,
I ask as I sit next to the lake…

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Terrible Ear ache and the Education system!

I have a terrible ear ache now, because of the cold.
 It is quite a childhood thing. Whenever I would have a cold, I would have an ear ache and I remember as a kid, it would be bad. As a kid I would never cry easily, but this ear ache was terrible, making me cry the whole night, in pain. I remember how my mom would get me books (at night) with pictures of exotic animals, to deviate my mind but I would continue crying.
I remember my mom’s sad and helpless face.

I remember what the doctor would say back then, holding my ear, “ It is a child’s membrane. It would stop as soon he is 10!”
I am 24 and it is still there, pretty much like the way it was back then, when my mom would face the ear ache of her only son, while her husband was posted in the field guarding the nation.
Tonight, just to deviate my mind from the terrible ear ache, I decided to write on my blog and you know what, it’s helping! I can have pain-killers and sleep, but I do not taking allopathic medicines or any kind of medicines! I get a feeling that we are naturally quite capable of fighting against most of the problems (like the other animals). And this brings us to the huge debate of the education system in India.

I get a feeling that it is not knowledge based, but very examination-based.
I remember as a kid, I would ask my science teacher what would a particular part mean and she would shut me up saying that this is not a part of the syllabus for the exams.
 But what if we never had exams! It was important to have them in may be the first 2 years of education just to make you disciplined. But exams after that were of no use.
 I would have studied and understood things much better had there been no exams.
A nice way of marking kids would be to ask and discuss with them things during class and not days or months after things were taught.
I would like my next generation to be taught and questioned that way. That is the reason I like the system at NID, where there are no exams but just juries. The NID Juries cannot mark you either, as you are marked/graded right after every course.
I just hope if we have something like this in schools, years before someone gets into NID. We will see so many more artists, thinkers, researchers, dancers, footballers and not just engineers and doctors!

It is very painful to see little kids carry those quintals on their backs. Education can be fun.
I have met many kids who do not follow the usual schooling system and are getting educated. Looking for a kid to be taught, so that I teach him this way…the fun way!
I know there would be people who would say “What is the use now?”
But as I always say that it is not important to get answers, but to raise questions. Raising a question is the way things begin. It is always important to think about changes which you can get.

It is that ear ache, which we need to cure!