Friday, March 26, 2010

Kolkata Fire and More Thoughts

The Kolkata fire that broke out in Stephen Court in the Park Street area, keep many thinking about the safety norms that are followed by the Municipal Authorities and the Government for buildings in the different parts of this country. Only some time back there was the Bangalore fire which is still fresh in the minds and now this sad happening.

Is it not the time for the State and the Central government to rise from their sleep and do something constructive to improve the safety norms in the buildings? We cannot simply brush away by saying the building was old and did not have the present safety norms. After all each building, big or small in size, pay their annual taxes. So it is very much within the knowledge of the authorities about each and every building and new construction that’s taking place. Seeing that the safety norms are in place becomes the foremost consideration.

After reading all the reports in the newspapers and on the television, it is very clear how the top two floors had come up. So many lives have been lost and many are still missing. For this great havoc whom do we hold responsible? A question that’ll be searching for answers but in the end the whole episode will be swept under the carpet.

India is growing, in which areas??? It is hard to say. Lives lost in fire breakouts in massive buildings, mishap after mishap at Metro Construction sites in Delhi, terror attacks like the one in Mumbai, price rise, the list is too long. Is India growing at the cost of the lives of the Aam Admi? What is the cost of the life of a common man?

A pondering thought till next general election...and then...will the same story be retold...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Of Languages...

Tulika Books has announced a Blogathon 1 and the topic is:

How different are the written and spoken forms of your first language? If you want children to become familiar with their first language, which form would you look for in children's books - formal or informal? Why?

The topic is interesting, not simple, but difficult, if it comes up for a debate.

The other day I met a family at a party, small family of father, mother and son. It amazed me to find the parents talking with their child in Hindi and not in the language the parents speak. Are we really ashamed of our first language?

India. The country of Unity in Diversity has so many languages and dialects. Very often in the streets and public places we hear more of spoken English than an Indian language. And following English people prefer to converse with one another in Hindi.

I have had the privilege of learning to speak, read and write in my mother tongue. Being an Indian, apart from English I can read, write and speak 3 other Indian languages and it makes me happy. Though not good with speaking I can understand 2 more regional languages. It gives me a sense of pleasure that at such a time when the first language is losing its grip I’m lucky about languages.

I’ve always encouraged my children to speak in Bengali at home. Knowing more than one language is an advantage and in school where the first language is English there is always the benefit of learning a second language. Being a bilingual is easy nowadays. Then there is the chance of learning the language of the state you’re living in (even if someone is living there for a short time). Learning languages is a personal interest and depends very much on the individual...easy for a child. 

I think the best way of letting the children learn their first language is by reading out stories in their first language from a very young age. They pick up words and understand them and then are able to speak in it. During their long summer holidays, parents or even grand parents can help in this. The children can be made to write and read, like doing a page of handwriting writing regularly, as I pointed out, during their holidays. They can be kept occupied and once they develop an interest they’ll have that good feeling of knowing and learning something new. Creating the interest is of importance and this can be possible to some extent by speaking with the children in their first language at home.

Now I find many youngsters making an effort to learn their first language, for, as they are growing in life they find the feeling of belongingness in this...which they have not been interested in,earlier. Many have started reading books of great regional writers (starting with their translation works in English) and want to know more from their writings. Our regional literature is very rich, and if such a move comes up, regional literature will no doubt get a boost and encouragement. Hope such moves can help in the interest and revival of our regional languages!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Indian Premier League (IPL) – Combo of Cricket and Entertainment

The IPL (Indian Premier League) cricket matches kick-started just after the conclusion of the Hockey World Cup Tournament. Indian Hockey team broke the hearts of the hockey lovers of this country. With India hosting the World Cup (Hockey), many people got a chance to watch the matches live in Delhi. The number of hockey fans increased wishing India at least to be in the top 4. Anyway there is hope of doing better the next time. “Don’t let down your fans Indian Hockey Team”.

Cricket has always been a game close to the hearts of most of the Indians. People clap when the ball is hit for a 4 or a 6. Many people are well aware of this...bowling, batting, bowled out, run-out...some common terms people follow while watching the match live on TV. So you need not understand the details of the game of cricket to be a religious follower. Starting from the common man on the street to the housewife they enjoy the game. Is it "Time Pass" for many?
...scratches head...

Now IPL has come up with the combination of entertainment with this game. Indian Premier League is in the look out of the IPL singer of the year...a singing competition with the IPL tag.

Newspaper report said the Indian premier league has added fashion, food and celebrities to the stadium experience. So what do we draw out of this experience? Is cricket changing its face and colour to some extent.

For me I’m not cheering any particular team. I adore the great cricketers of my country and when they are scattered here and there, who will I cheer for?

Now the sad news is, there are a lot of injuries in many teams. Dhoni, Gambhir, Graeme Smith, Zaheer Khan, are some names among many more. Sooooo...
...and be strong and fit to play for your country.

Lalit Modi is finding ways to make the IPL more alluring to the people. For how long is to be seen.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Women’s Reservation Bill and the BUZZ Around

To be very frank I am a fence-sitter on the Women’s Reservation Bill. Sincerely I’m against Reservation. Getting or reaching out to something under the Category of Reservation or in simple words under the Quota category is like grabbing something With an external force.

Women have worked hard to reach the place they are in. They need no sympathy to be what they are. They have the mind, will, power and determination to do and achieve what they want.

I am never in favour of Reservation of any kind. In this country the number of the Poor, living below the poverty line, is very much visible. In the name of Politics many nasty games are played and one among the many is in the name of Reservation. If at all the political parties are interested in giving privilege to the people of this country, time to stop increasing the quota percentage in the different categories. Think about the poor and draw the below poverty line edge and give these Economically backward people Reservation so that they can come up.

Surely most people will not agree with me. They will think many times and in the end come up saying 'this is not possible and not for the good of the country'.

If women want to get Reservation, it means they are weak and feeble, not able to stand on their own feet, instead will be tagged as babies who are making an effort to stand up but need support to stand on their own.

This Reservation will be more of a support than showing off before the world, “We are, we can and we will on our own”.

Look across the globe and you can find women adorning the highest place. Education can make a lot of difference in a woman’s life. And that’s the first stepping stone and not Reservation.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Colourful Spring

This picture reminds of P.B. Shelley's line from the poem Ode To The West Wind -

If winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Unusual Visitor with Hawk-like Stare

                                        An Unusual Visitor

Few days back I had the chance to meet an unusual visitor. That day I returned home from work late afternoon. With the chill in the air it was pleasant to walk down the colony road to reach home. The breeze and the sunshine, both sang the same tune...the cold did not bite and the sunshine did not hurt either.

Afternoon lunch was a lonely affair...sitting alone, eating my cooked food. Later I wanted to spend some time out in the balcony...the one at the back. It was then I met this Unusual Visitor perched on the electric pole very close to my balcony. This big bird was immersed in its Birdie Thoughts.

                                       The Bird with Hawky Stare

I clinched the opportunity to capture the image of this visitor in my camera. This bird does not have good looks and it seems it belongs to the Hawk family. And the eyes with sharp looks...that hawky stare. Never mind, after all I could get to see this rare bird.

Hardly do we see birds these days with all the trees vanishing. It made me happy to catch a glimpse of this rare bird.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hockey World Cup – India losing grip...

Yesterday As I watched the India vs South Africa match, there was little to be happy about. India and South Africa ended their playing time with three goals from each side. So it was a draw.

As someone seeing the match on the television screen, I thought Indian players were bit let down morally because of some decisions made by the referees. I felt the boys played giving their best efforts.

Don’t know how much determination the players had while playing against England.

Now India will play for the 7th and 8th position in the tournament. Let’s see if they can better the previous 11th position India was in.

The commentators in English were not neutral with their words when India was playing. Their commentary did not go down well with many. To avoid this situation we have to become stronger and get a place in the top 3 and then what these people will say has to be heard.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Celebrating Women’s Day

When the 8th of March was chosen as the special and dedicated day for women across the globe, this was, to protect and promote certain causes of the women in general. There lies the secret of celebrating a day which has been stamped “Women’s Day” across the globe.

I don’t want to peek into the past but want to look at the present while aspiring for a better tomorrow, all for the cause of the still considered weaker section of the human society – the women lot.

Why only this day do we (women) have to be special. Women are special for they are Mother’s. 'Mother',  the word everyone has love and respect for.

Mother is the most respected word. We also address our country as “OUR MOTHERLAND”.

Women nurture, raise, nurse and care for people in and around their lives. What would the world be like without Women? A simple question but difficult for a reply.

Today, the Women’s Reservation Bill is waiting to be passed in both the houses of the Parliament. This too had to wait for years. If this goes through, surely it will make this Women’s Day phenomenal.

Jai ho and Happy Women’s Day.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hockey World Cup 2010 – When India loses to Spain...

Yesterday as I sat watching India playing their third match - India vs Spain - there was nothing to be happy about. What has happened to the Indian team that played against Pakistan, a win over them and hopes of every Indian rising to see his/her country’s hockey making a place in this Hockey World Cup? Indian hopes have been shattered, Indian team losing to Spain playing before the home crowd in their home ground.

This brings to mind many diverse thoughts:

Why this sudden change in the attitude of the players.

The defence was weak and there was enough gaps for the opponents to give the finish.

Did the Indian players not do their home work before coming out to play?

Sad affair they couldn't convert the penalty corners.

To say without Shivendra Indian team has lost their moral boost. Just a plea.

Is the past rift between the Indian Hockey Federation and the players still going on which has demoralised the morals of the players?

So many questions have come up in the minds of the people but the end answer is - the mood of Indian Hockey lovers has dampened.

Media has written so much about the match that every hockey game lover has got the details even if they could not go to the stadium to watch the match or could not get time to watch it live on their television sets.

Still the remaining hockey matches will be watched with interest and enthusiasm even if India is not playing. After all the best team deserves to win and be cheered.

At least being the host country Indian Hockey could get a place in this tournament. But they have lost their chance.

Time for Indian Hockey to rise above the level they are in and stop being called “Under Dogs”.

Isn’t it?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

World Cup Hockey 2010 & Indian Hockey

India played the second match of the tournament against Australia. I waited for the match to start. Watching the match was not the same as the first one. Where do I begin...?

First the Indian striker Shivendra Singh was suspended for 2 matches, suspension reduced from 3 to 2 matches. So we lose the services of our main striker. It is really strange how the suspension came into force when the Pakistan team had not lodged a complaint against the player. What message does it leave? Is it biased towards the Asian players? If we had look at the England and Australia match earlier it is clearly visible how there had been rough tackles but no one was pulled up.

The commentators spoke out about the Indian players with a mean note from their Commentators box throughout.

The Indians were over powered by the Aussies from the very beginning.

Indians were at a disadvantageous stage when their ignorance of putting the ball out of the touch line was paid off with a penalty corner in favour of the Aussies who converted it into another goal. The team needs to do a lot of homework with the prevailing rules.

The Indians did lose the match 5-2 but still has chance to get a birth to the semi-finals with a win over Spain in their next match. But they have to careful with the goal margin.

Wish the Indian team all the best for the next match.

After all Indian Hockey is not losing its sheen with so many following the game whole-heartedly.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

World Cup Hockey 2010 – India Wins First Match

I sat watching on the television the two teams - India and Pakistan - lining up to start their first match. When the Indian National Anthem was played it brought tears to my eyes. These were not the tears of sadness but that of a sense of pleasure overcoming my emotions. The Anthem itself brings the sense of pride and love, and my sentiments ran wild and fast. Don’t know why? But there was that strong feeling for my country...of love and adoration and honour.

Soon the match started, arch rivals playing against one another, India vs Pakistan.

Why am I talking of all this...emotions, admiration, love, pride and...when I’ve dedicated this space for Hockey, that too the World Cup being played in the Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Delhi.

Till the day the World Cup Hockey tournament started there was little hope about the attention this event would get. For the third match of the opening day (February 28, 2010), I mean this India-Pakistan match, the stadium stands were mostly full. This shows the interest people still have for our National Game.

From the beginning Indian players were at their best. They managed with 4 goals having missed a very near 2 more. The players excelled in all areas.

For the Pakistanis, they struggled, missing their opportunities to convert the penalty corners to goals. At last they could hit the ball into the goal post for a lone goal.

For sure Indians across the country are happy with the performance of the players. Today (March 2, 2010) India takes on Australia. A win over them makes it easy for the Indian team to reach the semi-finals.

Fingers crossed I’ll watch today’s match and cheer from my drawing room sitting area for the players.

The Hockey players have shown their talent and skill on the field and with that people have also raised their interest bar in this game.

One more win today and I’ll shout, “Jai Ho Hockey our National Game”.

With this sweet note...