Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A message in the rumour

Things are falling apart again, the capitalist centre of America is unable to hold, to bail the financial firms out from the worst-ever crisis. The global financial terra firma is shaken, markets are in turmoil, the tremors are being felt everywhere in the world. How can the city of Hyderabad be left behind?

At 9.30 pm, I get a call from my friend, "you know something there is no money in ICICI Bank ATMs, people are queuing up like mad! running helter-skelter, if you have any money in your account , go and withdraw soon!" It was such an odd hour at night. I told him, "don't worry it could be a rumour and the ensuing bank holiday must be adding to the anxiety."

For a moment I wondered, what if...eventhough ICICI bank is rated almost on par with some nationalised banks in India...what if it really happens, for all you know banks can go bankrupt anytime especially if they've risen fast, the fall could be faster! Hey, but it can't be like quicksilver, I calmed myself, though I did have some money in my account. The global financial meltdown is sure to impact our banks, but not so soon, I comforted myself.

Next day, the newspaper reported that it was all a rumour. Perhaps yes or perhaps no! but a 'rumour' compounded by the irresponsible role played by media, especially the local TV channels. Naturally, it led to people panicking, running to various ATMs, not realizing that ATMs can hold only limited number of currency notes. In fact, someone told me, 'you can be very lucky if this bank really closes down, coz your housing and car loans are from the same bank!' I certainly wouldn't have liked that at any cost! I also heard that some people were finding ways to use up their money with their debit cards in anticipation of the worst scenario! How apprehensive one could get!

However, there was an underlying message in this turmoil. How volatile private banking could be, the necessity to maintain a balance between public and private sector banks. That could be one of ways of mitigating the risks involved in present day banking.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crowning glory for the melody queen

It was Lata Mangeshkar's 80th birthday on 28th Sept 08. I came across this interesting news item. Such a lovely way to honor the person you admire. It's hard to come by such passion and admiration for music these days. I feel like blogging this news, managed to find it on the Internet. Here it goes:
"A die-hard fan of legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar will put 28,000 gramophone records of her songs for public view on the eve of singer's 80th birthday on September 28.
Suman Chourasia claims that he has spent his all earnings in collecting gramophone records of Lata Mangeshkar, who was born in Indore in the year 1929. Chourasia (59) along with his friends has decided to set up a museum of his collection in Indore so that it becomes a permanent memory for her large number of fans.
His collection has songs, 'ghazals', 'qawwali' and Sufi songs sung by Mangeshkar. The museum was set in a 1600 square feet area full of records of Mangeshkar.
However, he said that he was not still content with his collection and was looking for 1300 more gramophone records of her, which he said he will collect at any cost. He informed that he has named the museum as ‘Lata Dinanath Mangeshkar Gramophone Record Museum’ and added that he has travelled thousands of kilometers to collect these rare records.
Chourasia, who runs a small eateries shop in front of the railway station here said that for those doing research on Lata Mangeshkar, he has constructed two rooms in the museum so that they can have access to the rare collection. "

My bilingual niece

When Maansi talks to me on phone I'm constantly reminded of my reading in the field of language acquistion, especially child language acquisition during my M.Litt course at CIEFL. Maansi is soon-to-be-three year old. She is equally fluent in Kannada (mothertongue) and Hindi (fathertongue). At home she spends most of her time with her Ajji and ocassionally Muthajji - both speak to her in Kannada. Her mother uses Kannada, Hindi and English. At school it's English and ocassionally Kannada. Her friends speak Kannada, so is the neighbourhood. Some interesting observations about Maansi:

1. When I talk to her it's always Hindi, even if I ask her in Kannada (I can manage short sentences) she replies in Hindi. She is very clear that with me and my mother it has to be Hindi.

2. She can parallelly talk in both languages - the other day I heard her giving instructions to her Ajji in Kannada while she was talking to me in Hindi.

3. Sometimes she indulges in code-mixing and code-switching like 'Kal raja hai na' (tomorrow is a holiday). Since her Kannada vocabulary seems to be richer than Hindi, I sometimes heard her using kannada words when she could not find the Hindi evquivalent like 'gombe' for gudiya or a doll.

Another interesting fact about her is her ability to carry on long conversations on phone when she's in a mood for it. She monopolizes the phone, engaging me with her rhymes, songs, gossip about her friends and other general stuff. The other day I tried speaking to her in English, since it was a Sunday I asked her ' Maansi, are you going out somewhere?' Prompt came the reply ' no out going:)' Signs of becoming an omniglot kid like many others! Another kid, my friend's son, converses with ease in at least four languages. I haven't had the chance to interact with him much. His name is Aarav, about five years old - fluent in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and English, I'm not sure how much he's exposed to Hindi. My other niece Shreya mostly speaks Hindi but is quite fluent at English. She's on her way to pick up Oriya. Though she does not speak in Telugu I guess she understands it.
Back after a short break

I'm back to blogging after a short break. In fact, during this break I have written several pages, editing them, revising them and re-composing them! what a pleasurable experience. I enjoyed writing, the sheer bliss of holding a pencil and jotting down those first thoughts and then composing the lines, keying them on the laptop... I thought I was living my dream, writing several pages that would eventually form into a book. Not creative writing, I'm working on professional and specialized book.

Many a times, I would not remember what time of day it was as I was thoroughly preoccupied with the chapters and sections. There were days when I would lay awake trying to catch some sleep, thinking about a paragraph, and get up at an odd hour to scribble the lines in my notepad. There was a phase when I was just short of becoming a 'social recluse' as I treated everyone who was not connected with my book as an obstruction in the flow of my writing.

The experience was quite similar to my thesis-writing days, it had the same kind of duress and perseverance. However I must mention one main difference. This was the absence of a concern, a voice that would ask me 'aren't you tired of writing, why are you working so hard, sleep now...do it tomorrow.' Those used to be my father's words when I would work as if there was no tomorrow. Such words, and a concern coupled with a curiosity of what I used to write (though he did not have a deep knowledge about the subjectmatter)... I missed these immensely in the present writing project.

How I wish I could write more! At a certain point I needed to put a break and get back to my 'normal' routine.
Har ghar yeh keheta hai, andar isme kaun reheta hai!

I feel these lines from a popular paint advt are written especially for a person like me! I really don't care much about immaculate cleaning and dusting type of work since I'm not one of those 'log-kya-kahenge-if-I-don't...types'. I'm okay with little bit of dust on the windows or little bit of grease in the kitchen; isn't this what differentiates a home from a house!!! More so, because of my dust allergy that I'm prone to, now it's reached a maturity level where Cetrizine, Allegro, Actifed or Alerid hardly have any effect. At the same time I've no option but do these 'detestable' things, well if I don't take care of my house who else will? When such a thought crosses my mind I immediately de-prioritize my other activites and get down to brooms, brushes, sprays and cleaners. Of course, I regularly act upon such thoughts, sometimes inevitably, there could be a long gap where I need to concentrate on my core activites.

Who would not want his or her house to look tidy, neat and clean! Though not a finicky spick-and-span-clean-home type, I get into a cleaning spree when I can't take the dust anymore on window grill, ceiling fans or other things in the house. Our windows are sliding-type but the grills and glass panes are peculiarly placed. Cleaning the glass is almost impossible without some specially designed brushes or sprays. I usually insert my hand through the grill and brush it from outside. After a while my hand begins to hurt. What a design! I keep cursing the architect for having thought so little about window design and usability. On some windows that face the road, the dust settles stubbornly. There is very little space between the grill and the glasspane; here only a vacuum cleaner can help. And for people like me who cannot hold the vaccum cleaner for a long time, it adds to my woes. I get a peculiar pain in my forehand my I hold the vaccuming pipe for long. My windows can never look immaculate, no matter how much I try to clean them, the outer side is simply is not reachable. Why can't things be made simple?

This time I had another challenge. This had to do with the wooden unit on which we have placed our TV and music system. When I got this unit custom-made I insisted on a 'wireless' look behind these entertainment gadgets. I wanted all those ugly and dangling cables and wires to be hidden behind the equipment so that it looks neat. What about cleaning! I don't think I gave it a serious thought, otherwise I would have made some provision for easy way to disconnect and remove it while cleaning. This was a real painstaking task. Removing the TV and keeping it back was not that bad, however pushing and pulling the wires through a single hole at the back of the central unit-top demanded some real gymastic skills. I had to repeatedly bend and get into the compartment below, often hurting my back as I had no idea how I could bend so low and then push the wire from under the hole and so on! The problem took a grave turn when I had to fix the music system. The speakers wires had to be pulled in from tiny hole in the central unit. I'm sure these holes were made adhoc by the carpenter when he realised the length of the speaker wires was not that long. There was no way I could move the central unit, the wires had to be first placed into the hole and pulled in ... what a pain!!! the speakers had to be connected to the music system and then the main plug of the system had to be pushed out from the hole behind. How could I not think of any of these issues when this great piece was made ? I wondered, feeling helpless. Finally I managed to put things in order and checked if the wires were connected properly. It did!! Wow! Now I was able to relax, watch TV, play music... slowly I sensed the pain again, every part of my body began to ache, severe muscular pain, it was agnozing to say the least. A lovely Sunday was lost lying on the sofa, I simply could not get up, even after a Brufen tablet and some Myolaxin.