Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nous ne sortirons qu'au printemps 

Feeling nostalgic about my French classes, especially thinking of Prof. Christian Asquaciati, Madame Rastogi and Madame Sishupal. I'm glad to find the lyrics of one of the songs taught in our Adv. Diploma.

Richard Anthony

Nous ne sortirons qu'au printemps

Non, ce n'est pas une hirondelle
Qui vient de déchirer le ciel
Les grives et les tourterelles
Dorment encore d'un profond sommeil

Ecoute, c'est le vent qui passe
Et qui recourbe nos sapins
Regarde, ce matin, la glace
Recouvre encore l'étang voisin

Pourquoi veux-tu aller dehors ?
L'hiver n'est pas tout à fait mort
Pour nous aimer, prenons le temps
Nous ne sortirons qu'au printemps
Autour de nous, tout est pareil
Tu n'as vu qu'un peu de soleil
Reste encore près du feu de bois
Tu vois, l'hiver est toujours là

Les fleurs n'ont pas percé la neige
Et je n'entends pas les ruisseaux
Le ciel est gris, le ciel est beige
Le givre est toujours aux carreaux

Pourquoi veux-tu aller dehors ?
L'hiver n'est pas tout à fait mort
Pour nous aimer, prenons le temps
Nous ne sortirons qu'au printemps
Autour de nous, tout est pareil
Tu n'as vu qu'un peu de soleil
Oublie le monde, oublie le temps
Nous ne sortirons qu'au printemps

Qu'au printemps.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Proof-reading my book...how I miss you!
It's a strange feeling these days, ever since I got to see, hold and feel all the chapters of my book together. This is hard to express. It's something that you feel when you are unable to share your happiness at reaching a milestone with your most loved ones. I missed my father at every little goal I accomplished in the last two years of my writing, re-writing and editing. And now, I remember him each time I look at the first proofs of the printed chapters; I'm sure he would have been more excited than I am and would have eagerly awaited to see it in final shape. I know he would have definitely helped me with at least one round of proof-reading using those standard 'proof-reading' symbols (like he had done for my dissertations).

Sometimes, I feel I've had imaginary conversations with him, telling him in detail about the subject of my book, updating him on the progress, my meetings with the publisher (Mr. Madhu Reddy), introducing him to the editor (Ms. Dharani. K), the difficulties I've been facing in managing my writing along with regular office, and every little thing to do with it...just like how I used to narrate things during my college days and take pride in telling him about any reward or recognition that I got. Or, how he would 'react' looking at any write-up of mine published in newspapers and magazines. I miss those words of encouragement and appreciation.

My father was not an academician but he was indirectly associated with academics throughout his career at CIEFL. I remember when I was pursuing my PGDTE at CIEFL, how he would get curious about me working on new ideas for textbooks and new ways of teaching English. He would often ask me if I was going to write textbooks after my research. Perhaps, that was not the way my career would take shape, as I bid adieu to college teaching after a brief stint and got into e-learning design and development in an MNC.

However the idea of writing/publishing a book (not a textbook) remained with me, and I explored several options. I wanted to publish my Ph.D dissertation, but that didn't seem practical as I 'changed' my career and my professional priorities were different. Later, I explored writing on 'Instructional Design' since most of my articles and presentations were well-received and I was asked by several professionals to write more on this subject. But, this didn't seem to work as the topic was too narrow and that was not how I wanted to project the area of content design for e-learning. Later, I toyed with the idea of working on a professional blog on the same subject but didn't pursue it further.

Then, one fine day, it was like a 'revelation' for me. In one of my invited talks on e-learning design at CDAC, some participants sought help in learning on their own about various aspects of e-learning.  I quoted some references from websites and mentioned my idea about blog to them. Immediately, I heard some of them saying that to access the blog or to refer to the web pages, they need the Internet and most of them do not have access to the Internet. Not that I wasn't aware of this fact, but this point was bothering me because I felt what they said was true about most of the teachers and trainers in India. That's when I felt that I should reconsider my book and start working on it again. This time, it was on e-learning design, development and delivery, specifically targeted at the Indian audience.

More about my book in the next blog.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

An evening with Mukesh

I wanted this Sunday evening to be different, a really relaxing one with good music, something that is soulful and refreshing. Last weekend, Total Recall on Times Now channel paid a tribute to Mukesh on his 34th death anniversary. Ever since I watched this dedicated episode, I felt as if I was 'haunted' by Mukesh's songs, the episode was a neatly woven piece with archival info, pictures, interviews and songs classified decade-wise, his playback from Raj Kapoor to Rajesh Khanna. Like all other episodes of Total Recall this was informative and memorable, making it special to all the lovers of Hindi cinema and its immortal creators. Of all his songs, I've had some favorites like Kahin door jab din dhal jayen from Anand, Kai baar yunhi dekha hai from Rajnigandha, Jaane kahan gaye woh din from Mera Naam Joker and Sajan re jhoot mat bolo from Teesri kasam and so on...Let's look at the classic from Rajnigandha:
kai baar yunhi dekha hai, yeh jo man ki seema rekha hai
man todne lagta hai,
anjaani pyaas ke peeche, anjaani aas ke peeche
man daudne lagta hai...

Today, when I went to Ratnadeep for routine grocery and stuff, I couldn't resist picking up an MP3 compilation with some of the best songs of Mukesh. The CD has 40 songs, 30 of them are super hit numbers picturised on actors like Raj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and others.

Incorrigibly romantic that I've always been, I was always in awe of the lyrics and the compositions in Kishore Kumar's immortal creations. And Mukesh did not fit into my perception of 'romantic' music. Hence, earlier I could never relate to Mukesh with such intensity, though my parents, especially, my father was a Mukesh fan more because of his renditions for Raj Kapoor. This time, after ages, I reconnected with Mukesh, and the experience was different, perhaps a sign of how such music fills a void in today's fastpaced life and meaningless stuff in the name of entertaiment. The philosophical strain in most of his songs had a cathartic effect, complementing those meaningful lyrics there was music by Shankar Jaikishan, Salil Chaudhary and Khayyam...it created an atmosphere that is kind of unearthly. I wondered how it must have been in the times of singers like Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar and Mohd. Rafi, music and singing must have been such a spiritual pursuit for all of them. How true, 'the sweetest songs really tell you of the saddest thoughts', the sadness from loss and betrayal or themes related to ultimate truth or the complex human relationship, Mukesh had an inimitable style and a flair for conveying the beautiful lyrics in a voice that touched our hearts and tranquilised our minds.

Monday, August 23, 2010

There's something mystical about the monsoon skies*

View from my balcony

The skyscapes with myriad hues
Symbolic colors expressing several emotions
Ranging from pure serenity to frightful fury
Clear blues quickly turn amber
Suddenly enveloped with shades of grey
As greys disappear into sombre black
The celestial spectacle leaves me spellbound
As if the stage is being set with a magical wand
For several scenes to be performed
And when the overcast skies open up
The scenes unfold in drops, downpour and deluge
Sometimes the clouds fooling you
With all the thunder and lightening
They fill you with an air of expectancy and hope
Of an impending shower or an incessant pour

The city seems to have become more unreal
And I get caught in the inevitable realities of urban living
I stop blaming the concrete structures
Find my own ways of connecting with nature
So what if I can't walk on the green grass
I have the privilege of looking at the sky
When every green patch is turned into a permanent dwelling
I'm left with nowhere to look, but to the sky for peace, solace or inspiration
Often thanking my stars for the view from my balcony
Though it limits the horizon
I try to look beyond with gratitude.

*Blogger tells me that this is my 100th blog post:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I can relate to your experience Archana!
...Though not completely, but yes, the relationship of parents and attitude towards a single daughter, the taken-for-grantedness and much more.  How you and I, as kids, became crisis managers in our families, where was the childhood I wonder... how I had to grow up soon, there was no choice...I'm moved, touched, reading your blogs because it seemed so autobiographical, especially how I became a dedicated care giver when my father was suffering from a terminal disease...how I would weep alone whenever I looked at his medical reports and deteriorating conditions, how, on most occasions, I would go alone to get him tested in the hospital, collect the reports, again alone...all this while managing my work at office...and so on.
But, no regret at all! I'm glad to have owned and shown responsbility at the crucial moments without bothering too much about the dynamics of singlehood, relationship with siblings, etc etc and never once did I bow down to the 'social pressure' of changing my singlehood for reasons whatsoever. Perhaps that was how I could return all that my father gave me by not forcing me to do things that I never wanted to...and I do have my bit of fun because I take life the way it comes!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bitter, sweet, sour... this new year

New life, new living, a fresh beginning
Like everything that blossoms in Spring
The season of rejuvenation
The season of mirth, joy and revelry
As the nature seems to blush like roses
As trees in full bloom turn yellow and pink
Gulmohurs waiting to spread cheer
With their bright orange and red hues
Hidden there would be some koel or myna
Waiting to break into a fresh morning song.

New thoughts, new ideas
Unfurling like the tender mango leaves
A whole bunch of tender mangoes
Green little, sour things reminding me
That sourness is a taste to savor.

I walk past the whiff of sweet scent of Neem flowers
The huge neem tree covered with delicate white flowers
Frail little bitter things reminding me
That bitterness is also a taste to savour.

Far away there seems to have been an early shower
The familiar smell of first showers on dry earth
The sweet smelling air reminding me
That sweetness is not just in sugar
It's an everlasting taste of all things pleasant.

The days get longer and warmer
Signs of impending summer
Perhaps a severe one, hotter than the previous one
Sweltering, scorching and sizzling
Forcing me to be indoors till the Sun goes down

The tender coconut vendor
Sits there around the corner
Under the shade of huge green tree
Quenching the thirst of a passer-by
Or selling the refreshing drink to as many

In the evening
The bazaars are graced by the divine Jasmine
The heavenly perfume fills the air
As the buds slowly bloom into flowers
Making every evening a special one
For the dame, adorning her long hair
Or as earnest offerings at places of worship.

Taking together
Sweet with bitter and sour
Just as the tastes of nature are many
A melange of several feelings and experiences
Isn't this true of us, as we step into another year.

Image courtesy: http://in.ygoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/ugadi.jpg

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our sweetest songs are those that tell you of ...

Our sweetest songs are those that tell you of sad thoughts, bitter-sweet realities, existential and profound truths- to extend Shelley's famous lines. Isn't this true of most of our movie songs? There's a mystical charm about songs that make us feel exalted, elevating our spirits while experiencing the lyrics, the music and the singer. The way these songs are composed brings out the best in the singer, making us feel the emotions vicariously - poignant and cathartic -intoxicating and liberating - existential and transcendental. The lyrics of each song, highly poetic, composed and rendered with utmost artistic appeal. Such sublime beauty is rare to find these days when songs have become 'musical' commodities, created, packaged and distributed - legal or pirated. Most of these songs have remained as masterpieces with everlasting listening pleasure for the discerning listener. Here are some of my eternal favorites:

Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum jhoomti bahar hai kahan ho tum...
Ae dil-e-nadaan, arzoo kya, justaju kya hai...
Yun hasraton ke khwab mohabat main dho liye, khud dil se dil ke baat kahi aur ro liye...
Hasne ki chaah ne itna mujhe rulaya hai, koi hamdard and dard mera saya hai...
Chingaari koi bhadke to sawan use bhujhye, sawan jo agan lageye use kaun bujhaye ...
Main to ek khwab hun, is khwab se to pyaar na kar...
Suhani raat dhal chuki na jaane tum kab aaoge, hawa bhi rukh badal chuki...
Tujhse naraaz nahi zindagi hairan hun main, tere masoom sawalon se pareshan hun main...
Yeh jeevan hai is jeevan ka yahi hai , yahi hai rang roop..
Katra katra milti hai, katra katra jeene do zindagi hai, behene do pyasi hun main pyasi rehene do..
Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa to nahin, shikwa nahin...
Aane wala pal jaane wala hai, ho sake to isme zindagi bitalo pal jo yeh jaane wala hai...
Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar to pyaar mila, humne ne toh jab kaliyan maangi kaanton ka haar mila...

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Thin sheets of coloured papers
Transformed into
Wondrous pieces of colourful craft
Purple, pink and pale green
Red, blue, white and yellow
Like pieces flying from the rainbow
A colour for each emotion

And a colour for each reason
Like my aspirations
Flying high, flying low, flying even
Blown by gentle breeze and strong winds
Gliding, sailing and soaring new heights.

Amazing artifacts!
Don’t they look like pictures of human imagination
Framed with thin bamboo strips
Fragile but strong with courage and determination
Shaped by hopes, desires, beliefs, convictions
As if telling stories
Of thoughts, actions, dreams, promises and failures
Of hits and misses striking a balance
As they rise higher and raise my hopes
Or plummet suddenly reminding me of a possible despair.

Look at the ones that are flying high
Rustling sound of crisp paper
Forming tiny specks of myriad hues
Some get tangled and some get cut
A flight cut short, perhaps a reminder
Of how we clash, win or lose
How we give in to ego, envy or other emotions

I let my ambitions soar as high as the kite I fly
The string that it’s tied to is as strong as my will
The sky is where I look for my limits
I hold it tightly
Then I loosen my grip
Alternating between…
Seeking control.

Ethereal creations!
Will you be my guide to fanciful flights?
In a new world beyond the clouds and cosmic realities
Where I become a child all over again
Fascinated by the world of fairies with magic wands
Excited about fulfilling my wishes and wants
As you carry my message
Beyond the bright blue and white clouds.