Friday, September 10, 2010

Proof-reading my 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 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.