Mr. Prime Minister, Take your statement back or go home

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I am shocked to read this statement by our prime minister today. It basically mean that, as rightly put it by Ravikiran Rao, "Increasing income disparity is just the right approach to controlling inflation." PM wants to curb inflation even at the cost of "equality", one of the fundamental right enshrined in our constitution. PM's idea of cutting salaries at lower level and increasing it at higher level can help him curb the inflation,

First, the consumption basket of the rich is different. The likes of Anil and Mukesh Ambani do not compete with the poor people as much as people like me do for their consumption basket. Second, super-rich people save more than merely rich people, putting downward pressure on prices.[Ravikiran Rao]

You can imagine the fate of common man if our govt implement this irrational idea.

Mr. Prime Minister and his team vociferously speak about Aam Admi (the common man), but in reality it seems like they don't keep Aam Admi's interest in mind while making some crucial decisions like this. "Dr Manmohan Singh has done immense harm to India’s future. The evil that he has done will live long after him. The good was interr’d with P V Narasimha Rao’s bones. Corporate India would do well to ignore the shameless moral poseur. Yes, it’s late in the day for this government. But Dr Singh should go."[Acorn]

She found the purpose, means just followed

Monday, April 28, 2008

Building a theatre auditorium during the time when multiplexes are growing like mushrooms is definitely not a joke and starting this venture with no money in hand sounds absurd, but for Arundhati Nag, it was a visionary purpose full of possibilities. She had a clearly defined purpose in mind but didn't even had an abstract idea of how the means would reach her. Well, her thought itself was so powerful that, "the entire universe seemed conspiring to help" her build Ranga Shankara. The journey of Ranga Shankara is truly inspiring to any budding artist. The vision of having theatre auditorium like Ranga Shankara may be from the legendary actor-director, late Shankar Nag, "partly as a tribute to his extraordinary talent and drive, and partly as a realisation of a dream that was his too - the dream to have a theatre space of one's own[...]", but for Arindhati Nag, the journey of realizing that vision was a nightmare. Today, Ranga Shankara is celebrating the reality of Shankar Nag's Vision. The lesson I learned (again) from the journey of Ranga Sahnakra was, `Find the purpose; the means will follow'

I had been procrastinating the visit to Ranga Shankara since last 2 and half years, but finally made it yesterday. I had seen many dramas in and around my native, but Ranga Shankara was a rich experience. I had never seen such a theatrical atmosphere before and was truly astonished by the arrangements in Ranga Shankara, especially the lighting, I just loved it. "The stage and the auditorium arrange the acoustics in a way that artificial amplification becomes unnecessary." Unlike many other theatres Ranga Shankara has free seating, "wherever you sit in Ranga Shankara, your experience of the performance remains intimate and immediate[...]" The stage floor has a revolving stage and a trapdoor, facilities that very few auditoria in this country possess. The front row has wheelchair access built into it, and a few rows have been wired for headphones, should the need for a translation facility arise. The building features an art gallery, a bookshop and a cafe - all with a view to ensuring that Ranga Shankara functions not merely as a theatre auditorium but becomes a vibrant cultural hub over a period of time[source].

I was pleased to read this on Ranga Shankara's website, "Ranga Shankara is a space dedicated to theatre and we do not rent out the auditorium for anything other than theatre performances. All bookings must be for shows open to the public. We do not allow bookings for private shows", more over the tickets are affordable to anyone, just Rs. 49/- (plus Rs. 50/- tax slab, so making it not so bad figure of 100 bucks).

Some more trivia about Ranga Shankar can be found here, here and here. An article in The Hindu, Dream of a theatre.

You can read more about Arundhati Nag, here.

PS: I must thank Priya and Thykooooooot (Vinay Roy) for taking me to Ranga Shankara, hope you do that more often in the future :)

I could have met Lakshmavva ajji, but...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lakshmavva Ajji, an octogenarian in my village, was a "Devadasi" woman and was not blessed with children unlike other fellow Devadasis, but, she always loved every other kid just like her own and I was one among those she loved the most (of course, I am no more a kid now, but I still have the same affection towards her :)) She had relatives, but they never bothered to think about her. Every time I went home, I made it a point to meet Lakshmavva. Her narrations about life and the 'cruel world' have taught me some good lessons in life. Her tragic life story still take me towards endless thoughts.

To Lakshmavva, like some other Devadasis, Joga was the only means to survive. Joga is a ritual practiced by Devadasis to earn their daily food. It’s a kind of sophisticated term used for begging food grains/ingredients. Some villagers graciously help Jogati (another term for Devadasi) with food grains, but some do not, apparently because they do not have enough to give. Lakshamavva always kept aside some part of whatever she got from Joga, mainly for two reasons. One, to feed the guests (just in case, if they come); two, if she can't go for Joga because of her bad health. She had no dreams in her life other than just to survive the rest of her life. Her daily life was very simple. Getting up early in the morning, doing ‘Pooja’, going for Joga with fellow Devadasis to get something to cook and eat, and spending her evenings in talking to other old people in the village. She used to sleep early because her vision was not so good in the night. Some times if it’s a harvesting season, she used to go for daily wage work where she used to get some food grains also. She was extremely happy about her simple life because she never depended on others for survival. In fact, she had kept 2000/- rupees with my uncle and had asked him to use that money for her obsequies just in case if she passes away. She never believed in relying on others for life and even after life!

Her joy had no bounds when she came to know about my every visit to the village, not because of little bit of money that I used to give her, but because of the kind of affection she had towards me. She had seen every day of my golden childhood, and I always loved her narrations about Manju, the kid, my childhood. Last week, I had been to my village and was there for 3 days and all three days went in some no-nonsense work. I met almost everyone except Lakshmavva ajji. I thought I could meet her on the last day, just before leaving, but unfortunately my uncle called me for some urgent thing and I couldn't get time to meet her on that day also. I was told by some one in the village that, her health was very bad and she was asking about me. A day after that, she was no more. I could have somehow met her on that day, but, fate….

Hope her life after this world will be peaceful...

ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮವ್ವ ಅಜ್ಜಿಯ ನೆನಪು

ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮವ್ವ ಅಜ್ಜಿ ನಮ್ಮೂರಿನ ನಿರ್ಲಕ್ಷಿತ ಹಿರಿಯರಲ್ಲೊಬ್ಬರು. ಮೂಲತಃ ದೇವದಾಸಿ ಅಜ್ಜಿ. ಹಿರಿಯರು ಮಾಡಿದ ಸಣ್ಣ ತಪ್ಪಿಗಾಗಿ, ಇಡೀ ಜೀವನವನ್ನು ದೇವದಾಸಿಯಾಗಿ ಕಳೆದವಳು. ಅವಳಿಗೆ ಸಂಭಂದಿಕರಿದ್ದಾರೆ, ಆದರೆ ಯಾರೂ ಅವಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಚಿಂತಿಸುವ ಗೋಜಿಗೆ ಹೋಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮವ್ವ ಅಜ್ಜಿಯಂತಹ ದೇವದಾಸಿಯರಿಗೆ "ಜೋಗ"ವೇ ಜೀವನದ ಆಧಾರ. ಜೋಗ ಎಂದರೆ ದೇವರ ಹೆಸರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಹಿಟ್ಟು, ದವಸ ಧಾನ್ಯಗಳಿಗಾಗಿ ಭಿಕ್ಷೆ ಬೇಡುವ ಸಾಂಪ್ರದಾಯಿಕ ಪದ್ಧತಿಗಿರುವ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಸೂಕ್ಷ್ಮ ಹೆಸರು. ಹಳ್ಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲವರು ಜೋಗತಿ(ದೇವದಾಸಿ)ಯರಿಗೆ ಉದಾರವಾಗಿ ದಾನ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾರೆ, ಕೆಲವರು ನಿರ್ದಾಕ್ಷಿಣ್ಯವಾಗಿ ’ಮುಂದೆ ಹೋಗು’ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಕೊಡಲು ಇಷ್ಟವಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದಲ್ಲ, ಕೊಡಲು ಏನೂ ಇಲ್ಲದಿರುವುದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ. ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮವ್ವ ಅಜ್ಜಿ ಬಲು ಜಾಣೆ. ಬಂದ ಜೋಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪವಾದರೂ ಉಳಿಸಿ ಜೀವನ ನಡೆಸುವವಳು. ಉಳಿಸುವುದು ತನಗಾಗಿಯಲ್ಲ, ಯಾರಾದರೂ (ನೆಂಟರು) ಅಕಾಸ್ಮಾತಗಿ ಮನೆಗೆ ಬಂದರೆ ಅವರ ಹೊಟ್ಟೆಗಾಗಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕೆಲವೊಮ್ಮೆ ಹಾಸಿಗೆ ಹಿಡಿದು ಜೋಗಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಲು ಆಗದಿದ್ದರೆ ಅಲ್ಪ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಗಂಜಿಗಾಗಿ. ಅವಳಿಗೆ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾವುದೇ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಕನಸುಗಳಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಊರ ಚಿಂತೆ ಮಾಡುವ ಗೋಜಿಗಂತೂ ಮೊದಲೇ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅವಳ ಜೀವನ ತೊಂಬಾ ಸರಳಾವಾದುದು. ಸೂರ್ಯೋದಯಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಮೊದಲೇ ಏಳುವುದು, ಸ್ನಾನದ ನಂತರ ಪೂಜೆ, ಆಮೇಲೆ ದೇವದಾಸಿ ಸಂಗಡಿಗರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಜೋಗಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗುವುದು, ಸುಗ್ಗಿಯ ದಿನಗಳಾಗಿದ್ದರೆ ಕೂಲಿ ಕೆಲಸಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗುವುದು, ಸಂಜೆ ಅವಳಿಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿರುವ ಕೆಲ ಹಿರಿಯರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಹರಟೆ, ಸೂರ್ಯಾಸ್ತದ ನಂತರ ಊಟ, ಕತ್ತಲಾದರೆ ಅವಳಿಗೆ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯ ತೊಂದರೆ ಇರುವುದರಿಂದ ಬೇಗನೆ ಮಲಗುವುದು, ಇಷ್ಟೆ ಅವಳ ಜೀವನ ಚಕ್ರ. ಬೇರೆ ಊರಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ ದಶಕಗಳೆ ಕಳೆದಿರಬೇಕು! ತುಂಬಾ ಸ್ವಾಭಿಮಾನದ ಅಜ್ಜಿ ಅವಳು. ತಾನು ತೀರಿ ಹೋದರೆ ತನ್ನ ಅಂತಿಮ ಸಂಸ್ಕಾರ ಯಾರಿಗೂ ಭಾರವಾಗಬಾರದೆಂದು ನನ್ನ ಕಾಕಾನ ಹತ್ತಿರ ೨೦೦೦/- ರೂಪಾಯಿ ಇಟ್ಟಿದ್ದಳು!

ಅಜ್ಜಿಗೆ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಲ್ಲ, ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಕಂಡರೆ ಅಪಾರ ಪ್ರೀತಿ ಅವಳಿಗೆ. ನಾನು ಚಿಕ್ಕವನಿದ್ದಾಗ ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಎತ್ತಿ ಆಡಿಸಿದ ಅಜ್ಜಿಯವಳು. ಪ್ರತಿ ಸಲ ಊರಿಗೆ ಹೋದಾಗ, ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮವ್ವ ಅಜ್ಜಿಯನ್ನು ಭೇಟಿಯಾಗುವುದು ನನ್ನ ರೂಡಿ. ಅವಳೊಂದಿಗಿನ ಮಾತು-’ಕಥೆ’ಗಳು ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಲವಾರು ಪಾಠ ಕಲಿಸಿವೆ. ಅಜ್ಜಿಯ ಜೀವನದ ಶೋಚನೀಯ ಕಥೆ ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಇನ್ನೂ ಅಪಾರ ಚಿಂತೆಗೆ ಗುರಿಪಡಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಕೆಲವೊಮ್ಮೆ ಹೀಗೂ ಉಂಟೆ ಅನಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತಿಳುವಳಿಕೆ ಬಂದಾಗಿನಿಂದಲೂ ಸ್ವತಃ ಕಷ್ಟಗಳನ್ನು ಅನುಭವಿಸದಿದ್ದರೂ, ಅನುಭವಿಸಿದವರನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ, ಮಾತನಾಡಿಸಿದ್ದೇನೆ, ಅವರ ಕಷ್ಟ-ಸುಖಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಗಿಯಾಗಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮವ್ವ ಅಜ್ಜಿಯ ಕಷ್ಟ ನೋಡಿ, ಪ್ರತಿ ಬಾರಿ ಊರಿಗೆ ಹೋದಾಗ ಅವಳಿಗೆ ಅಲ್ಪ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ದುಡ್ಡು ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಪ್ರತಿ ಬಾರಿ ಈ ದುಡ್ಡು ಬೇಡ ಅನ್ನುತ್ತಿದ್ದಳು, "ನಾನು ನಿನ್ನ ನಿಜವಾದ ಮೊಮ್ಮಗನಾದರೆ ಬೇಡ ಅನ್ನುತ್ತಿದ್ದಿಯಾ?" ಅಂತ ಅವಳನ್ನು ಸುಮ್ಮನಾಗಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ನಾನು ಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪವೇ ಆದರು ಅವಳಿಗೆ ಅದು ಲಕ್ಷಕ್ಕೆ ಸಮವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಕಳೆದ ಬಾರಿ ಊರಿಗೆ ಹೋದಾಗ, ೩ ದಿನ ಊರಲ್ಲಿದ್ದರೂ ಅತ್ತಿತ್ತ ತಿರುಗಾಡುವುದರಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ತುಂಬಾ ಸಮಯ ಕಳೆಯಿತು. ಕಡೆಯ ದಿನವಾದರೂ ಭೇಟಿಯಾದರಾಯಿತು ಅಂದುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದೆ. ಊರಿಂದ ಹೊರಡುವಾಗ ಅಜ್ಜಿಯನ್ನು ಭೇಟಿಯಾಗಲು ಅವಳ ಮನೆಯತ್ತ ಹೊರಟೆ, ಅಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ನನ್ನ ಕಾಕಾ (ಚಿಕ್ಕಪ್ಪ) ಏನೋ urgent ಕೆಲಸ ಅಂತ ಕರೆದ. ಆಮೇಲೆ ಅವಳನ್ನು ಭೇಟಿಯಾಗಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವೇ ಆಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಮಾರನೇ ದಿನ ನಮ್ಮೂರಿನವರೇ ಒಬ್ಬರು, "ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮವ್ವ ಅಜ್ಜಿ ಹಾಸಿಗೆ ಹಿಡಿದಿದ್ದಾರೆ, ನಿನ್ನೆ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು ಕೇಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದಳು" ಅಂತ ಹೇಳಿದರು. ಅದಾದ ಕೇವಲ ಒಂದೇ ದಿನದ ನಂತರ ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮವ್ವ ಅಜ್ಜಿ ತೀರಿಕೊಂಡರು. ಆವತ್ತು ಭೇಟಿಯಾಗಬೇಕಿತ್ತು ಅಂತ ತುಂಬಾ ದುಃಖಿಸಿದೆ, ಆದರೆ, ವಿಧಿ.....

We all want to fall in love, Why?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Because that experience makes us feel completely alive. Where every sense is heightened, every emotion is magnified, our everyday reality is shattered and we are flying into the heavens. It may only last a moment, an hour, an afternoon. But that doesn't diminish its value. Because we are left with memories that we treasure for the rest of our lives" - From the movie "The Mirror Has Two Faces".

I am really not sure whether the above statement has some truth in it, I guess may be due to lack of experience, you may assume that for time being :). Reading (ನಮ್ಮ ಕನ್ನಡ) literature has been my passion since the golden 'school days', and that reading making me feel that, almost every literature has mentioned love in one or other form. Be it classical, medieval, modern, folk, devotional, or even in some revolutionary literature! And of course, love stories are more pervasive than ever in almost all the movies that we have seen so far. May be that is one reason why people get so much inspiration and excitement for 'that true' love. I know many people who were dumped by many other (known) people and I have indirectly learned some good lessons too. But love story of an another friend of mine has been unprecedented.

She asked him, "Do you like me?"

"Yes, more than any thing."


"I am trying to figure that out from last one year."

"Will you marry me?"

"I will wait until you think that i am someone who is worth loving."

"What if I don't think that....?"

"I will wait until you find a better person than me."

"What if i say, I have already found one...."

"Well, we both know each others' answer."

What happened next? Even I don't know, but I can only hope that, he will not be yet another person (whom i know) dumped by someone (whom I know too). I am glad, I have a magnanimous friend like him, hope she will realize that soon. Guys and ma'ams, join me wishing him good luck. And yeah, there is nothing more I can do as of now :)

Mama, "I want more!", What the heck?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Gorgeous Hogenakkal falls is hitting the headlines for quite some time and the river Cauvery is in lime light again. The dispute is not new, its been there from 1807 (yes, you read it right, from 201 years). The colonial government in Madras Presidency raised its voice against the irrigation projects undertaken by erstwhile princely state of Mysore fearing that the projects could affect the delta agriculture. Since then, lot of things have changed, demagogues, governments, laws etc, but the very nature of the dispute has never changed. Every time a state planned for a project on river Cauvery, the other state shown the apprehension of loosing its' share of water. The bottom line is, 'If he use more, I will get less and vice-versa' Its like two kids fighting for better share of the cake and asking mother Cauvery, mama, "I want more!", what the heck?

In Hogenakkal, it is business as usual. Aarmugam, a boatman, says, "It is all political sir. I have my lunch with the boatmen from Karnataka every day. We do not have a problem. I really don't know why these people are making such a big issue out of the water problem. There was never a problem regarding water over here. Yes I know about a land dispute. But that has been going on for many years now and we have even stopped bothering about it", Rediff reported.

There is no clear cut line of control between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the vicinity of Hogenakkal and hence both the states are fighting for the prized share of Hogenakkal, "an extremely popular tourist destination, attracts at least 1,500 visitors per day. This translates into a revenue of Rs 12 lakh per day for the Tamil Nadu government[...]" Karnataka says, "Hogenakkal is mine!", But Tamil Nadu says, "No, its mine!" Mother Cauvery seems to be having tough time with her two notorious kids!

I found two articles very interesting
on this issue, they can be found here and here.

What I understand from this dispute is that,
no matter how intellectual and sophisticated we are, our basic struggle for food, water and shelter will never end. Infamous wars in the history have been fought over land and water. The result was violence, bloodshed, and of course the destruction of peace and harmony. Earlier, patriots fought for freedom and peace, now chauvinists are taking the center stage to destroy the very foundation of peace and freedom. Some pusillanimous people in both the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have started their vociferous fight over Cauvery waters yet again and of course creating a huge tension in the region.

Canada and United States of America share the Niagara falls and they were able to resolve the issue peacefully, borders over Niagara are still being respected and hopefully, will always be. Why can't the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu get to the negotiation table and resolve the issue? Or in worst case why can't they take the matter to judiciary? Why some local chauvinists and vested interests are allowed to influence the Cauvery water dispute? These are some questions which definitely need coherent answers from both the parties (Karnataka and TN). Nevertheless, chauvinists should not be allowed for the veneration of pseudo patriotism.

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.