Friday, March 21, 2014

The Carpenter...!

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work," he said, "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor, in fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.

About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.

There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge... a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all - and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched.

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build...!"

And whom do you think I identify with...!?! 
Stay tuned and help me build bridges...!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


King Hiranyakashipu had earned a boon that made him virtually indestructible. The special powers blinded him, he grew arrogant, felt he was God, and demanded that everyone worship only him. Hiranyakashipu's own son, Prahlada, however, disagreed. He was and remained devoted to Vishnu. This infuriated Hiranyakashipu. He subjected Prahlada to cruel punishments, none of which affected the boy or his resolve to do what he thought was right. Finally, Holika - Prahlada's evil aunt - tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. Holika was wearing a cloak (shawl) that made her immune to injury from fire, while Prahlada was not. As the fire roared, the cloak flew from Holika and encased Prahlada. Holika burned, Prahlada survived. Vishnu appeared and killed Hiranyakashipu. The bonfire is a reminder of the symbolic victory of good over evil, of Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu, of fire that burned Holika. The day after Holika bonfire is celebrated as Holi.

Holi, a spring festival also known as festival of colors, and sometimes festival of love is an important festival to Hindus. It is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna(February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in March, sometimes in late February. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of majority Hindus or people of Indian origin. The festival has, in recent times, spread in parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic and colors.

The festival has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. In 17th century literature, it was identified as a festival that celebrated agriculture, commemorated good spring harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring's abundant colors and saying farewell to winter. Holi festivities mark the beginning of new year to many Hindus, as well as a justification to reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and accumulated emotional impurities from past.

Holi celebrations start with a Holika bonfire on the night before Holi where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is free for all carnival of colors, where everyone plays, chases and colors each other with dry powder and colored water, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons for their water fight. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colors occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People move and visit family, friends and foes, first play with colors on each other, laugh and chit-chat, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up, visit friends and family.

In Braj region of India, where Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated for 16 days (until Rangpanchmi) in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Krishna, a Hindu deity. The festivities officially usher in spring, with Holi celebrated as festival of love. There is a symbolic myth behind commemorating Krishna as well. Baby Krishna transitioned into his characteristic dark blue skin colour because a she demon Putana poisoned him with her breast milk. In his youth, Krishna despairs whether fair skinned Radha and other Gopikas(girls) will like him because of his skin colour. His mother, tired of the desperation, asks him to approach Radha and color her face in any colour he wanted. This he does, and Radha and Krishna became a couple. The playful coloring of the face of Radha has henceforth been commemorated as Holi.

Beyond India, these legends to explain the significance of Holi (Phagwah) are common in some Caribbean and South American communities of Indian origin such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

Stay tuned, Celebrate Love with Colors and be immune to the evil...!

Monday, March 10, 2014


Following is the mail I sent on 21 Mar 2011 and below it in bold red is the encouraging response of one of my dearest and youngest (72 running) friend! 

An Indian tourist walks into a curio shop in San Francisco. Looking around at the exotic, he notices a very lifelike, Life-sized bronze statue of a rat. It has no price tag, But is so striking he decides he must have it. He takes it to the owner: 
"How much for the bronze rat?"
"Twelve dollars for the rat, one hundred dollars for the Story,"says the owner.
The tourist gives the man twelve dollars. 
"I'll just take the rat, you can keep the story."

As he walks down the street carrying his bronze rat, he notices that a few real rats crawl out of the alleys
and sewers and begin following him down the street.

This is disconcerting; he begins walking faster. But within a couple of blocks, the herd of rats behind him grows to hundreds, and they begin squealing.

He begins to trot toward the Bay, looking around to see that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, and are still squealing and coming towards him faster and faster.

Concerned, even scared, he runs to the edge of the Bay and throws the bronze rat as far out into the Bay as he can...

Amazingly, the millions of rats all jump into the Bay after it, and are all drowned.

The man walks back to the curio shop.

"Ah ha," says the owner, "You have come back for the Story?"


"No," says the man,"I came back to see if you have a statue of an Indian politician in bronze!!"
-------------------------------------------- END of the Story (Not the HOPE) -----------------------------------

Dear Manish,
I wish you build a bronze politician statue. India will be grateful to you.
Stay tuned and find the rats...!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Love... Hate...!?!

I attended this conference with lot of anticipation and I will not say I walked out empty-handed (there was material from ‘Yuva Parivartan‘ to carry along) OR empty-minded (lot of new strings were hit for the thought process) OR empty-stomach (mixture of menu with feast of typical Puneri ‘Ukadiche Modak’ was equally heavy to digest), still what kept ringing in my head till this moment is a hypothesis that said “You have to love your government as nothing concrete, long-term or impactful (I am deliberately avoiding the word ‘Sustainable’ as it seems to replace the word ‘Pyar-mohobbat’ in bollywood on the grounds of obnoxious, nauseate and completely out-of-context use of it) could be done without Government approving, supporting or being courteous about it…!

However romantic, optimistic and idealistic this hypothesis may seem, there are few questions in retrospection of this poetic theory, hence putting them forth. Anybody who has the knowledge, position or guts to answer is free to respond, I will sincerely appreciate any candid effort…!

1. Love is a reciprocal feeling and extremely powerful emotion having tremendous potential. Does (or would ever) any government understands and accepts this principle?

2. Is there any consideration of unconditional love for the government?

3. Is this philosophy based on the concept of ‘love is blind…?’

4. Does this expression mean that every positive, social, community development effort and its impact was governed and facilitated by the government?

5. Does this means to suggest that post-independence, every successful social, economical, environmental (or any other movement for that matter) or Public Interest Project by any voluntary organization was facilitated and/or favored by the government…? 

If the answer to any of the above question is positive, we are already living in a developed country with a liberal economy and social culture of equality and prosperity; there is no need for any community development activity, let alone the most ‘coveted’ and overly-hyped CSR act. And if the answer is otherwise, nothing can change the fate of this largest democracy that would be committed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

If you would like to discuss this you can find me on any of the popular social media or write to me at

Stay tuned, Be Aware and Keep Communal…!