Here, I intend to write what comes to my mind about India. This could be about anything, politics, religion, movies or remote happenings. Feel free to check this blog for updates, who knows some could be of some interest to you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wal-Mart daddies

You would've met them, especially if you had any opportunity in the past 20 yrs to attend a wedding in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi. 'Wal-Mart daddy' is the term I use for parents who have their grown-up kids settling overseas leaving behind their parents in India. No offence intended, I very well understand that in majority of the cases the parents choose not to settle abroad with their children 'sighting' reasons as 'We will not be comfortable there', 'Nothing like OUR country', 'We will miss our relatives and participating in the good and bad events of the extended family', etc.

Why the term 'Wal-Mart daddies'?
First of the two main things that make me pity such parents is when they show up at functions/gatherings generally observed when they attend weddings wearing a T-shirt or a sneaker that would be a perfect misfit both to the occasion and their trousers, accessories, hairdo and jewels. Though a misfit, you could pitifully observe the pride they bear in their looks which announces 'My son/daughter/brother/sister/nephew/niece got this for me from Dubai/London/Sydney/New York/Chicago/California/Boston...', still why Wal-Mart? I guess by now you would've figured it out...generally such t-shirts would've been bought at apparel outlets during their best SALE season at a steal deal OR as a last last minute rush buy from the nearest departmental store at a throw away price...and who could beat the logistics experts Wal-Mart chain at it? Their tagline till 2007 used to be 'Always low prices' that got changed to 'Save Money. Live better'.

Secondly, though being happy for their children to have settled well [an ambition that they would've spent all their working life to achieve] and doing very well overseas [a dream come true for the children] you could still notice how much the parents miss them while living away. The way they use the opportunity of such gatherings to get things done by the youngsters of the extended family/friends errands that could have been done through their own kids anytime IF they were around is a tell tale sign of their loneliness which none of them would come out to admit about but I am sure will have it lingering in their mind when they toss around in their 12th floor air-conditioned bed room alone and physically deteriorating as the inevitable aging catches-up.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who created the favorite books of our school days?

...first, did we have anything called a 'favorite' book when in school? I think most of us were allergic to 'books'...for sure I was.

Now, let me spin the time machine anti-clockwise and help you remember the days we lived in. If you are someone who grew up in India between late 70s and early 90s, when we had the joy of playing 'gilli-danda' with just wooden sticks not needing joy-sticks to play any game. Days when we rented bi-cycles to learn cycling, when our living room was NOT invaded by a zillion TV channels. We did not have favorite news channels but news readers Tajeswar Sigh, Minu, Komal GB Singh, Sashikumar...and sports encyclopedia called Narotam Puri. When the sound of the tri-wheelered mobile kulfi waala's brass bell cooled down the heat of our sweltering summers, when the Television sets were Black and White and Cricket was played in white and white...we exchanged comic books with our friends not CDs.

If these sounds familiar and makes you visualize yourself in these settings then tell me how could you forget the favorite books we had. Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle, the comics that are part of our childhood which had characters like Supandi, Shikari Shambu and the Indian mythological stories illustrated with vivid colorful cartoons. Asides to our grandmas, we owe whatever little we know about the great epics of this land to Uncle Pai.

Anant Pai a.k.a Uncle Pai who died on 24-Feb-2011 came up with the idea of Amar Chitra Katha when he saw that school children in a quiz competition couldn't answer the question 'In the Ramayana, who was Rama's mother?'. He decided that it was time to re-introduce to the children of India the good stories of our heritage in an enjoyable form and he succeeded. He had to ensure that the stories were done without hurting the feelings of any community as it will have great impact when shaping young minds. Later he introduced Tinkle which is more driven by the stories from it's reading community that is how our Shikari Shambu, Kalia the crow and smiling Supandi were born. If you noticed, Shambu though a comical timid hunter was never shown as hurting or killing any animal. So is the passion that it generated that some of the readers and contributors grew up to become part of the Tinkle publication staff.

On behalf of all the children who were benefited by your creation and had their characters shaped by it but who would never know the man behind it, I thank you Uncle Pai, to me the Walt Disney of India.