About Me

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jaipur, rajasthan, India
retired Army Colonel

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Indo-Pak Talks at Hyderabad House..

Hina Rabbani Khar alighted as an icon of style, fashion and glamour; largely succeeded in keeping the spot light away from the meaning less talks; and rightly so. Apart from students of Indo-Pak relations even the Page-3 readers followed the Hydrabad House meeting. An oversize work-bag from Hermes made a vanity statement and her carefully chosen wardrobe found mention in media coverage. I wonder if it is like any Bollywood movie which has an item number to keep it running. There is nothing India and Pak need to talk. They are in state of war and unless one of them is defeated or both get exhausted to give up the causes of their belligerency nothing will change. Sometimes, I think if there was no Kashmir, would India & Pakistan be friends? I doubt. They would have found some other reason to fight. It is in the psych and in the very genesis of two nations which were never there. Some problems get evolved into their resolution and any attempt outside the dimension of time only add to its complexity, results in waste of effort and may delay the said evolution.
The geopolitical problems are devoid of re-locating options and artificial borders are untenable as against natural. Redcliff, Durand and McMahon have been the mortals who fiddled with natural peninsular subcontinent. We are paying the price and continue to do so till it is paid up.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


My father wonders as to why humans want to live even after they die? The concept of Atman as indestructible, in Hinduism, has its roots in this very eternal lust for life. What actually continues to live is your gene, the DNA in your progeny….your off springs. That is happening for millions of years and I am today what my ancestors were. Biologically, we are programmed with two fundamental aims: A) To survive and B) To procreate. Our basic instincts and psychology are driven from either of these two. The human brain has evolved to a very high level and it separates us from other living beings on this planet. The power of human brain is enormous and so are the possibilities of its misuse. Therefore, without a social order, humans would be in chaos. The social order is like an applied external force which would keep each human in state of in-equilibrium. We better understand it as discipline, law & order, norms, etiquettes, religion, culture, traditions and bla bla bla…. .Resistance to this force is obvious and desire to get back to the state of equilibrium is only natural. From time immemorial we have seen younger generation revolting against the older generation to further dilute the said external force. Today’s generation even rubbishes the institution of marriage. They want to live-in. Sex is not pre or post marital. It is only consensual. Slowly and slowly we tend to get into state of our equilibrium and that would imply chaos. Once again the new order will come and cycle will repeat itself.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My USA visit. ......Concluded.

Back Home
Trrnnnnn…………trrnnnnnnn!!!!!! Telephone was ringing and I was slowly coming out of the stupor. The clock showed 3.12 AM, Sunday morning, 10 July. I crawled in my comforters to pick up the hand set from its cradle. As I said “hello!!”, “मैंने तेरा कमरा संभाल लिया है” was Papa from the other end. I could not understand anything. Mummy then came on line to explain. He was admitted in the same room (107) of Santokba Durlabh ji Memorial Hospital where I spent those trying 4 weeks after my spinal injury on 28th March 2009. Papa had severe unstable angina. I was ejected out of my drowsiness and sat up. An open heart surgery in 1993, and angioplasty in 2009 was not a good history and I knew anything was possible. I rang up Ashu in Hydrabad and he reached Jaipur on Monday morning along with Shweta.
Sunita and I caught first available flight back to Delhi. The journey was long and whenever I fell into a nap the nightmares followed. We got first update from Vidushi as we landed at Abu Dhabi Airport which had wi-fi connectivity. Tri-vessel blockages were seen in his heart.  They implanted one stent on Monday, and two were more to follow once he is more stable after 48hrs. We landed in Delhi at 3.30 AM on Tuesday morning and after a quick wash at Kiran’s place drove to Jaipur. Sushil, Sunita’s brother was generous to give us a driver and we reached Hospital at 11.00AM. I met Papa in ICU and he looked very good. He said मुझे पूरा भरोसा था कि मैं ठीक हो जाऊँगा I respect his guts and confidence. I was much relieved man and then got into updating with Bhaiya, Rani, Gandhi, Harish, Mummy and Billu who came little later. On 14th July two more stents were implanted and Dr Sanjiv Gupta, the cardiac surgeon showed us the video film of the Cath-Lab procedure. The blood was seen gushing through venous graft as the blockages got opened. Later, I spoke to Col Badal Verma, my classmate, comrade-at-arms and friend who is practically handling 100% logistics of this hospital. We can never thank him enough for all the support he provides.
Papa is back home today at 12.35 PM and talking to Kan Singh ji who has come to look him up. Normal routine at Bahadurgarh, will resume soon. Last week had been stressful. Our family is our strength and we stand through a tide emotionally un-battered.
Not in the least, I wanted my USA trip to conclude in a manner that it has. “Man proposes and God disposes” proverb comes to mind. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My USA visit. ......continued leg 13 Independence Day

Independence Day:  Long time back there was a debate in the Indian media that we celebrate our Independence and Republic Days in a manner that is very colonial and feudal. Besides, costing an arm it lacks  people’s participation. The festivities get on the back burner and projection of state’s might is at the centre stage. I happened to be in USA on 4th July and witnessed their Independence Day. The Americans celebrate this occasion as a people’s festival. The families, friends, lovers and lass are out in the public parks having fun. Whole USA seems to be barbecuing and the evening is charged with scintillating fireworks, the two symbols of American Independence Day celebrations. I see lot of sense in making National Festivals more public.  Cricket and Kumbh Melas mobilize people in India to celebrate,a trait at least I am not proud of. An effort by PPP (public private partnership) to promote the idea of celebrating National Festivals with masses here in our country, will go long way in generating Indian-ness.
Yuvraj had taken us to Hoboken Water Front to see the Fireworks. To grab a vantage view point we had to go as early as 6.00 PM whereas, the start time was 9.20 PM. You can imagine the rush. The park was already full when we reached but we managed good place to plonk ourselves. As, the setting sun fell on the  glass-clad skyscrapers of Manhattan,  they glittered like gold and with their reflections in Hudson River made the whole scene quite picturesque. There were lot of amateur photographers with tripods taking shots as they  lumbered up for the final show. Yuvu tells me a good snap can fetch you as much as $1500.00. There were lots of private yachts and boats hanging around in the river to see the grand show. And lo! Here cruises in ‘Queen of Hearts’, a huge Ferry with a loud music and dancing crowd aboard its deck. These guys were waving fervently at us. Vidushi informed me it is $75.00 per person with dinner on board. "Too much” I mumbled. Yuvu and Vidushi got us ‘Shavarma’, a Lebanese dish, to eat. It was some sort of chapatti stuffed with roasted chicken and salad with sauce. I liked it a lot and shall repeat it on the first opportunity. I noticed small aeroplane carrying a trail reading as "Godless American Atheist Organisation". I believe they are influenced by communism and advocate wall between church and the state. There was a fly past by USAF and then by choppers of NYPD over the Hudson.
 As it grew darker, the whole sky line of NYC came alive with colourful lights and the Empire State Building with red, white and blue stood out brilliantly. The air patrol by NYPD was deployed and keeping a watch from the top. The yachts and boats switched on their red, blue, and white blinkers and with their reflections in water it looked like a discotheque at full swing. The whole arena was getting electrified and people charged up for the grand finale with all eyes up in the sky. 

Soon it was 9.20 PM, and first salvo got fired. “Sunita! I think even in Jaipur we have similar ones in weddings and Aatish baazi”. I said. A lady overheard our chat and intervened to say “I am from Bani Park, Jaipur”. We were pleasantly surprised and got into small talk with her. As the show picked up the quality and variety of Fireworks went up beyond any comparisons. It was a class par excellence.I felt small for my premature comment. The fireworks were courtesy 'Macys', the famous departmental store chain in USA. 
we were back home at 10.30 PM and wondering should we or should we not have dinner? The shaverma was quite filling yet not so filling. I opted for maggie.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My USA visit. ......continued leg -12 "BIG APPLE".

“Big Apple’ is nick name for NYC, Papa”. Vidushi apprised me. Yuvu, not to lag behind butted in and chuckled “It is also called Gotham”. The context was Vidushi joining a voluntary service with ‘ Big Apple Greeter’, an NGO in Indian glossary. I googled it to further my knowledge and found most of the fruits with prefix ‘Big’ are names of some  city or the other country. Like Israel is ‘Big Orange’.

I was contriving to skip visiting Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building being a quotidian touristy stuff and also the tickets being very expensive. But, then Mr Dhameja said “बंधू जी अगर हरिद्वार आकर गंगा में दुबकी नहीं लगाई तो लोग क्या कहेंगे?” I immediately took the cue and set out for the two more bites of the Big Apple. 

Statue of Liberty 29th June at 2.30 PM, we were aboard ‘Miss New

Jersey’, our Ferry to Liberty Island. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the passengers were slowly settling down in their seats on the deck. The 

breeze being a little teaser, the flowing manes and fluttering skirts, made it difficult for young mothers to control their children running hither-tither. As, we cruised and traversed the Hudson Estuary Eastwards the silhouette of Lady Liberty, slowly started getting readable and was zooming like an image through a 

camera’s eye. I moved to the bridge and asked Sunita to follow me for a better view. I was marvelling the sculpture and recollecting history classes in school by Mr HS Hiran. Mention of it comes along French and American revolutions. Its 
enormous size radiates indomitable spirit of liberty and the American character. 
Made of thin copper sheets wrapped around a steel structure, the statue gets its natural green colour from the patina, a brilliant idea which has done away with an arduous task of regular painting. Emma Lazarus calls it ‘Mother of Exiles’ as it stood at the gateway of America taking under her wings all those expatriates who escaped the miseries of Europe. Then is this Liberty Bike, made from the artifacts of the statue. It is another fascinating art-work on the island. See the photo. Sunita and I had some fries with diet coke like locals, bought few souvenirs and returned home. We had not got the tickets of Light Rail validated on our way up, and hence could reuse them saving $4.50. Ignorance has been bliss.
 Thank God! We were not caught by the Fare Inspector.

Empire State Building: Even today you ask any person of my generation as to which is the tallest building, the answer in most cases would be Empire State Building. That is why I believe perceptions are important than facts. The reason is, this building ruled the numero uno slot for decades till overtaken by many around the world. What astonishes me is that this towering piece of skyscraper was constructed in 1931, the year my father born. And when you know the construction was completed in 19 months it makes you believe that America, what it is today, is for a special reason. At least, I see our Rambagh Golf Club house being under construction for the last three years and yet far from completion. Located on the 5th Avenue of 34th Street in Manhattan is well connected from Jersey City where we live. We took PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train from Grove Street to 33rd Street and walked up two blocks round the corner. There is no elbow space in the streets of Manhattan to see the building top from ground level; you may strain your neck as much as any acrobat. We had carried chips and coke from home to avoid buying expensive there. I was awestruck as got into the sparkling lobby. The crimson and black granite with diamond polishing has been collaged with golden porcelain tiles and glittering stainless steel. The whole interiors were breath taking. We took automatic elevators to 80th, then to 86th floor and could not resist catching the counter reading in my camera. The elevators were pretty fast and we only felt the ear drum pressure with a mild ache. Once on top the view was fantastic. Had it been for Jaipur I would have identified each and every road, street and alleys. But this was not my town. So we could identify only Jersey City and area around. The experience was good and valued more than $44.00 for us. Empire State Building was one of the instruments that pulled out America from great recession of 1929. It created 7 million man hours of work.