Friday, July 28, 2006

my jaans - the purpose of my life

Iteeva Pande - Four and a half years, tomboy, loves the outdoors, independant, quick learner, very observant, extremely fond of music, developing artist, dominating natue, imposing voice, extremely healthy, loves the water, friendly nature, mature one and mamma's baby.

Antara Pande - three and a half years, stunner, girlie, very fond of bangles, babba's baby, self reliant, arrogant, stubborn, bad temper, likes to have her way, possesses a sweet tooth, a bit of a physically weak child prone to all sorts of infections, extremely fond of music and especially Himmesh Raishaimmya.

the early years (1974 - 1992)

I come from an Armed Forces background. My father began his stint in the army with The Deccan Horse, one of the most decorated regiments in Indian history, went on to command the 67th Armoured Regiment and then served with General Bipin Joshi as his Deputy MS, Western Command.

All my growing up years were spent in army contonements being part of the army life. Seeing my father endure the 2/3 month long stints in the deserts of India on "exercise" every year and not knowing if he was alive or dead during Operation Brasstacks in December 1986/ Jan 1987 was tough. On the other hand, seeing my mother try and bring up the family in a meagre income, sometimes living in temporary accomodation (barracks)and very limited exposure to the outside world was even tougher. But this is all in hindsight.

While I was growing up, seeing your father in different uniforms, the kind of respect and awe he commanded from the troops, the palatial bunglows with huge gardens we mostly lived in, the sports facilities, the army clubs (especially the Annexe in Ahmednagar and the RSI in Pune), the open air theatres, May Queen Ball, tambola, the burgers, the tomato soup with bread crumbs, the awesome libraries, community celebration of the Diwali, Holi and Christmas festivals, sleeping in the watered garden in mosquito nets with one radio playing "Faugi Bhaiyon Ke Liye" the comaraderie, brotherhood and mutual respect amongst the officers and the feeling of family within this closely knit community was something really special.

All of the above was as much a part of our life as, only 2 pairs of shoes (one black pair for school and one Bata green soled sports shoe), Kendriya Vidyalaya (government schools for those who don't know), travelling in those army trucks back and forth from school (they were called 3-tons) or on Hero/ Atlas cycles, a extremely disciplined and regimented life, travelling in second class non AC bogies sitting near the door, constant change of cities every two years, those white garden chairs (the ones that had a metal frame with the threaded/ netted plastic that broke with too much pressure..I remember they used to always sink into the lawn), the middle class grounding with the constant pressure exerted by the environment, community and family to do something in life and the fat gossiping mommies playing tambola and cards every other day

I remember my father sold his ambassador car to put us three children into hostel. I went to Delhi Public School, RK Puram, New Delhi. Although I count those three years in boarding as the worst years of my life, I think I learnt a lot. When I think back to those days, those experiences still make me bitter but I am glad I got that exposure. I made some great friends in DPS (actually I can think of only two)
, played a lot of sport, smartened up, got bullied, discovered how to stand up for one self) discovered girls and all the associated pleasures, fell in love for the first time, understood what being rich means, went to parties and understood what competition means.

I had a horrific accident those days and landed up with some 300+ stitches, 2 metal plates, K wires and 12 titanium screws in my upper left arm. Still carry the scars today. And it was all done to impress the coolest chick in school. Sounds so stupid, now when I think of it. But it was worth it.

So by now, I had passed class 10th. But I was still quite a baby. There was a whole life still ahead of me and I had no plans for it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

life cannot get any better

By the way, thats me. Now all of you can atleast put a face to the name.

I am really enjoying my life these days. Am playing squash for 1 hour per day, running 2 kms at 11 kilometers an hour 3 times a week and swimming 15 lengths every weekend.
Work is interesting, am travelling to diferent parts of the world working on organizational issues and concerns that truly make a diference to them. Plus I get to see and experience new places for free.

These days I get to spend quality time with the children doing things that they enjoy, like taking them to the park, playing football with them, listening to music together, eating pizzas, hearing them recite poems and nursery rhymes, dropping them to school and generally playing the fool around the house.

My social life was never short of action. But these days I enjoy doing different things like watching movies, just hanging out with friends, dinners, some pubbing, doing the wine and cheese kind of evenings.

Finally, I am making the effort to read classics such as DH Lawrence. Started with Lady Chatterly's Lover. Its so differently written. I find it tough reading but will not rest till I finish it.

Life should not get any better than this.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Swaty Gadagkar - professional photographer, teacher, production planner and controller, wife, mother of two, squash player, traveller, maharashtrian... and most importantly, my friend and conscience

not acceptable...period

07th July 2006, 13 bomb blasts in Mumbai & Srinagar, 200 dead, 450+ injured.

I dont think there is another country in the world that would take this headline as lightly as India has done. I think its a problem with our self core. We Indians, have taken tolerance to another level. All that I see happening around me today is major public debates on television, the blame game between different political parties and lots of articles written in the papers and magazines around this event.

What more does Mumbai need to do to get its due. generates 35 percent of India's GNP, its port handles half the country's foreign trade, and its movie industry is the biggest in the world. The centre needs to give Mumbai more economic support to support its infrastructure needs and public services while at the same time, the state government needs to get a little more serious about law and order.

Some one needs to stand up and take a "zero tolerance" stand on terrorism. The Prime Minister should do a 'George W Bush' here. Flush out the bastards behind this, line them in a public square and shoot them in their balls. Simultaneously, put a stop to all peace talks and efforts with Pakistan. This diplomatic bullshit has been on for too much time and culminates in nothing. Its time for action Mr Prime Minister.

Maybe its not Pakistan behind this. But I seriously don't care. Just find the culprits and put an end to this. Set a serious example with your actions.