LOST MUSINGS (I)

Musings-1

LOST MUSINGS

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHILE WALKING WITH MY THOUGHTS

He was my knight
Taking me to the corners
I had been to
Meeting my words
When thoughts would walk
Free, beyond every perception
To find newness in sameness
I know he would never betray
And would care for my thoughts
To help me weave words around
In the corners I visit
Reflecting on colours that bathe
He was my friend
Who understood me
Helping my words
To get their life
Breathing in them a new meaning
At every step
While walking with my thoughts..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

A FACE SO CHARMING, A SMILE SO WARMING

Creation can be felt in different ways
And happiness is a way to look at it
Driven by the events in the moments
When we feel content with the flow
And want to live the moment forever
Living in today
And feeling it in every tomorrow
Creation speaks through that innocent face
That opened its eyes this morning
Staring at faces and colours around him
As if looking around to know his new home
As if trying to read the spaces around
His cry says all, his smile says all
Even if a word is not spoken
And the feeling is mutual, shared by all
Creation always conveys it’s elements to us
And a child’s birth is its purest moment
It wraps us in its joy
To pull us back from the forgotten feelings
It calls us back
Into a world that is somehow ours as well
With a charming face, with a warming smile
It tells us to come together and celebrate
What we don’t appreciate anymore
A life lived in now, a life built on this now
A newborn creates a spell around us
It asks us to live in the moment
Forgetting the ‘ifs’ of tomorrow
With a smiling face, with inquisitive eyes
It reminds us again the purity of innocence
That the world so easily forgets in its created ‘realities’

(On birth of my sister’s child, a baby boy, on June 12)

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WORDS OF COMPASSION AND OUTREACH BY THE WORLD’S MOST WELL KNOWN PHILANTHROPIST IN MY PART OF THE WORLD..

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He is the richest man in the world. His wealth is over US$ 80 billion.

He describes himself as ‘sharing things I’m learning through my foundation work and other interests…’ on his Twitter page.

His Twitter page for the month so far, June 2015, follows from previous months – a trend following humanitarian issues.

The feed, like it has been doing, talks about issues like education, environment, health, hunger, unemployment and malnutrition – issues affecting the populations worldwide.

The Twitter feed goes like:
(Dates are as per Indian Standard Time.)

June 10: We’re giving away $5,000 and a job to make videos for Big History Project. Enter the contest: http://bh-p.co/1QJLAM7

June 10: Passing knowledge btwn generations makes us unique. What do you think it means to be human? http://b-gat.es/1GpLwiY

June 10: Another reason to focus on college completion: low-income students fall behind wealthy ones http://b-gat.es/1BWC7u4

June 9: Free SAT test prep from @khanacademy is another way the Internet is making education more equitable: http://b-gat.es/1IqxywU via @WIRED

June 9: The G7 has been talking about how to prevent the next epidemic. Great to see Ron Klain pushing for bold steps: http://b-gat.es/1Qj5HWs

June 8: Mapping work to fight cholera could help prepare us for the next epidemic: http://b-gat.es/1dHODrT

June 8: Hard to imagine a person better suited than @Chancellor_CCC to help college students succeed: http://b-gat.es/1IdH9XJ

June 6: What many people may not realize–America is facing a shortage of college graduates: http://b-gat.es/1deZKb9

Bill Gates ‏@BillGates Jun 5
Here’s why we’re doubling our commitment to make sure kids in the developing world have enough to eat: http://b-gat.es/1AOFbxb

June 5: Lidia Sanchez was the first in her family to go to college. Here’s her inspiring story: http://b-gat.es/1JqUZrf

Bill Gates ‏@BillGates Jun 4
I spoke with @Chancellor_CCC about how we can fill a job gap of 11 million. Her strategy: http://b-gat.es/1BKBnbk

June 3: Although I dropped out and got lucky, getting a degree is a much surer path to success: http://b-gat.es/1G6em84

June 2: There are 216 million fewer hungry people than in 1990, but progress is uneven: http://b-gat.es/1KzjDo8

June 2: Why didn’t the so-called population bomb ever go off? @NYTimes explains: http://b-gat.es/1AGDAto

His Twitter handle is BillGates. Yes, he is Bill Gates or William Henry Gates III, the man behind Microsoft.

And the man behind ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’, the world’s largest charity, with over US$ 42 billion in assets, much more than the total personal wealth of India’s richest person Mukesh Ambani.

Well, my intention is not profiling him here. I am not going to talk about his business and his strategy around it. The world knows about it.

What caught my attention was his Twitter heed, words of compassion and outreach by the world’s most well known philanthropist in my part of the world. And he intends to donate 95% of his wealth to charitable purposes. Well, we can imagine the scale then.

And with a person like him, we have reasons to believe in the mechanism to ensure delivery and transparency.

Sometimes, we do certain things in our random movements, like I caught up with his Twitter feed today. I follow him but before it, I had never looked at his feed in retrospective. Today, I had a comprehensive look. And I felt good in reading all that I could read.

Yes, it was not a chance discovery and I knew the philanthropist Bill Gates – ‘as the world knows him’. But it made for a good reading today.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MAGGI: NESTLE’S RESPONSE SHOULD BE DRIVEN BY THAT..

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It is a product that was there since I started understanding the worldly place around me – my parents, my kin and my family. It was always there on kitchen shelves as a staple food item along with the regular stock.

It was one of the favourites among all eatables and we loved to have it the way advertisements suggested – the taste that would last longer after eating this stuff that took two minutes to cook and 10 minutes to eat.

Maggi has been there in every stage of life. It was so inherent and essential that we never felt we needed to ask especially for it.

Yes, it was rationed like other food items – but rationing was done to inculcate discipline. Childhood days needed more of it as we were easily won by regular communication materials appearing in print and on television. After all, the childhood urge is almost universal in some cases, on some issues.

The response to have it was more disciplined during teen years. And when I say ‘it’, it means Maggi’s ‘instant noodles’. That also meant eating it became less frequent though it remained an essential part of the shelves. Milk was never my favourite and I tried to have it somehow whenever I was given a glass of it. Now it is natural that ‘whenever’ had to be a regular affair, like it happens.

In our school days, the emphasis was on giving us nutritious food for our growing years and as we were absorbed more by school, teachers and books, we had a sort of seriousness and growing indifference to what was being given to us to eat. As we grew up, there were many other food items that entered our food habit outside our home that we liked to have them regularly. Even Maggi looked and tasted different at eating joints with its different experimental preparations. But, then it was occasional only – eating it outside home – as it was available at home – and tasted perfect with its ‘2 minute recipe’.

In college days, though it continued to remain a household product, it got even reduced preference in my daily routine. Parents and elders had told us from the beginning that we should be disciplined with any food material made from fine flour and the sense had an enhance recall value when we were around 20 – some years before and some years after. Though, they had a soft approach for Maggi as it was from a credible multi-national company and was seen as okay replacement.

Later on, Maggi became for me what it is for many in grown-up, independent, professional years – yes, it became one of the regular replacement food items when time was less or when people didn’t feel like cooking anything else. There were many food items vying for it, but Maggi was the first preference in almost cases. The occasional eating-out experiences, like in my college days, though to lesser extent now due to availability of time, continued.

Maggi is under scanner now. It all began from Uttar Pradesh when an official collected Maggi samples in March 2014. A complaint was lodged after Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a food enhancer but with negative health effects, was found. Nestle claims and prints on Maggi packets that MSG is not added. A lab in Kolkata later found much higher level of lead than permitted in the same sample. Soon there were reports, sample collections and tests from all over the nation.

Delhi has banned it for 15 days. It biggest single purchaser, Indian Army, has banned it from its canteens. Negative test reports are coming from many states. Many retail chains have taken it off the shelves. Its consumption has plummeted. Even the street food vendors are not stocking it for the time-being. I didn’t find at any shop in my office area.

Maggi is a strong brand. In our lives, it has had a presence in varied ways. And it is not just limited to India. It is a strong brand globally, one of the most profitable for Nestle.

And yes, Maggi is a profitable brand that is associated with nostalgic moments and memories in many lives.

The next course of Nestle’s crisis response should be driven by that.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

TODAY, I WAS NOT IN TWO MINDS..

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There are ways to fight the ways of life.

Every life has problems. No life is without its own set.

Yes, nature, degree and frequency of problems affecting lives vary from life to life.

The majority of humanity has more of them but even the privileged ones are not without issues in their lives.

Yes, the way to approach the problems, if differs for from life to life, is also dependent on the class and is affected by the concerned equations of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

One can face the problems of life by accepting their presence, reconciling with the situations of life while trying to find ways out or ways up.

Or one can refuse to reconcile the way life has become while trying to rebuild the life.

I met this rickshaw-puller again today. And while he was not in queue, with his rickshaw parked away, I preferred to go to him.

It was a similar ride to what I had on the other day – but on a positive, confident note. While walking to his rickshaw today, I was not in two minds, unlike the other day.

Collage-Rickshawpuller-May28, 2015

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

EVEN IF I WAS IN TWO MINDS..

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Like it happens every day with them, they were calling to pull attention as I got down the Delhi Metro station. It was the hottest day of May so far, over 45 degree Celsius.

It was routine, calling passengers like this, but the rickshaw-puller on that day pulled my attention. He was a lanky fellow, lean and thin, extremely skinny. His bones were visible on his long and thin body. And he was underage too, certainly below 18.

His rickshaw was nearest to me so it was natural I would go him but after seeing him, I was in two minds.

It was more due to his physical structure than his age. I was in two minds that how would he pull the rickshaw and how would he climb up the patch of the track with a passenger ?

I am anti to underage labour but not the way it is in rulebooks. In fact, underage workers are prevalent and it is a burning truth about India and many societies in other. And it is not wrong. The first preference always goes to the survival instinct. And the primal survival instinct is to survive each passing day by first having food and a place to sleep.

And it is true for societies across the world. We may debate the age of underage workers. In India, education of children up to the age of 14 years is state responsibility. Children up to 14 years of age cannot be employed, except in ‘family enterprise’ and ‘entertainment trade’. Children above 14 years can work based on socioeconomic profile and survival needs.

This rickshaw-puller was around 16-17. Yes, like it happens he was not sure of his exact age. And like everyone, he had all the rights to make ends meet of his life. The family support for education goes up to at least 20-22 years of age but it is empty sociological theory for many. Education is still a distant dream, an ignored entity in the list of priorities of millions.

They know only one thing – somehow to survive the day – while thinking for the next. And it is true in societies across the world.

The rickshaw-pullers, originally from the hinterland India but toiling in big and metro cities, are a prime example of this social order, an order that is complex and multi-layered.

And like everyone in the society, this rickshaw-puller, too, had every right to survive the life, to meet the basic needs of the day and to think of the day coming next. There are many including me who feel heat pangs even if the window is of 10 minutes while the people like this rickshaw-puller earn their livelihood under the open sky, be it in the scorching heat of May or June or in the rainy days of Monsoon.

I was in two minds that how would this extremely lanky fellow would pull his rickshaw along with me. I was also thinking that I had no right to deny him his livelihood because if it was not me, he would carry someone else to earn his living.

The two minutes of dilemma gave way to saying yes to the rickshaw-puller. I was thinking he would not be able to pull the rickshaw easily and I would get down wherever required, i.e., on the upslope of the track. Also, as is the case with me, I was thinking simultaneously about my write-ups while taking the rickshaw-ride to my workplace. Public transport is my favourite for the reason that it provides me with time and ideas to think further about my written work.

While lost in my thoughts and looking all around, I asked the rickshaw-puller if he could pull me and if he went to the school.

He confidently said yes but what he said on my second question I could not understand. His language was not totally comprehensible but I could grasp from his words that he was around 16-17 years old and driving rickshaw at this age was his compulsion.

Soon he proved his words – about pulling the rickshaw. His speed was even faster than many well able-bodied ones. He was pulling rickshaw efficiently and easily. And he carried me to my destination in less than usual time.

I felt relieved – on the fact that he pulled rickshaw like any other rickshaw-puller, like any other able-bodied person. He did not show the problems I was thinking about. I was thinking to offer him some extra money but why I didn’t offer him I could not say.

But after leaving his rickshaw, I was feeling good that, somehow, even if I was in two minds, I took the right decision and didn’t deny a person the chance to add to his share of daily earning.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THESE BOOKS ARE ALWAYS A ‘DECISION-MAKING’ PROPOSITION FOR ME..

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I am a regular reader – and of what not.

And I love good books.

Someone once asked me how I selected my books.

Now, various facets may be to this – that how I select my books. But the direct one is – I go through some of the pages, scan it, read a few and make my decision on whether to pick one.

Most of my books of the lot, my personal library, have entered my life like this. And I have a healthy library.

Then there are books that I know about – like about the author and the quality of the work – and the subject matter.

These books are always a ‘decision-making’ proposition for me.

And the book by Rakesh Kayasth ji (or Rakesh Sir – that is how I know him), ‘Kos Kos Shabdhosh’ comes in this category.

The days with Rakesh Sir at Videocon Tower, Delhi, were really good days of sitting around, talking on some issue, and discussing a thing or two, whenever we got time, or whenever we got mood. And with him came some good friends.

Rakesh Sir had been given a seat with us and our conversation began like that only – a senior who was willing to listen to his junior – who believed his junior could talk sense. And we would discuss things – from Manoj Kumar’s Clerk to the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare. The visit to the Ramlila Ground after the office hours during the agitation led by Anna Hazare was one such product of our sitting hours. Sometimes, he would drop me to my place at IP Extension, Patparganj while en-route to his home in Ghaziabad.

Our discussions would not have a definite purpose mostly and that was for good. He was famous as the writer of our network. He was famous as crispy script writer who was called to deal in with complex subject matters. He would always look in a thoughtful mood, like thinking about his subject(s) or character(s) at hand.

He is a sensitive human being and a writer in that garb.

My time spent in that office led me to wait for the day he would write his book. Though he left the city some three years ago for better options in Mumbai, and we could not spoken with after that, our Facebook pages kept me in touch with him, even if irregularly because I am not a regular Facebook user.

And through his Facebook posts and columns, I came to know about his book ‘Kos Kos Shabdkosh’. And it was the one book I was waiting to read because I knew the author personally.

And Flipkart delivered it in lightning fast time, within 24 hours of placing the order.

Yes, I could not read it then, due to my long engagement with the AIIMS and winding hours of visit.

But now it is here. And I am writing about it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

A CITY CALLS

A city calls
As the Spring falls
It’s the rewind time
Of that singing line
On the wilder rhymes
To the random chimes
Holding the unsung ink
Twisting the chanted zing

A city calls
To its charming halls
For its winding alleys
On the toured dailies
Where colours seduce
As the days deduce
On my unsung songs
That a city longs..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/