A Request


Hello reader.

This is the first such post on this blog, that I’m doing, in the 4 years that this blog has been on the web. First, let me set the premise.

Sneha Sadan is a boys orphanage in the city of Bangalore, India that houses over 30 school-going children, who are either orphaned or abandoned by their parents. The orphanage, from a visit I was fortunate to be a part of, seems to be a rather healthy place with enough emotional and material strength in it to ensure a proper upbringing for these kids. However, there is a lack of certain amenities the orphanage could do with. Among these are very basic things like first aid kits, mattresses and shoes/chappals for the children.

I’d like to make a very simple request here and invite donations to Sneha Sadan. If you can directly get in touch with them, the contact details are on the website. But if you would like to make a donation without doing that, I would encourage you to email me – jaymaniyar [at] gmail [dot] com. This way, I can personally discuss and share bank account numbers and other details. In case, you’d like me to contact you, please leave your email address in the comment below. A point of note here is that I invite donations starting from a minimum basic amount of Rs. 200. Of course, higher nominations would be more than welcome.

In general, any substantial donation or personal involvement in any form is invited. India is home to over 257 lakh orphaned children (Source: Wikipedia). It is, hence, worth imagining (and bewildering) just how many kids in this country go to sleep at night without that person(s) sitting by his/her bed with one hand caressing the little head or sing them a song like this one.

Thank you.

[Photo Credit: The PicSnapr]

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Namithanomics

I have read a lot of posts on who people admire when they were growing up. And inspired by so many of those repeated ones, I thought I’d pen down some words on who I admire a lot since I have grown up (if you can put the age of 24 in the ‘grown ups’ category).

namitha

Her name is Namita Mukeshbhai Vankawala. Now, you may have not heard of this name. Hardcore fans like me have. She is known by her more popular name – NAMITHA. And, NAMITHA, mind you, IS A GOD FOR ME. Period. Why I mention her full name here (which I learned from Wikipedia instantly) is because she was born in Gujarat (which happens to be my state, by the way) and carries all the typical name-qualities of a Gujarati. For example, putting the bhai in Mukeshbhai is an archetypal Gujju technique of ensuring we match up to ‘fellow Indians in the South’ (which is a more polite term to use and will get me lesser sambhar cups thrown in my direction by the DMK) names in the Battle For Longer Full Names.

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This woman is fascinating, I must tell you. Like how Uday Chopra is the Uday Chopra of Bollywood, Namitha goes completely in the opposite direction by raising satisfaction levels to highs they’ve never seen before. She makes the creator of the term ‘Massive Mammaries’ bow all of his heads in shame. And gives me the creative space to create a new term – Ubermassive Mammaries. Yeah okay, it’s not that creative.

If the Indian middle class can’t spend a day without seeing one Bollywood movie or another or more, I’m sure Namitha fans can’t spend a night without taking a glance at her photos on Google and other websites that contain the kind of Indian masala that isn’t available in a spices market.

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Such is her diverse array of talents that she can be successful in any film industry that has better standards than Bollywood. She has starred in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam AND English films (Source: Wikipedia) and has even contested the Miss India pageant (Again source: Wikipedia). On dull Facebook days, it only takes a Namitha picture on her fan page to cheer me up. On dull Twitter days, I go to Google. She even makes Mallika Sherawat appear Mallika Sherawat-less!

The rise of Namitha is one of the most un-narrated stories in the Indian cinematic landscape. It is blasphemous that so many overrated models and actors get so much mainstream media coverage while Namitha is hardly ever there. Where she deserves to be. Whether in a saree or a police uniform or a bikini or merely taking a bath in front of the camera, Namitha is as glamorous as one can be and oozes ooze.

And some more.

Pictures Courtesy: [Google Image Search: Hot Namitha]

Mumbai Localizing

A new phase of life has dawned. A phase that involves travelling in a Mumbai Local every day of the week. And I must say it has been a roller-coaster.

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For all the talk of Mumbai’s local trains, I took a step into one of these ‘beauties’ (a term generally used in connection with either a hot chick or a sports car) without any thoughts in mind. But I’m afraid they really do live up to the hype. If some boisterous Mumbaikar ever told you that you will get beaten to pulp or have your testicles pulled up from behind and tied up to your neck, then he/she is probably right.

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So, let me talk about some of the zones that exist in these trains. The first and foremost one is the Clinger’s Zone i.e. taking a step into the train and ending up standing just right there. This one isn’t as risky as it sounds. Not only does it allow you to stretch your arm 15 inches outside the train ala Shah Rukh Khan and sing ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’, but it also allows you to efficiently trim your body to one arm less. So understandably, this zone is good for your health. Helps you breathe clean air.

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If you successfully manage to clear that zone, you enter the Mush-Mush Zone. What happens here is basically the production of the same sound that the zone is named of. Every human being is playing tennis with both arms and the ball is the head of a fellow human. Mush-mushing is necessary because at both ends of the train, entering and exiting must happen in order for the train to maintain it’s evolutionary balance. If you happen to not be exiting for a long time, all that happens is you get mushed-mushed brutally and end up as a *puff*. Basically, you melt and you fade away. Physics, dude.

In case your journey is longer, you can enter the Queued Zone. In this particular zone, everyone is waiting in a queue. Our trains are but a reflection of our bureaucratic heritage. But this one is logical. You wait for your seat. Makes sense. And I can’t complain. Except for the one time when I got hit by FOUR UMBRELLAS IN A ROW WHILE WAITING FOR THE DAMN SEAT. Okay, cooling myself. It’s okay. This too shall pass.

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Finally, the most comfortable (oh, did I say ‘comfortable’?) of them all – the Seating Zone. You can comfortably sit and stare away into below-the-belt areas of various folk from the Queued Zone and observe the latest fashion in men’s jeans. That is an extreme. You can always shut your eyes, and attempt breathing. And if you have a window seat, there are always the pretty women at other stations to gaze at. Or you can play Spelling Bee with Shahid Kapoor.

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If I’m alive the next time, you’ll read a new blog post.

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Lessons from China

I recently undertook a trip to the Chinese capital of Beijing. And I have made a few observations about our ‘dear’ neighbour in connection with India and her people:

-> By nature, the Chinese appear very ignorant of the world. It doesn’t seem like they are well-informed. If you think they know India (or even care about it), you can forget that fact.

-> They are very focused on their work. Not for nothing is China progressing. The infrastructure in Beijing is worth admiring. There is no doubt about the fact that the people choose to believe in the system over faces, which is exactly the opposite our quintessential Indian habit of trusting a face over a system.

-> Everything is well-organized. The Chinese display a natural tendency to behave and obey orders pretty well. While this obviously restricts individual development (unlike in India and the United States), but it also allows chaos to move out of the way.

-> I know we can never trust China as a nation. History is enough proof for that. But there is a lot we can learn from the Chinese people as a whole.

-> On the negative side, there is poverty all around. And Beijing is also as polluted, as it is organized. The communist society in China doesn’t appear entirely classless. Moreover, educated Chinese people who have gone abroad have realized their self-worth, which has made them mildly anti-socialist. My tour guide was one such person.

Overall, it was a learning experience. And I must concede that development-wise, China is ahead of India. Even the most patriotic person in me will just have to acknowledge that fact.

Return to Blogging

Dear Reader,

A heads-up post. A return to blogging is on the cards. A new and improved Trailblazer shall start posting as soon as I can. The time-out happened because of certain personal matters, a sudden and inexplicable lack of motivation to blog and a few professional alterations that are still to be sorted out.

I am absolutely gutted that I could not cover two key events (Well, one way more important than the other rationally but I dont think the world will agree with me) that I would’ve relished covering – the Indian General Elections and the Indian Premier League.

Looking ahead to the future then, I can only promise a new and improved The Cape of Good Hope.

Regards,
Trailblazer

PS: The language is crude, yes. The writing is ordinary, yes. The depth is non-existant, yes. If nothing, forgive me. 😀

The 25 Things Tag

1) I have lived more than half of my life outside India.

2) Deciding to pursue engineering was not the wisest move in my life. I wish I had the conviction in me to pursue a career in sports, political science or even become a pet detective (Ace Ventura style).

3) I detest fame of all kinds, but secretly dream of hot women screaming my name.

4) My social skills are not terrible, just plainly weird. Sometimes, I dont know why I’ve behaved in a certain way, spoken certain things in public and made certain acquaintances.

5) I like football more than cricket. In fact, I am fanatical to the point that the craze has become an addiction. I cant live without football (playing, watching on TV, brainstorming, gossiping). Period.

6) By posting the same comment five consecutive times on one of my blog posts (an example here), I do not understand your point better than I did after reading it just the once.

7) I am a vegetarian. I have had my spell with smoking. I drink very, very rarely.

8) Sometimes, I like playing the uber-cool fool when I am surrounded by people(women) I wish to leave an impression upon. Sometimes.

9) I dont enjoy being in the company of cynics and sycophants. Other types will do, but these two categories of people make me feel like I need blood donors.

10) Thank God, I’ve reached Number 10 on this list.

11) I think Bollywood plays a hand in keeping India united. On a personal level, Bollywood is not for me (Reasons here). I am your occasionally-found-at-multiplexes kind of guy.

12) I was NOT a bully in school. I did NOT rag anyone in college. As far as I can remember.

13) I do not enjoy dancing, of the type in a discotheque with coloured lights and ‘rocking’ music. I enjoy Garbaa and Dandiya Raas, the folks dances of my home state.

14) During my school days, a history teacher who educated me on the Indian freedom struggle, the World Wars and Mahatma Gandhi was one of my role models. I scored 55 in Social Sciences in 10th. I dont know why (Dont smirk! One of the toppers in my school scored 49 in Social Sciences and 90s in all other subjects). I still believe this was a CBSE-sponsored conspiracy.

15) I hate obsessive love. Simple love is fine. But some lovey-doveys are overtly obsessed with their opposites. I feel life loses pragmatism with this kind of ‘love’.

16) The Fair-N-Handsome effect doesn’t fancy me one bit.

17) I think religion has been misunderstood by people to an extent I had never imagined. And it’s getting worse. And the only tonic is tolerance.

18) I think Priyanka Chopra is very beautiful. And hot. I think Mallika Sherawat is very hot. But not beautiful. In an ideal world, I’d want to marry Priyanka and have an extra-marital affair with Mallika. 😉

19) When in my teens, MyHotBoard.com was one of my favourite internet haunts. It doesn’t take a genius to interpret what the site was about, from the name of the site.

20) Sourav Ganguly is my all-time favourite cricketer. During the NatWest final in England in 2002, at 146/5 (when Sachin Tendulkar got out), I made an instant bet with my uncle that India will chase down 326. And we did.

21) I try not to lie. But there are certain situations in life where you just cant seem to ‘go ahead’ if you choose to not lie. I also try not to lie in those situations. But what eventually makes me lie is that greatest fear of ‘being stuck’ in compromising situations.

22) Yes, I realize that I’ve wickedly used this tag to promote some of my previous blog posts.

23) I am usually very calm. MS Dhoni, for me, is a soothing brain that one should attempt to emulate.

24) Two things in the world elevate me to instant bliss – 1) making people laugh 2) scoring a goal in a football match.

25) Thank God, this tag is over. I usually dont enjoy tags. Anybody in the whole wide world can take up this tag from here. Dont pile the pressure on me by expecting me to come up with a list. 🙂

Stay safe.

[Tag request: Indian Home Maker]

(I have a gut feeling that there may be others who would’ve requested this. If you(blogger/reader/Ram Sene hooligan/Congress stooge/BJP hardman/ISI agent) requested one before reading this post, kindly get in touch. A courtesy link is then a necessity.)

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Seven and a Half Rupees

Once upon a time, at one of Mumbai’s many railway stations, I was waiting to board a late train to Ahmedabad. My parents and my sister were with me. We were heading back to our hometown of Rajkot, via Ahmedabad, after a trip to Mumbai to meet a few relatives.

Our train was scheduled at 10:30 pm. And it was around 10:15 pm at the time. As usual, we were seated on the few benches there and I was looking around the platform.

I noticed a little boy, surely not older than five or six, a little farther away. Clad in a torn black t-shirt and brown shorts, the little kid was moving about barefooted, had a plastic bag in one hand and the fingers of his other hand seemed closed around something he was clutching to while requesting others on the station to take up his service of shoe polishing.

Unfortunately, nobody obliged. Slowly, he came over to where my father and I were seated. My mother and my sister had apparently gone for a walk around the station and were not present then.

As he approached us, I noticed that he was holding his earnings from a hard day’s job in the clenched fist. It didn’t seem to be much, as a little kid’s hands can hardly hold too many coins, forget clutching to them.

He was silent. After having been asked to move ahead rather rudely by many of the people he came across, I sensed a natural dejection in him to convince my father and me.

He lightly waved the bag. My father asked him “Kitne me karoge?

Sensing a potential customer, the little kid’s eyes gleamed and he raised two fingers of the hand with which he held the plastic bag and said “Do rupey, saab.“, the other hand as tightly bound as ever.

My father removed his chappals.

The kid then sat down, undoubtedly spurred on by landing a customer, and finally loosened the fist of his other hand. Some coins emerged. He sat down, placed the coins carefully beside him, and proceeded with the job on hand.

The dedication with which he took up the task was a treat to the eyes. Like a thorough professional, he opened his carry bag and out came a shoe polish and a brush. Very delicately, he opened the polish, dipped his brush into it and polished my father’s chappals. What was more wonderful was that he gave it all his time, like a perfectionist, making sure that not a speck of dust remained.

He was soon done. The chappals were as good as new.

My father took out a ten-rupee note to pay the child, who had by now put the polish and the brush into his bag and gathered his previous earnings.

The child observed the ten-rupee note, and looked at his earnings. I could see that the coins were few and he began counting them. It was a small collection of one-rupee and 50-paise coins. One by one he counted the coins and I counted along.

The coins summed up to seven-and-a-half rupees.

The child, with an anxious look on his face and an innocent nod, looked up towards us and said “Saab, chhutte nahi hain.“.

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