Fellow Citizens, wake up before it gets too late! A proposal has come up in the parliament for increasing an MP’s monthly salary to Rs.2.8 lakhs. I don’t think any MP will walk out or raise any opposition to this. No one minds getting extra pennies, certainly not our selfish and greedy politicians. Common people may please go to Hell!. That’s where they are meant to be. Always. Read on by clicking here.
While travelling in the ladies compartment of the Delhi Metro on 12 September 2015, I came across 2 women. They sat opposite to each other and had a clinging toddler in their laps with constantly changing moods. When I observed them individually, they did not look very extraordinary. But when I compared them in my mind, the differences between them seemed to be so striking that I just couldn’t resist taking their pictures on the sly. The 2 women seemed to have originated from 2 different planets. I am sharing these pics with you here.
While one woman had only one child to worry about, the other woman had two more little, naughty children sitting beside her, constantly fidgeting, trying to grab her attention. The 3 kids were most probably born in quick succession, one after the other. No sooner was one baby out, another one must have taken its place! Did she get any time to recover from the previous pregnancy? I doubt it and I guess the 4th one was already growing inside her. It was obvious that she was from a world where they thought the best way to keep a woman is bare-footed in winter and pregnant in summer! The middle child’s nose was running, but she took no notice of it. The youngest one kept her preoccupied. Somewhere during the journey, she had to breastfeed the youngest one. Phew! What an epitome of patience!
As the metro glided on the rails, I tried to imagine the kind of lives these women must be leading. The first woman and her child were obviously leading better lives. They were loved and respected as human beings and their lives had value to their loved ones. The other woman, the less fortunate one, was obviously leading a very tough life; her family was probably very poor; but worse than poverty, their lives did not have much value and she had no say in matters concerning her body; her husband perhaps looked at her as just another pot to plant his seeds in; there was also no awareness about hygiene and family planning.
When I looked around, I found that there were several other families in a similar state. I guess they were all part of a big group heading to some congregation at some place. One can well imagine what kind of people these unfortunate children would turn into; they will be uneducated and uncouth and will not be of any value for this huge nation of ours.
When we look at the bigger picture, I think population explosion is the mother of all of our problems. Our politicians must put into place a system of incentives and disincentives for controlling population. This is more important than all the ‘yojnas’ put together till date. Once this is done, there would be no need for reservations. When people are fewer, each person gets a bigger share of the benefits of the progress made by a country, as you can see from this example. Most important of all, men who have no respect for women and treat their bodies like door mats must be dealt with harshly.
In a country like India, which is already so heavily populated, no family ought to have more than one kid; if they need more, they should adopt.
DTC Bus Artist
This young street artist sang a bhajan today, 2 September 2015, in the DTC (Delhi Transport Corportation) bus (route no. 753) I was in on my way to office today. One of the lines were, “Us baap ko kabhi mat dukh do jisne tumhe pala he…”(never make that father suffer who has brought you up…”) I was impressed with the sincerity with which he sang… I wish I had made a video as well. This is one of the charms of travelling in DTC buses.
Jawaharlal Nehru warned in his book “Discovery of India” that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Times of India today has 2 very disturbing stories.
1.Link:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/…/articlesh…/48355225.cms A circular has been sent to all government departments ordering them to stand up as a mark of respect when an elected representative visits and also during this person’s exit.
2. Link:http://www.pressreader.com/…/20150…/281543699639680/TextView A law is being passed through Rajya Sabha which will enable government to throw a whistle blower into jail if he or she does not have any documentary evidence against the government official in question.
Citizens, please wake up and don’t let these greedy parliamentarians have their way. Elected representatives are government servants and they get their salaries from the money we pay as taxes. They are supposed to be humble; they are our servants and not the other way round. So many celebrities (film personalities and sports persons) nominated to the Rajya Sabha don’t even attend their sessions; their contribution is nil and they draw all the perks that come to them by default as nominees. Even Lok Sabha is in chaos. It is sad that our Ex-President APJ Kalam has not left behind a few clones to take care of this country of ours.
5 August 2015
We, The Writers…
I met blogger/writer/journalist Mayank Austen Soofi for the first time in my life in my office on 24 December 2014. It was for a story he was writing about people engaged in writing stories and poems related to the Delhi Metro. While we chatted, he made notes. Somewhere during the conversation, he interrupted and said, “Ms. Chatterjee, please slow down a bit. I need to write everything that you are saying.”
I could not believe my good luck that day. It seemed to be too good to be true. I hadn’t won a Nobel or a Booker or a Pulitzer. I hadn’t won a national beauty contest. I had not topped in an IAS exam. I was not a politician. I had not won any election. I had not done anything that is normally considered extraordinary. Apart from toiling hard for survival, all I had done was write a handful of poems and stories; but that was for my own happiness and joy and now right in front of me sat a well-known writer for an interview!
Mayank kept asking me questions about my poetry and my life as a writer in Delhi and I answered as tactfully as I could. During a brief pause, when I had to attend to an official phone call and refer to some report in my laptop, Mayank got up and clicked some photographs of me at work. I felt rather awkward. I still could not understand how my life could be of any interest to anyone.
I tried to keep myself grounded. I told myself that soon this interview would be over. Mayank would be gone and I would be back to my usual routine, what it was like before he came in.
But when the interview was over, Mayank said, “Ms. Chatterjee, I need to come once more some other time with another photographer for more photos. These ones I have clicked today are for my own blog.”
On our way out, I took him through our showroom. This time, Mayank stopped and clicked some more pics of me near the cars. I felt as though I was modelling. I was rather amused with myself, modelling at age 48!
Later on, while I was walking back to my cabin in the basement, a few colleagues sitting in the front office asked me, “Who was that guy clicking photographs?” I tried to understate things. “Well, he is a writer and photographer whose articles often appear in various newspapers. He is writing an article on the Delhi Metro. He saw my poem “The Delhi Metro” on the internet, so he came here to discuss it with me.”
On 29 December 2014, Mayank called me for the second time to fix up an appointment the following day for more pics. I agreed. But now I had to deal with a new problem. A writer/photographer was going to come and take photos; I thought it would look very odd if I didn’t give prior information to my management about this visit. More importantly, this also meant revealing to them the fact that I am also a writer. Based on past experience, I always feel apprehensive about discussing my habit of writing in office. Bosses in general feel uncomfortable while dealing with subordinates who double up as writers; I guess it is because writers think; they have minds of their own and they tend to be highly individualistic. Leading them ahead is like pulling a bullock cart laden with bricks.
I was lucky this time. Everything worked out perfectly without any hassles. During the photo-shoot, Mayank suggested that I look thoughtful and serene and wear a very serious expression on my face. When he gave me a demo, he looked like a theater artist and I burst out laughing. He said sternly, “Why are you laughing?” I quickly controlled myself and the photo-shooting ended finally when both of them were satisfied that they had got the best possible shots. But I made it a point to keep my own photo-record of that day. Here is that pic clicked by Manoj, the other photographer, of the 2 of us from my Nokia mobile phone.
The story got published finally in Mint Lounge on 10 January 2015 and later on in Mayank’s blog theDelhiwallah.com,
I was impressed with the way it was written and I was swept off my feet completely. It was more because of the blessings, happiness and excitement of my family. When I showed the Mint Lounge article to my parents the next day, my Mom kissed my photograph and hugged me. That was really the proudest moment of my life. As far as I am concerned, I got my first Booker prize on 11 January 2015.
Gradually, reality sank in and we all came back to the normal routine. But it did feel good for some time, about being able to open up to the whole world about something that I have always held very close to my heart. As the days went by, I kept reading more and more of Mayank’s works, in Mint Lounge, in his blog theDelhiwalla.com, and his book “Nobody Can Love You More.” From this book, I discovered that his real name is Mayank Singh. I found each one of his stories a beauty, a thing of joy. Each one of them seemed to have a piece of someone’s soul, a heart that throbbed and beat with the rhythm of life. Even the photos had a special touch of an artist.
Every writer is, I guess, entitled to a few idiosyncrasies. In Mayank’s case, I observed that he is absolutely crazy about the French writer Marcel Proust. He identifies himself so much with his character Charles Swann that even his email id has this as his display name and his email signature contains these lines: “A doomed character in Proust’s novel, Charles Swann, is of Jewish extraction. He parties with princes and enjoys access to aristocratic salons. He has a discerning taste in buildings, poems, recipes, sonatas and paintings. He is engaged in a scholarly study of Vermeer. He is fond of reading railway timetables. He loves an unsuitable woman.”
One day an idea came to me; of using my own pics to illustrate my poems in my blog https://jasbirchatterjee.wordpress.com/ in a style similar to Mayank’s. That’s how I caught the photography bug! As I watched my photos collection getting bigger and bigger, I found myself looking at the world around me with a completely different perspective. The world outside hadn’t changed much, but I had. It was like re-discovering the world all over again. Was I blind all this while, for the last 49 years of my life? Perhaps. I was now like Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot and i mean this in a happier sense…
This thought led me to write new poems accompanied with photos clicked from my cellphone camera: Spring in Delhi, 2015, The Third Eye, Flight of Fancy, and Flowery Cycle. Here is the link: http://www.poemhunter.com/jasbir-chatterjee/poems/?a=a&search=&l=2&y=1 It was really exciting to be able to match the pics with the poems.
I tried doing that with an older poem “The Withered Petals.” Link is http://www.poemhunter.com/jasbir-chatterjee/poems/?search=the+withered+petals&B1=SEARCH
On 19 February 2015, theDelhiwalla.com had a new story: City Life – Delhi Lovers, Lodhi Gardens. Link: http://www.thedelhiwalla.com/2015/02/19/city-life-delhi-lovers-lodhi-gardens/ It was about the love birds in Lodhi Gardens. After I completed reading it, something very strange happened to me. I could feel something inside me dissolve and come to life. A stampede of words, frozen and locked earlier, followed and flowed out of me like a waterfall. I turned them into a short story with the title “Adam & Eve.” This story is now available in an e-book of Fictionmagazines.com published in USA. URLs: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WX1GAVC
My 2 other stories ‘Lost & Found’ and ‘The Rebellious Cat’ were similarly inspired from some of the posts in theDelhiwalla.com.
I am working on my next story these days, but my hands shake every time I return to it. It’s hard to relive memories that you’ve worked so hard to forget. Like ‘Adam & Eve’ this too is waiting for a spark to bring it to life.
Keep the torch burning, Delhi Walla! A lot of little flames depend on it.
A Poet’s Day Out as a Corporate Professional…
Here in India, automobile industry is like a constantly changing kaleidoscope. It is evolving very fast and with improving living standards, customers’ expectations are also changing very rapidly. These days, irrespective of the segment type, it is hard to imagine an authorized car dealer’s front office in Delhi without an AC. In showrooms too, customers now have a better say because of strong competition. In all Honda cars showrooms, the concept of process time chart for all sales processes is constantly drummed into all sales staff, e.g., every complaint must be closed within 48 hours after generation, a new car must be delivered within 90 minutes of customer’s arrival, so on and so forth.
A few years ago, when there were just a handful of players, dealer staff and dealer principals generally had a laid-back attitude and had a habit of sweeping minor issues under the carpet till they became major problems; the scenario has changed completely now. The manufacturers themselves are under great pressure from competing brands. The customers too are more aware in general about their rights and often resort to social networking sites for redressal of their grievances. As they say in automobile parlance, “Delight factors of yesterday have become hygiene factors of today.”
So when your job profile out here in the automobile industry involves dealing with people, you need to be on your toes all the time and you need to keep innovating. You just can’t afford to rest on your laurels.
Last week, when I was nominated by my company for a training program for the front-line staff, I felt excited. It wasn’t really because of the training program itself. Training programs are, in fact, generally very boring and it takes an exceptionally good trainer to keep everyone interested. In any case, I am now a senior manager and I have already attended and conducted lots of training programs of this kind in the past myself. I was thrilled because after a long time, I was getting a chance to let in some fresh air into my life, a chance to see new places and meet new people, a welcome change from the daily routine.
On the D-day, 5 May 2015, I started from home much earlier than my usual routine, around 7:30 AM as I had to go far. I did not want to reach late and create a bad impression.. I walked to the Uttam Nagar East Metro Station and took the Blue line metro train to Mandi House. The office rush had still not begun yet and I got a seat easily. Good start, I thought. As soon as I sat down, I took out Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things.’ I had read this book way back in 1999 and now when I began reading it again, it felt like I was reading it for the first time.
After reaching Mandi House, I changed over to the Violet Line metro which goes to Badarpur. I finally reached Tughlakabad station. at around 9:15 AM, well in time. I took a rickshaw from there. As we trundled across the dusty road and reached the final crossing, I was struck by the majestic beauty of the different flowers and trees that I came across. They seemed to glow and sparkle under the strong, glaring sunlight of the summer sun. I made a mental note of remembering to take their pics on my way back. These are given below. You may not find them clear enough. If yes, I can only say in my defense that I caught the photography bug about 2 months ago and I am still learning.
Way to the training Venue
Flowers & Trees of ICC…
We had to wait for more than 1 hour since a few of the participants were coming from places as far as Jammu. While we waited, I decided to pass my time doodling on my note pad. I was pleasantly surprised to see what I came up with. I always thought I was very bad at drawing. Here is the pic.
At the beginning itself, our Trainer Dhirendra, DS for short, clarified quite candidly that this training was related to basics and we would most probably find it boring. But he would try his best to make it lively and we also need to participate actively as it would help us in ensuring that our dealership service levels improve in future.
Here are some more pics from the training room…
Trainer Dhirendra, D.S. for short, at the end of training
The program ended on time as per schedule.
On my way back, one more thing I found striking was the constantly rotating Mercedes Benz Logo on the T&T Motors showroom. The orange and red of the Gul Mohur flowers seemed to add a special touch of glamour to the showroom. Why hadn’t I noticed all this when I had come to this showroom last year for an interview? I asked myself this question as I gazed admiringly at the rotating star in front of me. The setting sun seemed to cast a beautiful halo around the showroom. Is it a sign of things to come? I really don’t know. Their competitors Audi & BMW are already forging ahead. See these pics below.
Merc. Logo on T&T Motors Showroom, Mathura Road..
Finally, when I was on my way home, I felt good. “Customer Connect” seemed to be worth it. Its most memorable message, I think, was at the end of one of the videos showed to us during the session: Words are like dams. They have huge power. If you use them properly, you would be amazed to see the results.
That’s what we poets do. Play with words…
Well, as the cliche’ goes, all is well that ends well.