January 25, 2009

Republic Day

Happy Republic Day! I read this article on Yahoo (http://in.news.yahoo.com/32/20090126/1074/tod-the-supreme-law-of-india.html), and liked it immensely. I post it here, so others can read it and so that I can re-read it. It may not remain on Yahoo for too long.

The supreme law of India

Mon, Jan 26 2009

We know that we celebrate Republic Day on January 26. But sometimes, we may forget why.

It is the birthday of the supreme law of our nation, the Constitution of India, which was passed by the Constituent Assembly on January 26, 1949, and came into effect on January 26, 1950. It contains our self-image, our worldview and our intentions towards one another and non-Indian people.

It's profoundly moving to read the Preamble and the Articles that detail our fundamental rights and duties and the directive principles of our nationhood. Though salted by now in scripture, I find that my heart leaps with a special thrill each time I happen to read something in the Constitution.

I truly rate it as all the scripture we ever need, for leading our lives with goodwill and a sound work ethic. Essentially, the Constitution seems to be about space and responsibility.

We are meant to give each other plenty of space and ensure a fair availability of skillsets and life-enabling facilities. Beyond that, there has to be room for individual merit.

The Constitution says we're to have physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual space, by which we are empowered to take a fair shot at making our lives happen. If I had to pick a mudra or coded handsign to represent the Constitution, I'd do a Namaste.

A Namaste, says, "I salute the Me in You, which both spring from the One." We're acknowledging our connectedness as human beings and also our space in the vaster scheme of things.

The old ones sensed a greater Energy everywhere and in themselves, but couldn't get a fix on it. "Neti, neti, neti" (Not this, Not this, Not this,") they said in a process of elimination.

So what was 'It'? The Constitution does a good job of trying to answer that question. It gathers up much that is good and worth keeping in the history of thought and tells us what our lives as modern Indians should be like.

January 15, 2009

Sankranti sambaralu

This is perhaps my favourite festival, mainly because interesting and colourful things happen everywhere during this festival. In the kitchens of traditional Telangana homes, women are busy making delicious til-based snacks and sweets like chakkilalu, boorelu, ariselu, til laddulu, etc. Early morning, women adorn the front of their homes with colourful muggulu. Boys and men (and some girls like my daughters and me!) fly colourful kites. So there is colour on the earth, colour in the skies, and colour inside the homes of those who have the yearly bommala koluvu during Sankranti...

And, think about it...all these activities are very affordable, and there is no scope for wasteful spending. Added to this, there is no religious ceremony, and so no scope for politicization and violence. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this is essentially a harvest festival...anything nature is a good thing, it seems to me.

This year, I took a walk down a few lanes to admire the riot of colour on the ground. And as usual, we flew kites in the afternoon. Ragini, for the first time, not only flew kites all by herself but even cut quite a few kites, thus becoming the Kite Princess of our terrace! Malini was more of a kite runner and collected a good booty... what's more, she even cut a kite with one she was 'rescuing'!

Here are some colours I gathered during my walk.







January 09, 2009

Life...

You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer and understand, for all that is life. - Jiddu Krishnamurti

An apology to Africans

We have had a professional connect with Africa for a long time. While at ICRISAT during the eighties, we met and were friends with sever...