The charming Mr Nandy…

I have always wanted to pen my thoughts in fine detail about Mr Pritish Nandy and especially more so after having met him a few weeks back in Mumbai. Somehow, words failed me and there is still a haze that stifles my clarity of thoughts. The clarity of thoughts being fazed because I was well and truly overwhelmed by his simplicity.However, I think today would be an opportune time to try to redress this state of mind after having read an extremely moving piece by him in the Times of India. I have tried to make a sincere effort to pen a few lines about this poet,journalist,painter, ex – politician,film producer, terrific Tweeter and animal activist. It is my tribute to Mr Pritish Nandy and I know it may never be enough to imbibe my admiration for this man.

When I first got on to Twitter a few months ago, I found it very boring. Twitter was and still remains a playground for all kinds of people where the unknown tweeter is more delightful than the known one.The celebrities use it to schmooze one another on a public platform when they could very well cootchie coo on their mobiles. It did sicken me, all this fawning. I did the customary follow of some known faces and realized that they were largely a  pack of self-conceited wolves indulging in third-rate sycophancy with one another.  As I was truly beginning to get bored with all the lovey dovey talk I noticed that there was one man who minced no words. He spoke his mind on issues big and small,he spoke of people big and small (who affect this society adversely or otherwise ) and above all, he spoke to people big and small. A question raised always got a response, an appreciation was met with graceful acknowledgement and criticism was met with an equally endearing charm. It is precisely for this very reason I stuck to Twitter. Undoubtedly, I have tweeted to Mr Nandy the most and glad that Twitter gave me a platform to do so.

Mr Nandy pens the most exhilarating poems that conjure up dramatic visuals and one surrenders to them in toto. One has not much of a choice but to capitulate to the sheer magic of his written words.His recent book of poems ” Again” is a treat to the senses. His poems are an enigma. They are to be experienced and they do give a peek into his passion for life, love and mystery. Mr Nandy’s magical poems won him the Padma Shri and the EM Forster Literary Award at an age when most were yet learning to stand on their two feet in the world of literature. I have admired him over the years and regard him to be the country’s finest journalist and Editor. He has of course dabbled in politics and written very candidly about his days as an MP.He is currently successful as a film producer and is known to make movies that are outside the box. Not surprisingly he is also an artist , he is but the Master of creative expression. But, above all this, my deep admiration stems from the fact that he is the loudest voice for animals. He is the founder for People for Animals, India’s biggest animal rights NGO and he well and truly treats them as his equals. Not many in this world accord any importance to animals let alone treat them at parity, but I have found one who finally does. He feeds countless stray dogs and runs an Ashram for them.Little wonder that he has made friends with all of Mumbai’s pigeons , parrots and crows who chirp on his window sill until they are fed at the crack of dawn by him.

When I met Mr Nandy a few weeks ago in his office in Mumbai I was enchanted with his grace, wit and above all his simplicity. Without the customary pride that important people seem to carry around with them like a favorite accessory, he is one who remains unprejudiced to affluence of any kind. His office is a reflection of his personality. From what my memory permits me to recall; there are paintings and caricatures by renowned  artists, admiration in prose delightfully framed, trophies of the highest order,photos with endearing souls and countless books that he has penned and received all together conjure up his delightful space.I would not probably want to go into every single detail of my splendiferous two-hour meeting with him as we spoke of everything under the sun. I was grateful I was not booted out as I had eaten up into his precious time.

Mr Nandy is the modern-day alchemist. He has the uncanny knack of metamorphosing the ordinary into the extraordinary. His written words are a marvel. If you follow his weekly column you realize that he pens his thoughts in a simple manner and yet they have a surreal impact on the reader. I enjoy certain phrases like ” crackpots , frazzled retards, boot lickers” and many more that he uses in gay abandon. Albeit such terms do sound hilarious or even juvenile ( as some may think )ten out of ten times these phrases would have hit the nail on the head. Little wonder that there are many people who are upset with Mr Nandy for finding his target effortlessly. I am yet to meet a more stylish writer. If there is one who I think is my role model, it is undoubtedly Mr Pritish Nandy.I read an extremely poignant post from him today in the Times of India. This post has moved me a lot. It is an honor to share it on this blog.

Thank you Sir.

A FATHER WHO FAILED….

Parenthood is fascinating. You live through excitement, joy, guilt, worry, hope, concern in quick succession and before you know it your children have grown up into young adults who have a life of their own. That’s when you try to quietly assess how good you were as a father and whether you quite measured up to the standards your parents set.

We were a middle class family. My father taught in Hislop College, Nagpur and then moved to Kolkata. My mother wanted to support his meagre earnings and started teaching Bengali in La Martiniere. That’s how I studied there at a subsidised fee. Much of what I am today is what they taught me to be but it has taken me a long time to acknowledge it. Meanwhile, my father went away, where all fathers go, 32 years ago, strapped to a hospital bed in an unfamiliar city. It was a simple surgery but the doctor messed it up. I never got to say goodbye to him because he was in coma when I reached.

My mother, a fiercely independent woman, loved Kolkata and the tiny rented flat where she lived with my father. Circumstances forced her to come to Mumbai to become a reluctant member of my family. Though she died with her head on my lap at 92, I couldn’t say goodbye to her either because her mind had wandered away many years ago to where my father was. The doctor called it Alzheimer’s.

My children have grown up and though I never gave them enough time, I tried to pass on to them all I had learnt. I also taught them the little things I had picked up on the way: How to write, think, create, savour the joys of discovering new things every day and add them to your life. I taught them that habit is tiresome. Life is this great adventure where you experience different things every day. Some beautiful. Some dangerous. Some sad and disappointing. You learn from each. Their grounding was done by their mothers and, in one case, by my own mother. I only added the magic to it. Or so I would like to believe, like all fathers.

Parenthood was never a chore for me and I often argued with my wife because she thought so. After all, she washed the nappies. She saw them off to school. She helped with homework. She went to school concerts and she attended the parent teacher meets. She had good reason to complain. I had all the fun with them and, according to her, spoilt them silly. It was an unfair deal but life dealt it that way and we all went along. But now, after so many years, I feel I did it all wrong. Everything I taught my children has, in effect, handicapped them. It has made them inadequate to face the world they are in. Unfortunately I knew no better. But that does not absolve me from my sense of guilt.

Every day, as a new scam breaks out in sports, politics, business, healthcare, in the army or in education, I watch their disappointment. The nation I taught them to love, respect and defend as they would their own mother has become the biggest breeding ground for rogues, rascals, thieves and thugs. The cricket they were so passionate about is now run by betting syndicates. The city we once adored is now owned by builders, criminals, extortionists, and politicians who are often all three. My own achievements and awards look like an embarrassment today because most of these are now on sale. People we once looked down on for their lack of scruples are the new icons in a world where all art, music, sport, in fact all achievement is measured in terms of who earns how much, a fact that’s gleefully plastered across all media. And here, I brought up my children never to talk money because it’s in bad taste!

What we once shunned is now admired. What we once disapproved are now the ideals of a new society being built on the premise that whatever makes money is good. We are back to Gordon Gekko. He is the God we have rediscovered. Wealth is the new measure of a person’s place in society. Success is measured by earnings. India is rated by its GDP growth and how the stock market’s faring. This leaves behind 90% of Indians to fend for themselves in a world they were never trained to cope with. They can’t fudge marks to get into college. They can’t cheat people to get ahead on their jobs. They can’t fix deals to become rich and famous. They can’t even cope with the new morality because foolish, idealistic parents like you and I didn’t teach them what they needed to know to get by in today’s world. We have let them loose, with no survival skills, in a bazaar where everything’s up for sale, from mangroves to body parts. How do we blame our kids when they rebel against us?

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189 Responses to “The charming Mr Nandy…”

  1. Hello Sharmila ! How lucky u are to have met him !!! Mr Nandy is a ** sweet heart sir ** I admire him a lot ! thanks for sharing ur wonderful experience ( meeting him ) Hugs !

  2. Sharmila,

    Frankly, all I know about Pritish Nandy is what I have read on your pages in the past 6 months.

    I have maintained a certain discipline on the net.

    I open only 3 blogs that are on public servers. One is yours, second is Ian Gardner that I found last week and third is my own. All other dot com blogs are a strict no-no. Primary reason is that search engines based out of the US have very powerful phishing and tracking software and a single google or yahoo search by name gives over 100,000 listings.

    But coming back to the post, I think perssonally you would make a better case study on ‘How to pick ideals’ than Pritish Nandy!

    His experience in activism and managing an NGO should stand by him in the long run.

    Perhaps it is time for a ‘Parents for Children, India’ campaign!

    Back soon…

  3. […] The charming Mr Nandy… « Sharmila says… […]

  4. Sharmila,

    ON “THE FATHER WHO FAILED”

    Mr. Nandy has probably struck a common chord among many in the aging generation today.

    But, as is my wont, I shall speak for myself.

    As a child, my father was my guru. One, for me, who held all the knowledge that is possible on earth.

    I was so stupid that when mom and dad went out for their walks after dinner, I would pray quietly in my room for them to return safely. A fear that I grew out of 30 years later only when they started waiting for me to come back!

    In my primary school he was a friend. He dropped me to school on his bicycle in the mornings, explained stories from books and mythologies, and in general was there whenever I needed him.

    During my high school he became my guide. He actually taught me math and physics in a way that no teacher in a school or university can ever do. And we began with Vedic mathematics! All 3 dimensional stuff, spherical angles, reversing magnetic poles and holes through the center of the earth!

    When I went to the university he became my counsellor. He removed my mental blocks, gave me unrestricted freedom to learn, gave me an identity and made me feel proud.

    When he retired and I began to work for a living, he became silent. I tried to surprise him, involve him, celebrate events but he remained withdrawn. There was nothing I felt or did that was new for him till one day I asked him if he needed anything. He said, “No”, which I was expecting.

    “Is that it?” I asked him, “50 years of all this and now you want nothing? Then why?”

    He looked up, smiled at my mischievous tone, and said, “Lets go for a walk. I want to have some onion bhajji” (Onion dumplings)

    We went out.

    I cannot quote all that he said that evening. All I can say is, if there is anyone up there looking after souls, I pray that my father be allowed to rest. He did his part. He did it well. And he was very tired.

    However, his memory is incomplete without my mother.

    He was a guru, friend, guide, counsellor et al – various roles at the right time, at the right place, for the right person. But, thanks to my mom, he never stopped being my father! He was always a father. And she never tired of reminding him and all the children of who was who.

    Here is a real life example:

    I had gone to visit the IIS, Bangalore, in connection with my project work. I was working on the design of a structural tower using a software that was being run in their labs.

    I came home and was explaining the algorithms to dad.

    “It’s all fine” he said, “but I don’t understand the matrix methods. Its too much for me.”

    “That’s okay” I said.

    “That’s not okay” said mom, rather sternly, “if he had said, ‘thats okay’ when you were learning, you would be on the streets pushing carts. If he wants to know, tell him!”

    “Okay” I said and then we spent 3 hours discussing matrix analysis and, to add insult to injury, I discovered that there were serious errors in my project report. Dad had the last laugh!

    The Moral: If a father ever feels that he has failed, it is not his, but the failure of the children who let him feel so.

    • Wonderful Reader. This is a moving post from you. Thank you for sharing these special memories with us.

    • Reader,
      Moral of the story is True to Your story. However one can’t generalise and make it universal.
      There could be many unfit for parenting indulged totally into vices. Many could be found who overlooked their role as a parent or many who themselves are ignorant and unaware of true meaning of parenting. Many could be found finding no time for parenting indulged in the Rat Race to make money and so on…..
      Now Any of those awake one find day & realise their mistake wouldn’t make a child guilty of his/her shortcomings.
      To have parents is a bliss in itself…if they are the providers and guides in true sense. Sometimes have nots are better than lousy ones.
      About Mr. Nandi’s post…He sounds cross more about changing social norms and values than himself. And why not…? Any sane person who believe in ethics and values would find it hard to cop up with the changing… darker shades of reality.

      • MonaLisa,

        You have made some very pertinent points.

        Re. Those unfit for parenting, indulging in vices etc.

        The child has no right to complain about it. I cannot say my father was not Harivanshrai Bachchan or I cannot wish he was. That would be unfair and unjust to both my father and the Bachchan. The former would feel sorry and the latter would regret a son like me!

        In other words, a parent or a kid regretting each other’s presence in their lives can only regressive development.

        That’s what I feel.

        I may be wrong. I don’t mind being wrong. That’s another thing I learnt from my dad!

        Secondly, Re. Mr. Nandy’s article. He could not have predicted the rapid changes that have occurred in India, and could never have prepared his children for them even if he wanted to.

        For example, the telecom boom changed the entire concept of the value of information.

        From learning 2 years of short-hand and typing on remington Type writers to self-study in MS word, Lotus and Powerpoint the transition occurred in no time. Parents could not have expected it to happen.

        My view is, parents, especially fathers should not be made to feel guilty for the performance of the kids. Guilt can bring a person to a temple, church or mosque, it won’t make him pray.

      • MonaLisa – Quite right here. I agree with you here, actual parenting and parental aspirations are two different things.

    • Reader & MonaLisa – I missed the last important line. The Moral. I agree with Mona Lisa’s thoughts here. Nandy appears to be cross with this society for which the next generation have been unprepared for by parents who live and think differently. (That is those who think righteously ) It is the rapid depletion of the moral values that is irking the writer.

      • Not so much his own parenting abilities.

      • Sharmila, MonaLisa,

        No two ways about that. Moral values are not only vanishing but the ones that are removed from the society are not replaced by anything else!

        It’s a sort of empty space where the young ones meet for parties and night-outs!

        Sharmila – you have made an important distinction. Can you explain that – parenting and parental aspirations. I think that seems to be the crux of the issue.

      • Parenting is reality, what we pass on to our children and it stick’s with them for life. Parental aspirations are what we wished we had passed on or what we wish to pass on but it never got any reception from the children or we were unable to pass on due to circumstances. Take for example a father who is living in a slum with his children. He may wish that his children never lie or steal, but circumstances force the child to be the exact opposite to these aspirations. One cannot blame the father for this. However, if the father chose not to make an effort himself in trying to teach the right set of values, then he has failed.

      • Sharmila, MonaLisa,

        In fact that discussion leads to a more serious issue.

        A woman may choose her man with a shopping list of qualities he should have.

        A daughter cannot make a shopping list for what her father should be like. That would be totally unfair.

  5. Growing up.

    The Myth

    The Reality

  6. And just one thing that I missed out.

    If we look at it on a larger canvas, perhaps a fatherless kid wouldn’t mind swapping his fate for a father who fails.

    Who knows…

  7. Sharmila,

    This is in reply to the case study of ‘How to pick an ideal’…

    On March 19th this year, I wrote on my blog:

    On Epistemology and the need for ideals

    Epistemology is the method of acquiring knowledge to understand reality. It provides a case for setting performance standards.

    A concept exists provided it is founded on true percepts. Reality is the source of knowledge. An abstraction is the process of differentiating existents.

    Epistemic tools are developed the same way one acquires knowledge – through systematic progression. They are not divine entities occupying space in the body.

    The act of recognizing, isolating, assessing, defining and setting norms is a creative process. The risk and reliability of the process affects the integrity of the outcome.

    The question, “How do you know?” can be answered only by a flawless method of learning.

    To find out ’What is…’ one must know ‘How to…’, hence the need for principles and ideals…

    A moral code achieves values only to the standards set by the cognitive efficacy in a person’s epistemology.

    ===

    The aim of mentioning that was a person acquires ‘What’ only when he/she gets a good grounding on ‘How to’.

    The ‘How to’ is not possible without the appropriate tools and an idea of the Ideal.

    This Ideal is a benchmark and at the same time a lighthouse for navigation in rough weather.

    For some reasons, best known to you, you have chosen Pritish Nandy.

    • ????

      Did I say something wrong?

      That’s all I meant. Hope you got me right. Did not mean anything else.

      I seem to be getting everything wrong today. Hurting people for no reason.

      Sorry, if I said something…

    • IDEALS – Nothing is ideal, everybody’s perception of an “ideal” person or theory is different. I gather that is why you state ” best known to me”. I can summarize quickly why I chose Mr Nandy, but if someone were to ask me why you did not choose a certain individual, I may find that difficult.

      • Sharmila,

        There are two distinct personality factors in this.

        One is a set of principles. A sort-of checklist of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’

        Second are Ideals.

        For example, if I had chosen to become an actor, the ideals would be Kamal Hasan, Amitabh Bachchan, Balraj Sahni, Uttam Kumar, Naseeruddin Shah etc. In my growing years between ’70 to ’86, in bollywood there was no other actor who came even remotely close to AB’s excellence.

        But, as you say, a person may not be an ideal. It is the qualities, the theory that become ideals and a source of hope to work for.

      • Sharmila,

        Actually, our best bet on this is Lakshmi’s opinion. I am told she is a master on this aspect of the subject.

        Wonder where she is…

        Lakshmi? hello? Kahaan ho? Lagata hai line drop ho gayi…

      • Lets start our search for Lakshmi now.

  8. Reader,
    No parent can select a child for them nor a child can select parents by birth. Adoption is a separate issue altogether.
    But as parents expect their child to be, to behave certain ways….a child can expect that much from his/her parents too. Birthing someone does not allocate a title of superiority over them.
    In my opinion either Harivansh Rai Bachchan or AB are not the landmarks here in this issue. Looking for Heroes or ideals outside in so called celebrities rotting ppl’s minds and the society. PPl forgot to think beyond that. I wish and pray if one can think of being oneself, an individual human to stand out their own individual way.

    • MonaLisa,

      Well, we got to agree to disagree on this.

      In my view, a child has no right to expect any behavior from parents. Like it or lump it. Or get the hell out of the house.

      A child gets ideas from the outside world, that which the parents’ behavior is already designed to withstand. They know better.

      Speaking of superiority, there is no relationship of equality between a child and a parent. The parent is superior at all times.

      If a child grows up and still lives on the parent’s goodwill, it is retarded, no matter how rich or poor in wealth.

      I agree with you about celebrity ideals. They are a waste of time.

      Mine are either dead or were not celebrities in their time. For example, Sahir was turned down as a rebel and revolutionary. There was a police arrest warrant against him in Pakistan, from where he escaped to Delhi.

      This celebrity thingy is a recent phenomenon.

      Earlier people of ideals were good, great or outstanding, not celebs.

  9. Sharmila,

    My daughter says her dad is fun, I am … not. I am the ‘cleanliness’ monster – they dont mind grime and dirt. I am the ‘calorie monster’ (‘Eat your salad’) – he treats her to icecreams. I am the ‘marks monster’ (‘How come you forgot, I taught you that, remember?’) – he says marks are not so important. I teach her to value education, honesty and hard work above all. To love one’s family. Money is secondary and so are achievements. I pass on what my parents taught me. We dont want our children to adjust to the mess we see today. We want them to change the world for the better.

    There is however no yardstick for parenting, as each one of us is different and in a unique situation in life, handling it the way we know best and have learnt to. No comparison. No judgements there. So, I dont know if fathers have failed, but that Mr. Nandy so accurately assesses the present situation in India, introspects about the insecurity and guilt over our parenting skills, laments over if we have done right by our children and writes so admirably about it – makes him a great human being in my eyes – a WINNER all the way.

    I can feel how overwhelmed you are by your meeting with him. I am happy for you and wish that your future holds many more such opportunities.

    Love,

    Aish.

    • Aish – well put, there is no yardstick whatsoever, Parenting varies from circumstances to circumstances. I am happy you think Nandy is a winner. He most certainly is and hard to come by such people in today’s age and time.

    • Aish – You have given a fine example of parental balancing. Off topic – this does not mean that single parents cannot make good parents, they do too.

  10. Aishwarya,

    If I were your son, I wouldn’t call you a cleanliness monster – no way – you are not a cleanliness monster… too many adjectives…

    🙂 Kidding.. where have you been… missing for two days!

  11. Reader,
    It’s not a problem..! We can agree to disagree on this or any other topic with pleasure.
    However I would not prefer a dictatorship in name of parenting. No relation would work on ” It’s my way or highway”
    kind of attitude. or “living under my roof, play by my rules” kind of thing.
    No wonder such children wouldn’t care to take care of their parents in old age….! Can’t blame them then…

    • MonaLisa,

      A parent has nothing to prove to the child. There is no such thing as human rights of suckers.

      A child must gain it’s right to be respected. That’s not free. That’s also very easy with parents because parents forgive 99% of all the mistakes.

      Parents, at least ‘fathers’ that I know, do not invest in children for their old age. It’s too risky and unreliable.

      But, the point is, should the father feel sorry? My take is: No. If the son or daughter is wayward, the father is better off without them. He is not accountable for teaching them or not teaching them anything.

      Are we drifting too far away in disagreeing? Hmmm.. let me move a bit closer…

      May be mother’s don’t feel like fathers…

      • Reader,
        I would not agree on that that because they are parents or fathers they are worthy of respect and a child is not until he/she earns it. In other words until he/she pleases them. As humans both parties need to respect each other. Children are also not the commodity like some men consider their wives.
        To suppress a child,handle it according your whims,kill its curiosity,misbehave with it can create lots of problems in a child’s life, to its psych.
        How many actually plan for a child and be prepared for parenting…!? very few…probably.
        On a lighter note….what would you call those/the couple who forgot/avoid to use contraceptives…!?The answer is….parents..!
        🙂

      • MonaLisa,

        I am responding line by line:

        Love and respect are two different feelings.

        A parent’s love is what a child gets by default.

        A child must earn respect, if it expects respect

        A parent doesn’t need love and respect from the child.

        A wife and children are not commodities. I don’t know any man who looks at a wife and kids as commodities. I think you are confusing things. Commodities are more useful. And guaranteed.

        Suppressing a child is not a generic phrase. It is a conditional surmise.

        Suppressing means depriving the child of the freedom to use it’s mental faculties. No mother or father does that.

        You probably meant abusing, which is a criminal offense and rightly so.

        What would I call a couple who forgot to use contraceptives?

        … … … Republicans

    • MonaLisa,

      On a parallel note, the father’s attitude is no different from a woman who fights for abortion rights.

      Only the timings are different. One is before it is born and the other is after it scares the daylights out of the parents.

      • Reader,
        Do you mean to say No child is the best policy..!?
        Well…! India got a new slogan….” No child in this Life”…… (may be one in next life… ) 🙂

      • MonaLisa,

        I meant, a father who exercises the option of not teaching values to his child, is like the mother who prefers abortion to pregnancy and child birth.

        A parent’s right supercedes a child’s presumed divine rights because parents are living on earth… And God is like ‘Who Knows…’

  12. Sharmila,

    About: Parenting Reality and Parenting Aspirations

    I like the discreet definitions you have given. I am myself inclined to merge them at times and find the edges blurred.

    As a kid, I was so self-conscious that I was always trying my best to outclass my own expectations – not realizing that those expectations were cleverly embedded by the parents.

    My love (or gratitude as rationalists prefer to call it) was more out of the way they managed me. And, I was so self-centered that I did not realize they were actually working on their on aspirations!

  13. Sharmila, MonaLisa,

    Following is a real life example. I don’t want to sound all theory and no stuff.

    There is a Lt Col AK (Retd) living in a very comfortable house that he built in Sainik Puri, Secunderabad, AP.

    He is now around 69 years old, going on 70 this month end.

    He has two sons. Both married. The elder one is a Flight Lt in the Navy, flying Sea Harriers in Andaman. The younger one is doing his PhD in AP.

    Both sons live away from him.

    He has now become slightly hazy and sometimes screams at his wife if things are not in order. Housekeepers, servants do not last for more than a month.

    In general he is a nuisance to anyone around him.

    AK was my immediate boss for 5 years from 2003 to 2008. He taught me how to facilitate workshops for hi-flying professionals in the industry. He was a master at leadership training and team management.

    I called him up last week. We spoke for 2 hours over an international line!

    He spoke at random. He spoke in English mostly, but switched to Telugu and Malayalam all of a sudden. I would intervene and remind him that he was speaking to me. He would laugh and resume in English.

    It is not important what we spoke about. But there was a sense of loneliness in his tone. A loneliness that did not sound like regret or pain or disappointment. But one of deep, unexpressed anger.

    He was not unhappy with anyone – not his kids nor his wife.

    On the contrary, he wants them to leave him alone!

    ‘Don’t come to see me!’ That is his refrain to his sons.

    Ofcourse, I didn’t even offer to see him. Instead, I invited him to come over and see me – which he politely declined.

    That is the ground reality of today’s fathers – and this can only drift further away from traditional customs in the years to come.

    • It is not a ground reality for all Father’s to drift in loneliness. Some do, some do not. But, I think AK misses his active life as a Commander. He is an ex army man,he wants to lead the troops. His life in the army has probably shaped him this way. I have come across many retired Army men who behave the same way. AK nonetheless sounds like a fantastic man. Happy you were able to chat up with him.

    • Reader,
      What point exactly are you trying to convey by this? How relevant is it to the father-son relations?
      In my opinion he seems the victim of his retirement and aging/health problems. The commander of one time feeling bit helpless could be the reason of his deep seated anger..who knows…!?
      Who knows….. he never wanted his children to settle somewhere else away from him….or may be some events of past is bothering him….and he is angry at himself and not anyone else…
      It could be a good challenging case for a shrink.
      For most of the Men retirement is scary as it takes them away from the main stream and with time they(men) lose their importance. That sudden change brings emptiness in life…..leads to loneliness if person couldn’t adjust himself…..and that proves to be fatal for many men….one can feel that fear in AB’s thinking too…

    • MonaLisa, Sharmila,

      I did the training course from the Writers Bureau, UK, in the summer of ’96. I was taught a few basics in different types of writing. One of them was about narratives and reporting real time events.

      In AK’s example, I have reported the exact facts and influences around him without casting shadows of my own preferences.

      The objective of that style is to allow each reader to attend to the part that seems most relevant to him/her.

      Sharmila’s view is that it is not uncommon in the armed forces, which is spot on.

      MonaLisa’s view seems that AK is what his conditions allow him to be, which I feel is not wrong at all. Applies to many and most.

      While writing, I stopped short of stating my own views about AK’s relationships, mainly to avoid coloring the portrait with my own fancy.

      My view is this:

      Siblings and parents in a family expect a lot more from each other than they expect from friends and colleagues in the outside world.

      By the time a father retires from active service, he arrives at the stage where he stops differentiating between his family and outsiders. At times, he is able to get the same or better returns from strangers than the wife and children.

      At 70, he has little or no interest in celebrating birthdays, death-days, unions etc. Most of them become routine rituals.

      As his memory fades on and off, he is also aware that the burden of remembering is left to the living and not the dead. He has nothing to lose.

      To summarise, AK is a lot happier than his wife and kids are. He is not a victim. They are.

      On a lighter note,

      This is the first example that MonaLisa has not brushed aside as an exception!

      🙂

      • Wow….! That’s strange…!
        Do I do that…!? Brush you off..!?
        Well…! In that case consider, I left my broom aside for a change..! 🙂

  14. anand srivastava Says:

    No body teaches his son to steal, tell lie, or do wrong things.
    still our society is rotting, bad elements are encouraged good elements
    are discouraged.
    This is for a brief period because of our rich cultural heritage, our ancient literature and our deep rooted belief cannot be eroded by those unscruplous people. The Phase of time changes from Good-Bad-Good again so I belive that Soon this bad phase will be over
    And then Mr. Nandi would say FATHER DID NOT FAILED

  15. Yes, there is inherent honesty in his writings and that’s why it appeals to most people – and that’s very few, let me hasten to say!

    When I read that article, I tweeted that – with the comment, “me too!” – because, I would never be able to express my thoughts so lucidly.

    The “anger” is not because of “failure”, it is because people tend to “date” certain convictions of honesty, truthfulness etc., as “traditional” and therefore “not modern” so, unfashionable. Yes, disappointment is in having to acknowledge that such, we “failed” despite being right in our convictions!

  16. Aishwarya,

    3 hours and I am unable to think of a simple answer to your question ‘What is reality?’

    At the risk of sounding like the Chairman of Sharmila’s Macau Convention I have to say, “I don’t know”

    At the moment reality seems to be on fire all around me. Everyone and everything is burning. There seems to be no point being happy! Hmm… guess I need a mirror break….

    • Reader,

      This has been a sensitive topic – hit many a raw nerve. I miss the Macau post!

      Everyone makes mistakes. Adults more often than children do. Children are forgiven. But parents are usually not. The only excuse I can give is that as a mother, I am only as old as my daughter is a child. I am learning to be a mom as she is being a child. Being a parent doesnt make me superhuman.

      I guess I need some me-time too. 😦

      • My mirror does nothing of the sort. It cracks from side to side!

        🙂 Kidding. Lovely song. Very few can distinguish between feelings and emotions.

      • Aishwarya,

        Clarification: That thing about mirror cracking is taken as a bad omen.

        What I meant was my mirror has a sense of humor. It cracks just looking at my state!

        🙂

      • Time for some serious talk, but fun should follow soon Aish Please do not despair!

  17. Aishwarya,

    I don’t seem to be getting my message across, even after so many comments.

    Father’s being stuck in ancient old fashioned ideas of taking care and being taken care of seems a tad unjust to me.

    The chap gets left behind for no fault of his. In the Indian scenario he spends all his time earning money for the kids and dreaming up imaginary fortunes for them. Eventually gets stuck in a time warp. best thing for him is to let go, which is what many are doing these days.

    Here is a stark, dramatized, example:

    • Reader,

      I am happy and proud to be part of the Indian scenario and our ancient old-fashioned ideas. I wouldnt have it any other way. I would rather treasure this experience of loving, caring, and saving a nest egg for our children, rather than not try at all for the fear of being left alone at the end.

      I dont know how dads think. I dont even know how moms think. This is just me thinking! And I dont know why you want to give this message across because you seem like a dutiful son to me.

      I loved the “If I were your son…” line, which is why I never responded to the monster quip.:)

      • Aishwarya,

        Not speaking about myself in that video. That was the general public belief that was made into a box office hit called, “Yahi hai Zindagi”

        My case is altogether different. I was blessed with a dutiful father, mother and grand-parents too.

        By today’s order of co-operative societies, I seem to have the wrong attitude – showing off like a vulgar capitalist in public!

        Safer to keep such things private, you suggest? Perhaps you are right.

        Changing moral values? Who knows…

        🙂

      • Aishwarya,

        Regarding the “If I were your son…” you never responded. So, I assume I was right… too many adjectives in ‘cleanliness’ monster!

        🙂

      • Reader,

        I think you are a brat at times. Mischievous. Thats all.:)

      • Love your thoughts Aish!!

  18. Aishwarya,

    This is getting too depressing.

    Nothiing like a dose of Bachchan for divine justice.

    Here goes:

  19. Aishwarya,

    And those fathers who feel responsible for the growing population of the nation:

  20. Reader,

    Yeh sab toh bhagwan ki den hai… (tongue-in-cheek)

    🙂

  21. State of the Union Address

    Three generations under one roof… Prithviraj, Raj and Randhir Kapoor played by Mehmood.

  22. Anand Khare Says:

    Sharmila,

    1. About your views on charming Mr. Nandy- Beauty is in the eyes of beholder.I am also one of his fans for last 25 years ,when he was editor of esteemed ‘Illustrated weekly of India’. Also following him on Twitter.

    2. Regarding Mr. Nandy’s article ‘A FATHER WHO FAILED….’-

    Kudos to Mr. Nandy for taking moral responsibility of his so called unsuccessful children.As normally,”Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan”.;)

    Although, it was uncalled for, as Mr. Nandy is not the only father, who might have failed this way, in this world.Also,there may be more failed sons than the fathers.

    What I don’t understand is how the society or he himself is responsible for his children rebellion/failures?He himself has been a super achiever with the same ‘samskars’ in same or worse environment.

    Children success depend on their nature,deeds and destiny. Success can not be taught or presented to anybody,in whatever environment he lives.The success is to be achieved. The one who achieves it , truly deserves it. No one should take credit or responsibility for anyone’s success or failure.

    Perhaps he is comparing his kids’ achievements with his own.

    Falling moral values are a world wide feature and should not be reasoned for individual’s struggle in life. If the question is how the success should be measured there are sufficient people in India, perhaps more than the developed world, who can distinguish between powers and values of ‘Sarsvati’ and ‘Lakshmi’. So he needs not despair.

    He has chosen to save the animals or work for their welfare leaving aside all other priorities society of India may have.What he, as a senior media men,also has chosen to do endless criticism of the systems in India and projecting deficiencies and failures.Perhaps he is responsible for giving negativity to his kids as much as he is giving to the society.

    He held the position of MP where he could have brought some positive changes in India. but,yes, he FAILED there.

    Anand

    Admiring all comments of Reader, Aishwarya, Monalisa and others- Is blog per tto gyan kee gange bahti hai.Enjoying fully partners.

    • Anand – Thank you for your comment. Great to know you are his fan too. I do not think he think’s his children have failed, I believe he is trying to say they were not prepared enough to face the real world. All his three children are fairly successful in their own right. He has chosen to speak for animals, because this society has shunned animals. I am glad he is and I hope he always does do. I can guarantee you that I would do the same thing, saving animals that is.Yes, he himself agrees he was not satisfied being in politics. Many successful people and more so righteous people have not been able to cope with Indian politics because of the murk that exists there, including Mr Bachchan. This I believe is a failure of the democracy completely.

  23. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    Sharmila….late in responding as one of my employees was on vacation and had to do a double duty at work. I did read Mr. Nandy’s blog and empathized with his pain and disappointment at present day morals. Money rules, the one with money is respected more, nobody questions immorality, the standards have changed. Like Reader, I know of Mr. Nandy through your writings, planning to buy one of his books as soon as I get rid of some of my addictions to blog and twitter…..lol. From his blog it appears he was a fine father and we need more of such to keep the world afloat. When we sink even Varaha will give up on us as we deserve to disappear into oblivion.

    • Lakshmi – Hope work is ok by now? Money rules bug time and I feel more so in India now. You must try to pick up his books of poetry, sheer magic. Yep, Varaha will not be able to lift us up any more.

  24. Aishwarya, the cleanliness monster,

  25. Aishwarya,

    Okay. Drop Nirupa Aunty. How about a bawaji?

  26. Aishwarya, Sharmila,

    You are right. All this father’s discussion is making me restless.

    Things would’ve been alright if Aishwarya had accepted the Nirupa Roy song. I lost my way after that! 😦

    I need a break. If you don’t mind, I’ll quickly give a music lesson to my dear Bush and be back with you again.

    Here goes:

    • Reader,

      That was hilarious! “Bhole, neeche se, neeche se!”:)

      • Aishwarya,

        Mind blowing! Hats off to Mehmood and all the actors.

        Mehmood’s screenplay and driection with the actors’ sheer comic timing.

        Kishore Kumar is rock steady in his expressions!

  27. Last entry for the day. Time for both Son and Father to sleep.

    Good Night…

  28. Aishwarya, Sharmila,

    Gooooooooooddddddddddd Mmmmmmaaaaaaawwwwwwnnnnnniiiiiiinnnnnnnnngg!

    Cool. Come to Daddy!

    It’s a Friday and I am all set for a musical journey…

    Don’t make it depressing… there is enough sorrow in this world to rant about.. if we have the choice, let us distribute some smiles…

    That does not mean we live like Gandhi’s monkeys.

    We must see the evil, hear the evil but we shall not submit to the evil!

    Gandhi was a saint… I am human!

    🙂

  29. Dad’s know how.. you bet…

  30. Like Father Like Son…

  31. For Aishwarya Wonly,

  32. For Sharmila,

  33. For MonaLisa,

    (Note: Kannada Song “Banna Banna” refrain was taken from this theme)

    And A bonus dedication

    • 🙂 🙂 Reader,
      The Good,The Bad and The Ugly and
      For a few dollars more………dedicated to me…!?
      🙂 what an excellent choice…! Clint Eastwood, my fav, all time cow boy…..
      Are you suggesting anything by this though..!?

      • MonaLisa,

        There was only one not-so-very subtle suggestion in the video of ‘For a Few Dollars…’ if you notice carefully, whoever made the clip has got Clint’s head and hat to jump with the rhythm..

        🙂

        PS: Glad you liked it. Just meant to show what I feel thematically!

      • Hmmm…what exactly do you feel thematically…..!???? Reader….!

      • That you are a cowboy… 🙂

  34. For Renate,

    Someone who can live through a war and yet keep her spirit intact…

    • I have seen Gone with the wind close to a 100 times i think..no kidding.

    • Sharmila,

      Ironically, ‘Gone with the Wind’ is one movie that never goes!

      I read the book, then saw the 3 hour version in Eros at Mumbai and then full version with two intervals at Sterling or Excelsior. Purchased the VHS video set (3 videos) saw it a zillion times till the tape wore off. And the got the CD set and now I have the DVD versions!

      A timeless classic that can never go with wind!

      In our family we were used to have plenty of arguments about the things that Margaret Mitchell deliberately dropped in context.

      One of the frequent controversial discussions was:

      1. Is Rhett Butler responsible for Melanies death?

      There is a series of events cleverly plotted into the narrative. Melanie delivers her baby during the war attended only by Scarlett. She has these fainting attacks and the doctors advises Ashley to make sure that she does not undergo another pregnancy. Rhett doesn’t know. He is in the Atlanta trading goods.

      When Bonny dies, after falling off the pony, Rhett goes into a manic depression and refuses to see Scarlett.

      Melanie enters his room. The camera veers back to Scarlett and fades out.

      Then, Melanie is shown coming out of the room completely exhausted and broken up. Scarlett enquires of Rhett and Melanie asks her to go and see him. Rhett is suddenly kind to Scarlett and sort-of evasive. Scarlett, in her own character, hardly notices his behavior. She is just glad he is recovering.

      Later, at the end of the movie, Melanie dies in the hospital due to a pregnancy issue. Ashley breaks down. Scarlett tries to console him.

      Rhett walks out of the doctor’s room and Ashley turns to him and says, “You knew!”. Rhett looks down and walks away.

      Scarlett never has any clue. Rhett packs up and decides to leave the house forever. Scarlett still doesn’t realize that Rhett cannot stay back and face Ashley again. There is an over-riding sense of guilt. He doesn’t give any reason to Scarlett. Just says he is going away.

      Scarlett, the archtypical Arien, let’s go. She watches him walk away into the mist. And ends with:

      “I will think about it tomorrow.. after all tomorrow is another day!”

  35. Father’s of marriagable daughters are breed unto themselves…

  36. Aishwarya, Sharmila, MonaLisa, Renate,

    The dedications have obviously got a bit mixed up.

    Hope you will share them without shooting me down!

    Let me see if I can pull one on myself… hmm.. here it is.. that’s close…

    • Reader,

      That’s Bryce Canyon National Park and Canyonlands in Utah!

      My favorite place in the world so far.

      Ask me again after I have seen something of India.

  37. Renate,

    Who knows if there is a tomorrow!

    If you are visiting India, try visiting this place. That’s as close to my retreat as can be.

    Some interesting names in the titles; Dhund means mist or fog the refrain is: Everyone comes from behind a veil of a mist and walks away into another…

    (Does that sound like an internet social network?! Hmm…)

  38. Thanks, Reader, it is lovely.

    A dreamy place of trees, mist and water – I shall visit when I can.

    A strong melody and Sahir lyrics, too! It has your stamp all over it – so much for no social networks for you… 🙂

  39. Dear all,

    Bush should be back shortly. Pls bear with me, in Phuket now.

    Cheers

  40. Sharmila,

    Are you on a cruise?

    Beware of Thai exotic delicacies, like fried snakes and lizards in Olive oil. Not good for breakfast and dinner.

    There are some good Indian Restaurants, if you make it to Bangkok.

  41. Phuket

    Weather Report: Expected winds along the coast – North Easterly or South Westerly depending which way you are facing.

    Temperature: 35-40 deg C,

    Solar Radiation: Between ‘Barbecued’ and ‘Roasted’

    Surface Visibilty on the Ocean:

    For Normal Vision: Good

    For Glasses: Hazy

    For Blind: Not Good

    Caution: Blue Sharks do not read this report (If you are planning to swim)

    Movies in Town: by name and (category)

    1. Cats & Dogs 3D – For children below 6 and above 60

    2. The Expendables – Action for the old, comedy for the young.

    3. Dabbang – (Hindi) Comedy, Action, Drama, Tragedy, Musical – Carry Zandu Balm for headache

    4. Boss Engira Bhaskaran – (Tamil) Starring Arya. All as Dabbang plus imagination

    5. Yakhsiyum Njanum – (Malayalam) Starring trees and lot of greenary.

    6. Komarum Puli – (Telugu) Starring Pawan Kalyan with two heroines, guess-who-won type…

    Enjoy… 🙂

  42. Whoa…Reader…!
    Totally unacceptable…you are changing my gender… 😉

    And now don’t tell me that I shoot first and think later….like a cowboy….! Aah…! Grrrr…… watch out…! 🙂

  43. MonaLisa,

    May be you are right. Actually I have never known how a cow can be a boy! Americans have a strange name-ology.

    What is the gender opposite of a cowboy? Bullgirl!!!

    Yessssssssssss…

    About shooting first: There is an ideal scene in The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

    A chap pulls a gun on Ugly and keeps talking on and on about why he is going to kill him. Ugly shoots him and says,

    “If you wanna shoot, shoot man, don’t talk…”

    Hmm.. musing on that, I think you do fit the bill in some ways, no?

    Kidding baba.. don’t shoot.. I am a Gandhian…

    🙂

  44. Sharmila in Phuket

  45. Thanks for thinking about me, touched,never mind eh?

  46. Never Mind. 🙂

    Welcome back.

  47. Sharmila,

    Kahaan ho?

    … … … Where are you?

    Hum hi karen koi surat, unhe bulaane ki
    Suna hai unko to aadat hai bhool jaane ki

    … … … I must find some reason to call him/her back
    … … … I learn that he/she has the habit of forgetting

    Jafaa ke jikr se tum kyon sambhal ke baith gaye
    Tumhaari baat nahi, baat hai zamaane ki

    … … … Why are you unsettled if I speak of injustice
    … … … I speak of the world, this is not about you

    Jo hum tak aai to katra ke iss tarah se na jaa
    Nigaahen naaz yeh baaten hain dil dukhaane ki

    … … … That it has come to me, let it not pass by
    … … … Pride of the sight these small gestures can hurt

    Hum hi karen koi surat, unhe bulaane ki
    Suna hai unko to aadat hai bhool jaane ki

    … … … I must find some reason to call him/her back
    … … … I learn that he/she has the habit of forgetting

    Translation Mine… (Him can be her, in Urdu third person is not gender specific)

  48. MonaLisa,

    Gandhian’s believe in love not warfare. I have a shooting range specially for training “Bull’s Eye” shooters. Amitabh Bachchan is free with the package.

  49. 🙂 Reader,
    Since when AB comes for free with the package…!?

  50. 🙂 Reader,
    What Job…? 🙂

    • Shooting a moving target “Bull’s Eye”…

      Specially if sometimes the target is moving and sometimes the shooter is! And sometimes both!

      🙂

  51. Will be back in a jiffy…a few hours to be precise.

  52. 🙂 Few hrs. in a jiffy I suppose….. 🙂

  53. Tooti nahin saakiya reendo ke haath se
    Khud hi nashe mein choor thi, boatle sharaab se!

    … … … It was not broken by the drinkers, lady
    … … … The bottle itself was drunk with the wine in it!

    I am the Karma, I am the Effort, I am the Anamoly, I am the Cure;
    I am the Desires, I am the Sacrifice, I am the Past, Present and Future;
    I am the Spirit, I am the Ritual, I am the Aesthetic Manifestations;
    I am the Force, I am the Stillness, I am the Witness, I am the Shelter;
    I am the Destroyer, I am the Creator, I am the Effect, I am the Cause;
    I am Warm, I am Cold, I am Wet, I am Hard And I am Formless;
    I am Timeless and I am Bound, I am and I am also ‘Not’

    Gita Ch 9

    Translation mine.

    However, I do not know enough to say “I am not” . I still have a long way to go…

    🙂

  54. Reader,

    What makes you think of “sharaab” first thing in the morning?

    A concerned onlooker 😛

  55. Renate,

    This.

    When thou commandest me to sing it seems that my heart would break with pride; and I look to thy face, and tears come to my eys.

    All that is harsh and dissonant in my life melts into one sweet harmony – and my adoration spreads wings like a glad bird on its flight across the sea.

    I know thou takest pleasure in my singing. I know only as a singer I come before thy presence.

    I touch by the edge of the far spreading wing of my song thy feet which I could never aspire to reach.

    Drunk with the joy of singing I forget myself anf call thee friend who art my lord.

    Tagore in Gitanjali Verse 3

  56. Reader,

    In MY Gitanjaly book, this is verse 3:

    I know not how thou singest, my master! I ever listen in silent amazement.

    The light of thy music illumines the world. The life breath of thy music runs from sky to sky. The holy stream of thy music breaks through all stony obstacles and rushes on.

    My heart longs to join in thy song, but vainly struggles for a voice. I would speak, but speech breaks not into song, and I cry out baffled. Ah, thou hast made my heart captive in the endless meshes of thy music, my master!

  57. Very sorry for the typo, it’s Gitanjali !!

    • Renate,

      You are right. The one I quoted is verse 2…

      Typo.

      🙂

      PS:

      It was Monica Lewinsky 44th birthday yesterday. Can you believe it?

      Seems like only yesterday she was crawling around the White House on her hands and knees.

      People grow fast, na?

  58. Haha, do they?

    🙂

  59. Jiffy could mean a few hours..as much as 24 🙂 new post out in a few minutes..

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