Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Mother and her Son

During this mornings walk in the park I saw a mother pushing her son in a wheel chair.
Actually this is not the first time I saw them. I had seen them a couple of days ago in the park itself. The boy must be in his late teens. He looks spastic or mentally retarded. What touched me today was that the mother was crying silently as she pushed the chair.The boy was in his own world, twisting his body and looking around, oblivious.

I wanted to tak to this mother. But I was afraid. Would she be annoyed at my intrusion?

What I really wanted to do was tell her something that could make her feel better.

I believe in rebirth and also that life on earth is part of the journey to evolving towards a higher state, what has been variously called moksha or Nirvana, liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

There is a belief that cildren born retarded and helpless, unable to understand and respond to their surroundings, are actually the rebirth of holy souls who have narrowly missed moksha.These souls choose to be reborn in such a state so that they are unable to think or do anything in this life that can set them back in their journey to liberation.By make sure that they cannot do anything negative.

I wished t tell this mother that perhaps she was mother to a great soul?
Anyway, I didn't have the guts to tell her anything today.

Walk, Again

I have taken up a walk in the park every morning. This is not the first time I’ve started this ritual, though. But each time I did this earlier I could not sustain it beyond a few days. There was always the excuse of having to walk on roads, and the threat from stray dogs and vehicle pollution . I am allergic to both.

Both these excuses are not available now. There are dogs in the park, but they mind their own business. The park is also just across the road from my house and is big enough to give reasonable workout for my legs and circulation in just two laps.

This time I must follow through and do the walk for at least 21 days without break.

Why 21 days? Because I have read that it takes at least 21 days of consistent “do” to make any practice a habit. By the time you make it to 21 days, you have also become used to the benefits of the new practice that you don't want to stop and lose these benefits.
Perhaps I should also say that we will continue with the practice just because we do not want to change - the new habit has become a part of the routine, and changing it might seem uncomfortable?

A Nest

Finally settled on a place to stay. A DDA flat just across the district park. Satisfied with the space of a MIG flat. Although the windows doors don’t close well, the toilet is tiled, something I didn’t see in any of the other places I was shown. And the second floor gives the additional space of the rooftop and freedom from drainage worries.

This should be okay.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh For a Roof..

My search for a house has sort of narrowed down to Dwaraka and Janakpuri. Dwaraka because it is on the Metro line and also has newer apartments. Janakpuri because it is also on the Metro line, is safer, one can find transport at any time of the day, and although most of the DDA flats are badly maintained and few of the doors and windows close properly, the place has “proven” conveniences, water comes on time, vegetable vendors visit everyday, you can even expect power cuts.

And of course Janakpuri probably has the most common community spaces in residential areas. And it is not only the district park.

The hitch is that in the past 6 months or so rents have gone up by half. What was available for 6500 then is now 9500, much more than what my employer pays me.
Also there is this business of having to go through a broker – “property dealer” as he likes to be called – that is another month’s rent gone out of pocket.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Will you Ride a Rickshaw?

Just saw an old picture in one of the magazines – Nehru and the Frontier Gandhi walking while Sardar Patel was moving along in a human-drawn rickshaw. I do not know if this photograph was intended to show that Patel was less “human” than Nehru. But there is one thing I definitely know, and this is something I discussed with a friend who landed in Delhi on the same flight as I did.

On our first day in the city we found that the easiest transportation from our house to the nearest Metro station was by cycle rickshaw. Do we allow ourselves this “inhuman” pleasure of letting one man pull our weight across a couple of kilometers, by rationalizing that this was the most eco-friendly method of moving in the city in these times of high oil prices? Or do we let ourselves be overtaken by the poignant pictures of Kolkotta’s rickshaw men as painted in the “City of Joy?”

Well, we decided to use cycle rickshaws, not just that day but whenever it was feasible, and for this reason – by using rickshaws we would be allowing a poor person to earn his livelihood honourably instead of pushing him to starvation or begging.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Finding a Place to Stay

I am out looking for a place to stay. Someplace not far from a Metro station because my work can at times keep me at the office until 9 or 10, and the Metro seems to be a far more reliable and safe transport than anything else.

I can commute for about an hour one way, my body and mind can stand it. But I need a place with space – an extra bedroom for my son because he is now 16 and should be given his own space. I need a place where I don’t have to worry if the family is safe while I am away. I need a place where the urgent requirements of a morning – milk, bread, eggs, soap, toothpaste – are available within a 3 minute walk, and where these shops open by at least 6.30 in the morning.

I would prefer a place with lot of open spaces, trees, a park.

Is that too much to ask for in Delhi these days?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Delhi I Remember

The Delhi I remember is the Delhi of 1980-82. I would come for 10 or 15 days a year, and stay at a friend’s place in Rajouri Garden.
Those days Janakpuri was far out of Delhi, even Rajouri Garden was the outskirts. Today Delhi stretches way beyond these places.

What attracted me about Delhi – the things I remember now – was the open spaces. I had seen the places around Janpath, Cannaught Place, been on the roads in Chanakyapuri. The trees, the open spaces between buildings, the grandeur of the area near the Supreme Court and Rashtrapathi Bhavan – coming from a small town, I was quite impressed by our national capital.

I also remember the huge building with the emporia from all our states, each state having its own outlet. I was here to appear for the Civil Services interview twice – ( I didn’t make it into the final list). (The Civil Service was my only dream in those days, I did not know of any more professions than farming, teaching, law and medicine I think).

I am yet to make a trip to any of these places yet, first priority is a place to stay.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Coming Back to Delhi

I am back in Delhi after about 25 years and everyday I find something that sets me thinking. I decided to write the thoughts onto a blog because writing makes me keep my mind on the issue for a few moments at least. And in the welcome chance that the blog does get read by others, I hope they will add their comments, to agree or to disagree with what I say, or just to add to it.

I will not try to be consistent in what I write. What I write will not be ideas that are fully thought out, but just what I feel at the moment of writing. This blog is not a scientific treatise that has to be defended before an academic board.

Therefore, my comments today may not fully agree with what I write tomorrow. This just reflects the ambivalence that many of us have about many things.

There is just one aspect of the writing that I am undecided about. How do I word “naughty” comments, when it is very likely that my son could also be looking through this blog once in a while?