Sunday, November 23, 2008

Strangers Somewhere, Nobody Nowhere!!

A Project Management Consultant by profession with more than a decade experience across most of the industries, work has been the inspiration of my life. I am drawn to projects that are stimulating,challenging and require logical analysis or abstract thinking. My work has taken me across the length and breadth of my country to inroads unknown, to wilderness and every experience has inched me closer to humanity. It might seem strange that though I work on systems, it is the humans associated with the project who have formed a carving niche in my memory lane.

An unforgettable vivid memory is that of a project that shall always remain close to my heart. I was approached by a Trust to automate their processes and develop a work flow management system for them. My first visit to their office happened to be in a chilly evening of November 2004 and the visit left an indelible print in me. The address was the taboo street of Red Light area aka the famous Kamathipura (Mumbai). As I stepped into the lane, I was drawn by the garish make over of the women in all ages from teenagers to middle agers waiting at the door steps lying in wait for their potential customers. Quickly I averted my gaze and ran towards the Trust premises. The Trust works towards providing education and taking care of medical requirements of the children of the prostitutes. It also doubles up as a day-care for the under-privileged in this sect.

Encourse the analysis of the system, I was drawn towards these women who came to see off their children. Curiosity drew the better of me and with the permission of the Trust authorities, I started interacting with them to see their life through their eyes as against my opionated self. Their gut wretching stories moved my soul. We crib about extra hours at hour, work pressures, travelling hazards et al and here they were trading their flesh for mere bucks to earn their livelihood. Not all amongst them were brought into the flesh trade by touts, some had voluntarily stepped in due to the dire straits of their family. The reckless abandon with which they treated their self and the apathy towards their own children were all an outcome of how they have been treated by the so-called civilized men of our society. Many of them did not even know the father of their own child but most of them did know about their proximity to HIV and AIDS, yet it didn't make any difference to them. The way I look upon work as the fulcrum of my life is the way they look upon flesh trade as the fulcrum of their life; the prima facie reason of their sustenance in this man-eat-man world. With every visit to the Trust for the implementation of my project, I grew more and more attached to the special children who were taken care of by the staff of the Trust. I used to play with them, feed them, teach them and feel one with them.

Concern about the uncertainities about their future often shrouded my thoughts and I used to ponder...
  • What wrong have this children done to face a life like this as an outcast of the very society we live in so carefree?
  • What kind of values would they uphold in life?
  • What kind of future would they have to deal with?
  • Would they be normal humans at all?
  • What kind of upbringing would they pass on to their future generations?

The questions seem endless, the answers unknown.
The end of my project evoked a feeling of pangst of seperation from this world that had become a part of me. Little did I know at the onset that this project was to be my most memorable project ever and that it would be an eye opener for me in more ways than one and draw me a step closer to humanity.Now, whenever I find time, I make it a point to spend it with these special children of GOD who are taken care of by the various NGO's in and around Bombay. Hats off to them for their determination and single minded pursuance towards preserving life in all forms.

My sincere salutations...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

One-day getaway from Bombay!!

The chaos at work place was getting to my nerves.There was no respite from the madness that was getting worser day after day with every passing moment. Beats me...why do we have work so hard if we can't grant ourselves the luxury of leisure even during weekends or enjoy on our earnings instead of continuing the drab!! Look around and you will realise, stress eating its way, succouring on every living soul, sucking vigour and freshness from each one of the lives depriving them of the very essence of LIFE. Everything seems so meaningless at times and yet we continue to strive hard at work, albeit mechanically!! Why?

It was in one such state of mind that I impulsively packed my bags and asked my friends to do so likewise for a getaway from Bombay. Fortunately, my friends were going through a similar phase and willingly agreed. All set, we met at Gateway to escape to the wonders of Mandwa to live by the waters which we all so much love.
Little did we know that mother nature had launched its own fury on us and was pouring cats & dogs on that very day when it was least expected. The jetty's refused to operate and we saw our plans getting washed away with the downpour till determination got the better of us and we decided that come what may, we will g e t a w a y !! Plomp...we boarded the train outbound to Karjat and did the bookings in a resort enroute our longish 2 hours journey. Rains never once left our side and continued its assault zll the way but our will remained undeterred.

Once in Karjat, we were marooned in our lodge that evening leaving us wonder whether we had taken the right decision and prayed as hell that the rains would stop for awhile to let us enjoy the beautiful farmlands of Karjat. Mercifully our prayers were answered in the wee hours of morning and we set afoot before dawn to wander and explore around. Its amazing what greenery can do to you mind and body. the visual treats captured our hearts and we lost ourselves to being one with nature. Cut off from the World Wide Web (which has kinda become an addiction) and the disdane of the handset buzz (as there was no network there!!), we felt light within - a state of soul that cannot be expressed in words as such apart from the fact that it felt BLISSFUL!! It was worth the journey every bit.

O Lord! Let us live every day of our life like this...was an earnest prayer from us; NO - promptly came the answer back from the sub concsious mind. "You have to return", it said to the realm of the world that we live in. Return back to the concrete jungle to earn our living, our daily bread and shoulder all the responsibilities as expected of us from our earthly ties and we packed our bags once again to tread back on the same road that we had set afoot a day earlier re-energized to wade through the daily grinds that once again lay awaiting us. What a getaway it was!! Hoping and hoping hard that we could afford more of such every now and then...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Callous Mind!!

The impervious mind continues to move on at work in Mumbai even in the wake of 5 serial bomb blasts in Bangalore where a lot of relatives and friends are based. The phone lines are jammed and they cannot be reached, the concern existed but only for few fleeting minutes and when other incidents grappled for mind's attention, it went to rest in some remote corner may be to wake up at some later point of time or may be never...!!

A casual chat with a close colleague and friend in the office corridors brought home the realization that we have hardened over time, with the frequent riots and bomb blasts resulting in mindless agony and jolts that set us back when they happen but after awhile no more!! With the frequency with which they seem to be occurring, now the only reaction is "OK, one more!!" and that's just about it, not to forget to mention the instant vaporization of the topic from our minds.

Where we really so callous? - NO.
Where we born like this? - NO.
Do we fear death? - NO.
Do tragedies affect us? - NO.
Why have our feelings become so insusceptible for the pains of the suffering mankind? - Silence.

The mind if it were to dwelve in itself, would get sucked into a blackhole never to re-surface again, thereby the moving on spirit that's got adopted by one and all. Can't really blame anybody? And, there is little we can do to avoid it.

As its rightly said in afghani -
Zendagi Migzara a.k.a Life goes ON...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Journey to Innerself...

My short vacation in 2003 lead me towards journeying to my inner self. Read how...

It started with a negative feeling where I felt once again I was trading off on my wishes for my mom's religious obsession. While I was contemplating between a trip to Goa or the Golgumbas at Bijapur, she wanted to leave on a religious pilgrimage. My trip to Kadachadri mountain only ended taking me a step closer towards the beautiful nature.

Kadachadri mountain is a beautiful place situated in Kollur, Mangalore. The uphill stretch is almost 66 kms. The only vehicle that is able to make itself up the road is a Mahindra Jeep (applause to Mahindra's for manufacturing such robust vehicles!!). The uphill stretch is steep, curvy and unlevelled. The vehicle takes you on a stretch of about 56 kms; the rest is a journey is to be done by foot.

It's this part of the journey thats the most beautiful part where the concrete roads give way to nature's creation. The path to the destination which is a Adi Shankaracharya cave is amidst a dense thicket that is full of wild plantations and a vast expanse of trees. Wild animals seem to be frequent visitors out here and we happened to see a few of them. Strange it may sound now but then there was no fear at all!! We also had company in the form of friendly monkeys who were eager to eat out of your hands and hold onto our clothes and walk along with us as if we were their long lost companions!!

Nature made great steps out of stepping boulders and roots of trees and it was a beauty to watch how well they were entwined and interlaced. Our minds were sensitised with every movement, sound and sight. The never ending stretch of spirited colors just blended in each other forming a lovely meadow. It just reminded me of a quote by an author unknown which says ..

"The colors that the meadows holds,
Is something which no painters brush has told."

Never realised how easily we walked across a stretch of 8 kms (which would be a near impossible task in the roads of Bombay)!! There was yet another milestone at a distance of another 2 kms but we females were unequipped courtesy our traditional attire and slip ons. The journey certainly called for the trekking dress code with the steep, sharp edges & wilderness. The males in our group continued the blissful journey which ended with a beautiful water fall and a pious 'Shiv-ling'. We saw the visuals captured in their handy cameras. The journey downhill was as intriguing as the uphill one!!

One just lost oneself in a trance unfurling the ravels of the mysterious nature that gave you a sense of peace within and tranquility in sharp contrast to rustic concrete jungle that we all live in; filled with deep urges for achievement, politics, never ending deadlines and a mad rush for money, power et al. One might word it more aptly but the bottom line is that they are all the same!!

Ain't it...???

Are we not trading off a simple livelihood & such pleasantries which are immaterial in nature for something which is materialistic and in our rush for a better life we have all become emotionless thick skinned souls who don't seem to get affected by just about anything!!

Being a part of this melee, I, too the other day just walked aside a partly eaten dead body of a woman lying on the road by just casting my glance away as I was late for an official meeting that mattered more to me.

Strange are the different facets of life for there amidst the beauties of nature I was sensistive to every vibration and here on the road I was an insensitive soul. There is certainly no denying the fact that it is in this very vicious world, I work to earn my bread and butter that feeds my family as against the mesmerizing surroundings of Kadachadri where I sought peace at an elevated level.

As my mind continues to thrive in a conflicted state, I leave here...