Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The house I left behind

I forget the context but wife said, "It seems we have been living in this house for a long time." "Yes," I said, "in fact, to me it seems that we never lived in that old house." That old house is a government accommodation where we spent first three years of our married life and where before that I had lived about seven and a half years of my bachelorhood. That was a house from where we married my sisters. The house my nephews and nieces fondly called 'nana home' and my mother's side of the family, 'guddi da ghar'. Nearly eleven years of my life were spent in that house and about another seventeen in that same, what we call, colony. But I do not miss it. Why? Why am I not nostalgic about that house? I only think about it when I am thinking of changing address in one document or the other. And even then I only think about the combination of some numbers and letters that comprised our address line. Nothing more.

Perhaps, we always knew that we had to leave it one day. Perhaps because my peers had all gone (one of them from this world), their nurse mothers having retired or, at least in three cases, died. Perhaps it was simply that we were at last able to move out from the unmindfully architectured and hurriedly fabricated dwellings. I use the term fabricated deliberately, because these belied the idea of decent housing.

But those houses shaped us. Gave us invaluable lessons in space management, for example. We were taught to be thankful for what fate (State) bestows upon us. And in turn, we continually shaped them. We tried and made those our own by experimenting with things like furniture and paints, doorhandles and commodes, by constructing extra rooms with corrugated-iron roofs, by growing a mulberry tree in the backyard, where we often saw some of the most exquisite birds stopping by to amuse our kids and make us adults curious.

After all this, if I am not nostalgic, am I ungrateful? I don't think so. Individuals in the service of the State deserve respectable housing for themselves and their families. The architects, the builders and the contractors must be sensitized to the needs of people who, though will not personally commission them and whom they will perhaps never meet face-to-face, inhabit the city envisaged by that savant of an architect, Le Corbusier.

Maybe, by nature I am not sentimental about places. But I do feel strongly about the arrogance, and callousness, with which government houses are constructed. And this strong feeling overpowers any amount of nostalgia my old abode can hurl at me.

Friday, November 06, 2009

My Orkut "Today's Fortune"

I am no sucker for those trite thought-of-the-day quotes, though I have begun to enjoy the occasional "Today's Fortune" on my orkut page. There was one I quite liked some time back and I had sent it to some of my friends, especially the ones suckling gloriously on Facebook, which incidentally, with some notable exceptions, gathers every triviality under the sun under its imbecile aegis. Well that day the fortune was:
Watch what you say — of those who say nothing, few are silent
But what I got today made me write a blog post. I did send that one too but without any catty design. It was, in fact, I must admit, a moment of edification. Some friends did reply. Here are some of the responses:
  1. I miss orkut :(
  2. Couldn't agree more. Thanks for sending it my way. Here is something similar: Imagination is the reality waiting to be created. Or, Imagination is reality-in-waiting.
  3. Fabulous quote. True and liberating.
I was glad that these words did have a power to lighten up quite a few of us. It seemed to provide a key to some of the issues we continue to grapple with inside ourselves. It did give us a reason to be hopeful. It spoke gently and confidently to something deep inside us that refuses to surrender to hedonistic cynicism of the times. And most importantly, it became alive because we shared it among ourselves. By the way my orkut "Today's Fortune" read:
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

First blogger's park

Five of us met for the pretentiously named "First Blogger's Park" on Tuesday, 3 November 2009. I was glad that we all could make it despite it being a weekday. We already have one blog post on that meeting. Fellow bloggers it was great to spend time with you! Writing has meant so much, and so many things, to each one of us. I am sure we can have a series on this one topic alone—what has blogging done to, or done for, me. There were many things that we randomly picked and mostly left unfinished but perhaps that's a good sign; we all are brimming with ideas, which would sooner or later be turned into "written expressions". And while I hope we are encouraged to spend more time in solitude tapping on the keys, I also want to make some time in coming months to sit and unwind in the same company. Looking forward to meet you more and grow together with you all. One regret! We did not click any picture. So I am putting this painting I came across by chance on the Internet, by "a professional quilter, author, fabric and pattern designer". (Picture: