Happy 18th on your 81st, Dadaji!

When I sit to write about you, for you – it seems so easy because there is so much to you – and yet, so difficult, because all that is said is always so little. There are absolutely no words to describe this feeling of love, this feeling of immense gratitude that I am feeling right now.

This task seems so complex…

Because you make this list never-ending! For a multi-faceted personality like yours, I know it even before I have started writing about it!

Because of “swad” on every Sunday!

Because you are the epitome of wisdom.

Because your eyes see beyond what is, foresees beyond what will be, beholds what has been, besides being a window to the clear soul that there is.

Because why should I read any inspirational book to get motivated, when I can just listen to abstracts from your life!

Because you are a sea of knowledge.

Because of your unconventional, creative way of looking at and dealing with things.

Because from the funniest joke to most serious of the problems, from art to politics, I can share anything with you!

Because you know so much about everything all around the world.

Because you do not need to travel anywhere or meet people per say to connect to them! A strong connection can be formed just over an email or an article, and a new friendship is just a phone call away!

Because all said and done, you knew never to mess with one’s wife – dadiji! Hehe! But seriously, you both complemented each other beautifully!

Because you are the thread that binds us all together, and yet not a knot that we feel. The balance is always so right.

Because you taught me – अति सर्वत्र वर्जयेत् | That is one learning I keep very close to my heart. And it was easy to remember, watching you do it every breathing second of your life.

Because it is difficult to believe that you were a bundle of mischief “in your times”, yet it makes perfect sense – from troublemaker to troubleshooter!

Because you are our guardian angel!

Because of being the most tech-savvy 81 year old around!

Because you are personification of patience, of acceptance, of change, of flexibility, of moulding yourself to the present. You do it so beautifully dada. At your age when most people become so rigid about their beliefs, you break one of mine, each day, every day!

Because you are not old and fragile, but so young and agile!

Because you have kept the doors of the house, and your heart open to one and all. Your heart is so BIG, it has space for everybody- without one feeling like they are travelling in the Mumbai local! 😉

Because we are all so blessed to have you around us – all the time!

Because you are oh so practical!

Because in this age of internet connection and data connection, you have taught me the most important of them all – Human connection!

Because you have more zest about life than all of us put together!

Because at one moment you know-it-all, and the other you are a curious child who is awed by all that is humanly possible now!

Because if I could be even 0.1% of what you are, I will consider to have lived my life well!

Because you a living legend, my super-hero!

Because I am not sure if I want to stop writing yet!

Dadaji, I have realized why is there a ‘grand’ in grandfather – because grand also means marvelous, glorious, magnificent, splendid, awe-inspiring, elevated – you are all of this and much much more! J

I love you.

Your “laadli”,

OJ

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Dog-Opoly

A city of dogs – underdogs of the city!

Dog-Opoly is a dog version of the famous board game Monopoly, but it really is the monopoly of dogs on the Indian streets!

And for a dog-fearing person like me, I have always wondered why is the stray-dog population in India so high, as compared to the negligible numbers in the west? Besides being a nuisance to the locality, chaotic, catastrophic for children, unhygienic, noisy, etc., it can actually be quite scary to walk on the lonely streets at nights with howling noises in the background. The fear quotient in me is so high, that it almost makes me feel that I am a part of a “Conjuring” for real! While it may not be appropriate to generalize, but stray dogs have proved to be calamitous for humans in quite many incidents and places. In fact, a number of road accidents occur, of which a few prove almost fatal to a person walking, in order to save the-dog-sprung-from-God-knows-where, and I am not eliminating the chances of their deaths here as well. Thank God for the law in 2001 that forbade the killing of dogs, which was a good-step but has further added to the stray population. “Why doesn’t government create better infrastructure?”, a dog-lover or any person-with-a-heart may ask. But in retrospect, we do not have proper facilities for more than half the population, let alone the thought of the thick-skinned people on top melting at the their plight. And we haven’t even started talking about pigs, donkeys and other more “bechara” animals on streets yet!

Quite a few people by now probably must already have started hating me for my perspective on this particular situation, but in all practicality it makes sense. I mean I understand that they also are a breathing, eating, pooping, moving, barking-but-unable-to-talk-and-express-their-plight (and so are chickens we eat?) kind of creatures, but in my view we need to re-think the extent to which we take things emotionally and start introducing practical solutions to the existing grave problems- a journey from sensitive to sensible.

When I did my research I realized the main reason was our hygiene habits. It is the unattended litter on the roads, which actually is a feast for the strays, and hence they survive for long and strong. This is the prime reason. We as a culture are quite messy, always blame the incapable and inactive government for improper infrastructure, and on the other hand don’t even maintain sanitation regime on personal level! We really do not need to wait for a few intellectuals to instruct us, “do not litter” boards everywhere, Satyamev Jayate, or a Prime Minister to start a ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’ to know the importance of cleanliness. It is only clearing of litter, and not killing the strays, that will solve the problem – quicker than anything! It is common sense to not litter, and should be followed as a protocol, otherwise the efforts of a handful will go to the dogs. Literally.

Apart from that, there are a lot of organisations that neuter and vaccinate the stray dogs – all thanks to the unlike me dog-loving people out there. Let us at least help them help us using whatever way we can – volunteer, provide resources, financial aid, inform about unattended or bruised stray dogs, adopt and get them vaccinated etc. Also encourage more and more people to make stray dog as pets, instead of buying ’em. These solutions may not be quick in their eradication, but probably are first few steps in the planned scheme of reducing their numbers!

Every dog has its day, but with our collective efforts these dogs will have a life. Amen.

Breaking Free

This. Is. Beautiful.

Happy Realizations

There are times when my mind is bubbling with ideas or conjuring happy images and I look for a way to express how I feel. I gather my palette, colors, brushes, sheets and sit down to create something beautiful. Soon, I realize that it doesn’t at all look like what I imagined. On the contrary, it looks rather bad. There goes that sheet of paper and I start afresh on another sheet. I repeat this process over and over again only to realize that I am struggling to create what I want to as my mind keeps going back to those standard images of a scenery, a bird, a flower, a tree, a butterfly. The images which were introduced as ‘art’ to me and I wouldn’t dare make the petals of a flower any different from the image presented or a butterfly even slightly asymmetrical. I drew and painted beautifully…

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