Maharani Gayatri Devi

Maharani_Gayatri_DeviI’m feeling very sad deep inside my heart that Rajmata Gayatri Devi is no longer with us now. She passed away yesterday at the age of 90. No, I was not connected to her in any way. (But alas, wish I could have been, anyway). But I’m her fan just like that.

My association with her (rather her fame) goes back to my late teens. I read her interview in Times of India’s erstwhile supplement, Men & Women. I think I was 17 or 18 then. I was instantly awestruck by the aura and the splendor of her beauty. She must be approaching 80s by then. Yet one could feel the charisma in the way she had answered the questions. A princes from Kooch Bihar and a descendant of the Gaikwad family of Baroda, she was married to Sawai Mansingh II, the enigmatic Maharaja of Jaipur. Gayatri Devi was once included inVogue magazine’s Ten Most Beautiful Women list.

I will miss you Maharani!

PS: After some hunting I finally laid my hand on the book. “A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur”. Believe me, it is a very good read.

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What is happening to me?

… and the answer is, “I dont know!”. May be this is one of these days when I get irritated for no reason. I have spent last 2 hours sitting here in my new office staring my laptop and thinking what to do next. I know I just cant work under a boss. I tried doing some thing on my own once, but didn’t have a courage to go ahead all out. I tried one more time but chose wrong partners. I want to try for the third time. But the field I know has a lot of potential demands heavy initial investments and high technical expertise. Grrrr…!

God please help me. Get me out of this!

26th July 2005

Mumbai was submerged under water four years ago on the very day. It was raining on the this day this year as well. But not as much as it rained that day. I was sitting in my balcony with a cup of coffee in the afternoon, around 4pm, and I remembered what I was doing at the same time 4 years back. Even the memory thrilled me. 🙂

mumbai_26th_julyIt was about a little more than 3pm. I was working on some order forms in my office in BKC when we saw the sky tearing apart. Ours was a complete glass covered building. So we could see that lot of people were on the streets and trying to catch whichever mode of transport they could to rush back home. My company’s boss suddenly realised that it was a panic situation. So we all were advised to go home. But them I was a newly joined employee. So I stayed back with some other dare devils. 🙂  I stayed in Vile Parle then, not too far by Mumbai standards. But I was getting worried, looking at the water logging below. Finally at 4, a colleague offered me to drop till Kala Nagar on his bike. The BKC area was fine, but when we reached Kala Nagar, the junction was already under knee deep water. Lot of people were wading through that mini pond and I joined them as well. By then we all knew we have to walk to our houses, wherever we stayed. Some people stayed as far as Virar. And we didn’t know how long it will rain and what lay ahead of us. It was terrifying!

The mob decided to walk on the middle of the road, each one elevating him/herself as high as possible. The slope of the roads took the water away from the center towards the footpaths, sweeping beneath our legs. We all were trying to be careful not to bump into a pothole or worst, an open manhole. As we crossed the Kherwadi junction, the water level started to rise little above our knees. I could see people trying to ply their cars through the water, and struggling. We all decided to take the Vakola flyover. We could all see the cars, buses and all types of vehicles stranded on the approach. Obviously there was no scope to move ahead. Atop the bridge I saw my boss’s boss with a couple of more colleagues in his car. They asked me to join them. But I knew, stopping was no option. I tried calling few people from my mobile. But to no avail. The mobile too was all wet. So I switched it off and bid it good bye, thinking it was now gone. (But later it rose to the challenge).  The scene below the flyover bridge was absolutely terrifying. I could only see buses parked, flooded till just a little part of the windows and their roof tops visible. That meant the water level was way above my height. Slowly we came to Agripada where the flyover starts descending. We could see the water below, but couldn’t make out the depth. All we needed to do was take a wise decision.

26 JulyWe knew that the area just before and near the domestic airport was on elevated ground. So the water logging could only be for a part, may be a kilometer or two. Some people suggested that we hold hands, make a chain and then move ahead. So this way we can stay together and also pull a person out if the water is too deep. So we started. I had a middle aged short woman behind me and a teenage boy in front me. Slowly we got inside the water. The water level started rising from ankle deep to knee deep to thighs till the time our waists were also submerged. But we all were courageous. I could hear some people shouting religious chants such as ‘Har Har Mahadev’ or ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’. I joined the chore too. Then a point came when water rose to my chest level. I froze in the middle of the journey. It was getting dark. I could make out that the clock must be past 6. The rain hadn’t stopped and the wind was making it even worse. For the first time in my life I was not sure if I could survive the ordeal. A push broke the stream of my thoughts. The woman behind me shouted, ‘Pray your god and keep walking!’. I turned back to see that she was almost neck deep inside the water. But she was exceptionally brave.

We kept walking very slowly for another hour before we could make out that the water level was going down. We could see the airport now. ‘Yay!’, I thought. My house was now near. I turned back to talk to the woman behind me.  She told me that she stayed in Goregaon. She was tired, but she was determined to make it to her house. There are so many brave people around us, I thought. And we dont know them, unless some thing like this happens. 😐

My maternal aunt stays bang opposite to the domestic airport. So I decided to check in there, to make sure every one was safe. To my surprise, I was the first person to reach home. I checked the clock, it was almost 8 and now dark outside. But thank fully every one was safe and eventually all family members made their way back home. Late in the night we  went out on the streets with packets of biscuit, water and home cooked poha to feed all those who were stranded on the roads.

Sigh! Crores of property was damaged, scores of people died. But Mumbai rose to its feet within days. Between such mayhem, there was not a single case of robbery reported or heard of molestation and theft. The good spirit endured and the   memories are now permanently etched.

Malshej through Pictures

I had a day outing to Majshej Ghat, about 100kms from Thane. I’ll write a post on it later. Here’s a picturesque view for you.

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Yay mood!

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CSR and the TATAs

A hot cup of tomato soup just 30min before lunch is good. Yay! I’m feeling rejuvenated. We have a vending machine here that serves tea, coffee, hot water, milk and tomato soup. I’m thankful from the bottom of my heart to the person who invented this machine. And also to my employer who felt this could help drowsy employees. A part of their corporate social responsibility may be? He he… 🙂

RHS_jaagoreTalking of CSR, I think Tatas are doing a great job here. First it was Jaagore by Tata Tea and now it is Jagmag Desh Mera by Voltas, Tata company. Jaagore especially was an excellent initiative. It has helped many Indians to be aware of the the elections, the intricacies behind the entire procedure and most importantly, to register yourself to vote. I was one of the millions who registered through them. I liked they was they used Tata Tea to promote the fact that if “You are not voting, you are sleeping.” Nice idea! ‘Jagmag desh mera’ campaign now is trying to trying to promote the fact that if we save some of our electric consumption, we actually can help lighting many more villages still under darkness. Though not as good as Jaagore, the initiative is gathering steam.

Now, in her interview to Outlook Business some time back, Sangeeta Talwar, the ED of Tata Tea has accepted the fact that initiative was well conceived to promote Tata Tea as a brand rather than to initiate the campaign for getting voters registered. They wanted to defy the advertising boundaries and this came up as a breakthrough initiative. Tata Tea as a name went to the households, may be not because of the aroma, but because of the way it was associated with voters. Brilliant concept, I must say, but not in a good spirit. Voltas is following their footsteps by telling people that if we buy a Voltas AC, it will save more electricity and help in lighting the villages. So what about people who do not use an air conditioner? May be they are urging that if you buy, please buy Voltas. Hmmm…

The social responsibility goes for a toss if a corporate attaches a promotional strategy to it. What do you think?

A Comment on Mi (ani) Marathi

An angry Mr. Vijay Matkari commented on my post Mi (ani) Marathi probably because he thinks I’m demeaning the Marathi people. Here is what he has to say

tu marathi mansala durusta nako karus aadhi swatacha ‘holier than thou’ avtar band kar. what an idiotic post, once again. What do u think of urself? Dont make an ass of urself by such uncool posts. ur seriously an liability on Marathis. I mean look at ur attitude…who the hell are u!!give us a break.

I’m sorry Mr. Matkari but I dont understand. Where the hell you get that anger from? I know you will come back to my blog in search of what my reaction was. If you think I’m a liability on Marathis, please explain me what a true Marathi is and I’ll issue an apology plus delete my posts.

PS: For the non-marathi readers, the first two lines in the comment means dont you try to improve Marathi manoos first stop your ‘holier than thou’ avataar.

Do Something

Manmohan spent all ears to one more instruction…

A traffic cop spent eating another 50 bucks…

Mamta Banerjee spent cribbing the left…

Ekta spent thinking of yet another stupid serial…

Rakhi spent fake blushing for the nth time…

Kaustubh spent pointing out yet another stupidity…

Dhoni spent endorsing one more brand…

Patty spent taking one more stupid quiz on Face book…

Pallavi spent framing one more client…

… and I spent typing this post.

So how have you spent your last 5 minutes? Do some thing worth while today. Its good!