Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

I walk along the familiar paths

As some friendly hopes give me company,

Little regrets wander along

And few desires go out of sight,

arguing with the future...

Carefree laughter still echoes

The difference those kind words made, shows.

A few more events add to the memories

I'll fondly look back to...

As time ticks unhurried, I walk along-

On this New Year's Eve.

-Gauri G

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The goldfish in the bowl
An orange dollop of life
She laps about in circles
For but a rubber playman,she is alone, all alone...

The goldfish in the bowl
Have you ever seen it closely
Or is she just for show?
For but a rubber playman, she is alone, all alone...

That dollop of orange,
how she slithers her paper thin fins,
And how gracefully she turns and bends
within the scarcity of life she has...

How her shades of orange change,
From a vibrant orange to reddish,
A tinge of golden here, a hint of yellow there,
An orange dollop of life, that goldfish in the bowl...

But sometimes, the colour begins to fade...

How she refuses feed one day,
And then the day next...
how the water turns murky,
And how her fins go limp...

That dollop of orange,
will just fall still one day
And float in the glass bowl
O how ugly would it look!

The goldfish in the bowl,
Do you see it daily
Or she is just for show?
For but a rubber playman, is she alone, all alone?...


Please keep pets only if you can keep them with love, care and proper medical treatment...


By Gauri Gharpure

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In that small moment
When I lost you
Life ended and began all at once
Everything smelt new...

Time betrays without a tinge of emotion
And the clock ticks on.
Why then, live a burden of memories
When life never ceases to make new songs?

In small moments
I look at raindrops clinging to green leaves
And sparrows hopping about on window ceils;
Squirrels scampering up the trees

Time smiles a sly smile
And says: 'Nothing will change
Whether you be
Or choose not to be'

I would rather choose to be me
Than trail in the shadows of expectations
I would rather be me
Than my father's daughter,
My husband's wife
My aaji's grandchild...
I would rather be me
By my choice.

For in small moments,
When I lose many more
Life can begin all over again
For nothing is never the end...

Gauri Gharpure

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The neem tree cried yesterday
It had seen me grow...
It shed lush, bitter tears,
And hustled about in pain
As I got ready, bejeweled and made-up;
It suddenly began to rain.
The neem laughed at the irony
At relief and salve unasked;
It wanted to brood in solitude,
pampering the pain.

My grandfather would sit below the tree,
Bare-bodied, with only pajamas on.
The neem would sway from side to side
to greet the old man a good morn.

As I ran about from shrub to shrub
Marvelling at the nests littles birds made,
My granpa would hold out his arms
in an effort to embrace...

Grandfather is gone,
the tree sways in loneliness.
It has grown heavier under the burden of memories
And servants urge that the tree be relieved.
As I agreed, in a hurry to go
The neem tree overheard.
A loud cry it muffled.

The neem tree saw me grow
The tree saw me go.

Gauri Gharpure

Monday, November 13, 2006

Eat, Drink and be merry
Party, yeah, party real hard…
Dance: twirl yourself round and round,
In circles till you get dizzy…

Drink, drink and Drive.
Party, yeah party real hard…
Then drive your costly car;
Drive, drive real fast…

Drive fast and rash and rude,
Drink while you drive,
And scream while you drive
Play music loud and clear…

Then sip some more from the
Whisky and the beer,
Then, drive fast, faster
And mow up someone sleeping still…

Put just a few people to sleep-
Sleep, Sleep, a peaceful sleep…
By driving your car over them,
But still, drink, drink and drive, you will…

Then get out of the car,
And shout, shout an arrogant shout,
On the recently bereaved…
Whose dear ones were crushed in sleep…


- By Gauri Gharpure

To the youngsters who allegedly drove over sleeping daily wagers at Carter Road, Mumbai- killing six on the spot, including one seven month pregnant woman… Several more lie seriously injured…

To them, (and such alike…)who still showed no remorse…

Click here and here to read more about this accident.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Jessica Lal... Shot dead in cold blood. Witnesses turned hostile and police behaved brilliantly enough for the common man to lose all faith.. And Judiciary!! The black coat mites might as well be on summer vacations all year long...

I penned down a short story, trying to put myself in her shoes. This is what resulted:


The concept of lesser and higher mortals must have been evaluated well before being implemented. I have come to believe mortality depends on the less or more you have…

I woke up. Or was I sleeping at all in the first place? I imagined the pillow to smell salty and yearned for that comfortable wetness against my face. Crying can make a clumsy little pillow a tiny heaven of sorts. Only if I could cry my heart out…

Blood shot out. I saw in amazement, in a flickering moment, the beautiful red. My favourite colour. The thud I heard when I fell on the shining marble floor mocked at life. Dull, loud and sudden. I could feel the intensity of each part of a second till I felt the cold stone.

You read about such things and it creates a high drama. Yet when it happens, the moment is as real and deliberate as drinking tea or making love. You sip in each second of the act. As if bathing your soul with the realisation of each moment of action. Life doesn’t let you escape its nitty gritties. Neither does death allow such luxuries.

Death breathes in the last breath of life with such skill and intensity that it is utterly ironic. Such precision for the last moment seems a little out of place. It totally envelopes you in its mysterious process. The moment of truth comes in all its unabashed nudity. Death comes with a downright bare and basic approach. Well focused on its mission.

It was a busy night, a night of serving drinks and more drinks to a large number of people who considered themselves the top brass, or better still- ‘higher mortals’. They groped each other, oblivious of age, sex or reaction. Their shrill screams of feigned laughter competing with loud music didn’t pierce my ears. I had long since gotten used to such a racquet of excess of everything.

I was preparing to leave. It was well past the closing time. The thoughts of going home, the luxury of a cold shower and sleep almost took me to a different world. I was about to leave the bar. Just about. And then this man came up to me and asked for a drink. He smelt of alcohol and looked like a human. But his eyes gave him away. Beast. Eyes, as if screaming, ‘This Goddamn world is under my belt’. Ha!

I refused to serve. Politely at first. And then firmly when he didn’t budge. I remember the swears which followed. But they stopped midway. I wondered why. In that minuscule moment, he had already taken something out of his pocket. And then I felt the blood.

It was an odd hour much before dawn, which I fail to describe even today. It had a strange smell to it. Time smells strange when future is about to pounce on you. Or was it blood?

He saw me fall on the floor with indifferent eyes. There wasn’t a tinge of any emotion. My eyes searched for a sign or regret or remorse in vain till they lost focus. He hit his hand on the counter in frustration. Like someone does to regret a careless move in a game of chess.

As I fell on the floor, few men gathered defensively around him and shouted to the no one in particular, “We did not see who fired, did you?” Then they roughed up someone who attempted to speak up. They took the petite socialite owner of the bar aside. Her make-up was drenched in sweat and was giving away the sight of withered, freckled skin. She nodded in agreement. Only a few weeks before she requested that I fill in for more shifts. With a few final settlements, the gang rushed out, pulling the beast with them.

There was complete silence for a moment. Hushed whispers followed the coward quiet. As the socialites brushed against themselves the costly fabric made a papery sound. There was a faint tinkle as liquor glasses were kept down in a hurry from all sides. A few civil servants, top policemen and who’s who of the city quietly walked past my pool of blood and slipped out.

I expected to lay there for hours. Uniformed strangers would arrive in a short while and take over the scene. The murder mysteries I had read with gusto were complete with descriptions of forensic investigations, those rubber gloves donned to handle objects at a crime scene, a photographer taking shots at various angles… But what did I see?

The petite bar owner peeked down at me with a worker who had a huge mop in his hand. He approached me with a mixed expression of fright and sorrow. She motioned him to start his work. That beautiful red, which ran in me only a while ago, had oozed out to be wasted on the floor. The worker soaked it in the cloth and squeezed in a bucket with shaking hands. My favourite colour smelled sad now. The activity was repeated again and again, till the marble surrounding me appeared as clean as before.

Immediately, the petite socialite ordered other servants to pick me up. A group walked behind the party towards an expensive car and reached a nearby hospital. It was just a formality I guess. The beast had conveniently slipped off in a car, with a bunch of goons protecting him.

I cannot forget that arrogant look and the frustrating winsome smile he refused to give up. Each effort to revel the truth was brutally crushed. The judiciary I had looked up to presented itself in faith shattering shades.

Indeed, the concept of lesser and higher mortals must have been well evaluated. Mortality, perhaps justice for that matter, depends on the less or more you have in this country.

The virility of life had drained out of me with surprising agility. The moment was too short to agonise over how unfair it all was. A loud thud, a wet and cold back and one last gulp of air. I didn’t realize I should have cried then. My last cry…

Gauri Gharpure May 15, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

To Sorrow

I am grateful to the sorrows
Like the green grass after rain,
They spring up from nowhere
And add colour to my life.

I am grateful to the sorrows
Which bunch up like old friends,
Uninvited, uncalled
And thoroughly help themselves...

I am grateful to the sorrows
Which complete the jigsaw of my life
By placing themselves piece by piece
Exactly wherein they fit.

I am grateful to my sorrows
For when they are gone
My happiness is sweeter;
And smile, a wise smile.

I am grateful to the sorrows,
To their benevolent teachings
For without them, how would I appreciate
The good offered by life?

Gauri G

Death Sentence for Santosh Kumar Singh

The news is enough for a lot of emotional brooding over. A reason to rejoice, even for strangers like me sitting miles away.

Some news spread like wildfire. Some gain momentum slowly. This case, throughout its proceedings, perhaps witnessed a mixture of both the phenomena...

While the aquittal on December 3, 1999 was met with dismay and shock, nothing much ensued immediately. It took time to wake up the citizens of India from their indulging luxuries, their safe coccoons of existence and peep into the system which had gotten stinking rotten.

But wake up, they did. One whisper to another, then muffled discussions, then furious debates, slowly people found a voice whose existence they had forgotten. They shouted, not caring if they were heard or not. Shouted their shouts of frustration. It was necessary to spit out the years of meek tolerance and mute witnessing of injustice...

Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo, or Nitish Katara. On the face of it, these are just three names, of the innumerable number of people who are murdered or raped in India. But they are different because the victims' relatives did not give up. These cases have managed to wake up a nation and compel it to seek justice.

I want to pay tribute to the families of all the three deceased above. Had it not been for their committment, had it not been for their perseverance, their sorrow which they resolved to turn to their strength, I would not have been able to see today the Judiciary bending down to a public outrage. I would not have seen the retrial. I would not have gotten elated hearing the news. I would not have been touched.

I have learnt one of the most important lessons of my life through Priyadarshini's father. If you want something, you don't get it merely by wishing it. You'll have to slog for it and be prepared to stumble upon all the unseen, but almost certain obstacles on the way. But most importantly, if you want something dearly and are certain it's right, the most conscientious thing to do is to go ahead and try.

It's a moving paragraph when Atticus tells Jem and Scout in 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' :

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

It is because of such courage of Chaman Lal Mattoo that we can manage to see a brighter side of the judiciary.

Gauri Gharpure

Life or Death for Santosh Kumar Singh...October 30 The Red Letter Day...

It's October 29, 2006. It's a stale, redundant, selfexplanatory lead.
But I repeat: it's October 29, 2006. So what...

I'll tell you what.

A family somewhere is huddled up in anxiety. Remnants of sorrow are mingled with flakes of hope. They would love to be optimistic. But they might have learned to fear the feeling. Being optimistic is risky these days. It can also be devastating. It was, on December 3, 1999, when Santosh Kumar Singh, a rape and murder accused was acquitted. The conscience of a nation was rocked.

The Priyadarshini Mattoo case might have limped up to the courtroom, fought a galant battle and finally glimpsed at justice. From December 3, 1999 to October 17, 2006. That's the journey of justice. A haggard, effortsome, unrelenting journey.

There's a strange anticipation in me when I write this blog. I fear this anticipation, for I hate not getting the anticipated. I anticipate, with all my willforce, that Santosh Kumar Singh is ordered to be hung to death.

I assume that the reader knows about the case. Priyadarshini Mattoo was raped and murdered on January 23, 1996 in New Delhi. Evidences pointed to Santosh Kumar Singh, but these were smothered by power and influence. Period. The Delhi high Court, on October 17, 2006 pronounced him guilty of murder and rape, and is expected to read out the sentence on October 30.

I have a few questions to ask.

Have you wondered how Santosh Kumar Singh managed to go on to become a practising lawyer? (Who were the people who trusted him with their cases)

How did he manage to get married? (!!!)

How his friends had the gumption to rough up the media after the October 17, 2006 conviction?

Having pondered over the above questions, it seems there are a large majority of people to whom 'right' or 'wrong' and 'conscience' do not exist. And the rest, perhaps a minority, have to be preprared to struggle against this gamut of negativity.

When such attitude and arrogance survives in our country, I cannot dare to call it a 'civilised' nation or attempt to bask in an illusion of security. We, as a people, are in an urgent need to be more sensitive. Sensitive to corruption, senstive to rapes, murders, political scams and all the innumerable news which we assume unaccountable and irrevocable. Sensitive, because the bad things in life are not always benign.

Cynicism has, sadly, become a fashion statement for many. People may not be satisfied by 'one' such stray verdict against powerful and rich accused. They are granted their intellectual brooding over.

October 30, 2006, for one, might prove instrumental to fuel up strength in some more weak, haggard bodies to stirr up another long battle, just to get a glimpse of justice. The battle has begun...

Gauri V. Gharpure

Monday, October 16, 2006

Food for thought

All my spurts of impulse and misbehaviour at home would invariably be followed by a shrill scream from Aaji, "You'll get to know what living is all about when you go live in a hostel".
Infact, there are a lot of things which teach you about living, but let's not get that personal.
I eventually did leave home.

It's different to be shouted at home, called names and be scolded to the bones. You are nestled in security and protection in spite of all that. It's different when you get to a new city, start hunting for places where you can get a decent meal two times a day.

When I came to Pune, I initially devoured the idea of eating outside. I humoured myself with my fascination as long as I could. But one day I realised I was missing home. And aaji's cooking. In time, I discovered there was a decent 'mess' just in the lane behind.

As I climbed the wooden stairs, each floor showed a different kind of lifestyle. On the ground floor, inside the building entrance, there was a modest courtyard, and a tulsi plant right in the middle. On the first floor was a well furnished house, with expensive tiling, a spacious kitchen with most modern gadgets and visibly well-off people stayed there.
Then I reached my to be 'food place'.

To the right of the stairs, was a small passage, 10 ft by 4ft by my vague estimations. A small wooden bench was accomodated to the left of the passage. The kitchen where kaku (aunty or an elderly lady, as called in Maharashtra) sat, eternally rolling chappatis was, to put it most generously, another 10 ft. by 4ft.

But in this area, also imagine a cooking platform, a gas stove, cooking utensils, a small TV space, 4-5 large steel vessels full of the days vegetables, rice and dal, besides a small single gas stove on which kaku cooked chappatis. And why forget- the two to three girls eating their lunch in this space? Life accomodates everyone...

The first day I ate there, a strange feeling enveloped me. I could faintly hear my aaji's screams, "When you go and live in a hostel, you will learn what living is all about".

I paid Rs. 15 per meal. A meal which was cooked with hygiene, precision and most of all, affection. At Rs. 15 per meal, I ate two chappatis, a generous serving of rice and dal.

My meal meant business to kaku in more ways than one. Each day, her work would start early in the morning, perhaps 4 or 5 AM. I always saw her with the rolling pin and the dough, skillfully going about one chappati after the other. She had to visit the doctor when she couldnt sustain the backpains any longer. As kaka, her husband, who helped her side by side in the kitchen, cutting vegetables and serving us, fondly put it one day, "Your kaku doesn't get up for 2-3 hours once she sits for making the chappatis". And then other day, he told me, as if divulging a great personal moment, "Your kaku's home is just 5 minutes away from this place, but since marriage, she has not once gone away leaving the business to me. She has stood by my side all along."

Half a dozen sparrows always hopped up to us while we were eating. One was rather brave. She came right to the stove and picked small balls of dough from kaku's hands.

I met honest people who made a living out of cooking. They didn't use bad cooking oil, the dal was not water-thin, plain salt and turmeric like I experienced in a friend's tiffin. The rice was not full of stones which crackled thru the teeth. In the chutneys she made, out of beetroots, guavas, sesame or mango, we got glimpses of kaku's culinary mastery. And on sundays, she lovingly treats us with sweets.
Rs. 15 a plate...

I used to buy shoes and clothes and earrings and what not. And spend without thought, to hear once again, "When you begin living on your own, you'll know the importance of money".

I still buy what I like, but I have started giving more thought on my expenditure than before. The efforts people have to put in to earn whatever little they do are much more than can be imagined. And yet, they don't grumble. In their contentment and simplicity, I find new meanings of humility.

- Gauri Gharpure

Monday, October 09, 2006

How temples should be

The place where I stay in Pune fits perfectly into my imagination of what a hostel should be like. It's a huge bungalow, with such utilisation of space that we have as many rooms as could be built in, a large veranda and a spacious courtyard. Girls have enough places to talk in peace on their cell phones thus...

Just as I step out of the comfortable recluse, I find myself on a narrow, busy street. By general observation, most streets that are narrow buzz with unusal activity...Merely ten steps of walk leads to an unassuming little gate on the left. From this gate, one can see a small black stone ox sitting patiently on a concrete block. An elementary garden of sorts is formed by a few rows of plants neatly maintianed in the little space available.

A frail old man sits on a plastic chair near the entrance. He is dressed in khaki, and wears a calm expression. Ocassionaly he rubs off the drops of sweat from his bald head. His eyes are deep and soft and bore right through the believers with a mix gentleness and aloofness. On hot afternoons when I return to the hostel, I peek inside the temple to see the old man sleeping on a sheet in the courtyard. In the mornings and evenings, he sweeps the floor clean. Around nine at night, he usually checks if everything is in place, perhaps puts the broom to use again and gets out of the temple. I don't know where he goes, but each morning he is right back.

The temple from the inside, is spic and span. There are two large bells, and a small raised platform where diced sugar is kept in a bowl, covered with net. This is the daily prasad, simple and sweet, literally! On either sides of the entrance inside, two clean mattresses are placed. A mirror is arranged at a perfect angle, that I can see the Shivling from far behind.

In visiting this temple, I feel like paying tribute to an old man's conviction in his job. His slow movements never alter the state of the temple. Everytime I have entered this temple, it is just as clean and quiet as before. His behaviour is so dutiful, so disciplined, that he personifies worship in itself. He is not a priest, no sir! God bless the trustees who decided to keep him there. His gentle demeanour is much more spiritual, than the fanatic pandas I encountered in Pushkar, near Ajmer and many other 'famous', 'jagrut' temples..

There are never queues lined up at this temple though. Like the ones at the Camp Hanuman in Shahibaug, Ahmedabad, or at the Dakshineshwar temple near Kolkata. Does that mean that the black stone which is carved out in this temple is 'less Godly' than the others I mentioned before.

I was angry at myself for standing in a long queue at the Dakshineshwar temple, When, finally when my turn came to 'pray' after about half an hour of standing in a long line, the priest inside the temple matter of factly asked what I had to offer. When I said 'nothing', he gave a loud expression of disapproval and hurried me to exit. My father persisted and he thrust a few flowers and two pieces of sweet in his hand. Three priests were 'maintaining' the queue by hurrying devotees to back off as soon as they stepped in front. I don't need flowers, fruits and mithai and money to please my God. Thank you.

What drives people to such random belief in God. Why do people walk miles, eat the offerings which might have turned sour from heat and drink water which is more than guaranteed to be impure, as a sign of devotion? Why smear the kumkum, which is chemical to the core and can spark of an allergic reaction with ease? The reason my bafflement multiplies ten fold is that most often, most people do this by choice.

We all need somekind of external, inexplicible and supposedly higher source of referance to look up to at one time or the other. We conveniently label this abstract idea as God, go on to complicate it further and further, in the form of different manifestations, rituals, scriptures, idols and omens.

What started as a source of positive energy perhaps becomes a form of bondage without our realisation. Not all bondages are bad. Life, in itself would be meaningless if we were loners, not bonding with our surroundings, people and ideas. But when those ideas and actions hinder your intuition and impulse, become a morbid compulsion and an aimless destination, the soul rebels.

My soul, to cut things precise, something in me always rebels when I see large queues of people lined up at temples. I love the temple opposite my hostel. It gives me time to be with myself. This is how temples should be.

-Gauri Gharpure

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Obituary- Ustaad Bismillah Khan

It was a special day in June 2003. Ustaad Bismillah Khan was to play the Shehnai at the annual SPICMACAY concert in IIT-Bombay that evening. We were awaiting his arrival in the green room. We ran about to ensure we had enough bottles of Mangola (chilled) and enough packets of Good day biscuits. Ustaad Bismillah Khan loved this treat, we were told.

We were anxious and nervous. Was the room clean enough? Was the mangola cold enough? Were the biscuits soggy from the stuffy Mumbai humidity? Were there enough chairs? We were rushing about double; triple checking whatever arrangements we could have done to make the old and empty room comfortable.

And then, there was a hush. Suddenly activity stalled. Being brought in a wheelchair was the Ustaad himself. We were shooed away as were most others. Only his core people remained around, till he was safely shifted onto a chair. His dislike and discomfort to be seen on a wheelchair was obvious.

He began sipping on the Mangola and ate a biscuit or two. He was not chatting with many. Seeing our job done, we left to find ourselves good seats in the open air auditorium. It was the first time I had heard him live. And the last.

In the middle of the concert, he suddenly got angry. He shouted at the audience for being inattentive. He thundered he would play just for fifteen minutes for the sake of Mr. Singh who had called him there. We were stunned. Some were meekly looking down, like you do when Grandpa catches you unawares. And then he began playing. He played for almost another one and a half hour.

The next day, Mr. Singh and Pooja were to meet the Ustaad at the hotel he was staying. I requested if I could go too. The request soon turned to begging. She allowed me to accompany.

Ustaad Bismillah Khan. I sat mesmerised, sitting near his feet, almost gaping at the legend. A quaint object hung from his right ear. His two front teeth which peeked out from a gap made his smile all the more endearing. The gleam in his eyes added to his mesmerising aura. It could change from being naughty, angry, sad or blunt with alarming ease.

He was in a mood to talk. And as we heard him begin his passionate diction, we found ourselves getting emotional for no fathomable reasons. On a random note, he began narrating incidents from his childhood.

‘When I was a child, I saw an old man. His skin was a shimmering like bronze. He was roasting vegetables. All kinds of vegetables. It was very hot and flies were buzzing all around. I was getting irritated. But you know what I saw? None of the flies could sit on the old man’s back. They attempted indeed, but simply slipped off his back. I went to him and asked the reason and he simply smiled…’

He too simply smiled when he didn’t want to answer some questions. Interviews were definitely not on his mind. He cracked witty jokes, made wise observations and his voice became emotional when he talked about the Ganga. After over half an hour, he started to wind up the rendezvous, ‘I have one thing to ask of you all. You all pray, don’t you? When you pray next, don’t forget to tell Him, ‘Bismillah jo chaahta hai, use de dena’

Hope admist grief- eye donation...

“Our son Atharva now recognises his toys. He constantly tries to see with his right eye which was operated for corneal transplant this February,” says Ganesh Deshpande , (30) his father.

Atharva is a year and eight months old. His parents got to know about his poor eyesight when he was three months old. He could not see much beyond five feet. They registered him as a recipient for an eye donation at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, soon after.

Dr. Sangeeta Wagh, opthalmologist and medical director of International Eye Bank of India, Ruby Hall Clinic cooperated to inform about more eye donation cases. Each patient is operated on one eye. Thus, two persons benefit from a single donation.

Priyanka Phalke (9) can now see without difficulty. “Her eyes did not look abnormal. But she could hardly see distant things. We felt more difficulties when she started going to school. After the transplant in May 2003, things are much better,” says her father Dilip Phalke, (40). After being treated on the right eye in August 2003 in Paranjpe Netra Pedhi, Mukund Kulkarni (72), now spreads the word about eye donation himself.

Jagdish Taksale, (41) a clerk in a cooperative bank recalls: “Earlier, everything appeared foggy. My eyes strained in sunlight and it was impossible to work. Being the only earning member, it was very hard”. His left eye was operated in February 2001 and the right eye in May 2005 in Ruby Hall. “I work now and there is almost 80% improvement in my vision”, he says.

Some people who take decision amidst immense grief, enable many such patients to be treated. Like Umakant Phulzele, (29) who consented to donate his elder brother’s eyes in December 2005. Ravikant Pulzele was thirty-two when he died of a severe heart attack, leaving behind a young wife and three-year-old daughter. Umakant says, “I felt when his body was going to meet the soil anyway, atleast one part of him would stay alive and benefit someone,”

Shivroopraje Nimbalkar (38) lost his mother Sudeshnaraje (62), in January 2006. He consented for eye donation after a counsellor in Ruby Hall approached the family barely few minutes after her death. “I heard some children required a corneal transplant. Thinking of the noble cause, it hardly took us five minutes to decide”, he says.

Initially some relatives expressed discomfort but Nimbalkar says: “For the first time eye donation was done in our family and we are certain it was a right decision. Many appreciate the act now. In spite of personal grief, eye donation should be implemented”.

Trained counsellors motivate relatives to allow eye donation under the Hospital Cornea Retrieval Programme in Ruby Hall. “This has increased donations. We also get corneal tissue in good state which can increase the success rate of transplants,” informs Chaitrali Inamdar, coordinator of the eye bank.

Dr. Medha Paranjpe of Paranjpe Netra Pedhi, says friends and relatives should gently suggest eye donation as it may not occur to the immediate family due to grief. They should not feel awkward about suggesting it. “It’s unfortunate that sometimes, even well educated individuals downright reject the idea. The final decision lies with family members, who often fail to act swiftly,” she says. If such incidences are avoided, many more can benefit.

Some important things to remember:

1) Gently suggest the possibility of eye donation to a relative who is calm and poised
2) Inform your family doctor or contact Red Cross, any reputable eye donation centre
3) Switch off the fan in the room or, if advised by healthcare professionals, cover the closed eyes with a clean cloth soaked in water
4) The entire procedure takes less than half an hour once the team of doctors arrive
5) The identity of recipients or the donors is not revealed.
6) Age is immaterial, eyes of infants as well as the aged can be donated

Gauri Gharpure

First things first

So what is all this craze about blogging all about?

The other day, my friend was advocating blogs and he sure had some logical ideas to support his fascination with the world of blogging...

The brief discussion-with him camping for blogging and I unclear, rather skeptical about the entire concept, led to some brainstorming in my already stormed up (read confused) mind...
The way people put up their day to day happenings for all to see, by all i mean the entire anonymous, rather dualistic e-community is something difficult for a closed person like me to digest.

But then, on second thoughts, two simple words came to my mind... 'Why not?!!!'
I write scores of things from the bottom of my heart and would be genuinely satisfied to see some delicate matters closely read, understood by people.

Yes, the anonymous, sometimes dualistic people (by dualistic, i mean people who hold forth dual personas, thanks to the anonymity net offers) and often hypocritic net users as my readers...

I refuse to take the elaborate 'hiiiiiis' and helooooos' from net- to suddenly be a part of a large circle, when i know in truth, only a handful will stand beside me if something happens god forbid. But still, i shall attempt to write. Write what is close to me, and write what i think matters to me and all those dear to me.

Why? You are bound to ask- given my skepticism about the e-community...

Because the e-community, i believe, with all its dualistic and hypocritic behaviour, has brought to surface with total transparency what we as humans are. When someone swears on net, he's venting out his anger, all bottled up in a long frustrating day. When a person fakes a warm greeting on email, he's allowing a natural social streak to take charge...

When people read, they feel. And i would be pleased if a few selected feelings are read and felt.

In this blog, i intend to put on some articles and short stories which were held up ( and still are!) on the busy desks of TOI and some other publications...

'There's no space', 'too many ads came up', 'you know, this is too serious', 'our readership is a different class', 'can't you add some glamour to your story'...

Good bye to all the above...

I look forward to comments and discussions on the material posted.


Gauri Gharpure Chatterjee