Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good read

This is what I have heard my Baba rant a thousand times over. Sara has put her angst against a certain (consumer driven?) lifestyle being propagated heavily through films in words that are powerful and straightforward. I am completely bowled over by this rare piece of frank, logical writing. Take time out to read what she has written.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Those who take the polio campaign forward

Amitabh Bachchan may be the face of the polio campaign, but it is the toil of thousands of common men and women that takes the fight forward. They have a gargantuan task before them: to eradicate polio from the India and for this, they keep no stone unturned.

Most of these health workers are engaged in fulltime activities, but whenever the polio campaign is announced, they take time off to volunteer. They are paid only Rs 50 per day for a shift from 9 am to 4 pm but this paltry sum does not affect their dedication.

Tapati Saha (56), the deputy chief municipal health officer, said of the 6,803 health workers involved in the polio programme, more than 4,000 are volunteers. They get Rs 225 for five days on an honorarium basis.

Sumana Nag (24) teaches swimming at the Southern Avenue Swimming club from 6 am to 9 am, but asks her employees to adjust for the five days of a polio programme. “I feel I am doing a noble deed by giving my time. I first volunteered when my cousin Ankita Dey (18) could not attend due to her exams,” she said from ward number 82 booth at the Gariahat mod. Ankita still volunteers at the Lake Girl’s High School booth in spite of her oncoming HS exams.

Arati Das (42) comes all the way from Kasba to Gariahat to volunteer. A housewife, she considers being a part of the polio campaign as ‘a small contribution to society’. In fact, Arati’s sister-in-law Shelly Das (37) also volunteers at the Chittaranjan High School booth in Kasba. “Ours is a big joint family, so whenever we volunteer, someone always manages the cooking and housework,” Arati said.

Rajiv Bhattacharya (36) is an electrician but volunteers for the house to house polio campaign in Tangra, ward no 59. “A team of two covers about 126 homes in a day. If a child is sleeping or is away, we go back again after sometime. When some parents appear reluctant, we try to convince them our vaccine and training is just as good. Volunteers are given an intensive training each time before the campaign,” he said.

Sandhya Bhattacharya (54) is one of the six supervisors of the Intensive Pulse Polio Immunization (IPPI) plan of ward no 59. After being associated with health work for the last 22 years, all she gets today is about Rs 2000 per month. “The pay is extremely less. We have been hearing it may increase since long. I am happy though, as I started off only with Rs. 200 per month,” she said.

“We feel that the compensation for these volunteers is very less in comparison to their efforts and the importance of the work. However, this pay scale has been fixed by the Centre so it is up to it to increase. It would definitely give a boost to health work if the pay is increased,” said Tapati.



This article got bunked for it was felt that people volunteering for such a measly sum is not a big deal. For people are in need of money anyways and will take up any job that gives assured money. Besides, the success of the polio campaign has come under scanner recently for various reasons-- like the type of vaccine used, the technical expertise of the volunteers. Both points agreed to.

But with an emotional attachment to the legwork and information that I gathered, I find no reason to not put it here. For something is being done, and something need be thus written to acknowledge it.

From what I gathered from talks with volunteers and the deputy chief municipal officer, is that all the volunteers are given training sessions before each campaign and provided with insulated ice-boxes so that the vaccine remains safe. Whatever may be the doubts or cynicism, here's a government motivated movement that is regularly carried out on a massive scale. As I said in the article before, at least 4,000 people work for as less as 225/- for five days to keep campaign going. The least that the Centre can do is to fix decent scales so that more people, who want money and are prepared to slog for it, get a worthy platform to do their bit.

-Gauri Gharpure

Thursday, December 25, 2008


This one's from Nino's mom...

It goes to Phish

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pass it on...

My first blog award comes from The Indian Homemaker.

Peace is a very strong and responsibility laden word. Thanks!

I would like to pass on the appreciation to

To a youthful brigade who have their own way with words (and music) that I don't quite understand. But their zeal to see things their way and their urge to express is what is the key to any process, including peace...

They are Sudhanshu, Darshan , Kaushik

To the Bum, who surprises me most of the times with his simple, down to earth thoughts

And to Void, who's presumably quite idle now and you never know, he could rake up some movement to make a huge difference :) if he stops being midly idle, i.e.

To Hans and the team who work ceaselessly each day to put up news of what's happening all over the globe.

To Baruk who gets angry, sad and frustrated about all that seems wrong and has an amazingly sharp eye to support, promote the causes he deems fit through his blog...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A much-used maroon sweater

Santa, who?

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial on
Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps. The matter follows.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measure by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

This post was sent by Pinto sir. Many thanks for sharing it...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kind attention

Gauri Gharpure asserts her copyright over all the drawings and matter published on her blogs, unless otherwise referenced. Understandably, she discourages the use of these in any other media. In case you feel you want to make use of any of the written and/or drawn matter published on her blogs, you must reach her by email for prior permission.

Author retains the copyright of all matter and drawings posted on this blog. Click logo to know more about the Copyright Act

Respect Originality

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Whipping up a bittersweet story

What makes us alive in the physical sense of the word. And, what makes one dead.

Think about the dead. They were there, all fine and healthy and suddenly, in one moment the transgression happened. They became still and cold. Loved ones then became a body that must be immediately disposed.

Here's my theory:

We live as long as we are bodily connected with the surroundings. Each breath we take is an alien mix of life-matter being pumped in. Imagine how much of the environment have we actually devoured to be alive for 20 or 30 or 80 years? Your life is the aggragate of your interactions with your surrounding. Once you stop breathing, that connection is lost, and so, you are 'dead.' I thought of the human body as a cocoon that shelters us from the disappointments of the outside world. Till this thought breezed by. Since then, living has got a strange, better perspective.

I owe my life to a million and more interactions with my surroundings, to strangers who came close enough in crowds for me to share their life-breath, to dogs who greedily lapped up my face and even to rogues who molested me in jam-packed buses. Everyone, however sweet or crude he/she may be, has made a contribution. Made me happy or sad, better or worse, but pushed me ahead by the way of experience. I am grateful.

Like this road I pass by everyday, it breathes into me. From the comfort of my car, I have slowly come to know all the urchins and madmen who line both sides of that street. A cycle cart is always parked on the left side, close to the dargah and half a dozen children play about. The other day, an absolutely bald girl, must be four at max, had fallen in the cart face down. She was flapping her feet frantically up in the air. Her hands were in a desperate position to keep her from tumbling down. She was screaming and crying and whipping up the most humourous frenzy I had seen in days. All beggers, tea sellers and betel nut sellers seemed to stop for a moment to have a good laugh. My car went a little ahead and I saw that bald girl fleeing the spot and galloping in the traffic with utter relief and disbelief. Someone must have finally thought to help the naughty child.

Then there's the old mad woman. I see her anywhere from one end of the street to the other. But wherever I see her, whenever I see her, she is busy counting something in the air. Without a break, without a moment's rest, her hand is always up, her lips always muttering something. Standing up, or sitting down, she has to count. I wonder how tired she may be at the end of the day, after such a ceaseless exercise. Just as I was wondering the first day I saw her what I could do to 'help', a street urchin walked to her, pressed a few coins in her hands and left. A few days later, her head was clean-shaven. She was oblivious and still counting, and still scratching her bald out of old habit. Someone had decided to give her a haircut and rid her of the lice. Someone cared.

These people have made a connection, made me feel more alive. When I die, I am sure a few breaths will be accounted to them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good reads on Mumbai attacks

These are some well-thought articles you may take time out to read:

Why they hate Mumbai

- Suketu Mehta

Death Of A Salesman And Other Elite Ironies

- Tarun J. Tejpal

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly? Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination.

-The Moon and Sixpence

W. Somerset Maugham

An interesting tag

An interesting tag. Saw it on Neilina's blog and couldn't resist making my own list... It's too long and takes up lot of my blog space, so may remove in some days. Give it a try, it's fun!


Out of the list, you are supposed to make ‘bold’ the things you have done.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink

02. Swam with dolphins

03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive

05. Been inside the Great Pyramid

06. Held a tarantula

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone

08. Said “I love you” and meant it

09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped

11. Visited Paris

12. Watched a lightning storm at sea

13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

14. Seen the Northern Lights

15. Gone to a huge sports game

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa

17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables

18. Touched an iceberg

19. Slept under the stars

20. Changed a baby’s diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

22. Watched a meteor shower

23. Gotten drunk on champagne

24. Given more than you can afford to charity

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse

29. Asked out a stranger

30. Had a snowball fight

31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse

34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run

36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day

38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment

39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states

41. Taken care of someone who was drunk

42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country

44. Watched whales

45. Stolen a sign

46. Backpacked in Europe

47. Taken a road-trip

48. Gone rock climbing

49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach

50. Gone sky diving

51. Visited Ireland

52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love

53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them

54. Visited Japan

55. Milked a cow

56. Alphabetized your CDs

57. Pretended to be a superhero

58. Sung karaoke

59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football

61. Gone scuba diving

62. Kissed in the rain

63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theatre

66. Visited the Great Wall of China

67. Started a business

68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken

69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight

72. Gotten married

73. Been in a movie

74. Crashed a party

75. Gotten divorced

76. Gone without food for 5 days

77. Made cookies from scratch

78. Won first prize in a costume contest

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice

80. Gotten a tattoo

81. Rafted the Snake River

82. Been on a television news program as an “expert”

83. Gotten flowers for no reason

84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas

86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark

88. Kissed on the first date

89. Gone to Thailand

90. Bought a house

91. Been in a combat zone

92. Buried one/both of your parents

93. Been on a cruise ship

94. Spoken more than one language fluently

95. Performed in Rocky Horror

96. Raised children

97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour

98. Passed out cold

99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country

100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open

103. Had plastic surgery

104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived

105. Wrote articles for a large publication

106. Lost over 100 pounds

107. Held someone while they were having a flashback

108. Piloted an airplane

109. Touched a stingray

110. Broken someone’s heart

111. Helped an animal give birth

112. Won money on a TV game show

113. Broken a bone

114. Gone on an African photo safari

115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears

116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol

117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild

118. Ridden a horse

119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet

121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period

123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States

124. Visited all 7 continents

125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days

126. Eaten kangaroo meat

127. Eaten sushi

128. Had your picture in the newspaper

129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about

130. Gone back to school

131. Parasailed

132. Touched a cockroach

133. Eaten fried green tomatoes

134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey

135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

137. Skipped all your school reunions

138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language

139. Been elected to public office

140. Written your own computer language

141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream

142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care

143. Built your own PC from parts

144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair

146. Dyed your hair

147. Been a DJ

148. Shaved your head

149. Caused a car accident

150. Saved someone’s life