If you can read this, thank a teacher.

Ah, but who is not a teacher?

The title is a quote I read some years ago, and while there are many a thoughtful tribute written for teachers, many beautiful, heart-warming tales, shared, from history and the present, the profoundness of it struck me, and it has stayed with me since.

Every teachers’ day, my thoughts go out, to the countless people who’ve been a part of my life, and unknowingly or unknowingly, have left me with a lesson. Who do I thank on this day? My parents, for being so strong, for me, with me? The people who taught me to see real from fake? The teachers in my school, who painstaking brought each one of us up? My friends, and acquaintances, my critics who brought the best (and worst) out in me? The TV series, strangers, the strays? While there were many teachers we loathed for their methods and their strictness, they have, inarguably been the best ones, in retrospect.

There were many educators who tried to fit us in a mould, but the ones whose faces I see are those who put in their everything, their best, to help us become good people. I recall from school Raksha teacher from KG class, one of the earliest ones to believe in me, to the unpopular ones in junior and undergraduate college. Not to forget the ones who taught me a fourth language, including my rickshaw-uncle and friends. There have been many, many influences, and it is near impossible to recollect all of them here. To them, I’ve but 2 words to say – THANK YOU.

Also deserving of a special mention are the visionary people who rubbed off a little of their wanderlust onto me! 🙂 But for them, I’d never have discovered newer worlds, the dreams would be a little less adventurous.

But I’m especially grateful, to those who taught me how to learn, how to receive. I’m glad they still make people like them.

I’m in complete awe of a different set of teachers I’ve the fortune to work with this year – special educators. Ah, their patience. Their patience, compassion, empathy, and skill, are worth revering them for, and from what I observe on field, each day is a new challenge – which they happily accept and work around.

Teachers are not only people. The ability to edify, lies in all things animate and inanimate, one of the best Gurus is Nature itself.

Sthaavaram Jangamam Vyaaptam
Yatkinchit Sacharaa Charam
TatPadam Darshitam Yena
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha. 

(That Guru who can enlighten us about the all pervading consciousness present in all the three world or states (of Jaagrath, Swapna and Sushupti … activity, dream and deep sleep state), I salute such a Guru.)


Rain Rain Go Away?

For all the native Mumbaikars, as well as for those who’ve been staying here awhile, there is nothing new about the rains holding Mumbai to ransom. It’s a usual occurrence, year after year, rains coming in late, lashing out in all its fury, causing havoc. Mumbai’s lifeline – the Mumbai locals, come to a standstill at the first glimpses of what goes on to become a heavy outpour.

We are used to it now. We romanticise it, even. Along with all the cluck-clucking of tongues lamenting the poor civic structure, we do enjoy having to stay at home from work owing to the heavy rains. The season of kanda-bhajji, and chai by the window, indeed.

While there are a lot of us who are currently enjoying being in the cosy interiors of our homes, my thoughts stray to those who aren’t that lucky. A deeper thought to it brings up the question of whether the said ‘unlucky ones’ ‘choose’ to be that way –  by way of not offering resistance to what life has given them. I speak about the hundreds of people in Mumbai who stay in makeshift homes – in temporary houses floating in the debris, or under tents made of tarpaulin, held up by bamboo. Or worse, in boxes under bridges at railway stations – a friend once mentioned a particular family-of-seven who live like that at Bhandup station. 5 kids, no income, and an addition every year, I wonder how they get by. They’d barely have enough to feed all the hungry mouths even on a sunny day…

Just yesterday, as I was getting down at my station while coming back home, I saw a male child, barely 2 years old, laughing away in delight – a happy, gurgling sound that believed in the security of the present. Eyes sparkling, he played with his sibling covered in nothing but a tattered shirt as his beggar mother gossiped her time away with another lady. To the child, the world was perfect – an unknown amazement that held many promises. How I wish we could give that dream to every child in our society.

On a bleak, dreary rainy day, the laughter echoes in my ears.

Morning! :)

It has been a beautiful start to the day. The sun kissed tree tops reflect off the shimmering green on to a sky that’s so blue that your eyes will hurt, with a few scattered tufts of white. The slanting sun rays touch softly and playfully upon the tops of the buildings making them look magical. The peaks of the nearby hills stand out in vivid contrast to the blue sky and the thin mist. Where the sun is, there are supporting elements of purple and pink skies… The whole atmosphere seems mystical, those once-in-a-rare-while kind of moods. Nature has welcomed monsoon. Time for us to do so


My first ‘meet’ with transgenders after passing of India’s transgenders equality bill was at a nondescript station called Tilati, where my train made an unscheduled halt en route to Bengaluru. What i have generally observed about eunuchs is that they tend to be a happy bunch, inspite of the problems they face. This group I met, was no different 🙂

When they saw me, camera in hand, at the door of the train, their faces lit up like an excited kid’s. “Arre, humara bhi photo kheencho na!” (“Hey, click our picture too!”), they chirped. The said request fulfilled, they went their way, beaming.

I think this is how memories are made.

What the bill would mean for transgenders, whether they would finally get their rightful place in our society, how long it will take, i do not know. Till then, I say let us just treat them with compassion (and not pity or disgust) and share with them their smile. Say what?