Posts Tagged ‘meeting’

A most unusual young man….Rajdhani Express encounter, 131214

December 15, 2014

I always meet the most interesting people on train journeys (another reason why I prefer them to quick-yet-painful plane journeys in India.)

I got talking to three young men who were travelling up to Kazipet; they were working for Punjab National Bank and were on their way to a small town in Andhra to conduct training programs for other bank employees there. They would, they said, be continuously posted from town to town, when their final place of posting would be decided.

As I chatted, one of the young men, Ashwini Jha,

ashwin jha rjdhni 131214

talked more about himself, and I learnt some astounding facts.

He was extremely interested in electronics and was excellent at his studies.
At 11, inspired by the biography of the Ashok Chakra winner late Lt.Puneet Dutt of 11, Gorkha Rifles, developed an interest in firearms.
At the age of 12, developed ankylosing spondylosis…and was confined to bed for 4 incredibly pain-ridden years.
At 16, the family had to sell their property to enable him to have an Aortic Valve replacement surgery in Delhi, as the heart had been badly damaged by the disease (which still does not have a cure.)

In his own words, from a document he emailed me.

I am quoting:

“Why anyone die due to lack of a rupee for medicine when the other one spending Rs.10 or more on his onetime smoking?
Now to get rid of these all problem became the purpose of life for the boy. He determined hat e will serve the humanity and will change the scenario. He believed that if even a street dog is doing something for the society by eating roadside litter than why can`t an individual can do something for the betterment of society. He began searching the solution of these all problems and got that in the typical Indian way of living if a single person has the employment it can change the life of at least five other ones, means a single employment can address at least five persons problems (food, cloth, shelter, health and education) and with the good education those dependent five can address the problems of other 25 in the long run in the form of their own family, means few employments and a school can revolutionaries the life of hundreds of people….”

A lot of books that he read motivated him and “to know more about poverty, money, economy and finance” he took a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

He took up a job, but “in November 2012 he went through Hip Joint Replacement in which he faced serious troubles due to Pre – Cardiac problems”.

He took up a job again and quit in July 2013.

Once again, he studied for competitive exams and landed his (present)nationalized bank job. His thoughts are very different; instead of the usual elation, here are his words:

“Parents satisfied, the colony envious and villagers` proud….hahahaha…What a pity with India..a 30K p.a. job decides an individual’s worth,character and everything
else 😦 sad…his zeal ,concepts and dreams worth nothing but 30k!”

And now, this courageous, adventurous person says, “Now comparatively with good health …modern medical science ..hell pricious medicines,yoga..vipassana and physiotherapy is doing good with mind body and soul…Lets` see what next!”

Here is what he dreams in poetic form:

Dream Great

Ideas are not born in streets,

But they arise in your mind.

What they only need is the great dream

And a daring attitude

Now when the world badly needs heroes,

What are you looking for…

Come on dream great, do hard

And if you have the fire in your heart

Snatch the stars from the sky




Each person I meet on a journey is a story, but some stories are more amazing than others…I hope everyone is inspired by Ashwini Jha’s!

Eco-volunteers’ Meet, ThoughtWorks, Koramangala, Bangalore, 120414

April 12, 2014

The first meeting of Eco-volunteers (those who took the Volunteer Training Program, or VTP), was held at ThoughtWorks, Koramangala, Bangalore, on 120414.

It was as if Ganesha, the Elephant God, had waited in the foyer with a gesture of benison!


Raju KV took up the job of co-ordinating the meet, and conducting it:


Over 40 people turned up, showing their interest in volunteering for wildlife conservation:




Raju welcomed the gathering, and while the two Prasahanths set up their video presentation,


N C Mohan talked about patches of fragmented forest, which needed even more protection than areas designated as National Parks. He showed slides of patches of forest which were deliberately set on fire, patches where he found snares, and tried to take action against these on his own.

This was followed by Prashanth Nageshappa and Prashanth Nayaka talking about the film they made on Bhadra, titled, “Unsung”. They also showed a short about how it was made, and there was a discussion about how this documentary, made entirely by their private funds and effort, could be made into a meaningful tool, while facing possible legal implications about its being a corporate-owned film or a documentary under a creative commons licence.

Raju KV then presented a slide show, called “Guarding the Guardians”. This was about hygiene and health issues amongst the Forest Department personnel, and how the team of doctors tackled them. The plan is to spread this to the rest of the Forest Department, with sustained monitoring of health check-ups. Funds were appealed for, for this initiative. The doctor team talked of how some Forest Guards missed out because of lack of communication.

Nutan then made a presetation, “Saving the Last Wild Tigers of India”. This, rather than the usual feel-good images, gave the audience some striking and disturbing images of the kind of snares that poachers use, and tigers caught in them. A lively discussion ensued, about snares.

Meanwhile, I photographed some coins minted to help in the cause:


Sarath then spoke. He stressed the value of patience and slow and steady learning, in the field of wildlife volunteering. He enumerated the several communications he’d received from various Forest Department officials, regarding volunteering help that they need with various census activities. He stressed that things have to be done with the co-operation of Forest Department personnel…especially the RFO.


He touched on the fact that the VTP members were already 220 strong, and that they need to put their skill sets on record so that these could be utilized when needed. He proposed that various core groups be formed to take care of various areas, such as health of Forest Department personnel, awareness-raising, camera trapping, pilgrim management in forest areas, education, and post-rehabilitation monitoring. Brinda Suresh would be co-ordinating these core groups.

He announced a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) meet on the 30th of April, 2014, at the Marriott, to get the corporates involved in funding wildlife conservation and volunteering activities.

He also announced the next VTP, which will be held at Kudremukh, from the 18th to the 24th of May. All members present were asked to spread the word.

The gathering also resolved to meet once in three months, and the next meet scheduled for June 14th, 2014.

Here’s a short video of the gathering:

Raju then closed the meeting with a vote of thanks, starting with Sumeet Moghe, who had kindly made the ThoughtWorks premises available for the meet, and for providing refreshments, too. (Some of us need a 101 on operating the coffee machine!) The meet was generally felt to have been a very productive one, and many of the members continued their exchange of views for a while after the meet.


March 13, 2014

The children have arrived, not too well, but we managed to take them to our monthly family quiz meet.

Here they are, swinging away with :


He then took all of us in his car:


On the way, we stopped for a cup of coffee, and this caught my eye:


Here’s one question from the quiz..can you get the answer?


The food at the quiz was awesome:


KTB and The Booda bore up very well:


DS tucked in, too:


I’ll write about QuizFamilies, one of these days…I joined the group in 1992, and it’s still going strong!

Love is all around

February 11, 2014

Here are the words:

Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around Lyrics
Send “Love Is All Around” Ringtone to your Cell
Songwriters: PRESLEY, REG
I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
Love is all around me
And so the feeling grows

It’s written on the wind
It’s everywhere I go,
So if you really love me
Come on and let it show

You know I love you, I always will
My mind’s made up by the
Way that I feel
There’s no beginning,
There’ll be no end
’cause on my love you can depend

I see your face before me
As I lay on my bed
I kinda get to thinking
Of all the things you said, oh yes I did
You gave your promise to me and I
Gave mine to you
I need someone beside me
In everything I do,

You know I love you, I always will,
My mind’s made up by the
Way that I feel
There’s no beginning,
There’ll be no end
’cause on my love you can depend

Got to keep it moving

Oh It’s written in the wind
Oh everywhere I go, yeah, oh well
So if you really love me, love me, love me
Come on and let it show
Come on and let it show
Come on and let it
Come on and let it (come and let it show, baby)
Come on, come on, come on let it show baby
Come on and let it show
Come on and let it show, baby
Come on and let it showv

Train of thought…

November 14, 2013


A train pulls in (I can’t say, “steams in”, any more!) One journey is over…and another, soon to begin. For a brief while, many unconnected people will share a small space together…some of them will strike up conversations, others will remain blissfully unaware of how may others are travelling with them.

Several agencies swing into action; the train is cleaned, the engine maintenance done, the catering supplies unloaded and loaded, connections between the carriages checked, and so the long list goes…before the announcement that this train is about to go out, once again, ferrying its load from one city to another….

Meetings happen, partings happen. Someone said that a station is one place where emotions can still be seen in the raw. Happiness, sadness, or even loss as someone discovers a missing wallet, mobile phone, or even luggage….

Trains and stations are bustling places…train travel is still magical to me.


December 15, 2012

I’d posted in Facebook: “There are times…when I wonder whether people do like me..or are just too polite to tell me otherwise!”

To this, one response, from Sharbari Lahiri in Canada, was:”Are you wondering that about your fb friends or life in general?”

So I must make the distinction between friends and “friends”. Friends are those whom I know WELL (I may not yet have met them face-to-face, but they are good friends…when I finally met Carolyn,with whom I’d been friend on LJ for 4 years, it was no different from “e-knowing” her, and we spent so many days together in perfect amity!

“Friends” are those whom I have liked some facet of, or those who have liked some facet of me; we have not yet met, face-to-face, or if we’ve met, the chemistry has not gelled; we don’t mind the occasional meeting, but it’s unlikely to go beyond this.

But there is a third category…when friends become “friends”…I further responded to Sharbari: ” “I was thinking of life in general…when feelings of liking wane, as interests diverge…I feel the gap and wonder if the other person feels it too…”

It’s sometimes difficult, especially if meetings are perforce not regular, to know if friends are turning into “friends”…and one does not like to ask, in case they are still friends and are hurt by the query…

I am a person who values friendships highly, and do not consider any friendship worth giving up. Most of the friendships that have cooled in my life are due the cooling on the other side.

Just a few random thoughts, that’s all! I love my friends, and they are the greatest treasure of my life, and the source of a lot of my energy.

A question, a poem and a song…

January 4, 2012

Our entire family (excluding us in India, of course) got together over New Year, and had a skiing holiday ( as I posted


KTB went “kating” but no diaper-wearers got on the ski slopes!) Regarding the skiing, ‘s friend Uday asked:

“I can’t understand what the attraction to skiiing is. Outside my zone completely. 1) it is *expensive* , 2) it is risky from many angles*, 3) the act is always justified. How much does convention & norm have to do with this justification? ”

In response to this, SIG penned a poem, and this reply:

“She is winter.
Whispering white.
Clear air. Silent peaks. Crispness.
A primal hug with Mother Earth
As I carve around her.
No asphalt, concrete trucks
No manufacturing lines of Japanese workers building automobiles.
Just me, the mountains, and
Extensions to my body.

“Active and passive,
Breezy melody on the way up
The ski lift sways over tree tips
The snow dances with the wind
And rhythm down the hill
Down, turn, carve, up,
down, turn carve up
A smooth music and easy flow
The soft white soil below
Responds like skin to the touch of a finger
Loving you back.

“Warm body on a cold day
Apres ski pervades the collective soul
Red noses share a glass
And the adrenalin of the slopes.
Soaking the marvel of Mother Earth
Enveloped in warm water
Bubbling upwards under sparkling stars
Fire and ice
Warm glow and rising smoke
Families cackle around games
A milky moon in the inky sky
Caresses me as I give myself up
Every reason to do it all again
The next morning.

“Convention comes from love and emotion Uday. And somehow we all are willing to pay more for more natural things right – organic tomatos, volcano vacations, and a balance of creature comforts with primitive explorations. Mother Nature challenges us with her forces, all of which present risks. Arguably, to enjoy her, you have to pick up the gauntlet that she throws.”

But meanwhile a what-could-have-been-very nasty accident happened to her, as a snowboarder rammed into her, and she was taken to the emergency room after losing her memory for a brief while. (Apart from a sore head and some neck pain, she’s OK now.)

So, my niece Monica (who, with her husband Ashwin Datt, hosted 17 of them at Minden, Nevada, where they live) said,

“In response to your lovely poem, I respond with a song…

“(To the tune of “Grandma got run over by a reindeer”)

“Anjana got run over by a snow-boarder,
Skiing at Heavenly New Years Eve,
She may not believe in helmets,
But as for the Datt family, we believe.

“She was wearing an owl hat
To protect her head from cold,
But she forgot that a helmet
will protect her head from getting rolled.

“After Anjana was all wrapped up,
All protected in her sled,
Her husband Derek did the right thing,
And lectured the boy instead of hitting him in the head.

“Anjana got run over by a snow-boarder,
Skiing at Heavenly New Years Eve,
She may not believe in helmets,
But as for the Datt family, we believe.

“After some x-rays and a CT scan
We found she has a brain,
Luckily no long-term damage affected it
So the fears of her family were in vain.

“Now that Anjana’s feeling better,
We all hope that we will hear,
That wearing a helmet is better,
Than a few days of headache and ringing in her ears.

“Anjana got run over by a snow-boarder,
Skiing at Heavenly New Years Eve,
She may not believe in helmets,
But as for the Datt family, we believe.”

Lots of talent in our family, and not only for skiing! Here’s everyone, including a cousin-technically-the-brothers’-niece, Krittika, and her family, too (the photo was taken by Krithu’s husband Paddy):

family minden 311211

Only five of us…KM’s elder brother Natarajan and his wife Bhuvana, Narayan’s wife Bhavadharini, and KM and I…are missing.

A birthday..and a sunset…

December 7, 2011

Today, it’s the birthday of a very dear friend….but since she’s in a very high-powered (and therefore busy) job, we met for coffee on Sunday.

L j,km,n, 041211

I’ve never before seen a thorn flanked by two roses 🙂

We decided that she’d cut pizza as well as cake!

L j ctg pza 041211

But before we did that, I caught the sinking sun…

L snst lndscp 041211

Lower it went…

L sunset sml 041211

Bahind the palm fronds!

L sunset bg 041211

Here’s wishing Jayashree a very happy birthday, with health and happiness!

Some eminent birders of Bangalore

November 24, 2011

On the 6th of November,2011, I was privileged to be at a gathering of some of eminent birdwatchers of Bangalore. The gracious host was none other than the doyen of birdwatching in Bangalore,

Zafar Futehally

who has been instrumental in popularizing birding as a hobby in our city; ironically, the hobbby seems to be catching on in ever-increasing numbers as the number of species of birds in the City’s shrinking parks and vanishing lakes are steadily decreasing.

Here’s Zafar Sahib, whose long years of service to ornithology cannot be understated:

S Zafar blr clb 061111

Several other eminent ornithologists and scientists, all of whom share a passion for birding, had gathered there.

A special visitor was

Aasheesh Pittie from Hyderabad.

Er…. the Wiki entry is in Finnish!….the rather funny Google translation is, “Aasheesh Pittie (b. 1961) is an Indian ornithologist.Pittie has completed a BA in economics from the University of Osmanian Hyderabad . His life work he has done, however, bird science. He has published several scientific articles on the Indian and South Asian bird life. He has been provided by various ornithological journals, and is one of Indian Birds journal suppliers. She has received many honors.” Let’s forget the mixture of pronouns, he’s founded many ornithological journals and is the founder of

India Birds

S Asheesh blr clb 061111

I also wanted to get a picture of J N Prasad, Dr M B Krishna, and Dr S Subramanya:

prsd mbk subbu blr clb 061111

This photo also has Praveen J, and L Shyamal….Shyamal is the most prolific contributor to Wikipaedia on natural history in India.

prvn shyml subbu mbk blr clb 061111

All of us got together for a group photo to mark a memorable occasion.

grp photo blr clb 061111

An august gathering, indeed, even though it was held in November! Health, and a span of 93 years on the planet, does not permit Zafar Sahib to be as physically active as before, but he follows the emails on the birding groups in our country, and abroad, quite keenly. We are lucky, indeed, to have ornithologists of his stature amongst us in our city.