Vani’s Musings

Archive for the ‘People’ Category

I write this with a heavy heart……….I am unable to stop the tears from streaming down my face, but I have to do it to come to terms with my loss.

Person with the greatest will power I have ever come across, A born fighter, a dynamic personality, his amazing memory, his love for travel, his enthusiasm…… who was able to be a 3 year old with a 3 year old, a 30 year old with a 30 year old and 60 year old with one of that age……………

How can I describe this dear uncle of mine? He was all of this and much more that I cannot find words………

His never-say-die attitude was his biggest strength……anyone speaking to him would never get an inkling of the deadly disease he battled…..he never ever once cribbed that he was suffering, I never heard him pity himself that he was unwell……

Each time I went to his house, the first thing I would do after saying hi was to run to his room, dig under his pillow to find his diary…………it was my source of news from the time of my previous visit ……… was just not a record of his day to day activities…… would be filled with snippets of philosophy, jokes, and anything he found out of the ordinary…………

I found that diary today, lying orphaned, without its owner…….the last entry in that diary is on the 1st of September 2009………I was tempted for a moment this morning to scream “maama, why havent u updated your diary?” and then suddenly I peeped out and saw his mortal remains lying in the hall, and realised that that diary would never ever be updated again………..

He just left us suddenly and went away to his maker…… leaving us with a huge void and memories to last for ever…..

I will  miss you, N Maama, rest in peace.


During my journeys by BMTC each day, the usual practice I follow is to plug the radio on in my phone and surf the sundry radio channels. It’s a surefire medicine for the boredom endured on journeys that are usually made long and tiresome because of traffic snarls.


Most of the time I am successful in finding a frequency that plays my kind of music and settle down with it.


But sometimes, the same songs are played on two or more stations, and the jarring notes get on my nerves and I switch off the radio. It is moments like these that give me ample opportunity to observe the sea of humanity around me.


And one of several such occasions is when I noticed the different variety of bangles worn by women surrounding me. An old song talking of bangles that was playing on the radio in the bus triggered it off.


It’s really amazing to note that at least 99% of the women would be wearing bangles. Rare are exceptions like me who keep hands unadorned.


I find different sorts of bangles on each hand………. Bangles of different shapes and sizes, different colors and different textures. By observing the bangles, one can get a fair idea about the women, however their clothes may blend with the others.


The college girls wear plastic bangles and wide metal bracelets, in myriad shapes. The workingwomen’s wrists are adorned with a couple of glass or metal bangles, usually matching their outfit.


I did a bit of research on the different sorts of bangles and came to this result………..


The most common type of bangles: Glass (usually red or green in color)

I find a lot of newly wed women wearing black glass bangles too.

Lac Bangles: Usually the college set’s choice…. what one may call “chunky jewelry”. Very fragile, and need delicate handling.


Metal Bangles: Worn in dozens…I’ve seen and know women who own a dozen metal bangles in all the color outfits they possess.


Gold Bangles: Adorn mostly slightly middle-aged wrists…not that youngsters do not wear gold bangles, but more commonly seen in the elder set.


 Wiki  says, “Normally, a bangle as worn by people around the world is simply an inflexible piece of jewelry worn around the wrist. However, in many cultures, especially in the Arabian Peninsula and in South Asia, bangles have evolved into various types in which different ones are used at different occasions.”


I wonder what the significance of wearing bangles is…is it purely an ornamental feature? Or is it some sort of tradition?  Whatever, they look good on the hands they are worn, and the sound of the bangles is one of the most melodious sounds ever produced.


PS: Most of my seniors and lady co-workers keep harping that I have to wear bangles….can anyone please give me a logical reason why I mustn’t leave my wrists unadorned?

One of my colleagues, P is taking an examination which requires her to study Julius Ceasar.

Last evening, P and I were doing an analysis of the various characters of the play, and we came to Marc Anthony.

I think his speech at Ceasar’s funeral describes him best.

It was also one of the pieces we had to learn at our school elocution competitions.

Here it is, just for memory’s sake.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with Caesar … The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it …
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,
(For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all; all honourable men)
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral …
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man….
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Brings back all the memories of school days, when we had to mug up this bit, and recite it atleast two dozen times to our English teachers, who would then painstakingly correct the pronounciations, the waxing and waning of the words, the pauses and the continuations.

A Masterpiece is the least I can describe the speech as.

No, I am not speaking of the gifts we exchange during weddings and other events. I want to focus on the importance of communication skills, which play a vital role in interactive forums like trainings, conferences, lectures and their ilk.

 Most of us in our professional life would have come across trainings at least once. I am witness now to one such training program which makes me laugh and cry because of the very poor communication skills of our trainer. 

 We have grown to believe that a teacher is like God, but unfortunately, many teachers, or people in associated industry have really underdeveloped communication skills. They would be masters in their chosen field, but because they cannot communicate well, lose out on reaching their audiences.

 My trainer himself, is equipped with nearly half a dozen degrees, but is extremely bad at speaking grammatically correct English. And he claims to train employees at reputed organizations. I am sure there would be hundreds of nit pickers like me who would concentrate more on his faults and miss out on the vital aspects of what he would want us to understand. Why do this? And it is pretty important to lose your native accent. Why give a clue of which part of the country you belong to by way of speaking English as though you were speaking your native tongue?  Why don’t people give the language the respect it deserves by using it a little more sensitively? 

In the global scenario, it is very important for a person to be as much comfortable with soft skills, as their technical expertise. We cannot present ourselves as a nation that is only technically good but very poor in communication. And I don’t think it is such an uphill task either. After all, English is the language we use to communicate with most part of the world. 

 I feel very guilty that I only find fault, but that’s what catches my attention. And by way of good communication skills, I don’t suggest the use of heavy complicated words in our day to day conversation either. All I feel is they must try to be grammatically correct and ensure that at their age, they must not make silly spelling errors, because their word would be taken very seriously and people would use the same spellings and same language in future when they would be asked to, And then, if there were to be someone pointing out this error, it would reflect very poorly on the trainer. 

My point is this. If you are or want to be a faculty or trainer or just about anyone who is part of an interactive forum, please, please brush up your communication skills and if need be, attend a couple of English speaking classes to hone your talent. It would be of great help in making your audience understand what you want to convey, in a much better manner. 

 It is very similar to serving good food in an unclean vessel. However tasty the food may be, our eyes would warn us not to eat it. Even the simplest dish is made tasty by presenting it in a good manner. 

 How many of you share my feeling or think otherwise? A penny for your thoughts.  

A long hiatus……Its time I made up my mind to write something. So here goes. 

I have to endure a long journey to work, coupled with traffic jams and bottlenecks (of course, which working Bangalorean does not endure that?).

Boring bus journeys can be very lively if one were to keep their eyes and ears open to their surroundings. 

In the mornings, I generally hear the same dialog “Ayyo….the traffic in Bangalore…..” this is mostly from the people who work for Private Establishments, and of course, our dear BMTC drivers. I now sympathize with most of the drivers for their patience in driving bus loads of people to their destinations.

There is another segment, that of ………. ahem …….. ahem………. Govt Servants, who spend most of the travel time discussing CLs, ELs, DA, GPF etc….then the bunch of School and College Students….this is mostly a giggly lot who isn’t very much bothered about being late or so. I think they are the ones who enjoy journeys most. Then the immigrant workers who come from the Northern states, haggling with the conductor for change.

 In the evenings, it is the same mixture of people, but the topics generally range from the day’s work to the evening cooking to the movie they watched in the weekend to the rising cost of living.  

There is a separate group of people, who are tight lipped and have a sort of “Touch me not” attitude. They look as though they have forgotten how to smile and the world rests on their slender shoulders. They keep aloof and snap at others at the slightest inconvenience. 

Many enjoy a much needed power nap and I envy those lucky souls who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. 

Then there are people who aren’t everyday travelers. Their discussion, if women, is usually about mother-in-law problems, children’s school or the latest soap on TV etc. The men usually keep aloof. I haven’t come across two men, complete strangers to each other strike a conversation. That art comes easily to us lady folk.  

Then there is me. I usually do not talk much, but once there is a familiar face, the ball starts rolling. Another habit of mine is to read all the sign boards and hoardings thoroughly. I like to find spelling mistakes and grammar errors in them, and I have a hearty laugh thinking of them whenever I recollect them. For instance, there is this sign board of some quack doctor who has pitched a tent near one of the signals I have to cross each day. I will try to give a verbatim account of the sign board displayed. 


Each morning, I read this and wonder what Red and Yellow may mean, and does Sugar and Diabetess mean two different illnesses? And what exactly do people with “Jeans Problem” suffer from?

  I enjoy my journeys and feel that they are the best time for people to observe their fellow beings, and a chance to connect back to themselves. My journeys also give me a fresh insight into my city. Each day is a new discovery, though the route and destination is the same.  

I know most of you travel to work by your vehicles, but would love to hear from you, your experiences. Do let me know.

It is very common for people to have pet names and nick names. We all would be very familiar with names like sweety, munni, pinky, chintu, bablu etc.  (some of these pet names are literally those; “pet names”, You can find many naming their pet Pomeranians in the above names). 

We also find that most names that are more than 2 characters long are shortened to a more phonetically easy version…for ex, Madhusudan becomes Madhu, Parimala becomes Pammi, Pankaja becomes Panku, Srinivas becomes Seena and so forth. And this is not just an Indian phenomenon, in the West too, you get to see such shortened names, like Patrick becomes Pat, Jennifer becomes Jenny, Richard becomes Dick, Robert becomes Bob, William becomes Bill….and the list goes on.

 I get ample opportunity to read some really funny nicknames, which are used as aliases by a section of society.

 Here are a few samples. The name Manjunath alone, I have noticed, I guess has the highest number of “Prefixes” attached. I happen to read names like “Manjunath alias —“ the – can be filled up with any or all of the following aliases.

           Blade Manja

          Kathri Manja

          Razor Manja

          Deck Manja

          Don Manja

          Stone Manja

          KoLi Manja

           Anil Kumar alias Idli 

          Srinivasa alias Bhootha Seena

           Kumar alias Pambu 

          Sethu alias Phenyl 

          Raja alias Bikla

           Soma alias Kukka 

The first time I came across these names, I was literally rolling on the floor with laughter but now it is a matter of routine. But I still find it funny and at the same time sad to see some nice names being distorted like this. Most of the people with these nicknames are proud to be identified like this; it gives them a sense of importance. 

We have been so very influenced by these names that almost all of us have a nickname of our own. Now, if someone were to come searching for me, they would have a tough time finding me without my nickname.  

How many of you have some names like this? Let me know. 

Signing off now,  Ta. 

My friend G and I were talking about different facets of human emotions and behavior last evening when he suddenly remembered this poem we studied in Primary School. We studied this poem may be in 5th or 6th Standard, and probably even forgot about its significance, but come to see, it has so much to tell us about life in itself.

The Poet has used the mountain and the squirrel effectively in conveying how much one overestimates himself and how one need not feel intimidated about his or her physical appearance or success measures in life. 

The mountain and the squirrel

Had a quarrel,

And the former called the latter“Little prig.”

Bun replied,“You are doubtless very big;

But all sorts of things and weather

Must be taken in togetherTo make up a year

And a sphere.

And I think it no disgrace

To occupy my place.

If I’m not so large as you,

You are not so small as I,

And not half so spry:

I’ll not deny you make

A very pretty squirrel track

Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;

If I cannot carry forests on my back,

Neither can you crack a nut.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Thanks G for reminding me of this wonderful poem.