Vani’s Musings

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It had been another usual hectic day at work.  I happened to finish early thanks to the help of my colleagues who couldn’t bear to hear me sniffling because of the cold I had caught.


As I got off the bus, I remembered the second hand book shop just behind the bus stop and so I went there to pick up a couple of titles at a good price.


Where reading is concerned, I have different moods; depending on my mood, I pick up titles. Today I was in the mood for reading a mushy romance and so I deliberately went to the M & B section and picked a couple of titles.


Just as I was about to pay, my eyes fell on a couple of Enid Blyton Famous Five series. Without a moment’s hesitation I picked both the books and at some corner of my mind I was very happy that I could get those books. I got a couple of strange looks from others at the shop but I chose to ignore them.


I loved those books when I was a kid and they had this magical quality of transporting me into a different world altogether. It was like those kids were ideal children and had all the qualities one could possibly want but did not have.


Is it necessary that we stop reading such books as we get old? I’d like to hear from u guys.


My colleagues and I had to attend a wedding reception last evening, and the venue was opposite a famous park in Bangalore.


Since we were earlier than the wedding party itself, we decided to spend time in the park. We made use of the opportunity to explore the park and went inside hoping to get some fresh air and exercise our jaded minds and work weary bodies. It was more than what we bargained for, and we enjoyed a stroll in the park, and also found that there were a couple of swings, and so had a royal time on the swing and one of my colleagues also played the roundabout.


It had been ages since we had had so much fun, and the whole trip unloaded us of all the stress baggage we had been carrying for the past week, what with severe pressure at work.


B had been a teacher before he switched jobs remembered this poem “The Rainbow” by William Wordsworth and said that the visit unleashed the child in him.


So here it is for memory’s sake.


The Rainbow


My heart leaps up when I behold
A Rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the man;
And I wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.


William Wordsworth

So this is another post I felt I simply had to share with my readers. I had a host of issues to write about, and had also finalized on a couple of topics, and was drafting them, when I happened to watch this program on TV, which made me stop all other things, and write about it. 

This is some local channel, whose specialty is Astrological Programs. Yesterday I was watching one such program on numerology. Now I have watched this program several times earlier. It goes something like this. 

The program begins with the compere, in this case, the astrologer/numerologist taking up one issue for discussion.

 He speaks of this issue for the first half hour of the program, the remaining 30 mins is spent taking calls from various people about their problems and how he thinks some Pooja can solve them and changing their names or whatever. 

The show on last Friday focused on the Supernatural. He spent some time analyzing why people become ghosts, and then he moved on to the classification of ghosts, yes, you read it right, classifying ghosts into several categories. Okay, now the classifications.

  • Devva
  • Bhoota
  • Pishaachi
  • ShaakiNi
  • DhaaKiNi
  • Mohini
  • Kutti Chaataan

 The first three of the list belong to the male species of ghosts; any man, who dies prematurely, i.e., without completing his complete life cycle, turns into a ghost. This may be death because of an incurable illness, murder or accidents. I don’t know why he took the trouble of making three separate classifications.

Harm Rating on 1-5 (1 signifying least and 5 signifying maximum) – 3

  Now the interesting part.The next three on the list belong to the female species of ghosts. I will take some time to define and explain each variety. 

  • ShaakiNi – This variety comprises of all those married women who die prematurely, because of dowry harassment or some accident or some other mishap.

         Harm Rating  – 3.5

  • DhaaKini – This variety comprises of all those women who die untimely deaths because of protracted illnesses , married or unmarried notwithstanding.

          Harm Rating – 3.0

  • Mohini – This is the most dangerous variety; All women who suffer a “love failure” and commit suicide or are murdered, become ghosts of this category. The Astro-Numerologist was emphatic about warning the unsuspecting viewers about them. He repeated this more than 5 times during the episode- this was the most dangerous category of ghosts.

          Harm Rating – 5.5 

  • Kutti Chaataan – These are child ghosts. They are the least harmless, and are pranksters.

         Harm Rating – 2.0

 Then he spoke of “Love Failure” and said that people who are born on 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, 27th & 30th are bound to be unsuccessful in love and he recommends breaking up if the boy or girl or both are born in these doomed dates. He also asked men to be wary of girlfriends born in these dates and warned them never to antagonize their girls, lest they commit suicide and haunt them for several births to come. 

Summing up, he said that before having an affair, it is better to check the prospective partner’s date of birth and then proceed. Does not matter if he / she is having other dreadful diseases. The main idea is that the girl should not die and become a Mohini and haunt the poor chap.

 So, all you guys and girls in love out there, beware…..   

“Aishwarya and Abhishek get engaged”

 This was the headline in most newspapers yesterday.

At the risk of sounding cynical, does our media not have anything else of importance to project as “headlines”?

 Why is it that these people are not treated like common janta of the country?

Maybe even in countries still ruled by monarchy, such issues do not make headlines.

As they say, “It happens only in India”.

Was chatting with my friend BRU today, and we were discussing what we could do if we decided to retire today.

Few of the options that came up were:

– Open a Library
– Join a Gardening Course
– Grow our own vegetables
– Learn Tailoring (Can’t sew a button!)
– Learn Ikebana
– Learn a martial art like judo or karate
– Take a holiday in Egypt
– Visit the Sahara Desert
– Take a River Rafting Course
– Climb the Steep Rock face of YaaNa in Karwar
– Go for a trek in the Himalayas
– See the Sunrise and Sunset on Indira Point, the tip of India

Many more on the list, but guess by the time I get round to completing this, I will be in my second incarnation.

‘I come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee
I’m going to Louisiana,
My true love for to see

It rained all night
The day I left
The weather it was dry
The sun so hot,
I froze to death
Susanna, don’t you cry

Oh, Susanna,
Oh don’t you cry for me
For I come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee

I had a dream the other night
When everything was still
I thought I saw Susanna
A-coming down the hill

The buckwheat cake
Was in her mouth
The tear was
In her eye
Says I, I’m coming from the south
Susanna, don’t you cry

Oh, Susanna,
Oh don’t you cry for me
For I come from Alabama

With my banjo on my knee”

 I was passing by a school this afternoon on my post lunch stroll.I heard the music teacher teaching the little kids this song.  Immediately I went back to my school days.   We had a grand old piano in school, which was kept in the auditorium. My music teacher, MS JP, who was the most weirdly, dressed person we knew, came on a two-wheeler called “Suvega” every Wednesday. We used to have music classes every Wednesday in the last hour, and this was one of the many songs we sang. This song was composed in 1847 by Stephen Foster.

If there is anything I have a really hateful feeling about, it is Soap Operas.

Sopa Operas were originally concieved in the west. They were melodramas, meant to entertain the homemakers of the 70s, and were sponsored by soap companies, and hence the name “Soaps”.

 The first Soaps I got to know were in the early 90’s, which came with the advent of Cable TV and Foreign Channels in India. Those days, the “in-thing”was to be updated about what was going on in “The Bold and The Beautiful”, “Dynasty” , “Santa Barbara” etc. I was in high school at the time, and did not understand head or tail of the show, but was conversant with the names of all the characters, and being a teenager, was constantly having a “one-minute crush” on one or the other male character.

If you did not know about these shows, you were unpopular and were literally ostracized because of your ignorance. Such was the hold of these shows.

 But, even today, I fail to fathom the complex relationships the characters share. Suppose there is a family of 4, with Parents, son and daughter-in-law (DIL), for 6 months, son and DIL stay together. Father divorces mother and son divorces wife. Then DIL marries Father in Law. Then they both divorce. Then mother remarries father. Daughter-in-law marries someone else, divorces him and gets back with the son. Then the same cycle repeats. Gosh! Why make life so complicated?

Verncacular Channels did not stay far behind and cooked up their own stories. Since India is still having a few values, people did not dare to copy the story line directly. But they found something better- Mother-In-Law Versus Daughter-In-Law. They wear heavy make-up, decked up in Sarees, loaded with jewellery and are always talking about “Sanskaar”, “Adarsh Naari”, “Maryaada” etc.

 One among these is a evil lady, conspicous by garroulous make-up, different mannerisms and a scheming evil smile.She enters the family with the sole aim of putting the others on the streets. And each  soap is based on a “Super Rich” family, where people only speak of 500 crores or 600 crores and nothing less.

Worse, these soaps run for more than 10 years, with more than 5000 episodes. According to the story, each person must be having a lifespan of not less than 200 years, and though the characters are quite old, the people portraying them look 35 or 40 at the most. 

And they run almost 24 hours. Worse still, some channels have started airing reruns of their soaps.

Can not the discerning viewer do without them? Lets hope that in 2007 at least, restrict the entry of new soaps and end atleast a couple of the old ones.