Showing posts from August, 2011

Ek Shaam Shammi Ke Naam

Every childhood hero takes away a little bit of one's life along with him when he dies. In the India of the 1950s and 1960s, when Indians were just learning to enjoy freedom, Shamsher Raj Kapoor or Shammi Kapoor, as he was more popularly known, became the most obvious symbol of freedom. Nearly forty years after his iconic movie "Junglee" released, it is easy to be dismissive about that yell which rose from the belly, filled the throat and then knocked your head off: "Yaaaahoooo!" It was the roar of liberation from the silly boredom of convention.
Shammi Kapoor entered the Hindi film industry when Dilip Kumar was still going strong and Rajendra Kumar was bowing out of the race for the best actor. Shammi Kapoor, who came as a breath of fresh air and became India's first youth icon with his sea-blue eyes, chocolate boys and a man with a colourful personality and an amazing sense of rhythm and dance. In a very boisterous way, Shammi Kapoor encouraged the youth …

The Guru Principle

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The Guru tattva is the principal and the wisdom of a Guru is a tattva (an element), a quality which is present inside each one of us. The Guru tattva is confined to a body or form. There is a story that Lord Krishna once Uddhava, his close friend and a very wise man, to the gopis and gopans, who were full of devotion. Uddhava went to give them wisdom, to talk about liberation but none of them was interested in listening to that. They all echoed: "No, tell us about some story about Krishna, tell us what is happening in Dwarka, where He is. We don't want to hear this wisdom; you can keep that to yourself. But tell us what news you have of Krishna? We don't care about wisdom; we are happy with longing and we are happy with love. So, let us sing and dance."

That's all they wanted to do. This is how love makes you crazy. That's when all the boundaries drop and you feel one with everyone around and one with the whole universe--and that's ca…

JRD: A Class Apart

Sudha Murthy

There are two photographs that hang on my office wall. Everyday, when I entered my office I look at them before starting my day. They are JRD Tata and Jamsetji Tata.

It was a long time ago when I was young, bright, bold and idealistic. I was in the final year of my Master's course in Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) in Bangalore, then known as the Tata Institute. Life was full of fun and joy. I did not know what helplessness or injustice meant.

It was probably the April of 1974. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department. I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from universities in the US. I had not thought of taking up a job in India. One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors). It stated that th…

Dhobi Ghat

The Dhobi Ghat is a unique feature of Mumbai. It is situated near Mahalaxmi station near the Saat Rasta roundabout. It can be easily seen from the bridge of Mahalaxmi station.

Dhobi Ghat is where chaos, colour, activity and sounds mix together in a freakish blend. The name "Dhobi" refers to a person who is specialized in washing clothes and a "Ghat" is the name of the place where they wash clothes and hence "Dhobi Ghat".

The Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai has row upon row concrete wash pens, each of them fitted with a concrete flogging stone. There are nearly 700 washing platforms, each of them being nearly a century old. It is currently the world's largest open laundromat. In most cases, the ancestors took up the occupation of washing clothes evolving over time, who are bound by rules of endogamy. For some dhobis who wash clothes here, it runs down as their family business.

A dhobi is traditionally a laundryman who collects dirty clothes, wash it and return it ne…