Friday, October 29, 2010

Would you do away with your watch?

An interesting news item caught my eye when I was reading my daily dose of news. The headlines read "Wristwatch may be the next casualty" and according to the article, a study has found that more and more people are preferring to rely on newer technology like mobile phones and computers to keep track of appointments, meetings and even to keep track of time. A watch, if used at all, is more for its brand value and designer aspect than for seeing the time. Hence, the study concluded that over a period of time the wrist watches are likely to become obsolete.

Reading that made me reminiscence about my student days. I remember during our time and even during my mom's time, HMT was the most prestigious Indian brand of watch. So if one had an HMT watch, one would wear it with great pride. Watches were quite expensive by our standards in those days and we children had to be "eligible" to wear one. It was almost considered as a  family heirloom. My mom used to tell us that her father bought one for her when she was in tenth grade and it was also standard at that time that it should be passed on to her daughters when they reached important milestone like getting into the tenth grade. We almost waited for that moment and when my elder sister got my mom's watch as a gift I was more than eager to get into tenth grade just so that I could also become the proud owner of a watch!! 

Well the day came and that day was a very special day and with great pride, I got to wear my mom's beautiful HMT watch (of course my sister got one of her own watch). Owning one's own watch also signified that we were now mature enough to take care of expensive items. I must say the tradition passed on till my youngest sister got it. Just imagine the watch ticked for all those years and years. True to its name, HMT stood by us as the time keepers of the nation.

And therefore, it was sad to read this article predicting the demise of the watch. Definitely the times have changed and are changing faster than I like.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A memorable trip

The lotus shaped Matrimandir
Holidays are something that one looks forward to. And if the holidays have a travel component to them, then what more could one ask for? Just getting away from the normal routine for sometime gives one that boost of energy to get back to it once again. Also it had been quite sometime since we had last been to any new place and during this Dussehra vacation, we decided on a trip to Pondicherry on the spur of  the moment . I wanted to visit Pondi as I had heard so much about it. As we all know, it is the place from where Sri Aurobindo pursued his spiritual journey. Apart from Aurobindo Ashram, there is also Auroville a place conceptualised and built under the supervision of Mother a devotee of Sri Aurobindo. I was excited to just to be able to visit these places.

Amidst lush green surroundings
Aurobindo Ashram I should say has a very serene and old world charm. The well maintained gardens and Shri Aurobindo's samadhi is the highlight here. In Auroville the highlight is the Matrimandir. This is in the shape of a full bloomed lotus and looks majestic amidst the lush green surroundings. This is where people can come and meditate in peace. However the condition is that only people who sincerely wish to do meditation can gain entry and to do this one needs to book well in advance. Much as I wished to, time constraint and an advance booking of three days made it impossible for me to do this. I felt probably this would be the reason for me to go back once again for the sole purpose of meditation.

Wonderful morning hues from the Sky, the Sun and the Sea
The best part that we all enjoyed was the early morning excursions that we made, to walk by the sea side and watch the sun rise. As many poets have described, watching sun rise for the first time or the nth number of time has the same fascinating and  wondrous effect every single time. Each time you see it, you find indescribable hues in the sky. No painter can paint this glorious scene and no writer can effectively describe the  exact feelings when the dawn breaks. I feel each one of us is affected in different ways and the serenity that one feels goes deep down. That is the time I guess one feels closer to the divine being.

The good thing was our hotel did not have a T.V. Initially I could see children were shocked and disappointed complaining how could they not have a T.V. I felt that these things have become such an integral part of their life, that  it is very hard for them to visualise life without it. But we explained that what are holidays meant for if we do not take a break from all those things that we do in our otherwise routine life?

Our early morning sojourns had a very calming effect on the children and I could see them feeling much more relaxed and peaceful. I wished then life would become so much more meaningful and we could realise our true self when one lives in surroundings where great souls lived. Maybe a day will come when one is done with all the responsibilities and that day would be the day when one can live and try and learn the true meaning of life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

No work and all play

It's that time of the year when parents all around are going around with tense looks. More than household chore or office work as may be the case they look more stressed out. Reason it's exam time and it is just the mid term exam that I am talking about.

Parents have become like those old gramophones which sometimes get stuck at one place and repeat the same lines. I can hear myself repeating the moment I spot the shadow of my children and I go "What are you guys doing here, go up and study. Don't waste time" and when I turn, I find the children have long disappeared. It is more of a hide and seek game where most of the time they hide and I try to seek them.

The moment I open my mouth both the kids say "mamma, please don't give us lectures" and there I am left having to hold back all that I was trying to succinctly put in as few words as possible the importance of doing well in the exams without it seeming to be a lecture. Well all my skills of articulating my thoughts are left hanging high and dry.

However when it comes to computer time and T.V time they are as precise as a stopwatch and appear from nowhere. Suddenly I find them comfortably ensconced on the sofa or on the chair playing games or watching a football match. Such is their focus and concentration on the games or the match going on, it is hard to get any response from them even when they are spoken to.

That leaves me wishing if only that was their exam syllabus. My imagination runs wild for a moment where I feel if their History chapters deal with the origins, dates and matches played in the history of football, geography could deal with locations and teams from where the football players come from, science and technology could be easily dealt with the kind of equipments that the footballers use which are manufactured using the body type of Messi, Ronaldo, Torres and so on and so forth, Physics could deal with the dynamics of motion and energy study of each and every footballer's unique style, then I am sure they would get perfect scores. Imagine the bliss, parents would never then have to worry about exams any more. Life would have been totally tension free. I am then suddenly transported back to the land of reality.

I have found that playtime is also something which cannot be sacrificed at any cost. The moment it is 4.30 I can hear the door slamming and the next minute I can hear whoops of joy and the sound of football game being in progress. Their argument is they need break from studies. When I point out to them that they have hardly spent half an hour of their study time what with breaks for drinking water, juice or munching on savouries in between they close the argument by saying probably I do not know how to read the clock!!

Finally there I am making resolution that henceforth I will not give lengthy lectures or get stuck repeating the done to death lines over and over. Well somehow the moment exam times are round the corner it will be the same all over again.....