November Musings

When I started this blog, a friend said that statistics proved that most people gave up writing after a few posts. The reason was that they were discouraged by the luke warm response to their blogs and were, therefore, discouraged. I told him, that, I intended to write regularly and was not going to give up even if I did not receive any response. But it seems that my friend was right afterall! This post comes after a long hiatus. Actually, for some time after my last post, I was caught up in various professional matters. Later, when I  was relatively free, ennui and the sheer tedium of writing had overcome the desire to write. But, here I am again, after casting all self doubts aside. Hope I would not give up again.

I read somewhere that history was a nightmare from which people were constantly trying to awaken. How true! The way history is taught in our schools, it is one of the most boring subjects for many students. Frankly, I hardly remember what little history I was taught in the school. And I think I am not alone. Jawahar Lal Nehru, who wrote the most interesting books on history-Discovery of India and Glimpses of World History-  said that he “came late to history” as he did not learn much of it while at school. The same is true for most of us as we find history an endless succession of dates and dynasties only. It was perhaps this realization that made Nehru take up the writing of his books on history which became so popular the world over. The other books on Indian history that I have enjoyed reading are “The Wonder That Was India” by Basham and Rizvi. Actually, these are two books-Part I by Basham and II by Rizvi.

Thinking of Nehru, much as many people would like to debunk his politics, it has to be said that no other Indian politician, then or since then, except Gandhi, had written so extensively on such a variety of subjects. His felicity with the English language was wonderful and he had such a simple and lucid style which touched the hearts of his readers. How many politicians can you think of who had such breadth of vision and who expressed themselves so copiously and expressively?

November 14th was his birthday which is celebrated as children’s day in India. But gradually, it seems to be out of favour for when we were children, it was celebrated on a much wider and grander scale in schools. Apart from some token events, it seems to have been forgotten entirely. And it is no wonder because we have other more important issues to debate than infant mortality, malnutrition, female foeticide,illiteracy, problems of street children and the like! In fact, these and other children related issues hardly ever become the focus of our attention, even at election times, when all political parties are at their best in inculding as many issues as possible in their manifestoes.

It is late November and winter seems to have set in the North. The days have become shorter and it gets dark by 6 pm. Migratory birds have started arriving for their winter sojourn in the ponds and lakes of North India. We have roses blooming and the winter annuals are eagerly awaited. It is the season of weddings too. Marriage halls and other venues are bedecked like the brides themselves and marriage processions can be encountered on roads with the groom astride the white mare. Now a days these processions or baraats as they are called do not evoke the same interest as in earlier days. A baraat used to be an event calculated to show off. The more the merrier used to be the mantra then. Brass bands, shehnai, chariots, elephants, fireworks-all were employed to impress the bride’s people in particular and every one else in general. In fact, a baraat coming down the street with the band playing popular bollywood tunes used to be an occasion for the neighbourhood to come out on their balconies to watch the extragavanza. Now many grooms refuse to sit astride mares and lead a procession of drunk relatives jiving uncontrollably through the streets. But times are changing and we must change with them.

Soon we will be in the grip of cold wave and await Santa with his sackful of goodies. So long then.

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