Monday, 19 December 2016

Just School Stuff.

"Recess" as we used to call breaks in school meant so many things; here are the top 5 highlights from the cooling off periods from my school life!

1. Hogging food

Not from your own lunchbox, from everybody else's and definitely in an uncivilised way! The usual drill was to finish off your own food during the initial periods slyly and attack others in the recess- worked like a charm. If there was something good in your meal, there would be a mini-stampede approaching you!

2. The canteen

Our school's canteen was famous for its 'iconic' samosa-sambar. It's been a long time since passing out and it's a craving to go back and have that dish one more time. Then there was the hotdog/burger guy everybody stole from. (:P)

3. Games

Chor-police, cricket with a pad and a ball made of a stone & handkerchief, pakda-pakdi, hand cricket, arm wrestling and PEN FIGHT! (I miss this one a lot!). The pens were weaponized with extra caps and grips. As much as it sounds silly now, it was a serious affair back then!

Pic only for demonstration

4. Terrorism in the washrooms

One of my locality friends was denied the possibility of admission in my school after his father had walked into the washroom and witnessed the graffiti by our in-house artists heaping praise on the teachers. Firecrackers, 'Wanted' posters of the faculty etc all kinds of things have happened!

5. Slogans

This was just plain crazy. The cries for an half day at the smallest cue of rainfall- 'halfdayyy halfday-Lday' or 'D D D D D D D'Assissi boys....Francis boys are ...!' for no reason whatsoever still reverberates in my mind when I think about school times!

If you know what I mean :D

A blog written by another Franciscan I just came across!

I'm sure I have missed on other stuff, care to comment?

(Batch 2008-09 - We rocked the Lonavala trip, didn't we!)

Friday, 3 June 2016

Library-goers, assemble!

Not everybody can go and do time-pass at a library! Aayyy mean study.. Nevertheless, it’s not every tom, dick & harry’s cup of tea. People can give all kinds of weird reasons for not entering a library. Even your best friends in crime might resist this ONE crime for reasons only they can fathom. The mujhse na ho payega reverberates in all anti-library-goers. Here’s how it actually is to be a member of this elite tribe:-

MIDC Library
 1.         Second Home

The first few days can be awkward, just like any new place. Once you’ve made your mark, fixed your seat (or seats for different seasons!) and spend more time at the library than your actual residence, congrats; you’ve just acquired a second home! Some hardcore personalities can only study in a library and nowhere else. Period.

2.                  Second Family

A family is what separates ‘home’ from a ‘house’. With second home comes a second family. These are the guys whose presence in the library becomes a necessity after a while; warna jug suna suna laage re. These are the guys who will sit far away from you (to not disturb you!) but are the closest to you.

3.            The Librarian

It is that authority which provides security and maintains sanctity of the library. They can talk amongst themselves and put on phones on loud, we would be criminals to do so. “This is a library, not a garden” is what they are taught to say at every Librarian B-Schools. Does that dialogue not have an expiry?! Yeah we know we should be maintaining silence and all but doubts solve karte waqt chalta hain reee.

4.              Breaks

The most silent people inside the library become the loudest outside of it! There are mandatory breaks like lunch time and evening tea. And random hunger-break. And because you are bored-break. And because (s)he is bored-break. And kitna padhega be-break! Here’s the truth - We don’t take breaks to study better, we study so that we can take breaks later!

5.               Veterans

Remember Lucky? Well there is always one in every library. When you start your library journey, (s)he is there. When you finish your curriculum, (s)he is still there! Maybe Lucky’s stars are not favoring him/her. Or another perspective would suggest (s)he is taking up additional courses just to be in the second home with the second family, make peace with the librarian and take breaks! Just saying..    

P.S – There is a lot of under the table smuggling of candies and toffees. The bottle pockets of the bags are the deemed dustbins.

Personally, I get THE most sound sleep in a library. Time just slows down like craaazzyyy! 

Monday, 2 May 2016

A Blue Football Victory!

Blackburn Rovers won the Premier League way back in 1994-95. It was unprecedented and a surprise, no doubt. Nevertheless it happened in an era still devoid of rich owners splurging money to buy talent to win silverware. If Rovers winning the Premier League was huge, Leicester winning it is humongous!

Shearer and Sutton guiding Rovers to PL title!

The entire value of the Leicester's squad is around £54 Million which is nearly how much Kevin De Bruyne cost Manchester City. No offence to De Bruyne. The POTY Riyad Mahrez costed £0.4 Million as against let's say £32 Million for last year's POTY.

Let's not forget United, Chelsea and Liverpool!

With teams like Man City, Man United, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea who can spend at will floating in the same ship, Foxes winning the Title is no fluke or stroke of luck! Winning it with two games to spare really gives them bragging rights.

Mahrez, you beauty! Vardy, you're now forgiven for that dive!  

This signifies not just the first Premier League title for Leicester City but enforces a hope for all those helpless teams with talented players who get raided by Pounds every transfer market. This is a victory for a team without a star player. The possibiloty of Ranieri's men creating history was written off time and time again by the pundits.

Let's not worry now about how they'll do playing in multiple competitions and being pit against world giants next season.

Savour this moment. This isss ittt! After all, perspiration triumphs 🤘

Dilly ding, dilly dong! You're Premier League winners man!

Losing to Faroe Islands seems like ages ago now!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Straight from the heart - To Whomsoever It May Concern

I visited Anandvan, Somnath and Hemalkasa in March 2016; witnessed Baba Amte's work. I hate to admit this. But the only reason I know Baba Amte is only because of the marathi movie about his son Prakash Amte that released in 2014. Until then my knowledge was oblivious to the existence of this selfless family. 

Baba with Sadhana tai (His wife)

After watching the movie, I read Prakash Amte's autobiography. That's something I did to cross check the authenticity of what was shown in the movie. I was moved. I went online and could only find a handful information about Amte family's work.

It was clear for me that I'll visit this place and contribute in the way possible for me. I made my travel arrangements. I was the only non-senior citizen in the 14 member group going there; two others pushing towards 60! I then Informed my family, office, friends and acquaintances; barring my family only a few people knew where I was heading to. Mind you, I mentioned I was going to Anandvan which was the first and oldest project of Baba Amte and if someone did not know that, he would surely have no knowledge of Somnath and Hemalkasa.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with our people. We know what the press/presstitutes or social networking sites throw at us. I was in the blind too! Why wasn't the internet speaking about them? Here's some replies I actually received when I told people from my life that I was going to Baba Amte's Anandvan:-

1) Ye konse naye baba hain? (Quite an insulting question once you realise who Baba was)

2) Wo lonavala wala resort? (*Face palm*)

Most others would simply send question marks. I don't blame any of them. You and I were unaware because nobody was creating awareness. The media is busy chasing Bollywood actors not speaking to each other or those who went to/got released from prison. 

A board outside the leprosy hospital in Anandvan
Also, those of you who know about the Amte family know only limited things they've seen in the movies and/or that it has "something" to do with leprosy. Let's not go in to our knowledge about leprosy :| 

Here's a little info about the places I visited:-

Vikas Amte, Baba's elder son who is pivotal for the
administration of all projects.
I had the honor of meeting him. An extremely humble guy! 

Literally, Forest of Joy, located in Chandrapur district, 2 hours from Nagpur in the state of Maharashtra is an ashram and a community rehabilitation centre which was started for leprosy patients and the disabled of society. It was founded in 1948 by Baba Amte to provide cure the leprosy patients who were outcasts of their villages, their homes and void of social acceptance even after being cured.


The ever green Somnath.
A camp takes place every year which I will soon be a part of! 

Baba envisioned Somnath as a village where the cured leprosy patients would live together in a village. There are no inter-caste marriages there; only inter-disability marriages. At present Somnath has about 550 residents, most of them leprosy patients and handicaps. About 1200 acres of land is used for cultivation. This project was started by Baba in 1967 after fighting for and finally being sanctioned "barren" forrest land. At present, it is the powerhouse for all projects for agricultural supplies!


Prakash and Mandakini Amte treating a tribal kid
Hemalkasa is where Lok Biradari Prakalp (LBP) (Brotherhood of People project) which is a social project of the Maharogi Sewa Samiti, Warora involving a hospital, a school and an animal orphanage which is being managed by Dr. Prakash, Baba's younger son and his wife Dr. Mandakini Amte. It was started in 1973 by Baba Amte for integrated development of Madia Gond tribe and to include them in normal standard of living.

Amte's Animal Ark
This is literally 0.1% info I can provide in this space. I will write more in detail soon. I don't have enough knowledge even after visiting these places for 5 days. These are all smart towns now! In spite of being in the Vidarbha region, none of these places were victims of water scarcity, thanks to water recycling and conservation. They have food supplies in reserve for an year as a precaution for droughts. Presently, the third generation of Amte Family is managing the all the projects. 

When I do some sort of social work or I am a part of any environmental initiative, I tend to ask the people around me if they would like to do the same with me. Most people don't want to and a few who want to, make excuses and procrastinate. I don't force anyone. I still won't force anyone. Coz if you don't 'feel' anything then you won't do it. I urge you, or at least try to motivate and inspire you to make a contribution to those who are in dire need of social acceptance, however little that might be. If everybody did a pinch of good, soon there'll be nobody needing any help. 
"Social responsibility comes along with wealth and influence" - Baba Amte
If you're reading this, you're definitely 'well to do'! You will do yourself no loss by helping someone selflessly. Let me clarify that. If you have at least:-
1) two meals a day and drinking water
2) two sets of clothes and
3) a roof on your head
you're 'well to do'. Everything else you got whether it just be GOOD food, CLEAN drinking water, house with ROOMS (Plural) and other LUXURIES was only by an ACCIDENT. You were born in a well to do family only by sheer coincidence.

The richest family in the world are not the Ambanis, Tatas, Birlas or Gates, it's the Amtes!