The 62nd Indian Republic Day in 6.2(and a bonus) paragraphs

Had to write something today. It’s been a while since I blogged – not sure if it was because I had nothing to share, or because there was so much happening that there wasn’t enough time to pen it down. The answer I suspect is somewhere in the middle, with the result of some stoic silence on my part.

Anyways, we woke upto our 62nd republic day – amidst great color, sunny weather (at least for those of us in chennai) and 400 pr so very eager television channels eager to show us their wares. So we’ll talk movies on television first – the day belonged to Slyvester Stallone – yes him of the bulging biceps and very few words. We had 3 editions of Rambo and 1 of Rocky (each shown zillion times as channels are wont to do). We also had a showing of Jim Carrey’s corny (sorry pet) detective, a serving of arnold’s terminator series and if we searched hard enough Ben Kingsley’s Gandhi. If we were to believe the movies India today in a nutshell is this – all muscles and mayhem with a very little sprinkling of peace (if you happen to be the sort who looks hard enough!). Not very encouraging, so we’ll use our Ancient Scripture Veda’s classification of riches to be sought after (dharma,arta, Kama, moksha) – maybe we can get some better stories than we did from the movies?

Dharma (conduct, righteousness whatever..) – we came out poorly on the “Corruption perception index”  ( 95 out of 180 odd countries or so) and some studies apparently report over 50% of us have encountered/ experienced some form of corruption.  We could debate the numbers – but does look alarming! Not to fear though –  we have a popular octogenarian crusader taking up the battle with political and governement machinery. We also have some wonderful movements focused on eradicating this poison – and the youth is gearing up to support them in earnest. We are waking up…

Arta (wealth) – our rich guys had a poor year at the office according to (who else?) the wall street journal. And 40%+ of our people are still very poor. But we are getting better – and are one of the fastest growing and among the large economies.  Of course, if you happen to be in the top 40 pr the bottom 40%, you may find this a touch hard to believe…

Kama – subject and object of desires  – we got the ipad2 early. And the Samsung tab. The xuv 500 arrived in style and was sold out in a hurry. The Tatas went global with nano and brought home the jlr products. We win fashion contests (alas not so much test cricket!). Our movies are getting bigger and our stars more famous and wealthy. The biggie retailers have setup shop and the international pizza and burger shops rush to offer us paneer pizzas and aloo tikoo buns on our streets. We desiredmore, and we get more things to desire – on kama – we scored high!

Moksha – liberation – temples continued to draw us in and the 100 or so festivals were celebrated with gusto (of course incorporating noise pollution, water pollution and global warming reduction principles too!). Our wise sages (wearing jeans and saffron robes) are everywhere – we can hear of God on twitter, facebook and of course in their ashrams. Satya sai baba, a beloved sage of millions left for the heavenly abode last year, leaving behind a legacy of social service, spiritual instruction and a very devoted following. Spirituality 2.0 is alive and kicking, will you join the movement?!!

That’s 6 + 1 paras for you..here’s the .2 – thanks India and fellow Indians for the excitement and growth, let us look forward to a decade of success and close with an inspiring q&a with Dr Abdul Kalam..

Happy Pongal….

A festival just for saying thanks to the sun. The sun which nourishes our earth, gives us warmth, stimulates growth and allows us to see and experience life. And expects nothing in return.

How beautiful. A festival of gratitude. Celebrated all over India – the harvest festival is a time of hope, joy and gratitude from a bountiful harvest. It’s celebrated to hail the dawn of a period of light and the end of winter and darkness (longer days as the sun traverses through the northern hemisphere…).

The ancients had it planned thus:
Day 1 – rid yourself of the old and unwanted, declutter your home and paint it afresh and get ready for a wonderful spring
Day 2 – Offer gratitude to the sun and the gods for their benevolence over the year. Cook some newly harvested rice in a pot – let it bubble and overflow – and wish the world a similar year overflowing with the good things
Day 3 – take care of things that made the harvest and a great year possible – cows, (or tracters or cars today!)…whatever. Honor them and thank them for their Contribution.
Day 4 – take the family out on a picnic and let your hair down. Celebrate your achievements.

The framework sound good? It celebrates all that is crucial to our wellbeing – the gods, our tools and work, our family and ourselves.

In the spirit of the ancients, let us offer thanks to – our coworkers, family and friends, the earth and sun – and pat ourselves for having seen through another year – and hopefully with a lot of learnings and success. And let’s raise a toast to the year ahead and wish for light (internal and external) to descend upon us through the grace of our most ancient god – The Sun..