My SCRAPBOOK (సేకరణలు): A COLLECTION of articles in English and Telugu(తెలుగు), from various sources, on varied subjects. I do not claim credit for any of the contents of these postings as my own.A student's declaration made at the end of his answer paper, holds good to the articles here too:"I hereby declare that the answers written above are true to the best of my friend's knowledge and I claim no responsibility whatsoever of the correctness of the answers."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

1280-Civic sense, last on our list!

(Dr,Sheila Balakrishnan, Open Page, The Hindu, 27:10:2013)

I was in London some time ago on a short visit and happened to witness an incident. A very trivial one, but it set me thinking. I was taking a walk in one of the suburbs and there was this teenage girl ahead of me taking her pup for a walk. As is its wont, the pup decided to use that moment to relieve itself. The girl took a paper bag from her pocket, cleaned up the mess and then walked on to the nearest bin to dispose of the poop!

What would have happened in our country? Not hard to guess! What specially impressed me was that this was a teenager. This is an age when there is a natural tendency to rebel but this civic sense was so deeply ingrained in her that she didn’t think twice about acting the way she did.

Whereas we are enthralled by many things western they do not include the sense of responsibility those citizens have. What about traffic rules? Every single user of the road in India seems to feel that the road belongs to him or her, be it the automobile driver, the two-wheeler user or the pedestrian. At night, every driver tries to outshine the vehicles coming in the opposing direction! And the incessant honking which we all know is of no use at all. Even when the traffic is chock-a-blok! Compare that with the disciplined silent driving in most other countries. Foreigners who visit our country are appalled at our driving. Remember what Oprah Winfrey said when she was asked to comment on what she didn’t like about India!

Public place behaviour is another such example. How many times do we see co-passengers in trains talking loudly, with no consideration for our eardrums! And when children cry loudly or disturb others, they look on indulgently with a proud smile. Of course, our children are lovable even when they are a public nuisance! It is a common practice to drag our children to hot, stuffy, crowded places and torture both the child and the lookers-on!
When I used to have private consultation, many couples would enter my room with kids. And both parents would look on indulgently as the child pulled down everything on my table including my stethoscope. While I grit my teeth and try to smile! Later on I quit this façade and asked them to refrain from bringing children into the consultation room. This has caused many people to look at me with shocked faces!

On mobile phone etiquette, the less said the better — the entire world is a mouthpiece! The other day, I read that a cashier in a supermarket abroad refused to serve a customer until she had finished speaking on the phone. And though the supermarket management chastised the cashier, even top political leaders deplored the action of the customer and reiterated the importance of phone etiquette.

Civic sense or rather the lack of it has been widely discussed and somehow it is an undisputed fact that we Indians don’t seem to care much for it. This attitude cuts across all ranks and sections. We don’t think it deserves much importance. People today are so driven towards their personal goals that civic sense as an ethic has become a low priority, almost nuisance.

Many people think that civic sense is just about keeping our surroundings and roads clean. No, it is much more than that; it consists of abiding by laws, showing respect to and consideration for fellow countrymen and maintaining decorum in public places. Civic sense is social ethics. And, alas, right down at the bottom of our list!
( The writer heads the fertility unit at the Trivandrum Medical College and can be reached at

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

1279-A genius called Manna Dey

Tribute Manna Dey’s genius continues to live on through his songs that were a celebration of his versatility, eruditionand musicality. Carnatic vocalist Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma talks about his tryst with the singer and his music

Pain is one of the most universal of all human emotions. There are different kinds of pain. Each kind of pain is distinct and unique. Homesickness is a brand of pain that is usually experienced only by people who have lived far away from their country and their loved ones for a long time. In the 21st century, air travel and the internet have made this ordeal much less acute than it used to be earlier for many. But if one wishes to experience the Total Agony and the gut wrenching pain of being away from home, the intense nostalgia created by recollections of the motherland that one has left behind and the desperate longing to be back home again….without even stepping out of one’s bedroom…one simply has to play the poignant song ‘Aye Mere Pyare Watan…’, sung exquisitely by Sri Prabodh Chandra Dey. (1 May 1919 - 24 October 2013). Affectionately known as Manna Dey, he occupies a rare and special place in the history of Indian music that very few others do.
Equally adept at singing classical, raga based songs such as ‘Poocho Na Kaise’, ‘Laaga Chunri Me Daag’, ‘Lapak Jhapak’, ‘Tere Naina Talash Karoon’ and ‘Kaun Aya Mere Man Ke Dware’, modern songs with a Western tinge such as ‘Aao Twist Karen’ or Qawwalis such as ‘Yaari Hai Imaan’, Manna da was really and truly a multi faceted genius.
I had grown up listening to a great amount of Hindi film music and loved all the male voices a lot, be it Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar, Talat Mehmood or Manna Dey. The music created by these amazing artists was intimately interwoven with the actors on whom the songs were picturised on screen.
Thus Mohammed Rafi’s star shone bright with amazing songs picturised on stars like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Guru Dutt, Johnny Walker and Shammi Kapoor. Mukesh sang a lot for Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. Kishore Kumar started his journey singing only for himself and Dev Anand initially but went on to become the preferred voice of virtually all the male actors who came after 1968, starting with Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan.
The fate of artists like Hemant Kumar, Talat Mehmood and Manna Dey were different, for a lot of reasons.
Though Manna Dey could go toe to toe with the best of them, he did not have the good fortune to become the permanent voice of some mega star, unlike the ‘Big Three’ did. Because of this, he was often given only songs that were so difficult or raga based that the producers felt that only he could sing them. This typecast him as a “serious” singer, though he would belt out catchy numbers like ‘Dil Ka Haal Dune Dilwala’, when given a chance to do so.
Another tragedy was that many casual listeners didn’t actually Know that HE was the one who had sung a song like say, ‘Zindagi’, from the film Anand . They would automatically presume that it was sung by Kishore Kumar, just because it was picturised on Rajesh Khanna! There are quite a few lovely Manna Da songs that are mistakenly attributed to Rafi and others too bymany listeners. By the mid 1980s, my contact with Hindi film music began to wane quite rapidly and I was content to listen to the recordings of songs that came before. The “Big Three” passed away, leaving thousands of music lovers heart broken. I hadn’t heard much about the others who were still around and presumed that they must all have retired.
So imagine my surprise when I came to know that Manna Dey saab was going to give a live concert in Bombay. It was just my good fortune that I happened to be in town that day. The concert hall was less than 25 per cent full. A few others sang a few songs and the orchestra was very simple and basic.
After some time Manna Da himself appeared on stage. Without any pause, he plunged into the beautiful song ‘Tu Pyar Ka Saagar Hai’ from the film Seema . The effect was Electric! I discovered the meaning of how a musical phrase could “go straight through one’s heart!” His voice had grown significantly richer and heavier during the 40 years that had elapsed between the original recording and this live performance that I was blessed to attend. By the time the first stanza had finished and he started the line ‘Khaayal man ka paagal panchhi, Udne ko beqaraar…’ I simply couldn’t hold back the gush of hot and unexpected tears that was streaming down my faceIt wasn’t just nostalgia but something that the man had, which could get the audience to do whatever he wished, be it burst into tears, whoop with joy or tap one’s feet and clap happily along with him.
Even at that point I never imagined that I would get to meet the great man and spend some precious times together with him. After hunting for around six years, a friend finally got me his telephone number and I fixed an appointment and went and met him. He lived alone with his wife Sulochana whom he affectionately addressed as “Shulu”.
I have never come across another couple so completely and profoundly in love with each other as they were, even after five or six decades of marriage! With the demise of his wife, his life had virtually ended and I never managed to see him again.
But despite his physical absence, his genius continues to live on and his songs… it the philosophical ‘Zindagi’ from the film Anand or the playful ‘Mud Mudke Na Dekh’ from Sreee 420 or his monumental rendition of Harivanshrai Bachchan’s ‘Madhushala’ … continue to add immeasurably to our lives. May his soul rest in peace.
Ihad the honour of organising a concert by him at Thiruvananthapuram when he was 85 years old. Afterwards, I attended several concerts by him in various cities all over India and used to keep in touch with him and his lovely wife. I discovered that Tagore was one of his greatest heroes.
I discovered his mix of admiration and envy, where the admiration far outweighed the envy when it came to the brilliance of Hemant Kumar in composing the music for Rabindra Sangeet. I discovered that he liked milk chocolates more than dark chocolate and was quite fond of Kitkat! I had the pleasure of introducing him to the music of a few other greats whom he had missed, like Pandit Channulal Mishra of Banaras. Though he was quite gruff and abrupt on the outside, he was one of the finest men I have ever met, in reality....simple, direct and utterly straightforward.
(The Hindu, 26:10:2013)

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1278-Must read for husbands….What Women do all day ….????

A man came home from work and found his 5 children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn around garden, The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and no sign of the dog, walking in the door, he found even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, the throw rug was against one wall, In the front room the T
V was on loudly with the cartoon channel, the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel... She looked up at him, smiled and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, 'What happened here today?' She again smiled and answered, 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world do I do all day?...
''Yes," was his incredulous reply..
She answered, 'Well, today I didn't do it.'

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