bharatayatra January 2013

Predictions, resolutions and plans for a new year

My prediction for 2013 was thus, -

"2013 is going to be a strange and funny year, globally, and more so, personally to one and all. Perspectives are going to be topsy-turvy in this very fast changing world. If you think you have understood something, and it is very clear, then you are probably wrong. You have not been paying to it properly, and that's why you have come to the conclusion that you have understood the situation thoroughly. This year, 2013, is going to be the year when you will realise that you are ignorant of the fact that you do not realise that you do not understand... Pause... Wait... Try to grasp again, and again. There will be many other realities that would not be apparent."

Jokes for a new year

I seemed to have sprung quite a number of jokes all over my social network as the year was born. Maybe, it was to spread a smile and help everyone enjoy bringing in the new year. Some of the jokes that was appreciated the most was -

A panda walks into a restaurant, sits down and orders a sandwich. He eats the sandwich, pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter dead. As the panda stands up to go, the manager shouts, "Hey! Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn't pay for your sandwich!"

The panda yells back at the manager, "Hey man, I'm a PANDA! Look it up!"

The manager opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for panda: "A tree dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterized by distinct black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves."

A Kindergarten teacher was observing the children while they drew their art. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work. As she got to where one little girl was working diligently, the teacher asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, "I'm drawing God." The teacher paused and said, "But honey, no one knows what God looks like." Without missing a beat or looking up from her drawing, the little girl replied, "They will in a minute."

her husband called from the hall, somewhat dismayed: "Honey, what happened to the dust on this table? I had a phone number written on it."

Guest at a convocation in Pune

I was invited to be one of the guests at the convocation at PIBM, Pune for their PGDM students who were passing out of their AICTE programmes. It was fun to see the students and relive the college days once again. They seemed quite excited, while many looked tired and totally in fatigue. They seemed eager to be able to receive their certificates and get away.

The crowd was thin, and the students were quite serious about it all. There were some boring speeches by some of the other guests, and as usual, I had to work at creating some humour in the hall. The director of the institute was impressive, very inspiring, total belief in his work and in the institution, and was excellent in his speech. After his intervention, the students seemed to be inspired and were clapping, whistling and shouting. 

The faculty of the institute were very enthusiastic. They were always smiling and very gung-ho and infectious. It was quite interesting. It was nice to be once again in the long gown and pretending to look serious. I was enjoying the entire occasion, but had to look like an academic don, so that was that. 

I enjoyed my talk. It was nice to see how the audience would open up. It is interesting each time one takes the mike. Usually, I am given last billing, and that works to my advantage. Those who invite me, seem to do so, as to keep a back up, given that those who are more important than me, may not turn up. So, they seem to invite me as a last minute support system. Most people who go around introducing me to any audience never seem to know about what is to be picked up to introduce me. They end up making some very prefunctory statements, like - professor, dean, YASHADA, government, environment - and thats that. They try to figure out what else is to be spoken, and then they blurt out - actually one did say, "Oh Yes, also..." - research, university, training etc. 

By the time I am introduced, the audience is totally bored. They wonder about me. It is a better challenge when there is a mixed group in the audience. Adults, academics, students, non-professionals, scientists, private sector professionals, and activists. It brings out the challenge. It took me about five minutes to work it out in the initial opening sentences, and then, the best... the audience was laughing, making eye contact, clapping, and responding. My questions to the audience, directly, made them talk back, and made the bored ones to listen in, and respond. After the talk, the students and academics came back, made contact and asked questions, asked for my visiting card, phone numbers and all that. That is when you know that the talk has been successful. 

It was sometime earlier, a couple of years ago, that I received the sacred book - Sant Tukaram Maharaj's Abhang Gatha - from the chief trustee of the Shri Sant Tukaram Temple at Dehu. 

Receiving the sacred Shri Sant Tukaram Maharaj's Abhang Gatha
at the hands of the Chief Trustee of Sant Tukaram Temple, Dehu
in front of the garbha gruham - sanctum sanctorum - of Panduranga and Rukmini
My parents and  grandfather would have been so very proud...

It was almost like a promise to the chief trustee, when I enquired with him, if I could use the Abhang Gatha, since it was a publication attributed to the temple. I wanted his approval to place the text online, for everyone to read and read and read. It has worked ever since. Its very slow, typing it out in Marathi, using different font typing software, as the years and months roll on. But, I will have to get down to it, and keep a schedule. Perhaps, 4-6-10 abhangs every day. That would still be able to get in at least 50 abhangs every week, if I miss out on some days. 

The blog page is doing fine. It has more than 30,000 viewings until today. That is great, I guess. 

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