Wednesday, July 31, 2013
అమెరికా నుంచి మా మిత్రుడొకాయన ఒక కార్టూన్ పంపించాడు. కార్టూన్ అంటే తెలియనివారికి -దృశ్యరూపమయిన వెక్కిరింత. దాని శీర్షిక 'ఇండియా రాజకీయాలు -మాధ్యమాల అద్భుత ప్రదర్శన'. ఒక పాత్రికేయుడు భారతీయ జనతా పార్టీ నాయకులు మోడీగారిని అడుగుతున్నాడు: ''అయ్యా, మీకే పండు ఇష్టం?'' అని. మోడీ క్లుప్తంగా 'ఆపిల్' అన్నారు. వెంటనే పెద్ద అక్షరాలతో టీవీ తెరనిండా ''తాజా వార్త!'' అనే అక్షరాలు. ఏమని? ''మోడీ మామిడిపళ్లని అసహ్యించుకుంటున్నారు!'' అని. వెంటనే కాంగ్రెస్ ప్రతినిధి ఒకాయన ఆవేశంగా కళ్లు పెద్దవి చేసి చెప్తున్నారు: ''ఇప్పటికైనా నా మాట నిజమని నమ్ముతారా? ఏపిల్ రంగునిబట్టి మీకేం అర్థమౌతోంది? మోడీకి రక్తదాహం! అందుకనే ఎర్రటి పండు ద్వారా ఆయన అసలు రంగు బయటపడింది!''
Monday, July 22, 2013
ఇప్పటికీ నా ఫైళ్లలో రెండు పాతబడిన టెలిగ్రాంలు ఉన్నాయి. అవి మాసి, మూలలంట నలిగి ఉన్నాయి కాని అవి రెండూ నా జీవితంలో ఆకుపచ్చని జ్ఞాపకాలు. ఇప్పటికీ రెండు పెద్ద మలుపులకు అభిజ్ఞలవి. ఒకటి 54 సంవత్సరాల కిందట వచ్చినది. నాకు అంతర్విశ్వవిద్యాలయ నాటక రచనా పోటీల్లో నా ''అనంతం'' నాటికకు మొదటి బహుమతి వచ్చినట్లు ఢిల్లీ ఆకాశవాణి నుంచి వచ్చిన టెలిగ్రాం. రెండవది 51 సంవత్సరాల కిందట మా మామగారు పంపింది -నా పెద్ద కొడుకు పుట్టాడంటూ
Monday, July 15, 2013
‘Chamakam’ is a hymn dedicated to Rudra taken from the Yajurveda. It is the second part of the text of Sri Rudram. The entire text confines itself urging God for fulfillment of one’s wishes. And the wishes comprises of anything and everything that concerns a man’s life. It may look like splurge of extravagance. The repeated phrase at the end of every wish -cha me- literally means “may this be granted to me’’. The list consists of endless desirables and necessary appurtenances for vedic rituals.
It always makes one wonder that a man craves for so many wishes at a mundane plane that, perhaps, makes even god doubt whether this fellow deserves any blessing at all. His yearning is so earthy and so naïve that it requires thousands of rebirths before he could ever think of any renunciation from his mortal plane. Be it as it may, one wish makes one sit erect and notice. It has no parallel anywhere in any religion of the world. It is queer and even unthinkable for a while. The devotee asks the Lord and I quote: vriddim chame, vruddam chame. Give me prosperity and give me old age! Having asked almost all the things that makes his life happy and enjoyable, he is anxious to court that stage when he learns to say ‘no’ to any. Old age is a station when a man learns to dissociate with several mundane pleasures or perhaps his age makes him stay away from all of them. He understands the wisdom of cutting the frills of an otherwise loaded life and eases into a stage when he is more happy now without them while it was the other way all through his life. While he is greedy in asking everything from the Lord, he also asks for the deliverance, a forethought when he can see the futility of them all. I will say this again, no other religion in the world, perhaps, craves for the negation of the wishes.
There is a saying that ‘Only in India, a man grows old with dignity’. In any other culture you see the parent vying with his offspring to score a point or catch up with his age. How many times we hear the old laughing at the youngsters saying, “These kids! When will they grow? When will they learn!’’ That was what his elders must have been saying at his young age.
An old parent wouldn’t mind walking a step behind his son. A grandfather gratefully accepts the helping shoulder of his grand daughter. Old age would not mind to compromise with things you don’t understand anymore. You are no more skeptical. You don’t mind failing. You take defeat in your stride. You don’t lose your face anymore to say ‘sorry’.
You are resigned to certain truths for which you were fighting all your life, because you know that you are almost at the end of your journey. You don’t mind accepting your defeat in the hands of your grandson. In fact, you court defeat. You would like to fail gladly. You are over-generous to a fault. In spite of being a person with self respect, you take rebuke in your stride.
You know your days are counted. You don’t understand the ways of the younger generation, nor do you care anymore. Sometimes, seeing the world stink around you and also knowing that you are helpless to sort it out, only one thought
gives you a solace. You will soon vacate this planet.
Suddenly you find all the answers for the riddles you have been facing in life. Or perhaps, you don’t care to have the answers for all you know. How can this society be cleansed of corruption? What are the dangerous repercussions for this mad exploitation of this planet? You don’t care. Because you are not going to be there when those things happen.
Is God there somewhere out there? What is life after death? You will soon know. For the time being, you start renouncing things around you and vacating the space. A small shriek startles you. A still moment soothes your nerves. You don’t mind things not happening around you. A calm morning, a cosy walk, a brief nap, a cup of hot tea, a silent evening, a soothing music and then a slow drift into sleep- it is a very gratifying day. You long for many more as long as you can help it.
You are not sad anymore. You are resigned to the end. Because you cannot help it. Old age is a process when you slowly withdraw all your faculties and becomes an island.
It is a platform where you understand all the reasons for all your pitfalls, excuses you encountered for not taking certain chances, suddenly the light glows in your mind’s eye. But you know, after all, you are a trifle late. In fact you are late by a lifetime. You are anxious to impart your wisdom to the youngsters around you. They throw the pearls of wisdom saying that the thinking is archaic and outdated. You are angry? No, you smile. You pray God beseeching Him “vriddam chame’’to these kids!.You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.
Old age is an opportunity to reminisce the strides made, chances swindled, bridges crossed, mistakes that could not be corrected, steps you have ascended. You are not answerable anymore. Nobody finds faults with you. Everybody can understand you. Even if they don’t, at least they will not say so on your face. They can excuse you. It will not make you angry. You will understand. Old age is a welcome compromise. A solace. A stage when you can peacefully, heartily and thankfully communicate with God.
‘’Chamakam’’, whoever conceived it, must have done it with utmost wisdom and humility. God, who might have been baffled for all the mundane wishes and indolence of His creation, this single wish will surely outbalance all the rest of them. Vriddam chame.
Gone are the days when a ‘guru’ used to impart knowledge to the student- free of charge, feeding him in his house for ten years at least. But education then was mere knowledge. Except for the functional application, it was never conceived as an instrument for living. Nor was it a money spinning instrument as it is now. The society has travelled a long long way from the archaic education at ‘gurukulam’ as it was called then to corporate business enterprise.
We have any number of institutions mushrooming every day.Like fast food counters and take-aways with different recipes for instant consumption- you have all sort of courses for all sorts of careers for sale. You have packages for one year, one month courses for entrance examinations, refresher courses, special rank promotional courses, integrated one year programme, condesned course, class room programme, whole package, partial package, limited liability, guaranteed results, money-return schemes, hostel facilities etc.etc. These institutions have proven history of their achievements, testimonials from past students and parents, albums showing glowing faces of front runners, press clippings, video clippings, telephone numbers, addresses of those who are in lucrative posts earning four digit salaries eulogizing their achievements. You have dozens of photos of students appearing in newspapers day in and day out- showing their ranks in prominent digits. Hitherto only state toppers’ photos used to appear in papers. But today you have 1000 institutions and you have 5000 ranks with as many photos crowding the newspapers .The dailies in turn sell their advertisement packages. They will lure the parent- raising his blood pressure, itching him to gate crash into the institution with lots of money borrowed or mortgaging their properties, if need be. They scratch the last rupee from their kitty, going on fast for a noon, if necessary to see their son earn a place in their album- to start with.
It is typical American salesmanship with all the jargon involved therein. In America- the capitalists’ haven- they assure the outcome even before you lay hands on the product. You purchase two and take one free. Bring two students and gain a concession for the third. There is a special package- for instance- if you have 10 students from your village. The middle man can sell education as a collective package. There are money -back schemes. If your student is not in the top ten of the ranks as assured, your money will be returned forthwith. The fine print is- by which time you will be paying two times more than the promised refund amount by way of other expenses. It is like a sale of a kitchenware at Walmart. You take an article home, use it for ten days- for free- and return the article if you are not happy- for total pay back. All that is required is a very important instrument in your possession to put your ward in these schools. A cheque book. What does it mean? The seller is trying to impress you the authenticity of his product and his honesty to deserve your money.
Who could imagine these courses! You have IIT, IIT-JE, IIHT, CA-CPT, AIEEE,BITSAT, AIEEEQ,IITG- what does it mean? These institutions does not want to leave even the average student also from their fold. They have any number of permutations and combinations. The parent- in spite of the poor standard of the boy is lured into this mire. Why? The attraction is not your student and his education. It is your cheque book.
The most lucrative business in today’s parlance is politics. You don’t need educational brilliance to become a politician. And a politician’s best investment is an educational institution. In Andhra Pradesh, practically there is no politician who does not own a college, school, junior college, college of nursing ,e-techno schools(whatever it means!) either directly or through proxy. Even film stars started tasting the smell of money.
By trying to be prudent in not poking the corruption in Andhra Pradesh, here are a few market rates from a neighbouring state- Tamilnadu. For persons who does not qualify for direct entrance through the National entrance eligibility test, there is a price to enter these professional courses. The capitation fee for the managing quotas for Medical seat is 75 lakhs- not negotiable. For post graduation medical courses, it will be anything between 1.25 to 1.50 crores! For an engineering seat it is 20 lakhs. This is besides the usual term fee, building fee, library fee, laboratory fee, transport charges, building donation, sports fee- you name it.
In Andhra Pradesh, at least in some castes, a medical graduate can draw grand dowry in marriage. If suppose that dowry is invested as the capitation fee to procure a seat, you have a full career to draw as much money as you want. You have a whole corporate world for any specialization. There is great adage in our culture. It says : ‘’vaidyo narayano Hari’’. In India, we don’t equate a doctor with god. We just call him ‘God’. Let one God in today’s corporate world recollect the names of two of his patients without seeing the case sheet. That is the fate of our gods. The present day doctor is busy reimbursing his investment and disappear behind the corporate rigmarole. How else can he get back the huge investment he had made in his education? The Gods are for sale in this country.
There are any number of dreams in the hearts of the hapless parents. They crave to see at least one boy from their family coming through this rut to become a money earner, so that the entire family can be rehabilitated. Their rupee is much more valuable and loaded than anybody’s. It is an investment on the child. The institutions are delivering the result. Who is the victim? The poor child. We never heard of the words like ‘depression’ ‘suicide’ ‘counselling’ ‘hysteria’ in our days.
It is time that these poor families- not the students- that require proper counseling to tell them- as we cannot stop these politicians running their corporate warehouses- that education cannot be purchased for a price. Competence cannot be sold across the counters. The hypocracy, deceit, plunder, intellectual tomfoolery is much more dangerous than the recent ‘Himalayan Tsunami’ whose ill effects are still reverberating across India. The incumbent tragedy is going to be much worse because- this is intellectual plunder with high stakes.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
నూకల చిన సత్యనారాయణగారితో నాకు తేలికగా ఏభై సంవత్సరాల పరిచయం. అందుకు ముఖ్యకారణం ఆలిండియా రేడియో. ఆయన పాండిత్యానికీ, ప్రతిభకీ నాకూ పరోక్షమయిన బంధుత్వం ఉన్నదని తెలిశాక మా దగ్గరతనం మరింత పెరిగింది. ఆయన మా పినమామగారు -శ్రీపాద పినాకపాణిగారి శిష్యులు. నన్ను ఆప్యాయంగా 'అల్లుడు గారూ!' అని పిలిచిన కొద్దిమందిలో ఒకరు. గురువుని మించిన శిష్యుడనిపించుకున్న అదృష్టవంతులు. గురువుగారిలాగే పద్మభూషణులయారు. కాని గురువుగారు నడిచిన దారినే తొందరపడి పదేళ్లు ముందుగా సాగిపోయారు.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
చమకం యజుర్వేదంలోని శ్రీరుద్రంలో ఒక భాగం. చమకం అంటే నాకెప్పుడూ చిన్న చూపే. కారణం కన్యాశుల్కం నాటకంలో గిరీశం. గిరీశం వెంకటేశంతో అంటాడు: ''మీ నాన్న ప్రతీ రోజూ దేవుడి ముందు కూర్చుని ఏం చేస్తాడనుకున్నావ్? ఓయి దేవుడా! నాకు సుఖమియ్యి. నా కోర్టు కేసు గెలిపించు. అల్లవాడి కొంపముంచు'' అంటూ దేవుడిని దేబిరిస్తాడు. 'చమే'అంటే 'నాకియ్యవయ్యా' అని అర్థం. నువ్వు కూడా నీక్కావలసినవన్నీ అడగొచ్చు. 'గేదె పెరుగూ చమే, చేగోడీ చమే' అని హితోపదేశం చేస్తాడు.