Wednesday, April 18, 2007


On Sunday, the Guy and I made it to the meeting of a voluntary organisation we are peripherally involved with. It was a long meeting; also one that I fully enjoyed. For me, the highlight of the day came some way into the event, when most of the young people (students whose education the organisation sponsors) were busy in a game and two young men got up to leave. They were blind, but easily walked over to the volunteers to say goodbye. Then someone spoke, "Unmana, these are your boys."

All I do is give in a small amount of money towards their mess fees in their hostel. Yet, the volunteers took up the cry, and I heard twice more, "Here are your boys."

One member led them over to introduce them to me. They held out their hands. They spoke, confidently, confidingly, mentioning in the same breath their challenging studies and their determination to overcome them. I wished them luck and said goodbye.

The world seemed to have whirled around me. I sank into a chair, my legs suddenly feeling like they could not support my weight. I just sat for some time, feeling numb. After some time I reached out my hand and touched the Guy.

I collected my feelings and examined them. One was embarrassment. I had not done much for them - nothing to denote them mine. I did not deserve that. Connected to that was shame. Could I do no more? Such a little went such a long way for them! Then came humility and respect in the face of that optimism, that confidence! Also perhaps, a little gratitude - to be able to reach out and touch that piece of sunshine.

In a little while, I remembered that it was Bihu - New Year. And I had received the best gift I could ask for.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Belated Post - Tharoor Again

So the world goes on as usual. Shashi Tharoor proves exactly how much of a fool he is by writing a response to the vehement reactions of bloggers to his prejudices on the sari. The only good thing I found in his article is that he mentions Emma's spirited rejoinder. Not that, of course, he learns anything from it. He goes on to recycle those same opinions - as if we weren't sick enough of them already. He even recalls how he bravely once wore a kurta to work in the UN and was ridiculed for it. And then, of course, without ignoring the criticism or fighting for his right to wear an Indian garment to work, he took to wearing suits and ties. Why should we women be daunted by mere trivialities like comfort and convenience (not that he knows a lot of that, of course - a kurta with trousers or jeans is after all more comfortable than most salwar kameez) in our responsibility of carrying forward Indian tradition?

I agree with
Gaurav Sabnis - give the guy something to do and get him off our backs (and the Sunday papers). But please no, don't give him a post in Manmohan's cabinet. I can imagine him giving away quota seats in universities to sari-clad women and giving subsidies to sari manufacturers.