Recently, I had a friend and his family visit us at our house.  He came with his wife, children and his mother-in-law.  Usually, when someone mentions that the mother-in-law is also accompanying, the “drinks” go missing and the hosts become extra nice to please the old lady. But we had a different experience.

Auntie was really nice and started chatting with me. We talked about the kitchen settings, equipments, children etc.  She mentioned that she is a writer and has published some novels.  She gave me company in the kitchen to make rotis. Later, she mentioned about her blog and her pen name for her blogs. Suddenly, it struck me – I have been following her blogs and was a regular reader!!! I used to devour her blogs which were  narratives of everyday incidents merged with some of the author’s viewpoints on them. I certainly did not agree with auntie on all her viewpoints. As I understood from her stories, she had single-handedly raised her children and was very proud of it.

Anyway, the dinner went well and everyone seemed to have enjoyed.

One week later, I remembered to check Auntie’s blog again for new entries. Of course, there was a new post and it was about hygiene. I started reading and into the third paragraph……she was talking about one of her recent visits to a friends place. The host was making rotis just before dinner time. Just then their toddler started crying and wanted to help the mother. The mother allowed the toddler to play with the dough with dirty hands, let the toddler flatten the dough and pass it on to the mother to cook it. She found it absolutely gross and totally skipped the rotis during the meal.

It was an absolute shocker to me. She was talking to me non stop and had followed me into the kitchen. My daughter was bored, hungry and wanted to be fondled. She asked if she could help me with the rotis – so sweet of her – at the tender age of six. I made sure she washed her hands and didn’t spoil the dough. Also, I made the rotis in an electric roti maker to minimize cooking time (less ‘hand’ling also). At the dinner table, auntie had declared that her teeth are not strong enough to chew and digest the rotis. I was happy that I had planned other options also.

Never thought I would become such a contrived ‘subject’ of one of my favorite bloggers. Some of the common friends realized that auntie was describing the dinner at our place. I was so relieved when they asked me to let it go because they have also been ‘subjects’ before and tortured like me!!!!




Jana gana mana

India Flag

All countries have a National Anthem. National Anthems symbolise the values of the country it represents and are as sacred as the National Flag. Jana gana mana is the National Anthem of India. It was authored by the Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore. The music score to the poem that was originally written in Bengali was also composed by Tagore. It was instituted as the national anthem of India in 1950. It is interesting to note that another poem by the legendary Tagore is the National Anthem of Bangladesh.

Jana gana mana describes the vastness of India and hails victory to India’s destiny. In India, the Anthem is sung in schools before the bell rings to mark the end of the school day. The Anthem concludes all public events. Movie theatres and theatrical plays used to play the National Anthem after the show is over. People would raise and sing along and then leave the hall. Today, nobody even cares to stay back for the credits at the end of the movie. Youth festivals conducted every year for school kids even have competitions in rendering of the Jana gana mana. Different countries follow different traditions when the Anthem is played. In Canada and US, you put your palm on your chest and sing. In India, you have to raise, stand in attention with arms on the side and look ahead with your head held high.

The poem was written before the partition of India. There are references to the Sindh regions in the poem which are now part of Pakistan. There have been pressures to remove references to these regions from the Anthem and substitute them with Kashmir. But the Supreme Court of India ruled rightly that the wordings of the poem cannot be changed. There are other controversies too surrounding the national anthem regarding whom the poet dedicates the poem to. Those are subject to lengthy discussions on their own entirety.

Indians are said to be most patriotic when watching Cricket matches and when they are watching movies related to the subject. All jokes and controversies aside, the National anthem stirs something inside you, pulls a string or two in your heart and fills your mind with patriotism when you hear it or sing it.

Jana gana mana has been adapted in several ways in bollywood movies, dramas and albums. You can watch a beautiful adaptation of the song in Google produced by Bharat Bala productions and A R Rahman. You can watch this star studded historic album here

A bollywood adaptation of the song can be watched here

Jai Hind