Wednesday, February 25, 2009


by KParthasarathi 28 Feb 2009Add Image
Raghav was rummaging an old box of his in his home at San diego.He was to leave for India in a week’s time. His wedding with Anupama was fixed. He found in the box the Sri Vishnu Sahasranama book that was given him by Raju uncle when he was ten years old. He had preserved it carefully as a priceless possession. His memory took him back to those days in Chennai. It was like a pocket note book costing less than a rupees those days. He gave the book free to all the boys and girls in the colony. They would assemble at 6pm sharp to recite the slokas.After some days they did not need the book.Raju uncle was a disciplinarian and would get upset if someone came late. He gave them candies, raisins or plantain fruits at the end of the session daily. Uncle had a soft heart behind the hard exterior and helped lot of poor children with tuition fees and books. His contributions to charitable causes were never spoken about though his wife used to confide to Raghav’s mom. Though he had a son in high position in the North, he never left Chennai. Uncle never as a rule spoke about himself or his kind acts.
He decided to invite personally Raju uncle soon after reaching Chennai .He had lost touch with him after his dad was transferred out of Chennai. He studied in Delhi, did his IIT and left for US for his MS and doctorate. It was only a fortnight back, he chanced to get his email ID from a friend who was also in the Sahasranama group. He wrote to him immediately wondering whether he would remember him. He narrated one specific incident when not a single boy or girl had turned up one day for the Sahasranama recitation due to torrential downpour save Raghav in drenched clothes. He still remembered uncle chiding him for coming in the rain and fetching a towel fondly to wipe his head of water. He praised him the next day for his steadfastness and devotion. Uncle promptly replied that he remembered the incident and his face. Raghav exchanged a couple of mails and had also announced his ensuing wedding. Uncle had wished him well and had mentioned that he was looking forward to meeting him with the invitation.
Raghav had landed that morning. His parents had already arrived from Delhi. There were lots of relatives already assembled.Raghav wished to meet Raju uncle that evening itself. But he could not as his parents wanted him to accompany them for some shopping. The next morning he took thoughtfully the invitation, the gifts he had bought for uncle, bought some sweets and went to the old colony where he had lived more than fifteen years back. The houses all looked the same except for some additions in the front. When the car stopped outside the block where he resided and he got out with the entire gift packets in hand, he saw a cluster of people standing outside. It looked ominous though there were six flats in the complex. He approached one gentleman and asked him which was Raju uncle’s flat though he knew very well. Seeing Raghav well dressed with sweet packets and invitation on hand, he said “Don’t you know Raju passed away last night? It was a massive attack and the end came immediately. May I know who you are?” Raghav replied that he was his old student and wished to know whether his wife was there. The gentleman said” Yes, she is very much there. Poor mami, she is devastated.”
Raghav returned to the car and left all things in it. When he went up he saw mami sitting by the head of Raju uncle.He looked very much older but the features were still the same sharp ones he was aware of. He went to mami and said with tears streaming from his eyes “Mami, I am Raghav.Do you remember me. I had told uncle that I would be meeting him. I wanted to come last evening itself. It is my bad luck that I missed seeing him.” She replied “Even last evening he was talking about you. He even wrote something on a piece of paper and left a sealed envelope for you on the table. When I asked him what it was, he brushed aside my question and only asked me to hand it over to you. When I said you could yourself give, he kept quiet. It looks as though he had a premonition of things to happen.” Mami cried inconsolably even as Raghav tried to console her. After some time she went to the table and handed over the envelope, which Raghav put in his pocket.
It was on the second day he remembered the envelope. There was a small note with a five hundred rupee note. The letter began
”Dear Raghav,
I am afraid I may not be able to attend your wedding. Please accept my best wishes and the token gift.I still remember your young face with your drenched clothes that evening long backYou made me happy that evening…..

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Miracles do happen

Saranya invariably brought her boy of six years in the evenings to the park. They would play on the slides and swings for some time, and settle down later on the bench adjoining the road outside the park. She would show him the various passing things and name them. The boy Asit could not speak since his birth though he heard well. She put him in a normal school but Asit refused to go as the other children made fun of him. Her complaints to the teacher were not of much avail as the boy was adamant. Her husband advised her to wait for a year more and in the meanwhile coach him at home. They went to all temples, undertook all vows and donated to all noble causes hoping for God’s grace.
As they were sitting one day on the bench watching the moving traffic of buses and trucks, a five year old boy came near Asit and stood by his side. Saranya found no one around .Must be a child of beggar woman, she thought. How careless of her to leave the child alone in the pavement by the side of a busy road, she wondered. She must be busy begging somewhere inside the park. Asit took out a toffee from his pocket and gave the boy. The boy almost snuggled around Asit. Saranya was restless seeing the boy left alone to fend for himself with his mother nowhere in sight. She turned her head hither and thither to locate her. Saranya wanted to leave for home but did not have the heart to go leaving the little boy just like that.
As she was thus engrossed in tracing the beggar woman, she heard a scream ‘Amma’ from Asit. She turned around to see in great shock the beggar boy walking towards the middle of the road with a big bus fast approaching the boy. Without wasting a moment and unmindful of the danger she jumped on the road and pulled the boy just in the nick of the moment before what could have certainly been a ghastly accident and instant death of the urchin. It was only when she brought the boy in her arms to the safety of the pavement, did she realise that her son had called her ‘Amma’.Her joy knew no bounds and she knew a miracle had happened. She sensed the presence of god when her fervent prayers had been answered. She hugged Asit and smothered him with kisses even as the boy started speaking haltingly.She firmly believed that God had moved his vocal chords while the doctor felt that it was the shock which did the wonder. Be that as it may, miracles do happen.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A happy encounter at Denver

Rajiv still remembered the girl whom he had gone to see some four years back at the insistence of his dad. He had just finished his M.S at Tallahassee varsity after his B.Tech in IIT.His parents wanted him to get married soon. They have heard of many youngsters falling in love with the young American colleagues and marrying them. But he wanted to settle down in a good job first before marrying. When his dad told him that he had already promised to bring Rajiv to see the girl, he could not refuse. He however told him that he had no intention of marrying for the next two years and that he was coming to see only in deference to his wishes
He didn’t remember the name of the girl he saw, some Sujatha or Sumitra.She was no doubt tall, good looking, a M.C.A and had just joined a prestigious company. He liked the way she giggled and the dimples on her both cheeks.But then he steeled himself to resist the temptation to say yes. He heard subsequently the girl was disappointed and wished to marry him.
He did his PhD and had settled himself well in his career. He was still a bachelor and his mom was looking for suitable match. His dad had passed away. He was on his way from Boston to Sanfransisco.The plane had developed a technical snag and stopped at Denver. It looked a long wait was ahead, may be about 6 hours. There was nothing available to eat except some coke, tea and snacks. He was hungry. He whiled away the time walking in the lounge. The hall was full mostly of Americans, a few Chinese and Mexicans. When he went to the last row he saw a lone Indian girl in jeans and T-shirt. He smiled at her, and she returned it. Emboldened he went to her. He wanted to kill the time chatting with someone from his country.
“Can I sit down here? I am Rajiv of San Francisco on way from Boston and stranded here. I am a Tamil from Chennai.” he said.
“By all means, please sit down. Good that we have got company. I am Sumitra, call me Sumi. I Live in San Jose. But I too belong to Chennai” She replied.
After some pleasantries, he said I am famished. Nothing is available in this wretched place.” She laughed and said, “I have some parottas given by my cousin who lives in Boston. Let us finish them. There is adequate for both of us.”
The dimples when she laughed took him to the day years back when he saw a girl for matrimony. What a striking similarity, he thought.”Were you ever in Adyar? I remember to have met a girl four years back at a house near Ambica stores. That was a corner house and I saw the girl in an apartment in the first floor.”
She said, “Yes, my parents still live in that area and I too remember an young man visiting us to see me. He had done his M.S.But we were disappointed when we later learnt that he had no intention to marry but came along with his parents in deference to their wishes. I felt it was not fair on his part to dupe the other side.”
“Sumi, I am not sure whether I am the guy you are referring to. But I did go to see a girl in that vicinity. I forget the name of the girl’s dad. My dad is no more for me to check. Let me pin point some specific thing in that house for you to confirm whether it was your house, I had visited. I have a vague memory of a big doll of Krishna with flute in hand and cow inside a show case in the corner. There was a big brass lamp of about four feet high kept by its side. Do they strike you as relevant?” he asked.
“Yes, you are the same person. You had even declined the coffee given to you and instead took a coke. Am I right?” she said.
“Wow, I am the foolish guy who lost the God sent opportunity. You must be married now. I am yet to marry.” he lamented
“No, I am still not married. My mom is looking for one.” she blushed
“Wow, how lucky we are that the plane had developed a snag. Would you marry me? I am sorry for what I did then,” he replied as he offered his hand”
When she produced hers, he drew her close and hugged her unmindful of the amused glances from the waiting passengers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Prejudiced perception

Arun and Veena were returning in the evening after attending a birthday party to their home in Lexington. There was still some light though it was getting dark. It was winter and the road was covered with snow. Arun is a careful driver and knew the dangers of skidding out of control on the icy roads. The traffic was less.Veena cautioned him to drive slowly and apply the accelerator very gently. There were a couple of cars moving slowly ahead. Veena had always a feeling that the whites in America had a condescending attitude towards the coloured immigrants. She harboured a notion that everywhere whether in malls, airports or banks the response to fellow whites was quicker and more helpful than the cursory short answers to the immigrants. Arun did not share her view and felt there was no such difference in their attitudes. May be they had more things in common to talk about just like an Indian meeting another Indian in an Indian store. Basically they were helpful in nature to all if a need arose.Veena did not agree with him and narrated some instances from her experience.Arun laughingly responded telling her that her English accent is still very much like one from a rural town in India making her unintelligible to most here. She pulled a long face and sat quietly as the car was slowly moving on the community road.
It was then Arun saw in the rear mirror a SUV coming fast and trying to overtake his car. He moved slightly to the edge when he saw the SUV swerve towards his vehicle when it witnessed another car coming from the opposite end. Arun too to avoid a collision swerved his car ramming it into the snow bank. The car could not be taken out without help. Both Arun and Veena came out of the vehicle wondering how to get the car out. The removal of the snow on and under the bonnet appeared formidable. Even as they were surveying the scene and contemplating to ring 911, three vehicles came and halted one behind the other. One young American in his twenties came out and said ”Hi, seems you have got into a problem. Can I help you?” Three others including a lady converged around them .Meanwhile the young man brought out two towels from his car. He told the other two guys including Arun to push the ice from the top of the car with some sharp tool and that he would work underneath. He spread the towels on the ice and lying under the car worked his way to break the ice and remove them. It was freezing cold. The others all of them white worked feverishly to get the job finished fast. After almost 25 minutes, the car could be brought out free from the snow bank. As the radiator came alive purring, Arun started thanking them profusely for the timely help. They brushed it aside saying that it is a normal human trait to help people in distress and that they haven’t done anything special. They all went back to their cars after shaking hands and drove away fast.
It was Veena who spoke first as Arun was driving again.”I am sorry I made a mistake. You are right that there is no bias, as I wrongly perceived. People are all humane and good whatever the colour or race they belong to. I will hence forth be more positive and friendlier.” Arun interjected saying, “Don’t forget about your Tamilian accent when you speak to others.”

Monday, February 16, 2009

Babu’s surprise

Rajesh had telephoned the travel agency at least six times during the day to be in readiness with a car for him to take his wife whenever the labour pain commenced. He had met the owner in the morning and explained his need. Since morning, his wife was complaining of intermittent pain but not of that intensity to rush her to the maternity hospital. In fact, the gynaecologist had given a date that was still two days away. The owner of the travel agency had assured him not to worry and that he will send the car within five minutes of his telephone call. There were not many tourist travel companies in the vicinity the place being in the suburb. It was also marriage season and most of the cars had gone out. The owner of the company resided in the same building with the front room doing the duty of the office. He had detained one Indica and an ambassador. But there was only one driver, Babu, available. He did not send him out on long distance duty as Babu had returned only in the morning from Bangalore after a night travel. The previous night also he was on night duty. He could not get sleep for two continuous nights. He pleaded with the owner that he be given off for him to get some sleep. But the owner asked him to lie down in the office, as he had no spare driver. He also told Babu about Rajesh’s predicament and the likely emergency arising. Babu had to relent and tried to get some sleep in the office itself. Hardly two hours had gone by when the local inspector of police wanted a car for a few hours up to 5pm.The owner explained about Babu being awake for two nights and the emergency duty expected anytime in the evening or night. The inspector promised to release the car any time before 5pm if the need arose and that in any case he would return the car by 5pm.It was only at 8pm that Babu could return to office, and after a quick dinner slept on the bench.
It was at 11pm the owner got a call on his mobile from Rajesh. He came down to wake up Babu who was fast asleep. He had to nudge him several times and asked him to proceed immediately. With heavy eyelids begging for sleep, he was at Rajesh’s place within ten minutes. He requested Rajesh to give him a mug of water to wash his face. When Rajesh saw that he had difficulty even to keep his eyes open, he asked him what the matter was.Babu told him about his continuous duty for two nights and whole day. Rajesh requested him somehow manage to take his wife first to the hospital and that he would discuss the matter with him later. It was with great difficulty Babu drove the couple very slowly to the hospital even as the lady was crying under the increasing pain. Once in the hospital Rajesh requested Babu to wait till the baby was born.
The delivery was smooth that happened within an hour of admission.Meanwhile Babu got a call from the owner to stay back with Rajesh till he released him. All his pleadings, that he needed to go home and sleep, fell on deaf ears. The owner simply bellowed his order again and slammed the phone down. Babu was very cross not only with the owner but also with Rajesh. He was very sore that despite his help in the late night in the conditions he was, Rajesh had no heart to release him but made him stay. It was then Rajesh came out smiling and patted Babu. Babu was in no mood to smile. He asked him “Sir, you are well aware that I have not slept for almost sixty hours and have been on duty most of the time. I agreed to come to your place only because of the emergency and expected you to send me away once in the hospital. Instead of showing gratitude, you have detained me. I now know how selfish people are.”
Rajesh putting his arm around Babu told him,’ You have mistaken me. I got a call from the owner to send you back as there was an urgent call from a political light weight to send a car for rushing to Erode. I knew your predicament. I told your boss that the case had developed complications and that I have been asked to keep the car in readiness to shift my wife to bigger hospital and that I was not in a position to release you.”
“Sir, the baby is born already and you said everything is fine. Why did you say all these to the owner?” asked Babu
“Yes, I knew your owner would be heartless to send you to Erode. I also know that you are not in a condition to drive and needed good sleep. I have arranged a room in the adjacent small hotel for you. Go there and sleep. You can go home in the morning. I have paid the hotel already. You came to help me when I needed you most. This is the only thing I could do to you in return. Please do not mention about the room in the hotel to your boss. Thank you Babu immensely,” Rajesh said.
Babu could not control his tears at the large hearted nature of Rajesh..

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The excursion

by KParthasarathi 12 Feb 2009
Though it was a Sunday Aravind was very busy in finalising the report to be submitted to the board the next day. He was busy in his study with the laptop since morning with strict instructions to his wife and children not to disturb him. Nevertheless, his little boy Sunil aged nine years came to the study and stood at the door. When Aravind did not take notice of the boy, Sunil tried to draw his attention through several ways .He dropped a book, closed the door with a thud and coughed intermittently. Aravind did not pay attention to all these interruptions. The boy finally went near his dad and touched his shoulder telling, “Daddy, I have an urgent request to make. Tomorrow is the last date for submission of the form for joining the excursion…” Even before he could complete the sentence Aravind shouted at the boy “Idiot, don’t you see I am very busy. I have no time to listen to you. Go to your mom and ask her whatever you want to. Don’t disturb me.” Sunil continued pleading, “Daddy, mom says I have to take your permission; here is the form on your table. You have to give your approval now itself, as I am required to give it to the school tomorrow morning for joining the excursion. All the other boys have submitted.” Aravind got annoyed and crumpled the form before throwing it to a corner. He bellowed at the top of his voice “Sunil, get out of this room before I throw you out!” The boy silently withdrew with tears in his eyes. It was late in the night by the time Aravind finalised the report. He was very exhausted and forgot about the form when he hit the bed at midnight with heavy eyes.

The next day early morning, he rushed to airport to catch his flight to Mumbai. He had totally forgotten about the form. The boy also had not come to him again in the morning hurt as he was at his father’s anger. It was the second day when most of the boys of Sunil’s class had left for excursion. Sunil along with a few other boys was returning home in an auto rickshaw when the accident occurred. A water tanker hit the auto from behind killing all the five children in it. Aravind rushed home on hearing the news. He could not console his grieving wife who was devastated by the tragedy. Sunil was born to them eight years after the first daughter was born. He was the apple of her eye. Aravind could not control his grief. The presence of the elders and relatives in the house never left them together alone. The frequent visits of police men and the teachers from school had all kept them away from the intensity of the blow.

It was a week after the incident Aravind went to the study to be alone. The sight of his sorrowing wife was too much to bear. It all looked like a bad dream. He sat on his chair closing his eyes even as he recollected the little boy touching his shoulder hesitantly before making the request. He suddenly recollected his wily interruptions, his pleading eyes and the hurt when he left the room. Aravind turned around and saw the crumpled paper still lying in the corner. He rushed towards it and lifting it, he flattened it to remove the creases. Tears were flowing from his eyes when he could not control his grief. He took his pen and signed feverishly in the form as a mad man before crying in inconsolable grief He cried aloud “Sunil, here is the form. I have signed it. You can join the excursion.” His wife who reached there hearing the commotion saw Aravind sobbing like a child.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The magic of the kite

Dinesh and his wife Savitri along with their 6 year old son had come to South India on vacation. They had been planning this visit for a long time. Chennai was their last point. They had not seen a beach in their life. They had reserved one day in Chennai only for this purpose. When they went early in the evening, they were taken in by the bewitching beauty of Marina beach. The warmth of the long stretch of sands, the view of the vast expanse of sea with its roaring waves in the azure back ground and the accompanying cool breeze transported them to heavenly joy. Both had wanted to stand in the water and enjoy the waves lashing at their feet. They had never envisaged the great problem that arose from their son Varun.Eversince he came to the beach, he was cross and irritable.He did not want to walk on the sand. He complained of pain in the leg. He cried that that they should not go near the water. He was throwing up all sorts of tantrums. Not all the cajoling and appeasing with candies, ice cream, and ponyride would make him budge. He stood adamant refusing to move and wailing at the top of the voice. He was afraid of the water. The couple were at their wit’s end not knowing what to do. They didn’t want to miss enjoying the beach but were averse to make the boy cry further.
It was then one young boy of Varun’s age who was returning back home with his dad came towards Varun. He handed over the thread of the kite he was flying to Varun.Varun was elated and got immersed in keeping the kite afloat in the sky. He stopped crying and was able to stabilise the kite with the help of his daddy. All his petulance had vanished and he was walking with his parents towards the water. There was no resistance as he was busy keeping the kite in position.Dinesh and Savitri took turns to stand in the water with the waves breaking on their legs, and drenching their clothes. It was an exhilarating and new experience. The sun was still shining but they had to leave to catch the night train to Delhi.
When they started walking back towards the waiting car on the road, they saw a young boy again of Varun’s age crying and refusing out of fear to move towards the sea. He squatted on the sand, and wailed hysterically with his parents looking helplessly.Varun was amused. His parents smiled remembering the antics of Varun a couple of hours before. They were surprised when Varun walked towards the crying boy and handed over the thread of the kite that was still floating up in the sky. The same metamorphosis from fear to joy came about in the boy’s face with Varun walking proudly with his parents towards the car.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A snap decision
by KParthasarathi 07 Feb 2009
Sanjay was the last recognised batsman at the crease. It was the final of an international one day series and with the series evenly poised 2-2 each. He was facing the last ball of the 50th over. A sixer was needed to win the match. It was a do or die situation. He was the cynosure of all the millions of eyes on the ground and before TVs. His future depended on what he did today. The stadium was packed to the full. There was an eerie silence with the hearts of viewers in their mouths. The suspense was punishing with the commentators going silent with their fingers crossed. As the bowler was walking back to the starting point, there was a flash of his life from his child hood days like a film on a screen.
The couple in their thirties with their two children were the last to get down from the train in the last station. The compartment was empty. The husband and wife took their small luggage in one hand and the children on the other. Just as they were moving away from the train, they heard a wail of a baby. They both stopped wondering where from the cry had come. The shrill cry from a new born babe came again from within the compartment. The man went up and saw a babe of hardly ten days old under the seat. It was clear to him that it was abandoned. The wife too had followed him and looked around. There was not a soul seen. He said, “We cannot leave the baby here. We will take it and leave it at the police outpost here.” The moment she took the baby in her hand, it stopped crying and broke into an innocent smile. It was cute looking baby boy. She turned to her husband and said, “Why not we keep this baby ourselves? The police will surely hand this over to an orphanage. I don’t wish this gift of God should go there.” The husband meekly pointed out that they were already leading a hand to mouth life and that addition of one more member would strain their tiny budget. She put her foot down telling emphatically that they could share whatever they had amongst the five and that the baby should be retained by them. That settled the issue. The baby boy grew up as a member of their family. They bestowed the same affection and care as they gave to the other two children.
Sanjay looked at the bowler running menacingly towards him to bowl the last ball. The entire crowd stood up on their feet in high anticipation. His mind was blank to the noisy surroundings and his eyes were focussed at the bowlers arm. Sanjay hit the ball with all the strength at his command and presto the ball fell on the roof of the pavilion with a thud. There was a deafening uproar with his team mates running in to lift him in their arms. His country had won. As he walked back to the pavilion with other players forming line on both sides, the applause from the stands was deafening.
Declared the man of the match, one of the commentators approached him with a mike and said, “This is a memorable occasion in your life. You have been instrumental in bringing the trophy to our country. You will be showered with riches and goodies in plenty. What would you like to say on this unforgettable occasion? To whom would you ascribe this outstanding feat?”
Even as he wiped the tears from his eyes, Sanjay replied without a moment’s hesitation ”I dedicate this achievement wholly to my loving parents. My thoughts go back very long. Twenty five years ago, they took a snap decision at a railway station that changed the course of my life. I owe everything to them today, tomorrow and forever.”
There was a puzzled look in the commentator’s face and the millions who heard him. Sanjay continued,” The snap decision they took that day transformed an abandoned boy from an orphan to a loving son.”

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Do away with the civilian awards?

- by KParthasarathi 04 Feb 2009
Why should the government distribute awards each year? Why cannot this business of recognition be left to the highest bodies in the chosen areas? Many countries in the West have for long ceased giving civilian awards and left the task to the professional bodies. A deserving musician can be honoured with the highest title by an all India musical body and a cinema actor or those associated with films be conferred recognition by all India forum related to that field just as an Oscar award is being given at the international level.. We have our own Sangeet Natak Academy. Literary awards like Booker prize are chosen by a panel of eminent writers, scientific recognition by Nobel Committee and exceptional cricketing skill by Wisden.We have our own national equivalents for these bodies.
Why should the State tread into such areas especially when they hardly have the expertise to evaluate the contributions objectively? Can we for a moment accept that literary awards if given by government would be free from bias? In a coalition set up where the government at the centre is wholly dependent for survival on regional satraps, does it have the strength to resist the pressures from them for their nominees? There would be a clamour for region wise quota and possibly based on political colour and loyalty to the ruling clique of the prospective awardees..

By leaving the job of choosing the highly meritorious to the respective fraternities, we would have rendered unto Caesar, things that are Caesar’s with no room for allegations of favouritism.Let the government be content with selection of governors and other political appointments and give a wide berth to other areas. It is time they put an end to this hardy annual ritual that creates more heartburn than satisfaction. This would save the bitter acrimony amongst different groups, academics, industrialists, IT, writers, film personalities, sports personalities, artists, medical profession etc.No government can satisfy the hunger for recognition of the "public service minded’ men and women and the system runs the risk of turning into an unedifying benefaction..

A cricket player may be a great in his area and a highly visible personality made so by media and sponsors for their own commercial purposes. It is a moot point whether playing cricket for money is a public service. It will be a lamentable disservice to scores of doctors, human rights activists, officials, social service organizations,NGOs and many more such who silently toil giving their invaluable time and money to give better lives to the teeming millions with no expectation of reward or recognition. No TVs will blare for them or media write about them for these personages have no use to increase their TRP or circulation. Likewise, a Narayanamurthy, a Ratan Tata, or an Ambani is basically a businessman or industrialist who worked for the benefit of his companies. There was no national fervour or public goal in their efforts any more than a shop owner of a kirana store. If their companies had not succeeded, they would have closed their shops and gone to do something else. They have worked for creating the wealth they needed and succeeded just like a Bill Gates, a Ford, or a Lakshmi Mittal elsewhere…...udhara nimitham bahu kruta vesham as it can be termed. It is a different matter that a Bill gate is spending a large portion of his wealth for philanthropic causes and may merit special recognition for that purpose. Where is the national service in others running a business except the benefit to the society coming as an incidental off shoot? Let not the government play to the gallery by pandering to the wishes of the canaille by considering for the highest award to a sportsman or a filmy folk or one of such ilk.

Only those who have worked for the welfare of the country in a spirit of sacrifice and service and make the lives of its people better and rich can be considered worthy of any recognition. Mother Teresa or a Vinobha Bhave gave so much but took very little. There are many like them doing their work silently and effectively unsung and unhonoured.They will never be visible in the radars of the powers that be. They also attach scant regard for name and fame. Even politicians, except those who participated in the freedom struggle sacrificing their careers and families, do not qualify for recognition. Politics these days is a lucrative profession. It may surprise that more than fifty percent of Bharat Ratna awardees are drawn from the political class. Quite a lot of officials too have obtained these awards.

Before considering someone for an award, the first litmus test would be how much he/ she has contributed to the society in making the lives of ordinary people even slightly better without enriching themselves in the process. Nothing else matters. Their service should preferably be honorary. Now each political outfit would want the highest honour be given to its leader work for it with their political clout in disturbing the stability of the government, The award runs the risk of becoming a political sop instead of a well considered and highy deserving recognition. The best course would however be doing away with these meaningless civilian awards.