T22 -Tigress of Ranthambore

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Zone 7 was allocated to us on current booking at the office of the Ranthambore National Park. Such is the resistance that even a first-timer to the national park refuses to visit Zone 7. The gypsy driver and the guide squabbled about my request to get the zone changed to either zone 6 or zone 8. The driver was convinced with my reasoning. Money came to rescue and we were able to get the zone 6. The guide was in his mid-50s with thick mustache spread till center of his cheeks, his looks quite unusual for a guide. Most of his front teeths were lost to the excessive chewing of tobacco and age. His lose Rajasthani-styled trouser was out-of-place for a jungle safari.

Danish and I had traveled to Ranthambore National Park by bullet from Delhi. We started at 6 pm from Delhi and drove for 9 hours. The strain of night driving, unfamiliarity of the route and excitement for the first bike trip arose adventurous feeling within us. We were determined to reach well in time to get a 2-hour sleep before we got ready for the safari at 6:30 am. 

I had no hopes of citing the tiger since it was 7:30 am and we were still negotiating with the Shahid (the driver) and our guide. Ours was the last vehicle to enter zone 6. In early hours of the day, the tigers are usually seen taking a stroll across the jungle marking their territories. After first few kilometers into the zone 6, I was assured that this was not the best part of the jungle and regretted not managing a booking to the main zone – Zone 1 to Zone 5. Danish, on his second trip, was exploiting his cyber shot camera and large memory chip in it. He was busy clicking using hills bordering the park, the dry trees and the rocky track that lead us into the jungle. A couple in mid 30s with two kids occupied the center seats of the gypsy while Danish and I took the rear seats. The gypsy cruised along the dusty road with driver negotiating the large rocks.

First few kilometers into the jungle and we did not see the preys of the Tiger- the spotted deer, sambhar and or chinkara. The driver and the guide replied in chorus, “We’ll try our best to help find a tiger”. This was in response to the disappointment we exchanged with the family sitting ahead of us.

Tigers are shy and difficult to trace without observing the pug marks or calls of Sambhar and or monkey. ‘You help us see a tiger and we promise you a treat’, I said confirming to the notion of people responding to incentives. The bumps on the track helped the 3 year kid take a quick nap in his mother’s lap.

We were busy sharing our past safari experiences speaking loudly to hear each other clearly on a speeding open gypsy. We heard 3 calls of monkey in quick succession. The driver braked immediately to hear it clearly. The guide whispered seeing the tigress on our right, ‘Reverse and take the track. It’s T22 – the tigress’. In next 30 seconds we were following the tigress keeping a safe distance. All of us were now standing and focused on the tigress moving ahead. ‘Her feets are so big’ said Danish. ‘Lets not get more close to her’, he said. The tigress, disturbed by the early morning chaos turned her head towards us. T-22 looked slim may be she had just delivered babies. ‘She is hungry’, the guide said. Taking a lazy stride, she never looked like making a kill but her prey in close vicinity were on alert.

This was not the best of citings at the park but the excitement of seeing a tiger- the king moving carefree at its home- is a great feeling to have. The driver reversed and returned to drop us at the hotel by 9:15 am well ahead of the schedule time. While returning, I was busy negotiating the possibility of getting one of them main zones but could not get it. We were at zone 8 in the evening safari but not lucky the second time. After all, citing a tiger is not akin to seeing a dog.

 

Its about professionalism!

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We were expecting guests at home on Sunday afternoon. The family was supposed to come for lunch and most likely to stay with us till the end of the day. The day before, in the evening my wife was taking the trouble to put the house in order. My kids, anxious and excited (since we do not have many visitors to our place) prepared well to share all that they owned with their would-be friends. Just when I was to start my set of activities to prepare for their visit, the phone rang and the gentleman with a very lame excuse explained his inability to make it. The gentleman did not sound convincing and it did not require any great philosophical insights to judge it. Never mind, if they could not make it.

With extra time at my disposal I thought of penning my thoughts on a statement that I heard earlier, “I believe in maintaining boundaries between ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ relation”. I do not remember exactly the time but I have expressed my feelings on this in my blogs earlier as well. 

Despite the definition of ‘professionalism’ is available at a click, I re-state the same- 

Definition 1- the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession

Definition 2- the following of a profession (as athletics) for gain or livelihood

Most of the times, I have seen people confuse the two and understand only the second definition. 

In behavioral terms, ‘professionalism’ is WRONGLY understood to be:

1. I have to ensure always, about carrying the traits that classifies me as a doctor, manager, entrepreneur etc. 

2. I have to show the best conduct possible with my colleagues. Never mind whether it comes from within. 

3. Always try to be rational to draw all conclusions with the belief that rationality is an exclusive gift from God.

4. Be smart to know the ‘timing’ when to utter what and get maximum advantage if any, the art of communication offers.

5. Close all discussions and involvement once out of work. 

Not many will agree to what I stated above. I will not risk my so called ‘professional’ stance by generalizing the behavior all humans in this world and then get it into a justification mode. Its my perception and I am free to express my perception openly. Atleast this is quite ‘Professional’ on my part (..pun intended)

‘Professionalism’ for me constitutes:

1. The good conduct should extend to our families and friends as well. We cannot be having a dual personality and further complicate our simple short life. We have to respect the individuality of our kids, wife, parents, maid at home or a childhood friend. While they expect a more transparent expression we cannot hold them victim to any of our negative experiences by being disrespectful and rude to them. 

2. True professionalism is not operating from a position of power. Its not only about economic dependence. Its emotional dependence as well. 

3. At work, professionalism is about not being biased.

4. Building a connection nurtures an efficient work culture. What better than build relations with those you work more than 50 hours per week. I am not saying we become an open register at the entrance of a library that is signed by anyone.We will be limited by the sheer constraint of ‘span of control’. You cannot be known well to more than 5 or max 10 in case of a special human being.  

5. We are all in this world for a reason and it is nothing bad about it. We achieve most with cooperation and working together. 

 

Living it fully

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Unmindful of the fact that not all love stories have happy end, Ravin in “Can Love Happen twice?” falls in love with a girl while on work tour to Belgium. I finished reading this novel within 5 days of Ravinder Singh’s first novel, “I too had a love story”. In this novel, Ravin falls in love quite the same way as he fell in love with Khushi. But I could not relate to his eagerness to marry Simar. What options were left with Ravin, had Simar kept mum about her future plans till marriage? The tendency to add a “forever” definition to any relation in our life is contradictory to definition of “Life is a journey”. Rather than committing an assured future for each other, its more appropriate to assure the present.

Commitment holds true in present since future is always uncertain. We attempt to create a bond via a formal relation. The 5 feathers that Ravin had from Simar could have been used to get Simar to agree to what he wanted. Instead he chose to discuss and sort out the differences. I feel, differences always exist in relations. This is an universal truth and attempt should be to live with them. Remembrance of the fact- “What made you fall in love?”- comes to rescue love in relations. What else helps?

Side-effects of my marriage

Its been 15 years since I got married and never thought about the regrets i.e. side effects of my relation with my wife. The trailers of the newly released movie made me rethink if I ever had any of the issues/regrets that were a direct outcome of my marriage.

The greatness of my relation with my wife ( I have now stopped naming her openly confirming to advise of my close friend who said, “apne pyaar ke numaish karna..please stop doing it.”) was, I never had to worry about issues like: a) Which side of bed should I sleep? b) I never had to worry about who will use the washroom first in the morning. c) Who will clean the toilets? d) What should she or I wear when we sleep? e) Any specific time or occasion to get intimate. f) Who cooks? g) Who washes clothes?

I am not sure if she has any such side-effects with me. But I, post listing them above, am very sure that I never ever had to worry about such things in our relation post marriage. Our post marriage life moved on since then freely without (at least for me) without worrying for any adjustments or sacrifices made. But it seems too true to believe. I too had side-effects of my marriage. I intend to list them down here:

Side-effect 1.

Even when I was still a full time MBA student post my marriage, I felt like working. May be this feeling was overwhelming since she was working and I was still a student. I always wanted to do more than what she did to run our family.
 
Side-effect 2.
I always owned or leased a residence that it of size more than what we need. When we got married, my mother-in-law had said, “Is this the small one room where you expect my daughter to live with you?” Since when I started working, I ensured we lived in an oversized apartment and a locality that is host to wealthy and more prosperous than us.
 
Side-effect 3.
I never realized that I kept bragging about my wife. How good she was? How important she was in my life? How our love story was a success and happy one?
 
Side-effect 4.
I was more withdrawn socially. I never missed my relatives. No one other than her had any importance in my life. I felt like winning a battle.
 
Side-effect 5.
I feared the future. Will I be able to ensure financial security to my family- kids, parents and wife?
 
Side-effect 6.
I always believed that its only the first few years. One day, I will have lots of time to be free to pursue what I loved- lots of free time for my cycling, photography etc. I was wrong. I missed doing anything significant in last 13 years of my marriage.
 
Side-effect 7.
I never wanted to father a second kid. But then, I finally did and she turned out to be an angel who is making our lives – my daughter’s, wife’s and mine- even more brighter.
 
Side-effect 8.
I never believed myself to be special. But with constant nagging from my wife, I have somehow gained some confidence that I may be one day good enough to be in this world.
 
Side-effect 9.
My hair turned white when I was only 32 years.
 
Side-effect 10.
I became very talkative. I began to believe that I can win any argument and can never be wrong in what I believe or reason. But the fact is that I have lost that habit of mine to connect with anyone I feel like- at least as per my wife.
 
I will keep having many more side-effects and may be in another 15 years of my marriage I may re-write this blog again.

 

I am Living a love story


My first comments after reading Ravinder Singh’s” I too had a love story” to my friend (Danish) on Whatsapp were “Hi. I just finished reading the book-I too had a love story. I felt sad at the loss of his love. Thats the only moment I could relate well to mine when Monica was on emergency. I wished and challenged God to get Monica back just like the author did. I am lucky to have her with me. Bhai sahab! I am better not reading fiction again. 😅”
The story is a quick read with narration not surprising me enough. When in love we all the feel the way the author felt in the story. What though surprised me was the commonality of some events to my love story to the minutest detail. I somehow start to believe that most love stories are quite similar. 
I usually get carried away by some good fiction and hence prefer to limit reading only the best. This way I only remember select good stories and continue to relate to events un-folding in my life.  
My friend Danish had told me about this novel and he was busy reading on our Ranthambore trip. He is yet to  find his love but whats surprising to me is the interest and impact love stories create in him. We together joke on girls and why all best words are names of girls- Bhawna, pooja, asha, astha etc. Between 3 of us- Danish, the Author and me- Danish is yet to have a love story; the author had a love story and I am living a love story. 

She turns 58…

My Mom turned 58 on Feb 19 2014. I am not quite sure if her turning 58 arouses any special feelings in her but she openly acknowledges her eligibility to travel by train on concession as Senior citizen. 
By God’s grace she is fit and fine. My father has not lost hope to wake her up at 5 am and make her walk as fast as he does. A slow starter but as an individual she believes in doing only what she is convinced of. But that does not mean she has her way of getting things done at home. She is one of most caring daughter-in-law and most agreeable mother-in-law I have ever known. She is a submissive partner to my father guiding and supporting him for last 39 years. 
She nurtured us (including my younger sister) to have clarity of thought, purity of heart and selfless approach towards life. She is full of remedies (nuskaas) for every minor illness and will not hesitate to administer a second remedy within minutes of administering the first one. She ensures that the problem is uprooted permanently whether from body or from life. 
She weeps when we go away from her. The carefree affection and motherhood is now relived by her through my daughters. She hardly gets enough of me to talk and spend time with. Its not that I am too busy but that strong-independent image to head family responsibilities limits the free flow of my emotions- Can I be very coherent about my fears? Will that not worry her more? Why should I bother her with my problem?
Its been 17 years since I moved out of house for studies and career. Post those formative years, I have been with my mother (infact parents) for few days in a year. 
My love with her today is limited to brief hugs and making her laugh by cracking jokes, now and then. She explains her problems and concerns and I move out post suggesting corrective actions, if any.   
When it comes to gifting I doubt if any kid can buy anything for her mother. 
So, mother you are a must for us and be with us always……

…..I am Sorry

I have always been intrigued by the utterance of the word ‘Sorry’. Why do we say it? Do we mean it? Does it mean different things at different situations?


‘I Apologize’ is also a statement but used more in a formal context. I have rarely heard my friends and relations saying this. Even I never said ‘I Apologize’ till date. I have, though, heard Heads of States apologize.

Before I continue to use the word ‘Sorry’, I intend to pen down my feelings on the word ‘Sorry’ and statement ‘…..I am sorry’ before continuing to use it in future.

Google throws up a very interesting table that differentiates between ‘Sorry’ and ‘Apology’. I embed the same here for a quick reference.

Few days back my status update was “Sorry! , from me, flows quite candidly almost instantaneously . I doubt if I really mean it.”


Despite the fact that ‘Sorry’ has a more informal usage in our lives, we should negate the English language difference of it from ‘I Apologize’. Anyone who says (or even utters) ‘Sorry’ should be given the benefit of doubt that he/she truly means it. But does it really mean deserves a logical (devoid of any emotional bias) scrutiny within our hearts…

 1.  Does it mean forget the past and move on?

 2. In continuation of 1) above, does it mean “I hope you are well  prepared to deal with ‘nuance’ the next time and not feel bad the way you felt this time.”?

3.  Does it mean?- “That’s the way I am, but I say sorry since you felt bad and not particularly about the act itself. I continue to believe what I did was right?”

4.  Does it mean?- “Let’s move on in our own respective directions. I said ‘Sorry’ to ward off any retaliation from you that I may be unprepared for.”

5.  Is it uttered purely as a display of etiquette? For instance, we deliberately push open the door despite knowing the fact that it may hurt someone but then immediately say ‘Sorry’ with a smile which is usually a fake one. (I say this since I believe we need to learn to be inherently happy…always. That’s a topic to deal with in a separate blog

While above is a probable listing of the thinking who says ‘Sorry’, the recipient may interpret it differently:

1.  Why he/she said ‘Sorry’? – “You demeaned me. I say ‘ok’ but not spare any opportunity to return the favor in immediate future.”

2.  “You never meant it. You will continue to act the way you did in past. Its better I am prepared to give it a pass it future as well.”

3.  “I ignore any of your reaction(s) followed with confession(s) of regret. Never mind, I am with you for a much deeper and meaningful purpose.”

4.  “I am overwhelmed by your gesture and will ensure to be more accommodating in future. I will try my best not to let you say ‘Sorry’ in future. I will be too good to you.”

 My attempt here is not to undermine the usage of ‘Sorry’ but to sensitize that its usage is more restricted and purposeful. We should consider ourselves fortunate to have a friend, an associate who is always there irrespective of use of the word ‘Sorry’….

…but what about the expectations!