Happiness**- No Strings Attached

28135296583_6f2b871957_b

When I came out of the railway station, all I was thinking was to find an ATM, to withdraw some cash and take an auto rickshaw towards the bus stand. As expected, the ATM at the railway station was out of cash. An old man, probably in his late sixties, came to me asking where I wanted to go. I told him about the destination which he agreed to go to. He had a cycle rickshaw with him and asked for eighty rupees for the journey. I had ample time at my disposal so I agreed with some apprehensions regarding his age and health. I told him that I need to withdraw some cash. Putting my luggage on the back seat, he said he would find me an ATM. We started our journey.

I realized while withdrawing cash that the distance between the source and destination is worth more than the fare he had demanded. While enjoying the view of the city comfortably sitting in a cycle rickshaw, I was somewhere worried about him, while he was enjoying his job as a routine chore. We approached a bridge where I realized he couldn’t take the rickshaw up the slope with the luggage and I loaded. A few other young rickshaw drivers were doing that with fairly visible pain. At the onset of the bridge I told him that I had to pick up a call, could I walk beside him while he took the rickshaw up the bridge, on which he happily agreed, feeling relaxed. In a few minutes, we cleared the hurdle and he asked me to get on board again.

I could observe a visible change in his behavior. He was much relaxed and willing to talk about where I was going, which bus I was going to board, etc. We reached the destination before time. I asked him to come and have some snacks and tea if he wanted, on which he agreed easily. I asked him what he would like to have, “Samosas” he replied happily. While having snacks and tea he kept on looking after my luggage and the bus.

When I saw my bus, I gave him a hundred rupee note with a good bye. He came rushing towards me after a few moments and said, “Acche se jana beta, koi kuch de to khana mat” (Have a safe journey and do not eat anything offered by strangers)

“Me khana lekar aya hu uncle” I laughed and waved him a good bye.

He was happy without any strings attached, not because I offered him food or a few extra bucks. It was the unexpected concern or care he experienced which we often forget to show in hustles and hurries of our busy lives. We are often deeply occupied in our worries that we forget to treat a few human beings as humans and over time they too accept the treatment to be fair…

Let us do our part in making them again feel special, no matter how small or big but a moment of happiness without any strings attached… 🙂

 

childhood 2.0

This summer has been special since its onset, at least for a bunch of 25 years plus scholars of our batch. It is a time when the campus neither has other scholars from management courses nor does it have any eatery or mess facility in the premises. You are literally on your own!

 

frank-mckenna-118767

The rhythm of swinging bats, the bashing sound of the tennis ball, the thrill of the limited over cricket matches , the same customized rules of gully cricket which no cricket bible has ever taught us but every one of us have adopted them as the laws of jungle are unanimously adopted by every member there, the commentary on each ball, the thirsty throats waiting to gulp a bucket of cold water after the match and the endless discussions on each match after they are over, are a few of the innumerable things that have bonded us to our childhood till now.

Yes of course, we are living it again! The tennis balls hit the hand like a bullet, and I remember it was 10 years back when my hands could hold those bullets from almost anywhere. Today I was 17 again trying to shout out these past 10 years carefree, no mobile for approximately 3-4 hours, undeterred by the shining sun, in the sweaty dusty slippers and clothes I was living the childhood 2.0.

So, What is the big deal about it?

Today we are literally blocked up and cluttered by innumerous anxieties and seemingly urgent tasks around us that almost abuse our carefree childlike needs and harass our inner being.

Today we are driven by the external drivers more than the inner drives and passion enhancing moments.

He asked his peer,” Won’t it be fun if we all care for our inner drives over external burdens of monetary and societal needs to be at par with others?”

But who has the guts to listen to his heart, lies don’t work there” He replied.

They picked up the bats and shouted for the new toss, ignoring the realities of the life that had just flashed in their eyes… as if they were asking for a few more minutes to meet with their 17 again…

That’s a reason why everyone silently in their heart love these ultimate lines by Jagjit Singh:

“Ye daulat bhi le lo, ye shauhrat bhi le lo..

Bhale chin lo mujhse meri jawani..

Magar mujhko lauta do bachpan ka saawan..

Wo kagaz ki kashti, wo barish ka pani..

Wo kagaz ki kashti, wo barish ka pani…”

The Birth of Indian Aviation – J.R.D’s Gift to The Nation

When Nevill Vintcent, a South African aviator and airline founder, proposed Tatas in 1929 to start an air mail service, they were recovering from the downswings of the 1920s and they had to withdraw from some enterprises. Furthermore, the then Chairman Sir Dorab ji Tata was reluctant to give a nod to J.R.D’s aviation dream. It was John Peterson who persuaded Sir Dorab ji to let J.R.D. have his way, “Let the young man do it. It doesn’t cost much. The Initial investment needed is much less, only Rs 2, 00,000.” Finally Dorab ji agreed. (that amount was around 6 million rupees in 1991!)

The first letter to the Member, Department for Industries, Government of India, Sir B.N. Mitra, was written by John Peterson as early as March 20th, 1929. John was probing Government’s interest about aviation. He sought the reason to be military if not others. He tried to convince B.N. Mitra that  Tatas had an offer from Vintcent’s to start mail service, Mitra said your proposed route from Karachi to Ahmadabad to Bombay was not matching with government’s plan of Karachi to Delhi.

Continuously, J.R.D. had ceaseless correspondence with Govt of India on behalf of Tata Sons from 1929 till 1931. The period tested J.R.D’s endurance and patience at the threshold of his career. By the end of December 1931, J.R.D was tired of Government’s delays. The strain was evident on him and he wrote to Vintcent, who was in Delhi those days, “I think that Government are treating us shabbily, I hope you’ll be able to save me this journey and to find out whether the Govt. intend to say yes or no in next 100 years…!”

J.R.D again wrote to Vintcent, “The Chairman is very disgusted with this approach of Govt and Tata Sons would finally give up on this proposal to Government.” Vincent got worried as he wanted that Tatas must not give up on this legendary initiative to bring aviation in India. He met the Viceroy Willingdon and tried to persuade him and his wife. Finally the Viceroy said, “Gentleman I think we see eye to eye on this proposal.” Tatas were finally been given the permission to start the mail service in India. This was the endurance and patience of the young J.R.D. who ceaselessly tried to convince the Govt. and finally the Govt. had to approve Tata’s airmail proposal.

J.R.D. said to the Rotary Club after the inauguration of first air service in India, “I want to express, perhaps unnecessarily, the unbounded confidence we have in ultimate future of air transport in India. A few lean years will precede the great development that must come but that has always been so with any new enterprise and in the case of air transport, more perhaps than any other, the difficulties are worth conquering. We look forward confidently to the day when none of you would think of travelling or sending your letters by any other way than by air, and when that time comes, if we have done our bit in helping India to make up for the lost time, we shall have achieved our purpose and we shall be satisfied.”

Last year in 2015, India post alone sent 6088 million mails across India and Abroad.(As per India Post Annual Report) A dream conceived by First Commercial pilot of India has traveled a long way ahead and it will keep on travelling ahead in generations to come. A country waiting for its share of development in its 30s, 40s, 50s or 70s has seen a great deal of changes in aviation field. On Tata Founder’s day, this article is an attempt to convey J.R.D.’s dream to his very Nation which he felt should deserve its share of growth and development with no further delays as a lot of time had already been lost in pre-independence era.

PS: Excerpts are taken from ‘Beyond the Last Blue Mountain’ A Life of J.R.D. Tata by R.M. Lala.