Did you hear the president's speech to the nation on the eve of Republic day? It was a touching moment when he made the youth of the nation take a ten point oath. It was endearing as well as moving to watch him read out every single point of the oath and to hear the children repeat after him. One saw an eminent Indian, who in sheer frustration with the grown ups, was appealing to the children and youth to 'please" lead the country into a "heaven of freedom"( as Tagore had dreamed., which still remains a distant dream - perhaps more distant than when he wrote it.) Simple to practice, asking the priveleged ones to care for the less priveleged and ensure their rights, and be human . Time someone gave these thoughts to the children even if the parents are too busy trying to be "successful" in this world. and "pushing" their children on the same course. He encouraged them to fight corruption wherever they found it, even if it is in their own parents! At the end of it, he asked them, with his trademark smile and such child like earnestness " will you all do this?" and when they said" yes, sir!" he added, "good children!" It was all straight from the heart-pure,honest, simple - enough to bring tears!

Another moving moment came after the speech when they braodcast the national anthem sung in bits by eminent singers from all over the country, each in his/ her distinctive style - carnatic, Hindusthani, folk and film - men, women,young and old; but it was all in perfect harmony and nothing seemed out of place. One voice - the voice of India!
Why does this feeling come only while hearing this song or while saluting the national flag and saying "jai Hind!'. After this we go back to being a Tamilian and Bengali and Punjabi and Gujarati - what is wrong with us?

The ten point oath for children

• I will pursue my education or the work with dedication and I will excel in it
• From now onwards, I will teach at least 10 persons to read and write among those who cannot read and write
• I will plant at least 10 saplings and shall ensure their growth through constant care
• I will visit rural and urban areas and permanently wean away at least 5 persons from addiction and gambling
• I will constantly endeavour to remove the pain of my suffering brethren
• I will not support any religious, caste or language differentiation
• I will be honest and endeavour to make a corruption-free society
• I will work for becoming an enlightened citizen and make my family righteous
• I will always be a friend of the mentally and physically challenged and work hard to make them feel normal, like the rest of us
• I will proudly celebrate the success of my country and my people.
A few months back, when I slowed the car at a speed breaker, a boy of about 12 banged on my car window. He was crying. He pointed to a woman who was sitting on the footpath and said she had a heart problem and had to be rushed to the hospital immediately and he needed money for the bus. The woman had a long robe that covered her head and body and she looked like she would faint any moment. So I gave the boy a hundred rupees and told him to take her by auto to the hospital immediately. The boy didn’t even have the time to thank me and ran away immediately.
As I drove on, I felt pangs of conscience at my feeble attempt to assuage my conscience with a hundred rupees and leaving a young boy, still a child, to manage the crisis by himself. I wondered if she would survive the trip to the hospital, if they had eaten anything, if the hospital would admit them without money. I nagged myself to no end until I could bear it no more and turned back resolving to take them to the hospital myself if I found them at the bus stop. They were gone and all I could do was pray that everything turned out well.
When I came home, I was still troubled and narrated the whole story to my son, feeling awful about myself. But my son laughed and said, “oh,this is a standard trick. You find them all over the place.”
I felt cheated and angry. I felt that I had “wasted” my sympathy and emotions on people who would stoop so low for money. Then I calmed down and wondered what compulsion must have driven them to resort to such tricks –obviously they were hungry and needed money; they had no way of finding gainful employment. May be there was no bread winner in the house, may be there were younger children in the house, hungry. What else could they do?
Now, every time someone approaches me (and they often do, may be it is something about my face) with a tearful story, I give the money and go on with my life without agonizing over if I should have done more or less. I am willing to take the risk of being a victim of a trick than lose sleep over having turned away from some one who might have actually genuinely needed it.
I have heard that our ancestors used to wait for at least one needy person that they could feed each day before having their meal. Perhaps it is a good idea for us to revive the custom, even though india is supposed to be "shining" and on the way to becoming a "super power"!
These snow white birds in the mornings - with their exquisite long necks and yellow beaks, slender legs and measured steps
Pacing the empty plots with an air of a strict school teacher on inspection- i even look for hands folded behind their back, perhaps under those carefull arranged wings.
Nothing seems to escape their sharp gaze and there is air of complete confidence and superiority - slow deliberate movements, total grace , complete control.
They dont lose their poise even when they pick up a worm - bt they do it with the daintiness of a charming society lady picking up the hors'oeuvre , an air of refined taste and resume their strut. They ride on a buffalo's back with the air of a princess on an Arabian steed.
Is this what is known as "attitude" - yes, it seems it is not important what you do as long as you do it with a perfect attitude!!
On monday, one opened the eyes to a misty morning and chill wind and today before 6, there were crimson wisps of cloud on a clear blue sky. It was a pleasure to open the window and let the fresh breeze in.
Spring is already here – an early guest this year but very welcome. Time for letting everything in after three months of staying away from the natural feel of the earth, wind and water to keep the chill out. Time to turn the soil (and the self?) to let the heat out and get rid of the cracks on the surface and get soaked in the wetness and breathe fresh air. Time to be reborn- emerge from hibernation and get back to work on sprouting leaves and buds, and then the flowering and and fruition yet again. Time to seek and absorb fresh energy that the air will soon be so full of. Time for outdoors and indulgence of the senses on the fresh smells, sounds and colours. A time for rejoicing and rebirth.