I heard a teacher comment with a lot of sadness that the problem with today’s youth is that there are no heroes to inspire them. She had asked the 15 year olds in her class to write on their hero and most could not get beyond Sachin, Aishwarya Rai and Sania Mirza and some even wrote that they did not believe in following anyone and felt that their individuality was more important than being inspired by any hero. She was a little concerned that we no longer seem to have people who could inspire the youth by the strength of their character and moral rectitude.

Decline of heroism? Don't our youth have enough heroes to show the way?
I was quite surprised to hear this because with the spread of democracy, access and opportunity have opened up for everyone and one would imagine there should be more heroes buzzing all over the place waiting to be worshipped and emulated. For instance, we no longer live in an age when the competition to a Prince- hero pays the price for being equally good by being disqualified from competitions on grounds of gaps in bio-data (Mandatory field: Biological fathers name) or by having a vital part of his body amputated!

Or this very wide open door of opportunity has perhaps resulted in a shortening of the tenure of herohood today. For example before someone creates a record, there is someone around the next corner ready to break it! The exclusivity enjoyed by the Arjunas and the Herculeses ensured longevity of their fame while today’s heroes’ share of the limelight gets reduced to a few days.Is that why herohood is no longer a sought after career – except when it comes with the huge benefits of the Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai variety?

The problem is not that there are no heroes anymore - there is plenty of heroic work going on quietly even in remote corners making a lot of difference to a lot of people’s lives. The problem is that they do not get publicity and recognition that could make them popular enough to act as inspiration for anyone who happens to be in their neighbourhood. Unlike the western media, our newspapers and television channels prefer to use their space on celebrity heroes rather than showcasing these unsung heroes of kindness, sacrifice and leadership. Perhaps the value of their work stands enhanced because of its obscurity. It is the community at large and specially the youth that lose out by not having role models to inspire them.

Roy Williams has written an interesting piece on the value of heores to a society:

"The saying, "The sun never sets on the British Empire" was true as recently as 1937 when tiny England did, in fact, still have possessions in each of the world's 24 time zones. It's widely known that the British explored, conquered and ruled much of the world for a number of years, but what isn't as widely known is what made them believe they could do it.

For the first 1000 years after Christ, Greece and Rome were the only nations telling stories of heroes and champions. England was just a dreary little island of rejects, castoffs, barbarians and losers. So who inspired tiny, foggy England to rise up and take over the world? ......Hoping to instill in his countrymen a sense of pride, a simple Welsh monk named Geoffrey assembled a complete history of England that gave his people a grand and glorious pedigree. Published in 1136, Geoffrey's "History of the Kings of Britain," was a detailed, written account of the deeds of the English people for each of the 17 centuries prior to 689 AD... and not a single word of it was true. Yet in creating Merlyn, Guinevere, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table from the fabric of imagination, Geoffrey of Monmouth convinced a sad little island of rejects, castoffs, barbarians and losers to see themselves as a just and magnificent nation.
And not long after they began to see themselves that way in their minds, they began seeing themselves that way in the mirror.
Most people assume that legends, myths and stories of heroes are simply the byproducts of great civilizations, but I'm convinced that they are the cause of them. Throughout history, the mightiest civilizations have been the ones with stories of heroes; larger-than-life role models that inspired ordinary citizens to rise up and do amazing things."

So it would seem that if there were no heroes, one would need to invent them. And in our case, we have so many of the "real" ones, all we need to do is to turn the limelight on them.
"Agelessbonding eliminates the possibilities of a Middle Age and its blues."
- blogger Krishna Bhatt left this comment on my previous post.
Precisely the reason why this blog was started; and also to have a channel of communication that transcends the barriers of physical world which limits your interactions to a small group of people in your family and neighbourhood. I could never have been exposed to reactions from people as diverse as those who leave a comment here and broaden my perspective - I might never have discussed some of the things I write about here in the real world with a 18 year old like Shashi and I wonder if he would have been as forthcoming with his comments. Funny I used the word "real world" for this world is about as real for me as anything that happens around me everyday. Vaish and I were meeting every weekend at the French classes but our friendship deepened to the level of peers only after we exchanged blog addresses and got a peek into our reactions to men and matters. And she tells me that I am more twenty plus than most twenty pluses she knows. Same with Anita. Visithra, the kolam expert who is already a good friend , agrees. Well,as Siddhu says I guess I stopped growing sometime in my 20s - don't know if that is good are bad but as long as I am comfortable with it, it should not matter, right? and believe me, I am.Mohan and Samanth, who are Siddhu's friends are as much my equals now. It feels great when Mohan says that he feels the same way as me about the need for space.
As Mark twain observed: Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.. Another blogger friend Ravi agrees completely.Dubukku Renga, do you still want to call me "akka"? Beware, when you are 40, I might call you "anna", relatively speaking...and Mukundan, can we get rid of that "Madam"?
Middle age and old age are not for me, I intend to die young at 80!Or as Rashmi said,
"18 till I die". ( actually I'd rather be 29!).

P.S. Apparently this is my 300th post. A big thank you to those who take the trouble to read me and even bother to leave their reactions,which is what keeps this blog going. Thank you all!
Many months back I wrote a post on the legendary "poochandi" who is a character very familiar to kids in Tamilnadu.This terrible "P" word is the ultimate in threat to scare unruly little deviants into unquestioning obedience. You could say that for Tamil kids POO.CH.CHAN.DEE ,( uttered slowly and deliberately in a vicious undertone) is the equivalent of Gabbar Singh of Sholay. Remember?"Pachas Pachas Kos Door Gaon Me Jab Koi Bachcha Rota Hai To Maa Kehati Hai, So Ja Bete; Varna Gabbar Aa jayega."
Exactly what Tamil ammas said to their unruly kids with a remarkable rate of success. And it was not when the child opened his mouth to cry but when he refused to hit the bed or finish up his food or whatever. Poochandi never failed to deliver the goods - 100% rate of success.
Needless to say that generations of children in Tamil households have heard of him but he has never been seen! More the pity,for such a powerful charcter at least deserves the dignity of a scary face to go with his reputation!! But of course, it was left to one's own imagination and you could have your personalised poochandi depending on what you thought was scary enough.
My image of poochandi has been one who had matted hair, brownish, with an unkempt beard, red eyes and dressed in rags. Since he was only used to scare children, he was probably some kind of a cannibal who delighted on young human meat!
And imagine my delight when. thanks to Mathangi, I discovered my own Poochandi's image. It even has my name !!

Help yourself to your own personalised poochandi here

Thanks Mathangi for letting me confront my personal poochandi. It is a childhood dream come true....

Ms. Vyjayanthi Raman, a graduate in sociology runs a shelter for poor children – actually it is the home for these 20 children and is appropriately called “OUR HOME”. The shelter runs from a rented premises from which they have been asked to move out. Now they are looking for an alternate space and need about 25 lakhs.

Check out asha’s post on a day she spent with them at the circus and for some photographs of these beautiful children.

Small contributions from individuals will also go a long way to make up the sum. The contributions are eligible for Income Tax benefits.

You are welcome to visit the home , interact with the children and talk to Ms.Vyjayanthi .

Contacts for information:
Mrs. Vyjayanthi Raman
Res: 26630413
Mobile: 93413-14173

You can make your contributions payable to "Helpline charitable trust" and Mail it to
Ms. Vyjayanthi Raman at:
"Our home"
708, 16th A main
38th Cross
4th T Block,
Bangalore - 560041

Or directly make a transfer to their ICICI Bank account 005301040477.
The trust can accept money from abroad if the person sending has an Indian passport. They can transfer money from any bank to ICICI a/c no 005301040477 Bangalore.

Along with this, they need to scan their passport [page with nationality] and send by email to The money will be credited when she sends this copy to the bank.

Or you may contact Asha Mokashi

Please feel free to contact me for any further details. I will obtain them and forward them to you.

(Those of you who received a mail from me on this please do not be cross - I won't do it again!! I Promise!!!)

The details:


HCT was established in 1999, as a registered trust as per the prevailing laws in India.The trustees are Vyjayanthi Raman, V Krishnan Dr Srinath. Vyjayanthi Raman, is a graduate in sociology, was active in the government remand home & was a member of Karnataka Council for Women & Child Welfare. V Krishnan is a Chartered Accountant. Dr Srinath is a pediatrician. Apart from the trustees. Dr Saraswati, a gynecologist & Varadrajan a senior citizen are very active participants in the day-to-day activities of the trust.

Prime objective of the trust is to empower the impoverished children through education & vocational training.
HCT provides, shelter, food, medical care, education & a decent living ambience to the children to become responsible citizens with strong moral values.

• HCT admits both male & female children from the age of 3. There are currently 20 children.
• 3 destitute ladies, who are also in need, are responsible for day-to-day tasks.
• The children are sent to school & given additional coaching whenever needed.
• Senior citizens are encouraged to come & spend time with the children so as to give a family touch to their lives.
• A number of young volunteers from companies like Infosys, Oracle, Wipro take serious interest in the well-being & education of the children.
• Medical:Children are fully immunized. They are sent for check ups at regular intervals.
• Religion: Children from all faiths are freely admitted without any discrimination what so ever

Current requirement:
The activities of the trust since inception in 1999, is being carried out from leased premises. And now the landlord has asked them to shift and it is difficult to find an alternate premises on rental. As a long term solution, in the interest of the children, buying out a small but adequately sized shelter is the answer.
The trustees have identified a property not far from the present location, wherein the total cost comes to Rs 40 lacs, (see following slides for map & cost structure)
The trust presently has Rs 15 lacs which can be spared for this purpose,leaving a gap of Rs 25 lacs, which needs to be bridged

In the context of non availability of institutional funding & limited ability of the Trust, following options appear viable.
1. Direct grant to the trust by individuals/other trusts/companies or other organizations.
2. Buying of the property by another trust/organization/individual & letting the premises on long lease , say 25 years
3. Offering guarantee for the loan to any other organization, for loan to the Trust. Trust has the ability to repay @Rs 15000 per month (which is the rent, it is paying currently)

Other solutions are also welcome
• The trust has exemption under Income Tax act & contributions to the trust are eligible for deduction under section 80G, of Income Tax act.
• We interact closely with the Child Welfare Committee of the Govt of Karnataka and their inputs are taken with regard to maintenance of records etc
• The accounts of the trust are audited on a monthly basis by an independent professional firm.
• Regular updates are sent to the key donors & on request to anyone.
• Donors are encouraged to visit the premises & get a first hand feel of the activities and to interact with the children.
A film that you must watch , in the cinema. It has a story that is so relevant, a cast that is full of charm, energy and talent, a screen play that is perfect and Music that is A.R. Rahman!
It is fun, true,and in the end leaves you feeling thatyou can make a difference and you must. Every now and then in the history of a nation, there come moments where a generation has a choice between the line of least resistance and leaving ones footprints in history. NOW is probably one such time. A Mahatma is not born every few years to lead you through the right path. We were lucky to have had one in recent history. And we could make ourselves worthy of preserving the freedom won with the blood of so many like Azad and Bhagat Singh and Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan and so many other unknown shaheeds because of whom we are able to live and breathe the air of freedom today.
"Ae mere watan ke logo-n
zara aankh mein bhar lo paani
jo shaheed huay hain oonki
zara yaad karo qurbani ... "
Let us not make our cries of Vande Mataram for "One day mataram" (as T.N.Seshan said once). let us make it a cry for everyday and be proud of this country and more importantly make it worthy of pride.
Let us fight injustice and corruption fearlessly when and where we find them. Let us stand up for our rights. let us not be enslaved by our own systems. Let us act worthy of our freedom.
These were my thoughts and feelings after the flim.
It is clearly a "message" movie and the messages are not subtle either, they are pretty loud and clear. But hey, when a movie is made this well, who's complaining?
For a brilliant, professional review of the film ,go to my favorite film critic Baradwaj's blog @
In the Bhakthi litereature in India God is worshipped in many forms. The relationship is not always the standard one of reverence that a creation owes its creator but it has taken many forms like those between alter-egos like Nara and narayana, partners or lovers as in the case of Mira or Andal, friend, advisor, parent apart from the ultimate, the supreme, the final destination and salvation. But the most fascinating of all these relationships is the one where the bhaktha becomes the mother and treats God as a child. There are many beautiful songs in all our languages expressing adoration for Krishna, the baby. Some of my favorites are the well-known "thaye yashoda', "enna thavam seidanai","krishna nee begane baro", "chinnan chiru kiliye" and "Bhavayami Gopala Balam". They are beautiful not only for the description of the miracles performed by baby krishna's but for the basic emotion underlying the theme of the song.
In such a relationship, there is no request for any favours, not even the one which simply asks to become one with Him. There is no anguished cry about the sufferings in the material world. There is nothing to seek not even protection, shelter, refuge. There is only the simple love of the mother, in total adoration of the child and wonder at every little step it takes. An intense desire to satisfy its every need, to protect it and care for it.
This total effacement of the self and total devotion ,a complete need to give without expecting anything in return - Perhaps this is what makes these kind of songs stand out supreme among the Bhakthi songs. And perhaps this is one kind of Bhakthi that all mammals are capable of and can easily relate to.
Just listen to M.S.Subbalakshmi give voice to Annamacharya melting with maternal feeling (Just as Yasoda must have) watching little Krishna take his first steps:

Bhavayami Gopala Balam ... Mana Sevitham ,
Tat padam chintayeyam sada
kati ghatitha mekhala , khachita mani ghantika
Patala ninadena vibharaja manam
kutilapada ghatitha samakula chintitenam
chatula natanam samujala vilasam
niratakarakalita navaneetham
bramhadi ,suranikara bhavana shopitapadam
thiruvenkatachala sthitam anupamam harim
paramapurusham gopala balam

Anyone who has seen a child take his first unsteady steps can relate to the feelings and imagine what a delightful sight it must have been to watch the bejewelled Baby krishna walk unsteadily toward mama Yashoda with the butter in his hand spilling all the way!!
I can see why the whole of cosmos stopped to watch this sight!