Thoughts on Education | A Visit to Anand Niketan

“My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

– Sir Ken Robinson (in his funny yet brilliant & inspiring TED talk on ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’)

The thought of instilling creativity in my child has been in my mind since the day she was born. My daughter Ira is now 2 years 5 months old & frankly, I feel blank when someone asks me which school she will attend.

From my training experience, I have observed that these days kids are excessively disciplined. They are scared terrified to make mistakes. Kids as well as their parents believe that anything (including life skills) can be rote-learned & only getting ‘good grades’ can ensure a bright future. Their creativity is stifled & this highly rich resource gradually dies a slow death as kids venture into adulthood.

Also, relevance is another issue. It’s painful when my daughter sings “Rain Rain Go Away” when I know that there is an adverse condition of drought in the country. Education should be completely in sync with the surroundings we are living in. Second, what if by ten or twelve years of age, I figure out my daughter’s true talent. Say if she’s inclined towards dance, what would be the point in teaching Maths, Science, Geography or subjects which would not be relevant to the field of dance.

I think education should be fun & real learning happens by doing. In school, my favourite subjects were those which had activities, projects & wholesome teacher-student interaction; this truly ensured that students learn while doing. More importantly, I also recall those subjects better. I hated History lessons but ironically, reading the same stories in Amar Chitra Katha still remains the fondest memory of my childhood. I have realized: Kids should enjoy learning. They should look forward to new learning experiences.

Relevance is equally important. We need to be compassionate, respectful & responsible about the environment we are living in. This can be learned only if the educational concepts make sense to us by using examples from our actual surroundings. Farmer’s children can be taught topics like Profit-Loss, Interest, etc. using real life agriculture related scenarios while milkman’s children could be taught about fractions using milk cans.

At Anand Niketan, Wardha, the Nai Talim framework of education is implemented. Here are some pictures:




All offices & classrooms are made of traditional Indian materials. Even in sweltering heat outside, these structures ensured relatively less temperature inside.

What is Nai Talim?

Nai Talim (New Education) is a philosophy of education developed by Mahatma Gandhi which believes that the whole world is a classroom. Since the real world involves relationships & occupations, children should learn to be co-operative & self-reliant (i.e. sustain themselves). Nai Talim is all about learning by doing for children & consequently learning by earning when they become adults. Read details here:

Freedom but under Discipline:

The pupils must have initiative. They must cease to be mere imitators. They must learn to think & act for themselves & yet be thoroughly obedient & disciplined. The highest form of freedom carries with it the greatest form of discipline & humility. Freedom that comes from discipline & humility cannot be denied; unbridled license is a sign of vulgarity, injurious alike to self & one’s neighbour.

-Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 03-06-1926


Anand Niketan at Sewagram, Wardha applies the Nai Talim philosophy & uses simple methods to strike a balance between freedom & discipline, as per Gandhiji’s Nai Talim principles. Read more about Anand Niketan here:


‘Shiksha Pitara’: what a lovely term!



Baahuli-ghar (doll-house) in a classroom made children feel at home.


Every thing in a classroom is labeled. There is a reading corner. There are no desks or benches. Kids are drawing, talking, playing but not making noise or creating chaos. I saw even the teacher (not in picture) sitting with a group of kids at another corner & colouring along with the kids.


The Maths Corner: There is a model for every mathematical concept. This required using inexpensive things in an innovative way which helps in making a dreaded subject like Maths fun to learn as well as practical to apply.



Music class: This reminded me of Plato’s philosophy of Utopia where he spoke of teaching music to children so that they learn harmony & rhythm.

So what about my daughter? Do I have an answer about the school she will attend?

No… At least not right now. Though I do know for sure that the whole world will be her classroom.

Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides.

My husband & I are looking for parents who have lost faith in the current educational system & are considering an alternative system of education for their children. Please drop a comment here & I will get back to you.


Everyday Leaders


Last month, my father-in-law retired after 34 years of service at Central Railways & I was fortunate to attend his farewell function. To give some more context, he was also a post-holder in the NRMU (National Railway Mazdoor Union) because of which he had to constantly lead people under him; communicate & negotiate with the higher authorities & also take care that the processes of a traditional public sector organization are followed & upheld. That’s tremendous pressure!

At the farewell function, I saw genuine gratitude, I saw people (women and men) getting emotional while speaking about him (some actually cried while speaking on the mic). What I saw at the farewell function inspired me because making an impact through a business or making an impact in a small organization is easy but making an impact in an organization like Railways is a different ball game altogether. People like my father-in-law are everyday leaders who should be recognized & acknowledged for not staying inside the comfort zone of a secure government job but coming out of that zone & making a difference to people’s lives.

Meanwhile, I have written a book Strength Ecology & having immersed in this thinking for a long time, I can’t help thinking from the book’s perspective. So coming back to the point, what exactly inspired me & my inferences about what made my father-in-law a true leader (I have recognized his qualities as strengths from my book & put the terms in brackets []):

He had umpteen chances of resorting to unfair means & accepting black money but he didn’t. He always did what was right. This strength makes all the difference. [INCORRUPTIBLE]

He has seen a lot of struggle in life but he has risen above all that & is still extremely humble. I have hardly seen him talking about the past; in fact he is always interested in learning new things, making interesting conversations & gaining knowledge which could be applied in real life. He has always acted & believed that actions speak louder than words. [DOER]

In his farewell speech, he shared what he had followed throughout his career: be productive every day irrespective of your pay so that you feel satisfied at the end of the day. He had injected so much passion in his job which is evidently proven by the fact that he derived satisfaction from the process of getting tasks done & not necessarily the result. [ACCOMPLISHER]

He has an amazing ability to gauge an individual’s personality & interact accordingly with the individual. This makes him powerful since he can tackle all types of people. Even in the family, he commands respect as the head of the family when he is among the elders, but he can be equally cool with kids & young people. [PEOPLE ASSESSOR]

In most of the speeches people made for him, it was clear that he went out of the way to help people. He guided many young people (from lower middle class) to get jobs in Railways. He played an instrumental role in rehabilitating alcoholics. He is always ready to support people in whatever way he can. [NURTURER]

Great leaders inspire trust. My father-in-law spoke of what he believed in as a post-holder which reminded me of Simon Sinek’s enlightening talk about leaders. My father-in-law said he wanted to take every one along like a family. He wanted to explore win-win situations; instead of taking someone’s side, he wanted to bring everyone on a common ground while negotiations. [BLENDER]

We respect some people in the family for the mere reason that they are elder to us but I respect this man for his journey, for the fact that he is self-made & he has never looked back but always ahead & taken people along with him. And, I am sure he is not going to stop even though he has retired formally from his job.

Real leaders never retire.

The Elephantine Difference

We humans have a habit to see only what we want to see; we comfortably overlook the unpleasant truths. We have done the same for the magnanimous festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, which has resulted in repercussions of magnanimous scale. So I am writing what most of us already know, but choose to ignore.

Beliefs, truths & filling the gaps in Ganesh Chaturthi:

1.  The Belief: Ganpati has come to our home for 10 days!”

The Truth: You have bought a Plaster of Paris idol painted with toxic chemicals to your home.

Image Courtesy: www.

Filling the Gap: Get together with the family, make an idol at home using eco-friendly shaadu clay; painting it is not necessary since the idol looks great as it is, else you can use water colours. Great for family bonding & environment also.

2. The Belief: “Let’s shower him with the choicest sweets!”

The Truth: You have fallen prey to consumerism by standing in a long line for buying sweets from Haldiram’s. Finally, YOU only are going to eat sweets, loaded with sugar, for the next 10 days.


Image Courtesy:

Filling the Gap: Home-made modaks, halwa/sheera, dry fruits are enough. God isn’t asking for quantity, he just wants your genuine devotion.

3. The Belief: “Let’s decorate his mandir as beautifully as we can!”

The Truth: With the ready-made thermocol decoration & electric samais, you have again fallen prey to consumerism & also under-utilized your creativity.

Image Courtesy:

Filling the Gap: Use potted plants, zari sarees, wooden paats, oil samais, clay shapes to decorate. All are reusable. Let your creative juices flow, that’s going to please the Lord more.

4. The Belief: “Let’s call 100-200 of our family & acquaintances for Maha-Prasad!”

The Truth: You have wasted your time & money in unnecessary social formalities, which is going to result in nothing.

My mother-in-law sponsored single day's breakfast for poor children in this ashram.

My mother-in-law sponsored single day’s breakfast for poor children in this ashram.

Filling the Gap: Feed some poor families. Or simply sponsor a meal or two at a nearby ashram/langar & supervise the whole thing. *Remember daan-dharm.*

5. The Belief: “The neighbouring mandal has sent kids seeking donation for the public Ganpati. Let’s donate 1001/-.”

The Truth: You don’t know where exactly your money will be used. For that matter, it might be getting used to pay the DJ, who would play Chikni Chameli or Munni Badnaam at the mandap.

Filling the Gap: Refuse (if you can) to donate money. Instead volunteer & organize competitions to encourage creativity & awareness. *Wasn’t public scale Ganpati started for that?*

6. The Belief: “This politician/businessman has sponsored the Ganpati. How philanthropic/devotional he is!”

The Truth: He is availing tax benefits. The politician might be using the public fund, out of which certain % goes in his own pockets.

Filling the Gap: Think logically not emotionally.

7. The Belief: “Let’s do our idol visarjan in lake/ocean. Nirmalya has to be offered in the water body.”

The Truth: You have just contributed to environmental pollution. Read this:

Filling the Gap: Co-operate with government authorities or NGOs who are coming forward for eco-friendly visarjan. God is going to bless you for saving his flora-fauna in your own small way.

8. The Belief: “Oh what a beautiful Visarjan procession! Bhakts dancing with devotion!”

The Truth:

Men high on gaanja, alcohol.

Women, children holding heavy display light works connected to the generator trailing the idol – unfair & dangerous.

Women might be at a risk of being groped by groups of men.

Horses, elephants being used for themed processions – appalling & barbaric considering the powerful dhol-tashas being played in unison.

Image Courtesy:

Filling the Gap: Simple & disciplined procession being monitored by responsible volunteers. Procession moves swiftly to avoid traffic jams.

* * * * *

Pudhchya varshi lavkar ya! Looking forward to a more responsible Ganesh Chaturthi next year!


Image Courtesy: KPN,

Music… Why Just Listen?

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” –Fredriche Nietzsche

Learning Sitar has been a life changing experience

Let me modify this quote for music connoisseurs – “Without learning music, life would be a mistake.”  If you cannot spend even a day without your favourite songs or discovering something worthwhile to listen, if listening to music is a ritual of paramount significance, if music is your panacea, your raison d’etre… then it’s time that you learn it.

Once you start learning music, no song or piece of music will ever be the same.  You will look at every song with a different perspective.  You will appreciate the minute details in a good piece of music & your respect for music-makers will increase by leaps & bounds. You will be flabbergasted & amazed when you listen to vocalists changing scales with utmost ease or instrumentalists playing with a speed that causes persistence of vision.  You will worship them because only after learning music, you would know how many years of concentrated effort it took to reach that level.

Music, in its own unique way, is a harmonious blend of art & science.  Art, because it is limitless, it empowers your imagination.  It has no definite form; it communicates in a highly creative way & it is an expression of the inexplicable.  Science, because it is based on sounds, frequencies, scales & their fixed sets.  There is, in fact, a lot of science behind the emanation of sounds in terms of vocals as well as instruments (hence, now we also have ‘sound engineers’).


In Science, life begins with the most basic structure as a ‘cell’ & evolves to an intricate collection of cells forming plant & animal bodies with complex functions.  Similarly, music begins with the most basic structure as a note or a beat & evolves to an intricate collection of notes & beats forming a raag or a song.  Indian Classical music has provided a rich collection of Raagas which are not only beautiful & independent on their own but also make a strong & wholesome framework for creating derived music.

Playing Sitar

Listening to music alters our mood, it can make us feel euphoric, sorrowful, romantic or rebellious but learning music connects us to our soul.  I don’t know the exact definition of ‘connecting to soul’ but I think they are those few moments when the mind is free of all thoughts & we can feel ourselves directly communicating with a deeper layer of the psyche.  It is like meditation of a different kind.  Undoubtedly, that is how music brings peace & restores balance.

Even with all its far-reaching benefits & conspicuous complexities, music is easily accessible to everyone in India.  Every locality in every city or town will have a teacher or an academy teaching at least Synthesizer or Harmonium, as well as Vocals; a little more search & you would find Gurus teaching Violin, Sitar, Flute, Tabla, etc.  Every village is resplendent with its own folk music emerging from a temple or springing under a tree.  Hence, it is all the more relevant to grab this readily available treasure & give more meaning to your passion.

Learning music is an adventure, albeit one doesn’t need to travel to far-off places to experience it.  It is a journey with multiple pathways & without an end point, which is why there is nothing to lose, only gain.  So, enroll yourself with a teacher or an academy nearby & start learning.  Absorb every note, assimilate every tune & lose yourself in every rhythm.  There will be easy days & there will be difficult days but go with the flow.  Enjoy every moment of the experience…  And that is how music will teach you the biggest lesson of life.

With Shri. Govind Powale & Mrs. Smita Kharade

With my music teacher Mrs. Smita Kharade & her 85-year old father & guru Shri. Govind Powale, who believes that he is alive because he still sings.  Shri. Govind Powale is a Marathi musician & composer; he & his family run a music school ‘Govind Powale Sangeet Mandir’ in Mumbai & Pune, where they teach Vocals, Harmonium, Violin & Sitar.

Useful Resources for Teaching English

Here are some free resources on the Internet which can be extensively used for English training especially the basic, intermediate levels. mobile app

1. = everything Vocabulary!  Not just a great site to get complete information (part of speech, meaning, pronunciation, sample sentence, origin & related forms) about the word you searched, it is also a superb resource to explore new words each day.  Check their theme based slideshows & activities to make English Vocabulary interesting for students.  The mobile app proves to be very handy for quick reference.  I am also a big fan of one of its tabs – which arranges the synonyms, antonyms of the query in alphabetical order & let’s you filter synonyms, antonyms as per complexity or length.

2. Sign up on this site & you can download free worksheets as well as upload & share your worksheets with others.  The best thing is that you can search from about 40,000+ worksheets with filters based on grammar topic, vocabulary theme, language functions, student level & student type.  A single worksheet can be utilized in a variety of ways depending on how creatively the trainer can think!

3. Helpful resource for increasing reading speed & concentration of the students.  Fluency in reading contributes to fluency in speaking, so I would highly recommend this resource for all levels.  You can use the text you want your students to read by clicking on ‘New’ button & pasting it in the box.

4. Online library of books, poems & short stories which can be used for discussions & assignments.

5. Audios for listening practice with transcripts.  The audios are in American or British accents which might be a problem for Indian students but gradually, students generally get comfortable with the accents.

I think, these resources will effectively supplement the English training modules designed by the trainer.  Fellow trainers are welcome to share their resources in the comments section!

An Evening At Atta Galatta

As I approached Atta Galatta, a bookstore in Koramangala, Bangalore, I felt instantly attracted to the uniqueness it exuded.  The place seemed as unique as its name.  I had read about Atta Galatta in The Hindu today & it was the name that made me visit this bookstore in the first place.


There were three interesting events lined up today, out of which I attended the first two – a book reading session of ‘Flat Track Bullies‘ by Balaji Venkatraman & a story telling session by The Storywallahs.


Attending the book reading session was a new experience for me & I thoroughly enjoyed it!  The protagonist of this book is a 11-year old kid Ravi who writes 2 pages of his diary every day for handwriting practice.  So the book is actually the diary of 11-year old Ravi.  Balaji told that ‘Flat Track Bully’ is a term used in Cricket for teams which easily defeat weaker opponents but can’t stand a chance against the stronger teams.  He believed that every individual is a flat track bully in some way & that’s how he decided this name for the book.


Two kittens in the adjoining balcony, also seemed highly interested in the book reading session.  The black & white kitten had a black patch just below his nose which made him look like a combination of Hitler & Chaplin.


The story telling session was a lot of fun for children & adults alike.  Kudos to the Storywallahs for this wonderful venture to revive the beautiful tradition of story telling.  The storyteller Amin used songs, actions & gestures superbly to keep children attentive & interested in the stories, but the most important point without which the stories would seem lifeless was his excellent voice modulation.



Later, I looked around in the bookstore & spoke to Subodh, co-owner of the store.  He told me that Atta = play & Galatta = fun, ruckus in Kannada. 🙂  I was interested to know what differentiated Atta Galatta from other bookstores to which he replied that the bookstore not only has English & Hindi books but also books in regional languages like Tamil, Telegu, Malayalam & Kannada.  I think the complete experience differentiates this bookstore from others!

IMAG0501While walking to get a rickshaw, this graffiti caught my eye & made me stop.  A creative conclusion to an evening marked with creativity!

A Tryst With Print Media (Literacy Day post)

On the occasion of International Literacy Day, I wanted to talk about bookish ardours… but then I thought about the special love I have for freshly minted comic books, essays, articles, reports, stories & memoirs.  There’s something so fascinating about newspapers & magazines hot off the press with their covers glistening on the newsstands!  My tryst with the print media began in childhood & the hunger for information was instilled not because of constant nagging but by observing people around me.

Image Courtesy:

My mother had a huge trunk of Amar Chitra Katha from her own childhood (each issue cost a mere 3/-).  It was a treasure of knowledge in true sense of word – from Indian mythological stories to the Indian Freedom struggle to the stories of scientists, saints, artists, sportspersons… these stories are still engraved in my mind & every moment spent with those classic oldies is special (Anant Pai, you are my hero).  To top it all, my mother subscribed to Champak, Chandamama, Tinkle because of which there was always something to read (& never enough space to keep the books!).  Now, I miss the arguments between my mother & me, as to who got to read the issues first as soon the postman had delivered them (sometimes I think the arguments were her Reverse Psychology technique to make me look forward to reading).

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When I reached my teens my parents stressed on the importance of keeping abreast of current issues.  It was slightly difficult to get into the habit as my first impression about reading newspapers was “it’s so boring!” but then reading newspapers became as habitual as brushing my teeth every morning.  As a resident of Nagpur city, newspaper reading started with The Hitavada with some great bonus reading on Saturday (Twinkle Star), Sunday (Insight) & Tuesday (Education).  (Here, I’d admit that a few years of subscribing to The Times of India still feels like a kink in my neck.)  I also read Competition Success Review for a year but it turned out to be too heavy for me.  As of now, I feel highly satisfied with the quality of content I get to read in The Indian Express & The Hindu.

My paternal side is a sucker for books & magazines.  My grandfather had subscriptions of Reader’s Digest, India Today & Outlook & visiting his place always meant something new & radical to read.  His brother (i.e. my father’s uncle) had a separate ‘library room’; the library had some really rare books & journals owing to which his knowledge was so vast that I fall short of words here.  But the most impressive was my grandfather’s sister (father’s aunt) – at ripe old age of 80+, when other women of her generation were interested mostly in gossip, she used to read newspapers for hours & remember every news article with an elephant’s memory.  She could discuss politics & world issues with the men in the family with such ease & strong headedness; it always startled & inspired me!

It’s because of these people that I have a distinct respect for books & novels as well as magazines & newspapers.  Of course now, there’s so much more variety in magazines…  Every month some chunk of my leisure spending goes on at least one of these – Femina, Vogue, Elle, Inside Outside, Good Homes.  I feel weirdly incomplete without a monthly dose of one of these.  (Ah, the smell of a fresh copy & the pleasure of turning a crisp page!)

J. P. Rangaswami has said aptly in a TED talk that ‘information is food’.  If we strike an analogy of information with food in all possible ways, we’ll be forced to think if we are giving the proper nutrition to our brain every day.  Isn’t there so much to read? … food for thought.

The Problem With Us

“Sone ki chidiya, Dengue Malaria,
Gud bhi hai gobar bhi, Bhaarat Mata ki jai!”

“Mera Bhaarat Mahaan, sau mein se ninyanve be-imaan!”

This is INDIA

Here, the punishment for a woman, commuting late at night with a male friend, is gang-rape of the most unnatural forms; while rapists get free lodging & boarding in jail, even though they deserved capital punishment.

Life comes cheap; children die in dozens because their food was not cleaned before cooking.

Even Durga’s Shakti won’t be enough to get hold of the widespread mafia as it is protected by the sarkaar itself.

We talk of peace with a neighbouring country whose government cannot control its own army.

The ‘rakshaks’ of the country are sinking & we are unable to get to the bottom of it.

And, the most basic of the vegetables cannot be afforded by the common man.

“Hum logon ko samajh sako toh samjho dilbar jaani,

jitna bhi tum samjhoge utni hogi hairani!”

Welcome to the age of un-innocence! …Or hasn’t it always been like that?

We fought over Gods we haven’t even seen; we still fight.  We take pride in learning our religious scripts by heart, but we don’t even know how to apply them to be better individuals.  We had caste discrimination before; now we have caste reservations.  Women stayed behind the veil & did not leave their homes; now they live under the fear of getting raped if they leave the house.  Children blindly believed what their elders taught; now we blindly believe what the journalistic media shows.  Our ancestors were known for being lazy; & now we prefer IT support jobs!  Religion is more important than development. Development ke naam par- khel mein chori, rail mein chori, jail mein chori, tel mein chori, sale mein chori, 2G chori, 3G chori

What’s wrong with us?

We are no. 1 in believing we are no. 1…  Well, we are certainly not no. 1…  We are complacent.  We don’t ask questions because yahaan sab kuchh chalta hai.  We are highly emotional; even a small comment made publicly can spark communal disharmony.  Satire is not taken healthily, creative expression is strangulated.  The environment is highly inflammable.  Development always takes a back-seat; economic situation is going from bad to worse.

I sincerely believe that, all this will change only when ‘governed by people’ would mean every citizen taking part in the development of the country.  By that, I don’t mean taking part in Facebook virtual marches or sending cash/cheques to CRY…  I mean, doing something constructive, challenging the status quo & finding workable solutions to even the smallest of problems.  Like the character Geeta in the movie Swades said, the government is a system, of which people are an equal part.  So we ought to play our part in the system.

Until this happens, things will remain the SAME.

Nearby, a loudspeaker is playing ‘Vande Mataram‘.  I dislike this Only-One-Day Mataram, but just as I get into the mood & start humming the song, the sound suddenly dies out…

There’s a power cut…  Happy Independence Day!

Doing the Right Thing As A Child

As a child, doing the right thing is a tricky choice to make; mainly because there exists such a fine line between what is right & wrong.  There is also a lot of ambiguity between the perceptions of what is right, so for children the confusion just mounts further.  Many schools have Moral Science/Value Education lectures to teach the meanings of Honesty, Integrity, Kindness, Respect, Compassion, but frankly, as children we learn only when faced with real life situations which require the evocation of these values.

This happened when I was in 10th grade.  My class teacher decided to pick a bunch of well-scoring students & make them sit for the whole year with the weakest students of the class.  Apparently, the weakest students did not have the hope of even passing in the 10th Board exams.  She took this decision so that the possibility of the weakest students passing in the exams increased to some extent.

I was one of the well-scoring students that my teacher had picked.  As an introvert, who loved her fixed set of friends, I was skeptical about the idea.  Moreover, I had my own first impression about the girl I was made to sit with.  I thought of her as a spoilt brat & a student who didn’t take her studies seriously.  My initial reaction was so negative, I simply did not want to sit with her!  Of course, I had the option of getting my seat changed…

I could have spoken to my teacher & gotten a new bench partner but I decided to have some integrity towards the responsibility the teacher had given.  I decided to help my new bench partner, after all I had nothing to lose!  So, I opened up to her.  Eventually, I came to know certain facts about her which surprised me.  She knew her strengths & she definitely had an idea of what she wanted to do in future.  She knew that academics were not her forte, so her sole aim was to get a decent score in 10th Boards or at least pass.  She was suffering from Juvenile Diabetes, due to which she had her own health limitations, which further affected her academics.

When I came to know all this, one half of my mind was thankful for my fit body & mind, while one half felt a huge surge of compassion towards her.  She deserved a fair chance, she needed someone to believe in her.  So we started our efforts together.  I helped her a lot in Maths, Science & her other weak subjects.  I asked her to solve exercises every day.  I shared my notes.  We strategically worked our way till she was confident that she could pass.  I made her give a lot of mock tests so that she could get comfortable with the exam pattern.

Finally, our 10th Boards were over & on the much awaited result day, she was euphoric.  She got aggregate 55%… that might be a low score for most of us, but she had surpassed her own expectations.  She was happy, her family was happy… I felt on top of the world!  I could have shirked the responsibility easily… but I stuck to it & helped a deserving individual in overcoming a roadblock.  It was one of the best days of my life. 🙂

[I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at in association with Tata Capital.]

My Favourite Dialogues From Pyaasa

Pyaasa is & will always remain one of my favourite movies.  It is a classic; one of the 3 movies which made me a huge fan of Guru Dutt as a director.  (The other 2 are Kaagaz Ke Phool & Baazi.)  Every element of this movie oozes creativity, intensity & technical genius.  The story is about a struggling poet who wants to make a mark in the world through his poems but does not receive any support from his kith or kin.  He comes across the material nature of the society and then, decides to abandon the society, ironically after the society embraces his talent.

Here are the dialogues which had a huge impact on me:

1.  Vijay: “गर्मी चाहे मौसम की हो या दौलत की, सिर्फ गधे ही मगन रहते हैं उसमे!”

2.  A Shaayar at Mr. Ghosh’s dinner party: “अपनी शायरी से कौम-ओ-वतन को तरक्की देना… खोखली मोहब्बत के ढोल पीटने से कहीं बेहतर है।”

3.  Vijay: “हाल संभलने के बाद चला जाऊ?! अब तो चले जाने के बाद ही ये हालत संभलेगी, गुलाब!”

4.  Vijay: “मीना? जगमगाती society की एक शरीफ औरत, जो अपने शौक के लिए प्यार करती है और अपने आराम के लिए प्यार बेचती है।”

5.  (This is more of a monologue:)

Vijay: “मुझे किसी इंसान से कोई शिकायत नहीं…
मुझे शिकायत है समाज के उस ढाँचे से, जो इंसान से उसकी इंसानियत छीन लेता है, मतलब के लिए अपने भाई को बेगाना बनाता है, दोस्त को दुशमन बनाता है…
मुझे शिकायत है उस तहज़ीब से, उस संस्कृति से… जहाँ मुर्दों को पूजा जाता है और जिंदा इंसान को पैरों तले रौंदा जाता है…
जहाँ किसी के दुःख-दर्द में दो आँसू बहाना बुज़दिली समझा जाता है, झुक के मिलना एक कमजोरी समझा जाता है…
ऐसे माहौल में मुझे कभी शांति नहीं मिलेगी, मीना! कभी शांति नहीं मिलेगी, इसलिए मैं दूर जा रहा हूँ!”

6.  Vijay: “मैं दूर जा रहा हूँ, गुलाब!”
Gulab: “कहाँ?” 
: “…जहाँ से मुझे फिर दूर ना जाना पड़े!”

Of course, a lot can be said about the music itself, which adds further meaning & relevance to the crux of the story.  The sheer timing of each song renders so much emotion to the respective scenes, especially ‘Jise Hind Par Naaz Hai Wo Kahaan Hai‘ & without a doubt, ‘Ye Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye To Kya Hai‘.

In conclusion, I still feel that the complete experience of the movie cannot be put into words.  The movie will question you, frustrate you, infuriate you… but will definitely leave you enlightened in the end.