Thieves on the Prowl, Residents Cry Fowl


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Thieves on the prowl, residents cry foul

Last updated: 24 September, 2016
Chethan Misquith and Meghana Choukkar September 25, 2016, DHNS

 Preferring anonymity, a businessman from Byadarahalli seeks more patrolling to instil a sense of security among residents of his locality. I have seen rowdies hanging around street corners in the evenings. There are police in the area, but I feel it would be better to have CCTV cameras installed as well, he elaborates.
As Bengaluru transformed from a manageable city to a metropolis of 1.2 crore, the city has seen a corresponding rise in crimes, more apparent in the new, outlying areas. Here are some citizens voicing their concerns about this unwarranted trend, suggesting a few solutions. 

Preferring anonymity, a businessman from Byadarahalli seeks more patrolling to instil a sense of security among residents of his locality. “I have seen rowdies hanging around street corners in the evenings. There are police in the area, but I feel it would be better to have CCTV cameras installed as well,” he elaborates.

Kiran Aithal, who lives at Nobo Nagar in Kalena Agahara on the city’s outskirts has this to say: “I have seen police patrol the area in the late evening hours, around 7 or 8 pm. But I do not think they patrol late in the night. Otherwise, incidents of theft will not be rising here.”

Radha Prathi, a resident of Mathikere, has a different take on patrolling. She says the police do go on rounds, asking residents to be on alert. This goes on for a few days after such incidents. Residents too are wary. But once normalcy returns and patrolling slackens, the burglars strike again.

More than thefts, what really scares residents are the heinous crimes. Three weeks ago, an IT employee was raped at knife-point right inside her paying guest accommodation near Parappana Agrahara on the city’s outskirts. She was alone in the room when the assailant barged in.

Ten days ago, the Kengeri police arrested six persons from a desolate area when the gang was conspiring to commit dacoity. Interrogations revealed that the suspects had murdered a man six years ago in Sandur in Ballari district. They were also involved in more than 50 other cases across the State.

These recurring incidents have made residents even more insecure. They feel the frequent thefts could easily morph into more dangerous crimes. A Kodichikkanahalli resident, M N Kulkarni recalls how thieves had struck three houses in his area over the last few months.

Besides the usual loot, the culprits have also begun to take away gas cylinders. Kulkarni points out that the culprits had once fled with 16 cylinders. Complaints were lodged, but the police never caught the thieves.

Many residents now feel police-public partnerships such as the Community Policing campaign could work better in ensuring law and order. Tilaknagar police sub-inspector Tanvir notes that the crime rate in his jurisdictional area has actually come down after the campaign struck a chord with the public. Across the city, around 1,000 volunteers are now part of the campaign.

Here’s one instance where the partnership worked well: Two months ago, a resident, Zameer, grew suspicious of a man who was parking a scooter without number plate near his residence on Bannerghatta road. When Zameer questioned him, the man sped away from the spot. Immediately, Zameer alerted the police, who in turn urged a volunteer to chase the scooter. The suspect was nabbed. Upon interrogation, it was learnt that the scooter was stolen.

It is Good to Feel Bad


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Sanjay, all of 17, was severely reprimanded by his lecturer for not submitting his record notebook on the due date.

The lanky boy hung his head in shame and looked sideways at his friends who were standing by the door. Reassured, he mumbled a cursory apology and exited the staff room. Before long, his pals cheered him up and soon, the gang was off to watch a movie.

When Sheila, 12, was scolded by her mother for not keeping her room clean, her teenaged cousin Leila consoled her saying, “Moms are like that only. Even mine never misses an opportunity to pick on me. So don’t worry, chill!”

Evan, 22, a waiter at a high-end restaurant, was clumsy while serving tea to a regular customer and was taken to task by his manager. When he returned to the kitchen, his colleagues told him that there was no point in moping because the manager was incapable of digesting his meals if he did not chew up one of his underlings every day.

These are but random instances. Yet there is a line of commonality that strings them together. In every cited case, the person who was pulled up for his or her mistake felt victimised. Not for long did the person pause to reflect on what they did wrong.

The already dormant conscience was further assuaged by an empathetic consoler who made a villain out of the conscientious disciplinarian.

How many times have we not been party to or at least witnessed scenes where the pointlessness of feeling bad is underscored? Then comes the scolding of the ‘scolder’ for finding faults unnecessarily and making proverbial mountains out of molehills. Eloquent empathisers will go a step further and cite a track record of similar situations and ridicule the stickler in good measure.

Usually, martinets are nicknamed and made laughing stocks of their immediate society, fodder for the gossip gristmill. True, none of us like to be criticised. Often harsh words can make our hearts bleed much more than prickly thorns. It is during these times that we look up to our friends and well-wishers for emotional support. We feel lighter and better when we are comforted.

There is nothing wrong in craving for some reprieve when we are submerged by our blues, especially if we have been walked all over for no fault of ours. At such times, we will do well to follow the advice of our supporters and treat these instances as passing clouds. We must get on with our lives without attaching too much importance to the slights meted out to us.

Nevertheless, if we happen to be at fault, the best course of action would be to reflect and introspect on the subject. Then it will not be very difficult for us to see that we have erred and therefore have been admonished, albeit harshly. It is time for us to realise that it is alright to feel bad or guilty. It just shows that our conscience is functioning well.

The best step forward in such circumstances would be to apologise sincerely and correct the error and make a mental note of the new lesson that has been learnt. On the other hand, if we happen to be in the shoes of the sympathiser, we can lend a patient ear to those who are hurt, but must not fail to point out the need to apologise gracefully and set things right. If we get used to the ‘don’t care’ attitude, we will remain mediocre all our lives.

Enclose With Elegance


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neat Get a small quantity of white acrylic paint and colour the insides of your showcase. photos by author

Did you know that the showcase that adorns your living room is perhaps one of the features that is almost never missed by your guests and visitors? They pay special attention to the showcase because they are aware that it is the hotspot in the house which conveys a lot about the residents.

The trophies that assert one’s success, the souvenirs that stand witness to your travels around the globe, the antique piece which speaks about your aesthetic inclinations, the family heirloom that display your affection for your grandparents and so on and so forth, jostle with one another and proclaim your collective personalities as a family.

It is true that all of us who have arranged our showcases must have spent some time giving it our thoughts and exercising our creativity. However, we may have noticed that not all of them are always appealing or exotic. This does not for a moment mean that your stuff is not good enough nor does it mean that your showcase has become redundant. All the same, the lacklustre aspect could be attributed to several reasons.

For one thing, it may have collected dust and grime. Otherwise it could be overcrowded or sparsely filled up. Sometimes, we leave essentials like keys, bills, torches, money, matches etc in some section of the showcase for easy access, not realising that they could be an eyesore.

If you think that the above reasons are not applicable to you perhaps, you have never changed the arrangement over the years, giving it a sense of predictability, which will fail to garner the attention of your visitor. So, here are a few tips that will ensure that your showcase attracts renewed attention:

Remove all the contents of your showcase and clean them thoroughly.

Clean the showcase and the covering glass using soap and water. If the walls of the cabinet have yellowed or scaled due to age, rub the surface with sandpaper and scrape it completely.

Get a small quantity of white acrylic paint and colour the insides. If your cabinet is made of wood, a coat of ready-made wood polish will do the job.

Check if you have one too many articles that will look good when hung. Take stock of the number and fix little sticks on hooks (easily available in the market) on the ceiling of the partitioned area.

Sort out your showpieces either in terms of size or theme. If you are the sort who likes to rearrange memorabilia time and again, it will be a good idea to stick to a theme. On the other hand if you want to take things easier, identify a few things that you always want to display and change only the other items from time to time.

Make sure that all the unsightly wires that run through are carefully stapled and hidden away.

Toss in a few pieces of camphor in every shelf to keep it pest-free and fragrant.

Use an old newspaper to wipe the glass clean from both sides before sliding it over the showcase. Make it a point to wipe the glass clean at least once in a fortnight.

Repeat this exercise and bring variations in the display once in every three or four months.

Do not place damaged pieces, picture postcards or family photographs amid other things, unless it happens to match the theme.

Know Your Mother Tongue


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It so happened that a polyglot visited the court of Sri Krishnadevaraya. He told the king that he could read, write and speak impeccably in 18 languages. He challenged the scholars of the court and asked them to identify his mother tongue.

Scholars in various languages were summoned and were asked to hold a dialogue with the guest. Each one of them had a personal interview with the said scholar. They found for themselves that the multilinguist was claiming nothing but the truth. Yet, the challenge was a matter of prestige to the reigning king. He turned to his intelligent court jester Tenali Rama to find a solution.

Accordingly, Tenali Rama waited for the scholar to retire for the night. When the polyglot was in deep slumber, Tenali Rama threw some cold water over him. Almost immediately the shocked sleeping man awoke and shouted. “evarura waadu?” Tenali Rama sneaked away from the scene only to tell the king that the mother tongue of the scholar happened to be Telugu.

This little story is a pointer to the fact that no matter how many languages we might learn and master in life, our mother tongue stands supreme and foremost for it is embedded in our psyche ever since the day we are born.

We learn our mother tongue from our parents and immediate family and neighbours in the aural or shravana mode. We are never sensitised to any aspect of grammar when we learn our tongue. We grasp aspects of syntax, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation merely by being exposed to it day after day throughout the formative years of our life.

Despite all this, most urban Indian children have lost sight of their mother tongues. Mixed marriages, nuclear families, the need to study in schools of different medium due to relocation of families from their native places can be identified as root cause of this trend.

India is a country of several such languages, most of which are still alive. We can interpret our glorious literature, tradition, culture, arts and architecture better because they share an invisible link with the associated language. A little effort and utilisation of modern technology and media coupled with human effort can keep the link to languages alive and pass them on to posterity.

Never Out of Fashion


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Trend cycle

A lot of us feel that if we are not in vogue for whatever reason, we become vague. Hence a lot of time, effort and money are invested so that we do not become outdated in the stylish world. In other words our passion for fashion is perhaps as old as civilization itself. A close observation of the happening trends around us will reveal that the so called seasonal look had existed in the past partially or in a consolidated manner somewhere, sometime. What we have presently done ( I mean at all times) is rediscovered the quaint old charm and fit it into the present to serve our social ethos and emotional satisfaction.

An honest dekko at the history of fashion across the world will assure us that hemlines and necklines regularly wax and wane. The length and width of our sleeves and trousers lines seem to be strangely guided by tidal waves. The colours of the rainbow bracketed by black and white enter and exit in turns assuming all the shades in between. Florals, stripes, polka dots, checks, animal and ethnic motifs wait in the backstage ready to take their turns on and offstage. Experts and the experienced will vouch for the fact that most patterns of different phases of life are essentially cyclic by nature. The world of fashion is no exception to this rule.

Accessories that go with our clothing range from subtly accentuating what we wear on the lower end of the scale, while, they sometimes seem to displace clothing by making a statement loud and clear. Our hair nails, skin tone, colour of our eyes, shape of our body and facial features have been subjected to dreadful disciplines to stay topical.

Now let us go through a fun exercise of keeping up with the trend in some random aspects of fashion. Then we will also see a parallel of the idea which existed in the past.

NAIL FILES

The double French manicure is nail the latest trend in nail art. The experts in the field do a thorough manicure and paint the nail in such a way that the upper portion of the nail is coloured in different stages of crescent moon, in various shades of sunrise.

Those of us who have had the experience of having applied Mehandi on our hands inclusive of our nails will vouch for the fact that while the pattern on the skin will fade away in a week’s time, the nail will retain colour till it outgrows our fingers. So all of us the average south Asian woman, who sported orange crescents of different proportions were way ahead of time because we have already been there and done that.

PATCH UP

Flip a women’s magazine over, you cannot but stop to admire the pretty ladies in their finery. These are days of mix and match. Different coloured and patterned cloth is ripped into strips and then stitched together to form a fabric. Then the self made designer cloth is cut to make exotic clothes for that vibrant ethnic look. People are ready to bleed their purses to possess one such work of art in their wardrobes.

Now, a little flashback, or a random flipping of channels will remind us that nomads and gypsies used the very same technique precisely for the same reasons. Those who considered themselves to be civilized copied the art and took to quilting in the big way, only to furtively work their way back into clothing.

SANS SOCKS

The most modern of them all, follow this unisex trend of doing away with wearing socks. It makes a lot of sense because we are becoming a hotter planet. Besides our shoe designers are working day and night to provide us with shoes that breathe and work hard to keep our feet from stinking. Those who cannot shed the “socks habit” are surreptitiously using ankle socks and tucking in the visible part only to look trendy.

When the sun did not set on the British Isles, the colonies in the tropical countries were enamoured by the booted looks of the White man.  They took to wearing shoes and half shoes sans socks, for two reasons. One, the socks was totally unfamiliar to their culture. Two, the oppressive heat made them omit the appendage.

HEAR HEAR ABOUT THE EAR

The affected young ladies of the west have declared that cuffed ear rings that hug the contours of the ear line happen to be the trend of 2016. Any material under the sun from seashells, to paper, to flowers, to plastic and precious metals and gems have been experimented to give that classy look.

Piercing the contours of the ears and wearing delectable accessories is not an alien concept to us south Asians. Our timeless jewellery boxes which house these striking trinkets can make the just born collection of the west fade in comparison.

BOW BROW

Men and women, who have been born with joint eyebrows, can save a pretty penny this year because, sporting a Unibrow, happens to be the in thing these days. Beauty parlours all over the world are wishing for this trend to go away because the numbers that come to correct their brows are dwindling. People are encouraging hair to grow between the brows and sometimes clipping on a tiny tuft to bridge the gap.

A trip down the memory lane will remind us that the artists singing the Qawwali, especially the women would use an eye pencil to draw a line between the brows to give them that distinguished pretty look. The trend would ensure that the beholder rests his or her eyes On the bow like  brow of the person. It was a show stopper even then.

CROWNING GLORY

Time stands testimony for the fact that women have manipulated their crowning glory to the point of horripilation by curling or straightening it, perming or colouring it, cutting it or growing it and then tried every tip in the world to keep it clean of dandruff and lice and save it from having spilt ends or simply falling away from our scalps. We plait it, put it up in a bun or very simply let it down when we don’t try out exotic hairdos. The fairer sex of another time and place precisely did the same things with their manes using different implements, chemicals and ecofriendly products. For example Remember how the entire nation gasped when they saw Meena Kumari in an atrocious orange wig signifying the extensive use of henna?

Men with long hair, sometimes worn in a pony tail or as plait are considered to be the prototypes of the quintessential cool man. Men have worn long hair ever since Paleolithic days. Gods, kings and common man alike have worn their hair long without being rebuked or commented upon. Long hair among men has been considered as a symbol of power and strength. Can you think of a single god in the Greek or Indian pantheon with short hair?

SWEEP BACK OR SPIKE THEM

The hair gel perhaps sells by the pints because fashion conscious youth across the world cannot do without them. It is certainly fun to see them sweating over the stuck up look when our rural brethren manage to arrive at the same look with a tablespoon of castor oil. To be fair to the “gel”, we must admit that it comes in a variety of tantalising and soothing aromas.

VEGAN JEWELLERY

Flowers, leaves and sprouted cereals are doing the rounds on the latest ramps across the globe. Fashion Gurus gather the beauteous bounties of nature and fit them out as accessories like finger and ear rings, necklaces, bracelets, hair bands and sometimes as items of clothing when they weave a casual sarong or a sash with natural leaves and flowers to accentuate that green look.

The costumes of traditional Greek,  Hawaiian and belly dancers and many varieties of folk dancers across the globe cannot be considered complete without floral garlands and tiaras Any Indian who is exposed to this genre of vegan jewellery cannot but recollect the classical looks of Sita or Shakuntala bedecked with floral jewellery.

Carolina Herrera once said, “Fashion has always been a repetition of ideas, but what makes it news is the way you put it together.”Truer words have not been spoken.

 

Infinite Generosity of the Mind


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Most of us are compassionate by nature and we do not mind helping out people within our radar, if it is within our capacity. Yet, when the individuals or the organization we extend help to come back to us time and again to seek further help, we become uncomfortable.

We start suspecting the recipient of our charity to be dubious or greedy by nature. Sooner or later most of us become wary or aggressive. It really takes a mighty large heart and a sound conviction to accommodate and assist somebody in need unquestioningly.

An instance from the Agni Purana enumerates one such experience of king Satyavrata who was offering his morning prayers on the banks of river Kritamala. When the king scooped up the water from the river, he found a tiny little fish wriggling in the little water in his palms. Satyavrata instantly wanted to return the fish to the river, but he was taken aback when the fish spoke to him and requested that the king protect him from the mighty river.

Satyavrata was filled with compassion for the tiny creature and dropped the fish into his Kamandalam (water jug). When he reached the palace, he was surprised to see that the fish had enlarged and he transferred it to a large golden bowl. A little while later, the fish seemed to have outgrown its station and at its request, the king got it transferred to the water tank in the palace. In no time the size of the fish matched that of the tank. The king was puzzled by the constant growth of the creature. He understood that it was no ordinary living being. Though Satyavrata did not quite understand the happenings with the fish, his sense of confidence prevented him from panicking. His consideration for the fish which sought his refuge did not diminish. At that point of time, Satyavrata did not quite realize that Lord Vishnu had manifested himself as a fish and sought his help to save the world. All the same he got his gigantic refugee transferred into a large river and then the sea. Perhaps this was the reason why lord Vishnu selected Satyavrata to help the world regenerate after the impending deluge which would annihilate the earth.

Time Tested Bond


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Whoever said, “99% perspiration and 1% inspiration is the arithmetic of success” was spot on. The thrill of experiencing the process of the saying being translated into reality during my school days made me a staunch believer of the aphorism.

Recently, I stumbled on a Facebook request of a dear, long-lost childhood friend. The ball set rolling almost immediately. She called up and we chatted away. The excitement, the bonhomie and the unquestionable affection surfaced together leaving us overwhelmed. That night, I could not sleep till the wee hours of the morning as I was lost in nostalgia. Vivid pictures of a distant past were visualised by my mind’s eye.

We had just stepped into high school. Each class was expected to present a programme for 15 minutes to display our talents. We had decided a moving tableau showcasing the wedding of Rama and Sita. My long-lost friend, who played Rama, had to string the bow and then pretend to break it in the process before garlanding Sita. I was behind the curtains providing instrumental music on the Veena for the show.

I was supposed to ramble through an auspicious raga and then strike all the strings together to signify the breaking of the bow. The music and the act never seemed to coordinate during our practice sessions. So, we meticulously timed the act. It was decided that I should twang the strings after a certain time. However, I was not quite sure how it would turn out on stage because I would not even be able to see what was transpiring.

On the red-lettered day, each of us did our bit. My friend, who was on stage, bent the bow with all her might and actually broke the bow quite unintentionally, and I, who was oblivious to the happenings on the stage, concentrated on the music and twanged the strings at the pre-decided moment. The action and the sound occurred simultaneously, inviting a roaring applause. It was only after the performance I learnt about the extraordinary and unexpected turn of events. A sense of happiness and fulfillment pervaded us whenever our schoolmates mentioned it in the coming days.

Soon studies, other activities and preoccupations took over our lives and each of us went our way. Yet, what remained with me was the moral support of the time-tested truth which made me believe in the power of perseverance and the benevolence of almighty and not to mention the warmth of our friendship which renewed seamlessly after three decades.