Sunday, August 18, 2019
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17 Aug 2019

Religion in the eyes of an agnostic

17 Aug 2019 | 6:39 AM

Before moving on the highly slippery ground, I confess that my knowledge of religion is limited to attending religious ceremonies at weddings and deaths, listening to sermons on television, which I accidentally tune into and reading the Understanding Gita in 45 Minutes, quite like help-books titled ‘Excel or MS office for Dummies’.

15 Aug 2019

No liberty unless truly free

15 Aug 2019 | 6:44 AM

Freedom, a seven-letter word which shapes our life from birth to death. In earlier times, it meant the pleasure of the ruler over the ruled. The king, if benevolent, gave certain freedoms to his people. As monarchies crumbled and democracies arose, freedom took the form of human rights.

14 Aug 2019

Common man vs the urban wild

14 Aug 2019 | 6:39 AM

I was pleasantly surprised to find out about PM Modi featuring in ‘Man vs Wild’ on Discovery, with acclaimed adventurer Bear Grylls, scurrying through the length and breadth of the tough terrain and environs of the Jim Corbett National Park, and, of course, surviving to tell the tale.

13 Aug 2019

Cane did what words could not!

13 Aug 2019 | 6:41 AM

Way back in the 1950s, none perhaps believed more fervently in the efficacy of caning wayward boys than Father Masters, the prefect of our boarding school in Tiruchi, then run by British Jesuits. An unrelenting martinet, he felt it was the only foolproof way to discipline and rein in mischievous youngsters out to make life miserable for him and others.

12 Aug 2019

Lingering pain of Partition

12 Aug 2019 | 6:59 AM

WITH Independence Day approaching, the realisation dawns that the pain and pangs of Partition somehow refuse to quit the Punjabi psyche. Those who actually lived the trauma at a personal level are no more or are in the autumn of their lives.

10 Aug 2019

Fragrance of rain, books & tresses

Sumit Paul10 Aug 2019 | 6:41 AM

Years ago, I came across a sweet-sounding word, petrichor — the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.

09 Aug 2019

Commentary was an art, then

09 Aug 2019 | 6:47 AM

Today’s young generation may not have heard much about the word ‘transistor’ in this age of smartphones and social media. Perhaps they can’t even imagine how riveting and pulsating radio commentary — both in Hindi and English — on Test cricket used to be back in the Seventies and the Eighties.

08 Aug 2019

Well-advised in ‘city of advisers’

08 Aug 2019 | 6:35 AM

I was part amused and part surprised on reading my posting order as Adviser, UT. Surprised, because in the civil service, you grab the job of ‘Adviser’only after retirement and amused since I wondered as to who listens to advice these days, not even our own kids.

07 Aug 2019

Uneasy silence, what’s next?

Affan Yesvi07 Aug 2019 | 6:44 AM

At the wedding of my cousin, there is joy and desperation.

06 Aug 2019

10-round challenge set the course

MP Nathanael06 Aug 2019 | 6:46 AM

It was on a cold wintery morning of December 1964 in New Delhi when most boarders of my school — then Air Force Central School — had gone home for winter vacations that some of us were warming ourselves around the fire, where a drum of water was being heated.

05 Aug 2019

How yatra took the Baltal route

05 Aug 2019 | 6:44 AM

IN 1967, my crew and I were on a Forest Survey of India assignment around Baltal, below Zozila in eastern Kashmir. It was suggested by Signals linesmen that we could visit Amarnath, 10 km above, in about six hours. It was an era when the yatra took four days via the traditional Pahalgam route.

03 Aug 2019

Together in war and peace

Sudhirendar Sharma03 Aug 2019 | 6:28 AM

Despite my wife’s trepidation, I couldn’t resist travelling to support local communities in their post-war rehabilitation, just about the time when the guns were falling silent during the Kargil War.

02 Aug 2019

Sheila Dikshit made it possible

Sati Grewal02 Aug 2019 | 6:35 AM

When I recently started from Berkeley, California, for my annual India trip, I didn’t know that I would be bidding farewell to a dear friend, former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, on her journey to heaven.

01 Aug 2019

Sons, fathers & the cross

01 Aug 2019 | 6:42 AM

My friend Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, powerful secretary of Kerala’s still ruling Marxist party, is yet not in trouble, though his son Binoy — facing a paternity test in a case of rape and cheating filed by a Mumbai woman — is not out of it.

31 Jul 2019

The pointlessness of it all

31 Jul 2019 | 6:13 AM

Empty space, an all-pervading, encompassing silence which shrouds itself, albeit in a hue not black nor white, but a queer translucent shade that deceives the eye, no sooner has one extended the hand to confirm its tangibility than it disappears into mere dust — dust so to say with a scintillating sparkle akin to a mischievous and provocative wink.

30 Jul 2019

Glimpses of a lost paradise

30 Jul 2019 | 6:42 AM

Kashmir lovers, who year after year while celebrating wedding anniversary, sigh with a sense of remorse, remembering the days of honeymoon in the serenity of paradise on earth — Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.

29 Jul 2019

Halo around World Cup final

Bhartendu Sood29 Jul 2019 | 7:19 AM

The cricket World Cup final, played at Lord’s between favourites England and New Zealand, has already acquired a place in history for many firsts, but the final match had its dose of spiritualism.

27 Jul 2019

A doyen of history & guiding light

27 Jul 2019 | 6:36 AM

While in the death of Prof SC Mehrotra recently, the country has lost a reputed historian, it is also a personal loss to many people like me who studied in the history department of Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), Shimla, during the seventies and eighties.

26 Jul 2019

Keep an open mind about it

Rupali Wadhwa26 Jul 2019 | 6:35 AM

For years, I have lied about the cause of my father’s death, using medical terms such as heart attack, asthma and cancer to explain his prolonged absence from practically my whole life.

25 Jul 2019

The fast lane to nowhere

Ritu Kumar25 Jul 2019 | 7:11 AM

In the prime of his youth, he was basking in life’s glory.

24 Jul 2019

Why hanker after virtual future?

24 Jul 2019 | 6:33 AM

Humans have always been curious to see what the future holds for them. So-called spiritual gurus claim to offer a peek into the future and solutions to avert any untoward situation. Recently on Instagram, wrinkled faces of celebrities whom I follow caught my attention.

23 Jul 2019

Batalvi, nature’s wild child

Raj Kumar23 Jul 2019 | 7:32 AM

In literary circles, many comparisons are drawn between Shiv Kumar Batalvi and John Keats.

22 Jul 2019

A handful of castaways

Chinmay Kumar Hota22 Jul 2019 | 6:37 AM

The images of marooned villages in the recent floods in Assam and Bihar brought back memories of another flood that I had experienced long ago.

20 Jul 2019

Chicken meal, the Hindu way

20 Jul 2019 | 6:46 AM

Summoning every bit of my willpower, as I opened my eyes, I found a handsome hunk towering over me. ‘Here is your Hindu meal,’ he said with a smile. ‘Hindu meal?’ I was bewildered. I didn’t remember ordering a Hindu meal. How could I, when I had never heard of it?

19 Jul 2019

Living on, on the ‘wall of perpetuity’

19 Jul 2019 | 7:03 AM

Jagjit Singh, retired economic adviser to the Government of Punjab, passed away recently, and joined the family of noble souls. A couple of years back, inspired by two relatives, he had expressed his desire to donate his body to the PGI instead of cremating it.

18 Jul 2019

From moon to Jalandhar

18 Jul 2019 | 6:41 AM

It was 1969. The year of relative tranquility, President Kennedy, Apollo 11, and, of course, of the mankind landing and leaving its big footprint on the moon. Later-era evils such as unrests, sectarianism, secessionism, terrorism, etc., had yet not reared their ugly heads.

17 Jul 2019

The cry of the mountains

17 Jul 2019 | 6:43 AM

I have mixed feelings of nostalgia and provocation as I drive up the hills. Last time I travelled on the Shimla-Chandigarh freeway, the experience was appalling owing to the state of the supposed road widening that I had resolved I would not return to the hills until its completion.

16 Jul 2019

Till my last, will serve humanity

16 Jul 2019 | 6:44 AM

Tilted and wilting, uprooted I stand. The early days of my life were spent in the company of friends, big and small, most of who are no more. My early reminiscences are of birds nesting on me. It was blissful to be a home to various kinds of beings, also on wings.

15 Jul 2019

Rumali roti served with a twist

15 Jul 2019 | 6:43 AM

In the remnant bungalow of the colonial era — now meant for the bada saheb — the lingering residual of the post-colonial hangover is the memsaheb of the top police officer. A symbol of aristocracy, quaint elegance of the bygone rajwada era and high-bred etiquette, the memsaheb thought of something unique to add class and grace to the occasion.

13 Jul 2019

It’s never how it appears

Suniti Kharbanda13 Jul 2019 | 6:34 AM

THERE is an acronym in computer language: WYSIWYG — ‘what you see is what you get’. When we are young and inexperienced, life is in black and white. We make inferences based on what we see without trying to understand the nuances associated with it.

12 Jul 2019

Beaten, black and blue

12 Jul 2019 | 6:44 AM

I never played cricket even in my school or college days. However, I have been following the World Cup at the insistence of my cousin, who travelled to the UK to watch the game, especially the encounter between archrivals India and Pakistan.

11 Jul 2019

The news, read by ‘Borun’ Haldar

11 Jul 2019 | 6:41 AM

THIS is All India Radio. The news, read by Barun Haldar...’ The name, pronounced as ‘Borun’ in that typical Bengali accent, was hard to miss.

10 Jul 2019

Those were the days

VK Anand10 Jul 2019 | 6:34 AM

MY father, who worked for Panjab University in Lahore, had to shift to Solan (Himachal Pradesh) in October 1947 after Partition.

09 Jul 2019

Not every man’s best friend!

Rajnish Wattas09 Jul 2019 | 6:28 AM

I rang the doorbell of our hosts and waited for the door to open.

08 Jul 2019

Another girl child, fate same

08 Jul 2019 | 6:29 AM

As I woke up from soothing sleep, I found myself wrapped in a velvety piece of cloth. Having opened my eyes, I did not see that multicoloured ceiling. Instead, it was some azure vast space with foamy shapes of white hues. The place was new and scary.

06 Jul 2019

Not just a stop, it’s a full story

Yuvika Grewal06 Jul 2019 | 7:19 AM

Flup! Flup! Flup! The free end of a page put in momentum by the air thrown by the three blades of an air-cooler beats at the back of my hand, as I read a philosophical composition that has taken me on many worldly day-trips.

05 Jul 2019

Only if He looked at us once...

JS Raghavan05 Jul 2019 | 6:40 AM

To many devout Hindus, few gods have a more magnetic pull of divinity than Tirupathi Balaji.

04 Jul 2019

A name to bank on, really

K Govindan Kutty04 Jul 2019 | 6:41 AM

MY first bank couldn’t have been credited with catholicity or Syrian splendour, though it was known as the Catholic Syrian Bank.

03 Jul 2019

Being with yourself...and in love

Anirudh Dhanda03 Jul 2019 | 6:38 AM

How I wish I have a farm with sprawling greenery and some cheerful animals… cows, buffaloes and their young ones whom I can distinguish by their looks and they respond to being called by their names, chewing the cud with satisfaction and mirth on their faces.

02 Jul 2019

Who wants to be smart? Not us

Sudhirendar Sharma02 Jul 2019 | 6:53 AM

Like others of my generation, I offered unsolicited advice to my young niece to be smart enough to shun modern gadgets, as obsession for the mobile handset makes one dumber.

01 Jul 2019

Through the eyes of old lens

Rama Kashyap01 Jul 2019 | 6:50 AM

While rummaging through a cupboard, I stumbled upon a personal camera that was my prized possession in the not-so-distant past, but now is lying unused for the several years.

29 Jun 2019

Tram for Shimla can actually work

Neela Sood29 Jun 2019 | 6:50 AM

After reaching Lisbon, as we came out from the Metro station to catch a tram for our hotel, we were awestruck on seeing a tram resting on its wheels at a 45-degree gradient to the surface, hardly 50 metres from the exit.

28 Jun 2019

Village road that saw life’s bustle & ebb

Chinmay Kumar Hota28 Jun 2019 | 6:39 AM

I could barely trace the sights and sounds associated with Jagannath Khunta’s village road as I walked the winding pathway after two decades.

27 Jun 2019

Other-worldly world mattered more

Sudhansu Mohanty27 Jun 2019 | 6:37 AM

On the cusp of the 1970s, we longed for Ravenshaw College.

26 Jun 2019

Old traditions die hard in Munnar

George N Netto26 Jun 2019 | 6:50 AM

OLD British traditions endow Munnar’s famed High Range Club with its distinct character and colonial aura.

25 Jun 2019

Awe and fear at Mechuka

Lt Gen Baljit Singh (retd)25 Jun 2019 | 6:35 AM

The skin prickles with a sudden rash of goose bumps, the heart pounds in the ears above the roar of engines straining to terminate the flight on the constricted, ad-hoc landing strip and when the aircraft comes to a juddering halt (momentarily in an exaggerated nose-down tail-up profile), one’s body is drenched in a shower of cold sweat; an indelible experience of every landing on the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Mechuka.

24 Jun 2019

A working style that cheers & inspires

IP Anand24 Jun 2019 | 6:33 AM

Sir, your name should be in a book of records.