Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Month: July 2018

METRO MENTALITY

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While working in Mumbai I have used jam packed public transport, faced traffic snarls and escaped the monsoon deluge. I have also walked to office in knee deep water. I used to travel through Dharavi and smelt the stench and experienced the slowest moving traffic ever. People had right of way; traffic could wait even on a green light there. You had your eyes concentrating on people, one foot on the clutch, second on the brake, hand on the horn and an abuse on your lips. I have yet to see a foot over bridge or any effort of de-congest it.

People don’t want to move out from metros. Gurgaon is an example. You name a corporate it is there. The chain of malls I saw for the first time left me dumbfounded.

It reminded me of one our first ever visit to a mall in 2004. My wife, daughter and cousins decided to do our Christmas shopping. As we were done, I found a Barista counter near the main entrance. We sat down to have coffee. Suddenly there was commotion and people started to leave. I was observing this exodus sitting facing the entrance door.

I walked across to the gate to find the same thing happening on the opposite side malls too. Desperate honking and fanatic waving was going on. I asked the security what it is. He said there is a bomb scare in the mall opposite. I told myself don’t panic Noel and walked across to my gang sipping coffee. Kya Hua was the typical question and kuch nahi, relax was my typical answer.

I mentally started making escape routes as I had no idea of gurgaon. We had a few shopping bags and our new Christmas tree. Daughter was barely three. First thing I did was picked her up and made her sit on my shoulders so that my hands were free as I felt at home carrying a “pithoo”.

We had parked about a mile away in a private plot as their underground parking was full.  Outside there was only chaos. Road was jammed because all husbands or drivers who had gone to fetch their vehicles were now waiting for their better halves. Some cars had brushed each other so that typical Ma-Behen was on between drivers. No one bothered that there are others who need to use this road. In fact it was an eerie kind of panic as no one knew what the situation was. Everyone just wanted to flee.

I heard that NSG had been called in so I understood matter is serious better evaporate before something blasts. We reached our parking lot. My cousin knew a route which was not blocked. By then it was shocking to see people had by now put their small kids on car roofs and handed them ice creams. I thought to myself, look at our mentality, people are now in time pass mode and have come to witness a “tamasha”.

Police was nowhere to be seen, red lights which were functional when we came were no more functional. Some people tried the smart act of taking U turns at the red light had added to the chaos blocking both sides. There was no method in this madness.

I told my cousin lets scoot before we are trapped. We reached the main highway zig-zagging & went up the flyover; one only saw headlights and bright red tail lights glowing for miles. We reached home and said a prayer and hoped there would be no blast of any kind.

The Bomb Disposal Squad with their sniffer dogs had to alight well short of IFFCO chowk due to the jam. They could carry only hand held equipment and by the time the dogs reached the mall they were tired and had to be rested before they could start their job. Mera Bharat Mahan!

People celebrated all night, Chana-Mungfali, Ice cream-Bhutta walas had a ball. Water was sold at price of petrol. Cars ran out of petrol as the jam could not be cleared till the wee hours of the morning adding to further chaos. No one left their cars or cleared the area either. It turned out to be a hoax call.

In our village here traffic gets jammed due to tourists. They break lanes, halt at will, without being sensitive to the limited road space. I prefer my scooter to go to market. It is easy to manoeuvre, easy to park and can wriggle trough any jam, besides carry our weekly shopping with ease. Thank God we are far from a metro. Will our basic Indian mentality ever change? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

SHOPPING IN THE RAIN

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Sunday it is our weekly shopping day. It has been pouring since last night and continues to pour heavily as I write. The forecast says it will continue for the next three days. Imagine 1500 mm of rain has already gone down the drain. Double this figure is what we expect by the end of monsoon.

In rainy season it is a ritual that all of us carry umbrellas. As you step out of your door, with a click of a button it deploys like a parachute. Now, at least the downpour is blocked.  Next obstacles are the small rivulets which flow on the pathway. There is no way you can avoid them. We step into them with utmost caution lest your chappals throw those droplets to wet your rear. The standard dress is Bermuda and hawai chappals, no point getting dressed like a Colonel. When in Alibaug, don’t do as the Romans do.

Next hurdle is to get into the car without getting wet. The moment you open your door & sit down with the umbrella stuck outside, you push your hand out to fold the umbrella; it is time enough to get one sleeve and half the interiors of the car wet. Now is the dilemma where to keep your wet umbrella. If you keep it on the floor you clothes are bound to absorb water. So we stick them into the drinking water bottle slots.

When you reach the market the same drill is done to open umbrellas again so now one side of yours is thoroughly wet.  Here there is an unwritten umbrella code, that when you cross each other you tilt it to the opposite side out of courtesy, means that for a few seconds half of your body is exposed to the rain gods. It is dicey if there are a few people in a row. Then the second code is if you are taller than the person opposite, it is your moral duty to raise yours a little high, like a gentleman would raise his hat for a lady. In the bargain the other person’s umbrella goes touching you and you get the trickle of his umbrella water.

People in cars I found are courteous; they slow down in puddles for the pedestrian from the mucky water being thrown at you. Then there are some naughty people on two wheelers who know you have nowhere to run and splash water at you. You try and give them a dirty look but the umbrella is shading you, it gets too late. By now you have been soaked thoroughly. It is now just psychological to stay dry. It is something like the novices boxing. You try and avoid taking a hit but once hit then your face goes numb. Then boxes don’t matter. Now rain doesn’t matter.

My daughter wanted to buy new sandals today so as the unwritten code goes, everyone takes off footwear outside the shops. You walk on a few gunny bags and then do shopping. For the first time she found one of her slippers missing. Here no one takes them away but today it happened. Look at the honesty of that person he took one of hers and left one of his. Actually when everything is wet then that feeling of wearing your own stuff disappears I think.

Carrying your sabzi-tarkari bag is tough. If you hang it too low it is bound to get wet from both the rain and the love poured by the passing traffic, so you hang it holding it high while balancing your umbrella in the same hand. God forbid if an acquaintance meets you to exchange pleasantries. You can’t even tell him that dimwit I am carrying two kgs each of tomato, potato and pyaz. The only escape is to blame it on the “barish” and move on cursing under your breadth.

Once you reach back your car the drill of staying dry still continues in your mind subconsciously though you may be soaking wet. Today, when I reached home I decided to give my car a rinse. I parked in the rain against the wishes of my wife. She said hum bheeg jayenge. I looked at her lovingly and said sweet heart “thora aur sahi” for my sake. She lovingly took the bait and ran inside.

By the time I went in I was wet to my undies.  I ran and changed as goose bumps and those little shivers that you start experiencing when drenched were catching on me besides the pressure to visit the loo. Before I got a running nose it was time to dry up. Next Sunday, will we get a no rain window to do our shopping? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

YOGA KA KYA HOGA

YOGA KA KYA HOGA

This world yoga day I got tired of doing “SHAV ASANA”. So I decided that from Monday, I must add a few more asanas to my kitty. I started my day, I broke wind and it was a very loud one which shook my wife up from her deep sleep. I am told that unknowingly I did a “PAWANMUKT ASANA”. Oh great! Not that I suffer from any stomach upset because I had this gush of wind coming out from my rear I was a little upset. I calculated it backwards, that why so much of wind was set free at such an unearthly hour. To my surprise it led me to the afternoon lunch the previous day, where we had ordered sizzlers. They were pure vegetarian with broccoli, baby corn, okra, egg plant, spinach, cottage cheese and the works. I realized my system is not used to eating vegetables, thus the wind was in protest by my intestinal system against the sudden change of culinary habits and I accepted it and have decided that I won’t deviate from the normal in future.

Be that as it may, I am just a lethargic kind of yogi. I want to do it on my own & in my own sweet time. I have an allergy with forced programmes, with artificiality, with showmanship, with everything which is done to be forgotten the next day. For national events, I am sure the rugs had been purchased for dual purposes. Yes, once we finish this event, it would be given to “Tommy”, who has been sleeping on carpet all these years. This rug will be used to dry all sorts of dals and achars in the balcony. Worst come to worst it will be used as a cover of the motorcycle. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I can vouch for many treadmills, indoor cycles etc as they land up being used as clothes hangers.

I agree that India has been a pioneer in yoga but I have a basic issue here. I want India to do yoga of the mind first. I want Indians to cleanse the mind of all hatred, ill feelings and corruption. Where do I find an asana for such yoga?

Let’s have a hatred mukt asan. In which everyone from all castes & creed can sit together and enjoy the fruits of yoga. Everyone is treated equally. We should dine at the same table irrespective of what we eat or wear. Our Mazhabs never teach apas main bair rakhna then why are we hell bent on slitting each other’s throats.

Let us also introduce and anti-corruption asan. Moment anyone tries to take or give bribe or do things which have an angle of corruption should automatically start twisting and entwining on his own till the time he is squeezed so badly that he pledges never to do anything like that again.

No appeasement & no false promise asan. Come elections and this bimari spreads like wild fire. We will bring such and such type of days may not be that achhe. We will bring all the money which is disguised in the colour “noir” and convert into “blanc”. Such promises should never be allowed.

I out of curiosity opened a website which gives English equivalent names of Sanskrit asans and I found them quite interesting. Let me mention a few like the Bhardvaja twist asan. Indian politics is only about twists and more twists. Let us untwist them for the common man to get his do waqt ki roti.

I saw one called the “utkasana” or the “chair pose”. I don’t know about the pose but the chair I find is the fulcrum of all elections. “Kissa kursi ka” as they call it. All politicians should be able to do this asana to qualify to sit on one. The Child pose or the balasana caught my eye. Countrymen, let us leave our children to live as children. To enjoy have fun and frolic, no child should be subjected to torture and trauma of rape. Cobra pose or bhujangasana should be for our enemy. Let’s bite our enemies like cobras both internal and external including the invisible enemies of polarization.

Ultimately, why do we do all this twisting and turning around for? It is to hold the mind stable, to keep calm and flexible, to stay mentally alert and disease free. If yoga helps us to be good & healthy human beings, why not give it a try. The irony is that when in our country we practice so much of yoga then why is it that we are still not at peace with ourselves. Why is the yoga just a “Dhakosla” or we really don’t understand its powers? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

ELECTION TIME IN PAKISTAN

 

 

ELECTION TIME IN PAKISTAN

 

Pakistan has been the focal point for India in all its activities related to military and international diplomacy since independence. If we could have had some understanding to live in peace, our countries instead of wars would have made lots of progress. Major chunk of our resources & funds are diverted towards Pak sponsored insurgency in J&K. The additional security forces which have to be deployed to keep that area sanitised are at what cost. Money which is pumped to keep that state running is not hidden either. Unnecessary body bag count of soldiers is increasing and the futility of Kashmiri graveyards getting filled needs to be understood.

Had there been political stability in J&K we would have definitely seen jannat by now. Had New Delhi tackled the Paki game plan befittingly, things would have been different? Actually, had we been serious about sorting this issue, we would have saved our exchequer of millions. There is still time and a ray of hope. Let us bring stability on our side of the border half the things will fall into place. Military is always there to assist the nation and J&K in particular.

One thing that comes to my mind is the “political instability” in Pakistan. It is so prominent today yet still they are able to derail and destabilise the Indian idea of Kashmir. Nawaz Sharif has now fielded his daughter Mariam to contest the forth coming elections. Will she deliver, my fingers are crossed. Bilawal is just a scapegoat. Imran Khan is growing old by the day and his chances are 50-50 this time. Gen Musharraf has withdrawn from the political scene as he knows that it is better to stay away before he is executed for treason. It is curtains down for him.

I was just thinking of another political “budding star” called Hafiz Saeed’s (HS); instead of gunning for his life, let us support him to become the PM of Pakistan. Pakistan as a country is imploding under all kinds of pressures; he will help speed up the process. Gareebi and gurbat are the buzz words for that nation. Let this man come and hasten their disintegration. We know his mindset towards India so we need to be prepared. Let their military takeover, we know how to deal with enemies then.

If HS can be the messiah for Pak, I think we should let him be. Before he will sort out India, China will sort Pak. I was listening to various panel discussion on You Tube about the CPEC and the way the Chinese are changing their demography at a very fast pace. Pakis are providing security to the Chinese to construct this project on their land. Pak has taken a loan from them & are not capable to pay even a portion of the interest back. Chinese are thrusting outdated technology and old power plants along this road. China ensures that only they shall supply coal for power. Let Hafiz Saeed sort the Chinese and the Baluchi’s out, if he can. What will his military eat to save the country from the debt trap then? “Grass”, which Bhutto promised, they will eat to keep India bleeding?

As far as HS support to various jehadi’s is concerned, yes that would be our worry. Our security deployment and policy should flow from that. We also need to sort out our noise makers like Hurriat. Let us offer their services to Hafiz Saeed, that here we present to you people who are hell bent on disintegrating our Kashmir. Take them in your fold and give them Azadi, while we stabilize Kashmir alongside. If love is what Kashmiri’s want, let us give it to them. If affection will help ease their pain let’s give it to them. If they need to work to earn a living and prosper, let us provide them opportunities all over India. For that they have to keep an open mind and move out of the valley.

Let us give Kashmiri people the opportunity to use their natural wealth & encourage tourism. Sustenance on subsidy and sarkari naukri’s is no solution. Youth of Kashmir have to go out to work and not survive on stone pelting money. Set your agenda for peace dear people and implement it. Once peace is restored, rest won’t be an issue. Sitting at home and thinking anti India wont resolve anything. Give peace a chance. No harm giving it a try, prosperity will automatically come.

Let me assure our Kashmiri friends, if you still don’t see the Paki bluff then things will keep worsening. The world knows that in Pak there is only corruption, adulteration, mismanagement, mis-governance, loot and instability besides they blatantly lie too. They themselves are not clear about the vision of their country. Can HS and gang absorb you people to their folds and give you what you dream of? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

TO SMELL OR NOT TO SMELL

 

 

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Will you guys believe it that I don’t even know which all countries are participating in the football world cup. I cannot know the results next day also as I don’t watch TV news and only read “raddi” news papers. However, I am aware that it is being played in Russia. Where was it held last year, Khuda jane and where will it be played next, ki farq painda hai.  My wife, a news paper & football buff will update me on this.

I subscribe to a news paper but by the time it comes to us it is well soaked and drenched courtesy the monsoons. You can read the last page through the front page. It also comes a day late. That’s the acche din for us. Bijli has reached all the villages, gas has reached all the “fookni” using mothers but the news paper takes its own sweet time. Saturday and Sunday’s paper comes combined on Monday weighing more than a tonne.

The other day as I entered the house during lunch break, a typical smell caught my nose. These days I am very allergic to certain smells. The only smell which can keep me alive is the smell of bar-be-cue. I can follow that zig-zag path of smoke like the “alladin ka jin” has trailing behind him. Well, we tried locating that scent but could not. It was difficult to have lunch as that “chameli ka tel” type typical fragrance used in “haldi-uptan” ceremonies in Indian weddings kept hitting my nostrils and giving me a headache.

After I quit smoking certain smells like heeng (asafoetida), Ghee being made at home, aggarbatti & dhoop of any kind and hawan smoke etc) kills me. Both I and my wife went on a hunting spree but alas we were not able to locate the source. I left the drawing room to avoid getting that nauseated feeling but that trail of stink was even more prominent there.

Somehow I managed to survive that one hour lunch break. As I was leaving, wife picked up the news paper to read. Bang! She said the news paper smells. This much was clear none of our perfumes had leaked nor could have come in contact with this news paper unless the person delivering it would have rubbed or dropped something. As she opened the paper the odour got very strong. Lo and behold it was written on the front page “smell”. I left for the office in a huff.

It turned out to be a new perfume being launched by Park Avenue. I have nothing against the brand and I still have a soft corner for them as they were the first people to bring in a beer shampoo in India I suppose. My inlaws had gifted me on my wedding a toilette set which had a beer shampoo. So to find such an obnoxious (ghatia) kind of “khusboo” did hurt a few feelings.

Be that as it may, my wife knowing me well tore off the first page and burnt it, the smell won’t go, she threw away the whole news paper and ensured that the “kachara gadi” takes it away, still there was no respite. We gave up, even though that lingering stench was giving me a very uncomfortable experience.

Next day, after my tea in the morning I visited my throne. I picked up one news paper lying around for the ceremony. As I settled down for the job this smell became prominent again and I could not abort mission. I realised that this damn news paper was folded in between the smelly one. So a kind of sympathetic transfer of smells had taken place. My irritation kept growing as I just could not throw this paper away in the midst of bombardment. I finished firing and rushed to the main dustbin outdoors and dunked that goddamn news paper into it.

The satisfaction within me was showing as a kind of victory I had achieved. I then went in for brushing my teeth. As I cut the pea sized drop of tooth paste on my brush I smelt the same rat again. I thought I was hallucinating but moment I started brushing and as my hand closed in towards my mouth the smell again became very prominent. The smell had got stuck to my hands while reading the paper.

I quickly did “kulla” and washed my hands with soap many times. Wife kept reminding me that you would be late to reach office, I said to myself to hell with my office. I shall not carry this smell with me at any cost. I can die of any other cause but be declared dead for inhaling gases of the Nazi gas chambers.

I heard the siren of the factory go. Finally, I rubbed a lot of hand sanitizer as I left. Now I was thinking what “bahana” I will tell my boss that why was I late today? Any guesses? Keep wondering!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FABRIC OF INDIA

 

 

FABRIC OF INDIA

I have no idea about clothes and fabrics. I stick to the basics, which was taught to me during my Army career. A dark coloured trouser and a light coloured shirt. Dark means close to black, navy blue or a dark brown. Shirt means a plain white or light coloured shirt, no pinks or purple. Yes, when it comes to casuals I prefer blue denim jeans with a single coloured T shirt preferably with a pocket, no checks & no stripes. I am in love with “khadi”, like a well starched kurta-pyjama. These days you get shirts which stand stiff like the good old days of our OG uniforms. I also prefer to wear silk scarves in “bandhej” prints in winters. Over the years my choices have evolved.

Today, I go to a shop and ask the salesman to show a sober coloured shirt. If he brings a floral, purple or dark coloured one, I leave that shop and go to the next one. You may call be a dimwit, never mind. For me sober means something which is not gaudy, outlandish, loud, flashy & showy. Who defines all this? Your guess is as good as mine. I cannot impose my choice on you. So is with the nation. How does one decide what fabric suits the nation? I am sure it too would have evolved over the centuries.

Man used to roam around naked and the first dress he wore was a fig leaf. Later he found wool. He discovered silk and cotton. Jute also came in. Synthetic apparels also surfaced. Plastics did make inroads to the fabric scene. Did anyone think about it that why we changed from one type to the other. We mixed and matched. Our outer cover changed with time and so did our inner feelings about other fellow humans.

Then there are people with a kitschy kind of choice of clothes, tasteless, cheap & vulgar in some ways. Well, I am no one to sit in judgement either. Probably the other fellow thinks about my choice of clothes in the same manner. Nevertheless, it depends on individual person how he wants to attire himself. Such people do exist in the society and we live with them in peace.

Well if I see how the “fabric” of India transformed over a period of time which was intricately woven into its culture, architecture, clothes, cuisine, transport, infrastructure & even warfare. Spices slowly entered our lives. As trading started there was a spice route. A silk route existed too. Soon the flavours, tastes, and colour of the pallet & fabric started to absorb the extracts of foreign lands. All got amalgamated as people traveled far and wide. India remained resilient and peaceful.

Invaders came and went, they killed and looted India but the fabric of India never got tarnished. Mughals, Christians, Parsi’s, Portuguese, Tibetans came, some stayed on. Even Hinduism evolved during times of turmoil to strengthen the fabric of India. It spread to various shores and was absorbed there. Each invasion contributed to the Indian fabric and helped in improving it.

Today this fabric is tearing up. The “tana-bana” is all messed up. If I don’t like the colour of a fabric you wear I will get intolerant. Then a tug of war begins. The cloth meant to cover us gets shredded to pieces leaving us half naked and exposed. Indian fabric was never so intolerant. Today, a poor person with tattered clothes will be tolerated but a lady with a tattered designer jeans will be looked down upon. Adivasi without clothes is not an issue but an advertisement of a bra and panty hurts our sanskriti. I dare not talk about the “temples” of Khajuraho.

Condition of the country today is such that we have to keep patching the fabric we wear. In good old days mom used to get “rafoo” done where the pant or shirt used to get torn. It used to be the artistry of the darner who used to blend and match the texture and design of that shear. Only you could guess where the cut was. Such craftsmen aka leaders are gone. Now with so much of infighting we need to put a “Paiband”. It is a kind of patch of cloth which is stitched to cover a big hole. That is the state we are reaching at.

Today, we don’t care for the fabric we were proud of once. Ultimately a time will come when that piece of cloth will become un-wearable and will have to be thrown away as the rafoos and paibands would no longer suffice to cover what they were supposed to. Why have we reached this stage and why can’t we preserve our very Indian fabric? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

INDIA IS A BIG KUTUMBH

 

 

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We are a huge joint family with all Chacha’s, Mama’s, Taya’s, Bhai, Bhatija’s, their children and grand children staying under one roof. The “Bade Papa” is a chronic bachelor who decides everything for the house. The family now has got very complex as it has people of all religions, castes, creeds and professions as part of this extended “kutumbh” called India.

Our neighbours are quite hostile. They were part of the big joint family but decided to separate ways. The head of the family gave them some land to settle. Now besides fighting almost on a daily basis they have started throwing a lot of “garbage” across our fence. The other neighbour belongs to a different race and wants to keep grabbing our land.

The huge problem “bade papa” is facing that the family is growing at a very rapid pace and uncontrollably. The mouths to feed are increasing by the day and resources are limited. So to somehow manage the household Papa has told each member of the family to contribute to the central pool of income. Families (States) will be given some part of finances and balance will come to his pool (GST).

The farming brethren are in dire straits. People in this profession are feeling neglected. Then there are people who are the protectors of the family. They too are fed up of inimical neighbours and the rebels within but papa is yet to decide how to tackle them as he feels that things may get sorted out by peaceful means. Let’s wait and see.

Many youth of the family are educated unemployed or uneducated unemployed. Quite a few of these guys have become rebels due to frustration. Loads of them decided to go to foreign lands. It’s a different issue that only a few are well settled. Some of them have taken up arms against the family.

In far off lands bade-papa has a very good reputation as he visits very often. They hero worship him and believe he can take this family to greater heights.  He also pleads to them to contribute to the family’s development by sending money and investing.  How people and countries are responding to his call, I am not sure.

There is another issue in the family that some of the chachas and mama’s are very orthodox. The Bahu-Betis are having an issue. “Sir dhak ke rakho” kinds. These people see things through their perspective and lay down dictates for who can meet whom, what to wear, what to read, what to eat, whom to marry etc. They do read scriptures but don’t follow what they preach. All family members who converted to other religions are hounded & even lynched. Bade-Papa does condemn it but can’t control such people. Is it on purpose? I don’t know.

He has a set of elders (ministers), who help him run the house assisted by some more family members (bureaucrats or brats) who actually control the whole system. The brats are far more educated than the elders. Papa has got after the brats but if they revolt the family will come to a standstill. So he is trying to push them hard. How hard? Time will tell.

Papa also speaks to the family once in a while from his heart and “man”. Papa is a stickler for cleanliness (Swach Bharat and Shauchalya). He appears to be worried as the rebellious people (opposition) are stalling his good work but the family moves on.

Time now is approaching to choose a new head of the family. People actually are in two minds whether to vote him out or stay with him. People do not see a strong alternative either. The “Bari-Mama” is projecting her son who fails to impress.

Family members are complaining about everything, from prices, to petrol, to high taxes. The “media family” appears to be biased, if not sold. Corruption at higher levels may be under control but at lower levels is rampant. The whole family appears unhappy in more ways than one.

Family wants the promised achhe din but papa’s dream has not been able to materialise into reality as yet. Which family or family member is actually benefitting and who all are left out. I can’t say.

Today, the kutumbh and its systems have become too unwieldy and super complicated.  Bade-Papa is in a dilemma as he cannot displease one family member at the cost of other. There is a need for a game changing, strong and effective head of the family who can unite this entire household as one. As they say Vasudevah Kutumbhkam. I feel bade papa now also needs to concentrate on Vasudev Kutumbh “Kam”. Bade-Papa is leading by example. Got it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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