Saturday, September 27, 2008

My day off.

I have a newfound admiration for lazy people. They have an innate ability to while away time. I found out yesterday that whiling time is not as easy or enjoyable as it looks or seems.

Having absolutely nothing to do today, I decided on my schedule after a late breakfast of delectable Mendu Vadas. I was torn between catching a flick and spring cleaning (Ok, I’m a few months late). I also had the option of a chilled beer and a nice movie at home. It had started to get confusing. The more I thought, the more was I in a quandary. Honestly, spring cleaning was never a contender but the beer or the multiplex options were perplexing.

Finally, I decided to do nothing. Nothing at all. How would it be, to do nothing- nothing significant or worthwhile that is-for a whole day? I wouldn’t leave the house but I wouldn’t switch on the computer. I would not attend any calls (Most are from salespersons anyway).

I allowed myself to watch the tube as I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it for more than ten minutes. They news channels are shitty, the reality shows seem staged and the commercial breaks are as long as the movies. I tried sleeping. I can’t understand why sleep evades me on holidays. I recalled it had been ages since I have curled up to a good book. Nowadays, it’s all about e-books (non-fiction, mind you) and for good reason. Books come from trees. Nevertheless, I tried to read one on Mother Theresa. What transpired was comical to say the least! In minutes of reading a few pages, I felt drowsy. Closing the book, I lay on my bed. Again, sleep evaded me. I tried this routine twice, to same effect.

I tried to strike a conversation with my neighbour. It is then I came to know that her daughter was in the SSC and needed help with English. Ah, I thought!
Something to do! I asked her to send the kid over after lunch. She beamed at me. I realized then that she had been a good friend to mum and I hadn’t reciprocated her warmth.

I had ordered Biryani from a popular joint. I guess the cook was having a bad day like me as his Biryani tasted funny. Throwing more than half of it away, I rolled up my sleeves and invited Riya over for some serious learning. I was taken aback when I opened her book. I remembered nothing! What had I developed, Amnesia?! Nothing made sense. I couldn’t recall if I had ever read about Clauses. Active -passive speech was scary. The girl ended up teaching me a few things. I tried valiantly for an hour to teach her. Exasperated, I gave up! She comforted me and told me that as English was ingrained in my psyche, I thought intuitively and my brain no longer remembered unnecessary information. Was I getting old? I promised her chocolate pastries if she would keep the tutoring to herself. She agreed. I plodded onto my next task.

It was evening by now. It had been a long time since I had used my punching bag or skipped. An exercise session was in order! I would strongly suggest easing into your exercise routine if it’s been a while since you’ve done it. I was out of breath after 50 skips, couldn’t do a single pull-up ( much thanks to the extra kilos I have packed in) and sprained my back trying to pull off a few round house kicks- all this in 5 minutes.

I had started getting edgy as the abstinence from technology started driving me nuts! I kept hearing my phone ring the whole day (I had switched it off, remember?). I craved for the internet. I pined for the polluted air of the streets. In a desperate bid, I tried pranayam and got bored off it in 45 seconds. I had trained in Hindi classical music and thought of taking a shot at that. I sounded like a frog as it has been years since I stopped Riyaz. I even took out my rusty Guitar from its cover and tried playing a tune or two. My fingers felt heavier than lead! It had been days, nay, months since I had strummed on the Guitar. I could not remember why. Was I so busy in life as to stop doing and enjoying the simple pleasures like reading, singing and playing the Guitar?

Finally, dad came home and I heaved a sigh of relief! He is an excellent conversationalist and a better thinker. When I told him of my day, he had this to say. “You have become so hard wired to the daily grind that you have stopped thinking about what actually pleases you. You are hooked on to technology but fail to see the simple pleasures of life. I used to enjoy listening to your tunes while you were in college. Nowadays, all you do is work on that computer.”

It hit me like a tracer bullet. I used to enjoy a good read, dishing out rajma and making tunes and singing. What had changed? What had happened?

I’d gotten so busy with my professional life that I’ve ignored all this and jumped into the rat race. As someone had once said- ‘In this rat race, even if you come first, you’re still a rat.’ I knew more about the market health than that of my own. I was pleasant and charming with my colleagues but had even forgotten my neighbours name.

What had I become?

© of Kartikeya Dwivedi 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons.

Yes, I have enrolled for them. No, I don’t plan to buy a car or find work as a driver. I enjoy riding a bike and have become adept at it. If I am driving, I find travel relaxing and pleasant. I was planning to go to either Goa or Uttranchal this December. My plans of going there on a bike, fulltoo Roadies ishtyle were met with laughter, ridicule and stern no’s. The stern no coming from my dad. Crushed, I planned on going to Goa by hiring a car. Learning how to drive a car was the next step.

The thing that I love about this country is that people care. We are concerned. We like to give advice. Nine times out of ten, we voice our concern. And the advice bit gets a full ten on ten.

Upon inquiry, I decided to learn driving from Kini Motor Driving School. That wasn’t easy. Earlier on, a pal suggested that it was a waste of time. “X has a car. Ask him to teach you. You will be able to learn quickly as you know how to ride a bike. It’ll be a 5 day affair.” He spoke with such conviction that I virtually saw myself in Schumacher’s shoes after the supposed 5 day training.

I was a tad skeptical about asking X for his new car and use it to hone my driving skills. Well -actually-use it to learn driving with. His face became pale and I am sure his blood pressure either lowered or rose up when I told him what ‘Y’ suggested!

“I don’t mind at all, but you see, I would suggest you join a driving school. They are professionals and will tutor you properly. Y is an imbecile. NEVER take his suggestions seriously” He had begun sweating, so I quickly changed the topic. I am sure while going for a drive in his car later on, when I caught him cussing someone under his breath, the cusses were meant for Y.

I then started my search for a driving school. Opinions were divided. Some school’s offered lesser days. Others trainer was not up to the mark. Some were too expensive. What I learnt from this exercise is: Limit your inquiries to a few people who are your well wishers or have the required domain knowledge (A girlfriend told me that Z motor school did not have any training cars in red so it was meaningless even contemplating learning there regardless of its lowest tuition fee)

I said well wishers because some of the people I inquired looked at me with ‘so, now you want to learn to drive, you silly fellow you’ look or the ‘Gosh, you must be buying a brand new car and I am so jealous’ look or the ‘What makes you think you even deserve a car?’ look.

Domain knowledge is equally important. One doesn’t have to ask an Automobile Engineer but someone who knows which training school is reasonably cheap and has proper trainers. The colour of the car is not very important if you only plan to sit in it for 22 odd days and learn driving. But hey, that’s me.

Finally, as I mentioned before, I chose Kini Motors. The Instructor, Mr. Parkar (We are not yet on first name basis. Well, he is, I’m not) came highly recommended. Their Santro was outwardly in good condition and the fee was equal to the other schools. Moreover, it was a kilometer and a half from my home and good exercise on days I set out there walking. Make that walking briskly.

It’s been 5 odd days and I have learnt a few valuable lessons. I shall summarise a few.

Yes, driving a car is a tad easier if you know how to ride a bike. For someone who does not know how to ride a bike, learning how to drive a car will be easier of the two. For one, you don’t have to balance a car so you don’t have to worry about falling down. Secondly, you don’t have training schools for Bikes, none that I’ve heard of anyway. You either have to borrow a pal’s bike or learn after buying one yourself.

Most choose the former and India being such a great and helpful country, most people do have genuine friends who not only lend their bike but volunteer to teach. There may be a possibility that your dear, helpful friend isn’t much of a rider himself and may misguide you. Even if he is a regular Rossi, he doesn’t have additional brakes and clutch, a luxury (if one might call it that) that motor school tutors have. Also, you don’t have to worry about the repercussions of crashing your training vehicle into the fat old lady. Why?

In all probability, your Instructor will stop the runaway car. Even if you don’t give him that chance and crash into something or someone anyway, you have a learner’s license and people expect it from you. (Practically, I have not yet experienced the repercussions, as I have not bumped into anyone although I have come perilously close on many occasions. Hence I don’t know, who pays, what happens. My trainer has ensured such a situation won’t arise) Youngsters on Bikes are considered to be Devil incarnate. If you were to ever bump into something, and by something I meant something inanimate, run. If the specimen were to be a living person, I would suggest faking a heart attack. Actually, this advice goes to all bikers, learners, novices or experts.

All in all, driving a Car has its joys. I’d prefer cruising in a Car while it’s raining. There were days when we used to wait for the rain to ride our bikes on wet roads. Maybe I have finally grown up.

© of Kartikeya Dwivedi 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

Memories of my mother.

I could write a full length novel. Someday I will. For now, here is a brief discription of Mrs. Meenakshi Dwivedi. My mother. I am a writer and this is the least I can do to pay tribute to this wonderful woman. This will also help the pople who had the misfortune of never meeting her know who she was.

To be continued.....

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Father.

Baba, dad, pa, pops, poppins, pita, palanhara, old man and buddhe to me. Professor Dwivedi, Dwivediji, Panditji, Sir to some and uncle, Daya, DN to others. Dear to one and all. Mr. Dayanand Dwivedi. My father. This is the story of his life..

His birthdate is somewhat of a mystery. Unlike other old men, whose birthdays are not documented, dad has 3! His official (school leaving certificate) says 1st December, 1949, we used to celebrate on the 22nd of March and his Janam Patri claims he was born on 23rd of March, 1950! The official one was, well to push him up a grade higher and actually his first official and legal birth certificate. The mystery lies in the fact that till about 3 years ago, everybody wished him on the 22nd, while his Patri clearly states it's the 23rd. Whenever he was born, he was born into a family of 6 in Village Khubani, Uttaranchal. He was named Dayanand by his Father, Shri Urvidutt Kartikmani Dwivedi. Urviduttt was a scholar and like most scholars, was a simple yet educated man. He was far ahead of his time. He was the first person to preach equality towards harijans, open a school in the village and re-marry his elder sons’ widow. The Sanskrit scholar that my grandfather was, he used to take dad for long walks at dawn and recite Sanskrit shlok’s. Soon, at the tender age of 4, Daya became famous as the little boy who could recite the most complex of Sanskrit shlok’s!

Life for him, till he was 5, was similar to that of a typical village kid. No chappals, pants optional, no worries. Then tragedy struck. Shri Urvidutt expired, due to dysentery. Strange were the practices in olden times. His water and food intake was stopped to prevent the continuous vomiting and loose motions. Ignorance was bliss.

The young village boy was sent to live with his eldest brother, Shri Deenbandhu Dwivedi, who was an employee in Ahemedabad Telephone exchange. Daya was 25 years his junior! Which is why all his bhatijis and bhatijas are just a year or so younger to him.

At the tender age of 5, he was separated from his mother and sent to alien land. He never got the love and care he should have. His elder brother was very kind to him. He enrolled him in the best school at the time, St. Xavier’s. He had begged before the principal to admit his kid brother. However, with 5 kids, it was difficult.

Dad was a brilliant student and his elder brother a hard taskmaster which ensured that he excelled in his academics. He lived a simple yet fun life with his brother’s family and is forever indebted to him. However, there was something missing. That sense of belonging one has with parents. He could never throw a tantrum. He used to get scared to admit he was sick. He took it all in his stride. What else could he do?

He remembers one instance which pinched him. He could not go to most of the picnics due to dearth of money. It was difficult talking to his excited friends before and after it. In class ten, his friend pooled in money for him forcing him to come. Daya went and enjoyed. A month passed and the friend asked their common friend, “How is Dayanand in money matters?” When Daya heard this, it pained him no end. He had not asked for the money. While going for the picnic, nothing regarding returning the money was discussed. Daya had gone and enjoyed, happy that he had such good friends! A few years later when Daya was a successful sailor, he went back to his friend and reminded him of that day. He was flustered! Dad returned him the money with a couple of cartons of 555’s.

He scored very well in his HSC examinations and was a shoo- in for any university, any state. Knowing full well the expenses, he almost opted for Bachelors in Science. Then came his second elder brother, Shri Deendayal Dwivedi. Deendayal, 23 years senior, had gone on to work for the navy on short service commission and was an exceptional Marine Engineer. He coaxed Daya into joining VJTI, Mumbai. It is one of the best Engineering colleges of India. To give you an idea of how tough it is to get in, here is an example. Its merit list for Mechanical Engineering post HSC closes at PCM (A total of 300 marks for the subjects of Physics, Chemistry and Math, 100 each) 98% (294/300). Such was the love between brothers, that they would not let such an opportunity go a begging.

Dayanand was brilliant as usual. He mostly topped his classes. He wasn’t a nerd or a geek, no. He kept himself busy with other activities like standing for elections and enjoying within means. He was gifted with a very sharp mind and could understand, analyze and assimilate information quickly. Which his why his pals were envious of him! Studied the least and got the most! Every single fellow student acknowledges him to be the better Engineer. All this is 2 pants. I have 4 pairs of shoes, 7 trousers, 5 jeans, 6 watches and a lot of t-shirts. He completed his Engineering in 2 pants and a pair of slippers. 4 years. No demands. No complaints. Whom could he complain to?

He got selected in his first interview. His interviewer was pleasantly surprised to meet such a well informed, intelligent and eloquent Engineer! Working for a few months on a dockyard, Daya chose the live at sea. He became a Marine Engineer for Shipping Corporation of India, popularly known as the Merchant Navy. He is one the few the lucky people to have travelled to more that 100 countries and across the globe. It is on the ship that he smoked his first cigarette, drank his first beer. Only after he started earning on his own.

He was such a hard worker that he had to be told to go on leave. One time, he was at sea for a period of more that 14 months, which is a very LONG time! His brothers decided that marriage was in order. And then he met Meenakshi Ghildyal! His life changed. It happens when two beautiful people meet.

Daya was in his early twenties when he aided in his sister Damyanti's marriage to Captain Surech Ghildyal, himself a sailor. Meenakshi was the Captains cousin. Daya and Minnie hardly met once at a function. Minnie was well-educated,well behaved and a knock -out!

The elders sprung into action. Daya was not actually asked, but almost told that he would be getting married to Meenakshi. He was informed via telegram that his engagement was going to be held on x date. He was not even present for his own engagement! They got married in Delhi.

Never have I seen two people more opposite to each other! Daya an arya samaji, mum a devout Hindu. Daya loved prawns, Minnie was a strict Vegetarian. Dad was a Technical genius, mum was a philosophical spiritualist. Never have I also seen such understanding, compatibility and love.

To be continued…..

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good Deed Club

Good Deed Club

Dear friend,

Have you always wanted to help the poor or the needy, the disabled or the aged, the orphaned and the under-privileged? You have.

There must have been issues with time, money and trust.

Who has the time? I don’t have a lot of money! I don’t trust these NGO’s. These are often repeated sentences.

The Good Deed Club tries to tackle these problems. We are a close knit community that is built on honesty, integrity and trust. We are a Non-profit, Non-Governmental and Non- leader organization whose primary objective is to help people in need. The Good Deed club is for the many people who believe that trying to make a small difference, howsoever small, does count.

What you can do

 You can donate a minimum of Rs.100/month, which shall feed an orphan or an old woman once a month. On that day, if you want, you can serve them food, talk to them, entertain them, listen to them and connect with them.

 Donate old clothes instead of converting them into mops. What you consider old and ragged may bring a smile on a young boy’s face or keep an old man warm.

 Contribute your time, give the gift of your knowledge and offer your skills, resources and education to help the children in any way possible.

 See your money being used for a good cause. You can do it for the blessings, or plainly because in your small way, you are trying to help. You can be the difference.
We are not a huge organization. We may expand in the future, and the club always welcomes new ideas. Right now, we do this on our own, part time as a group of dedicated and sincere individuals.
If you want to donate more and avail a tax rebate, or get actively involved with social work, visit &
People who surf the internet regularly can visit

Thank you.


1. Collect money and feed the aged living in Old man’s homes in Vasai.
2. Collect money and feed the Orphans living in the orphanages in Vasai.
3. Volunteer for social work, serving food and other miscellaneous activities.
4. Spread awareness for organ donation at the time of death.
5. Spread awareness for blood donation.
6. Spread awareness about Female feticide.
7. Arrange for Cancer awareness programs.
8. Your good deed for the day.
9. Spread the ‘Good deed for the day’ campaign.

What is good deed for the day?

We have all read it in primary school. It’s about doing at least one good deed for a day. It can be from aiding an old man to cross a busy road to playing latest hits on your organ for mentally disabled children. Sadly, not many of us do it.

Some argue that the world has changed; some say that people don’t deserve it. Some say it will not make much of a difference. Some even debate to what extent one should help someone. Bring all the beggars on the street into your house? No, it is impractical. Hope to end illiteracy at grass root level? It is improbable.

Good Deed Clubs’ Mantra answers them all:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
— Barry Goldwater

This is what Good deed clubs’ all about. Do ones bit to spread some happiness, howsoever temporary it is. You can do these things wherever you stay. One does not need a lot of money to spare or loads of free time. What is needed is some heart. And that is all.

Come; let’s make this world a better place to live in. Come, join the Good Deed club! Better still, start one of your own at your locality!


Kartikeya Dwivedi.

If you want a sample membership form, click here

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Prayers for a friend

Dear friend,

I just wished to say hello. Both of us are busy with our lives and I regret not being able to spend quality time together. Al though, you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Each day, I pray hard. I pray for a simple and fulfilling life. Each day, I think hard too. I understand what Leonardo Di Caprio has said in Blood Diamond. “Will god forgive us for what we have done to each other? Then I realize God left this place a long time back.” I still pray.

I pray, not only for me but for the happiness of my loved ones. You are among those select few. It is important you know this. I pray that wherever you are, you be safe, secure, healthy and happy.

I love my life. I am happy in the belief that everything around me is fine. I believe that even though my friend isn’t around she/he is just alright. That is what keeps me going, puts a smile on my face.

If you ever feel unsafe, insecure, unhealthy or unhappy, call me. There may be 200 people you could call but I would never ignore you. Whenever you call me or meet me, whenever my phone displays or flashes your name, I smile. I feel glad. Wherever I see happiness, I think of you. You have brought unbridled joy to my life. You have enriched it. I have but fond memories of the times we spent together, danced together, laughed together and cried together. I shall never forget you. We may be a thousand miles apart, but I’ll always have you in my heart. Remember that.

Your friend,