We do not have “have”

How do you translate “I have two daughters” into Sanskrit? Faced with this predicament, I realized that there is no equivalent to the word “have” in Sanskrit. On further introspection, I realized there is no direct equivalent to the word “have” in any of the Indian languages – Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Urdu, Konkani… All you have is an inference of possession but not a statement of possession.

When you have to say that you “have something” in an Indian language – could be a thing, person, you say it as, “My two daughers (Mere do Betiyan in Hindi) or “to me two daughters (Naaku iddaru kootullu in Telugu)” – when you are talking about persons. “There are two books with me” (Mere pass do pustak hai – Hindi or Naa Daggara rendu pustakaalu unnaayi – Telugu, when you are talking about things.

The verb used is “IS” and not “HAVE”. I thought this is very significant when you think in spiritual sense. We are stating facts. We are not claiming ownership! When you analyze in grammatical terms – you don’t use a ‘verb’ (because there IS no verb for HAVE) and you simply use “shashti vibhakti” of the pronoun or noun concerned.

We have trained our minds to translate them into English using the verb have but really I don’t find an equivalent of have in Indian languages. If you do, please share here. Our culture does not tell us to possess, hoard or obtain ownership. It just tells us to acknowledge, accept with gratitude, use and pass it on to the less fortunate.


Readymade Science Museum Needs Better Building for School Children in Rajamundry

We visited the Aryabhatta Science Museum in Rajamundry. Well, it is not like any other museum you may have visited. The exhibits are not sophisticated but adequate to explain complex principles to school children. The models are not made out of fancy or costly equipment but with simple materials that are easily available. The museum is stemmed out of a concept that can be easily replicated in every nook and corner of the country and can actually pave way in instilling scientific temperament among school children.

The Aryabhatta Science Museum is the result of the passion of a single individual – Mr. P. Satyanarayana Murthy. A retired principle and a passionate teacher, he took pains to explain all the wonderful exhibits that he meticulously maintains in his MIG quarters. It would be a great service to the school children of Rajamundry if the exhibits find a bigger and better place with some dedicated staff to maintain and take care of them.

The exhibits are not limited to only physics, biology, astronomy. There are several models that explain geography, history. Mr. Murthy had requested for a place to better showcase the exhibits but was asked to purchase the place. How can a retired professor living in a MIG quarters foot the bill for such a venture? Aren’t there any grants in government domain that can foot the bill? Won’t the millions of children as a part of Sarva Siksha Abyaan benefit from the resource which is already existing? Wouldn’t the models that have been created benefit a larger group of children if housed in a better building?

Atreyapuram Pootarekulu

Have you ever eaten a sweet that resembles like a think sheet of plastic paper?  That is what Pootarekulu look like. Two thin sheets of paper that are bound by drops of Ghee (Clarified butter), a spoon of powedered sugar or jaggary is added in between and rolled strategically to give your the final sweet called “Pootarekulu”.  Atreyapuram in East Godavari District is famous for Pootarekulu.
How one makes this thin sheet of paper which looks like plastic but melts in your mouth the moment it is put is an altogether different ball game.  When we arrived at Atreyapuram it was evening and aparently they prepare the sheets of paper in the morning.  It is done with the help of a pot which is inverted over a low flame and smeared with a thin coat of liquid prepared with rice powder and water.  I don’t know the technique but looks very amazing when I saw it being prepared on one of the You Tube channels.

Visit to Atreyapuram was eventful in that I got to eat Putarekulu made stuffed with jaggary and cashewnut powder.  It was nothing like what is available in the sweet shops in Hyderabad.  The one is Hyderabad are too sweet and too powdery.  I was told by our driver that they add saccharine to sugar and that’s why does not give an authentic taste.

River Cruise on Papidikondalu

A visit to Rajamundry is incomplete if you have not taken a boat ride from Rajamundry to PapidiKondalu and back.  Most of the sites on the internet have given great reviews about the scenic beauty of the place where Godavari flows in the middle with East and West Godavari districts on the either sides of the river bank.  Therefore, when we visited Rajamundry it was only natural that we booked a seat for ourselves in one of the boats (or launch as they are referred to here).

Our Launch was called Bhageerati Jalavihar.  The captain of the boat was a very well informed person who have indepth commentary of the places we visited.  He told us that Godavari flow for about 1450 kms before it merges into the sea.  The depth of the river varies between 20 – 40 feet along the route.

As to the PapidiKondalu, they got the name as they appear just like the mid-partition of hair of a women(papidi in telugu). The river drastically reduces in width at this portion.  Aparently, River Godavari appears just like the mid partition at this stretch with Eastern Ghats on either sides of the river.

I was not dissappointed with the scenic beauty of the place.  The best time that I enjoyed was during sunset when I sat right in the front of the boat with an unobstructed view of the terrain ahead of me – the mountains, the river bed – which was so prestine and clean much like that of a beach.  I saw domesticated animals being taken to the river to quench their thirst.  It was quite a site watching the cows bend their necks into the river to sip some water.  Once satisfied they would all turn around and go ahead along their specific path.

I only dissappointing aspect was the loud entertainment which was a bit too load for my consumption. I was also dissappointed with the careless attitude of some of our co-passangers who would throw used plastic glassess and bottled into the Godavari. When they revere the river as a Goddess, I wonder, how they manage to be insensitive to its cleaniless. But for these concerns, I has a good time enjoying the  beauty of Papikondalu and Godavari.

The day I met Hitler

We were in the train from Secunderabad to Kakinada. We were sharing our berths with a 70+ elderly couple who were give upper berths by the railways.  We had opted for lower berths and since we booked in advanced we got them as requested.  Ofcourse, we swapped them with the berths given to the elderly couple. Just as we settled down in our berths, the Ticket Collector (TC) came to check our tickets.

A well built man sporting a tilak on his forehead, the TC has a pleasant disposition. He looked at the upper births given to the elderly couple and wondered at the logics of the railway department.  Wished there were more berth alloted to the elderly by the railways.  He also admitted that most often the seat adjustments were done among the passangers without him having to interfere to make the required adjustments.

Apart from a pleasant disposition, he had a great sense of humor.  His jovial conversations enlivened the whole atmosphere in the compartment.  That is when we noticed his name tag.  It read ‘Hitler Babu’.  We complemented for the unique name and he very casually shared the story behind the name.

Aparantly, his father was reading Mein Kampf when, he received a telegram with the news of the birth of a son.  His father decided to name him Hitler.  An uncle who was not so happy with the sound of Hitler added Babu to the name and that’s how Mr. Hitler Babu got his name!  Interesting isn’t it?

What is more interesting his that unlike his namesake, this Hitler is so cheerful and friendly and charms his passengers with his infectious smile.

Why Not Have Plan B, C…to Reach Your Goal?

Traveling in trains in India has its own charm.  You are forced to eavesdrop on the conversation of co-passangers even if you don’t intend to.  This time around, I overheard a gentleman making a series of conversations over the phone. What I could make out from the conversations was this.  He had a daughter who has taken a competitive examination – most likely it had something to do with doing MS abroad.  She did not clear the test and this is already the fourth time that she was trying to pass this examination.  She seemed pretty desperate from concern shown by the father.

On one hand, I can’t but admire the concern that the father had for the daughter.  He didn’t want his daughter to go into any sort of depression and made a series of phone calls to her friends and family members requesting them to talk to her and reassure her.  He also called his wife asking her not to leave her alone and urged her to sleep with her – lest she resorts to any extreme measure!  He also spoke to another friend and assured him that he is not going to force her to get married since the dream of studying further is not being fullfilled.  He shared that he understand his daughter’s priorities and will support her in that.  That was really heartening to hear in the days when families consider marrying daughers to be the top priority – with total disregard for the individual aspirations of daughters. Hats off to the father.

On the other hand, I am really concerned about the obsession that young girls and boys have with a single competitive exam – be it an JEE, NEET, CEET or what ever! How can you be so sure that your only plan will succeed.  Where is Plan B and Plan C?  Why don’t they consider them.  Take the example of the girl above.  Aparently this is the 4th time that she is giving the exam without any success.  The girl has spent a lot of time, money and effort in clearing this exam.  Had she invested the same amount of effort elsewhere, perhaps she would have met a different kind of success – not exactly what she has expected but success none the less!

There are multiple ways to reach a goal.  If one doesn’t work, we can always try another one instead of struggling with the one that is not working and wasting precious time!

Organic farmer in Andhra Pradesh – Lalitamma

It was indeed heartening to read this news item in “The Hindu”.  Here is an except from the article:

…Meet the 45-year-old Lalitamma who recently went to Lal Bahadur Sastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Mussoori to take classes to the trainee IAS officers for one day.

Ms. Lalitamma is an active farmer who has been practicing NPM for the past five years in addition to following rain-fed harvesting system. She not only prepares her own seed and organic fertilisers and pesticides, but also sells it to others based on their requirement. She has been active in spreading NPM methods in the district and trains others in preparing required liquids and solids for their farms using cow dung, cow urine, neem leaves and other organic materials…

You can view the rest of the article by clicking the link to THE HINDU. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/illiterate-lalitamma-teaches-trainee-ias-officers/article4582048.ece

In the days when many farmers are abandoning or selling their agricultural land and migrating to cities, it is indeed remarkable that an uneducated and illiterate women had believed in her land, nurtured it, tended to it and makes a living out of it.  I wish there are more such farmers in India who respect their land, nurture it and get only what is due instead of abusing the land for cash-rich crops; which may be profitable in the short term but invariably don’t sustain in the long run.

Organic Farmer of Medak, Andhra Pradesh

Organic Farmer of Medak, Andhra Pradesh (picture courtesy: The Hindu)