23
Sep
16

Those were the days! 4

We’ve seen over time that countries that have the best economic growth are those that have good governance, and good governance comes from freedom of communication. It comes from ending corruption. It comes from a populace that can go online and say, ‘This politician is corrupt, this administrator, or this public official is corrupt.’ – Ramez Naam

I can, of course, talk about the harrowing time I had as Director of The Corbett Foundation – not the work, but the way the Board (in particular Rina Khatau) behaved and treated people; of assurances and promises broken; the way sycophancy was encouraged and nurtured to unbelievable levels; the arrogance and subterfuge; the nauseating hold the Khataus had over their employees. Why most of them were so servile and willing to be treated worse than guttersnipes is something I could never comprehend. I always felt that the Khataus never ever learnt or appreciated the fact that the stature they achieved was by standing on somebody’s shoulders.

But I choose instead to share some of the most glorious, enriching and satisfying moments of my life, even when things were going awry.

Continue reading ‘Those were the days! 4’

29
Aug
16

Those were the days! 3

“If you look at great human civilizations, from the Roman Empire to the Sovit Union, you will see that most do not fail simply due to external threats but because of internal weakness, corruption, or a failure to manifest the values and ideals they espouse.” – Cory Booker

Sometimes it is difficult for me to differentiate between the 2001 earthquake and the 2002 Gujarat riots. The aftermath was catastrophic either ways. The events affected me in more ways that I can even describe.

I was as in Kachchh and survived, but had to leave as nothing was left of the Gujarat Nature Conservation Society’s field office.

*

I was part of ‘Sabrang’ for a long time. Realized I had been branded a pseudo-secularist only after I was roughed-up one night. How bad things were became clear when I realized that the phone was tapped and my children were being followed. Had to leave Gujarat.

*

Very much like a wild animal whose corridor of movement is slowly but steadily being eradicated I lived in the shadows of my nightmares keeping an eye out for further transgressions. Nothing much has changed even today.

*

Continue reading ‘Those were the days! 3’

24
Jul
16

Living with the Tiger

When I am dead, my dearest,

Sing no sad songs for me;

Plant thou no roses at my head,

Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet;

And if thou wilt, remember,

And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:

And dreaming through the twilight

That doth not rise nor set,

Haply I may remember,

And haply may forget.

– Christina Rossetti

Sixteen years ago, deep within the forests of Binsar, on a bitterly cold night, I had finally finished making notes in my diary and was ready to call it a day.

Slide1

The other members of the team were already asleep. I got-up and quietly went around the old dak bungalow checking doors and windows.

Slide2

Came back and stoked the fire. Seeking warmth from the crackling fireplace and snuggled inside the sleeping bag, a face with large eyes peeped out at me.

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19
Jun
16

Those were the days! 2

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15
May
16

Those were the days! 1

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”– John Muir

Once asked, as to when I embarked on my ‘wildlife journey’ – I was unable to answer because as-far-as I can remember, my earliest memories are predominantly about forests, travelling with my father and/or uncle (my mother’s elder brother), reading or just sitting – looking at nothing and everything and at the same time not missing anything.

My entire demeanour goes through a change from inside and being in a forest makes me cry – absolute and sheer joy – with tears that only I can see and feel. Something happens!

Most people (at least in India), when asked about their interest in wildlife, talk about being influenced by the writings of Jim Corbett. It cannot be denied that I too have thoroughly enjoyed reading Corbett and others but I grew up reading books written by my maternal grandfather.

Slide1

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18
Apr
16

एक हक़ीकत यह भी!

“मैं हँसी के जाम में, ज़िंदगी का ज़हर पीता हूँ,
फेंक कर पतवार को हाथों से नाव खेता हूँ.”
“मैं क्या हूँ? कहाँ का हूँ? कैसे बताऊँ?
मैं – एक वह हूँ, जो मैं समझता हूँ मैं हूँ
एक वह हूँ, जो दूसरे समझते हैं मैं हूँ
असली मैं, इन दोनो बीच कुछ हूँ.”
– कुछ पंक्तियाँ कविता संग्रह ‘क्षण घूँघरू’ से (लेखक: स्वर्गिय प्रोफेसर रमेश कुमार शर्मा)

जिंदगी की ‘जेब में
इक छेद क्या हुआ,
सिक्कों से ज़्यादा
रिश्ते सरक गये.’

Continue reading ‘एक हक़ीकत यह भी!’

26
Mar
16

What am I?

“There is a face behind this mask, but it isn’t me. I’m no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that.” – Steve Moore, V for Vendetta

It has been an odd mixture of experiences these past few months….but then, what is new about it?

Something was whispered, nay pointed out. An epiphany!

And, I have no idea what I am writing?

*

I was asked as to how many ‘hits/views’ I get on my posts. My answer was, “Fifteenish.”

“Every day?” came the query.

“No,” said I, “Per week and all could be flukes.”

“Dude!” (I loathe this term), sniggered the individual, “You are not a blogger!”

True.

So, what am I?

*

Continue reading ‘What am I?’