Saturday, March 22, 2008

Aaaj Biraj mein Holi re Rasiyaa....

For once I am posting something very apt for the ocassion. Yes today is Holi the Festival of Colours and this post is about my tryst with Holi of a different kind in the land of Radhey-Krishna, the holy Brijbhoomi situated around Mathura-Vrindavan!!

Last weekend I along with couple of friends set out for the Brijbhoomi. We took the Gurgaon-Faridabad-Mathura route and reached Goverdhan and settled down in one of the modern and plush dharmashaalas. After a good homely meal I decided to join one of my friends for the "parikrama" of Goverdhan hill which is a 21Km long journey to be covered barefoot. The task seemed daunting but I decided to go ahead and so there we were at 11 in the night, two of the future "Change masters and Thought leaders of the Corporate World" walking barefoot with thousands of worshippers of Lord Krishna chanting "Raadhey Raadhey Shyaam se milaa de", "Hare Krishna Hare Rama" !! :)

All along the route came face to face with an India so different from what we usually get to see in Gurgaon surrounded by all the glitzy malls and glass adorned towers!! Faith driving people to extremes where they cover the entire journey of 21 Kms rolling on the ground, people finding business opportunities which exploit this very faith all along the route, the crass exploitation of places of mythological importance which has completely destroyed them. But these very sights kept me engaged and to my utter surprise I didn't feel any hint of tiredness. We completed the parikrama in 4 hours flat which according to my friend was a pretty good effort.

Next day morning we moved to "Nand Gaaon" the place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. This turned out to be the most memorable part of the trip. We reached there in a jeep which had believe it or not 40 odd people, with people inside, on the roof and on the bonnet as well. The driver drove the vehicle for the most part sitting outside the vehicle :)) On reaching there we had a heavenly experience. The villagers of Nand gaaon were celebrating Holi in Nand baabas palace, colors were being splashed on all and sundry, people were dancing with gay abandon.

The thought that we were playing Holi in the same land where Lord Krishna must have played many many ages back was an exhilarating experience. Though thankfully we escaped with just minor splashes of colors thanks to all the attention the "fairer sex" was getting from the revelers. After the "darshan" of the Lord we roamed around the village market having fun all along the way. But soon there was nothing much left to do so we decided to give the famous "latthh maar" holi a miss since it was still couple of hours away and chose to move on to Vrindavan instead. The ride to Vrindavan was even more exciting, with we sitting at the back of a rickshaw packed with 20 odd people driving on a non existent road. No wonder it took us an hour and half to cover distance of only 10 Kms. But then it just cost us Rs.7 each so the fun we had meant it was great value for money!! :)

Vrindavan showed a different face of India, India where faith has been commercialized to the hilt. There were concrete buildings and crappy hoardings on either side of the roads choked with vehicles where once upon a time Lord Krishna played "raas leela"! But we had darshan of "Baanke Bihariji" from close quarters which was a good experience. The "aaloo tikki chholey" & "Lassi" that we had outside the temple were just out of this world :)

We finally closed our trip with an hour in the ISKON Temple chanting "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" along with hundreds of "bhakts" which included many firangs too as is usual in ISKON temples all over.

This journey turned out to be our short & sweet tryst with "instant spirituality" and "the real India" if I may call it so. By 2 in the night we had returned back to our very own "Change Masters" where we are supposed to indulge in nothing less than "CEO level thinking" according to one of our profs. :))

Happy Holi .. have fun!! :))

Class of 2008 is gone ...

This post has been long overdue but got so busy with other stuff that couldn't post it on time. Nevertheless as is the trend with my most posts "better late than never!!" :)

The Convocation of Class of 2008 was an affair to remember. The happy faces of proud parents and our seniors thrilled at receiving their degrees and some over the moon on getting gold medals were a joy to watch. Mr. Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and MD of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. was the chief guest and he delivered a short but stirring speech for the graduating batch!

But very soon this joy and excitement had to subside and mood was sombre. With mementos and year books distributed seniors started to leave the campus. It started to finally sink in that they will no longer be there with us. I could rewind some of the best moments that I have had at MDI courtesy the seniors and I am sure they must be having countless memories associated with their own batchmates some couldn't bear the pain of separation and broke down while others tried to act brave and control their emotions but I could sense it each time I saw packed bags waiting outside Change Masters and seniors spending their final moments with their friends.

From now on they would be entering the crazy n frenzied lives of managers of top notch corporates and they will never be able to spend all those "chill moments" they had on campus with their friends free from all worries for almost two years!!

Moments like these put things in perspective that even I have got just one more year left here now so why not make full use of each n every moment and yes I am already dreading the thought of having to go through this moment one year down the line!!

Somehow this has reassured me that these are really the best days of my life!! :)

Here are some pics from the Convocation day: