Stories About Men

Thata's Betrayal

Author: 
Meghana Joshi
Megahana Joshi

Meghana has two passions in life. One is for anonymous art and architecture, which is her field of study. Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright are her role models not just in the field of architecture, but in life too. Her other passion is writing about things she observes in everyday life. Meghana lives in Irvine, California.

It really broke my heart when Thata (mother's father) decided that the rightful heir to his name and home was his grandson, and not me, his granddaughter. Only because he was a man and I was a woman!

Thata and Ajji (mother’s mother) had no sons – their only children were my mother and her older sister. My mother herself had no sons. The only male progeny that Thata had was my aunt’s son.

Thata

Papaji's Inspiration

Author: 
Valarie Kaur
Valarie Kaur

Valarie is a writer, filmmaker, and lecturer who has become a brave new voice on race and religion, hate and healing in post-Sept 11th America. A third-generation Sikh American, Valarie wrote and produced the critically acclaimed documentary film Divided We Fall (2008), which chronicles hate violence in the US after Sept 11, 2001. She earned bachelor's degrees in religion and international relations at Stanford University, master's in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School, and is now a student at Yale Law School.

Editor's note: This is a slightly edited version of an article on the author's blog. http://valariekaur.blogspot.com/2008/11/papa-jis-funeral.html

Papa Ji was my mother's father. His wisdom and love made me who I am - and inspired Divided We Fall.

In November 2008, in California, I stood before his casket adorned with flowers, where his face shone regal in a red turban, and gazed out at a hundred people who had gathered in the small chapel. I never write down what I will say before an audience, but I knew that I needed to draw courage from words on paper.  I clutched the pages and spoke through tears:

My Beautiful Papa Ji,

A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's not-for-sale book of his memories, A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.

When I think of my father now, in my twilight years, the picture that forms in my mind is one of a thin tall man with no great looks, clumsily dressed, who led a simple life and remained till the end just as God created him.

His cotton suit was never pressed\; shoes never polished\; tie invariably shrivelled, the knot he tied was not bigger than a red cherry. Added to this, he wore a felt hat when he went out to work looking somewhat like a taller version of the great Charlie Chaplin.

Uncle Ponnu

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's not-for-sale book of his memories, A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.

My mother's brother, Uncle Ponnu, was a man apart: apart from good looks, apart from erudition, apart from any social life outside of his addiction to alcohol and the automotive world of the C. Perumal Chetty (CPC) Motor Service, where he worked as a bus conductor.

Low in stature and ungainly, he was a bachelor not by choice but by lack of choices. His face, which hinted of a hundred thousand hangovers down the drain, was heavy, eyes reddish and fierce like his body, which suffered from a congenital deformity. His hands were clubbed, bowed inwards, and the forearms markedly short. All this made him look grave and unfriendly.

The bullock cart salesman in Mysore

Author: 
M P V Shenoi

Shenoi, a civil engineer and MBA, rose to the rank of Deputy Director-General of Works in the Indian Defence Service of Engineers. He has also been a member of HUDCO’s advisory board and of the planning team for Navi Mumbai. After retirement he has been helping NGOs in employment-oriented training, writing articles related to all aspects of housing, urban settlements, infrastructure, project and facility management and advising several companies on these issues. His email id is mpvshanoi@gmail.com.

 

Venkataramana Shetty ­- I have changed his first name - was perhaps middle aged when I was born. In those days, in Mysore, in our community - and probably elsewhere in India, too - there was no way a child like me could talk to an outsider like Venkataramana.

But he was so active in our mohalla, and the older members of the family and community would talk about him, and I would hear their discussions. My father did not like him, but my maternal grandfather liked him. Sometimes they talked about Venkataramana.

Shettys are from a community whose Dharma is to take to business as their profession. This is as per the tenets of the Hindu caste system (Varnashrama Dharma). Following this, in those days, most Shettys were engaged in business, big or small as per their ability from a young age.

Remembering S P Varma and N C Chatterjee by A H Somjee

Author: 
A H Somjee

A.H. Somjee received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the London School of Economics. He is a charter member of the Simon Fraser University, Canada, where he is also an Emeritus Professor of Political Science. He has taught at the University of Baroda, the London School of Economics, University of Durham, and the National University of Singapore. He was also appointed as an Associate Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, and was invited to Harvard University, several times, as a Visiting Scholar.

 

Editor's note:

This article was written at the request of Prof. P C Mathur, a student and colleague of Prof. S P Varma at the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, who believes that Prof. Varma brought about a major change in the field of Political Science in India, and wants Prof. Varma to be remembered

S P Varma retired in 1973 as the Head, Department of Political Science, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. He took his D.Phil. degree from Agra University. He was required to teach civics and politics during the British Rule, and he did a magnificent job of it. He deeply reflected on the nature of Indian democratic politics and produced a number of very useful books on the subject. He was widely regarded as a great teacher who produced a number of good students.

A Tribute to Shri A.J. Zaidi

Author: 
Bal Anand

Bal Anand was born in 1943, in a village about 20 km south of Ludhiana, in a family of saint-scholars who practised Ayurveda. Graduated from DAV College, Jalandhar, and did Master in English Literature from Govt. College, Ludhiana. After a stint for a few years as lecturer, joined the Indian Foreign Service. Served in nine different countries and retired as India's High commissioner to New Zealand. Now reading, reflecting and writing in nest in Delhi, on the East Bank of Yamuna.

Having spent my childhood years in a village and later growing up in a town, both located in the closer vicinity of Malerkotla, the only princely state in the East Punjab ruled for centuries by the Muslim Nawabs, I had started wondering and pondering since long over the harmonies and divides between the Hindus and Muslims.

The small state of Malerkotla had remained comparatively immune from the mindless violence during the Partition of the country. I have a vivid memory of an inscription, intact in 1951 but decimated soon after, of the name of Nawab Iftikhar Ali Khan on the front wall of the Gurudwara in Ahmedgarh for his donation of Rs. 500.00 - it must have been a princely sum in those days! I had instinctively developed a faith in the mutual accommodation among faiths long before I was destined to be an Indian diplomat in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Maldives!

Nek Chand – A self-made world-class artist

Author: 
M P V Shenoi

Shenoi, a civil engineer and MBA, rose to the rank of Deputy Director-General of Works in the Indian Defence Service of Engineers. He has also been a member of HUDCO’s advisory board and of the planning team for Navi Mumbai. After retirement he has been helping NGOs in employment-oriented training, writing articles related to all aspects of housing, urban settlements, infrastructure, project and facility management and advising several companies on these issues. His email id is mpvshanoi@gmail.com.

I felt sorry when I read the news that Nek Chand died at the ripe old age of 90.

My Grandfather, an Eminent Professor, and His Three Illustrious Sons

Author: 
Ashok Sarkar

Ashok Sarkar (born 1929) retired as an Air Commodore from the Indian Air Force. He was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) by the Indian government. His career included commanding a number of Air Force field units, and a diplomatic posting at the Indian Embassy in Moscow during the 1960s. He was an outstanding student and sportsman in his youth, and after his retirement, he was an inspiration for young sports talent in Agra, his hometown. He continues to run a play-school for young children, a labour of love he founded with his late wife, Chitra, and enjoys a quiet life nurturing the prize-winning flower garden at his ancestral home in Agra.

My grandfather, Shri Beni Madhav Sarkar, was born in the 1870s in a well to do Bengali family of landlords. They grew Daab (coconut plants) in their fields in the Hooghly district of Bengal.

Unlike others in the family, he showed a great liking for studies, particularly mathematics. As such, he pursued higher studies at Presidency College, Calcutta.

My father - Professor Bhatla

Author: 
Manmohan N. Bhatla

Manmohan Bhatla, born in 1939, studied at Punjab Engineering College, Roorkee University, and got his Ph. D. from Oklahoma State University. He worked for Roy F. Weston, Inc.  as an environmental engineer for 40 years, and was a Vice President of this company for 30 years. During this time, he led many high profile and cutting edge projects in pollution prevention and remediation for industries in the US and Europe. He received a Medal from the Water Pollution Control Federation for a "Significant Operations Contribution." He has over 25 publications to his credit.

Prof. Bhatla

Professor H.R. Bhatla 1911-1992.
Professor of Physics, Punjab, India

These are some of my memories of my beloved father, a very complete and a wholesome human being.

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