Sunday, 27 August 2017


In 2012, the umpteenth James Bond film, “Skyfall” was released but I was more concerned about my hairfall.

In my childhood, my mother struggled to style my hair in the innocent way mothers style their child’s hair, trying to give a side parting to my stubborn spikes, which stood straight up from my pate. And over a period of time, though she could not discipline me, she managed to discipline my hair, so much so that I could never give it another style. In my teens I tried so hard to give it a middle parting like a Bollywood hero, but to no avail. Finally I gave up, and lived through my younger years, with a side parting. Though it is very difficult to imagine now, I could grow my mane quite long in those days. But though I desired long hair during school days, when the PT Sir cut my hair since it was a puny 1 cm. too long, by the time I was a young working person, I could not tolerate long hair, due to the sweating, especially during the hot summers. Alas! How short sighted I was, little realising that there would come a time, when I would run short of the very same hair on my almost bald pate and it would hardly require any cutting.

While I could run my fingers through the hair to tidy it up or blow air from my mouth with a slight tilt of the chin, my lower lip slightly pursued on one side, delivering a blast of air to the mane above, impressing girls in the bargain, a small patch of cleared up area started forming on the crown by the time I reached my mid thirties. It was my daughter who first pointed it out to me, drawing a circle on my head with her small fingers, to indicate the cleared up area. As the years went by, the small patch had become like a helicopter landing area, increasing in diameter. First, it was not visible when I look at myself in the mirror, hence it did not much bother me. But slowly and surely, the cleared up area started coming into prominence in the mirror, throwing me headlong into searching for advertisements. Yes advertisements, promising a full head of hair. Sometimes I thought of reaching out to Dr. Patra’s and sometimes to take the benefit of robotic hair transplantation. Sometimes Harsha Bhogle inspired me while sometimes it was that unique person in the advertisement, who took great pride in showing the top view, side view and front view of his own head, before and after the miraculous treatment. Believe me, I appreciated the different views, for the first time in life, so many years after completing Engineering drawing where all such views were the norm.

Why I mentioned “Skyfall” is due to the Debonair Daniel Craig, who Inspite of having an almost bald pate, is the epitome of an Alpha Male personality. And so is Jason Statham, the Salman Khan of Hollywood. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing myself with these excellent entities, but only trying to boost my confidence and saving some hard earned money for rainy days. Hence, like some of the other males, I no longer give any tips to the neighbourhood barber, for cutting my almost non-existent hair. It is done by yours truly with the help of a trimmer, by looking at myself in the bathroom mirror. Believe me, it’s a liberating experience!

Yatindra Tawde

Friday, 25 August 2017

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi

My earliest memory of Ganesh Chaturthi, is when I was a child, living in Hindu Colony. First and foremost, Ganesh Chaturthi meant school holidays for us, children. Secondly, the delicious sweets prepared by my mother. And last but not the least, the 10 days of celebrations in the Colony, which meant different entertainment programs, competitions which were topped by the Orchestra on the last day. The Colony preparations started at least one to two months prior, when volunteers used to go from house to house to collect donations from everyone. Then 15 days prior, the construction of the mandap used to start. The place for the mandap was usually the Bhagini Samaj ground in the third lane of the Colony but I remember it being constructed in the garden alongside the railway tracks, for maybe one or two years. We children used to enjoy playing under the mandap canopy, first because it was some novelty for us, once a year, and it used to provide shade against sunlight or rains. The smell of bamboo and wood was pleasant too. We used to enjoy playing hide and seek on the stage, especially during the afternoon hours, when there were not much activities going on, except for preparations for the evening programmes. The celebrations formally started with the welcoming procession of the Elephant God, which was usually accompanied by traditional Maharashtrian lejhim dancers dancing enthusiastically along the road. We watched the procession from our 2nd floor balcony, but as it went inside the lane, we children used to immediately go down and join the procession. How the big idol was removed from the truck and then installed in its designated place in one corner of the mandap, was something which cannot be explained but to be experienced firsthand. The rest of the day was spent in prayers, aartis and bhajans but for us children, the real fun started in the evening when we started awaiting with bated breath, for the clock to strike 9.00 or 9.30 pm., which used to be the scheduled time for the Marathi dramas to start. That reminds me, just 1-2 days prior to the 10 day celebrations to start, we used to receive the Mandal booklet which was filled with the names of major sponsors, but more critically, it had the entire 10 day entertainment program and competition schedule. Once this booklet landed in the house, all of us including parents, were enthusiastically searching for the pages where the entire schedule was printed. Then I remember waiting for my mother and father to give their expert comments on, which out of all the dramas, was the most promising one, so that they could plan their evening activities like preparing and having dinner, so as to see a particular drama from the very beginning. This was so, since they did not have so many holidays like us, and hence could make time, only for the best dramas. But no such restrictions for us, hence we awaited the dramas on all days. Huge jute mattresses were used to cover the bare ground and people started arriving for the dramas, almost half an hour before. And usually the drama started late, never at the designated time, at least in the initial years when there were no restrictions on the time till when, a social program could go on. So I have experienced many of the dramas starting even after 10.15 pm when the scheduled time was 9.30 pm. And then the dramas, divided into minimum three parts, could go on till 2.30 am or thereabouts. But no one complained since everyone had time to spare, not like today, where people are just rushing from one place to another, without savouring the “now moment”, the present. I for one, enjoyed this late night schedule since it was the only time, when one did not have to worry for next day school and even the parents were a little flexible. The wait for the drama to start, piqued our curiosity, where they literally used temple bells to indicate the start of the drama. While watching the drama, I used to get totally immersed into the flow, the use of lighting and sound, seducing me to get totally involved in the proceedings on the stage. Most of the big names of Marathi drama, like Vijaya Mehta, Dr. Shriram Lagoo, Ashok Saraf, Laxmikant Berde, Nana Patekar, Bhakti Barve, and many others, have graced the Hindu Colony Ganeshotsav with their presence.

The Orchestra was one which attracted the maximum crowds, and people from the surrounding areas in Dadar and Matunga, used to rush at least 2-3 hours prior to the scheduled start. And the start of the orchestra was accompanied by great cacophony and whistling, on the part of the audience. For the next 3 hours we were transported to the world of Hindi film music and mimicry was something looked forward to, during the intervals.

While these entertainment programs had their extraordinary pull on the masses, the various competitions attracted us children to take part in painting, handwriting, essay writing, carrom, chess, et al. One evening was dedicated to fancy dress competition, where more than the children, the parents were extra enthusiastic to push their children to perform. I remember winning prizes in handwriting and painting, which enabled me to flaunt my prizes in front of relatives, who used to frequently drop in, in those days. The prizes were no great shakes, like plastic tiffin boxes and fruit bowls, but in those days, they satisfied childhood cravings for recognition.

For a few years, there were open air movies too, which were enjoyed on hastily put up white cloth screens, and the clarity a long way off, from today’s digital quality. Still, they were enthusiastically welcomed and someone passing before the projector was loudly shooed off.

So friends, I hope you too enjoyed the Ganeshotsav, with equal fervour and gaiety.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Artificial Intelligence

A.I – Artificial Intelligence

The news did not miss my attention, though it was on the inside pages of the newspaper. The Scientists at Facebook switched off the robots they were developing, since the robots started communicating between themselves in a entirely new language which was gibberish to the humans developing them. Initially the Scientists were under the impression that something had gone wrong since the robots stopped talking in English and though they were still using English words, the sentences were totally gibberish. However as the days went by, they were able to make out that a pattern was emerging in their communication between themselves, which really alarmed them. So to stop a Frankenstein moment, the Scientists shut down the robots.

There are many who play video games and become quite proficient in particular games. Nowadays there are multi-million dollars prize money tournaments especially for such gamers, mostly in USA, Europe and Japan. Tesla recently created a robot, which managed to defeat the top gamers quite easily. And instead of being proud of the creation, Elon Musk is alarmed. In fact he went on to say that AI poses a greater risk to human society than nuclear warheads.

With AI on one side and Genetic Engineering on the other, the day is not far, when a Human and a Robot will be merged, and believe me, the future will not be so romanticised, as shown in futuristic Hollywood movies.

Yatindra Tawde



I don’t know who started it, but “Sonuuu…” is a star on social media in India. In India, it is said that, whoever you think about repeatedly, gets hiccups. In fact, if any one starts getting hiccups, he or she is told that someone somewhere is thinking about you. So imagine the intensity of hiccups, everyone named Sonu must be getting after this “Sonuuu…” started trending on the social media. I pity Sonu…Nigam. First of all, he has to listen to the bad but catchy rappers, and then he has to deal with a bad bout of hiccups. Poor Sonuuu…

Started by a Maharashtrian folk artist called Ajay Kshirsagar, the simple yet catchy tune caught everyone’s fancy since it required no great singing genes and can be sung along by anyone without singing background. Very soon, everyone had forgotten the earlier social media sensation, Dhinchak Pooja, that multi-talented, multi-faceted Mulgi, with her super-hit song, “Selfie maine leli aaj…”; seeing is believing, my friends. So, here we have “Sonuuu…” with the simplest of lyrics and easiest of non-singing, capturing the nation’s fancy. So much so, that people in other states are coming out with their own versions, in their own languages, and well known Radio Jockeys supporting the trend with their own versions.

But think about it from a different perspective. Bad singing from Dhinchak Pooja or Taher Fateh and and the simple “Sonuuu…” are anytime preferable over the repeated violent acts , dominating world news today.

Yatindra Tawde

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Death - A cheap commodity

Death – A cheap commodity

Deeply disturbed by two occurrences this week.

A man, working in the USA, comes back to meet his aged mother, has to break open his mother’s flat, to find his mother’s skeleton inside. The mother who gave birth to him and raised him through his childhood to make him capable enough to aim for the skies, pursue his dreams in the USA, was unfortunate enough, not to have him beside her, hold her hand, embrace her, when her end came. And who knows, how long they had stopped being in touch, if not in person, at least on the phone. So, not only was she alone when the end came, but for many months before that, she was totally lonely. It is reported that they had an argument over some matter, after which they stopped calling each other. How far our values have deteriorated, that we pursue our own careers and money ignoring even the most near and dear ones, our parents in this case, when we very well know that, one day we are also going to leave this world, without any of our possessions. It is also a reflection of today’s society that no one from the building, not even the immediate neighbours, realised her absence for so many days.

38 children died, children who had just taken their baby steps into this world, in the worst case of negligence. Non-payment/delayed payment of dues to a oxygen cylinder vendor resulted in supply shortages. This in turn resulted in the deaths of so many children, weak and critical from major illnesses. Again money was the reason for the loss of so many lives, the hospital authorities playing with so many lives, and the oxygen cylinder vendor, not bothered about the implications of his decision to stop supplies. The children are gone, but their parents will have live through their loss, for the rest of their lives.

Death has certainly become cheap, striking the old or the young alike, due to the selfishness and desire for money by near and dear ones or by those who hold the reins of human life.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Narayani Dham, Lonavla

Narayani Dham, Lonavla

The Narayani Dham temple is located near Lonavla, in Tungarli village and is visible from the Mumbai Pune expressway on the right side, if you going towards Pune. You can leave the highway at the Khandala exit and proceed towards Pune on the old Mumbai Pune highway. It is spread out on acres of land and looks elegant and imposing. The structure surrounding the temple is built in Rajasthani style of architecture and looks pretty in pink colour. The temple itself is constructed in white marble. There is excellent staying arrangement at the temple complex and also in the surrounding village of Tungarli. There are rooms available in the temple complex which are clean and tidy. There are very beautiful, well maintained gardens surrounding the main temple, and we liked the rose garden in particular. Ample space for parking is also available. There is a small gaushala near the temple which is also kept clean. In the evening, the colour fountain is put on, and the lighting looks very beautiful. On the left side, is the area where good breakfast as well as lunch-dinner is served at nominal rates. It is better to get the coupons for the same, in advance and come within time, to avoid missing the strict timings or you will be disappointed on missing out on authentic home made Gujarati/Rajasthani fare.

Main temple – The main temple is constructed in white marble and is very well decorated and designed. Before going up the temple steps, you can remove your footwear below the temple and wash your feet before climbing up. The main temple is quite similar to the Birla temples. Upon climbing up the stairs you enter into a huge hall, where you can either stand, sit on the white marble or sit on the plastic chairs kept on the periphery of the huge hall. The ceiling is quite high and grand designs adorn it. The central idol is of goddess Narayani, and a sense of calm descends upon you, in her benevolent gaze. The idol is adorned with jewels and ornaments and is peaceful to look at. The main idol is flanked by idols of Lord Ganesha on one side and Lord Hanuman on the other. You can spend as much time as you want, in their presence and are sure to shed all the stress of your worldly life and face the daily challenges with a renewed vigour.

It’s a must visit place located so very near Mumbai or Pune.

Yatindra Tawde

The all pervasive 'Aadhar'

The all pervasive "Aadhar'

When Champak died, he expected to be greeted by Chitragupt to enquire about his good deeds and sins on planet earth.  But he was shocked when Chitragupt asked for his aadhar card.  Now that was something his relatives were not aware about and had not equipped his body with.  That way, they were quite old fashioned.   They were unaware about the latest SOP  (standard operating practices) on the other side of consciousness.  So friends let's equip ourselves with the all pervasive aadhar.

Yatindra Tawde

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Elephants like potatoes

Today I saw a solitary Elephant eating potatoes from a solitary truck. For indulging its taste buds, it waylaid the unfortunate truck on a lonely road in the state of West Bengal.

As usual the truck driver was going at full speed to his destination. He knew, the more trips he made in his ramshackle truck, the more he will he earn. And this time we was carrying harmless load, a truck full of potatoes, and he was sure that he will complete the journey uneventfully. How was he to know what awaited him while passing through the Garhbeta forests. He was cruising along the small but tidy road, trying not to doze off when, suddenly a dark, grey shadow emerged from the surrounding jungle, and positioned itself, bang in the middle of the road. The driver withdrew his right heel from the accelerator and pressed the brakes hurriedly, as the truck came to a halt screechingly. It was a fully grown elephant which had crossed his path. But the driver was used to the elephant crossing in this area, and decided to patiently wait for the elephant to cross the road, to the jungle on the other side. But the elephant had other ideas today. It circled the truck first. Now, you will think that the truck can easily scoot away when the elephant is at the back of the truck. But you don’t know the speeds an angry elephant can achieve. The truck driver knew, hence he stayed put. By this time, quite a crowd had gathered on the road to see the elephant and its antics. The traffic had already come to a standstill. Like a tiger which stalks its prey, the elephant was contemplating its strategy and trying to figure out the contents of the truck. It smelled with its long trunk, its mouth watering in delight but first it had to deal with the pesky humans. The few humans surrounding it were puny in front of it, but could make life hell for the tusker. And so they tried by making videos and taking photos with their irritating smartphones while some of them tried to scare away the majestic animal by bursting crackers near the elephant. But today, it was very determined to have its favourite snack and indulge its taste buds. So it went about its business in a very professional manner, not caring about the few noisy crackers thrown towards it. With a elegant flourish of its long trunk, it unpeeled the tarpaulin covering the prized dessert, and with a quick flick of its trunk, caused the potatoes to fall off and into its easy reach. Doing this a few times, it had its fill of the juicy potatoes, and only after its full satisfaction, it went on its way into the surrounding jungle. While going, it snaked its trunk through the driver side window, and near the driver’s ear, as if to whisper its thanks to him.

Learning – elephants like raw potatoes more than French fries.

Yatindra Tawde

Mumbai - 2025

Mumbai - 2025 I am wandering through the lanes of my place of birth, Dadar, getting nostalgic about the days gone by. Hindu colony and my ...