Tilak Rishi's weblog

Musings on writing, expression, world politics, journalism, movies, philosophy, life, humour...

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why India Still A Developing Country?

Here is how my friend Gopal Soni answers the question in his own humorous way.


The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away

Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.


The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The Grasshopper thinks the Ant 's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy
stages a demonstration in front of the Ant ' s house .

Medha Patkar
and Tan Shyamoli goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan
criticizes the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance) .

Opposition MPs
stage a walkout. Left parties call for "Bharat Bandh" in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers..

Lalu Prasad
allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the ' Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act ' [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter.

Arjun Singh
makes 'Special Reservation' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions & in Government Services.

The Ant; fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes; its home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by

Arundhati Roy calls it ' A Triumph of Justice ' .

Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice' .

CPM calls it the 'Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden'

Koffi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.


The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley .

100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India ....

because of loosing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the Grasshoppers,
India is still a developing country!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Sister's Marriage To A Movie Star

My mother was a big movie buff. Going to movies every Wednesday was a must, when it was a “Ladies Only” matinee in every theater at half the normal rates. All her friends had open invitation to accompany her to watch the latest movie, where she would not only buy their tickets but also treat them to sodas and snacks, which the hawkers sold inside the hall during interval. She enjoyed all movies, musicals and mythologicals, slapstick comedies and tear-jirker tragedies, without exceptions. She had a few favorite stars, whose movies she would never want to miss. She had even become a big fan of one particular star after seeing his super hit mythological. She must have seen that movie several times, taking a different friend on each repeat watching. She could never have imagined then, even in her wildest imagination, that with a twist of fate, that very star would one day become her son-in-law.

No one who knew my sister, Satya, a very shy and traditional type, who hated going to movies, not even to the “Ladies Only” shows with my mother, would believe that she was getting married to a movie star. The news of their engagement took the film industry, more so the movie media, by surprise, not so much for the news that one of the most eligible bachelors of the Bombay film world was getting married, as for the fact that his bride to be was not from the glamor world but a college girl absolutely unconnected to the film world and living far away in Lahore. Not even the smartest of film correspondents could find the link between the college girl from Lahore and the big star from Bombay. The only film critic, who knew the full story, preferred not to publish in his magazine. It was none other but my own brother, Raghu, editor of a leading film magazine of Lahore.

Raghu, knowing well that mother was a big fan of the star, in order to please her, started giving great publicity to him in every issue of his monthly magazine. No issue was complete without covering all the news about the star, an article or a story on him that enhanced his image. Of course, it made our mother very happy, but more than that it made the star much pleased and impressed with Raghu's write-ups on him in every issue. The star showed his appreciation by writing a very sweet letter of thanks to Raghu and invited him to Bombay to give an exclusive interview for his magazine and to spend a week's holiday as his guest. Raghu immediately responded by accepting the invitation. The week that Raghu spent with the star turned out to be the turning point in my sister's life. In the course of his exclusive interview, the star confided to him that although he admired many of his co-stars, as far as marriage was concerned, he had made up his mind to marry a woman who must be from outside of the glamor world of films, and who as an outright traditional housewife, should be totally able to devote herself to their home and the children, when the time came. “But the problem is, where to look for such a woman, as most parents are skeptical of giving away their daughter to a movie star.” The star said it in a way as if he wanted to know if Raghu had someone in mind who matched his requirement. Raghu knew that all the qualities that the star wanted in his wife were very much there in Satya. She was highly accomplished, doing her master's in psychology, and yet very traditional. But he was hesitant to suggest about her without first talking in the family, especially to Satya. However, during the conversation he did mention about our family, including Satya and especially our mother, who he said was the star's biggest fan in the family. “Is that so, then I would like to meet your mother when I come to Lahore next month on the opening of my new movie.”

True to his word, the star did manage to spare time from his very tight schedule in Lahore to come to our home for lunch and meet his big fan, mother. There he also met Satya whom he liked so much that he later told Raghu that she was exactly the type of girl he wanted to marry and requested Raghu if he could arrange one to one meeting with her to enable him to know her mind on the prospect of marrying a movie star. Raghu had already talked about the star's search for a suitable match for marriage and what he was looking for in the bride to be, on his return from Bombay. It, therefore, did not come as a big surprise for the family to know that the star liked Satya and wanted to meet her again. The star's invitation to Satya for dinner with him at his hotel was heartily accepted. During their very first private meeting at dinner, the star proposed and Satya said “Yes”. Next evening they were engaged at a very exclusive ceremony, attended by his father, who flew from Bombay, our family and close family friends, and members of the film unit who had come with him for the premier and were staying in the same hotel where the ceremony took place. The media and the movie circle of Lahore were taken by surprise when the star arrived at the premier party with Satya, and introduced her as his fiancee. It was the star's first movie that Satya watched.

My sister's marriage in March, after she sat for her finals for master's degree, was a grand event remembered as the most glamorous and glittering wedding seen in Lahore. Never before so many celebrities from the film world landed on the streets of the city to be part of the wedding procession of their very successful co-star, whose latest movie was a super hit and still drawing crowds after celebrating silver jubilee. When the wedding procession, led by city's top band group playing hit tunes from the star's latest musical, passed through Anarkali, the grand bazar of Lahore, the shopkeepers showered flowers on the procession, and paid big tips to the band party so that they played longer in front of their shops. By the time the procession arrived at the venue of the wedding reception, a large public park in front of our home, which looked like a fairyland because of the decorations and illuminations, it was past midnight. In spite of the late hour, a very large number of movie fans were still waiting to have a closer look at their favorite stars. Since most of them were students from the nearby college where my sister was also a student till recently, they did not go overboard to show their enthusiasm and let the event pass peacefully. The grand finale to the wedding celebrations came the following evening with a reception by the famous journalist turned producer-director, B. R. Chopra at Lahore's most lavish hotel, the Flattis, where the elite of the city mingled with celebrities from the film world. Indeed, it was the happiest moment for my mother, her most favorite filmstar, Surendra, the singing idol of millions and super star of hit musicals of the 30s and 40s, had become her son-in-law.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mother's Day thoughts

My father's pre-occupation with two jobs, one as teacher of English literature and the other as Chief Representative of the Oxford University Press, plus his love for books, left him little time to be with the family. My mother took it graciously and not only never complained about it, but did her best to compensate for father's non-availability by devoting all her time to running the house and raising her children, the way no other mother in the world would do better. Indeed, she was a perfect partner for my father by being opposite of him in many ways. As much my father liked to be left alone with his books, my mother loved to be in the midst of family members and her friends, both big in numbers. Her circle of friends spread from the elite of the society to its weakest sections, the later being her weakness. She not only liked their company better, but also felt happy caring for them. Her greatest happiness was hosting guests, friends and relatives, some coming from other cities and overstaying for weeks to enjoy her hospitality. It was God's grace, or my father's own way of expressing love for her and the family, that my mother was never ever short of money, whatever our extravagant needs be. She was spendthrift on herself too, but only to the extent that she would overspend on buying saris, so that she had plenty in surplus to give away to the needy friends from the neighborhood. Her only other expense on herself was going to movies, a must every Wednesday when it was 'Ladies Only' matinee in all theaters at half the normal rates. All her friends had open invitation to watch the latest movie, where she would not only buy them tickets but also treat them to sodas and snacks, which were sold by hawkers inside the hall during interval. Mother was a big movie buff and made me one too, as I was her constant companion till I was twelve years old: the age limit for allowing boys in the “Ladies Only” shows, if accompanied by a lady. She enjoyed all movies, musicals and mythological, comedies and tearjerker tragedies, with no exceptions. She had a few favorite stars whose movies she would never want to miss. She had even become a big fan of one particular star after seeing his super hit mythological, and must have seen that movie several times, taking a different friend on each repeat viewing. She could never have imagined then, even in her wildest imagination, that with a twist of fate, that very star would one day become her son-in-law.

Jeet, my wife, became my mother's best friend after our marriage, and a true follower of the traditions my mother believed in. Between the two of them, they had made the house look like a marriage home, where festivities and feeding never ended. During her last days when doctors had given up on her cancer, mother continued to have her high spirits intact. She asked me to bring packets of the finest sweets, and gave them to doctors, nurses and the hospital staff, as a parting gift from a grateful patient, whom they had taken care of so well. They had tears in their eyes, but smiled all the same, as they had never seen anyone celebrating life so beautifully till the end. Before she breathed her last, she kept holding Jeet's hand and spoke the last words, “Continue to keep the house always open for everyone to enjoy its hospitality, and always remember that God visited us disguised as a guest.”

Monday, May 05, 2008

Blinded By Politics

When the whole world is envious of the pace of economic progress India is making under Manmohan Singh's administration, BJP seems to find it politically beneficial to be blind to India's economic growth by leaps and bounds. The current food crisis is a global condition but for BJP leaders it is confined to India for which Manmohan Singh government's economic policies are to be blamed. No one would be more amused by this accusation than the US President George Bush, who too has accused India along with China for the global food crisis, though for an entirely different reason – the unbelievably fast progress the two countries have made. The statements of Bush and the BJP leaders on the food crisis, though contrary to each other, show one thing common between them – they are both blinded by politics to see the the real reason behind the global food crises. The root cause of world wide rocketing food prices and shortage is clearly visible to the rest of the world leadership as bluntly brought out by the U.N. Special Reporter on the right to food - “The U.S. and the European Union have taken a 'criminal path' by encouraging use of food crops to produce bio-fuels and thus contributing to an explosive rise in global food prices”.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

"English fever" in China

China has been in the grip of “English fever,” as the phenomenon is known in Chinese, for more than a decade. A vast national appetite has elevated English to something more than a language: it is not simply a tool but a defining measure of life’s potential. China today is divided by class, opportunity, and power, but one of its few unifying beliefs—something shared by waiters, politicians, intellectuals, tycoons—is the power of English. Every college freshman must meet a minimal level of English comprehension, and it’s the only foreign language tested. English has become an ideology, a force strong enough to remake your résumé, attract a spouse, or catapult you out of a village. Linguists estimate the number of Chinese now studying or speaking English at between two hundred million and three hundred and fifty million, a figure that’s on the order of the population of the United States. English private schools, study gadgets, and high-priced tutors vie for pieces of that market. The largest English school system, New Oriental, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange -reported in Newyorker.

Three Brazilion Soldiers

Not very long ago I received this 'Confidential' note from my friend, an insider at the White House, which I would like to share with my readers:

Donald Rumsfeld briefed the President this morning. He told Bush that three Brazilion soldiers were killed in Iraq. To everyone's amazement, all of the color ran from Bush's face, then he collapsed onto his desk, head in hands, visibly shaken, almost whimpering. Finally he composed himself and asked Rumsfeld, " Just exactly how many is a brazillion?"